From the blog of Aidan Ashby, a young Jesus Army leader.
LET ME tell you a true story from a run-down estate in Northampton.
One young man of the estate (who we’ll call “Sir”) has become a staunch friend of the Jesus Army. We first met him as a young teenager when he made a hobby of repeatedly wheelying his BMX through our meeting in the middle of worship time. He lives in the thick of a crazy, hedonistic and generally effed-up life, and he takes no beef from any man. He’s the local “pharmacist” of illegal substances, and a prizefighter. Just say the words “I know Sir” to anyone on that estate and they’ll immediately adopt hushed tones and let you pass unmugged. Get the picture?
It was Sir’s 21st birthday recently. Two friends of mine (I’ll call them James and John) rang him up and announced they were popping round to see him. They turned up at Sir’s house, and he got into the car, joined by a couple of friends, and James and John took them all to a Chinese restaurant.
In the car, John complimented Sir on his shiny Nike Airmax trainers. Sir’s response: “I’ve got five pairs of these back at home, I can give you a pair innit?”
Soon after their spring rolls, they left in the car to meet up with some more of Sir’s friends back in the estate. Stopping in a cul-de-sac, a crowd gathered around the car, all congratulating Sir for his 21st birthday. One older, slightly drunk man, however, started jeering.
“Sir” he whined “what are you doing sitting in a Jesus Army car?” A verbal tussle ensued.
“So what if I am?”
“You should have grown out of that ten years ago!”
“So what if my friend’s in the Jesus Army?”
Sir was getting quite agitated by now. One of “his crew” was dissing the Jesus Army. So the slightly sozzled man added hastily “Well, if you’re in the Jesus Army, aren’t you supposed to be calming down right now?”
“Somebody take him away” yelled Sir. “I swear down, I’ll do him!”
So there you go. James told me the story late last night, enthusing about how this feared, hardened man has warmed to us, and is warming to Jesus.
I reckon he’s just the sort of person Jesus spent time with.