Jury Duty

Last year the powers that be in York County, South Carolina deemed me worthy to be called for jury duty. As I discovered, there is a difference in being found worthy to be called to jury duty and being found worthy to serve on a jury. It was quite an enlightening experience in more ways than one. Here's the drill -a state official spends a significant amount of time explaining to the entire group of 'jury duty call-ees' why they are called, the importance of serving on a jury, what they are called to do if they do serve, and what they need to divulge in their personal short public interviews before the lawyers choosing juries. Then a S.C.Judge comes in and explains the importance of being called in, the legal implications of being on a jury, and what one must divulge to the panel of lawyers who listen to each person's short biographical speech everyone called in must stand and declare. One interesting detail the Judge mentioned to us was that in the state of S.C. if you are living with someone you are considered by the state to be married. Some people in the crowd responded to the judge that they didn't think it was anyone's business if they were living with someone that they were not married to. My sense was that the person who raised that question was living with someone they had not married and did not want to admit it to the room of 100+ total strangers, the judge, and a panel of lawyers who were there to select and reject potential jurors. The judge informed the questioner that it was an important fact that needed to be known by the lawyers who were deciding who should or should not be on a jury who would try one of their clients for one alleged infraction or another. It also sort of honed in the crowd on at least one lady who was living in 'unwedded' bliss with someone else, I would guess.

Then I overheard one man say, "Wow! Showed up for jury duty and found out I was married!" The picture attached to this blog shows you what he looked like about the time he realized he was married.

Then the personal interviews began. After your name was called you stood up, affirmed that they had gotten your name right, identified your marital status, identified your occupation, and revealed any reason you should not serve on a jury. Then the lawyers and the judge had a chance to ask you any questions if they wanted to. When my turn came I had decided I could play my interview one of two ways. I could tell the panel that I was a Pastor (relatively admirable occupation)  or I could tell them I was a Healing Evangelist (absolutely despised by most in the room occupation). I opted for door #2. From that point on I was looked upon as someone who also resembled the photo that I attached to this blog. For the rest of the time I was there the entire group pretty well put me in the human category of life known as "bottom feeder". For three days no one dared speak to me even once. Apparently being a Healing Evangelist was frowned upon in that establishment. No shock.

Why did I do that? For several reasons. Reason #1 -At that particular point I was still in ministry but not specifically a pastor. Reason #2 -I was traveling as a preacher who was evangelizing and seeing people healed. Reason #3 -I wanted to see how people would relate to someone willing to admit in public that they were a Healing Evangelist. Reason #4 -I felt like it was the most honest answer to the question. And finally, Reason #5 -I thought it would keep me off jury duty...and I was right about that.

So, what's the moral of the story? Why did I write this?

I wanted to. I thought it was worth noting that someone could actually say something so bizarre as, "Wow! Showed up for jury duty and found out I was married!" I also think it is important to live in such a way as to never be ashamed of what you do, even if you are a Healing Evangelist.