I know what it’s like to be a preacher desperate for some point of contact with an otherwise inert congregation. You can’t stand the thought of another Sunday facing the same blank faces, the distracted fidgeting, and the outright snoozing. As fascinating as you think the doctrine of perichoresis is, you know it’s not likely to draw Amens. So you turn away from dusty old churchspeak toward pop culture. People love TV; they watch hours of it. Maybe if you refer to some TV shows or movies they like, or even act a little more like Letterman, they’ll be right with you. Or at least not nod off this time.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).