Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cops as Priests

Let me see. How many excuses can I make to cover my absence from this blog for going on three months?

My computer crashed, and I didn't feel comfortable doing it on another? The summer weather here in Oklahoma City was unbearably hot, throwing me off my schedule while I coped with said heat? And speaking of schedule, we took care of our son's dog all summer, a lab-size creature who demanded attention and daily walks. Was that it?

Well, you get the drift: I used each and every one of those, numerous times, and many more besides, to put off posting an entry.

But then I read this in a police thriller, a deputy sheriff wife talking to her US Marshall husband: “I love the way you talked about it, like a calling, like you were a priest or something.”

I have a file somewhere, in which I have jotted down notes on how police today are talked about—in novels, I might add, not in real life—as being modern day equivalents to priests in former society. They are the thin blue line standing between order and chaos, somewhat like the priest was the thin (black) line between good and evil. They struggle with marriage; most are divorced and leading a celibate life—and they fail just like priests do.

But central to the comparison is the word used in the quote above: calling. Being a cop is a vocation, just like being a priest is. And it leads to another statement that pops up frequently in the literature: “Once a cop, always a cop.” Church talk is a little more formal; it says, “You a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedek.”

If I had logged every reference to such themes in the police procedural and/or thriller literature I have ever read, I would be well on my way to churning out another book. But I didn't, and I'm too far along to remember even a small amount of what I ever read. So, I will have to leave that to another of you to pursue.

I will add only this: the topic interest me because I was, at one time, an ex-priest. I have since resigned from the ex-priesthood. Now I am just me, retired.