Friday, April 19, 2013

Shoplifting at Henry Radio

The year was 1984.  My parents had heard the now legendary interview by James Dobson of Raymond Moore that would spawn the modern homeschool movement.  They decided to homeschool me and looked around for an umbrella organization.  Bill Gothard had just announced the formation of the Advanced Training Institute, and my parents applied to be charter members.  One of the prerequisites was that they attend both Bill's Basic and Advanced Seminars.  Both mom and dad had attended several Basic Seminars, but never an Advanced.  And there was no Advanced Seminar in Phoenix that year, so we drove to Los Angeles so they could attend one there.

While in Los Angeles, we stayed at the home of dear friends, Gary and Carol Masters.  The Masters had shared Jesus with my father before he became a Christian, and they continued to be a constant source of refreshment in our lives long after his conversion.

The Masters' home.  As a child, it seemed like paradise to me.

Me with Gary and Carol Masters and their son Larry.  Gary and Carol seemed old to me and 12 year old Larry was like a very mature older brother. 
If you have attended any of Bill Gothard's seminars, you know that one of the things he talks about is gaining a clear conscience.  That is, going back to people we have offended or wronged in the past, asking their forgiveness, and making restitution as best as possible.

One day while we were in Los Angeles, Mom and Dad were talking about this topic while they drove down the freeway.  Dad was remembering that as a youth, he had shoplifted some electronics parts from Henry Radio in Los Angeles.  The parts were small and easy to hide in his clothes.

Dad was saying that he would like to make restitution, but that Henry Radio was probably no longer in business (the theft had occurred over 25 years before).

Then happened one of those rare, divine moments that will be forever a part of our family story.

At that moment, a truck bearing the logo of Henry Radio drove by them on the freeway.  Simultaneously stunned and thrilled, Dad followed the truck to the store, went inside, explained his story to the proprietor, and made restitution. 
We still have the receipt from that transaction, a tribute to the Jesus who saved a thief and gave him a clear conscience.  My father is, to this day, one of the most generous and "eager to reconcile" people I know.

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