As God would have pre-ordained it, Perrin Powell, Jr., better known as P-Rine -- sorry -- The Reverend Lewis Perrin Powell, Jr., pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, was spotted in the South Carolina Baptist Courier with, pound for pound, the most powerful woman in Cross Anchor, SC.
Boy, he sure looks like a Baptist preacher! Was he predestined to it? It would seem so. He arrived as a freshman at Presbyterian College in 1993 when I was still hanging around the campus doing a lot of one-on-one discipleship with some young men.
Perrin and I began to meet together for prayer and Bible study, and he prayed the most beautiful, heart-felt prayers I have ever heard out of a young man. To make that even more dramatic, the boy was a staunch prayerbook-using Episcopalian from Spartanburg, SC. I worshiped with him and his family a time or two at his home church. Great folks. His Mama is sweet as tea.
Perrin grew deep in the Word and in his love and fellowship with Christ Jesus. And he never lost his sense of humor as long as I was privileged to know and be friends with him.
The one thing he swore he'd never do is become a Baptist. He was a dyed-in-the-wool Episcopalian through and through, let me tell you, down to the liturgical eucharist every time we had Bible study. But I prevailed on the wine thing with him. We compromised on Welch's Cran-Grape -- which he sometimes left opened on top of his dorm refrigerator in the sun instead of inside it! (That was back in the day when Bailey Dorm was still not air conditioned.) No one knows whether that Cran-Grape actually got consecrated for dorm-room communion or not. I guess it just leaked out. At least we wouldn't want to jeopardize Perrin's divine election to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's Board of Trustees or anything like that.
A few years after his college and my time in California at Fuller, I found Perrin as a youth pastor in Sparkle City, and the next thing I know is he's married to a fine young woman named Stephanie who now keeps him in line and headed toward the pearly gates of his election. Next Perrin and Stephanie headed to Southern! And for all that discipleship work I invested in him, lo and behold he turned into a Calvinist, I hear.
One of the things you might not know about Perrin is that he used to be a big Jerry Clower fan. "Haawww! Shoot that thang! Have mercy! This thang killin' me!""
Perrin is notorious for not keeping up with his friends from days gone by. If you run into Perrin, ask him when he's going to call his old friend Gene.