The Bible: Parables for Cool Squares

The Lord is like my probation officer.

He will help me.

He tries to help me make it every day.

He makes me play it cool.

So begins the 23rd Psalm, as revised by an eleven-year-old delinquent boy at the Erie County Detention Home in Buffalo. Another young lawbreaker has produced a modern equivalent of Jesus' parable about the one sheep out of 100 that went astray; in his version a used-car-lot owner goes looking for the "heap" that someone "snitched."

Both efforts to paraphrase the Bible in reform-school jargon were inspired by the Rev. Carl F. Burke, 45, the detention home's Protestant chaplain,...

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