Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What A Sad Display

Recently, I was visiting downtown Fort Worth, TX. My buddies and I were approached by a man throwing some propaganda in our face about salvation, which is very common to a weekend evening there. Before getting too much further into the story, I have to admit, I knew that there were going to be these salvation panhandlers out there. I knew about them from previous experiences and because of a dialogue I overheard in the elevator room just before stepping out of the parking garage onto the street.

The dialogue I overheard was between two men who each had their wife and children with them. Man A said to man B, "I love how those Bible thumpers always presume that whatever you are doing down here is the most wicked thing possible and automatically assume you need to be..." At which point both men in unison said, "Saved!" Man A continued, "I don't think having dinner with my family is a great transgression against God." (And Scene) Upon hearing this brief conversation, my heart sank. Due to the fact that I am a Christian these words hurt because the men and their families may very well need Jesus Christ, but due to such poor representations of Christ they may never be open to receive the Good News.

I have prefaced the rest of the story by telling you I knew what to expect because I should have been prepared to properly react.

As I said, a man, doing probably what he imagined was the best thing he could for the cause of Christ, verbally bombards my group, while at the same time waving some pieces of paper at us. We were all very uninterested, and had places to go, but wishing not to be rude gave our polite, "No's", and headed across the street. I responded to the man, "No thanks man, I'm a minister (why I didn't say 'Christian' here haunts me)." His reply to me was, "Come on man, you could spend a thousand years in Hell." This added about a thousand tons of venom to the already venomous thoughts I had concerning him and what he was doing, so I did a 180 and engulfed in a terribly bitter theological discussion with him.

There standing in the streetlight was this guy, who I never even cared enough about to get his name, who was breathing his theology. All the while, I was countering and jabbing. People were walking by awkwardly trying to avoid us, with a few staring at the spectacle. No one was benefiting from the interchange on the street, and I am most assured God was hanging HIS head low, ashamed at what HIS children were doing (might I add, "in HIS name").

I knew I should never have engaged in the convo. I knew I needed to move past the barrage of verbal devices this man was using to get me to talk to him, but I did not. That night I definitely had a form of Godliness (insomuch as I was talking about God), but I was completely denying the power of God. My memory of that evening is completely lamentable. A cringe rises as I see the snapshot of people passing by looking at the Christians fighting.

Nothing was changed that night. The unnamed and I agreed to disagree, which seems to be the punchline to the whole debacle.

I would like to paint a picture of what would be right to do, but I am convinced that a right picture in my mind, or even put to words does not mean anything if I can not live it out. Living it out is my prayer because I do have a hope that this will be a lesson and no longer a common reaction.

loving brittni

i love her so much