My twice-weekly trip to university includes a short walk across London Bridge for a connecting train, which allows me the chance to take in the sights. The nearby historic Tower Bridge, the modern skyscrapers of the City of London…. homeless beggars, traffic congestion and a strange little Asian man who hands out free newspapers with a persistent inane grin. Just what the hell has he got to be so happy about?
Nothing really changes. Except one day this week, when a rather large black man obstructed my path, looked me square in the eye, and shouted “REPENT!” Well now, did he see me pretend not to notice the charity collectors outside the station? Surely not.
“HELL IS REAL!” Yes, I know that. I’ve been to Delhi. “HEAVEN IS REAL. TIME IS RUNNING OUT!” Yes, I’m aware of the famous gay nightclub, but I’m not interested in any promotion big boy. I’m sorry but I don’t bat for that team.
“JEEESUS IS WATCHING YOU!” Oh, I get you. You’re not Apostle Jack are you?
Now don’t get me wrong. I realise that the big guy’s motive’s are pure and altruistic. Sure, a cynic may say that he is only street preaching to gain brownie points with the big boss in the sky. But not me; the thought barely crossed my mind. Honestly.
Though what I really fail to grasp, is why he sees fit to bellow randomly at passers-by, and how he thinks it could possibly result in anything but a parting of the on-rushing crowd of commuters, like Moses and the Red Sea, as people navigate a route around him, free of flailing phlegm.
In what other scenario would someone think it a good idea to attempt to convert others to his viewpoint by randomly shouting snippets of information to complete strangers? Putting the shoe (or sandal) on the other foot, how would you react if an environmentalist who was seeking to convince people to live in a more planet-friendly way, stood on a street corner shouting out: “AL GORE IS WATCHING YOU!” or “YOUR GREENHOUSE GASSES ARE CAUSING OTHERS CONCERN”?
Naturally, you would probably think that (a) Al Gore is a stalker; and (b) you really shouldn’t have had that chicken vindaloo last night. You would never think that it was a good idea to fetch a rug and a bottle of Pimms and sit crossed-legged discussing the merits of An Inconvenient Truth and ways to reduce your carbon emissions.
Clearly there are better ways to evangelise, if you feel so inclined. How about leading by example, for instance? Or by only giving advice if people ask for it? Rather than trying to force your views down people’s throats, bible poised as if about to be used, weapon-like, to bring thou to thy knees. Otherwise one day I may just stop, for a laugh, and say: “I REPENT! I once killed a man.” Well, you did ask…
Well I’m a Christian and I went to a service about this recently- the preacher was saying about the importance of warning people about the reality of hell and what we believe as Christians. Now I personally don’t think shouting to people on the street is the best way to do it but he left a seed and you have obviously been thinking about it. For that reason I congratulate the man because he’s going out and acting on his beliefs, whereas I find evangelising very hard to do. However, maybe leading by example and talking to your good friends about Christianity and repenting may be a better tactic. Each to their own!
Thanks for your comment, but he didn’t plant a seed. People are well aware of Christian beliefs in the UK. All he did was make himself look crazy as people rushed past him to work. At the very least he could have chosen a time when people had the time to listen!
Stewie, here’s a what if… What if the stranger who shouts is 99.9% of the time shouting at the wrong person, but every once in awhile shouts at the right person who was just wondering about whatever it was that was being shouted? So… let me give you an example. A man wins the lottery, and doesn’t know what to do with it, but is thinking about buying bonds. So, the man is just walking down the street and all of the sudden a seemingly looney investment banker is shouting, “GOLD IS THE WAY OF THE FUTURE!!!” “DON’T BUY BONDS!!!”
What then, I ask? What then? You might be happy to have lunatics around someday… we’ll just have to wait and see.
I would say that anyone who takes financial advice from someone who is shouting at people in the street is asking to lose money quickly. Why isn’t the ‘banker’ in work? Could it be that he doesn’t know what he is talking about?
Same could be said for religious advice!
I do wonder when the human species will evolve sufficiently to stop believing in fairy tales.
And there was me, attempting to steer clear of controversy… Well, at least your comment helps to balance the views!
I like to do what I can to help!!
And here I thought these people only existed in Times Square in NY.
Oh, they’re all over. Saw a good (silent) one in San Francisco too: https://thislittlethingcalledlife.com/2005/05/04/around-world-trip-usa/
I love street preachers, they’re always good for a laugh. I especially love however those religious signs you get posted outside of churches that try to reach the ‘youth’ of today.
Excellent examples being,
‘In a bunker? Let God be your caddy’
‘Start again with God, He will forgive all sins’
ALL sins you say? Hmm…
Yes, some of those church signs can be quite clever. But a lot of them just quote a bible verse. Lazy.
God’s Sales man huh I hear the commission is excellent these days… it’s for a good cause though *a nice bottle of vintage red for the holy what have ya’s*