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Outside my door

There is a large crowd on the street marching and beating drums. They are following a man with a bullhorn who is yelling about 'The wages of sin is death.' A woman is shouting too. Yesterday their theme was God's love. They managed to make that sound very threatening somehow. 

Sometimes they march to an army cadence kind of call and response thing. "Jesus!" "Say what?" "Jesus?" I guess you can march to it.

Sometimes they do it in Spanish. I can understand it. (Not complicated Spanish.) I prefer that. I can tune it out. The sound does not snag my ear so. 

During my time in the South I got very intolerant of people telling me about my sins. And i got quite fierce about having that directed at my kids. My kids are big now, but the feeling remains.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 3rd, 2012 10:26 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry you've had such negative experiences. These kind of Christians give the rest of us a bad name. I understand the impulse; "I once was lost, but now am found" is a real experience, and it makes you want to share what you've found with others, but as a pastor of my experience once said, "Don't be a "St. Bernard" in sharing your enthusiasm, because when people see a huge St. Bernard coming at them, they don't think about his joy, they just don't ant to be "pounced on"!!"
Nov. 3rd, 2012 10:54 pm (UTC)
That is a very good way of putting it. I suppose trying to share something profound and personal is hard. I will try and hold onto the image of the bounding dog. It will make me feel kinder toward them.

Still, I am pretty sure that if a person is trying to share a deeply personal and meaningful part of their life, a bullhorn may not be a help. (My son said "Do you think the early Christians were so... annoying?"

Nov. 3rd, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC)
I always think that being a kind and good influence on neighbors, friends, and strangers is much more likely to lead them to be interested in your Christianity.
Nov. 4th, 2012 02:09 am (UTC)
(My son said "Do you think the early Christians were so... annoying?"

Bet they were. Rome usually managed to deal with local religions, and they sure got annoyed at them.

I am very happy with my large, over-the-ear headphones. Soft and padded and keep sound OUT as much as putting sound IN.
Nov. 4th, 2012 08:39 am (UTC)
" "Do you think the early Christians were so... annoying?"" Ask the Jews!
Nov. 4th, 2012 12:14 am (UTC)
Hmmmn. I was brought up in a fiercely Calvinist community, bullhorns weren't their style but they were equally judgemental and alienating in their own way. I try to walk away from people like that now but it's not always easy.
Nov. 4th, 2012 12:24 am (UTC)
I suppose I should think of it as just one more sound of the city. These people do not know what associations their behavior stirs in me. I am sure they mean no harm. Dogs...dogs...
Nov. 4th, 2012 12:59 am (UTC)
Yes, I agree. Better to keep thinking about the dogs, they certainly mean no harm.
Nov. 4th, 2012 01:44 am (UTC)
I always feel i have to apologise on behalf of the sackier end of Christainity and then i think that hopefully it is recognised that we are not all alike

why does realising your own mess ineviatble have to lead to heaping stuff onto other people - that has never been part of my faith tradiiton

but anyway while we are in poetry mood today i offer you this Stevie smith as a catharsis well ahead of my getting to the letter S in my poetry list!

Is is not interesting to see

How the Christians continually

Try to separate themselves in vain

From the doctrine of eternal pain?

They cannot do it,

They are vowed to it,

The Lord said it,

They must believe it.

So the vulnerable body is stretched

without pity

On flames forever. Is this not pretty?

The religion of Christianity

Is mixed of sweetness and cruelty.

Reject this Sweetness for she wears

A smoky dress out of hell fires.

Who makes a god, who pains him thus?

It is the Christian religion does.

Oh oh have none of it,

Blow it away, have done with it
Nov. 4th, 2012 01:59 am (UTC)
i think that hopefully it is recognised that we are not all alike
Yes, it's recognised and appreciated. It makes the contrast all the starker and the recognition all the sweeter.

why does realising your own mess ineviatble have to lead to heaping stuff onto other people
I don't know. Perhaps it's fear of the impermanence and insignificance?

I'll need to think about that poem, there's a lot in there.

Now I really am calling it a night morning :}
Nov. 4th, 2012 03:20 am (UTC)
I agree with Anteros. You and Charlie seem to me to be examples of how it can be. Sweet contrast, yes.

I have mixed feelings about the bullhorn people. It is very loud in Sunset Park. People are playing music,and yelling all the time. They are just one more shouting group. They probably think of themselves as 'enthusiastic.' Still, I do not react well at all to being shouted at.

Also, I have had the experience in the past of a friend who just wanted to 'get me for Jesus,' as if by dragging me to her church, (as an implied condition of her friendship,) she could rack up points, as one does with a sandwich shop punch card. She felt sincerely that she was doing the right thing by making me, for a short time, into a church-goer. And I was so wanting her friendship and company that I did as she said. Didn't stick. That was 15 years ago-- long done.
Nov. 4th, 2012 03:21 am (UTC)
Sorry-- meant my reply to go here. It ended up under Anteros.
Nov. 4th, 2012 03:40 am (UTC)
Didn't Jesus say something about judging others? And casting the first stone?
Nov. 4th, 2012 01:30 pm (UTC)
Oh yes. And lots of other things (like turning the other cheek and going the extra mile) the modern church seems pretty poor at doing.

Next time those peeps come past, ask them if they've read Matthew chapter 12, verse 19. *g*
Nov. 4th, 2012 02:48 pm (UTC)
I think you are right Charlie.
Nov. 4th, 2012 07:42 am (UTC)
I always come back to asking myself why the two 'junior' monotheist religions (a mere c2000 years and c1430 respectively) feel the need to be so aggressive in pushing their version of 'the truth'? coming from a religion that does not seek to convert this has always perturbed me.

Edited at 2012-11-04 12:43 pm (UTC)
Nov. 4th, 2012 01:58 pm (UTC)
Because Jesus said "I am THE WAY." He taught that just following rules was not enough. The Jews of the time were pretty intolerant. They were stuck on 'rules', thought of themselves as close to God, yet treated others badly (stoning sinners to death!)Jesus taught that changing your heart (loving, forgiving and helping others) was how to please God.
Nov. 4th, 2012 03:51 pm (UTC)
To paraphrase a little:
(Perhaps) sin is in the mind of the accuser.
Nov. 4th, 2012 06:44 pm (UTC)
Yes. It is funny, now seems to me to be a good time to think about the other lessons-- the loving neighbors, feeding the hungry, helping the stranger. And, in fact, there has been a lot of that going on. It has included, but certainly not been limited to, Christians.

People who are busy being kind don't worry too much about sin.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )