So, I spent a wonderful Valentine’s Day in downtown Seattle. Inevitably on holiday weekends in Seattle there are protesters and other interesting kinds of people in Westlake Center. This time (as my friend Chauncey recently blogged about) it was a wonderful combination of (1) free hug people, (2) Palestinian protestors, and (3) street preachers.
The psychology behind #3 is fascinating to me. It’s gotta be some kind of neurotic insecurity that drives these people to do this kind of thing. I checked out one of their websites: an interesting hodgepodge of bible verses pulled a little bit out of context. There’s this strange kind of American Protestant tendency to always try to be more hardcore Christian than the other guys. These folks must view themselves as the true believers reacting against a sort of milk-and-water Christianity that most ordinary believers embody.
I always wonder how, as a Christian, to talk to these people, if at all. This guy I saw last year did it the best. The preacher had a sign with John 3:16 on it: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him might not perish, but have eternal life.” Somehow the cognitive dissonance between what the sign said and the hatred spewing from his mouth didn’t occur to him. The guy I saw, while waiting to cross the street, turned and said to him: “Hey man, I understand what you’re trying to do, but you’ve forgotten the next verse.”
“For the Son of Man did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it.”