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MAY 17, 2008   


I made a late afternoon trip to the West Side Market to pick up a few fruits and veggies after stopping at the Bookstore on West 25th for their Rent Party. Leaving the market I got a cup of coffee and headed across the street to drink it sitting on a bench in the sun at Market Square Park.

That didn't happen. A preacher had already set up his microphone and amplifier in the middle of the park where the bands usually play. After a couple of minutes I realized I wasn't going to be able to enjoy the sun, my coffee or the book I tried to read. As I walked away a young man approached me with a flyer and asked if I wanted to learn about Jesus. "Not interested" I replied. "REALLY not interested—in fact I think it's a bunch of crap!"

The vehemence of my reply surprised me. I hadn't planned it, and in fact I normally turn down offers of religious tracts politely. I try to respect peoples' beliefs, whatever they may be. I actually felt kind of bad, since the young guy with the flyer wasn't the problem. It was the preacher.

I walked home thinking about what had caused my outburst and realized it was the preacher's repeated insistence that he was talking about the FACT of Jesus' death and the FACT of his resurrection. Not what he believed, but what (he said) was FACT. He also talked about stories, TRUE stories, from the Bible.

OK, here's a tip for any religious person of any kind who wants to convert me: describing what you believe as fact isn't gonna work. I have no problem with you accepting what's written in a 2,000 year old book as something to believe in, just don't try to tell me it's a fact. It's not. Shouting it repeatedly doesn't make it a fact, either. Just makes me angry.

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MAY 2008

APRIL 2008