The other day in my hometown a storm of heavy rain and fast winds came in and came out, the resulting storm lead to power being out in my house (as well as others). So I decided to get up and go for a walk, camera-in-hand of course! 🙂
I was walking up one block and there was this tree that was knocked over completely, roots and all, and as I was getting ready to photograph it a guy came out of his house. Don* started chatting to me about photography, to which he shoots with the Canon T3i, the same make and model I do, so it was a connection point. After a while he was placating and essentially kissing my butt photography, but then…he started to proselytize to me!
Now interestingly enough, I already know Don but apparently he has forgotten about me (it’s been a while since the last time we interacted, I didn’t have long hair or a ‘stache then!) but he weaved into our conversation about photography about how I am going to hell :crickets: and told me to go to a website he created (not going to drop the link, not sorry!). He didn’t share the Gospel message with me, I don’t interact with him, and yet he still feels the urge to tell me I am going to hell… I am glad I got the brunt end of his hell spiel and not someone else, Lord have mercy on Evangelicals who share of hell before they share of God’s love and grace. Writer’s note: I went to the website and it looks like it was made in 1998, a few random lightning bolt gifs and the pièce de résistance…This was your life! A Jack Chick Tract, oy vey iz mir…:-(
After I left that street I found another fully uprooted tree lying across a street in my area, that’s where I met Sam* who also was shooting photos, and with a Canon T3i no less! Sam told me if he had his way, he’d organize people of Aurora to move the debris to assist the city workers who were absolutely busy beyond belief that day, and afterwards we could all kick back and eat burgers and drink brews. I told Sam that I liked his idea a lot, it would be great to pull together and then commune with one another.
Now I don’t know Sam’s heart, but there was more of a pull on my heartstrings interacting with a guy who was for social justice, tangibly doing something to make a difference, than my encounter with Don who weaseled in a message of I’m going to hell despite not having a relationship let alone a friendship with me. I think that’s where followers of Christ get it wrong sometimes, we’re quick to pull the you’re-going-to-hell trigger and we’re left with a smoking gun. I usually abide by St. Francis of Assisi’s words of “preach the Gospel at all times and use words when necessary.” I live my faith out in action, in my being as well as doing, I want to love on this world so much that people will get soaked by the love of God through what I do. Love compels me to do this, God’s love to be precise, and I think that goes a lot further than telling people they’re going to hell.
*names have been changed