The old placard used to say something like "Are you saved?" Or "You're going to hell" or something like that. Years ago when I worked downtown, I had to pass by him on late nights in order to get to my train platform. I'm a fairly agreeable sort, and when strangers talk to me, I tend to answer them, or at least acknowledge them. I don't like to ignore people. This has, from time to time not resulted in the best possible outcome, but it makes for a good story.One night, after having had the pamphlets shoved in my face a couple times, instead of just saying "No, thank you," I said "I'm good. I'm saved." He questioned the authenticity of said salvation, asking if I was Catholic. When I said no, he scoffed and told me that I had been led astray ... as only Catholics were getting in. I disagreed and quickly realized that we weren't going to have a legitimate theological discussion. So, I excused myself and went on my way. And thus the weekly "conversation" was born.
I don't know what I was expecting. I mean honestly ... did I really think I was going to have an open minded two-way conversation involving a real exchange of thought with a guy wearing a sandwich board painted with flames. There are other examples I could use, but I think when you've crossed that threshold, where you leave the house with the sandwich board - you're kind of committed to your particular ideology, and no matter how persuasive I am, I'm probably not going to be able to spark new thought in you.
So, for months after our little exchange, when I walked past him, he'd remind me that I wasn't saved. I'd call back, "Yes, I am." "No, you're not," back and forth we went. Very mature on my part I know, but I didn't want this guy to pass his judgment without me getting a word in - even if I looked a little crazy doing it.
It made me smile to see him this week. It remains to be seen if we'll take up round two.