Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Good News at the Alamo

During the Christmas holidays, my family spent Christmas overlooking the Guadalupe River in wonderful Gruene, TX. Gruene is close to New Braunfels, which is just half an hour north of San Antonio/Floresville (where we started our first church and lived for a little over three years). Our children are old enough now to appreciate the Alamo, so we left the Riverwalk to visit this sacred shrine of Texans. It provided a great backdrop for Christmas picts even though it was closed for the holidays.

While in front of the Alamo, I noticed a man(the picture below is not the actual man, but he must have taken the same preaching class) standing on a step in the courtyard, making a lot of noise with his preachy voice while waiving his Bible. I soon realized that he was preaching—a street preacher of sorts. I saw people walking by him, but no one listening and none stopping to pay any attention. He was at best an attractive nuisance, drawing people’s attention enough to make sure he wasn’t a terrorist, but repelling them with his rhetoric all the same. He was not the angry type I’ve encountered on some city cornters, but was somewhat gentle and even unbothered by the rejection of the crowd.

As I thought about his failure to communicate, I considered it to be a great shame that a wonderful message of Good News could be so poorly handled. As best I could tell, the message of the preacher was about Jesus and I think I even heard the word grace, but all of us perceived the man to be a bit crazy and that he cared more about the message and the delivery than those who were walking by him. I wonder what impact he would have if he had taken a different strategy, like volunteering as a tour guide, handing out bottled water on such a warm day, or offering to take pictures of the families like mine posing in front of the Alamo. He could have had more of a chance to get to know his audience and shared the love of Jesus through his service and actions. Maybe he would have been even more effective being at home with his family on Christmas Day or taking food to a next door neighbor who was in need.

I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on this street preacher, for I know that there have too many times I have been him in the pulpit as well as in my neighborhood and family.


Post a Comment

<< Home