Anatomy of a street prophet

Initial thoughts on this picture. I love it.

First, notice the verse on the board. This is not what the verse says. What it actually says is, “God is a righteous judge, who has anger everyday”. But, first rule of Biblical interpretation? Don’t take things out of context. Preceding verse? “God is my savior”. Verse 16, which tells us who God is angry at? Violent people. Not “Homos” as his button suggests. Which brings us to his buttons.

1) Homo slashed by a red line. We get it. You don’t think God likes gays. But did you forget the adage to “speak the truth in love”? That is neither speaking nor in love.

2) Trust Jesus. Ok, I like this one.

3) finger pointing up, says “1 way”. It almost seems to point to the sign holder. Or it could be pointing to the “nohomo” button. Not going to go there.

Hat. Trying desperately to have something that looks cool. He fails.

Glasses. makes him look a bit like a hipster-intellectual. You aren’t fooling anyone.

The straps holding the sign make it look like he is wearing suspenders. Adds to the look of foolishness.

The look on the guy’s face. Priceless. He seems genuinely disinterested, yet committed, to his message.

The kid. Here is where the magic happens. Something about this scene seems so wrong to us. It is this kid, without words, speaking truth to someone more powerful than himself. This kid, in his apparent innocence, makes the hatefulness of this guy so apparent.

There is simply nothing redemptive about this guy’s stance or message.

Christian FAIL.

and who stands up to this hateful Christian Goliath?

Kid.

Go kids.

Optimistic Chad

Chad really really hopes things are going to turn out ok. He loves his wife - with the passion of 1000 exploding suns, and is a diligent, but surely mediocre father to his brilliant and subversive children. He likes Chinese food.

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12 thoughts on “Anatomy of a street prophet

  1. That is why I so value childrens’ thought. They are the open and most honest and ask the toughest questions. As parents we stumble sometimes to answer them, and in their child’s wisdom give us the answer in its simplest form. The adult is like those pulpit people that condemn everyone for everything they do. You are right, Jesus tells us to love all. We are not the judges, He is! So I always say to those sign toting folks, Go read the Bible, not just parts, the WHOLE BIBLE and then pick up a sign.

  2. I really love the point you make about children at the end. As an elementary school teacher, I see a wisdom in my students that I pray won’t get squelched out of them by the inevitable gradual loss of innocence as they get older. And like you say, that wisdom and honesty is very apparent in the picture you posted.

    I do wonder what protesters like this guy feel they are accomplishing… has anyone ever come to believe in Jesus as the result of an anti-gay rally? But I guess that’s not actually their goal…

    For the record, my husband and I came across a street preacher the other week who was actually pretty legit. He was just telling people about Jesus – not judging, not fear-mongering, but just explaining who Jesus was and why He came. While the method is still kind of weird in my opinion (but that doesn’t mean God can’t use it), people were listening out of genuine interest and not “let’s see what this wacko has to say”. Well, that might have been their original reason to stop and listen, but I hope they were refreshed to hear a message of love rather than hate, because that’s the message we should be spreading.

    Thanks for sharing this post!

    - Amanda

  3. I hate to point this out, but there’s a very good chance that this sign-holder was once a kid himself…I dare say, we were all children once. Anyone remember being particularly wise? Kids are open vessels; they will believe And say anything. Really ANYTHING. Santa, Easter bunny, tooth fairy, boogie man, God, the invisible dragon who spins the world on the tip of his tail.

    With “Jesus Camp” (the movie) in mind, I think this child could just as easily become a future sign-holder.

    Prob 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

    It’s important to note that this is not a command. Hell, it’s not even prophecy. It’s a proverb. It’s an observation. Look at the Douay-Rheims translation

    “It is a proverb, a young man according to his way, even when he is old will not depart from it.”

    This observation has been used as a weapon multiple times throughout history. Children are not wise. They will do anything someone says. This is why we teach kids to NOT get in a stranger’s car…even if he has CANDY?! Yes, even if he has candy.

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  5. Chad, this picture reminds me of Rob Bell’s video, Bullhorn. I have an idea. We should get like a 70 inch screen tv and play it downtown Fort Worth, every weekend for all the bullhorn Christians.

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  7. Can you call it a “Christian Fail”? I don’t think so…I think it is more “Personal theology FAIL.” But whatever…tired of people doing things under the “Christian” umbrella, that are definitely not Christian whatsoever….

  8. great post! great thoughts! i might suggest that we also, however, not forget to show mercy towards this sign-wielding, hate-button-wearing christian. what happened in his life that led him to this moment in time in which he angrily holds his message and wears his buttons of condemnation? what teacher drew out the wolf in him instead of the dove? what church fostered an infatuation with wrath instead of a heart of mercy? although he’s responsible for his actions, as we all are, he’s also a victim in the true sense of the word.

  9. @David – You are correct. The entire Bible, not just a word here or a verse there, must inform our faith. Otherwise, the Bible becomes very dangerous indeed.

    @Theologigal, thanks so much! By the way, I spent some time reading your blog, and I am super glad you write it!

    @Tusk, of course you are right in one sense. There is nothing inherently truthful about a child, except that many children point out our inconsistencies. They simply have not learned how to hide behind facades like we have, so their “truth” often times is simply pointing out our “lies” because they haven’t learned not to.

    @Rod. I love Bell. I love Bullhorn.

    @Mike H., I only call it “Christian FAIL” because this was apparently what this chap was going for. I am not by any means saying that Christ or Christianity has failed, but rather that this thing that this guy is doing fails at being remotely Christian.

    @Mike part 2, You are of course correct. However, for mercy to be genuine and redemptive, the offense must be stated and the truth must be told first. So as I said in the first line of my post, these were just initial thoughts. After the kid confronts his Goliath in silence, perhaps then he can point out his flaws, and then offer him a sandwich or a cup of Gatorade and a hug. Perhaps I will write a possible narrative for what happens after this picture…

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