Sidewalk evangelists and other lovely college things

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I just moved back in to college!  My first few orders of business were to get my room set up (that is, as of the writing of this post, a work still in progress, and I do have a few days’ leeway before classes start–thank God) and then to go buy a ton of sketchbooks, as well as to explore my new dorm and see what else has changed in the area.  Last semestre, I only used one sketchbook and I used it for everything… that system was convenient, but difficult to study from.  So this semestre, I bought three (relatively) cheapo sketchbooks and one nicer one (which is for studio).  Dorm exploration has proven fruitful, and I’ve been applying for jobs in all the little shops nearby the university.  This is what leads me to my interesting experience.

On a street corner, just off-campus but close enough that it’s basically College Territory, a man regularly stands and “preaches the gospel.”  It’s usually in sound bytes, with a sandwich board, but he’s clearly a Protestant.  From time to time I stop and chat him up, just to see how he thinks.  Today I discovered that he is a Catholic-turned-Born-Again (with two priests in his family).  Greeeeaaat.  And he thinks that Catholicism was started in 312–to which I replied, “Don’t tell me Constantine started Catholicism.”  He then backtracked and said that Constantine set up the Roman system–which is, as far as I know, pretty untrue, but I didn’t push the argument.  He’s difficult to reason with, so I’m planning on going back some time and just listening for a while… maybe taking notes.  Might ask him a little about himself: why turn Born-Again?  What did your family think? and a few about his brand of Protestantism: What do you think about Petrine primacy? (I’ll have that verse–you know, you are Peter and all that–marked in my handy-dandy Bible.)  What made you leave?  And do you really think you’re getting somewhere by simply spreading the Gospel to deaf ears?  Sure, the Bible says go out and preach.  But you can preach to a bunch of college kids who, for the most part, probably think you’re barking up the wrong tree–or you can engage people individually, one-by-one, and instead of pushing and talking, listen.  (I could totally also take my own advice.  I told him to go read Josephus and get back to me.  That was kind of my escape… my room was calling to me.)

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