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It's Our Public Square, Too
Maybe sometimes we should challenge the loud voices.
I have a hard time not talking back to bullies.
In fact, over a decade ago, my kids voted me First Hostage Shot in any action movie.
(That sounds funny until you realize life is kind of an action movie. Still, I chuckle because as the Indigo Girls long ago burned into my brain, “It’s only life, after all.”)
So when I find myself in a public square and there’s some guy with a microphone and a Bible, my inclination is not to shut up and take it like I had to do all those years at St. John the Evangelist.
Seattle and Satan
This time it was Pike Place Market and it was a gorgeous afternoon as we were strolling through the crowds on the streets outside, making our way from a visit at the Seattle Art Museum over to pick up some take-out at the bbq-and-mac-cheese stand.
And there they were: this two-pack of jackwagons doing a “Repent!” song and dance — one of them reciting Bible verses into a microphone while the other flashed his sign and harassed people walking by.
I was one of those people — and I don’t like getting flashed by anything.
“God’s not happy with you,” I said as I walked by Sign Guy.
He spun toward me.
“God’s not happy with YOU,” he replied, catching up to my side now.
“No,” I said, “I talked with God yesterday and we’re cool.”
God Talks to Lesbians?
He looked like I had short-circuited him. There I was, wearing a baseball cap with a rainbow and the word “Everybody” — and I had talked with God?
“God wants YOU to REPENT,” he said, still at my shoulder as I crossed the busy street with the crowd.
“Nope,” I replied, “I’ve already been saved.”
Now he was really mad. He crossed right in front of me and said with the most serious face I’d seen in a long time: “Do NOT mock God!”
“I’m not,” I replied. “You are.”
No retort. It was like he malfunctioned. I walked around him. The crosswalk light became a hand but we were almost to the other side.
I glanced back over my shoulder. He was turning to head back to his side of the street.
“God hates hate!” I said, “You should stop doing that!”
And then the traffic resumed and we each went our own way.
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A Mac Cheese Finish
You can pick who’s right and who’s wrong in that scenario — or decide if there even is a wrong and right — but consider this: how can anyone know definitively who an imaginary person speaks to?
And maybe sometimes it’s good to talk back to those trying to cow us into submission. Just because you have a microphone doesn’t mean you’re right.
Also, in case you were wondering: the bbq-and-mac-cheese was delish.