You Don't Deserve Hell
Below is a story I meant to share with my cousin following an intense day. I wrote the story via email, but for some odd reason I never sent it. It occurred some time in May 2018.
My morning started out how it usually does: reading, writing, and playing the guitar. Then, out of nowhere my head was awash with an energy that was similar to the energy I’ve experienced under the influence of psychedelics.
I decided to skip my Earthquakes class (the one I currently have a D in) because I could feel something important was happening. I got all packed up, and set off to go to the library so I could work on the design and lay out of my blog. On my walk there, I spotted a wonderful looking patch of grass, and as if some higher power grabbed me and threw me at it, I laid out on the grass watching the clouds move like one of those weather channel animations. I listened to "PPP” by Beach House. I listened to about 4 or 5 other songs, writing the entire time.
Eventually, I got up and went to the library. I did some work on the blog, but not much clicked. I wasn’t feeling it. So, I left after about two hours and went out to eat a burrito on Dexter Lawn (which is a place for people to socialize, read, and chill in between classes).
So, I’m eating my burrito. Feeling a bit anxious and bothered as to why I wasn’t feeling the vibe of the blog as much as usual, when I noticed this large congregation of people around this guy wildly gesticulating and pointing. I wandered over, and immediately noticed this strange and hostile energy in the air. I listened to what this guy was saying, and found that he was one of those classic evangelical preachers looking to spread the word of Jesus.
The thing is, I wanted to hear the dude and his arguments. College students are notoriously naive, and I watched as people gawked, laughed, and yelled at this guy. I thought for a moment and asked: Why do these preachers come out here to Dexter Lawn and say provocative things? They come out with signs reading “Don’t Be a Ho No Mo” and “You Deserve Hell.” I realized there could be two things:
1.) They are con men inciting people so they can profit
2.) They are authentic preachers employing a different tactic to convince people that have clearly stopped listening to their message.
So, I walked over to one of the preachers who wasn’t speaking but clearly partners with the guy that was. He was wearing a boiler hat and a pair of glasses, sitting peacefully about 20 yards away from the guy holding 50 college students rapt.
I went up to the boiler hat man, named Brother Jed, and we engaged in a 45 minute discussion about Jesus, Alan Watts, Pluralism, the direction of our modern day society, and the ways in which people communicate. Brother Jed was educated. It was clear the guy had a handle on what he was preaching, and there was something in his eyes that glimmered. It was the glimmer of a man who was authentic and well intentioned. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to Brother Jed and found myself reevaluating Family, Duty, and Responsibility.
What I wanted to figure out was, if Brother Jed truly cared about humanity and his fellow neighbor:
Why would he and his fellow preacher purposefully stir up so much hostile energy?
It saddens me to witness such grave miscommunication at such a grand scale. We’re a divided nation, but we don’t have to be.
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