Friday, February 25, 2005

I'm Definitely Going to Hell

I heckled a preacher on the train yesterday. True story. For the record, I am not anti-Christian. My entire family is very religious. My mother was a single parent under 30 with 3 kids. It was her belief that "Jesus will make a way" that kept her motivated and strong. I can't be mad at that. I don't believe it but I don't sweat it. I think it was her awesome fortitude and discipline that made her strong. My mother is even an ordained minister although I don't think she preaches anymore. I don' t know. I don't care. I have heard enough sermons.

It is not their message that even bothers me. It is their method. Major US cities always have some freaks who feels obligated to take advantage of a captive crowd (like public transit) and force them to listen to their Jesus talk. I know that people love them some Jesus and want to tell the world but please fucking don't. This is America for goodness sake. Do you think I haven't heard the message that "Jesus Saves"? I have purposefully made a decision to ignore it. And I want to ignore you. I finished working and I want as much peace as possible. I do not want someone to try to force their religious ideas on me. You could at least ask me if I want to hear what you have to say. Show people some common goddamn courtesy. If someone else was on talking about Allah or Satan, I would feel the same way.

So my story goes like this: I teach improv and comedy writing at a high school on Chicago's southside 3x a week after school. Thursday is like the day that I get excited because I don't have to deal with high school kids again until Tuesday. I am relieved that I no longer have to be "the adult." I can let my hair down and be myself again. Jordan, my teaching partner, and I ride the green line to Roosevelt (the coldest spot in Chicago) and then transfer to the northbound red line.

When the red line arrived we chose our car and stepped in. We were still having our post-class review when we were interrupted by this guy just preaching about Heaven and Hell. He told the train that our souls were in jeopardy. It was so clear that everyone on the car was uncomfortable. Some got up and moved to other cars (although you are not supposed to travel from car to car anymore). Others tried to bury themselves in their books or newspapers.

The preacher went on despite his audiences obvious lack of interest. "Jesus said go out amongst the people," he said. "So GO then," I said, "go out, immediately." He rolled his eyes at me and then kept preaching. "Some people don't want to hear what I have to say," the preacher continued. "I don't," I chimed out, "I just want to go home with some peace and effin quiet." Jordan is getting nervous but I don't care. I figure if I am forced to listen to this guy. He is going to listen to me. "He came unto his own and his own received him not," the preacher said. "Maybe he was boring like you," I added.

Jordan couldn't take it anymore. I don't know if he was afraid for our safety or embarrassed by my side show. I asked him if he wanted to change cars. He quickly said, "yes." We changed train cars at the next stop and Jordan gave me one of his patented, "Pip, you are a freak" looks. I didn't care. We no longer had the preacher. The man had irritated me and I had paid him back in kind.

If I am wrong about this whole Jesus Saves thing, I hope the brother will forgive me and send me a Rapture Letter.


  1. Holy crap...not the rapture letter! Good for you for telling him to take his message elsewhere. Usually when I come across freaks like that on the train, I respond in my Dr. Claw voice saying "I'm a sinner!"

  2. You are so *not* going to hell. Jesus never forced His sermons on people in enclosed spaces, and my bet is He considers those who do His "stalkers."

    Meanwhile, I can't believe your friend -- a fellow improv teacher -- freaked out instead of joining in! What kind of actor is he?? Please tell me someone on that damn train started laughing, or gave you a grateful look, or something!

    --LL Cool P

  3. Karsh -- LOL, I may try that Dr. Claw response.

    LL Cool P -- Yeah, what's up with Jordan not yes/and-ing my rant? And the train was freaked out that I was heckling. I'm like what up people? Is this thing on?