Just Another Day In The Park (It’s Personal. Period.)
A couple of good friends and I went to brunch yesterday, as most city dwellers like to do on the weekends.
After brunch, we decided to go over to the park at Union Square and take up residence on a bench, so that we could continue our discussion on viral marketing, interweb traffic, and other people’s sex lives.
We’re just sitting there, gossiping about all kinds of goodly things, when some random young fella decides to come on over to try and give us his Magical Pamphlet. He started asking us if we believed in God, and since my two comrades suddenly got a case of the me-no-speakies, the following exchange took place:
Baptist Dude: “So, do you believe in Jesus Christ?”
Me: “I’m pretty sure he must have existed, so yeah, I suppose I do!”
B.D.: “But have you taken him as your Lord and Saviour?”
Me: “Um, no – all three of us are Jewish, dude. So, like, no, no we haven’t. I’m not hating on the guy, but it’s not my thing.”
B.D.: “But do you believe in God? What about your religion? You DO believe in God, don’t you?”
Me: “Actually, that’s pretty personal. I have a rule – I do not talk about politics, religion, or abortion with people. And before you ask, it’s because people cannot have those discussions without becoming emotional. So I’m gonna have to stick to my convictions here and say that topic is personal.”
B.D.: “But what if I agree to not become emotional? Please, tell me about your relationship with God?”
Me: “Nope. It’s personal, like I said. You might wanna go back and re-read The Gospel Of John, dude. Mad respect to you, and believe whatever it is we all need to believe to get through this life, but it’s so personal I don’t even talk to my wife about it.”
B.D.: “Not even your wife? Why? Please, indulge me and tell me about your relationship with God? What if I were to assume…”
Me: “Dude? What happens when we assume? PERSONAL. Period.”
B.D.: “Okay, sorry. I meant no offense. It’s personal. I get it. So, I promise I’ll leave you alone if you could tell me which one of these charts (in his Magical Pamphlet there are two very distinct charts, elaborately colored to show how his beliefs in God are much more important than everything else, and how in my supposed worldview, I am superior to his idea of God, thus marking me as an egomaniacal human damned for all eternity) best represents your relationship with God?”
Me: “Man, I told you it was personal. But, in these black and white terms dictated by these little charts? I’m over here on The Left, sitting on that throne where I belong.”
B.D.: “Wow, okay. Well, thanks for your time, and God bless you.”
Me: “God bless you, too!”
As soon as homeboy trotted off with his Army of Pamphlet People, one of my friends said – “Jesus, Sean! You have a lot of patience!”.
I don’t think I’m as patient as I am understanding, you know? We all gotta get through this shit somehow. And me sitting there and making fun of his beliefs, or talking shit to him for walking up on us would only strengthen his misunderstanding for people who
don’t share his beliefs.
I’m not a total monster.