21 December 2010
Angry confrontation while out with cross today -
This afternoon I headed down to south Canton to hold the cross in a high traffic area on day 2 of my week long cross outing.
God had other plans.
On the way to Canton on Interstate 575, the traffic came to a dead stop about a mile north of my exit. It took me almost an hour to get to the exit and even then it was stop and go off the exit as the police re-routed traffic from 575 through Canton due to a tractor-trailer accident in which the truck lost it's load of telephone poles.
I decided to go up hwy 140 and see if there was a good place to stand in the city of Walseka.
I found a nice stretch of road that had a public sidewalk and that's where I stood for the next 30 minutes while sporadic traffic cruised on by me. The weather was very overcast, drizzling rain, and started getting dark, but no worries, at least I could be out for a while.
Well, about 30 minutes or so of standing there and getting many waves, honks and thumbs up, a truck pulled quickly into the parking lot behind the sidewalk and a man jumped hurriedly out of the vehicle and was approaching me fast.
As he got up next to me he loudly asked me what I thought I was doing.
"I'm just standing on the sidewalk holding a cross", I said.
"What do you think you're trying to prove?", he asked.
"I'm not trying to prove anything. Are you law enforcement?", I said.
"No, I'm the owner of this store and I don't know why you're standing in front of it." he said.
"What do you think holding this cross right here is going to do?", he asked.
"Well, I hope it brings about conviction to people through the question, "Are you ready?"", I said.
"Listen", he said, "This is a close nit community and we don't need any of this around here." He went on, "Why don't you go down to the 4-way stop and stand in front of the church where there will be more traffic?"
"I like it here", I said, "The long straight gives people more time to see the cross."
He told me that I didn't have a right to be there and that I was tying to push religion down peoples throat. I told him that I have not said a word to anyone other than him, so how was I pushing religion down peoples throat?
I told him that the cross is simply asking a question; if people were ready for eternity.
That's when he really lost it and told me that I thought I was better than everybody else. I almost laughed out loud on that one but held it inside.
He repeated that I didn't have a right to be where I was and I reminded him that men and women have died fighting for my right to be exactly where I was...doing what I was doing.
He went on to tell me that he believed in the first Amendment and that he was a Christian but he didn't want me in front of his business.
He also told me that people were having a hard time "negotiating" turning into his driveway because of where I was standing. I turned and looked behind me to see how much distance was between me and his business driveway and it was at least 20 feet.
So I told him I would move up another 15 feet or so and split the difference between his business and the pharmacy. He then told me to move up to the telephone pole but I told him that was too far and close to the turn of the road.
The whole time he was there he was pacing back and forth and acting like he had ants in his pants. He would wave his arms, walk away and then come walking back.
I just stood there and answered with yes sirs and no sirs with a calm demeanor while he angrily questioned and argued with me. The whole thing lasted about five minutes and there was a lot more said that I can't remember (Wished I had my voice recorder with me!).
Finally he left in a huff and went inside his store. He was in there for a few minutes before he came out and marched over to the pharmacy adjacent to his store. He and another person came to the window inside the pharmacy to look at me a couple times but that was it. The man marched out of the pharmacy, got back into his truck and left.
Before I got out to hold the cross I emailed a few people to be praying for me and for the cross to bring about conviction.
God answered that prayer!
The most ironic thing about the whole incident is that before the man came over to me, while I was standing there, I was thinking that because of the low volume of traffic in this small town I would probably not go out of my way to that spot again.....
What do you all think?
Should I go back to that spot again? I don't want to go there out of spite, but at the same time I don't want to be intimidated by one guy who thinks he can run out of town anyone who he doesn't agree with (First Amendment notwithstanding).