Tuesday, June 20, 2017
The Subway Preacher
I see them nearly everyday. Often there are strings of them from different denominations of Christianity in one spot near the 7 on 42nd Street.
On 5th Ave near Bryant Park, there are a group of Chinese marchers yelling something unintelligible about Jesus.
In Forest Hills, on the corner of Queens Blvd and Continental, there are two Jews who have asked me if I was Jewish (I have honestly never been asked this, usually it's "are you Puerto Rican?" In Spanish). The younger man handed me a card explaining some such Jewish thing while what I can only describe as the gaudiest of Israeli/Hebrew discotech music blared on a speaker.
I wanted to say something fresh, something degrading. Like, something about their missing foreskins. Something like, did you know my people wouldn't let your people participate in the Olympic games because your glans were showing?!😂. It's asinine and anti-Semitic.
Sometimes I want to tell the African ones that they need to stop worshiping a Caucasian Jew.
"Go back to your roots!" I want to yell.
"The white man brainwashed your brothers when they enslaved them!"
There are just so many good lines.
And this got me thinking. What if, as a social experiment someone preached about African tribal Gods?
I thought it would make a very good short story at least. So I may file it in the recesses of my mind and write it later.
People would get angry. People love Jesus.
But would it make them stop and think? Like really, truly soul searching contemplation.
I mean, I am one of those people who went back to my Gods. The Greek pantheon who have lived on in "myths", but one could call the books of the Bible the exact same shit. It's all allegory.
None of it is meant to be taken literally.
So how do these otherwise educated African immigrants start spewing this bullshit in the grimy tunnels of the New York City subway system? Why come and save our souls? Doesn't Christianity teach you to save those who are less fortunate? Many peoples on the continent are on the brink of starvation. Why preach to rich, obese Americans? The poor New Yorkers who ride the subway aren't going to suddenly convert and save your kids! It's our kids that need food, and Nike sneakers and the new thousand dollar iPad.
What makes them believe so fiercely in some dead Jewish man? They spent years studying mathematics and literature and countless other topics, yet their minds seem so closed when all that knowledge should have expanded their thinking.
One day, there could be a man telling you that you're wrong. That the God you worship snuck into your life forcefully, and that you as a depressed, downtrodden, neglected American need to meet the real Gods of your ancestors. They have been forgotten for too long, and look what it got you? Misery! The cultures of the past were rich, thriving and learned. They all had one thing in common, their collapse after the white man came in preaching his "Savior".
His Jesus of Nazareth. This Christ who had been resurrected.
Praise sent out in my mother tongue, an ancient language left mostly unaltered for thousands of years.
What is your vernacular?
Would you stand in a crowded hub and preach your true Gods?