This morning, I left my treehouse to run an errand. While sitting at the intersection of 7th, University, Camp Bowie, and Bailey, I spotted a man standing on one of the medians. He was sporting a fluorescent yellow/green sandwich-board sign that read:
BELIEVE ON JESUS
REPENT OR BURN
Now, while I have to admire his cojones, there are several things wrong with his approach, the sum of which makes me sincerely doubt his motives.
First, his message is pretty abrasive. This has got to have an impact on his effectiveness. Sales 101 states that you can't make someone angry and sell them something at the same time; i.e., you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.
Second, if he is seeking to reach non-believers, how many do you think he will encounter early on a Saturday morning? Crap, even the evangelists who yell into megaphones downtown on weekend nights have got to be more effective simply because of the time and place they choose to proclaim their faith to the masses going out for dinners and drinks.
Finally, did he really think it was okay to wear a sign emblazoned with such a flagrant typo? Does he not know any better? It's certainly not helping his credibility any. Although, as one publishing professional recently told me via voicemail, "Most people don't care about editing anymore." Sigh.
...All these considered, I can't help but think that this man wasn't out there for the good of humanity. My speculation was that he felt some sort of obligation, but not one of the sort that we Christians all should. We should be moved by God's grace to love and befriend everyone, to give thanks in all things, and to offer aid and comfort to those who need it. I believe that this man, with his ineffective tactics, wanted to make a martyr of himself, to feel as though he accomplished (or sacrificed) something important. I think that, had Jesus been passing by, He would've told the man, "Buddy, what are you doing? Let's go hang out with the bums at the bus stop."
I tried to photograph him, but was pretty far away. Here he is anyway: