A friend of mine, Ken Nahigian (a former fundamentalist whose testimony is in LEAVING THE FOLD), wrote today and told me the following story...
My latest odd experience here. It has no connection to anything else; I just wanted to share the story.
As I returned from work last night, a man was carrying a large wooden cross on his back down my street. It was truly huge, crucifixion-size. Getting closer, I saw he had installed a small wheel at the bottom so he wouldn't have to bear all the weight, just sort of roll it along. The workmanship seemed pretty good, actually. Polished and stained, wood-pegged, nice woodgrain. I thought, I should get this guy's business card, keep him in mind for all my crucifixion needs.
He halted & stared at me. I pulled into my driveway, got out, walked toward my front door, carrying my briefcase & staring back. "Hello," he said.
"Hello," I answered; "now why is it I just know you have literature for me?"
"Yes I do," he said, handing me a leaflet, "and Jesus loves you."
I took it and thanked him. The leaflet turned out to be somewhat cartoony, scrawled stick-figures and bible passages he'd apparently cut out with an exacto knife and glued irregularly to a master page and run through a Xerox. A good desktop publishing system might have helped. But that, I suppose, would spoil the charm.
Otherwise he seemed pleasant. No rants or bulging eye-whites. I waved at him as he rolled the cross on down the street -- out of my anecdote and into someone else's, surely.
I might have asked him with a sly grin
"Is it Easter already?"
"Just How Much Authenticity Are You Going For My Cross Carrying Friend?
Might I suggest that you carry the cross with one hand while whipping yourself with the other?"
"I see you've installed a little wheel at the rear of your crucifix, just like Jesus had."
"Mind if I take her round the block for a few laps? Here, hold the keys to my Porche. It won't take a minute." (Then run off with his cross, leaving him holding an unuseable key that unlocks nothing.)
Quote that verse about giving to all who ask, asking nothing in return, and ask for his cross, see if he'll give it up to you. If he does, walk away remarking to yourself how fine it will look once you set it aflame at the next Klan Meeting.
"How many miles per gallon do you get with that thing?"
"Well, if it isn't Jeesus!"
"I bet you get fabulous reception with that antenaa, but wouldn't it be easier to just carry a walkman?"
Just point and say, "Uh...I think Golgotha's THAT way."
Who was that fool evangelist who trudged across north Africa carrying a cross? Arthur Blessed in the 1970s. About a hundred miles across Africa he realized that the end of his cross was being worn down, so he put a little wheel on it. There was also a South American evangelist who had himself crucified on live TV in the 1980s for a few hours, I believe. There was a doctor in attendance. And of course, there's those Catholic converts in the Philipines, who have themselves crucified every Easter. Gee, why couldn't Jesus have just been eaten by sharks? Then his followers would be running down the street in bathing suits dragging a blow-up shark doll by a string.