The Gospel.com blog has a post about the good, old-fashioned, bullhorn wielding street preacher:
This method of spreading the Gospel doesn’t sit well with me. It’s always awkward and always uncomfortable. I find it rather telling that whenever I encounter someone like this the only people giving them serious attention are other Christians. Christians who are desperately attempting to ascertain why Christ is being portrayed like this. And, without fail, the rest of the crowd is making fun of the preachers or yelling back at them.
The thing is, most people who do this sort of street evangelism have a deep desire to see people turn from their ways and see the light. They just happen to pick a shocking way in which to preach that message.
Screaming street preachers are a lot like Joel Osteen in that almost all of the Christians I know think they are either a) hilarious, or b) creepy. But as ghastly and distasteful as we think these bullhorn evangelists are, other people who use the very same techniques gain credibility and even respect from many segments of our society, just as long as they don’t talk about Jesus.
Just to pull something at random from the recent news, let’s look at the behavior of hard-core environmentalists and advocates for the “scientific consensus” on global warming. Here we have people who gather on street corners all the time, screaming at everyone that we’re all gonna burn, and they’re largely treated as reasonable, concerned citizens.
How about the anti-war movement? Does anybody remember any deranged ranting by Iraq war protesters? And yet, during coverage of the protests, I never once saw a reporter lean into the camera and say under his breath, “What a bunch of nut jobs!”
I could go on: gun control, animal rights, abortion rights, affirmative action–all things that respectable people can gather in the street and scream about, and feel good about doing it.
Don’t misunderstand: I’m not trying to defend street preachers or their tactics. I’m just pointing out that there are a lot of things you can scream about in public without being considered a wacko, and Jesus isn’t one of them.