According to Columbus Police Cmdr. Richard Bash, we don’t have to buy them 40-ounce King Cobras. In a news release on Monday, Bash exhorted the citizenry, “Do not give money to panhandlers. … Panhandling for drugs or alcohol is very common. Walk purposefully and with confidence. Give the appearance that you are aware of your surroundings. … Acknowledge a panhandler with a nod, and answer the request for money by saying, ‘No.’ Then walk away. Do not be angry or feel guilty.”
That’s good advice for those of us who have a hard time saying no to the “needy.” But in actuality, Harden is not really concerned with the commander’s advice. He’s more interested in making some humor about other “beggars.” After writing about congressman and street dancers, Harden turns his attention to perhaps the most obnoxious of all beggars.
Occasionally, Downtown, you might be accosted by a person asking, “Do you know where you will spend eternity?” Acknowledge the person with a nod and respond, “Cleveland.” Do not be angry or feel guilty. Many people spend eternity in Cleveland.
I recognize the humor in that statement—especially as I live near Cleveland. But the point is still well made. Most people are turned off by street preachers. Part of the problem can be attributed to the poor theology and odd methods employed by many street preachers (think Jed here). Although I admire their courage, they often misrepresent the gospel and bring shame on our Lord. But are all street preachers that way? Somehow I don’t think so. There are probably some who faithfully proclaim the gospel despite the opposition. I just don’t know of any.
So, what do you think? Is this something with which we should be involved? Is it an effective/appropriate way to spread the gospel? Opposition should not keep us from preaching the gospel. Our Lord told his disciples to expect opposition, but he also told them to leave those places where they were rejected. Honestly, I’m still thinking through these things myself.
Care to share your thoughts?