The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Monday, March 15, 2004

More Ybor fun:

The obnoxious sidewalk preachers are a common sight in Tampa's party district. With Spring Break starting up, some churches figure that the Lord's message might have a better chance of sinking in with the kids if it's coming from their peers. So this past Saturday, there was probably a dozen or so youth ministry kids trolling up and down 7th Avenue, all smiles and wearing brilliant white t-shirts with the name of their church group (I don't remember the name; I was stone sober, honest).

Instead of following the usual preachers' example of reading loudly from the Bible to no one in particular, these kids had a special gimmick: a group of three or four of them would group together, with one tugging a large cross on his shoulder Jesus-style (thus literally having a cross to bear), while the rest would ask passerbys if they wanted to take a "The Passion of the Christ" quiz. It was clever, although I don't think I saw one person take the bait (then again, I wasn't keeping track of them all night, but I did see them several times while they did their back-and-forth).

When I was getting set to leave, I caught one last look at one of these cross-bearing troupes, heading in the opposite direction. They had this 40ish drunk guy tailing them, laughing with them and excitedly shouting. As I got closer, I could see the drunk was pointing wildly down at the foot of the prop cross. I looked down to where he was pointing...

And saw that there was a wheelie roller screwed to the bottom of the cross.

So it turned out that these intrepid youths were actually rolling their crosses up and down the street. Understandable, in that there's no sense in putting their cross (and themselves) through needless wear-and-tear, as they probably use it every week. Comical, as it sort of lessens the overall impact. Jesus still wept, I'm sure.

I can't believe I didn't notice that little detail before; but as is often the case in life, a drunk showed us the way. I have a feeling the other crosses had some sort of covering over the base to hide the little wheel.