Hopefully tomorrow morning I will climb into my car and head towards Memphis Tenn. to participate one more time in the Beale Street Blast. The Blast is a street preacher's convention of sorts in which roughly 80 or so of us will take to Beale Street to minister during the Memphis in May music festival. If this year is anything like past years, a sizable portion of the crowd will scream, throw stuff, show off their bodies , etc. We will be called hateful, judgmental and a variety of other names while we stand there and , with varying degrees of patience, try to tell them of 'righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come'.
It's really quite irrational. I mean, I disagree with their drinking, but I don't scream at them about it. I don't call the police on them. I don't say hateful things to them. Unregenerate mankind's resistance to the gospel has always been interesting to me. God loves them, and has given them his Son, but because it runs afoul of their sin, they react to his grace with unfeigned hatred. For almost 18 years I've watched this, and to be honest, hostility is easier to deal with than apathy. So I embrace their hostility.
But let me clue in on a little secret of street preaching. We're not out there for them. By that I mean two things. First, we are out there for the Lord Jesus Christ, regardless of the results. But also, we aren't out there for the screamers and hecklers and flashers. We are out there for that one or two guys standing on the edge of the crowd listening to every word we say. We are out there for the people that will approach us after we preach and engage us in conversation. We are out there for the ones that are pretending not to listen. All those other guys are just the noise you have to put up with to be able to minister. And it is an honour to be able to minister to the lost on their own turf.