This Friday night was sparse with us-lings, since many were at the SFTS end-of-year party. Kazz, Spyral, Ezra, and I all dropped in on the revelry; Spyral and Ezra decided to stick around while Kazz and I went out to Mill.
An unpleasant little surprise awaited us upon our arrival. The Door were out, in all their screaming, shouting, spooky glory. I had never yet seen them, only heard tales of their insane antics and occasional violent behavior. They were all I could have hoped for and more on this night. A large number of them were dressed in black bodysuits, dancing and wailing with skeleton-painted faces as a mad preacher howled above their writhing bodies. Some waved ghostly gauze banners with images of what may have been demons on them. A reasonably large crowd looked on, and Omar and Jim stood not too far from where we set up the speaker.
A couple of the less-crazy members came to speak with us while the show wore on. However, when I say “less-crazy”, please remember to whom I’m referring. These two young men seemed completely devoid of anything resembling sense. The one I spoke with primarily seemed absolutely unwilling to consider, even for the moment, that the Bible was fallible or in any way untrue. He seemed to dance around my questions regarding his presence on Mill; after all, didn’t Jesus proscribe such behavior as public worship and showing off?
After some time, the large group began to pack up and leave. Relieved at their retreat, we began heading back down Mill towards Urban Outfitters. As we walked, Omar told us about having the cops called on him earlier that evening. As when this happened before, the Door simply didn’t want to share the corner and decided to make a police matter of it. Of course, once the police turned up they could do nothing about it except to make sure no one was obstructing the sidewalks. This was welcomed with frustration by the Door, as one could expect. And to top it off, Omar went on to say that the guy who had called the police on him got a faceful of bird feces some time later. Ah, irony.
On the northwest corner of 6th St. were Jonathan, Phil, and their attendant hangers-on, who were about to set up at the southeastern corner and begin their usual proclamations. As we walked up, Phil hastily removed his arm from its position around Missy’s shoulders and sat up straighter on the planter box. Refraining from teasing him about “lusting in his heart” was quite difficult, especially as he crossed his arms and leaned back, yelling “Jesus is LORD!” at passerby as we spoke with Jonathan about having a debate.
We attempted to set up near them as they moved to the southeast corner, until we were shooed across the street by the hot dog vendors. Here, Jonathan performed the most sickening act of the entire night: he began to administer the “Good Person Test” to a group of kids, all of whom looked to be no more than twelve or thirteen at most. Not five feet from us, we looked on as he smilingly asked them what they’d call someone who lied, or stole. They seemed generally willing to listen to him, and I admit that I was saddened and angered beyond belief by his tactics. It’s disgusting enough when these mind tricks and falsehoods are used on adults, but when he tries them on children…
A man who’d been hanging around us, however, asked us to think about how Jonathan thinks of what he’s doing. He doesn’t see it as bad, or evil, but as helping people. I still cannot find it in myself to condone such behavior, even when considering it from that side. What he does preys on the weak and the gullible, at the best of times. In this instance, he was polluting the minds of those who aren’t sure of themselves yet, who can be more easily shaped to think certain things than adults are. I find it abhorrent, no matter what the context there is within Jonathan’s mind.
At long last, however, Jonathan packed up and Kazz and I returned to the party, there to watch the antics of our compatriots and try to feel less ill about what we had witnessed.