During my one year at UGA, I observed “street preachers” (I’m not sure what the correct name is) on several occasions. The best description I can think of is that they are a combination between a television evangelist and Jerry Springer. These preachers were actually mean though. They stood on wooden platforms outside of the student center and would “call out” specific students. For example, if a girl in a short skirt walked by, they would comment on her attire and her sinfulness. I never understood what they were hoping to accomplish with their condemnation and fire and brimstone ranting.
In my hometown there are some men who also scream/preach for the public outside of Burger King and Family Dollar. Anyway weekend before last I went home, and my sister and I had a cook out for my mother’s birthday. My step-sister has recently gotten engaged, and this was the first time her fiancé came to one of our immediate family get-togethers. She has seemingly been trying to avoid the fiancé’s introduction to our craziness. That’s kind of understandable, although I’m a big fan of full disclosure when marriage is at issue. She’s a few years older than me though and already been married once, so I guess it’s different.
So brother-in-law Billy Bob* had started drinking Jack and Coke around 5:30. So naturally he was loud and somewhat irrational. So religion came up because my step-sister is becoming a Methodist now, and we started recalling a big discussion we’d had several years before about the topic. I don’t remember the specifics, but basically I got a headache and left the room; my step-sister said you could pick and choose which parts of the Bible you want to believe; and my younger sister cried on her drive home because she thought my step-sister and I were going to hell. It was a fun night.
So I posed one conversation for the group: “How do you think a person ‘gets’ to Heaven?” I think this is a pretty simple question for a group of Christians, but my step-sister and her fiancé kind of balked--granted this isn't a typical conversation so somewhat understandably. Well this was just the opportunity brother-in-law Billy Bob was waiting for as he nursed his Budweiser from his recliner. Billy Bob raised his beer in the air and began to preach with the fervor that only a drunk, non-practicing Baptist can. I actually agree with most of what he said and jokingly offered to take him down to the local Family Dollar to share the gospel with “cruisers.” After that experience I’m sure my step-sister is glad that she waited until after the wedding was planned for the fiancé’s family initiation. Good times and the best hope you can have for entertainment in my hometown.