"That's a dandy way to raise a future serial killer," I thought when I first saw them.
The little boy was nine, tops. He was dressed in a pair of long "go to church" pants, a bright white, long-sleeved shirt, a brown clip-on necktie, and hard brown, lace-up shoes. Just like his daddy, who was standing beside him, shouting into a large megaphone.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved!
Jesus hates sin!
If you died tonight, would you spend eternity in Heaven. . . or in Hell?
Repent of your sins! Ask the Lord Jesus Christ to save you from Hell!
The party in Hell has been cancelled due to fire!
Warning! You will burn in Hell!
Turn from Sin. Repent!
I tried to see the little boy's eyes when the traffic light turned green and we passed closer to where the street preacher had set up. I couldn't. His eyes were squinted shut; whether from the bright glare or embarrassment, I couldn't tell. His thin shoulders rounded over his chest in what looked to me like a protective move, his body language a silent scream that sounded to me like: "Get me out of here."
"If women and children are part of your army on the street, be sure to always keep them in view." (excerpt from "Street Preacher's Manual" by Gerald Sutek)
Buck turned into the parking lot at our neighborhood Publix grocery store. Waves of heat nipped at our heels, like surly hounds. We could hear the preacher's shouted exhortations all the way to the entrance, but his voice was blessedly muted when we entered the heavenly air-conditioned space of the market.