The Soapbox Preacher

This is a short dialogue I wrote after reading a lot of Kierkegaard (those who know his writing might recognise it’s derivative style). It is not meant as a condemnation of any particular technique or technology, just to raise questions about fitness for purpose.


The Sower (Lincoln Cathedral)

The Sower (Lincoln Cathedral)

D:   Excuse me, but aren’t you the man I saw preaching in this park when I was here last month?

P:    Why yes, that was probably me.

D:   I remember. I was eating my lunch on one of the benches. I must have watched you talking to this one couple for almost an hour. I was very impressed.

P:    Thank you. I’ve been working the park for a long time.

D:   How is it going?

P:    Oh, wonderfully! God is really blessing us.

D:   Yes? I must admit I am a bit surprised—you look so exhausted.

P:    Well yes, but that is because I am so busy now.

D:   I see. Please, tell me about these blessings and what God is doing…

P:    Gladly! It started slowly, but after a long time of only being able to talk to people one or two at a time, I brought in a soapbox. Now I could draw a crowd—a small one, true, but a crowd—and so I could reach many more people with the message. But, of course, when God moves, Satan reacts.

D:   Indeed. So you ran into opposition?

P:    Yes. After a few days this other fellow shows up with his own soapbox preaching worldliness and trying to steal my crowd.

D:   Very annoying, I’m sure. What did you do?

P:    For a couple of days I just tried to carry on but then I had an inspiration—I got a banner to raise over my soapbox.

D:   Did it work?

P:    Yes, but then, I’m afraid, he got a sign too. So I made a bigger one.

D:   So you could put more of the message on it?

P:    You might suppose so, but no. Actually I put less on it, but in much bigger letters so that it could be seen from further away.

D:   Clever—but didn’t your opponent do the same?

P:    Yes. We kept making bigger, shorter signs but there is a limit to that and we soon reached it.

D:   Time for a new tactic?

P:    Exactly! That’s when I got the bullhorn.

D:   So now you could be heard over him.

P:    Yes, I could reach even more people. It is true that it is hard to talk through a bullhorn—all subtlety has to go. But that turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

D:   How so?

P:    I had to boil the message down to its most basic elements and then capture those in short, pithy sayings.

D:   Slogans?

P:    Precisely. And it turned out that those slogans not only worked through the bullhorn, but people in the crowd could pick them up easily and chant the gospel together!

D:   But only a few…highlights, if you will. I suppose that at the end of the day you took them off somewhere quiet and taught them the rest?

P:    Well of course, that would have been a wonderful thing to do but to be quite honest, by the end of the day we are usually totally spent, exhausted! And on top of that I usually have the most awful headache. No, I’m afraid it is all I can do to eat a simple meal and fall into bed. I need my rest so that I can get up in the morning to do it all over again.

D:   Sounds awful.

P:    Awful? No! It is wonderful! Why, by God’s grace we now have over a hundred dedicated souls who come every day, ready to drown out Satan’s crowd by shouting in unison the slogans of God! No matter how loud they get, we always manage to be louder still—such is the power of God. You really should come and listen. It is powerful, dynamic, inspiring! Ah yes, it can be truly deafening!

D:   Yes….yes, I imagine it is…..deafening…..


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