A love of Baking (Tract 4 day 3)
I took to my little “stage” again outside Gap on Royal Avenue Belfast and set the timer on my phone I would remain focussed on giving tracts and nothing else for the next hour. The rain held off but I kept my red raincoat on as it is a memorable bright coat so maybe those who have passed me in the last few days will recognise me.
The hour began as usual, with the same mild panic about what people would ask or say. Today I had lost motivation for the task at hand but I really felt I had achieved a lot by the end of the hour. I had the usual, “god bless you”s and even a “you are doing such good work” these were topped by a man asking “would no one take one of those? really ignorant those people aren’t they!” A few people identified the tracts as Christian from a distance and came to take them to lend support. One man in particular came over saying “Oh a tract, I take it you are saved?” When I mumbled “no” I really felt guilty. It is all in the wording of the question, are you a Christian? I can answer without guilt but when someone uses the rhetoric often spoken at my former sunday school it still hits home hard – I must be a disappointment. We carried on a conversation, the man asking why I wasn’t saved and what was my flyer about? The terminology seems to change from tract very quickly when people find out it is not religious. After being asked why I did not believe and what I thought would happen 5 minutes after I died ( to which I said I used to believe and having considered it I am no longer able to and I don’t think anything happens after you die, you just die.) I asked if I was permitted a question, this was granted and so I asked what was the reason for the hope this man has? I have mentioned this verse before. (1 peter 3:15) For myself I never had an answer that convinced me when I was alone and contemplating my beliefs. This man said his hope was that Jesus died for him, his hope was in salvation essentially. He stopped to ask was that answer ok I said yes if it was true to him then it was a good answer but for me this was not my truth. I asked about other religions and where they fit in and was given many examples of faiths that hold Jesus as their saviour and how many believers there are in the world. He invited me to visit a church group on sunday at 7. The whole time we were having this conversation a boy was standing quite close to us. After the man left with a “God Bless and don’t forget to visit us, then you will learn about fellowship” the boy kept looking over then turning away. I smiled when I caught his eye and eventually he said he had heard our conversation and he didn’t agree with people preaching at non christians like that. I explained I wasn’t a Christian to make sure he had fully heard the conversation and he acknowledged this explaining he was a Christian but he would never evangelise like that as faith was personal and he felt talking to people could easily put them off. He seemed concerned that I would be upset or annoyed following the conversation he had heard.
Another woman read the tract while out on her lunch break I assume and as she headed back past she stopped to say thanks that it was cool and she had really enjoyed it. One of the first people to take a tract noticed the recipe for buns on the back and she came back for another copy for her daughter, saying “people don’t know that is a recipe you should tell them”.
I gave away about 90 tracts today and with the really interesting conversations I had and several observations I made it was very worthwhile pushing myself to go out again, I just hope I remember this tomorrow!