Category Archives: Union Square

NYC’s Roving Hordes of Christians

Lately I have been bombarded more than ever by the roving hordes of Jesus’ followers that’re combing the streets of secular NYC and its doomed inhabitants. I love what summer brings! A few days ago, as I was walking into my favorite little coffee shop and my friend Patrick who works there wrote me a note that read “XTREME MINISTRIES AT TABLE 2!” And sure enough, there they were, looking way out of their element here. So I sat down and simply counted down until they found their way to me somehow.

I realize that my tattoos are one of the main draws for these people to come talk to me, and I don’t mind one bit. It’s why I got the little fuckers in the first place. And before I knew it one of them came over and sat at the table with me and sparked up a conversation with a “Mind if I sit here?” and a “So where you from? What’s your name?”

One of the best parts about this meeting was that I was sitting with my friend Brian, and he’s not as familiar with their tactic and ministries as I am. He was dazzled by their forwardness and fake awkward friendliness.

This guy’s name was Josh, and there were several things which stood out from our conversation that seemed worth mentioning. He was being very very gradual and sly with bringing up his whole purpose. He was not jumping into it. And I was also being very gradual as well, more for Brian’s sake, because I had already predicted to him that they were comin’ to get me and I wanted him to witness me stretching it out. For instance, Josh asked what I do for a living, and I told him I was a graphic artist and designed websites. And Josh asked me if I had a website of my own and what was it. And I told him it was a celebrity dressup game where you could dress up the person in clothes like the paper dolls of past, and so on and so on. Until I asked Josh what he did, and he told me he worked with teens, and I asked “Oh, that’s nice. How so?” And at this point Josh couldn’t hold it in any longer and said “I’m a Christian and I work in teen ministry.” To which I replied, “Oh? Which kind of Christianity?”

Josh had a bit of trouble with this one, and so I clarified. “Like, there’s all kinds of religions that worship Christ, like Baptist, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Catholics, even Jews for Jesus, haha!” And he laughed and replied “Yeah, I don’t like to label my belief. I just believe the word and worship Jesus my own way.” I responded by telling him, “Well, you gotta label it somehow because each of you believe that if you don’t worship Jesus the right way you’ll go to hell, right?” And he sorta agreed, saying that everyone has their own way of worshipping. And I said, “But, like for instance Catholics believe Priests can forgive sins, and you probably don’t believe that?” He agreed. He didn’t. “Or Mormons have to believe Joseph Smith, and Baptists won’t get to heaven unless they’re baptized. You know?” And he agreed and reluctantly got more specific so as not to be confused with any of them. My friend Brian was so intrigued with how the topic got “casually” brought up, and afterwards he found it hilarious how it was so obvious that I’d gotten in this discussion 10,000 times prior to this but was acting like I hadn’t. Like it was all just common knowledge what I was saying.

One interesting thing was when I brought up the Christians who come to Union Square with their Are-you-a-good-person-test and the easel and the fun “Have you ever lied, then you’re a liar, have you ever stolen something, then you’re a thief” game. And Josh quickly said “Yeah, those are the Way Of The Masters!” Like they were another crazy branch of true Christianity.

“Way Of The Masters?” And he told me about Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort (of which I already knew) and they’re tactics which Josh didn’t approve. But what was even funnier is that Josh used all of their same arguments, with the “Imagine I say there’s no gold in Europe. Now all there’d have to be is one person with a gold tooth yadda yadda yadda” but instead using “A quarter in Tompkins Square Park” instead.

Anyhow, the best thing about Josh was that he kept coming back for more. I saw him again the next day, and the next after that too! I got to tell him how I thought his apocalyptic religious beliefs were dangerous, and he said “Well, one good thing that could come from us all killing each other off is this planet could begin again at its natural state. I was disturbed by this and said “Josh, you shouldn’t be able to think of one good thing to come from the destruction of all mankind.”

Did I also mention that his wife was there? She stayed pretty quiet through the whole thing, but quite often she would nod her head in agreement with what I was saying. Again and again I would stomp out her husband’s arguments and each time she’d nod along with me in total agreement. I found out the following day when Josh came in without her that his wife was going through a painful doubting phase because she’d had two miscarriages. They recently had a daughter, but she’s still having difficulty with it.

The last day I saw them I was walking down Saint Marks Place and I ran into the both of them. Josh said he had finally gone to visit my site and was very happy he met me before he knew of it. He saw the GOD ATE MY BALLS section and asked me how it was that I could put that out there if there’s even the slightest chance that there is a God, for fear of insulting him I suppose. I had to clarify that I was 100% atheist and what that meant.

Anyhow, I said goodbye to them both there on the sidewalk and wished them well. And his final question was-Why am I doing what I’m doing? Why am I being so upfront and aggressive with my atheism?

I responded with, “Because I don’t want to make the same mistakes my parents made and I believe it’s our religious differences that’re the biggest threat to civilization. It’s two uncompromising beliefs that directly oppose each other. And when neither party is willing to debate any longer there’s only one other solution.”

Anyhow, that’s how it all went down, and I found it interesting.

I’ll let you know if I hear from Josh again. He did ask if I had a Myspace.

I believe that this quote from their site summed it up best:

“It is our desire to serve God and not to place a denomination tag on who we are or what we do. Where the Scriptures are not clear, or where the Scriptures leave room for varied interpretation we seek not to make issues out of it, but simply to love God, and to love people.”

XtremeMinistries.com

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Scenester’s revenge

Current mood: Humiliated

Well, today it happened. Today the Scenesters exacted their revenge on me. No kidding. And I was caught off guard. It was an ugly display. Here’s what happened.

iPod street ads
iPod street ads trying to appeal to Scenesters in 2006. Nick Purdue claimed to be the model.

I was sitting at Union Square this evening, just hanging out as usual, and in front of me walks one of the Scenesters. He’s lookin’ at me all funny, and I’m lookin’ at him. Then, OUT OF NOWHERE, he whips out a camera and puts it in front of his face and takes a picture of me! I only had time to grin and flip him the bird, but then he walked by me and took another picture of me! Just out of nowhere! And I smiled and flipped the bird to that one too.

I’m terrified to even imagine what sort of web page they’re all scheming to put together with these coupla pics of me sitting at Union Square givin’ the finger. It’s the not-knowing that fucks with your mind. It’s the same method the Evil-doers use. ie: Terrorism. It’s no different. They’re toying with me. Making me sweat. Who knows, maybe they took a picture of me from behind as well? How can I be sure? I can’t! They could have a hundred pictures of me from behind sitting on the steps at Union, and I have no way to tell if I’m right or wrong.

I have to apologize to my fans! Now you are left with the dilemma: Do you continue to be my fans and suffer through this humiliation I’m sure they have planned for my pictures, or do you just throw away years of dedication and hide from my soon-to-be humiliated self, never to mention that you even were aware that I existed, ever! Jesus or Judas?

I mean, what if they take that picture, write the word “FAGGOT” on it, and make an arrow pointing to me, and post that on the internet?? Or what if they write a whole thing about what a douchebag I am and how I sit at Union and give the finger all the time and am bald, or something like that??? But I’ll tell you, that kid who took the picture strode away like he’d just gotten a picture of me with a booger on my face or some…. OH.. MY.. GOD! Is that it??!? Did I have a booger on my face?!? Jesus Christ! If that’s what he got a picture of I don’t know what I’ll do!! !

I’m sorry, people! I’m sorry! I didn’t know I was this vulnerable to persecution! I’ve never seen before so up close how I am in fact an Amazing Stranger myself!!! It’s over. The site is finished. I am soon to have a long overdue lesson dealt to me. Forgive me. Forgive… me… for.. being.. human…

Christian Sniping at Union Square

So yesterday evening I had another run-in with Christians. This particular group comes with the same Canadian youth pastor every year. (The same guy I met Canadian Jason through from Hate Mail 127, and those Amazing Stranger Xtains from pg 2). He knows me now, and each year he has a new group of Christian kids from some bible-belt state. He came with the group yesterday and they all started singing to his guitar there in the middle of Union Square. I immediately went and tried handing them all God Is Fakes. Some took them, but most refused, stunned at what I was doing. And the pastor guy said “Normal Bob Smith! Good to see ya!” And they continued singing their songs even more confused.

He’s a nice guy, very friendly, kinda looks like a character from Lord Of The Rings. Picture of him: normalbobsmith.com/amazingstrangers/as_02_bob&christians.jpg

This year though, when he came over and said hi, I was of course friendly as ever, but I found myself a little more bothered by what he was doing. I told him “Nothins changed with me, except that maybe now I am more disturbed buy what you’re doing, and the misinformation you’re feeding these kids.”

I also said, “So how do you feel about the bad rap Faith is getting now that you got people using it as an excuse to crash planes into buildings?” He replied, “Well, there are proper uses of faith, and improper uses of it.”

Anyhow, he always brings over several of these kids to meet a real live atheist. That’s me. So I sat with Skater Bob and a few friends and waited. He asked if I’d mind, and of course I did not, so he brought over a group of like 5 kids, all girls, ages 16 to 18. All clueless sheep.

This time, unlike the other times, the Canadian youth pastor simply walked the kids over to me, introduced me, and walked away. I had them all to myself, and they were speechless. They had no idea what to say, so I started it off with a question to them that I was very curious to hear their answer to. I asked them if they had had any other options of beliefs in their lives, or if the only belief they’d ever been introduced to was Christianity. Of course they were all speechless, and after asking the question twice got them to admit that they all only’ve had Christianity as an option. That led me right into telling them to look around, seeing hundreds of different cultures and beliefs around them (on a NYC street), and picturing a paradise for themselves while all of these people burned in hell. I must have come back to that scenario 4 times during our hour visit. And they tried to get out of it with things like “That’s why we’re out here preaching” and “Everyone has the choice, and if they choose to reject God, yadda yadda yadda.” And I would not let it go. Each time I’d come back and say “But you know that these people, people just like me who don’t believe in your god, are going to burn when they die. And you’ll have to deal with knowing that while you sit atop your throne made of cloud up in Heaven!”

It was a very satisfying discussion, mostly because they were inquisitive, at a loss for answers, and blindsided. They wanted to know why I thought it was bad to be a Christian even if it’s pretend, and I told them it was because they were being discouraged to understand the world.

“Do you understand the entire world?” One of them asked.

“Not entirely. But that does not make me stop trying to understand it. You are being told that the different languages started at the Tower Of Babal, when that’s not how languages began. You’re being taught that Adam & Eve was where it all began, when in fact, there are very real answers that science has discovered!”

At one point I brought up the story of Abraham willing to plunge a dagger into the chest of his child for God. The kids said, “But he didn’t! God stopped him!” And I replied, “But he was going to do it! He was going to kill his child for God! What the hell kind of religion are you guys a part of?!? Ask yourself what the hell am I doing supporting this behavior!!!”

Anyhow, I decided that some people come to Union and their thing is hacky-sacking, or skateboarding, or peeping girl’s ass-cracks. Mine is badgering Christians. It’s the most satisfying feeling, and I’ve been enjoying the one on one (or four, or eight, or twenty) more than ever before. I look forward to one day doing this same thing in devil makeup with a camera crew.

Banishing Christians from Union Square

Yesterday evening at Union Square I lost it. I was there by myself watchin’ Skater Bob’s bag while he skated around the park, and these blond Christian people came from behind me and started in on this black man sitting next to me. They asked him the last time he’d been to church and if he’d ever heard of Bla-bla Church of Times Square, or something.

It was two of those typical white, suburban, southern, middle age mothers and they had like 3 or 4 kids with them, ages 14 to 17, something like that, and they were all standing over this older black man next to me, treating him like a poor soul. I sat there listening to them getting all worked up, watching these adults demonstrate to these kids how to spread their misinformation to the weak. I saw a couple of the kids looking at me out of the corner of their eye. I know they noticed my tattoos, and that I could overhear them. This went on for like 10 miniutes. Then Bob skated up, and I was trying to control myself, and I handed him a handful of God is Fakes, and he immediately started giving them to the ladies, and then he skated off. Without even looking at what he gave them they looked at me and said “How are you? Are you interested in hearing about the love of Christ?” or something along those lines, and I let go.

I said to them, “I think it’s appalling what you’re doing, spreading this misinformation to others based solely on faith!” And there was one mid-twenties guy with them, total Christian zombie saying, “You haven’t heard our true message of love.” His eyes were deer-in-the-headlights, and he wanted these kids to all turn into him. I was getting more and more furious.

Then I said, “Ok, answer me one question. I only have one question I want to ask you. I’ll answer ANY questions you’ve got.” Their kids were all gathering around me at this point. “Just answer me this” I said. “You’re all going to heaven, right?” They nodded, sure as ever. “Okay, now my question to you is this. How can you for even a moment enjoy a heaven where your fellow human beings are doused in fire every day for the rest of eternity?”

This twenty-something guy was a broken person. He was reciting rhetoric like, “I am based in love, and Jesus’ love gives everyone a chance to see heaven.” And to him, in front of those kids, I said “I have no idea what you’re saying. Why aren’t you answering my question?” And I took this opportunity to rub it in even deeper. “Kids. There can be no heaven while your fellow human beings suffer in hell for the rest of eternity! Do you understand the horror and dismay of hell? Your friends who don’t believe in Jesus will be choking on flames forever, and you think there’s any kind of heaven waiting for you?!? How could you even smile for a minute knowing that people suffer like this??!?” I have to admit I was getting a bit out of control, waving my arms around, my voice raised. The mothers were quickly trying to herd them all away.

None of the adults had any answers for me. And as adults, they were acting as if they were fine with that! That’s what gets me. The frame of mind where you’re an adult running away from a question! I LOVE answering questions! It’s my life’s blood! Then the ladies had the nerve, while they were running from me, to say “Bye now. Have a nice day.” And I lost it.

I shouted at their group as they left “You’re appalling! Kids! Watch your parents run away from a question! I’m asking a simple question and your parents are running away! They say they love people and they run away from their questions! You should be embarrassed and disgusted by them! You people disgust me! I just asked a question and you won’t answer it! You get no ‘Good-bye’ from me!!!”

They gathered in a group with many others about 40 feet behind me. I started talking to the black old guy next to me about how disgusted I was. He was a really great guy, as most old black guys are. He started tellin’ me what they were saying and how they should have answered my question. He also told me that I probably scared them, and that’s why they ran. I look over my shoulder, and they were talking still, the kids all looking at me through the group. They left the park shortly after. I forget how scary an arguing man is when you come from the suburbs. But I was sitting the whole time!

I ended up talking to this guy for an hour or so. The rest of the evening my heart was at a steady pace, and I couldn’t stop reflecting on how horrible it was, and what bad examples these adults were, and how stupid they are. Then I realized, I need a show.