It was USC versus Cal Berkeley football at the Los Angeles Coliseum and the crowds were wild and wooly, hyped-up, hopped-up, drunk, pushy, loud and obnoxious—the regular ritual for all those who are adherents to the Cult of Fandom. Fifteen fearless evangelists were on a mission: hand out as many Million-dollar bill Gospel tracts as possible to the rich ungodly—and avoid being bashed in the bean with a beer bottle!
We never anticipated what was to happen…
My daughters and I inadvertantly stumbled upon this tailgating ritual a few weeks back when we visited the L.A. Museum of Natural History
(See “Crossing the Red SC”). Since USC plays in the stadium adjacent to the museum, everyone camps out on all available grass and asphalt as far as the eye can see. We handed out over 500 Gospel Tracts in about an hour, reaching that most elusive of preacher-prey: wealthy, educated, too-smart-for-Christ college students, alumni, professors and professionals, the young, yuppie and yenta alike. Excited at the potential, I scheduled a day for the evangelism team to lay seige against the Ivory Towers of Artifice.
We set up our base of operations in the center of the tailgating tribes and placed a box of 9,500 Million-dollar bills (9.5 billion dollars!) in the middle of the tent.
Everyone grabbed handfuls of “cash” and went their separate ways fanning out around the Coliseum grounds. It was every man (and woman) for themselves (with God). We started at about 2pm and were to meet back in a few hours.
We hit upon some drunken guys who refused to grant us permission to interview them on video, so we gave them some tracts—
—and snapped a photo! Later in the day, we came back to the same spot. The drunken guys were long gone but it was quite obvious that they read the message and got the point.
Evangelist Tina Brown was unafraid to approach a goofy dude who fancied himself an unofficial mascot of the Trojans.
My 7-year-old daughter D.D., full of the Holy Spirit and power, went crazy handing out millions to the minions…
Nothing could stop her!
And it was so refreshing to be out of the beach cities and in the center of L.A. where the police and security guards are more concerned about real crime and not concerned about kids and adults handing out “religious” literature. D.D. had started to develop a little paranoia about evangelizing since she’d seen her Daddy hassled by rent-a-cops, real cops, mall fops, and twenty-somethings with badges, but today she was back in fine form… along with L.A.’s finest!
Heck! Even minimum wage grass guards were accomodating…
Evangelists are deathly afraid of wealthy old Caucasian men with white hair—but even these guys were nice!
Okay. Okay. Maybe I overstated the case. Not everyone was drunk, or mean, or, or, insulting or resistant. But one guy did tell me, “That’s enough. You can go now…” right in the middle of my Gospel presentation. The nerve!!!
Well, these guys were a little off, okay? Huh? Do ya think so?
For the most part, everyone was having a really good time—and I was too. Nearly everyone wanted—and enjoyed getting—the million dollar bill. And can you believe it? In the middle of the thousands upon thousands—I see my friend Steve Martin (No, not that Steve Martin).
Notice he’s wearing the Cal Berkeley shirt (in SC colors) as a communist symbol. For the unitiated, Berkeley is a hotbed of ultra-left-wacko-liberal thought, and it was very hard to give those Bears fans Gospel tracts. Hmmm… something in the air? Maybe the prince of the power of the air? Anyway, I digress… Steve gave me a Bratwurst!
I wondered how the other evangelists were doing? Although we were having great success with the tracts no one had yet repented, though the signs were obvious.
It was time to head back. Spying the ground as we walked to our base of operations we noticed that the Gospel message was definitely getting out there. The blatant disrespect shown to these bills are not a bummer; it is actually a good thing! Crumpled and torn tracts demonstrate the power of conviction laid heavy upon the sinful heart. If we ruined someone’s day, so what? Better than a ruined eternity!
Everyone met back at the tent and nearly all were out of tracts. Amazing! But there was still work to do. It was almost game time and flood after wave after herd after mass—and then some–of fans oozed through the park like one huge single celled amoeba. Hundreds—no make that thousands—of sinners! Quick! Get out there you guys!
Mike, our cameraman held the video camera by the feet of the tripod trying to capture the action. People flipped him the bird while shouting obscenities and cheering the home team. We were in the midst, still handing out fistfulls of dollars, pointing the way to Heaven—and Hell.
Game time!!! Someone gave us eight tickets! We rushed to the gates and saw this Bling! Bling! rapper doing the shimmy one-side.
Hey! Christ died for him too!
One evangelist, Chris, didn’t dress right. He has long blonde hair, three-day stubble, a floppy hat and wears shades—even when the sun goes down. Security searched him at the gate and made him throw away hundreds of tracts. The rest of us made it inside the Coliseum unscathed, pockets full.
Then something unbelievable happened. I still can’t get over it! 96,000 people were in attendance! 96,000 souls! And the evangelists chose to watch the game! “C’mon, you guys, get the soda vendor, the guy behind you—look at all those cardinal and gold shirts!”
Ah, well! It was a good game. D.D. and I stalked the stands, handing out a few millions during half-time.
The game ended and no one got thrown out. We beat a hasty retreat to the parking lot a little ahead of the crowd ’cause USC was beating the commies from Berkeley. We stepped over puddles of puke and wet glistening shadows of unidentifiable origin. A bus was parked on the side of the road waiting for passengers. I hopped on board and handed tracts to everyone seated. Then I jumped out. A final incursion.
We crossed the street and there at the traffic light was a motorcyclist, probably on his way to Hell. I couldn’t resist, really, I couldn’t.
I thought about the game and the intense battle as both teams fought with each other trying to advance on the other’s territory—and who would ultimately win. What excitement! What a thrill! God’s team ran great offense against the team of the god of this world. Final tally: over 10,000 Gospel tracts handed out, the vast majority in the first three hours. Still, that was less than one in ten, considering the attendance figures.
Strolling under a constuction site, we then received a sign from God. A fellow worker not of our group, was also broadcasting the truth to all passersby, fan and non-fan alike, everyone who would not heed the million dollar message we attempted to deliver.
“It’s easy,” he shouted down to us. “Anyone can do this!”