A few hours after the debacle at Peet’s Coffee, a few of us tried out a new destination to see if the “bad luck” still clung as we tried to evangelize on Friday the 13th. The new outdoor mall complex catering to the rich ungodly in El Segundo had yet to be tried, so that’s where we headed.
We hit Starbucks first, some designer cooking pot stores, foo-foo baby suppliers, and name brand sock-sellers… then hit a road block at Whole Foods Market.
I hate that store.
It’s the ultimate in chic-cool with employees sporting gotees, black earplugs, pierced tongues—and those are the women! I always feel out of sorts and out of step when I enter the premises. But! I just love to hand out Gospel tracts and talk about THE ONE TRUE GOD to all the pantheists la-la-ing in the aisles.
“If you died today, would you go to Heaven or Hell?” I asked the all-natural security guard. After taking him through the 10 Commandments to see where he stood with God on Judgment Day, I then handed him a GIANT $100 bill, full Gospel on the back.
“Uh, thank you,” he said, “but can you please not give that to me? The manager is right behind you.”
I turned around quickly to see a foursome huddled together. “Which one is the manager?”
“All of them.”
All four managers approached our little team of three. “You can’t be handing those out here in the store,” said Manager #1.
We moved to the sidewalk, outside the store. “We’ll just hand these Gospel tracts out here, then.”
“You can’t do that; it’s private property.”
“We can do that,” I protested. “It’s a public sidewalk!”
“It’s private property,” he repeated. He pointed to the street. “You can do it there; and we are on the phone to the police.”
We decided to move on down the sidewalk, since all four managers appeared to be calling El Segundo’s finest on their cellphones.
Two of them trailed us, Nokias to ears.
We moved onto the parking lot and looked behind us; they still followed.
I turned to the two evangelists with me, Stephanie and Joy—who are both AARP age—and declared, “Wait a minute! Why are we running? We haven’t given them the Gospel yet!” I turned on my heels and approached the two managers. “You know why we are doing this? People are dying and going to Hell everyday.” Knowing that they probably wouldn’t answer me if I asked where they would go when they died, I did a little preaching. Just a little.
I focused my attention on one of the managers, a big, bulky, bodybuilder. “God’s standard is the 10 Commandments. If you break just one, that is called sin. If you have ever lied one time, you are a liar; if you have ever stolen anything, then you are a thief; ever misused God’s name one time: blasphemer. And Jesus said that even if you look at a woman with lust, you are guilty of adultery…” That got his attention.
“What if I like men? What if I like sleeping with lots of men?” he asked haughtily.
I looked straight at him… and loved him. “Then you will still be guilty of lust and on Judgment Day, you will be found guilty and end up in Hell.”
I must have pushed his buttons because he started pushing the buttons of his cellphone again, as did the other manager. “We’re calling the police and they will be here shortly.”
I thought, Yeah right. If I was a cop, and I got a call saying that there were a group of people handing out literature, I’d laugh to myself, pick up my coffee and take another bite of my jelly doughnut.
I called my little group of faithful Seedsowers together. “What do you want to do? Shall we leave or wait for the police?”
Both Stephanie and Joy in one voice said: “Stay and wait!” Yay for bold grandmas!
“Okay. But let’s pray and see what the Lord would have us do.” We bowed our heads in the middle of the parking lot—right in view of the managers—who still had their cells glued to their ears.
And the Lord spoke, I think. It was quite clear and I didn’t like it: “If you are persecuted in one place, flee to another.”
“Ladies, I have some bad news: We have to leave.”
We felt like chickens walking back to our cars, defeated. We wanted a showdown; we wanted to stand on our rights; we wanted to argue our points and Win! Win! Win! That was the problem. That’s what we wanted.
Opening my car door to get in I glanced one last time over my shoulder, saw the manager on his cell phone, and dusted off my feet against him. Friday the 13th did indeed live up to its reputation…
But tomorrow was Saturday the 14th!