I was working in the sun last week, trying to finish pulling weeds from my neighbors' lawn before the start of a thunderstorm, when a man came up to me and started a conversation.
"Hi there, I see you are a Reds fan, too?"
I was sporting a Cincinnati Reds baseball caps. In fact, I do happen to root for the Redlegs. Last summer, I was fortunate enough to catch Jay Bruce's debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The man introduced himself - let's call him "Jim" - and he said that he lived down the street. He told about his experiences as a young Reds fan growing up in Cincinnati during the era of the Big Red Machine - when Pete Rose, Davey Concepcion, and Johnny Bench proudly strode the environs of Crosley Field.
It was a normal conversation until the man pulled a brochure from his pocket and handed it to me - that's when the realization struck, that he was proselytizing me.
He stated that he didn't know if I had a church home, but let me know that I was welcome to attend his Baptist church. I thanked the neighbor, and stuffed the bulletin into my pants' pocket, eager to finish my work before the rain came down.
I didn't want to harass him about religion - being a former Christian, I know what nerves it takes to talk to a stranger about your church. Anyway, he wasn't too pushy, so I was willing to give him some leeway. I thought that it would be rude to argue with this guy on the street.
After I drove home and put my equipment away, I opened the brochure and inspected its contents. It contained a somewhat typical message about sin and Jesus, redemption and the wages of death. Pretty standard stuff - things I would've heard about, if I had still been in the church I had attended for the previous 18 years.
Then I spied a phone number, denoted with the following inscription:
"Have any questions about the Bible? We'd love to hear from you!"
Being the curious kind of guy that I am, I punched the church's number into my cell phone. I had to leave a message - I let it be known that I had received a tract and that I had some questions about its contents. I asked if it was possible that someone could call me back and that I could speak with someone about the brochure.
That was about a week ago. For a description of what happened when my call from the church was returned yesterday, please wait for (Part Two). Thanks!