5/17/16 Mario about 35
He had left the church of his childhood and never looked back. He was busy riding his bike, probably on his way home from work, when I had flagged him down while crossing a residential street. Mario had stopped out of kindness, probably assuming I needed directions or something. I apologized for bothering him and told him what I was doing – asking random people on the street what they believe happens after we die. He had lots of ideas but said he was still searching, that he hadn’t reached any definite conclusions. The one place he hadn’t really considered though was revisiting Christianity, and we spent almost an hour there on the quiet street talking through some of his reservations. Seeds had been planted in his childhood, but they were planted in soil made stony by church scandals, soil made shallow by doubts about the Bible, soil exposed to the birds because of atrocities done by political leaders in the name of Christ, and soil choked with thorns by a view of religion made irrelevant in the face of the many problems and distractions of this life. He hadn’t looked back, and without some sort of intervention he wasn’t about to. He would just continue riding down the street of life, not knowing where he was going but in a hurry to get there. Was it crazy to flag him down, like it was some sort of emergency? Foolish to talk for the better part of an hour there on the street? A waste of time to try to take some of those seeds that had been poorly planted earlier in life and plant them in good soil? Mario didn’t think so. He thanked me for taking the time to talk with him, said he would be reconsidering and revisiting the Bible for the first time since he had left it back in his early teens. He had never looked back, but it wasn’t too late to start.