Only one way 2

You know what you know but you don’t know what I know.Although you assume you do when you proselytize.

Every day at the Ashmont T Station –there is a group handing out booklets about their religion.  A couple of days a week across from Dudley Station – two different preachers  proselytize.  On the #23 bus – the preacher-man proselytizer loudly – often bellowing.    Sometimes no one says a word back to him; they just roll their eyes and try to ignore him.  Other times, cries of “Oh, shut-up will you?” emerge.  Recently, another passenger shouted preacher- man down and began yelling his own “sermons” until he was put off the bus.

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You believe what you believe and assume that I don’t believe as assiduously as you or that I don’t have the right beliefs, even though you don’t know me.

Each of the proselytizers I encounter assumes they have something I and others around me don’t have. They further assume that we need what they have.  They never ask if I’m a believer.  The thrust their pamphlets or wag their fingers exhorting everyone within earshot of their portable amplifiers to “get right with God” or risk eternal damnation.

Your God is not my God. My God is not yours.

They sidled up to me at the supermarket, “May I talk to you about something” they begin or “You are such a nice person, I want to share something with you.”  Here it comes, I think, the solicitation to come to their church service.

Outside of the Watertown Mall on Thursday, two fortune-tellers were working the crowd.  “Have you ever gone to a fortune-teller?” Lady Two asks me.

“No, I don’t want to know the future.  I’ll face it as it comes”

She tried to convince me but gave up after about two minutes when she saw “I didn’t need someone to talk to” and wasn’t going to be persuaded otherwise

You are sure that what you believe and how you believe is the one right way. You are sure that there is one right way.  There is no one way to walk in faith. And guess what, the best people are not always people of faith.

I assume you don’t believe because the things you do don’t match what you profess to believe in.  Silly me.

What I know is:

Everybody talkin’ ‘bout heaven ain’t goin there. (from song, Walking All Over God’s Heaven – lyrics by Thomas A. Dorsey)

And if there’s hell below We’re all gonna go.  (Sung and written by Curtis Mayfield)


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About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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2 thoughts on “Only one way

  • Denise Dabney

    Amen, my Sistah! I find these sanctimonious, all-knowing proselytizers to be in need themselves. As Shakespeare said, “(s)he doth protest too much!” If you believe in whatever, whoever, you believe in, believe and model for us, quietly, and without fanfare. We will believe you more and even may inquire what’s the kool-aid you’re drinking. But, basically, leave me alone!

    • Candelaria Silva Post author

      I’m glad you feel me. I like what you say about modeling without fanfare.. There are people who live their beliefs so eloquently through actions that you find yourself drawn to their peace, warmth, joy, grace, etc.