When I first began the ministry six months ago, I thought it would be best if I covered as many major streets as possible so as to reach all kinds of people in all kinds of neighborhoods. This seemed to be God's will since I live in gritty SE, and yet he gave me the ministry while walking one of the tony streets in NW Portland. But I quickly discovered that people in poor and working class neighborhoods were more open to my presence, and so I began to focus my attention on SE and NE Portland. I also decided that it would be easier to build relationships if I became a familiar presence in the area by walking the same streets. Well, I've now been walking the neighborhoods for long enough that I can spot some trends.
One interesting phenomenon
is that prostitutes often follow me around. Some are young and some are middle age, some are hopped-up on drugs
and others are sober. Some will
even jaywalk a busy street and then walk right in front of me or right behind
me. Some come up and stand seven or eight feet away while I'm sitting at rest. They rarely strike up a conversation, but I notice that they secretly watch me.
Why do they follow me?
A cynical "realist" would say that they think I might be a potential "date". But if you saw my tunic you would quickly dismiss that explanation. A better explanation by the realist would be that they stay close to me so that the police will not question them. They blend-in better when they're next to other people, and I'm a built-in alibi ("I'm with him--we were just talking. Right mister?"). This explanation has some merit. A more sensitive realist might add yet another layer of explanation: I'm a large but gentle man who wears a big red heart and cross on my shirt, and so they feel safe in my company. That's true enough as well. But there's also something more profound going on--something that can't be captured by "realist" or "naturalist" explanations. The supernatural element is revealed in the way that they look at me. Sure they often give me a cynical or
ironic glance, but there is also curiosity and even yearning behind their eyes. The Lord is calling to them. Deep calls to deep. Chords in their soul still tremble with hope that there is a God who is mindful of them. Please pray