Friday, 1 March 2013

Street Talk: Jeff The Preacher Man.

Yesterday somebody joked to me that at least I wasn't a member of Hillsong. I said I WAS a member of Hillsong, years ago. I was even baptised - publicly, in a blow-up pool on the side of the road. The minister himself came up and whispered into my ear that God had big plans for me.

Unfortunately those plans didn't include speaking in tongues. Week after week I used to stand up the front of the hall, waiting in vain for the Spirit Of God to move in me so I could start speaking in tongues just like everybody else did. They all dropped like flies, writhing and flailing while I stood there with my eyes wide shut palms outstretched, waiting and waiting. It never happened.

One night after bible study the entire group - maybe about thirty people - all turned and faced me. Huh? Laying hands on me they started chanting to God to rid Eden of the demon alcoholism. I had no idea - it was like a surprise birthday-party exorcism intervention. I was pissed off.

Never went back. Resumed my drinking career with abandon.

I've looked for God everywhere. In cracks, bars, bordellos, churches, men, drugs.

Scientology, Unification Church, Catholicism, Buddhism, Christianity, Antioch, Spiritualism, Mormons.

Dave and I have had quite a few heated discussions over the years because I insist that the kids do scripture at school and learn the basics of the bible.

"But WHY, hon? Why can't they do Buddhism instead?"

I tell him that the public school system doesn't offer Buddhism .... and I just want them to know that wherever they are and whatever they do, salvation of spirit is possible.

This is Jeff. Standing nonchalantly on the street, smiling, only talking to people when they went up to him.

I went up to him, said hey! He's a member of the Brethren, believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, and was calmly handing out information to whoever wanted to stop and talk.

Jeff doesn't go to church, rather he attends "meetings." He looked doubtful when I asked him what to do if I wanted to join.

"We have meetings every day. You're welcome to come along, if you really want to. Then we'd have to go through a process to see if you want to ..... go further."

"So, can anyone just join?"

"Ummm, ahhhh ..."

I wondered if Jeff would have talked to me differently if I was a man.

Bono says God says a church is what happens whenever two people gather together in His name. Maybe a blog can be a church.

I'm still, after all those years, no closer to unraveling the mystery. Jeff is sure - Jeff stands on the street and walks the talk. It's easy when you're sure.

There's no courage in my convictions, and I have as much of an idea of what it's all about as I ever did.


Street Talk is an unfolding art project. I am so grateful and blown away that people say yes to talking with me, trusting me with some snippets of who they are.

Previous Street talks:

1. Noelene the Young
2. Megan the Mouse
3. Harpal the Australian
4. Darren the Artist
5. Jo the Interesting
6. John the Telstra Guy
7. Michael the Photographer
8. Peg the Lady

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Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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