Last Saturday, after a long day of yard work and various activities, we decided to go out to eat as a family. As we enter the restaurant we see a table of clowns.
Obviously they had been at some event, and were on their way home, relaxing for a bite to eat. Having small children, I immediately began to breathe threats of harm if they bothered these clowns. To some extent, sitting there with their wigs on, and even with their bulbous noses still attached, I could see how they shouldn’t be surprised if kids came up to them.
But, they are entitled to relaxation just like everyone else, and my kids do not need to be bothering them. Of course, fate hating me, we are seated a table right next to them.
My children were great, and other than a few smiles and waves, left the situation alone. I relaxed.
After their meal, a clown came over to the table. I have kids. Not a surprise.
“Do you want some stickers?”
Nice gesture. Clowns. Kids. O.K. She hands my children stickers that say, “God even made Frogs” with a Frog picture. Still nice and O.K.
“We just came from Knoxville Baptist Church.”*
You know that switch inside of you that tells you it is better to be quiet? No matter how much you want to say something, it clicks in and says, “Hey, maybe now is not the time.” That thermostat? I was born without one.
I have a lady in orange hair, bright red make-up, bulb nose, baggy shirt and pants, with two foot shoes saying she just came from Church. I promised to be polite to Christians, but Come ON. This was too good to be true!
I do the only thing imaginable to maintain sanity. Inflict pain on myself to keep from blurting out. I stab myself in my leg with my fork. My response must have sounded something like: “Uh…oh…OW!”
“We are not just clowns. We are Christian Clowns.”
“Oh—OW. I, er, OW…uh” and at this point I collapse into a coughing fit to cover whatever my mouth would love to blurt out.
“Do Mom & Dad want a sticker, too?”
We solemnly take our stickers, my wife daring me to say anything, me trying to find more painful areas to stab.
And the Clown just stood there. Waiting. Apparently we are supposed to respond in a more intelligent manner.
As I looked about the restaurant, I see they have all divided up, and are talking to four different tables. Now, I understood why they came to my table—I have children. Most natural. But I saw one handing stickers to a couple in their mid-60’s and attempt to strike up a conversation.
The couple obviously wanted a quiet relaxing evening, and were none too interested in being bothered by Christian Clowns. After a moment of awkward silence (which was being repeated at our table) the clowns went away.
Here I was doing everything in my power to keep them from being bothered by my kids, and they apparently did not quite have the same courtesy for others!
Lucky for me, at the table behind me, I heard a patron say (loud enough so the clowns, the patrons, and the kitchen staff could hear) “Oh, yes! I am a TRUE follower of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The clowns swooped in to mingle with friends.
I didn’t mind the clown approaching my table. I didn’t mind the sticker that was pro-God. I was slightly bothered by the attempt to evangelize a restaurant.
What I really thought interesting was my lack of surprise. What would Christians do, if I started going around from table to table at a restaurant with “God is Dead” stickers, handing them out? They would be aghast! Or if I handed out business cards, drumming up new clientele? They would find it rude.
Yet when Christians do these very things, it is tolerated. Even accepted in some resigned fashion. If I did it, I would be labeled a “Militant Atheist.” A Christian? Simply being a good citizen of heaven.
Yes, I know it is mandated. Yes, I know that they are trying to save people from what they think will be an eternity of torture. Seriously—the best evangelism technique would be to actually demonstrate some love for others. Let them eat their meals in peace.