Dan and I were enjoying a lovely stroll along San Antonio’s Riverwalk yesterday. We’d driven over there on a whim, feeling a need to get away and recharge. The day was wonderful: nice weather, not too crowded on the Riverwalk, good food (as always).After lunch, we walked around La Villita for a bit, and we were drawn by some live music. As we got closer to it, we could tell it was Christian rock, but we were headed in the direction we wanted to be going, so we kept on toward it. We walked down a beautiful wisteria-lined staircase into the River Theatre, which I’d only ever seen before on the boat tour we took down the river two years ago.

There was clearly a celebration going on, probably for Palm Sunday. There were dancers and a large band on the stage, continually singing things like, “He’s so great,” and “Love the Lord.” We were fine with that; we just tried to walk quickly through the area so as not to be accosted nor to disrupt the celebration.

Unfortunately, we had to run the gantlet of pamphleteers. The first guy took our “No, thank you” in stride and simply nodded as we walked by. The second guy, however, snorted when I said, “No, thank you.” He insistently waved the pamphlet at me again and said, “Won’t you take it? Please?” I again said, “No, thank you,” and we continued to walk on.

He, however, was unwilling to let us off that easy. As we walked by, we heard him mutter, “Sad,” although not so quietly that he didn’t expect us to hear it. It was enough to make us both pause and turn back for a second, to see him smirking and shaking his head.

I was startled that this guy seemed to think that the best marketing technique for God is insult. I had several reasons for not taking his pamphlet — the fact that I actively chose not to be Christian anymore several years ago, and it’s not up for discussion, for example; and the fact that I was enjoying a nice stroll with my husband and was not interested thinking about religion at all at that moment. Here’s a tip for future pamphleteers, though: calling me “sad” for not taking your pamphlet would not have overcome any reasons I might have had, ever.

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