It’s back! My God-pitying homeless look. It’s what all the cool kids are wearing this season.
If you’ve read my book “No Place Like Home, Thank God”, you might remember my run-in with several young Christians in Segovia. They were an international bunch, visiting Spain because the Pope was also there. They kept coming up to me to tell me that Jesus loves me. When I finally asked why me in particular, a young Australian guy said, “Because your face is very red and you look like you might be homeless.” My face was red because I was cycling hundreds of miles across Spain in the middle of soddin’ August.
But just now, while sitting on a bench minding my own business in the countryside around Sheffield, Phil came up to me. He told me he was 72 but looked ten years younger. We quickly established that I wasn’t homeless, although it had been his first suspicion, but he still quickly moved the conversation on to God.
I kept it polite but said I was a man of science and that anyone trying to convert me had two jobs on their hands, the first near impossible and the second much, much harder. They’d first have to prove God existed, but then they’d have to prove that it was actually their God that existed.
This took the wind out of his sails, but we had a nice chat regardless and he explained how he ran a group that helps substance abusers, the homeless or the merely lonely, although this assistence did seem to come with Christian strings attached. He said how he’d once tried to convert people at a golf club, but they weren’t interested. I’d imagine he’s always going to get a better hit-rate with those that are somehow desperate – obviously the vibes I am currently emitting – than the wealthy.
We went our separate ways and he said he’d pray for me, which is nice but ultimately pointless. I know there’s no benevolent God. If there were, then my bloody rucksack wouldn’t hurt my shoulders quite so much.