The Jesus Parade

Coming off the subway today around noon (Hey, its when they called me in), I climbed the stairs to wait for my normal bus, and instead wandered into a surreal scene on the Hollywood sidewalks. The bus stop is right at Hollywood and Highland, and for those of you who are not native to the area, it is a very large tourist attraction. Madam Tossuad’s is there, along with Ripply’s museum, the stars on the sidewalk and the hand/foot prints at the Chinese Theater. All of this is right in this area, so it is always abounding with tourists.

So today when I came up the stairs, I heard this large commotion. It was the sound of a large group of people talking. When I got to street level I was just in time to catch a parade going past on the sidewalk. And what a parade it was. There was about 40-50 people, all with matching white shirts, marching together in a group. One guy lead the procession with a very large cross that read “Jesus Saves”. He was followed by a guy with a huge banner (4′ wide, and probably 8′ tall) that said something about Jesus and had korean symbols on it (I think, I don’t read Korean). Then the main group came. In their midst was a guy with a microphone, and as they passed he was leading them in some kind of chant “Jesus loves you. Jesus saves.” Over and over. Trailing the group was another man with a large cross like the first guy. Each and every one of the people was asian, and as near as I could tell, not American’s but foreigners.

Right before my bus arrived, they came back up the opposed side of the street so I got to see them twice. The group was pretty interesting. They marched along all happy, and enthusiastic about Jesus. They made a lot of noise. Everyone else on the sidewalk got out of their way. Beyond the irony of foreigners coming to America to preach about Jesus, the whole experience was just plain weird. It was as if they has no sense of stage craft. Did they think they could simply march by, and people would suddenly be converted to Christianity? Why did they feel the need to talk about Jesus there, and in that bizarre manner? I mean, marching? Yelling?

You’ll notice I’m not complaining about them. There’s a reason for this. You see I myself have done something similar, back when I was a board-again. So I have some sympathy for them, or at least feel like I can’t say shit without coming off as the world’s biggest hypocrite. Still it makes me wonder why a group of people would take the time and energy to get all organized, come down to LA, and then act stupid. This wasn’t about “us” getting saved. It was about “them” bragging about how religious they are. So why can’t they do that at home, and save themselves the money, and me the spectacle of watching a group perform without the the least bit of understanding of how a performance works.

But I’m pretty sure Jesus loves me now.

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