Yesterday was my first "bible chalking." What that means is that I got some people, some sidewalk chalk, some bible verses (all tasteless and bigoted ones), and we all went to where the Wells Hall preachers set up camp every day to chalk the bible verses on the ground.
For clarification, the Wells Hall preachers are a couple of Southern Baptist missionaries who, almost every day, stand outside their eponymous Wells Hall in the middle of the Michigan State campus, preaching fire and brimstone at passers-by and condemning students to hell for the various sins that they perceive in them. They are infamous at MSU for their closed-mindedness and are widely resented, even by Christians. Sometimes especially by Christians, because these missionaries can only be hurting their cause, not helping it. Bible-thumpers in the most literal sense of the term.
I got the idea while reading The Brick Testament. The section about instructions for women was the original inspiration, so I think it's fair to say the whole thing started out as feminist activism. I thought, hey, if these preachers are alienating people by "testifying," then maybe I can give them a little "help" by quoting scripture right alongside them. For accuracy's sake, I used BibleGateway.com to check each passage in several translations and picked the one that I thought would be most clear and eloquent to speakers of modern English.
As usual, there were plenty of other people arguing and yelling back at their hateful message, but we considered it important that we not be confrontational. First, because that's counterproductive, and second, their in-your-face aggressiveness is a large part of what makes them so unpopular. In that vein, one of us gave one of the preachers a bottle of water since it was hot out and he looked thirsty.
People walking by generally seemed really appreciative of what we were doing. At first, many students got angry because we were writing Bible verses and they thought we were with the preachers. Then they read a couple of the verses, realized what was going on, and smirked. It was a great feeling once most of the verses were down to just sit back and watch as hundreds of the people walking by stopped and read what was on the ground. I got asked several times if I was part of an organized group and replied, "nope, I just thought this would be a good idea to do."
Me with chalk in hand.
Checking the list beforehand and splitting up the work.
The chalk incarnation of the original inspiration.
One of the preachers walking over a Bible verse.
Me starting a new passage.
Nicci writing a passage.
This was on the ground already near where we were chalking...
...so I had to write this verse on the ground next to it. I heavily highlighted the words "put to death" (in the sentence I'm in the process of writing) in several colors.
One of the preachers accosting passers-by with hell and damnation.
A verse one of Nicci's Christian friends insisted we toss in to accentuate the hypocrisy of their condemnations.
And, finally, a list of all the verses we chalked yesterday:
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
-1 John 1:8, NIV
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
-John 8:7, NIV
A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.
-1 Corinthians 11:7, NIV
If [women] desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.
-1 Corinthians 14:35, NASB
A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.
-1 Timothy 2:11-12, NIV
A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this.
-Deuteronomy 22:5, NIV
If a man has sex with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is abhorrent. They must be put to death; they are responsible for their own deaths.
-Leviticus 20:13, MSG
If a man's testicles are crushed or his penis is cut off, he may not be included in the assembly of the LORD.
-Deuteronomy 23:1, NLV
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
-Ephesians 5:22-24, NIV
They said, "Arise, and let us go up against them, for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. And will you do nothing? Do not be slow to go, to enter in and possess the land. As soon as you go, you will come to an unsuspecting people. The land is spacious, for God has given it into your hands, a place where there is no lack of anything that is in the earth."
-Judges 18:9-10, ESV
A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.
-Leviticus 20:27, NIV
|comments: Leave a comment|