On my way to rehearsal at Furman this afternoon I passed by a man standing at the corner of Wade Hampton and Pleasantburg. I’ve seen this guy before. He carries a frame fashioned of PVC tubing, from which is suspended one of this "The End Is Near" messages, usually a hellfire and damnation Bible verse. I pondered why this man would stand out in the cold wind with a message that most would find distasteful. He must be extremely convinced of his convictions.
My mind wandered to NPR’s This I Believe series. For the past couple of years, people have written and recorded essays about their core beliefs for the series. One of my favorites has been "Always Go to the Funeral," by Diedra Sullivan. I’ve considered even writing my own essay, but am ashamed to say that wouldn’t even know where to begin.
Most of these have had uplifting themes about caring for fellow humans, etc., etc. However, the man with the sign got me wondering. What if someone’s core beliefs aren’t all that uplifting, or are something that some don’t want to hear? What if someone’s core belief is that one should get all they can for themselves, and everyone else be damned? I’m not so sure NPR would air such an essay.