I’m going to burn in Hell.
I stopped at a rest area about 30 miles from the North Carolina border in Virginia on I-85. I took a short power nap there, and was getting ready to go again. When I popped into the driver’s seat I noticed that there was a tour bus parked beside me, and there were a bunch of young people milling about. I realized quickly that they were Christian. They were all dressed in hip “urban” clothing, and most of the boys were sporting beatnik goatees. You know, cool and modern Christians, etcetera. Mostly I was hoping I could get out of there without anyone messing with me.
Naturally, one of them knocked on my door. So I opened the door. He told me they were an outreach group, and told me a bunch of stuff about them traveling and singing, and how rewarding it was, and all that. I think by this time my eyes were rolling back in my head and I had started to twitch. But he eventually got around to his point.
He asked me if I had heard the gospel of “Our Lord Jesus Christ”. I said sure, that I had the coloring books when I was a kid. Well, he wasn’t bright enough to take that as a hint. The next little bit of our exchange went like this;
“Are you a Christian, friend?” he asked.
“Nope,” I replied cheerfully.
“Muslim?” He hesitated a bit on this one.
“May I ask, then, what do you believe?”
I told him “I believe in the divinity of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.”
He didn’t care for this. He told me “If you had been touched by the grace and love of Jesus Christ, you would not make fun of other people’s religious beliefs.”
So I said “If you had been touched by His noodly appendage, you wouldn’t be bothering strangers in rest areas.”
This seemed to stun him. I should have left it right there, but I just couldn’t resist fucking with this kid. He obviously had sallied forth to wage spiritual warfare for Jesus Christ, but didn’t expect to run into someone like me.
So then I tried to get very serious, and I told him something to the effect of; “Young sir, I have been testing you. We live in perilous times and the end is near. You should forgo these lengthy approaches and get right to the point, for time is short. Simply tell them that if they do not believe in Our Lord Jesus Christ, they will burn in Hell for all eternity.” I smiled sweetly, and told him that I had to go, but to remember my words. He looked like I had just handed him some ancient knowledge or something. As I started to shut the door, he asked me my name. I said, “Haven’t you figured that out by now? My name is Gabriel.”
Then I shut the door and I left. This poor kid was still standing there, staring after me when I hit the acceleration lane.
I didn’t tell this story very well. When I shifted gears on the boy, he suddenly got very serious. When my tone changed, his attention shifted to me like I was genuinely trying to teach him some lesson.
Mara and I got a good laugh out of this, but I felt kind of guilty afterwords. What if this poor kid believed me, that I was the angel Gabriel? That he had been worthy of direct intervention? I told Mara we would know if, ten years down the road, some televangelist was on television telling a story about the time he met the angel Gabriel in a rest area in Virginia.
It’d be my luck to spark some new Christian youth movement that believed in getting in people’s face and screaming at them that they’re going to burn in Hell.
I told Mara that if the Christians were right in their religious beliefs and their concept of God, I had probably just secured myself a seat in Hell. We’ll have to wait and see, wont we?
I’m going to burn in Hell.