As I was enjoying the amazing weather down at the Alamo, I spotted someone that I hadn’t seen in over 10 years. It was a man named Phil who when I was 16, was my street preaching sidekick. We used to preach about Jesus and how everyone but people like us, would burn in hell for all eternity.
It has been 16 years since I was that 16 year old naive boy! Today, I am a 32 year old man who has done more evolving as a person than I could ever have imagined. I am no longer a street preacher nor am I even a believer in Jesus Christ anymore. I am an Existentialist that believes I am my own person and I am responsible for my own fate.
No longer do I spend my weekends standing on a street corner in Downtown San Antonio, yelling what amounts to hate speech and bigotry to those wonderful tourists visiting my amazing city. Instead, I was a spectator today as I sat and watched those who through all these years, have remained stagnant.
16+ years have gone by and Phil is still standing on the same street corners, preaching the same hate and offensive dogma that makes any sane person’s heart hurt. But, why? What is the difference between him and I? Why are we two very different people now but saw eye to eye on everything all those years ago?
I think two words pretty much sum it up, “Personal Evolution”. I have personally evolved over the years, both “spiritually” and mentally. Phil has not been able to evolve or change or refuses to do so. In order to grow as a person, each one of us must personally evolve. When we grow and learn, our ideas often change, our feelings change, and even our beliefs evolve as each life lesson brings us new wisdom.
I am a proud progressive and liberal. The word progressive itself denotes the idea that we progress as human beings, in knowledge, wisdom, and even in our feelings towards one another. Phil, however, is what is called a fundamentalist. The idea of fundamentalism is to hold on to the very core fundamentals of your dogma without allowing anything outside of them to sway your opinion or faith, not even facts!
Not only is this way of life extremely sad but can often be dangerous. Please remember to evolve and learn and to be open to life as it brings you new lessons each day. This is how wisdom is obtained and wisdom will lead you on a path of personal evolution. This is how our world slowly changes to be a peaceful and welcoming place for all to live.
On a lighter note, just 10 minutes after my spotting of Phil and his street preaching gang, I saw a very young gay couple walking by holding hands as they were enjoying the Alamo city! This was the reminder I needed that the world is progressing and we are getting better as a society.
It takes time and won’t happen overnight. However, if we continue to love each other and have open minds and hearts, we can all make this an enjoyable place for future generations to come!