“Stop yelling!” is the thought I get each time I ride the train to work as the doors open at Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Riding the train across town can be quite the experience as each time the doors open to dispense riders and take on new ones, it shares a brief glimpse of the world in between here and there.

I don’t recall how many stops there are on my way across town, but, it would be safe to liken it to a 15 act play. Each play has a different backdrop and stars different actors and actresses. And, unlike some plays… no one ever does a bad job acting. These actors and actresses are just plain living.

But, there has been one act recently that does have the same actor each time. I am not sure why, but perhaps he is just rehearsing his lines for opening night?

Practice makes perfect… they always say.

This one particular actor is tall, burly, and bald. One I would certainly be intimidated by. Which is too bad. He also has the look that would make this big guy a real softy, teddy bear type. But, quite honestly, I am not sure why he can’t get his lines down pat. There are not too many lines to remember…

“Repent from your sin!”

“You will burn in hell, if you do not turn from your wicked ways!”

Lines like that, but too often repeated like union workers on strike marching around their place of employment.

Now, maybe I am not quoting him word for word. That would be because he is so loud I cannot even think as I watch walkers by wince at the deafening volume of this big guys voice. Next time, I will take notes. But, This is what I heard, if at least in body language.

For the rest of us in the audience for this play… as the curtains opened to this next act, we immediately stepped backward as his bellowing voice burst into our train with the intensity of a bullet aiming to bring harm, not peace.

“Why?” I say each time as I try to catch his eyes and shake my head.

Maybe next time I will confront him and ask him why? I wonder how he would respond? I wonder if he has had any takers? I guess it is always hard when one immediately places you in a defensive posture.

“Hey bud! You don’t even know me…so please stop yelling at me!”

But, maybe next time I could be so bold as to ask him to join me for a cup of coffee. No, I don’t want to hear what he thinks he has to say. I want to hear what deep down inside… he wants to say. I cannot imagine there is not any misguided hurt, guilt, or anger inside of there. Hey look… this guys has a story too.

Hey friend, I have no problem with the message of Christ Jesus, in which I have placed my heart so willingly in. But, why must you bring this message in this such manner? If God is love… then where is this love you speak of? In this, how then should I respond to this message you bring? Quite simply… where is the love?

So…. please stop yelling and please start showing.

Oh well…the doors have closed and we are now on our way to the next act. Different backdrop, different actors, and one lingering taste in my mouth.

Next time, if there is a next time… maybe I will step into this man’s play? I better get practicing up on my lines. Opening night is just around the corner.