We find some interesting stuff on Tucson street corners.
These include an 18-foot Paul Bunyan statue, an overheated guy dressed as a giant pizza slice – and a group of people preaching Jesus every other Friday at the southwest corner of East Grant Road and North Alvernon Way.
The Jesus group usually consists of about a dozen folks or so, holding up signs and spouting God from at least one megaphone.
While our first inclination may be to simply ignore anything over 90 decibels, I felt moved one recent Friday to approach the group as I had a ruthlessly burning question:
Does all this Jesus from a megaphone stuff do anything other than annoy passers-by?
Why yes, said Pastor-on-the-scene Sullivan. It also pisses them off.
He recalled one passenger in a Jeep stopped at red light who actually bolted from the vehicle and began to barrel towards the sign holders.
Pastor Sullivan, 33, trained in all things peaceful, diffused the situation before anyone bled. Guess the Jesus stuff does work to calm people down.
And it also works to draw followers, Sullivan added.
While he did not have a graph mapping statistics of how many people corner preaching brings to the nearby Christian Fellowship Ministries, he did say he constantly sees new faces who tell him they are there after hearing about it on a megaphone.
He also had some of the best evidence of corner Jesus preaching at work that he could give – himself.
The pastor used to be a meth head.
Born to hippie parents who named him Star Flower Sullivan, the pastor didn’t outline his entire childhood – just his descent into hell.
That hell was a daily crystal methamphetamine habit as well as a grungy Bisbee apartment stocked with drugs and armed with a gun.
Then one day he passed a corner where people were preaching about Jesus.
He returned to his dank apartment, sat and stared at the gun and 2-pound bag of weed, then did something very unusual.
“I prayed for God to help me,” Sullivan said, “and he did.”
Sullivan promptly got rid of the weed, the gun – and the meth habit – all in one fell swoop. “It felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.”
It was that easy? Pretty much.
The trick, he said, is to stop stuffing ourselves with things we think will make us whole, like drugs, booze, sex, fancy clothes, cars or more new shoes. To truly be sated, he advised, we need to fill ourselves with God.
Although Sullivan has neither joined any 12-step groups nor followed any addiction program, he’s been drug-free for 15 years. He’s also now happily married with kids. And his wife was out there holding a sign.
If that’s not enough, the group has one more thing going for it, assuring they’ll be preaching Jesus for some time to come.
“Cops love us,” Sullivan said. Maybe police realize that’s one less corner they’ll have to fret about patrolling – even when the corner is plagued by an angry man in a Jeep.
Christian Fellowship Ministries – Phone: 870-1816
2351 N. Alvernon Way (southwest corner of Alvernon and Grant)
Services: Sundays 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.; Wednesdays 7 p.m.
Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and TucsonCitizen.com Ryngmaster who is not a big fan of meagphones – or even telephones. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at RynRules.com and Rynski.Etsy.com. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you think?
What’s the coolest thing you’ve spotted on a Tucson street corner? The most annoying?
Are you a fan of street preachers?