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2017-11-15 21:27
By Richard Ruffin

The man got on the bus and told us that he had found Jesus and, despite being addicted for seven long years, finally abandoned drugs.  He spoke in a loud voice, almost shouting.  Everyone, or most everyone, reached into their pockets to give him money.

They, being believers themselves, had little to worry about getting addicted to Jesus.  They were already addicted to The Lord.

But maybe they gave him their money because they were scared, because they were not sure what exactly he would do if he were denied their finances.  Would he suddenly go crazy?  Three people have been killed so far this year riding the buses in Curitiba, from seemingly insignificant actions such as asking someone to turn down the music, to more significant matters.  One girl died after getting caught in the crossfire between a cop and a drug dealer.

As a man whom I ate lunch with told me, "In Brazil, the thieves tell the police how to behave.  In other countries the police have the upper hand, but here in Brazil it is the opposite of the rest of the world."

And Brazil is also paradoxical in that even though the country practises gun control, the country has one of the highest violent crime rates on Earth.

There are more people who die of gun shot wounds in a single year in South America's largest country than are killed in all of Syria over the same span of time.  Syria, as you probably well know, is a country besieged by civil war.

But I digress.  I am on a bus listening to this guy go on about the how he was addicted to drugs for seven long years and then he found Jesus.  Hallelujah. 

He mentions a few more things, then starts passing his bag around.  It fills up with money very fast.  These people are poor, but they have enough money to give to this man.  But why?  Why are they giving him their cash?  Is the fact that this man was once addicted to drugs, and now has cleaned up his act, the reason?  Was it the sound of the word Jesus?  Perhaps they are scared.  In any case, they give him what they can.

They certainly don't look scared to me.  They look bored.  Some would probably like to sleep.  Hard to do with that voice shouting away.  "I was addicted to drugs for seven long years, and then I found the Lord.  Hallelujah."

 

Richard Ruffin (ruffin@gmail.com) writes from Brazil.

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