I am a regular commuter to and from work and wherever. Taking the bus from my place seems to be nothing but a daily routine for me, despite the fact that we have a “vintage” car that is still serviceable (but can’t be used outside the village since I still don’t know how to drive though I’m already planning to explore the art, but don’t make me suggest going into one of those profit-greedy driving schools ’round town), and since my college days it has been part of my life that even when I’m so tired I tend to sleep even to the point of going beyond my point of drop-off.
While on my way to work after attending the Ash Wednesday service at that church just outside Alabang Town Center (yeah it’s that time of the year where the priest would say “Turn away your sins” or “Magbalik-loob ka sa Diyos” while marking your forhead with ashes from burnt palms), there was this Afro pastor who has adopted the practice of local street preachers hopping buses and preaching the Word of God to the passengers. Heck, I didn’t notice that he was already speaking until the bus set in motion after a 15-minute lull at the termina when I first hopped into it.
The message is apt, yeah, we need to turn away from sinful ways and discover the saving grace of Jesus Christ, for the end is near. That was the central theme of his sermon to the passengers (though his accent sounded close to that of an Afro dude), and at least I was able to digest it even if my actual attention that time was trying to keep my eyes shut during the trip and paying attention to that mostalgia-themed FM radio show heard Wednesday nights.
Of course, after the message, what comes next would be the collection part, as is with what most preachers do. He would approach the passenger at every aisle asking for those love offerings and when he aproached the area where I was at, the bus conductor was also about to collect my payment for the ride. Thinking that it would take long for the conductor to ask for my fare and that the Bible-thumping dude would come first ahead of the conductor, I quickly closed my eyes, pretending to sleep. Lo and behold, he was somewhat shoving an envelope in my hand, a signal that I must donate money. I just ignored him after several attempts for me to hand him money “for a good cause”.
And then when I was paying the bus fare to the conductor dude, this preacher gave me a dagger look — he saw that I was paying PhP100 to the conductor, and apparently he did it because I didn’t even give him a single cent. Like he must have marked me as someone who’s Hell-bound just because I wasn’t a cheerful giver, so they say…
Oh well. This preacher doesn’t know that I don’t part my precious centavo to them (profit-greedy as they are) as they give you a poker face if you on’t give to their cause. I’m sure God won’t be happy with them as well.