It was Jan. 20th 1991, 22 years ago; America’s military, was massed on the border of Iraq, ready to overtake Saddam’s Revolutionary Guard and Eugene’s streets were filled with angry people – people who thought of themselves as “peacemakers”, but they were ripe for being deceived.
It wasn’t to be …. not this time, at least, God was moving on my heart and as my wife and I drove back from having dinner that evening; we’d been talking about it and as close as I can remember the words, … I told her, “I’m sorry; let me out; God wants me here …. I’ll call …” She cut me off, to express her anger at me … something like “… always got to have your nose in the middle of things! Don’t ask me to come and get you! Get home by yourself!” She directed the car to the curb and said “go ahead; get out!” I did.
Later, when I did go home, I don’t remember how I got there … it was all a blur … just as some of it is now, but what happened there, … some of it, … I remember it as if it were 5 minutes ago!
She dropped me off; the light had turned red just as she crossed the street and she let me off right at the side of the fire station; I tried to talk with her through the open window; she floored it and took off; something she never did, yet somehow it didn’t bother me. I’d been praying for God to use me for a decade and this was clear; it was here where He wanted me …..
People were gathering on each side of 6th street; conservatives on the south side, many holding American flags and signs asking others to support our troops – people of all ages. On the other side were the radicals, … the students. They were holding offensive signs … signs expressing their anger and distrust of our government … signs like “No More Blood for Oil” … “Bush is Satan”, etc.; one has to know Eugene to understand but the easiest and quickest explanation is that leftist Eugene is called “Berkeley North” … and rightly so!
For at least an hour, I walked through the crowds … praying … “God; why do you want me here? What do you want me to do?” I walked through the crowds on both sides of the street, praying and observing. Finally, … I got an answer. “I want you to speak, my son.” I was more scared than shocked. I don’t know if I’d ever audibly heard His voice before … I knew it was only ‘in my head’ but it had been clear as a bell. To speak for God is an awesome responsibly! Again, … I prayed and prayed, but being focused on being obedient, … still praying, I went to the crosswalk and waited for the light to change.
There was a myriad of flags and people lined up on 6th street, all talking, mostly disgusted with the antics they saw across the street …… I began to become distressed.
There were 3 … guys … lumberjack-types, in front of me … (in the south, they’d have been labeled “rednecks,” but this was Eugene) … Eugenians call them “Spring-tuckyians” – a derisive name for those of us who live across the river, in Springfield. The one on the left, said quietly: “I’ve got 2 baseball bats and a tire iron in the pickup; wanna split some heads?” Again startled, … I took a step back. As I did, I inadvertently stepped on the shoe of the guy behind me …. More like I scuffed it, trying not to put my full weight on it, I looked back …. I recognized him and the other man standing there motionless – their gaze fixed on the 3 in front of me, but me … I could never keep my mouth shut, my whole life — and now was no different!
“You heard these guys! You’re cops! Why don’t you do something … BEFORE it starts!?!?”
The light changed and the 3 guys freaked out …; they all glanced at each other; one turned, didn’t cross with the others and walked east. The other two crossed, but split up as well. The two cops took me, one on each arm and dragged me back to the firehouse wall and slammed me up against it. They read me up one side and down the other! After all, they’d been out of uniform … undercover(?) and I’d blown their disguise!
They pulled me back to the steps and I assumed they were going to arrest me, but shortly, the Sargent was handed a radio by a uniformed officer and told he was needed …. He walked away, leaving me with the other officer who continued to berate me. I knew I’d been wrong to openly expose them, but we argued – – – it wasn’t right for them to do nothing and ALLOW something to happen either …..
After a while, with him not deciding what to do, I told him, “if you’re not arresting me, I need to cross the street; I’ve something to do.” I walked away and crossed at the light. I was deep in prayer again … scared … not wanting to speak but more afraid of not being obedient to God …
As I stepped onto the sidewalk of the Federal Building, I thought I’d walk through the crowd and continue to pray “God; if you want me to speak, … You’ll have to show me it’s You!” I wasn’t expecting it, but there was an instant response that nobody but someone in my position, could have seen.
I’d come to a place where, all at once, everyone moved and looking down the cement, off to my right, … there was absolutely a “hallway that everyone had cleared” and at the end of it was a microphone! Obviously, … having just asked for “proof”, I believed and began to pray again, but a bit differently?, and headed for it. Again, I was praying … “Lord, if you want me to speak, please show me it’s you.”
Music had been playing almost the whole time I’d been there – 45 minutes – an hour? I don’t know for sure, but when I reached the microphone, the music went dead. The dozens of conversations all ended; you could have literally heard a pin drop; that moment, was a moment frozen in time … still is! Everyone looked around, and I was standing in front of the microphone and they all looked at me when I took it from the stand and began to speak.
I had no clue as to what I was to say!
What came out of my mouth, … was my voice … I recognized it, but it wasn’t as if it was me speaking …
“Looks like a party! People engaged in conversation, music, smoking … even pot – these guys up behind me (I pointed) have some righteous Sinsimella) there’s a keg over there behind the bushes (I pointed again), people dancing … holding signs having a good-ol-time! Looks like a party, sounds like a party, smells like a party, … gotta be a party, right?”
With that, … the mike went dead; I tapped it, but immediately began to yell: “There are people here who don’t want you to hear what I have to say! If you believe in freedom at all, tell them to turn the mike back on!”
People began to yell …. “Let him speak.” Others joined in and the mike went back on and I continued.
“Think about this for a moment, what the people across the street see, when they look over here, … well, it looks like a party, but there are really offensive signs to those who believe what our government is doing is right …, but consider for a moment, just who these people across the street are! Yea, some are only just die-hard patriots, but many of them, have mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and even husbands and wives who are about to possibly die serving their country ……. And what do they see when they look over here? They see offensive and vile signs and people partying, having a great time ….”
I continued on for how long, I can’t say, but the experiences I spoke of were mine and the voice was mine, … but I was not in control!
I told them of the riots I saw, and was in the middle of at the Pentagon in the ‘60’s …… and in “someone left a cake out in the rain” McArthur Park ….. in L.A., … how I’d seen women pulled by their hair through the lines of MP’s, beaten so badly all the flesh was hanging off their faces ….
“If you cannot taste the blood in the air … if you don’t recognize when a riot is about to start, you need to wake up! Children do not belong here! You brought your children into this? What were you thinking? This is NOT a party!!!“, I yelled!
I stepped forward and yelled to a guy standing across the mall … at the light I had crossed the street ……
“You! The guy with the Green and Yellow Duck coat on standing at the light!” The guy next to him tapped him on the arm; he turned and pointed to himself … questioning “me?”
“Yes; you. Take a step out into the street and tell us what you see!” He looked back at his friends, and took a few steps into the street. His back straightened; he looked back at us all for a moment, looked back down the street, as if to verify what he’d seen was real, then came back to his friends who’d followed him part way. He yelled back to us: “there’s a couple hundred cops putting on riot gear.”
The crowd was no more startled than I. I’d not known what he was going to see – I’d had no clue but again, it hit me that I was not the one doing this … I was just “participating” …
Oh; I just realized there was something I left out. At some point, … I think when the mike was shut off, but I’m not sure when, to be honest, … but two black Rastafarian guys, with long black dread locks rose and got nose-to-nose with me, shaking their heads, screaming at me …… I wasn’t sure exactly where the other guys came from but two men stepped forward and each took one of them by the arm and gently sat them down on the grass … and left them there … dazed and confused. It could have been days or even weeks before I realized that the two men who escorted the Rastifarians back to their seats had on white shining suits. Scripture describes that men often do not recognize Angels. If that’s who these two were, and I have no doubt, it all makes sense that I would not have recognize them, but I still to this day, question, ‘who am I to have such protection’?
Having explained I support their right to protest but that I disagree with them (the crowd), and told of all my involvement in ‘the movement’ … and then, of the 3 bombs that had gone off in Eugene and Springfield that day – one at the Marine Reserve, one at the IRS and another at the Army Recruiting station … I’d explained that there were those among us who wanted them brutalized so they’d become radical like them …
I don’t remember how I ended my speaking to them, but when I did several came forward to talk to me. One asked me “what should we do?” I replied “How should I know? You expect me to have answers?” But instantly, answers began coming and I began giving them suggestions:
- Find people committed to non-violence – tear a shirt into armbands identifying them
- Have them talk to everyone – get people sitting down and committed to non-violence; if people won’t commit, follow them and warn those they’re talking to that these people may want violence!
- Send people from this side across the street – start a dialogue; ask them to do the same – to send people over here
- Coordinate what you’re doing WITH the police – tell them why – that you don’t want to see violence here!
There were a couple fights that night, but no riot … but let me re-affirm; it was NOT me!
Once something like this happens to you … (this is not the first time it happened to me), you begin to long for those times …. It strengthens your faith!
I’ve written this to suggest to you, that God will use anyone who truly seeks Him with all his heart and desires to be obedient … and also … that there are good people on both sides of issues … and though there does not seem to be any political answers, … the time is upon us when many will be deceived!
Why is it, do you think, that many search, yet few find?
Those who are deceived, are evidently, … unable to discern the truth, and a much larger deception is already, right upon us! Most of us … many who believe they’re following Him, … are in “lawlessness” … Why? What is it they’re missing?
For a “clue”, read and ponder Revelation 12:17 … and pray for guidance … seek to become obedient; the time is short!