Friday, August 24, 2012

A strange and interesting experience today

I was working on the west side today, in that area where all those long, straight streets named San something run off of Culebra.  I got to one place that looked like someone had combined two lots; there was a house close to the street and, off to the side and set back from the street, a second building that didn't look exactly look like a house.  Indeed, this place had two meters, probably from back in the days when it was two separate lots, and I missed one of them so I had to go back and look for it.  A couple of guys who were outside noticed and came over to say hello.  One of them told the other to get me a glass of cold water and he sprinted away to get it.

It turned out that I had stumbled across one of the "Outcry in the Barrio" locations.  According to their Facebook page, their main HQ is somewhere on SW 38th, so I guess this was one of the branch locations or whatever they call them.  You can't work in the streets like I do without having learned something about this movement, or church, or whatever it is.  I had already run into a few of their guys before, but usually they would just nervously hand me a pamphlet and hurry away.  Not these two.  They were fervent and zealous.

So this one guy began telling me the story of the "Outcry" thing in general and his personal story in particular.  Pretty soon the other guy got back with my glass of iced water and he added his own story into the mix.  And then they asked if it would be okay if they said a prayer for me.  "Sure," I said.  I didn't realize that they meant right then and there.

Now, in the Christian church with which I am most familiar, a group prayer is usually "led" by a single person who speaks aloud while everyone else prays silently.  These two guys weren't having none of that.  When they started, they took off.  Heads bowed, speaking clearly and loudly, as fast as they could go.  And they weren't just reciting something from memory.  They were making it up as they went along, speaking specifically about me and my job (they had asked my name so they could use it in the prayer), and they were both saying different things.  I tried to hear all they were saying, but it was like having two songs pumped into different stereo channels and they were going so fast I could barely understand anything.  The most amazing part was when they somehow managed to both finish at the same time.  I had to wonder if they do this in large groups.  What a cacophony it would be to have 100 people doing this all at one time.  I must say I would love to hear it!

And they gave me their book that tells all about their founder's life and how he got it all started.  I do intend to read it.

So it was strange, but kinda cool too.


  1. Sounds kind of like running into a group of Moonies or Hare Krishna in days long gone by.

  2. I believe these guys are quite different. They don't live apart from others, they don't wear weird clothes or join in group marriages or become guru-sluts. They don't elevate the founder guy to the status of a deity, either. They are recovering addicts. If they hadn't gotten into this, they would all undoubtedly be either:

    1. Still committing crimes to support their addiction,
    2. In prison because they got caught committing crimes to support their addiction, or
    3. Dead because of their addiction.