Grace in the Arts: The Billiard Parlor Evangel -- By: John O. Hosler

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 01:1 (Autumn 1988)
Article: Grace in the Arts: The Billiard Parlor Evangel
Author: John O. Hosler

Grace in the Arts:
The Billiard Parlor Evangel

John O. Hosler1

Lifegate Orthodox Baptist Church
Beech Grove, Indiana

“I have seen the horrors of war—young men in their prime, gunned down like so many cattle at the slaughterhouse. I have seen the suffering of children—grotesquely twisted little bodies, crying out in pain, begging for love and acceptance, only to find ridicule, rejection, and at the most, the pity of the rich and powerful. I have seen the willful hatred of men toward men, for no reason other than the color of their skin, the shape of their eyes, or the sound of their speech. I am myself a brokenhearted and lonely old man. And you talk to me of your religion! Of all the religions in the world, the one whose constituency adheres the least to its stated beliefs is ‘Christianity’!”

I knew quite well to avoid at this moment the simplistic reply that there was a sovereign God over the universe who would make it all too clear in the by and by. In this man’s mind, he would have nothing to do with an all-powerful Being who could simply will such inhumanity out of existence and yet persistently chose not to do so.

Why should I waste my time with one who harbored nothing but utter contempt for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Why should I witness to him, when I could spend my time with others who would be much more open to the Gospel and much more likely to respond?

Perhaps it was because I observed that this man loved to talk of how he had no time to talk of the subject of a loving God controlling a hateful universe. Perhaps too it was the realization that Christ died to save and forgive just such wretched sinners as this unfortunate individual—and also for such wretched sinners as I. Not that I actually enjoyed, mind you, listening to his ranting or attempting a rebuttal to his extreme and bitter verbosity when he was confronted with any conversation regarding the subject of religion. Particularly this was true with regard to the “Christian” religion. His sharp retorts were

capable of humiliating even the most humble of saints. Not being of that elite company of humility, I often found his comments infuriating and his person deplorable.

The old gentleman was, I would assume, around sixty-five or so. He was fat and flabby, with a balloon-like belly that protruded so far out in front of him that it seemed to push people away. His yellowed, bloodshot eyes, his balding head, with the fewest of gray, greasy hairs combed neatly across his shiny scalp, and his round, sagging face with its long nose, d...

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