Featured on Daltongirl's blog is a brilliant persuasive essay written by Lola about Rome. Lola hit on several points that I definitely know to be true from my mission. Without her permission, and without Daltongirl's permission, I have taken the liberty of either providing supporting evidence for or arguing against some of her main points.
Step away from Rome for a second so you can find out their good and bad characteristics, the cruelty they had against others, and what it’s like to be poor.
I had to step into Rome for a second to find out their good and bad characteristics, the cruelty they had against others, and what it was like to be poor. Among their bad characteristics was their unwillingness to open their doors to the gospel. Among their good characteristics was their willingness to open their doors for any other reason.
Anecdotal evidence: When we'd knock at doors in Italy, a typical response would be for the person to yell, "Who is it??" from the other side of the door, while peering at us through the peep hole. If we mentioned anything about being missionaries or having everlasting happiness and salvation to offer, we'd be immediately rejected. If we stated any other purpose, the doors were opened wide and we were welcomed in. Once, I wanted to make my companion a zucchini dish but we didn't have a cheese grater in our apartment. We started knocking on doors in our own apartment complex. Finally, when someone was home, she yelled "Who is it??" while staring at us through the peep hole.
"It's the neighbors!" I replied.
At this point, she cautiously opened her door a crack to peer at us.
"Hi!" I said. "We're your neighbors. We live a floor below you. I wanted to make lunch for my friend, but can you believe we don't have a cheese grater? I was wondering if you had one I could borrow."
Immediately, the woman threw the door open wide. "Yes! Yes! Please, come on in!" she cried. "I was just using it but let me wash it up so that you can borrow it!"
Another time, while we were tracting in the middle of the summer, we made our door approach to a girl our age and were immediately rejected. I was parched however, so I said, "Okay, that's fine. But is there any way I could have a drink of water? I'm very thirsty." She invited my companion and me into her home where her mother was cooking in the kitchen. They sat us down at the table, gave us water, cut us huge slices of watermelon, and asked us all about being missionaries and what exactly the message was that we shared with people.
Those were Rome's good and bad characteristics. Except for the fact that both of those stories happened in Sardegna. Oops. In Rome, on the other hand, I seem to remember having the police called on me twice and being yelled at from windows. Hmm. That was their cruelty against me. Oh, and I knew what it was like to be poor. Like one time, I wanted to buy a cameo that cost 200 Euros. But I couldn't.
First, everybody in Rome had a good heart, but they forgot about their good-natured selves when it came to justice and cruel entertainment.
This is true, though many Romans would tell you that it's true of everyone but priest and nuns. Man, some of them sure have it out for priests and nuns! As I mentioned, the Romans called the cops on me a couple times. That would be them not having good hearts when it came to justice. As far as cruel entertainment is concerned... Switchback went to a soccer game in Rome where she experienced both justice and cruel entertainment. Riots broke out at the end of the game, and the police came out and tear gassed everyone, including Switchback and all her missionary friends. Cruel. But entertaining. Justice.
Next, cruelty was a part of their daily lives—killing, gladiator fights, and unjust treatment. Everybody was doing it (watching gladiator fights), but killing people was very common in Ancient Rome, in gladiator fights.
Yes, cruelty is still a part of their daily lives. One day, as I was walking past the colosseum with my companion, a man dressed up as a Gladiator (pictured here---I got it from the Internet, but I swear it's the same guy) started heckling and making fun of me and my companion. It was a little stunning, actually. I thought, "Wait... are missionaries so low on the pecking order that men who dress up as gladiators and wear short skirts can make fun of me??"
“Killing Christians is wrong, because they should be able to have their own say in their religion.”
Unfortunately for the Italians, Christian is synonymous with Catholic and since we weren't Catholic, we weren't Christian, which meant, according to the above quote, that killing us wouldn't actually be wrong.
Now that you’ve stepped back and looked, I think you’ll agree the characteristics, cruelty, and poverty tell you to stay away from Rome.
Hmm. Well, when I stepped into Rome, I really liked it. And now that I've stepped away from Rome, I want nothing more than to go back, despite the characteristics, the cruelty, and the poverty. Lola, if I weren't poor, I'd buy you a ticket to and have you step into Rome with me.