Last week, I recounted our family’s recent trip to New York City, which was mainly to see the Giants-Redskins game, but also to visit several of the city’s attractions. See my post here. I mentioned that I was going to follow up with some additional thoughts on New York City and the trip so here goes…
I live in the suburbs of Rochester, which is a small city (and getting smaller) in Western New York. The size of New York City is OVERWHELMING to a visitor like me. There’s block after seemingly endless block of impressively tall skyscrapers and bustling traffic. We had to wear earplugs while sleeping in our Airbnb on 2nd Avenue and 50th Street to block out the evening traffic noise, but the advantage was the many coffee shops, restaurants, and small grocery stores all within a short walking distance. I prefer living in one of the quiet suburbs of our small city, but many New Yorkers would object to such a “dull” environment.
On Saturday night, we walked from Madison Square Garden to Times Square. Standing in the middle of Times Square in the evening is quite an experience with all of the lights and advertising displays. Times Square in New York City could be the epicenter of our materialistic and consumer-driven culture. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I felt uneasy walking through this shrine to consumerism/materialism. Earlier in the day, we visited The Dakota Apartments on 72nd Street where “Rosemary’s Baby” had been filmed and where ex-Beatle and atheist, John Lennon, had been killed. I’m not a superstitious person, but this foreboding complex with its many devilish gargoyles was disturbing to me. Equally disturbing was our walk past St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue, probably the most famous Catholic church in America. Our tour guide-son asked if we wanted to step inside to see the “magnificent architecture,” but I had no desire to do so. All I could think about were the millions of Catholic souls deluded by the false gospel propagated within those grandiose walls. I also thought about the many girls, women, altar boys, seminarians, and young priests who were undoubtedly abused within that complex by predatory celibate clerics since it was built 140 years ago in 1878.
Our two sons are atheists/agnostics, but my wife and I had several opportunities to bring up the Lord Jesus Christ in conversations with them during the trip. Hunkering down on Saturday evening after walking all day in Central Manhattan in the cold rain, we all sat together in our cramped Airbnb and watched “The Devil’s Advocate” featuring Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves. Please, no hate mail. I certainly don’t endorse this R-rated film without a lot of qualifications, but it does tell a very thought-provoking tale about Satan and his attempt to spawn the anti-Christ. Our two sons pay us little attention when we talk about Jesus Christ to them, but they will voluntarily and even eagerly watch this 144-minute movie, which actually contains a lot of spiritual truth. Most of this film was shot on-location in New York City with Donald Trump’s garishly ostentatious, gilded penthouse apartment that sits atop Trump Tower serving as the home of one of the film’s most “evil” characters.
Yes, my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Big Apple and the time we were able to spend with our “boys.” Whether we live in a megalopolis like New York City or in a 100-person, sleepy country hamlet, Christians must be constantly mindful of the spiritual battle that surrounds us and that we are a part of.