Synecdoches

Spring 2011 Senior Thesis Exhibition

Rachel Sonnenshine

 

For the past 20 years, street preachers have been a common sight on the streets of DeLand, FL. They can be found at regularly scheduled times on Woodland Avenue, one of DeLand's main thoroughfares, and they make their presence known during events that draw large crowds such as Bike Week and NASCAR races. They spread their message of salvation to all who will listen despite the verbal–and sometimes physical–abuse they are subjected to.

Their faith drives them to where people gather in order to "witness" to them; the salvation of others is their ultimate goal.





Rachel Sonnenshine Rachel Sonnenshine Rachel Sonnenshine Rachel Sonnenshine Rachel Sonnenshine Rachel Sonnenshine Rachel Sonnenshine
 



Rachel Sonnenshine
 

It is easy to dismiss them as religious zealots, but behind the signs and the sermons are people whose lives revolve around their beliefs; this extends to the tightly-knit community they have formed within their church.
Many of them attend church daily, not only for services, but for bible study and other events. Their devotion to their beliefs is evident in every aspect of their daily lives.

Their conviction in their message is what appealed to me initially. Learning that they were willing to subject themselves to abuse and humiliation on a regular basis in the service of their beliefs was intriguing. As a secular Jew, the world of fundamentalist Baptists was something I had no prior experience with; I found the depth of their devotion admirable, if a little foreign in contrast with my own beliefs. I consider myself fortunate to have seen a side of them few people are willing to see.

 

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