Thursday, October 12, 2006

Leaving Las Vegas

About this time last year I had the opportunity to go to Las Vegas. I always wanted to go to Las Vegas. I'm not much into gambling, I just always wanted to see those lights. I always wondered if it was actually like what you see on TV. It's a pretty amazing place. The hotels are incredible and the lights are just like you see on TV. I went to Vegas expecting to see some things that I wouldn't agree with like the "Sin City" t-shirts or the other popular Vegas motto, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas". I found things like this irritating but was able to write it off as just a gimmick. There were some things I found in Vegas that I didn't expect though. While I was in the Treasure Island gift shop looking for something piratey for my son, I saw a man walk out of the casino, sit down on a small garbage can and put his head in his hands. I watched another guy lose
300 dollars at a blackjack table and then get up and go to the ATM and come back and lose 300 more. I heard another person brag to his friends that he had maxed out his credit card. One of the most disturbing things I saw was found on every street corner of the strip. Each corner had about 3-4 individuals handing out baseball type cards to everyone that passed by. On these cards were pictures of nude women advertising "adult entertainment". Most people ignored the offer for these cards and most that took them just looked at them and threw them on the ground leaving the streets literally littered with pornography. There was one thing though that I saw in Vegas that was by far the most disturbing image and changed my opinion of Las Vegas forever. It happened while walking through Caesar’s Palace. This is an incredible hotel/casino, it's almost its own indoor city. But the thing that hit me like a brick was when I passed the restaurant in the hotel and noticed the name. It was called "Nero's". At that moment I imagined Jesus standing next to me and me pointing to the sign and saying, "That's funny right." It made me feel sick to my stomach. For those that don't know, Nero was the Roman emperor responsible for the torture and death of thousands of Christians during his reign. Many were killed by animals in front of crowds of spectators in the arena, while others were tied to posts, covered with flammable material, and used as human street lamps for Nero's gardens. It was at that moment, seeing that sign, that it all came together for me. All the “little” things I had seen all compounded and I felt like the whole city was mocking me and the God I believe in. Las Vegas wasn’t what I expected or at least not what I wanted it to be. Maybe I was na├»ve in thinking it could be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say that no self respecting Christian should ever be caught dead in Las Vegas. I think that is up to each individual to decide on their own, but for me, going to Las Vegas was an experience but leaving Las Vegas to come home was the best trip I’ve ever taken.

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