No, there's probably nothing I could have said or done to get those guys to calm down, apologize and march alongside us. But I did have an opportunity to model some real strength and grace to others there by responding without the barbs.
I have never seen or heard any street preacher claim that they reached people with their message. But isn't that the reason for witnessing to people? Isn't the goal to bring people to God, not drive them away? Why would you rejoice in upsetting people instead of saving them?
Ian Alterman's community, his congregation, are the homeless people in his Upper West Side neighborhood. He has an ongoing, regular relationship of care, listening, and direct action aid with the lost sheep of Manhattan.