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when receiving door to door evangelizing...how to keep a level head?  RSS feed

 
master steward
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Oh Judith, I thought of you and this thread when I found this sign!

No disrespect meant to anyone or their beliefs - I simply enjoyed the obnoxious humor of this!

Loads of great examples of tolerance, inclusivity, acceptance, and open-mindedness in this thread - thank you all for restoring my faith in the goodness of folks of all different cultures and belief systems.
please-dont-knock-on-my-door.jpg
[Thumbnail for please-dont-knock-on-my-door.jpg]
Please don't knock on my door
 
pollinator
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I would like to look at it this way:

Wouldn't it be great to have some true believer of ancient myths come to tell you their culture's stories? While Christian evangelists can be like listening to a pro-wrestling true believer, sadly lacking interrogation and incredibly accepting of absurd violence, wouldn't we look at it differently if a native American came to tell us their creation story? Or if a believer of Zeus came to tell us his myths? It seems the latter two probably must have a better conception of the allegorical nature of their tales.  The hard part with Witnesses and LDS folks is not laughing when asking, "do you actually believe this...literally?" If we think "problem is the solution" in dealing with such willful ignorance, we may be able to sell them some oceanfront property in Arizona. At least we'll have an advantage in any competition based in reason. I guess how do we "problem is the solution" the condemnation and exclusion aspects? I guess by showing that those behaviors lead to isolation and antagonism from those unwilling to convert. Any thoughts?
 
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:Oh Judith, I thought of you and this thread when I found this sign!

No disrespect meant to anyone or their beliefs - I simply enjoyed the obnoxious humor of this!

Loads of great examples of tolerance, inclusivity, acceptance, and open-mindedness in this thread - thank you all for restoring my faith in the goodness of folks of all different cultures and belief systems.



haha...good one
I've had that very thought...especially when they show up as a family.  I would never think of knocking on a strangers door to suggest what or how they should think and certainly not with my children along.

Maybe they've given up on us already? There have not been many come to the door lately. Apparently they are not interested in my thoughts on Buddhism?

I had what I thought was a great idea though...Steve and I are needing more help in certain areas...mostly lifting, so I keep a list for when one of our sons stops by.  Now I'm thinking I could keep it by the door and when one of those strong young men or women come by evangelizing I'll ask them to help me flip the mattress! ...or pour my rain water buckets into the barrel...this opens up all sorts of possibilities.
 
master steward
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Judith, I have to say, I think a large reason so many come to see you, and bring their children is because you're so nice. You're a wonderful, sweet person and they like you and feel safe with you, and really want to make sure you can join them in heaven in the afterlife. They might give up on someone like Dale, who's trying really hard to be annoying, but you're so sweet. They probably love you very much.

I think putting them to work is a good idea. They come because they love you--well, they can love on you by being Christ's hands and feet and moving those mattresses! I don't know if they'll ever give up on you, but, hey, that just means you'll have years and years of free labor!
 
pollinator
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I talked to a book salesman for about half an hour the other day. Showed him my massive collection of more than 5000 books, explained why we didn't need any childrens books, and talked about his home country of sweden where my mom's dad's mom's mom was from. Also gave a hearty welcome to america speech. Then sent him on his way.

In the past, I was not so nice. About 10 years ago, I had to brandish a very big gun with a bayonet to get some southern baptists to stop knocking on my door constantly for hours trying to get me to go to their church. I was a christian at the time. I just didn't like church. It is a loud and chaotic environment, and I hate that. Part of what I like about my current religion is that the shrines are peaceful, quiet, and surrounded by nature.

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:If it's the Mormon missionaries, you might get a couple hours labor out of them. Seems to be a current dogma that doing "service projects" is one of the best proselytizing tools around.

I'm pretty heartless about missionaries, having been one myself when I was much younger, and still working within the programming of my culture. It works well to say, "I don't talk about religion with strangers.". Just shutting the door, or walking away works great. "Not Interested" was the most common response I got. I didn't stick around at the house where I was greeted with the sound of a shotgun being racked.

A salesman from a funeral home came by the other day: Wanted me to pay for my funeral at today's prices... I played unmercifully with him. "I don't have any reason to believe that your funeral home will be in business in 30 years, or however long it takes." "Hmm, so I'm paying in dollars?  The way things are looking, the dollar could be gone by next week." "I don't have any reason to believe that your industry will even be in existence in 30 years." "When I get deathly sick, my tribe has agreed to help me get out to the desert where I can crawl away and let the coyotes eat my bones." Sure a riparian area would be better, cause then I might rot instead of turning into a mummy to be discovered a few decades hence. Whatever, I was winging it!



I want to be buried in a mound with a ship, and wearing armor. I would have asked the guy if he can build me a ship. Gotta go out in style.
 
Ben Zumeta
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"I don't have any reason to believe that your industry will even be in existence in 30 years." "When I get deathly sick, my tribe has agreed to help me get out to the desert where I can crawl away and let the coyotes eat my bones." Sure a riparian area would be better, cause then I might rot instead of turning into a mummy to be discovered a few decades hence. Whatever, I was winging it!” -Joseph Lofthouse

- An interesting and troubling recent  “RadioLab” dove into just how long it takes for a human to decompose in the desert, and what this means about estimates of death #s in crossing the desert to get around border fences. Using a human sized pig, they found it would take less than a week for it to be unrecognizable after wildlife came from great distances very quickly to get such an unusually large meal. Tragically, this indicates that a vast majority of migrants who die trying to avoid border obstructions have probably gone undiscovered and uncounted. the math indicates that based on the hundreds we have found, tens of thousands have died in the desert trying to cross where fences can’t reach. The wall would make it even worse. Talk to your evangelist about the Christianity of that.
 
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Sometimes you open the door to new ideas.
I am a unitarian universalist.
I evangilize by asking people to give doubt a chance.
My son, raised in an inclusive loving church, has become a Mormon.
On the occasion of his baptism, the Mormon elder suggested to me that this must be quite upsetting!
No, I opined, you seem like nice people, with a tradition of reform, a history of changing with the times...
His face fell a little.

My boy tells me that they like his habit of inquiry,this makes me very proud for him.
I suspect he will change them in more important ways than they will change him.
This is how we do it, an insidious force from within. Not  a force of reason, but reasonability.




 
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Did your job ever require you to make a cold call?

God, it's awfullest feeling in the world. Like, the phone is ringing, and you're holding this giant pill you've been ordered to cram down the throat of the next stranger you see...and you're already apologizing under your breath to your poor victim before they even pick up. (You may have guessed I was an awful salesman, and was sacked.)

Having been in that position--the beggar, the outsider, the usurper--how QUICKLY I can revert when the phone rings on me (or a beggar paws at me for money, or a salesman or proselitizer darkens my door), and I want them grilled with a slice of lime.

Then, often, I sit there in my truck a moment after, and think what an awful beast I just was- in my head if not anywhere else.

I was ready to gleefully roast a complete stranger. Just like the people felt of me when I called them. Like you, Judith, that part of me is always in there, coiling for a spring, just one scratch below the surface.

How did we get this way.

When someone drops a quarter in the old man's cap, there is an exchange. Fuck the quarter: it's an arbitrary bauble, a completely man-made construct. (The absence of reaction from so many beggars who get the quarter should be proof enough of that.) But it is a representation of hardship, or work, or plenty--anyway, a kindness. What we perceive as a leg up in a moment of compassion.

We are hardwired for compassion. This produces that twinge of guilt that bolts through you when you tell somebody to get off your doorstep.

In one way, this has been the dividing factor in our species, resulting in so much of our success. When one chicken in a group loses an eye to a thorn, the other chickens don't make a chair out of their arms and carry him home. They eat him.

This cohesiveness has allowed humans through several ages to survive stresses in our surroundings that whacked other species in their turn.

But I am confused by the accounting. When I give a loaf of bread to a hungry old homeless woman, am I energized and renewed in the behavior, or did it take a little something from me? What I mean is, was it a credit, or a debit?

It's not an easy question for me to answer.

When I was younger and more innocent, I would feel a simple sadness for the beggar, and giving alms I felt a simple relief. As I got older (wiser is certainly part of it, but also darkened and muddied in the clarity of my beliefs, including what makes me happy in life), I grew to hate them. And then I would hate them, standard. And I could justify all the way home the reasons for my wrath. They are thieves, they are druggies, they chose their fate, they are liars and their perfectly nice apartment is just down the street, they got here on their own wheels fair and square, and so on and so forth. This is the feeling that "beggars are vultures eating the goodness out of the last remaining good people's hearts": these are, I'm ashamed to admit, words from my very own mouth.

And then every once in a while (almost impossibly, it would seem), it really DID get cold in San Antonio, and all the liars and assholes (who, now it comes to it) don't actually have to be out here--all went home. And there was that old lady--whom I really DIDN'T give the bread to--laying crumpled in my doorway at one in the morning, very clearly freezing to death. Positively no pretense left, absolutely no card left unturned, literally nowhere to go. For real. Here was the naked truth.

And I just wished I was dead. I felt so ashamed. There was leftover bread in my restaurant. I HAD thrown it away. Not just in expediency, no--like "fuck you," and threw it away. An act of defiance. Of spite.

The feeling that follows is, well, how to put it: I felt small. That was so...small of me.

Wasn't that just me who said I was wiser? Wasn't that me? No, I'm sorry...take it down. Only more bitter. Angrier.

So I guess I have come to a conclusion that compassion is some sort of nonrenewable resource. We are asked and pecked with such repitition--emails, and robocalls, and beggars: thousands of outstretched, groping fingers like Night of the Living Dead.  It's no wonder we flip out and fantasize about going berserk with a chainsaw.

Compassion takes strength, and unless someone's really super rewarding somehow, or you find some inner fountain, you often won't get that back. And I look back at how many undeserved boots I have certainly put in the necks of people who really didn't earn it, and I am ashamed.

And so long as we're being super honest, I ate my dinner alone tonight.

I think if I had said yes to more things than I'd said no to in my forty years, well...maybe that wouldn't be happening.
 
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Judith Browning wrote:I have an adverse reaction to people coming to my door and trying to sell me their belief.  It brings out this person in me that I don't really like very well...



My reaction is quite the opposite...
I actually like decent people who are doing their best to follow a religious moral code. Our conversations are frequently goodnatured as well as humorous, and yet without being at either their expense or mine. It is impossible for people who have different views from mine to pose any personal threat, so I have never found them to be the least bit personally offensive.

 
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So I am a white girl married to a man of Mexican heritage. Because of our last name all the people who come to evangelize speak Spanish. Neither of us speak any Spanish. I find that when I'm the one they encounter they look pretty darn confused. They tried quite a few times but it's been years since we've had an evangelist around. All we had to say to get rid of them was "No Habla Espanol"
 
elle sagenev
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Ryan Hobbs wrote:I talked to a book salesman for about half an hour the other day. Showed him my massive collection of more than 5000 books, explained why we didn't need any childrens books, and talked about his home country of sweden where my mom's dad's mom's mom was from. Also gave a hearty welcome to america speech. Then sent him on his way.



I felt AWFUL for the book salesgirl who showed up at my house years ago. My wiemeraner had just caught a rabbit and attempted to swallow it whole. The back legs were sticking out of either side of his mouth. Drool everywhere. She got out of the car and he just slimed her. She was absolutely horrified. I gave her some wet wipes and told her thanks but no thanks. We've never had any book salespeople since. I wonder if we're on the bad list.
 
pollinator
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I don't mind them.

As a Christian they do one of two things for me; give me conviction for failing to know the bible as well as I should, or affirm that I know it quite well. Either way, it allows me to hone my own skills at reiterating what I believe and why.
 
Travis Johnson
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One day while I was working at the shipyard, I was going across a catwalk and a guy approached. He was a big bad, burly biker dude and I knew his wife was dying of Breast Cancer and that he had just lost a 2 year old Grandson to a pool accident in his backyard. I felt a calling to say something, BUT I DID NOT WANT TOO! Still it was there, so I broke down and said, "Hey George, I know you have been going through a lot and I have been praying for you". I had actually...

He slapped me on the shoulder and said, "I did not know you were a believer", and for three years we were good friends (until I moved to a new area).

But that is how it works. I THOUGHT I knw what his reaction would be, but the truth is, only AFTER I ay what needs to be said, do I really know. Now in this case it was positive, but he could have punched me in the face too. But only after I spoke, would I know.

I do not fault the evengelicals that go door to door. I am not part of that group, and I am no prophet, but I am not shy about my faith either. That is how I keep a level head.




 
Judith Browning
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Greg Mamishian wrote:

Judith Browning wrote:I have an adverse reaction to people coming to my door and trying to sell me their belief.  It brings out this person in me that I don't really like very well...


It is impossible for people who have different views from mine to pose any personal threat, so I have never found them to be the least bit personally offensive.



Really that is how I feel (other than when I've been in situations where someone's 'different view' most certainly posed a personal threat) and react EXCEPT when someone comes to my door and I think they expect something of me.  Then I tend to feel defensive...I get that I own that reaction, thus this thread

The year I began this thread we had just moved to this small rural town and were living within sight of neighbors for the first time in more than forty years so the first time someone came on my porch knocking, wanting to 'save' us I realized our privacy was compromised...getting used to it somewhat now.

 
Greg Mamishian
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Judith Browning wrote:The year I began this thread we had just moved to this small rural town and were living within sight of neighbors for the first time in more than forty years so the first time someone came on my porch knocking, wanting to 'save' us I realized our privacy was compromised...getting used to it somewhat now.



That's a valid reason, Judith.
The population of our "village" is 8,200 and does not belong to any city or have any local government except for being within a county seat. So there's a kind of generally relaxed non threatened live and let live attitude here because the natural environment completely overwhelms every other consideration. There are no sidewalks, no street lights, no traffic noise, no serious crime, and the neighbors ride their horses down the road. There is an underlying attitude in folks of gratitude and feeling blessed to live here...

...so when anyone comes to our door they tend to get treated like neighbors.
 
Travis Johnson
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This is hard for me, because I really dislike churches who bury their heads in the sand. For instance in the bible it talks about the Good Samaritan who helped a man beat up by robbers. We have a lot of issues in society today, but one is with opiates addiction, and yet I hear people say, "serves them right!" I have never done drugs, but I am pretty sure the bible never said that in red or black ink. I just get sick and tired of people in church walking by on the other side of the road when it comes to addiction. A guy beat up by robbers, or a guy with a needle in his arm...it does not matter, get in and be glocal (Global AND Local).

I do not want to be offensive and infuriate good people like Judith, but equally I do not want to be someone who does not help a hurting community.

I do not know how to do that?

With Rock the Flock there is no hidden messages where we bring people in under the guise of a Rock Concert then smack them with the bible, it is well know that it is a Christian Event, but I wish we could draw more people. Not to get more money for the drug addiction program Teen Challenge, but so Katie and I can serve more people and spread awareness.

I love community...insert Local (my area), Global (Moldovia) and online (Permies). I mention cancer a lot because it has held me back so much, but it has also shown me that I am vulnerable. Only in the last few years have I managed to get a shred of integrity (doing the right thing) and character (doing what I say I will do).

I don't want to be a pain in the rump, but I want to show I care too.

I FAIL DAILY.

Look at my signature, it is meant to be funny, but not really appropriate. And I can be a selfish jerk too. I really, really struggle with myself. :-( But I do care! :-) [b](This was in reference to an old signature joke that I no longer use)

[/b]
 
Judith Browning
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I do not want to be offensive and infuriate good people like Judith, but equally I do not want to be someone who does not help a hurting community.



Travis, my complaint was not with folks who are living their faith...that is something I can admire and I think you are a perfect example of someone who is actually making a difference in peoples lives in a very good way.

My issue was with folks coming to my home, standing on my porch and telling me I'm going to hell if I don't think the same way they do.

.  

 
Greg Mamishian
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Judith Browning wrote:My issue was with folks coming to my home, standing on my porch and telling me I'm going to hell if I don't think the same way they do.



I've never had anyone who came to my door tell me anything negative like that.
However, I have been told of the joy of fulfilling our intended purpose for being here.

From what I've observed, people create hell while they're here
so it doesn't seem much of a point to it being any worse after they die.

 
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In fairness, this issue isn't about religion for me.  It is the sheer gall of someone coming to my house, to a place that should be my sanctuary from the world, intruding on my personal time, something that is precious to me, and trying to convince me to believe what they do.  I believe very strongly that people should be able to act, think, believe, whatever they like as long as they aren't harming anyone else, but they absolutely do not have the right to intrude into my personal world to tell me what I should believe.  
 
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Dale Hodgins wrote:
I like trying to guess who they are, by the style of dress and the number who show up. It doesn't matter. The chances that they will have a better grasp of their own theology, than I do are quite slim. Once in awhile, you get an older one who has studied his books quite a bit. More often, they are young zealots who seem like they've done a lot of skimming. These ones are fun.



Yup. Or, as an atheist on Facebook said, "The quickest way to get on a Christian's bad side is to tell them what the Bible actually says." It needn't be a Christian either; in any faith tradition, most lay believers don't really know in depth what their theologians would know. Way back in the days of America Online, those were some of my first chat room experiences -- watching atheists run scriptural circles around believers.

I enjoy having great scientific questions explained in moronic terms. After discussing the fact that a supernatural being created the heavens and the Earth and that they control the tides etc, I like to ask - "With so much on his plate, do you think he really cares what I do with my penis." Then there's the crime and punishment thing. "A mass murderer confess his sins and goes straight to heaven, while someone presented with scant evidence, refuses to believe and is subjected to eternal torment. Do you think this makes any sense at all?"



It doesn't. The evangelical version seems to me to have God saying, "Believe in me so that I can save you from what I'm going to do to those who don't believe in me."

Or, where Jesus says, "You are my friends if you keep my commandments," how about mentioning that I do not make that a requirement for my friends, and ask if they make it a requirement for theirs?

Honestly, sometimes it seems like evangelicals are going out of their way to turn me into an atheist.
 
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We're rural too but still used to get JW's frequently. I actually kind of enjoyed the discussions, if I had time. But a few years back I had been assisting with a problematic calving, and was so dirty I stripped off and began to hose myself down in  the middle of the lawn when they arrived. Two nice young girls and an older man, face to face with a gore-encrusted totally naked wet middle-aged farmer. I was prepared to talk but they seemed to need to be elsewhere in a hurry. They arrived uninvited so I had nothing to be ashamed of. That was years ago and they have not been back since, no idea why.
 
master pollinator
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Honestly, I kid, but I have no want or need to antagonise anyone. I will use measured argumentative force to get across the idea that I am unlikely to buy what they're peddling.

If they ask why, I will tell them.

If they try to convince me, I am confident in my ability to make them start to think about their faith. It's happened before.

The best way to deal with door-to-door evangelisation, in my mind, is to give better than they can take, to reason their faith into submission. They usually recognise the danger and ske-daddle. I have no particular want to destroy any individual's faith in their own mind, but I can and will do it,  and it will work if they are thinking people.

-CK
 
Travis Johnson
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Judith Browning wrote:

I do not want to be offensive and infuriate good people like Judith, but equally I do not want to be someone who does not help a hurting community.



Travis, my complaint was not with folks who are living their faith...that is something I can admire and I think you are a perfect example of someone who is actually making a difference in peoples lives in a very good way.

My issue was with folks coming to my home, standing on my porch and telling me I'm going to hell if I don't think the same way they do.




These people bother me as well. I have one here that does that (not JW's), but I think it is good for me to hear his points. I know the bible well enough to know where he is right, and where I feel he is misguided, and so I always look at it as a sort of test of my theology.

But I NEVER look at it, as he does...or as athiests do...which is a "well I won" the argument sort of thing.

I think living life as a Christian is just better. If I am right, and there is a God and heaven, then I will be in heaven for eternity. Yet if I am wrong, and there is nothing after death, I have lived a moral life. I have won either way. If an athiest is right...there is nothing after death. But if an athiest is wrong...they will suffer for eternity.

The real problem is, I need to let people ponder those last few senetences, and yet I do not know how anyone will react. I MIGHT THINK I know, but until I bring up the subject, I will not know. If I am punched in the face, then I know they are not receptive, but then again, someone might give it careful consideration and come to the same conclussion as me.
 
Trace Oswald
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Travis Johnson wrote:If I am right, and there is a God and heaven, then I will be in heaven for eternity. Yet if I am wrong, and there is nothing after death, I have lived a moral life. I have won either way. If an athiest is right...there is nothing after death. But if an athiest is wrong...they will suffer for eternity.



The problem with that line of thinking is that you're assuming that the God you believe in is the right one.  So the actual wager you are making is, If I am right, and the God I believe in is the correct one, then I will have eternal life. If I am wrong, there may be nothing after death, so I have lost nothing, except all the money I contributed to keep my church running and all the time I sat in church listening to something that wasn't true.  That is time that could have been spent helping your family or others that needed it.  On the other hand, if I am wrong and one of the other Gods that I don't believe in is the correct one, I'm going to hell for eternity.  

Suppose a person truly believes in Odin as the one true God.  He could say the exact same thing you said, but he would go to hell for believing in God.  He just chose the wrong one.

These are the kinds of things I would say to the door to door people if I actually spent time talking to them.  I don't do that though.
 
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Just something to think about, from the other perspective:

For those who are sincere, truly believe in the tenets of their faith, and live them out, evangelism makes perfect sense(to them).

They would have to be truly evil or psychotic to  believe that your future contains a terrible, horrendous, never-ending catastrophe of inescapable pain, loneliness, and suffering, knowing there is only ONE way to escape it - and choose NOT to tell you(or anyone) about it.

So, in light of this (putting aside for a moment whether it's the truth or not) any Christian who has NOT even ATTEMPTED to start a conversation with you about faith or the future is a MONSTER.
(Or they are currently struggling with doubt, insecurity, fear of confrontation, or any number of legitimate or not-so-legitimate concerns.)
 
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Last time they came to the door, they literally ran away when my dogs barked and jumped at the window. It was hysterical. I love pit bulls.

 
Ben Zumeta
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Travis, you describe Pascal’s Wager pretty well. The problem is that the same logic applies to the “floating anus of morality” that one might believe is hovering above us all (credit to Patton Oswald) and which will spray metaphysical excrement on our souls if we fail to treat others as we would want to be treated. If hat makes someone act more kindly, I would hate to dissuade them of that belief, but I also reserve the right to think it is hilarious.
 
Trace Oswald
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Dustin Rhodes wrote:Just something to think about, from the other perspective:

For those who are sincere, truly believe in the tenets of their faith, and live them out, evangelism makes perfect sense(to them).

They would have to be truly evil or psychotic to  believe that your future contains a terrible, horrendous, never-ending catastrophe of inescapable pain, loneliness, and suffering, knowing there is only ONE way to escape it - and choose NOT to tell you(or anyone) about it.

So, in light of this (putting aside for a moment whether it's the truth or not) any Christian who has NOT even ATTEMPTED to start a conversation with you about faith or the future is a MONSTER.
(Or they are currently struggling with doubt, insecurity, fear of confrontation, or any number of legitimate or not-so-legitimate concerns.)



Dustin, I think that is a fair analysis.  My issue is the one I stated earlier.  I have no problem with anyone believing anything they like.  In fact,  I'm all for it,  and for their absolute right to stand in their front yard or a public park or a street corner shouting it for all to hear and spreading that good word about.  That right ends when a person comes onto my property and intrudes into my personal space to do it.  At that point,  the person is infringing on my rights,  and just over- stepped theirs.
 
Travis Johnson
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I fail to see any difference in Girl Scouts coming door to door to ask you to buy their cookies. Since we do not live on an island, and it takes all of us living in harmony, why not just say to the evangelist the same thing that is said to the Girl scout, "I am not interested", in a polite way?

My form of evangelicalism is NOT going door to door, but always looking for opportunities to explain why Christianity is SO different from the other religions. This could be as simple as a hair stylist cutting my hair and trying to figure out why a terrorist attack just took place, or a Christian struggling with immense loss and having feelings of doubt. When I ask God for, and get granted those opportunities, I try and capitalize on them.

I do not think the door to door evangelicals are wrong, just as I do not feel the Girl Scouts that go door to door are wrong, but I have a feeling the Girl Scouts do better going to the houses where ESTABLISHED RELATIONSHIPS have already taken place. And so that is my approach, and sometimes it can take years. Other times, with say a hair stylist I will never see again; I can say things that plant a seed, by explaining the radical difference between Christianity and other religions.
 
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Travis Johnson wrote:I fail to see any difference in Girl Scouts coming door to door to ask you to buy their cookies.



Girl scouts aren't trying to tell me how to think
 
Travis Johnson
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I think this is just like Permiculture.

I live in a family that has traditionally farmed forever, and yet as I began to understand Permiculture, I realized it I had to change my way of farming, or we would no longer be farming. Just as Dustin said so well, Permiculture is a gift, and so nobody would want to retain it, they want EVERYONE to know this is how farming should be done!

In fact, people get passionate about it...as they should!

If your next door neighbor, on their land, fired up the spraying equipment and started taking care of their corn conventionally, what Permie would not go over and ask them to change their ways? How they might approach that guy might be different, but they would not sit back and say, "Well it is his land he can do anything he wants." Morals step in, and so boundaries are crossed...for good reason.

Maybe the conventional farmer will be interested in what you have to say. Maybe he will get confrontational...no one really knows, but they should be informed there is a better way.

The evangelicals do the same thing...they are passionate about how they feel.

Just say you are not interested politely and shut the door.
 
Judith Browning
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If your next door neighbor, on their land, fired up the spraying equipment and started taking care of their corn conventionally, what Permie would not go over and ask them to change their ways? Maybe the conventional farmer will be interested in what you have to say. Maybe he will get confrontational...no one really knows, but they should be informed there is a better way.  



There's that 'should' again
My beliefs don't spill out into the neighborhood like a toxic spray might.  I don't think someone has the right to come to my door and tell me they know better than me how I 'should' think.  

I fail to see any difference in Girl Scouts coming door to door to ask you to buy their cookies.


I love girl scout cookies and look forward to them knocking on the door.  Totally different scenario.  A yes or no question, no high pressure, no patronizing talk.
 
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Jason Hernandez wrote:Or, where Jesus says, "You are my friends if you keep my commandments,"...



The Amplified Bible (AMPC) translation has Jesus saying:

"The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who really loves Me;
and whoever really loves Me will be loved by My Father,
and I too will love him and will show, reveal, manifest Myself to him.
I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him."


Those are not just empty idle words. They are a contract. "If this... then that." It's worth noting that those words are not an agreement with government or with anything else man made, but rather it is between a person and their own experience of what is morally right.

I believe that whoever has no experience of anything greater than themselves, and yet makes doing what's morally right the highest priority in their life, God's Son will personally make Himself known to them individually... but only them and no one else. From what I have observed, experience is nontransferrable to others. It is proprietary and personal to be worked out between each individual and What made them.
 
James Freyr
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Travis Johnson wrote:
If your next door neighbor, on their land, fired up the spraying equipment and started taking care of their corn conventionally, what Permie would not go over and ask them to change their ways? How they might approach that guy might be different, but they would not sit back and say, "Well it is his land he can do anything he wants." Morals step in, and so boundaries are crossed...for good reason.

Maybe the conventional farmer will be interested in what you have to say. Maybe he will get confrontational...no one really knows, but they should be informed there is a better way.



I myself, would absolutely never go tell one of my farming neighbors, or anyone for that matter, what to do and how to do it. I think that's being bossy.

My approach is to practice permaculture in its many aspects, and if a neighbor, or any one else, asks me how I do what I do, I will gladly tell them my techniques. When they learn I don't spray for pests or plant diseases, and don't spend any money on chemical inputs, I hope it gets them thinking there are better ways. I hope that seeing my beautiful chemical free garden and pastures, along with tasting delicious produce will be the proof and inspire them to try techniques that encourage health, not death, nurturing soil health and microbial diversity and to abandon conventional chemical agriculture.
 
Trace Oswald
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James Freyr wrote:

I myself, would absolutely never go tell one of my farming neighbors, or anyone for that matter, what to do and how to do it. I think that's being bossy



I would never do that either,  and I consider it way past bossy.  
 
Chris Kott
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I agree about the intrusiveness of such an evangelisation of permaculture, and wouldn't do it that way either. My question would then become, what would be the best, innocuous and perhaps surreptitious way to address issues involving overspray, or other contamination of a permies' property by non-permacultural activity (overspray and groundwater contamination, primarily)? I love the idea of spreading the good permacultural word by example, but sometimes more needs to be done to avoid harm done to your property.

Incidentally, I was perhaps a little hyperbolic in my last post. I have no need to destroy anyone's faith, and I think anyone on whom I have such a disruptive effect would already have seeds of doubt within them. My approach has ever been to conduct myself as I always do, with the manners I was taught and the respect for people I think is right for everyone to show. If my firmly-held and informed opinions on their faith make them decide to continue in search of an easier time in their efforts, so be it.

Thinking about it, though, any evangelist that shows up on my doorstep with a box or two of those Girl Guide Thin Mints cookies will have my undivided attention for as long as the cookies are coming. I might even provide coffee or tea.

-CK
 
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Thinking about it, though, any evangelist that shows up on my doorstep with a box or two of those Girl Guide Thin Mints cookies will have my undivided attention for as long as the cookies are coming. I might even provide coffee or tea.



Yep! Thin mints would do it

In fact, that happened a couple times over the holidays here except they were homemade cookies and came with an invitation to their church.  That was nice...and even the invitation without the cookies doesn't bother me if that's all there is to it.  I'm at ease just saying thank you and leaving it at that.  It's if the conversation becomes persistent and a quiz about my belief or lack of such that I feel put out.

Ben wrote:  I stripped off and began to hose myself down in  the middle of the lawn when they arrived.  



We were often caught this way back in the day...they were supposed to give a holler at the bottom of the trail to the cabin and I always wondered if they deliberately skipped that part?  Mostly JW back then...now mostly Baptist folks.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Chris Kott wrote:I agree about the intrusiveness of such an evangelisation of permaculture, and wouldn't do it that way either. My question would then become, what would be the best, innocuous and perhaps surreptitious way to address issues involving overspray, or other contamination of a permies' property by non-permacultural activity (overspray and groundwater contamination, primarily)? I love the idea of spreading the good permacultural word by example, but sometimes more needs to be done to avoid harm done to your property.



I'm probably considered a terrible evangelist. I've never directly led someone to Jesus, or to permaculture. I HATE pushing my beliefs on others, because generally people vomit up what gets pushed down their throats, and then they never want to taste it again.

But, I truly believe the best way--both morally and in terms of true success rates--is to give small tastes. Build relationships with people. Slowly insert things that are just above their Wheaton (or religion) "level." Someone having a problem with their lawn, maybe say something like, "The other day I was reading that the taller the grass, the deeper the roots, and so the healthier the lawn. If we mow a bit higher, the grass should stay greener." Talk about your experience and what you've learned. Start from what they believe and think, and find commonalities and build off of that. Don't claim to hold on to the truth, because that will make them get defensive. Defensive people have a really hard time learning.

Basically, I find the ways that I communicate here on permies is also a great way to communicate with people in real life. We might not see instant change, but we've given them a taste (or, "planted a seed," if you will) of why we do what we do.

Think about how you came to permaculture. Did it come in one big WOOSH, or in small steps?

When I think about my journey to eating healthier, I can look back to small things different people said over the years that made me think. First my Aunt mentioned that white bread was like "white paste" and had no nutritional value. I was like 15 at the time, but that stuck with me and stewed in my mind. Then years later, a parent at my school who was a naturopathic doctor wouldn't let her kids eat our crackers and sliced meat. I recall thinking "Why not. It's bread and meat?" I didn't change my thinking for a few years, but it stuck with me and stewed in the back of my mind, and combined with things that other people said, I started learning and changing.

I think the big thing is to realize that YOU don't have to transform them, but the little things they see you say and do, when combined with what they see in others, might get them thinking. The more people they see doing permaculture stuff, and the more logical it is to them, the more likely they will be to change.
 
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I tend to follow Francis of Assisi, both in faith and as it applies to permaculture:
"Go out and preach the gospel, and if it's absolutely necessary, use words!"

or
"Go out and feed your family, deliciously, healthily, and inexpensively, while helping wildlife, for fun.  If they ask, explain how." (permaculture version adapted by me)

John S
PDX OR
 
Travis Johnson
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Honestly Acts 2: 44-47 tells Christians how to evangelize, and the results that it brought in.

As many of you know, I am trying to build a homeless shelter in our community because it dovetails with two problems that concern me: drug addiction and the seriously mentally ill. But without a home, many of the people have nothing else to do but go back to jail...

So this Sunday we brought in a man who was a preacher for 30 years before he understood this point, You have to meet peoples needs...food, shelter, etc before they really understand the bible.

This man has started (2) homeless shelters in Maine, and (3) in Florida called "Sheltered by Jesus" since 2008. They have (3) books out, and are now doing a movie about the mans desire to build Homeless Shelters (Chuck Norris Productions too mind you). They also have food pantries and now travel to rural Maine delivering food to the poor.

They have 350-400 salvations per year.

Why? because they do not go OUT, they ACCEPT THE UNLOVED IN...and meet their needs. That is why I do Rock the Flock for the opiote epidemic, and why every Friday we meet to discuss the mentally ill, drug addiction problem, and homeless. None of that is a waste of time, no matter what they think of the bible or church people.

Acts 2: 44-47
All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to ANYONE who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

 
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