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

 
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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.
 
pollinator
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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.
 
master 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! :-)

 
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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