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Land shark

May 24, 2012

Shortly before I needed to take the Sparkette to her AP exam this morning, my doorbell rang unexpectedly.  Hmm…mailman?  FedEx?  UPS?  Pizza guy?

I opened the door and found three people standing outside with pamphlets in their hands– an older gentleman, a young man, and a middle-aged woman.  I stepped outside and closed the door behind me so my zoo wouldn’t escape, and it became apparent withing seconds that the older gentleman was the appointed spokesperson of the group.

It turned out they were from a local church.  They wanted to give me their literature, but I turned them down politely, telling them I already had a church home but I didn’t know about my neighbors next door, so they might be able to use it there.  The older man began to ask me questions, beginning with the classic  “if you were to die tonight…”, all of which I answered in a friendly and truthful manner.  When it became obvious that I was a Christian, his tone changed a bit, as did his questions…but not for the better.   He asked when and how I became a Christian.  Every answer brought about a “but….”  type of response.  It was obvious that he was not satisfied with any answers I gave him.  I apparently still needed to be saved the right way.

He asked to come in and tell me his story of becoming a Christian, assuring me proudly that it was “right out of the scriptures”, and implying that his story was going to be a lot better than mine.  I told him I had to take my daughter for her exam and could not invite them in right now.  He asked if he could come back some time to tell it.  I looked at him and shrugged and smiled, and said if he really wanted to…but also made it clear I really had no idea why he’d want to.

Before I could go inside he handed me a pamphlet with some “information” and told me I should read it and compare it to my bible.  “After all, it might have typos, mightn’t it”, he said.  “Things have typos all the time, don’t they?”  I didn’t dare ask him if he was talking about the pamphlet or the bible, both of which I hope have been significantly proof-read before they ever landed in my hands.

I was glad to get inside, and not just because it was hot and humid outdoors.  That was one very icky conversation.  It’s not the first time this particular church has canvased the neighborhoods.  One time they did come in, and I didn’t think I was ever going to get them to leave.  They wanted to argue.  They wanted to nitpick.  They wanted to prove their salvation was the only way, and that mine was faulty.  And this man was cut from the same cloth.  It wasn’t that he wasn’t nice enough, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that the conversation was being herded into a direction of his choosing, and my answers were being re-framed to fit his intended path.  He was trying to manipulate me and my responses.  Yuck.

I am aware that the particular denomination these folks represented does have a reputation for exclusiveness and spiritual elitism and not being willing to work or play with others.  Not all are like that, of course, but this one definitely is.  It makes me sad.  I am so glad I already hang out with Jesus, because if those folks this morning were my introduction, I’m pretty sure I would have said “no thanks”.  Who wants to sign up for joyless rules?  Who wants to live a King James Version life in a Facebook culture?  How does living to please a church that demands perfect performance constitute freedom?

I treated them with kindness and respect.  They are my brothers and sister in Christ, after all, even if they are convinced they won’t see me in heaven due to my faulty salvation.  I felt no call to argue or be defensive.  I know who I am, I know Whose I am, and it really doesn’t matter if a church with whom I disagree sends its neighborhood evangelism teams to my door to attempt to make me doubt the realityof all God has done for me in my life.  I know better than that.  But I feel sad for them.  That belief system is tyrannical and merciless to those who don’t toe the party line at all times.  Not everyone is wired to prosper in that sort of a system.  The culture shifters and the world changers definitely aren’t, nor are the artists and the wild hearts and the ones who run with scissors.  You know…people like the ones Jesus hung out with during His time here.

If you are reading this blog and all the Christians you’ve ever met are like the ones who were at my door this morning, don’t let that discourage you from checking out Jesus.  His followers are a complex lot of ragamuffins who get a lot of stuff wrong a lot of the time, present company included.  But Jesus?  He’s awesome.

And He likes you.



One Comment leave one →
  1. May 25, 2012 1:37 pm

    I’m proud of you. And happy for you. You shined a beacon of light into the darkness of withering religiosity. Or however you spell that :)

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