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They rang the bell. Twice. Then they knocked. They weren’t going away, so I opened the door. I could see copies of “The Watchtower” in the hands of one of the men. Ugh, Jehovah’s Witnesses! Maybe I could quickly blurt out, “I’m Catholic!” and slam the door. But I didn’t.

Instead, I listened to their spiel. And you know what? It was sweet, all about bringing God’s will in heaven to our earthly plane. Of course, we are bound to have doctrinal differences, and my view of God’s will being done on earth almost certainly does not strictly adhere to their vision. But it was nice, being near people who cared enough about their spirituality to slog door to door, undoubtedly facing plenty of rejection.

I understand rejection — or at least apathy. It is difficult to be a spiritual person in a consumer-driven, “might equals right”, “he (and I do not choose this pronoun thoughtlessly) with the most money rules” society. And it’s terribly difficult to keep putting yourself out there, knowing most people won’t listen or care…that they may, in fact, think that you’re a fanatic, or worse, just loopy.

I asked the Witnesses how they deal with rejection. It did not seem to get them down. “Some people just don’t understand,” said the retired minister. “But remember, Jesus could not get everyone to understand, either. He was simply happy with those who did get the message.”

Eventually, they moved on. On to face slammed doors, a mass of “no thank you’s,” and similar reactions. Having a blog and a radio show, I don’t get to actually see the slammed doors or hear the polite excuses, but I know they’re out there. I sometimes hear the more virulent responses, the ones from those who not only think I’m loopy but actually dangerous. But even that is a rare thing. Mostly, I live in a void, not knowing if anyone hears me at all.

And you know what? I can live with that. But is sure helps to know that I’m not alone. You don’t have to proselytize to show your spirituality, but it sure doesn’t hurt to let the world know you exist, that you and your faith are not going away. Keep knocking, people. Keep knocking.

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Each month, a van full of Jehovah’s Witnesses fans out on my block, knocking on doors and spreading their gospel. I must be on their “non-compliant” list, because every one of them that shows up on my doorstep looks terrified.

“How are you ma’am…I, uh, just came by, uh, to ask a question…do you believe the Bible is the word of God?”

I had to stop him from going full-bore into his spiel; it was the humane thing to do. In the past, I’m sure I must have been prickly to them.  This time, I was purposely pleasant.

“It is the word of God, but I have my own religion.  Thank you. Good-bye.”

As I closed the door, I thought, if you really wanted to portray your religion in a good light, you’d put aside what you consider the Soul Service and come to people with Social Service.

On my block, half of the people are behind on the mortgage, many are unemployed, and some are retired and on a fixed income. 

Come to my door and say, I see you’ve got a wobbly railing here on your front steps.  I’d like to fix it for you.  No charge.  It’s part of the outreach of my church.

If you fix the railing, you can bet that when you’re done, I’m going to ASK YOU about your faith.  I want to know more about any religion that offers this kind of human-need help.

I had what Oprah calls an “Aha Moment” as well – I’ve long said that I’m one of those SBNR people – you know, Spiritual but not Religious. But thanks to these door-to-door soul-salesmen, I realized that I do have a religion. 

And it can be summed up very simply.

  • Love God.
  • Love yourself.
  • Love your neighbor.
  • Be happy.
  • Be healthy.
  • Tell the truth.
  • Keep your word.
  • No toxins.

The condensed version of this would be:  Always Do the Right Thing.

So I suppose I would have to admit that these religious people who showed up uninvited did give me a spiritual epiphany of sorts.  Even if they didn’t convert me or save my mortal soul, they gave me food for thought and some insight into my own philosophy.  And for that, I really am grateful.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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