Can I get a witness?
Vail CO, Colorado
If it’s true that God likes to test us, then the way He tests me the most is by sending people over to tell me about Him.
Unlike most of my friends, I don’t mind a Jehovah’s Witness visit. I’m fascinated by what could motivate these folks to do what they do. I assume there must be a Bible verse that alludes to the heavenly rewards awaiting those who spend cold, snowy afternoons having doors slammed in their faces.
I almost always chat with the JWs when they come by. Not that I believe even a fraction of what they believe, or think for a second that I will ever set foot in a Kingdom Hall, but, well…I like to mock them.
But lately this mockery has been making me feel bad. In a way I guess I feel a kinship with the JWs. As a former member of a religious cult myself, I can remember what it was like when I was preaching the Good News. And just because I’m (thankfully) no longer preaching the Good News, well, that’s no reason to be mean to the people who still are. Right?
At least this is what I tell myself as I open my front door and see the two smartly dressed JW women, little black books in hand. This time will be different. This time I will be the person I like to think I am.
I. Shalt. Not. Mock.
After some brief hellos the woman asks me if I think, like so many do,
that the Bible is outdated.
“Well, actually …” I begin, then stop myself.
Personally, I think the Bible is incredibly outdated. And why wouldn’t it be? It was written thousands of years ago in languages that I’m not even sure people speak anymore. I mean, think about it – “Three’s Company” is outdated, and that was only written 30 years ago.
During past JW porch chats I’ve said that – ALL of that – even going on to refer to the episodes containing Mr. Roper as the “Old Testament.” But not today.
“Well,” I start again. “It’s not so bad, I guess, if you’re into that sort of thing.”
Her face lights up.
“So, do you think the Bible is a book of guidance from God?”
“C’mon!” I yell. “If God were to give us a book of guidance, don’t you think it would be a lot easier to decipher? Ever try to read the Bible?
Sheesh…it’s like Yoda wrote it when he was drunk! And if there really is an anthropomorphic all-knowing and all-powerful God who needs to communicate with me through the written word, why is He not sending me e-mails?”
Nope. I don’t say that. Oh sure, I have in the past…but not today.
No, I’ve already made it over one mockery hurdle, I can keep going … “Uh, I guess.” I say. “I mean, If you want it to be, then why not?”
She whips out her porta-Bible and begins flipping through pages. I have to hand it to the JWs, the ones I’ve encountered just flat out know their Bible. She finds her passage and thrusts the Pee Wee Bible at me, asking me to read aloud. I oblige – I NEVER turn down a chance to read the Bible aloud.
Except that I always do it just a little TOO “aloud,” if you know what I mean. Think Samuel Jackson’s character in Pulp Fiction, quoting dramatically from Ezekeil prior to emptying his gun into someone – that’s me, on my porch, testifyin’ at top volume, pounding an imaginary pulpit, sending the JWs scurrying from my porch, a flutter of Watchtowers in their wake.
Not this time. No, this time I read slowly, calmly and at a normal volume, adhering to the provided punctuation. I didn’t really understand what I read, but the JW women look at me with their “See, I told you so!” faces, so I guess a point has been made.
They leave me with a copy of “Awake!” and promise to return again soon. I tell them I look forward to it. I’ve finally behaved myself, finally respected the beliefs of others despite my deep yearnings to mock and deride.
Now I sit by my phone, transformed, waiting for a telemarketer to call.