Monday, October 20, 2008

Knock, Knock. Who's There? Jehovah's Witnesses...

I guess you're thinking, "Jehovah's Witnesses who?", right?

First of all, let me tell you that I'm a good Suuthun girl. I learned at my momma's knee that you shouldn't discuss religion or politics in polite company. But, since I know most of y'all aren't all that polite, I'm making an exception.

Today, while I was cleaning my house (supposed to be working, but my home is my office, so I rationalized that I was cleaning my office), I heard the door bell ring. Usually it's FedEx or UPS, so I just went about my biness. But, then I heard knocking, so I went to see who it was. It was a man and a woman with big smiles. I talked through the glass door at first and then opened the door to take their tract. I only talked to the woman. Here's the convo:

Me: Hello.
JW: Hi. We're just talking to the people in your neighborhood about Jesus today.
Me: Thanks. We're Christians.
JW: Yes, most people in this neighborhood are (this should be assuring to me, but she says it in a way that makes me a little uncomfortable), but we've got some more information that could be of interest to you.
Me: What church are you with?
Me: Oh, well we're Methodists and pretty active, strong and confident in our faith.
JW: Well take a look at this and look up some of these verses listed. I think you'll find some great information in the Bible.
Me: Thanks.

Door close.

OK, so here are my issues.
I've never known what to say to people who knock at your door trying to tell you about their religion. Most of the time, I know that I don't agree with them. Not because they are going door to door (can anybody say Great Commission?), but because religions that do this are different than mine. I wish I had some apologetic training. I've taken a couple of courses about different religions, but I don't have that info committed to memory (I've had 2 kids in the past 3 years and have traded show-and-tell guidelines, shoe sizes and bottle schedules in my memory for the subtle differences in the Buddism and Taoism religions). Maybe I should have actually gone to Campus Outreach in college instead of making fun of it. Maybe that would have drilled some info in me about how to defend Jesus. One of my many college regrets...

Next, in the "What Would Jesus Do" thought process, He would probably invite them in and talk extensively about God, Himself, etc. I have always, ALWAYS closed the door. I had a friend who said her husband talked with them and asked them to come back later and they did and had a long conversation. He listened politely and then explained his position. I think they just agreed to disagree. My gut reaction is to be offended (Can't they SEE my church magnet on my car in the driveway?? They've got no business here! I'm taken!). Why is that? It's totally not what Jesus would do.

Finally, as I referred to earlier, should I be doing what they're doing? It always makes me question what I'm doing daily to further God's kingdom. This lady is going door to door. Now, I don't agree with what she's selling (I really like Christmas- even if Jesus was born around 5 A.D.), but at least she's out there getting after it. And if she's the only one out there, then that means she might get more people on her side than I will on my side. Hmph. I know that your life is your witness, but my witness today was scrubbing tubs and toilets. Do it all to the glory of God, right?

So, all you preachers out there (I know you're out there- Kim, Sherill), what should us nice, house- cleaning Methodists say?

And, everybody else, what do you do when folks are knocking on your door selling a way to God that you don't agree with (I hate ending a sentence with a preposition)?

Did I mention that I had just taken off my sweater to scrub and only had on a cami, jeans and a dripping sponge in my hand? I think the JWs might have gotten a new idea or two about us crazy Methodists...
And then after she saw this:

She called child protection services. They pulled my poison control center records, so I'm history.


Sherill said...

Hey Hilary! I usually just tell them I'm a preacher and they run away afriad I will somehow infect them!

No, seriously, Apologetics are fine, but I don't think they work with any brand of door-to-door evangelists. My recommendation is just a polite but gentle, "I'm sorry, I'm in the middle of cleaning the house and I don't have time to talk to you now." If they offer to come back, once again a polite no thanks.

So --did you get the house clean?

Hillary @ The Other Mama said...

Sherill, I usually don't comment on my own blog, I can't find your new e-mail address. Hope you find this- and send me your new address, again.

Yes- house clean! Check! No JWs will stop me there!

LOOK WHO'S MARRIED!!!! said...

Hey Hillary, I'm just glad you made it clear that they weren't Mormons.
We always get confused with JWs because our missionaries also go door to door.
Regarding what you should do, they teach us in church that every moment is a potential "missionary moment" never pass up the chance to spread the Gospel and share your beliefs. You never know people's situation...they might really need some share your experiences!!
You're such a great mom, Hillary. Keep up the good work.

Kim S said...

Hey, Hillary! Love your blog and all the kid shots! Alas, I confess to you that I am typically NOT a good witness for Christ when people come banging on my door. I agree - with a prior commment - share your story - but when people are at your door shoving tracts at you even after you've said you're a Christian, they are not there to listen to you, so save your breath! It's all about context! I do not feel guilty saying, 'no thank you,' closing the door, and getting back to my day, tho I am usually aggravated at the interruption! (what does that tell you about this form of evangelism?) That said, I have another friend who always uses these opportunities to 'convert the heathen' that come to her door. I see nothing wrong with that, but so far she's spent a lot of hours sharing and praying with no discernable yield. You are absolved over possible guilt you may feel for not witnessing to these people or in this way. I trust the Holy Spirit will prod you to speak or act, so just listen for that!

Lisa said...

I've got you beat for what you had on when you answered the door...I was at my computer one afternoon, which you can see through the front door, so I had to answer when the man knocked. It was someone running for state senator. I only had on a t-shirt. It was long one, but still just a t-shirt. He was quick to leave since I got a baby on one hip, a 3 year old on the other and the dog was trying to get out the door to tell him hello.
I wouldn't worry about not listening to the JW. Jesus knows who truly believes in him and doesn't need you going door to door to prove it.

becky said...

you'll have a partner in crime if CPS or even their DHR cronies come to get ya! you know i'm their calendar centerfold!

and i don't necessarily think God means for people to go door to door. i think it's more about not keeping Jesus to yourself. I mean, if you got kids, you're not. and with how involved you are in the community, people see you and who you are (in addition to what you do) and that speaks volumes!)

Bragans said...

Hillary, thanks for the challenging thoughts... It makes me think about what would I do, when JW come knocking and just how I live my life daily. Do I live daily to glorify God and to further His Kingdom.

Love the picture of your kids in the pin! I am laughing!

annieck said...

Your story is something I dealt with myself last summer. I had just gotten out of the shower, and my doorbell was ringing. I threw on a robe and ran to the door, and there was a man and a teenager with him. They began to share their information with me, and I told them that I understood all the JW stuff because my grandmother is a JW. So he said, and this broke my heart...definitely NOT Christ-like, that they had knocked on many doors and many people had been really ugly to them. They had been called cult members and basically treated with contempt.

Why would anyone want to convert when they're treated that way?
Ok, so anyway...I told him that I thought that was wrong and that I was sorry they were treated that way. So he asks me if he could have a "sister" stop by some time to speak with me. I told him I have my own beliefs, but it would be fine for someone to stop by sometime (give me a chance to share the other side).
What I didn't know was that he meant TWO MINUTES LATER!!!
So I'm rushing to get ready (late for a date, as usual) when my doorbell rings. I open the door and come face to face with one of our previous patients!!! AAAAGH!!! The thing about it is that I couldn't remember her name!
It was awful. She went on and on about how my grandmother is a JW and wondering why I wasn't. I told her that I didn't agree with many things about their faith, and she asked for an example. So I shared the heaven and hell example. I told her that I believe, based on what the Bible tells me, that we will each spend eternity in either heaven or hell. That's when she proceeded to tell me that I was "confused" and that she wanted to come back and talk with me when I had more time. I welcomed her to do so, and polished up my JW knowledge and my beliefs as well. She never came back.
Funny thing is, I couldn't remember her name and asked her what it was. She told me that she understood that I couldn't remember because I was "anxious" and that she understood. I tried telling her that, no, I'm just terrible with names, and I'm pretty sure some of the things I did as a teenager were contributing factors. ;)

Anyway, it's tough to say exactly what we should do. I pray for wisdom with that, but I don't think we should let any opportunity pass without sharing God's Truth. I have to admit, I let many opportunities pass. I let Satan convince me that I don't know enough, and I get intimidated. Hopefully I'll overcome that one day. :)

I think you did well, and your kids...TOTALLY HILARIOUS!!!

holly said...

Girl! You know the method that I learned on Cursillo! Apostolic Action is not knocking on is about how we bring Christ to our communities (including our families...and cleaning our toilets with a joyful heart). So keep doing what you are doing, and Christ will shine through you to others. DeColores!

Amy said...

First of all, you crack me up. I love reading your refreshingly honest blog.
I am no expert on this topic, but I will share my thoughts. I agree with Annie when it comes to being totally respectful to whomever it may be at your door. I think often people in groups such as JWs are taught a very specific version of questions and answers to stick to when confronting others. Sure they "know" scripture, but they obviously don't know Jesus. The scripture that they know is completely taken out of context. Their knowledge of scripture is used only to support their religion and not to bring someone to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. They want you to join their religion not come to know the Lord personally. I experienced this when Ross and I lived in Louisville, KY. I worked with a guy who was a JW. He knew that my husband was in seminary and that kindof opened the door for spiritual conversation. I basically shared my personal testimony of how Christ had changed my life. He couldn't argue with what I had personally experienced. In the end, we had to agree to disagree. I felt completely fine about this b/c I knew that I had shared the Gospel with this guy and I could leave it at that. At another time, we had a JW come to our door and my husband went out on the porch and spoke with them. He had done his research and knew questions to ask them about their founder,etc. They couldn't get off of our porch fast enough.
I think it is wise to know what JWs and others believe. It is even more important to know your personal beliefs. Weave the Gospel thru your personal testimony of what Christ has done in your life and use scripture. Don't feel a need to "convince" them. Let your testimony and God's Word point them to Christ.

Sarah said...

So funny! I never knew what to do either. I'm always polite but NOW after I tell them I'm a Christian, that Jesus is my personal Lord and Savior and then I ask them if we can talk about the Trinity - which they don't beleive they usually don't stay for long. I really do need to know MORE about what they believe..but yes, my mind is also filled with shoe sizes, lunch schedules and which boob I finished with at the last feeding. No excuse - let's go do some evangelizing!

Karen_thrifty said...

I'm not sure what the answer is. The Bible warns against inviting people with different beliefs into our homes, yet they need someone to tell them. Honestly, most JWs are so stuck on what they've been told that they won't listen to what you have to say. They have to have a have a book with them when they read the Bible. They're not allowed to read the Bible on their own because the book tells them what the scripture says and what it means. I guess so that they can't decide for themselves. Also, if someone converts to the JW faith and then leaves, everyone has to excommunicate that person. Even relatives aren't to have contact. I asked a JW about this and they said it was to shock the person into seeing the wrong they're doing. I told her it was manipulation and fear.

Honestly, I think the best way to witness to someone is through having a relationship with them, but that's hard to do when someone comes knocking on your door. If you want to talk to them, then I'd invite them back at a certain time. That will give you time to polish up on your scriptures and what they believe and you can reference the truth with scripture.

I'd just pray for wisdom and let the Lord lead you. :)

Kelly said...

Telling them that your husband is a Methodist pastor doesn't deter them, either. Dogged and relentless, those JWs!

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