Note: this post is an edited version of an earlier post from my first blog that has since been deleted.
As I’m turning from my computer to my writing table, I catch a glimpse of the bronze car parked at the side of the road through my window.
I look up and my stomach drops. Oh crap. Yes: there it is. I know that car. Crap crap crap. After a moment of temporary stupor, I recollect myself and quickly take two steps to the wall to click off the light switch. I survey the other rooms. Are any other lights on? No. Good. I tiptoe to the computer and turn down the music that’s playing. I breathe out. I sneak to the window. I don’t see them anywhere — just the car. I back away from the window slowly and think. How can I go on with my work without allowing them to see or hear me? I can’t let them know I’m here. I decide to hide out in the upper level of the house until they’re gone.
I’m just creeping up the stairs when I hear the doorbell ring. A shock sparks through my body and I take in a sharp breath. Then I slowly continue up the stairs. On the landing I begin to pace. Are they still there? Are they going to try again, are they going to wait? The doorbell rings again. I hold my breath. Then I tiptoe toward the window in the spare bedroom to peek out. AUGH! It’s the woman, and she’s coming around to the side door! I jump back from the window. I hear her knocking now. My heart thumps and I pace quickly. I strain to look out the window again from where I’m standing by the stairs. Nothing. Then I catch a glimpse of movement — she seems to be heading back to the car. I let out a sigh. Ahhhh . . . my heart slows. I approach the window again to watch her climb back into the driver’s side of the car. I have escaped again.
I get a lot of them in this neighbourhood — I’m not sure why. I guess because I’m one of the few adults home at this time of day. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and other enthusiastic gospel-bearers — I get them all the time. I often get several visitors a week; once I got two in one day. I confess I quite dislike it. So I’ve gotten into the habit of locking the door and hiding when I see them coming around.
I don’t know why I loathe their visits so much.
Most of them are very friendly and nice. I tell myself that I’m just too busy to stand around on my porch in the middle of the afternoon chatting with middle-aged spiritual busybodies about my salvation. They don’t want to hear a word of what I have to say. I’m already “saved,” for heaven’s sake, and I have things to do!
But in all honesty, I’m pretty sure I spend just as much time hiding from them as it would take for me to listen to them read me John 3:3 and then accept a booklet and an invitation from them.
It’s not that they take up so much of my time. It’s that I simply don’t like their visits. I don’t feel like being proselytized to. It makes me uncomfortable.
It’s a very strange feeling, being on the receiving end of evangelism as a church-attending Christian myself. Heck, we call ourselves evangelicals! That’s what we do!
But it has been extremely educational, having those visitors stop by my house. I have been forced to think long and hard and frequently about the whole issue of evangelism. These gospel-bearers have helped me to see and feel what it’s like to be the victim — er, beneficiary — of such evangelical zeal. These experiences have been unspeakably valuable for me, as a person of faith myself and as an individual who has tried her own hand at evangelism one too many times.
In the next few posts, I’ll be sharing a couple of personal stories that helped shaped my understanding of evangelism. It wasn’t that long ago when I was not that different from these door-to-door evangelists. My feelings about evangelism have changed profoundly since my early days as a new evangelical in my teens and early twenties, and these fellow evangelists have helped me to understand myself.
Note: This is the first installment in my series on evangelism. You can find my introduction here.
As I mentioned, I first wrote this several years ago when I was still in grad school. Honestly, I don’t think that much about evangelism anymore, and I don’t often find myself in many situations anymore where traditional evangelism might take place; but I thought it might still be worth revisiting and discussing.
Image by Benny Mazur.