After my last post, Karma struck or the Universe is testing me---or having a good laugh. Yesterday afternoon, as i was dumping garbage (is it a sign?) a woman and a sweet little girl walked up the driveway. The woman introduced herself as from Indiana and the little blond girl as her grand daughter from Texas and told the little one to tell me why they were here. Seems Daddy does "Revivals." Oh my...using a cute little blond child to invite me to be "saved."
The lady who stood in my garage was very polite and meek, but little did she know we had spent an entire summer working at a Chicago Boys' Club Camp on the outskirts of Winona Lake. It claimed to be the home of the revivalist, who called himself Billy Sunday. The sign just out side of Winona Lake read "Winona Lake---Population 1,920 Christians." The only restaurant in town played the Hallelujah chorus non-stop. No theaters, so if the counselors and kids at camp wanted to see a movie, they had to walk through town and under the underpass into Warsaw, Indiana. As they walked through the tiny town, passing the "Christians" sitting on their porches, they were greeted with racial slurs, obsenities and even threated by the local cop if they didn't get out of town fast enough. What a lesson that was in "Christian Love!"
The lady in my garagae had no idea of my experience with revivalists or Indiana. I simply said, "I'm not interested." She appeared to be shocked. After all, the pretty little blond child was offering the brochure---surely only a mean evil ogre--or heathen---could say no to a child! By the way, "heathen" means person from the heath and is a politically loaded word.
Then she asked, "Do you have a church you regularly attend?" I hesitated, looked her in the eye, and said, "I don't think that is any of your business." She left hastily. My beliefs are between me and a higher power.
One of my favorite verses from the Bible is Mark 6:6 "When you pray, go in your room/closet and shut the door." In Matthew Jesus has plenty to say about Pharisees, and the lessons could be summarized as self righteousness is not righteousness.
Why do proseletizers assume that strangers know nothing about scripture? That we need "saving" and they have been "chosen" to do so? (Is that the sin of Pride?) Chances are good that I have had more college level classes in religion than they have. I have been fortunate to have courses taught by ordained ministers with PhDs. My favorite class on Job was taught by Dr. Corwin Roach who worked on translating the Dead Sea Scrolls. Can a revivalist passing through town top that? Today they seem to preach The Prosperity Gospel and omit exploring suffering.
I also take exception to those who use children to help them raise money. The children are the bait and presented to soften hearts and purse strings. The child is innocent, uninformed, obedient, loyal to the parent. Adults have no right to use children as lures---for any purpose. I remember walking on the Santa Monica Promenade with my family at Christmas time. A raggedy, dirty young girl was "dancing." while her obese, unkempt "mother" played music on a boom box and held a can for "donations." The girl could not dance, but she did her best, jumping and gyrating. It was late at night, and I wondered about school the next morning. However, I suspect they were homeless and she did not attend school. Another sad example of an adult using a child for financial gain.
Since these people on my driveway were from out or town, anything donated, would leave Devils Lake. They would not be here to visit you in hospital or bury you. Could the "collection" be better used by a local church or charity? I know of a case in western ND where a new widow attended a revival and was ready to "donate" her land, when her adult children learned of what was going on and intervened just in time. A "preacher is not the same as a "pastor."
Perhaps many who go door to door are sincere. However, lots of people "sincerely" believe things that are not true. What about those who are such sincere believers that they are willing to kill others or themselves for their beliefs? Are we not all responsible for our own learning and beliefs?