The Position of Missionaries

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Lately my neighborhood seems to have been targeted by missionaries from a couple of different religions.  They show up sporadically, sometimes ringing the doorbell and handing out literature, occasionally stopping their car to chat with me when I’m out walking.  It would be easy to be irritated but they’re always kind, polite and personable — never obnoxious or pushy about their beliefs — and I can’t see any reason to be cruel.  It is fairly easy to tell them a white lie however, saying I’m on the way out the door or that my husband is ill.  For the couple yesterday — a warm, friendly man and wife combo — I stood in the doorway and hauled out my childhood religion as justification not to hear their spiel. I’m not sure — I think I may have seen them glance at one another with concern and back up ever so slightly when I told them I’d been raised Catholic.  They’re doing what they feel they’ve been directed by their faith to do and it’s not like they have terrorist tendencies.  Or at least I don’t believe they do.  They’re proselytizing because that’s what they believe is right.  It doesn’t appear that they have any nefarious leanings and the truth is that on some level, I admire them.  Much like political canvassing — which I have done — it takes courage to be willing to have doors slammed in your face for your beliefs.

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2 Responses

  1. Sharman Enbeson says:

    Nice entry!… Good one

  2. Jaqueline Biggs says:

    When missionaries of any of the mainstream religion come to my door I just hold up my hand and say I already have a spirituality of my own. This never fails to make them curious–they just cannot help themselves. When they ask what religion I practice I tell them I am a witch. Then before they can get their shocked and appalled breath I ask if they would like to stay for lunch: “I have a couple of Christian children I am going to roast in my oven and serve with some fave beans and a nice Chianti. You are more than welcome to share–there should be enough for all of us.” It stops them right in their tracks every time and then they turn and leave. And they don’t come back.

    As someone with over two dozen family members deeply enmeshed for over forty years in of one of those mega cult churches professing a four square gospel of Christ message I have seen more harm, hypocrisy, and the exact same small minded, deeply ignorant and judgmental behavior that characterizes most organized religions since they all began–most of it aimed at ensuring women and girls are kept in their place.

    I’ve seen my nieces emotionally damaged by the Bible based message that women are weaker and therefore require “care and handling” by a proper Christian male member of the family or church. But of course the church missionaries didn’t preach that message when they came to our door.

    My mother was institutionalized by the Catholic church at the age of 9–stripped from her home and placed into the care of the unrelenting nuns at a St. Paul, Minnesota orphanage because her father died and her mother was Episcopal and Welsh–which meant to the local parish priest that she was fair game. It took Grandma 26 years to find all 8 of her children raised in good Christian households and every one them were deeply dysfunctional alcoholics. A trail of violence, child abuse, silence, lies, bigotry, and terrible, terrible grief and pain followed every one of them through to the next two generations.

    More war, greed, hatred, death and misery has been spread by missionaries in the name of god than anything else I can think of on this planet. Missionaries proselytize door to door and country to country appearing to be harmless.

    I believe it is dangerous to think because one is an open minded, sensitive, kind and loving person that missionaries could not have nefarious leanings; that they come under the banner of Christ’s peace. And just where is that exactly? 2000 years of Christianity has failed to materialize it. A half a thousand more years of Judaism, and somewhat less than 200 years of Islamism and not one has brought peace. America is the land it is because the separation of church and state is enshrined in our constitution. If you really believe they are harmless then please, please I beg you read Ishmael and the Story of B by Daniel Quinn. Nothing else you’ve ever read will change your view of this world and its history, or its future.

    Sorry Mary to be so blunt and long winded. I am glad you write and I love your writing. I am also relieved that you are a thinker and a deep one. I’ll put away my soap box now and go sit on the naughty step. xxx

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