There is a Jehovah’s Witness “Kingdom Hall” less than a mile from my house – less than half a mile if you cut through alleys and back yards. So it should come as no surprise that this morning – while I was preparing for tonight’s Imbolc circle – I finally got the dreaded knock on the door.
There were two middle-aged men and a very young boy, who handed me the customary copy of The Watchtower (I can never see that name without hearing a Wiccan calling “Hail, Guardians of the Watchtowers of the East, Powers of Air, we invoke you and call you…”). The younger of the two men started into his spiel about how God is going destroy all the “evildoers” and reading scripture to support his argument. He threw in a couple of references about environmental stewardship, to which I agreed – doing the right thing for the wrong reason is still doing the right thing.
As I stood there listening, I was conflicted about how to respond. Part of me wanted to say “excuse me, but I have to get back to preparing for tonight’s Pagan fertility festival in honor of the Goddess Brigid.” Another part wanted to start attacking the concept of the Bible as the literal and inerrant “word of God.” And another part wanted to scream “you worship God your way and I’ll worship mine!”
In the end, I settled by saying that I appreciated that they had found a path that was meaningful to them, that I strongly believed the Bible is a collection of writings by and for a particular group of people at a particular time in history, and that since we believe such very different things about the Bible, any meaningful religious dialogue wasn’t possible.
They offered me one of their books, which I declined. I have a great respect for books – even those I disagree with – and I didn’t want to take something I wouldn’t read.
I think I was respectful while being true to my beliefs, and for catching me unprepared like that, I suppose that’s all anyone can expect.
Even if part of me did want to shock them out of their coats and ties…