Let’s talk about Jehovah’s Witnesses. When I was a young adult, they came to call with an interesting story about a better kingdom under the authentic government of Jehovah. To me it sounded like a Star Wars sort of thing, and it wasn’t clear if they represented the good rebels or the evil emperor. Later on it was just a matter of politely slamming the door in their faces. I imagine they get a lot of that.
Not long after I was ordained, and walking in full clerical garb to the corner of 90th and Lexington in NYC, I was mobbed by an entire van load of Witnesses. I pulled out my newly sharpened Nicene Creed and prepared for battle. It didn’t last long. I scored no direct hits, not even a few near misses. Their leader called an early halt. I think the fun was over, or maybe they just got bored. They all piled back into the van and disappeared in a Brooklynish direction.
Now I’m just an old retired Episcopal priest living in a small western city, and it looks like I’m on the rota for the local Kingdom Hall gang. Oddly enough, I’m enjoying it. Two very nice ladies and I had a long visit about biblical translations, and the meaning of orthodox Christianity. I wished them God’s speed on departure. About a year later it was two older men. We visited about whether these were the worst of all possible times proving that the end was near. That led us into a survey of several centuries of history and the various worst times they had seen. Perhaps our worst times are not quite as bad as we sometimes think. They also left in peace.
A few weeks ago it was two middle aged men. We talked about the role of Constantine in early Christianity. How the Arian controversy got worked out in the context of a largely Arian Roman army and a couple of Arian emperors. We also had a fascinating discussion about the proper name of God. They left with a blessing, but I need to track them down. I made a big mistake in our brief conversation about Deuteronomy when I attributed the mysterious “book of the law” to Hezekiah instead of Josiah. I always get those two mixed up. If I can find Randy and Bob, I’ll apologize for the error.
As it is, I’m almost looking forward to the next door knock. I let them start off, ask a few questions about their opening gambit, and the conversation begins. It sure beats whatever is on T.V.