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doorbells

Honestly, our doorbell doesn’t ring that much. Other than the UPS drivers who seem to be able to ring the doorbell and then evaporate before you answer the door, there isn’t much solicitation in our neighborhood. Giles rings every Monday morning because he wants to mow the backyard. It’s a weed-patch back there and he needs the money, so he mows whether it’s necessary or not. Sometimes he’ll ask for something to eat and a soda. It seems that the Lord has a few of us in our neighborhood that are providing him work so he’s got a reason to put money in his pocket. Ding-dong ding-dong ding-dong. Giles is a trifecta ringer at my house.

doorbellYesterday, as I was leaving to go to the club to workout, the doorbell rang as I simultaneously opened the front door. My hasty exit startled the three strangers standing on my front porch. The bibles and the big pamphlet announced who they were before I asked. I wasn’t in the mood for a big showdown. Before they could get into their pitch, I made sure that they understood that I have a fairly strong belief system and what they were selling wasn’t suitable to my theological palate. I’m sure they got the point rather quickly, but I doubt they felt love in any of my words.

As they moved on to the next house and I drove towards the club, I thought about the difficulty of trying to love people who are on a religious mission to move you to their camp. I’ve got my own problems with religion and regretfully my tolerance for religious dialogue and theological grain splitting is at an all-time low. I didn’t feel great about that encounter on the porch, but I’m also unclear how it could have been better. They were not going to hear one thing I might have said to them. They weren’t there to listen. They weren’t there for a conversation. I was the target of a religious agenda and quite frankly it feels gross.

Once I got to the club there was a guy roaming the parking lot carrying a fairly large box. He spotted me and headed in my direction. It was as if I had rang his doorbell and he was obliged to answer. I was beginning to think that I might be in some kind of weird pizza dream. He said, “Hey buddy, are you a fisherman?” “Well sorta, but whatever you’re selling, I don’t even have my wallet.” (true statement)

This guy was frumpy, unkempt, dirty, and I was fairly certain that whatever was in the box didn’t get there by just cause. He paid no attention to my words, “Look in here. I need to move these plastic worms.” It looked like stuff that had been in an old tackle-box for years. For some unknown reason I responded with, “Dude, I’m a fisher of men. (kind of true, but it’s overtly religious) I don’t get to the lake anymore.” I have no idea where that came from other than maybe I was just trying to get the boy out of my grill. He scratched his head and looked me over and said, “Man, I’d figure you for a fisher of women… not men!” OMG! I couldn’t stop laughing. His toothless grin confirmed that I had been busted and he had totally owned me in that skirmish. I giggled for a few more moments and then I realized that it was all too odd not to pay attention.

I thought about all that weirdness most of the day.

ISN’T IT STRANGE THAT WE ARE WILLING TO COMBAT A RELIGIOUS SPIRIT WHEN IT TRIES TO INVADE OUR RHYTHM, AND THEN WE TURN AROUND AND USE THE NASTY THING WHEN IT BENEFITS US IN SOME WAY?

If I’m not mistaken, that is hypocrisy. Sigh

When I posed the dilemma to the Lord, I sensed a small word about treating everyone with respect regardless of the baggage. We usually see the baggage first and the people second. As life happens all around us it takes a lot of discipline to laser in on the major stuff and not get distracted by the minor things. Unfortunately religious zealousness messes with everyone’s lenses. If you participate with religiousness, it messes with your lens. If you hate religiousness, it messes with your lens. And people usually get bashed in the process no matter where you are in that spectrum. I’ve wondered if it’s remotely fixable in this world.

I’m tempted to offer additional thoughts, but I’d probably only muddy the waters. Besides, someone is ringing the doorbell. Gotta run.

 

Mike

xo

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Vanessa O.
    May 14, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Good stuff Mike! Plus a good laugh 🙂

    • May 14, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      Thanks Vanessa! Hope you’re well! xo

  2. Lorna
    May 14, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Great blog!!!
    I’ll pray for your salvation! 😂😂😂😂😂😂 (pun intended)
    Wish us Jesus people would get it right more often…But that’s harder than it sounds! ❤️

  3. Nicole
    May 14, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    This is so good.

  4. May 15, 2015 at 7:04 am

    Great message (and convicting) message, Mike. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. May 15, 2015 at 7:41 am

    Really enjoyed this read😍 pretty funny too!!!

  6. paul
    May 15, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Ouch, that one hits home! Nice…….

  7. Kathy
    May 17, 2015 at 4:40 am

    Another great blog Mike! Thanks!!

  8. Kir
    May 17, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Mike buddy, I had the same 20 year old “elders” come to my door last week.For some reason, I decided to talk with them. It wasn’t because I’m so patient and kind though, I actually think it’s because I didn’t want to be a dick anymore that day.I’m sure my wife and kids would’ve appreciated me making that decision towards them earlier in the day.
    It’s funny, we both had an agenda in the conversation. Theirs was to tell me all about the prophet Joeseph Smith, and mine was to try to lead them into honest, reality dialogue, and expose to them how F’d up it is to go door to door trying to convert souls. Turns out,apparently, I wasn’t done being a dick that day.
    But in the midst of our smiling game of verbal-tug-a-war, the moderator ,that I think we were both talking about, had me looking at their sacrifice, and devotion. Now whether or not that was a personal decision, or brainwashed, wasn’t the point. The thought that was lingering was, where is that happening for me. It’s pretty funny how uncool, and small you feel after you’ve been kicked square in the proverbial ” spiritual nuts”.
    Anyway, The story gets funnier later, when my wife comes downstairs to ask me to help put the kids to bed, I have to explain why I’m on the front steps praying with the Mormons.
    Sorry for the lengthy post, I follow some of your stuff, but instead of posting comments, I’d way rather talk to you about these things under a porch, in minneasota, smoking cigars!

    Love you buddy, keep keeping it real,
    Kirk

    • May 17, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      I concur: Porch, MN in the summer and of course stogs.

      Thanks!

  9. Janet
    May 18, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Mike, I’ve read this blog several times. It’s good. You expressed the tension of this dilemma well when you said, “Unfortunately religious zealousness messes with everyone’s lenses. If you participate with religiousness, it messes with your lens. If you hate religiousness, it messes with your lens.

    It reminded me of Peterson’s translation of Galatians 5:6, “For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love.” …neither amounts to anything…what matters is far more interior…maybe we focus too much on the wrong things. Just thinking.

    Much love, Janet

    • May 18, 2015 at 10:31 am

      EXACTLY… and people need a NEW revelation of this old truth. If all we do is spin in what confirms what we already believe or only say “amen” to what we already know… we are stuck. “Far more interior” is the main thing.

      xo

  10. August 17, 2015 at 9:12 am

    I love this. 🙂

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