I was visited this morning by a polite, grey-haired gentleman intent on spreading the Word and attracting new parishioners. Unlike the last Jehova's Witness who visited me, who couldn't do anything but quote the pamphlet she wanted to hand me, this fellow was able to have a conversation about the Bible as a literary/historic work, and attempt to defend the book he held in his hand as the true word of God. He realized fairly quickly that he wasn't going to be able to welcome me into the congregation, but we spent a pleasant twenty minutes discussing words vs. concepts, the linguistic and social contexts of the scriptures, and where society is headed.
On one hand, I sort of feel sorry for people who devote their free time to proselytizing. This guy has been cussed at, screamed at, and threatened with bodily harm at gunpoint at various points in his travels because he wanted to have a conversation about faith. He wasn't pushy, he gave me multiple opportunities to kick him off my porch, and while he did his best to nudge me in the direction of the Bible, he did it respectfully. He didn't deserve to be threatened or yelled at, but he acted as though he expected me to treat him that way.
On the other hand, evangelists choose their paths, just like the rest of us. They make the choice to serve their God in this way, and suffer the slings and arrows, as it were, of that task. They knock on doors in the hope that they can bring the faith that gives them such comfort into the lives of others, knowing that those others may be secure in other faiths, or have no faith at all, or not be open to the idea of having a stranger with a book try to mess with their souls. They know what the possibilities are when they knock on each door, and they knock anyway.
I rather like talking with people about faith, and I wish I'd had more time to ask this man about his, because I think it would have been interesting, but I had plans with my sister (who arrived just as the man started talking with me), and had to keep it short. I'm always curious to hear other people's approaches to faith and scriptures and historical context, as well as their reasons why, of all the world's religions, they chose whichever one they did. I think it helps me understand humanity a little better -- something that's part of my own spiritual path.
I'm almost looking forward to the next random knock on my door. Just so long as it doesn't come in the middle of a row of complicated knitting.