Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Door to door caution

A couple of Saturdays ago, I was hanging out in my apartment when someone knocked on the door. I wasn't expecting anyone, so I peered through the peephole. A nice-looking young man stood there, without any sort of identification.

My city-girl instincts kicked in and I thought went through the options: He could be an ax murderer. He could just be lost. Maybe he's trying to sell something, at which point I can call security because solicitations are not allowed in the complex. I could ignore him completely.

I decided to open the door just wide enough to say hi. He handed me a flier from his church.
"I'm just spreading the love of Jesus," he said.
"Thanks, have a nice day," I replied.
Door closed.

I fully appreciate people who are willing to go door to door spreading their faith. It shows conviction and guts and faith, since you never know what you're going to find when the door opens. And being a religion reporter, I'm naturally interested in other peoples beliefs.

But in today's world, where the news regularly warns us to lock our doors and be suspicious of who knocks, I was not about to engage this guy in further conversation. My mom is probably out there shaking her head at me for even answering the door.

It left me wondering whether churches have adjusted their witnessing strategies to make up for today's climate. I have a few suggestions. Send out two people -- preferably of the opposite sex. Maybe wear some sort of identifying clothing. Everyone recognizes the Mormons in their white shirts and ties. And don't be surprised if you get lots of terse responses in apartment complexes full of single women.

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