I heard the knocking on Thursday morning. I was reading, my mind was elsewhere, and I’m not that quick, so it never occurred to me to ignore it. I answered the door to find two young, somewhat attractive women standing on the porch; one was blonde, the other dark-haired with glasses, possibly Asian. They held small books in their hands.
“May I help you?” I asked.
You have to know that my house is off the main road, but visible from it, so you would have to make an effort to approach my door. I had a feeling they were going to try to sell me something. The blonde woman started her pitch by musing on all the bad things happening in the world today. She wanted me to know that there is a way to deal with all the noise and confusion of life. She held before my eyes a small Bible with a printed card inside it.
As I said, I’m not that quick, but I did politely hear them out. Then I asked for reciprocity: I invited them inside (the wife was asleep, anyway) and told them I would try to de-convert them. They looked a little shocked and declined my offer, but gave me their card. On the card was the location of their church. Naturally, I asked if I could come to their church and give my side of the story. Again, they politely declined and this time beat a hasty retreat!
OK, I wish it had happened that way. But no, I’m not that quick. Here’s what happened. After they had finished their sales pitch, I said, “It’s such a coincidence you’re here right now! As it happens, I’ve just been talking with God myself. He gave me specific instructions to shoot anybody who comes to my door and dares to speak His name!
“I’m going to get my shotgun. Will you two please wait right here?”
Oh, how I wish it had happened that way! But no, I’m not that quick. Here’s what really happened. I heard them out, then said, “I’m sorry to waste your time, but we’re all atheists here.” Then I thanked them and closed the door. If only I had been quicker.
James McNeill Whistler (1833) It was on this date, July 11, 1834, that American painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. His father was an Army Major and Whistler himself was educated at West Point, from which he was dismissed. Whistler was a leading proponent of the credo, “art for art’s sake” […]