Bible Belt

Sunday, 16 May 2010
A very nice middle-aged man came to my house recently to haul away an old mattress on the back of the property.  I found him through Craigslist and he only charged me $50 for the job.  Let's call him John.

John showed up on time with the tools he needed to strap in the mattress for the haul and we loaded it in.

While he was working, he started to tell me about a Christian rock band he's really into.  I nodded my head and encouraged him to go on and he did.  After about 10 minutes of him discussing the band's purpose and message I realized he was evangelizing. 

John wanted to make sure I understood that Jesus died for me and that life isn't worth living without his love in my heart.

The man was harmless but wow it was another stark reminder that I'm back in the Bible Belt.  I politely interrupted John as he was working up to the final sell (He going to pray with me there over the stinky mattress?) to let him know I graduated from Carson-Newman College. 

Most people in East Tennessee know all about C-NC.  It was a Southern Baptist college with no boys allowed in the dorms after 10 p.m. and yes, we signed contracts saying we would not consume alcohol.  I said, "John, I had a very involved Christian upbringing but thank you for your kindness and care."

What about folks who don't believe in God, Christ, Heaven, Hell?  It is amazing to me how bold people can be about their religion in the South.  Some might even call it extreme.  Yes, many Christians believe they have to lead others to Christ in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven but I've yet to meet believers from other religions that are so invasive.

John kept me waiting while he loaded up his cell phone video.  He still wanted to show me the band's latest performance.  He had a huge smile while saying, "Listen to the words here...such a great message." 

4 comments

sandy said...

What people like John don't realize is they turn more away then draw them in. People who go overboard, people who are pushing; make people push the opposite direction. I never buy anything from a pushy salesman. I do believe, and I appreciate people wanting to share; but people who go overboard make me uncomfortable. Uncomfortable because I don't like door to door religion. I believe that's what John did. He also took advantage of his position. He was there to move the mattress; not preach. I have a problem with people who do things like that. To me, it's inappropriate.

Did he ever finish the job of moving the mattress?

Sandy

Amber said...

Overbearing proselytizing is not just a problem of traditional religion/Christianity. People can adopt other personal "causes" that for all intents and purposes, serve and operate the same way as a religion. For example, I have a friend who came out of the closet a few years back, and now, his gay lifestyle decisions/political concerns/cultural lobbying/etc come up at some point in nearly every interaction I have with him. He's very, very forward in directing conversations toward his agenda, much like your buddy John. ;)

It seems that every facet of my friend's life - social, intellectual, religious, political, artistic -- has changed to revolve around his newly adopted identity as a gay man. I realized that's basically his religion now. That's fine, if that's what he wants. The difference between him and John is that my friend's agenda is considered more socially appropriate (at least in liberal circles), and therefore less likely to be noticed or viewed as aggressive. However, in my view, his actions in promoting his agenda have been every bit as invasive as what you described.

LizP said...

You have property :-)

What people like John don't realise is that you can't say the wrong thing to the right person and you can't say the right thing to the wrong person. If someone is looking (for whatever is your passion) it doesn't take much to find out and they would be better served to connect with the person first.

Ok, I'll get off of my soapbox :-)

Denae said...

Sandy - He did finish the job and it was a job well-done. It just took him a while since he was sharing his message.

Amber - You certainly have a point there. Anyone who is overbearing is just socially awkward! Perhaps your friend is sharing with you because he's excited about being able to be himself. You should be honest with him if his sharing makes you feel uncomfortable.

LizP - Well said! And you know I reserve a special place for your soapbox here. You should get on it any time you like. :)