Thinking about unwanted religious recruitment always brings one or two funny stories to mind. The best story, ever, belongs to my best friend, Karl. He died young many years ago, but to this day, things happen that only he, of all my friends, would fully appreciate and I miss him quite poignantly at times. I clearly recall the sound of his laughter. Sometimes, I hear him laughing distinctly in my mind and wonder if an earthly sense of humor translates to the spirit world. (I question whether something funny here is sophisticated enough for an expanded consciousness.)
When Karl was a young man attending school in central Kansas after his stint in Vietnam, the Jehovah's Witnesses found their way to his door - repeatedly and irritatingly. Dropping broad hints will never deter these folks. If they believe there is even a tiny chance to bring you to Jesus, they will not give up and continually return to your home. One day they knocked on Karl's door when he was showering. It was the last straw. He opened the door stark naked and growled, "What do you want?" It was the permanent end to the visits.
When the Witnesses began knocking on my door in Topeka, I had enough worldly experience to not invite them in. I always tried to politely discourage them from returning. It seemed that no matter how I phrased it, I was not convincing enough. One day an impeccably dressed older black couple knocked on my front door. The woman was tall, with a huge bosom, wearing a modest hat and a dark tailored suit. The man, a dignified and graying gentleman in a quality pin-stripe, was quite short and well spoken. They were a beautiful couple. Their humble sincerity deeply touched me. There was something quite wholesome and clear about these two people. They truly believed they were doing what God required of them and, for all I honestly know, they were absolutely correct. My heart opened immediately to them and I felt a genuine flush of compassion and gratitude for their earnest ministry. I was not tempted to believe their way, or go to their church, but for a moment I saw them as perhaps the Creator sees their endeavors, as the Creator sees all of our best efforts.
As kindly as I could, I told them my son was Potawatomi and in our house we practiced that spirituality. As they prepared to leave, I impulsively said, "God bless you." I meant it. But, I sincerely hoped they would not pester me again with this religious business.
About two weeks later on a bright Saturday morning, someone unexpectedly knocked on my front door. It was the man and woman, as impeccably dressed and as gracious as ever, and another woman. The couple greeted me by name, then introduced their companion. The dear church lady triumphantly added with a knowing nod of her head, "She is Potawatomi, too."
I distinctly heard Karl laughing - with immense delight. I hear him laughing right now.