During the summer between my Freshman and Sophomore year of college, I decided that I wanted to chill out, go home and just find any old summer gig (in lieu of pursuing an internship or some other intense program). It was a mistake, one that to this day I regret.
Try as might the only job that I eventually could find was working as “customer service” for a prominent cellular phone company. But this was back in 2003 and the thing that was all the rage then was home phone service that offered unlimited calling to anywhere in the country.
My colleagues and I were not actually equipped to answer customer service concerns. Instead, we were trained how to try to coddle (angry, sometimes irate) customers who were not happy with some aspect of their bill or service to … Yup, you guessed it- offer them the chance to enroll in more phone services.
You’ve all been through it. You get the telemarketing call, you tell them you are not interested. What do they do in response?
Give you a thousand rebuttals, usually prefaced with a man “Ma’am/Sir I understand your concern with X but (insert sales pitch here)”
It was awful. I don’t have a sales bone in my body, so I just tried to pass people on to the real customer people as quickly as I could while not being penalized for lack of “sales.”
Today on the bus, something happened that, like those telemarketing pitches are annoying. I was texting my friend who was waiting in the airport trying to catch her flight. A girl sitting next to me saw an opening. She tapped me on the shoulder and offered me a flier invitation to attend her church.
I’m hip to the game at this point, and am not in the mood to even try to be polite. But I see that the flier is expensive it’s in color, on glossy stock paper and embossed. I tell the girl that I probably will not attend so don’t give me the flier, save it for someone who will come.
But wait, there is more. She is no satisfied with what I have to say.
At this junction can I ask something, why the heck do people, particularly “religious” people who want to smack you over the head with their jumbo Bibles, keep going. It’s like when you politely decline it’s read as an invitation for even greater glory as they bring you over to their side. Sigh.
Her rebuttal was “But the event is not even for today”
Um, ok, but I just told you without even reading the flier that I am not going. So, I told her point blank, I don’t care when it is, I will not go. Please save your flier for someone else.
I then go back to texting my friend. A normal person who respects a person’s personal space would leave it there. I think Jesus or one of the apostles said something like if people will not receive you, then leave and shake the dust off your feet as you go out. (In other words stop trying to force yourself on people).
But oh no, she was not done. Her next tactic, to ask me, “well, what church do you go to?” Um what? I was angry at this point this shit (excuse my language) was straight up out of those how to “witness” (bka prosletize) video.
I just told her point blank with a very firm tone and without looking away from my phone, “I don’t want to have this conversation.”
She was apparently shocked that I should dare rebuff her encroachment on my privacy, peace of mind and conversation with my friend- finally put the darn flier away and started chatting on her phone, probably about me…. ha ha….
Can I just declare that I hate effing incidents like these? They didn’t bother me so much before, but I hate them now! Leave me alone, leave everyone alone! Stop trying to cram your religion down my throat!
I don’t want to go to your church!
As I told my friend in the text explaining what happened: I know that God loves me, I don’t need to attend your church to find that out!
I’m sorry but it seems to me that this rise in the number of randos handing out church fliers, trying to talk to strangers about their particular church or “Jesus” in particular tends to be a numbers game. The cheesy scripting “Hey, what would you do if you died right now?” “Do you feel alone, sad or depressed?” “What do you want God to do in your life today?” —- all of which I have heard used on yours truly—argh!
It just smacks of naivete and insincerity. Yes, you sincerely want people to believe what you believe, but are you really thinking about that individual’s state of being right now?
Are you actually listening to what their concerns are? Or are you so busy trying to tick of the next thing on your list of tactics that you miss the point.
If your “witnessing” reads like something that came out of a can of Spam, I would suggest that you reexamine yourself. “Winning Souls” is not a numbers game and people can tell that you are indeed treating them like just a number.
I’m not a fan of proselytizing, but I usually can deal with it in smaller doses. I know what some people respond to this kind of approach, and are grateful for it. That is fine for them. I respect that. But, I also think that when someone politely declines your advances, I think it’s just a matter of respect and courtesy for them and for yourself, that you drop it.
It seems to me that if you continue, then you are “starting something.” Anyone who believes that God is the one that converts people/changes hearts, knows when to shut up and go about life because GOD is in control of everything.
I am picking on the Bible thumpers in particular today, because quite frankly I am only ever approached by strangers from Christian sects. I think when we talk about religious discussions among family members, then we are talking about something totally different (just an ending caveat).