Door to Door in the N.H.K.

Knock, Knock.

I awaken from a stupor, wondering who could it be.  I didn’t invite anyone over, so it’s probably…

A. A pizza order I forgot about.
B. A drop-in by a friend or family member
C. A salesperson, or…

The worst possible choice –

D. A door-to-door evangelical or Jehovah’s Witness

Most of us in the west have been on the receiving end of a visit by someone doing evangelism door-to-door.  And for most, these visits are an unwelcome intrusion in our lives.  At worst, we see the drop-ins as a highly irritating invasion of privacy, space, and time.  As I watched the first episode of Welcome to the N.H.K., I was struck by familiarity of the door-to-door work that Misaki Nakahara and her elder were doing.

Welcome to the N.H.K.
Art by 白雪マロン (Pixiv)

To Knock or Not to Knock
Scenes like the one in the opening episode of  Welcome to the N.H.K. are happening right now all over the United States – someone comes to another’s door to warn of what he or she feels is a dire situation, and the response is very negative, or at the least, indifferent.  And why wouldn’t it be?  Cold-calling is among the easiest ways to anger someone – not only are door-to-door missionaries invading all sorts of tangible and intangible “places,” they’re also trying to engage a person in heavy conversation by surprise.  People don’t like this.

So why do they continue?  Perhaps it’s because of ignorance or because they feel compelled to because of guilt, peer-pressure, or a more positive reason.  But another reason is this: it sometimes works.  I’ve heard stories of successful cold turkey evangelism.  And in college, one person I visited near my church came to service the next Sunday (yes, I’ve gone a-knockin’, too).  I think that in this day and age there are generally better ways to witness, but I don’t deny that God can work in any way he chooses.

Still, is it worth it for the sake of one, disregarding the 100 who now have a more negative view of Christianity?  Well, if the parables of t15:8-10&version=NIV">he lost coin and 15:1-7&version=NIV">the lost sheep tell us anything, the answer is yes.  But I think one can have his or her cake and eat it, too.  And even further, for the majority/entirety of the reading audience, there’s something I’d like to ask you to do as well the next time someone comes to your doorstep.

Attention, Christians!
First, for those partaking in this type of evangelism, remember this: God doesn’t need you.  He will do what He will, and you don’t need to bug the heck out of people for God to work.  Witness with your actions while you witness with your words – a kind touch and an understanding response is better than a pushy attitude.  Don’t bug the person and represent yourself negatively.  Instead, present the gospel, and if the person isn’t interested, give them an out – leave them an email address or phone number where they can contact you if they’re interested, and let God work in that person’s heart.

Welcome to the N.H.K.
Be nice, Nakahara! Art by carradio (Pixiv)

Attention, Home Dwellers!
And now, for the rest of us.  I ask that next time someone comes to your door, be as patient as you can.  Listen to that person.  Some may be crazies, but you know what?  Some might not be – they might have something important to say.  If you want, engage them in questioning or a debate – while they may not be prepared, many are and want to talk in this manner.  Who knows, you might learn something.

If you’ve had enough, firmly tell them so.  If the time is bad, ask them to come back another time – most won’t, but some will.

And if in the end, you didn’t learn anything at all, you probably lost just a bit of your time.  But if your curiosity was piqued, it might lead to more understanding about another faith or might be even be a beginning point for your own spiritual journey.

What have been your experiences with door-to-door evangelists?  Positive?  Negative?  Would you be willing to be more open to them than you possibly have been?

TWWK

Husband. Dad. Occasionally Korean. Enjoys Star Wars, ASOIAF, and Meg Ryan movies. Tweets before proofreading. Ghibli. Oregairuuuuu. Jesus is King.

8 thoughts on “Door to Door in the N.H.K.

  1. I’m definitely on the guilty end of closing the door in the faces of people who “came-a-knockin’.” Growing up, my home was across the street from a Mormon Church, and as such, we were bombarded quite often with door-to-door gospels. It didn’t matter how many times my parents told them that our family already had a church and a were devout Christians; they still persisted in wanting to compare their beliefs to ours. These experiences built for me further dislike for religion.

    I do appreciate your post though, and recommendations for dealing with such situations. I’ve gotten so used to rudely telling them to leave, that I’ve forgotten that not every single door-knocker who comes my way is a member of “that church across the street.” I’ve never met a good majority of them, or seen where they come together for fellowship. It wouldn’t hurt to politely listen to them the first-time round, then be firm if any follow-ups arise.

    As for privacy, I am an extreme homebody and hate intrusions by anyone, even by my landlord. Like you said, I’m just not interested in breaking out of my daily routine and writing to entertain a typically energetic discussion with a door-knocker.

    1. Thanks for the thoughtful comments. 🙂

      I can certainly see where you’re coming from. The whole door-to-door experience begins with a negative and often goes downhill from there. I’m just hoping that this type of dealy can actually lead to interesting/thoughtful/significant discussion and maybe to understanding.

      That said, my first instinct is to say, “Sorry, I’m not interested.” But I’m eager to do better, myself. *tries to avoid hypocrisy*

  2. I’ve dealt with door-knockers coming to my place before. I can’t say that the experience was either way, since I was little and at home alone. I did know not to open the door to strangers, though…. it didn’t help much, since my first (and so far, only) experience with them was when I didn’t understand what evangelists were, or what those strange men in dark suits were doing piling up out of a white van and going to all the houses for! xD I was scared out of my wits! It didn’t help that they had seen me and persisted in standing and knocking at the door for a few more minutes, waiting for me to open it >.> That made the experience even more terrifying.

  3. I haven’t had very good experiences with door-knockers since once they know that I’m deaf, they usually try to take advantage of that. One time, this really persistent evangelist learned that I was deaf from another neighbor’s ill-advised gossiping, and he attempted to make me believe that Christianity could alleviate my disability, but I had already accepted my disability for what it was. He came by every day for a week right after my school day was over and my parents were still at work. I kept refusing firmly, until finally my parents took a workday off and intervened on my behalf.

    Nowadays, I always tell them firmly that I’m not interested, but they always seem to somehow notice my hearing aids and become even more persistent. -_-‘

    1. Gosh, I’m sorry to hear that – those people sound pretty terrible. There’s really SO much wrong with what they were doing – on the level of basic humanity as well as in following the example of Christ. Really, these people sound like wolves ready to pounce on prey. 😛

      What I was going to add to my post, but forgot, was to say that sometimes, even if we’re trying to be graceful to others, there’s a point where you just have to say “sorry, but no thanks” and push them right out. Unfortunately, you’ve had to meet a number of people which needed to hear no for an answer, and even when they did, still didn’t respond like they should have.

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