Well, that escalated quickly. You might remember that one week ago I published a rather cryptic writing piece about engaging in battle with a new foe. As is often the case, I substantially embellished everything to make it sound like I was marching off to fight a dragon, which would have been worthy of song, but my sparring partners were mere men. This past Saturday I had a chat with a pair of Jehova’s Witnesses (JWs) that showed up at my door. I knew they were coming because they had left a note for my landlord on the door a week ago. JWs are very interesting cult and talking with them requires a fair amount of preparation on particular subjects, but since I knew they would be showing up on Saturday I had a little time to prepare.
Anyone who has talked to JWs can tell you that it’s often the verbal equivalent of banging your head on a wall, and that’s more or less how this conversation played out. I wasn’t going to play any games with them and made clear my position from the start in the spirit of fighting fair. From that point the intellectual bloodbath commenced, with both of us running headlong into each other and refusing to yield any ground. In retrospect I think I got too aggressive too fast and played some cards that should have been held back for later in the conversation. Some gentler speech from both of us kept things from escalating out of control. I had to keep reminding myself that they are not my enemy—they are well-meaning people who are deceived and I must give clear witness to the truth. After awhile it was obvious to both sides that this battle was a stalemate, but I was able to get a few final salvos near the end. I thanked them for coming by and giving me the opportunity to talk to them. They smiled and thanked me for listening and engaging, and commended me as one of the few people they talked to who actually knew much of anything about JWs or their scriptures. The thing is, they didn’t give me any of their normal pamphlets or magazines, so I wonder if that means they’ve concluded I’m a lost cause and won’t be coming back. It could very well be that I won the battle but lost the war, but I will continue to hope that something I said got through to them.