a saturday morning in zen judaism

I was woken up this morning by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Only this one was a whole family – father, mother, three year old daughter, baby boy.

Normally, I inform the Christians who come to my door that I am not one of them. But what can you really do when it’s a whole family? All I could do was smile, and accept the tract they’re giving out in the spirit in which it was given. There was no other action which would have done any more good.

I’m always happy when a religion brings others joy. It’s wonderful that there are people who accept Jesus Christ as their saviour, or who join the Church of Latter Day Saints, or who find a sect of Protestantism, and find real, honest, meaning in life through that. If Christianity is the means through which people can come to peace with themselves and the world around them, and is the inspiration for them to connect with humanity, to do good for the human race, that’s fantastic. But I don’t understand why Christians have to go around converting everyone. I mean, can’t they just leave the rest of us to find our own paths?

And how much good can it do for peoples who have their own cultural/religious beliefs, to take on Christianity at a late date? How much does it detract from the heritage of a non-European individual to have a Eurocentric version of Judeo-Christianity imposed on them? I’m lucky – Judaism is something that’s part of my heritage. When I chant in Hebrew in synagogue, I am connected to the six thousand years of ancestry that make up that half of my DNA. But if I was Asian, or South American, or African, with only a few generations of recently converted Christianity, wouldn’t that disconnect me from who I was born to be, from the history and the lives of the people who were born before me?

This morning, I took the tract, skimmed it, wished them a good morning, and dropped it in a bin of recycling as soon as they left. A few years ago, I would have probably told them to get the hell out of my neighborhood. After all, they’d introduced themselves as “neighbors”, but didn’t even live in Mar Vista – they were up from Playa. And I didn’t ask what I really wanted to know, which was, does this really bring you happiness? Does this religion really hold meaning for you? Or are you ringing doorbells in Mar Vista at ten on a Saturday because you’re trying to fill in a space, trying to cement a belief, an artificial respiration of a hollow plastic faith?

2 responses to “a saturday morning in zen judaism

  1. Oh JW’s…
    they’re not bad people, but I’m glad I’m done with
    them all the same. Though nearly (‘cept my Da’) all
    my fam’ was JW, growing up I could never buy the Xian
    myths and just threw it back with all the contradicitions
    i found in these.
    And I went to school in a heavy-duty jewish area
    of the Valley and so I took the same holidays from
    school that they did(tho’ teachers would stare
    disbelievingly) along with the usual school holidays,
    so Judaisnm’s been good to me that way.
    good times

  2. Ah yes, the new JW tactics.

    I remember last summer in Dinosaur when they came into the park housing area, with a sign at the entrance that said Park Employees Only. I was packing the truck and noticed them go towards the office, which looks the same as the houses, because it is one, and start knocking. I kinda figured what was up right away. I told them there was no one there and it was an office so the lady came to talk to me, and the stunted man followed a bit later. I asked if they had seen the park employees only sign at the entrance. She said yes. I stared. But she didn’t seem to get it. I was polite and talked to the lady a bit but was looking for an escape. I took their newspapers and noded and such, but then she wanted to know my opinion on the paper’s article, which was something about science ruining faith or some crap. I said we had to go and held my tounge and hopped in the truck since we were leaving but they went off down the park housing still knocking at doors.

    Steph says where she is in England they have taken to telling you about issues such as skin cancer, and handing you magazines about it and how to protect yourself, but they put the Watch Tower in with it.

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