We were in a top secret meeting reviewing brainwashing techniques when in burst Tom Pearlsenswine, so excited. He'd just come across a blog entry: Church Wars! A group of Jehovah's Witnesses and a group of church evangelizers crossed swords on a public street - almost a brawl! giving residents great (and free) entertainment. It ended when the street spokesman yelled at both the JW leader and the church leader, but she yelled at the JW leader less! What a great experience! Pearlsenswine ventured. He wanted to post a comment. It would be a great witness for the Lord, he said. Of course, we all dropped everything to go online.
"Pearlsenswine, you idiot!" we remonstrated gently. "This is not a serious post. This guy is being creative. He's having fun. You go on there with your super-sober piety, and you'll make us all a laughingstock." But there's no reasoning with Pearlsenswine when he gets something into his head. His own website says it all: "He puts the dog into dogmatic!"
So off he goes commenting and, predictably, the writer returns with ".....um, I just made this up. 90% of it, anyway." What a bullet-headed lout our boy is!
But I got to chatting with this fellow on the real event that inspired his post, and it turns out that he's not particularly down on Jehovah's Witnesses. They are harmless and inoffensive enough, he opines. But the other group he can't stand. "I like to be persuaded . . . not told by some righteous person that I am a lowlife that will burn in hell. That lot deserve to be parodied, especially the guy outside the tube (this fellow's British, just like Queen Elizabeth) station who is basically just a nasty bastard," he said. The group in his story paraded in around in public with a bloodied "Jesus" on a cross who twitched! Twitched! That's not a little sick? he suggests. (notwithstanding Mel Gibson's movie, which is required viewing for this bunch) "What a great piece of exaggeration!" I congratulated him. But no, he assured me, that part really happened. He had pictures.
This strikes a chord with me because we just finished up our district convention, this year themed Follow the Christ. Now, these firebrand groups can't stand JWs, mainly because we don't line up with their favorite doctrines: trinity and hellfire. So they always picket our conventions. One guy is dressed up in a "devil" suit, gesticulating. What on earth is he doing? He's waving his disciples into the auditorium!
Look, I realize that not everyone welcomes JW visits. Furthermore, I admit we are not always "smooth." It depends on the person, their experience & comfort level, the circumstances, and so forth. But I do pledge that we will never come to anyone's door in a devil suit.
The Devil's been showing up for several years now. Is it my imagination or was he 10 feet tall the first year (probably due to drywall stilts) whereas now he's just regular height? If it turns out he was never on stilts, his head will grow so big it will topple him off the stilts he was never on. It means he loomed larger than life in my imagination! It means he's getting under my skin!
Well, yeah, maybe a little. These guys are pretty obnoxious. Our people must form a human "corridor" so that conventioneers can enter the building unmolested. It's not as if we couldn't find a better use for our time. Even the cops are fed up with them and threaten them with arrest when they try to physically obstruct entrance. After all, being assigned district convention duty is, for a cop, an easy gig. They simply direct traffic. Nothing more. Our people don't even stray outside the crosswalk! They're on their best behavior, imagining this gives "a good witness." The policeman stands there with a donut and exchanges pleasantries with our people as we cross this or that street. What could be easier? But now they have to put up with these religious bigmouths who, this year, for the first time (I think) in Rochester, came with sound equipment, which they used to blast everyone's eardrums, reminding them about hellfire.
All this is sort of an annual joke. Those entering the auditorium rarely so much as look at these people. The general thought is that this will only encourage them, and so that's the word-of-mouth policy that we usually follow. Of course, following policy doesn't cut it with this bunch, who do anything they damn well like anytime they like. If our people decline to speak to them, they interpret it as "brainwashing," as if every conventioneer would just love to engage them in stimulating conversation, but the mean Watchtower won't let them.
[UPDATE: 2009 Keep on the Watch Convention]