The Gospel of Judas and Howard
Who Has Fought the Fine Fight?

Like No Evangelist I've Ever Seen

I am a writer for the City! newspaper in Rochester. Only they aren’t aware of it. (Thank you, Garrison Keillor)

A published City! article and unpublished response.

Ding-Dong, heaven calling “Hello, my name is Angelina and I’m telling all your neighbors about the New Millennium.” She was young and unlike any door-to-door evangelist I’d ever seen: black leather jacket, sunglasses, thick black hair unbound, tight checkered shirt. What kind of little angel is this, I wondered. She was sexy. But in a dulled, dim sort of way. Not like live bait dangling, bright and glittering. She was definitely not hot-wired into God’s dynamo. “Do you know how you’ll spend the next millennium?” she asked, in a far-off voice

They usually come in pairs, trudging up my street together, somnambulistic, slack-faced, dulled by the endless repetition of come-on lines and the emotional hardening of all those doors slammed in their faces. Angelina gave me a single-sheet bi-fold tract, like a flimsy Sunday school flyer. Bad colors and cheap printing. Thin apocalyptic images on one side. Soldiers, red dragons, fighter planes. And those weirdly tepid New Millennium pictures on the other. A kid with a lion, a basket of fruit, beautifully bland landscape. If that’s paradise, I thought, I’ll stick with my suburban bunker visited once a year by sexy evangelistic girls. “What does the future hold for you?” her tract asked. She gave me a wan smile, bored as a Wal-Mart checker, and bid me to “have a nice day.”

Was she a renegade evangelist? An end time angel doing a little last-minute soul-trawling? Did she represent some new wrinkle in the door-to-door salvation biz? No, I decided. She’s an anomaly. Doing her duty, her own way. But if the elders knew what kind of ripples were spreading out behind her, they’d yank her off the street in a minute.

My unpublished response:

Somnambulistic, slack-faced, dulled, trudging and emotionally hardened. ("Ding-Dong, heaven calling,") With a single-sheet bi-fold tract...a kid with a lion, a basketful of fruit, depictions of paradise. That sounds like me. Flat nosed from all those slamming doors. And Angelina must be one of my co-workers. Not a flattering description. I might choose different adjectives to describe myself.

Why did she visit? What motivates her? Why does she volunteer her time? Does it require courage? What would she say if given opportunity? We don't know. The writer shows no interest in these things, but can take time to drool in City over what a hot chick she may be.

Many people have Bibles, but few know the contents. So I, as Jehovah's Witnesses do, along with Angelina, (who I don’t know) make calls on people to discuss Bible promises. People are busy, involved in many things, have their own views, and I usually come without appointment. So I appreciate when folks are hospitable for a few minutes. They are not required to speak with me. Some do, some don’t. But if they do, I hope they will remember what I said and why I came, and not just if I seemed sexy or not.

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