One of the things I found most curious about our conversation was that she was dead set on convincing me that while I might have eternal life, my soul will not. I really wasn't interested in discussing the issue, partly because I didn't want to go into a lengthy philosophical discussion about the parts of person, but mostly because (as I finally told her), I really don't care. I belong to Jesus Christ, now and forever, and I'll trust him to decide what heaven is like down to the most minute detail. I feel perfectly content and comfortable with respect to death, my future, and my faith.
I wonder what her conversations are like with others. Does she really argue with them about less-than-relevant (at least for the non-theologian) philosophical issues? She showed me four or five verses in the Bible and I wondered if that would be enough to convince my neighbors. I, for one, was wholly unconcerned that she could pull verses out of Ecclesiastes to prove her point. Mostly I wonder what she was trying to gain from all of this. What difference does it make to her if I believe her long list of minor doctrinal issues?
Finally I told her that I appreciated her time, but that I really was interested in finding truth and knowing God, so I was going to go back to what I was doing when she came (reading the Bible with my housekeeper). She tried to argue with me a little longer, and I insisted that I really was done with the conversation. She told me she hoped I would think about the things she had said that bothered me. I assured her that I was not bothered and sent her on her way (with some difficulty).
I think I gave her my time because it feels crazy to turn someone away if they want to talk about faith. At the same time, she is not coming to my door to discuss anything; she's coming to persuade me. Is it a poor use of my time (and hers) to humor her? While I was clear about what I believe, I didn't make any efforts to try to reverse the prosyletizing. She was obviously uninterested in exploring any other ideas.
The whole ordeal (particularly the part where she wouldn't leave) made me appreciate Alpha all the more. I love the way Alpha (and the Bible, for that matter) focuses on things that really matter and matter to my neighbors, too. I'm glad that there is solid teaching in Alpha, but I love that the point of the course is to give people a time and space to explore faith for themselves. Alpha isn't about me "winning" people to my side; it's about equipping people to make informed decisions about faith. I like that it's for people who choose to come. I imagine, as well, that it's infinitely more effective than my new friend's door-to-door campaign.
I'm still left wondering if I should politely decline the next time a Jehovah's Witness or Mormon comes to my door. Any thoughts?