It is Sunday. The Lord’s day. A Day of Rest. The Sabbath. Even though I am a skeptic when it comes to the fairytale known as the “Good Book”, I agree with the premise of taking a day of rest. Who wouldn’t? I was upset when my provincial government allowed businesses to open on Sunday. This nice summation tells the story of how that came to be.
Wouldn’t a fairer situation for us all to be to work for four days and have a three-day weekend every weekend? Who agrees with me?
This Sunday I can’t relax. I have to write. I have to keep the momentum going.
The support I have received for ranting and raving on WordPress has been overwhelming and I want to sincerely thank all who have commented on, liked, and followed Not Sheep Minded.
Today I will not be learning that Aerosmith guitar lick I have been working on. I will not be serial-watching Making a Murderer: Season Two. Instead, I am going to forgo my day of rest and tell you a little story.
The only thing that can stop my story is the subject of the story itself. The only thing that can stop me is the almighty Jehovah. If that is his will, he will send his messenger. And that messenger’s name is Mack.
I. The Messenger
At the time of his first visit I was between jobs, so I had time on my hands. I was probably in my pyjamas when I answered the door. I had been reading the science news on the internet. I can’t remember the topic, but I remember it was highly interesting to me. It was likely about quantum physics, time travel, or something to that effect.
The doorbell rang, interrupting my “research”.
I looked through the tall, narrow, window adjacent to the front door, and I saw a man dressed in a suit, holding a bible. I had a feeling he was with the Jehovah’s witnesses. It would turn out I was right.
If I was employed, I wouldn’t have the time of day for his visit, but since I had nothing better to do, I opened the door. The man introduced himself and explained that he was trying to spread the “good word” to as many people as he could. He told me his name was Mack. We shook hands and I invited him in.
II. The Pact
Mack asked, “Would I be able to come around once in a while and share my message with you?”
This is the part where I wanted to tread carefully. I had been told by others that once you started talking to these people, they could be hard to get rid of. I didn’t want to deal with any awkwardness in the future. At the same time, I was kind of bored, and I excited to talk to someone about science news.
This is how I came up with a deal that would affect me to this day.
I said, “I can do that. I can chit-chat with you once in a while, but it has to be a two-way conversation. I have stuff I want to talk about too.”
Mack nodded, “Of course.”
I added one more stipulation, “And please don’t ever ask me to come to your church. I don’t do that.”
My mom had forced me to go to enough boring church when I was a kid.
III. Technology Ruins Another Good Thing
For a while, this situation was working out just fine. Mack would randomly show up while my wife was at work and we would talk. He would tell me stories from the New World Translation that I couldn’t make much sense of and I would tell him about advances in science that he couldn’t quite make sense of. We didn’t share the same religious views, but we shared the same morals. We were able to do something that many people on social media can’t do: We were able to disagree but still converse in a co-operative way.
Also, Mack wasn’t always a Witness. He used to be Catholic. So if he could be open to different views before his conversion, maybe he would be open to what I had to say.
Then there was The Watchtower. It is the most widely-publicised leaflet in the entire world, printed in a nearly endless number of languages. He would hand me one of these when he visited. What I liked about it was it would sometimes have a science-based article on the back page. This page was great for kids because it was usually about animals. The articles were not Noah’s Ark-type tales but scientifically factual. There was only ever one small religious overtone at the end of each article, for example, “Did the emperor penguin’s feather coat come about by evolution? Or was it designed?”
The Watchtower-delivery/visits would usually last twenty or thirty minutes. Sometimes my wife would be home, rolling her eyes in the background as Mack and I talked.
Then one day, Mack showed up with the instrument of the devil. A tablet. The stupidphone’s big brother. That was the day when technology ruined everything.
Our engaging chit-chats have been replaced by Mack queuing up a video from https://www.jw.org/en/ while I stand in the doorway, stare at the screen, and think about what I’m going to make for dinner.
Thanks for reading, and please enjoy your day of rest, regardless of your belief system.