Listen, I know this has been done a million times before on this board, but…
…this morning I was called on by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Well, just one actually. A grey-haired chap, around 60 years I guess. There were others working the street also, I noticed. He offered me a leaflet.
I’m looking at it as I write. It’s called “Life in a Peaceful New World” and shows the usual Watchtower imagery: rural landscape, mountains in the distance, lake in the middle distance, assorted people, all different races, all grinning inanely, all clothed in exotic national dress.
I decided it would be a bit of fun to engage him in conversation, to see where it went.
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful” he said “if the world looked like this?”
On the whim of the moment, I decided upon a style: dumb, not-quite-following-his-logic.
“What do you mean? The world does look like this”
“Oh no, it doesn’t. Not like this”
“Yes it does. Some of it anyway. I stayed near a place like that last summer on my holidays” (This is actually true. We were in the south of Ireland in Kerry. There’s some stunning scenery there, mountains and lakes and stuff.)
“But no. Look at the people. Such peace”
I nodded, non commital.
“You see, today, the whole world is at war”
“Is it?” I said, with a touch of alarm. “The whole world? No one told me…”
“Yes, the whole world. Look at the evidence. Look around you”
Acting on his invitation, I made a big show of looking up the street and down the street. It was a beautiful, cloudless spring day today. Hardly a breeze stirring the trees, the loudest sound was birdsong.
“Pretty quiet here” I offered.
“No, I mean the world situation…” he said, with weary patience. At this point I think he had me marked down as a halfwit, and he decided to move on.
“…look, read the leaflet. If you like the message you can contact one of the addresses on the back.”
And he was gone. I went back inside with my leaflet.
I think the best bit of all was that “contact one of the addresses” line. He didn’t even direct me to the British one. Perhaps he thought too specific an instruction would be beyond me.
So, halfwit I may be, but at least I have some options in working out my path to salvation. There’s the Ghana office, or the Phillipines, Barbados…