The other evening as I was preparing dinner, three young women knocked on our door. They introduced themselves as the “new missionaries” in town and wanted to “share a message” with us. I politely declined, wished them a good evening and closed the door. They looked mildly surprised, but took my rejection well.
Kid2, who was with me when I opened the door, had questions: what message, why did they want to share it, why did I say no thanks.
How does one explain missionaries to a child?
As it is nearing Christmas, I used an analogy that they might relate to. Kid2 does not believe in Santa, and we’ve had numerous conversations about that, so I decided to start from there.
So the first question was why were they going door to door to share a message?
“It would be like if you believed in Santa so much you wanted to tell everyone so you went door to door to share that. You feel everyone should believe in Santa so they can get lots of presents, because if they don’t believe in Santa they won’t get anything.”
Kid2’s brow wrinkled in confusion. Clearly this was not about Santa.
So what message are they sharing?
They’re most likely talking about the story of Jesus. You know, the baby from the Nativity play, and the man who was on the cross in the Mission we visited last summer.
Yes. Looks confused. Why do they want to share that?
Some people believe very strongly, that stories that in the Bible actually happened, and they have based their entire world view off of them. They feel they have to go tell everyone about this, so other people can make people change to their way of thinking.
Why didn’t you want to talk to them?
I have a different world view than they do. I know about Jesus, and I’ve read the Bible, and I don’t agree with their world view, and that’s okay. We can politely disagree with people, and we don’t have to talk to people who randomly knock on our door about religion, it is also time to get started on dinner.
Kid2 took it at that and I’m sure we’ll have more opportunities for these conversations as time goes on, particularly around the holidays, as Kid2 has proudly informed their class that “Santa does not visit our house because we do not have a chimney!” and Kid1 has proclaimed “I don’t believe in Santa, I believe in Mommy!”