When the doorbell rings late on a Saturday morning, it means one of two things. Unfortunately, it’s almost never one of the neighborhood kids who wants to make some money cutting my grass. No, instead it’s someone who wants me to buy their god.
Today’s was special. I was getting ready to run out and do some errands when I heard the familiar chime. Usually they send the well-dressed and stately (for the black churches) or the ultra-sincere but casual kiddies (for the white churches). Not this time. It was just some white guy my age with glasses and a stack of glossy half-page flyers.
He handed me one. I took it because I don’t really trust these people to recycle the leftovers. Then I looked at it. “Miracle for Muslims,” it said at the top, with the picture of an older black man at the bottom in a very western dress shirt.
“I’m from the X______ Church, and we’re hosting a lecture on–”
I set the flyer back on his stack. “Thank you. No.” Then I closed the door.
He didn’t seem too disappointed, just surprised by the flyer. Maybe I’m not the only one who hasn’t trusted him with them.
He wasn’t targeting me anyway. The people he really wanted to have buy his god are my neighbors from Somalia. They’re the folks who have kept our neighborhood from turning into a ghost town as the housing market collapsed, the ones who have opened new stores and restaurants and coffee shops in empty buildings, the ones who are bringing community back to our streets by gathering outside in groups just to talk to each other.
These are the boys who politely make room on the sidewalk, even when they’re walking in big groups. These are the girls who have figured out how to tuck their cell phones into their headscarves so they don’t have to hold them and how to make ankle-length skirts some of the sexiest clothing I’ve ever seen on a teenager. These are the kids who run and giggle like kids should.
This is who the door-to-door salesman wanted to lecture–lecture! They’ve gotten their hands on one guy who adopted the ways of his new home by converting, and you just know they’re trying to use him to “civilize” the rest of these strange new people. They want to make them less strange, less scary, less Muslim.
Miracle for Muslims? Yeah, right. The real miracle is how infrequently my doorbell rings now that I have new neighbors. Now that’s civilized.