How to fend off evangelical Koreans…

Korea, for some reason or another, has a tremendous number of various sorts of evangelical Christians.  There are Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses galore, as well as your standard run-of-the-mill crazy Southern Baptist you-will-burn-in-hell-for-dancing type evangelicals.  And man, they are really evangelical.  Very persistent, and very bold in stating their beliefs.  In class the other day, we were talking about Tibet, and I mentioned that I have met the Dalai Lama, and one of the students blurted out “Some day I want to meet him and tell him that he needs to find God or he and all his people will burn in hell.”.  Those are her verbatim words.  I honestly didn’t know how to respond to such a thing being said in an academic setting, and so I just nervously changed the subject.

However, I digress.

I mentioned the high number (and high tenacity) of Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses at the beginning, and that’s really what this (originally supposed to be humorous) post is about.  I get approached at LEAST 2-3 times a week by one or more of them (they often travel as families, and they all speak excellent English), and I have begun to find it downright irritating.

But recently, I have discovered a really hilarious way to deal with it.

They almost all start off by saying something akin to “Do you have a moment?  I’d like to tell you about my faith.” before they start off on trying to hook you or push their literature into your (generally unwilling) hands.  Well, I have begun to have a bit of fun with this.  After that first question/statement, they generally ask “Are you a Christian?”.  I have begun to answer this with “Well, I’m a Quaker.” (which I consider to be true, these days) when they ask said question.  They almost invariably reply with “What is a Quaker?”, to which I reply…

“Well, do you have a moment?  I’ll tell you about it…”

The look of panic on their faces when they realize their own tables have been turned on them is priceless, and they almost always begin to stutter and then eventually leave.  Yay for beating them at their own game.  It has become quite entertaining, actually.

crossposted to Shut Up and Listen

4 Responses to “How to fend off evangelical Koreans…”

  1. 1 Rose August 22, 2008 at 1:51 am

    Ah Quakers … I remember the first time I met a “real live Quaker”, i.e. realized that Quakers exist today and not just in history books with Ben Franklin and such. I think when I settle into some place, start teaching and start preparing for having/adopting kids, I’d like to try going to local Quaker (and UU) churches to see if I’d like it. There are some parts of church that I miss — not the anti-“gays” and “be more evangelical by abstaining from watching ‘Titanic'”* sermons, but I’m thinking neither Quaker or UU churches will have those.

    My dream church though is wherever Chris from Hampshire ends up preaching. (Forgot his last name.)

    *This sermon was hilarious. Once this visiting preacher made this point (watching “Titanic” was un-Christian and sinful), my mom and I just looked at each other and starting cracking up — as quietly as we could, but I think there were some dirty looks thrown our way.

  2. 2 Rose August 22, 2008 at 2:52 am

    The anecdote I meant to tell but only started …

    “I remember the first time I met a “real live Quaker”, i.e. realized that Quakers exist today and not just in history books with Ben Franklin and such.”

    … There was a kid in my class in high school who told other people during class one day that he was Quaker, which led to lots of stupid questions (meant to be funny more than informative) like “Do you have to take a horse and buggy to school?”

    Of course, the kid angrily yelled back something like, “You assholes, I’m a Quaker, not f’ing Amish!”

    And that about sums up how common Quakers were where I was raised.

  3. 3 jim August 22, 2008 at 12:00 pm


    Just a thought: (social networking website for expatriates) might be interesting for you and your readers..

    You might want to add it to your links page as well.
    good luck


  4. 4 Driftingfocus August 22, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    The Amherst Friends Meeting is a really good Meeting, actually. So good that a few years ago, the Friends General Conference (the name for both the main umbrella organization for all the liberal Quaker Meetings, and the conference they hold) was actually held at UMass! The UU church in NoHo is nice, but I don’t think the minister there is very good. One thing that I really like about Quakerism is actually the lack of ministers. I like discussion, but I don’t like being “talked at”. To me, Quakerism is sort of the Zen Buddhism of Christianity.

    Your story is hilarious – that kid had a great response. Sadly, that happens pretty much everywhere outside the Mid-Atlantic/New England area. I’ve had people ask me if Quakers were a sect of the Amish. I’ve said things like “Do I look Amish to you?” and such. Though, really, I’m pretty quiet about it. I’m less so with complete strangers though, for some reason.

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