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Reporter at 2 O'Clock. Roger That.

A 30-ish, I would guess, reporter attended one of this year's regional conventions, this one in New Orleans, and wrote some reasonably nice things about it. He didn’t fall upon his face and do a Zechariah 8:23 – ‘We will go with you people, for we have heard that God is with you people’ – but considering his non-religious reporter background, I’ll take what he did write and thank him for it. You don't have to quibble over every little thing.

Since I have time on my hands, and no, I was not notified by an attendant (guard), let me see if I can respond to a few things he raised. His words are in italics. Mine in regular font.

The Jehovah's Witnesses' Annual Convention Was So Organized It Was Creepy. They are extremely organized. It might strike one as creepy who is not used to it.

Aside from the occasional door-to-door visits and that one time, which I still feel guilty about, when my brother drenched some evangelists with water balloons from our second-story bedroom window, I had never really met a Jehovah's Witness. It took me two trips to the dry cleaners to get those water marks out of my suit.

 Also, I knew Prince was a member, and any religious group that could claim Prince as one of their own was either extremely terrifying or weirdly edgy and almost cool.  The ebook Tom Irregardless and Me contains the most complete, and perhaps only, written compilation of Prince’s JW life. It is in the free download section.

…they even took care of cleaning, despite the Superdome's retainer on dozens of janitors. It may be the only event for which they get time off. The Witnesses usually show up a day beforehand, as well, for a massive scrub-down.

One Superdome employee said to me, "These guys are guarding the elevators like Obama is here." As far as I know, he did not come. He would have been invited, but may have been hard to reach.

Plus, their floral-printed dresses and charcoal suits made most guests look like they were dressed for a wake. If one is not used to seeing folks dressed up, and it is a rarety today, the sight could easily give that impression.

As a further sign of their top-down control of every aspect of the convention, or maybe just a tight budget, none of the concession booths were open. It is like that in every convention and has always been. People brown-bag it. However, go back far enough to the 50’s or so and there were makeshift kitchens set up & taken down to serve a full meal to every attendee. Food arrangements have progressively streamlined since then.

It's a bit unsettling to realize you're one of the only people in a room of nearly 40,000 who think you're not destined for heaven, and not even destined for the earthly paradise that the remaining Jehovah's Witnesses will inherit after all the other degenerate heathens like me are abruptly taken out by the apocalypse. Their beliefs are their beliefs after all, but I don't often contemplate the afterlife in the presence of a group whose faith is so relentless. It's convert or burn, and that's heavy s**t, man. [**s mine]

We would not phrase matters this way. We just try to bring the gospel to as many as we can, and after that things are out of our hands. As the expression goes, ‘It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.’

There was a big, climactic event on the bill that sounded like it was supposed to be a live drama depicting something from the Book of Something. Jonah. it was from the Book of Jonah. Actually, it was the entire book, which is overall quite short.

…everyone was wearing way too much makeup. It was like a B movie made by the Bible Channel. I actually thought the movie was pretty good, overall. They have come a long ways in a short time, and once were downright cheesy. Great attention is paid that all props are historically accurate. It may be that you just miss the Hollywood pizzazz that moviegoers become accustomed to. Admittedly, they are not paid actors. They, too, are volunteers.

a bunch of men walked around holding "Quiet Please" signs that had already been made. This happens before all sessions, as it takes participants a while to break off visiting with friends they may not have seen for a long time.

But while I still don't understand the Jehovah's Witness faith or its people, and while I may still think of them as cult-addled nuts, they're still just people. You know, I’ll take this. I appreciate it. And I really do like the article with its reminder of the first impression we make on many today.

But they also like peanut butter sandwiches. I hate to think of the garbage I might eat were it not for my wife, who attends to such things far better than I do.

...and they especially like organizing conventions. The exact program is reproduced hundreds of times during the year around the world, each with the same degree of organization, so as to serve every member. Ours was in Rochester, and here is a post on a previous one.

Clark_Kent_-Superman_Action

 


Most Church Doctrines Are Not Found in the Bible

It is the attempt to read them in that causes people to throw up their hands in despair, sometimes even in disgust, of ever understanding it. To the extent that happens, it makes such doctrines very destructive.

From time to time, this is acknowledged by some clergyman or other.  For example, Richard Lowell Bryant, a United Methodist minister, rained on ‘Trinity Sunday’ recently by declaring of the doctrine: We made it up, saying in part:

“The truth is:  God was nowhere to be found when we made up the Trinity and turned it into a tool to isolate, annoy, and explain God’s expansive love in terms of dysfunctional family.”

His brethren men and women of the cloth hastened to correct him. Especially did one Dr. Hunter, who says: “Several of my students sent me the article, knowing the central place the doctrine of the Trinity holds in the courses I teach at United Theological Seminary.” Dr. Hunter responds with a twelve-paragraph reproof to his fellow minister.

Two things can be observed about his reply.

1. It will barely be comprehensible to the person of common sense, and

2. No appeal is made to scripture for support, a tacit admission that none is to be found there. After all, the New Testament is the origin, if not the blueprint, of Christianity. Is it not telling that he does not go there?

He goes there only a little, to cite John 16 and Jesus’ statement therein that the helper will come along later and reveal all things. He appears to have in mind, per a previous paragraph, the decree of the Council of Nicaea, which took place 300 years after Christ, and in which the Doctor expresses confidence that it was directed by Holy Spirit. But as to the scriptures themselves teaching a triune God—zip. He doesn’t touch it.

The Bible verses can be tortured for that meaning, of course, but tortured is what they must be. They involve taking literally numerous passages which, in any other context, would instantly be recognized as figure of speech. However, it does serve to complicate the obvious and thus serves to supply Dr. Hunter with a teaching career.

Not that Dr. Hunter is a bad man. No, he possibly is a very good man. But he is likely a product of what Jesus spoke of long ago to religious leaders of his day: “Woe to you who are versed in the Law, because you took away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not go in, and you hinder those going in!”

Since they took the key away, later generations don’t necessarily know that there is a key.


'How Did We Do?' Everyone Wants to Know

"HOW DID WE DO?"
 
You know, you did real good. Real good! You held out your hand, I put money in it, and you took it. You even smiled at me and said "Have a nice day!". When I got home I looked in the bag and what I bought was right there where it should have been. So I rate you very highly, indeed.
 
Please send me some more surveys so I can expound upon this transaction, because it was a good one. The rest of life can wait. It's just buying crap from other parties, anyway, who may not do as good as you.
 
...I pondered this as went though my daily routine in the bathroom. My routine completed, I returned to my computer, only to find a new email. "How did we do?" inquired Ace Toilet.

Picking up Women at the Dog Park

Given that we are all flabby and that excercise is the best thing for us and that it doesn't have to be hard excercise - walking will do - it is surprising that at the dogpark the only one I see doing laps is me.I do eight, having figured that each is a quarter of a mile. When I actually paced it off, I discovered that I had come pretty close. Eight laps comes to about two and a quarter miles.
 
I pick up turds when I'm walking, too. Why should I not? I don't pick them up with my bare hands, of course, and I think I would draw the line if someone asked me to. But no one does. The dog park provides nice little plastic bags that you can turn inside out, flip over in no time, and get the job done. There is an art to it and one improves with experience. Me - I just like a clean dog park. For whatever reason, quite a few do not pick up after their dogs. I don't make a big deal over this. I just do it myself. Not as though I am on a mission to get each one. No. I just take out more than my mutt brings in.
 
It is said that guys who are interested in women find great success in picking up some of them at the dog park. I have found this to be true, and I usually leave with four or five in my tow. They approach me tremulously, with awakening desire, and ask what interesting things I do. "I pick up turds," I tell them. "It's a great hobby!"
 
It leaves them speechless every time.
 
Dog park
 

Not in Any Manuscript I Know

Never agian will I include dogs on a Bible translation team! Just look at what they did to Matthew 15:27!

"She replied, 'Yes Lord, but really, the little dogs do eat of the steaks and hamburgers falling from their master's table. They are Dogs-2712045_960_720
partial to sausage, too. Oh, and pork chops go down nice. Um, pass the ketchup please. And, by the way,.."

#NotInAnyManuscriptIKnow

 

Live From the Locker Room

After Trump was caught saying the bad words, he dismissed it as locker-room talk. Reporters were not so easily duped and launched an investigation:

....

“Good evening. We’re broadcasting live from the locker room tonight to reveal to America just what goes on in this previously obscure culture that has so suddenly thrust itself upon the national stage. We’ll interview some players in this intriguing venue. Ah, here’s comes a jock now. “Hey! Yo! Whazzup? We’d like to ask you some questions.”

“Why, good evening sirs, madam. You must be members of the news media. Welcome to our humble locker room. It’s not much, but please make yourself at home. There are refreshments in the adjacent room.”

“Charlie, it’s as we thought. They’re not crude at all here. They are quite refined and sensitive to gender rights. They are just…”

“HEY, YA WANNA GET YOUR CRAP OUTTA HERE?! I CAN’T GET TO MY @%!# LOCKER!”


Mickey Would Love It

I wrote the Mickey Spillane summit parody for Jane Spillane, who is re-releasing the Mike Hammer tough-guy series of late 1940's private eye books. It is a spoof on what if the President had handled Putin like Mike Hammer might handle a crime boss. She loved it. She said so on my FB and Twitter feed.
 
I wrote it because Mickey Spillane later became one of Jehovah's Witnesses and his work changed a lot. That triggered my interest in his books. Now, Jane is not a Witness, probably has mixed feelings about them at best, and may feel they were responsible for 'sabatoging' his work, since his post-JW writings lose the excess sex and violence and thereby become less of what Mickey himself once said about Hemingway and the highbrow authors: "What those guys could never get is that you sell a lot more salted peanuts than cavier."
 
Nonetheless, there is no way she could not have picked up on his enthusiasm for the truth, and probably concedes that that is what ensured he remained the upright man he always had been. Jane is intensely political, another reason for the theme of my post. She assures me that Mickey would have been a Trump-man, too. I have not the slightest doubt of it, with the exception that he would know how to keep political leaning its place, and not disturb the peace of the congregation with such matters. All human governments will drop the ball, usually it is a bowling ball, and the only open question is upon which toe will it land. As individuals ponder their own toes, some will favor the left and some the right.
 
Anyhow, I said to Jane that we could help each other. I will use the story to hopefully (this is extremely hard to do) flag the attention of some high profile figures, and did she want to be tagged or not?. She did. Good. It's a win-win, potentially helping both our causes. Mine is to direct attention to this blog, the first thing that hits the eye is a link for my free ebook Dear Mr Putin - Jehovah's Witnesses Write Russia, which calls attention to the plight of our people there, (along with answering many a scurilous charge) and that goal motivates nearly everything I do these days. I draw some of my inspiration from Anton Chivchalov, who devotes his European days as "an observer of Jehovah's Witnesses persecution in Russia.' These days it is important to bring one's gift to the altar.
 
Since the violence and sex is excessive in those pre-Witness days, it is easy to dismiss the novels as so much garbage. However, as to the writing itself, Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged) lavished high praise on them and compared them favorably to some elite authors of the day. Mickey's own dad, I think he was a bartender, called his writing "crud." Ayn Rand did not feel that way.
 
Atlantic Magazine (I think it was) interviewed him in later years ('I may write one more Mike Hammer, but that's it. I can't sit eight hours in a chair anymore. My rear end gets sore.') and pointed out that his latter books were winning some critical acclaim. "To Mickey's disgust, one suspects," one suspects, the author adds. Come on! It is impossible not to love this guy. He had the combination of intense interest, yes, even love, of people, coupled with an absolute lack of pretence, and a willingness to go 'in your face,' traits that were a trademark of Witnesses of a certain generation.
 
Jane herself, I am not sure that she realized it, give me the ultimate green light, when she said of my scheme: "Mickey would love it."
 
Mickey_Spillane's_Mike_Hammer_Diamond_Studio_City_Walk_of_Fame

Who Called it First

Jehovah's Witnesses probably came up in 2.5 hours, but only briefly. @Dr_Ariel_Cohen: religious freedom is "burning, but not paramount importance to Trump & Co, given critical geopolitical issues.

I called it first here: http://www.tomsheepandgoats.com/…/ill-take-it-fake-news-or-…

Somewhat increasing odds of Witnesses arising briefly as topic of discussion is that pre-campaign Jerod Kushner bought the Watchtower buildings and said extraordinaryly nice things of them, such as with them "a handshake deal means something"

It was originally on the Witness website. They took it down when Trump began running for President in earnest, probably so that no one would think they were poltiical. But it is picked up here on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfp1a7k3N7s

Summit


Showdown at the Summit

Mickey Potus strode into the room and eyed his enemy. The crime boss was not so impressive in person as when he was pretending to be a tough guy on horseback. He sat in his tailored silk suit, hoping to bluster, trying to look like he didn’t have a care in the world, but Mickey knew his entrance had shaken him to the core. The puddle of piss on the floor gave him away, That often happened when Mickey came calling.

Mickey decided to play with this piece of human scum for a while. Real casual-like, he said to Vicious Vlad, “Let me tell you about a friend of mine, a knockout woman name Velda.” A bead of sweat broke out on Vlad’s brow. Maybe he had heard. Maybe he knew the game was up.

“My friend Velda, she’s got intelligence, you know what I mean? She’s got real intelligence. She has more intelligence in her little finger than you have in your whole nation of goons. And Velda tells me….,” Mickey stopped dead, so that next words he said would hit the little punk with the force of a sledge hammer. Velda tells me that – you’ve – been – meddling – in – our – election.” That hit home. The little man shook.

Mickey grabbed the punk by the lapels. “Now you listen up and you listen up good. Cut it out!” But Vlad was too much of a stool pigeon to know when to cut his losses. He voice trembled, but he tried to stammer back: “We didn’t me-me-medd….” He never got the words out. A smashing blow from Mickey’s fist sent blood and teeth flying everywhere.

“I said ‘cut it out’” Mickey roared. What! You think I’m taking the word of scum over my intelligence? I checked out that floozie you were with and I’m not impressed. She can’t hold a candle to my Velda, a real class act, and one of these books I’m going to marry her. There won’t be any hanky-panky beforehand either. I’m kinda an old-fashioned type of guy.”

“Now I’ve got one and only one question for you,” Mickey glowered. The little man, real cooperative all of a sudden, all the fight out of him, quavered, “Wh-What?”

“Why don’t you get me a cup of coffee?”


I'll Take it, Fake News or Not

Fake news is everywhere, and some of it surfaced about the Russian ban: ‘Church members of Russia have united! They have launched massive protests against the government in behalf of the Witnesses! President Trump rebuked Russia and invited its entire Witness population to the United States! He visited a Kingdom Hall to worship with them!’ All of it is fake news. It didn’t happen.1

Is “the news” another one of those biblical hills that melt in the last days? Is it now a thing that people of bygone days could depend upon but now need to call in Sherlock Holmes to decipher whether or not it is genuine? Is ‘reading the news’ now the information equivalent of playing Russian Roulette?

Given this apparent new normal, I will take the Trump story, fake news though it is. No, he did not speak out in favor of Jehovah’s Witnesses. But the story plants the clear notion that he should have. Most fake news about Jehovah’s Witnesses is derogatory. It is the ‘every kind of evil’ falsely said against them. It’s about time something went our way. Now it is only a matter of time before some poor body of elders must deal with NBC or somebody attempting to set up shop in their foyer so that they can broadcast “Live from the Kingdom Hall.”

From: 'Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah's Witnesses Write Russia'

The above becomes relevant because today Presidents Trump and Putin meet for summit, and the New York Times tells of an exiled Jehovah's Witness who proposes Trump ask Putin a simple question: "Why are Russians who pay their taxes, follow the law and embrace the Christian values promoted by the Kremlin being forced to flee their country?" 

A simple [and single] question. To propose Trump do this is exactly the non-confrontational style of Jehovah's Witnesses, and is proof in itself that they are not extremist. Moreover, because the goal is so modest, it is not impossible that it could happen. Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia is not everywhere, but where it is, it is draconian, with police dressed in riot gear breaking down doors to arrest them.

Meanwhile (and irrelevant), I did a google search of "New York Times Jehovah's Witnesses." The second hit is an article from 1958, telling of (I think) the largest Christian assembly in history.