I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses: Searching for the Why

Searching for the why—at first glance, what could be easier? Just read the charges. But when Putin says, “Jehovah’s Witnesses are Christians, too. I really don’t understand why they are persecuted”—there appears more to it than meets the eye. When Human Rights Watch says, “Russia’s religious persecution focuses almost exclusively on Jehovah’s Witnesses,” the plot thickens.
 
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Like Luke to Theophilus, here is a book that “traces everything from the start with accuracy.” Like Luke to Theophilus, here is a book that tells it from the believer’s point of view. Stripped of the red herrings that plagued Dear Mr. Putin—Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia, updated to the February 2021 present, and ever respectful towards the land of the bear, in most ebook forms it continues to be free, a labor of love.

Here are presented the modern-day Acts of Russia with regard to worship, the acts of believers and of those who oppose them. The acts of Russia have taken a dark and perplexing turn, puzzling even Putin. Can it be? The wizard who runs Oz doesn’t know how his contraption works? Here is a book that picks up where Baran’s Dissent on the Margins (2014) leaves off. The tale has not yet ended. But then, neither had the tale ended when Luke completed the first century Book of Acts.

Early in 2017, every Jehovah’s Witness in the world was invited to write letters to designated Russian officials, urging that justice be done in their case. I wrote one. Here is my expanded version.
Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

The Return of Door-to-Door for the Witnesses

Back to door-to-door the Witnesses go. Are they chomping at the bit? Some are nervous. It’s been a while.

We make it far too complicated with suggested presentations. They’re fine for chatty persons but not everyone is chatty. If you’re not, try this instead. Select a favorite verse, let’s say James 1:13. Play with the following words to suit your own temperament, but DO NOT lengthen it: ‘Hi. I’m Jerry. I stopped by to read you a scripture, you tell me what you think, and I’m gone.’ It they say no, be pleasant and leave. If yes they say yes, read: “For with evil things God cannot be tried, nor does he himself try anyone.”

In a sentence or two, say why you chose the verse. “I chose this verse because some people think he DOES do evil, or even think there is no God.’

After your one sentence say: ‘The next move is yours and you don’t have to make one. If this is interesting to you, we can explore it. If not, enjoy your day and I’ll continue on my way.’ If they say no, move on graciously. If they say yes, fish out some appropriate video. Your choice. Often I go with the basic ‘Why Study the Bible?’

Don’t ask to show it. Just start it up, with the observation that, ‘This video runs almost 3 minutes but you don’t have to watch it all. The minute it gets boring, just say so and I’ll stop it.’ If they demur, again, take your leave.

My experience is that even those who decline are pleased with the brevity and the clear signal you don’t wish to chew up their time. Many of those who say ‘no’ add, ‘but thanks for calling.’ It does at least as much as a more wordy approach, if not more, and is much more enjoyable. It is letting the scripture do the talking, which is our main goal in the first place. It takes charge of the conversation in an appealing way so the householder does not start fidgeting and say, ‘Where are we going with this?’ or worse yet, become irritated. It’s always clear where we are going, and they usually appreciate the straightforwardness.

Extroverts are fine with encountering people in any setting. They’re good at starting up conversations and guiding them anywhere they like. Introverts are less comfortable doing this. Sometimes they dread it. They prefer a door setting where it is obvious they came for a reason and they have only to tell that reason. But then we clog it up with awkward questions and open-ended conversations. If they work for you, go for it. But otherwise, keep it simple. Leave it for the extroverts to flesh out the more involved presentations.

A few weeks ago was a 5-minute service meeting part to the effect that if you think the suggested presentation is a clunker, you can change it. For an introverted person, most of them are clunkers. It must be extroverts who design those presentations. Or those who live in areas where people like to chew the fat with complete strangers that happen to stop by unannounced. Keep it simple. You’ll be surprised how liberating the above method is. And there’s no end of verses that you can make a presentation from.

In the ‘John Wheatnweeds’ chapter of Tom Irregardless and Me, I play with several of these presentations. John is the one who “hinders members from their ministry by spending inordinate amounts of time expounding on the text of the day before they set out,” as one reviewer put it. Tom Pearlsandswine is the one who is thrilled at the notion that you don’t really have to prepare for these presentations, since he has never prepared for anything in his life.

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photo by Wilfredor—Wikipedia

 

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Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Yikes! A Bad Review of TrueTom vs the Apostates! (Part 4)

Okay, one more round on the ‘overlapping generations’ of which 607 BCE is a prime component, it being the starting point. That topic is what triggered the nasty review of the brilliant ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates,’ even though it is nowhere mentioned in the book. One more round and be done with it. This series has grown beyond what I first envisioned. Bring yourself up to speed with Part 1,  Part 2, and Part 3.

“I realize that Jesus almost always spoke in illustrations that many people did not get,” Vic Vomodog said, “but I do think that when he said “…This generation will not pass away until all these things occur …” he was speaking literally about ONE generation, as it was commonly understood by his audience back then.”

Sure. It’s sort of like when I realized that my camp coach almost always spoke figuratively but somehow discerned he was being literal when he said ‘Go take a long walk off a short pier.’ I nearly drowned that day.

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Photo: An Indonesian Coach: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

You can’t prove ‘overlapping generations,’ but then you can’t prove even the purely biblical aspects of the faith—it is enough to ‘prove it to yourself’. You don’t boast of your ‘critical thinking’ skills. The term has been defined so that you cannot win. Suffice for it to be ‘reasonable,” a term which the Bible (and common sense) endorses.

Take this roboticist, for instance, who designs facial recognition software that works if there is not too much makeup, if the subject’s expression does not change too much, and so forth. Then he reflects on how a baby straight from the womb can do so much better. “I don't know any complex mechanism or device which has been conceived by humans, by engineers, that was not made by a designer,” he says, from which he concludes there must be One.

‘Neither do I, but that doesn’t mean I’m buying into this ‘God’ malarkey,’ is the thrust of Michael Shermer’s argument (he the ‘skeptic’ authority). His rules of critical thinking include: ‘Just because I can’t explain my position doesn’t mean yours is right.’ That might be all well and good if he didn’t insist on his position as the default one. The winds of human shenanigans blow a new game into town and afterwards the rules are changed so that it will not quickly blow out.

I always try to look for how an explanation does fit, not for how it doesn’t. Jail the entire leadership of a faith, (the new subject under discussion is the ‘killing’ of the two witnesses) it certain would be akin to “killing them.” So many other things fit nicely as well. It’s ‘above my pay grade’ to challenge such things. If the stuff should prove wrong, it will be changed. It’s just a heads-up anyway, nothing we are required to hold our breath and turn blue for.  It is something to satisfy what appears to be a universal human need.

It is a need of angels too. Those angels are intensely “peering” to discern how the prophesies will play out. (1 Peter 1:12) I like to picture them peering as though through a peephole in a wooden fence. Anyone here up for telling them to straighten up and get back to work?

And even if the overlapping generations should fail to overlap some day, bros can always drop down to yet another understanding of ‘generation,’ It can become ‘Era’ or ‘Age.’ Not a problem. Most of those from outside who attack the generations understanding end up normalizing today’s societal doings. Good luck on that. They’re welcome to it.

The stuff is all interesting to me, but it plays a decided second fiddle to the moral qualities of serving God as a Witness, not to mention taking part in the project of declaring the good news in all the earth.

“You will rescue me from the faultfinding of my people,” David says (2 Samuel 22:44) and there is plenty of it. But, says he, “I have kept the ways of Jehovah, And I have not wickedly abandoned my God.” (22:26) We’re an awfully critical bunch. It may not be in all respects as Moses leading the Israelites, but that still does not mean we are not a critical bunch. It’s a challenge to operate with everyone nipping at your heels. 

Don’t want no ‘1984’ references either. George Orwell wrote 1984 at a time when totalitarianism was sweeping the globe, Nazism, Stalinism, crushing even the sturdy and powerful good guys like Winston Smith. (Churchill—how many ‘Winstons’ do you know?) The government he wrote of would not just lean on people with a certain amount of peer pressure. It would literally take command of every part of your life, literally assign you a role that you’d better not reject, literally punish you for neglecting propaganda channels, literally torture you for deviation, and then literally kill you after rehabilitation as a lesson to others. If George Orwell could see how is work has been trivialized today to settle religious scores he would say, ‘Thank God I’m dead.’

And if I can’t otherwise torpedo the 607-naysayers, I’ll just rewrite history. What do you think of that, Mr.Strawman Critic? Surprisingly, it’s not so ludicrous as it sounds. Allan Guelzo of the ‘How Great Historians Interpret History’ lecture series says it’s done all the time, and not done ‘lyingly.’ Some new wind will blow upon the stage—that of religion, that of the Enlightenment, that of the rise and fall of any great power, and it’s ‘Game On’ for the revisionists. There are simply that many facts to choose from, he says. It all depend on which you put where, which you highlight, and which you ignore.

It’s happening right now with ‘critical race theory’—an idea with powerful backers that has persons not viewing it that way in conniptions. Yet nothing is made up. It’s just facts reprioritized. Mr. Strawman Critic is himself intent on rewriting history, citing his book that World War I was just one of many world wars—they’re a dime a dozen—and not at all the worst one. Trust me on this—he would have no interest in this book, it may even be why the book has been written, but for undermining his former faith.

So maybe I’ll undertake a rewriting of history myself. But since I’ve already conceded that it doesn’t really matter, I won’t.

to be continued once more? We’ll see.

 

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Are We Looking at a Bait and Switch?

In the manner of the Lord’s death, Roman soldiers break legs to hasten death. But they don’t do it to Jesus. He is already dead. The apostle John says: “In fact, these things took place for the scripture to be fulfilled: ‘Not a bone of his will be broken.’” (John 19:36)

He is quoting Psalm 34:20: “He is guarding all his bones; Not one of them has been broken.”

Yet, if you read the verse in its Psalm 34 context you would never get the impression that the subject dies.

They cried out, and Jehovah heard; He rescued them from all their distresses. (17)

Jehovah is close to the brokenhearted; He saves those who are crushed in spirit. (18)

Many are the hardships of the righteous one, But Jehovah rescues him from them all. (19)

He is guarding all his bones; Not one of them has been broken. (20)

Disaster will put the wicked to death; Those hating the righteous will be found guilty. (21)

Unbroken bones runs parallel to ‘rescued from all distresses,’ ‘saves those who are crushed,’ and ‘rescued from all hardships.’ If you’re rescued from all your distresses, you don’t expect to die. The only one who dies is ‘the wicked’ of verse 21, the one ‘hating the righteous!’

Hmm.

Are we looking at a bait and switch? 2D95125F-6A6D-4B31-9BDA-2CECD47C1F21 Is John doing some ‘quote-mining,’ pulling a verse out of context? Better to think that in applying it to Jesus he adding a new dimension to Psalm 34:20. Was Jesus’s life unbroken? Anyone seeing him impaled, his disciples included, would have to say no. What was unbroken, however, was his integrity.

Bones likened to integrity works pretty well. What gives a body ‘integrity’? What makes it stand up? Bones. Break the bones and it no longer stands.

Bones are often not literal in scripture. They can be “filled with dread,” in the case of a fearful person. (Job 4:14) “Jealousy is rottenness to the bones.” (Pr 14:30) On the bright side, “pleasant sayings are . . . a healing to the bones.” (Pr 16:24) The fear of Jehovah is ‘a refreshment to the bones.’ (Pr 3:8) In all of the above, ‘bones’ are symbolic.

But if the bones that not one will be broken are not literal then probably the other items of Psalm 34 are not literal either. ‘Rescued from all your distresses?’ You may still die, but with your integrity unbroken. It’s a little like the sparrows that “not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.” That doesn’t mean they don’t fall to the ground. It just means God knows about it. This is a downright bummer to those whose sole focus is the present life, and it’s a bit of a check even for those whose is not

Still, in the long run, integrity is life. Jesus was resurrected. Those who keep integrity toward God, though they die, are resurrected. They may yet live forever, just with a little hiccup at the beginning.

This brings no comfort to those whose sole horizon is the short run, but it does to those who have the big picture. See what a difference your time frame makes. People do die in this system of things. Sometimes your faith gets you out of a jam even now, and when that is the case—well, you won’t hear me complain about it. They throw Felix into the hellhole (related Saturday AM at the Pursue Peace Convention) where prisoners are broken, and he emerges with the toughest one of them saying, ‘If anyone messes with you, they’ll have me to answer to.’ It’s his faith on display that protected him, in combination with qualities engendered by the Word of faith—don’t repay evil for evil but repay evil with good, consider others as superior to oneself, treat others with deep respect, keep a primary eye, not on your own concerns, but that of others.

The qualities instilled by application of Bible principles go a long way in safeguarding a person. They are very hard to instill in the absence of Bible study, since they go so contrary to the dominant spirit today. Even now, they bail a person out of trouble. But when they don’t, one is fortified by knowing that keeping integrity means resurrection, and resurrection means life. That confidence, in turn, strengthens the resolve not to break one’s integrity. All the people manipulated to do terrible things through fear of being killed themselves, whom Bro Sanderson spoke of? Doesn’t happen to those who trust in God.

One’s time frame makes all the difference. ‘Keep your eyes on the prize,’ as the song taken from 1 Corinthians 9:24 says. Make life in this system count, but even so, know it is not the ‘real’ one. John Maynard Keynes, the economist, shot back at those who insist the economy would always revert to normal ‘in the long run’ with, “In the long run, we’re all dead.”

He is right with regard to the time frame of persons whose sole reality is the present system of things. But in the time frame of those who trust in God, it is, “in the long run we all live.”

 

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Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

My Meeting Notes: Week of July 25, 2022 & musing

PursuePeace Convention, streamed, Part 4 of 6. “The north wind brings a downpour, And a gossiping tongue brings an angry face.” Prov 25:23.   Not a scripture that is cited a lot but was yesterday. Wowee! did it bring an ‘angry face.’

‘Well, that went well,’ sis Harley said about the showdown in the video parking lot

Peace can get blown away, & we must chase and pursue it. Then he likens it to that paper that blows away and stays put until just the instant before you lay your hand on it—and does so repeatedly.

 

The WatchtowerStudy section on a balanced view of money made me think of that Midas bro who said, were it not for the truth, he could be filthy rich but as it was he was only a little ‘dirty rich.’

Para 7 If you are TOO unbalanced in pursuit of $ it even interferes with your ability to make friends. You never quite know why people flock to you. Sometimes it is because you have dough and they want some of it.

Para 12: “one of the laws stated that a Hebrew king should not “take many wives for himself, so that his heart may not go astray.” Not everyone knows what a common practice this was with kings, who would accumulate zillions from sycophants, allies, business seekers.

 

Midweekmeeting: The speaker quotes a former CO of ours: “Sacrifice is not a sacrifice unless it is a sacrifice,” and ties it in with 2 Samuel 24:24. I don’t recall him saying this, but it’s probably my bad. It fits well enough.

In this case, it really IS ‘the devil made me do it!’   “And again the anger of Jehovah came to be hot against Israel, when one incited David against them, saying: “Go, take a count” 2 Sam 24:1 who is the ‘one?’   The parallel account reads: “And Satan proceeded to stand up against Israel and to incite David to number Israel.” 1 Chronicles 21:1

‘Look, If even Joab said it was bad, it must have been really really bad!’ one bro says. That guy was all but a hit man.

Imagine that huge guy squashing poor Caleb, jamming into the car’s back seat. My kids later let me hear about it when it was them.

That video on neutrality during war: Just once I’d like to see a war in which one side or the other says, ‘We are the bad guys.’ The king can always persuade his people that they are the wronged good guys.

Deep meditation on the assigned Bible reading here: “Next to him, Eleazar the son of Dodo the son of Ahohi was among the three mighty warriors with David when they taunted the Philistines.” (2 Samuel 23:9) What kind of taunting? “Ha!  Your dad’s a dodo!”

…. I hate when I hear of ghostwriters that turn out to be people.

Look at this selfish bro taking up the one trapezoid parking space! And where does he think I’m going to park my trapezoid shaped car?!

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‘They were all over me—like flies on sh*t!’ that grumbler said, and I tried to tell him that, while it was all very satisfying to compare your enemies to ‘flies’ you really should think through an analogy before you use it.

You should have heard my brother cry when I beat him by over 100, having drawn the x, j, q, z, and k. ‘Well, instead of whining, why don’t you work on your letter-drawing skills?’ I told him. That’s part of the game too! ….   1/2 Then he turned on the radio and it was Janis Joplin crooning: ‘CRYYYY EYYE BABBEEEEE!!! CRY CRY BAABBBEEE!’  Tell me that was a coincidence. ,,,2/2

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

It’s War!

It’s war! we’re told, 5EE87FB1-08DA-4CF1-BA9D-6AC0C5F03C31What kind of war is it? Is it the kind of war where one dresses in the forest in bright red like the Revolutionary War British and nothing could be easier than to pick them off?

Is it the kind of war where you hunker down in the trenches and lob letters that you know by faith will find their targets?

Is it the kind of war where you send out some Hushais to thwart the counsel of conniving Ahithophel, such that when he saw that his counsel was thwarted he went out and strangled himself as a forerunner of Judas? Yeah—that’s what I’m talking about! (2 Samuel 15:34, 17:7, 23)

Whatever kind of war Jehovah’s Witnesses fight, it’s a war where you don’t speak ill even of those who speak ill of you. In overturning the verdict of the Russian Supreme Court (and the next day Russia withdrew from the European Union rather than abide by the decision), the European Court of Human rights noted, “…it is significant that the texts [used to assert that JWs were “extremists”] did not insult, hold up to ridicule or slander non-Witnesses; nor did they use abusive terms in respect of them or of matters regarded as sacred by them.”

Enemies foment ‘trouble by decree,’ says Psalm 94:20. But sometimes the decrees are overruled—like this one of a lower court that said Witnesses couldn’t disfellowship as a last-ditch attempt at discipline and then the high court of the land (Belgium) said they could. No Witnesses had been consulted in that first trial, the High Court found, only their critics. Without internal discipline, it is impossible for a faith to be not swayed by shifting societal norms. That is the war—between those who want such swaying to occur and those who want the faith to stay true to its biblical charter.

There was also a rebuke of that country’s ‘anti-cult watchdog’ for issuing a report based on allegations, press clippings, and television offerings—the distinguishing feature being that any allegation that could be checked turned out to be false. Again, no Witnesses had been consulted. For a land that claims to be democratic, you’d almost think they’d allow people to defend themselves.  “The judgment will surely become a key precedent.  . . that scholars of religion are a more reliable source on these matters than journalists and anti-cultists, and that governmental agencies dealing with the alleged “danger of the cults” are not above the law and can be legally prosecuted when they spread false information and slander.” wrote BitterWinter.

Then there was Special Secret Agent Jack Ryan—yes, ‘JackRyan’ was his handle. Witnesses don’t have anyone who corresponds to this, nor even a Hushai. Special Agent Ryan, who issued a ‘Special Report’ of an ‘agent down’ at Bethel. Seems they recruited a young woman already there, who they knew or should have known, had some instability to her personality, and they sent her rifling through the Bethel files! She was found out.

Jack appears flabbergasted that HQ is not cool with this, as though any other organization would be. They 'interrogated her' for two days, he reports. The 'interrogation' was so grueling that she reported for a second day, when it was discovered that her pilfering was not for some innocuous cause or some misunderstanding, but to spirit whatever she found to Jack’s friends who have dedicated their lives to working against kingdom interests. Bethel showed her the door. 

"It was reported that when she arrived home, her Jehovah's Witness family and friends treated her terribly," Jack’s SPECIAL REPORT says, as though any other family would be bursting with pride to see their offspring attempting sabotage on what they held dear. He doesn’t clarify “treating her terribly,” which you think he would have done if it was truly that terrible. Doubtless she didn’t receive a hero’s welcome.

The story then takes a tragic turn. She took her life, triggering Jack’s ‘Special Report.’

I told him that if it had really happened, he killed her himself—maybe not he personally but his ‘team.’ They recruited an inexperienced and vulnerable young woman, and filled her head with nonsense of how she was a guerrilla freedom fighter liberating the oppressed, that her people would thank her like the flying monkeys of Oz thanked Dorothy for dousing the wicked witch, etc, oblivious and uncaring to the certain trouble that would befall her when she was found out. These people are crazy.

It’s fine for JackRyan (aka a Tom Clancy CIA spy character) to fantasize like an adolescent, but to manipulate others into his world of paranoia—well, he presents the consequences. And then he thinks issuing a Special Report will cover the damage. 

Sheesh! It’s as though he tries to recruit Tom Cruise on his mission to take out Witness HQ. Tom Cruise turns him down, not because the mission is impossible, but because it is ridiculous. He knows Jack and his are mostly hacks trying to settle old scores and work off grudges who should have moved on in life ages ago.

If Jack’s team must assign blame for the young woman's death, surely it is themselves they should point to. Recruiting someone once a fine servant of God, perhaps someone dismayed upon finding life was not Santa and the elves, but that there are real people doing their flawed best—and using her to further their own ends. I'm tired of their hate. Many of these ones have turned to atheism, so they are beyond all question "fighters against God." (Acts 5:37-18)

No war is fought without plenty of espionage but with Jehovah’s Witnesses there really doesn’t seem to be any. They do with their critics as Jesus did with his critics: “Do you know that the Pharisees stumbled at hearing what you said?” he was asked. “Let them be,” Jesus replied. “Blind guides is what they are. If, then, a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15: 12-14) Start to tussle with him and maybe you’ll fall in, too. As Nietzsche put it: “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

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Little Enemies of God

Vic Vomodog, with whom I used to pull shoulder to shoulder in the work! —just like a couple of oxen, was busy as an ox throughout the Pursue Peace Regional Convention, taking detailed notes! Afterwards, he threw at me:

“I know you wouldn’t dare comment on what GB Stephen Lett said during your convention,” before quoting Lett’s, “You hear people say of a little baby, ‘look at that little angel’, but more accurate would be to say, ‘look at that little enemy of God’”

You don’t think so, do you?

“Then Truetom, also called TTH, becoming fed up, looked at him intently  and said: “O man full of every sort of fraud and every sort of villainy, you son of the Devil, you enemy of everything righteous, will you not quit distorting the right ways of Jehovah?  (Acts 13:9-10)

What Lett said was: 

“Now, if we think about it, we're not born as friends of God because we're born as sinful offspring of Adam. Actually, when we think about it, we're born as enemies of God. Sometimes you'll hear people say of a little baby, ‘Look at that little angel,’ but more accurate would be to say, ‘Look at that little enemy of God.’ Now, of course we love that little baby and it's now not hopeless because our loving creator has made reconciliation with him within the reach of everyone. We can become a good friend of God and that close relationship with Jehovah will become our most valuable possession.”

Notice how he twice said, ‘when we think about it?’ You have to do that—think about things. You don’t just parrot sound bites to make people you don’t like look bad. O, you spiteful fellow, who quotes scripture by the bushel basket but never lays hold on the one that applies, besides the reference to Adam in Genesis, the place to focus is here:

“…through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because they had all sinned—.” Romans 5:12

when we were enemies we became reconciled to God through the death of his Son,” by exercising faith in him, which a baby cannot yet do, and thus is temporarily ‘grandfathered’ via the faith of it’s parents. (vs 10)

Now, as for Bro Lett, for a guy who will quote Job 12:11, “Does not the ear test out words As the tongue tastes food?” you’d almost think he’d test them out a little more before letting loose with a phrase that every evil cherry picker will use to “distort the right ways of Jehovah.”

But I hate to think what Vomodog would have done to Jesus, for his, ‘Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life, and I will resurrect him on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.’ John 6:54-55

Vomodog taunted, “Please tell me if he is truly adhering to and following Christ as a model.”

Taking into consideration that passage in John, I would say Lett is supremely adhering to and following Christ as a model, in fact, more so than any of the other HQ staff.

Imagine: what sort of vile person would comb through a convention in which every talk explores the theme verse (Psalm 34:14) ‘Seek peace and pursue it’ to find and exploit a faux pas?

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Gif: Crying baby gifs/ tenor

It may be just an example of God ‘laughing at the wisdom of this systems’s wise ones,’ proof that his anointed are, as in the first century, seldom of ‘noble birth,’ nor ‘wise,’ but decidedly ‘uneducated and ordinary.’

I’ll take substance over style any day. Turn on the TV and you can see endless people whose ‘style’ is impeccable. Among them are some of the stupidest people whom God ever let roam the earth.

 

******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

My Meeting Notes: Week of July 18, 2022, with Musing

Another one of those Watchtower Studies that go by at lightning speed due to the streaming convention (part 3 of 6) to follow. By the time you’ve loaded up your comment, it’s moved three paragraphs on.

 

WatchtowerStudy article: ‘Revelation​—What It Means for Your Future’ Theme scripture: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.”​—REV. 22:20.

Para 8 Always tempting to think that when things get really bad (as now?) that people see the need for the kingdom. Those final verses of Rev 6 show it doesn’t work that way. They take refuge in politics & commercial interests:

“And the kings of the earth and the top-ranking ones and the military commanders and the rich and the strong ones and every slave and [every] free person hid themselves in the caves and in the rock-masses of the mountains. And they keep saying to the mountains and to the rock-masses: “Fall over us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Rev 6:15-17)

Para 9 Not advisable to “worship the image of the wild beast” even if [when?] “nobody can buy or sell except a person having [its] mark, the name of the wild beast or the number of its name.” Rev 13: 15-17

 

Pursue Peace Regional Convention: SaturdayMorning

The phrase ‘fight fire with fire’ originates with firefighters? I didn’t know that.  Just a throwaway snippet en route to making another point.

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(Photo: Ylvers at Pixabay)

Don’t start big, smart small, is the advice on informal witnessing. ‘Give me a drink,’ Jesus says. He doesn’t lead off with ‘I am the messiah,’ tho he eventually does go there.

‘I almost thinks that’s biblical,’ can be appended to so many conversations.

‘Do you text?’ Seems a good way of avoiding endless runarounds.

 

Midweekmeeting assigned reading: 2 Samuel 22

Now—THERE’S an image: “The waves of death broke all around me; Flash floods of worthless men terrified me.” (2 Samuel 22:5). https://www.tomsheepandgoats.com/2022/07/flash-floods-of-worthless-men.html

Flash floods of worthless men.

‘You give me your shield of salvation, And your humility makes me great,’ a very popular verse. 2 Samuel 22:36

“For I have kept the ways of Jehovah, And I have not wickedly abandoned my God.” 22:26

“You will rescue me from the faultfinding of my people. You will safeguard me to be the head of nations; A people whom I have not known will serve me.” What a thing to be rescued from.   22:44

 

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Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

The Forest in Symbolism and History

Could this really happen?

“Absalom was riding on a mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a large tree, and his head got entangled in the big tree, so that he was suspended in midair while the mule he had been riding kept going.” (2 Samuel 18:9)

That’s one bad boy of a tree is all I can say!

Maybe the problem was the mule. 9966A8AB-262E-4143-B56A-46A12C52ABD9 “A mule will labor ten years, willingly and patiently for you, for the privilege of kicking you once,” wrote William Faulkner. Absalom’s mule may not have kicked him, but it sure did do him dirty, hanging him up so hit man Joab could off him.

Maybe it was was the forest. You ‘can’t see the forest for the trees,’ but in this case Absalom can’t see the tree for the forest. 20,000 combatants died and “the forest devoured more of the people than the sword did on that day,” says the verse just prior (8). Maybe it was one of those ‘Lord of the Rings’ forests.

‘Lord of the Rings’ forests are built on a solid tradition of forests being treacherous, even places where the Devil hangs out! 116BEC57-458D-4F1F-B90F-A5EF81889517Mistress Higgins is forever trying to lure folks into the forest for unsavory shenanigans with ‘the Black Man.’ (The author of the Scarlet Letter, Nathanial Hawthorne, modeled her after a real person, Ann Higgins, who was executed for witchcraft in 1656.) That forest was one foreboding place, where “the boughs were tossing heavily above their heads; while one solemn old tree groaned dolefully to another, as if telling the sad story of the pair that sat beneath, or constrained to forebode evil to come.”

But at the same time, push deeply enough into the forest and break freeeeee! or at least settle for that illusion.

Backward to the settlement, thou sayest!” Hester remonstrates with Dimmesdale. “Yes; but onward, too! Deeper it goes, and deeper, into the wilderness, less plainly to be seen at every step; until, some few miles hence, the yellow leaves will show no vestige of the white mans tread. There thou art free! So brief a journey would bring thee from a world where thou hast been most wretched, to one where thou mayest still be happy! Is there not shade enough in all this boundless forest …

Guelzo (without quoting Hawthorne—that’s mine) points to early writers of American history with this Janus-view of the forest. (Janus—the ‘two-faced’ god facing both left and right) Fearful, on the one hand, but promising on the other. Though the ‘promising’ is for an ‘unpromising’ reason. Press into the forest deep enough and you can escape your own screw-ups from the past! The early American view of history according to Guelzo? “Don’t have any, don’t need any, don’t want any.”.  In new America, the “human experiment” can begin anew!

(“Gimme that fruit!” Adam said. “Let the ‘human experiment’ begin!” ‘No, no, no,’ God tacitly says. ‘You’ll screw it all up! Trust me on this, you do not want to usurp the duty of telling good from bad!’ ‘Nah,’ comes the reply—what can go wrong?)

It’s not winners who came to America. It was losers, those driven out for religious reasons, crushed by financial reasons, or refugees from ‘man dominating man to his injury’ reasons. The first settlers “were radical Puritans who were looking for a way out from under the thumb screws of the Church of England. It was only after every other avenue of escape [was] closed off to them that . . . they turned to those vast . . . countries of America” (Guelzo) And “looking over the bow of the Mayflower what could they see [but a] hideous and desolate wilderness full of wild beasts and wild men. Why, said [William] Bradford, even the air, diet, and drinking of water in America would infect their bodies with sore sicknesses and grievous diseases.”

That forest was a dangerous place, make no mistake. It remained ever dangerous in waves of westward expansion, though fear was mixed with growing confidence as humans invented, and then led, with bulldozers Upon reaching the coast and finally conquering the forest, what remains?

“Space—the final frontier,” intones James T. Kirk, introducing a show that would have been dead on arrival were it not for Lucille Ball. The forests are all conquered, some trees rounded up for a ‘tree museum’ for which you must pay a dollar and a half just to see ‘em! (Joni Mitchell) Space is the new frontier. Boldly going where no man has gone before! What is discovered out there? Guys that look just like us, save for pointed ears. Is that evolution great stuff or what!? Pour me a double-shot of it!

What do aliens gain from their new contact with humans? “One damn minute,” Spock pleasantly responds to one of Captain Kirk’s commands. He’s learned to swear! He had just spent the entire 45 previous episodal minutes on 20th-century earth; he had time-traveled there for some reason and Kirk had told him to use profanity. Keep tuque pulled over ears, swear, and they’ve never know you’re not one of them, he tells the Vulcan.

What a stupid, brain-dead, ignorant stab at science fiction prophesy! How unrealistic! However, had he said, ‘One f**ken minute,’ the forecast would have been spot-on. That’s the course ‘evolution’ has taken.

They didn’t learn that in no forest. No way. They were in all their civilized glory when they adopted that new norm.

To be continued:

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Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Flash Floods of Worthless Men

Now—THERE’S an image:

“The waves of death broke all around me; Flash floods of worthless men terrified me.” (2 Samuel 22:5)

Flash floods of worthless men.

Not all translations so personalize it but enough do to make it clear that the former are being overly prissy, the latter adding a necessary specification that the former avoid.

A deadly flood was carrying me away,” says English Revised Version. Oh yeah? A deadly flood of WHAT?

the floods of ungodly men made me afraid,” says King James Version

Thank you.

while torrents of abuse from the ungodly overwhelmed me” International Standard Version

Yes.

devil waters rushed over me. Hell’s ropes cinched me tight; death traps barred every exit.” Message 

Oh for crying out loud. Deviate too much into paraphrase and you bring on charges of ‘What have THEY been smoking?’ 

the floods of scoundrels overwhelm me” Orthodox Jewish Version

Yeah! That’s what I’M talking about!

 

This conjures up for me images of Jezebel searching for ‘good for nothing’ men in order to kill Naboth and steal his land, (1 Kings 21:9) as though by posting an announcement on the community bulletin board: ‘Wanted: Good for Nothing Men,’ to which various scoundrels thoughtfully respond, saying, ‘Um—that would be me.’

 

******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

My Meeting Notes (&Musing): Week of July 11, 2022

Publictalk: Rescue from World Distress,

WatchtowerStudy article: Revelation: What it Means for God’s Enemies

Para 2, not a verse usually selected to highlight neutrality: ‘If anyone is meant for captivity, he will go into captivity. If anyone will kill with the sword, he must be killed with the sword. This is where it calls for endurance and faith on the part of the holy ones.’ Rev 13:10

Para 4: “The key to understanding it is to allow the Bible to explain itself.”

Para 9 ‘and it had two horns like a lamb, but it began speaking like a dragon’ One might think of ‘lamb’ & how its founders are from tradition of christianity, another lamb, some devout, others not so much, as though ‘a Christian nation’ but in a hurry it is seen not to act that way

Para 10: This one looks almost the same as the seven-headed wild beast with the exception that it is scarlet-colored, why the scarlet cover?

Para 11 It’s not so much brainwashing that powers complain of but brainwashing that is not theirs.

Para 13, Recalled how Bro Jackson told of the challenge of neutrality when one party benefits you personally. Sigh—but they all do things underhanded & ungodly. If you link up with them, so do you, ‘sharing in their sins.’

Para 14: The apostle John mentions that he “was greatly amazed” by something else he saw. What was it? A woman riding one of these ferocious beasts. You’d do a double-take at that, one sis says, because it ‘doesn’t look right.’

 

Midweekmeeting, Assigned reading: 2 Samuel 20-21

Huh! The speaker said he unexpectedly met Nancy Yuen and was tongue-tied as though with a celebrity! He had been determined to spiff up his Chinese by greeting any Chinese person he saw. She was surrounded by “an entourage” at Bethel, “but I’m oblivious to those things.” The woman once imprisoned years in China was humble, gracious, and almost crushed his hand with her firm handshake.

‘Looking forward to hearing encouraging thoughts about the lovely details of 2 Samuel 20:10,12’ someone texts me. Tough sledding, some of these verses are.

Is that ofJoab the hitman? Or is that Rizpah chasing away the “birds of discouragement” that are in reality the vultures picking clean the bones of her sons?

Being assigned the Gems for his bible reading is worse than being the COBE of Michael Jackson’s old congregation. There he is acting outrageously and everyone’s looking to you to do something about it.

B37B508B-7154-47B9-804D-43416C22D278Obstacles regarding moving to areas of greater need reminded me of a chum receiving a letter on how to combat bugs, lizards, and snakes in the new land. All could be dealt with—but the letter went on for many paragraphs!

(Photo: Jan van Kessell)

You can change it.

the gist of that 5-minute midweekmeeting part

You think it’s easy writing presentations for the whole wide world?

If you think it’s a clunker that would never work where you are, you can change it

Just adhere to theme and and you’re golden

I wish I knew how to stop the app from switching to the Reference version all by itself when what I want (and everyone else is on) is the Study version. Doubtless it is in the instructions, but who can be bothered with that stuff?

 

*** Yikes! My son went with me to a boomer concert but he commented on the ‘geriatric’ nature of the conversations: ‘How’s so-and-so?’ He died. What about … him, too. ‘Say, whatever became of…. pushing daisies. Sigh—I probably only have minutes left myself.

Came across a couple necking in the park! Reasonably secluded, but it WAS a park and it WAS in my pathway. “Oh uh,” I said as I approached. “Don’t worry about it,” I said as I walked by. “How do you think I met my wife?” It just seemed a good line at the time, if not strictly accurate.

Alas, my knowledge of (trending) #Hegel is sort of like the guy who knew everything about anthracite coal but nothing about bituminous coal because he had not yet reached the ‘b’s of his serial store-bought encyclopedias.

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)