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Getting Along in this Year of the Pig

The missionary spoke to the District Overseer and the District Overseer told the Circuit Assembly. "If you want to know the problem with the American brothers, I'll tell you, said the missionary. It's not materialism. It's not immorality."

"The problem with the American brothers is that they can't get along with each other." Was it just me or did I imagine a slight gasp in the audience? Everybody knew he had nailed it.

We are Jehovah's Witnesses, but we are also American Jehovah's Witnesses. And is there a people more headstrong, more self-willed, less willing to cooperate, dare we say belligerent? than Americans? It is the baggage we carry into the congregation and it takes a long while to lose it.

Other peoples have other characteristics. For example, China next month enters the year of the pig. But Muslims don't like pigs. (ceremonially unclean, a view they share with Orthodox Jews [!]) So China Central Television has banned images or references to pigs to commercials, even those tied to the new Pig Year! "China is a multi-ethnic country," the network explained to advertisers. "In order to show respect to Islam, and upon guidance from higher levels of the government, CCTV will keep any 'pig' images off the TV screen." [WSJ 1/25/07, article by Gordon Fairclough, Geoffrey A Fowler] A significant conciliatory gesture toward a minority culture!

Can you imagine a parallel move in this country? All hell would break loose! "We are proud Americans and we are not giving one inch to Muslims or anyone else! If they don't like it, let em go back to where they came from!"

Of course, another reason for opposition is that we all know reasonable meet-you-half-way accommodations could never be made here. Pig rights extremists would use the opportunity to insist on climate controlled pens, free pig health care ensured by government inspectors, and if you said anything bad about pigs, you'd pay a $500 fine.

For example, if you told this joke: Howie Blunkus was walking his pet pig, when a passerby said "Hey, where'd you get the pig?" And the pig said, "I picked him up at the market," you might get some luke-warm laughs. I hope they're worth $500 to you.

Um....now, where were we? Oh yes....Americans are contentious and we track it into the congregations. A new person would never notice, of course, because to a considerable degree we have succeeded in putting on the Christlike personality. But hang around long enough and you'll see cracks on the surface.

They told Brother Rutherford that Brother Klein had said some nasty things about him. "Ah, well, Carl talks a lot, and he says things he doesn't mean." Now that's an example of getting along, of not attributing bad motives.

Interesting thing is that Carl never said those things. He made this clear when his recollections were published in the Watchtower (10/1/ 84 issue) some years back. Yet Brother Rutherford responds as if he fully believes it. Whether intentionally or not, it teaches a lesson. Obviously, if Carl never said it, there's nothing to overlook, no obstacle to getting along. The challenge emerges in the case that he really did shoot off his mouth. So Rutherford answers as if he had.

Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. Even as Jehovah freely forgave you, so do you also.    Col 3:13

Notice that the reason to put up and forgive is not that maybe you have misunderstood something. No, you have a cause for complaint! He really did say rotten things! Therein lies the test.

Ah, well, Carl talks a lot and he says things he doesn't mean.

Another reason to go  easy on one another can be found here:

Also, do not give your heart to all the words that people may speak, that you may not hear your servant calling down evil upon you. For your own heart well knows even many times that you, even you, have called down evil upon others.    Eccles 7:21,22

Yes, you've done it. Don't even think of denial. And just as we hope that our brothers will go easy on us when we unwisely shoot off our mouths, so we ought to do the same for them.

So there's hope. We'll work hard on incorporating those scriptures into our lives and then we'll send that busybody missionary back to wherever he came from, and he'll say "I never saw anything like it. Those American brothers really know how to get along!"

 

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Tom Irregardless and Me             No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Comments

Maliha

Peace Tom,
Interesting bit on China, I never viewed it to be a "tolerant" nation. But even still, I think the sensitivity though well meaning, is not necessary, for Muslims (and orthodox Jews) are not supposed to *eat* the pig's meat/by products; but there's nothing offensive about an image of the Pig. We don't hate the pig for being a pig; it's simply a matter of dietary rules. We have nothing against God's creation...

The theme of getting along applies across the board.

Correct my ignorance but does Jehovah in that verse refer to God?

Romulus Crowe

Sounds like what we have in the UK.

I saw the report, and what was conspicuous by its absence was any call from the Muslims to have these images banned.

Rather, it sounds like a politically-correct official with his brain idling in neutral worrying on their behalf.

Chinese Muslims are no doubt perfectly aware that it is the year of the pig, and while their religion prohibits them from eating or coming into contact with pigs, it does not prohibit them from catching a glimpse of a drawing of one. So I'm betting the Muslims in China couldn't give a hoot about a cartoon pig on TV.

It's politically correct hysteria, like the UK councils banning Christmas in case it offends the Buddhists and Sikhs and Muslims - none of whom have ever voiced even the slightest trace of so much as unease at the celebration. The non-Christians were as surprised as the Christians when Christmas became 'Winter Festival' (although I think the Druids were secretly pleased). The non-Christians were equally surprised that they were getting the blame for it.

The trouble is, all the public ever hear is 'We can't have this in case it offends The Ethnic Group.' The public don't know that The Ethnic Group don't care at all about the issue. The public don't know that it's just some empty suit making this up. So the public blame The Ethnic Group. Because the public, on the whole, aren't much brighter than the politicians they elect.

The politically-correct are the problem in these issues. I don't believe for a moment that the Chinese Muslims would have cared at all that it was the Year of the Pig. Now, the non-Muslim Chinese will have their festivities clipped and once again the ordinary people will place the blame unfairly on the Muslims - because that's who they've been told are to blame.

If it wasn't for the constant meddling of the 'politically correct', we'd all get along a lot better.

tom sheepandgoats

Thanks for the clarification, Maliha.

Don't be quick to reaccess your view on China"s tolerance. Disagree vocally with the gov't and you risk serious jail-time, which is likely one reason the new pig policy is accepted so readily! And the same WSJ article went on to note that China recently executed some Muslims for something (sorry, I no longer have the article) and it is just like them to extend an olive branch after they have pounded you into mush with a balpeen hammer. Their observation, not mine. I don't know enough about it to agree or disagree.

As to Jehovah, yes, the term refers to God. In the Old Testament, many translations render the divine name (YHWH, sometimes called the tetragrammaton) as LORD, in all caps. The tetragrammaton occurs about 6000 times in scripture. We feel that's a indication that God views his name as significant, not something to be buried or masked over, even with the seemingly respectful LORD. Trouble with the tetragrammaton is that only the consonants are known, the exact pronunciation, which would include the vowels, is unknown. Jehovah is the anglicized version. You may have heard the term Yahweh. It is another rendition of the tetragrammaton.

Since Islam and the OT share much common background, is there anything like the divine name in Islam thinking?

tom sheepandgoats

Very astute comment, Rom.

Especially with regard to your first three paragraphs, see the previous comment by Maliha.

Maliha

Peace Tom,
Rom wow you really summed it up well.

Tom: Thanks for the clarification on both the Chinese govt and Jehovah...I am familiar with the term Yahweh, I just got a duh! moment when i read your explanation.

I thought for a minute it referred to a prophet. Who founded JW's? Was it just a movement within Christianity? Or was it initiated by a leader?

In the Quran there are 99 names of God (most of them are more like Attributes of God, e.g. The Merciful, the Forgiver, the Generous..etc) And each of them are supposed to grant us a glimpse into His essence.

Allah is an arabic term that encompasses all the 99 attributes/names of God. It literally means "The God"; and was always meant to refer to the Supreme Being even when the Arabs were pagans and had their statues (they won't name any of them Allah.)

It's also gender neutral (unlike most arabic words) and has no root or derivative (again most arabic words can be traced to a three letter root.)

In the Quran He refers to Himself as Allah; and in other instances depending on the context the other names are used.

It's amazing to be able to trace the concept of God across different faiths.

take care Tom.

tom sheepandgoats

Charles Taze Russell founded the group Jehovah's Witnesses in the 1870's. We don't usually present it that he found a brand new religion, but rather, a reestablishment of Christianity as it was in the century of Christ. Conduct, morals, doctrine, and congregational organization of Jehovah's Witnesses are patterned as closely as possible after that of the first century Christian congregation.

Russell was not the only one of his time to have the goal of bringing Christianity back to its roots. There was a lot of religious revival at that time, though most resulting groups have faded away, whereas JWs have spread worldwide. We see this "back to roots" development foreshadowed in scriptures such as Jesus' parable of the wheat and the weeds: (from which parable come two of my favorite blog supporting characters: Tom Wheatandweeds and Tom Weedsandwheat)

Another illustration he set before them, saying: “The kingdom of the heavens has become like a man that sowed fine seed in his field. While men were sleeping, his enemy came and oversowed weeds in among the wheat, and left. When the blade sprouted and produced fruit, then the weeds appeared also. So the slaves of the householder came up and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow fine seed in your field? How, then, does it come to have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy, a man, did this.’ They said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go out and collect them?’ He said, ‘No; that by no chance, while collecting the weeds, you uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the harvest season I will tell the reapers, First collect the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn them up, then go to gathering the wheat into my storehouse.’” .. Matt 13:24-30

Romulus Crowe

Hi again Tom

Here's a recent example of what the politically correct are getting up to in the UK:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=433477&in_page_id=1770

Grampian (North-east Scotland) health board have banned Easter to avoid upsetting 'other religions'. Even though several Muslim leaders have spoken out against this, calling it a ludicrous idea, the managers insist the ban stays. They just can't see the damage they're doing to interfaith relations.

In fact, if I was a Muslim or Hindu or whatever I'd be insulted by this patronising 'we know what's best for you' approach. If I was a Christian I'd be enraged. As it is, I'm keeping my head down for when the whole thing explodes.

I've said it before - there's nothing wrong with UK administrators that couldn't be fixed with cable ties and duct tape.

By the way, didn't Charles Taze Russel predict the end of the world in 1914 or thereabouts? It certainly ended for millions of people around that time. If a first World War doesn't herald the beginning of the end, I don't know what would. Looking at events since then, I think that one way or the other, the end is most definitely nigh.

tom sheepandgoats

Political correctness hurts the very people it is supposed to aid....I'm not sure I ever really saw it in that light. Thanks for the observation, Rom.

Russell pointed to 1914 as the year that would mark the beginning of Christ's reign. He based his prediction on arguments outlined here. http://carriertom.typepad.com/sheep_and_goats/2006/12/zedekiah_nebuch.html

Subsequent events show that 1914 truly was a turning point year for humankind. http://carriertom.typepad.com/sheep_and_goats/2006/09/what_makes_a_gr.html

As you say, 1914 did not mark the end, but the beginning of the end for this system of things....there is a time interval, as in indicated by Matt 24:7,8.....For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress.

Far from being advanced or privileged information, these facts are found in the basic teaching book Jehovah's Witnesses employ: What Does the Bible Really Teach?

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