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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., 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!"



Tom Irregardless and Me             No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

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!’

Psst! Hey...Buddy! Wanna Buy a Scientific Endorsement?

Time was when any yahoo of a preacher could trump any debate by yelling “the Bible says….” It sufficed. Nobody dared say another word. Nor did it make any difference whether the Bible really did say it. Anyone with a clergy collar could say it did and that was enough.

Is that the case now with science? Several recent reports suggest that the  best way to get scientific endorsement for any pet product is to fund a study. That way you can get learned scientists to intone that your stuff is the way to go. The fact that you bought them is not noticed, or if it is, is not deemed relevant.

The online science journal PLoS Medicine published the results of, not just a study, but a study of studies [!] published between 1999 and 2003 on nutrition. Harvard researchers and analysts from the Center for Science in the Public Interest found that if the food industry sponsors the study, results are up to 8 times more likely to be favorable for them than if someone else sponsors the study. It is bias, they suggest, not deliberate lying. Just how do you ask the questions? Exactly which questions do you ask? How do you interpret the data? Such factors that will influence your conclusion and are built into the study by researchers who hope to arrive at a desired result.

“This is yet another attack on industry by activists who demonstrate their own biases in their review by looking only at the funding source and not judging the research on its merits,” fumes Susan Neely, president of the American Beverage Association, as if they'd shot her dog. “The science is what matters-nothing else!” But I suspect she is merely recalling who signs her paycheck.

Then there is mold. The Institute of Medicine is a federally funded (mostly) nonprofit organization. Reviewing 2004 research, it said “studies have demonstrated adverse effects - including immunologic, neurologic, respiratory and dermal responses - after exposure to specific toxins, bacteria, molds or their products.” In 2001 a Texas jury awarded $32 million [!] to a family whose home was mold-infested. But don’t try to pull such a stunt yourself. Colin and Pamela Fraser did, more recently, and their medical expert wasn’t allowed to testify. The judge blew away their concerns, declaring them “unsupported by the scientific literature.” She was swayed by what the American College on Occupational and Envirernmental Medicine wrote: “Scientific evidence does not support the proposition that human health has been adversely affected by inhaled mycotoxins [from mold] in the home, school, or office environment” Defendants in mold lawsuits now routinely and with considerable success rely on this paper.

What they don’t tell you is significant. The defense paper is authored by scientists who are paid experts for the defense in mold litigation. They don't work cheap either. Depending on which expert the defense summons, they'll pay $375 to $720 an hour!

Which organization has the truth: the Institute of Medicine or the American College on Occupational and Environmental Medicine? I have no idea. Likely the truth lies somewhere in between. The point, though, is that when we’re solemnly informed science says this or that, we’re likely being flimflammed. It may not be science at all. It might be politics, self-interest and business, with some science “toppings.”

When it comes to drug studies, we all know the pattern. The study that tells us Healthexa is wonderful stuff invariably is funded by Healthexa corporation. We hear it through advertising: it's safe! it's safe! it's perfectly safe! Ask your doctor!

Then people drop of heart failure, cancer, or stroke.

Oh...........sorry...... Healthexa says, and gets their lawyers cracking to deny any blame.

And don’t get me started on that study that declared violent entertainment produces angels. Tom Fishandchips is still steamed over that one.

Better we should leave science out of it. Just say who paid how much to make what point.

"It's impossible to make a man understand something when his livelihood depends on him not understanding it." -Upton Sinclair

[Mold information from WSJ 1/9/07 article, written by David Armstrong]

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Hezekiah, Rabshakeh, and Sennacherib

Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah, and took them. And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field. Then came forth unto him Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, the recorder.

And Rabshakeh said unto them, Say ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest? I say, thy counsel and strength for the war are but vain words: now on whom dost thou trust, that thou hast rebelled against me?

Behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust on him. But if thou say unto me, We trust in Jehovah our God: is not that he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and hath said to Judah and to Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar? Now therefore, I pray thee, give pledges to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them. How then canst thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master's servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? And am I now come up without Jehovah against this land to destroy it? Jehovah said unto me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.

Then said Eliakim and Shebna and Joah unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray thee, unto thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it: and speak not to us in the Jews' language, in the ears of the people that are on the wall. But Rabshakeh said, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men that sit upon the wall, to eat their own dung, and to drink their own water with you?

Then Rabshakeh stood, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and said, Hear ye the words of the great king, the king of Assyria. Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you; for he will not be able to deliver you: neither let Hezekiah make you trust in Jehovah, saying, Jehovah will surely deliver us; this city shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make your peace with me, and come out to me; and eat ye every one of his vine, and every one of his fig-tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his own cistern; until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards. Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, Jehovah will deliver us. Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim? and have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who are they among all the gods of these countries, that have delivered their country out of my hand, that Jehovah should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?

But they held their peace, and answered him not a word; for the king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not. Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, that was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh. And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of Jehovah.

And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, unto Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz. And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of contumely; for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth. It may be Jehovah thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to defy the living God, and will rebuke the words which Jehovah thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left. So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.

And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith Jehovah, Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard, wherewith the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, and he shall hear tidings, and shall return unto his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah; for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. And he heard say concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, He is come out to fight against thee.

And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them, which my fathers have destroyed, Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden that were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivvah?

And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up unto the house of Jehovah, and spread it before Jehovah. And Hezekiah prayed unto Jehovah, saying, O Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel, that sittest above the cherubim, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. Incline thine ear, O Jehovah, and hear; open thine eyes, O Jehovah, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, who hath sent to defy the living God. Of a truth, Jehovah, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the countries, and their land, and have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone; therefore they have destroyed them. Now therefore, O Jehovah our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art Jehovah, even thou only.

Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, Whereas thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, this is the word which Jehovah hath spoken concerning him: The virgin daughter of Zion hath despised thee and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee. Whom hast thou defied and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel. By thy servants hast thou defied the Lord, and hast said, With the multitude of my chariots am I come up to the height of the mountains, to the innermost parts of Lebanon; and I will cut down the tall cedars thereof, and the choice fir-trees thereof; and I will enter into its farthest height, the forest of its fruitful field; I have digged and drunk water, and with the sole of my feet will I dry up all the rivers of Egypt. Hast thou not heard how I have done it long ago, and formed it of ancient times? now have I brought it to pass, that it should be thine to lay waste fortified cities into ruinous heaps. Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded; they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as a field of grain before it is grown up.

But I know thy sitting down, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy raging against me. Because of thy raging against me, and because thine arrogancy is come up into mine ears, therefore will I put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest. And this shall be the sign unto thee: ye shall eat this year that which groweth of itself, and in the second year that which springeth of the same; and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof. And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and out of mount Zion they that shall escape. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this.

Therefore thus saith Jehovah concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come unto this city, nor shoot an arrow there, neither shall he come before it with shield, nor cast up a mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and he shall not come unto this city, saith Jehovah. For I will defend this city to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.

And the angel of Jehovah went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand; and when men arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esar-haddon his son reigned in his stead.

Isaiah 36 & 37   American Standard Version

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Tombaugh Quits: A Blow for Science

The Whitepebble Religious Institute sadly announces the departure of Tom Tombaugh, it’s most prominent (and only) staff scientist, whose most notable credentials consisted of a claimed relationship to Clyde Tombaugh, founder of the disgraced wannabe planet Pluto. His resignation leaves the institute top-heavy with religious nuts.

It was top-heavy before. That’s why it was common knowledge that Tombaugh felt increasingly out of place among the pious ones. Did they even speak the same language? Tombaugh would sit in the lunchroom and long for intelligent discussion on some learned matter of science, for example, how boisterous belching or earth-splitting flatulence evolved over the eons, since our ancestors who didn‘t carry on in that way failed to scare away predators, and got eaten, but his lunchmates would attribute it all to Adam and Eve and our fall into sin! Or he’d tell us the latest scientific research, like how scientists succeeded in placing a person in a state of suspended animation by gradually lowering body temperature five degrees per hour, all the while carefully monitoring vital signs in real time hyperstasis homeovention….and kept him in such a state for almost 25 years…. and, amazingly, that man still did not lose his government civil service job….and these holy characters would nod at each other knowingly and quote some scripture about laziness, maybe this one from Prov 26:14.….A door keeps turning upon its pivot, and the lazy one upon his couch….. or they’d utter some pious intonation about how sloth is a sure sign we’re in the last days!

So he’s gone. The prestige Tombaugh leant the Institute cannot be overstated. Three years ago he presented groundbreaking research on the socially embarrassing phenomenon of sock-eating shoes, for which he was awarded the No Bell prize. Ignorant ones have long supposed this self-esteem deflator (the socks, not the prize) to be caused by defective socks sliding deeper into the shoe with every successive step, but Tombaugh proved scientifically that such was not the case!  Using scientific methodology far too complex to be revealed here before you, mere dunces who are thoroughly unqualified to understand it, Tombaugh established the prime determinant was the viscosity of the individual foot, some persons and professions being naturally more slippery than others.

The No Bell scientific competition, though inspired by it’s better known homonym, has procedural rules more akin to TV’s old The Gong Show. The contestant presents his research before the judges, and if he doesn’t get “gonged,” well….he has won the prize. Our boy didn’t get gonged, and he’s been crowing about it ever since.

The Institute’s religious members urged Tombaugh to start his presentation with “Everybody knows that….” but Tombaugh would have none of it. He insisted on using the scientific method. Normally, we wouldn’t care, except we knew his financial resources and so we knew that the study groups and control groups would all be various permutations of us! Yes, we would be the guinea pigs and it would be a major pain trying to research God with this character sneaking up behind to apply double blindfolds, seemingly at random, as far as we could tell, and placebos. Nor were our fears unfounded. In hindsight, it seems beyond dispute that, when we showed up at the Judge First, Ask Questions Later religious convention wearing mismatched socks and sneakers, somehow deemed essential for his stupid research, the judges were so distracted that they completely overlooked our very worthy discoveries, namely, the Gospel of Howard and the Acts of the Pioneers. Some other clown, since recruited by the Institute, captured top billing for research on the exothermic nature of hell, research that has been embroiled in plagiarism controversy ever since.

On second thought, we’re all glad he’s gone.



Tom Irregardless and Me                   No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

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!’

Hitchhikers and Hoboes

If I had a dollar for every mile I hitchhiked, said the old guy, I wouldn’t be working.

Used to be if you wanted to go anywhere, you hitchhiked. Perfectly acceptable, cheap, safe way to get yourself around. You met people. Sometimes you made lasting friendships. The old guy still gets Christmas cards from the person who drove him cross country after his Navy discharge. A complete stranger from whom he‘d hitched a ride.

It’s good to remember things like this, because with some people you cannot make the point stick that our surroundings continue to deteriorate. “Not at all,” they flick back cheerily, “it’s just that we hear about bad things more! Better news media, you know, more outlets and they all thrive on bad news. If it bleeds, it leads!"

This is exasperating, because we know full well things are worse. Not that we’re “wet blanket” people, of course, but worsening world conditions are a Biblical sign of where we are in the stream of time. So you don’t obsess about them, but you ought not put blinders on either. Yet people only remember what’s gone down in their lifetime and young people haven’t lived long, don’t read much, and don’t believe geezers. So you have to tell them about hitchhikers.

Nobody hitchhikes today. You’re risking your neck. And if you try, no one will pick you up. They’re risking their neck. Time was when we saw a stranger and were naturally hospitable. Now we’re naturally cautious.

and because of the increasing of lawlessness the love of the greater number will cool off.          (Matt 24:3)                     

And what about hoboes? They’re as good as hitchhikers to make your point.

Keep away from hoboes, Gram told Dad as a kid. They’re shiftless. Consequently, every chance he got, he would run off and hang with the hoboes. And they were shiftless, but they were also harmless. Not drug addled crazies, like today. Not desperate characters who’ve fallen thorough cracks and social nets. Times were simpler. They were educated men, often, who simply chose not to mesh with society. They were  friendly, harmless, camping out in the woods. And when it was time to move on, they’d hitch a ride on a freight train.

A days work would carry them awhile. They’d  rap on the door, ask for a meal, sit on the back step and dine, thank you very pleasantly, then make a mark on the house so others would know where they could get  a free meal. Don’t leave anything unlocked, of course, but if you did, they wouldn’t clean you out. They’d just take enough for a day or so.

Trailer for sale or rent
Rooms to let...fifty cents.
No phone, no pool, no pets
I ain't got no cigarettes
Ah, but..two hours of pushin' broom
Buys an eight by twelve four-bit room
I'm a man of means by no means
King of the road.

Third boxcar, midnight train
Destination...Bangor, Maine.
Old worn out clothes and shoes,
I don't pay no union dues,
I smoke old stogies I have found
Short, but not too big around
I'm a man of means by no means
King of the road.

I know every engineer on every train
All of their children, and all of their names
And every handout in every town
And every lock that ain't locked
When no one's around.

I sing,
Trailers for sale or rent
Rooms to let, fifty cents
No phone, no pool, no pets
I ain't got no cigarettes
Ah, but, two hours of pushin' broom
Buys an eight by twelve four-bit room
I'm a man of means by no means
King of the road.

Lyrics by Roger Miller

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!’

Conscience, Movies and the MPAA Ratings

Noah (theonlyNoahyouknow) was in town and I spoke to him about movies and he ranted how silly was the American MPAA rating system. In Germany, he said, there was no such thing.

In astonishment, I gasped: How, then, do you know what you can watch?

They read movie reviews.

If you’re a moviegoer, you want to shield yourself and family from filthy, gory or sicko films, but how do you do it? How do you avoid grossout scenes before you know they exist?

Because the American movie rating system is so easy to access, a fair number of our people have, in effect, made it their conscience. They will be safe, they feel, if they just avoid R rated films. Trouble is, the technique doesn’t work too well.

For one thing, if R’s represent the line in the sand, then anything higher on the scale must be okay. But as any moviegoer knows, a PG-13 movie can easily be more filthy than an R. Directors long ago learned to sidestep ‘R‘ triggers, even while loading their films up to the limit with stuff you don‘t want to see. And sometimes R films are so rated for relatively innocuous reasons: one too many f-bombs, for example. (a PG-13 is allowed one, which is a guarantee that one will appear, usually in the most in-your-face manner imaginable!) Of course, nobody likes f-bombs, but if you work or school in an environment where hundreds of such bombs are raining right and left, you may not even notice 3 or 4 in a movie.

Of course, R’s at their worst are nastier than PG-13’s at the worst, so if you don’t read reviews, it might be best to avoid both categories. Don’t just go see them at random, not if you care about avoiding sordid stuff. You might as well play Russian Roulette.

A lot of reviews don’t really tell you too much about what will make you gag, but some do. On the internet, kids-in-mind, and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops both serve pretty well. To be sure,  the mental image of a room packed with Catholic Bishops eagerly watching Freddy Krueger so as to slap it with a thumbs down rating (presumably) always makes me smile.

Now….all this searching and reading and screening is a lot of work just for the sake of movies. Are movies essential to life? No, they are not. “I’ll just avoid them all, unless I hear on sure testimony that this or that film is okay.”

That is a valid position, which some of our people take. For others, however, there are reviews.

Here are the two sites mentioned, both set for the film Cars: (which carries the Sheepandgoats endorsement)

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Don't Worry, I'm in Charge and What About 911?

Many churches post out front some sappy slogan, such as “What is missing: C H _ _ C H.” The church down the street does that. A lot of them do.

A few years ago one of them read: Don’t Worry, I’m in charge….signed, God.

This stuff is embarrassing. It’s nothing more than feel-good fluff. Days later, terrorists flew airplanes into the World Trade Center. Both buildings collapsed. 3000 people died.

I wondered if that silly sign was still there, so I drove past the church. It had been changed! “God Bless America!” it now said. I saw the priest in my mind’s eye hurriedly swapping letters at 3 AM, hoping no one would see him. What once seemed cutesy was now obscene.

Immediately after 911, for once, the clergy had nothing to say. Many were wondering how they could possibly explain things come Sunday. Falwell had the answer. God was mad about pagans and abortionists and feminists and gays and lesbians, but the outspoken clergyman later backed away. But as long as you maintain that God’s in charge, it does seem that you have some explaining to do.

Only Jehovah’s Witnesses had answers that day. The truth is that God is not in charge. The slogan is wrong. The patchwork of sovereign powers all pushing and shoving each other, as if in some adult version of King of the Mountain, is not God’s idea. He doesn’t bless it. It’s not his arrangement for governing earth, but is a consequence of rebellion at mankind’s beginning.

In the year 29CE, just after Jesus was baptized, he was led off into the “wilderness,” where he fasted 40 days. During that time he was temped by the Devil. The second temptation is instructive:

So he brought him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the inhabited earth in an instant of time; and the Devil said to him: “I will give you all this authority and the glory of them, because it has been delivered to me, and to whomever I wish I give it. You, therefore, if you do an act of worship before me, it will all be yours.” In reply Jesus said to him: “It is written, ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’”    Luke 4:5-8

Jesus refused the offer, but he didn’t deny the premise…that the Devil is in charge of all kingdoms, and that he can deliver it to whomever he wishes. Just like if I offer you a watch, it’s understood that the watch is mine to give. At any rate, Jesus said nothing to the contrary. So the Devil, not God, is the one in charge of this present mess of manmade governments.

How earth’s rulership got to be this way, and what are the implications, is the subject of another post….this one, for example.

I was one of many in the ministry the next day. People were mellow, easy to talk to,more open than usual to the Bible’s promise of God’s Kingdom rule, which will accomplish for earth what no human government can even dream of.    


Tom Irregardless and Me        No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

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!’

No, Virginia, Douse the Firecrackers

Virginia O’Hanlon asked her Dad if there really was a Santa Claus, and Dad wasn‘t sure he wanted to lie to his own child. So he did what parents have done since the beginning of time when they’re stuck. He passed the buck.


Why don’t you write the newspaper, he advised. If they say it’s true, then it is.

Editorial page      The New York Sun      September 21, 1897

"Dear Editor--I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in The Sun, it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O'Hanlon
115 West Ninety-fifth Street

Probably, Virginia’s old man was hoping the paper would do what he was too chicken to do….tell his daughter the truth. Instead, they cooked up some sentimental answer that folks gush over to this day.

But sometimes you have no choice but to pass the buck. Like when my own son started pestering me about fireworks, for example, harassing me day and night. Do you think I could persuade my own child that fireworks were not legal in New York State? Not just dynamite, but also cherry bombs and even ladyfingers. They are illegal. You can’t blow them off in New York. Yes, they are legal in some states, but New York is not one of them. Tired of arguing with a boy who showed every sign of becoming just as pigheaded as the old man, I sought a way to pass the buck.

Talk to a cop! What a brilliant idea! I drove to the area police station. Were fireworks legal in New York State? No, they were not. What about ladyfingers? No they were not. What about on holidays and special events? No, that made no difference! What about…..LOOK, said the cop, you got a listening problem?! NO means NO.!! Now if you want to break THE LAW, go right ahead, but we’ll be coming after you!! All that was lacking was for him to draw his gun!

Elated, I skipped home to grab my son and return. Yeah! Tell the boy what you just told me! Scare the everlovin daylights out of him!

But Joe Friday wasn’t there!! Instead, it was jolly Officer O’Malahan! Well….he patted my boy on the head, with a twinkle in his eye, just be careful, and don’t set them off too much!!

Thanks a lot, copper!!! If this kid grows up to be a pirate, I’ll know who to blame!





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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!’