Chuck started his Zoom Bible study with the Good News from God brochure as guide. Since there was encouragement to switch to the new interactive guide when feasible, I looked for a seamless spot. I thought I had found one. I hadn’t.
Lesson 10 of GNfG seemed the spot. Entitled “How Can You Recognize True Worship?” with subheadings “Is there only one true religion?” “What did Jesus say about false Christians?” “How can you recognize true worshippers?” and “Can you identify the true religion?”
Intensify it only slightly to the “How False Religion Misrepresents God” of Enjoy Life Forever, Lesson 13, and it seemed a perfect transition place.
Chuck took to the transition and the new guide. Several lessons on Jesus followed. (15-17) “Who is Jesus?” “What did Jesus do on earth?” and “What was Jesus like?” He took to them all and carried on how he had learned so much about Jesus. He loved how we had [his words] “married Bible study, evangelizing, and technology.” We covered several chapters, two weeks per lesson.
He’s not one hard to draw out; he likes to talk. He was a philosophy major in college not so long ago. Need I say more? He’s not quite so participatory as Alex, who felt he had to act out the answers as though in a drama class—if the answer was ‘scribes and Pharisees,’ any other student would just say ‘scribes and Pharisees’ but Alex would bound off his chair and strut around his apartment nose in the air as he imagined the scribes and Pharisees would do.
Chuck doesn’t carry on to that extent, but he is loquacious. Think of the 30-second goal in commenting at meetings that our Watchtower conductor is a real bug on. The need-greater from Myanmar tells me it is not just so that more people can comment, but also that we may learn to be concise, just like Jesus was. I’ve even begun to, within very narrow limits, incorporate this counsel into my own writing. I’ve been known to meander forever before getting down to a topic. Yes, but the thing is, people tell me, we don’t really like you that much—why don’t you just address the point? Ah well—none of this matters in a home Bible study. It’s not me that talks, it’s him, and philosophers are seldom at a loss for words.
Presently, however, I began looking ahead in the guide and grew uneasy. Coming up were chapters such as “Are Jehovah’s Witnesses real Christians?” and “Baptism—a worthwhile goal.” Seriously? We haven’t laid all the groundwork yet! The topic of why evil and suffering exist is still ahead of us! All previous guides have considered it before it comes time to figure who has the true religion. What kind of sense does this new way make? Other lessons long considered basic, including many of those we’ve already covered in GNfG, are still ahead of us in ELF! What gives? We should be asking whether the students think JWs have the true religion before laying the groundwork that proved to us it does?
I tell Chuck I’m a little at a loss now that I’ve seen the two study guides do not parallel each other, as I had assumed they did—he’s the first study I have conducted with the new interactive guide. That makes me a pioneer! he says. Either that or a guinea pig, I tell him. Well, we can continue with the present course, I propose, speeding through it somewhat. Or we can go back to Lesson 1 and proceed from there, since it is different material, not parallel to the Good News from God at all.
What bothers me doesn’t bother him at all. Times change, he says. Curriculum adjusts. Of course it does, but I grasped it only upon reflection. He grasped it instantly.
To be continued…