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Tweeting the Meeting: Week of December 20, 2021

How to Conquer Evil with Good was the title of the #publictalk. Strange how not too long after I heard it I encountered someone who I wish had heard it as well, for he was about 2 embark on a (nonviolent) Rambo mission to avenge some wrongs that is likely to get him steamrollered

The speaker considers words translated as ‘evil’ and how they allow for God himself to do evil, in the sense of ‘bringing calamity’ upon ones deserving of it.

Rom 12:21 -  Do not let yourself be conquered by evil but keep conquering with good. Of course, this is the theme scripture of the talk.

“Never again will I curse the ground ‘call down evil upon’ inclination of teh heart of man is bad from his youth up.” (Gen 8:21) So much for the ‘man is natural good’ philosophy of moderns. It is enough that they have the capacity of good, being made in God’s image.

The speaker now veers into material on how to survive in a dangerous neighborhood. https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1995601?q=Survive+in+a+dangerous+neighborhood&p=doc

“Don’t you pray to God to forgive your mistakes every day? I know I do,” says the speaker. Yeah. Who doesn’t regret some things they have done in the past?

The speaker quotes Proverb 28:20 on how “the one hastening to get rich will not remain innocent.” as he speaks of ‘sharklike’ business practices and pits we can dig for ourselves.

 

#WatchtowerStudy today is ‘Hold Fast to the Truth With Strong Conviction.’   Theme scripture is: “Make sure of all things; hold fast to what is fine.”​—1 THESS. 5:21

Para 3: Since there are all those verses that all there is about God will never be known, Psalm 40:5, Ecclesiastes 3:11, Isaiah 55:9, Romans 11:33) it’s not a little silly to take a pass on him based upon, ‘We don’t know everything?’…1/3

Eccles 3:11. “He has even put eternity in their heart [yeah, we’ll need all that time and them some]; yet mankind will never find out the work that the true God has made from start to finish.”…2/3

Isaiah 55:9: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Is he meant to learn from us, or are we meant to learn from him?…3/3

The bro in the all-purpose room with the washing machine and slop sink behind him is the reader today.

Para 5: The sis who has come into her own with Zoom just commented on how can be make an image to God since what could one possibly compare to him?

Para 7: Unusual bit of sarcasm here of unnamed ‘superstar’ preachers. ‘Some individuals hang on to their every word. It is hard to imagine that these churchgoers could be more excited if Jesus himself were to appear to them!’ Maybe that guy with the jet who insists …1/2

the Lord says he needs yet one more is an example…..2/2

Para 10: a very strange situation commented upon: “Today many religious leaders have done everything in their power to conceal the fact that God has a personal name.” Why would that be?

Para 12: Acknowledgment that ‘God’s people today do not claim to have perfect or complete knowledge of the truth. At times, they have made mistakes in doctrinal matters and in organizational direction.’ Contrasted with church denominations making changes …1/2

that call to my mind Mark Smith’s [Secular Faith] remark that most Christians have more in common with atheists than that do with their own denominations of a century past. [he does not disapprove of this] …2/2

Para 15: Key is to produce worship structure that “mirrors the arrangement established by the apostles in the first century.” It took me a long time to realize that much of the religious world does not think this a virtue, but considers that religion should ‘evolve.’

Para 16: Love this verse & how it runs so contrary to how Jesus is often presented—as so mild and wimpy that it’s almost impossible to get him riled”

Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom….1/2

Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’And then I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’ Matt 7:21-23…2/2

And to think that ages ago, at my wedding reception, my Dad said to my uncle, “come on, let’s for outside for a break. These people are so nice I can’t stand it.”

 

This #midweekmeeting point makes perfect sense to me from Judges 10:11. I mean, how long are you going to be a soft touch? “Jehovah said to the Israelites: “Did I not save you from Egypt and from the Amʹor·ites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, Amalek, and Midian…1/3

When you cried out to me, I saved you out of their hand. But you abandoned me and served other gods. That is why I will not save you again. Go to the gods whom you have chosen and call for help. Let them save you in your time of distress.” …2/3

Nonetheless, he does cave and does it one more time. Let no one say he won’t help a guy out….3/3

Save us! they say to Jephthah & he says ‘Buzz off!’ but then relents.(Judges 11:6).   What an odd parallel with Judges 10:11, where they ask the same of God and he responds the same way. Good thing we don’t do antitypes these days.

They would say to him, “Please say Shibʹbo·leth.” But he would say, “Sibʹbo·leth,” as he was unable to say the word correctly. Then they would seize him and slay him at the fords of the Jordan. (Jug 12:6) Hmm. I used to say to Tom Irregardless, ‘Please say regardless.’ …1/2

But he was unable to say the word correctly and would say irregardless. I never said he should be slain for that, though….2/2

There’s more than meets the eye with numbers in Judges. 30 sons who rode on 30 donkeys, [with] 30 cities (10:4). 30 sons and 30 daughters…and he brought in 30 women to marry his sons (12:9) 40 sons and 30 grandsons who rode on 70 donkeys (12:14)…1/2

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I mean, who has stats like these. Symbolism at work, methinks. And what of these 6 things that God hates that miraculously becomes 7? (Prov 6:16)…2/2

Pure Worship para 18: There’s at least two dozen Bible verses that directly state real Christianity is hated by the world. The Gog scenario is like a red flag before the bull. No one has to get behind the bull and push.

Hm. Apparently a vote next week on changing the midweek mtg night. It matters not to me. I won’t make a choice. But back when I was working eves, it was a move that had huge repercussions & I was always a little nettled when some would choose just on a whim.

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Doesn’t That New Wild Beast Look an Awful Lot Like the Bible Wild Beasts?

It didn’t take long for word to spread about the new UN statue—doesn’t it look a lot like one of those end-time Bible beasts? "Did they really think that they could put this up without anyone noticing?" said Michael Snyder, who runs a religious blog.

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UN Photo: Manuel Elias

The statue reminds me of Geoffrey Jackson’s words that, not only does Jehovah do something, but he does it in style. No, not that Jehovah prods them to erect that statue, or any other. It is a gift from the Mexican government. But it’s like when people do something unknowingly that fits right in to the narrative, almost like one of those hooks in jaws scenarios.

I mean, come on! Here the JW organization has for 80 years identified the UN organization as the wild beast that “was, but is not, and yet is about to ascend out of the abyss,” the wild beast that is the image of the one that “was like a leopard, but its feet were like those of a bear, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth [which] the dragon gave to the beast its power and its throne and great authority,” the wild beast that draws its power from the seven world powers of Bible history it reflects, the wild beast that through it ALL the (ten) kings of the earth get a temporary crack at world rulership—who can forget that Daniel vision of the beast like a lion with wings of an eagle?—the JW organization puts such identification on the table, and then the UN itself erects a statue as though to say, “Yep—that’s us!” A guy can be forgiven the feeling that someone is manipulating the minions.

Enter Scopes.com, the secular fact-checking site. Snopes.com, who wouldn’t know the significance of a scripture if they choked on one as a chicken bone. Snopes.com, who explains it all away by observing that, yes it is a composite beast, and yes, there are similar beasts in Daniel and Revelation, but this beast says it is good and the beasts of the Bible say they are bad—and besides, the Bible vision is a flying lion, whereas the UN displays a flying jaguar, and don’t those Bible crazies know the science of zoology? With this bit of secular theology, Snopes figures it has fact-checked the case closed.

Don’t get your wild beasts from Snopes, who wouldn’t know a wild beast from a gerbil. Get them from Jehovah’s Witnesses who would and who have written it up here.

It’s not enough that the UN erects that swords-into-plowshares statue from Isaiah and it’s but inspirational sloganeering for them without a prayer of it ever becoming reality and then Jehovah’s Witnesses come along and implement it without fuss?

Now, the fly in the ointment of saying that international organization for bringing peace and security to the world, presuming to do what only God’s kingdom can do and thus betraying its ‘blasphemous’ nature—the fly in the ointment of saying that international organization is the mighty eighth king that draws its power from the seven is that it sure doesn’t act mighty. The sky-blue helmeted troops that nobody pays any attention to trying to enforce peace, whereas everybody knows you don’t put troops in sky-blue helmets. I mean, they’re sort of like Boy Scouts—they mean well but are not to be taken seriously.

Maybe what must be done is reappraise the beast giving breath (Revelation 13:15) to the image of the beast, and figure just when does it do that? At its creation, yes, first as its 1919 forerunner League of Nations, then, after it goes into the abyss and re-emerges, as the United Nations, yes, then it “tells those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the wild beast that had the sword-stroke and yet revived.” (Vs 14)

But there’s not a lot more breath breathed into it. You don’t breathe life into it while the harlot is riding high, hailing it as the “political expression of God’s kingdom on earth” at exactly the same time as Jehovah’s Witnesses are galvanized to “advertise, advertise, advertise the [real] king and his kingdom. You breathe life into it once is has grown weary of the harlot and is showing signs of bucking it—once the dominant culture has turned atheistic.

You don’t breathe life into it until the times immediately ahead? That humanistic framework is put in place as of the image’s founding, and then not much is done with it—until what is just ahead of us? Is it with the UN Agenda 2030 that life is breathed into it, and with that human scheme “the wild beast should both speak and cause to be killed all those who refuse to worship the image of the wild beast [as] It puts under compulsion all people—the small and the great, the rich and the poor, the free and the slaves—that these should be marked on their right hand or on their forehead, and that nobody can buy or sell except a person having the mark, the name of the wild beast or the number of its name.”  (Vs 15-18)

The humanistic way of saving the earth—tamp down that population growth. What can be better than pushing sexual conduct that won’t result in babies? Cool down that planet. How better to do it than squeezing out fossil fuels so that sun and wind will pick up the slack and if it doesn’t—well then, adjust. Redistribute that money. How better to do it that destroying the economy and re-emerging it in a great reset? Tamp down those freedoms people fixate on—they can’t handle them. Remake religion so that it’s ‘my way or the highway’—if it comes on board for backing human schemes, it can stay for now.

None of this can be done openly, for people love their own comfort and they love their own nations. They won’t stand by to see them eviscerated. It must be done clandestinely and it must be done by trillionaires—nobody else would have the wherewithal to pull it off. Oh, yeah—plenty of conspiracies can be spun from this. The problem with conspiracy theories is that, once a few of them turn out to be true, you tend to believe anything that comes down the pipe.

Some of the current conspiracy theories involve COVID 19, its origin, its trajectory, and regimens to deal with it. I’ve read the Breggin and the Mercola books and they do make for good reads—both of them heavily endnoted. The trouble is their solution to thwarting a conspiracy always lies in reverting to the status quo—as if all was hunky dory before COVID-19 revealed itself. Breggin keeps referring to those who benefit—and there are those who benefit enormously—as “global predators”fixated on their own “power, wealth, and self-aggrandizement.” If he says it once, he says it a dozen times. Why does he do that? They are humans fixing the planet—the humanistic way.

On the other hand, the nations of this earth always paint themselves with laudable goals. They never paint themselves as beasts. Yet that is how the Bible paints them, for that is how they behave—ripping, tearing, and devouring each other and whoever is caught in the crossfire. Sometimes they even turn on their own citizens in the guise of helping them. So maybe Breggin is on to something after all.

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Tweeting the Meeting: Week of December 13, 2021

Guitar leaning on the wall behind the speaker turns pre-meeting chit-chat to jazz. Turns out someone in his congregation is well known in the jazz world & our local aficionado knows him well. #publictalk

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Speaker today is from the Pacific coast, and here we are in the east. How can that be? Ah—it is the congregation that one of our bros relocated to. On any heavy subject, defense lawyers, will look at previous cases before the judge to see how he rolls—let us do that with Jehovah, the speaker says.

Speaker takes a crack at the ‘probably’ clause of Zephaniah 2:3. Recalls his high school math teacher saying, ‘if you’ve learned these formulas’ you probably will pass the test tomorrow.

And the sea gave up the dead in it? (Rev 20:13) It is the resurrection. The dead were judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds. (Vs 12) What deeds? During one’s lifetime? No: “the one who has dies has been acquitted of his sins.” Romans 6:7….1/2

The “scroll of life” opened? —most likely new laws to be given in new system & how we interact with them will determine future. Such is the 1000 yr “judgment day.”…2/2

#watchtowerstudy  “We Serve the God Who Is “Rich in Mercy” (Oct 2021 WT) Theme verse: “Jehovah is good to all, and his mercy is evident in all his works.”​—PS. 145:9.

What do you call that sort of inspirational climbing the scales the way ‘A Prayer of the Lowly One Does? does? Maybe the speaker who has a guitar leaning on the wall in his background.will know the answer to that one,

Para 5:  Not a better passage of God’s historical mercy than Ps 78. From 37 on: “they were not faithful to his covenant.But he was merciful; He would forgive their error … often held back his anger Instead of stirring up all his wrath…he remembered that they were flesh…”

A wind that blows past and does not return.How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness And made him feel hurt in the desert!Again and again they put God to the test, And they grieved the Holy One of Israel.They did not remember his power, The day that he rescued them from the adversary,  Ps 78

Huh! From that Ps 78 passage of mercy is (vs 39), “A wind that blows past and does not return.” Is this where Jesus quotes in answering Nicodemas?   (John 3:8) “The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear the sound of it, …2/3

but you do not know where it comes from and where it is going.” Not sure. Shelve it for a future look….3/3

“Not punishing…it’s just the way it is” says one sis regarding the quarantine that must be done in these days when people catch COVID-19

Present COVID reality makes a lot of these quarantine analogies resonate.

Para 12:  “For I am with you,” declares Jehovah, “to save you. But I will make an extermination among all the nations to which I scattered you; However, you I will not exterminate. I will discipline you to the proper degree, And I will by no means leave you unpunished.” (Jer 30:11)

Para 13: “For what do I have to do with judging those outside? Do you not judge those inside,  while God judges those outside? “Remove the wicked person from among yourselves.” (1 cor 5:12)”

Good to know the fellow did eventually return.

Para 14: Upon return it is: ‘Paul told the elders that he did not want “to be too harsh.” He directed them: “Kindly forgive and comfort him….so that he may not be overwhelmed by excessive sadness.” 2 Corinthians 2:5-8, 11.

Para 16: “Whoever stops up his ear to the cry of the lowly one Will himself call and not be answered.” Prov 21:13

Para 19 New way to look at Nathan & David. “The rich man [who stole a sheep from the poor man] deserves to die!” David thunders. Well, he didn’t deserve to DIE, the Law made provision for such crimes. But David’s harsh judgment was rhetorically turned upon himself. (2 Sam 12: 1-6

Para 21: 2 sides of coin in Jas 1:27. Mercy to orphans & widows and Keep self without spot from world. Can only extend help when in position of safety oneself….“form of worship that is clean and undefiled …is this: to look after orphans and widows…keep without spot fr world.”

 

#Midweekmeeting: “Till his last breath he lacked humility,” the bro says about the fellow who couldn’t abide others knowing that a woman had killed him. #midweekmeeting, (Judges 9:54) abimilech

“When he spoke this way they calmed down,” says a bro highlighting the benefit of speaking peaceably (Judges 8:3)

So the OPIs work closely with the PIDs. Got it. And I can still recall Sam Herd grumbling about acronyms. Good PIDs, though, in Italy, Rwanda, and those that monitor Russia.

Get that cat off your fridge, Bonzo.

Those “restored from the people,” vs 8, & the thought repeated, “regathered from the nations” — is the Ezekiel 38:8-12 target for Gog of Magog.

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Women Must Keep Silent in the Congregation?—How are You Going to Put Lipstick on THAT One?

Women were lightly valued in the ancient Greco-Roman and yes—even the Jewish world. So God goes out of his way to highly value them.

The testimony of a woman was considered near-worthless back then. So God arranges that the two most important newsflashes in history be given to women.

The news that Jesus is the promised Messiah? First given to a woman:

I know that Messiah is coming, who is called Christ. Whenever that one comes, he will declare all things to us openly.”  Jesus said to her: “I am he, the one speaking to you.” (John 4: 25-26) Even the disciples had to jump through hoops for that one. 

Jesus raised from the dead? That bit of intelligence also first given to women:

Why are you looking for the living one among the dead?” the angel asked the women. “He is not here, but has been raised up. Recall how he spoke to you while he was yet in Galilee, saying that the Son of man must be handed over to sinful men and be executed on the stake and on the third day rise.” Then they remembered his words, and they returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the Eleven and to all the rest. They were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James. Also, the rest of the women with them were telling these things to the apostles. However, these sayings seemed like nonsense to them, and they would not believe the women.(Luke 24:5-11)

They didn’t believe them! Because the testimony of a woman was worthless? The angel doesn’t even bother to correct the men. They’d figure it out eventually, the clods.

And don’t get me going about Jael in the Old Testament, who had the privilege of pounding a tent pin through Sisera’s head! Sometimes guys need that. (Judges 4:25)

So who do you think is assigned the talk explaining the apostle Paul’s words at 1 Corinthians 14:34? Me, that’s who! It’s not the easiest assignment in the world. Just listen to what Paul wrote:

Let the women keep silent in the congregations, for it is not permitted for them to speak. Rather, let them be in subjection, as the Law also says.  If they want to learn something, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the congregation.

I mean, how are you going to put lipstick on that one? How are you going to account for how they speak all the time in today’s Kingdom Hall meetings? The guy doesn’t even try to be politically correct—that’s Paul’s problem! From this verse stem the modern complaints that he didn’t like women and that he was misogynistic.

Well, for a guy who doesn’t like women, he sure applauded enough of them. There is Phoebe, who has proved to be a defender of many, including me.” (Rom 16:1-2) There is Euodia and Syntyche, who “have striven side by side with me for the good news” (Phil 4:2-3) And when Lydia “just made us come,” she didn’t interject, “Not you Paul—you’re a misogynist.” (Acts 16:15)

Women weren’t the only ones told to keep silent in that 1 Corinthians chapter. Men were, too, so that it appears to be a matter of special circumstances. Of gifts of the spirit that were destined to fade away but hadn’t yet in those days of Christianity’s infancy, congregation members who would speak in tongues when no one was around to interpret were to keep silent—what good is a tongue if nobody is around to understand it? (vs 28)

If someone was exercising the gift of prophesy and another started doing the same, one or the other was to keep silent. That way “all things take place for building up,” (vs 26) appropriate since “God is a God not of disorder but of peace.” (vs 33)

Always you have to figure in context for any item of scripture. It appears that the women who were to keep silent in 1 Corinthians 14 were also those of special circumstances. Maybe they were speaking just any old time out of order. Maybe they were challenging congregation teachers—male as a matter of spiritual headship. Maybe they were angling to be teachers themselves. It is not a verse that precludes commenting in the orderly Q & A structure of how meetings are carried on today, the same as men are to do.

So I ran all these points past the congregation in my talk. Afterwards, no women gave me dirty looks. At least, no more than normal.

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Tweeting the Meeting: Week of December 6, 2021

PublicTalk: Real Peace and Security—When?

The speaker displays a photo of a crazy leaning house. Would you put your family in there? he asks. His talk: “Real Peace and Security—When?”

Nations declare “peace” after a war, yet the hatred, jealousy, suspicion that triggered war is still there, peace a facade,

How Satan has led mankind: has persuaded majority of mankind to believe it is human governments that will bring peace

Satan dominates and his influence will prevent human efforts to ever bring peace and security, Rev12:12, great anger of devil, short period of time

Daniel 2: stone to crush the image, vs44,  “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed. And this kingdom will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it alone will stand forever,

“As to political fulfillment, its wise to wait and see what develops on the world scene”

God’s people living unprotected by walls and gates, a golden opportunity for Satan to attack, nations that just destroyed religion will now turn on Jehovah’s people. Ezekiel 38

Satan hurled into abyss after he witnesses destruction of all that is his, just like Pharoah does down in Red Sea.

Isa 65:21-22, “They will build houses and live in them, And they will plant vineyards and eat their fruitage. They will not build for someone else to inhabit, Nor will they plant for others to eat. … And the work of their hands my chosen ones will enjoy to the full.” Love this one.

#WatchtowerStudy, What Is True Repentance?   Theme verse: “I have come to call . . . sinners to repentance.”​—LUKE 5:32.

Oddly and separately, i have been going through Moby Dick again. Is this going to mess me up, getting the two Ahabs mixed up?

Para 5-6: When the first prophet rebukes Ahab, he softens, humbles himself, and that is noted: 1 Kings 21:29.   It is fleeting. He hardens, His words of the second prophet, “I hate him.”

“So we really don’t have a whole lot on our chalkboard for Ahab, do we?” the WT conductor sums up.

“Remember Manasseh,” gruff Joe said as the rest of the body went on to consider a certain returning one’s course of repentance.

Para 12-13: The conductor’s doing the chalkboard thing again with Manasseh, and its stacking up differently than it did with Ahab—Manasseh, who went on to undo what he could of how he had hashed up things.

Thank you, Jeff Bezos. (or whoever) AI translating converts Manasseh into NASA.   #WeHaveIgnition

Para 13–That’s not a bad illustration, is it? Asked for baked goods, get handed an egg, and will you be satisfied with the explanation that, after all an egg IS an ingredient of baked goods?

This is a good handling of the material by the WT conductor, who brings out the chalkboard illustration again.. Did you know that his Dad was drafted into the NFL? (and wouldn’t let his young children watch the sport on TV on account of the violence)

Yikes! As the sis comments, her cat enters into the screen, CLOSER TO THE CAMERA THAN SHE IS! It looks like a dinosaur! 648A37EF-2900-4264-A992-6B575A9B4B8A

Review item: The repentant prodigal didn’t make assumptions. “Make me like one of your hired men,” he said. Turns out that all was restored and then some, but he didn’t assume it.

Rats. Wife and I on separate connections. One or the other must mute sound when either comments & we forgot to do that. I hate when that happens-appens-appens-appens.

 

#MidweekMeeting ‘Go with the strength you have,’ the speaker quotes Judges 7:14 as he pulls lessons from Gideon. Imagine. 300 rout many thousands (who go down in ‘friendly fire.’) #midweekmeeting

One sis takes from Judges 6:37 (request the fleece stays dry and the ground is wet, then vice versa) that it is okay to pray to God for clarity.

Huh. The sis who said she was going to steal my illustration just did!

…That the Bible is the owner’s manual for the product that is us. But I told her not to worry. It is not copyrighted, nor even very original.

Where would I be if I did not have faith that I would see Jehovah’s goodness in the land of the living?   Ps 27:13

‘The disorder we see in the world is proof positive that God is not with them.’ Hard to disagree with that one.

Red sky in morning, sailors take warning. Red sky at night, sailors delight. Green sky?

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What the Society is Trying to Say is….

sister in a prior congregation (who later left the truth) was famous for saying, “What the Society is trying to say is….” I used to answer that they know how to write there at Bethel. Doubtless what they were saying is exactly what they wanted to say.

It’s not necessary to take the view, ‘what the Governing Body wants is this. If they want it, they’ll say it. Sometimes I think admittedly imprecise wording is in recognition and respect that each person’s conscience with move him/her differently.

I play with that idea of ‘what the Society is trying to say’ in Tom Irregardless and Me. John Wheatnweeds drags out meetings for field service to such an extent that by the time he is done, no one wants to go out in service anymore. Reminder after reminder comes from the Society to shorten his meetings. Each one he gets around, after commenting that, “What the Society is trying to say is….” 

After four of five letters that have had little effect on him, he receives another. “What the Society is trying to say is…” he begins, at which point the Society interrupts: “We’re not TRYING to say anything—we’re SAYING it! You get those publishers out the door in seven minutes!”

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Relief in Russia? Part 2

Appeals to governmental powers do not always fall on deaf ears. The JW archives tell of a slandered Witness in danger of losing her son: “The brothers and sisters in Anna’s congregation composed a letter attesting to her good example as a mother. A brother carried the letter to Moscow and delivered it to then-leader Nikita Khrushchev. Remarkably, Khrushchev ordered an inquiry into the matter. Anna was exonerated, and her son was not taken by the authorities.”

Something similar has happened with Putin. [See prior post.] Today “the rights of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia must be fully restored…..The Russian Supreme Court has taken the first step in this direction, …[ruling that] recognition of a religious organization as extremist does not prohibit its followers from exercising their right to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.” In other words, do you want to arrest them? You first have to establish they have done something illegal. It is not enough that they exist.

(Copy and paste all Russian language articles into https://www.deepl.com/translator for translation.)

Maybe it just became too outrageous. Letters of support for Timothy Zhukov painted Russian “justice” as too much a word belonging in quotes. He had appealed his arrest based upon the constitution that guarantees freedom of worship. For that he was sent to a psychiatric hospital. It prompted these published letters:

A citizen of the Russian Federation wanted to use the article of the Constitution and this is his right. However, the law enforcement agencies decided to condemn the citizen for this, and even recognize him as mentally ill. Where is the Law? Where is the justice? Night arrest, interrogation - continuous violations of the law. As it recalls the events of the first century: "Then Jesus said to them: as if you went out against a robber with swords and stakes to take Me" (Bible, Gospel of Mark chapter 14 verse 48). I would like to praise Timothy, in such a terrible situation he remains a faithful Christian, he endures everything courageously!” Miroslava, November 11, 2021

and

Marvelous! A person shows respect for the highest law of the state, using the 51st article of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, and the investigating authorities themselves see this as a reason to doubt his sanity. It is as if a mirror image of the events of bygone days described in the Bible: “When he defended himself in this way, Festus interrupted him.“ You are out of your mind, Paul, ”he shouted,“ great learning drove you to madness! ”(Acts of the Apostles 26: 24, New Russian translation) …Victor, November 12, 2021.

Zhukov himself is a lawyer—thus, even from the secular perspective, the “great learning” works. He has recently been compensated for his confinement. One thing the Witness organization can be depended upon: They will not allow villainies to be “done in a corner.” (Acts 26:26) 

Did continual denunciations, each time highlighting the absurdity and thus painting the country itself as absurd, finally trigger a tipping point? Such as this recent item in the Washington Post?

A few days after the November 2021 Supreme Court reinterpretation, a Witness was acquitted of extremism—the first Witness to be acquitted of that charge.

The ultimate results of the High Court’s decision wait to be seen. “Few believe this is a signal to an end to mass repression against Jehovah's Witnesses,” one source says. 

Another speaks of theologian Andrei Kuraev, who is asked to interpret just what the Court’s ruling will mean in practical terms. He is hopeful—guardedly—“that this document of the whole Supreme Court may be evidence of some serious changes in approach.” Kuraev is included in I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses: Searching for the Why, as is Timothy Zhukov.  He is no friend of Jehovah’s Witnsees, but he is a friend of common sense.

He has maintained all along that the original 2017 declaration equating Jehovah’s Witness with extremism is ridiculous. That decision “is far-fetched and very unconscionable. Because the Jehovists are radical in only one respect: they are radical pacifists.” Of the current decision that you can’t just beat up on them if they aren’t doing anything wrong, he agrees. But he knows where he lives. “The Supreme Court's decision is one thing and policy may be something entirely different. I am afraid that in Russia when there is a conflict between a legislative document and the order of an immediate superior, the latter will win." So time will tell.

Kuraev’s forces of common sense are up against some truly bizarre thinking. Graniru.org* reports (November 23, 2021) that the charge of "eschatological extremism," for which prosecutors were seeking a 9 year prison term before the latest Court decision thwarted them, must be upheld “since the end of the world, which these political prisoners [Jehovah’s Witnesses] expect, will result in mass disturbances and violations of Russia's territorial integrity.”

The prosecution’s “independent experts objected in all seriousness: ‘Violent acts committed by Jehovah, who is not a subject of law and cannot, due to his divine nature, be influenced by the texts presented for examination, can in no way be prevented by applying anti-extremist legislation. Moreover, any acts committed by Jehovah, even if they are violent, cannot be unlawful.’"

*https://graniru.org,   (https://www.facebook.com/achivchalov, Nov 23rd entry)

It recalls to mind a cartoon I once saw of God preparing to hurl a lightning bolt. He is stopped when an angel tugs at his sleeve: “Not America! Think of the lawsuits.”

Seems the angel should have said it of Russia.

 

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)

Tweeting the Meeting: Week of November 22, 2021

Public Talk:

Speaker is from the neighboring congregation. ‘Why Christians Must be Different?’ is the topic. He starts with pic of a chameleon, which changes skin color based on, temp, light, emotion—then goes on to how majority instinct of people is to blend in.

He brings out how Peter fell to peer pressure, though he wasn’t young or inexperienced. Don’t think peer pressure is something just kids to watch out for.

He closes with the same chameleon illustration he began with…..1/2

When situation we are in gets hotter, intensity of light is spotlighted, or when we feel our own emotional state start to change because of fear of man, may we a show a courageous or different spirit. True Christians must be different ….2/2

 

Song 3 to open today’s #watchtowerstudy

“But at times this life’s anxieties
are the cause of fears within,
And the hope that burned so brightly
has suddenly grown dim.”
…So Jehovah, please instill in us
a heart that won’t forget,
For you’ve always been our comfort…1/2

when troubled times we’ve met.
And these thoughts that lift and strengthen us
can revive that dying flame,
For they fill our hearts with courage
to speak about your name.”….2/2

Para 1: If approaching the high and mighty, we give choice to words so as not to offend, one bro says, because “they expect that”—words to reinforce that they are above you. Then he contrasts with God’s invitation to call him ‘our father.’

That elder I love to tease is wearing a tie today that effectively says: HELLO!!! PLEASE TO MEETCHA!!!!!

What if you feel caught in a pinch point of the potter’s wheel, one bro said in the spirit of Par 7. God is using imperfect people to relate to other imperfect people because that’s all he has at the present time.

Par 10: “We love, because he first loved us.” 1 john 4:19.   Never will it be God saying, “Wow! Look what Bob is doing? I think I’ll do the same!” Always it will be the reverse.

Make a comment—bask in the glory of own wonderful wisdom (and forget to lower hand)….Get called on again unprepared. Say something stupid.

A comment on what you see here? the conductor asks about the pic. Well, the bro has his blue hand up.

Par 16: “Studying this article…explained that being willing to forgive

others does not mean that you approve of their wrong behavior or minimize the damage it causes. But forgiving does mean letting go of resentment for such wrongs and maintaining your own peace.”…1/2

Yeah. If you don’t forgive it will mess with you more than with the other person….2/2

God knows how to put the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional, the conductor quips.

Para 19: Who are your brothers?” the judge asked suddenly. The bro answered with Matthew 12:50: “Whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, that one is my brother and sister and mother.”

The bro just answered who has moved back to his childhood home of Texas. A family with an oil background, when working with him in service & driving past a gas station, I would exclaim, “Look! Texas tea!”

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(Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

Sigh…the time has come again. There sure are some weird accounts in Judges. #midweekmeeting

I well remember a speaker telling how Ehud delivered “a very pointed message” and my buddy cracking up over it. (Judges 3:21)…1/2

To say nothing of how Adonibezek turned philosophical in his old age. Minus great toes and thumbs, he reflected on how he had detoed and dethumbed 70 kings, and took it as payback. (Judges 1:7)…2/2

“All that generation were gathered to their ancestors, and another generation arose after them that did not know Jehovah or what he had done for Israel” judges 2:10…Not so easy to pass things on to the kiddies as you might think.

Well, Neeta is stressed too. Going around thinking it all rests on her shoulders and she’s messing it up? Call that not stress? Works better when she applies 1 Corinthians 3:6…“I planted, A·polʹlos watered, but God kept making it grow.”

I’m all fired up! one bro said to my favorite circuit overseer, who retired long ago and maintained circuit overseer hours until he died. His reply was not to be fired up—‘you’ll burn up. Better to be aglow with the spirit.’

Antitype is like one of those Russian dolls that you open and there’s another one inside. Only in this case, the one inside is the greater. It’s a drama that stands all by itself. But an even greater one waits in the wings.

Even when not scripturally indicated, we have said antitype. Now we just say ‘This reminds me of that.’ That way no one can say it didn’t.

Many times I’ve heard the chairman call on a hand only to hear it is a residual hand. But not till tonight have I heard him say ‘Is that a residual hand?’ and be answered, ‘No. It’s a real hand’ before commenting.

Four bad things logged: “The error of the house of Israel and Judah is very, very great. The land is filled with bloodshed, and the city is full of corruption. For they say, ‘Jehovah has left the land, and Jehovah is not seeing.’ (Ezekiel 9:9) …1/2

Five if you count the two verys….2/2

The elder I love to tease conducted a part and he is so bad that the whole congregation began to cry. This bro follows me on Twitter so I try to make it worth his while.

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)