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In Africa Four Families Will Live in that Garage - Part 2

(See Part 1)

Years ago a Branch representative from somewhere in Africa made the rounds here—I don’t quite remember why—speaking before various gatherings. He kept marveling that in America everyone has “washing-up machines.”

“You Americans are so spoiled,” he said. Not only does everyone have a car but you even have garages to put that car in. “In Africa, four families would live in that garage.” He stated many times that “life is cheap” in Africa, and how it was so easy to lose it to violence, poverty, unstable governments, whatever.

He was a great storyteller. He related how he had asked representatives of an area where the work was banned whether they could use anything. Yes, the brother replied. They could really use one of those massive superpowerful Xerox machines. “Of course, you would be arrested (or did he say shot?) if caught smuggling one in……..but you asked.”

”We have to get those brothers a Xerox machine,” he turned the thought over in his head for days and spoke about it with others. Finally a group of brothers hatched a scheme to attempt just that. He described a scene at the airport where his carefully laid plans of concealment fell apart and the machine became visible for anyone having half a brain to look there. As if they didn’t see it, as if Jehovah had struck them blind, (these are his analogies, not mine) guards waved them through. Possibly he had some ridiculous threadbare cover story that nobody thought to challenge.

Yeah, standard of living is pretty high in the States. Expenses too are astronomical. Just like in the developing world, the majority live continually strapped for cash. Most people are equally drowning, just drowning at a higher sea level.  They might be able to send dough to someone far away who asks, but they’d have to sell a lamp or forsake something to do it. Paycheck to paycheck is how the majority live, even in developed lands. 

Of course, this is by no means obvious to someone from afar who can only see the high lifestyle. Many times it has been pointed out that it is only in developing lands that the friends can truly appreciate Jesus’s prayer to ‘give us today our daily bread.’ In Western lands, where there are mortgages, car payments, insurance policies, and various other amortized expenses, people have no idea what their daily bread requirements are. They just know that when they reach for cash there doesn’t seem to be much of it.

In general, the constant refrain to keep one’s life simple has had its effect on the brotherhood. Here, you can’t tell who has dough and who doesn’t. Outward appearances mean nothing. Someone outwardly living the flashy life may be hopeless ensnared in debt. Someone with no financial concerns whatsoever may be living low-key. Even Elon Musk says he does not live a life of “conspicuous consumption.” 

Among the ones who chase after the dough in the West are some refugees once they adjust to their new home. The ones who go this way make poor candidates for the kingdom message. Using pooled resources often from others of their nationality, they buy a spacious home in a fine area and everyone in it works two jobs or more. Usually they are minimum wage jobs, but string enough of them together, and before long they’re living the material life to make any Westerner envious. Family life doesn’t immediately fall apart, since they come from places where ties are strong.

Then, of course, there is always my screwball friend Curt, the one raised in the circus who had semi-scamming and treating people as marks seemingly stamped into his DNA, the one who by sheer fanaticism, started with nothing and became a millionaire through selling used cars (inherently fraught with scam potential), then sector funds, who drove Fidelity nuts calling them multiple times each day transferring his entire net worth from one fund to another. Yet all the while he lived as though a pauper, not to fool people, but just because he was naturally screwy. In his early days of intense zeal (after which he became pretty much a hermit but always retained his brand of godly devotion—“in the truth,” I guess, though no one ever saw him) people would note how he dressed in torn rags and would buy him clothes. “Oh wow, thank you,” he’d say, put the clothes in the drawer in case he ever needed them, and continue to wear rags. “Don’t ever tell people if you have money,” he would say, “because the first thing they will say is, ‘Oh—can I have some?’

This is the same yo-yo who went on and on about the “great business plan” when someone sent official looking letters to all homeowners implying the government wanted to standardize house numbers and so you had to send $160 to get a certain style sign that they would send you.” I still see some of those signs around—they’re quite attractive but you did pay for them. “What do you mean, ‘great business opportunity?!’ I would tell him. “They’re scammers who should be shot!”

”To most people, Curt was a great pain in the neck,” I wrote in No Fake News. “But to his friends he was—well no, he drove them crazy, too.”

Don’t get me going on this character. Like Mick Jagger, if you start me up, start me up, if you start me up baby, I’ll never stop, never stop, never never NEVER stop” Curt could make a grown man cry.

see Part 3:

the bookstore

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

Tweeting the Meeting: Week of April 18, 2022

Ha! ‘Turn Your Eyes Away from Worthless Things’ is the #publictalk title. The speaker opens with the appeal of a garage sale. ‘One person’s junk is another person’s….I know it’s alluring because I live with two of you,” he says of his wife and daughter.

The speaker today I first met when he was 13, then didn’t see him for many years, then serves with him many years, then again didn’t see him for many years. It’s been awhile. ‘Huh! He looks just like his dad!’ I thought today for the first time. Not just like him. But a lot.

An illustration of contaminating mind and heart with wrong stuff, in this case internet porn: Can you imagine farmer sowing corn, then realizing he has sown beans by mistake, getting down on all fours trying to pick it out and replace?

The candy in the checkout line is there because the store knows it is going to end up in your cart, the speaker says. 

 

#watchtowerstudy Does Your Counsel “Make the Heart Rejoice”?

Theme scripture: “Oil and incense make the heart rejoice; so does sweet friendship springing from sincere counsel.”​—PROV. 27:9.

 

Para 6. They used to call it a ‘counsel sandwich’—encase it in praise.

‘Bro, you are so loving, faithful, zealous, a pure joy to be around always, an example to all the flock.’

‘You’ve got breath that would fell an ox. Wanna try brushing your teeth more?

‘It is so pleasurable to…..” 529C4CC2-254A-41E5-97D0-AF0FCFA0FA26

Para 8:Just because a scripture can be attached to speech does not make it scripture counsel to be heeded. Some counsel is not necessary. Some frustration last week at the implication all counsel is golden. Corrected this week. Enough? Love believes all things, hopes all things,

Para 10: We do well to realize that two mature Christians may make different choices, both of which are acceptable. We should not impose our own standards of right and wrong on fellow believers.​—Rom. 14:10.

Para 11-12: Anzious times & some of our bros are hurting. The bro who has never worried a day in his life may not be the best one to give counsel on ‘stop being anxious.’

Para 14: ‘foolish and humiliating’ to reply before you hear all the facts….Proverbs 18:13 reminds us: “When anyone replies to a matter before he hears the facts, it is foolish and humiliating.”

Para 17: Sobering thought, Regarding Jesus, it was prophesied: “No bruised reed will he crush, and no smoldering wick will he extinguish.” (Matt. 12:20) Anxous times and there are a lot of bruised reeds, smoldering wicks

Para 19. “Make sure that the counsel is given with the right motive. Also, be sure that the counsel is really needed and that you are the right person to give it. Before offering counsel, ask questions and listen carefully so that you can understand what the person is facing. …1/2

Try to see things from his perspective. Be gentle, cultivating a warm friendship with your brothers and sisters. Remember the goal: We want our counsel not only to be effective but also to “make the heart rejoice.”​—Prov. 27:9….2/2

 

I’m not so sure that new ‘Bob’s Bible Translation’ [BBT] doesn’t take too many liberties with the text: #midweekmeeting.   

Most Bibles: “[Saul] said to David: “You have treated me well and I have repaid you with evil. ..what man finds his enemy and sends him on his way unharmed? Jehovah will…1/2

reward you with good because of what you have done for me today.” (1 Samuel 24: 17-21)

‘Bob’s Bible Translation:’ “Saul shot back, “Yeah, and you’re gonna buy me a new coat too!”…2/2

 

Give this bro top prize for pithiness: “They weren’t going to stop their marching to help preach the good news of the kingdom so we weren’t going to stop preaching the good news of the kingdom to help with their marching.”

 

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!’

“If They are From […….] You Can be Sure They Will Ask for Money.” Part 1

I accept virtually anyone on FB who sends a friend request. Just a quick scan to see nothing obscene or blatantly self-serving on their profile and they’re in. Whereupon—and this is far more common coming developing lands, they direct message me with a “Hi. How are you?”

This drives me nuts. Facebook doesn’t work that way! People I don’t know think I can conduct a dozen exchanges about nothing per day? I ignore them all, assuming they are scams of some sort or in some way self-serving. 

But I am from Western background. It may be that friends from elsewhere do use Facebook that way—as a platform for individual chats. Either way, I’m not up for it, but I am curious. “Can you shed any light on this?” I asked Emma, born, raised, and who lived many adult years in Africa?

(Ha! There was one sister I friended from South American who sent several ‘Hellos’—all unanswered by me, then “Oops. Sorry. I see you are marry.” Whereupon I did respond with a “Not to worry, Sonya. Nice to have a friend from [wherever it was].” And then back to DM silence. For the most part, I don’t even look at that side of the app.)

In Africa, especially from [country name withheld] - you can be sure they will ask you for money later on,” Emma replied.

Why, in your opinion? Are they 1) scammers who are not Witnesses at all, 2) Witnesses who are opportunists, or 3) just plain genuine Witnesses with a material lack? 

All three and more,” she replied.

Odd she should mention it. There was a supposed brother who appeared out of nowhere for one of our Zoom meetings. His country of origin I forget, but it was Africa. Several made a big fuss over him after the meeting, and a certain older sister, known for hospitality and generosity, exchanged contact information. Sure enough, he soon began asking for money. Some of Jehovah’s Witnesses are the most naive persons in the world.

I’m not shocked at such things, but neither do I play that game. I know there is crushing lack in many places, but I also know there’s no way to distinguish between who is who. I know the branch will strive to keep body and soul together, but only in the most basic manner.

There was a another brother years ago from a U.S. faraway state who moved in to our congregation —he knew one of the local publishers. He was a pleasant enough guy, genuine, but in time he became a real mooch, hitting up one after another for money. Of course, this puts people in an awkward spot, and some recoil almost in horror at the thought. It got around to such an extent that Ray addressed it in a local needs part. Screwy as Ray was (he later tested false positive for anointing and true positive for apostasy) he made a very balanced presentation—that it was just one of myriad foibles human imperfection has stuck us with, that we have to deal with, perhaps firmly, but ought not provoke an overreaction, as we all fall short in many ways.

Emma: A Norwegian sister I know married a lovely African brother and went to pioneer in Africa - Kongo region. She told me that the sisters constantly asked her for money.  If your skin is white and you come from Europe or USA they think you are very rich. In  most African cultures families used to share everything to survive.  They all eat out of one pot of food - so everyone gets a little.  Things have rapidly changed in the last generation. Very few Africans share what they have with others.... becoming selfish.  

So, they really thought the sister was hiding her money somewhere.  They thought her family was sending her money and she was hiding it.  In fact she worked so hard!  They build a little holiday flat with hard earned money and rented it out to visitors to survive.  That was their sole income. …

When she arrived in Africa, she lived without a bathroom - washed in the community faucet in open fashion until her husband built her a private African place to wash. When I met her she told me about her time in Africa.  I immediately had so much respect for her because I knew where she came from and what she went through.  She told me that none of her family understood.  I was the first to understand a rural home in Africa. She really apprecieted that I understood.

I have camped rough in Africa but I will not be able to live with very little amenities like she did for a very long time. I do not blame them for asking... and trying a lot.  But the Western culture is so different... we are shocked. Some can be opportunists - even if they have a lot of money. 

see Part 2:

the bookstore

 

 

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

Tweeting the Meeting: Week of April 11, 2022

#publictalk “On Whose Promises do you Rely?”     um—a little dated here, methinks. A reference to promises to spring loved ones from purgatory in return for payments. Is that still a thing?

Eccles 5:4 “Whenever you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it, for he finds no pleasure in the stupid ones.” Well, you don’t HAVE to vow, is the point, so if you do…… “Do not allow your mouth to cause you to sin, and do not say before the angel that it was a mistake.”

“O Jehovah, who may be a guest in your tent? …The one who is …speaking the truth in his heart. He does not slander …does nothing bad to his neighbor…does not defame his friends…rejects anyone who is contemptible…honors those fearing Jehovah…1/2

does not go back on his promise, even when it is bad for him.” (Ps 15) The speaker illustrates ‘bad for him’ with the bro who has agreed to help another move, then is floored by how much STUFF the fellow has. #publictalk …2/2

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“Jehovah has never let me down. People have let me down, but Jehovah has never let me down,” my father-in-law used to say.

“Do not put your trust in princes…” Psalm 146:3    The reason?   “His spirit goes out, he returns to the ground. On that very day his thoughts perish.”   So you look to somewhere that doesn’t happen.

 

#watchtowerstudy article: “Listen to the Words of the Wise”

Theme scripture: “Incline your ear and listen to the words of the wise.”​—PROV. 22:17

Para 2: “in my profession (a branch of medicine) we have a saying, you can’t learn something that you already know,” one sis says. “And these people are dangerous,” she adds. #watchtowerstudy

Para 4: always liked this one at Eccl 7:9    “Do not be quick to take offense, for the taking of offense lodges in the bosom of fools.”

Para 5: It might be reading something into the picture that is not intended, but the bro is looking in direction of direct counsel. People bristle at counsel today. It is just the world we live in. He does not.

Para 6: A great disrespect for age in the overall world that is not undeserved. The old have originated ideas that have not worked out. The young are always on the lookout for the latest idea.

Para 12: On people bristling at counsel, one bro likened how you tell someone that a tire on his car is almost flat. “Oh yeah!? he shoots back, “well, your car has a dent in the fender.”

Para 14: It’s like when you ask God for advice and he says ‘yeah, I’ve got people to handle that.’ Complain that some of those people are a bit rough and he says, ‘well, you’re no cream puff yourself. Do you have any idea how you try me? You’ll just have to work it out.”

 

No #midweekmeeting this week due to the Memorial. (April 15) …referred to here:

 

***The bookstore

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

The Memorial Speaker vs the Theologians

Somewhat better than the secular atheistic-leaning theologians are the ones from a believing background. But considerably worse are those from a fundamentalist background gone ‘scholarly.’ Mercifully, there are not many of them because Bart Ehrman is more than enough, thank you very much. He goes on and on about how Christians in the first century did this or that “because they didn’t want to go to hell.” Sometimes I call him “the Bible thumper who became a theologian but you can still see the Bible thumper in the theologian.” I far prefer some egghead professor discarding anything suggesting divine action because ‘critical thinking’ doesn’t allow that than Bart also discarding and justifying it as a departure from the unreasonable doctrines that because they are unreasonable does not infest the teachings of the secular scholars in the first place. 

He is also the only theologian I would characterize as a “smart-ass theologian.” Hear him go on about the “seven last expressions of Christ on the cross.” (there are that many phrases if you count up the gospels.) It never occurs to him to reconcile them. He takes for granted that since Jesus’ words from one gospel do not appear in another that the writers just interjected whatever words fit their own ‘theologies’ with the conclusion that there’s no way to know just what Jesus said and maybe he didn’t say anything other than ‘ouch.’

Whereas the Memorial speaker last night—I have never heard anyone combine the words this way—stated Jesus’ words at Matthew 27:46, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” then continued to Luke 23:46, “And Jesus called out with a loud voice and said: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” At first glance, these two verses don’t reconcile very well. Would you entrust your spirit to someone who had forsaken you? Then the speaker went on to reconcile them. The withdrawal of spirit (forsaking) was so that Jesus would face the final test of integrity without God’s finger on the scales. One unaided perfect man (Adam) rebelled against God. Another unaided perfect man (Jesus) proves loyal to God. The counterbalance is complete.

That Jesus absorbed this, accepted it, and perhaps figured it out is evident in the saying found in Luke’s gospel, “into your hands I entrust my spirit.” His love for God was such that, even unaided by God’s spirit, he would prove loyal to the end. 

The speaker reconciled the two. Why doesn’t Bart do it? Why don’t any of them do it? The tricky reconciliation is only possible to someone who has an overall grasp not just of scripture but of the main theme of the scriptures. The secular scholarly theologians don’t have that. They haven’t a clue as to the overall theme of the Bible and appear to assume there isn’t any, that it is just a religious hodgepodge of individual ‘theologiies’ competing to outdo each other. 

***The bookstore

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

Tweeting the Meeting: April 4, 2022

Remember when you were young and used to record the ballgames, says the #publictalk speaker, and would play them back even if you afterward had heard the final score. B322D8D9-7223-4EF3-951C-184C34EADBEEHe likened that situation to when people uneasily enter the tribulation but it helps they know the final score.

The angel that ‘strengthened’ Jesus in Gethsemane immediately after prayer, that he hadn’t seen in 33 years—what do you suppose they talked about? posed the speaker.

Speaker calls ‘ridiculous’ that saying that ‘experience is the best teacher.’ Is it? The ‘best?’ You may learn the lesson but get bruised in the process since it puts the test before the lesson. Anyone care to take the test in school before the lesson?

Ha! Speaker compares those who say ‘As long as I am a member of a religion [referring to ours] I am okay’ to those who think ‘As long as I have a bank account, I am rich.’

Now the departing CO fesses up that when assigned our circuit 4 years ago, he and his wife didn’t want to come. They loved their prior circuit. But ‘Jehovah fooled us’ he says, and now we have become his ‘Covid circuit’ and he and his wife our ‘Covid CO couple.’

 

#watchtowerstudy Do You Trust in Jehovah’s Way of Doing Things?“The Rock, perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness who is never unjust; righteous and upright is he.”​—DEUT. 32:4.

Para 2: Judas maybe thought he and God were tight—he afterward went to the chief priests, after all—it this character claiming to be the ‘messiah’ he had an issue with

Para 5–Yeah, that picture of the guy with fogged-up glasses works pretty well in this age of masks

Para 14: Flee to the mountains. Which mountains? There were many mountains, one bro says. Apparently Jehovah used appointed men at the time to provide specifics. (Luke 21: 20-21)

Para 18: Inconveniences at first in the new system, like in the Sinai wilds. Regarding the LDC bro in our congregation, I said he’ll probably make us live in dormitories.

 

Trying to figure what to do with this gem from the weekly Bible reading. There has to be a perfect application somewhere, but I just haven’t yet hit on it? Any suggestions?  You see that this man is crazy! Why bring him to me?  Do I have a shortage of crazy men that I need to have this one acting crazy before me? Should this man enter my house?” (1 Samuel 21:14-15)

“What can we learn from David’s actions?” asks the #midweekmeeting. That you can’t go wrong playing the crazy card. …2/2

Jonathan had children the same age as David, age, skin color, nationality “not barriers for us—they’re bridges,” says the speaker, commenting on 30-year age difference between Jonathan and David. …1/2

Saul to Jonathan (the bro summarizes): “What’s wrong with you? Are you stupid? This kid is going to take your throne,” ( Samuel 20:30)…2/2

“Maybe you’ve been passed over for a privilege. Some bros call it ‘passover season.” Hmm. This bro is a little quirky, but he can turn a phrase.

“And all those who were in trouble and in debt and who had a grievance gathered to him, and [David] became their chief. There were about 400 men with him.” (2 Samuel 22:2) Thus collects Robin Hood his band of merry men.

We live in a world where everyone says, it’s not my fault. Unexpected change, therefore, when David says “I am personally responsible for the death of everyone in your father’s house” due to an incautious action of his. (2 Samuel 22:22)

Ooh ooh. I got to say my modification of Romans 3:4, “Every man online is a liar,” after they played that ‘Be Social Network Smart’ youth video. https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/teenagers/whiteboard-animations/social-network-smart/

 

***The bookstore

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

Bonzo Territory

The account at 1 Samuel 10:1-16 and 1 Samuel 19:19-24 on the goings on of prophets—both of these are weird. It isn’t easy to find material that explains it well….

unless we enter Bonzo territory.

Bonzo is an elder who follows me on social media so I try to make it worth his while by occasionally referring to him as “the worst speaker in the circuit, possibly the world.” Not to worry. He is actually a pretty good speaker and, as to my playful jabs, he says ‘keep them coming.’ He is not otherwise a large consumer of social media. Mostly he chimes in about golf.

Bonzo offered the best take on the golden piles from 1 Samual 6 that I have heard yet. Making the axis lords send golden images of their piles is just the ultimate example of Jehovah doing something “in style”—the ultimate humiliation of those who resolutely put their trust in false gods:

So they asked: “What guilt offering should we send to him?” They said… ‘You should make images of your piles and images of your mice that are bringing the land to ruin, and you should honor the God of Israel. Perhaps he will lighten the weight of his hand that is on you and your god and your land.” (6:4-5)

With that as complementary backdrop, I posed: “The question is whether he, with such a grasp of biblical realism, will begin ‘behaving as a prophet’ after consideration of 1 Samuel 19:24”. That’s the verse about Saul taking off all his clothes. I watched Bonzo carefully during that Zoom meeting and he commendably refrained from that course, unless it happened when he turned his video off.

It is he, too, who framed David and Saul’s little spat as a function of currying favor with the ladies. “The women would come out from all the cities of Israel  [all the women—“not just his mom and sisters,” he said] with song and dances to meet King Saul with tambourines, with rejoicing, and with lutes.  [They] would sing: “Saul has struck down his thousands, And David his tens of thousands.”  Saul became very angry, and this song displeased him…. (1 Samuel 18:7-8) 

This is why every time I see a Philistine, I beat him up. I do it only to impress the ladies. If it worked then it should work now—just like it did for Will Smith.

And Bonzo showed proper appreciation for this gem I tweeted about, a verse that I’d love to see featured, rather than some superfluous thing about fitting angels on a pinhead:

At that Saul said…‘The king does not want any bride price except 100 foreskins of the Phi·lisʹtines, to take revenge on the enemies of the king.’ (1 Samuel 18:25)  WHAT?!…..1/3

Not to be too crude here, but this was a common way of verifying kills during battle, so as not to be suckered by tall tales of braggarts  and to safeguard against ‘cheating’ by killing women.  (not recommended today. Just snap a battlefield photo with your smartphone).. 2/3

No, I didn’t say this at the meeting……3/3

This verse led to some discussion, someone posing the question of just what would you do with such a gift. I assigned that topic to him as personal research. To another who carried on about the bother of circumcising  a dead man, I said I suspected taking the foreskin was a colloquialism for taking their whole you-know-what, a derisive reference to how none of them were circumscised, something very important to a Jew. The Egyptians used to lop off right hands to verify their kills. Easier to get at, I suppose, but taking more space, and maybe after they rot in the sack for a few days it becomes hard to distinguish the right from a left hand (allowing someone to report two kills when there was only one) or making it hard to distinguish from that of a woman.

I then lovingly and considerately added: “I hope you’re not eating lunch just now.”

I’m not really sure about the purpose of the 100 foreskins. I’m extrapolating from Bob Brier’s lecture series on Egyptology in which he points out that Egypt was “a nation of accountants” that kept track of everything, including kills of the enemy which they verified by collecting right hands.

Charles Israel, who wrote the book Rizpah, misses that nuance entirely, and just writes about the obscenity of Saul’s request. Rizpah was one of Saul’s concubines. She is mentioned only twice in scripture, but because I had previously read that work of historical fiction, I knew all about her when she came up in the rotation, much to the surprise of my offspring. That book works from the same set of facts as the Bible, yet manages to paint Saul as the wronged hero and David the ambitious upstart, his “treachery” covered up by “lying scribes.” I was surprised at how easy it was to do, and by extension, how any tale can be told from a different point of view. Rizpah being Saul’s concubine, she is not overly disposed to be kind towards David.

Alas, the way we insist upon sanitizing everything, when she came up in the Bible gems she was lauded for her great love of God’s law, beating away the birds and critters so they wouldn’t devour the corpses of her dead impaled sons, as though absent God’s law, she wouldn’t have batted an eyelash.

Then [Saul] handed them over to the Gibʹe·on·ites, and they hung their dead bodies on the mountain before Jehovah. All seven of them died together; they were put to death in the first days of harvest, at the start of the barley harvest. Then Rizʹpah the daughter of Aʹiah took sackcloth and spread it out on the rock from the start of harvest until rain poured down from the heavens on the bodies; she did not allow the birds of the heavens to land on them by day nor the wild beasts of the field to come near by night. (2 Samuel 21:9-10)

They were her sons. She probably went mad.

 

***The bookstore

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

Tweeting the Meeting: Week of March 28, 2022

Where can you find real hope?’ is the title of the #publictalk today. This one is uniform, given to all congregations through local or visiting speakers. The speaker explains early he will address three questions: ….1/2

1) Why so much suffering today?

2)What hope does the Bible give?

3) Why can the Bible’s hope be trusted?….2/2

“For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will, but through the one who subjected it, on the basis of hope,” he develops the thought from Romans 8:20 starting with who was the one who did the subjecting.

“We don’t need you, we can rule ourselves, we’re better off on our own,” he how the speaker quantifies that early Genesis scene. “God gave them what they asked for,” he adds, with a future reconciliation at hand when “creation itself will be set free.”

“For centuries human governments have tried to make the car run on water, so to speak,” he says, referring back to a previous illustration.

 

#watchtowerstudy today is ‘Make “the Best Use of Your Time”“ Theme scripture: “Keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, making the best use of your time.”​—EPH. 5:15, 16.

Para 2: Good. The Zoom tie-in works seamlessly. You just can’t see the commenter—that’s all.

Para 3 “It is not good to eat too much honey,” says the proverb, I was brought up in a household where all-evening watching TV might easily take place. When rec has assumed such prominance, it may seem crazy to dial it back, but you sure gain time if you do.

Para 5: one sis likens something or other to “trying to buy a house while it’s on fire.”

Para 8: all good suggestions on finding a quiet place to pray. Alas, when I was in my twenties, i got it in my head that I could pray while driving—it’s kind of an automatic activity, but I almost got into a accident. ‘Forget that!” I said, and never did it again.

Para 10: one bro mentions Jesus kindness in that he didn’t say: “Great. Now when I really need you, THIS is what you do?!” He came pretty close: “Could you not so much as keep on the watch for one hour with me?” though allowed, “The spirit, of course, is eager, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:40-41)

 

 

 

Para 13: “Before assemblies and conventions, we are often told to adjust our electronic devices to a setting that will not disturb others.” I never knew how to do that and just relied on the fact that no one wanted to talk to me. ….1/2

Scammers do, though. They should just say, ‘Put it in airplane mode.”….2/2

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“We’re back and so is George,” says the conductor about the bro who never comments without inserting a pun or similar joke—and just did so.

Para 18: I like that this writer is called an “anxious man.” I guess he was: “You hold my eyelids open; [he can’t sleep] I am agitated and cannot speak.” Psalm 77;4 There’s anxious people today. It’s good to see someone in scripture they can identify with.

“When David and the others would return from striking down the Phi·lisʹtines, the women would come out from all the cities of Israel with song and dances” (1 Samuel 18:6) #midweekmeeting….1/2

Not just his mom and sisters, the speaker says, but all the women of the land. More popular with the ladies than Saul, he was…..2/2

“The women who were celebrating would sing: “Saul has struck down his thousands, And David his tens of thousands.”  Saul became very angry, and this song displeased him.” (1 Samuel 18:6)

Upstaged by an underling. I mean, who doesn’t want accolades from the women?

 

At that Saul said…‘The king does not want any bride price except 100 foreskins of the Phi·lisʹtines, to take revenge on the enemies of the king.’ (1 Samuel 18:25)

WHAT?!…..1/3

Not to be too crude here, but this was a common way of verifying kills during battle, so as not to be suckered by tall tales of braggarts  and to safeguard against ‘cheating’ by killing women.  (not recommended today. Just snap a battlefield photo with your smartphone).. 2/3

No, I didn’t say this at the meeting……3/3

(Bonzo put it the best I have heard. Making the axis lords send golden images of their piles is just the ultimate example of Jehovah doing something “in style”—the ultimate humiliation of those who resolutely put their trust in false gods. (1 Samuel 6:4)….1/2

The question is whether he, with such a grasp of biblical realism, will begin ‘behaving as a prophet’ after consideration of 1 Samuel 19:24…..2/2

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

The First Physical Meeting in Two Years

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about returning to the Hall. I’m starting to get up there in years. Zoom is convenient. You don’t have to travel. You don’t have to worry about the attire of your lower half. 

But no sooner did I walk through the door than I knew it was the right move. Our attendance was very solid and enthusiasm ran high. The hybrid Zoom tie-in was seamless. 

The speaker read that familiar passage of 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Though he did not dwell on “not open to any agreement,” it resonated with me. There is scarcely any point today, no matter how trivial, that people to not debate over and even argue to the nth degree. I can see why some avoid the news, though I am not one of them. It’s exhausting. 

It was so refreshing being in that Hall where not a trace of that contentious spirit was to be found. It is not even that everyone agrees—they just know enough how to yield and not to squabble. Given the state of Covid in our community today, I personally think the strong mask recommendation is a bit dumb. But the majority apparently does not feel that way. I’ve been asked to wear one, so I do. It’s not that big of a deal.

Of course, given the size of the crowd I did begin to think maybe its not such a bad idea after all. I have not been in such close proximity to large groups of people in two years.

I also wasn’t sure how easy it would be to avoid handshakes. I like not having been sick in two years and I had resolved not to do it. But some in-your-face people are very insistent and the alternative elbow bump just seems too stupid to initiate. But it fact, a forearm glance proved pretty easy to do. Some shook hands with others. Some didn’t. It wasn’t any big deal.

Alas, not all is peachy. I did see something to complain about. The speaker played a two-three minute video, and afterwards everyone clapped!

I’m not playing this game anymore. I know how it starts . Someone well-respected thinks it is fine to “show appreciation.” He claps and others follow suit. People usually follow suit. I know this from the rare occasions that the music was not cued up and the attending servant can’t find it. If I knew the tune, I’d just belt it out. You’re only out there a split second or two before others follow suit. (It’s an unsettling split second, though—what if they don’t?)

In the past I’ve given two or three half-hearted claps. No more. It’s silly. The video doesn’t know you’re clapping for it. We don’t clap every time some gives a demonstration on the platform. The Watchtower reader doesn’t earn an applause. It is enough to applaud the speaker, for that is customary and is the way things are done everywhere. 

I don’t squabble over such things but neither do I have to follow suit. It is sort of like when brothers approach stage by disappearing behind that quarter wall and then appearing again. That drives me nuts. Just walk up on the platform. Do it right, brothers!

Ah well. This is our version of problems. A bit less serious than those that hamstring the greater world, I think.

 

***The bookstore

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

How Does it Work that ‘Jesus Died for Our Sins?’

One reason I became and remain a JW is the gift of explaining just how Christ’s death works. Everyone else must settle for a sloppy “Jesus died for our sins to show he loves us.” Pulls on the heartstrings, I guess, but it seems more than a little fuzzy intellectually. Only JWs (to my knowledge) can explain just how that death benefits us. It is right to highlight it:

https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/jesus-sacrifice-ransom/

Note how it all hinges on Adam. You can’t throw away Adam to chase after the evolutionists, tempting though that may be. Keep him as a metaphor if you absolutely must, but keep him. Maybe seeing how everything hangs together by keeping him will be enough to reconsider the “science” that says he is fairy tale.

I’m all for science. I really am. Pour me a double shot of it. E5BE6D8E-3D75-48C2-A2BD-A44A39B42FD3But it is supposed to serve us, rather than we serve it. I hope I can think a little out of the box when “science” says nothing remains beyond the grave. Why the “science” in italics? Because it remains a tool of discovery, a valuable tool indeed, but not the only tool, nor even the most important one.

Writing of certain branches of alternative medicine, Dr. McCabe states (roughly): “These methods, thousands of years old, are unproven by science not because they are untrue, but because of the limitations of science.” Exactly. When you can gather material into contrasting groups, the only difference between them being a single variable, and perform repeatable experiments upon those groups, science is at its best. Not all things lend themselves to such easy classification and repeatability. “Science” in the absence of such attributes becomes little more than speculation, hardly worth discarding the spiritual things which carry far greater benefit.

You don’t even have to toss out all that the evolutionists say. Let scientists be scientists and Bible students be Bible students. Micro-evolution, that essentially amounts to variation within a “kind?” Sure, why not? It is little different than animal husbandry, which people have known about for ages. Maybe you can even play with macro-evolution some. More dicey, but maybe some aspects of it can be accepted. But life arising from non-life, “abiogenesis” it is called? No.

Just make sure you keep Adam in the mix some way, some how, and you retain the key for unlocking just how Christ’s death works to save humankind.

 

***The bookstore

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