Which Wins Out? A 6-Month (at least) Pause on AI Development or Boasting Unrestrained? (Adapted to Psalm 75)
Cool Hand Luke

Be ‘Upbuilding’ Come What May

Ha! Here is a sis from England who would use the word “upbuilding” liberally in school class assignments. She was much surprised when her teacher would circle it in red, appending ‘This is NOT a word!’ To hear this must have been downbuilding.

I had a similar experience. A co-working jumped all over me for the word ‘upbuilding’—what did you say? he said, observing there’s no such word. There is now though—check a dictionary and you will find it. Is it a little like ‘irregardless,’ which was also not a word but now grudgingly appears in some dictionaries from sheer usage?  

And this ‘upbuilding’ is not the sis—a teen in our congregation—whom we spent a Zoom ministry session with, and who related her travails at school. Whoa! She carries herself with confidence and poise, and not a hint of ‘superiority’—even though applied Christianity is such that some will almost automatically take it that way. Several classmates, she said, have made it their “purpose in life” that she should start vaping.

They think she’s a “goody-two-shoes”—again, her words. But the real zinger was her standing up to her teacher. Upon being singled out before the whole class (many of whom can barely read) for a relative trifle, she got all indignant and called him out on it! “Are you talking back to me?” the teacher said. She replied that she was.

It ended up with a brief stint for her in the principal’s office. The long and short of it, however, is that now she and the teacher get along fine, and the latter has heightened respect for her.

And then, of course, there was another teen some time ago, ridiculed by classmates because she would not dress as a skank. “I set the style!” she shot back at them. “You want to be cool—you dress like me!” 

Though one high schooler, also a while back, was being bullied—really bullied—physically—so he  approached a favorite older elder (now deceased) about the problem. The elder give him good counsel on turning the other cheek and ignoring the bully. It didn’t work. Once again he went to the elder, who took him aside and said, “Well sometimes you just gotta plant them a good one so they don’t come back.” That stratagem did work.

Ahem—well—it is from the old days. “We used to stack ‘em up like cordwood” said one old-timer of his Kingdom days during the WWII times of persecution. (much to my surprise). I knew the fellow, who also died some years back, but these words were related to me by his grandson. Fisticuffs were apparently not unusual in defending both loved ones, selves, and Kingdom property. The book Judging Jehovah’s Witnesses relates an incident in which an intruder was even shot to death by a brother! Defending one’s property by force was once the norm in society.

There was another person who thought the video of Olivia kicking back at classmates, presented at the Regional Convention last year, wasn’t very realistic. I was fine with it, but she said she didn’t think they would ridicule her like that.“They’d beat her up in the bathroom” was her verdict.

You also won’t find me countenancing that fisticuffs elder of a far-removed generation. These days that can get you knifed. Better to ‘beat a bully without using your fists’ if you can.


******  The bookstore


Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'


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