The current work in progress, ‘In the Last of the Last Days’ may not take long to get out. Much of it is already written. In large measure I am integrating items already written and hoeing out redundancies. On the blog is a nine-part series, ‘Things that drive you crazy about the faith—and how to view them.’ The book will expand on that, It will touch on the strangeness of the modern age and the adaptations made to COVID. If might even be subtitled somewhere ‘Faith on the Modern March.’ It will incorporate a few items of what would have appeared in TrueTom vs the Apostates: Round 2, a book that will probably never be written, or at least not under that title. Alas, the title is so provocative, given current counsel, that I almost have to hide the book. Change the title, I can still incorporate some of the stuff, and the problem disappears. I may even ask for proofreader/beta readers, and if you would like to be one, let me know.
One inactive person who rarely attends the Hall did attend one Sunday but left after the public talk. She is one of those people who have been around forever, in and out of the Hall, the sort who the circuit overseer used to think was hugely significant when local elders would briefly activate her, but it would continue for only a few months, sometimes just a week or two. I had spotted her and figured I would visit with her briefly if possible. So, I followed her out to the parking lot. I don’t usually speak coarsely, but for some reason I referred to all the b******t going on today in the world that people take refuge in Jehovah’s congregation to escape. She affirmed the b-word and then went on to mutter about things wrong with the congregation. “Oh, you mean the b******t here!” I laughed, for some reason finding that very funny.
Now, for the record, I don’t think there is any b******t with the home congregation beyond the normal boilerplate variety that occurs anywhere diverse personalities gather. No complaints at all here. This person has a certain history of finding things not just right. Though inactive, she is the most active at present from a family all in proximity of the congregation from as long as I can remember. I don’t doubt for a moment (though I didn’t mention it) that her discontent is stoked and reinforced via ill-reports on the internet, the kind of things we are encouraged to know as little about as possible. Some of that unintuitive mindset I hope to address with ‘In the Last of the Last Days.’
Meantime, Go Where Tom Goes, a travelogue for those who aren’t fussy, also an excuse for me to do a lot of storytelling, is the one book I can gift to friends if I like without anyone thinking I am treading on sacred ground. Even my first book, Tom Irregardless and Me, triggered some complaint, with one person calling portions of it “unkind”—a downer for him because he considers kindness my strongest suit. And Sam Herd gave a morning worship talk so profound, about how the old could honor the young by passing on wisdom and experiences, the one that began with his not wanting to water Old Jack the mule, that I used it to bookend the entire book. His name is the title of chapter 2 AND chapter 18. I got some criticism for that, from someone who pointed out his humility and how he does not want to draw attention to himself.
There was even a brouhaha when another author posted Herd’s picture, a post he later removed on account of that brouhaha. I’ve never posted his picture. Sigh—Those bros do become public figures in this age of TV. But they probably don’t want to be. No sense in even dwelling on copyright law. Some would point to a higher ‘law of love’ that trumps whatever copyright law says is okay, even if that application were as much their own opinion as it was a ‘law.’ Suffice it just to avoid things that violate the terms of copyright and one should be fine. Anything beyond that ought be a mix of love, fellow feeling, discernment, and mind-your-own-business.
But none of these concerns plague Go Where Tom Goes. Completely innocuous, that one is. Someone was kind enough to call it Mark Twainish. It even has a certain amount of informal witnessing in it, as well as an entire chapter about one of those Wheres that Tom went to, the Regional Convention in Wilkes-Barre. Nothing controversial about the book at all, and if I want I can gift it to friends who extend hospitality, instead of a bottle of wine.
I did just that when my wife and I drove to Florida and back, visiting seven different sets of spiritual friends and one set of relatives along the way. On the road for nearly three weeks, but we only stayed in hotels for two nights. Everything else was hospitality of the friends. Two of those friends even put us up in their unused time-shares. Thing is, if you are from up north, then over the years you will have many friends that have moved south but not all moved the same distance. In time, they form as though little islands from which you can hop one to one. The nicest thing is that we could do it all over again with a fresh set of friends, and may do just that one day.
I gifted a copy of Go Where Tom Goes with each set we visited, save one. That one the visit was just over 24 busy hours and I forgot.
****** The bookstore