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Musk and Magneto

So here is Elon Musk going after George Soros recently, saying the European “hates humanity” and compares him to Magneto, the mutant superhero of Marvel comics.

I’ve never seen any of those Marvel movies. Judging by the ads—there is one now of one superhero lamenting how he is often confused with Thor, since they have “similar body types”—yes, it seems stupid beyond words, but then I look at some of the insipid Bond lines that were (and still are) all the rage back in the day and think maybe it is just time moving on.

Musk saying what he says about Soros raises an uproar, so he clarifies and retracts: Yes, his statement was unfair—to Magneto. 

What evidence that Soros “hates humanity?” That (and this was brand new to me) he backs “soft on crime” District Attorneys throughout the states. There is apparently widespread agreement that he does this, even among Soros people, though he says it is not to be soft on crime but to address the real causes of crime—poverty, injustice, hopelessness, etc. Good luck on that. Elon just says he “hates humanity.” Magneto, though fictional, is a holocaust survivor.

There is a “catch and release” policy governing juveniles these days that astounds anyone hoping for public order. Teenagers will steal a Kia, use it to ram a store, grab whatever’s inside, and when the police catch up with them, they return them to their parents. They (depending on age) will get an appearance ticket to show up in court. The latest is that cities are banding together to sue Kia for making their vehicles too easy to steal.

Lilac Festival just ended in Rochester. It is the largest free venue in the state. Opening day at the festival, police had to disperse hundreds of teens fighting at the end, throwing stones at cop cars, etc. Conversation of my wife doing cart work with a companion from an African nation turned toward those events. ‘Where I come from that would never happen,’ she said. ‘Not only would police beat you, but when you got home, your mother would beat you, your father would beat you, your sister would beat you, and your aunt would beat you, she said.

 Musk is easily the most interesting public figure these days. Twitter is the only social media platform with divergence of views. Upon buying Twitter, he opened up internal email archives to a few reporters. ‘Just about every conspiracy theory you had heard about Twitter turned out to be true,’ he now says. Walter Isaacson has written a biography of him and his taking orders. He is the author of Einstein, which I’ve read, also Franklin, Steve Jobs, Leonardo Davinci, and a few others. The trouble with writing about Musk is that anything written will be obsolete by the time it is published.

https://youtu.be/6sUwRiIncKU

 

******  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'

The Cycle of God—in 30 Words (from Psalm 148)

The cycle of God:

God: You can’t rule yourselves

A&E (first humans): Watch us.

God: Alright, I will, and when you make a hopeless hash of everything, I’ll shove it aside and bring in what I meant to all along.

How could anyone miss that UNLESS they had also missed another cycle, one that plays out each year:

“Even the stork in the sky knows its seasons; The turtledove and the swift and the thrush keep to the time of their return.” (Psalm 148:7)

Is there a link between that verse and the above ‘cycle of God?’ Seems to be, as is evident from the remainder of the verse:

“But my own people do not understand the judgment of Jehovah.”

“Seasons of the stork” parallels the “judgment of Jehovah.” It was a thought to be gleaned, not stated directly, from the Watchtower Study article “Learn More About Jehovah Through His Creation.” (March 2023)

“His invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made,” served as theme scripture. (Romans 1:20)

Therefore it helps to get one’s head out of the city, where ‘creation’ is obscured by schedules and smokestacks. Even I was in my 50s before I realized that on a grey day, a far-off cloud seemingly connected as if by bands to the earth meant that it was raining there. Hemmed in by city/suburb, I’d had few opportunities to take in that big picture.

What does that instruct as to God? Trust farmer Mort to tell us (we were visiting his congregation). Commenting on the verse that God makes it rain on the righteous and the wicked, he pointed out that his neighbor gets just as much rain as him, “even though he uses foul language.”

Someone recalled how birds build their nest, but then having done that, do little else, for they are birds. It recalled a talk (by a speaker in that Hall) on how people can be like that, devoting major portions of their lives (sometimes all) to building the most luxurious nest—whereas what might be better is build a simple nest then use all that excess time/capacity for greater things.

Then there was a sis who works as a nurse and all day long must deliver anti-depressant medications as though they were M&Ms. But in Japan, she says, they don’t even begin drug treatment for depression until after a period of “forest bathing” gives them a head start or even replacement.

My wife’s favorite scripture (one of them) was not in the study article: “ A bull well knows its buyer, And a donkey the manger of its owner; But Israel does not know me, My own people do not behave with understanding.” But Psalm 148:7 is close enough that the two of them in the same study might be redundant.

What I liked, and I almost stuck it in even though it doesn’t directly fit, but didn’t—was Bro Malenfont’s recent kickback at those ‘physical men’ who say they have no need of the crutch that is God. ‘Of course you do!’ he said. They will be senile or in diapers in not too many years, and hobbled even if they avoid such indignities. How can anyone with those prospects say they need no crutch?

 

******  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'

Strike the Shepherd to Get the Sheep to Scatter

Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter.” (Zechariah 13:7) Why strike a single sheep knock out just one? Strike the shepherd and knock them all out! Do it the patronizing anti-cult way, that you are striking the shepherd because he is oppressing the people—depriving them of their rights. 

So it is with critics that there should be an online obsession with the Witness Governing Body, somewhat akin to the ‘inside the beltway’ wonks who are eternally obsessed with who wields the power—as though such would be the first thing you look at in matters of faith.

The entire line of inquiry is ‘cart before the horse,’ 180 degrees backwards. It is inquiry more likely to wow them at theology school than to result in any significant doing of God’s will.

It’s more akin to something out of a college political science course than a primer in the worship of God. It treats specific teachings/beliefs (barely even mentioned) as though they were planks on a rising politician’s campaign platform.

The way it should work is thus: Shake the faiths down as to beliefs and teachings. Weed out those fundamentally misrepresenting the Bible, those who insist God is a trinity, for example, that Jesus is God, and those who think the earth is but a launching pad into heaven or hell. Hoe out the ones who think Adam and Eve are for simplistic chumps and who have made no attempt to integrate them into the overall picture—without which it is impossible to explain God’s overall purpose or his present permission of evil.

You’re left with very little at this point. Some might think the job is all but done. However, of what scraps remain, look for those who realize an obligation to preach the good news to everyone, not just the tech-savvy, not just the educated, not just the readers. Look for the ones who will take it directly to where people are, directly to their homes, on the theory that everyone lives somewhere.

Then look for groups conscious that the majority of people are, quite simply, not involved readers. Many have all they can do to keep body and soul together in a deteriorating world. One sixth of the world population today cannot even read. Look for someone conscious of that fact, who does not focus primarily on the educated when the Bible plainly states the greatest response will be from those who are simple and childlike. “Not many” will be “wise” and “intellectual.” (1 Corinthians 1:26)

Then, probably you can say, if the collapse of human endeavors to rule the earth really is truly fast approaching, it’s a little late to start building from the ground up. Look for those who have organized and have been at it for awhile, and who have something to show for it.

As far as I know, this leaves only Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Then and only then do you give consideration to the ones taking the lead. Primarily, you say, ‘Well they must be doing something right to be the only game in town.’

You don’t start off with consideration of those taking the lead. It’s the last thing you look at. To fixate on the last thing first is to deny God knows how to lead his people. It is to assume direction of the people of God comes through the tried and true method of this system of things: King of the Mountain,’ in which one king takes his place only by shoving the other off. Veil it as ‘academic’ king of the mountain, as many theologians appear to be framing it, but it is still king of the mountain. It is but a manifestation of the evolutionary ‘struggle for existence’ and not anything from God.

 

******  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'

One Fine Day Sailing Home from the Theopenisian Wars

Now, TrueTom sailed off from the Theopenisian Wars with his shipgroup. How he missed his home! Would his loyal mutt Rookin—how old must he be now?—still recognize him? TrueTom pictured him on the dungheap, same as when he was a pup, perhaps reading Dilbert and wearing his cowboy hat.

More wrenchingly, Truetom longed for his noble wife, fending for herself these many years. Probably the malcontents were making plenty of trouble for her, trying to draw her into their wicked beds. He’d kick their rear ends sure enough.

“Gather around, men!” Truetom hollered to his shipmates. “We all long for our homes but there are yet perilous seas ahead. Like this island coming up where voluptuous sirens descend and sing so tantalizingly that it is said no man can hear them and not go mad! I’m half there already, so what’s another exposure? But I want to protect you from these femme fatales, even as I check them out for myself.”

TrueTom’s men hearkened to this new light but mused whether their peerless leader could really withstand the wiles of these knock-out babes. Tom announced his plan of action. “I want you guys to put blinders on and stuff your ears with this tincture of molasses and tar. But me—bind me securely to the masthead. And—this is important, men—no matter how much I plead, DO NOT release my bonds!”

Now, you know how guys like to improvise—improve on a good idea. The men responded that the most effective bond of all would be for them to threaten shunning if their captain misbehaved—shunning to continue until he resumed behaving! At first, Tom was aghast that they could propose anything so cruel as shunning. However, in view of the dire risks he agreed to this harshest of all bonds.

“Are you ready, men?” Truetom shouted as they neared the dangerous island. The men, their ears oozing with molasses and tar, made no reply. Truetom praised them inwardly for their obedience. With blinders on and ears plugged, they pulled ahead lustfully, Tom bonded to the mast under threat of shunning.

Women curvaceous beyond anyone’s wildest dreams soon descended upon the boat. They swirled around the masthead, singing their maddenly sweet songs. “Go to college—make a great name for yourself!” one of them cooed. “Do your own thing! be happy,” another crooned, followed by such tantalizing lyrics as “Take it easy,” “have this here cigarette—live it up!, Here, let me pour you some strong drink.” “Why so serious?” cried another. “It’s not so baaaaad.”

Shucks, said TrueTom to himself. This is nothing! It’s like when you click on that cautionary Twitter link expecting a real zinger ahead and it turns out to be pure dullsville. I stopped up the guys’ ears for this?

However, a second wave approached. The first had been but a decoy! Those first hussies headed back to their island, discouraged that their songs had so little impact, but now the ‘bad cop’ floozies swooped down en masse!

“You guys are a cult!” sang one. “Your CSA policy stinks,” bellowed another. “What about that guy in Colorado who shot his wife?” wailed a third.

Suddenly Truetom was overcome. C221A707-CB99-4E58-9060-88E806CA62AE“Get me out of here!” he pleaded to his men. “Release me—I can’t take it!” But his men rowed on as though passing Giligan’s Island, blinders in place, molasses and tar doing their evil work. They could not hear his impassioned cry! Tom struggled in vain to escape his cruel bonds but was held fast in place. He didn’t want to be shunned!

(Photo: Ulysses and the Sirens by H.J. Draper—Wikimedia) 

The magical women gave no letup. “Tony bought some booze!” shrieked another siren! “Rolf says you suck—and he’s been to university!” tormented yet another. On and on the unspeakable torture went. Truetom gnashed his teeth, his heart ablaze as though he had taken 1000 Covid boosters. He tore in vain against his bonds but there was no escape. At last he collapsed, exhausted. The women, seeing they had not swayed him—no force is more powerful than fear of shunning—went off to search for some other sucker.

Far from the island, Tom’s men released him, promising not to shun him even if he did misbehave. Thereafter, Truetom’s stature became legendary, as the man who had withstood and lived to tell all the brazen spiritual hussies had to dish out.

 

******  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'

The Role of the Angels

Here we are used to saying that Jehovah’s blessing is on this or that aspect of our ministry or related activity. How does one know that?
 
Too, what about those who God ‘drew?’ (John 6:44) How does he/she differ from someone who just happened to be standing around—someone in the right place at the right time. The fact is, you can't prove any of it. We might be personally convinced, but that doesn't make it so.

It’s enough, however. This notion that we have to prove things to other people—where does that come from? 4A03FA41-200D-44D4-97FA-9C533666A62ENot from the Bible, which is content with ‘may each one be firmly convinced in his own mind.’ (Romans 14:5) It must be a residual of the ‘critical thinking’ plague that persuades people they have far greater analytical skills than they really do—or that creation lends itself to their brand of scientific thinking. In some ways it does but in other ways it does not.

(Photo: Ben White, Unsplash.com)

At the moment I’m reading Frederick Douglass’s first autobiography. He wrote three, at different stages of his life, ever incorporating his most recent doings and sometimes modifying his original accounts just as the passage of time modifies ours in the spirit of ‘time heals all things.’ It is an excellent work, fully justifying the praise the Great Courses professor gave it, superior (in my mind) to a biography of him by a contemporary scholar who uses contemporary jargon. I am steamed that no one told me to read the book previously—just like the Joker was steamed that no one told him Batman had one of those . . .one of those . . . one of those things that could sweep his balloons out from the sky. Someone should have told him. “Bob—give me your gun!” he ordered, and the thug instantly complied.

At any rate, the relevance here is that Douglass states that he has always believed his deliverance from slavery and course thereafter was directed by ‘divine providence.’ He writes this, although there were millions of slaves who never tasted an ounce of freedom and who suffered horribly. He further says he fully realizes some may view him as ‘superstitious,’ even ‘egotistical’ [as though he is anticipating our times] on this account, but he doesn’t care. Why doesn’t he care?

“I should be false to the earliest sentiments of my soul if I suppressed the opinion. I prefer to be true to myself even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others rather than to be false and incur my own” internal disapproval.

Furthermore, “this living Word of Faith and spirit of hope departed not from me, but remains like ministering angels to cheer me through the gloom. This good spirit was from God and to him I offer thanksgiving and praise.

He’s not worried lest others not accept his ‘proof.’ He’s not presenting it as proof to anyone, but to satisfy inmost fibers of his own being. The guy has more of a grasp on Christianity that does many a modern believer.

*** And on angels directing the preaching work? It may not be helpful to say that I’ve declined calling yet again on a return visit that is never home, regardless of when I call, saying, ‘Well, the angels have to do something.’

I have no problem saying that they do. Still, whenever I have throughly whiffed in service, such as the time when I explained how at death one has paid for his sin and the woman I was speaking with thought I was calling her deceased son a sinner put to death on that account, and consequently slammed the door on us, my companion’s angel winks at mine and says, ‘Boy, your guy sure is a dud, isn’t he!?’

 

******  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'

Completing the Circuit on Time

The study article begins with, “In many lands, it has been common to see happy Kingdom publishers on busy streets offering literature to passersby.” Of course, that means that in many other lands it is not.

‘You will by no means complete the circuit of the cities of Israel until the Son of man arrives.” (Matthew 10:23) It’s a good escape clause. Without it, the zealots of ‘preach! preach! preach!’ would be working others into a frenzy far more than they do now. Like the zealot years ago who told the congregation that, per the Watchtower, every baptized brother should pioneer. I was pretty sure there was no such Watchtower, or if there was it was an ancient one, so I queried him afterwards. He said there was and it was recent. So I looked it up when I got home. Sure enough, it was recent, but it was a quotation from an ancient issue! Sheesh.

“You will by no means complete the circuit of the cities of Israel until the Son of man arrives.” With this verse, the above guys are checked. With it, their more balanced counterparts [in my view] can say, ‘Chill already. Do the best you can. That thug country that goes bonkers every time a Christian knocks on a door? Don’t worry about it. Go somewhere else if you have to. God will make it all work.’

Is not Geo Jackson’s address to the latest Gilead class (152nd graduation) fitting? When you get back to your assignment, you may feel the urge to do everything at once! It will drive you crazy if you give in to it. Plug away at your assignment instead, he counseled, with the reassurance that God knows who’s where and can see that those in the hinterlands are accommodated in time—maybe bring a representative or two of their number into your proximity, if need be. In short, it’s the serenity prayer. Do what you can, acquiesce to what you cannot, and have the smarts to know the difference. In time, maybe circumstances will be that you can sail out to where those big fish keep tantalizingly breaking the waves.

What will happen to those in the circuit of cities not reached. Little is said—probably because little is known. It’s well to avoid strong statements when you don’t know. And since they discourage speculation as well, that might explain why they touch the verse sparingly.

Then too, to put it undiplomatically, we subject ourselves to a sort of ‘carrot and stick’ approach through theocratic counsel. It’s a turnoff for some. It assumes people require a carrot and stick approach. Do they? In case they do, is it the shepherd’s job to provide it? Few would deny the ‘universal truth’ that humans are inclined to take the ‘path of least resistance.’ ‘Exert yourselves vigorously to enter the narrow gate,’ says the Lord. It goes against our inclination. Most of us prefer to kick back with a beer and watch the game.

Ah, well. Life itself is carrot and stick, isn’t it? It’s just beefers wanting something to beef about who beef over it. F302DDDF-D3F4-4797-A09D-3F54F01C1B82Strive toward rewards, veer away from unpleasant downers. We do it everywhere else—why not in spiritual matters too? It’s a matter of headship style. It’s handled well enough, a good enough balance between expressing heartfelt appreciation for what the friends do in light of the pressures they face and encouraging them to keep up the fine fight and, whenever possible, keep on doing it ‘in fuller measure.’ At any rate, it’s probably best to adapt oneself to the way things are rather than fret they should be different since you don’t have the power to make them that way. Praise the Lord and pass the toolbox ‘ammunition.’

(photo: commons.Wikimedia.org)

Even of the circuits that are completed before the Son of man arrives, a person can wonder: ‘completed to what degree?’ How much exposure is enough for people to take a stand upon? Perhaps most Witnesses have a makeshift informal list of workmates, acquaintances, family members and so forth, people thought to be ‘good at heart’ that Jehovah will go all soft in the knees for at the last moment—and if them, why not include those on the list of other publishers?—like He did with Jonah (prompting that one to pout in the 4th chapter of the Book of Jonah). But it’s never going to be written. Anyone writing anything is bound by the ‘baptism clause.’ “Baptism, which corresponds to [the Ark], is also now saving you . . .” (1 Peter 3:21)

So the hotheads are going to be able to charge till the cows come home that Witnesses look forward to the day when everyone but the tiniest handful of persons (themselves) will be brought to ruin. It is the Bible that says it. Many Witnesses punch the list with qualifications that may or may not pan out.

 

******  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'

Things that Drive You Crazy About the Faith—and How to View Them: Part 9

This is a multi-part series. See Preface,  2nd Preface,  Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8 Each part links to the next.

I think we have to accept that the primary influence on the earthly organization is going to be the Bible. Sometimes it seems the only influence. On a dozen different issues, you’ll want to say, ‘Come on! Open your eyes! Just look at THIS or THAT!’ We’re going to have to settle for the fact that they don’t. Moreover, it overall is their strength, even if there is a downside. 

If they haven’t quoted that 2 Kings 22:7 verse about ‘trustworthy men’ not put under the microscope, 645FD9C0-2770-44EB-A275-744AB481DACAthat nonetheless will guide their thinking. How can it not? It is the Bible statement that most directly applies. As soon as they ‘cave’ and release SEC like line-item auditing, a thousand Rolfs come along and take issue with lines they don’t like. And they will be different lines for eachperson. Everyone will have his or her own unique beef.

These are not the days when people demurely state their point and, having done so, retire in peace. These are days when people go kamikazi for their cause. These are days when people try to stir up trouble with Norway because things are not going down to their liking.

I’m convinced that when it comes to government, the primary, if not only, consideration of the earthly organization, is what the Bible says about them. ‘They are your minister for good, to be obeyed in all things unless they try to impede pure worship. Barring that, they are nothing but your friend. The notion that governments themselves might be knowingly or unknowingly working against their citizen’s physical interests never seems to occur to the HQ brothers. How could they think such a thing of ‘God’s minister for your good,’ provided only they keep their hands off what is undeniably His, matters of worship? Therefore, if the governments take a stand on vaccines, it must be for a good reason, our people think.

It’s pretty much the same combination of strength and weakness when it comes to CSA. ‘What does the Bible have to say on child sexual abuse?’ is the gist of Tom’s question (that video of the priest/counselor/professor who became a Witness, had a ton of questions, and was impressed that the answer to each one came straight from the Bible). The answer is nothing. Does it? Specifically? In the scriptures? Settle for it being a form of pornea, to be governed as pornea is, and that’s about all there is. If anyone thinks Jehovah’s Witnesses were slow to adapt their child sexual abuse policies to today’s times, that’s no doubt the reason. 

We’re going to have to decide that such a ‘Bible first (if not only)’ policy governing the organization’s outlook is a virtue to be cherished, even if it does expose ones to rabbit holes now and then. If you break from ‘Bible-first (or only)’ it will necessarily be a break into human wisdom. And then the inevitable question becomes ‘Which brand of human wisdom?’ I, who am in the United States—similar breakdowns are everywhere—have not reached the conclusion that all the evil people are Republicans and all the virtuous people are Democrats, or vice-versa. The reality is that there is more or less equal concern for righting the wrongs of society on both side, but it will be which wrongs take priority that drives their differences—differences that today flame into virtual civil war.

If the earthly organization strays from a ‘Bible first (or only’ worldview, you know they will ‘take sides’ one way or the other on societal issues, and they will quickly incur wrath from those who have taken the other side. And that’s assuming they can stay united themselves. They may not be able to if they were to forsake ‘Bible first (or only.’ How many of us have reflected that we probably would never know or like countless individuals in the faith were it not for the faith.

As can be seen from Geo Jackson’s talk at the annual meeting (monthly broadcast of January 2023) HQ is fixated on the divisive issues that would have torpedoed the lives of Christians living in 66 CE Jerusalem but for keeping their eye on the ball, and notbeing sucked into the hot societal issues of the day. It’s how they think on SEC auditing, on vaccines, and on CSA; the only guidance that must be heeded comes directly from the Scriptures. Beyond what the scriptures say on this or that, it’s probably a divisive side issue that will sink them if they pay it much attention.

We’ll have to defend them, even if we say (ideally, mostly to ourselves) ‘Boy, they sure stepped in it that time.’ Abandon Bible-first and the most precious quality of the brotherhood, it’s unity, vanishes.

I mean to comment on vaccines but it must be for another post. Already Oscar Oxgoad is saying ‘Oh my head, my head—the words!’ and Elisha is preparing his resurrection kit. Whyshould I impose on his time? “Skip a bit, brother.”

 

******  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'

Vomodog Demands Public Auditing

There has never been a financial scandal among Jehovah’s Witnesses. Yet, to their enemies, a gargantuan one is always looming on the horizon. Pushing back at similar charges leveled in Russia by popular media, journalist Katerina Chernova [as related in I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses: Searching for the Why] pushes back at “money-pumping” allegations. Yes, they are heard all the time, she acknowledges, but “when [people] are asked to name just one victim from whom money, apartments, or something else was taken by the Witnesses, NOBODY was able to remember A SINGLE case in fact!” [Caps hers]

Vic Vomodog pummels me regularly that he wants to see SEC-style detailed public accounting laid out for him, such as is habitual with publicly-owned companies, but not private. He just wants a line-item list that he can attach a line-item veto to each one—with bellyaching! Believe me, he knows how to do it. “Honest men entrusted with large sums of money give an accounting to those who entrusted them, as a matter of courtesy, appreciation, respect and honor!” he fires at me.

Apparently, he shouldn’t have. From the weekly Bible reading when it was centered on Josiah:

Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, and let him collect all the money that is being brought into the house of Jehovah, which the doorkeepers have collected from the people. Have them give it to those appointed over the work in the house of Jehovah who, in turn, will give it to the workers in the house of Jehovah who are to repair the damage to the house, that is, to the craftsmen, the builders, and the masons; and they are to use it to buy timbers and hewn stones to repair the house. But no accounting should be required of them for the money that they are given, because they are trustworthy. [bolding mine, of course] (2 Kings 22:4-7)

I had no idea that was there. I was surprised to see it. I have never heard the verse used as justification for not submitting detailed stock-market like quarterly financial reports. I don’t expect an appeal to it. Hitting on the Research Guide brings up nothing. Apparently, the verse has never been cited.

But if there’s one thing I know, it’s that a group of people whose mission statement is to follow Bible principles come heck or high water is not going to be shoved into ‘Trust—but verify’ public accounting by ever-accusing or suspicious people when the Bible says it is not to be done.

The round-figure reports that we do get as to how much was spent here and there—this much for disaster relief, that much for missionaries, this much for a Branch build, appear to be in excess of what is scripturally required.

Every so often I come across some unexpected thing to buttress my high level of confidence in the Governing Body. Every so often I come across some unexpected thing to withstand all these Vomodog-like critics who complain they are “arrogant.” If they were arrogant they would make this scripture their year text. They would say, ‘We don’t have to answer to no one. The Bible says so.’ They have divine authorization to say just that. They have never made use of it. 

Probably humility enters into it, as well as a desire not to expose themselves to temptation. Obviously, they know of the scripture. Even though they can use it, they may feel it comes across as just too cocky to put it out there. They may feel it presents too much of a ‘Let he who thinks he is standing beware he does not fall’ challenge. It may even represent a rare sense of being PR sensitive.

And don’t bellyache over this, you mutt! You know I am but inches away from discovering hidden manuscripts detailing the interaction between Josiah and the unusual Israelite named Vomodogiah.

****Burns me up, he does—even if we were once BFFs.

And Truetom said to Vomodog, “Where you been?”

‘Oh, from roaming around the earth and going anywhere I please,’ Vomodog replied. ‘What’s it to you?’

At that Truetom said, ‘Have you beheld the servants at Bethel? How they fear God and turn away from dishonest gain?’

Vomodog shot back, “Is it for nothing they turn away? Do not we mollycoddle them all (except for the ones we gave walking papers to on Rightsize Day)? But just lean into them a little and see if they don’t steal you blind!”

At this Truetom threw away his new personality to kingdom come, wondered whatever became of his Bethel application, and replied:

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(Photo from IMBd of Jack Luden—an American actor of 1930-40 Westerns, nephew of the Luden’s Cough Drops inventor)

*** Back to Katerina Chernova, as related in Don’t Know Why:

“She goes on to relate a small fact that is actually huge and that says it all: with Jehovah’s Witnesses, baptisms and weddings and funerals are conducted ‘on a cost-free basis.’ With the Orthodox Church? “We have heard many complaints against it regarding the impossibility of performing any ritual in the event that a person does not have money. That is, you want to be ‘baptized,’—some ‘donation;’ you want to be ‘married,’—it takes so much cash; a ‘funeral,’—it is also not for free.”

An avaricious organization is not going to cut off these most dependable of all generators of cash.”

 

******  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'

Does the Bible Condone Slavery? Excerpts from Civil War Research

No scholar worth his salt says the Bible condones slavery. Any scholar who does say the Bible condones slavery is plainly not worth his salt. Rather, he or she is driven by a pop scholarship, usually atheistic, that opines jauntily on a topic it neither comprehends nor respects—if it gets something wrong, who cares? It’s only the bible to them.

An example of such is found at the National Historical Park poster at Harper’s Ferry.

Although slavery is often condoned in the Bible, [John] Brown believed that the ‘Golden Rule’ Do unto others as you would have them do unto you implicitly condemned slavery.” Why is that statement weird?

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It’s because the words in themselves are directly contrary to the intended conclusion! That blanket statement, that the Bible condones slavery, is supported by nothing therein. If they are scriptures to the effect that it does, the reader is not made aware of them. On the other hand, there is a scripture embedded in the poster that indicates the contrary is true, that the Bible does not condone slavery—that of the Golden Rule.

To be sure, the Golden Rule is unaccredited—whereas if you quoted the words of the Park system’s own resident scholars without accredation, their screams of protest would shake down the halls of academia enough to make Samson’s knocking down the temple of the Philistines look like a mere application of sandpaper.

All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must do to them. This, in fact, is what the Law and the Prophets mean.

It’s the Bible. Unaccredited. Matthew 7:12. Furthermore, it’s a key passage—it’s ‘what the Law and the Prophets mean.’ Do the National Historical Park scholars care if modern readers conclude some ancient practitioner of mindfulness—probably some Buddha-like figure—originated the saying, and not Jesus? It doesn’t seem to bother them. The same sloppiness that would never be tolerated in any topic they cared deeply about is left unmolested in a topic they do not.

They do good work, the National Historical Park system does. They bring history to life. They restore old venues. They recreate old dramas. They make their rangers wear hats when outdoors. I’ve many times referred to them in the course of Historical Park visits in Go Where Tom Goes. But they are not immune to pop scholarship; that is the point of the preceding—a conclusion also demonstrated in that they got wrong the religion of Eisenhower’s upbringing.

Moreover, were they to encounter the scholars that dig deep and do their research without regard for what’s trendy, they would never make such a shallow statement. Here I have read through Grant by Ron Chernow, and Team of Rivals [biography of Abraham Lincoln], by Doris Kearns Goodwin, as well as Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, by David Blight, and nowhere in any of these works is there a single mention that “the Bible condones slavery!”

It’s a little early to tell with the Douglass book, I admit, because I started with Part 2, commencing with Civil War days till the end of Douglass’s life, but there is not one mention in what I have read. Instead, there are abundant references in all of these works of how abolitionists drew their very inspiration from the Bible—and not one mention that “the Bible condoned slavery.” Frederick Douglass took as his mission statement the Acts 10:34-35 passage of how the apostle Peter “began to speak, and he said: ‘Now I truly understand that God is not partial, but in every nation the man who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.’”

When visiting the Seward house in Auburn N.Y, [Willian Seward, Lincoln’s Secretary of State] with its preserved, well-stocked library, we learned that Doris Goodwin spend countless hours there researching the tomes. Did she issue any new-age blather that “the Bible condones slavery?” No. She researched with respect, as modern atheistic scholars are not inclined to do, how Christian faith firmly molded the notable players of that age, certainly that of the abolitionists. Lincoln, though not an overtly religious man, was as familiar and respectful of the Bible as anyone of the age—and more representative of its basic theme of ‘proclaiming liberty to the captives’ than all but the tiniest handful of them.

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And just how far do you think you would get were John Brown, the reason for that Harpers Ferry National Historical Park’ existence, were to stumble across that Bible-dishonoring poster. Oh yeah—try to explain it to that hothead how “the Bible condones slavery!” As is made abundantly clear in Good Lord Bird, [James McBride’s literary and TV adaptation of Brown’s life] nobody was as obsessed the the Lord back then as was Brown, and never did the Lord have to sit through so many interminable prayers as he did from that fellow.

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(https://www.amazon.com/John-Brown-Thundering-Jehovah)

Now, there are mentions of slavery in the Bible. They were misrepresented by Southern slaveholders to reinforce their hand with divine power. But they are so thoroughly lacking in historical context that any thorough and/or balanced researcher sees it promptly and knows enough not to extract from it biblical support of antebellum Southern slavery.

The slavery in the Bible was a volunteer slavery—an impoverished Israelite as a last resort might sell himself into slavery. It was a humane slavery—slaves by law were not to be beaten. It was a temporary slavery—temporary unless that slave wished to make it permanent. And he was not to be put into such straits that he had no choice but to remain enslaved. At the end of the ‘temporary’ period—the seven year jubilee cycle, that slave was to be released with a gift from the owner he willingly subjected himself to—so that he could hit the ground with his feet running upon release from his time of slavery.

It’s so far from the slavery of modern times that all but the willfully blind ideological historians will realize you can’t extract from it support for Civil War era slavery. True, not all slaves were Hebrew slaves. It is possible a rich Jew might come to own non-Hebrew slaves, as spoils of war, as was universal practice at that time. There are few details in the Bible about this. But since the Mosaic law mandated kind treatment for animals, one can hardly imagine it condoned harsh treatment for humans—certainly not enough to prattle on about how “the Bible condones slavery” when the premiere historians of that age knew it did not.

To be continued. . . .

 

******  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'