Does the Bible Condone Slavery? Part 2–Frederick Douglass
Racism: For Jehovah’s Witnesses It’s a Yawner—Lessons from Pew Reseach.

When They Come Out to Talk Theology

Occasionally they do come out to talk ‘theology’ with you. Here ‘theology’ is in quotes because the word itself almost guarantees that one will miss the point, elevating the ‘study of God’ over the ‘worship of God.’ If  ‘obedience is better than sacrifice,’ (1 Samuel 15:22) it’s infinitely better than study to see just how much (if any) sacrifice is warranted.

When they do come out to talk theology, you don’t quite know if they are on the up-and-up or not. No matter. If you get some irritation, build a pearl around it.

In one of those morning meetings for field service, a circuit overseer discussed how you might handle those persons, whether sincere or not, who press their own literature on you. ‘There was a time when I was searching,’ he related what he had said, ‘and during that time I would have eagerly accepted that literature—I searched literature of all sorts. But I have found what I had been seeking. My search as ended.’

Sort of like the fellow who finds the pearl of high value. He researches, confirms its worth, and off he goes to do whatever he must to own it. He doesn’t go visiting the pearl salesman in the adjacent stall. He would have visited that fellow at one time, but he’s found the pearl of high value.

Again the Kingdom of the heavens is like a traveling merchant seeking fine pearls. Upon finding one pearl of high value, he went away and promptly sold all the things he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45-46)

Andy Laguna, another CO, now deceased, would tell of those really insistent ones who would press literature on him—now and then you hear of people who keep a stack of stuff just for visiting Jehovah’s Witnesses. ‘Now, now,’ he said, ‘I stopped in on you. Plainly that means I have something I think is worth saying. Now, I might be willing to switch focus to what you are urging upon me, but that would have to be at a time when you call on me.’ The overbearing householder would press him for his address. ‘You’ll just find me in the course of your normal house-to-house ministry,’ Andy would say.

As an offensive statement, I’m not overly fond of it. It just seems too much a ploy of one-ups-manship. But as a defensivestatement, sometimes that is exactly what you do. Like when one snooty religionist heard me out, and said, ‘No thank you, I’m Christian,’ will the plain insinuation that I was not. ‘Actually, only a Christian would do what I am doing,’ I told him in seeming befuddlement, ‘and, frankly, I’m a little surprised that you’re not doing it yourself.’ Fade smug smile—one of the most beautiful sights in the constellation of stars.

I know it’s not exactly kosher, but I tend to just stuff donated literature in my pocket (or bookbag, when I carried one) if a polite decline doesn’t do the trick, with the proviso (depending upon whether I think the intent is to undermine or not) that I may get around to reading it or I may not. It gets the person out of my hair, just like countless persons have gotten Jehovah’s Witnesses out of their hair with a ‘take their literature and be done with it’ tact. Often that backfires on them, however, when they find they are not ‘done with it.’

It’s like when I returned to my parents, home for semester break, with the what I was sure would be the life-altering-for-the-better bombshell question, ‘Have you ever heard of the Watchtower and Awake?’ Turned out they had. They had been on someone’s magazine route and had accepted the magazines for years. I had never seen them lying around the house. I suspect it was not because my parents were then in the back room reading them eagerly.

My dad was amiable, not inclined to pick fights with people, not inclined to tell people off, though he personally had no use for religion. This may have been a carryover of his Catholic days as refined by World War II, an experience that did a number on many a person’s faith. The only exception to his not telling people off was when the Presbyterian minister stopped by and in the course of his visit pointed out that my churchgoing mom—she wasn’t home at the time—was behind in her pledge contributions. ‘Just remember who is the source of those contributions,’ my non-believing dad told him.


******  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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