Could you liken disfellowshipping to time in the penalty box? It depends on your criteria.
It is time spent out of the game. It is also not forever. After a stint of cooling one’s heels, you get readmitted to the game; an outcome never in doubt—assuming a player wants that outcome, of course, and they all do in hockey.
In disfellowshipping, they may not. They may even decide the spiritual game sucks and they’re not going to play anymore. You do have to believe in God to be happy as a Witness. Occasionally, a DFed one even goes into full vengeful Haman mode, plotting revenge upon the ousting congregation. But I like the ones who view it the hockey way. At any rate, it is possible to do so, and say, ‘Ah, rats! Here I am in the penalty box. But not to worry. Do my time and out I come.”
Meantime, there you are watching the game. Same thing in the case of disfellowshipping. No one excludes you from the Hall. There you are watching the game. You just don’t take part for a time until you get your act together.
Of course, another main difference is that the refs in hockey don’t try to gauge repentance. They hold no conference to judge whether a player feels bad about slamming another into the boards (even spearing them with the stick!) or is apt to do it again. To the penalty box they go—whether they feel bad or not. But in the congregation, repentance will cut you slack every time. If you have it, you’ll avoid the box entirely, though you still may have your skates restricted for a time. Of course, if you slam them against the boards, apologize, and then go off to do it again, congregation refs start to wonder just how repentant you are.
Playing with the notion a bit, here I notice that Wikipedia calls that penalty box the ‘sin bin’ or the ‘bad box’—a point on viewing in my way, isn’t it? See how repentant this fellow looks.
[[Photo:Richard Gynge going to penalty box.JPG|Richard_Gynge_going_to_penalty_box . . . No, this post has nothing to do with him personally. He’s just here for the pic.]]
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