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So the Babylon Bee landed an interview with Elon Musk and I didn’t. What are we to make of this? I say the same thing as the Aesop fable fox. "What a fool I am! Here I am wearing myself out to get a bunch of sour grapes that are not worth gaping for."
What! are you kidding me? Of course I’m envious! Not just of them landing Elon Musk but of their rocket ascent in just four years! No wonder they like another rocket man! And me? Here I am puttering away for fifteen years and if I get a few dozen hits per blog post I’m ecstatic. And when people read my books, they don’t leave reviews either, at least not too many.
Face it. No blog writing of any Jehovah’s Witness is ever going to place high in ‘What’s trending’ because of the ground rules that must be observed. Witness writing gets bland just when people expect punch and punchy just when people would prefer bland. ‘No part of the world’ will sink you every time when you’re hoping for ratings.
And that’s just writing. Now the Babylon Bee has taken to video! There’s no way I’ll ever follow them there! Can you imagine if people got a look at my mug? Stick to writing, Tommy. Acquiesce to what they said about Paul: “His letters are weighty and forceful, but his presence in person is weak and his speech contemptible.” (2 Corinthians 10:10) Even that is pushing it. You should have heard that schoolyard bully Nemo the Apostate taunt me over that one!
The Babylon Bee—at its finest it skewers the people who so achingly need to be skewered—the secular humanists ever on the attack against religion. Yeah! Kick back at these cheerleaders of the ordinary! Entice believers to discard the ‘crutch’ that is religion? I don’t think so. The analogy is correct but the premise is wrong. Religion is indeed a crutch. It is the premise that we don’t need a crutch that is ludicrous. The picture that better fits is that of someone slithering though the muck on his belly, too proud or stupid to realize that a crutch would be useful. Tell me when you get Alzheimer’s, or when you’re incontinent, or even when you get Covid-19, how you don’t need a crutch.
Just look at the religious ‘escapee’ who ‘never once thought about her faith’ until ‘a college professor,’ a high priest of the secular humanist world, asked her a question that triggered inner turmoil that did not relent until she ‘gave up her faith like that!’ It’s too much! Wow-whee, do I tip my hat to these guys! Just look here.
But wait, Tommy, just wait! Aren’t these guys evangelicals? Don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses fight with them like cats and dogs? Well—yeah, sometimes. But other times you have to call a truce for a common enemy. Just like when a Watchtower lawyer was seen at a seminar on combatting anti-cultists, and some Scientologists were also there. You should have heard the outrage from JW opposers! ‘Don’t worry about it,’ I said. ‘He keyed their cars in the parking lot.”
It’s a little like when an evangelical answered my knock and began probing around for something to fight about, thinking it his duty to do so. I know this because many times it works the other way around. I don’t play that game anymore. I have in the past, but I no longer do, and when a certain sis jumped to accompany me at calling on the next home—the rectory—I declined saying, ‘No, you’ll get into a fight.’ Her feelings were hurt and I was plenty contrite, but it would have worked out that way. She would have heard him out on whatever was the religious topic and then said, “Alright—now let’s see what the Bible has to say.”
With this evangelical, I said, ‘Can we just agree that you think we’re doing it all wrong and we think you’re doing it all wrong? You’ll steal our sheep in a heartbeat if you can and we’ll do the same to you. Got it. We each think the other is doing it wrong.’
‘But the point is that we’re both doing it, and we live in a world where fewer and fewer people are.’ Instantly a combatant became a confidant. We chatted away for several minutes and I like to think that each gained from hearing out the other.
The ‘harlot of Babylon’ in the book of Revelation has been interpreted by Jehovah’s Witnesses as the world of religion unfaithful to God. It is not an entirely novel view. Go back a few score years and the Protestants interpreted that of the Catholic Church. A few score years ago the grip of both the Catholic and Protestant clergy on parishioners was iron tight. People wouldn’t dare entertain new views for fear of infuriating the local priest or minister. In the face of such intransigence, Jehovah’s Witnesses paraded, sometimes directly in front of the church, with signs reading alternately, ‘Religion is a snare and a racket’ and ‘Serve Christ the king and live.’
There are even a handful that miss those days and mutter that Jehovah’s Witnesses have become too cordial with other religions, that they have made their peace, that they have wimped out. But there’s no point in kicking the ‘old lady’ while she’s down. We kicked her while she was up. Nowadays, everybody kicks her. So why should we? Whatever account she must render is with God, not us. All we ever wanted to do was loosen her hold on people, so they would not be afraid to listen to new ideas. That was accomplished decades ago.
***I shouldn’t do it—I really shouldn’t, because it runs so contrary my Kumbaya comments above. But I will anyway relate the story of when I was working alone a set of apartments, five units to the building. A man answered and kept reiterating—over and over again—how he had a personal relationship with Jesus that was so very tight and therefore he had no need of being instructed by me or anyone else. On and on he went about his close relationship with Jesus!
Now, all this while his wife is way in the background, nagging him to close the door and return to whatever he had been doing. Suddenly he whirled around and screamed, “WILL YOU SHUT UP?!!” Then, without missing a beat, he resumed telling me about how tight he was with Jesus.
Sorry. I couldn’t resist. I’ll even concede that you can find weirdo stories of our people if you hunt around. But this happened to me and it had an unexpected aftermath. As I was taking my leave, another door opened. It was someone I’d already spoken to who wasn’t all that interested. He’d overheard it all. “That guy’s a piece of work,” he told me, as we went on to chat about things that had left him cold just fifteen minutes ago.
But as to the Babylon Bee—I just forwarded that exvangelical satire to someone I know will laugh his sides off when he views it—a little more on them….