Beijing and Real World Unity

As the $40 billion dollar Beijing Olympics romped through closing ceremonies, NBC commentator Cris Collinsworth gushed with emotion. Two weeks of persons from all corners of the earth mingling, smiling, and learning about each other’s cultures! No battling, save only that of sports, and that done amidst mutual respect and good will. Maybe….maybe….I mean, it’s probably pie-in-the-sky, he conceded, but maybe…..if they could do it for two weeks, then what about three weeks? And then  what about a month? And then a year? And….oh, utopian dream come true!….why should the party ever stop? Can’t we all just get along?

Of course, kids can also behave pretty well for the two weeks prior to Santa's Christmas arrival, or at least, I was generally able to manage it. It is pie-in-the-sky Cris…..but then, he knows it…..everyone was moneyed and pampered and well-fed for those two weeks. Stress-free, really. And weren’t they all pretty upper crust? Excepting perhaps the poor relations of some of the athletes, and these must have seemed to be in material fairyland for those 17 days.

Still, a glimpse of unity is real impressive, even if it’s temporary, even if it’s artificial. It speaks to a yearning deep within most of us. Is not the world breaking into more and more independent factions, all of whom resist cooperation with anybody else? So every once in a while there will be some circumstance to evoke a contrasting taste of unity (sometimes the circumstances are those of tragedy) and people like Cris wax poetic. It always makes me scratch my head because seven million Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoy such unity daily, as a matter of course. In all circumstances, our people of all races, nationalities, socioeconomic classes, and educational levels mingle freely and without strife. Wars, riots, and social upheavals do nothing to mar the peace. We tell people of this unity…doubtless we’ve told Cris…but by and large they want no part of it. Peace and unity….yeah, that’s great, it’s what they want….but not at the price of adopting a screwy religion like Jehovah’s Witnesses!

But it only seems screwy because JWs have renounced attitudes that make unity impossible and embraced those that facilitate it. This the general world has failed to do. Alas, it is not just a few teeny tiny tweaks that need be made so as to achieve unity. No, but a massive overhaul of thinking and behaving is required, and Jehovah’s Witnesses have done that. But that revised viewpoint makes us seem very strange to general society and not especially palatable. Nonetheless, surely it is beliefs that will get to the crux of why people can or cannot get along, and what institution in life is credited with molding a person’s beliefs? Where does morality come from? Surely it’s not found in higher education. If we’re SOBs, going to college usually just makes us smart SOBs, but it’s through spiritual growth that a person’s conduct can change for the better.

The peace and unity typifying Jehovah’s Witnesses is so well attested that even detractors….we have quite a few of them…..don’t deny it. Instead, they sometimes attribute it to (gasp!) LANDRU.

……………………………….................

Captain James T. Kirk and the Star Trek boys came across the Landru clanwhen they were way, way out there, on the very fringe of the galaxy. (Was it only me who was disappointed that, no matter how far they traveled, whatever aliens they found looked just like us, save for raised eyebrows, different skin color, pointy ears, peculiar dress and grooming, etc? Where are the evolutionists when you need them?)  This was a nauseating race of folk with syrupy smiles who carried on trancelike and greeted each other with slogans like May you have peace…Joy to you, friend, and…Landru gives blessings, and so forth. Tranquility prevailed, but none of them could really think for themselves. Kirk couldn’t stand them, but then he found out why they were the way they were. Boss man Landru had brainwashed them and stolen their souls! He’d come across them when their world was about to self-destruct and given them peace though mind-control! Now….all was joy!  And Landru wasn’t even a person, but a machine (that should please the evolutionists) which the aging Landru had designed (that should displease them) to carry on after he died. And above all things, you were not  to step out of line. If you did, why….there were enforcers to zap you into oblivion. The Enterprise crew was so distressed at this society that they violated their Prime Directive [Mind Your Own Business] to short circuit the computer and free the people. Having done so, they cruised on, leaving the citizens raping and pillaging like in the good old days.

Mind controlled zombies! Just like under Landru! That’s why Jehovah’s Witnesses are so peaceful, charge guys like Tom Barfendogsand Tom Sowmire! But their unity is really not so weird or hard to understand. It just seems that way because that quality is unheard of in today’s world.

Jehovah’s Witnesses share a common vision and purpose. Moreover, they defer to God Jehovah as their lawgiver. That’s really all there is to it. They’ve voluntarily made the choice, and so encounter a Christian formula for achieving practical unity. They find the Bible’s way of life to be not oppressive, but rather like a highway with guardrails. Nobody gripes about the guardrails in real traffic….they serve a purpose. Everyone knows that. Moreover, they neither infringe meaningfully on your freedom nor stifle your personality. On the contrary, they help you become all you can be. Just like in chess. Once you decide to abide by the rules you can do amazing things on the board, but you can’t do any of them until you follow how the game is played.

One of the public talk outlines currently in circulation spends considerable time contrasting unified and uniform. They’re not the same. Human organizations tend to squeeze persons into common molds, stifling individuality, often literally slipping them into uniforms. But unity based upon observing Bible standards is different. The apostle Paul likened it to the human body:

For the body, indeed, is not one member, but many. If the foot should say: “Because I am not a hand, I am no part of the body,” it is not for this reason no part of the body. And if the ear should say: “Because I am not an eye, I am no part of the body,” it is not for this reason no part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the [sense of] hearing be? If it were all hearing, where would the smelling be? But now God has set the members in the body, each one of them, just as he pleased. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now they are many members, yet one body.             1 Cor 12:14-20

Note that the eye, ear, hand, foot, and so forth cooperate seamlessly and yet do so without sacrificing any individuality or uniqueness. They don’t all become the same. Rather, they each bring their own contributions, for the benefit of the entire body. It’s much the same with Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are fully individuals, with unique likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, assets and liabilities. You will like some of them; others may not be your cup of tea, just like anywhere else. In cooperating towards a common theme, they lose none of what makes them unique, but they carry on free from the endless divisiveness that characterizes the world today. It’s a very appealing aspect of JW society which newcomers tend to recognize quickly. Not like Landru at all!

There! Another ill report disposed of! And now….

May…you…have….peace …friend.    Joy….blessings….and tranquility!

***********************

Tom Irregardless and Me     No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Clamdiggers - Didn't Prostitutes Wear Those?

In the early 1960's, if you wanted to be cool, you wore clamdiggers. A blip in the adolescent fashion world - did they last more than a season or two?  They were, nevertheless, a necessary item. See, they weren't shorts. And they weren't full pants. Neither were they jeans. No, they were sort of cotton, light green or blue, if I remember, with a stripe down the side. They reached to the shin and were secured by a rope, not a belt.

I had a pair or two, so everyone thought I was cool, an opinion I could not elicit otherwise. I returned the favor to other clamdigger kids. But then summer vacation came and the family went down to the farm. The dairy farm, where my Pop's "roots" were, way out in God knows where, where they knew nothing of being cool and cared less. My hillbilly uncle takes one look at my clamdiggers and says: "Hey, how come you’re wearing pedal pushers?! Those are girls pants!"

They weren't pedal pushers, for Pete's sake! He couldn't see that? They were cool clamdiggers!

Of course, the fashion/ fad world, relatively speaking, left kids alone back then. Nothing like today where youngsters are targeted by every stylistic hustler.  So parents, as parents have always done, as I did when I was a parent, dig their heels in. No kid of mine going to dress like......whatever the offending style is! And some of them really are offending,  sordid in origin. The really low hanging pants, for example, the pants that hang so low that if you do a crime, the cops will instantly catch you, since you cannot run with these pants, find their inspiration from the prison world, were some guys are frequently called upon to drop their pants for unsavory reasons.

So parents take their stand. And probably over-take it, in some cases. And the young people chafe, as they always have. Like this one, who, after noting a respected sister in another congregation has a body-piercing wants to know:

"could i rightly get pierced? ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY NOT. god, i can't even wear an anklet without someone going... 'you know, prostitutes wore those.'"

HA! Yeah, it is sorta that way. Don't “look just like the world,” and  don‘t “stumble people,” and "he who is faithful in small things is faithful in large," but you don‘t want to cross this line into an  area where people learn to judge by outward appearance. .

I've been there and I've got kids who've been there. There may be some mild hypocrisy to it, at least in its extremes.

I suppose, if absolutely necessary, a person can always do one or two of those small things and then, if people cluck about it, say yes, they admit it, they‘re not all that great of an example, rather than try to "out-righteous" everyone. People will probably move on. (but, alas, maybe they won't) There is a difference between what is important and what is relatively trivial. Of course, I'm not recommending this, but it's an option, and it beats chafing to such an extent that one leaves the congregation,which has happened, as may happen in this case: “Life is just not worth living under restrictions we all just need to break free!!!!!!!!!!”

Unless you're living with your parents - in that case I guess you really can't, or shouldn't, but that time will pass soon enough, and then you can do it if you want. You may not even care about it by then.

Or maybe you can view things like that woman did in "The Scarlet Letter," Hester Prynne. "Letter" is the story of a woman who’d borne a child out of wedlock, fathered by someone she would not name. Those Puritans made her wear a scarlet letter “A” (standing for adulteress) for the rest of her life. We all had to read that book in high school. Nobody liked it at the time, as with anything that is rammed down your throat. Later, though, some of us came to think it was pretty powerful. Nathanial Hawthorne’s short stories read like the “Twilight Zone” of his time

Said Hawthorne about his heroine Hester Prynne: "People who think the most bold of thoughts have no difficulty conforming to outward norms of society." It fits. (the reverse is also true) Jehovah's Witnesses think some very bold thoughts, decidedly different from that of the pack. Conforming to outward norms is not a big deal for many of them.

Still, older ones know that a lot of things they once insisted upon but which their parents opposed eventually entered (not necessarily for the better) the mainstream. Like rock and roll.

I know it’s only rock and roll
but I like it.
                        
Rolling Stones

*******************************

Tom Irregardless and Me     No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Resume Padding at MIT

MIT Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones got pretty good at spotting applicants who had padded their resumes. Nevertheless, the school fired her (April 27). She had padded hers!

Padded it quite a bit, actually. She'd claimed BS and MS degrees from Union College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Albany Medical College. That's how she'd landed her first job 28 years ago. But she'd only studied at Rensselaer for a year and had never graduated anywhere.

They caught someone in Rochester doing that too. She had been director of the Urban League. Alas, I cannot recall her name. Turned out she'd fudged everything. The lawyers, I heard, were going to have a field day, retrying every case in which she had testified!

Sheepandgoats, righteous as he is, could never countenance lying. I suppose you have to kick these people to the curb without mercy. But amidst all the indignant blather, one fact should not be ignored. These two had proved themselves excellent at their jobs!

Frankly, you cannot read Marilee Jones without liking her. She wrote an editorial for USA Today (1/5/03) in which she related a note she'd received from an applicant's dad: It read "You rejected my son. He's devastated. See you in court."

The next day came a note from the applicant himself: "Thank you for not admitting me to MIT. This is the best day of my life."

In an era where hard-driving, ambition-blinded parents can push their more have-a-life offspring to the point of suicide, Ms. Jones offered unheard of nurturing and common sense: lay off on the self-stress, enjoy life, stay healthy, stop trying to be perfect. MIT officials, even as they canned her, were universal in their praise. "She's really been a leader in the profession," said her predecessor Michael Behnke. Her peers concurred. Ms. Jones was "one of those people who was trying to bring sanity back to the whole admissions world. She's spoken persuasively and thoughtfully both to parents and admissions deans about restoring the humanity to this process and taking some pressure off kids," said a fellow dean of admissions Bruce Poch. But now she's gone and insanity can reassert itself.

The surface lesson here has to do with always-tell-the-truth and so forth. But the real lesson I've not yet heard anyone state: what a load of horse manure all these "credentials" really are. They exist for two reasons, neither of them noble.

1. They make hiring easier, since you can cart two thirds of all resumes to the trash, unread.

2.  They inflate the education industry, ever eager to dream up new areas of expertise, for which they can teach and write outrageously overpriced textbooks.

The process serves to eliminate the creative and innovative folks in favor of the plodders and the dull.

My wife, Mrs Sheepandgoats, and I ran up against this mindset when we set out to homeschool our kids, many years ago. There were plenty of educators who huffed at our not being certified teachers. It led us to uncover the truth that certified teachers taught absolutely no better than uncertified ones. (yet they cost far more) Catholic schools rarely use certified teachers, yet achieve results as good or better than public schools!

It's in this light that we can understand the recent Democrat and Chronicle headline: "Computer Workers May Have to Report Child Abuse." (5/2/07) Lawmakers in two states think this is a good idea, and it's hard to resist a notion like this, since anyone who does obviously thinks pedophilia is a good thing. Apparently, the technician at Best Buy and even the shop two doors down now, should this become law, will have to alert the cops when they spot something unsavory on your hard drive. I suspect most of them already do, just on the basis of being decent people

Michael Wendy, spokesman for a the Computing Technology Industry Association, based in Illinois, offered some common sense hedging. Sure, technicians want to help out, he said, but they're concerned about liability should they miss something.

As well they should be. Lawyers, undoubtedly, will love this new proposal. As will insurance people. Technicians will have to load up on liability insurance. Repairs will be so expensive that no one will bother....you'll just junk your machine and buy another. And repairmen will need a Master's Degree to touch your machine, with advanced courses in sociology and human sexuality.

Educators will like that.

 

***************************

Tom Irregardless and Me             No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Getting Along in this Year of the Pig

The missionary spoke to the District Overseer and the District Overseer told the Circuit Assembly. "If you want to know the problem with the American brothers, I'll tell you, said the missionary. It's not materialism. It's not immorality."

"The problem with the American brothers is that they can't get along with each other." Was it just me or did I imagine a slight gasp in the audience? Everybody knew he had nailed it.

We are Jehovah's Witnesses, but we are also American Jehovah's Witnesses. And is there a people more headstrong, more self-willed, less willing to cooperate, dare we say belligerent? than Americans? It is the baggage we carry into the congregation and it takes a long while to lose it.

Other peoples have other characteristics. For example, China next month enters the year of the pig. But Muslims don't like pigs. (ceremonially unclean, a view they share with Orthodox Jews [!]) So China Central Television has banned images or references to pigs to commercials, even those tied to the new Pig Year! "China is a multi-ethnic country," the network explained to advertisers. "In order to show respect to Islam, and upon guidance from higher levels of the government, CCTV will keep any 'pig' images off the TV screen." [WSJ 1/25/07, article by Gordon Fairclough, Geoffrey A Fowler] A significant conciliatory gesture toward a minority culture!

Can you imagine a parallel move in this country? All hell would break loose! "We are proud Americans and we are not giving one inch to Muslims or anyone else! If they don't like it, let em go back to where they came from!"

Of course, another reason for opposition is that we all know reasonable meet-you-half-way accommodations could never be made here. Pig rights extremists would use the opportunity to insist on climate controlled pens, free pig health care ensured by government inspectors, and if you said anything bad about pigs, you'd pay a $500 fine.

For example, if you told this joke: Howie Blunkus was walking his pet pig, when a passerby said "Hey, where'd you get the pig?" And the pig said, "I picked him up at the market," you might get some luke-warm laughs. I hope they're worth $500 to you.

Um....now, where were we? Oh yes....Americans are contentious and we track it into the congregations. A new person would never notice, of course, because to a considerable degree we have succeeded in putting on the Christlike personality. But hang around long enough and you'll see cracks on the surface.

They told Brother Rutherford that Brother Klein had said some nasty things about him. "Ah, well, Carl talks a lot, and he says things he doesn't mean." Now that's an example of getting along, of not attributing bad motives.

Interesting thing is that Carl never said those things. He made this clear when his recollections were published in the Watchtower (10/1/ 84 issue) some years back. Yet Brother Rutherford responds as if he fully believes it. Whether intentionally or not, it teaches a lesson. Obviously, if Carl never said it, there's nothing to overlook, no obstacle to getting along. The challenge emerges in the case that he really did shoot off his mouth. So Rutherford answers as if he had.

Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. Even as Jehovah freely forgave you, so do you also.    Col 3:13

Notice that the reason to put up and forgive is not that maybe you have misunderstood something. No, you have a cause for complaint! He really did say rotten things! Therein lies the test.

Ah, well, Carl talks a lot and he says things he doesn't mean.

Another reason to go  easy on one another can be found here:

Also, do not give your heart to all the words that people may speak, that you may not hear your servant calling down evil upon you. For your own heart well knows even many times that you, even you, have called down evil upon others.    Eccles 7:21,22

Yes, you've done it. Don't even think of denial. And just as we hope that our brothers will go easy on us when we unwisely shoot off our mouths, so we ought to do the same for them.

So there's hope. We'll work hard on incorporating those scriptures into our lives and then we'll send that busybody missionary back to wherever he came from, and he'll say "I never saw anything like it. Those American brothers really know how to get along!"

 

***************************

Tom Irregardless and Me             No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Getting in the Last Word

How many arguments would choke off were it not for people who must get the last word?

David the King was the target of hurtful talk over a long time. But he held his tongue and endured.

But those seeking my soul …….deceptions they keep muttering all day long. As for me, like someone deaf, I would not listen; And like someone speechless, I would not open my mouth. And I came to be like a man that was not hearing, And in my mouth there were no counterarguments. Ps 38:12-14

There is something refreshing in this course. You don’t have to answer every mean remark people say.

They told Joseph Rutherford, 2nd WBTS president, that a coworker had said rotten things about him.

Well, Karl talks a lot, and he says things he doesn’t mean.

He wasn't enraged. He wasn't outraged. He didn’t even know if it was true, (it wasn’t) and didn’t care. He just let it slide past him.

Going back one president, Charles Russell (1rst WBTS pres) observed: If you stop to kick every dog that barks at you, you’ll never get very far.

We do want to get very far, usually. Best if we get some thick skin to absorb insults without loosing our cookies.

**********************

Tom Irregardless and Me             No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

You Got a Rotten Attitude and You Better Straighten Out!

My Bethel pal reflected on how frail people are today and how the old-timers must scratch their heads in wonder. Back in their day (the good old days) a person might be counseled this way: You got a rotten attitude and you better straighten up!

And they would straighten up! And they’d say thanks for the counsel! Or maybe they wouldn’t. Maybe they’d decide to go elsewhere in life. But they wouldn’t crumble.

Today, erring ones get counsel sandwiches. Take one thick slice of bread. Place a small slice of counsel on top. Cover with another thick slice of bread. The bread, of course, represents gushing (but genuine) praise, needed to cushion counsel’s blow to the ego.

I’ve heard them called brotherums….. Brother, um…that was a fine so and so, this or that, but, um, did you ever consider that…..

How did people get so fragile? To be sure, the blockheads of the past didn’t have a bit of tact, and it can only be good that they finally get some. But the fragility?

All of us are raised in increasingly uncertain times by families who, as a result, are increasingly dysfunctional. It takes its toll. Too, every generation is one generation further from mankind’s perfect start. That too, must take its toll.

It’s good to remember that when we interact with others. Cut them some slack.

 

*********************

Tom Irregardless and Me             No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)