The Quirky Talk About the Resurection.

145F08E8-23BB-48E6-ABB0-4FFA8EDB6465“You look just like your dad,” one person met the speaker in the parking lot. Thanks a lot! was his reaction—“white hair and pink face.” He burns easily and groused from the platform that as a kid his mom dressed him in long sleeve shirts on blazing hot days to stop that from happening. He doesn’t tan. He burns. His dad didn’t tan. He burned. His granddad didn’t tan. He burned. But his son tans nicely, he being the product of a mom who tans nicely, and the speaker muttered about that.

(photo by Jen Theodore @ upsplash.com)

He also got all pumped up over John 8:44, the verse that calls Satan a murderer, a liar, and in fact, the father of the lie who when he lies speaks ‘according to his own disposition.’ I thought of that bro who used to give that super long talk on Jesus’ trial and execution. Supposedly, he was asked to cool it because he got so worked up people began to fear for his health. Apocryphal? Could be. There was such a bro and talk, though.

Anyone who died—it was as though the speaker took it personally. His grandma at 97, and she’d been in the same rural congregation all her life—he took it personal, as you would if any murderer took your relation, in this case Satan being the murderer, as a consequence of his first lie.

It was a quirky talk. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. It was—but it was quirky. He is the 3rd generation Witness of a stalwart family. I met his daughter, who if I ever saw her before it was as an infant. My wife worked with her in cart work a few days later. When the fellow’s dad, now deceased, gave the public talk some years ago and I said I liked it, he responded with ‘What did you like about it?’ Yikes! It’s a good thing mine was a genuine comment and not just some boiler-plate pablum. I was able to tell him what I liked about it—that it was presented so clearly and simply that I could reconstruct it all in my head without having taken notes. ‘Yeah, it’s just the way he was,’ the son recalled. ‘It could come across as though he was full of himself, but he just wanted feedback so he could improve.’

Oh, okay—it just comes to me now the significance of what the present speaker said. Though he took it real hard when his grandma died, he did not cry at all when his childhood friend died at 16. It was because his pal’s death was “foolish and preventable,” not the result of murder from the first lie: “You will not die. For God knows that in the day of your eating it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and bad.” A lie. They did die. God had said they would. “And so death spread to all mankind,” Romans 5:12 says, in the same way that epigenetics decrees you can pass along an acquired trait.

He’s sad in both instances, you understand, his grandma and his 16 year old friend, but the sadness with his grandma was heightened with rage because God had not said, ‘Be fruitful and become many, fill the earth and subdue it—and then die.’ No, their life would have been unending had they not fallen for the big lie. That’s why grandma’s death moved him more than that of his pal, though offhand you would think it to be the reverse: the kid died young and grandma had a long life. But Satan didn’t kill his chum. His own recklessness did, a tragedy to be sure, but less so than that of a murder victim.

The talk was on the resurrection hope. He hit all the familiar scriptures but personalized most of them. If he didn’t do that, he’d put some unique twist on them. He said how the eleventh chapter of John was his favorite scriptural passage, which pleased me because it is also mine. It’s not necessarily my favorite scripture—I don’t know if I have one of those—but it is my favorite scriptural passage. You can explain so much without hopping around in the Bible from one place to another. It’s all there in one chapter: Jesus’ friend dies. He likens it to ‘sleep’ and goes to wake him up. Although the fellow had been dead four days (and ought to smell by now, his sister said) he brought him back. The guy didn’t get all grouchy because he’d been yanked down from heaven onto earth again (Why would you do that to a friend? the speaker said). Neither did he go hunting around for a bucket of water in which to cool his scorched behind because he had just escaped purgatory. You can do a lot with that passage of John 11.

The resurrection hope is part of the baseline of what it means to be Christian. It’s not an add-on, but it’s part of the basic passage, the ‘foundation.’ The speaker pointed to Hebrews 6:1-2:

“Therefore, now that we have moved beyond the primary doctrine about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying a foundation again, namely, repentance from dead works and faith in God, the teaching on baptisms and the laying on of the hands, the resurrection of the dead and everlasting judgment.”

The resurrection—and he explained just how that works, how Jesus paid the ransom price to undo the effects of Satan’s lie, like-for-like, and so forth—is what undoes the sad present state that “you are a mist, appearing for a while and then disappearing.” (James 4:14)

It also—he laid stress on this—makes people immune to manipulation. It frees people “who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:15) People have done horrible things for fear of being put to death themselves. Perhaps this explains why the resurrection teaching is especially opposed by critics; they don’t want to lose their hold over people. But they have lost it with those who fear God and embrace the resurrection hope. No Witness of Jehovah wants to die. It is inconvenient and it makes people feel bad. But death itself holds no terror for them. They know what it is. They are fortified all the more so because the Bible likens it to sleep from which one can awake.

 

…..No further meeting notes this week. An account from the midweek meeting from 1 Samuel 1-2 inspired a post of its own (which hasn’t posted yet), so I’ll let that suffice.

******  The bookstore

 

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My Meeting Notes: Week of July 25, 2022 & musing

PursuePeace Convention, streamed, Part 4 of 6. “The north wind brings a downpour, And a gossiping tongue brings an angry face.” Prov 25:23.   Not a scripture that is cited a lot but was yesterday. Wowee! did it bring an ‘angry face.’

‘Well, that went well,’ sis Harley said about the showdown in the video parking lot

Peace can get blown away, & we must chase and pursue it. Then he likens it to that paper that blows away and stays put until just the instant before you lay your hand on it—and does so repeatedly.

 

The WatchtowerStudy section on a balanced view of money made me think of that Midas bro who said, were it not for the truth, he could be filthy rich but as it was he was only a little ‘dirty rich.’

Para 7 If you are TOO unbalanced in pursuit of $ it even interferes with your ability to make friends. You never quite know why people flock to you. Sometimes it is because you have dough and they want some of it.

Para 12: “one of the laws stated that a Hebrew king should not “take many wives for himself, so that his heart may not go astray.” Not everyone knows what a common practice this was with kings, who would accumulate zillions from sycophants, allies, business seekers.

 

Midweekmeeting: The speaker quotes a former CO of ours: “Sacrifice is not a sacrifice unless it is a sacrifice,” and ties it in with 2 Samuel 24:24. I don’t recall him saying this, but it’s probably my bad. It fits well enough.

In this case, it really IS ‘the devil made me do it!’   “And again the anger of Jehovah came to be hot against Israel, when one incited David against them, saying: “Go, take a count” 2 Sam 24:1 who is the ‘one?’   The parallel account reads: “And Satan proceeded to stand up against Israel and to incite David to number Israel.” 1 Chronicles 21:1

‘Look, If even Joab said it was bad, it must have been really really bad!’ one bro says. That guy was all but a hit man.

Imagine that huge guy squashing poor Caleb, jamming into the car’s back seat. My kids later let me hear about it when it was them.

That video on neutrality during war: Just once I’d like to see a war in which one side or the other says, ‘We are the bad guys.’ The king can always persuade his people that they are the wronged good guys.

Deep meditation on the assigned Bible reading here: “Next to him, Eleazar the son of Dodo the son of Ahohi was among the three mighty warriors with David when they taunted the Philistines.” (2 Samuel 23:9) What kind of taunting? “Ha!  Your dad’s a dodo!”

…. I hate when I hear of ghostwriters that turn out to be people.

Look at this selfish bro taking up the one trapezoid parking space! And where does he think I’m going to park my trapezoid shaped car?!

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‘They were all over me—like flies on sh*t!’ that grumbler said, and I tried to tell him that, while it was all very satisfying to compare your enemies to ‘flies’ you really should think through an analogy before you use it.

You should have heard my brother cry when I beat him by over 100, having drawn the x, j, q, z, and k. ‘Well, instead of whining, why don’t you work on your letter-drawing skills?’ I told him. That’s part of the game too! ….   1/2 Then he turned on the radio and it was Janis Joplin crooning: ‘CRYYYY EYYE BABBEEEEE!!! CRY CRY BAABBBEEE!’  Tell me that was a coincidence. ,,,2/2

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My Meeting Notes: Week of July 18, 2022, with Musing

Another one of those Watchtower Studies that go by at lightning speed due to the streaming convention (part 3 of 6) to follow. By the time you’ve loaded up your comment, it’s moved three paragraphs on.

 

WatchtowerStudy article: ‘Revelation​—What It Means for Your Future’ Theme scripture: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.”​—REV. 22:20.

Para 8 Always tempting to think that when things get really bad (as now?) that people see the need for the kingdom. Those final verses of Rev 6 show it doesn’t work that way. They take refuge in politics & commercial interests:

“And the kings of the earth and the top-ranking ones and the military commanders and the rich and the strong ones and every slave and [every] free person hid themselves in the caves and in the rock-masses of the mountains. And they keep saying to the mountains and to the rock-masses: “Fall over us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Rev 6:15-17)

Para 9 Not advisable to “worship the image of the wild beast” even if [when?] “nobody can buy or sell except a person having [its] mark, the name of the wild beast or the number of its name.” Rev 13: 15-17

 

Pursue Peace Regional Convention: SaturdayMorning

The phrase ‘fight fire with fire’ originates with firefighters? I didn’t know that.  Just a throwaway snippet en route to making another point.

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(Photo: Ylvers at Pixabay)

Don’t start big, smart small, is the advice on informal witnessing. ‘Give me a drink,’ Jesus says. He doesn’t lead off with ‘I am the messiah,’ tho he eventually does go there.

‘I almost thinks that’s biblical,’ can be appended to so many conversations.

‘Do you text?’ Seems a good way of avoiding endless runarounds.

 

Midweekmeeting assigned reading: 2 Samuel 22

Now—THERE’S an image: “The waves of death broke all around me; Flash floods of worthless men terrified me.” (2 Samuel 22:5). https://www.tomsheepandgoats.com/2022/07/flash-floods-of-worthless-men.html

Flash floods of worthless men.

‘You give me your shield of salvation, And your humility makes me great,’ a very popular verse. 2 Samuel 22:36

“For I have kept the ways of Jehovah, And I have not wickedly abandoned my God.” 22:26

“You will rescue me from the faultfinding of my people. You will safeguard me to be the head of nations; A people whom I have not known will serve me.” What a thing to be rescued from.   22:44

 

******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’

My Meeting Notes (&Musing): Week of July 11, 2022

Publictalk: Rescue from World Distress,

WatchtowerStudy article: Revelation: What it Means for God’s Enemies

Para 2, not a verse usually selected to highlight neutrality: ‘If anyone is meant for captivity, he will go into captivity. If anyone will kill with the sword, he must be killed with the sword. This is where it calls for endurance and faith on the part of the holy ones.’ Rev 13:10

Para 4: “The key to understanding it is to allow the Bible to explain itself.”

Para 9 ‘and it had two horns like a lamb, but it began speaking like a dragon’ One might think of ‘lamb’ & how its founders are from tradition of christianity, another lamb, some devout, others not so much, as though ‘a Christian nation’ but in a hurry it is seen not to act that way

Para 10: This one looks almost the same as the seven-headed wild beast with the exception that it is scarlet-colored, why the scarlet cover?

Para 11 It’s not so much brainwashing that powers complain of but brainwashing that is not theirs.

Para 13, Recalled how Bro Jackson told of the challenge of neutrality when one party benefits you personally. Sigh—but they all do things underhanded & ungodly. If you link up with them, so do you, ‘sharing in their sins.’

Para 14: The apostle John mentions that he “was greatly amazed” by something else he saw. What was it? A woman riding one of these ferocious beasts. You’d do a double-take at that, one sis says, because it ‘doesn’t look right.’

 

Midweekmeeting, Assigned reading: 2 Samuel 20-21

Huh! The speaker said he unexpectedly met Nancy Yuen and was tongue-tied as though with a celebrity! He had been determined to spiff up his Chinese by greeting any Chinese person he saw. She was surrounded by “an entourage” at Bethel, “but I’m oblivious to those things.” The woman once imprisoned years in China was humble, gracious, and almost crushed his hand with her firm handshake.

‘Looking forward to hearing encouraging thoughts about the lovely details of 2 Samuel 20:10,12’ someone texts me. Tough sledding, some of these verses are.

Is that ofJoab the hitman? Or is that Rizpah chasing away the “birds of discouragement” that are in reality the vultures picking clean the bones of her sons?

Being assigned the Gems for his bible reading is worse than being the COBE of Michael Jackson’s old congregation. There he is acting outrageously and everyone’s looking to you to do something about it.

B37B508B-7154-47B9-804D-43416C22D278Obstacles regarding moving to areas of greater need reminded me of a chum receiving a letter on how to combat bugs, lizards, and snakes in the new land. All could be dealt with—but the letter went on for many paragraphs!

(Photo: Jan van Kessell)

You can change it.

the gist of that 5-minute midweekmeeting part

You think it’s easy writing presentations for the whole wide world?

If you think it’s a clunker that would never work where you are, you can change it

Just adhere to theme and and you’re golden

I wish I knew how to stop the app from switching to the Reference version all by itself when what I want (and everyone else is on) is the Study version. Doubtless it is in the instructions, but who can be bothered with that stuff?

 

*** Yikes! My son went with me to a boomer concert but he commented on the ‘geriatric’ nature of the conversations: ‘How’s so-and-so?’ He died. What about … him, too. ‘Say, whatever became of…. pushing daisies. Sigh—I probably only have minutes left myself.

Came across a couple necking in the park! Reasonably secluded, but it WAS a park and it WAS in my pathway. “Oh uh,” I said as I approached. “Don’t worry about it,” I said as I walked by. “How do you think I met my wife?” It just seemed a good line at the time, if not strictly accurate.

Alas, my knowledge of (trending) #Hegel is sort of like the guy who knew everything about anthracite coal but nothing about bituminous coal because he had not yet reached the ‘b’s of his serial store-bought encyclopedias.

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’

My Meeting Notes & stray thoughts: Week of July 4, 2022

No public talk today. Abbreviated WT, Everything at home over Zoom due to Part 2 of 6 of the Regional Convention streamed from jw.org  Midweek reading: 2 Samuel 17-19

WatchtowerStudy: ‘Revelation​—What It Means for You Today’ theme scripture: “Happy is the one who reads aloud . . . the words of this prophecy.”​—REV. 1:3.

Para 2: “In other words, we find ourselves ‘in the photo.’” It’s a novel take, isn’t it? Which one are you?

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Para 3: Better roll the Lord’s day understanding. Greater world is in chaos. Generation can alway become era or age if need by, like the Industrial Age or Age of the Enlightenment, even the Modern Era.

Para 8 “All those for whom I have affection, I reprove and discipline. So be zealous and repent.” (Rev 3:19) It’s a good verse to keep always to the fore.

Para 8: A certain chatterbox in the Zoom background exclaims ‘Daddy—that’s my daddy talking!’

Para 9: “Apostates may have “an appearance of godliness,” but … (2 Tim 3:5). Does this include the premier one of video fame who went down as with a millstone when armtwisted to admit his cavorting with the lithe and pretty young sex workers of Thailand?

One bro dutifully says apostate reports can mislead because they may contain ‘a tiny bit of truth.’ Sometimes they are exactly true, but explainable by the diff between those who think this life is all there is and those willing to put up with some inconvenience in the lifeboat. Other times the difference between though willing to sacrifice for a cause and those not. Or between those determined to cling to certain morals and those not.

Para 12: “Because you kept the word about my endurance, I will also keep you from the hour of test, which is to come upon the entire inhabited earth, to put to the test those dwelling on the earth.” (Rev 3:10)

Para 15: The eight reps of 1918, convicted under the Espionage and Sedition Act, then the charges dropped after wartime because they were nonsense, are lined up in order of (considerable) descending height. Looks odd, though it was the photographic norm of the day.

Para 17: “Time and again, Jehovah’s servants have won court cases that have allowed them a certain measure of freedom. How have they used this freedom? They have made full use of any opportunities to do the work Jehovah has given them.  Some modern cases:

https://bitterwinter.org/ghent-decision-overturned-jehovahs-witnesses/

https://bitterwinter.org/jehovahs-witnesses-and-sexual-abuse/

https://bitterwinter.org/russia-persecution-of-jehovahs-witnesses-unlawful/

Para 18: After all is said and done, this verse remains the call to action: “And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt 24:14)

Para 19: I told the elder I love to tease that I might be fearful to deliver a hard-hitting message during the great trib but if I had some practice, I might be okay. So could I be the one to announce it whenever he was to give the talk?

Two fine remarks from the bro, the last during public prayer stating how not just the bad things but also the good are highlighted in Revelation, the other that apathy can become contagious when one rests on past laurels. Alas, his laptop froze up briefly, delaying the prayer.

 

**Pursue Peace Convention opens, first talk, with the bro who has lamented that he would like to retire, “but they wan’t let me.” (Streamable & featured at jw.org.)

Yikes! The video of “an abundance of grain on the earth; On the top of the mountains it will overflow. … “ (Ps 72:16) includes several succeeding overhead pics of delicious foods as though from an Instagram account.

Ha! Of course! The first act of the wolf who becomes a lamb is to shave! Long live Symbolism.

Whoa. Those five talks of Isaiah prophesied seemed to go by at lightening speed but were apparently the same length as ever:  “My Servants Will Eat . . . My Servants Will Drink” (Isaiah 65:13, 14)• “They Will Build Houses and . . . Plant Vineyards” (Isaiah 65:21-23)• “The Wolf and the Lamb Will Feed Together” (Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:25)• “No Resident Will Say: ‘I Am Sick’” (Isaiah 33:24; 35:5, 6)• “He Will Swallow Up Death Forever” (Isaiah 25:7, 8)2

At one video, briefly I thought of Connie, long since deceased, who told everyone how to do everything, always with hat firmly secured as though a helmet to grant immunity.

Ha! Stepdad is trying so hard to conduct the family study—but he sucks at it! B-O-R-I-N-G! Mom does it better but she’s staying low-key. ‘Not sure if I’m getting through to them,’ he says. ‘Keep it up,’ she says. Trying to figure it out—and eventually they do.

“I really like Brother Noumair’s talks,” said my daughter’s friend—followed by a long long pause, and it finally dawned on everyone that was the sole remark. She burst out laughing. EVERYONE likes Bro N’s talks. She had just taken for granted that there would be a follow up comment.

This is not your fight, Jesus taught them in the Garden of Gathsemene. “If we truly believe the good news of the kingdom we will not do anything that hinders our ability to tell it.”

The video of the man leaving Malawe for South Africa, disrupting family stability, reminded me of ‘Cry the Beloved Country,’ one of those most moving novels I have ever read.

The orange book ‘True Peace and Security’ was originally brown.

#Midweekmeeting:

“Me·phibʹo·sheth, the grandson of Saul, also came down to meet the king. He had not cared for his feet or trimmed his mustache or washed his garments from the day the king left until the day he returned in peace.”  2 Samuel 19:24.   How does one ‘not care for his feet?’

Furthermore, the forest devoured more of the people than the sword did on that day. 18:8. Like one of those ‘Lord of the Rings’ forests.

At once A·bishʹai the son of Ze·ruʹiah said: “Should not Shimʹe·i be put to death for this, because he cursed the anointed of Jehovah?”  2 Samuel 19:21   He said it at the time too:  “Then A·bishʹai the son of Ze·ruʹiah said to the king: “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, please, and take off his head.”  16:9

I’m not so sure I’d drag an atheist into a discussion of Adam and Eve, That said, no end of people look for the reason behind suffering, and if they find something they can sink their teeth into, for some of them that atheism goes out the window. (Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth)

“Abʹsa·lom eventually found himself facing the servants of David. Abʹsa·lom was riding on a mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a large tree, and his head got entangled in the big tree, so that he was suspended in midair while the mule he had been riding kept going.” Reminds me of that quote from the Erie Canal museum, “A mule will labor ten years, willingly and patiently for you, for the privilege of kicking you once,”

“Some Bible publishers have failed to give credit where credit is due. For example, one Bible translation lists the names of over 70 people who in some way contributed to its production. Yet, this same Bible omits the name of the Author —Jehovah God —altogether!” That IS odd.

Pray and barely say a word? A thought that had never occurred to me, from https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1958841   “by listening to the Holy Scriptures the words of the prophets, the thoughts of the apostles and the wisdom of Jesus Christ all flow through the mind, refreshing it and …1/2

building it up. In this way one can spend all night in prayer with God and hardly say a word.”   Best article on prayer I’ve ever read, said the one who called my attention to it……2/2

Seems to fit here with this study part on getting the most from Bible reading.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’

My Meeting Notes, Week of June 27, 2022 (with musings and meanderings)

WatchtowerStudy: How to Set and Reach Spiritual Goals, Theme scripture: “Ponder over these things; be absorbed in them, so that your advancement may be plainly seen by all people.”​—1 TIM. 4:15.

Para 2 ‘Spiritual goals’ can be doing what one is already doing but “doing it in fuller measure.” (! Thess 4:10)

Para 4: Said Paul of Timothy: “For I have no one else of a disposition like his who will genuinely care for your concerns. For all the others are seeking their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” (Phil 2:20-21).  Even then a young man like Timothy was comparatively rare.

Para 4: “Ability without humility is a _______?” asks the bro who likes rhyming and who has uttered the phrase many times before. “A tragedy,” says another bro, to deliberately trip him up.

Para 12: You get the impression that Timothy was not a naturally assertive guy, a little shy, had to be told to speak up, don’t neglect the gift of prophesy given him, don’t let people look down on your youth, take a little wine for the sake of your [nervous?] stomach. Usuful to know that because a lot of young people are that way today, with reticence a common trait.

Para 14: I used to say that my ‘spiritual goal’ was to, come preparation for Sunday, reach out and instantly lay hands on the proper Watchtower, rather than every other issue that’s ever been printed.

No public talk today and the Watchtower is abbreviated:

Pursue Peace Convention, Part 1 of 6, streamable at JW.org. (Psalm 29:11) Jehovah will bless his people with peace. And the first song of the language medley is sung in— Ukrainian

Bro Walls points out ‘lovers of self’ may head the list of 19 traits at 2 Timothy 3:1-5 because all other bad traits naturally follow from it.

“Keep in mind in none of these situations was Jacob in the wrong and needed to apologize,” said Mark Sanderson, reviewing several Genesis accounts in which Jacob pursued peace.

 

Midweekmeeting: June 27–July 32,  SAMUEL 15-17

“Absalom would say to him: “See, your claims are right and proper, but there is no one from the king to hear your case.” Absalom would say: “If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then every man who has a legal case or judgment could come to me, and I would see that he receives justice.” (2 Samuel 15:3-4)

Sometimes I like to station myself by the elder I love to tease and behave similarly. ‘Oh, yeah, you raise a good point, but fat chance trying to get THAT fellow to give you the time of day.’

“And when a man came near to bow down to him, Abʹsa·lom would extend his hand and grab hold of him and kiss him.” Well—I don’t go THAT far.

 

“Then the king said to Itʹtai the Gitʹtite: “Why should you also go with us? Go back and dwell with the new king, for you are a foreigner and also an exile from your place.  Yesterday you came, so today should I make you wander with us, to go when I must go and where I must go? Go back and take your brothers with you, and may Jehovah show you loyal love and faithfulness!”  But Itʹtai answered the king: “As surely as Jehovah is living and as surely as my lord the king is living, wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there your servant will be!”  (2 Samuel 15:19-22)

This is very much like the Ruth story, minus only the ‘Jehovah’ that gives it special meaning. It still is loyalty. I like it:

 

“But the king said to Zaʹdok: “Take the Ark of the true God back to the city. If I find favor in the eyes of Jehovah, he will also bring me back and let me see it and its dwelling place.”  2 Samuel 15: 25.  This is not the typical behavior of deposed kings. Most would just take that ark as though their ‘right,’ like an entitled guest stealing the hotel towels.

The Asian-born bro who appends an r to names that don’t end that way—and I spoke privately to him about it because I know he wants to improve—didn’t do it during his Bible reading.

A whole lot of spying and counterspying in this week’s Bible reading:

At this Hushai said to Absalom: “The advice that A·hithophel gave is not good in this instance!” … Then Abʹsa·lom and all the men of Israel said: “The advice of Huʹshai the Arʹchite is better than the advice of A·hithʹo·phel!” For Jehovah had determined to frustrate the sound advice of A·hithʹo·phel . . . “ (2 Samuel 17:7-14) and then Ahithophel (who prefigures Judas) runs off and hangs himself.

Yeah! That’s what I’m talkin about!

 

Do not say: “Why has it happened that the former days proved to be better than these?” for it is not due to wisdom that you have asked about the good old days of 2019

“I wouldn’t buy a used car from that guy,” I was just about to say after watching that video about Absalom kissing up to the commoners, then I thought about the sister’s husband who sells used (and new) cars.

Chuck was flabbergasted to learn no collections are ever taken at the Kingdom Hall. In all his life, he had never heard of such a thing.

https://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/meetings/video-kingdom-hall/

Old Merrill used to speak of the fundamentalist church he once belonged to. Collections taken to the beat of music, plates on the no of long poles shaking to the music. Leave coins and the chinks would reverberate. He attributed it to ‘quiet money’ that they wanted. Well, so do we—things cost money—but we manage to get it out of generous hearts, nobody has any idea what another gives.

I think that cut-away of a Kingdom Hall meeting is trying to train us. People are sitting in the front rows, leaving the back open for latecomers. In real life, it is just the opposite.

Comments galore tonight in the program about initial impressions of Kingdom Hall meetings. “You can prepare for them,” is the one that stuck with me. Seldom does worship material lend itself to advance preparation.

 

***

No, the holy writings don’t make us wise for salivating. They make us wise for salvation. Stupid autocorrect.

Ought one not prefer the expression ‘golden rule’ to ‘human rights?’ The first preserves all that is noble of the second, while discarding all that is pretentious. After all, our own bodies do not respect our ‘human rights,’ crapping out on us after just a few decades.

Watching a mourning dove as it perches on a nearby fence. It’s an odd-shaped bird and reminds one a little of Wimpy who will “gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

My wife wants to catch those small white butterflies that do serious damage to the garden and buy them a bus ticket out of town. She has procured a butterfly net to that end. I half expect to look out the window and see her transformed as though a Twilight Zone episode into a little girl chasing the things.

Run across a patch of these babies unexpectedly and you can do serious damage to a schedule.

A0A07318-E775-4C64-95B4-190938CFDFC2

“This lowly one called, and Jehovah heard. He saved him from all his distresses.” Psalm 34:6

Again, this seems covered here: https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1958841

“Best article on prayer I’ve ever read,” said the one who called my attention to it.

 

******  The bookstore

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My Meeting Notes: Week of June 20, 2022 (with musings and ramblings)

The public talk, ‘Who is Qualified to Rule Mankind’ was presented simply, an appeal to the heart, in the spirit of “a workman with nothing to be ashamed of”—and indeed, the speaker was a tradesperson. It focused on 5 areas—economy, disaster relief, health care, ecology, protection. Bible verses read to highlight Jesus’ competence on all 5. Contrast the ‘health’ he delivered with the ‘health care’ that human governments promise and haphazardly deliver to a limited degree.

Mark is tersest and says it best. They felt an “unusual fear.” I mean, what kind of a guy causes others to do this?      “Now a great violent windstorm broke out, and the waves kept dashing into the boat, so that the boat was close to being swamped.  But he was in the stern, sleeping upon a pillow. So they woke him up and said to him: “Teacher, do you not care that we are about to perish?”  With that he roused himself and rebuked the wind and said to the sea: “Hush! Be quiet!” And the wind abated, and a great calm set in.  So he said to them: “Why are YOU fainthearted? Do YOU not yet have any faith?” But they felt an unusual fear, and they would say to one another: “Who really is this, because even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:37-41)

 

WatchtowerStudy: Mothers​—Learn From the Example of Eunice. Theme scripture: “Do not forsake the instruction of your mother. [It is] an attractive wreath for your head and a fine ornament for your neck.”​—PROV. 1:8, 9.

“This study will be about someone who has been influential in all our lives,” the chairman says. If you weren’t paying attention, you’d think he meant the one he next introduces: the Watchotwer conductor

Para 1: Someone applies the ‘it takes a village’ quote to those observing Timothy’s baptism. Timothy’s father is not there. He would be recognizable in Greek clothing, says another.

The conductor refers to an unnamed sis who was baptized long ago in a local park pond. That algae-choked mess? It must have been long ago indeed. It was once a popular swimming area.

One sis on Zoom prefaces her comment, as she always does, with “Can you hear me?” “Sure can,” the conductor says, as he always does. 

Para 7: If Jehovah’s people today have a reputation for fanaticism, it was the same way in the first centruy. Lots of gods were worshipped, none of them had any problem in sharing worship with others. It extended to certain humans worships. All had their own turfs, none interfered with that of others. Only Christians worshiped a “jealous” God who wanted “exclusive devotion,” not tolerating even a “inch of incense offered up to the emperor.

Para 9: One elder relates how he was a product of a single parent family, without male input, so he always appreciated bros taking an interest in him and now tries to do the same.

Para 10 “do not criticize the elders.” Not easy to follow because they have faults. Who doesn’t?. Ah, well. No need to pour molasses on everything, it is just a matter of what is your focus,

Para 11: Whoa. One bro speaks of sisters who would come to meeting with bruises or black eyes, because “when husbands were opposed, they were opposed.” Not so sure it would play out that way today. This would have been 1950s and 60s. They would not trash their husbands before the children though.

Para 14: “What do you learn from the examples of Leanne, Maria, and João?” says the question. Learned we don’t need them. We have similar examples in this circuit that some related.

Like the one who never attended a single meeting growing up because dad forbid it. Mom continually studied with him though. Following dad’s instruction, he took a scholarship to an Ivy League school, afterwards a job on Wall Street. “What am I doing here?” he said after a year, and then, having fulfilled dad’s wishes, he quit the job, hunted up a certain bro in the territory to study with, & today serves at Bethel.

Sigh….the watchtower reader lays great stress on the phrases he agrees with that aren’t necessarily the main point of the paragraph.

Para 18: another mention of ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ That’s a popular saying.

Midweek Meeting Assigned Bible reading: 2 Samuel 13-14

 

ANOTHER instance in which an underling traps David with his own words! First Nathan, now this slick woman from Tekoa, hoodwiinking him to make up with Absalom. (2 Samuel 14:2).  It is as though his subjects continually fool him with knock knock jokes.

“When [Absalom] shaved his head—he had to shave it at the end of every year because it was so heavy for him—the hair of his head weighed 200 shekels.” 2 Sam 14:26

This is not the same problem for me as it once was. In fact, not a problem at all.

Musing and meandering:

5AD618BE-78BC-4F3C-B968-15E7B1EAA9FEHa! Dedicated to the person who responded to a certain overly interested party, ‘1 Thessalonians 4:11’ and that person said he didn’t know that verse, and was advised to look it up—after which the modest fellow said, ‘You’re a pretty good teacher.’  (not every lyric fits)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYJig3QIuXE

For the longest time my daughter wondered where her Tupperware was going. Turned out her husband was giving his lunches to panhandlers he encountered

The guy at the beer garden waved by my wife when she reached for her wallet to prove her age. ‘We’re from New York’ I said. ‘They’ll proof you if you’re the Mummy.’

With a single exception all Bible mentions of hell stem from one of three original Gr or Heb words. Find the meaning of those words and you’ve found the meaning of hell. Two of the (Sheol, hades) simply mean the ‘place of the dead.’ ….1/2

The other (Gehenna) was an incinerator dump outside Jerusalem walls where every type of rubbish was cast, sometimes even those deemed too wicked to merit a resurrection. None of the three to be literally feared…..2/2

An early Witness with much traction was known within his lifetime as the man who ‘turned the hose on hell and put out the fire.’…3/3

 

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My Meeting Notes: Week of June 13, 2022 (with musings and meanderings)

#publictalk title: Jehovah’s eyes are upon us,

watchtowerstudy , Find Joy in Giving Jehovah Your Personal Best . Theme scripture: Let each one examine his own actions.” —GAL. 6:4.

Midweek mtg Bible Reading assigned: 2 SAMUEL 11-12

 

Psalm 10:13: 13 Why has the wicked one disrespected God? He says in his heart: “You will not hold me accountable.”

Prov 15:3 The eyes of Jehovah are everywhere, Watching both the bad and the good.

2 chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of Jehovah are roving about through all the earth to show his strength inbehalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.” The speaker emphasizes “to show his strength.”

Lam 3:40, “Let us examine and scrutinize our ways, and let us return to Jehovah.”

When the speaker mentioned avoiding porn at the workplace I thought of Nick, who years ago when a newly associated bro, painted bathing suits on all the nude graffiti. Oh yeah, his coworkers loved him for that.

 

#watchtowerstudy , Find Joy in Giving Jehovah Your Personal Best . Theme scripture: Let each one examine his own actions.” —GAL. 6:4.

Para 3: One bro quotes Teddy Roosevelt: ‘Comparison is the thief of joy.’ ( did he really say this?   Yes, he did)

Para 4: Many references to Jesus’ parable of the talents. Use all your abilities but don’t boast. Just talking about yourself too much comes across as boasting to one with fewer talents.

Para 5: The elderly bro pictured in the wheelchair is giving his best. “He still must have all his faculties,” says the elderly sis who has all of hers.

Para 7: The follow with ten talents uses all ten, doesn’t say he just use five so as to not show up the other guy, the one with the ten talents dosen’t just produce 5, then say, ‘well, i ddin’t want to show off.’ He uses the ten talents—he just doesn’t boast over it. 

you just don’t talk about yourself all the time, in effect outshining everyone else. You can be afraid of that one, if you have a good story, he has a better one.

Para 9: let your light shine,okay, but the guard with the interrogation lamp does the same thing to make his quarry uncomfortable. Light doesn’t have to be full strenght always

Para 15 When the young bros would start bickering, the old guy would tilt back in his chair, smile, and marvel at what Jehovah accomplishes, ‘given what he has to work with.’  Even when we think our gifts are hot stuff, we’re just people. 

Trouble is, When we compare selves with others, we start comparing our ‘behind the scenes’ bloopers with everyone else’s highlight reels, one bro says.

 

MidweekmeetingJune 13-192 SAMUEL 11-12

David is not content. That’s where the first talk goes. Someone chimes in with a Ben Franklin quote:, “Contentment makes poor mane rich. Discontentment makes rich men poor,”

Someone else says how you don’t esteem the gift above the giver. Also, that Paul was content no matter the circumstances,

Forgiveness, for had shown mercy to ‘Saul, Lin, vs 13, Nathan, serious mistake, I have sinned, owned mistakes, might have erupted in fury—he is a king after all.

To be sure, the typical reaction expected of a king would be to be furious at being rebuked by Nathan.

The elder that just moved into the congregation conducts a Q & A part and gets several names wrong. Then he calls on his wife. ‘Glad i didn’t mess that one up,” he says.

17AA352C-80D5-4187-ACDD-6A4B50EB80CAAlways there is a clergyman when an infant dies spinning it that God took the child because he needs about her flower in heaven, whereas the David and Nathan account shows the exact opposite. Anyone who would do that deserves to die, (2 Samuel 12:1-6)

This Uriah is a pretty decent guy. Even when you get him drunk, he stays true to is mission. Too bad for him in this case. Imagine in the resurrection when he learns what a hotshot David got to be. (2 Samuel 11:12-13)

 

 

 

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My Meeting Notes: Week of June 6, 2022 (with meanderings and musings)

#publictalk tittle: Cherish your place in the kingdom arrangement,

Watchtower study title: “Are You “an Example . . . in Speaking”?

Theme scripture: Become an example to the faithful ones in speaking.”​—1 TIM. 4:12.

Midweek assigned Bible reading: 2 Samuel 9-10

Para 1: immediately the tone is set: “Our ability to speak is a gift from our loving God.” When we have a gift, we bring it to the altar. We use it for good not for bad

Para 2: Foul speech—if it went no further, you could live with it, most likely. Instead, it is like the canary in the coal mine; it reflects broader and general deterioration #watchtowerstudy

Para 5: “gracious and kind speech at our Christian meetings or … ministry but … harsh and unloving way to family members behind closed doors?​“ It is either the kind person slipping up at home OR the nasty person putting on a pretense in public

Para 6: One bro comments, tells of a coworker who does not swear around him, though he does elsewhere, out of respect for him., knowing he doesn’t appreciate it.

Para 8: Speak with kindness and respect when provoked, a good lesson for me. Did i trigger a negative view because I was harsher than necessary with a certain opposer? If so, please believe me—the fellow pushed. One of those guys who would not suffer non-acquiescence to his viewpoint. I’ve come to think that unless your object is to put down a person, any hint of disrespect torpedoes an otherwise persuasive passage because that is all that person will see.

Para 9: “What can help us control our speech when we are in the preaching work?”

Sometimes it is hard because they’re speaking negatively of our best friend Jehovah, says one sis about respond respectfully to harsh opposers.  (Note how respectful speech even to opposers impressed the European Court of Human Rights which wrote: “Even accepting that the texts [used to prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses were “extremists”] promoted the idea that the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses was superior to others or that it was better to be a Jehovah’s Witness than a member of another Christian denomination, it is significant that the texts did not insult, hold up to ridicule or slander non-Witnesses; nor did they use abusive terms in respect of them or of matters regarded as sacred by them.” [bolding mine]

Para 9:  Another sis tells of a householder that chewed her out vehemently, and later crossed the street to confront her once again—‘oh, boy—what’s she want now?’—this time to apologize,

Para 12 Tip for those new or shy. Comment and it puts you on the radar, more likely to be approached afterwards. Probably shouldn’t be that way but it is. After all, even Jehovah takes note when people speak:

“At that time those who fear Jehovah spoke with one another, each one with his companion, and Jehovah kept paying attention and listening. And a book of remembrance was written before him for those fearing Jehovah and for those meditating on his name.” Malachi 3:16

Para 16: Further, we never want to hurt others with cutting remarks. One brother admits: “At times, I have made cutting, sarcastic remarks….one sis recalls the Sonny and Cher show where they specialized in that. That marraige ended early, if I recall correctly.

Para 17: The brother I love to tease, too chicken to play me in Scrabble and so he ran far away, just commented from his remote zoom location. Can I add—risky because of the study theme—that it was as usual another clunker of a comment?

Para 18: one bro comments on the picture that uses emojis, as evidence he says that the organization is “up to date.” Be that as it many, I’ve never adopted the use of those things myself. I just do a smiley by the colon followed by right parenthesis. It’s as far as I go. It’s enough.

#midweekmeeting, Bible reading assigned: 2 Samuel 9-10

At that [Mephibosheth] prostrated himself and said: “What is your servant, that you have turned your attention to a dead dog like me?”

Did the fellow have self-esteem issues?

“QR code links to a site for Bible study. It’s free. No hassles. I hope you check it out,” one sis’s talk concludes with.

 

Just look at this monstrosity I’m assigned to read!

“So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the sons of the king.  Now Mephibosheth also had a young son named Miʹca; and all those who lived in Ziʹba’s house became servants of Mephibosheth. And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he always ate at the table of the king; and he was crippled in both feet.”

I mean, can they say it any more? FOUR times that unpronounceable name! What was wrong with Jonathan his dad? Why couldn’t he have named the kid Jon Jr? Throw in the middle name Albatross while you’re at it! And he was crippled in both feet? I’ll be crippled in my mouth after this talk!

yes yes, I admire the optimism, I said to someone who assured me I could do it, but tell me true: did you name any of your kids Mephibosheth?

Maybe you can go with Mephie, another said. Good idea. Just like Andy Taylor used to call his nephew Opie when the kid’s real name was Opilakimommaoctolibiario.

Look at it as an opportunity to pronounce it differently seven times, Stephen said.

Mission accomplished (sort of). Seven times the unpronounceable name read, including a veritable minefield of 4 at the very end. He sells seashells by the seashore. “And if I ever have a son, I think I’m gonna name him . . . Bill or George, anything but Mephibosheth.”

I flubbed it  just before the minefield and then laughed at myself for flubbing it. It’s just a tongue twister of a name to say fast and repeatedly. “I’ve never actually seen a brother chuckle at such times,” said one bro (and then braced to see if anyone was smited like Urijah and the ark.)

“I think the angels chuckled with you and were proud of your effort as well as all the others who gave this assignment around the world 🌎.   Even when you think you are losing, you’re winning in our eyes, especially Jehovah’s eyes,” says one sympathizer. I admit I had not thought of myself that way, as sort of a Geico lizard mascot to everyone else assigned that reading.

Says Murray: ‘You are not alone my brother. I did not have any dealings with that part this week. I was householder on the study portion, but two of the brothers who had to use the name had serious muble with their trouths & got their murds wixed up. He will need a name change upon his ressurection I reckon.’

“is there anyone remaining of Saul’s house to whom I can extend loyal love,” perhaps by giving them a name change in case it is Mephibosheth?”

Yikes! No sooner do I flub the Meshibosheth minefield (2 Samuel 9) then I see this week’s Watchtower study title: “Are You “an Example . . . in Speaking”?

Theme scripture: Become an example to the faithful ones in speaking.”​—1 TIM. 4:12.

Way to rub it in.

 

One sis comment of how kings were pretty vengeful and Mephibosheth might have wondered what was going to happen to him, not to mention that the handicapped counted for little. .   It’s true. They routinely mowed down all rivals and potential rivals,

“I praise you because in an awe-inspiring way I am wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know this very well.” Ps 139:14

Imagine. It’s possible to hurt God’s feelings: “How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness And made him feel hurt in the desert!Again and again they put God to the test, And they grieved the Holy One of Israel.”  Psalm 78:40

So Moses said to him: “Make me know your ways, so that I may know you.” (Exodus 33:13) In reply, Jehovah revealed to Moses some aspects of His personality. Read Exodus 34:4-6,

This will sound crazy to someone raised in the faith where you see families together as a matter of routine. But if you weren’t raised in the truth, and so saw most “families” on TV, it comes as a surprise to learn that real family members resemble each other.

B31FEC32-6DA9-4ED2-82DA-0FA1A7380E08

(Photo from Wikipedia)

“Do your characters always have first and last names?” was the question.

Well, there is Tom Irregardless, Oscar Oxgoad, Bernard Strawman, and Dr. Mike “Ace” Inhibitor, so I would say yes.

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My Meeting Notes, Week of May 30, 2022 (with musings and flashbacks)

Live With Soundness of Mind in a Depraved World’ is the public talk title.

The speaker looks at these verses of 1 Corinthians 2 to explain how Christians know what they know: “For it is to us God has revealed them through his spirit, for the spirit searches into all things, even the deep things of God. . . . Now we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit that is from God, so that we might know the things that have been kindly given us by God. These things we also speak, not with words taught by human wisdom, but with those taught by the spirit, as we explain spiritual matters with spiritual words.

“Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, And do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, And he will make your paths straight,” says Proverbs 3:5-6.   “Jehovah can keep us from wandering abuout figuring things out on our own, but we have to trust him,” the speaker adds.

“Soundness of mind allows one to compare now with ten years also and know we are deeper into thee end of this systems of things,” he adds. Yeah, like how mass shootings have become routine. An uniquely American problem, I am told. Elsewhere it is knives.

There is a phrase that you can’t judge a book by the cover. “I dare say that’s why the cover’s on the book,” says the #publictalk speaker.

 

#watchtowerstudy article: “Elders​—Continue to Imitate the Apostle Paul“. Theme scripture: “Become imitators of me.”​—1 COR. 11:1.

Para 1: “On one occasion, “quite a bit of weeping broke out” when the elders from Ephesus learned that they would never see [Part] again. (Acts 20:37)”  I asked the CO in the late 70s if this verse would apply to his final meeting. He said if any weeping breaks out it won’t be for that reason.

Para 4: elders wear a lot of hats and it is easy for those not elders to forget that, become critical that someone is not doing this or that.

Para 5; 17: 16Now while Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit within him became irritated on seeing that the city was full of idols, infuriated, says Refference Bible (others?)

Flashback to the bro who said how you fix something around the house & your boy want to help, but you can do it quicker on your own. The trick is to ask what are you doing? Fixing a gadget or training a child.

Bro apologized for not calling on me. That’s okay I said—I could see all the other hands, it’s a good problem to have.

Thing is, the violence of today dovetails so well with what the Bible foretells. ‘Faint out of fear, but knowing the meaning of certain things, one can see the same things, take cover but also comfort, lift up your eyes….kingdom of God is near (Luke 21)

One sis commented on zoom and all I could think of was her mom, who speaks with the same inflections and timbres.

Para 8: Privileges of service like the salt that enhance the dish but too mcuh can ruin it. Conductor speaks of how one bro gave him a ‘no’ button—15 different ways to say no.

Para 18: “Earlier, Paul had been a headstrong, harsh persecutor of Christians. But later, he acknowledged his shortcomings and was willing to change his attitude and personality.” (1 Tim. 1:12-16) The guy that was headstrong and harsh does not instantly change upon leaning the truth, still headstrong and harsh, he just has new target.

Para 16: you forgive anyone for anything, I do also. In fact, whatever I have forgiven (if I have forgiven anything) has been for your sake in Christ’s sight, so that we may not be overreached by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his designs…..harsh, judgmental, overcritical, hypocritical,

Para 17: “Nevertheless, Paul knew the difference between bad conduct and bad people. He loved his brothers and focused on their good qualities. If his brothers and sisters were struggling to do the right thing, he assumed that their motives were good and that they simply needed help.”

 

#midweekmeeting: May 30–June 52 SAMUEL 7-8

Just once I would like one of those student talks with a workplace setting end, “I’d love to speak further but our break is almost over. Oh, hang it! The the boss to kiss off. This is important!”

6AD8AB0E-EC02-490D-8976-91CE4AA9CA68“or this is what Jehovah says, The Creator of the heavens, the true God, The One who formed the earth, its Maker who firmly established it, Who did not create it simply for nothing, but formed it to be inhabited.” (Isaiah 45:15) It’s not like when my chum worked hours “for nothing” on a centrifuge part, looked at the sloppy result and said, “This might be okay for the toilet but not a centrifuge.”

Love this point: “Human get credit for the designs they’ve copied from nature, so who should get credit for the original?”

Fly and we see tips of the plane tipped upwards. They never used to do that. A design copied from nature, counterintuitiely it makes for better economy, probably stability too.

“The Bible uses the word “kind,” which is much broader in meaning than the word “species” as used by scientists. Often, what scientists choose to call the evolution of a new species is simply a matter of variation within a kind, as the word is used in the Genesis account….This concept is sometimes referred to as microevolution.”

Was the universe created?

“The Bible book of genesis says that there is a creators but the account is often misunderstood or even dismissed as a myth.”

“it focuses on the creative process that took place on earth over six creative periods of time, which the Bible calls days.”

“The writer describes the creative periods as they would have appeared to an observer on the earth,” a “process that took place on earth over six creative periods of time, which the Bible calls days.”

From: https://www.jw.org/finder?srcid=jwlshare&wtlocale=E&lank=pub-lffv_61_VIDEO

 

Musings & Flashbacks: (I had to hand it to the church people—it was kind of cute. There was my buddy John Cuyler at his work station, the booklet, “The Word—Who is He, According to John” on his table. The tricksters appended “Cuyler” at the title’s end!)

“YOU are here to tell ME about suffering?!’ hurled the guy in the wheelchair at me after I’d brought up the topic. ‘No,’ I told him. ‘I am here so you can tell me.’ One must be flexible.

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