My Meeting Notes: Week of March 25, 2024 - Psalm 22

Just a single psalm for the Bible reading this week: 22. There are verses in this psalm that NT writers later apply to Christ. Read 1 and 8, for example. They sound awfully familiar. 

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (1)

And at the ninth hour, Jesus called out with a loud voice: “Eʹli, Eʹli, laʹma sa·bach·thaʹni?” which means, when translated: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)

The April 2021 Study Watchtower suggests 7 possible ways that cry might be understood. (Questions from Readers) Click on the Research Guide for Psalm 22:1


All those seeing me mock me; They sneer and shake their heads in derision: “He entrusted himself to Jehovah. Let Him rescue him! Let Him save him, for he is so dear to Him! (7-8)

”In the same way also, the chief priests with the scribes and the elders began mocking him, saying: “Others he saved; himself he cannot save! He is King of Israel; let him now come down off the torture stake, and we will believe in him. He has put his trust in God; let Him now rescue him if He wants him, for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” (Matthew 27:41-43)

One verse not cited by any NT writer is Pslam 22:16. Almost alone, the New World Translation renders that verse (the last phrase): “Like a lion they are at my hands and feet.” Almost all other translations pick up a corruption of the Septuagint and render that phrase: “they pierced my hands and my feet.” The NWT sticks with the earlier Masoretic version. Frankly, they’d love for it to say ‘pierces my hands and feet’ too—it fits better with the program—but it doesn’t say that originally. It says ‘like a lion they are at my hands and feet.’ This was not brought out at the meeting, but I knew it anyway from when the Lutheran evangelical tried to convert the rabbi.

It was our circuit overseer this week. In showing a video, he was all excited that when Jade says ‘Oh, I get it!’ in the coffee shop setting, at that same moment the cash register bell goes off. ‘Ka-Ching’ and he is convinced it is deliberate. Ha! It probably is. I can see it being slipped in as a cute little joke, as though to see how long it would take for anyone to pick up on it. Who would have thought it? Maybe, Governing Body members themselves don’t know about it.

Next day, I told him that, for his talk, I and some others had brought little bells that we would ring every time he made a point that we understood.

Then, there was Transgender Visibiltiy Day, proclaimed by the President for that Sunday—Easter Sunday. Now, Witnesses don’t do Easter, and there was no mention of either Easter or the Visibility Day, but you should have heard the uproar on social media! Carrying on about the desecration of a sacred holiday and all.

Ah, well. Doesn’t it proves that it is not possible to dress up a pig?

As any Witness knows, Easter is an example of slapping a Christian label on a pre-existing sordid holiday, in this the celebration of the goddess Ashtarte—always coinciding with the rebirth of the earth every springtime, once again the explosion of life, and so carried out with orgies and fertility rites. Hence, the bunnies and eggs which clearly have nothing to do with Jesus. Then along come the church fathers much later, hoping to hijack and redirect an already-wildly popular holiday by pasting a Christian label on it!

Witnesses seem to never tire of revealing the unsavory roots of holidays such a Christmas, Halloween, and Easter. My response is to say, ‘Give it a rest already. Nobody cares. If people haven’t given them up by now, they’re not going to.’ It’s like what my brother, who is vaccinated against Covid-19 but drew the line at the frequent boosters, said about the State’s incessant vaccine ads; ‘Sheesh! You’d think they’d realize that if people haven’t gotten it by now, they’re not going to.’

But, in this case, those Witnesses are right on the money and I am wrong. Transgender Visibility Day (as though they were invisible before) is no more than the holiday reverting closer to its origin. I mean, there have been people misgendered at birth. Occasionally, sexual organs are not distinct. Yet, we all know that when small children are queried at school or the pediatricians office as to whether they are really a boy or a girl (as happened with a young mother in our congregation)—question that perhaps they were ‘assigned’ the wrong sex—something is seriously out of whack.

As to the rededication of the day to celebrate Christ’s resurrection, good as it is, Jesus never said to celebrate it. Same with his birth. It’s a good thing, plainly, but Jesus never said to celebrate it. Churches celebrate both. The one event Christ did say to celebrate, the commemoration of his death, they do not do—at least not in the way we typical celebrate great events, as an annual occurrence. Instead, they attach a level of mystery to it and do it routinely so that nobody knows just what it is they are doing. I mean, the Lord’s evening meal, the first memorial of his death, was held on Passover night, Jesus giving it new significance. You would think that fact would dictate how often the Memorial was to be celebrated. “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us,” Paul says. (1 Corinthians 5:7)


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My Meeting Notes: Week of March 17, 2024. Psalm 19 and the Origin of Simony

Psalm 19 was the one to focus on this week. 20 and 21 were also included in the week’s assigned material. They’re fine, but 19 is where its at.

You can almost divide the psalm into two parts: 1-6 is of Jehovah’s created works: “The heavens are declaring the glory of God.” 7-14 is how He turns his attention toward humans, putting those works at his disposal. It is almost like a ‘What is mortal man that you keep him in mind?’ (Psalm 8, also of David) scenario.

For example, (vs 6) “It [the sun] emerges from one end of the heavens, And it circles to their other end; And nothing is concealed from its heat.” A pinhead sized piece of it—you’d still have to stand 90 miles away so as not to fry, the speaker said. And then, He uses that power, that nothing can be concealed from, to examine humans—don’t think you can keep any secrets from him. But his purpose is not to grill anyone—give them the third degree. It is to benefit with laws and reminders far beyond what they might come up with on their own—as though providing an owner’s manual for the product that is us:

The commandment of Jehovah is clean, making the eyes shine. The fear of Jehovah is pure, lasting forever. The judgments of Jehovah are true, altogether righteous. They are more desirable than gold, Than much fine gold, And sweeter than honey, the honey that drips from the combs. By them your servant has been warned; In keeping them, there is a large reward.” (8-11)

Back up to 3-4 about the heavens which “night after night declare knowledge:’ “There is no speech, and there are no words; Their voice is not heard. But into all the earth their sound has gone out,” How can one not like the imagery of Psalm 19? “The skies above proclaim the work of his hands.”

Speaking of imagery, get a load of this one, depicting the power of the rising sun: “It is like a bridegroom emerging from the bridal chamber.” Anyone recall how that guy feels?

Then, there was the study from the Book of Acts. This week the focus was on Simon, the sorcerer who tried to buy the miraculous gifts that turned out to be free to people of right heart: 

Now when Simon saw that the spirit was given through the laying on of the hands of the apostles, he offered them money, saying: “Give me this authority also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive holy spirit.” But Peter said to him: “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could acquire the free gift of God with money. You have neither part nor share in this matter, for your heart is not straight in the sight of God. So repent of this badness of yours, and supplicate Jehovah that, if possible, the wicked intention of your heart may be forgiven you; for I see you are a bitter poison and a slave of unrighteousness.” In answer Simon said to them: “Make supplication for me to Jehovah that none of the things you have said may come upon me.” (Acts 8: 18-24)

The conductor, a man of kindness and empathy, spoke of how sometimes you have to give counsel, “even when it is difficult.” I dunno—it doesn’t look like Peter found it all that difficult. He roasted the fellow!

There was a paragraph that pointed out how Simon has become a word, simony, stemming from this account—trying to buy ecclesiastical things with money. My remark was that the account reminded me of the saying, ‘Don’t ever say a person is worthless. They can always be used as a bad example.’ Not that Simon was a worthless—he turned out okay, but there was a moment . . . I mean, his recovery wasn’t a slam dunk. Supplicate Jehovah that, if possible, this sin may be forgiven you, Peter said. 

In a way, he got what he wanted. Had he succeeded in buying miraculous gifts, he would have been one one many and nobody would recall him today. But because he flirted with being ‘worthless,’ he got a word named after him and thus lives on forever!

The conductor ended up saying how he wasn’t a bad man; his thinking just got screwy and had to be corrected. It happens today. There will be brothers who aren’t bad people, but their thinking gets askew over this point or that and must be readjusted.  The conductor is a good guy.

Then, there was that 3-minute part assigned to me on inviting someone to the Memorial. This I already wrote about here.


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My Meeting Notes & Misc Thoughts: Week of Oct 24, 2022, BR 1 Kings 1-2

“Did you note that the first miracle performed by Elisha was an exact copy of the last miracle performed by Elijah? Why is that of interest? Apparently, Elisha did not feel that since he was now at the helm, he needed to change course right away. Instead, by continuing in the way that Elijah had carried out his ministry, Elisha showed due respect for his teacher, which reassured Elisha’s fellow prophets.” Wt

Hard to put a smiley face on 2 Kings 2:24. About all you can do is assign it to a bald brother who will point to his own shiny dome as though one of a protected species. That doesn’t mean I didn’t try to brighten it up a bit, though with this post on ‘Bullfights, Bearfights, and Elisha the Prophet. Remember that tormented bull that got loose a few years ago and charged into the stands?

And what does ‘Go up? you bald head!’ mean? Sort of like Herod taunting the Lord to work a few miracles for him? ‘You probably have been subject to every insult in the book,’ I told Pearlsandswine, ‘but not one has ever told you to ‘go up’.

One bro spoke of how Ahaziah fell through the grating, so how “grateful” we should be for safety rules to prevent such things, and I thought he was going to build on that play on words but apparently he had just stumbled into it. If he had fallen into the privy, maybe we would be priviful over it.

When the bro asked if I would wipe down chairs, I answered like Elijah: ‘You have asked a difficult thing. If you see me after the prayer, it will happen that way; but if you do not, it will not happen.” 2 Kings 2:10

‘Invite the crime syndicate into your home and they may not come. But they may come—you never know. Why would anyone invite them?’ So a certain bro spoke of spiritism—inviting demons into the home. That doesn’t mean they’ll come—they may not—but they might.                                                                                                                  


392FC638-8000-48E3-9D7A-D804B5E454CCOne distraught over violence in the Bible, as though imagining it is not history but a grade school primer on being nice, might focus on cheery parts of the reading, such as this recent week’s account of Jezebel trying to make it hot for Naboth, a course of action that necessitates her finding some “good for nothing men.”  (1 Kings 21:10)

Close your eyes and trying to visualize the scene. Picture Jezebel taking out an ad in the classifieds: ”Help wanted: good for nothing men.”

“Um—that would be me,” qualified applicants would reply.   (Photo: File:Man Reading Newspaper, Wikimedia)

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The Earthiness of the Bible—Is Baal Really Taking a Dump?

In the process of writing up a summary of last week’s Watchtower, what grabs my attention is the line Elijah freely gives to all future comedians—that Baal is a no-show because he is taking a dump. Starting with that verse:

“And it came about at noon that E·liʹjah began to mock them and say: “Call at the top of YOUR voice, for he is a god; for he must be concerned with a matter, and he has excrement and has to go to the privy.” (1 Kings 18:27)

Most translations, as though run by board-certified prudes, do all they can to obscure the unsavory phrase. Says the King James Version: “And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.

The New International Version: “At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”

‘Busy’ doing what? A few translators, thinking themselves very risqué, no doubt, nudge toward greater explicitness: “Occupied” (BSV) “Attending to business,” (NASB)

Okay, but again, what kind of business?

“Relieving himself,” says ESV

The Contemporary English Version, shoving aside all decorum, says he is “using the toilet.” One almost expects to hear flushing in the next verse, as though Archie Bunker is upstairs.

“On the potty,” says CLB

Only the New World Translation says what he is doing  there.

If you want to hear the unvarnished word of God, who does not shy from earthiness, you read the New World Translation. But if you are even more pure than God, you go to some translation where they go weak at the knees if the text seems to indicate a naughty word. (‘They sh*t their pants,’ as a bold workman of the language would put it, but not as they themselves would.)

(See: )

The Bible is earthy. God is not squeamish

Don’t get me going on ‘piles.’ One local brother waxed ecstatic in how Jehovah so humiliated Dagon and his worshippers—by requiring them to fashion hemorrhoids from gold in order for the plague to go away. Can you imagine them looking into each other’s rear ends to satisfy themselves on what they looked like in order to make an accurate copy?

Even today, most cultures have no squeamishness on earthy things:

Speaking with a certain missionary and the subject of vomiting and pooping comes up—not as a subject in itself, but in connection with food poisoning, a not infrequent occurrence in her assigned land. “It says something about a culture in which there is a single word for ‘coming out both ends,’” she says.

Somehow—don’t ask me how—modern lands of germ-free progress manage to eliminate the earthiness but keep the filth. See “The Normalization of the F-Bomb.” It reminds me of that verse about people whose throats are like an open grave. Do you have any idea what an open grave smells like a after a week or two?


Elijah mocking the prophets of Baal wasn’t the main thrust of the WatchtowerStudy: ‘Jehovah Watches Over His People.’ (Theme verse: “The eye of Jehovah watches over those fearing him.”​—PS. 33:18)—in fact it wasn’t even mentioned. I just got sidetracked.

Someone said during the study itself how if you do everything right, and your doing everything right has been verified by God (consuming the burnt offering whereas Baal could not consume his), you do not expect to be banished and have to run for your life. You expect to be hoisted and carried around on people’s shoulders, have newspaper headlines herald your victory, receive a phone call from the president. You don’t expect the queen to make death threats.

No wonder it messed with Elijah’s head. 

So when the article said, “Why, then, did Elijah feel so alone?… The account does not fully explain Elijah’s feelings.” (Para 4) Well, I guess not, but you can make a pretty good stab at it—see above paragraph.

“But what we do know for sure is that Jehovah understood why Elijah felt alone and that He knew exactly how to help him.” (also from paragraph 4) 

He runs away. God finally catches up with him, hears him out. 

To this he said: “I have been absolutely zealous for Jehovah the God of armies; for the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, your altars they have torn down, and your prophets they have killed with the sword, and I am the only one left. Now they are seeking to take my life away.”

Reinforcing the study article was a video during the midweek meeting of Geo Jackson dealing with the same account, bailing out Elijah in three ways

One: the problem will be solved.

Two: help given in the form of Elisha.

Three: No, you’re not the only one, there’s at least 7K others,

*** Miscellaneous thoughts during the week:

The gruff German grandma down the road loaded me up with enough pears from her tree to last weeks. I was just walking by with headphones on, the way I do, and greeted her as she was crossing the street. Turned out she had just returned from giving a load to people there, also.

My greeting was enough. She pulled me into her yard and made me take some of her pears. However many I took, it was not enough, and I left with a bag as heavy as I could carry. So I brought them to the congregation get-together where several young children who had never eaten pears before dove into them, found them delicious, and probably had the runs for a week.

My wife has called on this women before in the course of her ministry. ‘I don’t think she’s interested,’ she says. ‘She’s gruff, but underneath decent.’ So I told her my wife’s verdict, which I agree with. I’ve been back since for more pears and even some apples.


Huh! I just visited someone who has his Bible collection immediately adjacent to some comic strip collections just so he can explain (‘my wife is so tired of hearing this,’ he says) ‘If it’s not in the Bible, it’s a joke.’


The speaker referred to ‘every time you feed your faith’ and do you know what I heard, living in a land of overweight people?


“Now the servants of the king of Syria said to him: “Their God is a God of mountains. That is why they overpowered us. But if we fight against them on level land . . . .” (1 Kings 20:23)

So they tried them again on the flatlands and they found Jehovah does pretty good there too.


And let us not forget Jezebel trying to make it hot for Naboth, a course of action that necessitates her finding some “good for nothing men.”

Close your eyes and trying to visualize the scene. Picture Jezebel taking out an ad in the classifieds: ”Help wanted: good for nothing men.” 

“Um—that would be me,” qualified applicants would reply.

(Yes, the classic. The child says to his mom. Mom if I am good and do a chore for you, will you give me something. She says to her child. " Why can't you be good for nothing like your dad?)


Been spending time with some relatives who refer to GPS as “the woman in the box.” Upon getting lost, it is “You should have listened to the woman in the box.”


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My Meeting Notes (and Stray Thoughts): Week of September 19, 2022

Watchtower study: An Ancient Prophecy That Affects You

Theme Scripture: “I will put enmity between you and the woman.”​—GEN. 3:15

Four parties in the verse: the woman, the seed of the woman, the serpent, and the seed of the serpent. One by one the study article explored the identity of each one.

(See article here on how to handle Adam and Eve. It’s not the easiest sell in these parts)

Para 2: Everyone liked the illustration of the spine that holds pages of a printed book together. Rip it off, one bro said, and you’ve got loose pages everywhere. The info they convey is still present but you can’t make any sense of it.

Para 1: “What did Jehovah do soon after Adam and Eve sinned?” (Genesis 3:15) He had the repair outlined immediately. Many comments on this point, also included here.

Para 4: Ha. There is that drawing of the ‘original serpent,’ Revelation 12:9 identifies as Satan, pondering how the first couple is kissing up to God. You can almost hear him think how he’d like himself some of that.

An aside that has nothing to do with anything, that isn’t in Genesis, but it makes sense and I like it: Paradise Lost (John Milton) presents the serpent saying he can speak because he ate from that forbidden tree. ‘Look what it did for me!’ he coaxes the woman, trying to get her to do the same. I mean, somewhere you have to come to grips that, even in the opening days of Eden, a snake talking would knock your socks off. Milton’s guess is as good as anyone’s.

Para 7: Galatians 4:26 is discussed: “The Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.” Is this ‘the woman?’ Jerusalem, the capital city of God’s ancient nation. ‘Jerusalem above’—today’s counterpart over his people’s anywhere?

Someone mentions artwork— FADC30C6-F5D4-4983-A7B7-81A35349E3B6I have seen example of this at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art—of Mary crushing the serpent. Some discussion of why this doesn’t quite cut it as the ‘woman’ of the prophesy. On one such tour of the Met, led by someone from Bethel, a fellow in the group asked me, ‘Are you Sheepandgoats?’ Whoa—how in the world would he know that? Turns out I had just related a story I had also posted on this blog. To this day we keep in occasional touch.

Photo: Immaculata, Antonio Cesera in Wikipedia

From the Midweek meeting: 1 Kings 13


“He followed the man of the true God and found him sitting under a big tree. Then he said to him: “Are you the man of the true God who came from Judah?” He replied: “I am.” He said to him: “Come home with me and eat bread.” But he said: “I cannot go back with you or accept your invitation, nor may I eat bread or drink water with you in this place.17For I was told by the word of Jehovah, ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there. You must not return by the way you came.’” At this he said to him: “I too am a prophet like you, and an angel told me by the word of Jehovah, ‘Have him come back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’” (He deceived him.) So he went back with him to eat bread and drink water in his house. (13:14-18)

That’s quirky. The liar himself calls him out, as though against his will, and the deceived fellow is eaten by a lion! Any way we can make hay out of this one?


“So the chairman said ‘Stand for announcements’ and Truetom, who always does what he is told, kept standing. But next to him was a brother who said, “Sit down, you goody-two-shoes. What! You would prove yourself righteous overmuch?” 

“I dunno,” Truetom said, “The brother said to stand. I think I should.”

”It’s not so bad,” was the reply. “It’s just a small thing. Come on, show a little backbone and sit.” (He deceived him)

”Well—if you say so,” said Truetom and he sat.

”Ha!” his neighbor said, “You failed the test!” And a lion sprung from the row behind and devoured Truetom so that only his fingers were left to tap out this post.”


***Looking forward to the mask-disposal party coming up at the end of the month. I’ll just slip mine off a little prematurely, and. . . .gasp!
So THAT’s how Fred Flintstone got is two tone face.


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My Meeting Notes: Week of September 12, 2022

The speaker spun a riddle the answer to which was ‘koala.’ Nobody got it and he apologized for his “low koality” riddle. Had he added a few ‘action’ hints, such as ‘eats eucalyptus leaves,’ instead of just general description adjectives that apply to many animals, doubtless the solution would have presented itself at once. F96E79E0-6C6E-461E-BD93-0B0BC9CE6614

He applied his low koality riddle, which could have been high koality had he but included action hints, to faith. Faith also is made manifest by actions. Without them it is hard to say if it is real or not.

He considered why God wants us to have faith and boiled it down to three factors that benefit us. It puts our minds at ease over past sins, since a ‘clean conscience is the best pillow.’ It calms anxieties over worsening world conditions. And it provides comfort when someone we love dies.

He tied in PTSD, observing that it was once supposed only a consequence of war or terrible violence but is now recognized as a possible consequence to enduring any traumatic experience. Think of it as a “normal reaction to an abnormal experience.” Adapting to a pandemic might so qualify, he said.

It occurred to me as very slick that with the pandemic shutting down Kingdom Halls, a circumstance most disquieting, within the week it was announced that meetings would continue as before, only on “Zoom rooms.” Zoom rooms—it rhymes. Did someone play with Geo Jackson’s words briefly that not only does Jehovah do things but he does them “with style?”

Coming to the role of the faithful and discreet slave as well as appointed elders, he pointed out that their perceived full-time role was not that of teachers, or judges, though they do both of that on occasion, but that of shepherds. “Pay attention to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the holy spirit has appointed you overseers, to shepherd the congregation of God, which he purchased with the blood of his own Son.” Their role is that of full time guardians or watchman. If it seems nannying or overprotective at times (my thought, not his), that’s why. Since the flock was purchased with the blood of God’s Son, they don’t want to be lackadaisical over their job

Isn’t Bro Morris the one who said, ‘the more prestigious the university, the greater the contamination?’ (words to that effect, if not verbatim)

When I mentioned to the prior CO about college, he answered how in his previous well-to-do circuit, out of 100 that had gone to college after high school, only a small handful remained in the truth. I might have thoughts on how to mitigate that damage; still, the bare facts don’t speak well for faith thriving in the higher education environment.


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My Meeting Notes & Stray Thoughts: Week of September 5, 2022

WatchtowerStudy: The Kingdom Is in Place!

Theme scripture: “The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.”​—REV. 11:15.

Para 2: Once you have put the puzzle together and replicated the picture on the box cover, you’re pretty much immune to someone coming along and saying, ‘you put it together wrong.’

Para 7, it makes perfect sense, the one bro says, that an incoming government will first get it own act together, show some out the door, then assemble its own cabinet to govern effectively.

Para 10: For most of human history governments did whatever they wanted and there was not a thing you could do about it. That’s why likened to heavens, they rain, burn, freeze,  not a thing you can do about it. But now it is possible to grab the wheel, It is intoxicating to people. Avert this disaster, but only to veer into another one.

Para 11: You would think that as humankind develops and improves, with govt by the people, it would come up with some firm alloy to base the statue upon. Instead it comes up with this cruddy mixture of iron and clay, unstable as all get-out, says one bro.

Para 14: Under divine inspiration, the apostle John saw in vision a prostitute, “Babylon the Great,” which symbolizes the world empire of false religion

Take a wife and you do not expect her to become a prostitute. Yet that can be said of Babylon the Great, which should be faithful to god, but instead forgets all about god if need be to nuzzle up with the commanding rulers of the earth.


It is an unusual video, unsettling, as though suggesting the lack of trust pornography sows in a marriage—suspicion that falls short of certainty but spoils closeness just because it is suspicion:

Spending some time online over who is and who is not an “election denier”. Hoo boy. Now I’m going to join some chums and go out and try to reason with some kingdom deniers.

Here’s a beaut of an image, from Psalm 5:9

“For nothing they say can be trusted; Within them is nothing but malice; Their throat is an open grave”

Imagine how an open grave smells after a week or two,

And the weight of the gold that came to Solomon…666 talents of gold…200 large shields of alloyed gold…300 bucklers of alloyed gold…throne and overlaid it with refined gold…drinking vessels of gold, utensils of pure gold.” 1 Kings10
(even Dined at the Golden Corral) 

His girlfriend:


What can I say? The guy had a thing for the ladies.


(Actually, huge harems were common at that time/place. You’d marry your daughter to the king just to get in good with him. Pity the poor women, who would rarely see the guy & must live nearly celebrate.)

“I will lie down and sleep; And I will wake up in safety” (Psalm 3:5)  Always a plus when you can do this.

Ha! My wife loves the Psalms, as do I. Much there for deep reflection. But when she first read them as a child, she thought, “Man—this guy whines a lot.”


Maybe 1 Kings 9:13 can be adapted to territory assignments. If you look one over and it just doesn’t do it for you, you can say, “What sort of territory is this that you have given me, my brother?”

“You made him a little lower than godlike ones…crowned him with glory and splendor…gave him dominion over the works of your hands; You have put everything under his feet. (Ps 8:5-6)

And you don’t think when inspection comes, verdict will be, ‘Yeah, and they screwed it all up!”

Dreams are nothing but trouble. I wonder if there are people who knock it out of the park in their dreams. Not many, I think. Most often they are vaguely, or even intensely, disquieting. If you have public speaking in your background, you dream of suddenly remembering you’re up next but haven’t prepared and in fact are in your underwear. If you were self-employed, you dream of how for some strange reason you haven’t billed your customer in years yet still must work. Too late to change the routine now, you say.

Oh for crying out loud. Continuing to transcribe my Civil War book. Word stars out Fanny, Hooker, Dix, and of course Negro. So much for my attempts to be an historian.

Then Jesus went on to say . . . “If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples” (John 8;31)  For the longest time I thought if you can show you are like first century Christians, you are golden anywhere. It took a while to realize many think religion should evolve, move on, not stay stuck in the past.


******  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'

Meeting Notes & etc: Week of August 31, 2022

Public speaker quoted a lot. Such as from the Orlando Sentinel:

After making an extensive study of Jehovah's Witnesses in Africa, Oxford University sociologist Bryon Wilson stated: "The Witnesses are perhaps more succesful than any other group in the speed with which they eliminate tribal discrimination among their own recruits."

3CD31915-868E-4015-A9CB-CD9A3D59D9D4“Coming up next…” the chairman said after thanking the public speaker, and he sounded like a radio announcer—which he is in real life! He introduced song 128 and in my head I played it as an echo chamber.: 128…128……128………..128. #TheHitsJustKeepOnComing

(Photo: DJ Natural Nate.jpg, Wikipedia)


WatchtowerStudy: “Hope in Jehovah”

Theme Scripture: “Hope in Jehovah; be courageous and strong of heart.”​—PS. 27:14.

Para 3: The devil’s challenge is that Jehovah’s sovereignty is some kind of sham, someone says. Another adds, He cannot force us to stop but can moke us question why we are—get us to think that God doesn;t care for us

We may not fear man but fear the uncertainty of what can happen to us. Job 1:9-12,

Para 6 appreciate the linkage: “Satan next attacked Job’s health and robbed him of his dignity.” (Job 2:6-8; 7:5)  Shoot the hero of TV and it barely slows him at all, but in real life—it’s impossible to not feel a certain ‘loss of dignity’ as health veers south.

Para 7 One sis brought up the insurance slogan ‘act of God.’ A subtle but the phrase probably shouldn’t be that way. It introduces the notion that causing calamity to innocent people is a tool in God’s toolbox when it’s not.

Para 7: you expect a parent to die. It’s devastating but you expect. With a mate it’s 50/50, devastating, but you expect it. But for a child to die—you don’t expect it. Even for the present system, you don’t expect it, yet such devastation has been endured by many.

Para 8: the satanic bits of reasoning to chip away at Job’s self-worth: guilty of various wrongdoings. (Job 22:5-9) They also tried to convince him that even if he was not an evildoer, any efforts he made to please God were of no value at all. (Job 4:18; 22:2, 3; 25:4) In effect, they were trying to make Job doubt that God loved him

Para 11: “Therefore, subject yourselves to God; but oppose the Devil, and he will flee from you. (Jas 4:7) Want to get the devil to run? Probably have to beat him up? But you don’t. ‘Opposing’ him is enough, after which he flees.

Para 12: one bro quoted another that ‘death isn’t forever. Life is.’

Para 14: One bro, “who was put in prison despite suffering from severe health problems, says: “A prison is like an X-ray, showing the inner qualities of a Christian.” Once we identify our weaknesses, we can work on correcting them.” Is this why Paul said he ‘takes pleasure in insults & mistreatment?’

Para 15: If you look at the world, they’re a little bit crazier, one bro says at life in the aftermath of the pandemic. “They did not adjust to it well,” he says as he contrasts it with those who did.

“After Jehovah had spoken these words to Job, Jehovah said to Elʹi·phaz the Teʹman·ite: “My anger burns against you and your two companions, for you have not spoken the truth about me as my servant Job has.” Well, you should do that then appears to be the lesson.


…. “He would send them to Lebʹa·non in shifts of 10,000 each month. They would spend a month in Lebʹa·non and two months at their homes; and Ad·o·niʹram was over those conscripted for forced labor.” 1 Kings 5:14

Isn’t there some policy that theocratic assignments that take a bro or sis away from a mate should last no longer than a month, for the sake of family fidelity? Is this where they get that from? For they do nothing of consequence without a biblical precedent.


…Para 15 (Wt week of Aug 15) Bomb blast at the KH. Few details but I recall the news story. This guy was a piece of work, an equal-opportunity villain who did many bad things to many people, not just JWs. Took 20 years to catch him and they caught him for something else. Operative expression is the last sentense of the paragraph: (Or Peter and Sue:) “So very early on, we asked Jehovah to help us put aside anger and resentment and get on with our life.” You have to get on with your life—can’t be consumed with anger for 20 years.


Pretty good meeting feedback about the fellow in this past week’s video on prayer who wanted to shepherd everyone but couldn’t for lack of time so got into the habit of periodically praying for persons by name. Also noted that as his health waned, his prayers improved.

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'

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 @

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


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'

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?!


‘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

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'