Tweeting the Meeting: Week of March 26, 2021

Weekend Meeting:

Yikes! The speaker today has a deep pink background. It makes for no doubt as to which of the Zoom boxes is talking. #weekendmeeting

Now he is developing the birdcatcher scenario of Psalm 91. He has bird graphics, of a child trying to catch one—hard to do with eyes on both side of head,

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and of hen guarding chicks so they are protected.

Desire for fame, money, freedom from restriction—the baits used to trap human birds today? he brings up the idea.

destructive pestilence of vs 3 (psalm 91) spreads quickly, —he ties it in with nationalism, & mushrooming number of sovereignties, separatist groups over the decades. Neutrality lets one ‘escape’ the plague.

‘Stay in the Secret Place of the Most High’ is the talk theme, a close look at Psalm 91.

‘Just like water can wear away a rock’—he uses the metaphor to how we are not immune to what we immerse ourselves in.

Isa 54:17: No weapon formed against you will have any success—you will condemn any tongue that rises up against you...the heritage of those who trust in Jehovah.

How can gloom and brightness coexist? a metaphor, He refers to the modern human enlightenment that people must cope with. Vs 6: “Nor of the pestilence that walks in the gloom, Nor of the destruction that despoils at midday”

“A thousand will fall at your very side And ten thousand at your right hand; To you it will not come near.” Vs 7. I recall a visiting college student who took it all literally, as lyrics in the song, and didn’t like it on that account.

“No calamity will befall you, And not even a plague will draw near to your tent” Ps 91:10, pitch tent in the secret place of Most High & gain protection. Pick up the tent and shove off...

He goes on to consider immorality as a trap, another bait.

“Upon the young lion and the cobra you will tread; You will trample down the maned young lion and the big snake.” 91:13.  You-know-who is likened to both those things.

The narrator switches in Ps 91, the speaker says, one the person deciding, then people observing, then God himself promising. end of talk. “He will call upon me, and I shall answer him. I shall be with him in distress....1/2

I shall rescue him and glorify him. With length of days I shall satisfy him, And I shall cause him to see salvation by me.”...2/2

Well-received. If I recall correctly (I might not) this speaker moved in from the West coast several years ago.

Keep Cultivating Tender Affection’ is the theme of the Watchtower Study today.

Oh uh...trouble finding the reader. He just sent a text that he had lost internet.

The Wt conductor read that first paragraph himself, while the reader was knocked offline. First paragraphs had to do with some of the downside of technology. Tell me about it.

He introduces another reader as “pinch hitter.” When my laptop goes down, it takes several minutes to restore. But my tablet never loses connection.

The speaker, who had a deep pink background, leaving no doubt which Zoom box was speaking, now is commenting with his wife in another room—of deep red background!

My wife demurred because a certain bro cited her favorite verse before she could: “Can a woman forget her nursing child Or have no compassion for the son of her womb? Even if these women forget, I would never forget you.” Isa 49:15

Comment from Paul. If you say, “whatever happened to so and so?” who used to be in the congregation, the circuit, or even the world, you ask Paul. He will know. He keeps up. ...1/2

That is why he can say in service, “We are calling because we truly have concern for our neighbors.” It is true of him....2/2

“In fact, it was after David killed Goliath that Jonathan began to love David as himself. How can we show such tender affection for our brothers and sisters? Hmm. Am I the only one who reads “Go kill a baddie” as the first answer that comes to mind on this?

The conductor called on someone, but then noted ‘the hand just went down.’ “That’s okay!” my wife hurriedly said, and then inserted her comment. She had lowered her hand accidentally. Was my grin visible to the whole congregation?

The brother who was heir to a Western oil family just commented. That family nudged him out upon his becoming a Witness. Whenever in service with him and we drive past a filling station, I say, “Look, Bob—Texas tea!”

This ‘Jonathan and David’ friendship things rings true with me because with my Best Man and me there was almost as great an age difference. A life-long mechanic, he taught me how to buy a used car without getting fleeced.

One brother, who chaired a service meeting recently, had 3 weather dials at his left shoulder—temperature, humidity, barometric pressure. In a tiny Zoom box, it looked like he was on TV and by turning a knob you could tune him in better.

“but with humility consider others superior to you.” (Read Philippians 2:3.) This verse is so good that it is on my list of verses of which I say in service: “I want to read a scripture, you tell me what you think, and I’m gone. ...1/2

So easy to both pose and answer the question of how that is possible....2/2

There were quite a few in the congregation who mentioned acts of ‘tender affection’ directed toward them.

(Saw a bit of The Ten Commandments last night, Easter weekend, 4 hours epic, restored, with Charlton Heston as Moses. It has been decades since I’ve seen it. I went to bed before they even crossed the Red Sea, for I know how it turns out....1/2

And it is so thrilling when the Israelites finally learn God’s name! It it ‘The LORD!’ Rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?...2/2)

On list of announcements after meeting is one about life gradually opening from pandemic. Included: “Whether someone chooses to be vaccinated is a personal decision,” and urged people not be pressured either way.

Meanwhile, we will tend towards more caution in opening. Still no in-person preaching, continue with safety measures—wash hands, do distancing, wear protection. Kingdom Halls closed until approved by branch office.

I am told afterwards that the speaker overcame a serious stuttering problem. Never in 1000 years would I have thought it.

Midweek Meeting: (scheduled Bible reading: Numbers 15-16)

There was a fellow named On, and the speaker handling Numbers 16 suggested he might have switched sides and saved himself. On the other hand, maybe be was On the spot that the earth opened up and swallowed.

The longer we have been around, the more privileges we have enjoyed, the more humble we should be, says the speaker. My friend told me of working with such a brother in Asia, who had had much responsibility, who  would nod and smile ...1/2

and only say something was a hare-brained idea if specifically drawn out about it. “Do you think this is a good idea?” “No, brother,” he would reply, still smiling....2/2

In today’s age, the fellow picking up sticks just after God said not to do so on the Sabbath would be defended as someone just picking up wood, missing the point that you just can’t thumb your nose at the entire arrangement.

Right here: “If any person should sin by mistake,” there is a provision. ...‘“But the person who does something deliberately” is in hot water. It is the deliberation, not the offense itself, that matters. (Numbers 15:27,30_

“Very well said,” replies the chairman to a comment that was not very well said at all.

The only way for Numbers 16:41 to make any sense—“On the very next day, the whole assembly of the Israelites began to murmur against Moses and Aaron, saying: “You two have put Jehovah’s people to death,” ...1/2

is if the clowns had come to think them as magicians who could open up the earth at will....2/2

“Okay, that might raise the ire of someone but it might work if done kindly,” replies the chairman to a suggestion almost guaranteed to infuriate a householder. It will be intended kindly, but will almost certainly be misunderstood. #midweekmeeting

The best video example of disgruntled talk “spreading like gangrene” (2 Timothy 2:17) that I have ever seen. Also the new sister that likes to confide in just a certain elder, and his wife isn’t too happy about it. And the gambling scenario might fit Wall Street Bets, blowing up on some today. And that teenage sister overacted just a little bit in swooning over her male classmate.

Psalm 137:7 was not in the Ezekiel lesson, but it certainly fits: “Remember, O Jehovah, regarding the sons of Eʹdom the day of Jerusalem, Who were saying: “Lay [it] bare! Lay [it] bare to the foundation within it!”...1/2

I used it in ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ as an example of former members turning upon the faith, which happened in Russia...2/2

I worried the conductor was going to wait for an answer to the question he said was rhetorical, but he didn’t. My bad.

Going back a lesson or two to Ezekiel’s acting out the siege of Jerusalem, the book says “That enactment, which Ezekiel must have performed for only a part of each day...” Of course. Makes a lot more sense than my version:

 

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Tweeting the Meeting: Week of March 22-28, 2021

This weekend there was no regular meeting due to the Memorial of Christ’s death celebrated Saturday night. Most members linked to a discussion of the daily text that morning, which of course, was a discussion of that occasion.

Weekday Meeting: Yikes! That brother who so frequently forgets to unmute himself begins the meeting by forgetting to unmute himself. #midweekmeeting

To one idiot who said the Bible MEANS what it SAYS and SAYS what it MEANS, and every word is LITERALLY TRUE, John Caister quoted Leviticus 20:24 and told him to get out the hip boots for slogging through that milk and honey. #midweekmeeting

That one sister gave a downside to returning to Egypt not usually mentioned—they would not be able to observe the Mosaic law there, only recently given them. Plainly, that law wasn’t that big of a deal to 10 of the 12. ...1/2

They were even saying to one another: “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt!” (Numbers 14:4)...2/2

“If, though, we became obsessed with guilt over our past mistakes, we could begin to doubt whether Jehovah has really “blotted out” all our sins. (Acts 3:19)”

Only 2 days ago did I speak to someone in need of this advice

That congregation member who went on to serve as a need-greater in Myanmar just returned from that assignment today, hoping to go back eventually, but not sure if it will be feasible.

“I didn’t know what their reaction would be. Sometimes you imagine people laughing at you.”

Everyone likes Nita and Jade, on the program this eve. I admit that when I first heard her respond to the Learn Bible Truth sign with “Give me a truth,” I did not understand her for the accent. I am American, after all.

“I’m not sure who Galaxy x-9 is” the conductor says. If it was me, I would answer in a robotic voice just to get him going.

You must admit that the video plays up the wholesomeness of Nita’s life and the disorder that is Jade. Ah well, it’s only 2 or 3 minutes long and you have to pack in the point

My wife looks at me whenever I sing words that aren’t there, or substitute words that don’t necessarily make any sense. “Huh! The brothers got the words wrong,” I tell her.

I liked that video of the bro reflecting on maintaining neutrality in 1970s Zaire. Intimidating for declining flag salute, for not joining the one political party, demoted for those reasons, which made daily needs difficult, he nonetheless held firm throughout is life.

The preceding (of Zaire) prompted the conductor to quote Ernest Hemingway: “Courage is grace under pressure.” How many elders would do that? (or know that?) I didn’t.

I am the reader this eve for the Ezekiel book, but the reading is canceled for lengthy announcements. Only the read scriptures I do. Like “Very soon I will pour out my rage on you, and I will fully unleash my anger against you, and I will judge you according to your ways...1/2

and call you to account for all your detestable deeds. (Ezekiel 7:8) Well, now that you put it THAT way. Pretty sobering stuff....2/2

“They will throw their silver into the streets, and their gold will become abhorrent to them. Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them .” Many times I have heard these words of Ezekiel 7:19.

Yikes! This time it was ME that didn’t unmute! (I blame my computer—but not aloud—no one wants to hear it.) There is someone who not only almost always forgets to unmute, but, once unmuted, feels obliged to explain how it happened.

Of course, that gold in the streets verse is tied in with something like Matthew 6:24: “24“No one can slave for two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. You cannot slave for God and for Riches.”

Appropriate announcements about the Memorial, the upcoming visit of the CO, someone’s relative who died, and several who will be aux pioneering, and we’re done.

Two toddlers in the congregation. Everybody oohs and ahhs over zoom at how they have grown,

One sister in a big house tells in the breakout rooms how the hamster got loose and fell 2 stories down the vents, but shook it off and carried on.

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....The Memorial itself was not live-tweeted, of course. But I posted some of it later here”

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Tweeting the Meeting; Week of March 8-14, 2021

Weekend Meeting

You can’t go wrong when Frankie is giving the talk, and he is today, streaming from Florida. Most brothers will draw complaints at one time or another—too much of this, too little of that—but nobody has an unkind word for Frankie

Frankie is the one who, when we were a car group in his brand new SUV, all the bros were carrying on about its new features. When it was my turn, I said, “Frankie, does this car have a RADIO?!” But Frankie is cool and he said, “Naw—it doesn’t have one of those.”

Even if you didn’t ask (and I did) you would think Frankie is speaking from Florida from the pastel colors in the background. Florida is big on that.

He opens with an illustration of making bread, listing the ingredients, then considers how it will louse up the recipe if you mess with the proportions, then extends it to all the things of life that have to be in the right proportion for it to work.

The major application will be on how God’s standards are better than those of the overall world and that they don’t mix too well.

Certainly (my words, not his) not everything Bible based is a masterpiece, nor is everything of the overall world garbage, but using the former as a base from which to build around works much better than the latter—which is too apt to produce “educated fools.”

Now he likens the Christian organization to the cake pan that molds the bread into edible form.

Now kneading the bread, without which it will not rise, is likened to praying for holy spirit. I would think Christian activity would more closely fit the bill, but he will probably link the two—I know how these talks go.

He ties it all together to recap his theme: ‘Why Live by Bible Standards.’ Good Frankie.

Watchtower Study 2121 #2

“A certain Samaritan village refused to show them hospitality. What was John’s response? He asked about calling down fire from heaven and destroying all the inhabitants of the village! (Luke 9:52-56)” I have commendably never done this on those inhospitable in the ministry. #watchtowerstudy

That was my comment. “I’m trying to recall if I ever called down fire on unresponsive ones like John, and I won’t say that I never did it, but if so I outgrew it long ago.” The #watchtowerstudy conductor said he was glad to hear it.

 

“Little children, we should love, not in word or with the tongue, but in deed and truth.” 1 John 3:18. Of course, verses like this of Christ’s love and his emphasis on followers to do the same, will be emphasized throughout the Memorial season. #watchtowerstudy

A paragraph of John confined on the island of Patmos. I did include in the Dear Mr. Putin—Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia update (and original) that older Russian Witnesses will identify with this....1/2

Exiled starting in 1949, officially “rehabilitated” in 1991, now again in jeopardy as a result of 2017 ban....2/2

That Jesus (John 6:53) used metaphor of eating his flesh and drinking his blood—which messed with some even then—was spun by then-enemies into charges that early Christians went in for cannibalism.

“I wrote something to the congregation, but Di·otʹre·phes, who likes to have the first place among them, does not accept anything from us with respect....he refuses to welcome the brothers...1/2

&those who want to welcome them, he tries to...throw out of the congregation.” (3 John 9) What a jerk!...2/2

After the meeting ends, when we are all chatting on Zoom, should I don a parka for Frankie’s sake, who is Zooming from Florida?

After the meeting, Frankie said how his wife supplied him with the bread recipe he used in opening illustration. I said, In other words, I could have substituted cement for one of the ingredients and he just would have read it off.

It reminds me of when I had to do a demonstration for an Assembly part. For the life of me, I couldn’t think up a plot line that wasn’t ridiculous. When I spilled to my wife, she promptly came up with one.

Midweek Meeting: Scheduled Bible reading: Numbers 9-10, Pure Worship Restored book: chap 6, para 1-6

Whenever we stay at a hotel, we make it for at least two days. That way there is at least one day you don’t have to pack and unpack. I thought of that during the cloud and pillar discussion of Numbers 10.

If an avant-garde brother was to open a restaurant, might he call it the Cloud & Pillar? And would the Circuit Overseer go there on coffee breaks? Or better yet, a B&B? Didn’t Dathan and Abiram open such an establishment?

Whoa. One year ago exactly was our last meeting at the Kingdom Hall. The pillar of cloud has sat on Zoom for 365 days now. #midweekmeeting

One my chums oversees (oversaw?) the laundry services at a Bethel. He has traveled to help other Bethels get set up. I wonder his new role now that laundry is handled by individuals?

I used to counsel him as School overseer. He did not always get ‘G’s. Nor was there any indication he was Bethel bound. One day he caught fire. Next thing I knew he was pioneering, and then in Bethel.

Huh! I thought the part ‘Why We Came to Bethel’ would be the music video of 2 years ago. Then I saw it wasn’t. Then I saw it sort of was—same kids & Bethelites but new footage.

Here is the original:  Here is the presentI like them both. Who doesn’t like kids? I like the original best because in it the adults have NO role whatsoever other than as chumps who clap their hands or play the guitar.

Hmm. Why is there a white brother with a customized brown Zoom hand?

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Tweeting the Meeting—Week of March 1, 2021. I Reconnect with an Old Friend.

Weekend Meeting

I am Zooming to Georgia for the meeting today. A friend’s son is giving his first public talk. Last time I saw him the boy was 10 and his parents were leaning on him to keep up with his homework and saxophone lessons.

There are a number of people I know here, &haven’t seen in a long time—from many places. Zoom makes that possible. Most friends say they look forward to Kingdom Halls reopening, but I have heard some say they don’t care if they ever see a Hall again—Zoom enables that streamlining

“Friends are like buttons on a elevator,” the kid says. “Some will bring you up and some will bring you down.” #WeekendMeeting

It is no surprise that the kid has iPad rather than print Bible—most young people do, and even adults. But it is especially apt for him. His dad is a high-tech honcho for a Fortune500 company. When we flew down to visit, he tracked us every inch of the way via an app.

No surprise, too, that the young man has a pure blue background, probably virtual. First I have seen other than on jw.org. Usually, as with newsmakers, there is a home background. ...1/2

One bro would take down his distracting baseball pics, but you could still see the hooks. Apparently he’d put them up again after the meeting....2/2

Look, this talk is very very good. He is from a family of high-achievers. And yet it lacks nothing in warmth and affability. Is it too stereotypical to say that the family is Asian?

Congregation is on the ball. Everyone has a blue background. Maybe the KH is opened for the purpose. And field service to commence in a breakout room 5 minutes after mtg. I’ve never seen it. Usually, chatter continues until someone pulls the plug and dedicates the rest to service.

I am atypically not prepared at all for the Watchtower study. Things happened last night. Nothing severe, just unanticipated. I have to skim ahead during the meeting, & I prefer not to do it that way.

Ah. It is refreshing that this together congregation is, like the rest of us mortals, experiencing minor Zoom problems. #watchtowerstudy It is almost like, “Rise, for I too am a man.”

Yikes. There are six pages here. It will not be a slam-dunk to get in a comment here. Maybe just as well, given my lack of prep. I would not be surprise if a HUGE number were visitors come to see my friend’s son’s first talk—he is very supportive of his family.

This is the Watchtower study that focuses upon the new year text, this year “Your strength will be in keeping calm and showing trust.” (Isa 30:15) It is in keeping with the overall there of coping with anxiety. One pic has someone holding the verse, as though a note reminder

Since I type my life away, I am not as given to anxiety as I might be at other times—writing is a coping mechanism in itself.

Yeah. I tried. I raised my hand but there are too many here to choose from. There is also very good participation

What I would have said is appreciation for how Acts 5 simplifies it. They felt they “must” preach, not could they or would they. Even in times of upheaval to normal routine, (like now) it can be possible to find a way and means, even devising one.

This is one together congregation. I tell you, there is no one here that is likely to have a cat walking behind them.

I raised my hand then lowered it. Someone had just said much the same. With so many people here, you don’t want to blow time with parroting something already said.

In this study on anxiety, Jesus’ pithy “Stop being anxious” is not quoted. I like the verse for introducing the notion it is open to attitudinal influence , but there have been anxious ones discouraged at any suggestion it is a switch that one can readily be flipped off.

Ah. There is a footnote that says anxiety may be a medical condition. As to stopping it, if you can’t do it you can’t do it. Don’t worry about it. Of course, those precise words were not used.

As the words to closing song are displayed, the speaker’s box and only his is displayed as thumbnail, as though presiding. I didn’t even know that was possible. I am told 8 pages of instruction come with Zoom meetings, largely to thwart trolls, but also for general appearance. ...1/2

Most congregation struggle with too many and some botch them all. This one didn’t miss a trick, I think, and may have added a few....2/2

Oh my goodness! The breakout rooms are named for scriptural themes! I have never seen anything other than #1, #2, #3, etc

Whoa! The 21-year old speaker (his first talk) is deluged with praise, and for the first time looks a little uncomfortable. It WAS a near perfect talk, & few give public talks at 21.    1/2

I’ll write to tell him not to let it go to his head—no doubt unnecessary as he is from a terrific family and seems well-grounded, but it can’t hurt and will be good pretext for getting reacquainted.   2/2

When you give a talk and people mob you to gush on how you have knocked it out of the park, it is a very awkward moment. There are only so many times you can say, “It’s not me, it’s Jehovah.” I learned to just say “Thank you,” and change the topic to them.

Of course, I never had this problem. What they would say to me is, “When I hear you speak, Brother Harley, I marvel at the wisdom of God’s organization in cutting public talks from 45 minutes to 30.”

When I first met my friend, he was himself about 21. A Vietnamese refugee, he loaded trucks for UPS and I believe it was they who were putting him through college. I recall him telling me that, having just left the bank, he was held up, I think it was at gunpoint. He would not relinquish his rent money! “I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses,” he told the robber. “I don’t care about money. You can have all of it except what is for rent. I need that.” Way to get himself killed! However, he did emerge the victor of his “negotiations!” The thief did not get the rent money. He was insistent on that point.

After graduation, before departing for his new IT job with the firm he had loaded trucks for, he married the last single pioneer sister from a family of ten. At the wedding reception, I could tell his refugee sponsors were not entirely thrilled about it. They were gracious, of course, and you had to drag it out of them—they didn’t go around muttering. I know how this works with career-minded college people when you marry into a family with no college. I know this because my own grandmother had grilled my prospective wife as to whether she was “good enough” for me. She is more than good enough, thank you very much. And my friend’s wife is more that good enough for him. If he is like me, he has turned the question around to say, “Am I good enough for her?”My grandmother was certainly not a bad woman, nor was she stuck up. She just wanted the best for her grandson, and I as firstborn was her favorite. (A wise choice, as the second-born is the brother with whom I play bi-weekly games of Scrabble, and he always cheats.)

I studied with this grandmother (actually a step-grandmother, no blood relation, though you would never know it) after my graduation from college—I had learned the Bible during my junior-senior summer break, and I almost didn’t return to school. My mom was so distraught at this, not speaking to me out of tears—and believe me, my mother not speaking was as unlikely as Trump not speaking with tears or without—that I knuckled under and returned for the final year. It was a little silly, after all, to go three years and not to completion. The brother studying with me offered to set me up in the other city, and for whatever reason I said no. I was studying the Bible with the aid of.a book, and if there was one thing a college student knew how to do, it was read a book. Besides, I liked him well-enough, but maybe the person he sent would be a nut. Like the born-again nut that had approached myself and two buddies on our camping trip that had us stopping from here to Washington DC and back.

He came out of nowhere into our campsite. “I just wanted to know if you boys knew the Lord,” he said. He rambled on for the longest time and I don’t remember all he said but I do remember we all thought he was a kook but we also respected him (and God) for mustering up the courage. He ran himself out of words after awhile and we spent the rest of the week composing songs of mockery—one friend had a guitar and all of us could sing. I mean, it was God, and we all respected that, but he wasn’t saying anything that appealed to the head. His emotion alone didn’t do it for us.

I did study on my own back in college, but only for a short while, for I was soon immersed in college life. In time, out of discouragement at where college was leading (or not leading) and at how I had been convinced I had found something of spiritual substance, I looked up the address of a Kingdom Hall and walked in. Therein begins another story and I’ve probably told it somewhere, but if not maybe I will.

The grandmother I studied with—she may have been my first Bible study—would have me over for dinner every week, or maybe it was every two weeks. Again, I was her favorite. After homemade cooking, we would study out of the truth book. She went to the Baptist church, and I learned later that my dad thought her a religious fanatic, but then, anyone bringing up the Bible was a religious fanatic to him. I think the Second World War was a big turnoff to him. Oh, and it didn’t help when the priest said he could not marry my Protestant mom unless she converted. Forget that!” he said, and they never saw him again.

Nobody else ever thought Nana a fanatic. She wasn’t a Bible-thumper. I can’t recall her ever preaching to anyone. She just went to church. Anyway, we went through several chapters of the Truth Book, and she was a very good student, but she also became troubled. “I see what this is saying,” she would tell me, “and I see how the scriptures support it, but it is just so different, she said.” I will never forget how troubled she was to think I had rejected the Trinity. But it turned out that by trinity, she just thought that their were three parties, and Witnesses must be denying that. When I explained about co-equal, co-powerful, co-eternal, co-this, and co-that, she said that she had never believed that—she just thought there were three close parties, so there was really no conflict!

Between school and courting, I don’t think my Vietnamese friend had too much to do with the fledgling Vietnamese group that was forming. That was largely Erna, a pioneer who had rented homes to some of them, had offered them studies, and two had accepted. This will be interesting she said, for she didn’t know a word of Vietnamese. But Erna was staggeringly resourceful. Her dad, whose home building business she had probably helped launch from one-house-at-a-time to lucrative, put her through law school and she emerged a commuter lawyer for Bethel. Some ne’er-do-wells online were carrying on once about how Witness women must have a horrible time always kowtowing to men. “I don’t know,” one of them said, “I knew Erna at Bethel and she wouldn’t put up with that crap for a moment.” So he does know Erna, I smiled. As congregation secretary, I had drafted her letter of recommendation to Bethel.

Though there were high and mighty Vietnamese, as there are those sorts everywhere, the ones we came in contact with arrived as boat people, They were remarkable. They would arrive with nothing, on welfare and food assistance. Within two years they were homeowners growing their own food, and bartering at the market. Venders of chickens had to come to grips with some of them being purchased for sacrifice. Another was rushed to the hospital when the mushrooms her family picked in the local schoolyard turned out to be poisonous toadstools—I guess that problem didn’t present back home. Each family member would work a job, sometimes more than one, almost always for minimum wage, but the income added up. I spoke with Anh once about demons. Did they know much about them where he had come from. Oh yes, he said matter-of-factly. They were always to be found in the woods, were apt to cause trouble, and sometimes his peasant neighbors would go hunting them down, which was not easy work and was fraught with danger because they could be nasty. Many years later I thought of that woman doctor from the Caribbean who had championed the anti-malarial drug that Trump advocated. Media felt obliged to discredit her, so they made mockery at similar statements she had made regarding demonism—it is not an “educated” Western concept even if it is an unremarkable fact of life for many lowly people today.

Oh, there is plenty more to the story, and I must get to it someday. Possibly, I already have and it is buried in posts somewhere. I really do need a massive overhaul in my filing system, but will probably never get around to it. After I die, in the unlikely event anyone tries to unravel this stuff, they will say, “Huh! The old buzzard must have said this 15 times if he said it once!”

And here is from the mid-week meeting. I usually do these first, but reconnecting with my old friend took precedence this time:

A new ‘translate’ button has appeared and it was explained it was for members of our foreign language group. Someone asked if it would work for.Charlie’s Brooklyn accent. #midweekmeeting

That zealous sister who suffered the heart attack is back. Someone asked her if the territory of Upstate Hospital is now completely covered.

“Way to fit a 5 1/2 minute video into a 5 minute part, the presiding elder said to the one conducting it? Was the “Organizational Accomplishments video really longer than the time allotted for it?

The local needs speaker built his talk, geared toward the young, around Isa 41: “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not gaze about, for I am your God. I will fortify you. ..For I...am grasping your right hand...saying to you, ‘Do not be afraid. I myself will help you.’

The new Zoom settings enable personalized hands. Some black friends have brown hands, some white have tan hands. Were I Irish, would I choose a green hand, or if Native American, red? I have the default yellow, which apparently is not reserved for Asian.

Spurred on by Covid, there are many museum tours offered virtually from afar. The “disgusting idols,” even “false gods” that “competed” with Jehovah and triggered not-so-hot conduct are on display, and the guides are always more than ready to explain them. #Ezekielstudy

A new Zoom function was employed for the first time, allowing participants to come and go and switch breakout rooms at any time. But I didn’t like it. I feared it might be a revisit of school gym days where everyone was chosen for dodge ball before me.

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Tweeting the Meeting—Week Beginning February 22, 2021

Midweek meeting:

That drawing of the 70 incense-offering elders reminded me of the proverbial smoke-filled rooms of politics. #midweekmeeting

It has nothing to do with anything, but the footnote reads: “There is no factual basis for the claim that Tammuz is another name for Nimrod.” For the sake of old-timers who think it is from Hislop’s book, The Two Babylons. Used 2B able to get it at the KH, though not WT published

In pure innocent mode I once wandered into a religious bookstore to ask if they carried The Two Babylons by Hislop. They indignantly answered they did not! Later, Hislop renounced his own writing as ill-informed.

Huh! For context, Joe relates how in taking leave from a king, you often had to back out. It was disrespectful and forbidden to turn your back to him. Fits well with that Ezekiel 8:16 scene of those praying ne’er do wells with backs to Jehovah. #midweekmeeting

Weekend Meeting:

The speaker today was an unbeliever when I first met him. His toddler son required a serious operation and the hospital said no way would they do it without blood. His believing wife wanted no blood. He supported her. ...1/3

They took the child to an out-of-state hospital where they do that type of bloodless surgery all the time, and the boy came through. ...2/3

So impressed was he with the hospitality of those friends, none of whom his wife knew beforehand, that he began studying with Witnesses himself.....3/3

He delivered a fine talk, all the better because an interested person, a young man my wife found via phone witnessing, attended for first time the Zoom meeting Whenever that happens, you monitor the public talk in a unique way, hope for the best. The speaker did not disappoint.

This new visitor—my wife has conversed with him several times—is adept with online tools. He instantly downloaded the NWT. He quickly got his head around all aspects of jw.org. He has frequently used it for himself and in speaking with others.

Someone exploded this verse “For sadness in a godly way produces repentance leading to salvation, leaving no regret; but the sadness of the world produces death.” The right “sadness” leaves “no regret” afterwards; the “sadness of the world” does. #watchtowerstudy

David hoped to be one to build the temple but the symbolism wasn’t right—he, the man of war. It had to wait for a man of peace.

That odd passage at 1 Kings 22 sidetracked me temporarily as I began to think of mischievous modifications and uses that I could put it to: “So he said, ‘You will fool him, and what is more, you will be successful. Go out and do that.’” Certain online people had better behave, that’s all I can say.

Thank you, Janie’s mom, for the best comment of the day. She says how she’s elderly, blind, and thought she could do nothing, but speaking with an elder helped her realize that she could.

An announcement at the end with confirmation that the new J&J vaccine contains no blood fraction, followed by (I love this): “Medical care is a personal decision. We do not attempt to make choices for others.”

Of the breakout rooms afterwards where there is abundant chatter and when they end everyone spills into the main area, jumbling all boxes, the visiting speaker said, “It’s like being in a blender.”

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Tweeting the Meeting—week ending February 21, 2021

Midweek tweets:

The Gershonites, Kohathites, & Mererites were responsible for packing & unpacking furnishings of tabernacle, and I thought of those regulars who used to work in shipping packing and unpacking convention gear.  (Numbers 3)

It was thought a good witness to wear the name badges the week of the District Convention. But I remember a hefty brother, sweaty & in undershirt after loading the equipment truck, nonetheless showing up with badge affixed to belly.

One sister in comment underscored the many “I am Jehovahs” in Leviticus & Numbers, which underscored that you don’t want to get too casual about how he says things were to be done.

God leaving his sanctuary, as though “I’m outta here” when it is polluted. It’s not for his sake, but for ours, so must be kept unpoluted. Good for scenarios when we know of contaminated roots & are tempted to say, “Who cares? It was long ago.” (Ezekiel 8:6)

The elderly sister known for zeal had a heart attack. Her believing family fears (correctly) she will be deluged, so directs that NO visits, texts, calls, or cards go to the hospital. They want her to rest. Ha! Word is the sister is trying to thwart them, ...1/2

does not want to be kept of of the loop even for a few days. She is said to be speaking of her faith to everyone....2/2

Weekend tweets:

The Zoom speaker today has his stairwell to upstairs in the background as the most prominent feature. I’ve never seen that before. It is steep with a railing along the wall, but on the other side one might topple over onto the floor on any incautious trip.

Probably a half wall started just out of the Zoom frame, but it was still a half dozen or so unprotected stairs

By stating that his kingdom was no part of this world, Jesus might be said to have abolished “Christendom” before it began—Malcolm Muggeridge. Quoted by the speaker as he read John 6:15 on how people wanted to make Jesus king, and he escaped them

This fellow is quoted sometimes. (search his name) The one I first recalled was, “Posterity will surely be amazed, and I hope vastly amused, that such slipshod and unconvincing theorizing should have so easily captivated 20th-century minds and been so widely & recklessly applied.

It is a downer, that’s for sure. But such reversals of what should be are common in life, even if not as extreme. I like the idea of working at whatever task is at hand. It is a way of salvaging a measure of victory out of what would otherwise be pure defeat. #WatchtowerStudy

“After you have suffered for a little while”...1 Peter 5:10. Yet some suffer “forever.” But sometimes it is a mindset. Find out what you can do and do it, like Joseph in the prison, sometimes makes all the difference.

The envious guy washing the window—if you have sleeve in one hand, you would have squeegee in the other, not a spray bottle. Some writer has not washed enough windows, methinks. #watchtowerstudy

I have washed windows in my day, even commercially. Trust me, no pro is done up like this I wouldn’t go so far as to say ‘false doctrine,’ but...

I think of Jesus’s word of being paid in full. The squeegee bro has challenges and joys, maybe more joys than the “wicked.” But they will reach a point of being “paid in full,” whereas he will find his greatest reward is yet ahead. #watchtowerstudy

She wasn’t called on, but I told my wife to make sure she gets that comment in someday about how her husband would interrupt his routine to change and call on that person “who is never home.” Don’t add how “today, I can’t even get him to put his dirty dishes in the sink.”

....

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Tweeting the Meeting—week of February 7, 2021

The speaker wove scenarios of taking certain calls (even holding up his own phone to illustrate, with the request, “please don’t call it now”) and letting others slide to voicemail for further review, to make various points about prayer.

Lots of similar illustrations. More than anyone in a long while, he captures Jesus’ technique of using mundane situations of life to illustrate greater spiritual things.

I know this fellow well. He is maybe ten years my junior. I know his disadvantaged background that he has outgrown, “pulling himself up by his own bootstraps,” so to speak.

He might never be a “heavy hitter,” but he has become far more amenable as a general utility, practical, fatherly, and outgoing, with plain intent to help where he can and be faithful no matter what....1/2

More practically useful in the congregation than me, who has become a specialist of limited general value...2/2

He closed with prayer and got choked up. It is allowable, b/c his wife recently became very ill and he has had well-wishing. He and wife “got their start” in this cong, it is like a homecoming, and after meeting he reminisces with many.

The fill-in #Watchtower conductor issued his standard request that comments be under 30 seconds. Good. He is not a Nazi about it. I have seen what happens without that coaxing, how very wordy people almost take over meeting & others give up, thinking wordiness is required.

Hard to livestream during the #watchtowerstudy since I was the reader. “Stand by, brothers—I’m putting something on the internet” will not do. Besides normal participation, you must check ahead, so as not to screw up reading.

Is it only me who sees that smashing picture and thinks of the bathfitter ad? There is something to be said for smashing. Those two guys can’t wait, because the rot has to be smashed for the rebuild—only in the ad the bathfitter guy beat them 2it  Not in reallife #watchtowerstudy

“someone will say: “How are the dead to be raised up? Yes, with what sort of body are they coming?” You unreasonable person!” Why the rebuke for just a question? It is the context of challenging, undermining the resurrection, maybe so as to promote here today gone tomorrow.

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Tweeting the Watchtower Study

Zoom meetings make possible things that you could not do at the physical Kingdom Hall meeting. Such as tweeting your comments. Conductor didn’t call on me? So be it. I’ll tweet it to the world. Even if he did call on me I’ll do that. You can only get two or three comments in at any given congregation meeting—there are other people there, too.

Also, other comments made by other people—those that strike my fancy I can tweet them out too. Is this going to be a thing? It may be.

The Watchtower Study Sunday was from the study article, “The Resurrection—A Sure Hope.” It took a look at 1 Corinthians 15, which is largely devoted to that topic. It’s actually a form of both taking notes and advertising the kingdom at the same time when you tweet out remarks. And to think that I railed at Twitter’s decision to expand 140 character into 280. “No! Force the windbags to be concise!” I said. Now I use up every one of those 280 characters and sometimes issue multi-tweet threads.

So here are the tweets that went out Sunday, remarks on various paragraphs. Brackets if I am just fluffing it out now for the blog:

Every so often a brother will say that the Christian life is so good, even were it not true it would still be worth pursuing. Paul said no. If there is no resurrection(& what it entails)one’s faith is useless. (1 Cor 15:17) Might as well use the world to its full #watchtowerstudy”

“Paul was so sure that Jesus had been raised from the dead that he was willing to die defending his belief.” The reason for undercutting the resurrection hope is so he will not do that, so he will cut and run when difficulty presents. #watchtowerstudy [Yeah! It may not always be the human one, but it is always the superhuman one. Undercut the resurrection hope so that you can manipulate people to do horrible things.]

“There is an expression ‘sold down the river.’ It has ugly origin from the days of slavery. But it fits with Adam. Once you have been sold down the river, you do not claw your way back on your own. You need repurchase out of slavery. #watchtowerstudy”

“I have hope . . . that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” Acts 24:15, [This is an] indication of an earthly resurrection, since the “unrighteous” are not heaven-bound. Joe made the comparison of the rabble crashing the pearly gates...1/2

of the Capitol building as a foreglimmer of what it would be for the “unrighteous” attempting to crash the actual pearly gates of heaven. [That scene the TV never tires of replaying—with the painty-faced horned guy and his cohorts ecstatic at having invaded the building—I can just picture same in heaven.]  He can always be depended upon to come up with something unique....2/2

You can even tweet the non-study material, such as announcement at the end, using good judgment, of course, but I have that in spades. Such as:

“The Witness organization affirms that neither blood or fraction is a component of Covid vaccines to date, a universal point of interest for JWs. Otherwise, it states that, “Medical care is a personal matter. We do not attempt to make choices for others.”

And you can tweet asides that you would never actually say at the meeting. Such as (from the midweek meeting):

“HEY, WHO POSTED THAT EZEKIEL CREATURE WITH A HEAD OF A WARTHOG, A DONKEY, A SKUNK, AND MY FACE? THAT’S NOT FUNNY!! TAKE IT DOWN RIGHT NOW!!!”

It’s like that Superman climactic scene when the Man of Steel squares off against some equally powerful SuperVillain. “This is gonna be good!” one of the regulars says as he runs for cover.

.....

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