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TrueTomHarley

How the New European Data Law Will Affect Jehovah’s Witnesses - My Take

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23 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

you may not have noticed that someone pointed to a Religion News article (it may have been Outta Here) that Jer 29:11 was the new feel-good verse of our age, replacing John 3:14

Missed that.

23 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

As for Matthew 5:3, I am not one of those who say the NWT is great and all the other translations suck, but in this case I think it has hit a home run. 

As I said, I don't have a problem with this one because I'm sure we have the right idea about the actual correct application. I don't think we needed to put the interpretation into the translation though, because more likely translations of the original Greek were available, and these more likely translations fit other scriptures much better.

For example, the Greek does not literally say: "beggars in spirit." The word usually translated "poor" primarily means wretched or reduced to wretchedness, not beggar. Of course, many wretched or persons "reduced to wretchedness" were forced to beg, so a secondary meaning could be "beggar" in some circumstances. Most beggars are poor, but not all poor are beggars, so it's better to stick with the more literal meaning of the word and not add anything to that meaning unless context says we must. The more literal meaning of the term, was not evidently crouching in the stance of a beggar, necessarily, but crouching as if cringing in fear, or slinking away (from crowds, from society, from getting kicked out of places).

Of course, the term must have included beggars, which makes the translation possible. But look at the parallel in Luke where the verse reads merely as follows:

(Luke 6:20, 21) . . .Happy are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God. 21 “Happy are you who hunger now, for you will be filled. “Happy are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

Do we think that Luke missed the point completely about the "beggars" and only noticed that they were poor, hungry and weeping? So, the thing to figure out then is if adding the term "of/in spirit" changes the meaning to those who must be conscious of a need for "spirit." If it were so germane to the meaning in Matthew, you'd think it would have been at least hinted at in Luke. We end up giving the words for lack of "spirit" a new meaning of lack of "spirituality" when we add the idea of a "spiritual need." What they really need, we are told elsewhere in Matthew is to have their spirits lifted, because they are broken-hearted and sighing and groaning over the system of things and their particular circumstances in it. So it's right in one sense.

(Matthew 11:5, 6) . . .the poor are being told the good news. 6 Happy is the one who finds no cause for stumbling in me.”

But the more likely sense is that Jesus, by his ministry of curing and preaching and bringing hope, is accomplishing the goal that fulfills what was written about Jesus through Isaiah:

(Isaiah 61:1-3) . . .The spirit of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah is upon me, Because Jehovah anointed me to declare good news to the meek. He sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And the wide opening of the eyes to the prisoners,  2 To proclaim the year of Jehovah’s goodwill And the day of vengeance of our God, To comfort all who mourn,  3 To provide for those mourning over Zion, To give them a headdress instead of ashes, The oil of exultation instead of mourning, The garment of praise instead of a despondent spirit.

Jesus brought hope of justice, hope of a new world. He healed; he fed; he comforted; he even raised the dead. He stood up to the religious oppressors; he preached a day when the world they lived in would pass away and a new Kingdom would be born. He therefore raised the spirits of those who were wretchedly reduced in spirit (despondent, depressed).

(Matthew 11:28-30) 28 Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for yourselves. 30 For my yoke is kindly, and my load is light.”

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1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

As I said, I don't have a problem with this one because I'm sure we have the right idea about the actual correct application. 

I guess the real problem is that when I say

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” (KJV)

everyone says “Huh?”

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9 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

I gave a brief Witness to someone who quite obviously wore his righteousness on his sleeve, and he said “No thank you. I’m Christian”

(I would never do the following it were but an honest statement of fact. But—believe me on this—it was plainly meant to play the “Superior” card. “No thank you—I’m Christian” - to convey his judgement that I was not.)

”Actually, only a Christian would do what I am doing,” I told him. “Frankly, I’m a little surprised that you are not doing it yourself.”

Slowly fade smug smile.

So you think it is 'Christian' to give people one message one day then a different message next week when the GB / Org changes the meaning of scriptures. What you take to the people is not from God or Jesus Christ, it is from your superiors in the JW Org / Watchtower Soc'.  So maybe that person was more 'Christian' than you. At least they are not taking false information to people. 

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36 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

What you take to the people is not from God or Jesus Christ, it is from your superiors in the JW Org / Watchtower Soc'. 

Our “superiors” are us. They were once regular members of some congregation or other. Many of them cut their teeth doing work more lowly than most of those whom they would later lead—full time evangelizing in developing lands. The only reason this ridiculous division of our “superiors” and us is created is to further the silly meme of one group victimizing the other.

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6 minutes ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Our “superiors” are us. They were once regular members of some congregation or other. Many of them cut their teeth doing work more lowly than most of those whom they would later lead—full time evangelizing in developing lands. The only reason this ridiculous division of our “superiors” and us is created is to further the silly meme of one group victimizing the other.

Or is it because they have exalted themselves with the title of 'Faithful and discreet slave', above all the anointed Earthwide ?

They would have 'cut their teeth' on false teachings then it seems, teaching lies to innocent people. The very basics of the Soc / Org's teachings have changed and the meanings of scriptures too. 

 

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4 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

Or is it because they have exalted themselves with the title of 'Faithful and discreet slave', above all the anointed Earthwide ?

That is what Witness thinks. Go to her for your spiritual food if you like. She will never be stingy in supplying you with it.

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12 hours ago, Witness said:

 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Hear now, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, but you make this people trust in a lie. Jer 28:15

Gerrit Loesch:  “Since Jehovah God and Jesus Christ completely trust the faithful and discreet slave, should we not do the same?”

Excellent comparison ! Up-vote 

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1 hour ago, Srecko Sostar said:

Excellent comparison ! Up-vote 

You, too, like John, appear to be in search of a “true” anointed one. You have found her,  right here on the WorldwideMediaNews. And you didn’t even have to search.

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3 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

That is what Witness thinks. Go to her for your spiritual food if you like. She will never be stingy in supplying you with it.

No thanks, I'll leave it to JW's to go to other humans for spiritual food. Until I find out who the Anointed really are then I don't think I will be taking much notice of what any person says. 

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14 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

I gave a brief Witness to someone who quite obviously wore his righteousness on his sleeve, and he said “No thank you. I’m Christian”

(I would never do the following it were but an honest statement of fact. But—believe me on this—it was plainly meant to play the “Superior” card. “No thank you—I’m Christian” - to convey his judgement that I was not.)

”Actually, only a Christian would do what I am doing,” I told him. “Frankly, I’m a little surprised that you are not doing it yourself.”

Slowly fade smug smile.

It seems to be a superior opinion of yours, to believe he wasn't speaking about Christ, in some form or manner; or had great respect for his teachings.  

The Watchtower admitted at one point that they moved away from preaching about Jesus, and put their focus on "Jehovah".  I wondered why they would change the concept of the apostle's message centered on Christ, and shifted it to "Jehovah".  There is no balance in your "preaching".   The organization baptizes in the name of itself.  The apostles baptized in the name of Jesus; giving thanks to the Father for sending His Son.1 Cor 6:11

So, was there really a centralized organization to be acknowledged by the early Christians as you are continually taught, which bolsters your belief in Watchtower as the path to salvation?  Of course, to build an organization, one must suppress the true path God gave us for salvation, Jesus Christ; thus, the move to exalt "Jehovah's organization" over Jesus.  

 Can you see why the man said, "No thank you.  I'm Christian"?  

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“My territory is part of a large metro area and is apathetic and unintested. Middle class suburb that has achieved the American dream.”

Karen, you never know. Recently my wife and friend approached people at the service station. Her friend’s first contact was dismissive. So was my wife’s first contact. But the second person her friend spoke with said, “I think you must have been sent to me.” He spoke of his  16-year-old daughter who is trying to help a friend and it is starting to take a toll on her. “Well, we do have a website that offers a lot of practical help and...” my wife’s friend began and showed the magazine online Is Life Worth Living, which greatly interested the man. It turned out that my wife had a paper copy (they were working separately) and the friend sent her niece (they were a threesome) back to see if the fellow wanted it. (He did) “I know how hard it is to be 16,” the 16-year old niece said. 

The day prior my wife was making return visits with another sister who didn’t have any so my wife was pulling out all the stops. Being right in the area, she stopped in where a once seemingly interested woman had told her not to return because the boyfriend was opposed. “Maybe the creepy boyfriend has moved out,” my wife said. She spoke with the woman who answered the door, and got a puzzled expression on her face, and my wife realized that both of them had moved out and this was someone new. So she explained what she had been doing and the woman told her that her husband’s friend had just taken his life. This, too, made the magazine 

    Hello guest!
 just the right food at the right time. 

These experiences are many. Don’t assume that the fancy suburbs are immune to them. They are not. The facades just hide the problems inside.  Do what you are doing, friendly as can be. If it is safe, work alone from time to time, with a companion just within sight, or even all by yourself—it helps you think of your ministry and nothing else. Don’t worry about English being your second language. If anyone puts you down for not being polished, agree with them. It is ordinary people that make up the congregations. It always has been. “For you behold his calling of you, brothers,” the apostle wrote at 1 Corinthians 1:26, “that not many wise in a fleshly way were called, not many powerful, not many of noble birth.” Say to whoever you must: “It would be nice to have sent someone smoother, but they are not available, so you are stuck with me.” :)

What does Srecko or Jack have to offer on these matters? What might they reply? That there are agencies? That there are anti-depressants? People routinely fall through the cracks of sieve-like agencies, and they do not necessarily help long term (and sometimes even short) even when they are firing on all cylinders. What people need is a fresh way of thinking to help them cope, and a source of power greater than themselves. They may or may not grab hold of what we offer, but it is certainly well to offer it.

The JW year text for the present year is Isaiah 41:10: “Do not be anxious, for I am your God.” The year text of the greater world? So far as I can tell, it is “S**t happens. Maybe we can hold someone accountable and make them take responsibility.” I like ours better.

Last year it was “S**t happens. Maybe we can vote out these current turkeys and vote in a new crop of politicians who will fix things.” I forget what the JW one was for last year, but I do remember that I liked  it better.

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Another JW comparing the JW Org to the 'rest of the world'. Oh dear. 

Living in my house is much better than living in a sewer you know. :) 

That is the comparison these people are using.

If Tom wants to quote Forrest Gump so be it.  Quite funny this 'being no part of the world' but quoting a worldly film. 

Oh by the way Tom, whilst you are saying that your wife or friend helped a 16 year old, I'd like to remind you that lots of teenagers are desperate to leave the JW Org and many have already left it. 

And can you be sure that the message you offer today will be the same message you offer next week, or will the GB / writing dept have changed the meaning of scriptures again :) 

 

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The suggestion to lead with a scripture is not something original on my part. From time to time it has been suggested by the theocratic organization. I have run with it as a staple more than is usually emphasized, but the idea is not mine. I mean, how can it be going off on one’s own tangent by leading with a scripture? If one finds that it works well. one tends to do it more and more, and that has been the case with me.

Similarly, 

    Hello guest!
 which leads to the ‘Good News From God’ table of contents & the invitation to the householder to choose any one he/she likes was not my idea at all. That came from the circuit overseer on his last visit. I was at almost every meeting for field service and he worked to make us all familiar with how videos could be used. Not once did he mention the current CLAM presentation of ‘Where are the Dead?’ Was he going off on his own tangent & thinking he knew better than God’s organization? 
    Hello guest!
 and he was putting emphasis on a method that works well.

Q: Recently I went out with one of our elders and was a little disappointed when he was only delivering tracts. He was not trying to initiate conversation at all. 

Q2: Different ones will often fall back on old habits, even bad ones (and even Elders).

Q2, I am going to be very very bold here and suggest that if he is merely offering tracts and making no effort to start conversations it is because he finds the suggested presentations cumbersome and awkward, and he would benefit by trying the scripture-first or the video one. I mean, he is an elder. He wants to be seen taking the lead. Everyone varies the pace and settings vary, as does one’s mood on any given day. Yet limiting one’s ministry to offering tracts with no effort to converse is faithful, but it is not taking the lead, and unless I am very mistaken, his conscience is letting him hear about it (unless he has switched into auto-pilot, turning it off.)

One disadvantage of some of the CLAM presentations is that they require getting one’s head around. They require preparation. One advantage of the scripture-first or the Would You Like to Hear Good News presentation is that they do not—to just read a verse with a sentence or two as to why you chose it is not hard. We all know the experience of working with a new presentation and the first householder or two becomes a lab rat while we work the bugs out. The problem is gone with scripture or video first.

Q3: I also try to talk about something that is interesting to any person, to cite a scripture and direct the person to our website at the end of the presentation

Yes. Whatever works. By all means give the suggested presentations a try, even a workout if you like, but don’t feel that they must be adhered to in order to be following Jehovah’s direction. 

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8 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Q: Recently I went out with one of our elders and was a little disappointed when he was only delivering tracts. He was not trying to initiate conversation at all. 

Q2: Different ones will often fall back on old habits, even bad ones (and even Elders).

Q2, I am going to be very very bold here and suggest that if he is merely offering tracts and making no effort to start conversations it is because he finds the suggested presentations cumbersome and awkward, and he would benefit by trying the scripture-first or the video one. I mean, he is an elder. He wants to be seen taking the lead. Everyone varies the pace and settings vary, as does one’s mood on any given day. Yet limiting one’s ministry to offering tracts with no effort to converse is faithful, but it is not taking the lead, and unless I am very mistaken, his conscience is letting him hear about it (unless he has switched into auto-pilot, turning it off.)

Truly disappointing, but maybe he (the elder) is normally very good, but was trying very hard to not make (you or whoever it was) intimidated or feel uncomfortable because of his status. You never know.  The person should work with him another time and see what happens. It is best not to form an opinion on the first instance. 

The organization has always said that if your presentation works for you, continue it.  There are so many suggested presentations that it is hard to remember them all.  But I always endeavour to try them.   Most are practical and well thought out.  But I like my presentations the best. When the presentation is truly you own, it comes alive. When one has enthusiasm and uses practical illustrations and one speaks from the heart the person is spellbound and listens well.   Last Wednesday I found myself saying to a sister, who just joined our congregation, on approaching an elderly lady:  "No don't offer the new copy, offer this one (the one on "Will we Ever Feel Safe?"), the old lady's face lit up when she saw the magazine.  (We were offering it for two months and she did not get  a copy) Then again I got the urge to tell the sister, no don't use that scripture, use this.  Micah 4:3,4.   The lady's face lit up again.  (The sister is a very good reader, you should have heard her read it.) I don't know why I did it, I don't usually do it. But it worked.  We had a good chat and the lady sent love to another Witness who is known to her.  I plan to remind the sister to go back to the lady and will go with her if she wants.  We have all ammunition in our bags, magazines of all subjects, tracts, videos, etc.  But I think we are the ones that make the presentations successful, because we can light up the day for people by our zeal and conviction, enthusiasm, our loving interest, etc.  Imagine Jesus giving the sermon on the Mount. He was not dead pan or robot--like. 

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16 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Q: Recently I went out with one of our elders and was a little disappointed when he was only delivering tracts.

I suppose most of us feel that we want to make some sort of impression when we witness to people. I don't mean "impress" in the sense of "bigging ourselves up" (although, sadly, maybe some seek to do this), more in the sense that we want them to take note of what we are sharing with them.

We do actually care about the people we talk to and the fact that the way of life we recommend  will bring them immediate benefits, let alone the promises for the future. I currently study with a former heroin user. They are almost clear of drug dependency now, on a managed program, and this will be completed by the end of summer. This is completely due to motivation from Jehovah, provided through the Bible Study program, and in the year's duration of the study there have been no relapses to the amazement of support workers. Tobacco, cannabis, and other substance abuse have also been left behind. To see the tangible benefits enjoyed by this person physically, mentally, and spiritually as they get their life back is a real joy.

So it does not matter what method or media is used to bring a person into contact with Jehovah and the healing power of his spirit as expressed through his living word. (Heb.4:12). "True worshippers will worship the Father with spirit and truth". Remember, "the Father is looking for such like ones to worship him".John 4:24. 

Don't underestimate the power of a tract to spark a fire in an honest heart that cannot be put out . (Compare James 3:5:  "See how small a fire it takes to set a great forest ablaze"). My first encounter with Jehovah's Witnesses was by means of a tract that got into my house. It escaped my mother's predatory Roman Catholic surveilance of all things sans Imprimatur and fell into my curious hands. The information it presented piqued my curiosity for the next 12 years until I finally sourced a contact with those who had produced it. Oh yes, it may fall into the category of literature that now embarasses the likes of John Butler, but for me it was the key to a better life with immediate benefits, and a future hope. Here is an extract from the tract. What intrigued me most was who on earth were these sheep that Jesus died for, and what was the creature in the tree with Adam and Eve?

From the day I got that tract, I registered every media mention (and otherwise) of Jehovah's Witnesses, but I never met one until finally I sought them out over 12 years later.

I was 8 years old when I got that first tract. 

image.pngimage.png

 

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16 hours ago, Outta Here said:

Don't underestimate the power of a tract to spark a fire in an honest heart that cannot be put out .

I don’t like the present series of tracts, but that does not mean that they are no good. I am very far from being typical. Nobody on this forum that claims to be a Witness is typical. I’m just carrying on some because I would love to see the ministry more fruitful that what it seems to me to be.

I and many others here write more in a day that most people write in a month. So I can hardly expect the tracts to cater to me. The last CO cited figures from somewhere that the average youngster today spends 7 minutes with print (as opposed to 10 hours or so on some form of screen time) Going simple is obviously the way to go. The fact that I do not like it does not mean that it is not just the ticket for reaching the majority. Education is usually a last-place priority in today’s world. 1/6 of the world’s population cannot read. Most people barely know that these persons exist, and count them as nothing. Watchtower produces simplified versions of material already written simple so as to reach them. 

I defend the use of (vastly) simplified writing, even as I do not personally like it. “They can learn to read a few grade levels beneath them, if they are not too full of themselves,” is a line I put somewhere. I’ve learned to work around what is unpalatable to me, telling the high-brow people to consider this or that bit of writing as an outline, nothing more. Or telling them to not worry about whether this or that in the Bible is literal, but instead to take it as a metaphor and see if they can discern the underlying meaning of it. Mathematicians do something similar all the time: assume that this or that condition is true just to see where that assumption leads them. If it proves fruitful, then they come back and reconsider any initial objection to it.

Just after 911, when people were unusually subdued, I grabbed that tract ‘Who Really Rules the World’ and had several good discussions with it. I’ve always liked Luke 4 for its clear explanation of Jesus declining Satan’s offer of gov’t control but acquiescing that it lay in his power to make the offer. Yes. There is a place for tracts.

Everyone here beefs about everything under the sun, so I have joined in on what is our main mission—the ministry.  I probably shouldn’t. It really is true that ‘bad association spoils useful habits.’ I’ll put it all on this thread and then do my best to zip it. The Bible is not a template for democracy, with every Tom Dick and Harry telling HQ how it ought to be.

 

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51 minutes ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Watchtower produces simplified versions of material already written simple so as to reach them. 

You wrote interesting things in comment.  

Apologize for my going this way :) but that is what exJW doing as mandatory task :)))

Simplified editions of text in WTJWORG publications is normal result and normal need, not just for poorly educated secular people, but because  WTJWORG advises only few years of standard, basic education for JW members as something that is ALL they need in this World without Future. If this trend of Organization  come to be More Successful in future period of time, they would only have to organizing some simple seminars about how to using smartphones and tablets for meetings and field service with simple cartoons and simplified text for study.    

I see that you not supporting this trend in Organization, but that is how it is :)))

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1 hour ago, TrueTomHarley said:

I don’t like the present series of tracts, but that does not mean that they are no good. I am very far from being typical. 

This is my own personal bitching thread, after which I will get back to my normal supportive self, with only occasional caveats.

What nettles me about the tracts, and many other things, is how we go on and on and on about what a blessing from on high they all are, as though THIS Item is the magic bullet that will turn the preaching work on its head, exactly what is needed at this particular time— and doubtless it will completely energize the work and swarms will thereby be attracted to the truth.

I wish we wouldn’t do that. I wish we would just say “Here’s a new tool. We worked hard on it. Give it a try and see how it works.” I even think that our failure to do it that way is where a lot of the underlying conception that the JW organization is “smug” comes from.

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