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Let us Appreciate Brother Lett


TrueTomHarley
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From the final chapter of Tom Irregardless and Me, the chapter in which I try to tie up many loose ends, I threw in this little snippet: "Brother Lett gave a talk in the Ministry School and was given a ‘WÂ’ (work) for gestures. Surely if he applies himself he can learn to be more expressive!”


It is almost like what they said about Jesus, though not with the same degree of admiration: “Never has another man spoken like this.” As one brother put it: "Let no one ever think that Jehovah's organization uses paid actors.”


Witnesses love this guy. He KNOWS he is nutty and he builds upon it as a strength rather get all bashful over it. If I had any doubt about that, it was erased at the behind-the-scenes broadcast that explained how such broadcasts are produced. As he is beaming in the chair and assistants are dabbing him with make-up, the voice-over (his) says that the final step is to apply make-up to the host so that he “looks his best!” He knows he is a nut. A guy that knows how not to take himself too seriously is a precious guy to have around. There are far too many people who do not suffer fools gladly – and a fool is anyone who disagrees with him.


That Lett is not one of them affords him huge respect in my eyes. It’s not so much where you are but how far you have come. When a Christian Life and Ministry program suggested that we think of brothers we appreciate, I picked two not commonly recognized. They are both from a pronounced socially awkward background, and they both have overcome it to serve capably in roles that anyone would have previously thought were permanently beyond them. They are not “heavy hitters,” in my view, and probably never will be, but they are solid and respected. In an age where elders seldom have to give talks but just use discernment in applying Q&A sessions and though personal interactions, it is enough.


What does Jesus three times tell Peter, recently returned from one of the greatest failures in history? “Feed my little sheep.” It is not your stellar brilliance that is going to make you most effective in doing that. It is the love that you show, and Lett shows it in spades.


In the August broadcast, he gives one of the most ridiculously over-the-top illustration that I have ever heard, in which volunteers are supplied 2-inch brushes to paint the Kingdom Hall and everyone knows that is a crazy way to do it. On and on he goes about some grumbling that 4-inch brushes would make more sense, even six inch brushes, even rollers. And why not go all the way and rent a spray painter? Or hire a contractor? And, come to think of it, someone else grouses, the Kingdom Hall doesn’t need painting in the first place. Furthermore, Lett almost makes this the central issue before all creation, with God potentially saddened because the friends are bickering over the tiny brushes and the Devil is jumping for joy at their disunity, as though neither one of them really has much to do up there in heaven. (a brother at an assembly applied the analogy, a bit more fittingly, to Satan being unhappy about the decision baptismal candidates had made to dedicate their lives to God. But don’t worry about it, he went on to say, “He’s not usually happy.”)


Tempering this verdict of the illustration being ‘ridiculous’ is that Brother Lett admits from the start that it is over-the-top. It is an hyperbole, and the man himself is an hyperbole. And come to think of it, anyone familiar with the gospels knows that Jesus uses hyperbole all the time. Through their exaggeration, they have the advantage that anyone of common sense and unhardened heart instantly gets the point.


They also have the advantage that anyone ‘wise in their own eyes’ and too enamored with ‘critical thinking’ does not, and thus these people are sifted out. I begin to think that hyperbole is a tool in the toolbox that serves to fulfill Jesus’ words at Matthew 11, on how God has “hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones and revealed them to babes,” and is even a way in which he “catches the wise in their own cunning,” the “wisdom of this world” being “foolishness” in his eyes. I mean, if the stuff is so great, show me the peaceful world it has collectively produced. Real wisdom should enable diverse people to overcome divisions and work smoothly together, and that is a sub-theme of Lett’s illustration.


You should have heard how some of these latter ones savaged him! ‘Classic JW thinking. So typically black and white.’ But just because there is black and white thinking does not mean some things are not black and white, and not long ago, a car group of sisters was rear-ended by a cop in an actual black and white because he was not single-mindedly focused upon his driving. It is possible to overthink things.


Though these are NOT the people that those of critical thinking pay any attention to, most persons in the world are quite simple, and thus so are JehovahÂ’s Witnesses, who draw disproportionately from this pool. One out of six persons in the world today cannot read. Do the wise ones of this system of things even know these people exist? The Watchtower produces simplified versions of material already written simply so as to reach them.


There is an apocryphal story that one of the Governing Body told Lett to “stop acting like an idiot.” It is impossible to know with apocryphal stories what are true and what are concocted. That said, as I close my eyes, I can see it, for the two are vastly different in presentation. Even that ‘mystery’ serves to beneficially separate people, as some dismiss it with a ‘who cares?’ and some obsess over it. It is not unlike when Rex Tillerson supposedly called Trump a moron and news media suspended all other activity to find out whether he really did or not, even after the occasion where Tillerson himself called a news conference to say: “Back where I come from, we don’t have time for that nonsense.”


That is another way in which people are separated today. One personÂ’s nonsense is another personÂ’s manna.

    Hello guest!

 

 

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I was there, and paying attention. I know better.

Many sincere brothers now are quick to defend the mistakes of the past by saying that the number of little ones who were stumbled was actually a good thing. We've seem multiple comments on this forum that make that claim. As the misguided logic goes, with 1975, for example, it was a kind of test that only stumbled those who were serving Jehovah with a date in mind. To be fair, I think all this talk about the importance of obedience to men is a mistake. It is not hooked to anything so tangib

I lived through that time too, but I did not pay a lot of attention to it as I was too young.  However, a friend helped me to dig up a WT from 1975 that seems to make a distinction between an oath binding one to a person, and an oath to a country. Here are a few excerpts: ......."Thoughtful Christians weigh the matter in the light of Bible principles before taking any sworn oath. In doing so, they find that some oaths are Scripturally unacceptable. For example, in the days of the Thir

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1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

several of Jesus illustrations reach a level we might even call "comedy."

Come to think of it, they are all in Luke. Does that say anything about him? Were the other three gospel writers more ‘serious’ and thus passed over these ‘cute little humorous stories?’

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Luke is also the one who gives extra attention to women and women's concerns. The ability to empathize with women has made some think that the author of Luke actually was a woman.

That said, it's not quite true what you said. I include things like "It's easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle, the 2-by-4 in your own eye, etc. (See  Mark/Matt and Matt) The exaggerated imagery gets attention. 

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3 hours ago, JW Insider said:

the 2-by-4

We always call them "4-by-2"s with an obvious rhyming slang association.

Anyway, I'd like to see any of you in the Stephen Lett slot as "host" for the monthly broadcast. I'll reserve comment until that happens. ?

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15 hours ago, JW Insider said:

The exaggerated imagery gets attention. 

This got my attention ....

There is a difference between hyperbole, and utter and total nonsense cluelessness.

I am sure Bro. Lett is loved by Jehovah, but down here on the ground suchlike thinking is contrary to reality (There is more evidence for something COMPLETELY unseen, and un-provable, and by rational people could be reasonably argued to be a COMPLETE fantasy ...), and is DANGEROUS!

Lett on Gravity, Electricity, wind .mp4

Next thing you know, we will be specifically asked to blindly obey things that from a logical standpoint make no sense at all.

I could not help but think that the "two inch brush" analogy was actually meant to defuse global problem of several BILLION hours of work has so few converts ... but hey, that could just be me, projecting.

A common problem with many people.

 

 

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15 hours ago, JW Insider said:

That said, it's not quite true what you said. I include things like "It's easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle, the 2-by-4 in your own eye, etc. (See  Mark/Matt and Matt) The exaggerated imagery gets attention. 

I guess this is so, but the most quirky developed parables are in Luke. The firsed slave who flimflammed the master and is commended for it. The householder who won't do squat until pestered to death, a model applied to God. Ditto with the unrighteous judge.

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8 hours ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

specifically asked to blindly obey things that from a logical standpoint make no sense at all.

Not sure why this has to be such an issue.

To my understanding, the emphasis here is regarding an instruction that doesn't make sense to the one receiving that instruction. So it is a matter of the instructed one's peception of what is instructed. Who's logic? is the obvious response.

Any one who has worked in emergency services of any kind surely understands the chain of commmand principle? Or the military services for that matter? Or a host of other areas where an emergency situation just doesn't allow time for a reason to be given for a particular course of action?

A Biblical example could be the instruction Jesus gave regarding action to be taken in Matt.24:16. Immediate flight to a mountainous area, leaving goods and even garments behind, whilst anticipating difficulty particularly for pregnant women and children because of this, especially if the action is necessary in winter or on the Sabbath? Obedience to instructions in an emergency situation was emphasised here. Obedient action meant life. There would be plenty of time to analyse the reasons later.

Or what about a surgeon performing cardiac surgery.  He asks for a clamp immediately, and the assistant says "what do you want a clamp for?" 

Reminds me a bit of Peter, who felt the instructions Jesus was following from a logical standpoint make no sense at all. Matt.16:21-23: 

?21 "From that time forward, Jesus began explaining to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed, and on the third day be raised up. 22?At this Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying: “Be kind to yourself, Lord; you will not have this happen to you at all.” 23?But turning his back, he said to Peter: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you think, not God’s thoughts, but those of men.”

Call me old-fashioned, but I still think simple obedience saves lives, especially in an emergency. I mean, don't you think one of the cowboys could have just said "Get outa the road, Jed!"

Glen Baxter.JPG

 

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6 hours ago, Gone Away said:

Or what about a surgeon performing cardiac surgery.  He asks for a clamp immediately, and the assistant says "what do you want a clamp for?" 

 

Exactly.

5 hours ago, tromboneck said:

No need JTR...I meant that in the nicest kind of way

I, too, always try to be as nice as I can to JTR

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15 hours ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

Next thing you know, we will be specifically asked to blindly obey things that from a logical standpoint make no sense at all.

 

First of all, wait until it happens.

Second, it has happened many times within scripture. Not exactly 'brilliant' to face the immense army unarmed with your singers in the lead, is it?

15 hours ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

but hey, that could just be me, projecting. A common problem with many people.

 

"I thank you, O God, that I am not as other men, and do not fall into such error."

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