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Conscience individual and collective


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Bingo. It’s the pure nastiness of one, not to mention the pure dodo-headedness of another. These annoy far more than the posts themselves, though sometimes the two are hard to unravel. After Paul makes his speech in the Areopagus, he says: “Okay. Been there/done that. If I don’t keep looking upon all these idols, maybe I won’t keep getting so irritated. Maybe I can get around to writing some of those epistles that have been kicking around in the back of my head.” People have dif

I liked your KH building experience. We've all had that experience when we would have made different decisions if we were in charge, and then we are glad we weren't. But I can't seem to fit your musing on conscience into what I thought was the most common use of the term "conscience" in the Bible. Of course, it might be right anyway, depending on what you mean by consequences. For example: Let's say that you would love the experience of eating roast beef a couple times a week, but depe

In the 1970's it was common for Bethelites to order Bible commentaries like Matthew Henry's and Barnes' Notes on the NT and various Bible translations. Later, they also allowed orders for Jay Green's Hebrew Interlinear and William Whiston's Josephus. Bethelites paid for them, but the price was fairly low because all requests were ordered through a one of Dean Songer's assistants. Then there was a meeting in 1979, and all such books became impossible to order, and anyone who already had them

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19 hours ago, Anna said:
On 4/11/2021 at 3:01 AM, xero said:

No. It's better to say "Yes. I DO think I'm better at X, Y  or Z than another person. 

It's all about being politically correct.

I prefer not to compare people or things. I don't compare myself to others.  If I'm going to compare myself it will be to Bible standards.  Xero seems to be pointing people toward being competitive, which i don't think is good.  I think Jesus told the disciples not to do it. 

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14 hours ago, JW Insider said:

I could be wrong, but I think what you're trying to say is that I should start a discussion about 1914, the Kingdom, and 607 BCE, and the parousia. :)

Would that discussion include that 'new book' mentioned on this forum about The Sealing of the 144,000. :) 

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On 4/11/2021 at 11:01 AM, xero said:

No. It's better to say "Yes. I DO think I'm better at X, Y  or Z than another person. ...You absolutely need to admit of this, as failure to do so is a lie.

Yes, but I have done this, and just look how it turned out for me:

On 4/11/2021 at 10:19 PM, TrueTomHarley said:

I’m smartest.

This seemed  like a slam-dunk. CC had made a list of all the nincompoops, and I was not on it!  Surely, I was right to beat my chest! He didn’t include me on the list!

On 4/11/2021 at 11:20 PM, César Chávez said:

I didn't since it would be too repetitious!

So it would have been better for me to take the lowest spot at the table. Then he would have entered he room, noticed my abasement, and said, “Apostatefriend, move up higher.” Instead, he says, “You’re so stupid you shouldn’t even be in the room!”

So I like the verse on how it is better for someone else to praise you rather than you do it yourself. Especially because we live in such a heady society, where people simply assume intellect trumps all else, do I think its well not to blow your own horn in this regard, even if you truly do have a horn to blow.

I followed the rise and eventual passing away in death of a certain truly brilliant brother in my area. He had amazing ability, everything he tried he succeeded at, the deeds he did in behalf of the truth were lasting and far outstrip any deficiencies—few will be aware of any. All will think he conducted himself modestly given his talents, including me. I admitted before his passing that I had always been a little afraid of him, because if I said something I thought clever, he instantly responded with something ten times as clever.

He came to regret having been not more low-key than he had been, even though given his talent, it would have been an almost impossible job. Here and there one could find stories of persons who thought he had ran roughshod over them in some matter or other. Even most of these would acknowledge it was for the best, but they still felt it.

The direction for many years has been for no one to dominate at group meetings such as bodies of elders, and there is no better way to implicitly dominate than to call attention to how you are the smartest one in the room, regardless of whether you are or not. Contemporary counsel has been to apply that Philippians 2:3 verse of considering the other person superior. Even if one has the capability to dominate, the counsel is to resist that capability, to draw others out, so that all decisions truly represent the entire body and not just the ones who have obvious talent.

Though it is not directly related, I’ll throw the following in because it is on our Bible reading this week. Jehovah blocks Moses from entering the promised land for his address to the complaining Israelites:

“Hear, now, you rebels! Must we bring out water for you from this crag?”
  ....Jehovah later said to Moses and Aaron: “Because you did not show faith in me and sanctify me before the eyes of the people of Israel, you will not bring this congregation into the land that I will give them.”  

Seems harsh. But if seen in the following way, it seems less harsh, and it ties in with not being quick to carry on about your perceived talents:

If the circuit overseer gives a great talk and you say afterwards, “Great talk!” he will murmur something modest about how it is not really he, but Jehovah. He will do this even though he is perfectly capable, after all these years, of giving a great talk whether Jehovah is around or not. So how does it play, then, when the man Moses takes full credit for what no human in 1000 years would be able to do?

Even so, maybe it seems harsh. But Moses is being trained for the “real life” of 1 Timothy 6, not this one. He is being trained in accord with the words that to whom more is given, more is expected.
 

 

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4 hours ago, xero said:

Better yet, in the form of a short equation, like E = MC**2."   . . .  Also you have to steel-man your opponent. If you can't do that, you're less convincing as you appear to not understand the opposition.

Good suggestions.

Of course, without getting into any of the specific details of those topics here, I think those suggestions can be properly discussed under this heading about individual and collective conscience.

Let's say that after consideration of the Bible principles involved along with prayer and meditation, a Witness conscientiously believes that he should speak up about a potentially wrong teaching.

Let's say, for example, it was anywhere from 1966 through 1973, and the Witness saw too much improper speculation about the end of 6000 years of human existence in 1975, or the length of a generation after 1914. Or let's say it was 1919 through 1925 and the Witness/BibleStudent saw too much improper speculation about 1925. Or anywhere from 1878 through 1914, when he or she saw too much improper speculation about what would happen in 1914. Or let's say it was 1929 through 1962 and the Witness saw that there was too much emphasis on the misapplication of Romans 13:1-7.

The conscience of an individual Witness might tell him he must speak up whenever he sees brothers going astray.

(Romans 15:14) . . .Now I myself am convinced about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are also full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and that you are able to admonish one another.

But there is also a "collective" conscience, or at least the "sense of what's right and what's wrong" held by the majority within a group. If we've been in business or corporate settings, we know that we are often just playing our parts as rank-and-file employees, not "partners." Therefore, our own sense of what's right and what's wrong is something we will often keep to ourselves. But the company might allow an anonymous "suggestion box" where comments and criticisms are supposedly welcomed. But there are still potential repercussions for speaking up even in a supposedly anonymous format. When the company CIO comes to you and says: "We know that had to be you who made that comment" we must always be prepared to give a reason for the hope within us, even in a secular setting.

Rather than speak up in a congregational setting, I prefer for now to just get my thoughts spelled out on a semi-anonymous forum. A forum where I can be dismissed easily as a crackpot by those who need that kind of protection for themselves. Being too clear can be seen as too pushy, too proud, too presumptuous. And accepting the inevitable wild chaos and mudslinging by those who are afraid of the criticism is another protection for those other readers who are not ready or willing to think about a doctrine.

But most Witnesses, I think, will be quick to think (or say) that anyone who thinks they can "admonish one another" when not bureaucratically assigned to make such admonishments is doing the wrong thing, not waiting on Jehovah, not being a good "corporate" citizen. He or she is being presumptuous even though every one of the wrong teachings I mentioned above was a case of the corporation speaking presumptuously. In retrospect, the corporation took passengers on an uncomfortable "trip to Abilene."

Immediately, many Witnesses will start making analogies to Uzzah, Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and compare to David's attitude about Saul.

But in the Christian setting we have a different analogy before us. There is no more organization in the seat of Moses where criticisms of that organization should remind us of Korah, for example. Effectively, all of us now make up the household of faith, as brothers. It's Jesus, not the organization, that is now in the place of Moses.

(Hebrews 3:5, 6) . . .Now Moses was faithful as an attendant in all the house of that One as a testimony of the things that were to be spoken afterward, 6 but Christ was faithful as a son over God’s house. We are His house if, indeed, we hold on firmly to our freeness of speech . . .

Effectively, we are all the corporation, the body. Even the least among us. As a body, or organization, we belong to one another.

(Romans 12:3-5)  so we, although many, are one body in union with Christ, but individually we are members belonging to one another.

(1 Corinthians 12:22-27) . . .On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary, 23 and the parts of the body that we think to be less honorable we surround with greater honor, so our unseemly parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 . . . 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but its members should have mutual concern for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all the other members suffer with it; . . .

I think some will jump on the phrase "no division in the body" and think this means "groupthink" is OK. But it's obvious, in context, that it really means there should be no specific members of the body who divide themselves off to give the impression they are superior to the others. Practically this means that in some ways, Brother Lett should see "Brother Cesar Chavez" as superior to himself, and vice versa. Sister Anna should see you as superior, and you should see Anna as superior to you. It also means that you should be able to criticize Anna and Brother Lett and CC, just as they should be able to criticize you. Then we all accept each other's criticism and admonishment to the extent that it fits scripture and conscience.

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7 minutes ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Yes, but I have done this, and just look how it turned out for me:

This seemed  like a slam-dunk. CC had made a list of all the nincompoops, and I was not on it!  Surely, I was right to beat my chest! He didn’t include me on the list!

So it would have been better for me to take the lowest spot at the table. Then he would have entered he room, noticed my abasement, and said, “Apostatefriend, move up higher.” Instead, he says, “You’re so stupid you shouldn’t even be in the room!”

So I like the verse on how it is better for someone else to praise you rather than you do it yourself. Especially because we live in such a heady society, where people simply assume intellect trumps all else, do I think its well not to blow your own horn in this regard, even if you truly do have a horn to blow.

I followed the rise and eventual passing away in death of a certain truly brilliant brother in my area. He had amazing ability, everything he tried he succeeded at, the deeds he did in behalf of the truth were lasting and far outstrip any deficiencies—few will be aware of any. All will think he conducted himself modestly given his talents, including me. I admitted before his passing that I had always been a little afraid of him, because if I said something I thought clever, he instantly responded with something ten times as clever.

He came to regret having been not more low-key than he had been, even though given his talent, it would have been an almost impossible job. Here and there one could find stories of persons who thought he had ran roughshod over them in some matter or other. Even most of these would acknowledge it was for the best, but they still felt it.

The direction for many years has been for no one to dominate at group meetings such as bodies of elders, and there is no better way to implicitly dominate than to call attention to how you are the smartest one in the room, regardless of whether you are or not. Contemporary counsel has been to apply that Philippians 2:3 verse of considering the other person superior. Even if one has the capability to dominate, the counsel is to resist that capability, to draw others out, so that all decisions truly represent the entire body and not just the ones who have obvious talent.

Though it is not directly related, I’ll throw the following in because it is on our Bible reading this week. Jehovah blocks Moses from entering the promised land for his address to the complaining Israelites:

“Hear, now, you rebels! Must we bring out water for you from this crag?”
  ....Jehovah later said to Moses and Aaron: “Because you did not show faith in me and sanctify me before the eyes of the people of Israel, you will not bring this congregation into the land that I will give them.”  

Seems harsh. But if seen in the following way, it seems less harsh, and it ties in with not being quick to carry on about your perceived talents:

If the circuit overseer gives a great talk and you say afterwards, “Great talk!” he will murmur something modest about how it is not really he, but Jehovah. He will do this even though he is perfectly capable, after all these years, of giving a great talk whether Jehovah is around or not. So how does it play, then, when the man Moses takes full credit for what no human in 1000 years would be able to do?

Even so, maybe it seems harsh. But Moses is being trained for the “real life” of 1 Timothy 6, not this one. He is being trained in accord with the words that to whom more is given, more is expected.
 

 

I agree in all points, but like you I look at myself and realize there are some things about me that won't go away. One of them is that I get bored. When I get bored I stir things up. It doesn't matter how many times I think "maybe I shouldn't have done or said that" I know it's futile, I AM going to do it again. I've just given up hiding my deficiencies, and when someone tells me I've overstepped or did or said something out of the way. I don't beat myself up over it, or make rules or vows that "I'll never do that again" (because I've discovered I always will). Instead, I've just become INCREDIBLY AWESOME at "taking counsel".

Bro 1 - "Pssst! Look! Here comes xero! Man he is so awesome at taking counsel!"

Bro 2 - "Right. And he needs it."

Bro 1 - "Maybe he does that so he can become like a bug-zapper for overzealous elders who want to bother the sheep about trifles? They're too busy counseling him and enjoying the experience to over-counsel the flock."

Bro 2 - "Maybe. Maybe he's just an egotistical narcissist who likes the attention."

Bro 1 - "Could be, but then again, the flock still gets a break."

Bro 2 - "You have a point there."

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JWI - I can say "all in a perfect world"

You reminded me of this commercial

Now how in the world am I to contemplate how their conduct turns out, if the ones having the brilliant ideas are keeping it to themselves? These should be like Mikey and sacrifice themselves on behalf of the flock. It's what Jesus would do. :)

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4 hours ago, xero said:

I believe we had an article, or was it a letter, I don't remember right now where failure to discipline was referred to as mistaken kindness. The same could be said about not speaking your mind. Failure to do so shields both you and the ones you could be speaking to from what you really feel is the truth. (You could be very wrong, but not speaking up could take everyone on a trip to Abilene). On the other hand, there's no need to tell people things they obviously already know. In this case they just shouldn't be shielded from the consequences of their own actions.

 

... video ends with "....will help you and your team make better group decisions".

In WTJWorg GB makes group decisions for all JW's in Organization. Lower levels of "groups" stays in Abilene Paradox, until individuals comes to state of "rebellion" and spiritually or literally trying to get out of "group dynamics". Conscience is involved too.

 

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We used to have a sister who was unbalanced but quite brilliant who'd make interesting observations (not in any WT) during the WT and it was fun seeing the conductor (an old cowboy type, nod his head and let it go). But he never stopped calling on her. Everyone would wake up whenever she was called on. "I wonder what the 'new light's' going to be this week?"

 

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JWI - On the other hand, one never knows. It could be that Jehovah is letting an operation of error go to anyone for their ultimate benefit, whether that be an individual who feels in good conscience they must depart, or whether it's an individual who decides to remain and sees no issue, or whether it's an individual who thinks unity is more important than being right and is wrong about this as well or even if it is an organization, for that matter.

His will is going to be done on earth as it is in heaven with or without us. We all have to decide where we're going to draw lines and understand that drawing lines has consequences. Can we do more good inside or outside? Is the good being done more to us inside or outside?

I have to say more and more that it doesn't appear to go well for those who choose to go it alone. None of these appear to becoming spiritual giants. Some may have started out well, but the same things that made them useful inside the congregation can trip them up outside when they find so many praising them for their brilliance and insight (are they really that brilliant or insightful?).

Remember the slave who said to his master "I really love my master" and had his ear bored with an awl? (Exodus 21:5)

Some could be like this. They recognize an element of slavery, an element of tyranny, but these also recognize they wouldn't have what they have w/o it.

Not everyone considers it this way, but once again... musing aloud

 

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1 hour ago, xero said:

We used to have a sister who was unbalanced but quite brilliant who'd make interesting observations (not in any WT) during the WT and it was fun seeing the conductor (an old cowboy type, nod his head and let it go). But he never stopped calling on her. Everyone would wake up whenever she was called on. "I wonder what the 'new light's' going to be this week?"

 

You said, unbalanced. What is/was unbalanced about her?

You said, brilliant. In what she is/was brilliant?

After your explanation i would be able to better understand her "interesting observations"... and perhaps "an old cowboy type" reasons to not stop her "individual dynamic". 

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