my oh my.
well it's true that on the man's side of everything, the Witnesses by no means have a clean slate. They're flawed. Every organization is. They mirror crazy puritans... maybe they are?
Ah ha... oh goodness. I've gotten alot of silent and open challenges alike to defend why I am a Witness. I'll tell you that it's that ambigious sense of mental peace that I like. Oh sure, I know lots of friends who have that metaphorical picket fence up their ass... when they don't need to have it there. God knows, I enjoy life, I live it, and it's good. (No, I'm not blessed with money or social connections)
Anyone here read Ayn Rand? The Fountainhead was a beautiful book. She helped me to verbalize my feelings on this issue. That I do not have to give up my ego to serve God. If you've read, you remember Toohey who propagated that the ultimate for a man was to completely sacrifice who he was to a higher being. Well, he was the essential villain of the novel. Often, with words like subjection, slave, and sacrifice used in the Kingdom Hall it's easy to be down about the truth. Very easy. I've never liked the idea of subjecting myself. Perhaps I'm a control freak like that; I want to own who I am. So, after reading the novel and writing an extensive journal entry, I asked the question of myself: Can I be myself, can I own who I am and still give respectful worship to Jehovah? So, that's what the past few months of my life have been about. Can it be done, or simply verbalized, this owning oneself.
Well, to do so is in complete opposition to religion. However, I decided to compromise. I came to the conclusion that it could be done once it was recognized that it is Jehovah (and his son secondarily) who deserves complete submission and none other. So, I show great respect for the Scriptures, but now I reach other fork in the road. Namely, how should the any "channel of God" be treated.
With respect. Not complete unquestioning submission. I've always been encouraged to do things according to the Scriptures. It's odd, but when my mother was going through her divorce, it was heavily discouraged by the elders, the Society, but I pushed her continually towards it, and from our reading of the Scriptures, it seemed justified. Therefore, I told her, in time the Society will catch up. Within two years, they began to bend a little on the issue that domestic violence may be a good reason not to be with someone. They won't say divorce is OK yet, but there's a greater emphasis on how to prevent it. I'm not worried. They'll catch up.
You see, I respect the Society, but I am not a slave to them. I regard them, and choose how I shall react to their dictates. For the most part, it's easy to oblige. Maybe I'm just a modest person at heart and so it's easy for me. I don't know.
But religion is always a choice. Not an absolute. Everything is a choice. Some choices are clearer than others, like I'm not going shoot up cocaine, and others are vaguer like Should I see the Da Vinci Code movie?
As many have pointed out, the WTS has not always been correct. They're working on it. If indeed, it is spirit directed, it sounds as though Jehovah is letting them do exactly what he's done with nearly every servant in history: struggle. From his viewpoint, or so it seems, that's the best way for humans to learn. It's that whole parable of Adam and Eve and why suffering is allowed. And you parents, don't tell me you haven't at one point said of you're child, well he/she will just have to learn the hard way.
So, why would God do that to us? Except wait, is it a proactive doing on his part, or rather isn't this confusion something we've done to ourselves. Humans, in general, seem great at giving themselves a very hard time about really simple things.
I used to be extremely uptight about things. I remember at one point being upset with the brothers and sisters for taking a coffee break during service, and therefore doing relatively nothing during the two hours we had. Now, I'd say, wait, does it really matter? I mean, is Jehovah going to call me on the line for taking a coffee break during service? Am I going to get in a bunch of hot water over it... well it's subjective. Entirely. The yes or no is whatever you think it is, and that answer applies only to you.
Thinking back to my original idea in this post (cause I know I've wandered, forgive), and that idea of not giving up the ego to serve. Here's a classic, consider Biblical examples. I mean, these guys had character. Daniel, top governmental dude, stubborn as hell, terrified of the supernatural (remember how he always collapsed when the angel appeared). David, a fornicator, a murderer, a plotter and schemer, an outlaw. His son Solomon, seems like he was a bit depressed... everything is vanity, right? He goes on and on about all the stuff he has and does; this is like the guy who has lavish parties every weekend and owns every gadget and toy imaginable, and he's bored. But ok ok, I've gone on long enough. My point is, these guys gave Jehovah respectful worship, and sure at times they were grovelling for forgiveness (especially David), and yet they weren't Stepford wives, if you get my gist. They lived life.
So, although sometimes it's really easy for Witnesses to fall into this clone mode, it's wrong in every way. And I can only imagine how unhappy Jehovah must be to look down upon the pious of the world who torment themselves in every way possible. Sometimes I imagine it's a carry over from Adam and Eve, we're so burdened by their guilt, we can't even be happy anymore.
Moving along, often with ALL pious people, they do this constant second hand living. Living through others. Watching others to make sure they're in the clear. Looking for justification in others. I'm using Ayn Rand terminology again. My perspective is I can serve Jehovah without being a second hander. I'm not Very good at it yet, but I'm still trying. I like that not fretting over what everybody else is doing. Some of you may find fault that I would still be alarmed if a Witness friend were to invite me over to see The Exorcist or something, or to play with the weegie board. (did I spell that wrong?) Those are the obvious deals. Those are the things that ones in the organization should be concerned with. But this whole, I think her dress is too low cut, well that's personal opinion. Sure, there's going to be a point at which the line must be drawn, but as long as it doesn't look like something for the wedding night, there's no reason for the brothers and sisters to be dividing against one another.
It's the brotherly love deal. Be prepared to forgive, however since forgiveness is often misconstrued as condescending to accept the one you are forgiving, perhaps then it is wiser to be prepared not to make an issue out of it, to not be overbearingly self righteous. After all, if the every religion on earth is flawed, then what makes us so sure of ourselves as individuals that we can go it alone?
So, I've found a faith whose bible based beliefs I agree with, not including prophecy. I do however put more pout in the Witnesses version of the end than say the Baptist rapture.
Well, this is mostly opinion. But I get the feeling scripture spouting wouldn't be accepted from me.
Ah well. Let's see what y'all make of this now.