I flew on an airplane, with live television in the seat back. It had CNN, Fox, and MSNBC. I was afraid to turn on either Fox or MSNBC, because I was afraid I’d be “guilty by association” to the passengers seated near me. So, I listened to watered down CNN. Sometimes, it feels like the country is on the verge of civil war. Each side saying, “Tone down the rhetoric” when they aren’t completely in charge.
It is easy to surround yourself with like-minded people, especially if you can do it privately In one’s home or group. Isn’t that what the JWs do? JWs flock together, dress alike, have the same viewpoints on every subject. Everyone else who isn’t JW is wrong, Satan influenced. If an apostate is known to be outside a convention, no one looks at the apostate. Attendants shuffle the JWs safely around the apostate . If a householder isn’t interested in their preaching or launches too much hypocrisy or failed prophecies, the JWs don’t call back. The JWs will say that they go out "door to door", but they are only looking for like minded peope to preach a point to.
It’s easy to preach a point. Especially when it’s directed at like-minded or friendly people. But, it’s hard to make a change, to make a difference. To make a difference, you have to build relationships. You have to be known to not be a hypocrite.
I think of the Young People Ask book. It’s preaching points. I think of the JW lack of youth groups. I realize now that the JWs are all about preaching a point, and not making a difference or building true relationships with the youth. There is no JW charity to non-like minded people, and little given to like-minded people for that matter. I am reminded of how much the Early Christian church (and today's churches) do some sort of charity.
I think of the political candidates and parties. Each was “in charge”, “in the driver’s seat”, “Republicans in the back”…all making a point while unemployment rises, housing prices spiral downwards, wars wage on, and our national debt problems are kicked down the road. No one is reaching out to make a difference.
This is opposite of what Jesus and the early Christians did. Jesus was not worried about surrounding himself with like-minded people or preaching a point. Who was? The Pharasees! The Pharasees surrounded themselves with like-minded people. The Pharasees had their talking points, but Jesus lived the example.
And, so I look at today’s politics. The Religious Right is known to abhor homosexuals. If you’re homosexual, do you have a voice with Michelle Bachman as your President? No. Likewise, if you’re fiscal conservative, do you really have a place in a run-away trainwreck of spending of this Administration? You’re either in this group, or in that group. And, in public, you’re afraid to turn on either Fox or MSNBC.
The problem is that no one is willing to build relationships to the other side. To understand the other side’s fears and hopes, and build on common ground. Rather, everyone has a talking point.
If the early Christians just had talking points, would they have toppled the Roman Empire in 300 years? Instead, they had plans, helped the poor, helped people who didn’t believe in their God, etc. They “made a difference.”
A religion can have its greatest influence when its polices its, not other’s, behavior. Didn’t one of the apostles say, “what business do we have in judging others?” As a religion or its followers begin to judge others, it loses focus on its own accountability. Then, hypocrisy sets in. How well I now see the parallels between the WTS and its judgment of the Catholic Church. About 5 years ago, the Memorial brochure had a picture of a priests, with wording of child abuse and pedophilia. Yet at the same time this same problem is a raging fire inside the WTS, with the WTS directly approving and promoting known pedophiles. The WTS own house was burning. Rather then work on its own fires, it has a talking point of pointing the figure at others who don’t belong to their group.
In the end, “My God is better then Your God.” “My party is better than your party.” rages on. This is the mentality that is going to separate us, to cause a civil war. Hell, it made me too "fearful" to watch a television show on an airplane. Who knows, I might have been attacked by someone from the other side, reaching over to shut off my TV....like I was a terrorist with a shoe bomb.