Ok, before I get flamed, the title does have sarcasm built in. At the same time, I can not ignore the line of events as they occurred this past couple of weeks. While this has not made any of my relatives make any sudden changes, I believe it has put at least my wife to think.
We had a family event this past weekend in a nearby town. Attending required us to drive about 2 hours and have an overnight stay at a hotel. We have relatives in the area (who are JWs as well) but their house isn't big enough to have everyone sleep over at once. We booked a couple of rooms and on our way there, my MIL called her son to see if he was coming as well and if so, to ask if they had a room. She asked because she knows he is not that well off financially and she is always willing to support him in occasions like this, when we can get the family all together in one place. He answered that he would go but he would not stay. It was Saturday night and he had made a promise to visit with a potential study Sunday morning. Not long before that, he had planned on going on vacation and he was taking her (MIL) along. He came back from work like around 7:00 PM but rather than picking her up to depart (it was a 5 hour drive), he had a study to go to. He did not show up to pick her up until about 10:00 PM that night.
After hanging out the phone she made the comment to my wife "you know your brother, always living like if the end was coming tomorrow" and "You know his attitude, your studies can fail you but you can not fail your studies". She was also concerned, not only because he would have to drive late at night but also the weather has been pretty bad lately.
The reason I am bringing this up is because this line of events was the door opener for a conversation between my wife and I. Earlier this week we were chatting about a couple from our hall who are undocumented immigrants. In the past couple of years and because of the changes the Obama administration has introduced, they were able to get some documents to remain legal (at least for the time being) and ever since they did, they have changed quite a bit. They are a humble family, financially speaking, and their jobs are still the same. However, it seems that ever since they got their documents, their attitude has changed. They just bought a ranch and a brand new truck. Not sure how they did it. My wife and I were talking about that. We agreed that while we did not agree with their choices, it was their life and so who cares, right?. Funny enough, I tend to be the more vocal of the two but this time she went on as far as to say how she felt it was unfair. She mentioned this because some of their income comes from an informal business in which we know they do not report any income to the IRS. Wife said she was pretty sure that not one of the elders had approached them to remind them that they need to comply with Cesar's law.
Here is where I see the door open and I tell her "Well, I can tell you from all the research I've done, and I know we don't see eye to eye on this, that as long as they keep making donations, no one is going to question that." Wife says I am assuming. I re assure her that I am not assuming anything, that I know. She smiles in disbelief. She questions my sources. I tell her my sources are from the organization itself, that just the last broadcast (which she has not seen, not one of them) speaks of the money problems they (WT) are having. We go on to calmly discuss money matters on regards of the WT and she asks where I think the money is going. I tell her I think is going to the cycle of things and to support people who have no need, that even if what the GB or anyone else there get just a small payment, they have no cost of life. Is all profit. She asked me why that bothered me so much and I tell her that it is because of the methods use to gather all of that money, the undue influence. I said, just look at your brother and the things he did the past two weeks. She insists that is just the way her brother is and I said "that may be the case but I would be ok with his lack of ambitions if it came from his own device, rather than being told to be this way so that someone else may benefit from this.
Ever since I downloaded the May KM, I've been waiting to see what the local needs section was going to be about. I had a hunch that it was going to surround around money, given the speech by Mr Lett in the broadcast. Its been a while since I actually attended a meeting without regretting it. I was actually looking forward to it this week. When we got to the local needs portion and it was announced who was going to give the talk, I was beginning to feel a warmth inside of me, similar to what you felt that day when that girl you were attracted to, happen to confirm she is attracted to you too. The elder assigned to the talk is following porn stars in facebook and I know he had a hard time getting appointed as elder. I have a feeling he abuses his wife (can't confirm it though) but I know for a fact it took more than one try to get him confirmed as elder. My wife knows this.
As soon as he started I knew the tone of the talk... well dear brothers, the local needs today is about how we can honor Jehovah with... (clears throat).. our valuable things. He went on to say that this was not their choice of talk but that rather the governing body had emphasized the need to confirm what was said in the broadcast. He quoted Mr Lett saying "we project the expenses for next year will be bigger than our income", etc ,etc. It was exactly as I could have prayed about. I got to admit I did not pray for this, at least not officially. He also read the letter (as a way to show their appreciation for our contributions) where they (bethel) acknowledges the receipt of the donation to the KH construction work. He made it sound like they were thanking us for our voluntary donations. I believe very few in there realized that the amount mentioned was not the amount collected from the box, but rather the agreed upon amount that will be send every month until the Big A comes.
I had to use every muscle in my body to not scream "I told you so" (I am learning that is not productive) but I know my wife was recalling every word of our last conversation.
I just had to show you, brothers, how Jehovah works...
P.S.: To top it off, one of the school ministry talks was titled "How to manage money properly" and emphasis was put on the words by Jesus... who builds a house without first calculating the cost?
This really made my week....