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A Quirky Review of a Regional Convention


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A 30-ish, I would guess, reporter attended one of this year's regional convention, this one in New Orleans, and wrote some reasonably nice things about it. He didn’t fall upon his face and do a Zechariah 8:23 – ‘We will go with you people, for we have heard that God is with you people’ – but considering his non-religious reporter background, I’ll take what he did write and thank him for it. You don't have to quibble over every little thing.

 

Since I have time on my hands, and no, I was not notified by an attendant (guard), let me see if I can respond to a few things he raised. His words are in regular font. Mine in italics.

 

The Jehovah's Witnesses' Annual Convention Was So Organized It Was Creepy. They are extremely organized. It might strike one as creepy who is not used to it.

 

Aside from the occasional door-to-door visits and that one time, which I still feel guilty about, when my brother drenched some evangelists with water balloons from our second-story bedroom window, I had never really met a Jehovah's Witness. It took me two trips to the dry cleaners to get those water marks out of my suit.

 

 Also, I knew Prince was a member, and any religious group that could claim Prince as one of their own was either extremely terrifying or weirdly edgy and almost cool.  The ebook Tom Irregardless and Me contains the most complete, and perhaps only, written compilation of Prince’s JW life. It is in the free download section.

 

…they even took care of cleaning, despite the Superdome's retainer on dozens of janitors. It may be the only event for which they get time off. The Witnesses usually show up a day beforehand, as well, for a massive scrub-down.

 

One Superdome employee said to me, "These guys are guarding the elevators like Obama is here." As far as I know, he did not come. He would have been invited, but may have been hard to reach.

 

Plus, their floral-printed dresses and charcoal suits made most guests look like they were dressed for a wake. If one is not used to seeing folks dressed up, and it is a rarety today, the sight could easily give that impression.

 

As a further sign of their top-down control of every aspect of the convention, or maybe just a tight budget, none of the concession booths were open. It is like that in every convention and has always been. People brown-bag it. However, go back far enough to the 50’s or so and there were makeshift kitchens set up & taken down to serve a full meal to every attendee. Food arrangements have progressively streamlined since then.

 

It's a bit unsettling to realize you're one of the only people in a room of nearly 40,000 who think you're not destined for heaven, and not even destined for the earthly paradise that the remaining Jehovah's Witnesses will inherit after all the other degenerate heathens like me are abruptly taken out by the apocalypse. Their beliefs are their beliefs after all, but I don't often contemplate the afterlife in the presence of a group whose faith is so relentless. It's convert or burn, and that's heavy s**t, man. [**s mine]

 

We would not phrase matters this way. We just try to bring the gospel to as many as we can, and after that things are out of our hands. As the expression goes, ‘It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.’

 

There was a big, climactic event on the bill that sounded like it was supposed to be a live drama depicting something from the Book of Something. Jonah. it was from the Book of Jonah. Actually, it was the entire book, which is overall quite short.

 

…everyone was wearing way too much makeup. It was like a B movie made by the Bible Channel. I actually thought the movie was pretty good, overall. They have come a long ways in a short time, and once were downright cheesy. Great attention is paid that all props are historically accurate. It may be that you just miss the Hollywood pizzazz that moviegoers become accustomed to. Admittedly, they are not paid actors. They, too, are volunteers.

 

a bunch of men walked around holding "Quiet Please" signs that had already been made. This happens before all sessions, as it takes participants a while to break off visiting with friends they may not have seen for a long time.

 

But while I still don't understand the Jehovah's Witness faith or its people, and while I may still think of them as cult-addled nuts, they're still just people. You know, I’ll take this. I appreciate it. And I really do like the article with its reminder of the first impression we make on many today.

 

But they also like peanut butter sandwiches. I hate to think of the garbage I might eat were it not for my wife, who attends to such things far better than I do.

 

...and they especially like organizing conventions. The exact program is reproduced hundreds of times during the year around the world, each with the same degree of organization, so as to serve every member. Ours was in Rochester, and here is a post on a previous one.

 

Clark_Kent_-Superman_Action

 

http://www.tomsheepandgoats.com/2018/07/reporter-at-2-oclock-roger-that.html

 

 


Edited by TrueTomHarley
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Weirdly, 'organisation' is a bad thing.  Oh, yes, it's much better to all rock up, drugged, drunk and yelling attending a concert, leaving the place all trashed.  Ha! Concerts get lauded on how disorganised the rabble of the crowd was - "yeah, man I was off my face" etc, etc.

 

Bad = good and good=bad  Is 5:20

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Hey just because he didnt understand what was going on or why doesnt make that a negative report. I thought it was rather good and brought a little humour to it. I liked it and see why Tom thanks him for it. Sometimes we have to stop reading the negative someone writes to see the positive. Its our view of it that can make the difference.

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23 minutes ago, Greg Dent said:

Hey just because he didnt understand what was going on or why doesnt make that a negative report. I thought it was rather good and brought a little humour to it. I liked it and see why Tom thanks him for it. Sometimes we have to stop reading the negative someone writes to see the positive. Its our view of it that can make the difference.

I got the impression he knew exactly, and he was looking for negative things as soon as he walked in. Making claims we judge everyone in there who is not in the truth that they will burn, callling us "cultists". It sounds just too alike many other forms of apostate propaganda.


Edited by EccentricM
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My report on the report.

Sounded a little condescending and patronizing.  

I wouldn’t give him credit for a great report. Most all reports done about our conventions are positive and usually neutral sounding. This report came across like....”there a harmless weird group of people”.

Even something as positive as being highly organized he has to take down a notch by calling it weird.

I give him 2 out of 5 stars


Edited by Pjdriver
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Like I said it about your perspective on it. I don't recall him using the word cult or cultists at all. Maybe I read it too fast. It is weird when you consider where he is coming from. A complete outsider not knowing anything about us would think it was weird. So what.

 

I don't know about you but I have been called a lot worse for being a witness. Weird is pretty tame.


Edited by Greg Dent
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I don't claim that it is the best thing since Moses came down with the tablets. And I grant that he doesn't go out of his way to be respectful. But if his desire had been to trash us ...well, I assure you, there have been articles FAR worse than this.

 

I think he is just curious and reports everything in the context with which he is most familiar. He makes clear that people present were nice. He states that he was stopped "politely." I think he just can't get his head around it. I give him credit for trying.

 

Many of us thought the congregation was pretty strange when we first encountered it, as well. It is just that we had never seen anything like it. And that was many years ago. He is a millenial from a millenial background, and they are not usually friendly towards religion.

 

I could have witnessed some more to him in my reply. (he has had his attention called to it) I actually did in a first draft, clarifying the 144,000, but then I deleted it. Instead, I chose to build on what he had discovered, that we are just people. If he encounters further Witnesses, he has something to build on. Ditto and more so if he goes to JW.org. If he follows my post to the rest of my blog, he too comes to a place where more substantial things are discussed, including things of interest to any journalist. Some of these guys get frustrated wiht the non-specific answers they get from us about specific questions. We generally don't go there, choosing instead to be like Jesus who said wisdom is proved by its works,  or David who would not open his mouth although they muttered about him all day long. It is the godly course. However, the downside is that they then go to our enemies, who are more than ready to answer their questions, and answer them in ways we would not like.

 

We have to consider where people come from, imo, and work on building bridges to the extent we can. I have sometimes seen brothers (not here) rip apart articles that are not ill-intended because they didn't get everything right. Frankly, if anyone gets everything right, we can expect them in the baptismal pool in short order.

 

 

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This article sounded incredibly condescending like this person held a superior opinion of himself. He seemed to go into it with the attitude of "ah these silly religious people". It tends to be the general mindset among people these days, to look down on religious people as just being, rather foolish, overall. Not enlightened, still stuck in the dark ages. I got the impression the writer kind of had that attitude: that he's a bit of a snob.

I don't get the impression he's necessarily against the Witnesses specifically so much as he sees all of this as laughably trite. 

 

But if you look at the side bar, maybe I'm mistaken in the above, because those look like apostate topics

If so, we probably shouldn't be reading this or giving this person's ideas any consideration. But, tbh, I can't say for sure if that's the case because I'm afraid to see what those other articles say.

 


Edited by Katty
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10 hours ago, Greg Dent said:

I don't recall him using the word cult or cultists at all.

 

Beginning and end.

 

Quote

Like most, I assumed they were cult-addled nuts,

Quote

still don't understand the Jehovah's Witness faith or its people, and while I may still think of them as cult-addled nuts, they're still just people. 

 

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16 hours ago, Greg Dent said:

I don't know about you but I have been called a lot worse for being a witness. Weird is pretty tame.

Ok, so it could have been worse. That doesn’t make it a “good report” by any stretch of the imagination. 

If you say “I’m  not that bright”, should I be  happy because you didn’t say I was a  “moron”?

 

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On 8/1/2018 at 10:05 PM, Katty said:

This article sounded incredibly condescending like this person held a superior opinion of himself. He seemed to go into it with the attitude of "ah these silly religious people".

I got the impression the writer kind of had that attitude: that he's a bit of a snob.

 

Katty, it took me a while to realize you were speaking of me, and not the reviewer. The reference to the side bar clinched it. I want to reply because I respect you and everyone here. I also know I don't come across in the usual way. 

 

I didn't mean to sound condescending. In my home circuit, where I communicate in person and not online, nobody would ever say that. I am universally liked because I have been around forever, I am a peacemaker, all my comments upbuild, and I am not wound up too tight. But online we do not necessarily come across as we would in person. Having said the above, there is no question that I am "out there," for a brother.

 

On 8/1/2018 at 10:05 PM, Katty said:

But if you look at the side bar, maybe I'm mistaken in the above, because those look like apostate topics

 

The reason certain topics look dicey is because I address some of the slams made against us in the media, which we often don't read, but huge numbers of people do. I don't associate with apostates, much less be one myself, but there have been times where I have spotted three of them beating up on my friend Job and have tried to take them out like Elihu, in a single post, not give-and-take chitchat. A couple of the posts that I had thought of offering here I ran privately through the moderators first. They declined them, saying more or less, 'brother, we know you mean well, but we like to avoid such controversial things here.' I respect that. They work hard and do a fine job in providing a spiritually upbuilding atmoshere for those who participate. It is not an easy job and I think I would not be good at it, as they are.

 

On 8/1/2018 at 10:05 PM, Katty said:

If so, we probably shouldn't be reading this or giving this person's ideas any consideration.

 

I would never criticize anyone for doing that. I am not recommending they go there. I have said that I hope any brothers visiting my blog enjoy it, but also know that it is not primarily written for them. The post above was written for the reporter in New Orleans, and I went with the flow, rather than correct him at every turn, because my goal is to win him over. Unless he is amazingly dull, he has read it, because I tagged him on Twitter and he does not have so many followers that a tag will go unnoticed. So the post was written for him, and then shared here.

 

So I want you to know where I am coming from, Katty. I am a little odd, but I am loyal. On the list of seven things God hates, which expands to eight, is "anyone spreading contention among brothers." I absolutely will not go there or do that. Peace among the friends is all-important. And I know you are not oing there, either. You are just being as we all should be on the internet with those whom we do not know personally: cautious.

 

 

 


Edited by TrueTomHarley
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19 minutes ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Katty, it took me a while to realize you were speaking of me, and not the reviewer. The reference to the side bar clinched it. I want to reply because I respect you and everyone here. I also know I don't come across in the usual way. 

 

I didn't mean to sound condescending. In my home circuit, where I communicate in person and not online, nobody would ever say that. I am universally liked because I have been around forever, I am a peacemaker, all my comments upbuild, and I am not wound up too tight. But online we do not necessarily come across as we would in person. Having said the above, there is no question that I am "out there," for a brother.

 

 

The reason certain topics look dicey is because I address some of the slams made against us in the media, which we often don't read, but huge numbers of people do. I don't associate with apostates, much less be one myself, but there have been times where I have spotted three of them beating up on my friend Job and have tried to take them out like Elihu, in a single post, not give-and-take chitchat. A couple of the posts that I had thought of offering here I ran privately through the moderators first. They declined them, saying more or less, 'brother, we know you mean well, but we like to avoid such controversial things here.' I respect that. They work hard and do a fine job in providing a spiritually upbuilding atmoshere for those who participate. It is not an easy job and I think I would not be good at it, as they are.

 

I would never criticize anyone for doing that. I am not recommending they go there. I have said that I hope any brothers visiting my blog enjoy it, but also know that it is not primarily written for them. The post above was written for the reporter in New Orleans, and I went with the flow, rather than correct him at every turn, because my goal is to win him over. Unless he is amazingly dull, he has read it, because I tagged him on Twitter and he does not have so many followers that a tag will go unnoticed. So the post was written for him, and then shared here.

 

So I want you to know where I am coming from, Katty. I am a little odd, but I am loyal. On the list of seven things God hates, which expands to eight, is "anyone spreading contention among brothers." I absolutely will not go there or do that. Peace among the friends is all-important. And I know you are not oing there, either. You are just being as we all should be on the internet with those whom we do not know personally: cautious.

 

 

 

Oh i misinterpreted

I thought the italics were from the original article. I believe I read the original article. Could be wrong tho. I've been wrong a few times. It just sounded high and mighty, but the non italic parts of the OP sounded good and reasonable.

As far as the article writer. I honestly was unsure of their background. The other articles in the background raised a big red flag w me. But those could have been harmless blogs.

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I thought @Katty was talking about the reporter who wrote the review about us too.

 

This is is italics.

 

From what I see, the italic texts are all quoting the orginal reporter's article, and the regular font from Tom, hence the confusion by a couple of people in response. (See @Tortuga's first response to this thread). I can only assume you meant the other way around.. unless you're trying to say you were the reporter? But I doubt it 😄


Edited by EccentricM
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On 7/31/2018 at 3:20 PM, TrueTomHarley said:

There was a big, climactic event on the bill that sounded like it was supposed to be a live drama depicting something from the Book of Something. Jonah. it was from the Book of Jonah. Actually, it was the entire book, which is overall quite short.

Not really.  This is an article from 2014.  I forget what it was that year.  The Hezekiah one, maybe?

 

But I remember seeing that article before and thinking anyone could see that it said more about the person writing it than it did about us.  He'd thrown water at random people in the past.  He finds classical music 'eerie'.  Anybody wearing a suit or a nice dress - basically anything smarter than jeans - 'looks like they're going to a wake'.  And being organized is 'creepy'.  I think any mature person would recognize that these are the ways the deadbeat class bully refers to the kid who is doing well, to feel better about themselves!

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On 7/31/2018 at 10:20 PM, TrueTomHarley said:

His words are in regular font. Mine in italics.

 

The Jehovah's Witnesses' Annual Convention Was So Organized It Was Creepy. They are extremely organized. It might strike one as creepy who is not used to it.

Tom, isn't it his words are italics, and your words are in regular font? That's actually how I read it.

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2 hours ago, hatcheckgirl said:

Tom, isn't it his words are italics, and your words are in regular font? That's actually how I read it.

Yes. You are correct. That messes with understanding, beyond a doubt.

 

I noticed the mistake some time ago and tried to reverse it. But I had waited too long and the comment was closed to editing.

 

My mistake. Sorry


Edited by TrueTomHarley
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47 minutes ago, Greg Dent said:

So post the source of that so we can read what he said. Your info you put in there made it look like he was being rude to us. So please post the link so we can read it for ourselves. 

The source is already posted in the first post Tom wrote.

 

Quote

let me see if I can respond to a few things he raised

If you click on the blue text, it takes you to the original article.


Edited by EccentricM
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16 hours ago, Ferb said:

Not really.  This is an article from 2014.  I forget what it was that year.  The Hezekiah one, maybe?

 

But I remember seeing that article before and thinking anyone could see that it said more about the person writing it than it did about us.  He'd thrown water at random people in the past.  He finds classical music 'eerie'.  Anybody wearing a suit or a nice dress - basically anything smarter than jeans - 'looks like they're going to a wake'.  And being organized is 'creepy'.  I think any mature person would recognize that these are the ways the deadbeat class bully refers to the kid who is doing well, to feel better about themselves!

If its from 2014, it's about the international convention then. We went to that convention. The drama was the on Joshua when the Israelites were entering the promised land. I think they just started using videos that year.

13 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Yes. You are correct. That messes with understanding, beyond a doubt.

 

I noticed the mistake some time ago and tried to reverse it. But I had waited too long and the comment was closed to editing.

 

My mistake. Sorry

That's what I had understood as well. I agreed with the nonitalics, but didn't like the implications of the original article


Edited by Katty
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