Das hausfrau

As I pull into the parking lot of the Lutheran church, the first stop on my journey (well, second if you count the monastery), I’m nervous. I have comedian Dana Carvey’s character, “Church Lady,” in my head. Carvey says he based her on the women in the Lutheran church he attended growing up. Prim and judgmental, I can picture her interrogating me. “You’ve decided to attend church after all these years? And you’re how old? Well, isn’t that special?”

For the sake of comparison, I’ve constructed an elaborate daydream of what it must have been like to be a churchgoer back in Luther’s day—before he rebelled against the system and pressed for changes. In this little daydream, I am a regular lady of the town of medieval Wittenberg (where Luther lived), a “hausfrau” going about her daily chores when the church bells toll, indicating to those of us without personal timepieces that services will begin imminently. I corral my wayward pig and tighten the strings on my bodice and begin the ten minute walk to church.

By the time I arrive, it’s packed. In the front, at the altar, the priests and other church officials have begun the ceremonial rituals: the movements and prayers that look familiar to me, as I have witnessed them performed my entire life. Even so, I have no idea what they mean as the words are in Latin, a language only the educated elite study (basically just the “men of the cloth”). So I sit quietly, enjoying the intonation of their voices. Candles flicker and robes swish. I inhale the woody aroma of the incense, and appreciate the smell even as the smoke further obscures my already poor view of the holy stuff happening up front.

Of course, hausfrau me has never actually read the Bible, as it has yet to be translated into common languages from Greek and Latin, but I have been told about God, the ruler of the universe, and it is my understanding that I can do specific things to please Him. For example, I can give money to one of the traveling religious officials collecting donations to take back to headquarters in Rome and, depending on how much I give, the number of days that I have to wait to get into heaven after I die will be reduced. Money well spent, if you ask me, as I will have an official certificate of this purgatory-reducing transaction.

But the most important thing I can do, in my humble hausfrau opinion, is to attend church services and participate in the holiest of the holy: communion. This is when the priests turn bread and wine into the real flesh and blood of Jesus and, by consuming them, a person ingests God—this merging with the divine is where an individual is meant to feel closest to the Supreme Being. Not that I get to eat the bread and wine myself, mind you. The elements are too precious to be handled by regular people. What if the wine spills? That would be Jesus’ blood! The good men in robes must grow close to Him on our behalf.

A tap on the shoulder snaps me from my medieval revelry. “You forgot this,” says a bright-eyed woman. I look at her offering. “Today’s program,” she says. Ah, the Xerox machine: just one of the many ways the church-going experience has become more accessible since Luther’s time.

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43 thoughts on “Das hausfrau

  1. Before you are finished with your visitations, be sure to attend a Kingdom Hall o Jehovah’s Witnesses. Collections are never taken!

  2. Corinna, excluding being a German woman and being called to service by bells( I am a male who grew up in a parish in a small Oklahoma town), your imagination perfectly fits the reality of what I experienced and was taught the first thirty years of my life. Bill

  3. The thing that hit me about today’s posting, is that the Bible is still in sort of an untranslatable lingo to those who flirt with the book, but don’t really crack it, or allow God in. For so many years the Bible meant nothing to me, but then a few years ago, I decided to go to a series of Bible studies sponsored by a local church. In that study I actually read stuff for the first time. It started with Romans 8:28 and just sort of grew from there.
    The osmosis effect didn’t work when the Bible really was “all Greek” to most, and it still doesn’t work if you don’t read it.
    Enjoying your postings, and not meaning to be a danny downer, just wanted to share what today’s post meant to me. And with respect to all those who want you to “pick my church, it’s the real church”, I suggest you find the place where God speaks to you, regardless of denomination….while I believe the only way to heaven is through Jesus, I am not convinced there is only one church with a handle on the road map to get us there.
    Christians don’t hate, and dissing other churches is some of the cruelest hate speech I know.

  4. Hi again, Corinna,
    Yes, like Bill above, your piece took me back to being a child at St Martha’s , the Catholic parish to which my family belonged. As a child I didn’t understand the Latin. There was a lot of mysterious stuff going on up there. My brothers were all altar boys and they got to go “behind the scenes” and into the sacristy but , as a girl, it was all closed to me. And I knew exactly what I was supposed to do in order to go to heaven. That , after all, was the whole point of life. Why did God make us? God made us to show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in heaven. And what must we do to gain the happiness of heaven? To gain the happiness of heaven, we must know, love, and serve God in this world. All about the next world. And, yes, in our particular parish anyway, there was always a building fund, a pledge drive, money to be collected.
    Despite all that, there was something that resonated with me, even as a kid. I did appreciate the silence, the ritual, the music (believe it or not, I really liked “high” Masses where parts of the liturgy were sung in Latin), the mystery. I think I miss that part.

    • You know Gracie, we were taught the basic Christian truths concerning the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Heaven and Hell. But the reality of being in Christ was never presented. The fear of Hell led me on a journey much like Corinna’s. it was only when I was led to personnally receive Christ as my Savior that I found what God wanted me to have all along. Bill

    • Hi Gracie, So much has changed in the Catholic church since Luther’s time, and even in the last few decades. That’s the remarkable thing about this religion stuff–it evolves as we evolve.

      • Corinna, this is where something extremely critical to your journey needs to be noted. People and religious institutions do evolve and change but the word of God doesn’t. That’s why opening your heart to the Bible is the key to a successful journey. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Bill

    • Hi Gracie,
      If God made us to “show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in heaven”, why did he create us here on earth? Why didn’t he create us in heaven—like he did the angels? I believe God created the earth (as Isaiah 45:18 says) “…not simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited.” When God formed man of the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:7), he did so that man and woman could live forever in paradise on earth! Adam was told at Genesis 2:16, 17 that if he would eat of the forbidden fruit he would positively die. But, if we reason on this, what would have happened had he NOT eaten of that fruit and had been obedient? The converse is true: He simply wouldn’t have died. In fact, he and Eve would have remained perfect and brought forth perfect children, and all the generations after them would have been perfect up until today! Then there would have been no need for Jesus to come to earth and to die so that what Adam and Eve did could be erased. Think about it: Jesus died to buy back (by ransom) what Adam lost. What did Adam lose for himself and all of his children to come? EVERLASTING LIFE ON EARTH! They were never promised heaven. Once they sinned they lost their perfection and eventually died. All of their offspring also died because one cannot pass on what what does not have to their offspring (perfection). This is exactly what the Apostle Paul believed as can be seen by reading and reasoning on Romans 5:12, which says: “That is why, just as through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world AND DEATH THROUGH SIN, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.” This shows that—if that first pair had not sinned, they would not have died, and could have lived forever right here on earth, as they “multiplied and filled the earth”, in obedience to God.

      When Jesus taught us to pray, at Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus said “…Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, ON EARTH as it is in heaven.” Through God’s kingdom, which the Bible has so much to say about, God’s WILL AND PURPOSE to have a paradise earth filled with perfect humans will come about. One of my favorite verses of the Bible is Psalms 37:29, which says: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside FOREVER upon it.” Yes, some out of mankind will be resurrected to heaven to “rule with Christ” (Rev. 5:10), but the majority of mankind who remain in God’s memory after their death, will be resurrected to a paradise earth. My hope is to live in this paradise earth and be part of those who will FULFILL GOD’S ORIGINAL PURPOSE.

      It’s strange that for those who say “I want to go to heaven,” they usually aren’t in any particular hurry to get there. It’s like the minister who asked his congregation at a Sunday service, “How many here want to go to heaven?” Everybody raised their hands. Then he pulled out of his holsters two six-shooters, pointed them at the congregation and said: “How many want to go—RIGHT NOW?” All those hands came down. It’s really something to give a lot of consideration to. I personally love this beautiful green earth and would much rather live forever here when it becomes a paradise, than go to heaven. You may feel differently.

      • Well there you have it…..same dance different dress. Of course he is failing to tell you that he believes that a selected few numbered at 144,000 (He even knows the number because it’s in the Bible) actually do go to heaven. How come they didn’t want to stay on a paradise earth?? It’s the subtlety of how one gets caught up in a teaching that sounds so logical from the literal word. It has no room for metaphor. For this man it is “the truth” and there is no way to reason with him to convince him differently. He will suggest that he wants to engage in “reasoning” with you but what he knows is that he’s out to change your mind not his.

        • Frank,
          Actually, I did mention that some do go to heaven. You will see that in the post if you re-read it. My message was long enough without going into detail on that. Those who do go to heaven are chosen by God. It’s not a question of them wanting “to stay on a paradise earth”. If God invited you to be among those who will “rule with Christ”, wouldn’t you want that? I’m sure I would as well. Maybe you would like to explain what is “metaphor” and what is literal in my post. I noticed, Frank, and no doubt others did too, that you did not counter what I said with a single scripture. I believe what the Bible says, and just as you can believe what you want, so can I. What people believe after reading what I posted is totally up to each individual. If it makes sense to them, they can search further, or talk to the next JW that comes to their door. Thanks for your response.

          • Well, we agree on that, “What people believe after reading what I posted is totally up to each individual.” I have no problem with that. All along my purpose has only been to assist them not to drink it in hook, line and sinker without reading other more objective material. I smiled when I read your line: “I noticed, Frank, and no doubt others did too, that you did not counter what I said with a single scripture.” ha ha ha ha….Do you think I’m crazy!! There is not one scripture that I could quote to make a point that you couldn’t come after with ten scriptures to discount it or to tell me I had taken it out of context. I bow to your scriptural wisdom although I know that it is not coming from biblical scholarship. It is ALL coming from Watchtower interpretations. As to metaphor it’s what Jesus’ often used in his parables. “Don’t cast your pearls before swine” might be one since I don’t think you are buying literal pearls to throw at Farmer John’s pigs. On the other hand the Garden of Eden story you take as literal with no room for the idea that it might all just be a metaphor. I suspect you would be quite choosy about what things you would be willing to see as metaphor versus literal.

            • Frank,
              Thank you for your response to my post on 1/15/13. There are a few things I’d like to respond to. I agree that people should not “drink it in hook, line and sinker without reading other more objective material.” What should that “more objective material” be, since you don’t seem (from another comment) to appreciate the Bible as the source of “truth”. Even so, allow me to quote what Jesus said while in prayer to his Father. John 17:17 (NWT): “Sanctify them by means of the truth. Your word is truth.” No metaphors here that I can see. Since metaphors are often used as teaching tools, Jesus certainly was not trying to teach his Father anything while in prayer to him, wouldn’t you agree? Yet, Jesus says that God’s word is truth. Shouldn’t those who want to please God by helping others to understand God’s word of truth USE his word of truth to accomplish that? Bear with me, please, as I quote another verse which JWs try to follow, as ALL Christians should. Matt. 28:19, 20: Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. …” Is it wrong, then, to do our best to be obedient to what Jesus instructed his followers to do? And from what source should we teach them? The Bible warns against the “philosophy of this world”, so perhaps we should use what Jesus said was “truth”–God’s word. Jesus said something similar at Matt. 24:14 that Christians were to do: “And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” From where should we look to find the “good news of the kingdom”? Secular sources? Perhaps we should look to The Upanishads? Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester have an excellent translation in English for those who think they can read about “this good news of the kingdom” in these holy works of Hinduism. Or perhaps we should look into the 81 short poems of the Tao Te Ching. Reading those wise saings of Taoism couldn’t hurt, but they are not “the good news of the kingdom”. “The teachings of the Compassionate Buddha” is another source of wisdom we could check into, however, these teachings do not touch upon the “good news of the kingdom”. Then we’re still not finished with our quest. We must not overlook the Zoroastrian “Avesta”, but that encourages the worship and deification of the sun, moon and stars–the worship of nature–so we’d have to choose between worshipping nature or Jehovah. Let’s not forget the sacred writings of the Bahai, or the Shintoist “Kojiki and the Nithongi”. And so it goes–on and on. When we’re all finished with these, we still have the 12 Angas, the 12 Upangas, the 10 Painnas, the 6 Cheya-Suttas and the 4 Mula-Suttas, the sacred writings of Jainism. And with all of these, we still havent mentioned the Quran, Mary Baker Eddy’s “Studies in the Scriptures”, or the Book of Mormon, and the Pearl of Great Price As you said: “Same dance, different dress”.

              You know, Frank, if one opts to worship the One the Bible refers to several times as the “Only True God”, then we should do so in harmony with his word, which is, according to Jesus, “truth”.

              You said: “There is not one scripture that I could quote to make a point that you couldn’t come after with ten scriptures to discount it or to tell me I had taken it out of context.” I suppose this could be true, but Frank, if there are ten scriptures that all teach a particular thing, then perhaps there is a different way of looking at the “one” that opposes the ten, it seems that the “ten” should be enough to convince the reasonable person of its truth. Your example, of course, is hypothetical. A real example might be better.

              You insult me when you say: “I know that it is not coming from biblical scholarship. It is ALL coming from Watchtower interpretations.” This assumes that I don’t have a brain that can function without the help of the Watchtower Society. First of all, how is it that you “KNOW that it is not coming from biblical scholarship”? You don’t know me, nor do you know anything about my educational background, nor do you know my study habits and the time I have spent during the past 55 years of studying the Bible and other “holy books”. How can you make such a blatantly judgmental statement? You make other assumptions as well. You refer to the “garden of Eden” as a “story”. It would follow, then, that Adam and Eve were part of that “story”. Interestingly, the Bible (which, I remind you, that Jesus called “truth”) records much about Adam other than in the “garden of Eden story”. For example at Gen. 5:1 it says: “This is the book of Adam’s history. In the day of God’s creating Adam he made him in the likeness of God.” Verse 3 says: “And Adam lived on for a hundred and thirty years. Then he became father to a son in his likeness, in his image, and called his name Seth.” Was Seth also just a fairy tale? This chapter goes on to tell us of other “sons and daughters” and his death.

              Deut. 32:8 speaks of the “Most High” parting the sons of Adam from one another. 1 Chron. 1:1-4 gives a list of the generations from Adam to Noah, with no point where mankind became literal from a figurative Adam. Luke 3 provides us with a geneology from Joseph back to Adam, with no indication that Adam was only figurative, or where the literal men began. Check out these verses as well: Romans 5:14; 1 Cor. 15:22, and 45; 1 Tim. 2:13, 14; and Jude 14. I’ll quote that one: “Yes, the seventh one in line from Adam, Enoch, prophesied also regarding them when he said…” Jesus said that God’s word is “truth”, but as a free moral agent, you can believe what you wish. As for me, I choose to believe in God’s word. I am, thankfully, able to distinguish between similies, metaphors, what is literal and figurative in most cases. And, guess what? This came from an intense, on-going study of the Bible, not from what you say the Watchtower–which is only a printing corporation, a legal entity used by “the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses”.

              Frank. I detect cynicism in your post. What makes you cynical–distrustful of Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are only out to help people understand God’s word? We have no other motives other than our love for God, Jesus, and our neighbors. If you would like to answer that privately, you can reach me by email: chuckmcm@cox.net I’d really like to hear from you. Take care.

              • Chuck, I see I was correct in assuming that you would blast away with scripture quotes even though I hadn’t quoted any scripture back at you. Not only that but you continued on your quest to prove that no other holy books suggest the hope of the kingdom and you slash on through all of them to let me know, I guess, just how knowledgeable you are in having investigated the religions of the world and found them all wanting about the kingdom. I can only hope that people who read what you wrote will understand why it is so utterly impossible to discuss the Bible or religion in general with a Jehovah’s Witness believing that the Jehovah’s Witness person is going to be open to negotiating anything that the person may believe. Those JW’s who are good at it, like Chuck, will kindly listen to what you have to say but please, dear reader, know that they already have an answer and they KNOW that whatever you think you have as something that may be a meaningful spirituality for you, is NOT THE TRUTH. In fact, if there is any concession at all it will be that what you believe is actually from Satan himself or exists in your mind because you are confused.

                Reader, you have to understand that when Chuck says he has spent 50 years at it he does not mean that he was just sitting around reading a book here and there or attending a college class here and there. He has been attending many meetings a week at his church and been door to door many hours talking about the same thing over and over and over again and then makes sure that his primary, if not only, associations are with people who think the same way and the same things he thinks about the Bible. Imagine if you can the gouged ruts in his brain that have been dug deeply with this information, for the past 50 years. Now tell me, Reader, do you think you have a chance to really present him with something that’s going to change his mind. I don’t think so.

                This is the deadly sin of one who believes they have THE TRUTH, a snapped closed mind.

                Although Chuck wants me to set aside the Watchtower organization as simply a corporation, take notice of who it is that publishes every book he hands you to read: The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society….and what literature is teaching him everything he knows about the Bible, The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society.” That is why, I have encouraged people who are thinking about engaging Jehovah’s Witness to do a careful reading of a book titled: “A Crisis of Conscience” by Fred Franz, the nephew of an icon among the Witnesses, Fred Franz. It is well written. It takes no digs at the JW;’s. It is simply his personal story of his journey away from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Since he served on the Governing Body you will be able to find out just who and how the various Bible interpretations are come by and how and why they change from time to time. It is a sincere and good read but it will definitely NOT be recommended by Chuck or any other Jehovah’s Witness as a “good read”.

                Chuck, you are a good man. That, I know. I’m a good man, too…..and…I’m not going to struggle or do battle with you over your belief. I already know that in your mind, I have absolutely nothing to give you. Rest assured, though, that what I do have spiritually brings me great peace of heart and mind and is open to all without judgment. Peace.

                • Frank,
                  Thank you again for your reply. You have some serious misconceptions about JWs. You have stereotyped all JWs, putting them all in the same large basket, being carried along by the Watchtower Society. I would like to comment on a few of these WITHOUT the use of scripture, since for some reason you seem opposed to our use of scripture. Is it just with JWs that you object to the use of scripture, or is it with religion in general? It is, to be sure, very difficult for JWs NOT to use scripture when trying to explain our beliefs, our hope for the future, our refuting of doctrinal issues held since the time of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, and then Constantine, and what the Bible really teaches about things that affect all of us. It’s also difficult, if not impossible, to show the differences between other religious groups and JWs without the use of scripture. You may not think so, but many people we talk to actually WANT to know the differences between JWs and them. How can we explain and/or answer their questions without the use of scripture? However, you appear to be one who doesn’t appreciate the use of scripture, or at least doesn’t want to hear it from JWs. I will respect that and try hard not to bring scripture into play.

                  One thing I’m curious about with you, Frank, is this: Have you singled out JWs on your list of religions you oppose, or are we just another religion you oppose? Do you have relatives or acquaintances who are JWs? Have you had religious discussions with them in the past, which might be the reason to your aversion to their use of scriptures? I wonder these things because of your suggestion to others that they should read “Crisis of Conscience” by (not Fred Franz, but) Raymond Franz. It seems you may have an “axe to grind” for some reason or another. If anyone wants to know anything about virtually ANY religion, the internet is full of “information”, some factual, but most not. For example, take a look (if you haven’t already) at what the internet has to say about Mormons, or Christian Science, or Seventh Day Adventists, or even Catholicism. Yes, there are some “approved” or official sites sponsored by the various religious groups, but there is also much written against each of them. Would it be wise to consult former members of these groups (such as Fred Franz) to get the low-down? Do you think there would be no bias on his part, or at least an attempt of justification for his leaving JWs? Would it not be better to check with loyal, faithful, and long-time adherents of these various religions for the real facts about their religion and why they have stuck with it? It would be similar in Christ’s day to approach his enemies, the scribes and the Pharisees, to get FACTUAL information on Jesus. This example is not original with me, but I like it because it is so clear that to get correct information, one needs to go to the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

                  You mentioned: “Those JWs who are good at it, like Chuck…” Some of what follows in your post is correct. But, Frank, know this, that if any one of JWs, including myself, weren’t totally convinced in what we are saying as well as committed to it, we wouldn’t be out there trying to help others with an understanding of the Bible. Besides the command to preach the “good news of the kingdom”, the Bible has helpful words for everyone about our common problems, sicknesses, facing old-age and eventual death, and many people appreciate knowing about these scriptures. We’re there to help, not just to spread our own agenda! I’m reminded of an experience I had with a man who almost immediately told me he was a Church of Christ minister. He said, “You Jehovah’s Witnesses are wasting your time. It’s the Church of Christ who has the truth.” I replied, “Then why am I standing here at your door? Why aren’t you at mine?” He sputtered a bit and said, “We know we have our faults” and then he immediately closed his door. I did not think that was the proper way to deal with ANYONE standing at one’s door trying to help people to understand what the “good news of the kingdom” is all about. Whoops–a scripture! Sorry.

                  I firmly believe that ANYONE who believes their religious organization knows and is teaching Bible truth has an obligation, just as Jesus said, to spread it to others. You many disagree, but there are so many examples (without citing them) in the Bible to show that Jesus and his followers set the example in this. If one REALLY BELIEVES he has the truth of the scriptures, he would be out there in the trenches, going from door-to-door trying to help people understand. (there is much scriptural support for this)

                  You said I (and probably by extension—all JWs) have a “snapped closed mind”. I would agree with you—to an extent, but if our closed mind is snapped shut, as you suggest, it has only become that way as a result of our experience of talking to people of virtually every major religion including many others besides Christian. Some of these have been in-depth discussions. What’s sad to me, and has been one of the reasons I may have what you call a “snapped closed mind” (to an extent), is the total apathy of the majority of people today, as well as the lack of any real scriptural belief—enough to spur them to action. It’s really sad out there. You, of course would not know that unless you have experienced it from speaking to others as you went from door-to-door trying to have scriptural conversations with people who generally do not want to have scriptural, or spiritual, conversations with anyone. And yes, just as others like to associate with like-minded people, JWs mostly enjoy the company of spiritual, like-minded people. Can we be faulted for that?

                  Yes, if you look at the inside cover of our literature, you will see that it is published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. That is one of the legal corporations set up to produce literature. We took a hard look at that many years ago and concluded that it is not the “Watchtower Bible and Tract Society” that is standing outside people’s doors, ringing the bell, but it is the “Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses” of which every JW is part of. While I am one of JWs, I am NOT part of, or a “representative” of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society’s corporations. I just wanted to clear that up for you.

                  Frank, I do realize that there’s not much I could share with you that would change your mind about much of anything, and so be it. I respect, too, that “what I do have spiritually brings me great peace of heart and mind…” I, too, wish you peace. The only thing I would suggest to you, (aside from scripture) is that you refrain from putting all of JWs in the same pre-conceived, stereotyped “basket”. We are all individuals who love Jehovah, Jesus Christ, and our neighbors. We are, however, united in thought as Paul said Christians were to be, at 1 Cor. 1:10. (Whoops). I really do wish you would look that up, if for no other reason than to see how far away “Christians” have gotten from Paul’s exortation of unity. Thankfully, JWs agree with Paul and demonstrate the unity Paul was speaking about there. Take care, Frank.

                  Chuck

                  • A loooooooooooong letter Chuck. But I’ll answer a couple of your questions: Are JW’s the only religion I oppose? A better word would be critique. No, as a matter of fact I’m not too happy with Scientology and I live in a town where their production studio is located. I’m not happy with the Salvation Army for refusing to help AIDS patients who may need a meal or a place to stay for a while. I’m not happy with most born again, spirit filled, evangelical Christians because they are as exclusive as JW’s when it comes to mingling in with other religious folks refusing to belong to the local interfaith councils. I guess I don’t like it when any religious people sequester themselves off believing that what they have must be protected not only from a “wicked world” but also from other fine people of faith who are trying to please and understand God.

                    As to scripture. I didn’t say I didn’t like the Bible, as a matter of fact I have read it several times and continue to read portions of it to meditate by or to speak from. The reason I don’t want to hear it from Jehovah’s Witnesses is because it will be used as a shotgun instead of a tool for inspiration. No matter how gently the words are spoken the end result is always the same…..you win and whatever point I might try to make you will shoot down and I lose. Not very fulfilling for me.

                    Persons of deep faith and belief have no obligation to follow your command to go out and preach it. I can assure you they are heard and people’s lives are changed for the good. Remember that scripture where certain one’s were told they could “win them without a word”.
                    You, see…it’s possible. What are we to think for the many organizations and people who contributed time and money to the areas where hurricane Sandy devastated the coastal cities. Shall we tell them they will all die because they didn’t accept God on the basis of Jehovah’s Witness beliefs? And what of the local Rabbi, Priests and Ministers who gathered to bless the children who got shot to death in Newtown, Conn. are they now singled out as the “bad” guys because they are not J.W.’s and Where were you, Jehovah’s Witnesses from Connecticut, during this tragedy. I didn’t see you there helping your neighbors or at the funeral services.

                    Many of the so called “worldly” people you call “apathetic” about faith are hurting and searching, too. They just don’t want the brand you are selling but that doesn’t make them “less”.

                    Enjoying like minded people……..Please…..Chuck……My mom has some wonderful neighbors who are JW’s. They loved visiting my mom as neighbors….My mom often told them to help themselves to her fruit trees and in return they would help keep the area clean and yes, the woman would briefly preach to my mother from time to time in a pleasant way. All nicey…nicey…..Until my mother turned 80 and I having enjoyed their company myself from time to time called on the phone inviting them to my mother’s birthday party. “NO!! WE WON’T BE ATTENDING HER BIRTHDAY PARTY.” Wow…………You see….if the JW’s stay in their own crowd they never have to worry about anyone in their midst having a birthday party. So don’t give me that line about enjoying people who think the same. There’s more to it than meets the eye and I want people to know that before they jump in.

                    Dear Chuck, although it’s hard for you to hear, your teaching puts all JW’s in one basket. You are all, of course at differing levels of culture and education and some are by nature pleasant and loving and some are more skillful than others in their ministry nevertheless when it comes to the bottom line it will always be the same: “What we have is the truth and unless you believe as we believe, you don’t.”
                    Love and Blessings,
                    Frank

                    • Frank,
                      Thank you very much for your reply. I think I understand you better. There are some things in your reply that I agree with, and other things I believe you still have wrong. When you speak of people who “sequester themselves off” you are not speaking about JWs since their public ministry is well-known around the world. You might better be speaking about the kind, gentle Amish who do just that. We have a good-sized Amish community near the part of Oklahoma where I live. They indeed, do sequester themselves off and associate very little with anyone outside of their community. Neither do they engage in a public ministry to share God’s word with others. As fine a people as the Amish are, they are not doing the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom, which Jesus said had to be done before the end of this system (Satan’s system) of things. The Bible is the Bible, and it shouldn’t matter, except from the standpoint of your own prejudices, who you hear it from. As to translations, I always carry a King James Version with me when I am in the ministry. Many today are using the New International Version. While I have a copy of that and often use it, and several others, there’s a limit to what I can carry in my bookbag. But, if anyone wants to use their own Bible when I’m in the ministry, I’m happy to use whatever translation they have. All of them say effectively that “the good news of the kingdom WILL BE PREACHED throughout the entire inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” It’s hard to do that if sequestered.

                      You say it is not necessary for all Christians to engage in this preaching and teaching work (not your exacts words). But then, WHO WILL DO IT? HOW IS IT GOING TO GET DONE? We take Jesus’ words seriously. Also, Jesus commissioned his followers, just before his ascension to heaven, to GO, MAKE DISCIPLES OF PEOPLE OF ALL THE NATIONS. This was not a suggestion, but a command. We respect Jesus’ commands. As far as being “won without a word” we fully agree that this counsel is appropriate, but the verse (1 Peter 3:1) is not suggesting Christians do this to replace the public preaching work. Read your translation by yourself without any influence from JWs or others. The verse says “In like manner, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands, in order that if any are not obedient to the word, they may be won without a word through the conduct of their wives.” Frank, won’t you agree on this point that the verse is exhorting wives (or husbands in some cases) who have unbelieving mates, that their conduct is important when preaching to them fails to bring them to Christ? “Good conduct” may help convert them when preaching to them does not. Peter’s admonition really has nothing to do with the public ministry that all Christians are commissioned to do (Matt. 28:19,20). I’m not trying to “shoot down” what you said, Frank, but be honest, is there any other way to interpret Peter’s words here? If you can read this verse and honestly come up with a different, appropriate meaning to the verse, please let me know. It’s not a question of “winning an argument”, but in teaching the truth of what the Bible really says.

                      You said, “Persons of deep faith and belief have NO OBLIGATION to follow your command to go out and preach it.” First, it isn’t “our command” but Jesus’ command. (scriptures above show that). And, yes, it is a command.

                      We (JWs) don’t tell people they will die because they don’t accept JWs beliefs. That would put us in the chair of judgment. We don’t judge. Jehovah has put all judging in the hands of Jesus Christ. Yet, I’ve been told several times when talking to Baptists or other fundamentalists that if I remain one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I’m going to hell and burn forever. No kidding, Frank. I’ve been told that several times over the years. (We don’t believe in hell-fire, by the way). No to me, that’s judging. Those persons don’t know my heart, nor what my relationship is with Jesus Christ and Jehovah, but yet, if I remain a JW, I’m going to burn! We absolutely do not tell people that because they aren’t JWs they are lost—though we’ve been accused of that by our opposers.

                      About hurricane Katrina—Our brothers from several states were among the first responders. They set up kitchens from our emergency vehicles used for disasters to feed not only our brothers, but anyone who needed food. Teams of JWs went down there and spent several weeks working repairing and rebuilding homes, reroofing literally hundreds of homes of both JWs and their neighbors, and last I knew, there were still groups from all over the country going down there. This is done on a world-wide basis whenever and wherever there are disasters. Tons of clothing, food, blankets, supplies, and money are contributed to those in need. We have a disaster fund that we contribute to on a world-wide basis which goes toward disasters. Evedently you were not aware of this.

                      I guess you’d have to be there to understand the apathy we see when in our ministry work. You really wouldn’t know about the apathy of people in general unless you were “out in the trenches”, would you?

                      Since we don’t celebrate birthdays (and for very good reason), wouldn’t it be rather hypocritical of us not to celebrate ours, but to celebrate the birthdays of our neighbors? Come on, Frank, be reasonable. Isn’t that a perfect example why we would “enjoying people who think the same”? It solves a lot of problems, or potential problems, to socialize with people who think alike. It’s not just JWs who feel that way. Yes, I can tell you are a good man, Frank. I can also tell that you have a good set of values, as do I. It’s been interesting exchanging points with you. Take care.

                      Chuck

                    • Dear Readers,
                      Chuck is giving you a fairly good, not totally accurate because of his biases, but still fairly good idea of what it looks like if you choose to live the life of a Jehovah’s Witness. He, of course, would love for me to keep on debating him because he too, gets to count the time and believes that every one who reads his words is being witnessed to. Other Jehovah’s Witnesses will appear on this blog for the exact same reason. I leave you to read and make your own evaluations. If it is a direction you wish to go in they are doing a good job of letting you see how you will have to believe and live. I continue to encourage you to read the book, “Crisis of Conscience” written by someone who at one time spoke exactly in the same way Chuck is speaking with exactly the same years of dedication. Letting go of it after all those years was not easy and that’s why the title is so aptly stated as a “Crisis of Conscience”.

                    • Frank,
                      I like what you said, “If you choose to live a life as a Jehovah’s Witness”. That’s exactly what it is—a choice. I’m very happy to have made that choice in 1957. It’s been a great ride. Regardless of what you think, it’s a wonderful way to live: clean, good moral values, excellent family life, wonderful friends, etc., but most of all it’s been spiritually upbuilding, giving my family a real purpose in life, and a beautiful way to serve our God, Jehovah. This is the last you’ll be hearing from me, Frank. I don’t need someone to tell me what is not true about my religion when he doesn’t know as much as he thinks he does. Who is in a better position to know you or me? I have absolutely nothing to gain from this dialogue. I am not angry with you, Frank. I’m just tired of speaking the truth to you and you twisting what I say to suit your agenda.
                      Chuck

  5. I really do find your writings quite fun– particularly as you become a special “Church Lady” of your own sorts! I sincerely hope you appear on SNL, and please let us know if you do!

    Frankly, you’ve touched a deep place in my heart. My life’s work has been writing my prose to a computer CPU Chip. I’ve been conditioned by my profession to distill lovely creative ideas into paragraphs that are written strictly for analytic purposes. My writings are seldom read by human eyes. Consequently, I know my lovely wife is right, that my writings are not always the most easy reading.

    I’m inspired to learn to write half as interestingly and engaging as you that I might communicate and captivate my audience. To learn how to communicate a deep and spiritual subject that will change that one person’s life seeking what I’ve found. It brings to mind the story of the founder of Buddhism, Gautama Buddha. After he had found enlightenment he brought forth the Four Noble Truths and the Eight-fold Path as an offering to people for their surcease from suffering. His tempter, Mara, in a final put-down of discouragement told him nobody would listen. His response was that “some will listen”.

    So I applaud your courage that some will find your journey interesting. And in fact, I’m sure some will be inspired to get some of their own.

      • Frank, that is so cool! Seems like the new thought movement you shared in this video follows universal truth? A truth that spiritual hierarchy actually goes through the heart of Padmasambhava before we are initiated by Jesus with his amazing grace? Unlike Buddhism, Martin Luther left out worship of the Divinity of Mother– what a mistake he made!

        And the Catholic fathers abandoned the sanctity of marriage as a valid path for his priests. We now see chaotic irruption of repressed subconsciousness desires come light from some very troubled priests. My hope for the “infallible” Pope and his priestly orders is the example of Saint Padre Pio, a true saint of the Catholic Church. Who, despite his superiors persecution, and by God’s grace, sublimated his desires to manifest the gifts of the Holy Spirit– including bi-location!

        I feel challenged to communicate what I’ve learned as truth regarding music like the music of Amazing Grace in your shared video. I find there is a truth that goes beyond right speech (or positive words of songs we find in “Christian” rock). Over two decades ago I read “Vibrational Medicine” by Richard Gerber M.D.. He discussed, among other things, the healing power of sound with crystals (like the crystals that help a watch keep accurate time).

        I’ve learned and experienced there is a right beat, right vibration along the path to Buddha-hood. I think the beat of music is a major missing link in today’s understanding of the spiritual path. It goes back to the release of the song “Rock Around the Clock” and the following so-called sexual revolution that has burdened those of us who grew up from the 60’s onward. It’s a matter of a positive spin on the chakras — or in the case of popular music, a negative spiral.

        Right vibration of music is a truth is in contrast to a desert mirage. We may encounter a false watering hole before we find that deep cool drink of the inner spiritual truth of the holy spirit. A consciousnesses of the little child we must have to inherit the Kingdom of God that Jesus told us is within us. As Church-Lady might say at Peter’s Pearlie Gates: “Get the hence, Satan!”

        • Yes, Jeffrey, New Thought honors all paths. Through their Centers for Spiritual Living they attempt to bring forth a world that works for everyone by honoring individuality in community.

  6. So, Corinna, do you plan to continue your daydream? And will your post-Wittemburg door dream look quite different? Can’t wait to read it. It seems you are imbibing quite a lot of different theologies along the way. By the by, Luther was the first, I believe, to translate the Bible into German so people could read it. It’s really amazing to watch what happened to him as he began to understand the Scriptures for himself, instead of only going on what he had been taught and to discover for himself the answer to Jesus’ question, Who do you say that I am?
    Bon voyage!

  7. added note: There is a side to the Bible translation story which we in our multi-tasking, quickly forgotten googlized memories have lost an appreciation for: Imagine what it meant to the people who heard the Bible read in their own heart language for the first time! They would not only hang on every word, but they would remember most of those words. In a ‘pre-literate’ society, such as the one in which your ‘hausfrau’ lived, people’s memories were the paper on which everything was written down and stored and passed on–and it was remarkably reliable. Ironically, once the printing press became practical and people began to get their own copies of the Bible and other books, we didn’t have to rely on our God designed memories…..now it’s all on disk or other device…..One day someone will pull the plug….

    • I know it sounds primitive but as a young Catholic boy growing up in the New England of the late 1940’s and early ’50’s I had no concept of how to use the Bible. My folks had a big beautifully illustrated one in our home and occasionally I would look at the pictures. The nuns whose classes I attended never introduced even their Douay version of the Bible so when I had my first experience with Bible fundamentalists I was so shocked and very pleased to find out how to look up something called a “chapter” and a “verse”. Soon, I was easily spouting:”Look! It says here in John 3:13 or look at Isaiah 1:8 or Genesis 1:1…..WOW….I could actually look things up in the Bible. As your suggestion implies “they would hang on every word” and “they would remember most of those words”. Such first-time discoveries can be very exciting. I didn’t know, of course, how human interpretation of these words could lead to so much division in the Christian community. That came later.

      • Frank: yeah, I’d like to click on ‘like’ but this isn’t facebook! The Bible IS exciting and full of discoveries and–unfortunately, being people who see everything through the distorted filter of fallen humanity–we have succeeded in dividing Christianity so much that all those searching people like Corinna can see is our self-righteous bickering.

        • Yes, Walt, yes. Nevertheless people still search and I do believe they find. That’s one of my interests in following Corinna’s journey. I know that at the end she’ll find something that is meaningful to her. It may not be a church or a particular teaching but something that takes her to another level of consciousness about how she wants to think about God.

        • Walt,

          I’m drawing a parallel in studying individual religious texts with studying the history of flying machines. There are famous designs for the first helicopter by Leonardo Da Vinci in 1493. Fast-forward to the first successful airplane flown by the Wright Brothers in 1903. Religious texts are each persons view of how to return to the lost paradise of “The Garden of Eden”.

          I certainly would rather follow one who had direct experience with having obtained flight like Jesus or from those who had direct communication– like the prophets of old, the saints and sages of east and west. I know from my red letter edition of the King James Bible Jesus said, at the time of his palestinian mission, that the masses were not yet ready to receive his inner teachings given to his disciples. He said his teachings would be lost until the end of the age. Some say quite convincingly that the age to which he referred is the astrological age of Pisces (denoted by the fish emblem on the backs of cars). So some then logic his Gnostic (or inner) teachings can be found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Others quote the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation that mentions “The Two Witnesses” as the source of his lost teachings.

          I find there is nothing wrong with only reading and understanding Jesus parables– or outer teaching. We know Jesus said his laws are written on our hearts and the kingdom of God is within. So each will follow their own road back to Rome. Some prefer traveling the scenic route to a destination. I happen to prefer the most direct route.

          I believe with all my heart there are Atheists in heaven because they followed the Golden Rule during their sojourn on Earth.

          Did you know everywhere in the bible where it says Lord, the direct translation is “I AM THAT I AM”? The church fathers were concerned with abuse of or the Lord’s name in vain. So they hid the true name of God from the masses. Of course, that leads into the kabbalists view of scripture, which is an integral part of Judaism.

          This really is fun to share!

          Jeffrey

          • Jeffrey: I read your comments with great interest.
            I wasn’t certain of the exact passage you were referring to here about Jesus’ teaching being hidden from the masses. I know he says something akin to this after he tells the parable of the sower (in Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8), where Jesus ends with the call, “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt 13:9, KJV). Reading from the King James is a bit of a tough read–though God is able to give understanding to the most obtuse if we are willing to really listen and put into practice what he says. I like to use a couple modern translations. I know some Greek (enough to be dangerous), and have done some translation myself when we lived in Senegal, W. Africa.
            If I may be so bold as to think I understand what Jesus was saying here, he was indeed speaking to many who were not ready to receive his teaching–as you said. His final call (per the New Living Translation) was “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand,” which, I take it, indicated that whoever is willing can understand. His disciples manifestly did not, but they came and asked the meaning, so Jesus explained it to them. They were pretty thick-skulled at times: even Peter, after giving his great answer to Jesus’ question about who he was (Matt 16), turned around and, upon Jesus telling him he would go to Jerusalem and give his life, told Jesus he couldn’t do that!
            One of the things that make reading the KJV so difficult, besides the English of the period, is the way the verses were printed: each as an individual “paragraph”. This makes them easy to find, but also easy to quote out of their context. I would encourage anyone reading the Bible (that big book is proof that God wants to communicate–he is, after all, the inventor of language) to not miss the forest for the trees. Read big portions. Jesus’ main teachings are pretty obvious, and to those who, as Jesus said, really want to understand, God is waiting to give you understanding.
            Jesus did say that the Kingdom is “in you”, speaking to the Pharisees (the religious teachers that he was constantly confronting for their hypocrisy), It’s pretty evident that these people weren’t interested much in his Father’s kingdom as Jesus was presenting it–he was actually referring, I believe from the context, to the fact that he (Messiah/Christ) was “among you” (i.e., living among his people)–and they were rejecting him, him who taught that he was “the way, the truth, and the life” (the most direct route) to the Father, and also the “I am” (“before Abraham was, I am”). The Jews regard the name of God as too sacred to say aloud, and they began the tradition when reading the Hebrew text or speaking of God, of pronouncing God’s covenant name (variously spelled as YaHWeH or JeHoVaH) as “Lord,” and, as such, is written in all capital letters in your KJV.
            It is really great fun to share about the word of God. I hope you’ll read it in great gulps!

            • Nice to hear back from you as a kindred soul on the path. I’m going to cover a couple of your responses as I started this dialog. But I’m going to have some fun here too.

              I prefer the King James Version that Francis Bacon edited. As you may know, he wrote Shakespeare and started the masons. The KJV was prepared under Masonic supervision. I trust most the Scofield Study Edition but have at times referred to a Catholic Translation for clarification. The Scofield KJV version is an easier read than the one to which you referred?

              It was August my senior year in High School when I read the New Testament in depth. I was feeling some guilt over being caught in a naughty situation with a group of rowdy friends. I was searching to be a better person. However I was not trying to please my agnostic parents.

              As I plowed through Matthew, Mark and Luke I noticed a section starting at Matthew 13:18 and one starting in Mark 4:4. There was an inner teaching Jesus gave his close companions like Mary and Martha. It’s pretty clear to me he spoke in parables to the masses. The masses to which I refer included those in the crowd who yelled “crucify him” when it came time for his crucifixion. I believe it was because many had not the ability to assimilate his inner teaching.

              According to G.W.H. Lampe, “in the midst of you” is “improbable as a translation.” However, The Gospel of Thomas helps clarify his statement and in fact Jesus says, “the Kingdom is inside you.” This gospel can be found in The Nag Hammadi Library.

              I trust you agree the crux of the matter is using these works to find the way we penetrate the mind of God to find the source of fire that transforms us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Putting on the mind of Christ, the anointing. A direct communion with the Comforter promised us after a period of striving. Continued striving toward the goal of meeting Jesus request of being “sinless.” Governing our every thought, word and deed by that power of Christ Love.

              Because this is Corinna’s Blog, I want to finish my side topics and respect her space.

              Jeffrey

  8. Jeffrey: I did a little checking on what you said about Bacon and the KJV. While the KJV stands as one of the greatest contributors to the English language, there is no evidence that Bacon had anything directly to do with it–although he probably was a friend of Lancelot Andrewes, one of the members of the original translation team, and it is certain that the Masons had nothing to do with it. That team relied much on John Wycliffe’s translation and also the Geneva Bible, the Bible used by the Puritans. I know that there are various websites that claim otherwise–I think we need to keep checking up on such things which are likely “urban legends”. I do not agree that the so-called “gospel of Thomas” nor the gnostic works and the Nag Hammadi, while interesting, give us any solid light on the meaning of Scripture–the Hebrew Scripture (“Old Testament”) and New Testament commonly accepted as authoritative by the Christian church for what to believe and how to order our lives. Scofield’s study Bible was originally published in 1909 and he revised it in 1917. There was a new edition published in 1967 by scholars from Dallas Seminary, and their edition makes some word changes for clarity (mostly marked off by brackets). However, with few exceptions, published editions of the KJV–while titled as the KJV authorized edition of 1611–in fact contain the Oxford text of 1760 or 1769 which adopted the more modern regularized English spellings of the time.
    I do agree that this is Corinna’s site and should be driven by the questions related to her posts. I would simply encourage you with the words of Jesus I quoted before, directed to those who have ears to hear. My own ears have too often been donkey ears. While living in Africa, I was given the good family name of “Donky”. God indeed has a sense of humor! Cheers!

    • Walt,

      I did see there is a reference or two out there in cyberspace. My source for the editor of the KJV did not come off the internet. Whether my source was the movie “Shakespeare Code” or a well foot-noted lecture/book/sermon by the founders of my church, I do not remember. It is well documented nonetheless.

      You wrote: “New Testament commonly accepted as authoritative by the Christian church for what to believe and how to order our lives”

      I am a revolutionary, reformed “None,” who “lost (formal) religion.” I hope I’ve overcome any “accepted,” traditional “authoritative Christian Church” with any power over my spiritual life because most are washed up and rotting in caskets. I am a communicant of a World-Wide Church and believe with wholeheartedness in community. In fact, once per year I share an ice cream social with world-wide travelers because I believe it’s fun to see friends that share common beliefs.

      And it’s been fun to share with YOU!

      Jeffrey

  9. Walt, please take back “most are washed up” and replace that with “many”. I see the good in our American People and the institution of freedom. Like communism, it’s the corrupt spiritual leaders that stink like rotting corpses. The blind leading the blind. Do you think the pharisees were only for Jesus time? Do you think the pharisees did not re-embody along with the wheat? Who would want to eat even the symbolic body and blood of rotting corpses?

    Our body of Religious American People might as well be rotting in caskets along with their leaders when they do not have the knowledge and discipline of action in applying the true power of Jesus message to their lives and the social problems we see on TV.

    How to solve gun control? How to solve unwanted pregnancies? How to answer the question of when live begins? How to stop the fighting over tax dollars? How to decide on our budget?

    WHEN our leaders have the Christ Mind as that mind in Christ Jesus and put it into action! We will see the Kingdom on earth as in heaven and the trumpets sounding as Christ having returned!

    Jeffrey

    • Yeah, Jeffrey, thanks for taking back the “most are washed up” and I agree with you that many are, indeed. I was not referring to an “authoritative Christian church” (if that’s what you got out of it): rather, I was referring to the fact that most of the Christian church regards the Bible as authoritative in some fashion or other (of course, they’re not all agreed on just how authoritative or what that even means). I’m more like you than you know as far as discounting the credibility of an “authoritative” Christian church. My own Christian journey has been a really zigzag affair. I am a follower of Jesus, my allegiance is to him, not to a denomination–though I am part of a local church. I take the Bible seriously and as authoritative–but I am not personally certain just how it all works together. When my wife and I became Christians, we were part of a very “fundamentalist” and separatist part of the church, waiting for the “rapture” to take us away from this sinful world. Then, for many years I was a leader in another church that was becoming very Calvinistic, but eventually realized how insular our leadership group was becoming and how “authoritative” we believed ourselves to be and how insistent we were at dictating how people should live “holy” lives…..which was resulting in people becoming afraid to be transparent and honest–not exactly what Jesus was looking for. Believe me, I am sooo thankful that God is gracious and merciful–much much more so than we humans tend to be. For the past couple years, I’ve been reading the four Gospels a lot, and it’s like I’m getting to know Jesus for the first time, even though I’ve been a “believer” since 1971. I barely understand what it means to be an apprentice (my word for disciple) to him, but I’m having the time of my life!

      • Do you think they will start serving marijuana in churches all over Colorado and Washington after Sunday service to attract the younger voters?

      • Walt,

        I think I owe you one this.

        You wrote: “I was not referring to an “authoritative Christian church” (if that’s what you got out of it): rather, I was referring to the fact that most of the Christian church regards the Bible as authoritative in some fashion or other”

        My pastor tells me exaggeration is lying. I think your interpretation of “out of it” was was more just me going overboard with my metaphor. Driving today I reflected on what I might think of my metaphor, To say most all churches have reached a point of uselessness might alienate my audience.

        It reminds me how I felt when my daughter’s Montessori Teacher told us something similar regarding public education and explained she’d taught in both environments. It really made me nervous that we keep our daughter in Montessori because I believe the same thing. But we must be practical and not shock those who are in the majority for fear they shut down close their ears “see no evil, hear no evil”.

        Regards,

        Jeffrey

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