Hierarchy vs. Conviviality Stories: Church /
@ K. 2005 12 20
Lying abed, catching another Z after the telemarketer has awakened me, having caught at least a few hours since carrying the DVD of Fanny and Alexander to the postbox to return to netflix.com at 4 AM, I hear a knock at the door.
Most of the year here in Florida I sleep in nothing but a tee shirt, but last night was cool so I am also wearing a maroon sweat shirt and red tartan pants made in China, socks too. As I stumble to the door I can see a pair of shadowy silhouettes through the frosted glass. Ah ha! Don’t tell me the Jehovah’s Witlesses are finally bringing me my Bible! I open the door and lean out. If my morning breath crushes them, they’re the ones who knocked while I slept. They’re Jehovah’s Witlesses all right: a male and a female, each somewhere between fifty-five and seventy: salt of the earth, sensible shoes, sensible clothes, looking like they dressed straight from a Gunther Grass potato field. But no, they are not the pair that promised me my Bible.
“I’m asleep,” I tell them.
“You don’t look asleep,” says the man.
“What can I do for you?” I ask, knowing the answer. The man is holding a copy of the Watchtower. And he starts his spiel: the spiel we’ve all heard uncountable times.
I interrupt him. “You guys still haven’t brought me my Bible,” I inform him.
I was hoping, against hope, against doubt, that he would ask me in what circumstances I’d been promised a Bible; but then I’d have to invite them in, seat them while I went to rinse my mouth, rinse my eyes, look in the mirror … I’d have to worry that I should put on underwear, or other pants, as my dick regularly peeps through the fly in these Chinese sleeping pants. I’d have to make coffee. I’d have to wake up.
“We promised you a Bible?” he asks. “When? About two weeks ago?”
“At least two months ago,” I answer. “Longer.”
Now the guy should see that salvation isn’t the only false promise they make. They make simple promises, keepable promises, on door steps, and don’t keep those either: not in my case.
“Oh,” says the guy, recognition dawning: “You must be the guy we were talking about at Judgment Hall this morning.”
Could be. I sure hope so. Though I doubt it.
“You wanted a Bible?”
“Yes,” I answer.
“We’ll bring you one. I promise.”
The last guy promised too.
And of course my purpose in all this is to tell the story of that previous guy. (I keep getting interrupted, silly things one must do to stay alive. While I breathe, I’ll peck away, till this, and a great deal more, is done.)
No, wait. Another, related, story should shoehorn in here: Fifteen or so years ago I was new to Sebring and to this trailer park. I’ve swapped sites several times, but I’m still in this same park. I’d been broke for a long time. I’d been alone on the road for a very long time. I was probably as horny as I’ve ever been in adulthood. A new trailer comes in. I see a blond, with a decent bosom, an acceptable rear end, and an indecent number of yappy toy dogs. Oh, she has a husband. Ah, he has Alzheimer’s. She’s clearly fed up with wiping his chin. I flirt with her. Noblesse oblige. We walk together, go biking: though most often the bicycles were needed to find her poor husband who’d pedalled himself into traffic again. (She could have been steering him toward the highway deliberately.) That last jib relates to the fact that she told me, in bold voice, that she was a good girl. Much as she wanted to, she wouldn’t let me make love to her while her husband was still alive. That was the first occasion on which she cited God to me. Meantime, would I wash her hair? while she bent over against my crotch? Did I mind if she took her blouse off in front of me? she had to change, all sweaty. Meanwhile, me with my rod in the cleft of her buttocks, she bouncing her tits around the trailer, her husband is looking in the window, clearly bewildered. God knows the last time he saw her tits, or had his dick against her flesh.
She cites God to me on other occasions. It turned out that she was a Witness for Jehovah. She was in Sebring to attend clinics on Witness: the Temple was just down the block. Ah ha! She was a bell ringer!
What do you call a deceased Avon Lady?
A dead ringer.
But each time I tried to cite God to her, she changed the subject.
See, she was quoting “God” indirectly. Not even indirectly just through the Bible. My experience of her suggested that she was pretty thoroughly illiterate; but she could hear. She was citing “God” through her trainers. She was a Witness in Training. Now: if she had had any direct epiphanies, don’t you think she would have cited those first?
Well, I have experienced direct epiphanies: starting when I was about twenty-one. Indeed, I’d had my most recent shortly before I’d met her.
In the lab, the researcher with the most current evidence is supposed to get the floor. He’s not supposed to be interrupted, ganged up on, shouted down, by the group with the oldest evidence, evidence already long-upgraded if not altogether thrown out of the evidence room: refuted, discredited. Ah, but in church the opposite applies: just like in school, in politics, just like practically everywhere. (Don’t expect science labs to sustain their ideals either: not where money is at stake.)
Indeed: that is the very essence of the story of Jesus. The priests in the Temple of Jerusalem made their living repeating old tales. They couldn’t, and didn’t, admit new testimony.
What do you have that’s new?
heard in an antique shop (McLuhan)
I couldn’t get a word in edgewise with that lady, not on that subject: not without taking physical hold of her and gagging her. Finally I did take — verbal — hold of her. I told her I had something serious to discuss with her. Oh, she started making excuses: how busy she was. I did though get her to commit to an appointment: my place, ten the following morning.
She was on time. “Ahem,” I began.
Another newcomer walked by. “Oh,” my friend cried, jumping up and running to this other woman, “I have something to show you.” And she pulled out some fabric samples. Maybe she tried selling them to the same people whose door bell she’d just rung for Christian witness.
The two women came and made themselves at home at my patio table.
“Get out,” I said. “And don’t come back.”
2006 01 02 A few days ago the second Jehovah’s Witness to offer me a free Bible returned: with a different partner: and with my free Bible! I invited them in, took my Bible, thanked them, glanced through it, finding a nice map of Paul’s journeys, a small concordance (none necessary, good ones being now online), and print much too small for me to be comfortable with at my age. So I handed it back. Now they’re promised to bring an edition with larger print.
But I still haven’t told the original story, and don’t feel up to it now. But briefly: They knocked while I was in bed, dressed in a night shirt I had made a few years ago: breast pocket, short sleeves, much like a very long tee shirt, of striped blue and purple. I told these men in terms I plan to return to duplicate in some detail, that I myself carried original messages from God, and that no one, certainly no church, had yet heard a one of them. I accused them of mouthing old prophecies while being deaf to new: just like the old Jews in the old Bible and the old Jews in the new Bible.
I realized that I was declaiming, that my voice was projecting from my diaphragm strong enough to knock people down, my eyes were blazing, God knows what my hair looked like, and I was standing there, barefoot, in a freaking gown! How Old Testamenty is that?!
2006 02 01 I’m noting a pattern: they come around the first of the month, a few months in a row; then you may not hear from another single one for years.
Sure enough: I see the Watchtower mag is dated 2005 Feb 01. The fellow’s who’s come a few months now in a row is named Casey. He’s nice, I like him. Yesterday, Jan 31, he brought his wife, Julie. They’re passing around leftover issues. I guess their converts get the new issues.
Casey specifically asks me to read specific articles, I glance at the first line while still under his inspection. This morning at breakfast I decide to actually sample a whole article. As I do of course I also follow my adult-long habit of analyzing the mag for editorial policies. With a little effort any half wit can learn to estimate basic biases in publications: this mag is Roman Catholic, this rag is Commie, this rag is designed to sell cigarettes to union members, this rag is designed to show the princess how never to find her clit … And the Watchtower, which I’ve been getting handed since I was a kid, sure has changed. It following doggedly along a mere decade or two behind TV advertising. If integration began piercing the south in the 1960s, a mere century after Lincoln ripped slaves from their masters, and then abandoned them to the lanes and byway’s of the deflated masters wastelands, and token wogs were appearing in bastions of privilege by fifty years ago, then by the 1980s the rare n- gets a spot not just on some once a week variety show, but gets a regular gig on some regular show: as though the culture, the economy, the society were actually integrated. Ah, but by 2006 every show, every commercial models a world in which integration has never not been the total living fact. When I was first handed a Watchtower half a century ago, it may have been blue collar, it may have been illiterate, but I don’t remember it being wog. But then everything in 1955 was depicted as “white.”
[Bowdlerizing K., 2016 08 03 Offensive terms go dosidos in fashion.]
Illiterate: I quote:
Do you find it difficult to believe that the Creator considers you — just one individual among earth’s billions — personally precious? Then not what the prophet Isaiah wrote about the billions of stars in the billions of galaxies in the vast universe around us.
Isaiah didn’t write about billions of anything. The word is a recent coinage. Centuries after Isaiah, the Romans tripped over themselves, stumbling on thousands. There were no millions, and certainly no billions let alone trillions.
What about the infinity of stars? There is no responsible theory that stars are infinite. Billions and billions of galaxies, many with billions and billions of stars, is effectively just as far from infinity as 1, 2, 3. An estimate of stars visible to the naked eye on a clear night numbers around two thousand. Humans not used to dealing with such concepts can’t distinguish thousands from billions from infinites.
I also believe that it’s false to say that Isaiah “wrote” anything. “Writing”? Seven or eight centuries BC? Wasn’t he from the still oral period of Jewish history? Did David “write” his Psalms? Or did he utter them? someone writing them down as a tradition centuries later? The Bible didn’t get inked onto parchment till c. 500 BC: where there earlier writings? There’s no way to test textural accuracy when Jesus spoke in one period and someone writes down what he’s supposed to have said eighty years later. I’ll check further on this and report back.
I gotta do run some errands: just note the intellectual dishonesty of the whole enterprise.
2006 02 16 They woke me again this morning, same pair: Casey and his wife Julie. They’re quickening their pace: two weeks now between visits that had been monthly. Don’t get me wrong: I like them. Today they invited me to their Kingdom Hall; but they still haven’t brought me the promised Bible.
Casey talked about Jehovah wanting to be worshipped. I said that I understood why Lucifer wants to be worshipped (I understand why Tom Cruise wants to be worshipped); but why does Jehovah, if he’s really supreme, give a damn what humans do or think? since we’re such idiots?
Sweet, sincere Casey was off balance only for a moment. He resumed his disquisition on a cosmology in which Jehovah, who created all, owns all, and who will one day again rule all, wants to be worshipped.
My question simply didn’t register and he returned to his mission: a nice example of many things: including Learning0 [Link to be restored]; including how Default Settings reset to block out, to censor, experience …
2006 02 25 I missed noting which day, but Casey (Julie remaining in the car) and another fellow came, at least a week ago (yet it didn’t seem to be right on top of the previous visit), this time with my Bible: not large print but certainly bigger pages and larger print than the usual handout. The copy is used, rumpled, written in … pages folded over but more like from being in a car wreck than from deliberate turning down page corners as a form of book mark.
I asked Casey to confirm that the gift was mine, that it was voluntarily offered, no string attached … If it was, I’d take it and keep it, thank you; if it wasn’t take it back right now: and leave.
No, no, it was mine. So then I introduced myself, introduced K., Macroinformation, Deschooling … Explained that I’d been an unlistened to, interrupted, relayer of divine messages for nearly half a century, that all of my messages were at K. (together with a bunch of other stuff) (including blasphemies), that no church had ever helped me relay any of the messages, that I worked with Ivan Illich, priest supreme, the most Christ-like man I’d ever heard of let alone met … That it was his being thrown out of the Catholic Church that made for me a sure sign that he was truly a saint as well as a genius …
I explained that churches were the enemy of truth, that churches, like states, assured that ignorance and mislabeling of everything, misrepresentation of values, would perpetuate. That I wasn’t going to accept any instruction from any church, wouldn’t accept any invitations to attend any church (single-time visits to alien creeds or rituals excepted — I’ll go to one mass, to one bar mitvah …).
Casey’s companion this time was quoting the bible left and right. Then they also quoted (misquoted) Einstein: another chance to confuse the god of magic with the god of order.
I thanked them for the Bible again. They said they’d visit again: so long as the door was open. I said it nearly always was. They left.
Just now I looked at an article from the hand-out Casey and Julie had given me on the 16th, What Does God Require of Us? In particular Casey had pointed to a pair of illustrations: Armageddon, post-Armageddon. In the before picture the wicked are scattering during a meteorite shower, the after picture shows a group of people, the foreground group working in a garden: a white man with brown hair digs with a shovel (the curse of Abel), a black man bears sheaves (more curse of Abel). A white woman bends with a tray of flowers. An oriental woman holds a potted perennial. A little blond girl with a basket holds an orange out to the black man (whose hands are full).
So: the JWs picture paradise on earth, post-Armageddon, as integrated; but they show it involving labor! In the illustration the labor looks voluntary, it doesn’t look backbreaking. The workers look clean, not over-taxed.
Milton depicted “our” mythical life in the Garden. Unlike his predecessors, Milton imagined that Adam and Eve did have to do a bit of work: a tad of pruning here and there. Paradise did have a tendency of over-grow. Milton did not picture the sons of Adam shoveling or bearing burdens; that came After the Fall.
2006 03 15 He’s back. Last time I told him a bit about myself. I told him about Ivan Illich. I showed him my domains. Today he remembers none of it. New information taught him nothing. He’s gone home and reset all his defaults to the JWitness program.
Indeed Casey cited monotheism’s self-protection clause: the Bible is the Bible, the Bible is what we say it is, the Bible is not anything except what we say it is, it means what we say it means. Nothing may be added to it. Prefer repudiated messages, priest-controlled, to new messages, new interpretations, new information.
And always prefer the unenlightened priest to the defrocked saint.