By C. J. Williams
Note: This is an opinion series reviewing and analyzing the monthly JW Broadcasting program of Jehovah's Witnesses. It is a positive review in contrast to the consistently negative criticism of our opposers who can find nothing good in anything we do or say. While this review does not try to hide the warts, it provides an encouraging viewpoint of the program. This review is not spiritual food, but a detached analysis of the formal presentation and information without lying and negative spin. There are no personal attacks on the speaker or justifications for mistakes here.View the March 2016 JW Broadcast Program
Read the March 2016 JW Broadcast Transcript
Theme: What we can do to improve our Christian personality.
Presenter: Geoffrey Jackson, governing body member.
Talk: How Can We Maintain a Positive Viewpoint In Trying Circumstances?
Special Guests: Isaac and Jean Morani (Sic?), Peter and Sue Schultz.
Housebound, but finding strength
Illustration of the straw and the rafter
Music video: Imagine the Time
How to Make Memorial Bread
Greeting from Ethiopia
Geoffrey Jackson's Demeanor: As always, brother Jackson is easy-going and relaxed, not particularly animated, but fatherly or like a wise uncle. His tone is typically matter-of-fact, but gentle. As demonstrated at the Royal Commission, he is very knowledgeable with the Scriptures, at least as much as any of us, and very familiar with his Bible as any Jehovah's Witness should be. All of this speaks to a humble, unhypocritical man.
Body of the Talk and Interviews: Brother Jackson brought out 3 things that the Scriptures tell us we can do to get encouragement in trying circumstances: 1) "Count your blessings," 2) "Look to the future hope; see the bigger picture," and 3) "Get enough rest," not letting TV and the internet rob us of it. He also said we need to read accounts in the Bible.
Later, he highlighted Elijah's struggle with feeling all alone in the world, but that Jehovah pointed out 3 things to counteract Elijah's depressive feelings: 1) Anointing Jehu would solve the problem. 2) Would give him a help in the form of Elisha. 3) Assurance that he was not alone, but there were 7,000 others. (1 Kings 19:15-18)
Brother Jackson went on to interview Isaac and Jean Morani to give us the survival tactic of drawing strength from the experiences of others. Jean Morani said two things helped her: 1) the love and care of the brothers and sisters, and 2) reflecting on the men and women of the Bible.
After showing a video, he also interviewed Peter and Sue Schultz. Sue highlighted that the spiritual food is essential, pulling your focus away from yourself, seeing what others are going through and refocus on what lies ahead and on Jehovah's sovereignty and sanctification of his name. Peter showed that focusing on what happened to you can make one bitter and depressed, but let it mold you, learning from the experience.
What do all these things do for us? First, they show that Jehovah cares for us, and secondly, they supply us with grounded survival tactics while under adversity.
His Personal Experience: What endeared me to brother Jackson in this episode was his relating his personal trials succinctly and in a detached manner. I found this very unassuming and understated; in other words, humble. He listed off his trials so as not to appear as if they were greater than anyone else's. His wife's battle and death due to breast cancer, his near death due to typhoid fever as a missionary and his losing his eyesight due to melanoma spoke to much larger struggles than he made them sound, even his own struggles with feelings of isolation and sinful inclinations.
These things certainly spoke to his right to be a governing body member. And really, this brought to my mind Paul listing his struggles. It was, in fact, both necessary and appropriate that brother Jackson relate his experiences due to the scripture he cited a 1 Peter 5:3, 4 and the nature of the talk. Without it, one might be able to accuse him of hypocrisy. Ultimately, it puts to rest those who claim that our brothers in the governing body are not qualified.
Someone who knows about typhoid knows that it is caused by ingesting (typically in microscopic amounts) the feces of another infected person, often due to poor sanitation and hygiene and results in a weakened state with mild regurgitation. Does this mean that brother Jackson had poor hygiene? No. All it would take is contact with an unclean surface and inadvertently wiping something from your mouth, or eating food prepared by someone who went to the bathroom without washing their hands. This is common in third world countries, one of which he was a missionary in at the time.
First Interview: When brother Jackson called brother Maroni "Sacki", it spoke to his genuine familiarity and affection for him. He didn't make a deal of it, but simply assumed it as acceptable. The interview was to demonstrate that we can learn from the experiences of our brothers in sisters. Indeed, Isaac Morani shared the lesson he learned about learning about another culture, saying that Jehovah cares about each and every one of his people, around the world, dealing with each one individually on a personal level, allowing them the chance to say, "Jehovah is my friend".
Jean Morani learned to rely upon others. She saw Jehovah's loving hand in dealing with her through the brothers and sisters and drew strength from Job 42:5, which taught her that it was not about her, but about Jehovah's will and his sovereignty. She also saw it as an opportunity to grow and be trained and corrected by Jehovah.
First Video: How those who are housebound find strength through the help they receive from the congregation.
Second Interview: How Peter and Sue Schultz survived the trial of living through a bombing at a kingdom hall in Australia and a doctor who refused to operate on Sue because of her stand against blood transfusions before the hospital liaison committee existed. They go on to relate the outpouring of love from the brothers and sisters both local and around the world as well as the lessons they learned. They are truly a happy, devoted, loving couple who learned a lot from their experience and maintained their integrity through it all.
Second Video: A drama depicting a brother learning a lesson about how to view others as one's self with weaknesses and strengths, applying the illustration of the straw and the rafter. (Matthew 7:3-5)
Experiences: Brother Jackson presents encouraging experiences from brothers and sisters he interviewed at Bethel, that show that we can endure great adversity and maintain our faith in Jehovah and his organization.
Third Video: A music video about imagining the future. I know many brothers and sisters appreciate these street corner songs, so my preference toward more rhythmic melodies with more vocal oomph, like our kingdom songs, is merely a personal preference.
Fourth Video: This provides the recipe for the memorial bread. It is as follows:
1 cup (240ml) wheat flower
or substitute with . . .
or another similar grain
add 1/4 cup (60 ml) waterConclusion: Geoffrey Jackson is a fine example of humility and virtue. He is at once approachable and a well-spring of experience. He is clearly a man whose words match his actions. His talk was very encouraging and informative, providing the viewer with essential survival tactics that are practical and sensible. All of his guests were fine examples to follow. Both Jean and Sue were full of experiences and joy. How he interviewed them is how we can draw out others in our congregation to find strength from their examples. All of this provides things to carefully consider and that make for good memories to draw upon when we are experiencing trying times.
Mix until the dough no longer clings to the sides of the bowl.
Gently knead dough on a nonstick surface for about 5 minutes
Separate into two pieces
Roll the dough until it is about 1/8 inch (3mm) thick
Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet
Perforate dough with a fork
Place in an oven preheated to 450° Fahrenheit (230° Celsius)
Bake for approximately 8 minutes
As usual, the video presentations were outstandingly produced, being far better than anything I've seen come out of Christendom, even their cable documentaries. A stark contrast from the over-the-top country preacher accents and shouting of flock-fleecing televangelists. It was eminently watchable and full of practical information.
But don't take my word for it. You get a deeper sense of these things by watching the video and reading the transcript.