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2012 Safeguard Your Heart District Convention drama, “What Is True Love?"
07-03-2012, 08:08 PM
Post: #1
Question 2012 Safeguard Your Heart District Convention drama, “What Is True Love?"
For those interested, the 2012 Safeguard Your Heart District Convention presented the drama, “What Is True Love?” Two scriptures introduced it:

(Proverbs 22:3) Shrewd is the one that has seen the calamity and proceeds to conceal himself, but the inexperienced have passed along and must suffer the penalty.

(1 John 4:8) He that does not love has not come to know God, because God is love.

Here is my synopsis.

Portrayed are four adolescents, two boys and two girls, raised by Jehovah’s Witness parents and who attend the same school. Included are the parents of the two girls. While both girls are baptized members their attitudes are made to reflect the devotion lacking or present in each set of parents—which becomes more obvious as time goes on since the mother of the less devout daughter is less devout herself—affirming the saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Of the boys we know less. One is baptized while the other is as yet undecided and in the process of quitting the school football team. He also has a worldly friend still on the team who is decidedly more focused and interacts with him throughout the drama with remarkably sound advice for its source—which becomes all too obvious as our Witness lad demonstrates his directionless attitude except toward the babes with whom he flirts—the two main ones being the Witness gals of which the more dissident of the two is so flattered to contrast him to the geekish Witness lad who comes into the picture last. The characters are stereotypical and the plotline is tied strictly to the modern-day community of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The scene opens to the more devout girl listening to her ipod at a bus stop as a radio talkshow host gives relationship advice to troubled teens. The second girl arrives and begins to discuss in typical adolescent fashion the sportier Witness boy that most girls that age would find attractive—especially since he made news for his daredevil climb of a water tower at his previous school. Typical too is the love-triangle that quickly emerges as it becomes apparent the macho boy is more attracted to the more devout Witness girl showing him less interest than the one wanting him more.

As usual, the first to be exposed is how short lived infatuation can be when built on looks and first impressions. While the macho boy seems more attractive he has yet to commit himself to his religion and he has the serious character flaw that would have him say anything to attract our main gal player. Truth be known, adolescent love is blind. Making this more valid is the advice coming from her parents upon discovering her friendship with macho boy and they encourage her to follow their own religious example of waiting until she is past the ‘bloom of youth.’ In so doing they defer her romantic urges to an even more exemplary couple, former missionaries retired from the circuit work—the best any could ask for as role models of true love.

The turning point comes when text messages are revealed to our faithful young lass by her less-than-devout girlfriend. By showing duplicate messages sent to her, she exposes the macho boy’s unfaithfulness. Betrayed, our heroine visits the elderly role models in a hospital waiting room and they confirm what true love is all about. When they depart, the less attractive but more committed lad arrives with a bouquet of flowers for the elderly couple and after a brief discussion with the girl, gives her a flower from the bouquet, and this is seen as divine providence of the true-love advice she received from them.

In time the not-so-devout Witness girl marries unbaptized macho-boy while our more devout Christian lass marries the equally devout geeky boy. While the latter enroll themselves in the Watchtower Bible School for Christian Couples and become special pioneers, the former, less devout couple set up housekeeping to raise a family.

Time goes by and the girls meet together for coffee when it is revealed that the marriage between the former couple is in trouble. After encouraging her to patch things up, the audience is left to conclude how much better off our main character is for choosing to follow the advice of her more faithful parents and elderly role-models, despite having a less attractive but more dedicated husband.

Time passes again. Burdened with a second child the not-so-true-love couple’s marriage is on the rocks and heading for the divorce court. In contrast, the true-love couple’s biggest problems amount to the odd unlaundered shirt and clothes that are left on the floor. While visiting her unloved friend, our heroine recounts to her the elderly role model’s message that is that suggests that as long Bible counsel is applied (including greater commitment to religious structure), your marital challenges will never be worse than a somewhat messy house or misunderstanding over a serious health issue. The drama ends with her girlfriend taking her part of the blame for her failing marriage and as success grows on the horizon the same radio talkshow has its therapist giving advice on how to end relationship problems with separation and divorce.

My comments will follow.

Sincerely,

sw

"What cannot be understood is no object of belief.” — Isaac Newton.
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"The purpose of the Gospel is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” —Thomas Cahill
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07-04-2012, 09:05 AM
Post: #2
RE: 2012 Safeguard Your Heart District Convention drama, “What Is True Love?"
(07-03-2012 08:08 PM)smoldering wick Wrote:  For those interested, the 2012 Safeguard Your Heart District Convention presented the drama, “What Is True Love?” Two scriptures introduced it:

(Proverbs 22:3) Shrewd is the one that has seen the calamity and proceeds to conceal himself, but the inexperienced have passed along and must suffer the penalty.

(1 John 4:8) He that does not love has not come to know God, because God is love.

Here is my synopsis.

Portrayed are four adolescents, two boys and two girls, raised by Jehovah’s Witness parents and who attend the same school. Included are the parents of the two girls. While both girls are baptized members their attitudes are made to reflect the devotion lacking or present in each set of parents—which becomes more obvious as time goes on since the mother of the less devout daughter is less devout herself—affirming the saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Of the boys we know less. One is baptized while the other is as yet undecided and in the process of quitting the school football team. He also has a worldly friend still on the team who is decidedly more focused and interacts with him throughout the drama with remarkably sound advice for its source—which becomes all too obvious as our Witness lad demonstrates his directionless attitude except toward the babes with whom he flirts—the two main ones being the Witness gals of which the more dissident of the two is so flattered to contrast him to the geekish Witness lad who comes into the picture last. The characters are stereotypical and the plotline is tied strictly to the modern-day community of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The scene opens to the more devout girl listening to her ipod at a bus stop as a radio talkshow host gives relationship advice to troubled teens. The second girl arrives and begins to discuss in typical adolescent fashion the sportier Witness boy that most girls that age would find attractive—especially since he made news for his daredevil climb of a water tower at his previous school. Typical too is the love-triangle that quickly emerges as it becomes apparent the macho boy is more attracted to the more devout Witness girl showing him less interest than the one wanting him more.

As usual, the first to be exposed is how short lived infatuation can be when built on looks and first impressions. While the macho boy seems more attractive he has yet to commit himself to his religion and he has the serious character flaw that would have him say anything to attract our main gal player. Truth be known, adolescent love is blind. Making this more valid is the advice coming from her parents upon discovering her friendship with macho boy and they encourage her to follow their own religious example of waiting until she is past the ‘bloom of youth.’ In so doing they defer her romantic urges to an even more exemplary couple, former missionaries retired from the circuit work—the best any could ask for as role models of true love.

The turning point comes when text messages are revealed to our faithful young lass by her less-than-devout girlfriend. By showing duplicate messages sent to her, she exposes the macho boy’s unfaithfulness. Betrayed, our heroine visits the elderly role models in a hospital waiting room and they confirm what true love is all about. When they depart, the less attractive but more committed lad arrives with a bouquet of flowers for the elderly couple and after a brief discussion with the girl, gives her a flower from the bouquet, and this is seen as divine providence of the true-love advice she received from them.

In time the not-so-devout Witness girl marries unbaptized macho-boy while our more devout Christian lass marries the equally devout geeky boy. While the latter enroll themselves in the Watchtower Bible School for Christian Couples and become special pioneers, the former, less devout couple set up housekeeping to raise a family.

Time goes by and the girls meet together for coffee when it is revealed that the marriage between the former couple is in trouble. After encouraging her to patch things up, the audience is left to conclude how much better off our main character is for choosing to follow the advice of her more faithful parents and elderly role-models, despite having a less attractive but more dedicated husband.

Time passes again. Burdened with a second child the not-so-true-love couple’s marriage is on the rocks and heading for the divorce court. In contrast, the true-love couple’s biggest problems amount to the odd unlaundered shirt and clothes that are left on the floor. While visiting her unloved friend, our heroine recounts to her the elderly role model’s message that is that suggests that as long Bible counsel is applied (including greater commitment to religious structure), your marital challenges will never be worse than a somewhat messy house or misunderstanding over a serious health issue. The drama ends with her girlfriend taking her part of the blame for her failing marriage and as success grows on the horizon the same radio talkshow has its therapist giving advice on how to end relationship problems with separation and divorce.

My comments will follow.

Sincerely,

sw


I abhor Watchtower drama.

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then where does the road lead, that is paved with bad intentions?
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07-04-2012, 05:57 PM
Post: #3
RE: 2012 Safeguard Your Heart District Convention drama, “What Is True Love?"
The first word that came into my head as this drama unfolded was ‘stereotypical.’ The second was, ‘fantasy.’ When I say stereotypical I mean it was somewhat of a 15th century morality play, allegorically unimaginative where the characters personified virtues and vices. It was so severely overplayed that any religious group could’ve changed the venue to suit their community. Nothing endeared me to players except some humorous moments of frustration.

As for its predictable sprinkling of scripture one-liners, being once a member of this community found me stifling groans while repeating, “Do these people live in a bubble?” It then occurred to me that maybe while there was sincere effort to make this work, whoever got it in their hands on the editing desk did live in a bubble. So what else should I expect of institutional people writing about issues they’ve never had in an outside world they’ve never really lived in? Like a religious hierarchy deciding it would be safer to forbid by legislation the marriage of priests, when morality is so legislated, is not conscience strangled of its natural growth? How can any Christian grow beyond infancy? So whoever decided this script’s final draft took me from a remote glimmer of hope to a comedic, sanitized compilation of every edited experience the Watchtower has published. Could I expect any more? Why should I?

So I kept reminding myself, while the plotline had potential, any true-life, true-love experience was destroyed in the final cut by the sanitation department. So layered it was with Watchtower dogma that any outsider could see that this was a deliberate regrouping of loyalists—not to issues of true-love but issues that threaten the impressionable young within an ever failing Watchtower framework. It’s message was clear—nothing works better than a Watchtower marriage, and no couple can love more truly than those so blessed within because there is simply nothing outside but Satan’s world of the failed and failing.

Now while I deplore this psychological manipulation of the target audience of teens, it is not without sympathy that I mourn for those born and raised without a real choice given them as to whether or not they should commit themselves to this theology. After all, I did raise my children to believe. I did instil in them the commands to love God and neighbour. I did pray for their success in finding mates that were compatible to their beliefs. Am I about to throw out the baby with the bathwater? Do I not see and recommend the Bible to this day as the greatest guide to achieving true love? And is it not the greatest love story ever told? ‘Marry only in the Lord’ is still valid as is the command not to become ‘unevenly yoked’ with unbelievers. Yet I would still encourage my children to go out there, even stub their toes from time to time. And should they fall on their face, would I love them any less while they struggled to their feet on the road to maturity?

So, as my eyes panned an audience of rapped attention, I wondered within myself, “How many can see this the way I do? How many are crawling under their skin like me?” Or were most just feeling relief and validation given to them by such drama for every conflicting thought appeased by the conviction confirmed and portrayed by those acting it out? How many grasped at every straw of hope this morality play offered—to trust so blindly that this was coming directly from God through His trusted slave-class channel? After all, what will there be left to trust if the world goes on unfulfilled by Watchtower dogma?

Of course there was no telling who else was thinking so deeply. Maybe some, and I could only hope that my children were—or were sufficiently distracted with other realities of life that I might yet be thankful I never pounded into them such blind obedience. And so I endured the ever-present message that choice must give way to loyalty and loyalty can only be rendered as an expression of trust—an ever-repeated mantra to those declaring themselves faithful and discreet while I play my hand cautiously so that my innocence should not become too obvious to their loyalists.

Never mind that the whole issue of true love of which John writes is intrinsically connected to our relationship with God—that such love is given to us only through Christ, and that anyone asking for our trust beyond that is a fraud. Never mind that the opening words of John 4 say, “do not believe every inspired (spirit directed) expression, but test the inspired expressions (spirit direction) to see whether they originate with God.” (my brackets) And so I test. I attempt to sit through this ‘true-love’ enactment which I have yet to see in real life between any couple, and I cringe to imagine anyone seeing this drama in ignorance of Watchtower dogma and their immediate alienation from any realistic feelings of true love.

As I conclude this summary, I can only say that we cannot know that true love exists between any couple in context of 1 John 4:8. Nor can we say that any love is as strong as it appears. God knows it can only grow with a lot of work and commitment. What I will say is that those who so unabashedly gush over each other in front of others are more natural-born gushers than they are truly in love. I am not a gusher, and became somewhat relieved that I broke my hand before attending this convention so that I wouldn’t be given strange looks for not clapping for every ridiculously shallow reminder of obedience to something that has failed its spirit-direction since proclaiming it was so spirit-directed.

"What cannot be understood is no object of belief.” — Isaac Newton.
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"The purpose of the Gospel is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” —Thomas Cahill
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