Since I have the perhaps lamentable tendency to chronicle many of the places where I happen to attend lectures or meetings , because this tendency is widely known, and because there are people I know who want to have a reasonable complete idea of what takeaways could be found in the six seminars I attended, although the last two were so blended together without a break that I will only count them as five, with the proviso that the last seminar lasted a full two hours in length, I have consented to write this reasonable complete set of minutes. I do wish to state at the outset though that as I did not attend either of the two seminars directed at the teens, for which I hope at least some of the young people may be grateful for, and I also missed the opportunity to receive a book called Strategies For Success by answering questions in a seminar that would have appreciated it, which would have been an opportunity to gain more books to read, because I chose to attend an excellent speaker’s workshop instead, there will be seminars whose materials I do not know in detail, and if anyone who attended those seminars wishes to make their own comments to supplement my own notes, I would not object. I would also, at the outset, like to comment that these are minutes and not a transcription of the lectures, as several of the seminars included hundreds of pages of material that was discussed quickly and that would be far too much material for me to include in any meaningful sense that I could type out or that anyone would be willing to read.
The first seminar of the day dealt with the promises given to Abraham, presented by Mr. Randy Stiver, a pastor with strong roots in Oregon who I had last seen on the Feast of Trumpets when I visited one of his congregations near my birthplace in Western Pennsylvania . His talk focused on the fact that the blessings to Abraham were not merely racial in nature, but included the grace of God given to all of humanity through Jesus Christ, and that the descendants of Abraham were commanded to be a blessing for others as part of their obligation for being a chosen people of God. The workings of divine election are always meant to serve to the glory of God by serving the interests of the expansion of His kingdom. The material chosen for this particular seminar, rather unsurprisingly, focused on various passages between Genesis 12 and 22, as well as references to Malachi 3:1, and Romans 9 and 10, which reminds us of the spiritual components of the blessings to Abraham. I wonder if the British Israel society would be willing to send me any free books in exchange for an honest review, as is my fashion.
The second seminar I went to dealt with lessons on how our speakers can improve their messages by looking at the writing and editing of legal briefs, which I found to be a fascinating analogy to the efforts of a speaker who wishes to expound upon God’s law and its application in our lives, and quite an accurate one in my own studies on those subjects, to be sure. The seminar was given by our local congregational pastor, and began with a well-told and excellent story about Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. My pastor provided a few scriptures to speak about the sort of speaking that we should do and the approach that we should take, namely Daniel 12:1-4, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15, 1 Peter 1:3, and Revelation 20:6, but most of the message consisted of a very close extended metaphor of how to make a concise and successful legal brief, the need to treat the audience and their time with respect, and the importance of elegant and concise writing and speaking, a firm command of text and context, and the ability to lead the listener to our conclusions and their authority to act on them before we arrive at the conclusion ourselves. Now, I suppose the question remains what extent I will be able to act upon this sort of knowledge.
The third seminar was given on positive principles of Christian manhood, by a minister I do not happen to know personally or well but one of whose relatives is a member of our local congregation. Some parts of the message were matters I found troubling for personal reasons, including the assumption that the speaker made that being single for a long time made one less likely to marry well because of the likelihood that one had gotten involved in damaging sexual immorality that one would avoid by marrying young. Of course, had I not been subjected to an immensely savage and abusive upbringing, I would not likely have the issues I do with intimacy or the immense difficulties I have faced in finding a loving marriage. That aside, the talk was very candid, very personal, and viewed Christian manhood in a larger context that included giving love and respect to women and children, serving as best as one is able to do, developing a balanced and complete manhood, and looking not only at the stages of one’s life but also passing on God’s ways to others as a mentor. His concern with broader aspects of ethics and morality and the paramount need to live a godly life and have one’s example serve as a model to others is counsel I take to heart, as much as I despair over people treating me with the honor that I deserve.
After lunch, the first seminar I attended was on end of life planning, which turned out to be broader in its scope than I had expected. This particular seminar was given by our local congregational pastor as well, but only because the original speaker, his wife, had to leave town upon the birth of two fraternal twin grandchildren to take care of the new little ones and their mother. Although the seminar discussed how to divide up one’s possessions and plan one’s estate to avoid as many estate taxes as possible and avoid as much conflict between one’s children as possible, and also included some comments on Medicare and Social Security, and the fact that the handout was a very lengthy and extensive guide on how to be a grief helper to one’s family by being well-informed about matters that are often dealt with after death and not sufficiently planned ahead of time, the meeting as a whole was not grim or depressing. Indeed, there were a few jokes, some lighthearted comments to ease the tension, and the seminar also discussed ways that we could help others out and encourage others to find what resources exist for various matters, including mental health, a particular area of personal interest and importance, that brought the subject beyond end-of-life planning to simply dealing with one’s conditions in life as best as possible.
The fifth and sixth seminars of the day, which ran together in one very long and very rushed presentation on some thirteen different lines of evidence that demonstrate the travels and identities of various tribes of Israel from the Middle East to their eventual destinations, was an immensely entertaining presentation given by the speaker of the first seminar, making for a well book-ended presentation. The thirteen lines of tribe tracking tools, as the minister referred to them as, included the following: The biblical superstructure of history, Israelite history, self-evident prophecy, national names, archeology, tribal and clan names, blessings of best places and things (the gates of one’s enemies and so on), legends and traditions, art history, linguistics, historical maps, tribal/national traits, and New Testament mentions. Although the presentation was a bit rushed, it was well done otherwise, and having supporting documentation with plenty of material definitely helps. It almost makes me want to hunt down some Yair Davidy books to read and review, although I don’t know anyone close by that has those books conveniently. Suffice it to say that even if the seminar ended late, it was still a worthwhile way to pass the day, even for this son of Levi .
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