Do You Tend to Want to Have a Voice...??? Part Two-The Waffel
David C. Pack, self proclaimed Apostle of the Restored Church of God in Wadsworth, Ohio has been forced to edit an article in his Ambassador Youth Magazine about whether teens should or should not blog or have personal websites. The article went GLOBAL after bloggers got wind of it on WhatReallyHappened in an article entitled "An Open Letter to the Teens in the Restored Church of God."
Now the offending article forbidding teen AND adult blogging and websites in the RCG, contains the following introduction in response to the nearly totally negative reaction expressed over the original article. It states...
"Welcome to AMBASSADOR YOUTH!
This magazine (www.thercg.org/youth/), along with realtruth.org and thercg.org, is part of the world's largest biblical websites, which receive millions of visits and downloads each year.
The article you are about to read has received a tremendous response, ranging from those who agreed, those who liked parts of it, and others who took issue with the topic. As you read the article, please keep in mind that it was written specifically to the youth of The Restored Church of God, with the purpose of setting an internal policy.
While many religious organizations routinely set unbiblical internal policies for its membership (such as "dancing is prohibited" or "drinking is a sin"), The Restored Church of God sets policies founded on basic biblical principles as taught by Jesus Christ. In this case, our intent is to explain the widespread misuse of blogs.
Please feel free to browse our web pages and read the vast library of books, booklets, articles, magazines, reports, lessons and audio material we provide free of charge."
May as well make lemonade out of lemons, I can hear them say. I remember one rather narcissistic lawyer telling me once that he didn't care what anyone said about him, as long as they spelled his name right. He had been on 60 Minutes and came to this conclusion. In a similar way, the Apostle now is using the bad press the best one can in such cases by offering a look at even more of what he has to say on his vast blo..., I mean website, which of course is a truly legitimate use of the web. We're talking truth here folks. No, we are talking the only Biblical opinion as given by the only true Church under the leadership of the one true end-time Apostle. While one is no longer told they can go to the world or the splinters (other fractured parts of what once used to be the Worldwide Church of God), you still can if you don't like the edict, which still stands.
We see here that there is some offense over what was meant to be an "internal policy" becoming so public. One only need to point out that the reason it did was is that it was placed in the text of a publicly available youth magazine that the Apostle hopes everyone will want to read. Mr. Pack claims to have the largest Biblical blo..., I mean website, in the world, which of course is a prime example of what he means by "a legitimate business," on the internet. Mr. Pack also notes that while many churches set unbiblical internal guidelines on such things as dancin' and drankin', this edict is clearly based on sound Biblical principles. They actually are many of the same "clear" Biblical principles the anti dancin' and drankin' crowd use. Just read the blogs, er writings, of such notables as Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, King David of the Psalms, James, Peter, John or Paul for the backing you need to justify anything you wish to do or wish not for others to do.
The original article said,
"Let me emphasize that no one--including adults--should have a blog or personal website (unless it is for legitimate business purposes). When this policy, now being instituted, was discussed with Mr. Pack and other Headquarters ministers, there was not a shadow of doubt in anyone's mind that blogs are something youth should not be doing in any way.As has been said before, Jesus Christ and His Church have standards. Those who desire fewer standards should go to the splinters or to the world."
Replacing this edict which has a bit too much detail as to where it originates, how it was decided and seems to sneak in the idea of "including adults," is...
"Although useful for certain business and professional purposes, this article makes the point that RCG youth, and even adults, should not personally blog or maintain the type of personal websites described above."
We have gone from "including adults," which was never the context of the real article to "even adults" which still forbids adults from disobeying this "internal policy," but somehow seems less harmless and more designed to make adults more willingly compliant.
It never seems to dawn on the Apostle or the original author of the article that the conclusion of the matter is offensive, intrusive and controlling. Read these reasons why teens and adults can't be trusted to blog or have personal websites again!
"Should teenagers and others in The Restored Church of God express themselves to the world through blogs? Because of the obvious dangers; the clear biblical principles that apply; the fact that it gives one a voice; that it is almost always idle words; that teens often do not think before they do; that it is acting out of boredom; and it is filled with appearances of evil--personal blogging should not be done in the Church. It is clear that it is unnecessary and, in fact, dangerous on many levels."
Why control is important in such organizations might be something to be considered at another time. "Sorry about how it was said, but it still stands," is still the bottom line.
Since all blogging and websites can't be wrong, or the Apostle could not be doing such a WORLDWIDE work, we read, "Is this article saying that every blog in the world is wrong? No, of course not! Again, there are professionals and specialists who use blogs to serve a proper and beneficial purpose. " This, while true of many sites, clearly allows room for himself as a professional Apostle who is a specialist of some sort in all things Biblical, as long as one does not garner information from the web or blogs that contradict the conclusions drawn by the Apostle about just what exactly is truth.
Why is this an important topic? It's important because it is an example of yet another way that those who fear information, explanations and ideas that do not fit with their own way of being, agendas or thinking, use to control the flow of information. There is nothing wrong with suggesting guidelines for teens to think about when blogging or having websites, but that falls more into something that should be between the teen and the parent, NOT the teen and the Pastor. Had I had the internet when I was a younger man thinking that I needed to find the "truth" of this or that topic, I would not have come to the conclusions I did based on what I now see was very limited information.
Our government is frantic to control the internet as it does give people a real voice along with some pretty keen eyes to keep watch on those that abuse and seek control over others. The internet wars over just who and how are just heating up. This one small victory by bloggers, who noticed a small, rather insignificant church attempt to keep teens and member adults from taking advantage of the internet is just a type of what can be done by those that notice. If one choses to be a one man show, then one has to realize that as that one man show offends, declares, tries to control, intimidates and gets to have the final say in everything, others may notice and take exception.
The question was asked in the Restored Church of God article, "Do you tend to want to have a voice?" and it was asked to point out that humans wanting voices are vain and generally spewing useless blather. But yes, actually, I do wish to have a voice. A voice along with eyes and ears protect myself from bashing into things and being run over by things and people I otherwise would not have seen or heard coming. Have you found your voice yet?
Dennis C. Diehl