Monday, February 20, 2012

Dennis On "Our Lives Are Not Analogies"

Our Lives Are Not Analogies




similarity between like features of two things, on which a comparison may be based: the analogy between the heart and a pump
Logic . a form of reasoning in which one thing is inferred to be similar to another thing in a certain respect, on the basis of the known similarity between the things in other respects.

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorThere were times when I thought the WCG/COG life was just one big analogy.  You know, taking something in real life and making it fit the kind of person I was supposed to be, the way I was to act or think or life I was supposed to live in relation to the Church, Christ, Jesus, God and the Kingdom.  Life was a parable.

The Bible is full of analogies where I was a seed and the ground was the life I lived depending on where I landed.  As a kid, when I first heard that analogy, I wondered why it was the poor seeds fault the sower of seed (God) threw the seed (me) on the rocks, the hard ground, the wayside or the gutter.  Hey!  That's not my fault!  You threw me there.  If where you threw me is a place where I cannot root down and hold on, that's not my fault!  You threw me there!  I would have needed another analogy such as "a seed is like a worm in the earth..."  etc...  That way, by analogy at least, I could have the quality and the ability of being able to move to where the environment was more conducive to my growth.  Gnome sayin'?

Of course, often we were sheep in pastures and had sheep-like qualities as both ministers and members.   We needed to be herded because our tendencies as sheep was to wander off.  We could be good sheep or bad sheep.  We could be smart sheep and stay put or dumb sheep and go over a cliff.  We needed to be fed as evidently we could not eat on our own or find our own food.  We were dumb before our shearers (boy now there is an analogy!), and often "opened not our mouths."   (Also a painful regret)   We had to be led to green pastures and shown when and where to drink. We were controlled by rods and staffs which I assume meant that it was ok for the Shepherd to whack us on the skull when our attention wandered.  COGers are well aware of this analogy and they are endless.  

Sometimes we forget sheep are kept just for sheering or for entrees.  I am just not comfortable with sheep hood as the way to define my life.  Maybe that works for others. 

Well, if we keep up the analogy, if not a sheep then a wolf.    Wolves, being the carnivores they are, are not the friends or to be the friends of sheep.  Of course, we need wolves or there get to be too many sheep and God made wolves too, so there ya go!  As wolves, one is a stalker, a lurker or a chaser of sheep.  At least this is what those who are by analogy Shepherds tell the sheep.  But mostly it is not so.  In real life I don't eat sheep or lamb very often so the analogy breaks down a bit. 

The Apostle Paul loved analogies even if he butchered them.  

Galatians 3:16
New American Standard Bible
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ.

Now hold your horses here a bit.  (Nice analogy those horses). 

 "Seed" in  this context means descendents as in offspring.  It is PLURAL already!  Paul says since the word is not "Seeds", it must refer to the once seed...which is Christ.  I don't think so!!!!!    Paul is saying if the OT meant descendents of Abraham it would say, "The promise is to Abraham and to his seeds."  Really?   Feed my sheeps?   If I say "feed my sheep," it means I have a herd of sheep not one sheep.  I'd have to say, "Please feed that sheep," to make it one sheep.  Anyway, I think Paul bunged this up and it never seems to have come up again. 

Paul goes on to produce one of the most jumbled analogies known to theologians.  In Galatians 4:21-31 he makes an analogy between Sarah the wife of Abraham and Hagar the slave woman and her children.  Somehow the children of Hagar end up being the Jews of Jerusalem and Isaac and his descendents end up as the "Children of promise," symbolizing the uncircumcised Gentiles who accept Jesus.  Really?  He uses Isaiah 54:1 to kick off his analogy but really makes a scripture mean what it never meant, which like Matthew, he was very good at.  

Somehow the Father of the Circumcision, Abraham, ends up the Father of the uncircumcised Gentiles.  Theologians , real ones, call this "over reaching."  The whole idea of hardened hearts needing to be circumcised is kinda creepy.

Paul makes all sorts of amazing analogies that tend to fall apart upon examination. But he so badly wanted to get the Gentiles into the Covenant, making things mean what they did not mean was raised by him to an art form.  

In 2 Corinthians 3:13-18 Paul goes nuts with an analogy that simply is not true.  He says that when Moses brought the Decalogue to Israel that he covered his face to hide from the people his fading radiance.  Paul then goes on to say "Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their heart but when anyone turns to the lord, the veil is taken away."  What a slaughter of context Paul makes with this analogy.  He makes it mean the exact opposite of what it did mean!  Any good Bible reader can discern that when Moses descended from the mount with the tablets of stone, his face shown.

Very impressive.  When Moses spoke to the people about the law and when he talked with God in the Tabernacle he did so with his face uncovered.  When he was NOT discussing the law or in the presence of God, he covered his face.  The point was the radiance referred to the divine and should not be taken lightly or used in a profane way.  
Ex 34:35

"And the Children of Israel saw the face of Moses,

that the skin of Moses face sent forth beams;

And Moses put the veil back on his face, until
he went in to speak with HIM. '

Paul, by analogy, tried to make the fading radiance to mean the glory of the law was passing away.  However, when Moses radiated, there is no mention of fading radiance and no veil when speaking about the law.  Paul reverses the intent of the OT to make his non-point.  Paul turns the veil into a blindfold over the eyes of the Jews when they read their own Scriptures.  As a result they miss Jesus in those scriptures.  Of course the reason they really missed it is because Jesus is not in those original scriptures and making a bogus analogy and making their scriptures mean what they never meant is not going to work. 

It's a dumb analogy and Paul has lots of them as he wrenches scripture from its context to present his Gospel, quite different from anything Peter, James, John or Jesus would have done.

Anyway, enough of Paul, we had our own modern analogies to herd we sheep.

I went to College at "The West Point of God's Work."  Nice analogy, but pretty weak.  I'm pretty sure the rigor at West Point was a bit more than that I found at AC, or "God's College."  

Once, I had a bad cold and was told wine was good for that.  I had not been a drinker of anykind before AC or the Church.  I grew up with it, but it was no big deal.  At any rate, I sat studying "the Harmony (now understood as disharmony) of the Gospels drinking wine out of a gallon bottle.  The first time I lifted my head to look up, I got dizzy and fell out of the chair..."full of the spirit."  It was hilarious.  Nice analogy.
I very often studied on Saturday evenings alone at my dorm. The Dean got wind of this "study thing you do," and told me I needed to get out more.  He made me attend Basketball games and be the flag boy in the white coat during the Pledge of Allegiance.  I hated it.  On top of that, I had to watch Dave Pack play basketball and I don't like basketball and about the worst thing you could do to me was make the spiritual life into a sports analogy.  From "gun laps" where we ran out of bullets to "team work," which I never really saw much of in reality,  I hated sports analogies  about the Christian life.  They can be abused.  God becomes the team owner, Jesus is the Coach and no matter how hard I tried, I was either the batboy or just a team member.  Members had it worse as they were mere spectators.  

So, I've been a seed, a sheep, a wolf, a shepherd, a snake, and a living sacrifice.  I've landed on fertile ground, sorta fertile ground, unfertile ground, rocks and ravines.  I've had roots and I've fallen over because I had no roots.  I have built my house on sand or on the rocks depending.  I have fallen down, away and flat.  I am once born, twice dead , a wandering star and vomit in the mouth of God...

Man!   All I ever really wanted to be was authentic, genuine and myself.   I only wanted to know what was true and what was not. I didn't want to be scorched by the dragon nor stalked and devoured by a roaring lion.   Raging wave of the sea?  Not me!  No better than a bunch of sticks that are only good to be burned?  Oh please. 

 Is that asking so much?  Yes, evidently, from religion it is asking way way too much...but life is not really an analogy. It is a gift and lasts about as long as the winds across the plains or an ice cube in hell. Religion needs the skeptic like the ocean needs the sand or all risk being swept away in a tsunami of confusion, error and mere compliance like a sheep before her shearers is dumb... Hey, great analogy!!!

Dennis C


Black Ops Mikey said...

Oh, Dennis: Stop bitching -- it could be worse.

In Tacoma, in the United Church of God, an International Association, we had a weekly church notice from the minister, Rex Sexton.

The thing you have to know about Rex is that he raised chickens. He also trained dogs. (He also hates cats.)

So in the bulletin, he compared us all to dogs who had to be trained by Jesus Christ.


So you think you had it bad. When Armstrongism dies, I guess we'll have to lick up the blood, just like when Jezebel died.

And to continue the analogy, it's clear we won't have eternal life because dogs cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.

Black Ops Mikey said...

You know, though, if you extend the canine analogy a bit, we can all see that Herbert Armstrong was a failure from the very beginning, based on Scripture:

Do not give that which is holy to the dogs.

Now lay down, roll over and bare your neck in submission, you dirty cur!

DennisCDiehl said...

DB said: "Oh, Dennis: Stop bitching -- it could be worse"

I wasn't bitching and the tone was not a bitching tone. Actually I was using the topic to get a chance to show the off course thinking of the Apostle Paul, which of course is not something anyone would entertain as having occurred.

I think you filter everything through your own personal examples which tend to erupt when various topics come up.

That's fine of course, but was not the the reason I wrote about analogies. No one's life is just an analogy to others who wish to sit in judgement of it, is what I meant in writing.

Jace said...

Oh Dennis, keep "bitching" -- it was an awesome read!

Allen C. Dexter said...

I agree with Jace. Didn't strike me as bitching at all.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Has everyone lost their sense of irony and not told me?

Anonymous said...

Hey Doug, Den, & All

I have followed our mutual "Blog's" for years . All your personalities come through in your writings. D. B. has an "Ironic" sense of humor. Its all friendly word play.


Byker Bob said...

Analogies are constructive if they are appropriate. Somehow, in WCG, the word appropriate was never fully understood or appreciated.

As far as the Paul stuff goes, basically the epistles to the Romans and the Galatians pretty much obliterate Armstrongist theology. To me, those books seem like they should be our best friends. New Testament scholars have written some very lucid and common sense commentary on them, and these days I see Paul not so much as being one of the troubling personalities of the Bible, but as the one who was actually able to map out "the Way" most effectively for the benefit of Gentiles, including us Anglo Saxon ones.

HWA totally dismissed what Paul actually meant and did, and attributed all of that to Simon Magus, who was a gnostic. Isn't it funny that of all groups extant today, Armstrongism teaches that you are saved by the special knowledge which only they can impart, and not by faith and belief in the saving power of Jesus? So, who are the real gnostics?