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Thursday, June 7, 2012
Dennis On "Members Who Challenge Ministry-More Rare Than Hen's Teeth"
Members Who Challenge Ministry-More Rare Than Hen's Teeth
My dad is a hoot. I just spent a few days with him in his 97th year. I love my dad very much and respect his example of a simple life well lived. I have never seen him get angry or heard him raise his voice in anger or even frustration, he had and still has that wonderfully passive aggressive side that leaves him winning his point and leaving others wondering what happened.
Dad had the privilege of being in Dave Pack's presence in Spokesman's Club when DCP was his pastor. DCP hauled my dad all over upstate NY visiting almost to his point of exhaustion. I finally had to ask DCP to not depend on dad so much as he was getting older.
Anyway, the Spokesman Club event. DCP was chiding all the men for not knowing their scriptures by heart and not learning their scripture cards. Dad raised his hand and spent a few minutes defending the guys (one of our traits evidently) and reminding DCP that these men had to work all week and unlike him , did not have the luxury to pick and choose a days work. Nor did they have the time to simply memorize Bible verses. Woo hoo...."Mr. Diehl, I'll speak with you at the break." Dad can't remember what happened, but it was not memorable. Either it never came up again or dad was insufficiently frightened into never saying such things again to remember it.
Our best DCP moment came when my brother in law was dressed down by DCP at a YOU Basketball game. It seems the new Pastor who replaced DCP in Rochester and who was a much more gentle and compassionate soul decided to ordain my brother in law a deacon. No biggy. We had three full time pastors, two local church elders, two deaconesses and one deacon in the family. All tolled, we had 20+ immediate family in church. Anyway, DCP came over and sat with my brother in law telling him that had he thought Ron was worthy of being ordained a deacon, he would have been the one to do the ordination and that he did not agree with the recent upgrade from the new pastor. (My brother in law now runs the entire sound and light program for a local megachurch and is as helpful to them as he ever was in WCG) At any rate, the great moment for an answer arrived....
"Well Dave....(DCP hates not being called Mr. Pack) , If I did not think you had s&%# for brains, I'd care what you thought."
Caring what you pastor thinks might be respectful at times and perhaps ok when you find yourself in agreement with him. But having the ability to look a man who thinks he, not you, has all the insights, answers and understanding one needs , in the eye and say that is a gift from the Deity.
I only had one time in my entire career where a member went toe to toe with me over what I taught (as I had been taught) and that was over the way and time the church kept the Passover. I was 23 years old and peddling fast. In the members view, we should stand not sit while taking Passover. We needed to keep it at a different time, thought the when escapes me at the moment. I don't even believe much in the archaeological or historical reality of the whole Exodus story at this point in life, but back then it was traumatic. If it was not one thing, it was something else tearing at the local congregation. Dr. Hoeh came and we sat for hours with the people as Doc explained where they were wrong. (No one was right but that's another story.) I dozed off during the most boring of discussions I have ever had to sit through. When it was over, Dr. Hoeh told me on the way home, "I don't know what their problem is, but it is not the Passover." I was very close friends with the couple up til then and mercifully was moved to Kentucky to start over again so I did not have to soak in it very much longer after that.
But other than that, no one ever much talked to me about what church taught and most just went along for the ride. I had so many personal church applications of the Bible I thought were stupid, I had enough of a time giving practical advice and staying out of the HQ cross hairs. Joe Tkach told a member in Ky that he must deleaven his grocery store. I told him that was unnecessary and not to worry about it. My ministerial assistant ran crying to HQ about me. Nothing ever came of it but from that experience I learned that being a self righteous little whip and going behind one's back was annoying to me personally.
I often wonder how many of the membership in Weinlands PKG or Pack's RCG ever think to stand up to the minister either literally and express how they really feel, or simply don't do what they are told. How many really "sent it in" as Dave demanded, or stored their food and such for Christ Second coming ala Ron Weinland. Man, now we see that RW carried gold and diamonds in his pant pockets while traveling because Jesus was coming back soon. Sounds like having faith also needs to be buttressed with a little coin. I'm thinking he bought those with church funds apart from a normal salary, but let's wait and see. I know another presiding Evangelist type who used WCG funds and not his own to purchase Gold for himself as an investment, but I spare you. Or so I am told by the accountant who had to account for it.
Why those who should be clear thinking and fairly intelligent human beings should let a Ron Weinland get away with being so wrong most of the time or a Dave Pack building a College and multi million dollar edifice while teaching they live in the end times is beyond me.
Their ability to react, speak up or express themselves must be on hold. I can't imagine they all agree. And while I understand the safety of sitting down on the outside but standing up on the inside, you'd think all we have learned collectively about just being told what to think, believe, do and contribute would have taught most at least to say what you mean and mean what you say, even to the minister lest it go off track and leave you speechless.
Anyway...just musing on a day off.
Dennis C. Diehl