Friday, August 3, 2012

Dennis On: "This Has Been a Test You Can't Fail"

This Has Been a Test You Can't Fail
Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorHaving started a new job at a new business I found myself having to take the HIPPA  (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ) new employee course.   It took about an hour online and had a mere 15 question test at the end.  Of course, if you don't pass the test with 80% or take it again, you don't work until you do.
I have always been the kind of person that cannot stand being "wrong."  Not that I haven't been wrong plenty of times.  I just hate being so.  Tests are not something you just pass.  Tests and exams are something you slaughter and get as near perfect as possible.  High School was straight A and College was 3.98.  Perhaps my insecurities require this of myself, but I also love learning and believing one has learned all there is, as in the "truth" of the Church of the Bible, in hindsight, just never worked for me.  The one thing I appreciated about the Apostle Paul was his use of the term "Present Truth" and not simply "Plain Truth" as if it was all sewed up and complete.
When I took my National Therapeutic Massage Exam they only tell you if you passed or failed and you either get a license or you don't this time around.  The seconds it takes for the computer to correct it are agonizing but I waited knowing....."Well Mr. Diehl,  you passed. really passed."   LOL  That's just the way I am. 
As an EMT, I was told to take an Advance Life Support class for three days.  Didn't take long to see I was out of my league.  Most were ER nurses and I was a EMT.  I read the book which I had not seen until then like crazy during the entire three day seminar.  Then the test.....The teacher took me aside and said,  "I have good news and bad news.  You passed and I'd love to have you teach the class.  However, you are only an EMT, so can't do that."   I smiled....   It felt good as usual.
Now lest you think I'm being a know it all,  (I simply enjoy learning well what I am supposed to know) I'll share another experience that gave me pause for thought.  A little bit of self disclosure is good for the soul.  For lots of reasons not hard to figure out, I ended up with a boat load of clinical depression in the 1990's. Ministering had turned into a nightmare.  I kept so many things inside and close to my chest.  I simply did not understand what was happening or what to do, if anything, about it.  I ended up having to get some personal help due to the classic symptoms of depression.  In my own view now after all these years, depression is repressed anger that one feels they either have no right to express (be a good minister and have faith) or the price of expressing the anger is to high (you're fired).    So I went for counseling.
In the course of this experience I was "tested,"  which if  you have never had that done, can be a bit disconcerting as testing usually comes up with answers right or wrong.  Psychological testing is a bit tense in thinking what it might show.  I can fully understand why some blow it off because it hits pretty close to home. 
At any rate, I was given the test.  Here is how it went.
1.  1,2,3____
2.  a,b,c_____
3.  2,4,6_____
4.  1a,3b,6c______
I think you get the point.  I was mortified.  Do they think I'm stupid?   But in short order the combos got more and more complicated until by question 18  I could see the relationship in my mind but could not physically put it down on paper.  I have never had such a feeling.  I knew the answer but could not physically write it down.
So I got that one wrong.
When it was "Let's talk about this," time, the counselor said,  "You did well. In fact, you did amazingly well.  You like me saying that don't you Dennis don't you?"   I said, "Well sure, with how I have been feeling, it feels good to do something well."
He said,  "Dennis, it doesn't help much to be the smartest man in depression counseling..."    I just looked at him and teared up.  I was exhausted with World Wide Church of God drama, loses and confusion.  All I could say was,  "I know....can something help me get out of the hopeless experience."
I got some help. Learned some things about myself and then went on to see the whole WCG world fall apart and every congregation I ever pastored tank and disappear. 
Anyway, back to the HIPPA test.  You had to get 80% and I am not into the kind of material this test required, but I did have to pass it.  I missed three!!!  I felt my stomach churn.  I'd have to listen to all those videos over again.  Spend another hour taking the test again.  Plus....I had failed something!!!  That is just not acceptable. 
Then I noticed I could save but not submit finish.  I didn't want to "finish" because I did not think I'd pass.  So I saved it and the test popped back up.  I could see the pink lines saying  "Incorrect!"   Ugh....   And then I noticed what I had not seen before.  "Select another answer."   Really?   Another chance?  Could it be this easy after all self talk about failing it?    I picked another answer, you know the one you just knew was right to begin with but didn't pick, and the pink line changed to Green!   Whoa.....  I corrected the others and pressed submit.   It popped up with getting 10/10 and 15/15 and showed me a nice certificate of completion.
Wow....wouldn't it be amazing and evidence of the World Tomorrow if whenever one made a mistake and knew it, gave a wrong answer and wanted to correct it or screwed up and wanted another chance, you simply had to go back to the question and try again?   No criticism.  No scoffing.  No recrimination.  No embarrassment.  No demerits.  No penalties.  No being made fun of.  No criticism of oneself.  No nuttin...   You just get to correct it and the first wrong answers were as if they had never happened.   Dreaming I know.  Frankly, this is the kind of real Deity I can conceive of as opposed to the one who says he is "jealous" or has a need to throw one into either an ever burning hell or one that crisps you up quickly.  
"Select another answer...."   Wow....It truly would be the Kingdom of God and Heaven on Earth. 
I don' know if the Apostle Paul really wrote the following.  It doesn't sound like him when you read his other rants and raves against others who disagree with him, but let's say he grew up too and got to "select another answer." 

I Corinthians 13
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails

Love is a do over without all the baggage and humiliation.  The only human I find in the Bible who ever actually did this was the father in the story of the prodigal son.  He seems to have simply said to the son he loved   "select another answer." 

Nice....really nice.......

Dennis C. Diehl


Allen C. Dexter said...

I had a similar experience when I took the test for my insurance license about three months ago. I could mark questions I wasn't sure of and go back to them before the end. I did so, and changed several answers after careful thought. Passed easily that way.

Byker Bob said...

Dennis, for some time I have believed your optimal or utopian view of life. I believe that on planet Earth, God has us on a spiritual equivalent of Star Trek's "holodeck" on which we do make mistakes, are evaluated, and do get to correct them. We get to dish out or exude our own version of karma and then experience the same from the reverse perspective. And,the best thing is that the blood of Jesus Christ covers our mistakes. The process is called mentoring, and it's the way that God guides His children. You don't get it from church, it is only available through a personal relationship with God.

Religion is manmade. It's a series of rules and do's and don'ts, often not even Biblical in the strictest sense. Some say we are not under the law, yet merrily go about acting and expecting others to act in a Pharisaic manner. Paul compares Sinai to Hagar (not Sammy or the slacks, either!) The law is for sinners. Christians walk in the Spirit, the nine fruits of Him as described by Paul.

This stuff is so positive, and so encouraging on a daily basis. It has been difficult arriving here, though, because of all of the negativity, fear, and rigidness inculcated in all of us by Armstrongism.

DennisCDiehl said...

Well it got me thinking how different the biblical formula is. Screw up or don't get it the first time through in a very small slice of time and pay for eternity.

What does one learn from failing and being rejected and pushed away? That makes no sense to me. If one has the best interests of someone in mind, they simply wish them to learn what works or what the "correct" (I hate to use that word) is. Everything in the Bible is out to get you. Frighten one into compliance. Keep track of offenses. Railing against those who probably genuinely do not see the point of others or agree with the explanations..etc.

Paul rates disagreeing with him with disagree with God. Well so does Dave Pack and Ron Weinland, but that is such a lame concept.

Anyway, I enjoyed taking a test and actually learning better from it by it inviting me to a redo than just getting nailed. seems like a message is in there somewhere

DennisCDiehl said...

I agree BB. I am not an atheist. I am a skeptic and agnostic I suppose, highly suspicious of human constructs and one man explanations about how it all is. Simply put, I don't trust anyone because of my own personal experiences, which are uniquely mind.

I have hopes, don't feel threatened to some eternal punishment and if there is a Deity, which I do not understand, I do need it to not just be the Jewish, OT/NT version. That seems too small and too cultic in our age of knowing how vast the universe is, the idea we may just be one of many and it takes no time at all to lose sight of the earth in the vastness of it all.

DennisCDiehl said...

And I suppose theologically, i have a problem with seeing the crucifiction/resurrection as merely a weekend inconvenience to Jesus as he knew the outcome and came back quickly better than ever. As one of my clients asked me, "shouldn't a sacrifice stay dead." That got me thinking. Jesus got off easy with regardst o how crucifiction really works, died quickly and didn't stay dead. All in three days. Every OT "Type" stayed dead we'd have to admit. It was not the worst death in the world and "he was marred more than any man is simply not true. Col Crawford , the English Soldier captured by the Wyandotts of Ohio paid a much higher price than the story of Jesus but I spare you.

The story as told in the NT is like a passion play where it all works out great and is not anyway, as I can see it, the worlds most amazing sacrifice. God may have given his son, but it was just a short show and He got him back good as new. That is not a sacrifice and a sticking point with me theologically.

Byker Bob said...

Dennis, I come away from my reading of Paul with something completely different than what you've described. WCG taught us that we had to filter him through Moses to be able to come away with "the truth", and I believe we tend to let that taint our views long, long after leaving WCG. My own understanding of New Covenant Christianity is that we read it first, THEN read the Old Testament to understand what came before, and why Jesus was "necessary."

Paul, like any other human messenger from God, was flawed and we can see and understand his flaws deeply from his own writings.
Actually, he had been a murderer, albeit one murdering because he believed he was being zealous in the Pharisaic tradition. Of course he experienced human anger, just as did other Biblical figures, including Jesus Christ himself. But, I believe that if we listen carefully enough, look closely enough, we can learn much about God through Paul, and the practical applications of what Jesus brought to humanity.


Byker Bob said...


The problem and pollution with which we all must deal results from HWA and many of his pupils equating themselves with Biblical figures. For years, my own thinking was along the lines of "Well, Crap!!! If this stuff is happening in our times today, the same stuff must have been what motivated all of the Biblical characters!" The flaw in that is that for every "real" thing of any value at all, there is also fake or counterfeit.


DennisCDiehl said...

I am also uncomfortable with the meaning of Jesus coming through the one man/mind of Paul. My objections to Paul run deep and have more to do with the politics of Paul than who he may or may not have been. I don't believe that how Paul is presented is necesarily who Paul really was.

Even in the story, Paul gives no credence to Peter, James and John or as he notes, "I learned nothing from them," and "So called Pillars.." Long story I guess but Sunday school Paul is not the one of history or the story as told.

I suppose I would no sooner have God and life explained to me by one man as I would say there just one kind of wine or cheese lol

DennisCDiehl said...

a simple read of Galatians 1-2 will show that Paul..

Said he was called from the womb like only Jesus and Jeremiah before him.

Called Peter James and John, "reputed to be pillars,"

Said his gospel alone was the right one and cursed anyone who said otherwise.

Said he got his message from Jesus personally which would have to have been in his head and visions

Said he learned nothing from the Jerusalem church leadersand never went to see them to begin with as Luke said he did.

Said that God was revealing Jesus through himself.

Said he did not confer (contrary to Luke) with anyone but got all his stuff from Jesus personally.

Went to the wilderness for some unstated reason we can only guess about for 3.5 years

Totally tells a different story about his conversion than Luke tells us in Acts.

Opposed Peter but doesn't tell us what the problem was. Personally I think Peter could see that Paul was eating meat offered to idols which he agreed not to do in Acts 15 but made fun of in I Cor 8,10

Said he preached to them when he was ill and wondered why they didn't think he was still the angel or even Jesus they thought he was.

If Paul explained Jesus to Gospel Jesus, Gospel Jesus would have said..."huh?"

If John had Revelation Jesus to Gospel Jesus, Gospel Jesus would have said.."huh?"

When Paul explained hallucinatory Jesus to Peter, James and John, as well as the Ephesian Church, they all said...."Huh?"

Anyway, it's all fascinating lol

Byker Bob said...


Much of what you enumerated can be explained by context. However, if you make a list, as you have here and on other occasions, a person only seeing the list would probably reflexively be troubled right along with you. In fact, pat yourself on the back for one inspiring deed! Had I not seen your list, I might not have been inspired to study Paul as deeply and regularly as I have been over the past months.

I've seen similar lists made concerning Yahweh God of the Old Testament. When you see some of this stuff, it really bowls you over. You find yourself saying, "Wow! Did Father God really do all of those things?? How horrible!" But, when you read His OC law, and you learn what some of those punished were doing or had done, you come away with a different picture.

I had a boss years ago who always told me to take a walk in the other guy's moccassins. I think that a lot of what we discuss here is a matter of perspective. So long as we're all seeking healing, we all should come out OK.


DennisCDiehl said...

"Much of what you enumerated can be explained by context."

These are in context are not my observations. I am just reproducing the observations of theologians who study such things as opposed to many ministers and sincere laymen who just read it.

I understand both sides of the apologetic fence and for now choose to explore the doubts and texts in their context and taken as spoken at face value.

Luke in his Acts of the Apostles makes every effort to tone Paul of Galatians down and make him look closer in belief and loyalty to the Jerusalem Church than he , in fact was. The NT is incredibly political with the tension between all the guys barely contained. They did not all believe the same Gospel and each went out of their way to make sure others followed them . None of this is unlike the politics we see today in the COGs and all her various leaders telling everyone that they are more correct than any other. Nothing new under the sun and all that.

Who Wrote the New Testament by Burton Mack is enlightening on these matters.

Byker Bob said...

Luke was most definitely Paul's apologist, no doubt about that.

And, it's good to question and to hold people and writings accountable. That's a good old Jewish principle called due dilligence.

I read the Bible, various versions, the study footnotes, and also read opinions by non-clownlike
theologians. I also try to be objective in my evaluations, but not to take objectivism way out of balance. I believe that I've found something that actually performs for me in my life, and has brought both healing and blessings.

The thing is, any kind of ministry involves either educating people out of mindsets, or teaching them new mindsets. That's something I realized at an early age that I am not very effective at. However, I am somewhat adept at sharing, and have even been known to serve up an occasional thought provoking nugget. What keeps me engaged with this blog is the fact that points are often made that cry out for a counterpoint. Checks and balances. There's too much about Paul that is awfully good and tremendously edifying to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I hope he's accessible for conversation in the Kingdom, because I'm going to have a lot of questions for him!


DennisCDiehl said...

One of the nuggets of life is getting over the idea that one has to win someone over to another view they haven't come to hold themselves through their own due diligence. We dig in emotionally and take all views not known or just discovered as either at threat or somewhat liberating. But that is up to the person and totally depends on where they are in their own life.

I find the reason people get defensive is a bottom line issue. Let's face it, we develope our beliefs to address our absolute fear of death and what happens then. Is this it and why go through all these "lessons" for nothing? Our faith system keeps our fear of death out. If that belief is challenged, we risk readmitting our fears and so we get defensive. All quite normal.

In some way I see the entire Bible as mere hearsay. How can one ever know what really happened thousands of years ago or who really said what? We are asked to believe the unbelievable and trust in things we have no proof ever really occurred or happened or were said. We might say that is what faith is, but we'd not feel that way about Hansel and Gretel. We don't feel that way about the Illiad or the Oddesy. It's just stories and dialogue we have no way to prove really happened. I guess I'm too Dutch.

But the search is the journey. I like the search. Seems I remember it being the glory of a King to search out a matter....

Byker Bob said...

Yep. The journey is the thing, not just getting there.

I think we agree about beliefs, but for different reasons. At one time, my mind was locked up tight as a drum. Then I had my own road to Damascas experience.

It changed everything!


DennisCDiehl said...

well I don't know about Damascus but I did fall on my ass lol. Just didn't hear voices or see a bright light

It's just nice to chat ideas and theology a bit and get off the repetative rants about others who are never going to change but do provide us theotainment

Reality said...

Congratulations, Dennis!

Amidst all the bad news one hears day by day, it is most welcome to learn some really good news.

I expect you will excel in your new endeavor, and be richly rewarded many times over.

Your view of corrections upon making errors does indeed sound more Godly than the ramifications in the Bible or even local laws we learn to live with.

I enjoyed hearing the better alternative, and hope this catches on in other areas besides.

DennisCDiehl said...

Thanks Reality, I tend to see analogies in simple experiences. Getting blasted, corrected, accused, embarassed etc does not and never has been a way that I respond to getting the point. It makes me more angry than sorry. Was more for talking with my kids than spanking, as were my parents with me.

I have a few times in life where I simply wish the offended party would have said, "would you like to try another answer." Seems simple to me. However, they are a rare breed and I truly think I am more that way myself than have experienced it from others.

There is a mantra used in meditation that one uses to clear the air in such circumstances. It goes...

"I'm sorry, I apologize, Please forgive me, I love you..."

If someone said that to me, i truly feel I'd say, "that's ok, I love you too." I have not ever had that approach taken with me however.. lol. oh well, Life is what it is and does what it does.

All negativity is some form of non-acceptance and that is the truth.

Anonymous said...

"The one thing I appreciated about the Apostle Paul was his use of the term 'Present Truth' and not simply 'Plain Truth' as if it was all sewed up and complete.

As I have continued to grow, looking back I find the insinuations behind "The Plain Truth" to be arrogant, insulting, and stultifying.

In the first place, it's a totally anachronistic view that the Judeo-Christian religions are the wellspring of all truth. In ancient times, civil and religious were all mixed together and there was no difference between moral law and civil law, so it's not obvious that ancient wisdom such as the golden rule and "Don't murder" didn't simply come from empirical observation. However, after a certain point religious "truth" has a way of becoming cemented. In more recent times, if it were up to religion, we would probably still believe other ancient "truth" too: everything would still be made of only four elements, all disease would still be caused by bad air, and we would all still be living on a flat earth at the center of the universe, while the sun extinguished itself in the ocean every night only to mysteriously reignite somewhere else the next morning. Any truth that the Judeo-Christian religions do have came in early on, after which it required the death of many good men to bring in any more of it (i.e. Jesus, Giordano Bruno).

Second, philosophically speaking there's an infinite amount of truth, but most of it is not knowable, which is why history and science are constantly being rewritten as new evidence causes our guesstimates of reality to shift. In 100 years, a lot of things we consider to be true today will have been proven false, either in whole or in part. As they say, the more you know the more you realize how much you don't know. Given this, to say you have the fixed truth (the only truth or knowledge humanity needs, by the way), which was all sewn up in ancient times is absurd. Then, to say that your organization is the sole blessed possessor of this secret fixed truth (and that it was lost for 1,900 years only to be rediscovered 70 years ago by an unemployed salesman just by thinking about it for a while) is not only beyond absurd, it has also got to be the height of arrogance.

Furthermore, to suppose that all truth worth knowing is static, finite, and already known is an intellectually claustrophobic concept. It deceives the holder of such "truth" into believing he has no room left to grow. It's like saying there are no more good ideas left. "We've thought of all the good ones already, so you can all take your thinking caps off now." Come to think of it, this is a great idea for how to start a cult!

Finally, it's insulting (not to mention contradictory) to say that this secret truth is plain and obvious, but only to those who possess half a brain and the vaunted (and imaginary) holy spirit. The truth is rarely plain or obvious, and those who are convinced that it is frequently bet the farm on it and lose. If truth were plain and obvious, Herbert Armstrong would have failed in the nonprofit sector too because his patent falsehoods would also have been plain and obvious.

To proudly proclaim that you alone have the ancient, fixed, and obvious truth is equivalent to boasting about how intellectually backward you are.

For good people to do evil things, that takes religion. -Steven Weinberg

Anonymous said...

I think most people like to do well on tests!

And, in a way, I think that most religions tends to exploit this human proclivity by setting up a scenario with winners and losers who end up with blessings or cursings, depending on whether you accept the religion.
That way, a person gets to be a winner, saved, blessed, better than other people, more loved by God, etc.
To be fair, though, there are religions which don't have such a black and white dichotomy. Even a small slice of the Christian brand has the belief that all will be saved in the end(although maybe with less status and rewards in the afterlife, lol!).

We make mistakes and learn from them.

That's so simple and basic, and common-sense. Religions and culty belief systems twist and portray lots of common-sense notions into "super-duper mind boggling awesome awarenesses", in order to make the believer ultra grateful to the dispensers of the belief system.
They "fancy-up" lots of common sense notions, leading the True Believers to think they are the holders of "astounding insights" that others are not privy to.
(For example, I knew a gal who spent her life savings on involvement in one particular cult, and since she'd kept telling me how much it was helping her(without being specific), I finally asked her what was the best thing she'd learned there, and she answered, "To wear comfortable shoes") Well, I could have told her that for free!

We make mistakes and learn from them.
That common-sense notion need not be bottled in some fancy dressing as if it came from some "Hidden Valley"

Although someone posited that "laws are for sinners", I think laws have mostly been adopted for the protection of the non-law-breakers.
Some say that the laws in the USA are Bible-based. That's true from narrow perspective, but the larger perspective is that biblical laws were an evolution of principles of conduct which predate the Judeo-Christian era.
And I think religions have generally been created and evolved because of the perceived needs of rulers, in their efforts to control their subjects.

We make mistakes and learn from them. It's common sense.
That a Jesus (or any of a LONG list of other Messiahs, Saviors and Sons of God) needs to come into the equation, is senseless.
That YHVH had to send his "ringer" son to get butchered as part of some "marvelous plan of redemption" is also senseless.

But, we make mistakes and learn from them.
Man inventing a story about God making a "creation-mistake", and having to deal with it and the family pain it caused, is simply man creating a helpful macro-cosmic archetypal myth.
The Bible is not "the inspired word of God"
It's a man-made creation, the reasons of which are complex and diverse.
It does have good points, as in the story of the prodigal son and some of the descriptions of love.
Thanks for bringing them up, Dennis.


DennisCDiehl said...

"The Bible is not "the inspired word of God"
It's a man-made creation, the reasons of which are complex and diverse."

That's the first reality that most simply can't get past. We have been Sunday Schooled into suspending critical thinking when it comes to this one book.

Few study it's contradictions and when they see them, they apologize for it, relabel it and blame the one who notices. People understand today how risky it is to trust one guru or the opinions and tales of one spiritual leader for all the truth of life. Then we turn right around and quote Paul or a very small handful of real or imagined authors who did or didn't know Jesus.

It has always been a shame that Jesus himself never wrote at thing. It's all written by others and , once one understands it, not even by eyewitnesses.

Anonymous said...

Dennis's conclusion said: "...Love is a do over without all the baggage and humiliation. The only human I find in the Bible who ever actually did this was the father in the story of the prodigal son. He seems to have simply said to the son he loved "select another answer."

Nice....really nice......."

That was an interesting post, Dennis. The Prodigal Son story is a parable and I've understood the father to represent God the Father, one son represents those of God's Church and the other son represents "the rest" of the world.

Both sons went through different trials in life. In a sense both sons are prodigal and in the final analysis both sons "win" as in the exam you mentioned.

Time will tell, but perhaps Paul's following words will yet be fulfilled and benefit every human being who has ever had the privilege to be alive since the first human being created to live in this world as we know it:

"To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, NOT IMPUTING their TRESPASSES unto them..." 2Corinthias 5:19

Or, as you concluded: "...Nice....really nice......."


DennisCDiehl said...

I "Love" the concept on the bill board south of town here that someone put on their barn.

"Love Jesus or Burn Forever in Hell."

Lol...that's a great religion or a great interpretation of one loons view of his religion.

"Come give Daddy a hug son...or I'll kill you..."

DennisCDiehl said...

"To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, NOT IMPUTING their TRESPASSES unto them..." 2Corinthias 5:19

I understand that but it comes with an "or else," disclaimer it seem to me if you read many other scriptures about how and who gets in and who doesn't.

Steve Kisack said...

Dennis, I agree with you on many things, but what are you going to do with the ones who really don't want to pass the "test", or who try to continue to change the "answers", or, those who "scew up" and don't get it "right" the 100th time? Should they continue to live many lives over to see IF they're going to get it right? What if the "Prodigal son" wouldn't have returned "home"?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful lesson - thank you

DennisCDiehl said...

"but what are you going to do with the ones who really don't want to pass the "test", or who try to continue to change the "answers", or, those who "scew up" and don't get it "right" the 100th time? "

Part of my view is that, in reality, many answers are acceptable and there is no ONE RIGHT SET OF ANSWERS one has to arrive at to arrive. There are more "all of the above" answers that are acceptable , IMO, than we allow to others. So sometimes it is more important to be tolerant and see many points of view can be acceptable for someone is in life when they are there.

Religion goes nuts trying to get conformity to answers whether they are really correct or not. That's what Churches do. That's why there are hundreds of spinters and slivers. No one is tolerant of not their answers.

There is a vast difference between finding the answer to "Just where is the true Church," and "What does personal spirituality mean to you?" One implies you gotta get it exactly right and the other allows one to experience their life in their own shoes, their own experiences and their own lessons learned their own way.

I do not believe there is ONE right way to find in life and you better find it or pay some horrific penalty for eternity. That is just human fearmongering and compliance seeking.

DennisCDiehl said...

I have always found.."We are not divided. All one body we. One in hope and doctrine, One in Charity" to be both inaccurate and unreasonable babbling.

Byker Bob said...

I don't happen to have my Bible with me right now, so I can't quote chapter and verse. But it most definitely tells us that we will be judged by the standards which we use in judging others. That's pretty darned scary even for an enthusiastic Christian! If I were one of the legalist Judaizers that Gary keeps us aware of, I think just the thought of it would keep me quaking in my New Balance 574's!

Also, there is apparently a second unpardonable sin! If we do not forgive others, we will not be forgiven ourselves!


DennisCDiehl said...

I find it important to just let people be who they are and as they are. Those who propose righteous standards rarely keep them themselves and if you do it is simple opporessive. Becoming one's authentic self is the goal to me. Becoming a compliant clone of someone else is not what I wish to be.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Another great Plain Truth article, Dennis. Or, should I say "Present Truth"?

I cannot believe a loving Father will throw any of his children into a Lake of Fire eternal damnation just because they did not believe Herbert W. Armstrong and the WCG was God's only true servant and truth. And definitely not after seeing the fruits of the WCG - allegedly God's end time work of witnessing and warning to a world that largely has never heard of him or his "end time' work.

Best wishes to you Dennis. Keep on keeping on in this test of life which you cannot fail.


Byker Bob said...


I've often said that if during the rapture or resurrection, my first glimpse is one of HWA smiling, standing next to Jesus, then I'd probably want to swan dive into the Lake of Fire. Our salvation wouldn't be worth a tinker's damn.

But, the way Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven, I really don't believe we have to worry about such a scenario. Like yourself, I believe that the vast majority of humanity will be saved! That's the only pattern we could deduce given a loving, mentoring God.

Allen C. Dexter said...

So, god has to forgive me and I have to be saved from being a normal homo sapiens. What nonsense!

Paul just continues that zoroastrian dualism BS that the Jews absorbed a great deal of while in Babylon and he put the icing on the spurious cake by wholeheartedly bringing Mythraism into what we call Christianity.

Constantine put the mafia style power of the Roman state behind it all and we're left fighting over different interpretations of the same old nonsense.

Salvation, indeed! Weren't no original sin. Redemption is a lie.

What people accept as an account of Jesus and his apostles wasn't invented until centuries after the supposed occurrences from word of mouth accounts flavored by conflicting schools of gentile and jewish thought.

We have much more factual accounts of our own nation's founding and some of that has been shown to be fable. More would be fable if we hadn't lived in an age of printing and journalism. There weren't any Dan Rathers or Reuters news services in the first, second and third centuries. It was the old whisper game on a worldwide basis. A lot of those whisperers would make Gerald Waterhouse seem profound by comparison. Paul comes as number one crackpot when one really looks at it coldly. But, the whole biblical thing was crackpot from Genesis on.

Anonymous said...

Apparently God is so mighty, that after creating a flawed product(homo sapiens), He came up with the most powerful loophole ever(that they have free will), so anything that goes wrong with them is all their fault.

That loophole is so big, that even the biggest truck that God can invent could drive right through it.

And then He goes and one-ups Himself by inventing the "sleaziest salesman tactic EVER"!-
(He garners sympathy and lays the guilt-trip on with the "YOU MADE ME KILL MY SON FOR YOU!" thingy.)

Good to know that God is "taking the high road"!

That explains the sleazy tactics that His followers who also claim to be "taking the high road" use!


Anonymous said...

Allan: Basically you have the HWA view taken one step further. Kinda ironic, eh?

DennisCDiehl said...


I belive if one just reads Paul as is one would be able to see he is more a Gnostic than a Gospel guy. Inspite of the current order of the NT, Paul wrote first and never read a Gospel story in his life. He never heard the Lord's prayer and never quotes and earthly Jesus.

It is the filters of our background upbringing and experiences in organized church that tend to cloud this reality

Byker Bob said...

I've found that that works on a bunch of levels, Dennis. If you assume Paul is anything, any you read his writings from that perspective, there are things that will leap out that appear to support your stereotype. And, it's true of all things.

Once an adult gave me a hookah pipe. In his generation at college, they apparently used them to smoke pipe tobacco. Yet, knowing what college students and others used them for during my own time, I found myself wondering if he ever used it to smoke marijuana.
I rethought all of his behavior, and it began to all make sense.

You can do that with a lot of stuff.


DennisCDiehl said...

Noticing that the author of most NT doctrine and information about who and what Jesus was , never met the man in the flesh or quotes him seems more than filtering him through strange ideas about him.

The man never met Jesus in the flesh. Peter,James and John had real problems with him and the Ephesian Church of Revelation probably tried him as a false Apostle and put him out.

That's not filtering. That's noticing.

Urim and Thummim said...

I am the Reigning Being of Being Banned by Banned by HWA!

Dennis said:

"It is the filters of our background upbringing and experiences in organized church that tend to cloud this reality"

My point exactly! Your filters prevent you from understanding Paul - and your choice of Master Filters is a word that will get me banned once again.

Herbie & Spong never understood the Gospel of Grace. If you want to truly shred St. Paul, first demonstrate an understanding of his teachings on Grace, then dismantle him from a point of actually understanding him.

At some point, the Sidai Dennis must blossom into the Shifu Dennis.

Byker Bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hello Allen.

I just have a couple of questions about some of the things you wrote.

Can I ask what Zoroastrian and Mithraism are you referring to in Paul?

Can I ask what when you think the each Gospel was written and how the stories and traditions of Jesus came together.


Anonymous said...

Hello Dennis
I just wanted to pointed out a few things about what you wrote

“Said he learned nothing from the Jerusalem church leaders and never went to see them to begin with as Luke said he did.

Said he did not confer (contrary to Luke) with anyone but got all his stuff from Jesus personally
Totally tells a different story about his conversion than Luke tells us in Acts.

Opposed Peter but doesn't tell us what the problem was. Personally I think Peter could see that Paul was eating meat offered to idols which he agreed not to do in Acts 15 but made fun of in I Cor 8,10”

In these cases what we have is the earlier writings of Paul disagreeing with the anonymous author of Acts, who not being a witness to these things relied on sources for his infomation. What these sources were (oral teachings, written documents, people who actually were there etc) is debated in academia and also is how accurately they reflect the history of the early movement of Christianity. And while some of the teaching in Acts could reflect the Historical early Christian movement there is the problem that the author down plays the conflict between Paul and James and/or Peter and since the author never tells where they got their information from, we do not know that it reflects what the historical Paul did then what Paul himself tells us in Galatians.

DennisCDiehl said...


I totally agree. I do understand that Acts is probably the far less accurate account of what Paul did or didn't do or think. Paul's more personal reflections in Galatians reflect more of the actual Paul I believe.

Acts seems to have been written to smooth over the problems between Paul and the Jerusalem Church and make him appear more the team player than he actually was