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Thursday, October 4, 2012
Dennis On: "The Tiring of the Churches of God"
"...entire Church of God phenomenon is worn out, tired, pooped, exhausted..."
The Tiring of the Churches of God
I have to say I miss the Feast. My last was at Myrtle Beach where I spoke to about 8000 on the "Politics of the New Testament." You know...James distrusted Paul and his teachings. Peter didn't like Paul. Paul confronts Peter. John likes neither Peter or Paul and both don't like him. It was a journey through the sarcasm and writing styles in the NT that show the animosity these guys had for each other. I have to say I had a lot of fun with it and in a passive aggressive way, was able to show that nothing has changed in the Church to this day. There never was a time when anyone all spoke the same thing, no matter the admonition to do so. I pushed it a bit, kidding about how we must stop singing, "We are not divided, all one body we....." and "One in hope and doctrine. One in charity," because we all know we had a long long way to go.
In hind site it was a mistake to show where Matthew got his Virgin Birth views and how he made scripture mean what it never meant, but that is another story. I did learn you don't say, "Where do babies come from?" in such a venue ...LOL
But it was fun and the response was great. I got a free dinner out of it that evening from a well known Evangelist type who wanted to know more.
It was the last time I ever felt good about the energy and "we can work through this," attitude in the Church. A few months later, I was gone.
The Churches of God are tired and suffering, whether they know it or not, from everything from "time is short," to "We are God's people," fatigue. It's a normal cycle and the one you see played out in the New Testament itself, but one they never thought they would have to face themselves. These are folk who have seen the hope of things to come blasted to pieces. They have seen split upon split and suffered the loss of friends who used to stick closer than a brother. They have gone from trusting everyone, sometimes to their harm, to trusting no one. Teachings that were so sacred have been trashed and replaced by those that most feel are merely a reinvention of the wheel or simply bullshit.
The splits and schisms (I once said "shits and splisms" in a study) are expected and men who have waited in the wings for decades unnoticed now have their chance to step forward and make fools of themselves simply because they can read the Bible.
In my view, the cold and unstable former full time WCG ministers that most wished back then would simply go away, have risen to be the millionaire gurus of dozens. They are doing today what they did back when and I see little life change or personal introspection in these guys whose names we all know well. They dis-courage their congregations with their "much speaking," and haven't grown an inch in their understanding of the Bible in their entire lives. These are not men who can admit that what they learned between 18 and 22 might have more to the story than they were told. While some might be flashy or mouthy, for the most part, the active ministry is ignorant of Bible origins, background and intent. They fill congregations of people who, while sincere, are listeners and not thinkers.
Ron Weinland talks to his followers as a disgusted parent to the children who need to get it. He is no teacher. Dennis Luker, a formerly good friend, looks and sounds exhausted. Dave Pack, as ever, just sounds stern and in charge. Michael Meredith's thrown together "Let's rejoice at the Feast in Hawaii," is a metaphor for the exhaustion and boredom most are feeling. His video was simply awful and whoever let it be the one they wanted must be in a fog of fatigue. The "Jelly" video concept is beyond embarrassing and the fatigue is shown by the fact that no one cares if the church wants to make fools out of themselves. Few have the energy to be offended or at least express the idea that this might not be all that Gospel like.
People move around from church to church and Feast site to Feast site hoping to find what will never be found again. There is no security, hope, specialness or inspiration. One site at which I have family took in $19,000 the first Holy Day. Remember when one site could produce nearly $180,000 and most felt we could do better the last day. I suppose we can say those high amounts reflected our hope, firm belief in the Church being "THE" Church and our naive and simplistic views about the times in which we lived. I had a sneaking suspicion that since Jesus did not return for the Holocaust, He might not return because of KISS or Queen, but I spare you.
At any rate, the entire Church of God phenomenon is worn out, tired, pooped, exhausted and sliding into home base. Members always die. Even well known ones, but soon in the scheme of things the men of renown will pass. A second or third generation will take up the mantle and grow even more weary being stuck in something they may not have personally chosen in hind sight. Eventually it will simply be a memory in the tradition of Billy Sunday, Aimee Semple McPherson and Benny Hinn. All the smaller churches and dramas will simply be forgotten.
What caused all this? Human and Ego and the human propensity to be deaf, blind, dumb and stupid. It didn't have to be this way. Or maybe it did.
I believe it was the True Church at one time. I could read the Bible and see everything from Holy Days to tithing and Sabbath. Kingdoms sounded much better than Heaven and I'd rather burn up in hell than just burn. While British Israelism never captured my interest and I never spoke on it, it had a ring to it, if you lived in the the 19th Century. I didn't see where the New Testament cared about such things and it did seem contrived to me. But then again, I thought, being Presbyterian in the past, one could take and leave different views as believed or not believed much.
I just didn't have all the facts I would have liked to make better decisions. The Booklets and media did a great job in my youth of capturing my attention. In reality, just like Bob Jones University two streets over from me, WCG and the COGs are mid life crisis factories. Only those who never thought to think outside the box or only allowed their church to inform them are still keeping on.....and they are exhausted, tired and quietly wondering what the hell happened to their good intentions, hopes and dreams of The Wonderful World Tomorrow.
The COGs have simply relived and created all the drama and disappointment , excuse making and doctrinal evolution that we see in the New Testament. They have gone from "soon" and "shortly" to "I fought a good fight," and now I'm going to die. Paul still hates Peter and James still thinks Paul is a putz. John still views Peter as no better than Judas and Paul still is the only one in the various shits and splisisms who thinks he really is an Apostle, Prophet, Watcher or Presiding Somebody and eventually got his butt bounced out of Ephesus...
Anyone got an orange sticker???? :)
Dennis C. Diehl