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Sunday, November 18, 2012
Dennis on "God's Church"
If there is one phrase that packs punch in the Churches of God it is the use and over use of "God's Church." The phrase causes people to freeze in their spiritual tracks. It soothes the mind knowing that one has found it or is a current part of it. It becomes nonsensical when one steps outside their own "God's Church" box and realizes that there are hundreds made up of the very ministers and people who once thought they all collectively were in it. It is the one phrase that can niggle at you with the fact that all the "God's Churches" are run differently and have different beliefs or have the very same beliefs and can't get along because a man won't relinquish his hold over the masses, ok...hundreds to another man who also won't let go of power as he perceives power.
I don't recall one time where my Presbyterian ministers ever used the phrase "God's Church," in a sermon or in any way used it to impart speciality to the congregation. It is a uniquely spoken phrase of fundamentalists and all who are just sure that the order of things is "God, Christ, The Disciples, The Apostles, My Church, My Leader, Myself and a few other leading Evangelists not to be named." It's simple and a direct connect that could not be proved if one put a gun to someone's head.
The phrase works nicely in a larger congregation. Larger I suppose is an illusion about the concept of God's Church when one considers the population of the earth that "God's Church" has supposed to have been going ye therefore into all these hundreds and thousands of years. Not much of a harvest for "God's Church" if you count it all up , but when all else fails we can default to , "ye have a little strength," or "the harvest is yet ahead."
Sadly and of course (let him who ears to hear understand:), "God's Church" is also a Meme which is a form of repetitive mind virus that takes on a life of its own and duplicates itself from one mind to the next. "Things go better with Coke" and all that. A meme is a jingle or slogan set to an engaging melody. That's why "God Church" has hymns they can't stop singing but make no sense in reality. "Onward Christian Soldiers," comes to mind and the part where they all sing, "We are not divided. All one body we. One in hope and doctrine. One in charity." Sure fine... Let's not forget the mind killer "Death shall them seize, and to the tomb, alive they shall go down," or "praise ye the Lordo."
A meme is an "earworm" which is a song that gets stuck in the head for hours, days or weeks that you can't get out of your head and wonder why it keeps playing without your permission. I got Freddy Mercury's "Bohemian Rhapsody," stuck in my head a few weeks ago and it drove me nuts. Then it goes away. "God's Church" is such a fall back earworm that when all else fails, turns on and reminds one that no matter how goofy the situation is, it is still "God's Church."
Nursery rhymes are memes as are many of the stories of the Bible and of "God's Church." One could not actually prove anything in the Bible or any specific story with specific people ever really happened in time and space but they are repeated when needed to make a point and control "God's Church." An Angel grabbing HWA's steering wheel and driving him to a home he needed to be at is a meme. It might also be a lie but I spare you.
You can read ad after ad in The Journal, scores actually, about "God's Church." Throw in the word "True" and you got a Super Meme that is meant to really grab those that merely belong to "God's Church." If the "God's Church" concept included all of them, there would be no need to advertise or move from your previous "God's True Church." In all my life, I NEVER met anyone, COG, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu or Pentecostal who said, "Yea...I know I am in the false Church, but it's close to home." All Churches are "God's Church" in the mind of the congregant or it would set them into a panic and a quest for "God's True Church."
In my present truth there is no "God's True Church" or "God's Church." If there is then they are a mess and not the kind that would attract a critically thinking and somewhat idealistic soul. But the concept of "God's Church" can certainly keep one in their seat no matter how much human drama is consuming the church or how, what should be obviously something that would turn people away, does not.
For example...the recent conviction of Witness Ron Weinland for tax evasion and misappropriation of Church funds and all that. I listened in part yesterday , to Ron's post conviction sermon. He was not giving the sermon and I have to feel for him in the sense that he must be numb, or not, who knows. But the speaker spent the entire time in "God's Church" mode. Now remember (or is it re-memeber?) Ron is a one man church. He sets the beliefs. He sets the goals. He sets the agenda. He interprets the Bible for the audience. He, he he.. (This is called DaveaFlurraphobia:) Now he is going to prison but the speaker spent the whole time going through all the scriptures showing the leaders in "God's Church" had to experience prison and persecution. There is NO connect to the obvious crimes committed unrelated to persecution, but the meme keeps one in the seat. It's not Ron's Church...It's God's. So it holds the space for him when he gets out evidently. It's a powerful meme and Ron has successfully, up til now, kept the minds of others from thinking it is Ron's Church and to think it is "God's Church," no matter what. This bigger falsehood defuses his reality to some evidently.
If all the Churches of God combined are "God's Church," then in my view, the God of the Hubble telescope and the fact that in our time we realize just big the Universe is and that we may just be one grape on one cluster in one row of one vineyard of Universes is simply missing in action. All flesh is not grass, it is nothing.
I would have liked to find "God's Church" in this age. At 14-18, which are very vulnerable years in the 1960's, I thought I had. Why does a kid even think about such stuff? I was weird and so were many of you. lol. I can understand men coming out of WW 2 looking for a better way. One minister I knew flew P 38's but never said what he did with it. Joe Tkach Sr. had war stories but he may have fallen into the category of wanna have war stories but didn't. I don't know.
But if there is "God's Church" somewhere, I have no clue where and probably would not trust it or allow myself to give up my mind to it. I can't imagine myself ever sitting in "God's Church" much less "God's True Church" again. I can't say I like that, but I can't be what I am not or believe the unbelievable at this point.
I am glad for someone who can restart their Church experience. Everyone of them drops the "God's Church" meme when they do or at least they don't use the term. I doubt they would as "Church" becomes good enough. I hear them repeating the same memes in different form but that is their journey and I have mine. Church and religion eases our absolute fear of death. That is its origin. That is why when one causes others to question their views, they get livid and attack back. No one wants to belong to the wrong church or believe the wrong things, which of course no one does. People don't like it when they feel threatened in what has, to this point, made them feel very safe. Trust me...this journey does not feel safe to me anymore.
But I will not fall for the "God's Church" meme again. If there is such a place then I'd have to think the Deity is playing hide n seek with us. It's never been obvious what the Bible teaches on this or that. It depends who you read. The proofs of "God's Church" can be unproved by those not given to believing them and unproved with the Bible. History can be seized upon as needed while others can undo your history with theirs. Frankly, I have never heard one person, even on this blog, listen to another and say, "you know, I used to believe_______, but you are right and I no longer believe___________"
Memes such as "God's Church" are very strong. And while things may not really go better with Coke, or an apple a day may not really keep the doctor away anymore than a Twinkie, it sounds good. It is comforting and settling . It will keep you in your seats by turning off common sense and critical thinking. Humans generally opt for feeling safe over being correct. Phrases cemented in the mind such as "God's Church," or "God's True Church" are powerful reminders of what people will tolerate in religion and beliefs.