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Thursday, February 28, 2013
Dennis Says: "Forget All the COG Drama...How Are YOU Doing?"
Forget All the COG Drama...
How Are YOU Doing?
If it is one thing I recognize in myself it is the rather profound effect being both member an minister in the WCG has had on me. I discovered WCG at 14, believing it to be a better alternative, more Biblically accurate and honest about the contents of the Bible than the Presbyterian box I was born into. In hind sight, I was a weird kid. Always wanting to know "why" and always intrigued with the Bible. I still am and give up on that ever changing.
It is now 14 years after being out of the WCG loop. I have written about it, spoken about it, debated about it and had regrets about the whole experience. I also recognize the good things that came from up as in family and some few remaining friends. Very few however.
This experience has pushed me relentless to know what it was I was not taught. Where did the Bible really come from? Who really wrote it and why? Why does it contradict itself and why do people say it does not. Which parts are myth and which parts historical? Is it for us or was it for them? All incredibly fascinating topics to me and I feel that , at least for me, I have done my homework and am currently satisfied with my present truth. I am not so bold as to think I know how it all is, but the journey is more inspiring than finding anything which I suppose would only launce me on another journey.
I have lost relationships, found them and lost them again. I'm not an easy person to live around I suppose at times. I have done the depressed thing, the anxious thing, the confused thing and the angry thing. I think there must be more things to be and do but they don't come to mind at the moment.
I know I don't share these emotional views alone. Those of you here on this site know in down to your toes how this experience has affected you and I imagine it is not all that different from how it has affected me.
But when it is all said and done. When all the sarcasm and anger, when all the rancor and scoffing is done...how are YOU doing? I have three former minister friends who ended their lives over the confusion in WCG and "the changes." I have minister friends who sank into alcoholism trying to blot out the pain of their good youthful intentions gone so bad. I know people who would like the simple pleasure without the penalty of handing some people their teeth in a bag. I probably have a few that would like to do the same to me. Reckless change and human stupidity as seen, in my view, among the WCG "leadership" is painful and hard to forget when it impacts on you long after it occurs.
At my mom's memorial service last week in Rochester, NY, I couldn't sing the hymns chosen and my sisters noticed it big time. On the other hand, I sobbed quietly when they sang "How Great Thou Art" because that is a favorite and one that I had always hoped was so. "When Christ shall come....in shouts of acclamation...I scarce can take it in..." did me in. I am not oblivious to the duality of hope and knowledge or myth and reality. My mind knows I am a hairless ape of the genus homo and my heart wants to be a spirit trapped in a limited five sensed, carbon based wet suit...for now.
But back to the question. How are YOU doing?
Are you stuck? I was/am stuck depending on the topic. Stuck is ok if it is stuck and not a permanent position to be in. Stuck in bitter or stuck in angry is not going to serve you or me very well. It will shorten your life and cloud your progress. This is why I refer to my own life as just a story that could have gone so many different ways. It just happened to go the WCG way. Had I not missed that flight from LA to Salt Lake to Boise on June 6th, 1971, it would have been a different story.
Some symptoms of stuckness is our repeating the same lines and comments over and over. I do it and so do most of you. It is because we think we have not been heard or understood, so we say it again. But we have been heard and it is understood so being stuck in it is not helpful to your own growth and life. Admitting you might be stuck is the key to getting unstuck.
I'll stay to be helpful to those progressing in their journey, but I can't stay to just be stuck.
How's your anger level? I have a boat load of anger but in time you come to see that the people you are angry with are probably out to dinner not thinking one bit about you. I have little use for certain WCG administrators and fake theologians and they know it, but it will not change them and only hurts me, as far as I can tell. The Reconciliation Dept at WCG told me they wished me well and would pray for me. Gee thanks guys. Best example of "be warmed and be filled" I have ever heard. However, I can not change them. I can only change me. Anger serves a purpose, but not for very long and I find it is simply my pain body, believe in the concept or not, wanting to feed and make me miserable for a time until it is happy again.
Have you learned to think for yourself? Hope so. Churches like Dave Pack's Restored Church of God, or Flurry's Philadelphia Church of God or Weinland's Pre-Packaged Church of God can thrive in an environment of people who don't think for themselves. They exist because people don't and won't think for themselves. They thrive because their followers truly are followers. Few churches can survive the light of day when it has members who insist on thinking for themselves and coming to their own conclusions about all things theological. I have said before I personally don't think "all speaking the same thing," is possible in reality, but it is a goal for organizational thinking and one that is needed to hold it all together.
Has this experience left you depressed (unresolved anger that you feel you have no right to expressed, or the price of expressing is simply too high.)? That demon has trailed me since some of the first WCG scandals unfolded. I was and am a rather naive and idealistic soul so those crazy things, like the Receivership of days gone by, left me puzzled and addled. Meds aren't the answer to depression. Facing reality and letting go is. All suffering is some form of non-acceptance, as is all negativity. Clinging to what we thing should be or fussing over what we think should not be is simply useless. "It is what it is," is the truth. Grow with it.
How about anxiety? Whoa...I'm the expert here. Laugh, scorn or mock all you want but having no support in older years from WCG , when they said not to be concerned about it, is my problem and not yours. But it is real. However, all I can do is accept reality and do the best I can. Kodak still helps out my 97 year old dad but the wonderful world of religion has left me with a very bad taste in my mouth for those that lied about such matters. It is not a surprise to me that the current WCG leadership, well I guess I mean Grace Community...park their cars behind locked security gates at their office. I imagine they sometimes look around as well before going to their cars. You can't abuse and offend the spiritual life and hopes of tens of thousands and not expect a few to not wish you well.
I probably have had GAD (General Anxiety Disorder) all my life or at least it bloomed early in my WCG ministry. How nuts it was to hope for relief by picking one of the most stress filled religious orgahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqnEGu8VF8Ynizations on the face of the earth! lol. (Head Slap!)
The cure, for me, and I would expect for those that still have this emotion as left over baggage from WCG is to simply learn the skill of letting go and accepting things as they are. I don't know if there is meaning in all these experiences, but there is education. It is Earth School at its finest.
Some of Tolle that helps me. He simply brings Buddhism to the Western mind.
Some other more in the realm of science done well that helps.
These give me perspective and somehow it helps to realize...that is make real, the fact that we are all a part of the one grand thing. It works for me. Perhaps not you.
Some say we choose our story before we arrive or are living this life to have experiences. If so, I must have been drunk when I wrote the script before showing up! lol. But , it is what it is.
So how are you doing? For everyone that actually comments or writes on this site, I think a thousand merely observe. That's fine. I want to ask you how you are doing through all this? Are you growing through? Do you think more for yourself? Are you rightfully less trusting of the one man show who wants you to follow and believe as they or he believes. Can you think critically about the sermons you are presented with or the interpretations your minister puts on the Bible...which some would call spin? Are you brave enough to question? Can you look your pastor in the eye and say, "that's your opinion and we'll see."? Can you see your church may actually live in a very small and unreal world that is not helping you as much as you think?
It's a simple question. With all that has transpired. With all that has happened and all the drama. With all the disappointment. With all the emotions. With all the various splinters and slivers that have arisen to claim ownership of the truth. For all the pain this process has caused. With all you/we/us have been forced to face and admit... How are you doing?