Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dennis Asks: "Which One Should You Trust When You Have Doubts?"

Which One Should You Trust When You Have Doubts?

Your Brain...

Or Your Stomach?

A Short Lesson in Why We Say  " I Can't Stomach This Anymore."

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorWhen it comes to making decisions to do or not do, to be or not be, to believe or not believe or not believe, there is just one question you need to ask.  "Is the truth what my head is telling me or is the truth what my stomach is telling me?"   I have said this before and it is not an original view of my own, but the answer is your stomach is telling you the truth.  Your head is lying to you.

Let's just stick to church issues  and look back on how we thought vs how we felt in the past, any number of times, when whoever was telling us how it all is, how we must be, what must happen, when it would happen or how God is doing this or that was declaring it to us.  

Think of all the booklets you read that were the be all and end all on the chosen topic.  Go back when you heard HWA make grand pronouncements about what the Bible said or how it applied to WCG and himself.  What did you think in your head and what did you feel in your stomach?  Which was correct?  Think of being told how we were this or that era and others weren't. Think of Petra and make up.  Think of how you thought vs how you felt when someone announced that healing was a James 5:14 thing and not a medical thing?  What did your head tell you and what did your stomach tell you?  What told you the truth when Gerald Waterhouse spent three or four hours telling you wild and speculative things about everything from who HWA was in the vast Universe and how we'd flee the tribulation and such.  What did your head tell you and what did your stomach tell you. 

I remember vividly when I ask GW what he would think or do when HWA died.  He said, "He'd believe it after three days and three nights."  My head did not even enter into the discussion.  I almost barfed.

In hind site on most of these issues, I guarantee you, you argued in your head, the left side with the right side to come up with the same beliefs that these men were pushing at you, but in your stomach I well imagine such thoughts as...

This scares me
This is stupid
Where does he get this stuff?
That is only ONE way to view that and it makes me nervous
I don't think that is correct
That's ridiculous
This frightens me
Can you wrap it up so we can go home now?
He should not say that
People should not give that much to him
He should not tell people to sell their homes for him
I can't send that much in

When your head tells you one thing and your stomach tells you something else, your stomach is telling you the truth.  Your brain is lying to you.

In years past and now with perfect hindsight, I sat through many a "Refresher Program" which was frankly exhausting for the most part.  Some topics were interesting, some mind numbing boring and not well prepared.  I recall one evangelist thinking a good marriage "refresher" would be to cover EVERY scripture relating to marriage from Genesis to Revelation both physical and spiritual.  I left after about an hour by never coming back after a potty break with my head saying, "now you should go back" and my stomach saying "This is insane, boring and the man must have just got up this morning and grabbed his Nave's Topical Bible.  I can't stomach this.  And I didn't. 

I recall one full session by the now current President of UCG telling us all how to use 3x5 cards and how to arrange them in the box on this or that topic ...I forget.  My head said maybe the lecture would get better and my stomach said get out and go to the Rock and Mineral Show in Long Beach.  The stomach was right!!!  Great show!

I recall sitting through a seminar by the new Lawyer for the Church, Bernie Schnippert  with my head and stomach both telling me this is the most arrogant and talking down lecture I have ever heard.  Left that one too at potty time.

The lectures on divorce and remarriage made both my head and stomach feel united during the times of the Systematic Theology Project when we could finally get over thinking one could decide if people were bound or not bound and all the associated insanity that went with that.  By a "miracle" everything that came up in the early years of my ministry the current couple and marriage was ok with God.  :)  My stomach simply would not listen to my head even then and I have no regrets on that topic.  My stomach ruled as well on such topics as healing, make up and whether missing a Sabbath service because you had to go to a trade show or get fired also over ruled my head .  For that, and the common sense that my dad had , I am eternally thankful.  Growing up Presbyterian and not WCG also helped as did never pastoring in a metro area around the prying eyes and ears of other ministers.

So back to today in the  schism, split, splinter, slivers and sawdust world of the Wild World Churches of God.  Over the past couple of years we have all been exposed to more and more head/stomach statements by the likes of Gerald Flurry that Prophet, Dave Pack that Apostle, Bob Thiel that Non-Prophet and lesser but nonetheless boisterous Church of God leader wanna be's.   

Are you finding yourself arguing in our head over their very Biblical sounding reasonings or feeling the churn of your emotions manifested in your stomach telling you all is not well?   Remember, the emotions are the body's reaction to the mind.  If the mind spins it's tale of "believe this and don't question it," while at the same time your emotions and stomach are the still small voice saying, "watch out," or this is "BS"  learn to go with your stomach if you are ever going find personal peace and truth.

Very frankly, none of these men have a market on how it all is.  No one does. But this talk and push for your unchallenged belief in all they say is a very dangerous and bad mental habit.  Just as we only experience a very small sliver of the light and sound frequencies, lest we go nuts with it all, so no man has a corner on the truth.  All there is to know we do not know.  All there is to see we do not see. And all there is to hear we do not hear because of the limits our five senses put us under.  These men spin tales about themselves and their ego promotes their minds to say amazingly stupid, arrogant and simply untrue things.  Minds that tolerate even listening then start to argue with itself to either believe or not believe can be a tough habit to break.  In the COGs, if you believe you stay. If you don't believe you must go.  Getting into the Restored Church of God requires an obstacle course of requirements by the time you get to church.  Head or stomach?  Jesus said,  the yoke was easy and the burden was light.  Dave says the yoke is a yoke and it's ain't easy.  Head or stomach?

I realize there is a habit of arguing with oneself and others while desperately wanting to believe what one is hearing and that even letting the stomach tell its truth is not even experienced.  The mind/brain can simply not allow you to feel anymore truth or to question what you are hearing.  That is a very dangerous shut off of common sense and reality. 

I don't know what phoney and cobbled together prophecy Dave Pack has up his sleeve, but I can guarantee you it is bogus, made up, self serving and plainly a misuse of scripture.  If presented to any number of trained theologians who know their stuff, Dave's views would collapse in hoots and howls of scorn and correct views of scripture.  COG leaders have a bad habit of making the scriptures mean what they never meant to promote their own agendas.  Pathetic behavior.  I have heard that some of what Dave has in store relates to "Joshua" and that some kind of proof of his perfect rightness will take the form of other COG types dying.  I don't know.  Dave can't keep his church as sealed as he thinks it is.  Some people who have stomach reactions instead of just head ones can't stomach it even in his own congregations. 

I write this to ask you to rekindle your sensitivities to the difference between what your head argues you through when these various types pontificate about themselves and their views and what is going on your stomach. 

If your head tells you yes and your stomach tells you know, your stomach is telling you the truth.  The head is lying to you.

Just endeavoring to be helpful. No sense wasting my story and the hind sight reviewing my own mind/stomach reactions over the years and how they actually turned out.  The stomach was right.....



Retired Prof said...

Thanks, Dennis. You make me feel better.

I left Ambassador College without ever constructing a rational defense of the decision. I had simply listened to my gut, which told me, "You can't live around people this earnest. You can't put up a successful pretense of believing Hebrew myth is the literal truth. You can't stand to attend a college run by anti-intellectuals."

I didn't want to cause a stink about it, so I just stole quietly away at the end of the term. When people tried to talk me into coming back, I managed to declare that British Israelism is nonsense, but mostly I just said, no, I was not open to changing my mind.

After retiring from a career in "the world," I went back and explored the situation from a rational perspective. Reason corroborated intuition, lending weight to your viewpoint.

Afterthought: I have to admit, though, that following directives of the gut can lead one astray too. Many times I have gotten literally lost in the literal woods by following my intuition. Continuing to depend on intuition leads to blind panic. The only salvation in that case is a calm, rational approach. If I brought a compass, I used it. If not, I would sit there till I got my wits about me. Once the the sun came out. Other times I realized that following flowing water or a fence would lead me out by keeping me from going in circles. Once my friends led me to a place I could recognize and from there I could get my bearings.

Oddly enough, by urging people to follow their stomachs (intuitions) in this matter, you are giving them rational advice about getting their bearings and finding their way out of the metaphorical woods.

DennisCDiehl said...

Thanks too Prof. Emotions can lead astray too for sure. I limit this test to the reaction one gets when someone such as church or minister tells us what it all means, what we are to do or not do etc. Those who sit in the congregations especially of the vocal and egocentric types such as a Dave Pack or Gerald Flurry must have something going on when they hear the grand pronouncements or the most new twist to some self serving prophecy. Maybe they don't. Maybe they have turned off both mind and stomach and are just glad others are doing their living and thinking for them.

DennisCDiehl said...

PS I have many regrets about my own head over stomach experiences but they are unchangeable or unfixable for the most part. I still write to process this ongoing experience. It has left me rather mentally, spiritually and physically lonely at this stage but it is what it is and good things can still happen.

I can be pretty open about experiences and feelings but in hind site I don't find where doing that helps all that much either lol.

With mom passing a couple months ago and dad on the edge, it becomes a time of more reflection than ever and I tend to reflect a lot,perhaps too much.

I don't why the hell I brought this up! ha. Oh yeah Lonely!!! Not a skill I learned until the last few years and that the hard way.

Joe Moeller said...

Ron Dart once said that if you are going to a church, and after a consistent year of going home feeling worse than before you went each Sabbath, that it was then a good idea to look around for a place that did not make you miserable.

I agree.

I will confess to times like Dennis, where I have "ditched". My parents were pretty cool about me in school as far as ditching was concerned. (I came into WCG right after high school, my parents were not in the church) The deal they made with me was that if I maintained a "B" average , they would let me ditch school every other Friday, and I could go to the beach. We both kept our end of the bargain.

At church, I found that volunteering for security is a great out. They give you the fm receiver, and if the sermon sucks, you can just walk around , shut it off and watch the birds and clouds.

I Phones are great today. You can have it out, as it can double as a Bible, but it can also search out your facebook account, ball scores in real time play by play, email, text and even movies. Even BANNED! LOL!

In the pre tech era you had to be more ingenious. I have read the paper in the bathroom while on the "throne", and have used my wife's purse to smuggle in food, like milk duds, whoppers, tic tacs and the like and then playing a time wasting game like "how long can I make this thing stay in my mouth before melting". I even smuggled in a burger to church once , eating it while sitting in the back row.

My wife , when bored, actually doodles some very well done strip comics, with the little bubbles of words coming from the mouth, of the speaker , or his topic , with some witty and funny comments and twists.

Many moons ago , at the FOT, when I was single, my buddy Jim and I would sit up in the high seats and would share a pair of binoculars to spot out any available single girls, ie, lonely farm girls from outlying small regions looking for fun at the FOT. This could eat up a lot of boring time at the FOT.

Now to give this post some balance. There have been sermons that captivated me and inspired me. I LOVE a sermon that has you lose your sense of time, and you actually say to yourself " I wish it didnt have to end". Those are always a real blessing.

May there be more of them, is my petition!

Your Friend,
Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

DennisCDiehl said...

I recently told a minister who was making a fool out of himself with a bogus story to make a bible point that he needed to realize that while he is telling his amazing story, 15 year olds in the audience are looking it up on and before he finishes it, know it's bogus.

Sitting in a COG Service reading BannedHWA is hilarious.

NO2HWA said...

What's this world coming to if people are reading BANNED in church. HWA would NOT approve!!!!! The tribulation surely is nigh! LOL! I love it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again Dennis for your thoughts (gut feelings I mean). I left WCG when my gut was churning as I got in my car and headed out to services. I was on the highway, saw the building in the distance and kept right on going for the next 45 minutes. I never went back. You think refresher was bad with these guys. Imagine sitting in services hearing them week after week. Yikes. The GW three days and three nights, was he serious? Thanks for your continued sharing here. I think a lot of us are alone today, I still believe, but even so, friends are fewer and fewer, seems like the way of the world in general. J

DennisCDiehl said...

Anon asked, "The GW three days and three nights, was he serious? "

Dead pun intended. He could never accept that HWA could die before all he speculated on came to pass. I always felt GW had to be a lonely figure as well. I never questioned his sincerity. I did his common sense.

Lonely goes with change I guess. Of the thousands I ever knew, maybe 10 stay in touch. I made one very nice reconnect and it turned into a "be careful what you wish for" lesson lol. it's all a mystery to me at times...

Secular-Humanist-Buddhist-Pagan-Methodist-Unitarian said...

I hanen't yet read your post or the comments but I want to give my 2 cents worth because this is a subject I have studied and thought about for years. The fact is: we can't entirely trust either thinking (the brain) or emotion (the stomach and the brain). Both can fool us, at times. To some degree, they are so fused that it is often very difficult to know if we are reacting from clear, rational thinking or emotionally determined thinking. Example: I live in a small 2 bedroom house which keeps me warm and comfortable. I see large, luxury homes with multiple bathrooms, a 3-car garage, extra bedrooms, an outdoor pool, etc. I convince my self, through thinking, that my family "needs' this larger house even though we will go into deep debt and probably will have trouble paying the mortgage. Another example: I have a recurrent pain in my stomach. I start thinking that maybe I have cancer and begin to consider all the consequences of that, even thinking about my funeral. I meet a new coworker and, despite his overt friendliness, I just have a feeling that something isn't "right," that he is not trustworthy. I tell myself I am being foolish. The guy seems nice enough. Then he proves to be a real jerk who does things that cause trouble for me on the job. "I should have listened to my stomach or feelings", I think, even though I couldn't identify in advance why I distrusted him. Actually our intellectual system and emotional system are very connected.The mind and body are not separate. To the degree that we can use critical thinking in running our lives we can avoid some of the troubles that come from relying too much on either the brain or the stomach. Beware of emotionally determined thinking! It sems like thinking but it is really emotion.

DennisCDiehl said...

You're right. It is not an either or and do limit this to the context of sitting in a church with the minister telling you, you should feel or be or do or think his way in some matter. You are stuck between he's my minister and supposed to know the Bible, but this sounds odd, dangerous or dilussionary etc.

Emotions are the body's reaction to the mind. Both are connected of course. The brain is also in the blood in the chemistry it delivers and in the cells that react to emotions.

In this context I mean it more when someone like a Flurry or Pack says "God is using me only," "I am a prophet," "Send it ALL in" , "Remortgage your home and send it in.." etc. The head says it sees stuff like this in the Bible but the stomach says something doesn't ring true about this approach or this man.

When Flurry says he has more insight or more of the Holy Spirit than all members, the stomach should win every time, but it seems not so with the deluded.