Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dennis On: "If I HAD to Choose A Church"







If I HAD to Choose a Church

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorI miss church.  Well not the formal church or the sit for two hours church.  I don't miss the one man show church or the "we only," church.  But I do miss church.  Maybe I more miss the coherent and intelligent discussion of all things theological or being in a place where one can teach and be taught what the Bible really means, who actually said it and why.  I'd like an open minded church .  In all my days growing up in the Presbyterian Church not once was there any controversy over what the Bible meant or where you went to church.  Not one person got turned over to Satan, wished well and hoped they repented.  No secret groups wanting this or that taught or not taught lurked at church picnics or in the parking lot.  You never lost your good friends to new truths or the shenanigans of others messing with your life. 

But it would have to be a church where people are allowed to think and believe as they wish. After all, beliefs are not necessarily truths.  There are some things I'd have to be able to believe until it either seemed totally true over time or not as true, just leave me alone.  There would have to be room for discussion and disagreement with no ill will towards others intended.  I suppose the members and ministers would have to be willing to be challenged , questioned and even ill informed until shown otherwise.  I'd have to work on being that myself.  But turning you over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh  would have to be out of bounds.

So, what would be an ideal church for me.  I can't speak for you of course. 

On the plus side, if I had to go with a group, it would be a Sabbatarian one.  If you're going to use the Bible then it doesn't take an Einstein to see that the founding fathers of the church, which I am pretty sure Gospel Jesus never intended to start in his story, would be Jewish Christians who saw Jesus as an extension of Judaism and cleaning it up a bit .  I can go with clean and unclean meats but have never heard much of a real reason why one kind is physically better than the other.  Holy days pointing to this or that possibility seem much more logical from a Biblical perspective than Solstices and Equinoxes pointing to the actual origins of Christ-mas and East-er, but I also think Solstices and Equinoxes are kinda cool since they are the origins of the Pauline/Gentile/What you got today Sunday church practices.   One the other hand, I'd have to recognize that the Sabbath did not originate with the Hebrews or any God "resting" (do God's rest?) on the Seventh Day.  It is a Hebrew spin on a Sumerian tale where the God's first rested after they drown the worker bee humans who made too much noise.  Long story.

It would need to be a group that was heavy on Gospel Jesus, ignoring the failed prophecy of Revelation Jesus and totally unconnected the Pauline Christ.  Gotta pick one. Can't have all three.  Gospel Jesus would never have recognized Pauline Christ and Peter, James and whole rioting cities evidently did not either. In short , the perspective of the Apostle Paul on the real meaning , as if he knew, born of hallucinations in the mind of a man that never once met or quotes Jesus would have to go. 


Christ or Paul?, the Rev. V.A. Holmes-Gore wrote: 
"Let the reader contrast the true Christian standard with that of Paul and he will see the terrible betrayal of all that the Master taught....For the surest way to betray a great Teacher is to misrepresent his message....That is what Paul and his followers did, and because the Church has followed Paul in his error it has failed lamentably to redeem the world....The teachings given by the blessed Master Christ, which the disciples John and Peter and James, the brother of the Master, tried in vain to defend and preserve intact were as utterly opposed to the Pauline Gospel as the light is opposed to the darkness."

 Ernest Renan, in his book Saint Paul, wrote:
 "True Christianity, which will last forever, comes from the gospel words of Christ not from the epistles of Paul. The writings of Paul have been a danger and a hidden rock. the causes of the principal defects of Christian theology."

Rudolf Bultman, one of the most respected theologians of this century, wrote in his Significance of the Historical Jesus for the Theology of Paul:
 "It is most obvious that Paul does not appeal to the words of the Lord in support of his....views. when the essentially Pauline conceptions are considered, it is clear that Paul is not dependent on Jesus. 
Jesus' teaching is -- to all intents and purposes -- irrelevant for Paul."

Those Incredible Christians, Dr. High Schonfield reports:
 "It was not only the teaching and activities of Paul which made him obnoxious to the Christian leaders: but their awareness that he set his revelations above their authority and claimed an intimacy with the mind of Jesus, greater than that of those who had companied with him on earth and had been chosen by him....It was an abomination, especially as his ideas were so contrary to what they knew of Jesus, that he should pose as the embodiment of the Messiah 's will....Paul was seen as the demon-driven enemy of the Messiah....For the legitimate Church, Paul was a dangerous and disruptive influence, bent on enlisting a large following among the Gentiles in order to provide himself with a numerical superiority with the support of which he could set at defiance the Elders at Jerusalem. Paul had been the enemy from the beginning. and because he failed in his former open hostility he had craftily insinuated himself into the fold to destroy it from within."

I know it is almost incomprehensible to think of a Christian faith without Paul, but the evidence of Paul as the author of current gentile Christianity verses the understanding the real (or imagined) disciples of Jesus had, and no they could not have been all that oblivious to Jesus meanings.  They are said to have spent one year (Matthew, Mark, Luke) or three (John) with Jesus and Paul is said to have had a two minute vision only he understood in his head...you choose.   Two minutes is being generous.  Paulianity is what we have today.  I am not sure it was what was intended.  Long story but you know how I feel about Paul the Mythmaker and his not so accurate use of the Old Testament to fuel his views.  The ultimate one man show I suppose I detest so much.

I'd have to find a church that believed in good science well done not "falsely so called."  That's what an insecure Christian says about science when the science actually disturbs their world view.  The universe really is 14 billion years old and earth is less than nothing in it .  Quantum physics really can inform of the nature of reality and how time and space mingle.  Maybe it is a hologram or perhaps Branes and parallel Universes are real and just out of reach, but the church can't be ignorant of these things.  They would have to know or at least be very much less rigid on the fact of evolution and what the word "theory" really means to a scientist as opposed to a fundamentalist.  The fact is that over the last 2000 years, the "Church" has always had to yield to good science well done and not the other way around of good theology well done.  Actually the two can never meet. 

They would have to lean heavily towards the understanding that humans too evolved over the last 2.5 million years and more and that modern humans are about 160,000 years old so far.  Neanderthals were successful, but not us, for about 250,000 years and others before them for 500,000 years.  And while dinos "died out" , I'd like folk to at least admit 200,000,000 years ain't bad.


click to enlarge

It would need to be a group that understood the difference between mythology and historical facts.  Adam and Eve would have to go and replaced with an understanding of the real intent and meaning of Genesis 1-3. I will spare you for now as I know most of you are tired of hearing it!  You might not think this all that important until you think of the misery inflicted on the masses (by the Apostle Paul and Gentile Church Fathers ) over  your stinking rotten selves due to "Original Sin" and then you might be able to free yourself from the idea that all humans are rotten and hell bound,  no matter, especially women who caused it all and therefore should shut up in church.  They would have to understand that even human Jesus would not have known Adam and Eve were not real people in real time or maybe even Moses or Abraham.  It would be a unique church for sure.  Most intelligent Rabbi's today in Judaism would admit these characters occupy a less than sure place in Jewish history. 

We'd have to understand stories like the sojourn in Egypt and the Exodus are not literally true and never could be in a dozen different ways and for hundreds of reasons.  Great metaphor maybe, but not history.  An understanding of who actually wrote the Pentateuch and why would help.  The battle between Scribes and Prophets in the OT would also be up for grabs along with "just what the heck do you mean prophecy fulfilled?"

It would be nice to chat in church or study about why the Gospels really have no harmony.  Who wrote what and why they aren't really eyewitness accounts.  Midrash, and not a form of Shingles , would have to come up a few times to explain how Matthew came up with his birth of Jesus story and Luke , who never read it, came up with his.  I like the study of why he used four loose women in the OT in his genealogy of Jesus before getting to Mary, but that's getting picky now.  "We weren't  born of fornication," and all.  A great study on why have a genealogy  in the first place when Jesus real and literal father was God would be fun. 

Finally for now, perhaps at least a tip of the hat to astro-theology as to the ultimate origins of both Sun Worship and Son Worship.  Hot topic for literalists I know but you just can't get away from it. 





Jesus being the central sun having 12 disciples who surround him and with whom he spends one year not unlike the real sun that travels in one year through the 12 signs of the zodiac seems not so far fetched to me.  It's the story of all dying godmen plain and simple.  It's a great story and an amazing tribute to the human need to know what it is all about .  The fact that the Gospel story of Jesus exactly matches the story of the Sun through the one year , one month in each sign, can't be a coincidence.  Or it is the greatest coincidence in history. As above so below and all that...   Understanding that "lo, I am with you , even unto the end of the age (not world) and Aries the Lamb (Jesus) dying and the Sun now moving into Pices the Fish (Christian Church symbol the last 2000 years) is not a coincidence.  This is an amazing story with rich detail from the Bible to support it, but alas, few care and the rest are afraid of it.    "Our God is a consuming fire....."....The Sun.

Ok, I know there is not place such as this.  Maybe a Unitarian Church but they are off in the summer.   Perhaps the more liberal Episcopal Church would do .  I attended a Catholic Mass in a large church a couple years ago and Sun symbols were everywhere so maybe that would work. 

I actually do miss church.  I miss lives to live and friends to get to know.  I miss helping when help is needed and older people who need encouragement in the last days of their lives.  I miss meaning but I don't miss meanings that don't mean what they are said to mean.  I'm crazy like that.  I don't miss most ministers.  I miss teaching but the path this whole experience has lead to leaves few who want to learn "that bullshit" as I have been told  lol.   I know it is hard to give up the Sunday School idea of the Bible, Jesus and his friends.  I still have my perfect attendance pins and bars for years of Sunday School! 

For now I will be content with:

Desiderata
 
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, 
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
 even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. 

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; 
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment 
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. 
But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
 Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, 
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
 in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, 
it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.
© Max Ehrmann 1927 

....but I still miss church.

61 comments:

Joe Moeller said...

Dennis:

Perhaps your journey will parallel Napoleon's.

Leading up to his last days he is quoted as saying this:

“If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life would be my god.”

However, upon his death bed, while exiled on St. Helena, is attributed this quote...

"Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I myself have founded great empires; but upon what did these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love, and to this very day millions will die for Him."

There is a kindness in you Dennis. I like you. You do not miss religion , nor a church. You miss loving and being loved. My prayer is that you find the Jesus that has eluded you, been a mystery to you, and has been an enigma to you. That you find the peace that is there, and the love of that relationship. In that is the unlocking of all the other answers. Keep on the searching journey.

Your Friend,
Joe Moeller

DennisCDiehl said...

Joe I can't seem to find a way out of the facts that few comment on much less study for themselves crushing the faith in hearsay that seems to be required. Faith is what I had before the facts came along. The way that some apply apologetics to make things not be as they actually seem to be has always been off putting to me even as a Presbyterian kid.

Just have faith

You lack faith

There is a way that seeeeeems right to a man, but that ends in death

God's ways are not your way

The wisdom of man is foolishness with God

God laughs at the wise. ( I cry over fools)

I see historically disquised sun worship everywhere not including the Gospel texts.

Psalms 84:11:
"For the Lord God is a sun and shield."

Mal 4:2
"The Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in his wings.(Rays)"

Rev 22:16
"I Jesus have sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star." (The Sun)

On top of this the "coincidence" that the Cherubim described in Ezekiel as having 6 wings each (24hours) and have the face of an Man (Aquarius/Winter) then three months later, the face of a bull (Taurus/Spring), then three months later, the face of a lion (Leo/Summer) and three months later, the face of an Eagle. (Aquilla/Fall) cannot be a coincidence. The priests used the Zodiac and the seasons to construct their idea of Angels in the heavens.

The are metaphors not reality...

Any way, Is it just a coincidence that Jesus as the Sun:


In some areas, the calendar originally began in the constellation of Virgo, and the Sun would therefore be "born of a Virgin."

Virgo the virgin's constellation is in a birthing position just prior to Sun rise on the Winter Solstice when the sun is born again at Xmas.

The Sun is the "Light of the World."

The Sun "cometh on clouds, and every eye shall see him."

The Sun rising in the morning is the "Savior of mankind."

The Sun wears a corona, "crown of thorns" or halo.

The Sun "walks on water."

The Sun's "followers," "helpers" or "disciples" are the 12 months and the 12 signs of the zodiac or constellations, through which the Sun must pass.

The Sun at 12:00 noon is in the house or temple of the "Most High"; thus, "he" begins "his Father's work" at "age" 12.

The Sun enters into each sign of the zodiac at 30°; hence, the "Sun of God" begins his ministry at "age" 30.

The Sun is hung on a cross or "crucified," which represents its passing through the equinoxes, the vernal equinox being Easter, at which time it is then resurrected.

and so on. I credit priesthoods of antiquity of making up much of the story from the obvious motion of the sun and keeping it from the common folk as "the mysteries." Priests do that.

Even Dave Pack always has some special mystery to reveal every week. lol :)



DennisCDiehl said...

Dionysus, the God of Wine and Revelry (from where the name Dennis comes) was a sun god who changed water into wine. Gentile Christianity celebrates Jesus turning water into wine in January to commemorate the event. How does the Sun turn water into wine. Rain + vines = grapes =wine

After all, Jesus did say he was the true vine.

DennisCDiehl said...

As long as it's on my mind and on topic, the Book of Revelation of full of astro-theology. One simple example is:

Rev 4:3 And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the THRONE was la rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. 4 Around the throne were TWENTY-FOUR THRONES, and seated on the thrones were TWENT FOUR ELDERS, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings1 and peals of thunder, and BEFORE (Opposite)the throne were burning SEVEN Torches of fire, which are the SEVEN spirits of God, 6 and BEFORE (In front of) the throne there was as it were a SEA OF GLASS LIKE CRYSTAL."

The Bible says 'God's throne is in the North."

If you get a sky map of the north and the North Star and the constellations that go around it but never set below the horizon you get.

Casseopia The Throne. It looks like a W on it's side and we have all seen it.

Opposite the Throne = The SEVEN STARS of the Big Dipper = the SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD

In front of the throne a sea of glass = On any summer day the Milky Way, like a sea of glass passes in front of the Casseopia and between it and the Big Dipper.

It's a no brainer. Revelation 4 is again, as above so below and how humans describe what they thought must be the throne of God complete with seven torches and a sea of glass.

Ok, You're right Joe on missing the caretaking part of ministry. I grew up from age 5 to 18 visiting my brother in a NYS Cookoo Nest so I think I OD'd on caretaking as a kid lol.

Now I mentioned this to Vic Kubic once when going through a time of repressed anger and depression when I got transferred to SC and he blew it off with a "yeah, yeah..we know all about your brother." For all the good times Vic and I had, he does not know how close he came to taking his teeth home in a bag he came :)

Byker Bob said...

I'd wish you good luck, Dennis.

Basically, though, it seems fairly obvious that none of us with an Armstrong background can hypothesize the perfect church, and then actually find it. I've come to believe that you just can't set the bar that high. For me, the best option was to find a group that practices the basic elements of Christianity, but is non-judgmental on legalistic matters. Most Christian churches will teach agains such things as immorality, and will instead promote family and the nurturing of children. But, they're not going to regulate your clothing and hair styles, or to acknowledge that their particular group or teacher is the only true one through whom God is doing His work today.

Several of the pastors at my church do have real doctorates from accredited colleges, and one was a tenured professor and department head at a college prior to joining the staff of our church.
He tends to get into things much deeper than some of the others, like original Greek and Hebrew. So, there is ample learning opportunity, and the stuff we are taught about relationships and family are very therapeutic in healing from the typically deplorable situations most of us faced under HWA.

I don't go to church because I agree with everything that is taught there. In fact, to a certain extent, I still hold churches and the ministry at an arm's length. What I do enjoy, is having a basic program that I can suppliment with my own personal study (not to teach or to cause division, but for my own knowledge). I believe this is conducive to a personal eternal relationship with God, spiritual growth, and the sanctification process all Christians experience.

One of Herbie's firebombs that kind of sticks with all ex-members, is the idea that you are not allowed differences in opinion with anything taught by church. I believe that discourages people from participating in group worship, and good works in the community. People believe that unless they can find a perfect church, they shouldn't attend any. As we know, there are no perfect churches, but there sure are many churches which are involved in a high percentage of good. Why rob yourself? I say get in there, participate, and watch it all enrich your life!

BB

DennisCDiehl said...

BB noteed: "I've come to believe that you just can't set the bar that high"

I agree Bob, I do find that the true bar was rather high under Paul who bounced those who did not all believe the gospel as presented by him. He even cursed them in Galatians for not abiding by what HE taught them. Even an Angel or anything else revealed it to them. I guess Ron Weinland and Flurry would have gotten bounced! Later he said, "When cursed, we bless..." Lol. Well yeah unless you piss Paul off.

The NT idea that all can speak the same thing is ridiculous on its face. Any group that claims to is lying and has no room for discussions the leader does not want to have. This would be the Restored Church and the other more one man dominated cults.

I could find a place where it would work for me. Any Unity Church would have me. My other problem is listening to sermons and tring to figure out "and you get paid for that? Can I have an hour to speak" lol. I am a TERRIBLE audience at this time.

I'd not want me sitting in the audience lol

Byker Bob said...

Yes, Dennis. WCG missed the point. Being a believer in Jesus Christ has a lot of personal meaning, if it's going to be a functional thing. Therefore, you can't help but have differences in so far as it all relates to the individual. Certain things speak deeply to each of our souls and will tend to stand out.

I've often wondered about the condition of HWA's soul, because apparently what stood out to him was cruel authority and extreme legalism. People here have commented about "anti-theists" and quite honestly I believe that HWA's concept of God caused the horrible cognitive dissonance which leads to hatred of God. Here we were taught about a simply awful being who actually acted more like Satan, but you were taught that it was a damnably bad attitude not to fight that perception with all your being.

A more accurate picture of God has been so healing to me, and I wish some other people who are hurting could at least consider the possibility that God actually loves his children, and is not salivating at any opportunity to punish or annihilate. And, by the way, I don't believe anyone would make the mistake of labeling you as an antitheist. It's pretty obvious that you are one of the ones in the healing process.

BB

Byker Bob said...

You know, the human mind often does funny things. My son once tried to pass off the idea that it was ok for him to go OG, because that was his generation's version of being a biker. He thought baggy pants, an earring, and Raiders' jacket were just as cool as ratty Levis, H/D tanktops, black leather jackets and boots. Bobby didn't see me at work working with the machines that people used to earn their living and feed their families. First thing I did every day when I came home was always to change my sochie clothes, hop on the bike and go to the liquor store for some Bud.

In a way, I think that is what someone could do with Paul's teaching. Paul did a number of definitive, authortitatve things in his ministry. Who knows what the mind of an incestuous "apostle" would do to distort that.

Corky said...

"If I HAD to choose a church" I would either shoot my brains out or attempt an escape to another country where I did NOT have to choose a church.

Maybe live 'underground', as they call it, and print atheist leaflets in my basement after midnight...

Not that I really have anything against churches, lawdy no! Churches are what keeps a lot of thinking, conniving animals from robbing and killing the rest of us who can behave without the threat of hellfire after we die.

God sees you when you masturbate, you know, and watches you while you take a dump...kinda like Santa Claus, he knows if you've been bad or good.

NONSENSE!!!

Anonymous said...

“Spiritual doctrines do not actually limit the mind as do materialistic denials. Even if I believe in immortality I need not think about it. But if I disbelieve immortality I must not think about it. In the first case the road is open and I can go as far as I like; in the second the road is shut.”
G. K. Chesterton

DennisCDiehl said...

BB said: "In a way, I think that is what someone could do with Paul's teaching. Paul did a number of definitive, authortitatve things in his ministry. Who knows what the mind of an incestuous "apostle" would do to distort that."

Not much of a way as I see it. Limiting it to one church experience is too small a view. Paul is distored or maybe just taken at face value on lots of self centered teachings and views he had or the way HE saw the Old Testament concerning Christ, which were just flat wrong, illogical and making mean what the OT NEVER meant. Theologians get their doctorates off Paul's shenanigans with the OT.

To not understand what Paul has done and where he actually may have come from is to either be in denial or simply not doing any homework for whatever reason.

Jesus in the gospels is quoted as making a couple of old testament mistakes or stories about Jesus make big ones, but Paul simple distorts meaning beyond reason if you allow yourself to see it.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
“Spiritual doctrines do not actually limit the mind as do materialistic denials. Even if I believe in immortality I need not think about it. But if I disbelieve immortality I must not think about it. In the first case the road is open and I can go as far as I like; in the second the road is shut.”

G.K Chesterton

"Science well done does not limit the mind as do mthological tales. Even if I disbelieve mythologies as literally true, I need not think about it. But if I disbelieve science, it may make me look ignorant or bite me in the ass."

Dennis Diehl :)

Head Usher said...

"But it would have to be a church where people are allowed to think and believe as they wish>"

Amen, brother.

I can't see myself choosing another church ever again, but if I HAD to, my ideal church would look something like this...

WCG sold the bible as the "manufacturer's manual," or as the book that teaches you how to live. Experience proves that at least in HWA's hands, the bible was certainly no such thing. It was said from the pulpit repeatedly in my hearing that the bible teaches us all how to get along, so that we will all be able to get along "in the kingdom." Well one thing the average Armstrong minister never learned was how to get along with others. I think people are actually different enough in their brain wiring/brain chemistry etc. that to produce a single volume that could act as a "manufacturer's manual" for everyone who ever lived, might be like producing a shop manual for every motorized vehicle that had ever been built. It might not actually be that useful when you have a specific make & model with a specific problem. Whether the bible, in the right hands, does or does not teach people how to get along, it would have to be a church that taught that, where people could actually get along.

WCG was a church in which it was not okay to be yourself. Being a good liar was a prerequisite for membership. An unwritten fundamental belief was that you could find true happiness by pretending to be someone else--a yellow pencil. I cannot think of a more insidious form of tyranny. We didn't explicitly believe in "original sin", but we had our own version of it which went by the name "human nature." It never made sense to me that a creator god that wanted you to be "good" would start you off in the wrong direction by creating you "evil" to begin with. One the one hand, the bible says you're made "in the image of god" and on the other hand, it takes it all away by saying your thoughts aren't his thoughts, and if you do what is right in your own eyes, you're screwing up. The only other option I had was to do what was WRONG in my own eyes, so I'm better off doing what is right in my own eyes, no? At the end of the day, being yourself was always unacceptable. I could never go with another church that taught that being yourself, thinking for yourself, telling your truth, was unacceptable. I think that part of growth is owning up to your own bullshit, and overcoming the cowardice that is behind bullshit in the first place, and finding a way to tell the truth instead. It isn't always easy to find a way to explain what we were thinking that led us to something that, upon doing it, suddenly seemed stupid, but it made sense at first. It would have to be a church that respected people who were genuine and rejected yellow-pencil tyranny.

Of course, being genuine is the setup for a whole cascade of other things. Not preaching one thing while rewarding the opposite. (WCG's fundamental beliefs were nothing more than lipservice. If you lived those things, you would not be treated kindly in the WCG or in the splinter groups today.) Ministers would actually serve, instead of expecting everyone else to serve them. It would be acknowledged that no "holy book" contained all the answers we would ever need. Growth would be commonplace. It would have to be church where we were all encouraged to learn from our own experiences, as well as the experiences of others. The beliefs of the church would be expected to evolve over time as the membership experienced growth. People respected the differences in others as being things which made them more valuable, not less. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

Head Usher said...

Now, as I said, this would be an "ideal" church, which certainly does not exist. But this I know, that if there were a real god, and he really did have churches where he really was "working with" people and transforming them, not for make-believe, but for real, I believe that church would look kinda "ideal." It would certainly not look like WCG or any Armstrongite splinter. Frankly, it's difficult for me to fathom how "adults" can spend their entire lives pretending and playing make-believe games together, as though they were four years old still. When I was four, I believed that "adults" didn't do that anymore. If I had not made such a bad assumption (as reasonable as it may seem, I have learned from experience that it is NOT reasonable at all) I would have made a lot fewer missteps in life.

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that Paul's nephew, or "Paul's sister's son" was actually his own son.

Church history reads like an incest novel.

Anonymous said...

I think it hilarious that you put a line the the name Jesus but you don't through the name Satan. What are you some kind of devil's advocate?

You probably would have stood around Jesus hanging on the tree and laughed at him and poked fun of him like you do today at those claim to follow him.

I understand your contempt for spanky and the rest,but why this hate for Jesus and this apparently Freudian slip in your typing.?

Anonymous said...

The church is not an organization, but a group of believers. When I left the United Methodist Church I started to meet with a group in our home on Sun p.m. for fellowship, Bible study, prayer. We (about 15 adults) filled 1,040 Samaritan's Purse Christmas Shoe Boxes, we support at least a dozen orphans, an orphanage in Tanzania and I go there to teach once a year. No overhead, no building, no titles, no salaries. Just a group of people who want to study the Word of God and try to do the Work of God. More in line with the NT gatherings than the "country club" churches that are so common today.

Seular-Humanist-Buddhist-Unitarian-Methodist said...

Unitarian? You can think for yourself, reason and try to be a good person. At least that was my take on it when I occasionally attended. Still have some relatives and old friends the Unitarian churches. I like their way but don't really want that much socialization.

NO2HWA said...

The line through the name Jesus is a direct slam against Armstrongites who cannot say the word without saying "christ" after it.

Jesus is a 5 letter word to most Armstrongites who seem to know nothing more about the guy other than they hang him on a "tree/stake" every passover, beat the crap out of him because they are such worthless pond scum, and leave him there till the following year.

God forbid if he had to hang on a cross! For many in the COG the cross is just as offensive as grace is.

SHaron said...

No2, you are so correct in how the COG looks at Jesus. I you go to almost any COG you will never hear anyone standing around talking about Jesus or anything that he said or did. It's either about keeping the law or where they are going for dinner after church.

Anonymous said...

Dennis, you sound confused. A lot of what you said isn't clear and in some cases incoherent. What are you saying? Are you saying there's a conflict between Christ and Apostle Paul?

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Dennis, you sound confused. A lot of what you said isn't clear and in some cases incoherent. What are you saying? Are you saying there's a conflict between Christ and Apostle Paul?

Of course I am. There is major conflict between the "Christ" of Paul and the Jesus of the Gospels. But the real conflict is , as I think I made clear not incoherently, between the Jewish Apostles Peter, James and John and Paul who made himself an apostle , never met Jesus and never quotes him.

ALl of Gentile modern Christianity depends on the views of ONE MAN who had a vision or hallucination that no one could confirm or was called from his moms womb as he said of himself in Galatians. In the multitude of counsel and Apostles there is safety. Paul allowed no disagreement with himself alone. THat is not safe, but what we have today as the authority for the whole Christian faith.



DennisCDiehl said...

Anon..I'll assume you are relatively new here or have no background in the just who is the Apostle Paul controversey in theological circles. It is a very easy topic to research with lots of material.

Ultimately I have to remind myself that this is where I am and probably not many others are or even care to be in this venue. I have become acustomed to having no real feedback on any of the theological issues I have brought up over the years from the Apostle Paul problem and errancy issues, to how the Gospels came about and Astro-theology. People just aren't interested in the things that intrigue me or the questions they raise in my experience.

The psychology of why Christians resist new information or having cherished but simplistic ideas challenged has always fascinated me. I guess I have always had a mental habit of asking who, what ,where, when , why and how about theological issues. It's how I got into WCG and how I got out. Or maybe I am confused and confuse the confusion for clarity :)

Anonymous said...

The picture of the Pope parading the Sun Symbol around is awesome. It gets no plainer than that!

Anonymous said...

I miss church but not the ministers and I won't miss NO2HWA's lies on this blog either.

Head Usher said...

Anon..I'll assume you are relatively new here or have no background in the just who is the Apostle Paul controversey in theological circles. It is a very easy topic to research with lots of material.

Ultimately I have to remind myself that this is where I am and probably not many others are or even care to be in this venue. I have become acustomed to having no real feedback on any of the theological issues I have brought up over the years from the Apostle Paul problem and errancy issues, to how the Gospels came about and Astro-theology. People just aren't interested in the things that intrigue me or the questions they raise in my experience.

The psychology of why Christians resist new information or having cherished but simplistic ideas challenged has always fascinated me. I guess I have always had a mental habit of asking who, what ,where, when , why and how about theological issues. It's how I got into WCG and how I got out. Or maybe I am confused and confuse the confusion for clarity :)




It's easy to think just because you don't get feedback that others aren't interested.

I often don't comment on things that I don't have much background in. For most of my life I just went with the thesis that the bible was coherent. After half a lifetime of reading it and trying to put it to use successfully, I've lost faith in that thesis. It now seems much more credible to me that the bible is not coherent at all, but I am kind of new to that, and I haven't spent much time researching that or becoming conversant in it as a topic. When I read what you write about that, it's always an education for me.

Same goes for astro-theology. I actually did read a book several years ago on astro-theology, but as interesting as the parallels might be, I haven't come across anything more than circumstantial evidence for it, which I put in the category of speculation, interesting speculation, but speculation nonetheless. When you write about that, it's always a reminder to me that this is the probable origin of all these stories I was always told growing up were literally true.

When I don't give feedback, it doesn't mean that I'm not interested, it usually means I'm receiving an education on a topic that I'm relatively unsophisticated in. I often won't comment if I don't have anything intelligent to say...lol...but by all means, keep up the good work because it is appreciated, even if silently.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anon snorted:"I miss church but not the ministers and I won't miss NO2HWA's lies on this blog either."

Now come on. Be specific. What lies. List please and let's have a go at them.

Anonymous said...

Dennis, I don't know enough to comment much, either, but I'm sure there are many, like myself, wanting to know reality (I say reality, since truth is subjective), trying to learn and understand objectively about what's in the New Testament, including the issues you mention. I really appreciate and enjoy your sharing your knowledge this way. Thank you.

Meighen

Anonymous said...

Dennis, you are certainly confused. Jesus was abiding by the old covenant, Paul by the new. The two convents are different and incompatible. Jesus had to be perfect in body (ie, obey the Law 100%) as well as in spirit, otherwise his sacrifice would have been for nothing, and salvation not possible for anyone. Also, none of us are perfect under the Law. Indeed we are all condemned to death under it. Paul made it clearer than any of them that faith and faith alone, not the Law, was the only way to salvation. I'm surprised a person of your caliber doesn't understand all that.

Anonymous said...

Dennis you said:
"ALl of Gentile modern Christianity depends on the views of ONE MAN who had a vision or hallucination that no one could confirm or was called from his moms womb as he said of himself in Galatians. In the multitude of counsel and Apostles there is safety. Paul allowed no disagreement with himself alone. THat is not safe, but what we have today as the authority for the whole Christian faith."

Dennis, you are a bitter person, and against Christ, just like the COGs. I thought you never had Him when you were involved with them but found Him after you realized they were cults. Now I see you not only still haven't found Him, you reject Him. I suppose that makes you an atheist too. Might as well.

Anonymous said...

I remember HWA used to say if we ever left WCG we wouldn't be able to join another church. For me that has been true. There was something about WCG that cannot be replicated. For one thing I was young then and able to be fooled -- not again. Also there was the excitement factor, there was the been chosen and special, the alienated and persecuted ones. Regular christianity doesn't provide the necessary excitement - it is boring.

The WCG pretty much debunked all the other religions and pointed out where they were wrong and what was wrong with their doctrines. So now I find I can argue the Bible with anyone without believing it. They profess to believe in a book without even knowing what it says. Of course they are more emotional about their experience, but somehow that doesn't appeal to me either. I need some kind of intellectual convincing, not a warm fussy feeling. I remember I went to a interfaith christian service once and they had "the Holy kiss". We were supposed to hug and kiss the person next to us, thankfully it was someone I knew. No way I wanted to hug and kiss some Christian stranger..... Another thing WCG used to say about mainstream Christianity was that it turned wine into water. They even try to explain away Christs miracles and the virgin birth. Now if I am going to believe in God, he is quite capable of performing miracles and virgin births, otherwise what is the point.
Sounds like the modern day COGs are pathetic too. The very thought of going into a church (any church) kind of makes me feel nauseous.

Head Usher said...

I'll admit to not "finding Him" while in Armstrongism. I'll also admit to not trying anymore after Armstrongism.

But I have a question. I have to wonder, what exactly does the phrase "finding Him" mean?

Is it some sort of emotional experience? Like the above poster, I must admit that doesn't appeal to me. Tomorrow, next year, etc., I might feel differently. Will I go on and continue to have all the same problems I ever had, continue to be the same person I always was? How is one to know whether one has "found Him" or not? Same thing could be said for any number of "christian" phrases, such as the question, "Have you 'accepted jesus in your heart.'" I always took that to be an emotional experience too. How is one to know whether they REALLY "accepted jesus their heart"? Someone could come along and chalk anything up to saying that somehow, you didn't REALLY "find Him" or "accept Him in your heart." And what would you say? What can one say? Did you "do" these "things" or did you not? How is anyone to be sure? To me, these are meaningless phrases.

In Armstrongism, there was this thing called "conversion" in which you were supposed to have "received the holy spirit" upon baptism, and this was supposed to have "converted" you or changed you. Only thing is, a couple of decades later, I look back and have to conclude that the whole thing is a bunch of malarkey. I never received any "holy spirit" or experienced any "conversion." I went on and continued to be exactly the same person with all the same problems. So did everyone else in Armstrongism that I knew. The answer to every prayer was always "No" or "Wait", which is indistinguishable from no answer at all. The whole thing is like a Disney fairy tale in the magical land of Oz. It's just adults playing make-believe and pretend, as though they were four years old. They might as well have told me that upon baptism I would receive a magical, invisible, glass slipper. How is one to know if they received this glass slipper or not? Someone could come along and say, well, you weren't baptized correctly, and that in order for the ritual to work, it must include some other mystical ingredient, and what could I say to that? What I do say is that Armstrongism isn't getting any more of my time or my money, and neither is any other religious con.

No more meaningless phrases. Hell no!

Questeruk said...

Dennis said:-
“If you get a sky map of the north and the North Star and the constellations that go around it but never set below the horizon you get.

Casseopia The Throne. It looks like a W on it's side and we have all seen it.

Opposite the Throne = The SEVEN STARS of the Big Dipper = the SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD”


Yes, fine. The only thing is that constellations don’t actually exist! We just see a random scattering of stars, which bear no relation to each other, and have just had ascribed meanings and links between them which have no reality.

For example Cassiopeia – the W is made up of a number of stars which have no relationship to each other, and are not even near each other. They just appear in this format from our particular viewpoint in the universe, nothing more.

Just maybe Dennis, the reality is that there ARE twenty-four elders, seven spirits, sea of glass etc., and that this reality was ascribed to the various star patterns observable from earth. That the constellations are the myth, not the reality.

And who would have given mankind the idea of these myths? The exiles from that reality, sent to earth. Lucifer and company, who know the reality, having lived in it for aeons.

DennisCDiehl said...

Quest noted:
"Yes, fine. The only thing is that constellations don’t actually exist!


Of course I and everyone else understands that they are connect the dot puzzles and not real for Pete's sake. BUT they have been called "the throne" etc for thousands of years and during the time when the books were written were recognized as the current constellations. The figures were chosen precisely because of the story of the Dying god man's journey through the 12 signs, also thousands of years old in human naming.

It is no coincidence either that Jesus at about age 30, as it says, went to be baptised by John the baptist. The sun after being born in December first goes into Aquarius the Waterman which is in the first 30 degrees of the Zodiac story of 360 degress.

The sky was the canvas for the story. It is no coincidence that after the sun hits the most high point in June it enters "the crab" which just happens to be a creature that walks backwards and was "seen" in the sky at that time because now the sun goes backwards into the fall and winter where it goes lower and lower until the winter solstice.

As you ask, who gives humans the ideas for these stories? Priests...observers of the heavens, the sun, the moon and the stars which amazed and frightened them. Priests do it...

DennisCDiehl said...

Anon sail:

"Dennis, you are a bitter person, and against Christ, just like the COGs. I thought you never had Him when you were involved with them but found Him after you realized they were cults. Now I see you not only still haven't found Him, you reject Him. I suppose that makes you an atheist too. Might as well."

I am not a bitter person. I am inquisitive and really wish to know what I really is and not what I wish was or need to be. Reality is our ultimate friend. I am not an atheist. I'd say agnostic as the journey is not yet over. I also am myself, able to read, think, research and draw present conclusions rather than allow myself to be told how it all is on all topics as minster and church tends to do when they have not done the homework.

It's why I use the term "mere Bible readers" to describe those who think they have it all figured out in one easy round of proof texts.

I may be irritated at myself at times for being naive but I was young and trusting of those "who seemed to be pillars." But now I am older with lots of experience in hearing the old old story which I have no problem seeing the holes in and questioning for my own good.

I realize it is much easier to hang a label of "a root of bitterness' and then go on one's simplistic way, but those kinds of scriptures are a cover for never actually asking a "bitter" person what went wrong or listening to them explain how they have come to diffent conclusions and why.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Dennis, you are certainly confused. Jesus was abiding by the old covenant, Paul by the new."

I give up...lol When you do the work and see that Peter, James and John, hated by Paul and "I learned nothing from them.." as he says in Galatians who stayed put in Jewish Christian views of Jesus , did not change and were the ones who knew him the best in the story, it makes Paul a Mythmaker as noted by Hyam Jaccoby in the book by the same name. I take it you have never seen how Paul abuses, misuses, mistakes and mispeaks the old Testament scriptures to weave his tale of Jesus who remember he never met and never quotes. Quoting what someone said to you in a hallucination does not count or we'd have to believe ever schizophrenic on the planet.

These are not my limited ideas or views. Theologians and historians see this plainly . It just is not the kind of things that ever will get spoken in churches even when the pastors know as one fellow told me..."I know that is right Dennis..but if I say that I'll lose my job."

The knowing due to an excellent background in theology and history was not the problem. It was that what he also knew that was not going to be accepted by the Sunday School mentality which really runs the show.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Dennis, you are certainly confused. Jesus was abiding by the old covenant, Paul by the new.

Also, you are defining Gospel Jesus through Paul. Theologians filter Paul through Gospel Jesus and come up wanting. Those who also see Jesus through Paul's eyes would not see the Gospel Jesus in all this or they would see the contradictions.

Also remember Paul wrote his views of Jesus or "Christ" actually long before any Gospels were written,. He lived and died before they were written. The reason he doesn't quote or know an earthly Jesus is because his Jesus is the heavenly Christ of god man fame in both paganism (Tarsus was home town of Mithras) and Gnosticism. Jesus was crucified in the heavens, not on earth by the archons not the Romans. The Gospel story came much later.

The reason Mithraism is not what we practice today is the mistake of keeping him a heavenly sun god figure and not literalizing him. This why Jesus won out over Mithras . They made him more real and historical.

This is why Paul never quotes an earthly Jesus when it would serve him to do so. He didn't exist in writing yet. This is why the Christ of Jesus was vaguely born of a woman of the tribe of Judah He knows nothing of virgin births ,wise men or floating stars.

When asked how we should pray he says not to worry, the Holy Spirit moans and groans and utters and peeps for us when we don't know how. He never heard any Jesus say, "when you pray say "our Father..." It wasn't written yet.

To undertand the story of the NT the better order of writings and ideas would be. The Gospels first current Bibles give the wrong impression of what actually was going on.

Paul writes first 50-60 ad

Gospel Jesus on earth comes next
story gets real literal as late as mid second century inspite of current dating in Bibles.

Acts joins the two as to make Paul look like he and the Jerusalem Apostles saw eye to eye...the didn't.

Various writings attributed to Paul but written much later by early Church fathers in the name of Paul set down Church rules in Paul's name.

Some in I John catch on and start a problem for the literalist church by saying "Jesus did not really come in the flesh" harkening back to Paul's original views.

Those who say Jesus did not come in the flesh are cursed and the story takes root.

No one seems to ask why so early in the game already some were saying Jesus did not actually come in the flesh. The reason is because they knew that originally the story was Gnostic view or even pagan god man story retold and the literal Jesus on earth story was just a story. Pretty amazing to be a problem so early in the NT. Not unlike denying Elvis existed in our lifetime.

Also, with all the trouble the Pharisees are said to have given Gospel Jesus and with Paul being such a big cheese Pharisee in Jerusalem by his own admission or tale telling, you'd think Pau or Saul would have shown up as a chief persecuter and interviewer of Gospel Jesus. He does not. They never seem to have heard of him or at least did not want him in the story. He only shows up much later in Acts pushing Christians in Jerusalem around. He gave Jesus no problems evidentty.

Questeruk said...

"Of course I and everyone else understands that they are connect the dot puzzles and not real…”.

Today, yes of course, but did they when these stories were first spun – probably not.

“It is no coincidence either that Jesus at about age 30, as it says, went to be baptised by John the baptist. The sun after being born in December first goes into Aquarius the Waterman which is in the first 30 degrees of the Zodiac story of 360 degress”

So are you suggesting that Jesus was born in December, and baptised about thirty years later in January?

Of course referring to the ‘Sun’, and the ‘Son’ of God as if it’s the same word only works in English.

“It is no coincidence that after the sun hits the most high point in June it enters "the crab" which just happens to be a creature that walks backwards and was "seen" in the sky at that time because now the sun goes backwards into the fall and winter where it goes lower and lower until the winter solstice.”

Come on now Dennis, equating a crab walking backwards (wrong actually, they usually walk sideways), to the sun going backwards and the days getting shorter is really ‘grasping at straws’.

Anonymous said...

I am not the smartest guy in the world, but I have lived a long life that has been better than I could have imagined when I became responsible for my personal thought and action.

Much of my life has been built on what I perceive the Christian Bible teaches. Later in life I recognized that the Bible was put together to picture how people face the many problems that human beings encounter. These problems are related to survival and the conflicting thoughts and ideas regarding human behavior in relating to other humans. Many intellectual efforts are designed to create superiority more than a genuine interest in improving the quality of our human existence.

I personally recognize the Bible as story that must been kept together even though it is made up of many different stories told by different people at different times in history. Whether it is inspired by God or human wisdom doesn’t change the fact that the story has a message that can relate to every generation. Those who read the story may see the story from different personal perspectives, but until the whole story is given meaning there is confusion.

If we take anything in creation and break it down into the little parts that make the whole we will not see the whole until it is put back together. If we destroy some of the parts or add new parts the whole will never be the same. I am not saying that the whole story is completed as yet or ever will be, but recognizing that it is a story that has purpose helps understand its influence in human history.

I guess it is human nature to want something new and improved, but in many cases the new and improved usually provides less than the original intent and purpose. Of course there are those who can relate better to the new and improved due to changes in intent and purpose in their life. The basic idea of the old story is that human nature needs to make some major changes if it is to enjoy the fullness of this human existence.
A. Boocher

Anonymous said...

Dennis, you sound more like a theologian who wants to create yet a another church. Funny how humans keep arguing with each other, split off and start a new church. Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, etc., Yet the simple truth is the Gospel is in fact simple. Don't make something that's meant to be simple in the first place overcomplicated. I'm a great believer in the KISS principle. So was Paul.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anon said:

"Yet the simple truth is the Gospel is in fact simple. Don't make something that's meant to be simple in the first place overcomplicated. I'm a great believer in the KISS principle. So was Paul"

That's a nice view. If that is as far into the background of what really is going on in the Bible and the story that's fine. That's not fine for me and the Apostle Paul is not considered "Simple" by any means. I believe it says in the Book of Paul, "he is hard to be understood," which is not a formula for simplicity.


2 Peter 3:16
There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures."

As usual the it is those who didn't understand what he was getting at or disagreed who are labeled "ignorant and unstable." No one demands Paul speak more plainly and simply or perhaps he ties himself up in knots sometimes , which actually he does if you do your homework.

But simple is nice. But it seems to me "simple" means "don't ask, don't notice and don't question," or you'll get labeled as the problem not Paul's inability to explain his simple truths simply.




DennisCDiehl said...

Ps and 2 Peter was not actually written by Gospel Peter. It was written much later when Church issues had to be addressed. By then it was obvious that Paul's simple explanations of Christ as he saw it were not so simple and causing untold controversey and confusion.

If it was so simple we'd not have thousands of bickering denominations and churches.

Whenever you write something down, it becomes subject to criticsim and interpretation, especially if it actually is hard to understand what the author was getting at and he is long dead and cannot clarify it.

Huge topic but everything being simple is more comforting I realize and takes away any motivation to find out what's really going on.

Anonymous said...

Dennis, I like you. But you have a hole in your soul that can only be filled by _____(fill in the god-name here). My prayer is that you find the true _____(fill in the god-name here) that has eluded you. Keep on the searching journey, as long as it ends up with you finding _____(fill in the god-name here).
_____(fill in the god-name here) has performed so many undeniable miracles and changed the hearts of so many people in practical ways leading them to much better lives, that my sincerest and most loving wish for you is that you also find _____(fill in the god-name here).
Only _____(fill in the god-name here) holds the key to unlock your heart and bring you ultimate happiness.

LOL!

Of course, there are many religions, each with their own gods, and each having plenty of adherents with emotional stories of the of miracles and ultimate happiness their particular god provides.

So don't delay, Dennis! If not sure which god to pick, spin the Wheel of Fortune to pick one today!
There's BIG PRIZES to be won!
And when living in particular cultures, happily, the Wheel of Fortune is rigged to land on a god that won't get too many people in that culture pissed at you! (That leads to easier ultimate happiness.)

But seriously...
I enjoyed the topic and content and honesty. I appreciate the insights about Paul, and agree that what's called "Christianity" today would be better called "Paulianity"

And BTW, I watched a great program about Neanderthals on PBS last night!
I'm more inclined to respect those who see complexities honestly and carefully endeavor to understand them. I'm less inclined to respect those who give emotion-based simplistic answers.

DennisCDiehl said...

Here ya go. Dr. James Tabor, former theology assistant to Roderick C Meredith when very very young and who went on to actually do the hard work of theology , has a new book.

"Using the oldest Christian documents that we have—the letters of Paul—as well as other early Christian sources, historian and scholar James Tabor reconstructs the origins of Christianity. Tabor reveals that the familiar figures of James, Peter, and Paul sometimes disagreed fiercely over everything from the meaning of Jesus’ message to the question of whether converts must first become Jews. Tabor shows how Paul separated himself from Peter and James to introduce his own version of Christianity, which would continue to develop independently of the message that Jesus, James, and Peter preached. "

http://www.amazon.com/Paul-Jesus-Apostle-Transformed-Christianity/dp/1439123314/ref=pd_rhf_ee_s_cp_1_ZADF

DennisCDiehl said...

Galatians 1:8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one WE preached to you, let them be under God’s CURSE!

9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, (FROM ME) let them be under God’s curse!

10Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."

At least realize Paul defended his version at the expense of all others. Here he is referring to the Jewish Christian leaders, Peter, James and John. He cursed them for their view of Jesus as opposed to his.

Paul, the one who was all things to all men that he might win some in this case brags how he does not try to please others. The man flipped around depending more than a fish out of water.

James Tabor recognizes this dicotomy between those who knew a Gospel Jesus and a Paul who never did and had stories concocted to inflate his credentials as needed.

Sounds familiar to me in light of some in the COGs today.

Assistant Deacon said...

Well, Dennis, it looks like you won't be building sewage systems under Job in the kingdom, that's for sure.

Or will it be Ellis LaRavia? I get confused.

DennisCDiehl said...

Assistant Deacon said:

Anonymous Assistant Deacon said...
Well, Dennis, it looks like you won't be building sewage systems under Job in the kingdom, that's for sure.

Or will it be Ellis LaRavia? I get confused."

Ohhhh the memories. I got stuffed into the gardening dept for my three and a half year stint at college under LaRavia. I was not all that happy working in smog and heat and changing clothes three times a day but he assured me that I would have the whole earth to replant and keep in the Wunnerfull World Tomorrow.

Somehow that did not help...lol

Byker Bob said...

Well, apparently there is another area in which we differ. I, too, worked for Ellis LaRavia, and I really liked him. I also really looked forward to doing my work on the gardening crew. It was relaxing, and decidedly non-theological.

BB

DennisCDiehl said...

BB "Well, apparently there is another area in which we differ"

I didn't say I didn't like him, in fact I did like him. He was easy going, non intrusive and a genuinely nice guy from my experience. The assigning of jobs for the kingdom comment by the previous anon was what I was referring to and my memory of being motivated to like the smog job because I would be training for the World Tomorrow is all.

DennisCDiehl said...

My very first day as a campus gardner was a sunday in 1968. It was a sunday where:

1.The student body president called a fast to get the year started well. I had no idea what a fast was but fasting and working in 100 degrees in smog was what i got

2. I had never kept the Sabbath before going to AC. I went from eating my last ham sandwich on the plane to Calif the week before an Sunday Church in NY the week before to WCG.

So I was working the first sunday of my young life, in LA smog, and not eating or drinking because I was told to. Even the drinking fountains were taped over. I did it just fine..but it was a hoot and the Wonderful World Tomorrow was not looking like much fun at that moment

lol

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to Ellis LaRavia? He apparently was the alternative to Tkatch that HWA was thinking about.

Glenn Parker

NO2HWA said...

LaRavia was never an alternate to Tkach. He thought he was and his wife thought he was. When he did not get it, that is when his wife went into a major meltdown. It got so bad that the police were called on her one day.

Joe Moeller said...

Ellis LaRavia is with the United Church of God.

He currently attends in the Sierra Vista, Arizona congregation, and speaks often.

Here is a list of his recent offerings...
http://sierra-vista.ucg.org/sermons?topic=All&field_sermon_speaker_value=Ellis%20LaRavia

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

LaRavia was put over the Auditorium for several years. He had no idea what he was doing. He was a very poor business manager. That was in the 1980's when the church was living excessively and was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars every year on receptions dinners and parties for the concert series.

Anonymous said...

I remember one time after he was evangelized that Ellis visited our church area. He was given the stage with more than 90 minutes left in the standard 2-hour window, and still went almost a half hour overtime -- saying essentially nothing. He was harmless enough, but meandered around and was impossible to follow. Finally he looked at his watch and said, "Oh my, where has the time gone."

It was torture. But I'll bet he finished all the Spokesman's Club lessons, so there's that.

Anonymous said...

In my experience, most ministers giving sermons didn't have enough material to fill out a sermon. They might have been able to pick a topic, but they were salesman rather than scholars and researchers, so left to their own devices, they had little or nothing to say except to repeat what they'd heard in other sermons or at AC. But they loved to sell, and they loved to hear the sound of their own voice, so they could meander around for hours, saying nothing worth listening to, but merely enjoying the feeling of being important. And if they were an "Evangelist-Rank" minister, boy were they important. But anything they had to say could have been wrapped up in just a sermonette. But no pain, no gain. It was torture then and it still is now. Nothing has changed, has it? Except of course for the size of the audience.

Byker Bob said...

Yeah. That was actually a bragging point WCG tried to hold over those falsely called the "Christians falsely so-called"

"Go to one of the world's churches, brethren, and you'll hear a twenty minute or half hour sermon! If the Bible is read at all, in some churches, someone will cry out, "A reading from St. Mark" and will then read a single verse, or maybe two. That's their version of "the meat?"

Actually, since I've been attending church again, I've been refreshed by the depth and conciseness which can be infused into a 40 minute sermon. No vain repetition, points are made quickly and decisively. And, for those so inclined, the topic of the sermon is discussed more in depth in the middle of the week in the various neighborhood groups, as a kind of mid-week spiritual pick me up.

Armstrongism forced all of us, in so many ways, to do things which are decidedly unpleasant to most humans, convinced us that that is what God (although strangely the words always came out of their mouths) would have us do to please him, and then convinced us that our natural revulsion was either a bad attitude, or Satan trying to gain entrance into us.

BB

Byker Bob said...

Joe,

Thanks for the update on Ellis. Sierra Vista is like at the bottom of our state, and I only have two customers down there whom I rarely see, one Alphagraphics store, and the Ft. Huachuca military base. So, he's really living in God's country, a totally beautiful area!

I hope his wife made it through her ordeal. The LaRavias had myself and a few other students over to celebrate Thanksgiving with them one year, and Ellis and I were in the same Ambassador Club one year. They were awesome people back then, and I hope that later history in WCG didn't change that. At least we know they are with a moderate group!

BB

Anonymous said...

"...and then convinced us that our natural revulsion was either a bad attitude, or Satan trying to gain entrance into us."

Or...that horrible "human nature" that god decided to create in you, just to make sure everyone got off on the wrong foot to begin with.

It's kind of like spiders with their horrible "spider nature." Building webs is evil. In the millenium, spiders won't make those horrible webs, they'll eat grass instead. lol

Anonymous said...

"As usual the it is those who didn't understand what he was getting at or disagreed who are labeled "ignorant and unstable." No one demands Paul speak more plainly and simply or perhaps he ties himself up in knots sometimes , which actually he does if you do your homework."

I disagree. Give us an example. I actually find Paul's teachings very simple and basic even a child could understand it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the commenter who wrote about some of the WCG who gave sermons, stating, "they were salesman rather than scholars and researchers", and "anything they had to say could have been wrapped up in just a sermonette", and "It was torture"

The nicest thing the commenter mentioned is that the size of the audience has changed.
It's nice to know that kooky Ellis LaRavia is relegated to speaking only to very small audiences in a pathetically embarrassing "church"!