There is a Seat for Every Butt
I had a client once that sold cars and had a really ugly pink convertible on his lot. No one expected it ever to sell. When asked why he even bought such a car for his lot as it would never sell he said. "Oh no, it will sell. There is a seat for every butt. Someone will come in here and think it was made especially for them and pay full price."
And this is true.....
It has been my observation that one of the reasons there are so many kinds of one true churches is because there are so many kinds of one true personalities. Let's face it. Most folk feel that how they filter their world, believe what they believe, practice what they practice and feel as they feel is just fine and probably pretty close to what should be. No one ever joined the false church as far as I can tell and no one has ever told me , "oh yes, I know I am deceived by Satan, but I enjoy it and the people are nice." No one ever told me that they knew everything they believed was BS but they didn't care.
The desire to know whatever "the truth" of life is that draws people to any religion or belief system is born out of our need for purpose and understanding of the world around us and of course, the fact that we know we shall die. This one factor, our knowledge of our own demise, not found in any other sentient being, is the engine that runs religious seeking. It is the origin of all doctrine and the subject of lives lived to achieve the desired outcome. Our fears drive us to our religions and that is quite normal.
Denominations have personalities and they draw those of like personality. Pentecostals are known for their emotional services so draw those inclined to repressed emotions needing and outlet. Speaking in Tongues perhaps appeals to the need to feel special or set apart in an uncommon way in an otherwise dull and routine life. The very liberal who feel no need for "all to believe the same thing," can be found in Unitarian, Unity and Episcopal Churches. You don't get disfellowshipped from these groups for holding contrary views of the Bible or your what's it all about being not the same as someone else's.
Presbyterians tend towards intellect as well and set nicely in the middle of wanting to be and do what is right and understanding the Bible is not literally true in all it's presentation , science is good and we're all here to learn. Besides we have other things to do.
Catholics tend towards the comfort of pomp, authority and tradition. A good catholic can apologize away any Bible contradiction to their faith. They are masters at taking a simple scripture, say on idolatry, and showing how it still lets them do what they do and doesn't mean what it says. But then Moses made bronze snakes so no biggy. You haven't lived until you listen to a Catholic apologist explain Mary or the need to obey the Magisterium when in doubt as they know.
Baptists pride themselves in taking everything in the Bible as literally true. God said, I believe it, that does it for me works for them even if they don't understand the background or the difference between myth, midrash and hyperbole. This church attracts men who like to yell and talk funny bouncing on their feet and members who love the show and an occasional "amen."
On Banned, we are often a bit dumbfounded wondering just "who are these people that follow the likes of Gerald Flurry and Dave Pack?" What are they getting out of this and why? What is the appeal? What are they thinking with all this obvious and ridiculous behavior, strange and weird ideas about themselves?
First of all, all COG's are Jewish Christian holdouts and for this I cannot fault them. Jewish Christians were the first Christians. If you exclude Paul, you have a Jewish people who follow who they perceived then as the promised Messiah. Once the promised Messiah was killed, the game did change however as that was not in the cards for Judaism.
The problem Jewish Christians have is what to do with Paul? They think Paul was also a Jewish Christian going to Gentiles with a somewhat modified Jewish Christian view but they are wrong about this. Like the early Jewish Christian leaders Peter, James and John did, Paul will have to be rejected as apostate and false. Paul indeed is the founder of our modern Christianity and not any Gospel Jesus. Jesus would not have recognized Paul's thinking or conclusions. Of course no one knows how to do that so they end up trying to figure out if Paul is for or against many things depending on the verses quoted. It's also why they do not pick up on Paul's convoluted theology. The Jewish Christian view of Jesus, End of Age, True Church, Protection, Resurrection and Kingdom of God is just so simple and appealing. Paul's twisted and often tortured explanations which were admitted to be "hard to be understood" by even those who followed him are just too far out and not all that important really in the COGs. If one can't see that Jewish Christian leaders hated the gentile interloper Paul, and why, you will never get the NT straight or be more realistic in your understanding of Church drama, division and crack ups.
I never gave a sermon in my life on justification, sanctification or the triune this or that one scratches one's head over when you read Grace Community stuff by Ted Johnston over at "The Surprising God" Blog. I read their views from time to time and shake my head with my own classic response of , "and you know this?" Double talk if ever I heard it. You see it does not appeal to my personality. I could never be drawn to getting all swoozy over the Holy Spirit or the Trinity doing amazing things that are equally hard to be understood or even imagined. I grew up Presbyterian. When the Tkaches reinvented my wheel being so amazed at what they found, it was just a shoulder shrugger for me. It is neither inspiring nor motivating. I find the whole thing boring and unprovable as if I even wanted it to be so. CGI stuff would put me in a theological trance with my response being "yeah, fine..whatever, who cares?" I grew up with it and the WCG view was more appealing when young. Not so much anymore :)
So what is it that draws people to the Flurry's and Pack's of COGdom? Why do they allow themselves to be browbeaten by such messages as Dave's Clarion Call to do things with their resources that no sane thinking person would ever do? It is very manipulative, to me, for a man to warn a congregation to be aware of himself going off track and getting strange so they could do something about it and then calm them back down with "but I tell you, I am not going anywhere." Telling them "no, no, no, no...you can believe me now, because I'll say it's a, b, c and xyz," is manipulative group doping. . I just told how I would manipulate you and deceive you and then I told you not to worry about it but got my own fears off my chest. Simply nuts. Back into the coma I guess.
So what would be the personal beliefs someone would have to have to tolerate all this theologically off base drama? Do these folk really believe Dave is spoken of in Haggai and IS the real topic of the book? Who would really send in a retirement , inheritance or home sale to Dave? What church ever said to do that? Even in the NT they tried it and it failed miserably if you know how to read between the lines. It never became the norm. Besides you can only give all once so then what? Send in your retirement again? Pull big triggers again? If these kinds of things are what Dave says in public, what on earth does he say to them in private? Why does Dave go ape shit crazy to get sermon tapes back that were only for the chosen ones ears? Who are these people and why do the put up with this? On top of this, what kind of man would want to administer Dave's views by being a minister in RCG? What kind of a man would actually submit to Dave's 35 sell me your soul demands for forgiveness and restitution to his institution?
These inner needs of those who simply must follow Joshua W.Packstrong may not be in the exactly correct order, but these must be factors in why Dave can fill seats with his ridiculous views of himself and error ridden theology. Remember, Dave is actually not well trained. Being "trained" by HWA, a man who was equally not well trained in theology is no feather in your cap. It's like being taught to sing by Tiny Tim, who is famous for "Tip Toe Through the Tulips." (TT always looked like Dr. Hoeh to me:)
So...To be drawn to Dave Pack and RCG these must be my needs and views.
1. I need to be told what the Bible says by one person who knows and I know Mr. Pack knows. He went to Ambassador College and studied under Mr. Armstrong directly. I am not capable of reading and applying it on my own. Even in this day and age where knowledge and research is so much more easily done on all things Bible, I simple need someone like a Dave Pack to tell me what it says and means.
2. I need the security of being told, no matter what, I am special and no harm will befall me if I abide in RCG and under David Pack's wings. Dave tells me we will flee and be protected. A very scary concept and fraught with enough fearful outcomes to make you sick and more fearful in my view. This is a huge theological mistake on Dave's part, and others, but I spare you.
3. I believe in special Prophets, Priest, Popes and Apostles. If I believe in those authority figures for a church then it is no great leap to believing in Watchers, Witnesses, Zerrubabels and Joshuas.
4. I am incapable of imagining who and what God is so I have to trust others to tell me about it is and what it is up to.
5. There just has to be one absolutely true church somewhere and in spite of this one having only a few thousand followers, out of billions of humans, this must be it. It's a small flock so that is good enough proof for me. On top of that, we do have persecution, so there ya go...
6. I need someone to assure me good science well done is not correct and that stories meant as myth with a divine message are literally true. I need to know Adam and Eve were real and where we really came from. I need another to do my homework for me. Note: I have heard Dave confirm the 6000 year old myth which tells me all I need to know about the man's intelligence. No one with any intellectual capacity in this day and age would find the earth to have been created a mere 6000 years ago in six days. That is intellectual retardation.
7. I don't mind being told never to question Mr. Pack, his views, decisions or plans. God corrects him not me. I believe that. (That may about to be more true than Dave ever imagined). I don't mind giving him my money which he told me is not really mine anyway (It's his) nor mind not questioning what he does with it. I don't want responsibility for my own resources.
8. I need to be in a church that changes not nor needs to learn anything new. There actually is nothing new to learn and I'm content to just know what Dave Pack or Gerald Flurry knows. I don't trust my own judgement .
9. If the Bronze age was good enough for my minister, it's good enough for me.
10. If I am a minister in RCG/PCG, I don't mind being controlled and used. Jesus used the disciples. I don't mind being lower and believe firmly in ranks of human beings.God placed me under Mr. Pack. I don't mind that if I don't see it now. I will see it someday when I am more humble and God reveals to me that Mr. Pack is correct always. It is ok that he is much more intelligent than myself and that I will trust his research and intellect over mine any day as God's Apostle. This is what faith is. Mr. Pack told me that.
11. I know time is short and Jesus is coming soon. Mr. Pack assures me of this and reminds me of all sorts of 2000 year old scriptures written to now dead believers as to how soon it will be. Mr. Pack assures me that this "soon" is really the correct "soon" just as this "Joshua" is really the correct "Joshua."
12. While I can see the disconnect between "soon" and all this building and expense , which I don't question, I believe Mr. Pack when he tells me this is what "blessed is he that is found so doing," means.
13. I am not easily embarrassed by Mr Pack's extreme views of himself or his personally perceived calling. He backs them all up with scriptures so I know he must be correct.
14. I know that if I ever feel Mr. Pack is into strange or weird ideas about himself, I would perceive it and leave. Or I would know that God would correct him and he would take that correction to heart and admit he was mistaken. Mr. Pack is the kind of man that would always admit to being mistaken or be sure I knew the difference between his opinions and what the Bible actually means.
15. I don't mind and know that sometimes the truths Mr. Pack brings us can drive a wedge between me and my partner or children and it's ok. The Bible says and Mr. Pack tells me this can happen.
16. As a woman, I know I am of less value than a man. I know I have no voice if I am just a non-member mate but that I do have one, at least as far as half of our family income and stuff is concerned, if I am a member. If so, then I can send it in. If not, I accept being told I have no voice woman and my husband can send it in.
17. While I am aware that Ron Weinland made an ass out of himself setting dates of one kind or another, Mr. Pack is different and this is different. Mr. Pack gets his dates out of the actual Bible and converts them to Roman time as God intended. So all things will occur exactly as Mr. Pack says because it is really God saying it, not Mr. Pack. He is not a prophet as he said so he is simply passing on what God has said and means. It's a done deal.
18. I am incapable of cracking the code language in the Bible and Mr. Pack knows the code. I totally trust he has the right code and that his 1960's decoder ring still works well. Art Mokarow wrote a book called , "God's Puzzle Solved," but a puzzle is not a code and what he solved is not what Mr. Pack has uncovered in the code. His code trumps Mokarow's Puzzle and this is why I come to church here.
19. I like being in a church whose pastor notes the upcoming deaths of 3 blind mice in the splinters to show God's awesome accuracy in this age. It might be literal but it also might be spiritual and easily explained away if not literal but it will happen as Haggai noted about Mr Pack uncovering this code.
20. I need to be in a church where everything, and I mean everything is exaggerated, overblown, awesome, overarching and never before understood in quite this way, on a weekly basis. I bore easily and this stuff pumps me up in my otherwise mundane life. If the last awesome doesn't fly, the next one surely will and be more awesome! It's almost like being Pentecostal.
21. I have no personal self esteem or worth and need Dave Pack to make me feel special even if he makes a fool out of me.
Now admit...some of us wonder "what if this stuff happens?" "What is RCM dies? Dave will use that?" "Maybe Dave Pack knows something about Haggai and the Bible Code others just don't." "What if I really do lose the Holy Spirit if I don't join him?" "What if.......?"
(To quote Joshua W Packstrong)
Hey! Snap...snap...not to worry. August 2013 will come and go just as any other August has. Wars will continue in the world, the economy will worsen, the games people play will be exposed, government will govern badly. Kids will get read for school. College classes will start up again. An asteroid may hit but probably not. Some will die in earthquakes and fires. God will continue to try and get our attention with weather as Bob Thiel likes to believe as hurricane season is ramping up and Dave Pack will have some splainin' to do when the cars are not quite backed up into town coming to Wadsworth for the feast.
I may write some more in September, I may not. I may think I am over this crazy stuff or I may get more determined to confront it. Life will go on in some form for billions. Millions and millions will continue to go to their true churches never giving it a thought. Thousands and thousands will drop out of one and head to another or just drop out. Ron Weinland will still be in prison still trying to figure out why since he did nothing wrong and has nothing to apologize for to the brethren and Dave Pack will over arch and fall on his face.
Contact Dennis at DennisCDiehl@aol.com