Monday, September 9, 2013

Dennis Muses: "Giving up the Ghosts..."

Just What Do You Mean

"God Haunted"?
File:Brutus and the Ghost of Caesar 1802.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Brutus and the Ghost of Caesar


haunt (hônt, hnt)
v. haunt·ed, haunt·ing, haunts
1. To inhabit, visit, or appear to in the form of a ghost or other supernatural being.
2. To visit often; frequent: haunted the movie theaters.
3. To come to the mind of continually; obsess: a riddle that haunted me all morning.
4. To be continually present in; pervade: the melancholy that haunts the composer's music.
To recur or visit often, especially as a ghost.
1. A place much frequented.
2. also hant or ha'nt (hnt) or haint (hnt) Chiefly Southern U.S. A ghost or other supernatural being.
God haunted is what James Malm, Samuel Kitchen and E.W.King are.  David C. Pack and Gerald Flurry are God Haunted.  All of those who listen to them are God Haunted.
Being God haunted, using the above definitions, to often visit the scriptures...any scripture found anywhere on any topic to try and discern what it must mean for you today and to pick a way in which it can control, alter or influence your thinking.  Mistaken and mispoken ministers do this to the congregation knowlingly or, more likely, unknowingly.
Being God Haunted is to continually obsess on everything from "God's plan" to "Jesus Christ NOW is _____"  fill in the blank.  It makes you wear or not wear certain clothes or kinds of clothes.  It dictates the foods you eat or don't eat .  It may dictate how you cook that food or even if you do.   Being God Haunted determines  the days you keep or don't keep as sacred or meaningful.  Being God Haunted makes one keep those days in exact and certain ways and times.  It calculates and measures.

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Being God Haunted determines just how you view marriage and "roles."   If it is God/Christ/My Church Leader/Me and then my wife to be followed by the kids and their pets, the woman is going to find out real fast what God Haunted religion is going to do to her individuality.  God Haunted parents ruin kids and teach them that conformity in spite of individuality and the authenticity of each person is all that is required.  God Haunted parents forget they got to make life choices themselves unless they too are the product of God Haunted parents who only demanded conformity to the family ways, now pass it on.  God Haunted parents send their kids to God Haunted Summer Camps or programs where the kids then learn the fine art of either wearing the mask of conformity or the fine art of getting around the rules and having some fun.

Gerald Flurry is God Haunted.  His obsession with HWA and the Book of Malachi where in he sees himself as "That Prophet" is classic God Hauntedness.  It's also classic delusional thinking. He's not "that prophet" and he's not even that intelligent.  Gerald is Haunted by the Ghost of HWA who I am not confident was God Haunted in the same ways.  HWA had his ghosts but I don't perceive they were obsessions with how exactly to be and do things to be on God's good side.  Being God Haunted is the fear of doing something Biblically inappropriate or forbidden upon pain of death or being cut off from the Deity.  Purification rites are being God Haunted.  Washings and sacrifices are being God Haunted.  Giving money you really do not have to give is being God Haunted.  Allowing your pastor to badger you into giving up retirements, homes, possessions, stuff, time and effort , with the appropriate scriptures to back it up, against your better stomach twitching judgment, is being God Haunted.

Dr. Robert Thiel is God Haunted.  He worries about how God views football, make up and the role of women.  I suppose he has mused on NASCAR too.  I don't know.  But if the question came up, he'd have to search the scriptures for a principle with which to make a judgment on the matter.  That's God Haunted. 
Being God haunted agonizes over questions about what constitutes leavening or at what age my child should fast on Atonement.  It never crosses their mind to ask the child or even teen if they wish to participate of their own free will.  They are afraid they might say not this year and then the Deity will be really miffed.  Being God Haunted asks whether God approves of oral sex or not.  As one minister begged when the presenter at a Refresher Program thought this needed to be addressed "in the Church",  "Stop, stop...don't answer that!  You'll lose the entire French Church!"   End of discussion.

Now Hear This (
Being God Haunted begs for an answer to whether you can eat out on a certain day of the week or turn on your lights or stove.  Being God Haunted keeps you near breathless to hear the next "announcement" as to what God is doing this week which obviously  He forgot to include in last week's announcement.  Being God Haunted looks back at what actually happened as opposed to what one said must happen and rewrites the script to keep it ever about to happen.
And of course, David C Pack, head of the Restored Church of God, is God Haunted.  Seeing himself as spoken of by the prophet Haggai and Zechariah is classic God Haunted. It is classic mental illness as well I am sure by someone's knowledgeable definition.  I can't judge Dave's religious sincerity.  But he is God Haunted and obsessive about meaning and what God, Christ and the Devil are doing these days concerning his Restored Church of God and himself. . They all are and they search and search the scriptures to find meaning and to define everything they can think up to think on.   He is obsessive about all things HWA.  Being God Haunted never means "I was wrong,"  "I misspoke" or "I got a little carried away with scripture and I apologize."   It always means, "The Prophecy still stands!  We  (not I) were wrong in the "Timing."  And the God Haunted pursuit of the content of God's mind continues unabated and unexamined.

One of the worst explanations of scripture ever given in WCG as to how one should study the bible is found in  Isaiah 28 9-11

9 "To whom would He teach knowledge, And to whom would He interpret the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just taken from the breast? 10 "For He says, 'Order on order, order on order, Line on line, line on line, A little here, a little there.'" 11. Indeed, He will speak to this people Through stammering lips and a foreign tongue,…"

Funny Drunk People Picture 23

This scripture is God, MOCKING the drunken priests of Ephraim and their way of teaching.  It is God, through Isaiah, telling them they talk like babies.  Later God says if that's the way you want it, that's the way God will respond and we'll see how that works out for you.

New International Version
"For it is: Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there."

New Living Translation
"He tells us everything over and over--one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there!"

These are not compliments and certainly NOT how one should study scripture to get "Gods intended meaning" or to promote "Letting the Bible interpret the Bible." 
When I was pastoring in Kentucky, people would tell me that various areas or places "had the Haints."  That meant it was haunted.  It had ghosts and was full of strange and weird things and happenings. 

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Is there a cure for "the Haints"?  Only time and with experience I suppose.  Some clear thinking people, and I'm not seeing a lot of that in some of the COG membership as they sit week after week being entertained by the fairy tales of a Dave Pack or the lesseer players like Thiel, Malm, Kitchen and King,,  will reach the point of clarity and finally give up the ghosts.
Many won't and really probably can't. 
On this topic in the behaviors, requirements and machinations of the key players in the Church of God unending God Haunted drama, it will take time and a deep level of finally coming to see what "by their fruits you shall know them" actually means to the observer of these things.   This is the only real Ghost Buster I know and you'll know it when it shows up.
It usually presents itself when you hear the voice in your head, almost mid sentence or mid sermon say...
"This is stupid...I ain't afraid of no ghosts"


Douglas Becker said...

Science has some treatments but no cures for what is obviously a series of mental disorders.

It may not be an haunting as it is a British Israelism addiction.

Or it's just plain idolatry in Biblical terms.

Byker Bob said...

One of the problems with Armstrongism is that we were taught that fanaticism was balance. Officially, ridiculous theories and bad scholarship were sanctioned and taught, but only the ridiculous theories and bad scholarship developed by Herbert W. Armstrong.

There is certainly nothing wrong with pondering and possibly being guided by Jesus' teachings on how to show Godly love to a brother or sister, or who is your neighbor. But there is a big problem in imagining that you are the latter day version of one of the Bible's minor characters, or that someone actually is an apostle today and is to be obeyed as if he were Jesus Christ. There is a big problem with becoming obsessive-compulsive about every single law in Leviticus. There is also a huge problem with imagining that your particular ethnic group is the modern equivalent of one of the prominent ethnic groups in the Bible, and that what the Bible says about that group in prophecy applies to you personally.

We all have our paradigms, and hopefully a code by which we conduct our lives. In most cases, these are principles involving honesty, faithfulness, and hard work. No one would call having such principles being haunted. The problem comes into play when someone begins acting like the iconic TV character Mr. Monk.

I suppose that one could become haunted about being haunted, too. It is surely still in all of our recent memories the extremes to which people went when the phrase "codependent relationship" suddenly crashed into our lexicon. Suddenly, no normal, healthy relationships existed.

Nothing wrong with God in a person's life. Balance is where it's at.


Head Usher said...

OOOOOH! ME TOO! I want to be referred to prophetically in some relatively obscure book of in the Old Testament, such as Haggai. What do I have to do to make that happen?

I've know what step one is, which is copy Herbert in all things and claim to be his one and only true successor on some lame website.

What comes next? PLZ HELP!

Allen C. Dexter said...

Good subject and good analysis. It took decades for me to get the haunting out of my head. It still tries to reassert itself from time to time.

DennisCDiehl said...

BB, I am referring to the strange and weird unbalanced views these guys wring out of scripture. One of the main problems seems to be the inability to see the upgrade the NT is designed to give to the OT even if Rabbis and Hebrew scholars would contest the approach and the misuse of their own scriptures.

Telling Jewish people they don't understand their own scriptures is risky business and their are some pretty fine rebuttals out there to the way the NT is used to define the "real" meaning of the OT.

Even in the fundy Baptists around here, they don't dig so deep through scripture for all that the Malm's, Packs, Flurrys, Kitchens, Thiels and Kings can come up with as mandatory practice and thought.

It's silly actually

DennisCDiehl said...

In my view, the COGs eternal struggle is between being Jewish Christian as we would see of Peter, James and John types in their writings, real or imagined, and the Gentile Christianity of Paul which we are stuck with today.

The COGs wrestle with how much of the OT still applies for Christians. If you go by James and John, most all of it as Christianity was merely a subset of Judaism. If you go by Paul, none of it as Christianity supercedes Judaism in some way. However Paul got a bit more humble about "the law" when the Corinthian congregation seemed to spin out of control under his grace approach to law.

Paul was forced to admit about law being "done away" , "well, I didn't mean that!"

It's a mixed bag and always will be. It truly is mixing the fabric of thoughts and ideas into one coherent garment and it is a tough match.

Byker Bob said...


I figured that was your approach from past discussions. However, some of our atheist brethren have applied that phrase to believers in general. Basically, I was attempting to point towards middle ground, or to explain the middle ground which I have found, for the benefit of the larger audience of lurkers and anonymi.


Anonymous said...

"There is certainly nothing wrong with pondering and possibly being guided by Jesus' teachings on how to show Godly love to a brother or sister, or who is your neighbor."

Most people call this effort simply, "Not being a dick."

Cult indoctrinated people often ascribe spine-tingling attributes to what is actually in the realm of the mundane.

DennisCDiehl said...

I understand BB. I mean this in the context of the huge tendency in the COGs to search the OT for ideas where they can major in the minors and apply things to day that are irrelevant and stupid as if their NT salvation depended on it.

The stress of some forms of Christianity is the fear of not getting absolutely everything correct and to "become perfect like you Father in heaven is perfect" Whether it means perfect or mature doesn't matter. The pressure to be these impossible things is enormous when one opts for the "what must we do" to be saved versus whatever "the simplicity that is in Christ" is.

By the time one sees themselves spoken of by the prophets I suppose it goes from haunted to outright possession lol