Sunday, January 26, 2014

The COG's Use of "...inappropriate, psychologically depressive and emotionally destructive" Psalms for Worship, Instead of Joy in Christ

For many years now in the distance by learning class I facilitate for a major university in the Southeast, on Hebrew and Christan scripture and church history, the reaction of people when they start reading many of the Palms is one of shock and revulsion at the blood lust and revenge so much of it is about.

When I tell them that my former church sang these songs as "inspirational" they all look aghast.

The average COG member thinks nothing about opening the day of worship with singing about marching off to war and bashing the heads of the persecutors in.

Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.

...deliver me from all who pursue me,  or they will tear me apart like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.

...let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust.
Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies.
...a God who displays his wrath every day. 12 If he does not relent, he[e] will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. 13 He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes ready his flaming arrows.

You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have blotted out their name for ever and ever. Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies, you have uprooted their cities; even the memory of them has perished. 

The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.
On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot.

Rise up, Lord, confront them, bring them down; with your sword rescue me from the wicked.

May what you have stored up for the wicked fill their bellies; may their children gorge themselves on it, and may there be leftovers for their little ones.

 37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. 38 I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. 39 You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me. 40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, 
and I destroyed my foes. 41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—to the Lord, but he did not answer. 42 I beat them as fine as windblown dust; I trampled them[f] like mud in the streets. 43 You have delivered me from the attacks of the people; you have made me the head of nations. People I did not know now serve me, 44 foreigners cower before me; as soon as they hear of me, they obey me. 45 They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds.

 When you appear for battle, you will burn them up as in a blazing furnace. The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath, and his fire will consume them. 10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth, their posterity from mankind.
We sang songs week after week of blood lust and war.  Imagine what this does to the mind of a child growing up!  Look what it did to the mind of David C Pack and Gerald Flurry!

Granted, I do know that many of the Psalms are uplifting and that many find them beneficial.  That's not the problem. It was/is our extreme focus upon the world BEFORE Jesus and not upon what was brought into fruition on the day of his incarnation.

I was glad to see the other day that the All About Armstrongism blog has a great article up about this very subject.  

Armstrongism has always looked backwards and never forward into new life in Christ.  The Kingdom of God broke forth into the world and the COG still can't find it.

From THE DEPRESSIVE WORDS OF THE PSALMS IN THE TIME BEFORE CHRIST: WHAT IMPACT?   Checkout the article for lots more in this subject!

For week after week, after week, every seven days and sometimes more, the members, AND THE CHILDREN, of the Worldwide Church of God, sang the Psalms of the Old Covenant, in the time before the revealing of the Christ, who is Jesus, as worship songs. Though not every song was as negative as the selected verses below, singing these hymns was for many untruth, was very negative, and did not reflect the life of a Christian who is in Christ.

These songs were composed and sang before the revealing of Christ, before Jesus ever came to Earth. We sang them as if He never came. We sang them as if they applied to each of us. Has it ever occurred to anyone the intense and subliminal depressive negativity and effect on the emotions of those who sang these hymns every single week?

Some of these songs were not appropriate to sing as worship songs. They reflected the opinion of a person who thought of God, at least in part,  as a defense commander – a warrior – an aide in fight and battle.

Worst of all, they shaped the imagery of God not in the manner of understanding the close relationship Christians can share in Jesus to children, but in the imagery of warfare for the young minds unfortunate enough to be molded and raised in Armstrongism. I have absolutely no doubt the psychological impact, in my opinion, of the words of these hymns, shaped and molded the perceptions of God into perceptions that were absolutely scary and harmful to children. The children, who had no Childrens Church of their own, but were forced to sit through adult services with strictly inappropriate and sometimes violent imagery content, had no choice but to sing the depressive words that are to follow. Though some COG leaders today somehow believe it is appropriate to sing these “psalms” as worship, I maintain it was not only innapropriate, but over periods of months, years, and decades, psychologically depressive and even emotionally destructive.


DennisCDiehl said...

I could not agree more. COG hymns taken from Psalms are and always were depressing and irrelevant to any Gospel message. They can throw "Onward Christian Soldiers" into the dumpster as well. If it weren't for the three major religions on the planet, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, world peace would break out...

DennisCDiehl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The psalmists knew that revenge is the best therapy.

Byker Bob said...

Back in the Incest Era of the WCG, I really can't say that it occurred to me that any of these songs would be negative. They were just the stuff it was OK to sing and listen to on the sabbath, as opposed to our normal musical faire. I know that several years ago, Velvet wrote what could probably have been considered almost a doctoral thesis on what she called "The Purple Joy Killer". Prior to that, I had just considered the songs as part of basic culture of the Church, with any violence fantasized about being as yet future, and as such, being sanctioned by God and Jesus as per what we read in Revelation.

I will say that in the intervening 35 odd years, I have developed a much greater appreciation for the traditional Protestant hymns, knowing the inspiring background situations under which they were written. My Jewish friends, though, have consistently maintained that they obtain many of their views as to God's love through the Psalms. Probably Herbert instructed Dwight to write music for the specific passages that resembled Daniel and Revelation. That would have been totally in keeping with the nuances of the gospel message which Herbert preached. And, they always were great at lifting things from proper context to support that.


Anonymous said...

Dennis, when did Judaism become a major religion? And, in the last century how many people were killed by Hitler, Stalin, and Mao?

Allen C. Dexter said...

I see no difference between the Psalms and the horrible pictures in Revelation. All the ancient gods were brutal warriors -- Zeus, Thor, Odin, Horus, and, yes Yahweh too. They've mostly been cast upon the garbage heap of history, but not Yahweh. The old testament and it god is no more believable than the Iliad or the Odyssey, and the new testament is an invention of Roman emperors and wild-eyed fanatics who had a hard time deciding even what to name their concocted messiah.

Go here for a concise backup readily available to what I just stated:

Michael said...

I have to agree, a lot if not most of the "Davidic" psalms are about revenge, and along the lines of "My God Yahweh is bigger and badder than yours and will give me the strength to repay you bastards!"

not to mention By the Waters of Babylon's famous line "Happy he that rewardeth thee, Just as thou unto us hast done." Very "Christian" :-)

DennisCDiehl said...

"Dennis, when did Judaism become a major religion'

I suppose I meant it is a major influence in all areas of world affairs. Israel is the thorn in everyone else's side it seems. I also am taking it way back to the Biblical texts that portray Israel as wiping up everyone that got in their way to establish their own version of pagan religion. YHVY kills of millions according to the text and Evangelicals today adopt the same mentality towards those who oppose Israel today. The judeo christian influence didn't help the Native American community either.

It also seems true that one cannot be in American government or Congress without the traditional sojourn to Israel .

The chosen people concept has gotten the unchosen taken out

Byker Bob said...

I'm putting on my flak vest to dodge some of you guys' bullets, but statistically, Jews have been an incredible international blessing to all cultures around the world. Whether we are talking about science and research, the arts, finance, or government, the beneficial influence of the Jewish people goes statistically way beyond their numbers. This is not even debatable.

So far as the plight of the Native Americans go, weren't all of the founders of our country atheists and deists? Isn't that the preferred revisionist version of our history as opposed to various Christians (and not a heck of a lot of Jews) fleeing the European nations in search of religious freedom? I am sure there were some misguided Christians involved in the disrespect and poor treatment of Native Americans, but you can't successfully argue that they alone were responsible for it, and history makes very little reference to early Jewish colonizers or patriots. The majority of the melting pot was responsible as a collective. Lots of blame to go around.


Anonymous said...

Yes, YHVH in Hebraic history is a warrior god, who, in a 'deal' with Israel, enters into 'covenant' with them - a protection scheme in which which he agrees to provide protection, as long as they agree to drop their belief in other gods.

RSK said...

Velvet? The same one who was gleefully bashing those "worldly hymns" in previous and later editions at The Journal - and now, sticks her butt in a GCI seat and grumbles about "the Evangelicals"? well...

Anonymous said...

One of the blogs in the sidebar has a song that starts off violent but then takes smugness to a new height.