Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Journal: Issue 197 Now Online


The latest issue of The Journal: News of the Churches of God is online.  It is hard to believe that The Journal is quickly approaching issue 200.

This issue covers the continuing controversy for some in the Church of God over "postponements" with an article written by Dixon Cartwright.


"If you haven’t yet heard about the calendar postponements, just wait a while. Questions about the Hebrew calendar and the touchy subject of its postponements are a hot topic in many of the Churches of God. To some people postponements are no big deal. To others they’re the mark of the beast. 
What are they? Do the brethren need to be concerned about them? Do they make any difference one way or the other? "

There is an interesting article by Benjamin Corey on "ghosting,"   a practice quite common in the COG and practiced by far too many members. He encourages members to NOT be the ones disfellowshipping.  This is probably the best article in some time.
Ghosting is something that can happen to anyone, in any social circle, or from any particular social group. However, we American Christians seem to have perfected ghosting to a finely crafted art. 
What is ghosting? You might not know the term, but you probably know the action. 
Ghosting is when someone abruptly ends a friendship with limited or no explanation, and when the former friend proceeds to quickly disappear from your life. 
Dixon writes about a former Air Force fighter pilot, now professional cartoonist, Earl Cayton

Lonnie Hendriks has a short blurb on former Armstrongites attracted to atheism, that I am sure will stir up a small stink.
I’ve noticed too that evangelical atheism has been particularly attractive to some of the former followers of Herbert Armstrong. 
I guess it’s a way for some of them to maintain their unique status as one of the enlightened (one of those who is not deceived). In short, they get to maintain their superiority over the ignorant, unquestioning masses. After all, it feels good to believe that my understanding is superior to yours. 
Moreover, ridicule and scorn are considered appropriate because the other side is ignorant and wrong. 
Hm, evangelicalism isn’t any more attractive in atheists than it is in theists, is it? 

Rex Jamerson, has an issue with slovenly dressed people at church.  You would not go to Buckingham Palace dressed like that, so why come to church dressed like that?  How many times have I heard THAT one?

COG members and leaders have been complaining about dress standards in the church ever since my family started attending in the late 50's.



Dave Havir as an article about leaders and people desiring to be "worshipped."  While this issue of The Journal was in the works before issues erupted in COGBS, it makes for an interesting read.


Some people (including religious people) have a lust to be worshiped and they overtly behave in a way to demonstrate their desire to be worshiped. 
Other people (including religious people) have a lust to be worshiped, but they are subtle in fulfilling their desire. 
Some other people (including religious people) do not have a burning desire to be worshiped, but they allow a group of people to draw them into sin. 
There is an article by Mrs Mokarow about her husband who died recently.

And, there is the usual nuttiness with some of the paid advertising.  What must a new convert think when they see this kind of malarkey?  Old time COG members laugh it off, but it portrays a disturbing mentality that has existed in the church for decades.



23 comments:

Minimalist said...

Lonnie Hendriks has a short blurb on former Armstrongites attracted to atheism

I once told Hendriks on his blog that he sounded like someone from the Bible Belt. He denied he's there. But Journal article says he's in Kentucky!

Miller Jones said...

A misprint - I live in Illinois. And, as anyone who has ever read my blog knows (including Minimalist), folks from the "Bible Belt" wouldn't recognize the similarity. If you're really interested in challenging my thesis about evangelical atheists, then address/refute the points I make in the article. -- Lonnie Hendrix

Anonymous said...

I read the article on ghosting, more commonly called disfellowshipping. The author doesn't seem to understand freedom of association. He chooses his friends, and others have a right to choose theirs. If people want to end a friendship, that is their God given right, and should be respected. Contrary to what he implies, no crime or sin has been committed against him. The only possible moral issue could be fraud in the sense that he has contributed more to some peoples lives than they have reciprocated. But there is no mention of this in his post. But I mentioned rights, a foreign concept in these churches.
The author needs to get new friends, and this time chose carefully.

Byker Bob said...

Yes, 9:22 the bigger issue is the control we allowed Armstrongism to have in intruding into our personal domains. Allowing them undue influence was required, and was the very essence of their basic program. And, it was not just a matter of control of whether your friends embraced or shunned you! In some individuals, they caused detachment disorder, a defensive tendency towards deliberately superficial relationships, maintained to keep the ministers and members from sinking their claws into your personal matters. The ministers in their reports complained about people who would not allow them to get to know them. Why is this important? The Kingdom is supposed to be about relationships. You cannot heal relationships if your management techniques cause members to shun you, or if they make you feel it's necessary to erect protective barriers against the deep intrusion of others.

BB

Minimalist said...

Miller Jones said...A misprint - I live in Illinois
I'm actually surprised how far Illinois extends into the Bible Belt, even further south than Springfield, MO! I'm not knocking it, must be very nice down there, the further from Chicago the better!

Miller Jones said...

Anonymous 8/12 @ 9:22,
As with many other religious practices, excommunication/disfellowshipping/ghosting is a wholly man-made exercise. Moreover, the practice has no basis in the very Scriptures that most of those groups who employ it claim to revere and hold up as their foundation. I agree with you that individuals have the right to associate with whomever they choose to associate, but that right has not always been understood to extend to businesses and groups (at least not in the United States).
Ironically, the Roman Catholic Church uses this line of reasoning (freedom of association) in their primary justification of the practice. In their article on the subject in the Catholic Encyclopedia, we read: "The right to excommunicate is an immediate and necessary consequence of the fact that the Church is a society. Every society has the right to exclude and deprive of their rights and social advantages its unworthy or grievously culpable members, either temporarily or permanently. This right is necessary to every society in order that it may be well administered and survive. The fundamental proof, therefore, of the Church's right to excommunicate is based on her status as a spiritual society, whose members, governed by legitimate authority, seek one and the same end through suitable means. Members who, by their obstinate disobedience, reject the means of attaining this common end deserve to be removed from such a society." -http://www.catholic.org/encyclopedia/view.php?id=4487
For the record, I think that this is the most rational and articulate statement attempting to justify the practice employed by ANY Christian group which engages in it. Nevertheless, one would have to concede the point that THE CHURCH is a human society to say that this justification of the practice is valid. And, for those of us who profess to be Christian, that is not consistent with the scriptures related to defining what God's Church is. In other words, is it a human society OR is it a collection of people whom God has chosen to come together for "His" purposes?
Hence, it may be your right as an individual to "ghost" someone, but you are on very thin ice when you attempt to do so as a Christian. I would agree that the author needs to get new friends as both the quality of the former friendships and their status as Christians is highly suspect.

Connie Schmidt said...

Is "Hoss Cartwright", ala "Bonanza" who writes regularly here in the comment section, related to "Dixon Cartwright" ??? ;-)

Byker Bob said...

I was a bit surprised at the use of the term "ghosting" by the original author. In most familiar applications, it has a completely different meaning. Historically, the term "shunning" has been used for what he was describing. I believe shunning is a more accurate term, one which readers would immediately recognize.

BB

Minimalist said...

Search Lonnie Hendrix > Metropolis, IL = Bible Belt (Wikipedia map) Christian.

Anonymous said...

Some interesting articles, but I really couldn't stand reading them too often. Once there was Herbert Armstrong and now there are a bunch of kooks believing all kinds of weird things.

As a sometimes atheist I haven't generally found atheists evangelical. I am not evangelical about my lack of belief either, I would just like to hear some realistic support of a God who loves us. In my heart I believe in this God but I generally keep silent because I have no proof, it is just an emotional feeling. I would like all these other believers to maybe admit that it is faith or emotion or hope or belief. There was someone in one of the comments/letters sections of the Journal who claimed the Holy Spirit directed his thoughts and understanding. Well how can one argue with that? But somehow it doesn't fill me with much hope and faith. I guess I am just unconverted and should be shunned and ghosted. Thats ok folks, religious people make me feel like I am struggling for breath.

Helen Wheels said...

"There was someone in one of the comments/letters sections of the Journal who claimed the Holy Spirit directed his thoughts and understanding."

Sure, and fairies live in my garden.

These are the same sorts of statements.

Gerald Bronkar said...

Anon 8:30 AM, I feel your pain as I too am a "sometimes atheist". I too struggle for breath around the religious. Their "faith" is bogus to me.

Most believers look to their God as the great creator and designer. Go to Google and check out "human body design flaws". What supreme being would have designed us to swallow food through the same opening we intake air? Not to bright. Obviously a result of years of evolution, not brilliant design.

When we grow up and mature around people of "faith" and then realize we have a different view of the world, it can be a little lonely. Fortunately, my family and friends are not part of any Armstrong sect, so I doubt I will ever be shunned. Just pitied, which is a couple of steps above ghosted...I hope.

I agree, belief is mostly an emotional feeling with limited logic. And you are right, arguing with believers is unproductive. I admit I have no answers to the big questions, and I can live with that. Of course, due to curiosity, I cannot stop searching.

Anonymous said...

Why how fascinating. Helen is guided by the fairies in her garden. Mary Mary, quite contrary

Byker Bob said...

Armstrongism has always been the church version of Joe Btfsplk, a bad luck, doom and gloom character created by Al Capp, for the classic "L'il Abner" comic strip.

BB

Anonymous said...

BB
I agree, unjust shunning and threats of shunning are used by many Christian denominations are a tool of undue influence in members lives. Sadly it's always been this way. The Pharisees for instance threatened expulsion from the temple those who embraced Christ. I've heard of people being shunned by their church for disagreeing on a doctrine, only to have their church adapt that new doctrine a few years later.

The other moral aspect of shunning is that when one invests in a friendship, the understanding is that both parties will not pull out of the relationship on fickle grounds. Hence shunning could be viewed as breach of contract.

Anonymous said...

I think the holy spirit assisting rather than directing our understanding is more accurate. The holy spirit is not a dictator after all.
Why is it that every time someone mentions the holy spirit working in their lives, they are greeted with mockery and scorn? Maybe, perhaps, the problem is with the scorner.

Anonymous said...

One of the problems, Gerald, is that we as former Armstrongites tend to cast all of Christianity in the fundamentalist mode. When we are around Christians, we see and respond to some of the same old triggers that are guaranteed to produce negative reactions within us to Armstrongism.

However, there are also Christians who see God not as a harsh judge waiting to pounce, but as a loving and mentoring parent. What do we do with our children? We grow, in most cases, along with them. We grant them more privileges and responsibilities as they mature. We share concepts with them that they would never have been able to comprehend in infancy.

Mankind has progressed a long way from hunter-gatherer, or goat herder to rocket scientist or mapper of the human genome. Yet, fundamentalists seem to want to yank humanity back to agrarian/goat herder status as the ideal or reward. Others see humans as becoming what could only be described as "ghosts". We need to move beyond those concepts. The majority of people in civilized nations do have reasonbly effective consciences, and are well-intentioned. A church that would call these people bad or evil, or God-hating simply because they do not subscribe to picked and chosen uberlegalism is limiting both God and mankind. Why would God mentor to a rocket scientist in the same way as he had to a goat herder? Logic tells us that an all-knowing being would be much wiser than to miss the mark in that way!

I've come to realize, and hopefully this realization will deepen with time, that most of our ideas about God come from the anthropomorphism of others. In most cases, our negatives regarding God (and this is a separate issue from belief or non-belief) are based on what a teacher, a parent, or someone else has shared with or taught us from their own imagination.

Minimalist said...

Armstrongism is gravitating to the Bible Belt: Big Sandy, Cincinnati, Charlotte. Even TKACH is moving there because Christianity's customer base is shrinking.

Dixon Cartwright and Christian blogger Lonnie Hendrix are at the southern and northern edges of the Bible Belt.

Wadsworth to the north and Corpus Christi to the south are just outside the Bible Belt.

Anonymous said...

Because when someone claims magic revelation from the Holy Spirit about a fringe topic, as you often do, we immediately suspect that your own desires are what's actually at work. When the Holy Spirit actually disagrees with you, get back to us.

Anonymous said...

2.59 PM
Good point, but my take and observation about former church goers like Gerald is that they conform to the parable of the sower. That is, how successful people are as Christians is determined by their behaviour prior to their introduction to Christianity. So if people worked hard as students in high school, the same habits will be applied to their Christian life. Poor grades in school means poor grades as a Christian.
The moral of the story folks, is to make sure your kids get good grades in school.

Anonymous said...

6.48 PM
The Holy Spirit has often rebuked me over the decades, and on occasion disagreed with some opinion of mine. Just like any good parent.

Anonymous said...

Not everybody accepts the premise that there is a stigma associated with the Bible Belt. Some folks feel like that's the heartbeat of the principles and values that the US of A were founded upon.

Minimalist said...

Ohio is half Bible Belt; UCG must feel right at home. Lower Illinois is rock solid Bible Belt. The cities at the lower extremity of the Bible Belt are religion-crazy Houston TX and Jacksonville FL.