Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Truth Shall Make You Free: Chapter 10 Excerpts

Chapter 10   Ted’s Feast

(pg 129) While the leaders of the Worldwide Church of God were fighting to patch up the crumbling financial foundation, and to discredit Garner Ted Armstrong in order to prevent him from drawing away tithe-paying members, the Church of God International was getting off to a very good start. Garner Ted, once heard on hundreds of radio and TV stations with his commanding voice and rapid fire delivery, was starting over on just one station.  Where at one time his broadcasts were produced in the most modern studios that excelled even commercial stations, he was now recording his first programs in a small commercial studio in Tyler, Texas, which operated out of a converted garage.  The first broadcast was heard on July 27, 1978 over WOAI in San Antonio, Texas, a clear-channel, 50,000-watt station.

Soon after, in early August, the Church of God International began holding services in Tyler, Texas in a rented hall.  The Church offices were initially located in a spare room of Garner Ted’s newly purchased ranch home just outside Tyler.  It wasn’t long before the mail started coming in.  Many of the envelopes contained financial donations.  By early September, the CGI was located in rented offices and already had a staff of five employees.  Plans were already being made to hold the Feast of Tabernacles and soon arrangements were made to rent the Convention Hall at Jekyll Island, Georgia.  For approximately fifteen years the Worldwide Church (pg 130) had held the Feast at Jekyll Island, and in 1978 decided to move to a large hall in Savannah and drop the Jekyll Island site.  With only one congregation meeting in Tyler, and a small radio ministry going, Garner Ted had absolutely no idea how many would show up at Jekyll Island.  Paula and I decided to attend, and made reservations at an apartment-style resort hotel, the Sand Dollar.  Ron Quinlain also decided to attend, and as it turned out we would be the only ones from the entire New York metropolitan area.

Gordon Muir, still on Quest payroll, although without any job, was watching the entire situation but didn’t know what he would do.  I told him, “I believe that Ted is going to get the work done.  I believe he is sincere and that this thing is really going to take off.  Why don’t you come to the Feast with us at Jekyll?”  Gordon wasn’t about to make any hasty decisions.  He said, “I think Armstrongism ahs had it.  The Worldwide Church of God is run by evil men and it appears that Herbert Armstrong is totally corrupt.  I certainly can’t have any part of that and I’m trying to find a job so that I can get out from under this whole thing.  If Stan hadn’t just thrown me out for no reason as he did, I would even feel guilty taking the pay checks.  I may go back to England and resume practicing medicine.  I just don't know.  But I’ll tell you one thing, I’m not about to get wrapped up in this thing with Ted. You know the problems in the past, that’s going to haunt him and the Scriptures say that a minister must be of good report, and John, Ted is not of good report.  I’m just not about to swap one Armstrong for another.”

This type of discussion went on for weeks on various phone calls and I constantly tried to convince Gordon that I thought that Garner Ted had fully repented of the past wrongdoings and that God had actually set him free in a strange way from the Worldwide Church.  I was convinced that Garner Ted was doing the right thing.  Paula had a more neutral attitude, but certainly wanted to look into it further, to see if this was where God would be working.  Ministers in the Worldwide Church were telling their members that what they called “Ted’s Feast” was going to be a disaster and the whole thing would fall on its face.  Anyone to get involved with Garner Ted, they said, would only find themselves out in the cold when the CGI collapsed.

Our entire family looked forward to the Feast at Jekyll.  On October 14th, we piled the four kids into our station wagon and headed pg 131) south.  Lat the next day we arrived in beautiful Jekyll Island.  Having spent previous Feasts at Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania, during the time of year when the air was getting chilly and leaves beginning to turn brilliant colors, this was quite a contrast. Warm weather, a beautiful ocean, and palm trees and other tropical plants, all contributed to the excitement of attending this first Fest of the Church of God International.

There were 520 people in attendance at this first Feast of the CGI, and, incredibly, they were from all over the world.  There were people from Canada, Australia, France, and just about every state.  There were many people who in their long drive to Jekyll Island had actually driven through as many as three locations where the Worldwide Church of God was holding their Feast.  Obviously people were committed to making a break from the Worldwide Church of God. That attitude was quite well expressed by a man from Tennessee who as staying in an apartment near ours.  He said, “Yes sir, these are the thinking people down here.  They’ve had enough of old Herbert.  One thing old Ted had better realize, we ain’t going to follow him either if he tries to pull any fast ones onus.  Yep, we’re the ones who won’t follow a leader blindly again. If Ted does right, God’s going to use him mightily. If he does wrong, he better realize that the people who are here just ain’t going to put up with it.”

Of course I hoped that Garner Ted was sincere.  I believed that he was, but at this point there was no way one could really be sure.  As the Bible says, “By their fruits you shall know them”.  It was much too early to see what kind of fruit would be born as a result of these fledgling efforts.  Time will tell, and we certainly had to give it a chance and see what would happen.  It was an exciting Feast and everyone seemed to feel the almost electrifying atmosphere of a new vibrant spirit.  The sermons of Garner ted and Ron Dart, a former evangelist with the Worldwide Church of God all served to inspire us to pull together to do the work of Jesus Christ.  There was to be no autocratic leadership, they said. The hard rule and the (pg 132) dictatorial government were all things of the past.  They were not scriptural, we were told.  Of course, those of us who were there knew that and it was good to hear that the leadership of the CGI planned to break out of that mold.  Was this genuine? Was this spiritual high that we were on for a week for real, or were we just caught up in the flash of being part of something new?  Time would tell.

During all the time of the Feast, the conduct of he Worldwide Church of God leadership was anything but Christian.  Since it was customary to take offerings at the Feast on the first and last days which are holy days, it was necessary to open a local bank account.  What Garner Ted did not realize until almost the last minute was the fact that his father and Rader had registered the name of the Church of God International in the State of Georgia when they found out that the CGI was going to hold the Feast at Jekyll Island. There was even a question as to whether or not the signature on the registration papers was truly that of Herbert Armstrong. Herbert Armstrong, the man who said that competition was the way of Satan, was engaging in a type of competitive practice worthy of the most unscrupulous businessmen.  This entire maneuver was viewed as blatant attempt to seize the funds that would be deposited by the CGI in its bank account. The conduct the Worldwide Church was more in line with that of organized crime than that of a church.

The entire attempt was outsmarted very simply.  The CGI opened its bank account in the name of the “Church of God International (a Texas non-profit corporation).”

Each day at the convention center, while CGI services were in progress, the Rader operatives were busy in the parking lot.  The Worldwide Church had to know who the traitors were in order that they could be purged out from among “God’s faithful people.”  License plates were photographed in order to aid in identifying those who were rebelling against Herbert Armstrong. While the Worldwide Church was playing its childish spy games, the CGI members were laughing in ridicule about the whole foolish scheme.  The general attitude was that if they wanted to know who was attending CGI services, there were no secrets; people would be happy to tell their names.  As long as the Rader spies seemed to enjoy their activity, we felt it would be poor sport to spoil their fun.

Everyday there were Ambassador College students visiting at Jekyll Island, having decided to come down from the Worldwide (pg 133) Church Feast site in Savannah.  Even they were under close scrutiny.  One student told of overhearing a festival monitor at the motel where he was registered, speaking to the desk clerk.  “Festival monitor” sounds like a title out of the “new-speak” vocabulary of George Orwell’s 1984.  Officially, their duty is to assist Feastgoers with any problems that they may have with their accommodations. However, their true purpose was somewhat more sinister than that.  In this one instance, the festival monitor was overheard to instruct the desk clerk to make note of all Worldwide Church registrants who did not return to their rooms for the evening. Through this means, going on the assumption that anyone who did not return to their room for the evening would be staying over night at Jekyll Island, the spiritual guardians of the Worldwide Church would know which unfaithful members they were going to consign to the lake of fire.

In the past, it had been Herbert Armstrong’s policy, as well as Garner Ted’s, to speak at each Feast site throughout the United States, which meant about twelve speaking engagements in the course of eight days.  In 1977, the father was unable to conduct his speaking tour due to his illness. This year, he was back at it again, although he was going to limit his speaking engagements to perhaps three or four.  “Garner Ted’s Feast,” as he called it, could not be ignored and Armstrong felt the necessity to speak nearby.  He chose to speak at the Worldwide Church Feast at St. Petersburg, Florida, where he announced mockingly, “My son has his little Feast going on up there at Jekyll Island and he has only 17 people, that’s all he has.”  From the reports of those who heard Armstrong make his statement, it was felt that he actually believed that what he was saying was actually true.  It appeared to many that he was becoming senile as had so often been reported.

Many who attended the Feast at St. Petersburg, upon hearing such a statement from Herbert Armstrong, followed by a scathing attack on his son, made that their last day in St. Petersburg and transferred to Jekyll Island for the balance of the week.  Yet others who continued to follow Herbert Armstrong were even more strengthened in their resolve to remain with the Worldwide Church of God.  After all, they reasoned, if Garner Ted was so evil that his own father would reject him in faithfulness to God, certainly they must follow Herbert Armstrong in order to please God.

It was obvious to any thinking person that the Worldwide (pg 134) Church leadership was reacting in a paranoid way to just about every move made by Garner Ted.  Some time prior to the Feast, Garner Ted announced that the CGI was going to be open, no secrets.  He announced that the financial details of the Church would be made public each year at the Feast, and that an audited financial statement would be issued each year at that time.  This put the Worldwide Church on the spot, as they had not released any financial information to the membership in several years.

While Garner Ted was releasing full details of the first couple of months operation of the fledgling Church to those gathered at Jekyll Island, the Worldwide Church of God was distributing what it called the “Treasurers Report.”  This report came out in October and was merely two pages with some graphs showing the apportionment of income and expenses.  Included was a very brief summery showing the total revenue of $76,161,300 and total expenses of $68,4290,500 leaving a deficit of $1,259,200 for the year 1977. There was no way from this abbreviated report that one could glean out any meaningful information other than a few grand totals.  The interesting point is that while this report covered the period ending December 31, 1977 it was not released until October 1978, after Gamer Ted had announced to the press that the CGI would not keep its financial affairs secret as was the practice with the Worldwide Church.  In a misleading statement signed by Stanley Rader, the “Worldwide Church Report” said, “The Work’s financial statements were audited and certified each calendar year by an independent firm of Certified Public Accountants.”  What Rader failed to note was the name of the accounting firm – Rader, Cornwall and Kessler, more recently known as Cornwall, Kessler and Pallazzo.  That was the firm with which Rader had been associated for so many years.  While he claimed to have withdrawn himself from any act of participation in the firm, the matter of independence was certainly one of question.  According to Rader’s own statements, there was never any cash consideration given to him by others for his share of the business, and he continued to maintain an association with Henry Cornwall in their ownership of Worldwide Advertising.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Why Does Questioning the Bible Make People So Nervous and Defensive?

Why Does Questioning the Bible Make People So Nervous and Defensive?

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorIf you wish to see the good, the bad and the ugly side of people of faith, just question the faith. I was a pastor soaking in Christianity and the Bible for three decades. I heard, read and studied all the plain and simple truth in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I can tell you the truth is neither plain nor simple and rather liked Paul's description of it all as being "the present truth." At least calling truth something that is currently understood gives some wiggle room for those times which shall come to grow a bit in the grace and knowledge that most Christians think they are open minded enough to really do. Most I know grow neither in grace, unless they attach a few dozen laws that you must keep to be one of the good people, nor knowledge which seems to scare the bejesus out of them when they really run up against it.

By far, the writings I have done that have proven to be the most popular for the open minded and enraging for those who enjoy that frame of mind a bit less, have been on Questions Your Pastor Will Hate. Many appreciate the questions and admit that they too have had the same questions as they sincerely study the text of the Bible stories and accounts of varied topics. These are the people who see the politics behind the texts. They admit that James and Paul really did bash heads and Peter was bashed by Luke and John as one who was totally unworthy of any authority in the church. Judas had betrayed Jesus and Peter had denied him, so that's pretty much the end of them in the eyes of John, Luke and Paul.

The story of Annias and Sapphira in Acts 5 is not a story about Peter killing two church members for not coughing up all the money they had "pledged" to the church. It is a spoof that the readers of Luke and Paul's community would understand of the buffoon Peter who, like the two church members who said they would give something to the church and didn't, said he'd never leave Jesus and fled. Peter who said he'd do one thing and did another is now punishing a couple who said they'd do one thing and did another. It was hilarious and a poke at Peter the Pathetic according to Luke and Paul. John mentions Peter three times in his Gospel and each time sandwiches Peter stories between two comments about Judas. The point is not missed on the original audience as is the story of Peter being forgiven three times by Jesus tacked on to the end of John's Gospel to show Peter is just as able to be forgiven as anyone else. (Side note: A really fascinating possibility is that the 21st chapter of John is the Missing ending of the pro-Peter Gospel of Mark. Mark is known to have no good ending to the Jesus story. It's ending has been added to make up for the bummer ending at Mark 16:8. John, on the other hand, has two obvious endings in chapter 20, the real ending and chapter 21, the forgive Peter ending.)

At any rate, to question the story is to run great risk of abuse at the hands of the faithful who need the stories to be literally true as they learned in Sunday School and that all the characters of the New Testament Church loved each other in Jesus and got along famously in the faith. That is very far from reality, but don't question it.

I can't tell you how many, while not near as many as those who appreciate the inquiry, take the time to write and remind me I will change my mind when I am frying in the fires of Hell in the judgment. No one has bothered to answer one question posed, but they just know I should go to hell for asking it. Some who write are subtle in their warnings to me. Some sound like a human form of God who will warn me to "gird up my loins" (my loins are just fine) and get ready to answer, but that's where it ends. I guess they feel God himself is about to break out upon me for asking questions about the faith. So far so good. Some talk to me like I imagine Moses talked to the Children of Israel when he was really angry at them in God's name. Some are not so subtle as one reminded me that "Dennis, words can get you killed." Well the history of religion that does not appreciate questions proves that!

Is it wrong to notice the inconsistencies, errors, goofs, bad science, poor examples, contradictions, animosities, politic and real history of the Bible? Depends who you ask. Those who believe that none of those things exist in the Holy Book would shout "yes!" In my view, the answer is "no it is not." Why is it OK and even something one should demand of their honest selves? Because ideas have consequences. Because the stories and ideas expressed in the texts are used to control people in various life circumstances. Because some use the mythologies of the Bible to make up literally real laws that effect women and children, and generally not in a good way. Because many are kept in fear, guilt and life long shame being reminded way too often that they, as a human, are worthless without divine intervention. Being born right the first time, as I have said in the past, is a truth that is kept far from their consciousness.

It is always right to ask questions about that which seems like it deserves to have a question asked. If you can't imagine Joshua raising his hands and stopping the earth from rotating without planet wide consequences...just ask your Pastor how can that be. Of course be ready to hear, "with God all things are possible," which is not what you asked. If you can't picture penguins and polar bears ambling down to the middle east to get on the Ark, just ask your Pastor about that. If you wonder where dinosaurs or Homo Erectus fit in, just ask your Pastor. The answer might be ill informed, but it's ok to ask.

If you notice that Paul never quotes Jesus, yet gets to write most of the NT heavy meaning of Jesus, just ask. If you notice that Paul thinks Peter, James and John, the disciples of Jesus don't seem to have anything Paul needs to learn from them and he learns nothing from them, and think that's kinda strange...just ask. If you notice the Birth or Resurrection of stories as written in the Gospels don't match very well and seem contradictory, just ask. If you say "they seem to be contradictory," be prepared to have the word "seem" jumped upon, but you still have the right to ask. I'm not saying you'll get a good or correct answer. You might, but probably not. But you have the right to ask. And you certainly have the right to notice the many problems in the Bible if you know the Bible well enough to notice in the first place.

One thing is for sure. If you are a genuine seeker and you truly notice that the Bible has some real problems with what we truly know today about many topics and even within itself in the form of many contradictions and editing done by one to correct the problems of the other, it's ok to ask. A real seeker cannot not notice what they notice. You can't go back to the lame apologetics that many offer to explain away the problem as if there is no problem. You can't unsee what you do see. You can't unring a bell. also have the right to expect not to be penalized for asking in the first place. Just don't count on it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pastors and Honesty

by David Hayward - The Naked Pastor

Rachel Held Evans, author of Monkey Town wrote on her blog the other day about The Epic Fail Pastors Conference and about how many pastors are afraid to tell their congregations what they have learned about the Bible and Christianity because of  "fear and recourse."  She was also calling upon pastors to stop being "Super Pastors' and to be vulnerable and tell their congregations about the struggles they have in life.

That set of a lot of responses to her from pastors who told why they could NOT do such things..  One excellent response is here:  Pastors and Honesty

Here is an excerpt:

So, when Rachel signs her letter from "The Congregation," I have to wonder which "congregation" it is who is eager for their pastor to tell the truth about life, faith, and relationships? Which congregation doesn't only say they want authenticity and honesty, but will actually respond well to it and find God's healing through those things?

My guess is that the congregation she is describing has these characteristics:

1. The church has a culture of grace. When people share honestly with one another, they are not condemned for it but are met with love and empathy. They hear "me too" more than "shame on you."

2. The church has a lot of young people. The college students and young adults I've worked with over the years have been far more eager for honesty than others I've worked with. They are likely immersed in social media and its culture of sharing and are comfortable with opening up the intimate aspects of their lives with others.

3. The church is emotionally healthy. When confronted with weakness or struggle, they search inside of themselves instead of punishing others for what they've done.

4. The church wants to be challenged. Truthfully, a lot of people in churches are not looking to hear something hard or new. They don't want to be led in new ways. They come to church to hear the things they already know and to be comforted. They need to want to be led and to be stretched in new directions in order to be open to the honesty that heals.   

If we're being honest, most churches do not have these characteristics. I don't know how many Rachel Evans there are in most churches who would receive a pastor's honesty with grace and self-reflection. And that's why most pastors are unwilling to tell the truth.

The blog comments that sparked this exchange is here:

Dear Pastors, 
Tell us the truth. 
Tell us the truth when you don’t know the answers to our questions, and your humility will set the example as we seek them out together.   
Tell us the truth about your doubts, and we will feel safe sharing our own. 
Tell us the truth when you get tired, when the yoke grows too heavy and the hill too steep to climb, and we will learn to carry one another’s burdens because we started with yours. 
Tell us the truth when you are sad, and we too will stop pretending. 
Tell us the truth when your studies lead you to new ideas that might stretch our faith and make us uncomfortable, and those of us who stick around will never forget that you trusted us with a challenge. 
Tell us the truth when your position is controversial, and we will grow braver along with you. 
Tell us the truth when you need to spend time on your marriage, and we will remember to prioritize ours. 
Tell us the truth when you fail, and we will stop expecting perfection
Tell us the truth when you think that our old ways of doing things need to change, and though we may push back, the conversation will force us to examine why we do what we do and perhaps inspire something even greater. 
Tell us the truth when you fall short, and we will drop our measuring sticks. 
Tell us the truth when all that’s left is hope, and we start digging for it. 
Tell us the truth when the world requires radical grace, and we will generate it. 
Tell us the truth even if it’s surprising, disappointing, painful, joyous, unexpected, unplanned, and unresolved, and we will learn that this is what it means to be people of faith. 
Tell us the truth and you won’t be the only one set free
The Congregation

Why is Critical Thinking Not Practiced in the COG's?

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorI have always been taken back by the seemingly total lack of  Biblical  questioning by my former ministerial friends in WCG or in the membership over all.  It is amazing to me how little study into other ways of perceiving the Bible, it's history, it's construction and origins, its many contradictions real or imagined is done.

In the COG groups, the one man show type can get up and declare the Bible "clearly" shows the goofball to be an Apostle, Priest, King or Witness, AND FEW IF ANY QUESTION THE ROAMING AROUND IN THE BIBLE THAT IT TOOK TO DRAW THAT CONCLUSION.

"Duh, boss.  Whatever you say, huya huya...whatever you say." 

When Dave Pack goes on and on qualifying for membership in On and On Anonymous, why can't someone tell the man he talks too much and sees way too much of himself in the scripture.  Why can't someone say the sermons aren't always as amazing and never before understood as they are being led to believe. When he can't explain anything in less than two to four hours each week, where is the common sense of the audience?  When the man says either, "And yes, I am an Apostle," or "Send it in,"  blah blah blah...who are the people who just do this?  Are they defective of mind and common sense?

When Flurridians are told the Guru is "that prophet" or "God wants you to kiss your unconverted family goodbye and please no more talking to them,"  who are the nutcases that say, "ok, ok, whatever you say?"   Have they all been lobotomized?
Evolutionary author Donald Prothero notes...

"Looking over the shoulders of the hundreds of hard working , dedicated, self sacrificing biologists who spend years enduring the harsh conditions in the field to observe evolution in action inspires admiration in us real scientists.  This is in sharp contrast with the creationists who sit in their comfortable homes and write drivel about subjects they have never studied and do not understand."   (Evolution-what the fossils say and why it matters.  Page 113, Prothero)

This is also how ministers "do their hard work."  They skip along as good Bible and booklet readers.  Or as I have often noted, "piously convicted and marginally informed."
For as intelligent as GTA was, when he wrote about evolution as the authority on it for the Church, and why the Bible was right and science was wrong, he didn't know what he was talking about.  When Herbert Armstrong droned on and on about the two trees or the word "Elohim" and what it meant, he didn't know what he was talking about theologically.  When he said once in Bible study that dinosaurs were of Satan's world because they, like Satan, can't reproduce, he had no clue as to what he was talking about.  The current issue of National Geographic had dino eggs on the cover.

When Gerald Flurry declares this or that is God's way, he doesn't now what he is talking about.  When Dave Pack spins his sermons and mocks Plato, Socrates and the like, he doesn't know what he is talking about.  When he dismisses Albert Einstein because he had "wild hair,"  he has really run out of ideas and does not know what he is talking about. 

When Ron Weinland declares himself and his wife the Two Witnesses, well you's just bullshit.  When you see yourself spoken of in the scriptures by the prophets, it is not time to start a church.  It is time to get some help.  I ask why Ron never studies what else  the Book of Revelation might be, who really wrote it and to whom for whom about whom?  Of course, if he did or if any of the COG ministers read the other issues raised by that book, it might require taking a lot of fancy literature off the shelves and throwing them into the shredder.

But back to the original question.  Why do COG types and really most Evangelical Christian ministers or members lack the critical thinking skills that would provoke them to ask questions about how we really got the Bible, who really wrote it and why?  Those few who do have good critical thinking skills usually end up teaching them but not at church, disfellowshipped, excommunicated, marked and otherwise marginalized.  God may love a cheerful giver but He is not much for a clear thinker evidently.

When debating Art Mokarow over the issue of creationism vs evolution, his "Oxford trained" side kick on stage blurted out when I was recommending Evolution--What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters,   "I have that book!" I was so tempted to reply, "Well I suggest you actually read it."  However, I restrained myself.  Many have a Bible but few ask much about how it got to be.  The non-Sunday School answer can be pretty darn challenging to one's faith.  Perhaps that is the total reason right there.

He told me I was too dogmatic about the problems in the Bible and too specific, whatever that meant.  I asked him if he was the author of "God's Puzzle Solved?"  He said  yes of course and i noted the words  "Puzzle" and "Solved" are pretty specific and dogmatic.  He said that's not what he meant.  Uh huh.

So, let's try this.  A couple of years ago I wrote a series of articles entitled, "Questions Your Pastor Will Hate."   They can be found here:

Questions Your Pastor Will Hate-Part Five

And just for fun and as a bonus....

Now I admit the form was a bit cheeky at times in challenging us to look outside the box or at least how to even notice the Bible has contradictions, but I was processing my own "why was I not taught this?" experience. 

Art Mokarow assured me he had asked himself every one of those questions and that he was able to easily answer them to his satisfaction.  Good, I'm glad.  He had to say that.  It's like the Pope forgiving the guy who shot him.  He has to forgive him!!!!  He's the Pope.  He's a professional forgiver!  In the same way, if one is going to say the Bible is without mistakes or contradictions, one has to get a bit defensive at times, circle the wagons and ultimately feel sorry for the poor slob who even thinks to ask the questions.

So.  Do you even know how to ask questions about the Bible, its purpose, its real authorship, its politics, its errors (real or imagined) its intent?  If you know how to ask the question or what the question even is, why don't you?  Are you going to let others get away with telling you there are no questions or that questions are suspect around here? 

Enjoy the questions. You may or may not like them, but they are oft asked questions, they are not original to me and at least may help one ask enough questions when needed to maybe save them from believing just one too many made up answers that, in fact, are not so.

I think it matters to ask questions when in religion, there can be so much at stake for the questioner.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Lesson for the Churches of God

A Lesson for the Churches of God
(and all humans)

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorWas there ever a time in your past when you wondered what would be going on in the year 2011?  If you speculating as someone then immersed in the 50's or 60's or 70's it would have seemed like a million years away.  If you were a member of the Worldwide Church of God, and could know, the following truths now revealed by then would be as follows.

Surely by then...Jesus will have returned

The Kingdom will be here

I'd be ruling over others  (this one never appealed to me. I wanted to go fishing and be left alone for a few thousand years)

The deaf would hear, the blind would see and the lame man leap as a hart

The Lion and the Lamb would be best buddies

Everyone would going to the Feast and I mean everybody....or else.

Sermons would be given by the real Apostles when God and Jesus were away on business

We would be proven to have been right about everything

Well, maybe not Mr. Waterhouse.....

However and Actually...................................

Jesus did not return

The world grinds on

Herbert Armstrong would be dead for 25 years

Garner Ted Armstrong would be dead

Hermann Hoeh would be dead

Dean Blackwell would be dead

Dibar Apartian would be dead

Stan Radar would be dead

Gerald Waterhouse would be dead

All the youthful Evangelists and ministers would be very old

Your local church will be gone

Ambassador would be gone

Ambassador would be sold to Evangelical Sunday keeping, Christmas Keeping, Easter Celebrating Pagans

The Worldwide Church of God would be keeping Sunday, Christmas, Easter and wallowing in the mysteries of the Trinity

The Worldwide Church of God would have broken up into 700 splinter and sliver churches each being the true one. 

Mr. and Mrs. Ron Weinland would be the Two Witnesses

Twenty one other men would also be the Two Witnesses

Dave Pack would be the only true Apostle heading the only true remnant of the only true church.

Gerald Flurry will have recreated a hologram of Ambassador College and continue to be the reincarnation of HWA, but Dave Pack would be upset about that wanting his own hologram of HWA, WCG and Ambassador College

You would still be sending it in to someone if still unconscious. 

The United Church of God would divide again and again.

The Brotherly Love Church of God will forbid you to talk to your brothers unless they belong to said church.  This is commonly known as Influrryating.

The Living Church of God is dying.

60 years later we'll still be waiting "3-5, no more than 10-15, 20 tops years to go brethren, and I mean it."  

The Big Sandy Egrets will have flown to Oklahoma along with HWA's prayer rock

Few will have ever heard of the Plain Truth

Few will have heard of The Philadelphia  Trumpet

Few will have heard about the Grace Whatever Church of God, formerly known as Prince

Whew, and there is a whole lot more where that all comes from.  

Life, in all it's constructs, hopes, dreams, speculations, mess ups and insanity is one big Mandala.  Crafted over time only to be brushed away to return to it's source as if it never existed.   Or rather, it takes on a different form, rejoins the universe and goes on to be part of the much bigger picture.

And now we know....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Battling Hemisphere's: Which Will You Choose?

There is a blog I check out a little too infrequently, but was glad I did today.  There is a fascinating entry on the brain and prayer/mediation and how it changes our brain. Encountering the Spirit

She has an entry about a book called, "Overloaded Circuits: Why Smart People Underperform." The book talks about Attention Deficit Traits that we have in society today as a result of our hyperkinetic environment.  The frontal lobes of our brains are overloaded today with our fast paced world.  Our brains don't have the chance to slow down.

In reading her comments it also reminded me of life in Amstrongism.  We were/are constantly being bombarded with messages of unworthiness.  We are deemed to be creatures of of sin that are lower than the worms in the earth.  We have this picture presented to us of a pissed off angry old man sitting somewhere in heaven with his thumb ready to squash us for the latest infraction. Overwhelming lists of do's and don'ts are/were screamed at us continually.  We could and never will measure up.  Just look at a COG 'Passover' service.  It is a service designed to make you feel like dirt and contemptible in God's sight.  It is not an uplifting, powerful, glorious celbration of freedom that communion is designed to be.

Check out this amazing woman's story about the battling hemisphere's of her brain and how she actually felt them shut down during a stroke.

I want to leave you with this video, "Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke of Insight". Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions -- motion, speech, self-awareness -- shut down one by one.

It's truly an astonishing story, at the end of which she says, with audible emotion and passion in her voice,
"Who are we? We are the life-force power of the universe, with manual dexterity and two cognitive minds. We have the power to choose, moment by moment, who and how we want to be in the world."

"Right here, right now, I can choose to step into the consciousness of my right hemisphere, where I am - we are - the life-force power of the universe. . . at one with all that is. Or, I can choose to step into the consciousness of my left hemisphere, where I become a single individual - separate from the flow, separate from you."

"These are the 'we' inside of me. Which would you choose? Which do you choose? And when?"

"I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemisphere, the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be."
Is this not the point of prayer? What is the point of religion and the spirituality that arises from a disciplined life of individual prayer if not increased compassion and deep inner peace which will positively impact and ultimately transform the world for the better with things like justice and mercy, reconciliation and walking humbly with God and each other?

Poor Lil' Joel Meeker Get's Raked Over The Coals For Deception

Lil' Joel has been called on the  carpet for his recent letter where he gave his reasons for leaving UCG.  It looks like Lil' Joel was not as forthright in his letter as he claimed:

Joel was fired not for “being open with members of the French association, and warning them...of remaining with UCG” (the latter of which is problematic enough), but over evidence that he was actively attempting to break the French association away from UCGIA. I had at first heard this from only one person on the Council but was able to hear further testimony on the matter at the UCG ministerial conference. At the suggestion of other Council and administration members, I spoke to people who were directly involved with the situation in France, who gave me a detailed account of recent events. In early December 2010, Joel was still a UCGIA employee and president of EDU-France (i.e., the UCG in France). I was told that at this time he met with with French association members and verbally proposed an amendment to the Rules of Association of EDU-France to remove the requirement that its president be a minister in good standing of UCGIA. This, he is reported to have told them, was to allow him to remain their pastor even if he was no longer employed by UCGIA. The retired elder in France then sent an email to Joel stating that such action would in effect be hijacking EDU-France and that he would have to ask UCGIA president Denny Luker for help in the matter—which he eventually did on December 21. (Such action would have left those in France who wanted to remain with UCGIA cut off without an official organization there, as it’s a hard and lengthy process to incorporate as a religious organization in France due to strict laws against foreign “sects.”) Denny then contacted Joel about the matter, but, as Denny stated to me, Joel said the French elder “misunderstood.” This was apparently subterfuge, because at this time or immediately afterward, again while still a UCGIA employee, Joel wrote a letter to French association members on December 23 seeking a vote to dissolve the French association! He stated that the French work should not go independent, so he would suggest alternate affiliation. Thus, Joel was clearly working against UCGIA while a UCGIA employee. He even stated within the letter that when this action became known he would likely be fired. And he was—after this letter was translated and sent to the UCG administration and to Larry Darden, the church's attorney. I spoke with Larry, and he verified this as well. And by email Larry confirmed to me: “Joel sent the letter to UCG members in France (and other francophone countries served by France) while he was still employed by UCGIA (he was discharged and credentials revoked AFTER the COE saw his letter of December 23). The letter was a ‘smoking gun’ with respect to his intention to leave UCG and try to engineer taking the assets of EDU-France with him using an ‘Extraordinary’ meeting of member[s] of that entity.” I have a copy of the Dec. 23 letter in French and the translation into English and am able to provide these as evidence of what took place. Again, in light of this letter, it is utterly stunning that Joel would merely say he was fired for being open with the French association and giving them a warning. He obviously did a lot more than that.
Read more of the letter here: Lil'Joel

Tools For Modern Day Apostles Volume II

These items are vital tools for Ambassadors of World Peace!
You too can talk to Mrs. Sadat about a world that is ready to be spanked!
Well, I guess that one came true........

Regency Silver Bowl  1818
Paul Storr
$15,000 - 25,000
Sold for $27,600.00

Regency Silver Soup Tureen, cover and liner
Paul Storr, 1814
Sold for $28,750.00

Regency Silver-Gilt Wine Coolers
Paul Storr, 1813
Sold for $107,000

George III Silver Tureen and Cover and Stand
Paul Storr, 1809
Sold for $51,750.00

Regency Silver-gilt Centerpice
Paul Storr, 1818
Three Bacchic Nymphs
Sold for $48,300.00

Twelve Regency Silver-Gilt Dinner Plates
Paul Storr, 1815
Not listed as sold
Regency Silver Gilt Salver
Paul Storr, 1815
Sold for $1,950.00

Duke of Norfolk's Coronation Cup
Paul Storr, 1831
Sold for $18,400.00

Regency Silver-gilt Serving Tongs Made For The Prince Regent
Paul Storr, 1811
Sold for $10,350.00

George III Silver Gilt Centerpiece
Sold for $40,250.00

George III Silver-gilt Centerpice
Paul Storr, 1808
Sold for $52,900.00

George III Silver Wine Collers
Paul Storr 1798
Sold for $48,300.00

George III Silver Epergne
Sold for $12,650.00

Charles II Silver Caudle Cup
Sold for $3,680.00

Six Queen Anne Silver Fluted Dishes
Sold for $74,000