Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Yeah....just why do I do that?"

"Yeah....just why do I do that?"

"I appreciate "Banned By HWA", but I must say that some of the articles, especially this one and Diehl's "religion"(not to say I don't enjoy reading some of Diehl's repeated philosophy), get a touch long-winded....

Yes, Dennis writes interesting articles, but he seems to repeat himself over and over again. No matter what the subject is, he goes back to the astrology aspect, or Paul being a fake. "

I agree...

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorThe last Festival sermon I was able to give was before about 8000 in Myrtle Beach in the late 90's.  Those were the days when the ministers were assigned sermon topics to prevent us straying too far afield I suppose.  Somehow I was always able to take the assigned topic and twist it into what I felt i wanted and need to say anyway.  I don't do assigned sermons anymore than I "to be played in all the churches" my local congregations to death with boredom from Pasadena.  

Anyway, the topic of my last Festival sermon was "The Politics of the New Testament" and was basically showing that all the key players in the NT, Peter, James, John and Paul were not all speaking the same thing and had issues with each other expressed in fascinating ways in the text if one knew how to read it and what to look for.  Much if not most of what I repeat here was in that sermon.  My point, and not seeing the dark clouds of church disintegration on the horizon yet, was merely endeavoring to show the church that as today so it was then.  Leaders differ and have been arguing over the meaning of Jesus since before the body cooled.  Paul and the Gentile view he taught won and James and the Jewish Church evaporated into history.  

WCG was a Jewish Christian Church that never knew how to view Paul accurately.  Both concepts are in the texts. 

I got a standing ovation for the sermon and that was a no no back then if you remember.  It was a real high to see such response as I later learned that a few things i said pushed the buttons of those over me and would be used against me to terminate me.  I know now I wanted out but didn't have the guts to walk away. I had to be pushed. I was not going to be a hand waving, Jesus smooching freak for them and they knew it.  My Epistle of Paul teacher who was the main speaker that year was enthralled and took me out to dinner after the sermon to talk more about it.  I have shared most of that sermon save for the Astro-theological origins of the core Jesus story here on this site. 

And while I know I have already said this before, my exit interview, which I did not realize was one until a few weeks later left me a bit stunned when I was told, sitting in Barnes and Noble, "Dennis, we know you know a lot about Jesus, but we don't think you know Jesus."  In my mind that meant, "We know you know enough to make people think and question the status quo but we don't think you are going to be a team player and tell people they need to soak themselves in Jesus."    I grew up soaking in Jesus which is why WCG caught my attention when they seemed to focus not on the squishy Jesus but what he said and taught.  Anyone can see, if they wish, that Jesus and Paul did not have the same message.  

So I ask myself, just why do I repeat myself on these topics?  I agree totally with the opening observation about the repetative nature of my postings.  Why do I do that?  Here is my best answer. 

I crave open and honest discussion with intelligent folk on these topics.  I keep thinking that someone will engage me on these observations about Paul and such but as you know, it is rare.  The "as above, so below" aspect of the story of all godmen and sun gods as the 12 month journey through the signs of the zodiac just captivated me and it just seems true to me.  

There was no one more religiously curious than me as a kid. I got yelled at by ministers for too many questions and pitched out of catechism classes a time or two for 'well why does it say this here and then this over here?"   I haven't changed much. 
I'll keep this short.  I think the implications of what theologians call, "The Problem of Paul," are just short of stunning, as are some of the other larger issues that I have finally taken a good look at and drawn big conclusions about Christian literalism and Evangelical Fundamentalism.  They are more harmful than helpful and they hurt more than help people in the long run. 

I have always studied origins.  It mattered not whether it was human origins or the origin of scripture and religions that really expect great sacrifice from their followers.  I want to know where things REALLY come from and their REAL origins.  It's just how I think.  I don't want to believe what is not true and do not wish to practice that which is not necessary especially if it causes people personal pain thinking they have to do the right thing.  I hate unfairness and I have always defended the underdog. It's just how I am.  I certainly don't and never wanted to tell others what they had to do or be or think or practice if it was not necessary.  When I taught it, I believed it. When I didn't believe it, I stopped teaching it and fell back to the "what the hell do i do now," point of view.  Transitions are messy and it took time for me to realize the implications of my own study in religion while I was teaching religion. 

Ok, ok,...I really mean this to be short.  The bottom line is that I don't mean to repeat myself but I know I am looking to engage in discussion on these fascinating topics.  I don't even care if I am not agreed with but it's not enough to just say, "Diehl is an idiot."   Tell me you're view on the problem of this or that.  Actually most don't have a view and have never thought of it as a problem so I do understand.  I realize I am probably expecting something from this site that the site is really not designed for.  

As most of you know, the whole experience introduced me to various forms of depression and personal anxiety on any number of issues, but that seems to have been part of the price of moving on.  I'm doing the best I can for who I am and my nature and temperament.  I know myself very well now more than ever.  Kinda creepy...ha.  

I miss teaching and tackling topics that others only think about.  I have been told all my life by members and ministers,  "Dennis, you say things I am only thinking,"  "You are ahead of your time," and "That was fascinating..."    My debate with Art Mokarrow last year was very stimulating to me and a real opportunity to speak up to my old WCG and COG types. Art invited the fox into the hen house and I had a ball.  My WCG minister buddies in the audience wanted more after the debate and were very much in agreement with me on many points they had always thought personally about.  

My last comment to several was, "Do you agree with a lot of this?...oh yes, And you teach it now?....oh no.  But you still get your paycheck?   .....oh....yeah...."  We parted with that kind of knowing half smile only ministers know the meaning of....

Dennis C. Diehl

Finding God In All Natural Disasters

Matthew Paul Turner has a great entry on his blog yesterday about Christians who find God behind hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, etc. Jesus Needs New PR: How To Find God in Natural Disasters!  Check out his blog for the entire post.

Here are the points for any TRUE Christian to use when laying blame:

Now, for those of you who are atheists or Episcopalians and already discounting the whole “God’s wakeup call” theory as hogwash, you might consider the fact that this small earthquake happened during the same week that Hurricane Irene is expected to make landfall and get all Sodom-and-Gomorrahish on you and on the same exact day that Barbra Streisand’s new record released nationwide. Call me crazy, but three natural disasters in one week doesn’t just happen for no reason.

1) Think Biblical: In order to fully grasp how God might show up in the details of this week’s disasters, you must first embrace biblical thinking. How do we Christians do this? By imagining that we’re Moses or Elijah or heck, even Jesus. Since Moses found God in a burning bush and Elijah called to God to bring fire down from Heaven, and Jesus calmed raging stormy seas with the flip of his hand, it should come as no surprise how easy it is for us to visualize God using a cold front or the jet stream to maneuver his ways into our ways. This probably also explain why you’re born-again aunt always updates her Facebook status to “Watching the power of God” during thunderstorms. Once you’re in character, consider the fact that you now believe that God created the heavens and the earth, and thus, it only makes sense that he would occasionally use the heavens and the earth to encourage us to do good things or perhaps Republican things once in a while.
2) Think Spiritual: While many Christians claim to see God in all of life’s nooks and crannies—you know, they claim to smell him in a rose or taste him while eating a plum. I suggest you start smaller by looking for God in the really big events, ie, after Irene blows through, walk around and look for oddly placed crosses. If a cross from a local church ends up destroying your rhododendron plant, that could be a sign. Or if you find a couple of 2X4s in the shape of a cross atop a pile of rubble, that’s definitely sign. God loves using 2X4s. You might consider taking a picture of that and send it into your local news station. And who knows? Maybe Irene will bless you with a backyard etching of the face of Jesus or Mary or a face loosely based on the face of Jesus or Mary. We never know how God will speak to us, so we tend to keep an open mind.
3) Look for God’s Message: Since we read hundreds of accounts in the Bible of people believing that God spoke or acted or showcased his talent via nature’s more uglier moments, anytime God sends or allows or doesn’t stop natural disasters from showing up at our doorsteps, we expect a message! In most cases, there’s always some sort of message attached, literal or otherwise. It’s like getting a bouquet of flowers or an envelope dusted with anthrax, it doesn’t just happen. There’s almost always a fully spiritual explanation. So look for God’s message. I think experiencing an earthquake is like getting a text message from God when my phone is on vibrate. But it’s important to remember that the earthquake isn’t the actual message, it’s just a signal to let us know that you’ve received a new message. It’s essential that we check our messages. Have you checked Tuesday’s message from God?
4) Share the Message: God’s messages are meant to be shared! So, once you discover what God’s trying to say to you through Tuesday’s earthquake or this weekend’s hurricane, make sure you tell people about it. Now, depending on whose theological persuasion you listen to, God’s message might need to be interpreted (which is “Christian” for deciphered) because sometimes God’s messages come to us more heavily coded than the Book of Ezekiel. Still, a message exists. So find it. Decipher it. And then Tweet it!
5) Believe in God’s Mercy: Now listen, it’s absolutely imperative that you believe that God is merciful, no matter what the devastation or how FEMA responds. God. Is. Merciful! (Repeat that two times.) With that in mind, if you don’t figure out the message the first time, know that God won’t leave you uninformed. God always keeps attaching the message again and again to whatever natural disaster happens to slip through his hands and onto your part of the world. So don’t worry! Keep your mind focused on God’s mercy. A pastor I knew in college always said: God’s mercies are new every morning and occasionally they get measured on the Richter Scale. He was a Calvinist.
6) Self reflect: No natural disaster is complete without self reflection. It’s never easy for me to believe that I might be partially to blame for God sending natural disasters. It might be an easier stretch for you to believe that. But whether difficult or easy, it’s a necessary evil. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask: Are you the Jonah of this week’s story? Are YOU the reason God is pissed off and sending everybody from Atlanta to Detroit a text message? Only you can answer that question, of course. But as you’re clearing your deck of loose items or shopping for toilet paper and bottled water at Wal-mart, it’s something you might spend time thinking about. Perhaps if you are this weekend’s “Jonah,” you could confess or move to another state and possibly spare your friends and neighbors the wrath of Irene.

"Chiseling Into Perfection": Bill Gothard, ALERT Academy and the WCG

In the year 2000, the Worldwide Church of God finally sold the Big Sandy campus to Hobby Lobby for 8.5 million dollars.  Hobby Lobby is a craft's company owned by  David Green with over 450 stores in 39 states.  HL does not use bar codes on it's products and hand prices items (a fear that it is the mark of the beast?) Green later transferred ownership to Bill Gothard for ALERT Academy's use.

The Journal (COG) had this to say about the transaction:
BIG SANDY, Texas--The owner of the property that for 33 years was the campus of Ambassador College (which became a university in 1994) wants to sell the metal swan sculpture that graces the area in front of the administration building.

Ron Fuhrman of Big Sandy, director of Air-Land Emergency Response Team (ALERT), which has owned the grounds since Dec. 31, 2001, said ALERT would like to sell the sculpture and other items and wonders if anyone among the Churches of God would be interested in buying it.
. . .
The Worldwide Church of God sold the property in 2000 to the Green Family Trust, owner of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., of Oklahoma City, for an undisclosed sum.

Green in turn leased it to the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), a nonprofit educational and service ministry based in Oak Brook, Ill., headed by Bill Gothard. The Big Sandy acquisition joined about 50 other IBLP schools in several states.

The ownership formally transferred Dec. 31, 2001, from Green to the IBLP, of which ALERT is a department.

Mr. Fuhrman said ALERT and the campus will soon become a "stand-alone" operation of the IBLP.

IBLP (Institute in Basic Life Principles) was started by Bill Gothard.  Gothard is from a Baptist background with deep ties into Dominionist theology. He is also an advocate for large families, home schooling, staying away from medicine, and for making women stay home from outside work. The Dugger Family with their 18 kids is an example of this. Men are the rulers of the household and it causes trouble when women work out in the world and are under authority of other men.  Christian Identity is also promoted.  He was famous for describing children as being "diamonds in the rough" that God was chiseling to perfection by the blows of flawed and sometimes abusive parents.

Alert Academy describes it's self as :

The Air Land Emergency Resource Team (ALERT) is a unique training and service organization for young men who desire to achieve maturity and fruitfulness in service as Christian men. The training young men receive at ALERT equips them with the discipline, character, and skills necessary to meet the needs of people in crisis. These ALERT Responders will then be deployed to disaster-stricken areas such as those affected by hurricanes, tornados, floods, and mud slides.

Many label the course as a paramilitary boot camp.  The instructors walk around in military style clothing  with military style badges and medals.

 They are groujped in "Unit's" and receive deployment orders when being sent out during natural disasters or other emergencies (hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, floods, etc.).  Training includes some of the following:

Training Elements

Basic Training is structured around the eight callings of II Peter 1:5–7. Each week, one calling will be emphasized in devotions and other activities.

Recruits are challenged to establish the disciplines of personal devotions, Scripture memory, and Bible study while applying Biblical principles to life situations. ALERT proves to them that if they can have a daily time with God in the most extreme circumstances, then they can maintain this discipline throughout the rest of their lives and hopefully gain a vision for God’s kingdom.

Scriptural application is further refined in the pursuit of Godly character. The men gain emotional maturity as they wrestle with homesickness, youthful fears, and controlling emotional reactions. Their comfort limits and fear boundaries will be regularly tested to widen their horizons and to help them develop a healthy level of self-assurance. Specific fears addressed include being under authority, facing the unknown, homesickness, extended hiking, camping in the wilderness, and heights.

Learning how to respond to stressful situations increases a man’s faith in God, as well as his confidence in his own abilities. Basic Training is carefully balanced to control the tribulation necessary to stabilize fear, resignation, discouragement, anger, resentment, and other negative emotions. As men overcome increasingly difficult challenges, they are able to see God’s hand at work in their lives, and they grow in faith, discipline, motivation, and focus, all while combining training with a spiritual emphasis.

Character Training

ALERT provides a quality alternative to young men considering military service, as it imports the best features of the U.S. military. As such, ALERT should not be confused with church camp or recreational outdoor programs.

Training in Godly character is organized into clusters, the chief cluster encompassing the area of compliance. The principle of authority is taught with a view to differentiating between obedience, submission, honor, and loyalty.

Within the context of compliance training, recruits master the elements of basic obedience (rote compliance motivated by consequences) and balance that with responsible boldness in learning appeal techniques. Moving on to the second level, submission is learned in light of phileo (brotherly love) and mutual trust. The third and highest level of compliance, honor, is imbued with the agape (God’s love) understanding that we die to self as we strive for the success of a God-appointed authority.

The Basic Training environment is very effective in revealing resistant attitudes and rebellion in young men. Responsiveness is ALERT’s byword, and as an ALERT Responder, a good employee, or a faithful son, the recruit must demonstrate the qualities of dependability, diligence, and thoroughness. Meaningful projects allow men to develop these qualities along with punctuality and accountability, to achieve a mature level of responsiveness.

Similar qualities are clustered around persistence (endurance, determination, patience), confidence (boldness, initiative, decisiveness), and readiness (vigilance and attentiveness).

Physical Training
“PT” is an integral part of Basic Training. Although “…bodily exercise profiteth

Additionally, physical fitness training provides a convenient classroom in which to learn self-control and mastery over one’s physical body. Although ALERT deems physical training a lower priority than spiritual and character development, it may be an area of struggle for those not in the habit of physical training.

Skill Training
Skill training is threaded throughout Basic Training as a foundation for subsequent areas of training. Many of these training opportunities have an element of adventure and provide incentive to complete ALERT Basic Training. Among these are camping skills, survival skills, and outdoor skills.

The realm of search-and-rescue requires Responders who are competent in all varieties of outdoor terrain and who will not be liabilities to themselves or to the mission. Living off the land, group sheltering, and outdoor living have been proven elements to teach our men to thrive in austerity while delivering valuable services. Such conditions are useful in preparing men for foreign missions or the coming perilous times.

Introductions in map and compass skills support later training in search-and-rescue, diving, and aviation. Elementary ropework, practiced in river crossings and rappelling in Basic Training, leads to high-angle rescue. First Aid essentials covered in Basic Training eventually yield to instruction in emergency medicine in Advanced Training. Problem-solving exercises give a practical forum for team-building and leadership practice, and by the time Basic Training is completed, the young men have been knit together into a cohesive team that depends first on God’s strength. They are then ready to confront new challenges in ALERT Advanced Training.
 Response Training
Initial response training foundational to disaster response will begin in Basic Training. Classes in Evangelism and Search-and-Rescue will equip Responders to deploy immediately upon promotion, if required. Many times international travel is required, and a valid passport is necessary prior to the start of Emergency Response Training (ERT). These skills provide confidence in ministering to
people in need and equip the Responders in their goal of service to others. This initial response training will also provide the building blocks for further training during Emergency Response Training.
Discipleship is what the Christian life is all about. But how do we know when we are true disciples? And how do we know when we have trained someone else to be a disciple? The answer is found in the Great Commission: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). So what were all the commands of Jesus? A survey of the Gospels will produce about forty-nine general commands that every believer should follow. This, then, is the curriculum for carrying out the Great Commission and being a disciple. We will attempt to cover 8–9 foundational qualities needed in the life of an ALERT Responder.

At first glance all of this may seem "ok", particularly to those trained in Armstrongism.  However, ALERT is labeled in many cult recovery circles as a legalistic cult.

I find it interesting that the Worldwide Church of God sold both of it's properties to other 'sects" that are looked upon by many as "aberrant."

Harvest Rock Church, who bought the Auditorium, in Pasadena, is a charismatic personality cult centered around a charismatic religious leader who has legions of volunteers catereing to his every need.  They regularly hold conferences where internationally known men like Benny Hinn, leaders from Toronto Blessing, Brownsville Blessing show up and hold week long conferences on "fruits of the spirit." This includes speaking in tongues, being over come by the "spirit" so as to bark like dogs, have hysterical fits of laughter, pogoing in place for long periods of time, being slain in the spirit where they lay on the floor of the Auditorium in 'frozen" states for hours on end and much much more.

ALERT is considered a cult because of it's legalistic tendencies, paramilitary training,  and other attributes.  While I hesitate to give them publicity, the Daily Kos has an interesting background on ALERT. and the WCG.  Although I do wonder where they find a link of WCG to "Oneness Pentecostalism."  I assume they tied the name Church of God to the other Church of God branch that is into pentecostal/charismatic hysteria.

What spurred all of this on tonight was an email from a person who sent this link to a web site that is filled  with testimonies of people who have suffered under Gothard's principles.  Recovering Grace: A Gothard Generation Shines Light on the Teachings if IBLP and ATI

Their goal is:

Recovering Grace is an online organization devoted to helping people whose lives have been impacted by the teachings of Bill Gothard, the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), and the Advanced Training Institute (ATI). Recovering Grace provides a unique perspective in that it was founded and is operated entirely by adults who were raised as children in Bill Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute. We all have attended Bill Gothard’s seminars, and most of us served within the IBLP organization in some form or fashion. Among the members of our team are pastors, lawyer, teachers, accountants, businessmen, and stay-at-home moms. We have all taken different journeys, but we all have one thing in common: We survived ATI.

Some of us had pretty great parents who, by the mercy of God, were able to bring balance to Bill Gothard’s legalism. To this group, survival means that they graduated high school and moved on. However, many of those involved with our site survived physical and/or sexual abuse that causes nightmares and trauma even today. Some survived spiritual abuse at home or training centers that has left them with years of untangling who God is, whether faith is worth having, and whether church and religion are anything more than a cosmic joke. Others have survived emotional abuse, being told that they weren’t good enough, weren’t pretty enough, didn’t look right, or whatever. To these people, survival means a lot more. It means there is a lot of hurt, guilt, and pain that is dealt with every day.

Together, we have decided it is time to speak out. Others have done so before in books, magazine articles, and websites. Still, they couldn’t speak from the perspective we can. They wrote about Bill Gothard’s ministry from the outside. We write about it from the inside. They observed our legalism and tried to warn our families. We lived in legalism and wish we’d listened sooner.

It's quit obvious that these people are just like those of us who were trapped in Armstrognism were.  They/we see a need to speak out, to expose, and to let the world know what is going on.  Lives have been scarred, damaged and sometimes destroyed.  Accountability is the name of the game now.

For more information:

Child abuse and abuse of women:  "Christian" Child Abuse

An irreverent guide to Gill Gothard: A Beginners Guide to Bill Gothard

A Guide to Bill Gothard

The Basic Life Principles of Bill Gothard: Benevolent Ministry or Bondage Making?

Stop Spiritual Abuse

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Prophet Thiel: "King of the North/The Beast" Now Living In Connecticut With Family

Can Armstrongism get any sillier?  Why does Spanky Meredith put up with this kind of stupidity and the bad light it casts on his cult?  The lengths Prophet Bob goes to to find some connection with Armstrongite prophecy is appalling!

Karl-Theodor von und zu Guttenberg
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg
Baron Karl zu Guttenberg is moving into a neighborhood with celebrities and may be fulfilling a prophecy (note the following was in German and I had it machine translated:

These are the new neighbors of the Guttenberg

Panorama 25/08/2011
GREENWICH…Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (39) now happy as a sabbatical year. A certain amount of time like he and his wife Stephanie (34) out of Germany. The U.S. is the target. The “Colorful” revealed now that the nice little house for the family – the two daughters come up with – will focus on: the state of Connecticut on the east coast…Now he has this caliber as neighbors: Star singer Diana Ross, the film divas Glenn Close and Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson, Hollywood giant.
The above is interesting as there is an old Eastern Orthodox prophecy about the Great Monarch (who seems to be the same person as the final King of the North in Bible prophecy) that states:
Anonymou Paraphrasis (10th century): The one true King, who is inhabiting a humid place to avoid the heat; whom men have expulsed from his own dwelling and gave a place to live in the islands; who is engaged in navigation and fishing every week; (this King): will be revealed when the time of the power of the Ishmaelites comes to an end. (Tzima Otto, p. 30)
The coastal portion of Connecticut, where he now owns a house near other celebrities, has been described as a humid subtropical climate.  Whether the Baron goes to islands, navigates, or fishes much, will be seen.  As regular readers of this page are aware, I have had my eye on one-time German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg since late 2009 as one who could possibly fulfill the role of the final King of the North.

I have expected that he would likely go abroad for some time, and reported that as well as the fact that I thought he may leave political office (before he did leave it) based upon the prophecies like the following (three translations shown):
21 And there shall stand up in his place one despised, and the kingly honour shall not be given him: and he shall come privately, and shall obtain the kingdom by fraud. (Daniel 11:21, Douay-Rheims)
21 “‘His place will be taken by a reject, a man spurned and passed over for advancement. He’ll surprise everyone, seemingly coming out of nowhere, and will seize the kingdom. (Daniel 11:21 from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)
21 And in his place shall stand up a contemptible person, to whom they had not given the honor of the kingdom: but he shall come in time of security, and shall obtain the kingdom by flatteries. (Daniel 11:21, ASV)
There is an interesting Eastern Orthodox prophecy that may apply to him which is in my article, Might German Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg become the King of the North?, that I do not recall posting on this news page before:
Blessed Hieronymus Agathaghelos (1279): The suffering that lasted three years is providing you with serenity and the end of the sufferings that are already behind you. The one who despised your head will make plans leading to his own downfall, but his subsequent repentance will avail him nothing…Ruler…nobody will laugh at your expense and no one will cause you any shame (Tzima Otto, p. 130, 132).
So, he is supposed to be somewhat unpopular for three years according to the above prophecy and one or more critics pay for scandalizing him.  Whether the Baron’s period of being first being shamed combined with his self-imposed exile will last three years (and if one of his early critics will suffer somehow) is be something to watch for.  But interestingly, back in March 2011, it was reported:
According to political scientist Gerd Langguth from the University of Bonn, Guttenberg will not likely stay out of the public eye for long. He told the Wednesday edition of the Thüringer Allgemeine newspaper that he sees a comeback in about three years…Langguth said Guttenberg’s “honorable statements” on Tuesday had made such a return feasible. (
Whether he is the one or not, I believe that the Baron’s scandal and exile appear to be consistent with certain non-biblical prophecies about a leader commonly referred to as the Great Monarch and possibly biblical prophecies concerning the Beast, the final King of the North.

Here is another Eastern Orthodox prophecy about a the coming Great Monarch:
Monk Leontios (no later than 912): Go hurry to the West of the Seven-Hilled City; you will find there a man who is dear to Me; he is given to prayer, he has dark hair, honey-colored {sun-tanned skin}, he is gentle and noble-minded; he is cognizant of the things of the future; and on his right foot he has a sizable callosity (Tzima Otto, pp. 84,203–p. 203 says sun-tanned was a proper translation for “honey-colored”).
Being a Baron, one who suspect that Karl zu Guttenberg would be “noble-minded” (and he does have dark hair).  The photographs I have seen of him show him somewhat tanned and not nearly as white-skinned as some others in Germany.  If he is to become  “the Great Monarch”, he may well be exiling himself partially to fit various somewhat specific Eastern Orthodox prophecies.

Despite being out of political office, some have again hinted that Karl Guttenberg may be what the European Union needs.  Notice the following recent news item:
Of course, Europe isn’t exciting. Most people find disgraced former German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg infinitely more interesting than Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council. Thoughts of Europe call up images of eurocrats in Brussels, endless late-night meetings and the famous “butter mountains” created by the Common Agricultural Policy. There is little enthusiasm for the European project.  (How to Get Europeans to Care about Europe.  Spiegel Online, August 19, 2011.,1518,781303,00.html)
So, the disgraced Baron is exciting and this is what Europe needs according to some there.  The time may come when Baron Guttenberg may, indeed, again rise up.

If Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg eventually establishes a new religious order within Catholicism (cf. Daniel 11:38), promotes European unity, promotes ecumenism, promotes peace in the Middle East (even if he simply makes a statement endorsing it when he is in another land, including possibly while in the USA, cf. Daniel 9:26-27), and/or otherwise rises up in European politics, he could be very interesting to watch. If he is the one, his coming stay in the USA will give him better insight into the USA and probably contacts that he may exploit later, perhaps as a subterfuge for an attack on the USA (cf. Daniel 11:39).  If he also ends up on very good terms with Cardinal Koch (see Kurt Koch Made a Cardinal: Might He Become the Antichrist?) and/or other Catholic leaders, this may also be an indicator–and could be a strong indicator.

On the other hand, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg could simply be a normal politician, with ups and downs like many others. We will see.

Much is happening in the world, and a leader known as the final King of the North (or Beast) in Bible prophecy, will ultimately become the leader of Europe. And according to the Bible, he will have military abilities (Revelation 13:1-4) and apparently be popular and charismatic (cf. Daniel 7:20,11:21-24,31; Revelation 13:3-5).

Karl Guttenberg fulfills these requirements.

We all should watch (cf. Mark 13:37).

"America is in deep doodoo"

The vengeful god that Armstrongism worships is getting ready to spank the East Coast with a hurricane.  We have all heard the stupid comments coming from preachers in the COG about natural disasters.

Here is what a hardliner HWA lover posted today:

The earthquake in Virginia was the same day as Hurricane Katrina hit on the Hebrew calendar.
Now a very bad hurricane is heading up the coast.
I believe we are being given very graphic warnings and America is in deep doodoo.

Apparently the sinful US did not learn it's lesson in New Orleans, so now will be spanked on the East coast. Of course COGers are excited about this.  They think it further validates their beliefs.  They WANT disasters and tragedies to happen.  They want to see non-believers answer for their unbelief.  It really ticks off Armstrongites who try and keep every bit of the law they can and still suffer while the pagans are thriving and living prosperous lives.  Bitter angry people need a bitter angry god to act out their vengeance!

Prophet Thiel Says: "While carnal protection is wise, spiritual protection is even more important."

Looks like God is ready to SPANK LCG for their grievous sins!  I wonder if Spanky has fled inland yet to the nearest Ritz Carlton?

Prophet Thiel has this to say to you heathens:

The multi-island nation of the Bahamas has been affected by Hurricane Irene and the Eastern USA seems to be next in its path:

US East Coast Braces as Irene Strengthens Over the Bahamas

Wall Street Journal - ‎25 August 2011
Hurricane Irene thrashed the Bahamas early Thursday, with widespread damage reported on at least two southern islands. The storm is threatening to pummel the Eastern Seaboard over the next several days as far north as Maine. It is a powerful Category 3 hurricane with winds at 115 miles an hour.
Between the Virginia earthquake and now Hurricane Irene, the Eastern USA has had “troubles” (cf. Mark 13:8) this week.
These types of things may be parts of what Jesus referred to as “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8) before the great tribulation (Matthew 24:21).  Or this may just be a normal hurricane for the season (though the earthquake was not normal for the area).  While carnal protection is wise, spiritual protection is even more important.

The Solar Cross

Homer sent this to me yesterday.  Most I had heard before, but had not seen the "four season" approach before.  Something to ponder:


As a general rule, crosses are shown with a vertical member and a horizontal member. Some crosses include a circle around the point where the vertical member and horizontal members intersect. An example of each is shown.

Is it possible that the cross could represent the yearly orbit of the earth around the sun? If so, the year can be divided into 4 seasons of 3 months each and the seasons can be identified by the solstices & equinoxes.

By comparing the illustration to the left with the picture of the cross at the beginning of this article, one should be able to see the similarity between the two.  The orb in the center represents the sun and the orbs at the
solstices and equinoxes represent the earth at those 4 times of the year.  The majority of crosses seen today are generally displayed without the sun and the orbit of the earth.

Many today accept the cross as a religious symbol of the death of Jesus.  Some say this is a “pagan” symbol and should not be used for that purpose.  (The actual understanding of the word “pagan” is a subject for another time.)

However, if the cross is simply an illustration, or metaphor, that represents the orbit of the earth around the sun, whether or not the sun and the earth’s path are shown, why is this considered a bad thing?  It is realized of course, if any person or organization chooses to use that symbol as an item of worship, that may not be a good thing to do, but does that make the illustration a bad thing.  Unfortunately, many things are considered evil and “pagan” (there’s that word again).  It may be that those in charge of religious organizations promote misunderstanding, knowingly or not, in order to gain control the people.

Is it possible that Leonardo da Vinci understood this metaphor when he painted the “Last Supper”? Could the following represent the 4 seasons of 3 months each with the “sun of god” in the middle?


Let each individual decide for himself. There is MUCH more to this subject if one has to desire  investigate.

Alex Reads Creation

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Prophecy Frauds and Their "Breeding Ground of Wanton Tomfoolery"

From the Delmarva Earthquake 2011: Sign of the end or a simple geological event?
Speculation has already begun and will no doubt further escalate, that tremors in a region not generally known for perceptible seismic activity could be a sign of what many call the “end times.” From the quote, unquote, Christian vantage point, the erroneous eschatology is based on a misreading of passages in the Bible referred to as the “Olivet discourse,” so designated because Jesus delivered the address while on the mount of Olives.

In the discussion, found in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, Jesus is asked a question about the Jewish temple he had just exited and condemned to be “desolate.” Understanding the destruction of the “holy place” meant the end of the old covenant age, Christ’s disciples, understandably, wanted to know when it would occur and what signs would lead up to it.

The record of Jesus’s oration includes a laundry list of portents that, without consideration of the time indicators, could apply to literally ANY epoch of human history since then:
  • False Christs
  • Wars and rumors of wars
  • Nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom
  • Famines
  • Earthquakes
to name some.

Removing, ignoring, or reinterpreting Christ’s unambiguous proclamation of Matthew 24:34, Mark 13:30, and Luke 21:32 - as to WHEN these events would cease to be prophetic signs and the end (of the old covenant age) would happen - as today’s prophecy pundits have done, has created a breeding ground for wanton tomfoolery.

Concerning WHEN Jesus declares: “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.” Can there be any doubt that the near demonstrative phrase THIS GENERATION refers to those whom Christ was addressing? Is there the tiniest possibility that ALL THESE THINGS somehow excluded any sign preceding the time referent?

Although the obvious answer is an emphatic “NO,” sadly, it seems to be “yes” for those who approach the Scriptures with reckless abandon and preconceived notions. The plain truth is that the sack of Jerusalem, the destruction of Herod’s temple, and the transition from the Old Testament era to the new are being discussed in these passages. And true to His word the events did come to pass before that generation passed away when, under the command of Titus, the Roman armies wreaked their cataclysmic havoc.

No matter how prophecy frauds like Hal Lindsey, John Hagee and the like try to deceptively twist post-modern earthquake statistics as they conjunctively contort Bible verses, the end spoken of, with its attendant precursory earthquakes, happened in AD 70. Just like Jesus said it would.
Until next time...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Prophet Thiel: Colorado and Virginia Earthquakes a Sign For America To Repent

COGdumb has started it's blame game because of the Colorado and Virginia earthquakes today.  I knew it would only be a matter of time until some minister or evangelist ran off at the mouth and made some stupid comment.  Prophet Thiel was the first one out of the gates:

Jesus, of course, warned about a time with such issues:
8 … And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be…troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows. (Mark 13:8)
We may be at this prophetic point as all the earthquakes and other problems that have happened in the past year or so could be considered as “troubles”.
Perhaps the earthquake can serve as another wake-up call to the Americans and others that the world can change very quickly and that the time to repent is now:
30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead. (Acts 17:30-31)
There are troubles and repentance is needed.  Things are going to get much worse in North America than this.

Earthquake in VA

Today there was a huge spike in viewing of the post I had earlier this year concerning the New Zealand earthquakes and how American preachers were blaming it on rampaging lesbians. The Real Cause of the Christ Church Earthquake Discovered  I thought someone must have linked to it or something.  Then I heard that VA had it's earthquake and realized what had happened.  Several hundred hits happened within about a 10 minute period.

I spoke to my brother that lives in VA and he said it was a really hard jolt.  He has been through many earthquakes when he was in San Diego, but this one felt far different.  I joked with him that it is a sign of the end times.  He lives close to Lynchburg (Falwell country) and said that the preachers have already started claiming the earthquake and approaching hurricane are punishment from God because of the gays.

I am sure it will only be a matter of hours before Flurry and Spanky Meredith start stating the same thing.  "It is just one more sign of the end times!"  Thiel will soon join the chorus too...

Jesus Has Been Busy In Texas!

Jesus is one busy dude!

Tkach WCG: The First Decade

James Malm has been running a series of posts on the history of Armstrongism, written through the lens that there was a strong undercurrent for decades to move away from Herbert Armstrong's teachings and into evangelicalism.  He has no kind words for Herman Hoeh and his Buddhist leanings and for his well known deviancy.

The entire post on the Tkach era can be found here: Tkach WCG: The First Decade  Others in the series are here:

WCG: Tkach Transition
Herbert W Armstrong: Part 4
Herbert W Armstrong: Part 3
Herbert W Armstrong: Part 2
Ministry of Herbert W Armstrong

Lest you think this is another snow job praising all things HWA, be warned that it is not.  Malm has a lot of criticism about HWA, so much so that some on other websites and blogs are calling James Malm an anti-HWA clone. Malm is critical of HWA's arrogance and pomposity.

Much of what Malm has posted is from research done by Richard Nickel's into the history of the church from it's formation with COG7thDAy and the corrupt actions of HWA towards that church when he was in the process of forming Radio Church of God.  Apparently Armstrong was less than truthful about how things went down when he was an ordained minister in CG7thDay. Of course, this should not surprise anyone, but many of the things written are unknown to most people in the church.  The story moves on through the years leading up to Tkach taking over and then into the dissolution of the church into hundreds of splinter cults.

A few tidbits today about the Tkach era are:

(Quoted from Nickel's writings) When the 74 split led by Earnest Martin took place, he had been teaching his errors for several years already and had convinced many of his positions. Then Ted’s adulteries were made known and many had had enough. The situation was ripe for the Liberal Evangelical types to stage a walk away with the 74 split.

At the same time some who had been convinced of these Liberal Evangelical heresies were loath to leave their exalted positions, high wages and personal power; and the esteem in which they were held by the brethren. They chose to stay in WCG and bide their time as they worked to establish a power base for the coming death of HWA. A substantial group were elevated to high positions through taking advantage of the Ted/Rader power struggles.

These people believed that much church doctrine was wrong and false, yet they remained within the organization preparing for the time that they would be in a position to make changes. One such person was Herman Hoeh who had bought into the intellectual sounding arguments of Martin and chose not to give up his “In with the boss” and the esteem that many brethren held for him.

While paying lip service to the church doctrines in public, it was an open secret that he disdained those same doctrines in private. It was well known that he was an Evangelical with a strong lean towards Buddhism, he was also an amateur photographer and his collection of personally taken “dirty pictures” was legendary. He especially enjoyed taking pictures of naked young men. These things were no secret in Pasadena. He wanted to “shut the lights and lock the door” on HWA teachings; and kept his personal views secret as he flattered HWA. He personally recommended Joseph Tkath to HWA for his successor.

Hoeh worked hard behind the scenes while keeping his personal views secret; to support Joe Tkach in his succession bid and assisted with the doctrinal changes taking place after 1986.

It took Joe Tkach a short time to fully consolidate his power and control and by 1989 the move to change the doctrine was underway.

The Tkach team worked together to change doctrine into the “love love” tolerance for sin of the Evangelical Movement, from the moment that Tkach took over; however Doctrinal Change did not fully get going until a new doctrinal Team called the “Doctrinal Manual Group” was set up in late 89. This was to be a new STP project hence the word “Manual”.
 Malm interjects:

I have searched but cannot find a complete list of Tkach’s doctrinal committee names. I have attached a list of names that were very much involved in his operation and there is a good chance most of these were on the committee.

It wasn’t that they just changed doctrine, they viciously went after anyone they thought might stand in their way by personally attacking them. While there were individuals that were attacked, there was a long list of department that was dissolved. I and others in the department were personally slandered. They made sure that the rumor mill spread the word of how evil those they attacked were before lowering the boom. It literally separated friends and families.

The words that I and others write cannot give anyone the real sense of what went on. I had nightmares for years. I know others did also. I was told by a friend in ministerial services to get out of HQ because it was filled with Jackals. I left and never regretted it for a second.
I hope this list helps. You have an uphill battle. The propaganda machine in WCG was very good. Most members and a lot of ministers had no idea what went on at HQ. They were taught all the time that they were in WCG that loyalty of HQ was loyalty to God. That became a part of them. So to them, when you say anything remotely critical of WCG, you were speaking against God. I use to be amazed that so many of the ministers that came in on sabbatical were so naive.

To summarize Joe Sr, Joe Jr and Mike Feazel started the changes.

Schnippert, Albrecht and Ward were quickly on board.

Hoeh and Kelly supported Tkach from among the old WCG leaders and supported the new path.

Dave Albert and Gary Antion were AC instructors teaching the new doctrines especially hard.

David Hulme ran AICF under Tkach and was a well known Evangelical, as his subsequent history demonstrates.

In 40 years of doing business I have never seen the treachery and corruption that took place from the late 70′s to the late 80′s in the WCG.
Nickel's comments continue:

Kevin Dean – Was a Rader supporter until he turned against him, informing on him in 82; then supporting HWA and leaving after his death in 86.

Aaron Dean – Strongly supported HWA, and then his successor. He claims to have learned about the efforts to change core doctrine over time; and to have been fighting the changes; he left for UCG in 95.

Joe Jr. – Brought to HQ in 1987. Was raised from local elder to Pastor rank immediately. Was put in charge of the ministry. Larry Salyer then worked for him.

Mike Feazel – Personal assistant and ghost writer to Joe Jr. Lifelong friend of Joe Sr. Head of the Doctrinal Manual Group that made the doctrinal changes. Became Head of Theology and head of the new Doctrinal Manual Group in 89.

Robin Weber- Ministerial Services. Personal friend and constant companion of Joe Sr. A strong supporter and known for disfellowshipping resisters to heresy.

Greg Albrect – Dean of Students and Theology instructor (had a well know reputation of getting students to reveal their problems and then use it against them). Bernie brought him over to editorial to head the PT.

Bernie Schnippert – Brought back in 1987 by Joe Sr. – raised to Director of Media Operations very shortly after arriving; was the coordinator of the Systematic Theology Project in 1977 that HWA exploded over.

Herman Hoeh – You know the story.

Leroy Neff – Treasurer and in charge of all financial services – Accounting, Purchasing, Feast Site business offices. He went however the wind blew. Was staunch Armstrong supporter, and then a staunch Joe Sr. supporter.

Victor Kubic- In charge of Ministerial Services kept the field elders in line by firing those that did not agree with the new teachings

Ron Kelly – Long time minister, Festival coordinator, writer for magazines and TV presenter. Spoke often in Pasadena. became Controller of Tkach Team, strong Tkach man.

Dr. Stravanidies – Thought of as the best biblical scholar on campus. Often disagreed with HWA church teachings. played important role in changing them to the Evangelical Mainstream.

Don Ward –Worked on STP. Was the key person behind the accreditation of AC. HWA fired him as president of AC, Pasadena. Went to big Sandy and was reinstated under Leon Walker as academic dean . Joe Sr. brought him back to Pasadena in 1987 as vice chancellor of both campus’s. Liberal arts accreditation started once again. Sent promising elders off to Azusa Pentecostal college for indoctrination into Evangelicism.

NOTE: Accreditation was a euphemism for turning the school away from the HWA Theology and into a Evangelical school by emphasizing criticism of those doctrines in the name of open questioning by students. While I do believe in questioning to seek the truth; in this case the questioning was to move youth and future leaders into the Evangelical mold. The youth would ask a question and the instructor would then spout arguments so as to plant Evangelical ideas.
The youth and future leaders are again under attack through the various church education systems of several COGs.

Michael P Germano-Ambassador University was also Evangelically trained; completing post-graduate studies in anthropology, archaeology, and theology at Southern Methodist University and Texas A&M University at College Station. Involved in the Jordanian Archeological Project and highly critical of HWA teachings, strongly Evangelical.

Dave Albert – Instructor in theology. Degree in Psychology and was an advocate of pop “its not your fault” psychology. Norman Smith, Denny Luker and John Elliot also in the pop psychology attitude of “sin is not your fault; denial of personal responsibility” and “love love” toleramnce (sic)

David Hulme – TV presenter. Became AICF director in 1987, replacing Ellis LaRavia (Ellis was now out). Was strongly into Evangelicism and helped excise the teachings of HWA.

Paul Kroll – Was disfellowshipped by Mr Armstrong for his ultra-liberal views, he was brought back in to write articles for the literature

Larry Salyer – Appointed Director of Church Administration. He left to join Global and then fell out with Rod Meredith joining UCG, then COGWA. Here is a very interesting interview concerning the period when Larry was over the Doctrinal Committee from 86 to 89. The committee was reconstituted in 89 with Larry leaving and Mike Faezel becoming head of Theology at AC; and as such head of the new “Doctrinal Manual Group”.

NOTE: This may be a good account of that time frame and the developing situation. When the interviews of any leader of the period come into play; consider that these folks are consummate politicians and spin experts, with a genuine interest in glossing over their personal involvement. They pill state points in their favour and not mention anything else; making the WHOLE truth very difficult to discover.

Check out the above link for more from Malm's posting.

Part of the reason Malm is on this subject is that he is attempting to prove that UCG is a den of corruption that is seeking to turn it's self into another 'evangelical' COG similar to the new WCGGCI.  Malm points out that the men in charge of UCG and COGWA are the very same men who helped Tkach institute many of the changes.  These men worked in collusion with Tkach by disfellowshipping and kicking members out of the church who disagree with the new directions.

Then in their continuing path of corruption these men then went and formed UCG where they secretly carried many of the new WCG understandings with them where they are attempting to institute them today.

Obviously when you read Malm's postings you will quickly see that there is "nothing new under the sun" in regards to the corruption that is rife within Armstrongism. The entire church system and its leadership is rotten to the core.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Prophet Thiel Is Not Happy With "Christianity Today" Magazine

God's greatest gift to the Church of God and particularly the Living Church of God is NOT happy that another cross is being forced upon him that offends his delicate LCG beliefs. He is not happy that a "cross" from the World Trade Center support beams is being placed in the WTC Memorial site.

Prophet Thiel points out that an atheist group has filed suit to stop it's display.  Prophet Thiel is kind of glad they did, but for reasons other than what you would think.

Thiel despises crosses.  Remember when the LCG shootings happened and sympathetic citizens in Milwaukee erected a few small crosses in the snow bank in sympathy for the people killed?  Thiel went ballistic over that and made a complete ass of himself and brought more ridicule on the Living Church of God and it's aberrant non biblical beliefs.

Thiel wrote:

While I am sure that Greg Zanis (the man who made the crosses) must have meant well, all need to understand that since we in the Living Church of God do not use crosses for worship in anyway, that we would prefer they not be used to honor our dead. All of the victims would have agreed. Flowers, prayers on behalf of the survivors, etc. would be considered appropriate.

 Christianity Today magazine had this to say about Thiel tirade:
"At the same time, believers in the midst of tragedy should be patient with the media and the world at large. One member of the Meredith organization, on a website to which I will not link, takes great issue with the erection of memorial "crosses" outside the hotel where the shooting took place. Why? Because Meredith and his followers do not believe the "cross" is anything other than a pagan invention; they assert that Christ was crucified on an upright stake or tree, and that crosses were introduced later. Another objection was to the view that the deceased are, at this moment, "in a better place," i.e., heaven. The Meredith-supporting writer emphasized his church's view that the dead are "asleep" and unconscious until the resurrection, casting aspersions on a heartfelt expression from people who are presumably of good will. Neither the symbolism of the cross nor the question of the state of the dead is a debate I wish to enter here. Nor do I wish to disparage the sincerity of the other writer's convictions. However, it could easily be viewed by the general public as ungracious at best for people in one church to disavow a kind gesture from another, different church because those other people didn't know the etiquette that the first church follows. In a time of tragedy, when emotions are raw and hearts are wounded, I believe it is better for all concerned to merely accept whatever condolences are offered with the words, "Thank you," and then move on. This isn't the time for an "educational message" about paganism, so-called "soul sleep" or anything else. It's a time to accept what is offered with thanks, and in so doing perhaps opening the door to further discussion at a later time.

Thiel responds:

But I did, and still, feel that the public should understand that the use of crosses is not something that the deceased would have preferred. I consider that for proper respect for the dead, as well as the survivors, most of whom are members of the Living Church of God, our position was a good thing to point out--especially BEFORE the funerals. My comments were not intended to be ungracious. I considered my comments to be the courteous thing to do for those unfamiliar with our beliefs.
And now, yet again, we get to see the Prophet angry again at a cross.

First off, he gets a dig in at Christianity Today magazine.  According to him the magazine is falsely labeled because everyone knows there are no REAL Christians outside the Living Church of God!!!!!!!!!!  How dare they pretend to be Christians!

The improperly named publication Christianity Today (CT) currently has the following headline and subheadline at its website:
 He goes on to write:

No Christian in the New Testament is ever described as having or wearing a cross. This is not to say that all who own a cross are active idolators, but that the historical facts should give people pause to ask themselves if they should own or wear one.

The Bible simply does not teach that Jesus had to have been killed on a cross

If the cross is a symbol of the future Antichrist/Beast power as Roman Catholic Priest P. Huchedé indicates it will be (and it is in a book with an official imprimatur), perhaps those who come from faiths descended from Emperor Constantine should be concerned about their religion now–before it becomes even further removed from the original faith. The Bible indicates that the true Christians will NOT have the symbol/mark needed to buy or sell when the two beasts of Revelation 13 are in power, but only those that will follow those beasts will (Revelation 13:16-17)–and while crosses may not necessarily be required everywhere, other Catholic writings suggest that in certain places, they will be.

CT is correct that all should be offended about using the cross as a 9/11 symbol.  Idolatry is a serious problem and many today do not realize that most who profess Christianity practice it.  Some type of cross possibly could be related to the mark of the beast.  All of this was all left out of the CT article, so I thought that those interested in the truth may find this of value.

This is part of what Christianity Today said:

The Book of Acts records that upon hearing this indictment for the first time, many of Peter's listeners were "cut to the heart." Understandably so—the charge is enough to turn the stomach, darken the mind, and plunge the heart into despair. Or, in other words, Peter's words were enough to cause "dyspepsia, symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish." The atheist litigants have called the 9/11 cross "an ugly piece of wreckage," arguing that it speaks of "horror and death." On the basis of the New Testament, these statements are difficult to contradict.

But if the image of the cross represents humanity's greatest collective failure, why would a nation cling to it as a sign of hope in the days after 9/11? The exchange that follows Peter's sermon sheds some further light.

When asked to suggest a course of action, Peter advised his hearers, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins"—advice which makes little sense unless one assumes certain premises. These premises, implicit in the Christian religion from day one, were intricately explored over the next several decades in the writings of St. Paul, who advanced what would become the best-known but least-understood tenet of Christian theology: that somehow the death of the perfectly sinless Christ was itself the event which atoned for all the wrongdoing of the sinful human race.

If true, this turns the cross into a profound paradox. The same event that condemns humanity also justifies it, standing at once as damning evidence of guilt and a doorway to forgiveness and innocence. What's more, the very episode that shows humanity at its worst shows God at his best, as he transforms an act of wickedness into a display of mercy and love. It is difficult to imagine themes more relevant to the attacks of September 11. 

Suppose God himself has suffered and died at the hands of evil men. Suppose God himself has shown the capacity for taking what was intended for harm and using it for good. Might this affect the way we ourselves face evil and suffering? Might this be a source of strength to someone who is waist-deep in ash and rubble, trying to loosen bodies from steel and concrete?

For the person who accepts this narrative, the cross is the only thing that makes sense in the face of a senseless tragedy. But for the person who rejects it, the cross serves as a reminder of an offensive and seemingly absurd accusation, adding insult to injury. The trouble with the cross is that it refuses to be the universal symbol of beauty that some would make it out to be—it speaks life to those who believe, but death to those who do not.

No wonder people disagree about where it should be displayed.
Thiel is not happy because of the above excerpts.  He seems to still be bitter that CT nailed his ass years ago with his "cross" comments.  That is why the above comments from CT  stick a knife into the heart of everything Thiel writes.  It damns him and he is not happy!  How dare pagan "Christians" expose him for what he is! Satan is at work in the world condemning the COG.

Paypal Accepted

WCG United Kingdom has moved into the electronic age and now makes it possible for you to use your Paypal account to send in tithes and offerings. Whip out that plastic and go to town!

Many churches are using Paypal and credit cards for offerings and donations.  However, many people are really leery in using it.  Some don't trust it as a safe transaction. Paypal also takes a 3% cut from the donation. Many others see it is a greedy and gives the impression of being"money hungry."

I'm certain for some it would be a convenience, but it seems to appear so very money hungry. How difficult it is to remember to write a check...
Scripture again and again demonstrates that being in financial debt is akin to slavery. Churches need to ensure they are not facilitating this. If someone is writing a check or dropping cash into a plate, at the least, it is not borrowed money .

Other churches are using online giving because of the number of Baby-boomers returning to church after staying away for decades.  Many had stopped attending church because they got sick of the constant money begging.

Doug Murren, in his classic book, Baby Boomerang: Catching the Boomer Generation As They Return to Church, identified one of the reasons baby boomers didn't go to church was they felt churches were always asking for money. So a lot of seeker-sensitive churches as a result went out of their way to avoid offending visitors during the offering part of the service.

I am sure this is not the only WCG/GCI church or splinter COG group that does this.  Armstrongism has always been about the money.  The more money they can bring in the better.

True Ramblings

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorOne of the great feelings, which really was only a feeling and probably not based in any genuine reality, was that when in WCG, we could take comfort in the fact that we "all speak the same thing."   We were not divided, all one body we for sure.  We sang it, we (I) preached it.  It was very comfortable and made me, at least from my view, feel safe and protected. 
Now I know I had my issues with the Church, or specifically the Armstrongs and various other human beings who seemed this way or that which made me chuckle a bit at how full of themselves they could be. I ignored a lot of things I didn't like, like "to be played in all the Churches" tapes and still survived years!  But that was just  people and people come and go.  I held it close to my chest just how much I hated the visits of one traveling evangelist who just knew the answer to everything and what God was thinking everyday about us.  I never promoted his visits much, tolerated having to hear it two or three times depending on the number of churches I was responsible for and believed virtually none of it.  The voice in my head kept saying...'well what are you going to do when HWA dies?"   I should have put that in a question for him but he never took questions. 
I reflect on all the men in the ministry I know and wonder where they went.  Some, of course, went on to promote themselves in their own versions of their astounding Bible reading skills.  But, in fact, most have just faded away and are doing their best doing whatever and neither want contact nor have a public need to process their experience.  To date, not one former full time minister has been in touch with me and none other write on this site openly.
Those of us who are here growing through are an interesting bunch.  There are those of us who always comment, those who sometimes comment and most who never comment but I assume think about these things.
My own buzzwords that identify me here are, "Apostle Paul," "Birth stories,"  "Resurrection accounts,"  "Adam and Eve,"  "Mythology,"  "Quantum physics,"  "Acceptance,"  "astrotheology,"  "never quotes Jesus,"  "contradict each other,"  "Neanderthal,"  "Paleontology"  "Snarky,"  and so on.  if I did not sign my name , you'd still know it was probably me writing. 
And yes, I am "M.T.Hall" but have always assumed that was no secret either.  I sign that at times to honor and remember my dad who used it first when he wrote Joe Tkach Sr. about the effect his leadership was having on my dad's local church.  It was emptying the hall.  Dad is still around at 96, was a WCG elder and now sits back in the very same pew we all grew up in up the street in the Presbyterian Church of his youth.  I deeply love and respect my dad. He is a quiet man who just goes with the flow it seems.  I am not like him but have always wanted to be.  My counselor however reminds me that each of us are on our own journey.  His is his and mine is mine.  That came up when I mentioned they had been married 72 years and I still felt badly about my failed circumstances for which i take full responsibility.
At any rate, if I use the words,  "narcissists,"  "snakes in suits,"  "Armstrongists," "British Israelism, "  , we know who this is commenting even without the name.  If we say, "rebel", "used to think,"  " bike,"  "full circle,"  "former atheist," etc, we know who this is.
If I hear, "Dennis, you're an idiot,"  "You and your minister buddies,"  "I hope you end up in a refrigerator box," at least I know who that is...ha.  
We all are processing a human experience and the topic is religion, faith, trust, hope and life after death,  which is one of the most sensitive of our human needs to explore once we show up on the planet.  
We run the gamut from very sincere to now skeptical, very sincere and more sincere, very sincere to cynical,  sorta sincere to very sincere,  not sincere-supposed to be sincere-ok I'm sincere-WTF-atheist-back to sincere and so on.  i think I am stuck a bit at WTF. But no matter, it's all ok.  As that great philosopher once said..."I ams what i ams and that's all that I ams."  Popeye
I guess I keep a mental count in my head of how many comment on this blog to various topics.  The postings that highlight some past abuse , situation or now perceived goofy or harmful belief or idea in the past get the most comments.  These are the topics that bring out the hurt and the many personal examples in our experience we can come up.  We comment not unlike men get to telling jokes in a group.  Each joke gets a little better than the last until someone "wins."  You know the ,  "oh yeah, well listen to this one..."  I guess you all know my views on painbodies. 
On the other side of the scale are the topics that bring virtually no comments.  In two years not ONE person has comment on my own observations about the contradictory nature of the Birth stories of Jesus (usually around Xmas) or the Resurrection accounts, (usually around Easter/Passover)   Not one person of any persuasion has defended the accounts as without error or historically accurate, which they are not IMHO.  No comments my view that the Apostle Paul hijacked the Jesus movement and the original Apostles did not like the man nor taught what he taught.  No comments on why Paul never quotes Jesus etc or the reality that Paul was the first to write the Jesus/Gentile story before the Gospels ever saw the light of day. I'd love to hear just one rebuttal as to why it is a good thing that Paul presents himself as "all things to all the Jew a Jew, to the Gentile a Gentile.." etc and not wonder what the hell the real Paul really believed.  Or was lying and playing head games just the way to go?  
I have been scorned for noting that the Apostle Paul, as did Matthew and others, often misquoted the OT to promote their own agendas.  The Hebrew of the Hebrew quotes the Greek version of the OT to make points that would make a real Pharisee gag.  He even makes the same mistakes in doing so that the version contains as if he doesn't know the OT does not really say that.  I use the phrase, "you can't make a scripture mean what it never meant," but actually you can and it is called Midrash.  However, it is dishonest to reality and while a then acceptable way of writing about something you have little hard evidence for and would get you flunked out of seminary today, was ok then.    Matthew's birth account, as well as Lukes, which do not agree were made up by cobbling OT scriptures together and are not based in any reality of Jesus birth they knew about.  But I spare you.  My point is that these kinds of observations bring little if no comment.  
One very sincere literalist here on the blog challenged me to show him where Paul made the OT mean what it never meant or misquoted the OT to make his points.  I sent the man several classics from which i got no response or a better explanation for Paul's practice.   I don't blame him for not responding but I have to assume the examples were a bit enlightening in ways that cause conflict in the mind. 
The origins of everything seem to fascinate me.  From the origins of the earth, the universe, humans, consciousness and religion, it is all fascinating.  I just ever, as I suspect we all would say, no matter our current views, wanted to know the truth.  Handling the truth, as we know, can be divisive, scary and a lifelong experience with others in head banging over who is right.   
Recently I was listening to a very dynamic, yet goofy radio type trying his best to show the story of Jonah and the Great Fish literally happened and a man can survive in the belly of a whale etc.  He uses the example, now understood to be one of America's oldest urban legends, of a man swallowed by a whale on an 18th century whaling encounter.  He was cut out of the fish two days later, a bit digested but alive blah blah.   I wrote him with backup that any 15 year old in his audience with a Internet connection could debunk it before he finished the story.  His response was less than kind.  He "noticed" my source had an ad for Barack Obama and so that source was suspect.  He "noticed" the source was from the "secular web," which means he has access to the "religious web" which promotes the story as true so it must be true.  In short, he did not want me raining on his parade.  Yesterday, I was listening again and darn it if he did not use the story again!   I sent him better documentation this time but it just pissed him off. 
Well, just Sunday morning ramblings here.  Biz is a bit slow. The school I teach at reminds me at times of WCG drama at the Administrative level and getting stuck between crazy "policies" and the students who suffer from them.  Someone told me to "not listen to the students" and all I heard in my head was "don't listen to the members."  Ugh.  I opted for defending the students as usual.  I don't take a lot of BS this time around and speak up quickly no matter the cost.  I know i suffer from the classic underachiever thing at this point in life. 
But Fall comes soon and it has always been my favorite time of year.  May you all have the best Feast wait....sorry...that just slipped out.  :)
Dennis C. Diehl