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Saturday, December 3, 2011
Power was finally restored at 7 this morning. 56 hours with no electricity. I have friends in South Pasadena who may not have power till the middle of next week.
Last night coming home from work in darkness, the side streets were backed up for over three miles because traffic lights were not working. Restaurants are packed because one has any refrigeration. They claim it will take several weeks to clean all of this up.
It's hard to imagine a wind storm paralyzing the cities here. Just image what it is going to be like in a bad earthquake.
Last night coming home from work in darkness, the side streets were backed up for over three miles because traffic lights were not working. Restaurants are packed because one has any refrigeration. They claim it will take several weeks to clean all of this up.
It's hard to imagine a wind storm paralyzing the cities here. Just image what it is going to be like in a bad earthquake.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
There have been no posts for the last couple of days because of the hurricane force winds we had here. The San Gabrie Valley was hardest hit. Pasadena has over 40 homes and apartment buildings that are red tagged. Power has been off in many areas since 8:00 Wednesday night. Power in some areas is supposed to come on Thursday night around midnight. For others, this area included it may be Saturday before power is restored. One crackpot Armstrongist wrote me and said that this area no longer had God's protection because the WCG sold the property out from under God who no longer had a home here. I am sure it will not be long till Flurry or Meredith start talking about how this is prophecy in action. I am suffering from COG withdrawl!
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Sorry Guys...The Template is Female
The following facts are not ones in which your husband, your fundamentalist pastor, nor your literalist Church will rejoice in. In fact, they may ask you to quietly leave if you are going to believe this rather than the inspired, inerrant and historically accurate "word of God."
"The primordial plan for both female and male fetuses in mammals is initially feminine.
Contrary to some creation myths, in mammals, maleness arises from femaleness, not the other way round. Masculinisation results from organisational effects of fetal testosterone (and its derivatives), which in humans occurs during the second trimester of pregnancy.
To be masculinised means that certain areas of the brain grow larger, while others remain smaller. These differences to some extend explain sexual behaviours and preferences even in humans"
Dr. Alexander Thiele University of Newcastle upon Tyne Lecture 7: Social emotions -'the sexual brain'. In reality it seems that FEMALE is the default position as human beings develope in the womb. Maleness comes after with the proper wash of hormones applied at just the right time and in just the right amounts. The implications for literalists are staggering and for women, liberating!
In some cultures, young men are taught to pray "Blessed Art Thou O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has not made me a woman." Mohammed is said to have stated, "When Eve was created, Satan rejoiced." Much if all of the original creation mythology's sole purpose is to depose any notion of "goddess" worship, which was an absolute fascination that women had the power to give birth and bring forth life etc, and replace it with a male patriarchy.
The Genesis story is not so much how life came to be or that we all came from two humans, named Adam and Eve, as it is to send the message that women, who are the fault of everything, are to have babies painfully now and say "yes Lord" to their husbands. From the totally mythological tale of the fall of man by the disobedience of woman, much misery and ridiculously false roles have been demanded of them by men and in particular the Christian church.
"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. FOR (the reason being) Adam was first formed and then Eve and Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, was in the transgression." I Tim. 2:11-14
So according to Paul, the literal truth of Eve's sin produces the literal idea that women are more easily deceived than men and prone to sin, and thus should be silent in church. Or as St. John Chrysostom, a fifth century church father noted, "The woman taught once and ruined everything. On this account...let her not teach." It seems wrong ideas of how things really came to be have very big consequences over a very long time!
Paul goes on to say..."The head of every man is Christ; and the head of every woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God....for as much as he is in the image and glory of God, BUT ( as in , don't get the same idea about women) the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is NOT of the woman, but the woman IS OF the man." I Cor. 11:3,7,9.
It's also why the self luminating sun was considered male, while the moon, which merely reflects sunlight, was considered female.
Very simply put, Paul said that men are over women, Christ alone is over men and God alone is over Christ. So it's God > Christ > Man > Woman > pets and small animals. It is notable that it is here that Paul makes it plain, based on the creation of woman out of man mythology, that Men don't come from women at all and that women owe their physical existence to men too. I guess Paul and Dr. Alexander Thiele never actually met to discuss just how do males form in the womb. Like it or not guys, we come from out mom's literally and from the default fetal template of the female in time after we get our hormones in the womb. So men actually do come twice from females. Doh...someone tell the Church!
St Clement, father of the Roman Church denied women the right to even exercise as men. He felt rather it was more in keeping with scripture that they be confined to spinning, weaving and cooking. Of course he could barely bring himself to add "and se..se...sex, unless it was out of the need to bring children into the fold.
St. Augustine, not the most balanced Church Father of the lot proclaimed that man only was made in God's image and not woman. But that's what Paul said too. He went on to note that men were quite complete without a woman, but that women could only be complete with a man. Man alone was self contained and complete alone. Once again, time has shown how untrue this all is, but the concept is still used by many churches and pastors to keep women in "their place" and fulfilling their "role".
Other theologians and Church Father's went on to note that men were the spiritual aspect of God, while women were merely a symbol of the flesh and thus she is the temptress and weakener of men who fail to see what the Church points out.
In the 16th Century, Clifford Alderman notes in a his book, A Caldron of Witches, that an early Church report noted that "Woman is more carnal than man: there was a defect in the formation of the first woman, since she was formed with a BENT RIB. She is imperfect and always deceives." Now there is some hot scientific reasoning for you! Of course no one notes that if women are deceptive because of being made out of a bent rib, what is a man that he was made out of red dirt? Maybe that's why men are so dirty minded..:)
Modern Christianity is still designed and used to annihilate the spirit of women. It's is still here to keep patriarchy in place and to defeat the matriarchy of former times. Women were mystical in those cultures as opposed to utilitarian in that of a patriarchy or man led society and religion. I believe I would much rather to have lived in a society where women were held high for their spirituality and creative abilities. As it is, we live in the age, not of Aquarius but of testosterone, where men rule badly, kill often and take the spoils from those who cannot oppose them. I like Rodney King's "Can't we all just get along" far more than those who bluster "Bring em on." But alas, tis not that way in our real world at this point.
You have to love this observation by the great philosopher Rousseau.
"As the conduct of a woman is subservient to the public opinion, her faith in matters of religion should , for that reason, be subject to authority. Every daughter ought to be of the same religion as her mother, and every wife to be the same religion as her husband; for though such religion should be false, that docility which induces the mother and daughter to submit to the order of nature, takes away, in the sight of God, the criminality of their error...they are not in a capacity to judge for themselves, they ought to abide by the decision of their fathers and husbands as confidently as that of the Church." Or as Paul would say, "if any woman has a question, let her ask her husband..."
So when does the church grow up and face the facts of science, and not base silly and demeaning demands upon women on mythology and error? When does a church finally admit to errors in teachings that hurt people? Never from what I can see. Let's remember, the Church took 350 years to apologize for almost burning Galileo at the stake for informing them that the earth was not the center of the solar system with the sun revolving around it or around the Church for that matter. Yet that's about the right amount of time for Churches to come to their senses and stop demanding of people things based in fallacies. At what point does ignorance stop oppression and pain?
Only a relative few Christian women will have the confidence to step out of the box of fundamentalist Church control. They will suffer at the hands of ministers who quote Paul who frankly was misinformed as to how things really are in biology, endocrinology and genetics. Literal control over a woman by using allegorical or just plain wrong "facts" is wrong. It hurts the spirit and demeans the woman in a world where we better soon wake up to the fact that we all are one and the same.
So sorry guys...without a woman, you would not exist, and without a good sprinkling of hormones at just the right time after your conception, the female default position you started out as would keep you there or perhaps acting in ways that the Bible also goes on to condemn you for, sometimes with death.
Whether your pastor, church, tribe or friends like it, good science, truthfully so called, trumps sincere but ignorant Apostles, Priests, Popes and Kings. Dr. Thiele is correct.
"Contrary to some creation myths, in mammals, maleness arises from femaleness, not the other way round."
In some of the comments on Malm's blog there are some telling remarks about the UCG/COGWA debacle. Neither side comes out looking good. Both were and still are manipulative power hungry organizations that strategically planned and manipulated brethren into following each of their causes. Great will be the day these men all loose their jobs and have to do some real work for once.
Despite what Jim Franks says, the split was carefully planned from at least mid 09 by BOTH sides. And it came as the end result of fifteen years of fighting between the two groups... Denny was right this was about power and control; but by BOTH sides and not just by COGWA as he would want us to believe. This was a mutual divorce and both sides are glad to be separated from the other; although the dividing of the brethren is regretted.
People have been fed a lot of self justification in BOTH groups. I was kept up to date through 2010 on the steps taken by the dissenters from my friend John Kilough [Clyde's father] as well as other highly placed persons. [John was disappointed that I did not take COGWA's side and is no longer communicating; altough I still have other sources.] The attempts to reconcile were deliberately set up to make one side look good and the other bad; in other words they made offers that looked good to their supporters, but which they knew contained serious issues entirely unacceptable to the other side. This was done to make the COE seem to be much worse then the dissenters and vise versa. For example to call for a special elders meeting made them look very good, on the other hand, why could they not wait a few months to the regular meeting? It was all a VERY DIRTY political game to win over as many brethren as each side could. There were NO genuine attempts at reconciliation by either side that I am aware of; and I was very well informed through the entire process.
The elders on both sides had carefully conditioned their brethren into their take on doctrine leadership etc and it is the case that most of the brethren follow the elder. The brethren split mainly along congregational lines. The split process was a fight over the brethren who could be moved to stay or leave, of course causing some local congregations to split. I was directly told from the top of those organizing the split that they were in no hurry because the CoE was continually “shooting itself in the foot” and making itself look worse and worse causing more and more to join with the dissenters. Of course this was helped along by the disengenous appeals to reconcile, which were really loaded to bring about a coup for the dissenters if the CoE went along with them. This was a VERY NASTY DIRTY fight over the brethren, making merchandise of them for their tithes and support. BOTH sides were very wrong in much that was done. Just like BOTH sides are morally very wrong in Zambia. James
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Armstrong Delusion has taken the latest Co-Worker letter from Gerald Flurry and dissected it rather well.
It seems old Six Pack is in a snit because members pledged a lot of money to help build the Mini-Me Auditorium in the middle of Oklahoma and now aren't sending in the money. Their lack of faith has resulted in the PCG owing over $7,000.000 for Six Packs monument to himself. Six Pack is pissed!
Armstrong Delusion includes this excerpt:
…our building fund donations are $700,000 less than they were last year. I want you to think about that.
Before we built Armstrong Auditorium, we sent a letter to our Church members only, asking for pledges to the building fund. We used those pledges to determine how much we could invest in construction and loan repayment until all the construction costs were repaid in full. We’ve enjoyed using the auditorium for over a year now, but we still have a big balance left on the loan–over $7Million.
Have we kept our pledge to God that we would contribute toward this project until it is paid off?
I won't get into the maniluptaion that Six Pack is pulling on his members. It's the blame game all over again. Faithless members who are not relying on God to provide them the money to send it. It doesn't matter if you have lost your job or have had an income reduction. You still are required to send it in! Your salvation is at stake for your unfaithfulness!
I know this is a difficult time financially, and we do have unemployment problems among our members and supporters. But as Mr. Armstrong always said, God blesses us as our ways please Him. The needs of the work have never been greater. And if our ways are pleasing God, no recession or depression could make a bit of difference.
Read the entire article here: Dear Brethren and Co-Workers!
Poor Lil' Joel is getting disrespected again today. What's a poor little guy got to do for a little respect?
Apostle Malm has been going through the behind the scenes manipulation by various COG members around the time of the UCG/COGWA split.
It seems Lil' Joel was trying to change the UCG Constitution that was set in place in France when UCG was formed there.
Joel Meeker was reported to have attempted to make a move to change the French Constitution to take out this clause. He denies trying to do this. However if you check his denial, (which appears on “Abigail Cartwright’s” UCG Current Crisis site, March 2011, headed“Joel Meeker Answers Challenges Regarding His Resignation Letter”
You will see in his answer to ‘Challenge 2’ that while he says it was a misunderstanding that he was trying to change anything, it is also very clear that he believes the Constitution would need to be changed to avoid UCG keeping control of the organisation, and the assets.
“I was president of a French association with fiduciary responsibilities toward it…… Had I resigned from UCG first, I could not legally have called the association meeting.”
“My statement about removing the necessity for an elder in France to be recognized by the Council was only in response to a question from members about how they could protect their assets from the Council of Elders in the event action was taken against me.”
“In response to the question of how that could be prevented, I said, that the only way I could imagine at the time would be for the French association to remove a stipulation in its bylaws that requires its ministers to be recognized by UCG Ministerial Services, so that even if the Council fired me it wouldn’t be able to take over the French assets. I did not propose this, though again in response to a question, I said it could be considered if the members of the association desired.”
Of course the French Board did not agree to Lil' Joel's demands and refused to accommodate him causing him to resign.
Next Malm discusses Jeff Caudle and his New Zealand exploits.
Things were set-up differently in New Zealand. Instead of the ‘standard’ set-up of a local board, in New Zealand a charitable trust was set-up, with trustees appointed directly by the COE of UCGaia, I think this was done around 2000.
I would guess the reason was that for some years there was no resident minister in New Zealand, and then later there was only the one, with regular help being given from Australia.
In any event it was reported on by Jeff Caudle, at the annual conference, May 7 2002.
Being a charitable trust requires no National Council; three trustees appointed by the United Church of God, an International Association oversee operations. These trustees are Art Verschoor, Marcel Morreel (both local residents), and Council of Elders member Leon Walker. [Tragically, the Council received word as it began its meeting Wednesday morning May 8 that Marcel Morreel had died the previous evening from a heart attack. No further information is available at this time.] The duties of trustees are fiduciary and legal, not governmental in nature. In the opinion of the Church’s legal advisor in Auckland, a National Council could be set up in the future. But with only approximately 50 members in the country, the current structure works best at this time.”
So guess what Jeff Caudle did behind the scenes while he was still part of UCG and on the NZ Board? He set up another Charity in October 2010 before the split happened. He knew one was coming an set this up ahead of time.Checking the current status of the charity, shows that of the three trustees that were there at the beginning of 2010, Lean Walker was [fired as LA Director by the CoE on 23 Jun] removed from the NZ Trustees on 10th August 2010. It is quite interesting that Leon Walker remained in control of UCG New Zealand for so long after UCG tried firing him as Latin American Directer and much of the LA church rejected that intervention, splitting from UCG.
In many international areas the Council of Elders does have the power to ‘hire and fire’ the trustees. This was somewhat different in Latin America because Latin America and Leon Walker had already broken from the Tkach WCG well before UCG was formed and made the maintenance of the Walker leadership in LA a condition of Association with the new UCG.
This apparant oversight by the CoE regarding NZ seems to have been a major mistake, as it allowed Leon Walker to influence the other two trustees in NZ.
The other two, William [Jeff] Caudle and Arend Frederick Vershoor resigned on 3 January 2011.
I have to hand it to Malm for nailing his sorry ass for his unethical behavior!
This unethical premature separate incorporation while maintaining membership in UCG was done in various other areas especially in the US, which I pointed out at the time. They should have resigned FIRST, BEORE setting up in competition with their employers. It is acceptable to look for another job while contemplating resigning, as one would not begin the new job before resigning; it is quite another thing to set up in competition to your employer while still in his employ. That was and is immoral and unethical.
Church members are supposed to sit there acting like dumb little idiots while these men manipulate and conspire behind each others backs in order to keep a steady paycheck coming in to support their unethical lifestyles! You would think if these men had a true foundation of faith then they would not need to manipulate and conspire in order to keep things rolling along. Obviously to them God is a weak old man who can't keep things moving along so it is up to them. Remember that God was so weak that his message was lost for 1,900 years till Herb came along and rescued it.
Just another reason to dump Armstrongism on the dung pile where it belongs.
Malm's entire article is here: Associated churches and the split
Monday, November 28, 2011
Jesus' Birth Narratives
Depends Who You Ask
Answers to Biblical questions are rather relative to the background and the perspectives of the one asked the question. There are answers of course. Often, many different answers given to the same questions. Obviously, a priest may answer much differently than a Baptist minister and a Lutheran pastor differently from an Adventist. A closed mind will answer differently from an open one. Many of the answers that one would hear are listed above. These are questions that have no easy answer along denominational lines. These are questions that ask not so much what does the story mean, but rather, why does it contradict what is said over in another gospel? Why is this here and nowhere else? How can this be in our real world of time and space? These are questions that usually leave the minister or priest wishing he had never gone to seminary and was not sitting at his desk with YOU knowing enough about the book to ask the question in the first place.
An apologist will talk of the contradictions in as supplemental and not contradictory, but that is what they have to say because the book has to be flawless and perfectly accurate word of God. It would never do to think the accounts are written by people who had human perspectives, made mistakes in transmission of the alleged facts and even a few political reasons for tweeking the story.
There are more serious answers to these questions as well. Some might be that the story is Midrash or Pesher which are terms that few in the pews and far too often in the pulpit have ever heard. Simply put, it is a way to mine the scriptures of the past for meaning in the present. The author of Matthew was very good at this. It doesn't mean the proof text was literally pointing to something in the future, but can be used to tell a story in a way that one wants the story to be told and with the meaning it needs to have for the present time. It is what Matthew as doing over and over when he looked back into the Old Testament to find scriptures to tell his and only his story of Jesus. He found scriptures that never meant in reality what he made them to mean, but it was a way to tell his story. Whoever Matthew was, or Luke for that matter, they knew nothing about the real birth circumstances of Jesus. They only came up with a story, which if snipped from your Bible, still leaves the Gospel intact as if the narrative was never t here. Well there was a time when it wasn't until it was needed and each contradicts the other.
So picture little Johnny sitting with his pastor, asking the following questions that came to his weak mind when reading the stories of Jesus birth.
Question. Pastor...What difference does it make for Matthew and Luke to show us Jesus family connections from Mary and Joseph back to King David and Adam, when God was his real Father? Aren't geneologies meaningless since Joseph was a step father, and all coming before him would be step ancestors to Jesus. So Jesus can't be connected back to King David as the line breaks between Jesus and Joseph. Right?
Question. Pastor... If the Holy Spirit, which I think you said was a person in the Trinity, begot Mary, isn't the Holy Spirit really Jesus literal father?" Would this not then make God Jesus uncle of sorts, or Jesus his own Father, since they are three in one, coequal and co...oh you understand. This is a mystery isn't it?
Question. Father... Why do I have to call you Father, when Jesus said to call no man "Father" except his?
Question. Pastor... Matthew 1: 17 says that Jacob was Joseph's father, but Luke 3:23 says that Heli was Joseph's father. Was Joseph's father Jacob Heli Rubinstein or something?
Question. Pastor...Why does it always seem that women in the Bible who give birth to important men, like Elizabeth being John the Baptist's mom, are always barren and really old. (Luke 1:7). But then, women who give birth to gods are never barren but always pure virgin, and really young like her relative Mary. Is a savior born from an old barrej woman less credible than one born of a young underage virgin?
Question. Pastor... Why in Luke 1:18-20 does the Angel make the old husband of Elizabeth unable to speak for not believing that he would have a son? Seems like a normal thing not to believe at his age. And yet, in Luke 1: 34 Mary tells the Angel she can't believe that she will have Jesus the King because she doesn't even have a husband. At least Zechariah had an old wife. Yet, the angel doesn't make her mute for not believing him. Do you think the Angel had a quota on how many people a day he could make blind and mute?
Question. Pastor... In the same story, in verse 41, old Elizabeth praises Mary for being the mother of her Lord. How did she find out that Mary was going to give birth to a god? Is that the kind of story you think the family passed on to her prior to Mary coming for a visit? And pastor, do you think it is strange that an old woman who is just now in life having her first son would instinctively praise a young virgin for being pregnant? Just a thought.
Question. Pastor... In that same account in Luke 1:46, "and Mary said, 'My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden,'" sound more like something that Elizabeth would say since she was doing all the talking up to that point? And don't you think it amazing that this bursting into song of Mary is so much the same as the story of Hannah, an old barren woman in I Samuel 1, who gave birth to Samuel? And isn't it interesting that a razor was not to come on Samuel just like Elizabeth's baby John? And how about that part where Hanna can't speak either, just like Elizabeth's husband Zechariah? Oh and how about when Elizabeth said in verse 18, "Let your maidservant find favor in your eyes." Wow, sounds a lot like what Mary just said about herself in Luke. Could it be that Luke is using the Hannah story to tell the Mary and Elizabeth story. And could it be that it was really Elizabeth, the old barren woman, still speaking in Luke and not Mary at all about her joy like the old barren Hannah, but someone later attributed what Elizabeth had to say to Mary? Know what I'm sayin?
Question. Pastor... Why do you think that no other Gospel or really anyone in the New Testament ever mentions this story again? Do you think it is here to be sure that everyone understood John was second to Jesus no matter what anyone else might think?
Question. Ok, these birth stories are great, but I have a lot of questions about them. Are you up for this? Great!
Question. Pastor... Since Matthew and Luke read just as well without the birth stories of Jesus, do you think they might have been added much later to the books? I mean really we don't go to the hospital to see a famous person born and the exciting special birth stories aren't usually written until after the baby grows up and becomes famous right? Like Yassir Arafat always saying he was born in Jerusalem, because that's the great place to be born, but in fact he was born in Cairo. Or like politicians who are born somewhere else, but need to be from a certain place to run for office. Just a thought.
Question. Pastor... Why doesn't Mark know anything about Jesus birth stories?
Question. Pastor... Why , in the Gospel of John , in chapters 7 and 8 is there this big argument of how Jesus is a born of fornication and doesn't know a physical father (8:41) and Jesus tells a story about a woman taken in adultery and forgiven (8:1) which lies right between a big argument over knowing that Jesus is from Galilee and not Bethlehem as the scripture says? (7:41) The we have Jesus exploding and telling them they are all sons of the devil. Wow, seems not everyone knew anything about what Matthew and Luke had to say about Jesus birth! The guys in John knew wherever he was from, it WASN'T Bethlehem.
Question. Pastor... Why does Matthew say that Isaiah 7:14 predicts the Virgin birth of Jesus when the story of Isaiah has absolutely nothing to do with a virgin giving birth to a son that was really God? "Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 'Behold a virgin shall be with child and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.'" ( Matthew 1:22-23). Isn't Isaiah talking about a baby born as a sign to Ahab, king of Israel, that some northern invasion back then would not be the end of them? And what's with that same story in Isaiah saying, that the boy baby would eat butter and honey and BEFORE he knew to refuse the evil and choose the good, the bad guy would be beaten? (Isaiah 7:15-16) Does this mean that Jesus did evil too before he was prophecied to do good? What parts of this are prophecy and what parts are just history that has nothing to do with Jesus? And no one ever called him Emmanuel. They called him Jesus. I can see where the Israelites might call him "God with us," meaning "God was with us in the defeat of our enemy," but I can't see it meant the baby of Isaiah was God in the flesh. Any comments?
Question. Pastor... In Matthew 1:1-4 it says that the Wisemen came asking about where Jesus was because they had seen his star in the East. First of all, if they came from Persia, which is East of Jerusalem, how do you see a literal star in the East and then follow it West where it turns south and stops over a house in Bethlehem? I mean if they saw his star in the East, why go West, why not East? Maybe it's just me.Question. Pastor... In the same place it says Herod seems not to know anything about this Jesus or his star. Could he not see it and if he could, could he not follow it himself? Then it says Herod got together all the helpers on such topics and I wonder, could they not see it either?Question. Pastor... In reading the story of this star, it also says that it reappeared to the Wise men to continue to show them the way. Was this a star that only they could see and could stop and go until the Wisemen were reading to keep moving?
Question. Pastor...How does a moving star, stop over a specific house?
Question. Pastor...While we are at it, how come Matthew tells us Jesus was born in a house that Mary and Joseph seemed to already own in Bethlehem (Matthew 1:11). I thought they lived in Nazareth and came had to have Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem? You know, no room at the Inn and all. Well, at least that is what Luke 2 says where he doesn't mention the home in Bethlehem, just as Matthew doesn't mention the worldwide tax that brings Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem to begin with from their home in Nazareth. So which is it...home in Bethlehem as Matthew says, or in Nazareth as Luke says and moving from manger to home won't cut it.
Question. Pastor...Matthew 1:12-16 says that an Angel warned Joseph to flee to Egypt from Herod who was going to kill all the babies under two years old to get at Jesus. Wow, lots of questions here! Does this mean that in order for Jesus to die for us, the babies in Bethlehem had to die for Jesus?
Question. Pastor...Do you think Mary, being a typical mother left town in a hurry telling her friends, "I know something you don't know. I wish you and your babies a good Sabbath?" I don't think mothers really think that way.
Question. Pastor...Matthew 1:17-18 fulfills Rachel weeping for her children in Rama, but from what I can tell, again Matthew is making this up. That story in Jeremiah 31:15 has nothing to do with the women weeping for their dead babies. I believe the Jeremiah story took place during the trek into captivity as they passed through Rama, not Bethlehem. Kinda stretching the point isn't it?
Question. Pastor...After Herod dies, the family comes back from Egypt and Matthew says this fulfills Hosea 11:1. But I looked at that, and "Out of Egypt I have called my son," is talking about the exodus story, not Jesus. Is it just me again misunderstanding? How comes Matthew gets to make things mean in the Old Testament what they never meant?
Question. Pastor...In Matthew 1:19-22 an Angel gives the all clear to go back home, to Bethlehem and the house, I assume. But then Joseph finds an even more evil bastard lives there so has another dream to head to Nazareth where it was evidently safer. Did the Angel screw up and send them into harms way and God had to give Joseph a dream to save them from the Angel not knowing what was going on in Judea? Don't they have briefings for Angels for stuff like this?
Question. Pastor...In Matthew 1:23 we see that Matthew says since they went to Nazareth, there is some place that says this fulfills "He shall be called a Nazarene." But no one seems to know where the Bible says that. I know it means "branch" such as in Isaiah 11:1, but again, those are not stories or prophecies about Jesus. So isn't Matthew reaching again? Did Matthew think a Nazarite, was the same as a Nazarene maybe? You know, no razor, no haircuts, no wine. Kinda like Hippie Baptists. But then Jesus wasn't that way either. Oh well. Any thoughts?
Question. Pastor...How come only Matthew mentions Wisemen, wandering stars, killing the babies and fleeing to Egypt when Luke, in his account, mentions none of this. In fact, Luke just says that after eight days Jesus was calmly, well i don't know about calmly, circumcised and then Mary did the 40 days of purification after the birth while meeting Simeon and Anna who blessed Jesus in the Temple, and then calmly walked back home to Nazareth. No run for your life from Herod story here, and right where you 'd expect it. Did Luke never hear about Matthew's "thus it was fulfilleds," and simply have the family go back home to Nazareth? Can't both be true, right?
Question. Pastor...As long as I am at it, can you tell me why the Apostle Paul only knows that Jesus was born of a woman in Galatians 4:4. Nothing special really. Did Paul not know that Jesus, Mary and Joseph had all these wonderful birth adventures? Maybe he didn't care.Question. Pastor...I guess what I am asking here is how come history knows of no tax and certainly no tax where all had to leave home and move around the empire to be taxed in that way for Luke to get Mary and Joseph down to Bethlehem? I won't even ask if you knew Cyrenius, depending on how you spell it, was not Governor of Syria until ten years later than the events of Herod in Matthew. Seems like Luke may have not gotten the history right here.
Question. Pastor...Do you think it was responsible and necessary for Joseph, who seems to already had the property in Bethlehem, to take a very pregnant Mary on a hundred mile donkey ride through the wilderness of Judea? Was that necessary. And if he had a house there, why did they not live there to begin with. Well actually Matthew said they did, but in Luke it says no. I'm confused.
Question. Pastor...Why would all the Angels and Heavenly hosts go out and sing this "glory to God in the highest and peace on earth, goodwill to men," to a few shepherds in the field. How about a bigger audience, like Jerusalem or at least the whole town of Bethlehem?
Question. Pastor...How come Luke says Mary kept all these wonderful things and pondered them in her heart, and yet in Mark, she and Jesus brothers come down to Jerusalem to take Jesus home as an adult because they thought he was insane? (Mark 3:21). Did Mary forget all the things that the Angels had said and all the miracles of Matthew and Luke at Jesus birth? And why was this one lone account in Mark edited out of Matthew and Luke. Was it embarassing? It seems Mary knew Jesus was special at least to age 12 (Luke 2:51) when he wandered and was found debating in the temple. Hey, and what's with that? It even says his parents "sought him sorrowing," so they were pretty afraid for him. Did Jesus not think to honor his parents with telling them he was at the temple and not to worry? Or did he just think they'd say "no you can't go," and he'd have to not obey them and break another commandment?
"Excuse me? What do you mean I'm not welcome in the kids group any longer? Hey, where you going? You're going to have a talk with my parents about what?
Oh well...Merry Christmass.
Science...Falsely Called "Falsely So Called"
We all have our stories of how we got here and who we are in the universe. Most stories told by every culture point out the unique origins of that culture, like as not, springing directly from that particular cave or mountain in distant and mysterious times in the past. When the National Geographic Genographic research team gently informed aboriginal Australians of their African origins, according to the DNA evidence, the Elders reacted with a simple "no, we originated here and maybe they came from us." Comforting and upholding of ancient aboriginal beliefs, but not scientifically true. You could feel the tension this new information brought into the cultural beliefs that for so long had encouraged and sustained them. I doubt they will change their understanding of themselves with this bit of scientific information.
A similar reaction occurred when the team informed the Navajo in the Americas of their DNA origins linking them to a still existant people in Siberia. The immediate reaction was understandably defensive for Navajo origin stories which had them always living in the Four Corners area of the now United States. In time, I believe they agreed that there was room for both the science and the tradition and, in this case, both maintained their truths on tribal origins. But the science was more literally correct. The uneasiness was palpable.
And now the Indigenous People's Council on Biocolonialism, the IPCB is raising even more concerns about the effect this knowledge will have on belief systems of indigenous peoples. For better or worse, "Indigenous peoples have consistently voiced their opposition to this type of research because it breaches cultural values, bioethical standards and human rights law. The IPCB believes the project is being undertaken at the expense of indigenous peoples. Debra Harry, the organization's executive director, writes on their website, "It is quite likely this project will advance new theories of our origins that may contradict our own knowledge of ourselves. There can be no claim as to which understanding is correct, and will result in a clash of knowledge systems. Moreover, there could be serious political implications that result from a so-called "scientific" assertion that indigenous peoples are not "indigenous" to their territories, but instead are recent migrants from some other place. This cuts at the heart of the rights of indigenous peoples, which are based upon our collective, inherent right of self-determination as peoples, under international human rights law." A standard ethical requirement in human research is that the benefits must equal the risk. The IPCB believes that in this type of research, there will be no benefit to indigenous peoples, yet the research creates substantial risk for the individuals and peoples affected."
It is this advancement of "new theories of our origins that may contradict our own knowlege of ourselves," that seems to be so difficult for humans to handle. Truth is still true though denied by all. In such defensiveness science always get's called "science so called" and even does in the Bible as "Science, falsely so called" (I Tim. 6:20). This phrase is always used when the science is really not false, but it is threatening to sincerely held beliefs. I don't like someone knocking the nose off my idols any more than the next guy, but that's progress, painful and ever moving forward. The Bible makes fun of learning at times in this nervousness over knowledge when it mocks those who are "ever learning, but never able to come the knowledge of the truth" (II Tim. 3:7), to which I say, at least they keep trying and even Jesus is reported to have said, "seek and ye shall find." Of course he meant spiritually but it's good advice in all endeavors too.
We all have our origin stories that, in time, will probably prove to not be true, at lest not literally. We live in an age where even most Christians realize that the origin stories of mankind in the Garden of Eden, through a first set of parents, Adam and Eve, are not literally true. The problem with believing that is that much of the doctrine in the New Testament requires the story of the first Adam and Eve to be literally true as they lead to such literally true doctrines as the role of women in the church, why women have babies painfully, Jesus being the "Second Adam" and the Doctrine of Original Sin. All of these beliefs and teachings are destroyed by the Genesis story not being literally true.
If there was no real Eve, or Adam whose fault this wasn't, who caused all of mankind to fall into original sin, for which we all must repent etc, then there is no need of repenting of that which never happened or of needing a Savior in the way portrayed in the New Testament. Stories and ideas have implications to say the least. Many Christians think it is ok NOT to believe in things being literally true. But that has incredible implications for other things they think they believe but dont' realize the connection and contradictions their position causes theologically. Plainly, if there was no literal Genesis like creation of mankind and fall into sin, and it is shown to not be true by good science, the implications are staggering in how we will have to change our views. Frankly most won't but will, as always, attack the messenger and burn the message, or just burn both.
Actually, a simple cheek swab was all it took for me to find out my own amazing DNA trip out of Africa 70,000 years ago. Perhaps this is done for some reason somewhere, but for the Genome project, this fear is very unfounded. Our genetic history is easily taken from the inside of our mouths. Every cell contains the whole. We are like a hologram where, even if broken, each piece reflects the entire picture when a laser light is passed through it. Amazing!
Simply speaking, it appears that ALL modern humans originated in and then spread out from Africa within the last 100,000 years or less. What a great story to read at Clan meetings! All the "differences" we see in humans are adaptations we made along the way in our trek from there to Europe, Asia and the Americas. Good science gives us good explanations, always subject to new information about this process. Those humans who migrated north out of Africa had to give up some of their melenin, which darkens the skin to protect it from overexposure to the sun, to get more sun and vitimin D so their bones would not fail them. That's it.
Indeed, we do need to insure the privacy of the individual if they wish it and we need to be sensitive to the process that others go through when they are faced with the implications of such information and research. It takes time to accept change and as stated, many won't, but rather will just become angry and defensive. We see this all the time in the attacks Christian literalists launch into from their pulpits when new knowledge threatens old ideas. I want to be in church the day we confirm life outside of our own solar system, or even in it. The Universe teems with life including intelligent life. How do I know this? It just seems so knowing what we do about the insignificance of our little planet in the whole big uni or multiverse.
It's funny, in my previous church affiliation there was a belief that always annoyed me scientifically. It was the belief, now long discredited, that the Lost Tribes of Israel turned up as the powerful nations of Europe, The British Empire and of course, America. I was Dutch, so that clearly put me in the Tribe of Zebulun, according to the theory. I never gave a sermon on this topic! However, my DNA shows I made no such trip through the middle east to become an Israelite and go on into Europe. Rather it shows a long trip through Iran, Iraq the various "Beckastans" on out onto the steppes of Asia and then one big swing into Europe as Cro-Magnon and then into France, Holland and England in much more recent times. That British-Israelism idea is bunk and DNA testing will show it to be so. That particular idea is racist if ever there was one. The Mormons also have yet to deal with the implications of DNA realities. Naive Americans are not related to Israelites. They come from Siberia which, as of this writing, has not been found to be a hangout for the 12 Tribes. I predict that , in time, the Book of Mormon will be claimed to be "Spiritual" and not literally true in order to keep the story going.
Presidential candidates, as intelligent as they are, cringe when asked about their beliefs in God or Evolution. Their answers reflect not so much truth as expediency and take into account what the voters need them to believe. However, those who believe absurdities can lead others into autrocities if need be.
So good science is not "science, falsely so called" or "so called science." Yes, it has implications for theologians and Christians but believing something is true never makes it really true and we need to always have a love of discovery. Sorry to say, it is usually the reactions to new information by those most threatened by it that plunges our world into chaos and still get the messenger in trouble for the message.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Anyway, Lil' Joel is warning COGWA members about the Internet. Too much information is not a good thing and starts to change your thinking. Is Lil' Joel Meeker concerned that too much information about the COGWA, UCG, COG's and their inherent corruption? Is there a trend that this information is starting to weigh on peoples minds? Is it that people no longer have a blind trust in COG leadership anymore? I guess for Lil' Joel it's not like the French who basically swept the ground for Lil' Joel as he walked along. Don't want that WonderKid who graduated from God's College to get his shoes dirty....or do an honest days work.
Lil' Joel writes:
Posted by Joel Meeker on November 25, 2011Is the World Wide Web playing a part in rewiring our brains? What does God say about trends in thinking in the end time?
I recently read a fascinating and troubling book called The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, a Pulitzer Prize finalist written by Nicholas Carr. The genesis of the book was the moment the author realized his thinking had changed. He, a man who earns his living by writing, could no longer concentrate on long passages of text; his attention would wander after a page or two.
He realized this change was due to all the time we, in our modern, tech-driven world, now spend on the Internet. On the web, information comes in very short texts, interspersed with embedded video or audio and distracting hyperlinks inviting us to go look at something else before we even finish what we’re reading. (On this blog we try to limit our writing to 800 words—more than that and we risk losing a reader’s attention!)
Rewiring our brains
The use of the Internet is actually reshaping our brains. Literacy, the ability to read, allowed a revolution in human thinking. Information could be transmitted over time and space. Literate people developed the ability to concentrate for long periods of time, to mentally follow complicated lines of reasoning, to contemplate transcendent concepts.
The brain of someone who reads is not shaped exactly like the brain of an illiterate person because our brains develop along the lines of the uses to which they are put.
Heavy Internet use is also reshaping our brains, and research shows that many people are losing the ability to concentrate for longer periods and to think deeply about complex concepts. It’s too much work. Short texts, photos and video are much easier to process and more entertaining.
For Christians this trend should be alarming. Our God reveals Himself, His plan, the purpose of our existence and His laws for life—all in writing. In fact, they are in lengthy, not always easy-to-read texts. To lose the ability or desire to read and concentrate on what we read is to distance ourselves from God.
Perilous times from wrong thinking
A Bible prophecy for the time just before the return of Jesus Christ states that human thinking will have become shallow and entirely self-absorbed:
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
If and when people lose the ability or desire to think abstractly and to control their thoughts, they will be left only with what they feel, and what they feel will be mostly about themselves, not others and not God. This is prophesied for the time ahead us, and our increasing dependence on the Internet may be hastening that day.
I’m not suggesting that we stop using the Internet entirely; that’s not a realistic possibility for many of us. But we must be aware of how Internet use is changing our thinking. We must control our use of the Internet and not allow it to control us. And we must discipline ourselves to continue a deep and regular study of the Word of God.
Full aricle is here: A Prophetic Warning About Your Thinking
This will be my response to the indictment concerning the accusation of using Church funds for personal use (beyond normal income), which in turn is being used to say I did not pay taxes upon those funds.
I’ve rewritten this posting several times, as this entire matter has been rather difficult for me to digest. I have been waiting to find out the full details of the indictment and it has been somewhat unsettling as it simply takes time to receive all the information that it is based upon. Although we have known that an investigation has been ongoing since mid 2008, it has all been rather difficult to understand why.
There really is no basis for this. This investigation that covers several years has been difficult to understand, especially in the light of the fact that we have never at any time received any civil notice from the IRS. There has never been a request for an audit of which we would have fully cooperated, as our desire has always been to do things correctly in filing our taxes. The Church has a great team of lawyers and an investigator who are vigorously working to defend the Church and myself.
As people tend to believe what they will, I’ve decided that a posting is not the forum to address the issues at hand, but to fully use our legal system and the courts to do so.
Weinerdude wants you to know that this is Satan at work attacking the true church and it's Two Witless Witnesses. If Witless Witnness Laura is such a profound end time prophet why is she so silent? Is she really drunk on the kool-aide from Weinerdude's sippy cup? Can she be that stupid that she believes she is one of the two witnesses?
Laura and I understand that this is part of what we must face as part of the work we believe God has given us to do in this end-time. We will continue to do as we have ever since we became part of the ministry of God’s Church back in 1981. That makes over 30 years of serving in the ministry. Indeed, we have always sought to faithfully and zealously serve God and His Church. Our plans have not changed and we will continue as we do now by visiting the many congregations of the Church which are scattered throughout the U.S. and other countries.
Then to justify the funds transfers, he claims that they brought that Swiss Bank account monies back to the States in order to finance his failed 2008 end of the world scenarios. As we all know first hand, every single thing he said has been an abject failure. So I guess Weinerdude is admitting that the monies wasted on this fraudulent campaign are truly lost. Poor widows tithe money down the drain for nothing.
False Prophet Weinderdude continues:
This posting also provides me with the opportunity to remind our readers of two important doctrines of the Church. One concerns tithing and government taxation, and the second concerns our teaching of what it means to be a “good citizen” in the country where one lives.
Concerning the first of those two doctrines I have referred, we adhere to a strong belief in tithing and giving of offerings as many other Christian churches and those in Judaism also believe. We deeply believe the instruction of Jesus Christ who said that we should pay to Caesar what is Caesar’s (taxation to be paid to government agencies) and to God what is God’s (tithes and offerings). Members are to be as zealous in being faithful to God in tithing as they are faithful to God in paying their taxes to whatever government is over them.
Concerning the second doctrine to which I have referred, you can read on the Church website what the Church teaches about being a “good citizen” in a country, especially as we draw nearer to the end of the final three and one-half years of this end-time. This is stated in the FAQ section under the “Topics” and is entitled, “Citizenship in a nation.”
As the Church continues to remain faithful to God, God is faithful to lead us and fight our battles for us. Indeed, we look to God and His Son Jesus Christ to guide our way and always deliver us.