And You KNOW This?
I have to confess, I did a lot of this myself in my youthful know it all because I read in the Bible past. If it is one thing a COG minister or member can do, it is to declare the absolute truth of matters that few humans could ever know. Sometimes I am forced because the person telling me how it all is to ask them if they understand quantum physics? Of course, all say "well no, not really." But for the last ten minutes you have told me that you understand completely the plan, intentions, mind, characteristics and demands of the Deity? Really? And you KNOW this? At least there are many physicists who do fairly well understand Quantum Physics, but that is because they have spent a lifetime doing the hard work required to think and run the data, do the math or launch the probe to find out such things. Spend an evening watching ...
....and you will be exposed to more understanding, hard won, than any human before you learned in 100,000 years. While creationists and mere Bible readers sit home and read books, real scientists are out in the real world doing the hard work to see how things really work. They sit home thinking up ridiculous explanations for the Grand Canyon so that it ends up part of the mythic Noah story while real paleontologists and geologists are actually in the Grand Canyon doing the hard work of where did it come from and how long did it take.
I do not know James Malm. I suspect he is very sincere. He's an excellent Bible reader, as we were all taught to be. This, however, is not the same as understanding it's origins, background and intent of a book that is just a book and in reality is not and was not written or channeled to men from any Deity.
How common it is for COG zealots to tell us all:
"God wants us...""God is telling us...""We know we know the truth...""We know the end is near..""God is purifying his church...""We know we are God's true church...""I am that Apostle..""We have the truth..""Time is short...(again and still)
and so on.
To which we simply have to say, "And you KNOW this?"
I will spare us all, but I always had issues with Gerald Waterhouse and his flip the switch in his head, autopilot sermons given to keep us all tuned into the "Work" and "Mr. Urmstrong." I sat there , as did we all, listening to speculation promoted as truth and opinions portrayed as truth. I never bought into it from the start. I did not grow up in WCG and Gerald Waterhouse's sermons always, from the start, made me say in my head, "And you know this?" Of course he didn't. From going before Kings to fleeing to the place of safety, the voice in my head always said, "And you know this?" The last time I ever had him visit my church area I finally told him "your sermons cause more problems than they solve and I am directing the questions they raise to you and not bothering with them anymore." All he said was , "Really?" Yes....really.
I suppose I could quote ten thousand examples of COG guru types telling the brethren how it all is. Dave Pack is good at it and in his wildest dreams could not imagine he is simply wrong on how it all is. Ron Weinland is the master of the same old sermon given every week where he tells the faithful how it all is, how God thinks, what God is doing and what their part in it all is." One is simply left asking..."And you KNOW this."
Gerald Flurry, Bob Thiel, Rod Meredith, Dave Pack, Ron Weinland, James Malm and hundreds more just know how it all is, what God, Jesus and the Angels of heaven are thinking and doing...just ask them. Sadly and of course, (my favorite Bob Thiel quote), they really don't.
Let's face it. Jesus, the Apostle Paul and all the leaders of the Jerusalem Church were wrong about the times they lived in and how it all was going to play out. If you can't admit that, then I can't help you. Paul, Peter, James and John were just as much false prophets of their immediate times as any preacher today who thinks they have special insight into the mind of any God. At least Paul admitted he was wrong as he left the planet and left others to fend for themselves.
How do we know that those like Pack and Flurry don't really believe or mean that we or they are in the end times? Just look at what they do. You don't build a campus to fuel your "Ediface Complex" when you think any Jesus is about to return. Subconsciously, they bullshit themselves and those that follow them. Sadly and of course, (sorry:) , they quote "blessed is he who is found so doing," to cover their tracks. Sadly and of course, (sorry again), that is not the context of the quote.
I have a number of friends who into metaphysics just as much as any Church of God minister is into the Bible and end time misunderstood prophecy. They say things like, "Michael the Archangel is now .....", or " Mars is in Leo so expect a war of lions...this Wednesday.." and so on. I think to them too, "And You KNOW this?" It's all the same silliness.
I personally do not believe humans can know the future and prophecy is just the human tendency to speculate and see patterns. Whether we like it or not, much Old Testament "prophecy" was false and never , never, never world out as advertised. We embrace prophecy because it helps us cope with the present. We all need to know it will be ok and work out. That is why you hear, "I have read the end of the story, and we win." And you KNOW this?
The future has not yet arrived and when it does will simply be another present moment. If prophecy is true, then we have no free choice and are living in a Godplay video game. I am tempted to say that the Euro and the United States of Europe is dead in the water, but the idea of it "part of iron and part of clay" sticks in my mind from the past. Being God-Haunted and superstitious is a legacy of the WCG and all who read the book of Revelation like one would a blog or newspaper.
Even on this site we hear comments that "Satan wants you all to...." or "The true Christian will....." It's all the same thing. Making statements that no one could prove in a way that sounds as if the conclusion is true and right. All it does is hold up the self righteous and piss off the skeptic. But having the ability to say, "And you KNOW this?" or even, "and I KNOW this?" is a skill that at least shows we have a bit of humility in all this knowing.
If I had to look into the future, this is what I see. First of all, I will personally grow old and die, if I am lucky. I don't know how or when I will die, but I seriously doubt I will be changed in a moment , a twinkling of an eye , into a god or born such and such. I would like to be, but I am being practical here and going on past human experiences with living and dying. I don't wish to die in some nasty manner or alone, but it will be what it will be. Next, I expect Dave Pack, Rod Meredith, Gerald Flurry, James Malm, Bob Thiel and everyone else will die in time too. Some sooner, some later. Life is a conveyor belt. Some never get on it. Some get on and fall off fairly quickly. Some ride it half way or three quarters. Some even get to ride it out to the end. (My parents are 97) But eventually and somewhere along the line, we fall off the conveyor. Our only concern is if someone sweeps us up off the floor and gives us another shot.
I predict Ron Weinland is going to prison.
On this site comments are always reactions to the comments of others. We all know how to say, "and You KNOW that?" but we say it in different ways. Some by discussion and some by rancor.
There is a wonderful Buddhist saying that says, "He who says, does not know and he who knows, does not say." That works for me. Those who crow the loudes about who and what God is and Jesus is doing probably don't really know and don't know that they don't know. Those who let things be as they are , are probably better off emotionally and spiritually not letting those who know pressure, intimidate or bullshit them into living their own lives through the filters and eyes of another.
Around Greenville, if you go to Bob Jones University, you are known as a "Joneser", not unlike those who like to use the term "Armstrongist." I have asked students who they are and they always tell me, "I go to Bob Jones." Really sad actually. I asked who you are, not where you went to school, but they form themselves into the image and views of the Jones boys. Authenticity tends to elude Jonesers.
So, what's the point? I suppose just developing the mental skill to ask, "and you KNOW this," when WCGers, Armstrongists, the Packatolla, Flurryites, Weiners , Malmists, and COGgers tell us how it all is. It disarms the arrogance and frees you personally from wondering if you are missing something you just don't see or agree with.
Dennis C. Diehl