The Rest of the Story....Um...NO
Well actually there rarely is the rest of the story in some of the more controversial accounts in the New Testament of Church events.
I've recently been reminded of the Apostle Paul's admission that he didn't always do the right thing and in fact could not do the right things so he didn't. (Romans 7) He hems and haws around making up a convoluted explanation of how , no matter, it is not really him that is doing it. It is sin in him and sin that has a hold of him that does it. Really? Ok, great. But that's where the story ends. We never hear if anyone asked him to elaborate on just exactly what his sins and struggles were. Did no one ask "So Paul, since you are the Apostle and we are to hang on your every word and perspective, just what exactly is it that you do that you should not do? And what is it that you should do that you can't do? We'd like a list."
Of course, Paul just ends with a big oh well...Jesus took care of all this so no more questions please. I bet lots of people asked him or others just what exactly he was getting at and it probably did affect their confidence in him. I mean this is the same Paul that is bouncing people out of the congregation in I Corinthians 5-7 and making up lots of rules for who you can and who you can't hang around or even eat with. But Paul never went on to say, "And you can't eat with me either because I can't do any better than they do."
It's a rather confusing picture. After Paul turns the one poor soul over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, we don't know if the guy died and if he did , did he have any family that blamed Paul for being a bit too hard on the guy. Later Paul lightens up a bit and encourages the Church (maybe after Paul got a dressing down for being such a hard ass,) to not let this guy or someone else be overtaken with too much sorrow, but hey, letting Satan take you out can do that to a guy. Seems no one got to Judas in time for betraying the Gospel Jesus but managed to get to Peter for denying him. Whew....gotta save those Peters.
(aside: Darn....the Mormon guys were headed right for my door and turned around...)
Paul had a way of telling you stuff without really telling you stuff. Recall he went to the third heaven but couldn't share the journey with us. He had a thorn in the flesh, but could not tell us exactly what it was. Did bad things but don't ask. Didn't do the right things, but again don't ask.
I bet lots of folk asked Paul lots of questions but we don't know the end of the story save for Paul evidently won out. We don't even know exactly when or why Paul was executed in Rome. Well I bet lots knew but perhaps the real reason was more embarrassing than inspiring. We'll never know. We didn't get to write the story.
My favorite is the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts . Simply stated. Two members said they would give the money from the sale of their property to the "Church." When it sold, they held back and gave less. Peter the Great gets really angry and "zap" you're both dead. Let that be a lesson to the church. Now...most of you realize I think this fairytale was a story meant to tell Paul and Luke's followers to ignore "Peter the Great." Just as these two said they would do one thing and did another and thus died, so Peter said he'd do one thing, never leave Jesus, and did another, denied him. Message: Don't follow Peter.
But let's assume it's a real story and Peter really did strike these generous folk dead for holding back. Do Roman's let you kill church members and never ask what is going on? Do relatives who notice that mother, father, uncle, aunt, niece , nephew, grandma or grandpa went to church but were never seen again ask questions? I'd think so! Would not news get out of murder in the Church? Would not some members leave because "well that was a bit extreme!?" I'd think so! But alas, we'd never know. The left over members just took the warning and probably turned in all their stuff to the church as requested.
In Acts 15 Mark and Paul have a falling out. Paul won't have anything to do with him for past offenses or perhaps common senses that Paul didn't like. You know..like trying to tell Dave Pack maybe it's not a good idea to reinvent Ambassador College in the Winter spending millions we don't have on a place few will come to. Other places say the problem was so bad that Paul didn't ever want anything to do with Mark, well at least not until Paul needed him for something at the end of his life. But what was the problem? Dunno!! That part is not included. It never is when someone has to win and someone has to lose. Paul was not the kind who ever lost.
Saul/Paul says he oversaw the death and persecution of people in Jerusalem. Did anyone ever come after the man when they found out he was now one of them? Who didn't believe it? What were the jokes about Paul the Apostle Now? Dunno. The losers don't write the story.
You can take this principle of there never being the rest or the other side of the story back to the OT as well. Moses kills an Egyptian...so what. Hey, where is my dad? So what. Isaac almost gets his throat cut like a cow in sacrifice by DAD! How did that set with him over the years? How did being saved just in the nick of time affect his religious views of YHVH? Did he go on mountain vacations with DAD anymore? Did he trust DAD when asked to take a little walk with me son? How did, "your father did what!!!!?" affect Sarah the mom?
Anyone get offended at God for zapping Lot's wife for looking back at what was going on or how about how she may have felt when old Lot offered up her daughters to the crowd to be raped but please don't hurt my visitors? I'd think dinner that night could have been a bit tense. We' don't know do we. Fairy tales are like that.
I'm sure you can think of dozens of stories where we know what happened but we don't know the fall out and there had to be fall out big time.
And so it is today. Humiliate someone just enough to look righteous but leave lots out . Mark and embarrass people just enough to come out on top and show your authority, but show no real love and cover the damn thing up with the love so often professed. A man should talk about his own failings and not let others dictate the terms.
People with normal human failings can be pushed by Churches, scripture and the pristine leader types over the edge in despair. Shunning or marking, disfellowshipping or "making an example of" can get someone killed or make the terrible person that is so different from the righteous ones end their lives in shame and guilt. Guilt is "I did a bad thing," while shame is "I am a bad person?" Both are fairly useless emotions and tools.
I think I am finally ready to break out and start my own Church of God. I have resisted for years but I think I have found my niche.
I would like to announce the beginning of a new Church of God. Church of God of the Exiled, Marked, Shunned, Marginalized and Thrown Away.
COGEMSMTA for short. Ok, that's not short.
Your sins must be great
You must feel defective.
However, Your spirit must not be broken though tossed and torn a bit (I feel a song coming on)
Your experience must have left you totally on the outs with the righteous and quite a bit with yourself
You must have suffered depression, anxiety and some mental disturbances for real wondering or knowing you have been turned over to Satan and that God loves you with a kind of hatred according to the minister, elders, deacons and loyal members who wish you no ill will and hope you repent.
You must still be a seeker of what's real and true.
No tithing, no church services, no hymns, no gurus, no need to save the world or preach until the incomes...I mean end comes.
You must be yourself warts and all
You can only call me Dennis and we only talk here DennisCDiehl@aol.com or by phone if you want. :)
Send for the free booklets...ok, we'll we can just talk..
"Being Authentic is Good Mental Health"
"I Know You Are But What Am I"
"Forgiving Oneself First"
(with more to follow)
And I don't care how badly you feel, how far you have "fallen", how thrown under a bus you were or how creative a sinner you became. (All those guys that hurt you think and do all the same things. http://ezinearticles.com/?Everyone-Wears-Masks---Your-Pastor-and-Priest,-Your-Mom,-Dad,-Family,-and-YOU!&id=168861
Let's finish the stories and finish them well!
Welcome to the COGEMSMTA
Don't send nuttin' in!!!