The World Beyond the Plain and Real Living
and Restored Truth In Him and Brotherly Love
The recent posting of
pictures of the tearing down of the physical campus that once was Head
Quarters to the Worldwide Church of God and Ambassador College, ultimately can
only be taken, if one is remain somewhat sane, as a metaphor for life as it
unfolds and does what it does. Of the almost 2000 who daily read this
blog, each has their own reasons. Some I expect are merely curious but
firm in their views and members in good standing of one of the many off shoots
of WCG. Perhaps they just like the drama or the feeling it may give them
retrieving some of their own power by at least knowing everyone involved is
human. Some may be the kiss up types who keep up with things to
"report" to their minister that occasional recognizable writer who
sits with them in church. This would be rare, but I am sure it
I know ministers, both
past and present read this blog and I really KNOW that the five to ten well
known's must. They simply don't have the personality not to. As
Stan Rader, counsel to Herbert Armstrong once said in my presence,
"I don't care what you think of me, as long as you get my name spelled
correctly." Or in some cases today, be sure you call me
"Mr." Some no doubt read this blog as part of their own
journey out and away from their COG either knowing it is occurring or only
vaguely aware of the process that is unsettling them.
The emotions that go
with this kind of journey are myriad and vary in intensity. Some can move along
more easily than others having little or at least much less invested in the
experience than others. Sometimes someone will tell me that they left WCG
in 1971 and my internal reaction is , "Pffffffft....you weren't around
long enough to even get a stomach ache!" Sometimes I tell
myself, "Well, at least I wasn't born in Somalia, Iraq or Saudi
Arabia. I'd have been beheaded or necklaced by now for sure. It
is perversely comforting to come up with some "well at least..." to
take away the pain of the actual experience of being born into or caught up in
the reality that we call, "my life."
But to the point.
Staying angry, and I mean the kind that oozes from every comment, expresses
itself over and over in sarcasm and rancor or repeats the same old phrases over
and over, as if saying it for a decade can fix it, hurts no one but you and
me. No WCG/COG Guru is sitting at dinner this evening thinking about
you. Joe Tkach isn't going to apologize for lives smashed and hopes
derailed. He's not going to explain to anyone where your/our tithe money
went when his father, he, Bernie Schnippert, Mike Feazell, Dan
Rogers, Greg Albrecht and other specific luminaries pulled the theological rug,
suddenly and with intent, out from under tens of thousands of very sincere
people who simply want to know the who, what, where, when, why and how of all
things Bible and God. If we had been born in the Middle East, we'd be
looking into Islam in our lives or in China or Tibet, perhaps Buddhism.
Those would have been the boxes were were born in but actually were not.
But anger has to
eventually find its place or these is yet more of a price to pay.
"What eats you....eats YOU," comes to mind. Or as Mark
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it
than to anything on which it is poured.”
“Angry people are not always wise.”
Jane Austen- Pride and Prejudice
"Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host.
is like fire. It burns it all clean.”
“Anybody can become angry — that is easy,
but to be angry with the
right person and to the right degree
and at the right time and for the right
and in the right way — that is not within everybody's power and is not
“I want to say somewhere: I've tried to be forgiving. And yet.
There were times in my life, whole years, when anger got the better of me.
Ugliness turned me inside out.
There was a certain satisfaction in bitterness.
I courted it.
When I have sat at those
times when the whole WCG experience catches up with the present again and sits
me down on the couch starring at the old movie running in my head on all things
WCG, I sometimes have enough sense to ask myself what the core problem is
through all this. Could not have said this better...
“Most hatred is based on fear, one way or another.
Yeah. I wrapped
myself in anger, with a dash of hate,
and at the bottom of it all was an icy
center of pure terror.”
― Laurell K. Hamilton,
I can't speak for you,
but I was not kidding and had no doubts when way to young to know what real
doubts were, when I dropped everything in NY and went to California thinking
Ambassador was a Theological Seminary and the Faculty really were Doctors of and
experts in the origins, intent, history and theology of the Bible.
I was 18 for Chr..., Pete's sake! I went there to be a church
Pastor. Why go if not to teach what inspired me and answered my questions
about really big topics??? When GTA announced the FIRST assembly that
"if any of you came here to be a minister, you better get that out of your
head..." , I chortled to myself and said, "we'll
see." I used to study Saturday evenings alone in my dorm and the Dean
of Students decided to cure me of that by putting me in a white monkey suit of
a coat to stand by the American Flag at basketball games instead. My
first experience of standing up on the outside but sitting down on the
inside. It was not a total loss though. I got to watch Dave Pack
play basketball, so that was good.
Back to fear. When
the WCG rug was pulled out, sincere folk, who thought they had the fear of
death, fear of illness, fear of being alone, fear of few friends and countless
other fears beat, found out how quickly fear returned and rushed in to fill the
void. Fear can make you say dumb shit. It can make you drink too much,
eat too much and even decide to go shoot someone. It at least is clear to
me that some really thinking Bible author understood that perfect love
casts out , not hate, but fear. Hate is not the opposite of love.
Fear is the opposite of love. Hate is a symptom of fear, just as sarcasm
or a punch in the mouth might be.
So we have a
choice. Life is choices as much as I hate being told that sometimes by
some who seem to have it all going their way as if they chose it so easily or
it came easily. I find those who are the most comfy at times to be the
ones who so easily can tell everyone else to just be comfy. The other
side of that coin is that told to us by those who are not so comfy but have
awakened to the reality of growing through it or ending up just bitter and
someone that few wish to be around.
“Transformation is my favorite game and in my experience,
and frustration are the result of you not being
authentic somewhere in your
life or with someone in your life.
Being fake about anything creates a block
inside of you.
Life can’t work for you if you don’t show up as you.”
― Jason Mraz
I've been sent emails by
the well meaning advising me not to be so personal or share personal failings
and such when writing. But what help is that? Being authentic is
something that has always been important to me and a classic trait of the ENFP
personality type as expressed in the Meyers Briggs view. It is not easy,
can be embarrassing and often used against one, but it beats fake and glazed
over. Being open about thoughts and even failings is therapeutic once one
carves the Four Agreements into one's soul.
- 1. Be impeccable with your word.
What kinds of words to you use when you describe reality? Do you lie and say
hurtful and poisonous things about yourself and others? Not healthy! To be
impeccable with your word is to be truthful and to say things that have a
positive influence on yourself and others.
- 2. Don't take anything
personally. The first agreement suggests that we avoid
treating others hurtfully. The second agreement provides us with a way of
dealing with potentially hurtful treatment from others. Because each person
sees the world in a unique way, the way that others treat us says as much about
them as it does about us. To not take anything personally is to acknowledge the
unique identities of other people. We respect their subjective realities,
realizing that their views do not necessarily describe us accurately.
- 3. Don't make assumptions. Assuming
that you know what other people are thinking or feeling about you is a limiting
thought that Aaron Beck called Mind Reading. Obviously, none of us can
read minds. When we try to engage in mind reading we will often be wrong,
leading to undesirable consequences. The antidote to mind reading is to ask for
evidence before concluding what people are thinking.
- 4. Always do your best.
More subtle still is the recognition that our "best" will vary from
moment to moment, that, in a sense, you are always doing your best. Realize
this, and your inner Judge can take a permanent vacation.
Don Miguel Ruiz
In ministry, one thing
become very clear about the people you find yourself around, member or minister.
Everyone wears masks. I think the source of this is the unrealistic views
the Bible forces upon humans. "Be ye therefore perfect as your
father in heaven is perfect...," and such baloney as that wreaks havoc in
humans who think that is the goal as a human. Whether it means perfect as
in sinless, ha, or mature as in like God, ha ha, it is not possible and
you and I never met one human who was that in this life. I will spare you
the masks thing and have written about his here: Everyone Wears Masks - Your Pastor and Priest, Your Mom, Dad, Family, and YOU!
So, back to our
anger. What are we going to do with it? Will it heal us or , as
said, "where am I going, and why am I in this hand
“Let today be the day you stop being haunted by the ghost of
Holding a grudge & harboring anger/resentment is poison to the
Get even with people...but not those who have hurt us,
instead get even with those who have helped us.”
― Steve Mariboli, Life, the
Truth, and Being Free
“Learn this from me. Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from
We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us.
But hatred is a curved blade.
And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.”
― Mitch Albom- The Five
People You Meet in Heaven
“Anger is stupid,
and stupidity will kill you more surely than
your opponent's blade.”
― Patricia Briggs, Dragon
I imagine all the people
above learned these truths by being angry about all sorts of life stuff,
perhaps over a very long time and then coming to conclude it was over. Somewhat
like Forrest Gump running and running and running no where special to deal with
the loss of the love of his life. There came that moment where he simply
stopped, listened momentarily to the voice in his head, and realized
enough was enough and it was time to go home.