Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Parable of Jack and Shep

Recently an anonymous commenter at Banned had this to say:

"I stay for the fellowship."
Really? And you consider yourself a Christian? Matt 10:37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." You apparently love even your buddies more than Jesus.
August 24, 2015 at 10:24 PM
Then on the post titled

"PCG Parents Loose Custody of Daughter" 
​Dennis C Diehl gave a long list of additional Bible quotations that support this idea of shunning, banning, disfellowshipping, excommunicating, or committing other abuse against those who  question ​church dogma.
Here is a parable that pertains to this issue. The basic story is not original with me; I got it in an e-mail forward, and so I assume it is in the public domain. What I did was embellish it with character and setting details not in the original. Interesting note: the same basic plot device, with different setting and action, also formed the basis for an episode of "The Twilight Zone." The writing style here is pretty much the way I tell it in storytelling performances.

 (Retired Prof)

The Parable of Jack and Shep

This is a Jack tale. Not the same Jack as the one that traded off the family cow for a handful of bean seeds, but one of his descendants, a Jack modern enough to own a pickup truck.

He also owned a dog named Shep, sort of an ordinary-looking black and white farm shepherd. Jack and Shep went everywhere together. People in town would see Jack’s truck going down the street and say, “Yep, there go JackenShep.” Like it was one word. JackenShep. Dogs would sniff the base of a lamppost or fire hydrant and think, “Yep, ShepppenJack came along here.” Jack never ate in restaurants because they wouldn’t let Shep come in. He would order a hot dog or hamburger at the drive-up window. Two of them, actually: one with onions for himself and one without for Shep. When he simply had to go in a store where Shep wasn’t allowed, Jack would tell Shep to wait outside, because he would be back out pretty soon. The dog would stay there till Jack came out. Everybody liked Shep, especially little kids and old people, and they would scratch him behind the ears and wait for Jack to come out, or maybe if they were short on time they would go on inside and say hi to him there. Everybody liked Jack too.

Well, one day Jack and Shep had a bad wreck in Jack’s pickup on an icy bridge, and they both passed out. When they woke up, they could still walk around like always, and Jack could still scratch Shep behind the ears, and Shep could still lick Jack’s hand. Then Jack got suspicious. He said, “I ain’t cold. Here I am, ice and snow all around, wearing nothing heavier than this little old denim jacket, and I ain’t the slightest bit cold!” He looked around and got a shock when he saw his truck. The cab was crushed almost flat. He said, “Oh mercy goodness, nothing could have come out of that cab alive.” As you might expect, under the circumstances it took a while for the significance of what he had just said to sink in. Finally Jack said, “Well I be durn. I always wondered what it’s like to be dead. Now I know. It just feels normal.” He looked down and said, “Well, Shep, I don’t know nothing for it but to go on down the road. Let’s not go back the way we came. No point revisiting the past. I don’t see any future in it.”

Pretty soon they saw some kind of big impressive establishment with white walls and towers. It was high up on a hill overlooking the valley. Looked like a mosque or a cathedral or Disneyland. Something of that nature. Jack said, “Shep, let’s go check that place out.” All the snow and ice had disappeared, and the valley was green like June.

At the foot of the hill they came to a nice driveway leading up. The hill was high and steep, but the road was easy walking because it was smooth and broad and full of hairpin turns. Real crooked.

From time to time, up the hill through the trees, they could see the walls of the place, like polished marble. When they got closer, they could see coils of razor wire all along the top of the walls. Then at the top of the hill, they saw that the towers they had seen from afar were spaced a hundred yards apart like watchtowers, as far as the eye could see. Jack said, “Shep, I reckon the people that own this place must have treasures stored up here that they don’t want thieves to break in and steal.”

They came to a gate. It looked a lot like the fancy iron gate in front of a gated community or some rich man’s estate—maybe even the White House—except it was all iridescent, like mother of pearl. The driveway leading up to it was blacktop. The street on the other side was gold. In front of the gate, off to the side, there was a high desk like in a restaurant where the hostess asks if you have a reservation. The big man standing behind it had flowing white hair and beard, and he wore a white robe. He was overjoyed to see Jack.

He yelled, “Hi, Jack! Good to see you, man. Welcome to Heaven! We’ve been expecting you ever since we saw you start across that bridge.”

Jack blinked and swallowed hard a couple of times before he thought to say thank you.

The man in white said, “Now Jack, we want to fulfill your most heartfelt desires. Whatever you yearned for in life that you could not have, tell us what it was. Maybe you were too poor and couldn’t afford it, or maybe somebody wouldn't let you have it. Makes no difference. You can get it here. We aim to please.”

Somewhere across the fence Jack could hear an organ playing “Ode to Joy.” Or maybe it was a calliope. Yes, he could see puffs of steam in that direction. He also heard and saw a fireworks display. The smell of sulfur drifted in. A Ferris wheel was turning, and a tilt-a-whirl. People squealed the way ecstatic teenage girls used to when Elvis or the Beatles came on stage.

Jack said, “Well, I been traveling a ways, and right now I’m real thirsty. Can I get a cold drink of water?”

Man in white just busted out laughing. When he caught his breath, he said, “In all my days working the admissions desk, that is the simplest, the most modest request anybody ever gave. Of course you may have a glass of water.” He clapped his hands twice.

Instantly a beautiful young woman wearing a halo and a pair of wings appeared. She was holding a tray with a pitcher of ice water on it, and a crystal goblet. She held it out to Jack, and he reached for it but then stopped and looked at the man in white. He said, “Reckon could Shep have some water too? In a bowl?”

Man said, “Shep? Who is this Shep? Nobody by that name on the list.”

Jack pointed at his dog.

The big man’s eyes bugged out. “That quadruped? A mere beast? You ought to know better than to think you can bring a dog into Heaven. He’s got no soul. He’s not even made in the right image. Get that son of a bitch—and I mean that in the technical sense—get him out of here!” The veins in his neck stood out. His face was red.

Jack looked through the gate. He always used to go to the county fair every night it was open. He said, “You all got a nice carnival here. Lots of rides. Lots of excitement. I couldn’t have no fun in there, though, with Shep stuck out here. I reckon we better go on down the road and see what else we can find.”

The man said, “You mean you would give up eternity in Heaven for the sake of a wretched mongrel cur? Let me plead with you, Jack. Hear the call. Please, Jack. Answer the call today.” Jack didn’t say anything, just looked at him. “Let me warn you, Jack. This is the last chance you will ever get. You don’t deserve another one. But I tell you what, Jack. What you do deserve is what you will get if you go on to that next place down the road. Every minute of it. You hear me? Every miserable damned minute. And I mean damned in the technical sense.”

Jack said, “Yeah, well. You got a nice place here, but if you ain’t going to let Shep in too, we better just go on down the road. Besides that, taking something I didn’t deserve, I’d feel like a piker. Come on, Shep, let’s go.” They headed back down the hill to the road that ran along the river bottom.

After while they came to another driveway on the other side of the road and went down that. This was just a little narrow two-track leading out through the woods toward the river. Greenbriers and blackberry vines grew on both sides, so you had to stay pretty close to the middle of the road.

Eventually the woods opened up to a clearing with a big elm tree in the middle, and on the other side of the tree was a wooden gate between two tall cedar gateposts with a long horizontal pole joining them at the top. The gate looked like it hadn’t been closed in a long time, and if there ever had been a fence, it was gone now.  A man sat in a chair in the shade reading a book. He had on grey pants and a light blue short-sleeved shirt and looked like maybe a small-town lawyer or real estate agent, something like that.

When he saw Jack and Shep, he broke into a big smile and said, “Hey there, Jack. Glad you could make it.” He stretched out his hand to the dog and said, “Come here, Shep.” Shep went over, and the man scratched him behind the ears and told him he was a good dog. Shep grinned and wagged his tail.

Man looked up and said, “Well, Jack, you okay? Anything you need?”

Jack wiped his mouth. “I could stand a cold drink of water.”

Man in the blue shirt said, “Why sure. There’s a well on the other side of the house back there.” He pointed toward some lilac bushes, and just past them Jack could see a white house with a long porch. “I just now drew up a fresh bucket and set it on the table next to the well. There’s a dipper and a clean glass sitting on it, and a bowl on the ground for Shep. If you use all the water in the bucket, draw another one.”

Jack and Shep walked back there and stayed gone for some time. When they finally came back, Jack said, “You know, this place reminds me of Grandma’s. I spent some of the best times of my life there, in the summers.”

Man said, “It’s similar. Lot less drouth. Neighbors are all nice people. They’d enjoy a visit, only most of them aren’t home right now, because the county fair’s going on. Tell you one thing about those neighbors, though. You can count on them. If they give their word, they’ll keep it.”

Jack said, “Sounds real good. What’s the name of this place?”

“This is Heaven.”

Jack’s eyes bugged out. “Heaven? There’s a man up the road calls his place Heaven.”

Man said, “I think I know that establishment. Way up on a hill?” Jack nodded. “Whitewashed walls and watchtowers?” Jack said they were white, all right. “Cheap plastic mother-of-pearl veneer on the gate?” Jack allowed that could have been what he saw. “Streets spray-painted gold?” Jack said maybe so. “All kinds of noise and confusion inside?” Jack said definitely so.

“Yeah, that’s Hell.”

“Hell? Hell? Don’t it make you mad for somebody to operate a place like that in the name of Heaven?”

“Nah. Doesn’t bother me. They do part of my work for me. They screen out everybody that would walk off and leave their best friend.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

PCG Parents Lose Custody of Daughter

Bravo to the state case worker that recognized the abuse happening in the Philadelphia Church of God home.  Mental abuse is just as damaging as they physical abuse.

From Exit and Support:

August 21, 2015

I want to give as little information as possible to shield identities, but I thought readers of this site might be interested in knowing that the teenage daughter of a PCG family that has faithfully followed the "no contact" rule for more than eight years has been taken from them by her state and placed in a foster home. Her caseworker has initiated paperwork to have her placed with my family, from which she has been cut off for about a decade. The PCG said for years she could have no contact with us. Now the state says she can have no contact with them. I would appreciate prayers on our behalf by the readers of this site. --[name withheld]

Church of God Members Devastated By Turkey Bacon Recall

Its a tough day in Church of Godland.   Kraft has had to recall 2 million pounds of one the most disgusting fake foods ever created.  It ranks right up there along side SPAM.

Kraft Heinz Foods Company is recalling more than 2 million pounds of turkey bacon.
The turkey bacon was produced between May 31, 2015, and August 6, 2015. The following products are subject to recall:      
  • 56 oz. cardboard boxes (containing four plastic wrapped packages) marked Oscar Mayer “Selects Uncured Turkey Bacon” bearing the plant number P-9070, the line number RS19 and Product UPC 0 4470007633 0, and with “Best When Used By” dates of 24 AUG 2015 through 26 OCT 2015.
  • 36 oz. cardboard boxes (containing three plastic wrapped packages) marked Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon “Smoked Cured Turkey Chopped and Formed” bearing the plant number P-9070, the line number RS19 and Product UPC 0 7187154874 8, and with “Best When Used By” dates of 28 AUG 2015 through 20 OCT 2015.
  • 48 oz. cardboard boxes (containing four plastic wrapped packages) marked Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon “Smoked Cured Turkey Chopped and Formed” bearing the plant number P-9070, the line number RS19 and Product UPC  0 7187154879 3, and with “Best When Used By” dates of 3 SEPT 2015 through 30 OCT 2015. BayNews9

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rod McNair and the Living Church of God Sink To A New Disgusting Low: Orders A Member To Quit Helping The Elderly

Bumped this back up because new comment below

Just when I think I have heard it all along comes this story that was in my "in box" a few minutes ago.  It is appalling beyond belief!  How sick can the Living Church of God get?

Rod McNair recently ordered one of his members to quit their job at a nursing home where they worked helping sickly senior citizens. His reason? Demons. It is his belief that demons often inhabit the elderly. LCG recommends that its members stay away from people with mental illness and now they have added to that, the elderly. Ironic since the average age of an LCG member is about 75 and its leader, Rod Meredith, is 85.  According to sources, this member obediently quit their job immediately after being told to. Most professionals understand the importance of giving a notice of resignation out of respect for the employer and to maintain ones reputation in the industry. But not McNair. This member was subsequently accused of being disobedient to God's ministry by not quitting quickly enough once McNair learned that the member worked a two week notice to wrap up their obligations to the company. The member has now been disfellowshipped.

This raises several questions. What kind of church tells a member to quit a job that entails helping the needy on a daily basis? The elderly are often forgotten or neglected in our society. Is that what Jesus would do? What kind of member obeys this insane request, likely to their own financial detriment? Is it Christian to avoid the sick? The mentally ill? Is it fair to treat the mentally ill as demon possessed? Even if this person was told to quit and didn't, would that really be grounds for disfellowshipment? Are LCG members outraged by this or are they onboard with this type of behavior?

Every time I hear another one of these stories coming out of Charlotte I am left wondering... what will it take to make people realize that this isn't what being led by Christ looks like. By their fruits they will be known... wake up sheeple.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Living Church of God Pays Armed Security For Sabbath Services

Those wild and crazy folk in Charlotte are at it again!

The Big Boys in Charlotte have given orders to lock all doors to the congregational meeting area on Saturdays.  God forbid if you left you Bible in the car by mistake and have to run outside and retrieve it!  The only way you can get back in is to ring a doorbell and wait for an usher to come and verify who you are.  Then you might be let in, after a stern warning of course.

Things are even more serious in the Kansas City LCG church.  They have hired ARMED security guards now to patrol the area while services are going on.  Apparently it is OK to PAY outside contractors to do your dirty work on the Sabbath.

Putting one's faith in and relying on God's protection is NOT something that the Living Church of God seems willing to do.  It lets the LCG members and the world know that there is a COMPLETE lack of faith by the leadership of the church.  This seems rather odd considering that LCG considers itself to be the purest and most Godly Church of God in this dispensation.  Is Meredith and crew anticipating Satan to commit a major attack on the church?   The only trouble LCG has ever seen has come from within, not from the world around them.

It is understandable that many LCG members are outraged with these latest developments.

Living Church of God member says if you disagree with leadership you have to remain quiet

A comment in the posting on Rod McNair confirms something that almost all of us know here.  We have all experienced this at one time or another.

McNair "wants all LCG members to know that they CAN disagree with those in authority in the LCG without ANYONE disciplining them for doing so".

I'm a member of LCG Charlotte and I can verify that this isn't true. If you disagree and you're smart, you keep it to yourself because if you don't you risk your membership. I've watched them systematically weed out anyone with the courage to be honest and open about disagreements. I can't imagine that anyone who's been in the Church for long believing that line. It might be what they're suppised to do but it's not what the ministry practices.

I stay for the fellowship. I agree with the overall message that LCG preaches but after watching how the leading men act over the years I can no longer believe that they truly have love and concern for the brethren.

Church of God Thieves Still Living Well On Tithe Money

Herbert Armstrong's Pasadena Mansion

Anonymous senior citizen in the CofG said...
When I saw how the ministry of the church of God lived I was flabbergasted. Their homes were mini mansions really.

I was asked to help move our minister, free slave labor. His home had 6 bedrooms one of which he dedicated to his hobby.

I could barely buy groceries and had no car. I felt slapped in the face that my money went to buy all that.

I felt kicked in the face that Herbert Armstrong bought gold and silver and outrageous art on our backs.

It was awful that while we were encouraged to home school our kids no curriculum was provided even though the church had its own school for the elite's children. So my kids went to public school (got a good education anyway.)

I was told to be a stay at home mother and now have a 150 a month social security check to try to make do on.

And they are thieves stil today living very well on tithes meant only for the Levitical system that Jesus destroyed.

Every holy day is filled with begging for money for the 'work' which is pathetic at best.

No surprise at this guy at all. We have lived with these hirelings for years.
Paul, who worked for a living, would be aghast.

They get no more money from me. They cleaned me out years ago and now there is nothing more to give.

They should all be audited.

John Oliver On How American Churches Operate

While this is geared towards the fraudulent prosperity gospel preachers deceiving people today, this is also applicable to various Church of God ministers and leaders.  Dave Pack, Gerald Flurry, Rod Meredith, Vic Kubik,  Wade Cox, David Hulme, Jim Franks, Bob Thiel, James Malm and all the other COG leaders operate with the same money making agendas.