Sunday, September 15, 2019

A Child Shall Lead Them



A Child Shall Lead Them

Is there a difference between unshakable faith and unshakable arrogance? I was 15 years in the churches of God and had it all figured out in those first 5 years... so this young kid of 19 in Seminary had nothing to offer me as we talked religion. Jed would only be here for the summer so I had a small window of opportunity to "enlighten" him. He asked many great questions and did a lot of listening. Our lunch hours often went longer than the company would have appreciated.

At summer's end, it was time for Jed to move on in finishing his religious training so that he could start a ministry in the worst part of the city with his new bride. I heard later his apartment was broken into 3 times in the first 2 months he lived there. Oh well, I chalked it up as another dumb decision made in zealous youth. (I told him so!) And all that preaching at Jed was all for naught. Not only did he move his beautiful bride into the hood for "Jesus" but responded to all my pontificating with a set of books as a gift to me, written by an Anglican Priest. The nerve! Those 1500 pages of nonsense sat on my bookshelf for 10 years before I ever even cracked one of them.

But there I was at the Feast of Tabernacles last year getting more spiritual meat from one of those books than all the Feast sermons and sermonettes in the last 10 years!

Hitting "mid-life" is erroneously labeled a crisis. For most, it is actually a time of evaluating your first 20+ years as an adult. Then, after evaluating, we begin formulating the direction of our next 20+ years. If we are being honest with ourselves, we even evaluate our sacred cows and allow those to be challenged genuinely for the first time in years. (Maybe this is why this time of life is called a crisis)

For me, it was a humbling awakening. I was so busy working hard, providing for my wife and our growing family, that I didn't have time to question my "unshakable faith." That part of my life was on solid ground so I had no need to revisit it periodically, nor the time. That was settled in my early 20's when I knew everything.

The miracle of children is their ability to ask questions that cut deep through all the bullshit and force us as parents to carefully consider our answers. When it was Jed, it had no effect. I was unshakable. But now it was my own teenage flesh and blood. Dad was being forced to put his religion on the examination table also. The nagging questions about "church" that were suppressed for years were now being forced into the light of reason. Maybe I should thoroughly give this another look for the sake of not being labeled a hypocrite or a religious minion in the eyes of my own babies.

Mid-life showed me (and others may attest to this as well) that we spend much of our lives on "auto-pilot." Striving for the "American Dream" is a real thing and for the most part, a soul-stealing endeavor. This time of life is bitter-sweet. We can be deeply saddened by coming into the realization that we really know very little about anything. We can anguish (but hopefully for only a little while) over bad decisions; forks in the road of our lives where we went left instead of right or ducked when we should have jumped.

But on the other end of this examination, we can choose to rejoice in a recovered zeal for the next 20-year journey. We can be excited about lessons learned and make the course corrections now. We can be content in not knowing everything and instead, move forward with our minds more open and teachable than ever before. I suppose this is the hidden lesson God had in store for us when he gave us our own children to raise. Yes, as parents, we owe it to our children to be critical thinkers but we really owe it to ourselves first.

Probably, the most depressing and disappointing article I have ever read in the churches of God to date is Gerald Weston's, "I Was Wrong." The title was nothing but misleading click-bait full of arrogant apologetics for the ministry. Many people in LCG were hopeful that after the death of RCM, the church would begin to listen and grow and change for the first time in 25 years. Instead, GEW has chosen to double down like Rehoboam, making his pinky thicker than the waist of our Golden Glove champion.

NEWSFLASH: You are not going to win the hearts and minds of our children when you dwell on legalized marijuana and our daughter's shorts as being the biggest problems in the churches of God today.

Older people spend a lot of time criticizing and putting down the younger generations that will inevitably replace them. The churches complain that kids today are less this and more that. One thing is sure: whatever the churches are doing to reach the next generation, it's failing. The death to birth rate in the churches of God is 4/1. The teenagers are not sticking around, once they leave home. New people are not flocking (not even trickling!) into the churches of God. Is it because the world and our children are more evil and less receptive to God and His way of life? Or could it be that the organizations are refusing to open themselves up to their own mid-life examinations, admit to bad decisions, make course corrections and save themselves from being what the children see: religious hypocrites and mindless minions betrothed to a gnostic theology developed by a narcissist of below-average intelligence almost 100 years ago?


submitted by Stoned Stephen Society

34 comments:

SHT said...

"Or could it be that the organizations are refusing to open themselves up to their own mid-life examinations, admit to bad decisions, make course corrections and save themselves from being what the children see: religious hypocrites and mindless minions betrothed to a gnostic theology developed by a narcissist of below-average intelligence almost 100 years ago?"

This.

Religious hypocrisy is a mainstay not only in the Churches of God, but also in all sects of Mainstream Christianity. What the youth see in Armstrongism they also see in the mainstream if they decide to try there - and many of them decide to abandon corporate religion altogether. One of the most revealing and eye opening awakenings in the minds of young people is the religious hypocrites. But this has been going on since before the time of Jesus to now.

The Children of the Church see, they hear, they feel, and because they see, hear, and feel, they run. They aren't void to empathy, and blind to truth. Yet it is the old guard who thinks they're too young to see, too young to know what they're talking about, too young to feel, too young to know what's best. And this is their folly and to their shame; and when the youth go running, they scratch their heads, like the mindless minions they are, and cannot figure out what is wrong.

The chances are better for a squirrel to dress up and play bingo on its own then for a Church of God minister to own up to their stupidity.

Anonymous said...

The attrition of my parents generation is really ramping up now. Soon all that will be left is the second generation of kids who never had an original thought of their own. Combine that attrition with the continuation of the trend toward schism, as the vultures must fight ever harder for a share of the carcass, and soon there won't be any "works" being done, except at the crackpot level of the Thiels and Malms. Let's hope the third generation has enough sense not to stick around at all.

Anonymous said...

HWA decided that his church model would be one of keeping the sheep at the hillbilly level by feeding them non stop diluted spiritual milk. These hillbillies would be ruled over by the big people AC ministers who alone understood the bible. Hence Herbs and splinters The Hillbilly Churches of God.

Anonymous said...

Older people spend alot of time criticising and putting down the younger generation that will inevitably replace them.

In that sentence you cut to the heart of the problem. There is hatred from older generation towards the younger from within the church.
Many old timers seem to never have realized they would get old. The vile insults that are given out from old to young is truly shocking. Hatred, Jealousy, and wishing evil on the younger generation is rife in the Church of God movement.

Anonymous said...

"The chances are better for a squirrel to dress up and play bingo on its own then for a Church of God minister to own up to their stupidity."


Funny. Writing about HWA's below average intelligence, and church of God minister's stupidity, and then incorrectly using "then" in a sentence.

It should have been "...dress up and play bingo on its own than for a Church of God minister..."

Normally I don't like those who play spelling or grammar police, because I'm far from an English expert, but if you're going to belittle someone at least try to get it right!

Then = References time, now and then, "We are going to the movies then out to eat."

Than = Comparative statements, this rather than that. "I prefer dressed up bingo playing squirrels than honest church of God ministers."

Anonymous said...

Why are you picking on hillbillies?

Anonymous said...

"Many people in LCG were hopeful that after the death of RCM, the church would begin to listen and grow and change for the first time in 25 years. "

Growth was never then and is not NOW possible when you build on the Wrong Foundation......

1. You started by "Following a Man".
2. Because of (1)you people of LCG forgot who'se Church you should be really be
3. Because of (1) and (2), you look down on every other COG
Did I made this up?.. we had LONG TIME friends drop us like the plague
we wouldn't do (1) and join their group

The Real COG the way its should have been:
Looks to God, Christ, NOT ROD
Reads their Bibles way more than church booklets
4. Because of (1) (2) and (3) you have few or none Bible Reading Friends to
wake you up.

A Deaconness in a Global COG Southern group before the 1998 split said:
"What ever Rod Meredith says, I believe it"

5. Because of (1),(2),(3), and (4) you trust in a Man,
and won't look to God..

"We don't follow a Man" You will say

The look at the Fruits...

God is still out there

Seek HIM, not Man

Anonymous said...

Why are you picking on hillbillies?

On reflection, you are right. My apologies to Jed Clampett and his family.

Ronco said...

"Normally I don't like those who play spelling or grammar police, because I'm far from an English expert, but if you're going to belittle someone at least try to get it right!"

Get a life, dude!

Anonymous said...

This post concludes with stating the following:

"...New people are not flocking (not even trickling!) into the churches of God. Is it because the world and our children are more evil and less receptive to God and His way of life? Or could it be that the organizations are refusing to open themselves up to their own mid-life examinations, admit to bad decisions, make course corrections and save themselves from being what the children see: religious hypocrites and mindless minions betrothed to a gnostic theology developed by a narcissist of below-average intelligence almost 100 years ago?..."

Or, is it because God is not, has not, been giving the increase? After all, isn't He doing His works in His Church, wherever it is? He did His works in the Head of that Church:

John 14:10 "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he DOETH the works."

Huh?

Acts 2:22 "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God DID by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:"

How does anyone know that God isn't producing increase within His Church? What is increase? Is God striving to meet the number of 144,000 sealed Firstfruits within His Church, or He still looking and watching for peeps with good attitudes that He can speculate will do "good" things if/when His Spirit is caused to dwell within them?

What happened to John 6:44? Does, or does that still apply today? It was taught a lot in the former WCG. Oh, but the hirelings that fled the WCG, were they really drawn, or dragged as Strong's Concordance says, of just hirelings and tares passing through. I am referring to the leaders, the little helpers of HWA, the ministry. They fled, leaving their ministerial credentials behind so they could go out to do their own thing...oh, yes, even better than what was accomplished by HWA! Where are they today? What have they accomplished. We hear about it all of the time on this and other blogsites. What's new?

To be continued…

John

Anonymous said...

Continuing…

Anyway that increase! We have some history about increase, don't we? What happened to the following words about God's Church?

Acts 5:14 "And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)"

Believers believe, but why? They have God's Spirit (Eph 1:19 "And what [is] the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,"), and how are believers added?

Acts 2:47 "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

The xcog leaders, GWilliams, GFlurry, GWeston, JMalm, DHulme, DPack, JFranks, DWinnail, etc. (choose another name) fled, started their own thing, some even voting in God's servant...and voting them out (Now HWA did not teach that to any leader of United Ass.). The addition and growth doesn't come by way of SELF, doing their own thing. There is nothing wrong with hirelings. It's just hirelings sometimes do wrong things. How many of these men would really like to see the results, (the #s), that occurred on HWA's watch in numbers of magazines, TV broadcasts, radio, $mammon$, about 140,000 attending God's Feast worldwide? They can't and they won't do it.

God moved on. What happened to these guys?

Some say we're either part of the Philadelphian (with HWA as God's servant) or Laodicean (with JWTkach senior as God's servant) congregations today, but all scattered. After all, if there are no Laodiceans or Philadelphians, then wouldn't God be a liar with the words of Rev 3 regarding them congregations? Did God lie to us?

Did God trick us? Did Jesus trick us again? Some really believe that.

It appears true that "...New people are not flocking (not even trickling!) into the churches of God…", but what about God's Church? Did the gates of hell finally prevail against it?

Time will tell...

John

Kieren said...

I'm looking to know who wrote this article. Anyone know?

TLA said...

I joined LCG not because of RCM but because I thought they were the group who was doing the Work the best.
Then I finally realized the COGs were ignoring Jesus instructions on what the real commission is.
Then I studied my way out of LCG and COGworld.
Then I studied my way out of the Bible.
I feel the Bible gives us good principles to live by if we ignore the genocide and slavery.
It shows both the worst and best of the human condition.

Anonymous said...

You too ronco, you too.

Anonymous said...

"I'm looking to know who wrote this article. Anyone know?"


https://stonedstephensociety.blogspot.com

Kevin McMillen

Retired Prof said...

Anonymous 3:39 AM wistfully asks, "Why are you picking on hillbillies?"

Right. It's a classist thing to say. And by the way, "hillbilly" is politically incorrect. Nowadays the name we prefer is "Altitude Enhanced Person."

It's not just for us who grew up in the Ozarks, either; it's also an Appalachian appellation.

Anonymous said...

I’m a proofreader by trade. I always notice mistakes. We all understood with no issues what the gentleman above was saying. Your comment was unnecessarily rude and uncalled for. As a professional proofreader, I can also inform you that your own comment has far more grammatical errors than his does. đŸ˜‚

Anonymous said...

@ 5:13am


and the larger problem is that HWA is the man sooooo many in the COG movement look to, instead of God....

I also think that is partly why blogs such as this exist, people were following a man and found out that he wasn't perfect....had they been called by God and worshiped Him, the man's shortcomings would not have affected them like this.....that's one reason they attack the truth under the guise of "exposing" HWA....their doctrinal arguments don't hold up so they focus the attention on the man, as if his failings discredit what's written in the bible. (the 10 commandments are 10 commandments, regardless of whether anyone obeys them or not)

there are likely some members of God's Church scattered amongst some of the COG organizations (not all of them by any means)....but don't think that those organizations are themselves part of The Church.

Byker Bob said...

At this point, 4:10, we baby boomers are the “ghost people”, next on deck for departure, leaving it all to the next generation to tell the tale. In spite of my daily weight training and cardio, the fact that I still work and run a business everyday, and the rides on my old Harley FLHS, I see an ever shortening window of planning, perhaps five to ten more viable years.

Who will be around to tell the real story of the horrible abuses and ridiculous teachings which existed in Armstrongism back in the 1960s? Or, will Armstrongism finally disappear with the baby boomer generation (be still my beating heart, one can only hope!)

My kids were not raised in it, but were certainly impacted by the borderline personality disorders which Armstrongism caused in myself and all past members (DSM-IV Axis-2 disorders). Unfortunately, the younger generation lives their lives not under the shadow of a religious apocalypse, but a science-based one that partisan politicians from both poles of thought attempt to co-opt and manage to further their party’s agenda. Perhaps it’s not too late to still do something about it. One can only hope.

We’ve already lost a number of regular participants in these venues: Corky, Becky, Gavin, Mark, Ian, and probably several others who faded silently with nobody who knew of their contributions here that could share the news with us. And, those are our own. Rock stars who influenced our lives are also passing at an alarming rate. We just lost Ric Ocasek over the weekend, and Eddie Money a few days prior. Before that, Ed King, Roky Ericson, and Gary Duncan.

All we can do, as former Armstrongites, is to recover, live as good, balanced and productive lives as possible, and hope to leave behind footprints of goodness and blessings to others in our wake.

BB

Stoned Stephen Society said...

"The Children of the Church see, they hear, they feel, and because they see, hear, and feel, they run. They aren't void to empathy, and blind to truth. Yet it is the old guard who thinks they're too young to see, too young to know what they're talking about, too young to feel, too young to know what's best. And this is their folly and to their shame; and when the youth go running, they scratch their heads, like the mindless minions they are, and cannot figure out what is wrong."

We especially feel deep when we are children from broken homes. The church gave me a reprieve from feeling and replaced it with a cold gnosticism convinced as "the truth." I thank my children for leading me back to empathy. Without it, "the truth" is just philosophia.

Stoned Stephen Society said...

"Many old timers seem to never have realized they would get old."

My God! That is a profound epiphany. I heard Ames and Winnail both admit in sermons that they came into WCG out of fear of the tribulation. You are absolutely right. They never thought they would get old and in the quiet moments in their last days, they wrestle with the reality that they were also wrong; that they were duped and they know it...and they are seething in quiet rage. Thank you.

LCG Expositor said...

Anonymous said:
1. You started by "Following a Man".
2. Because of (1)you people of LCG forgot whose Church you should be really be


Here's what Rod said to that:
Jesus Christ is the head of the church. He can appoint or remove anyone he wants, whether it be in editorial, CAD... anyone, including me. I'm not perfect; I've made mistakes. But whatever those mistakes have been, they are not so severe as to cause Jesus Christ to remove me as human leader. Since Jesus has not done that, who do you think you are to second guess Him? You are judging Jesus Christ!
------
This, of course, is nothing more than ministerial infallibility, something Gerald Weston also taught (2014 Kansas City sermon). And it is something anyone anywhere could say.... "Since God hasn't struck me down, He endorses what I say and do!"

LCG Expositor said...

TLA said...
I joined LCG not because of RCM but because I thought they were the group who was doing the Work the best.
Then I finally realized the COGs were ignoring Jesus instructions on what the real commission is.


What are Jesus' instructions on the real commission?

TLA said...

The real commission:
Matthew 28:19-20 New King James Version (NKJV)
19 Go [a]therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” [b]Amen.

The fake commission:
Matthew 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
This is not a commission - it is a prophecy. Matthew 28 tells us what we should be doing.
The New Testament - primarily NON-PROPHECY gives us the history and the message.
The New Testament does not tell us our commission is to do an "Ezekiel work".

Anonymous said...

"I’m a proofreader by trade. I always notice mistakes. We all understood with no issues what the gentleman above was saying. Your comment was unnecessarily rude and uncalled for. As a professional proofreader, I can also inform you that your own comment has far more grammatical errors than his does. đŸ˜‚"

Grammatical errors for a professional article or book, I'm sure there was, I admitted that I wasn't an English expert.

My question to you sir/maam, was I wrong about the usage of then/than? If not, this isn't a professional writing club, but some errors should be obvious. There/their/they're, whose/who's, your/you're, etc. especially if you're one of the main ones who post articles on this blog as SHT is.

If you'd like to point out my blatant grammatical errors for an internet blog such as this, rather than a professional writing going to print, feel free to do so.

Anonymous said...

3.08 PM
I disagree with your assertion that if members had been following God rather than HWA, then "the man's short comings would not have affected them like this.."
The problem is that "prove all things" takes time, and is an ongoing process. HWA knew this and exploited this vulnerability with his salesman's lies, half truths, brainwashing and a barrage of abusive cult ploys. Many sincere members who did worship God were deceived by HWA, 1975 being a good example. Your comment smells of blaming the victim.

BTW, when I came to church in my 20s, I like most, regarded HWA like a high school teacher. What teacher lies to his/her students or exploits them? I trusted HWA like my former teachers, and that trust was heartlessly betrayed.

Stoned Stephen Society said...

100% this.

Anonymous said...

Classic double standard.

Did it ever occur to you that his use of then rather than than might have been a simple typo, oh mighty grammar police? Or is it O mighty grammar police?

It’s also classic how you have diverted attention away from the meat of SHT’s comment and focused on triviality.

Let it go!

Ronco said...

"Did it ever occur to you that his use of then rather than than might have been a simple typo, oh mighty grammar police? Or is it O mighty grammar police?"

Actually, I think it is O mighty Grammar Police.

I'm heading back to Wadsworth now.

Anonymous said...

We’re both wrong. It’s “O Mighty Grammar Police”.

NO2HWA said...

Enough of this grammar nonsense. Despite spell check and Grammarly, things constantly slip through regardless of the operating system one uses. Who really cares if the point gets across?

Byker Bob said...

Got an old joke that seems appropriate somehow.

Jimmy: “Mom! Come up here quick! I just seen.....”

Mom: “Jimmy! My goodness, son! What about your grammar?”

Jimmy: “That’s what I’m trying to tell you, Mom! I just seen her fall out the attic window!”

(from an old Junior Scholastic magazine)

BB

Anonymous said...

What was wrong with the grampar joke that it didn't get posted?

Anonymous said...

Looks like we had some technical problems somewhere. About Byker's joke, I had said that grampar had pushed grammar out the window.