Saturday, April 20, 2019

Gerald Flurry: I am Eliakim, the father to the House of Judah

Things continue to not look well in the Oklahoma empire of Gerald Flurry. The deluded man now has taken a new name on himself, in addition to the other self appointed names he thinks he represents.

Flurry recently made a  trip to Jerusalem in his new boondoggle of a jet.  The money trap is soaking the Philadelphia Church of God dry, but even so, Flurry decided to fly to Jerusalem, just because he thought he needed to.  He now believes he is the father to the nation of Judah and doors were going to open up to him. He still believes he is going to be just like Herbert Armstrong and be given audiences with world leaders and kings.  Unable to buy his way in to see these leaders, he has to spend his time trying to find another archaeological dig to get involved with.  This will please Lil'Stevie as he won't have to go back to Oklahoma for several more years now.

Church of God News reports:

Gerald Flurry has admitted that his recent trip to Jerusalem was a waste of money. 
In his member/co-worker letter, dated 11th March 2019, he writes: 
Perhaps God gave us this miracle with the aircraft to encourage us to expect even greater intervention in the days that would follow. 
It was not precisely clear to me what God expected us to do on this visit. Brad McDonald and Brent Nagtegaal had prepared a visit with Dr. Eilat Mazar and a tour of the City of David archaeology site. 
Nevertheless, I felt God wanted us to step out and make the trip. Isaiah 22:21 says Eliakim is a father to the house of Judah. I fill that spiritual office, an office by which God gives authority to open and close doors according to His will (verse 22). I felt I needed to do more, which is why I decided to go there myself. Again, we must back our faith with works.
Perhaps he hoped that there might be an open door to sponsor another archaeological project with Eilat Mazar, but as he admits, the purpose in going there was not clear to him.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Guess which Church of God has the "sure word of prophecy?"

Leave it to our buddies at United Church of God to boast about how superfantabulous they are. There is no greater "work"on the face of the earth today.  They are so magnificant that they have "the SURE word of prophecy!" James Malm and Bob Thiel will be suffering major butthurt after being humiliated like this by  UCG'!

Don Ward writes:
In one sense you could say that we have a more complete testimony as to the plan and purpose of God than did many of the disciples. We have the sure word of prophecy and the history of the faithfulness of God and Christ through the ages. 
So what has God revealed to them that has any relevance for humankind? Their education comes from a man who spent 6 months in a public library instead of working to feed his family.  The theological education of Church of God ministers has been stunted for decades due to that minuscule freshman one semester traipsing into theology.  They have never graduated beyond anything Herbert Armstrong taught them nor from the abysmal list of failed prophecies that HWA and others uttered.

Apparently, many UCG members are not happy that UCG is still a tiny little sect doing a tiny little work, while all the time demanding more and more money from them.  Never fear though, this tiny little band of good old boys is doing the most important work ever to touch the earth.  The entire world trembles at thier feet (as does James Malm and Bob Thiel.)
We must not let the things that God has revealed to us slip. At times we tend to focus on how small and insignificant we are on the world scene. But we must not forget that God has committed to us the mission of the ages. We are involved in the most important work on the face of the earth. Remember the words of Malachi: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6).
So just WHO is the Elijah that came and turned the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers?  There are at least 6 current Elijah's in the COG today.

Herbert Armstrong destroyed his own family relationships.  Both of his daughters rejected the church.  He blackballed GTA and never spoke to him again.  His grandchidlren wanted nothing to do with him.

Every splinter cult leader of the COG out there today has wrecked families and marriages with their perverse teachings.  The COG landscape is littered with the corpses of dead members due to suicide, deaths from lack of medical attention, and killings, all due to the perverted teachings of the church and the ministers.  One almost gets the impression that God has smote the church with a curse!
We have been enlisted in the work of preparing a people for the return of Christ. Our calling at this particular juncture of history is so very important. There have been many faithful men and women called to serve in advancing the plan and purpose of God. We are a link in that chain of faithful men and women who have labored in fulfilling God’s great plan and purpose. So we must not be weary in well doing. We must not forget what we have been called to. We must not forget that God and Christ are counting on us. Who knows whether you have been called to the Kingdom for such a time as this.
Just how can UCG be preparing a people for the return of Christ when they don't talk about anything he accomplished, but spend 98% of the time expounding on the law.  Grace, justification, sanctification, and mercy are unheard of in UCG and COG sermons.  The law trumps Jesus every single time.

God and Christ are going to have a long time to wait if they are waiting for UCG to ever accomplish anything. This is the church that has a blue sock puppet that's more popular than its current church leadership. Jesus must be really impressed!

A Sincere Theological Question for Passover

I'd like an answer to a question posed me, in the absolute caldron of personal pain, about  just why the death and sacrifice of Jesus was the ultimate and incredible sacrifice it was said to be and of which we are reminded at this time every year?

She was a client in my therapeutic massage practice and within the first minute of the session, she started to sob. This can happen in my work when people stressed to the max finally relax a bit, feel safe and experience safe touch.

I simply asked her if she was ok as it is not my place to rush in and immediately try and "fix" something during a session. She said that she was not ok and could she talk with me. Of course shared that her only teenage daughter had committed suicide.  Hmmm, nothing worse and I can't imagine a worse pain parenting.

I asked her if she was getting professional help with those who are qualified professionally to help with such things.  She said she was and then I asked if she attended church and was the church helpful.  She said she did and "NO, they are of no help."

I asked her if they told her that God won't give you more than you bear and she said "YES".
I asked her if she could bear this and she said "NO"

I asked her if they told her that her daughter was far better off now with Jesus? She said "YES"
I asked if she felt that was true and she said "NO, I want her home."

I asked if they told her she would be in her thoughts and prayers and did that help?  "YES and NO that did not help."

Finally I asked if her pastor was encouraging to her and she started to shake under my hands.
What did he say?"  She told me "He said that God understood because lost his only child as well."  (We might even say by suicide when you consider that overturning the tables of the Temple during Passover where Romans were already guarding against insurrection was suicidal for any Jew in those days.)

What did you say?

She said she screamed at him "NO!!!!  In THAT story, Jesus knew he was going to return better than ever in only three days!  In THAT story, God knew that he would bring his lost son back in just three days!  My daughter is DEAD. If I thought she was going to die on a Friday and return on a Sunday, better than ever, I'd be getting the party ready. But my daughter is DEAD!  Shouldn't a "sacrifice" stay dead?  As far as I am concerned, the death of Jesus was merely a WEEKEND INCONVENIENCE! It's not real and certainly not the worst or most amazing sacrifice ever. My daughter is still dead!"

Realizing his mistaken analogy, the Pastor apologized.

Whoa...I"m not easily taken back by theological issues, but on this day at this moment I learned that questions born out of absolute disaster and grief can leave one with nothing to say.  It was one of the most profound moments in my theological thinking in my life.  "Shouldn't a sacrifice STAY DEAD?" has stuck in my mind ever since. "THAT Story is merely a weekend inconvenience to both Jesus and God."

We have all been told that the sacrifice of Jesus was the most and worst kind of death, and thus redemptive, that any man has ever gone through.  Misusing "He was scarred above any man" misleads us. Of course this is not true. Many human beings have undergone physical deaths in far worse ways and over far longer periods of time. Jesus spent a mere 6 hours on a cross, so goes the story, and got a heroes burial.  In real life, crucifixions take days. No one gives you a drink and no one gives you a burial fit for king. You rot on the cross and when the parts fall off, you are eaten by dogs. That is the purpose of Roman Crucifixion.  It is designed to instill fear.

The Roman historian Josephus wrote in Antiquities 13:14:2 that in 88 BCE, the Hasmonean king, Alexander Jannaeus (in office 103-76 BCE), ordered the crucifixion of 800 Pharisees. "As he was feasting with his concubines, in the sight of all the city, he ordered about eight hundred of them to be crucified; and while they were living, he ordered the throats of their children and wives to be cut "

Let's see you beat that!

Or how about the death of Colonel Crawford when he ran into the wrath of Ohio Native Americans who were in the mood for revenge? I believe I will let you read the account if you wish and not "torture" us here with it. Needless to say. Jesus got off easy.

Up to this point on of my more interesting theological questions based on real life experiences and mores was when a teen in Kentucky asked me, "Mr. Diehl, who was Mary married to when she had Jesus?"  I knew where this was going.  I am not stupid so I told him that was a great question. It was.  I told him that Mary was not married and in the story God is the father of Jesus of course.  He agreed and then asked me if that was not fornication on God's part with an under age girl?  I said  "That's a good question. Keep thinking those things through!"  What else could I say? lol. 

So the questions are:

In what way was the death of Jesus the worst of deaths and was he really scarred above all men ever?

Why was the death of Jesus really not just a weekend inconvenience, almost like a Passion Play that always has a great ending?

Shouldn't a sacrifice stay dead?  Every Old Testament "type" of a sacrifice, of which Jesus was the ultimate point of it all stayed dead. How can coming back in merely three days better than ever be a sacrifice on the part of either Jesus or God.

God did not lose his son the way my client lost her daughter.
Her daughter is still dead and there was no party for her coming back shortly better than ever. 

You tell me and believe me when I say my question to you, just as hers to me is deeply sincere and not meant to offend. 

Dave Pack: "People Who Say Jesus Christ's Name Make Me Sick!"

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The legacy of those who walk in lies, and not truth

Every once in a while someone decides to get their knickers in a knot, and throw down self-assured threats of condemnation, supposed curses, and attacks in their self-righteous zeal of those who do not exactly go along with their views on the Church, on God, or generally the way that they think things should be done. Usually, people aren't quite so rambunctious with their supposed "zeal", but when the hornet's nest gets knocked on, the angry wasps come out to sting. 

What is amusing to me is the amount of power and authority that they like to believe that they have. They are so certain of themselves and their calling, and that they are so right, that they have no issue declaring judgements in God's name against others. They almost are giddy with glee about watching their enemies face the wrath of their God, watching with joy and jubilation as "lightnings bare the earth, men see and shake", and those who speak out against their god's church melt into vapors in the lake of fire they are certain God will condemn them to. 

I am reminded of many examples of those who also have been certain of Armstrongism who have, in their belief, have issued "curses" and "judgements" on those who don't defend their belief systems. One of these was Ronald Weinland, a former minister of the old Worldwide Church of God who went rogue and started his own Church - the Church of God, Preparing for the Kingdom of God. It was eleven years ago - 2008 - when he predicted Christ's return, and in the process, proclaimed himself as one of the Two Witnesses. With this newfound authority, he would curse his detractors, even saying they would - paraphrased - die from the inside out. Of course, all of his threats and curses were totally empty and without any authority. Every one of his predictions did not happen, and slowly, his entire ministry turned out to be founded on a bed of lies and false judgements. As for Weinland himself, he is now a felon with a conviction on tax evasion. His church? The last I heard, things were not going so well at all for the sad man. 

I am reminded of another example of a Church of God pastor who would claim divine power through a self-proclaimed rank of "Apostleship". Dave Pack, leader of the Restored Church of God, would often use fear as a tool of power in his ministry. He, also, would make wild predictions and speculations - only to have them spectacularly fail. After they failed, his statements in print would then be redacted, as if they never happened. Another ministry founded on a bed of lies and deceit. 

The passion and zeal of individuals like these two is not isolated. Others who also have had an excess of zeal include a man named James Malm, and a man named Bob Thiel - both attempting to predict, and both claiming the same exact title and rank of authority. Of course, the bar always is in the future and never materializes into the present. Even bigger corporate Church of God leaders have done the same thing, with, of course, the same results. Others have tamed down and seem to be a little cautious to "pull the trigger" on divine utterance and knowledge - learning to effectively use disclaimers of chance as an easy out of denial if (and when) it is needed. 

All of this stems from the very beginning of Armstrongism, also founded on wild, rampant, fear-mongering speculations, judgement, and condemnation against others who do not share the same beliefs as those who carried it's deceitful message. If Armstrongism had been truthful, honest, Godly, and forthright, there would be no record to be shown of the horrific amount of absolute judgement, condemnation, arrogance, pride, greed, squalor, envy, immorality, wickedness, corruption, anger, intolerance, abuse, and hatred coming from the very ones claiming God's truth. Yet God's truth does not engage in a bed of lies, and God's truth does not masquerade in a web of deceit, anger, and materialism. It is by these standards - the standards of truth against those who claim their divine calling - that one must hold while testing whether or not one is from God, or not. 

One can claim their "truth" against their standards of judgement: Holy Days, Sabbaths, and the name of the Church. Yet against these standards lie volumes of records of charges of exactly the above in the last paragraph that are the true judge of what is godly and what isn't. Jesus said, "You shall know them by their fruits." Jesus also said, "By this shall all men know that you are My Disciples if you love one another." Jesus also said, "A new command I give you, love one another." And finally, Jesus said that those who will not inherit the Kingdom are not charged with violation of Holy day and Sabbath keeping - but the fruits of evil which include liars, idolaters, immorality, and greed. All of which are rampant in Armstrongism that claims to hold the truth but instead holds the fruits of Satan. 

If certain members of Armstrongism want to get on here, with their accusations, with their curses, with their judgements, with their arrogance and pride, dripping with desire of harm and hate against those who simply disagree - so be it! It does not bother me, nor does it bother others here. Say what you want. Because what you say is not truth. It is wrong, it is lies, and it is empty. I will say directly to you: You have zero Godly powers, zero authority, and you are not feared. Because the truth says you are wrong. And the truth sets us free. The truth is the standard. It is, after all, the truth that stands as the post to the narrow gate. Those whom are ignorant of the truth of history, and the truth of what scripture says, are ignorant of reality and susceptible to nothing but deceit, delusion, and deception. This will be the legacy of those who walk in lies, and not truth. 

This does not need to be. Walk in truth. Cast out judgement. Live in love. And be free.

Submitted by SHT

Tuesday, April 16, 2019


When the Laodicieans realized they
 should have downloaded the MY COG App!

  • Turn off all text notifications from Sunset Friday to Sunset Saturday night! Restricts calls from "Worldly people" from sunset to sunset. Finish your calls early, because the phone WILL cut your conversation cold! 

  • Autopay tithes directly to the COG! Simply add in your bank routing number or DirectPay, and the App will automatically deduct 10% of your income into the Church Headquarters - and another 10% Directly into the Festival Fund account for your second tithe! Now, you don't have to  worry about the Tithe of the Tithe - the app will take care of that for you! Third tithe years are automatically calculated for your convenience, and deducted every third year from your date of Baptism! Tithing could never be easier! PLUS, you can select your offering amount! Simply press $50, $75, or $100 choices from the App for Auto-Offering! It just can't be easier!
  • Dating has never been easier with the My Date feature! Eligible singles will appear directly on your App! Simply press "I Want to Date Her" and the App will forward the request directly to the Local Pastor. You should get a notice if your date was approved or rejected within one week! The App also features Dating Reports, progress reports, and surveys that monitor your morality with your special person. 

  • Register directly for the Feast of Tabernacles! Simply input all of your Feast of Tabernacles registration information and at exactly the right date and at the right time, the App will submit your information directly to the Festival Office! You will then get the detailed itinerary including your Motel, Rate, Festival Location, Site, and events! No more work for you! You will also have the number of your Festival Coordinator right at your fingertips! 

  • Sick? Simply push “I'm Sick” and an Elder will send you a “Virtual Anointing Cloth”! Just Pray and Touch! No more need to call your Elder when the App will call your Elder for you! You can have faith you have been prayed for! 

  • Get a full list of all unclean and clean foods right on your phone! Are you unsure? The App has the name and photo of every unclean and clean meat you can think of! No more excuses! 

  • Get recipes for Unleavened Bread right on your phone! The Church Unleavened Bread Recipe Cookbook has it all! You can randomize, or search for whatever recipe you wish. There's even a Church Potluck Recipe Feature so you can make something different than Vegetarian Baked Beans! 

  • Unsure if something unleavened is OK? Take a picture of it, send it to the App, and the App will determine if it is ok or not! 

  • Having problems with unconverted people trying to talk to you? COGBlock will block their numbers with one push! Simply press "Ignore Heathen" and no more contact with a Heathen! 

  • Ready to get baptized? Press “I'm Ready” and a minister will contact you to discuss your options! Be Warned though! The "Baptism" feature will not be enabled unless your minister believes you are ready first. If he believes you are, the "I'm Ready" icon will be lit. 

  • Volunteering for Sabbath Duties has never been easier! Simply enter your service role, to avoid one being assigned for you! You can choose from Duties that are adjusted for your specific Rank - attendee, member, Pillar, Deacon, Member. Any open positions will show immediately and be ready for you to fill!

  • Single? The Singles Feature will give you a list of all singles activities in your area! Make sure you meet your monthly quota of Singles Activities!

  • Club member? Enter the Club Portal to access the Virtual Handbook, and the App Timer for your speeches!Practice Tongue Twisters, like Theophilus Thistle or Suzy Sells Sea Shells! 

  • Is it Atonement? Our app will detect how close you are to the fridge, and blast a WARNING if you get too close or open the door!Be careful, it will send the results to your minister, so stay away from the fridge!

  • Is it Trumpets? Our App will sound trumpet blasts at Sunset, fulfilling the sounding of the Trumpets! You can choose from 5 types of Trumpet Blasts - and even a Shofar! 

  • Is it the Sabbath? Our App will let you choose between YA music, Orchestra Classics, or Strauss Arrangements for your listening pleasure! From Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah to the Hallelujah Chorus, All the Sabbath Music is there for you! 

  • Can't make it to Church? Simply take a picture of the problem, and our Ministers will determine if your excuse is valid! 

  • Child won't listen to you? MYCOG will video-conference in your minister to tell your child to listen to YOU!If your minister is unavailable, a DEACON will fill in - and your child never wants to be yelled at by a DEACON! 

  • Shut in? Our video library of sermons is for you! (Sermon will auto-destruct after you hear it, and will not play in public areas outside of your home!)

  • Can't Sleep? Choose from light Piano, to Droning Sermons, to The WaterHouse effect! Sleep is guaranteed!
  • NOTES! Take notes directly on MYCOG! Automatically input scriptures with the tap of a button. Then, review them weekly!Be zealous! 

  • BIBLE INSTRUCTION! MYCOG combines the AC CORRESPONDENCE COURSE with the BIBLE! Now, you get the WHOLE TRUTH in one convenient application!King James Version and the Original 57 Course together! 

  • PROPHECY! Get World News and Prophecy in one convenient place! We'll tell you what's going on, and just how close we are now to The Great Return! It may look like its repeatiing, but beleive us when we tell you it is not! 

  • GAMES! Play Straighten the Chairs, Move the Podium, or Making Unleavened Goodies right on your phone! Build a Millennial City and Manage Your Planet! Play THE TALENT GAME with other COG members around the world online!Arrange flowers around the Podium! Take your hand at flapping your arms, you song leader-wanna be! How many chicken wings can you flap without tiring? Can you keep from taking off through the Gymnasium roof? 

  • Youth Educational Lessons! Right on your phone! From Samson to Methuselah to Rebekah and Leah - it's all there! 

  • PRAYER REQUESTS right on your App! Simply type in your request, and your minister will approve it, and badabing! It's on! 
  • IN A MARITAL DISPUTE? Click “DISPUTE” on your phone to invite your minister to conference in right then and there! 

  • COG RINGTONES! Have Dwight be your ringtone, choose from 128 different selections! Choose from MIDI format, Grand Piano, or Kazoo and Fluteaphone! 

  • ARE YOU A SONG LEADER? Send your Pastor and Pianist your song choices directly from the App! 

  • ARE YOU A SPEAKER? Our built in teleprompter will help you speak right from the App right on the Podium! Complete with Timer! Couldn't be easier! 

  • ARE YOU A PRAYER GIVER? Our scripted prayers will help you give the perfect opening and closing prayers! The Proximity Sensor will flash yellow if you are TOO CLOSE TO THE MICROPHONE! IT WILL BEEP LOUD SO STAY AWAY FROM THE MICROPHONE!

  • ARE YOU A DEACON? ELDER? PASTOR? Then upgrade to MYCOGELITE! With special top-secret functions for the Minister in You to help you micro-manage your MEMBERS! 

  • HAVE TEENS? Put MYCOG on their phones to SHUT THEM OFF during services! The MYCOG App will also listen to detect if they are engaging in forbidden things, and will sound a DWIGHT ARMSTRONG SONG LOUDLY if it hears matching sound algorithms!

  • ARE YOU DRESSED OK FOR CHURCH? The MYCOG App will tell you! Simply snap a selfie of yourself, it will tell you if you are dressed appropriately or not! 

  • ARE YOU FOUL MOUTHED? The MYCOG App will listen for foul language, and warn you if you slip up! Beware, any foul words will be sent to your minister! 


COG's released from all liability. By using this app you waive any legal recourse and blah blah blah. Trust us, you'll be okay. Have we ever wronged you?

by SHT

Monday, April 15, 2019

"You Cannot Adapt to Change"

Many years ago, at one of my assignments, I was called in for a promotion evaluation with whom I was working for at the time. Surprisingly, at least to me, I was rejected - even though on paper, it appeared to me I was qualified. The answer that I received in regards to the reasoning behind the Operation Manager's decision was one that blindsided me, because I had never considered this before in my life. I was told "You cannot adapt to change. We need people who can adapt to any situation."

Yes, I was blindsided. But only briefly, because after considerable time spent thinking upon this revelation to me, I realized that this individual was absolutely right. I was stubbornly, adamantly, and thoroughly opposed to any sort of change in my life - whether it is home, work, or - of course - with the Church. There are many reasons for this that are personal I will not get into here, but this was the truth. I could not handle change. 

Of course, one of the reasons was the traumatic experience with "The Changes" back in 1995. At least, this is what I blamed it on. But when I thought about it, my avoidance of change went clear back to my earliest of years. One thing that the Church taught and enforced was the rigid adherence to unchanging ritual, structure, liturgy, and methodology. Many details of my life from birth forward through the Church were exactly the same, day in and day out, over and over again, from services to songs to scriptures to people - even conversations with some were the exact same week after week. This pattern of repetition was a set up to create a well-energized fear of the unknown, and a stout denial that anything can change and be good. 

This culture of the negativity of change came directly from the religious culture of the Worldwide Church of God in many levels. What is it that we believed was impossible to change? I don't even know where to begin! Paganism - that can't ever change. The Law of Moses - nope, no changes there. Evolution - absolutely not - God does not change what He created. I'm pretty certain you could come up with hundreds of examples of things that we taught were either absolutely impossible to change, or could not turn from evil to good, or was satanic to think it could be changed, using the scripture "God is the same yesterday, today, and forever", citing that "He changeth not" to prove nothing can ever change. Everything is set in solid rock, and in black and white, and you cannot deviate to the left or the right from an established, unchanging line, or open a box to even consider that change might not only be a good thing, but could even be a God Thing. 

Is it difficult to consider the fact that even though God Himself does not change (He is love, and His Royal Law is love), that his methodology and interactions can, and do change, based on a change of conditions around Him? 

Here's a thought that will probably be considered totally heretical, but let's go there for a minute. Consider evolution. The Armstrong Position has always been that it started as one thing and cannot change. Are we then saying that God does not have the power to cause adaptations so his life forms may acclimate due to a change in an exterior environment? (I.E. - global warming, cooling, ozone, solar radiation, heat, drought, tropical rain). Are we to suppose that God is not able to supernaturally - by pure Spirit and intellect - cause a life form to adapt to survive? Why is this not considered a possibility? Is it because we cannot admit that a God of Order does not cause things to become disorderly? Is it because we cannot admit that God might do things in ways we do not know nor can we understand? Is it because if it is not specifically spelled out in black and white in Scripture than it is impossible for this to happen? God specifically said "With men this is impossible, but with God, ALL THINGS are possible".Why rule out all possibilities when God himself said all things are possible? Are we so dull and dense? 

Here's another thought that will probably be considered equally heretical - man-made observance days not rooted in scripture. It is true that once, long ago in time, people rooted in pagan culture and polytheism of many thousands of gods and idolatry used days as an idolatrous replacement of the one true God they did not know - after all, Paul himself referred to God as "the Unknown God" when walking around ancient temples (I think it was the one dedicated to Apollo, correct me if I am wrong). After the days of Jesus, Christians were successful in converting the culture from days rooted in antiquity and paganism to days of worship to Jesus. Pretty much, it's the same reasoning the Churches of God have for their Winter Family Weekends. The days off are established, so, why not replace the days with something we can agree with? Except when it comes to voluntary observances of man to God - no, they can't do that because of how it was in the past at a time long ago and far away. Failure to adapt to change is what this is - failure to realize that things can and do change and can turn from bad to good. 

And then there's the COG situation itself - the entire liturgical construct set up over 70 years ago that for some Churches of God has not changed one iota - a construct frozen in time from the 1950s to the 1970s, even sometimes down to the same suits, same briefcases, same hymnals, same sermons, same predictions, same everything, a mundane, unchanging methodology that is stuck on Groundhog Day over and over again. Except instead of "I Got You Babe", the song is "O God, Forsake Me Not". 

The Churches of God - and Armstrongism in general - have been stuck in an anti-change mode which has lasted throughout the entire lifecycle of the Church from its conception, to rapid growth, to maturity, to collapse, and now in it's death rattles - change has always been, in theology, and in practice, a dirty word. Those who have the highest avoidance to change have been the most active to attempt to revive what time has changed to their chagrin and objection. This is why we have the likes of That Wadsworth Guy who is attempting at all cost to rebuild what once was. Same with That Edmond Guy who also is attempting to rebuild what once was. Change is evil, it seems that they think. They are unwilling in many cases to pursue new formats, new ways, new advancements, new technologies (many still stuck in radio and TV!!) - they are literally in a time capsule they have locked shut and cannot get out of. The world is moving on around them and they are retreating into their own little black hole of time and space. It seems they cannot adapt to change. 

Is it too much to admit that they could be wrong? Is it too much for them to admit that things may not have been (Note: They weren't) exactly as they imagined they would be? Is it too much to see that in the reality of things in this realm that we habitate that things always change? And that those who are stuck in predetermined prepositions nearly always end up and turn out to be one hundred percent wrong? Is it too much to realize that the way we thought it was so just possibly could be a different so? After all, hasn't time proven the absolute fact that most of the way that we as the Church of God of Herbert Armstrong and Hirelings thought things were be did not prove out to come even close to that way? Or if on realizing that fact, will it be like that Star Trek computer on the Original Series that short circuited because it realized it was incorrectly programmed? 

God does not change. He has always been love and rooted in love. This is, after all, His Law. When Jesus Christ however came - like it or not, Jesus changed EVERYTHING. Herbert may have taught nothing really changed except for a few until some later time still in the future (that should definitely have happened by now!!), but he himself could not accept any sort of change! (Remember STP?) It is only when one understands that Jesus Changed Everything that one can accept Changes from the Old Covenant to the New, from Death to Life, from life apart from God to life with God, and from the separation to the inclusion of Jews and Gentiles - even to the differences of worship and observances between the two. 

But don't feel bad. The Apostles had just as much trouble - as did the Jewish Christians - of accepting change as well. And Paul faced the brunt of this with persecution, divisions, rejections - and even prison time. It's easier to go back to the way things were than to change to a new normal. But this is exactly what Jesus demanded - change. Repentance. Not going back to the way things were, but learning new ways of faith, of hope, and of love - the things of the Spirit that the way things were could not even come close to fulfilling. No wonder Jesus said he came not to bring peace, but a sword - because Jesus well knew that people would yell "WHO MOVED MY CHEESE!" when the cheese got moved. 

Until the Churches of God come to the point where they can admit that things don't always happen in the well-constructed solid concrete box the way they imagined they would, and instead look at the foundation which for over 70 years have always been shifting sand, they will continue to reject common sense and established, verifiable truth because of their inability to adapt to change. A lesson that for many Splinter Leaders will never get through their thick, stubborn, prideful, and spiritually uneducated heads.

by SHT

Dave Pack: Am I A Failure?

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Defective and Never Good Enough--The Challenge of Being Yourself in the Churches of God

Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread were always more stressful than enjoyable to me. The "examine yourself" concept could wear heavy on one depending on seriously one took it all. As we know, both minister and member was just a ball of jealousy, envy, lust and greed. A worm, so said the Bible and we all hearts deceitful above ALL THINGS and DESPERATELY WICKED!  The was a definite theme of not good enough that ran through one's church life and the struggle to be better was ever present. Ultimately, we were all to become us therefore PERFECT as our heavenly Father is Perfect, but that always escaped me and seemed a bit unreal. I know people who tried but I found them not the kind of folk I wanted to spend much time around. Mostly, it was a fake kinda perfect.

I recall heading up a class meeting where the guest minister speaking to us reminded us all we were the "Cream of the Crud."  Uh oh....that didn't set well. One friend stood up and said he was tired of hearing that crap and it wasn't true. That lead to another standing up, and another and …. well, it spread nicely through the whole campus and lots of people ended up being themselves!

I was never even comfortable with the Apostle Paul telling me that I had to follow him as he followed Christ. Why couldn't he follow me as I did? I didn't know how he followed Christ except once he said he beat himself to keep himself in subjection and that's not for me.   Why do we always strive to be better than we are and even not authentically even who we are?

"Let every man esteem others better than himself," goes the admonition of scripture. That always made me ask "Then what is everyone else supposed to do?"  Sounds like one endless chain of "No, I esteem you  better than me,"  "Oh no, I esteem YOU better than me!"

Being one's self, as you are, at any one time, with all your background, baggage, perspectives, unique qualities, insights and personality traits was never high on the list of what we were supposed to be comfortable with.  We were evidently defective as is and so becoming something else was ever the goal.  It was mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausting.

I recall being dragged through each of the Ten Commandments by the minister interviewing me for baptism when I was 19.   He asked me if I had ever worshipped other gods....NO, Taken God's name in vain...NO.  Kept the sabbath...Yes, (I went to church three times every Sunday up to that point. It was a technical foul).  Killed...NO, Lied....NO....  Committed Adultery...No (I did have a girlfriend back in NY and did lust after her so that counted as a yes I guess),  Stolen....NO   Coveted....Not really.   Well, he sent me on my way with no pass that interview.  See paragraph one for what I failed to understand.

But ultimately, I got baptized. Honestly....felt no change from on High. I went on to pretty much be the me I am , wearing a few masks along the way to protect myself from the righteous zealots and giving up on that becoming perfect as my Heavenly Father was perfect.  Even if you say it means "mature", which it doesn't, couldn't do that either.

Once Dave Pack found out the minister who replaced him ordained my brother-in-law a deacon and it evidently annoyed him enough to tell Ron, "If I had thought you should be a deacon, I would have ordained you!"  Ron, being his ever genuine self said..."Well Dave, If I didn't think you had shit for brains I'd care!"   That's being yourself!

My dad was pretty much himself no matter as well.  When Dave was chiding the Spokesman Club for not being up on their scripture cards my Dad spoke up and mentioned that the men worked all week and did not have the same time he did to keep up with it all.  Dave told my dad he's see him in the hall at the break.  My dad said..."No you won't!"  lol.  Dad was himself and a great example to me.

Finally, one of the best. After Joe Tkach gave his "Screw the Sabbath" sermon and it was played in one of my relative minister's church, where the song leader, a good ol' boy evidently got up and said, "Now wasn't that the biggest load of shit you ever heard?!  Let's all rise and sing out to the REAL God!"
That's being yourself!

So let me just say that being who you are, in hindsight, is pretty much ok in life. How can one be anything else?  We might tweek things here an there as we go, but I have learned that most people, unless they are at the bottom of human behaviors, don't change very much and probably don't need to either.  I don't find most hearts to be desperately wicked and deceitful nor do I find everyone I know filled with jealousy, envy, lust and greed.  Those traits are reserved for the higher ups evidently.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Oscar Wilde

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.”
Bernard M. Baruch 

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson 

“Don't compromise yourself - you're all you have.”
John Grisham, The Rainmaker

“If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.”
Frank Zappa 

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life, but define yourself.”
Harvey Fierstein

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everyone will respect you.”
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“About all you can do in life is be who you are. Some people will love you for you. Most will love you for what you can do for them, and some won't like you at all.”
Rita Mae Brown 

“Never complain, never explain. Resist the temptation to defend yourself or make excuses.”
Brian Tracy 

“Never dull your shine for somebody else.”
Tyra Banks 

“The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position.”
Leo Buscaglia 

“Let others determine your worth and you're already lost, because no one wants people worth more than themselves.”
Peter V. Brett, The Warded Man

“What other people think and say about you is none of your business. The most destructive thing you would ever do is to believe someone else's opinion of you. You have to stop letting other people's opinions control you.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

“You were not born on earth to please anyone; you have to live life to express yourself, not to impress someone. Don't pretend to be someone you're not, and never lose yourself in search of other people's acceptance and approval.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
Bruce Lee

Personally, I'm now comfortable being myself. I'm not defective and neither are you and , while it might irritate some of you, being born right the first time is not a concept that we need discard.