"Mulling Things Over With Dennis" Page 2

Newest blog entry from Dennis is at the top


Mr. Generalities..Truly, Truly Terrible Teaching

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert Author

The following is about a 15 minute statement survey of a most recent sermon given by Ron Weinland of the Preparing for the Kingdom of God cult.  Truly, Ron Weinland is one of the worst and most scattered speakers in all of COGdom.  It would not be so bad if Ron did not see himself as one of the Two Witnesses of Revelation who will inflict God's judgement on the earth just prior to the return of Jesus.  Personally, I am thinking most will die of boredom as "Mr Generalities" inflicts his special brand of teaching on the faithful.
Why people would drive hundreds of miles to hear this man speak is an enigma to me. On top of that, all one would really have to do is listen to any sermon given in the past year and it is the current one.  All his sermons sound the same and contain precious little comment other than his own comments. These ramblings were taken from
today's sermon but could just as easily been taken from his past 100 sermons. 
"They have no understanding..
The Jews don't understand Passover
They don't obey God's law
They are blind
They are not free
When God opened your mind
You came kicking and screaming
They don't want to change
They don't want to obey God
This is the last Passover in history
People don't understand the bondage they are in
Don't you want to be free
What an incredible thing
We are not at a time when God has determined to work with a spiritual Israel
They are in spiritual Egypt
This indeed a most historic feast
God has begun to share more fully with us
We are to grasp the deeper meaning of Israel
God's message is intensifying
We are living it more and more the closer we get
The first nation of Israel would not and could not obey God
Except for a few who were special
They were  being worked with on a physical plane
You can't obey without God's spirit
Israel as a people have failed .
Their ways only bring oppression and destruction
Only with God can they succeed
To gain the mastery of life
People are in bondage
People are not in control
Only when you know the truth can you begin to come out of it.
What an awesome thing we have moving closer and closer to what God is giving us
The closer we get, depending on what God does....God has not revealed to us ...the more you are going to be tried.
Not everyone is going to make it
You should be sobered
Not everyone is going to come thru this
You need to apply it now in a way far greater than ever
Now is the time, more than ever before.
It isn't much further and it won't be easy to hold on
Not everyone will come through it
Always, always , always every year , some leave. 
Even at the very end, not too long before He returns, some leave
It all comes down to how spiritually alert you are and how sure you are
What an incredible thing God giving human being life
Then we can learn about the quality of life we can live by obeying God
Wisdom is of God
We don't know how blessed we are
Morality, it is becoming less and less in the world
This feel good thing.
I loathe the Protestant spirit
It just make you sick inside
Everyone just love each other if you know Jesus
What a sad thing
Look at some of these platitudes in a store
This feel good thing about God
That's not what it is about
It's about NOT LYING TO PEOPLE  (Watch it Ron)
If you lie, you have to keep track of the lies so you remember the lies  you told
it's not these feely good things
Have you accepted Jesus Christ
Not your Jesus Christ, thank God"
They don't understand Christmas
They kept it hidden
They are in bondage
They have this syrupy kind of song
No, that's a repulsive thing
Mr. Armstrong wrote a book called Mystery of the Ages
I got to hear HWA that day
He was so excited
After seeing all the 50 plus years and finally able to write a book from beginning to end with the truth ...
Put in plain terms
What an incredible thing
All of a sudden opens your mind
The sabbath and the seven thousand years
We are at the end of the six days
More awesome and more exciting
We can talk about it, we can share it with each other, we can't share it yet
Again, how awesome is that
It shows how things are so mapped out
So meticulous
We were talking about Adam and Eve and the attitude was like God hitting himself in the forehead...What am i going to do now
How narrow minded we were not to be able to see a fuller picture.
God knew exactly what it would take...
Sometimes we think Einstein was a genius
How did they build the pyramids
They weren't morons
Very skilled, some things were lost in understanding
I have lost my place
Ok, enough.  I'm making myself dizzy.  You lost your place?  What place?   What kind of a sermon is this?  What the hell is the topic, the purpose?  Where is the flow and what is the point?  Who are the people that sit week after week and listen to this dribble believing this man is inspired by a God?  Why do they drive so far to be taught so little?  If this is Godly inspiration, I might suggest God is drinking and having a grand time.
Ron wanders all over creation from one topic to another and most are not remotely connected to any real point he is making.  Truly you can go from explaining the Exodus to how ignorant Catholics are about Christmas.  
The vast majority of the COG ministry are mere Bible readers.  They are commentators perhaps, but not teachers.  While the Apostle Paul may be "hard to understand,"  Ron Weinland is easy to understand and hard to stomach.  There is no real content.  There is no hint of understanding the background of the books he so freely comments from and reads as one would read a newspaper.  Ron betrays no modern knowledge of Science truly so called nor would he ever speak of it.  To Ron, the earth is 6000 years old and the full plan 7000.  (Look up Golbeki Tepi Ron) For a grown man, who claims to know the mind of God and how everything all is on this planet and yes, even the entire universe,  to utter such ignorance of science is simply unacceptable in an age when such information is freely available.  COG ministers, for the most part, are 2000 years out of date.  
One of the proofs that COG ministers are stuck on auto pilot for decades is that no newer understanding of even some of the most basic scientific realities can be acknowledge. Most have to know that in fact the earth is 4.5 billion years old and our universe around 14 billion.  Most have to think about the implications of fossil hominid finds or the pictures from Hubbell that show how utterly insignificant we are on this one of now thousands known in our neighborhood that may or even must hold life.  I can't believe an educated or even curious man in our times would think that there literally was an Adam and Eve as presented and the origin of language is the Tower of Babel mythology.  The problem is that so much New Testament theology does depend on the mythologies being literally true. They are not.
And finally, I do have to wonder what kind of thinking keeps people stuck in their seats listening to the same things over and over and believes the unbelievable as spoken by Ron Weinland?  Does the average PKG member not know how to read or look around the Net for other ways of explaining what Ron so badly generalizes? Are they afraid for him and themselves to not be correct and so won't consider anything else?  Do they not see they are heading over another "time is short," cliff and all that is left then is to tell them that "I NEVER said it was literally true.  It is spiritually true!"   Will that send them back into Theocomas again for yet more speculation and repetition?  
I truly don't understand what keeps the average COG member attached to their seat as these old memes and stories play over and over each week, without end and all coming to nothing.  I suppose  "almost here" is just such a powerful hope that some minds can't see that almost postpones their living in the actual moment they have in this life.  
Always living for the future is such a waste of the present moments in life.  You can't get them back.  I predict that all these men will simply get old and die like everyone before them.  I expect they have yet to even consider this reality for themselves but life has a way of making its point. 
It is obvious Ron is deeply wounded by his WCG experience.  He refers to it often in his sermons and how incredible and difficult it all was.  It was difficult.  That part I can attest to.  It has and does leave its scars.   We all process our pain and disappointment differently.  Some just church hop looking for the cure of the anxiety we all have over our mortality and "what's going to happen to me."  Others , as myself, become cautiously skeptical no longer willing to commit to the ideas of others.  
It's a journey I suppose, but I do marvel at those who hunker down in a COG and allow that one man to tell them how it all is and to draw their identity from the lives and minds of how other men like HWA saw and filtered his world.  Around here when you ask many who they are, they respond by "I am a Bob Jones student," or "Jonesers"as the locals call them. Kinda sad actually.  They draw their identity from a man and a theological dynasty and his name sticks to them.
So, the beat goes on.  The Weinlanders, Flurrites, Meredithians, Packers and Tkachians sit each week hearing the same thing over and over.  In the case of the Tkachians, they hear over and over how to invent the wheel yet again.  None of it has much basis in reality and from the above example, it is clear some are getting nothing from it or if they are, what's wrong with them?  
I don't know.  Maybe it is all awesome and amazing, unbelievable and incredible, it really is brethren, but I just don't see it and I surely cannot understand how anyone gets anything of value for the heart and soul from the above example of a sermon from Mr. Generalities. 


"I Have Become All Things to All Men..."

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert Author

There is no one quite like the Apostle Paul in the New Testament and no one writes more than he does to explain his idea of Christ.  Paul had a way of reaching back, or over reaching, into the Old Testament to explain Christ. Of all things, though he may have been a "Hebrew of the Hebrews" and a "Pharisee of the Pharisees," and way ahead of his buddies in school, he only ever used the Greek Old Testament and often quoted the errors in it to make his point.  Go figure. You'd think he'd use the Hebrew and get the meaning correct.

Whatever kind of Apostle Paul was, only he and Luke seems to have recognized that ordination.  No one in the New Testament Church under Peter, James or John, as goes the story, ever called Paul an Apostle.  
 I say "Christ" because Paul was not big on any human Jesus.  He never met him in real life and never quotes him.  The Gospels were written long after the Apostle Paul died, and it is Paul's writings that are or should be listed first in the order of the New Testament.  For Paul, Christ was Cosmic in nature, was crucified in the heavens by wicked spirits and all the instructions Paul ever got from Christ came in the form of visions and voices in his head.   
But there is this other way of  being Paul brags about that has always been troubling to me. 
I Corinthians 9:20

" 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. "

It's no wonder the debate about is Paul for the Law or against it, a Jewish Pharisee or a Gentile wannabe, called on the Damascus Road or called from his mother's womb, as he noted in Galatians, is endless.  If Paul was a Pharisee, he was like no other Pharisee ever.  He says after his conversion he went immediately to the wilderness for three years.  Why?  No one knows and the "to be taught by Jesus" is just made up stuff and Paul never said that himself either.  On the other hand, Acts says he was taken immediately to Jerusalem to meet the Elders and while a big topic, both cannot be correct.  Someone is lying. 

Now please don't take this as a compliment to the more egocentric COG leaders.  It is not meant to be.  Paul loved to talk about himself.  

"I wanna talk about me." 
There are a number of reasons why many scholars today believe Paul was not the author of the book of Hebrews. One obvious reason is, in the other epistles credited to him, Paul doesn't hesitate to identify himself along with his supposed credentials. The author of Hebrews is strangely silent on these matters. Many scholars believe Barnabas was the author of Hebrews, but I think Apollos is a far better candidate... but that's a different subject. The point is, no one knows for sure.  But Paul certainly couldn't be in the running as the author of Hebrews when one also considers the statistical rate of the personal pronoun usage. The author of Hebrews refers to himself only 9 times, which is approximately 1.3 personal pronouns per thousand words. To help put this in perspective, let's compare the book of Hebrews to the book of Romans. They are both relatively large books of similar length, divided into 13 and 16 chapters respectively. Yet in only the first half of the first chapter of Romans, which is 16 verses worth, Paul uses twice as many personal pronouns as the author of Hebrews uses in his entire book! In the book of Romans, Paul refers to himself 103 times, which is rate of about 18.2 per thousand! That is 13x greater than Hebrews. In 1 Corinthians, Paul refers to himself 175 times, in 2Corinthians 103 times again, and in the relatively short book of Galatians, he refers to himself 69 times which is a rate of 25 personal pronouns per 1000 words!"
"No other epistle author in the Bible wrote like Paul. This would be true on a number of levels, but one aspect is of particular interest when we are considering how Paul views himself. He had a way of drawing attention to himself with his usage of personal pronouns. When it comes to how often he uses words like, "I", "me", "my", or "mine", the overall rate in his epistles is almost three times that of his next closest rival.
Scott Nelson,  Paul and Christianity

It's kinda like knowing that David C. Pack really wrote something because of the astounding numbers of personal pronouns, calling himself "Mr. Pack" when writing about himself or using the words "astounding,"  "incredible" and "I don't think I have ever given a sermon quite like this one...well maybe back in June of 1986, but not like this one..."  Stuff like that.  We'd be able to spot a genuine article in a second.  So it is with Paul. 

But there is this other thing Paul believed that is most troubling.  
I Corinthians 9:20;

" 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. "
If this really is the way Paul operates in ministry, how on earth would one ever know what he really believed?  Is this an admirable trait to act like everyone you come in contact with is just like you and you just like them?  Could you ever really trust a man who simply slipped in and out of costume depending on the kind of play he was in?  I don't recall Jesus, in the Gospels, becoming a Roman or Samaritan when it served him better to do so.  But then again, the Gospels NEVER heard of the Apostle Paul as Saul. Funny he should live right there in Jerusalem but never come up in the Gospels.  But then again, most theologians have never seen a Pharisee so cozy with the Romans , complete with Roman citizenship, as Paul seems to have enjoyed.  (Some suspect Paul was a Sadducee in fact and someone upgraded him along the way telling his story.)  Sadducee's loved the Romans and worked for the making some feel Paul was not so much a brilliant Pharisee "above all his fellows," (Sounds like Dave again..) but a temple thug who was sent out to harass the good folk not cozy with the Romans.  For this, I would recommend, Hyam Maccoby's  , Paul the Mythmaker

I won't repeat the argument that it was Paul that the early church considered a "Simon Magus" or why the Ephesian Church letter in Revelation probably can best be summed up by this short critique...

Paul to the Ephesians: "I am an apostle of Jesus"
The Ephesians to Paul: "No you're not."
Jesus  to the Ephesians: "Well done!" 

... but it is a great story!

So...should we trust a man and his view of Jesus, or rather the Cosmic Christ who would do and be anything to anyone they needed him to be to win them over?  I don't see the Peter, James or John of the New Testament thinking this was the way to go.  Would we not think such a way of being to be outright lying or duplistic?  Could you ever trust a man who bragged about doing his work that way?  

Paul went on to say,

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ."   1Corinthians 10:31-33

Whatever "Christ" he was imitating, it's not any Jesus I read about in the Gospels.  Pleasing all men???  When was this?   In Galatians 2:13-14 we have Paul practically cursing Peter and "withstanding him to his face," over Jewish sensibilities and seems he suspended his "all things to all men," and "pleasing" with this group from James.

Actually I believe we can argue that Peter plainly saw Paul was not even going by the Noahide ruling of James in answering the question, "if a Gentile can become a Jew with the Noahide rules, how can a Gentile become a Jewish Christian?"  The answer was..."The same way..."  Avoid meat sacrficed to idols etc....   Of course we see in I Corinthians that Paul went back to Corinth and had no intentions of abiding by even the Noahide rules given by James.  I believe Peter saw this at this meal and withdrew.
In my years of study on just who is this man that usurps the New Testament and out writes the 12 Apostles , who actually wrote nothing.  Sorry to say, Jesus himself never seems to have written anything so either he was illiterate or what? We find ourselves depending on this Apostle Come Lately for most of the NT theology about Christ.  

When you read the Gospels and try to match the Jesus of the Gospels with the Christ of Paul or the Killer Jesus of Revelation, well...it's a chore. 

Paul had a habit of saying, quite often,  "I lie not."  I think he was lying or at least was often accused of it by the Jewish Christian Church and Apostles of the Gospel  disciples to become Apostles stories.  Remember, Luke was Paul's biographer of sorts and the only one in the NT who seems to favor him.  Luke is also the only other human in the NT who calls this man who brags about being all things to all men an Apostle.  

So...if I had to pick a more accurate NT view of Jesus  (Not the Gnostic Heavenly Christ of Paul who is called "the hallucinatory Christ of Paul,"  I would pick the Jewish Christian view of Jesus.  I would leave the Apostle Paul out of the truth equation altogether.  The early church, if there really was one as presented, hated Paul and being hated by the Jewish Church does not prove he was God's man of faith and power and should get to write the story of whoever a man called Jesus really was.  I think I would pick the WCG again!  However, I don't trust the veracity of the entire story so, not to worry. 

I'd be the opposite of Marcion I suppose who cut out most of the OT and NT and only kept Paul's writings.  Today we understand that Paul's original writings are probably Romans, I and 11 Corinthians, Galatians, Phillipians, I Thessalonians and Philemon.  The rest are up for grabs and doubtful, containing church issues and topics that are far too far down the road to be issues in the life of Paul.  As we have seen, no Apostle Paul wrote the Book of Hebrews.

So...would you trust a man who brags about being all things to all men and who would do anything to please others?  i don't.  I also don't trust a man who is said to have fallen off his ass, heard the voice of Jesus in his head and saw a bright light, which are all the symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy, (not the ass part) and all three renditions of it by Luke contradict each other. 


Our Lives Are Not Analogies




similarity between like features of two things, on which a comparison may be based: the analogy between the heart and a pump
Logic . a form of reasoning in which one thing is inferred to be similar to another thing in a certain respect, on the basis of the known similarity between the things in other respects.

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorThere were times when I thought the WCG/COG life was just one big analogy.  You know, taking something in real life and making it fit the kind of person I was supposed to be, the way I was to act or think or life I was supposed to live in relation to the Church, Christ, Jesus, God and the Kingdom.  Life was a parable.

The Bible is full of analogies where I was a seed and the ground was the life I lived depending on where I landed.  As a kid, when I first heard that analogy, I wondered why it was the poor seeds fault the sower of seed (God) threw the seed (me) on the rocks, the hard ground, the wayside or the gutter.  Hey!  That's not my fault!  You threw me there.  If where you threw me is a place where I cannot root down and hold on, that's not my fault!  You threw me there!  I would have needed another analogy such as "a seed is like a worm in the earth..."  etc...  That way, by analogy at least, I could have the quality and the ability of being able to move to where the environment was more conducive to my growth.  Gnome sayin'?

Of course, often we were sheep in pastures and had sheep-like qualities as both ministers and members.   We needed to be herded because our tendencies as sheep was to wander off.  We could be good sheep or bad sheep.  We could be smart sheep and stay put or dumb sheep and go over a cliff.  We needed to be fed as evidently we could not eat on our own or find our own food.  We were dumb before our shearers (boy now there is an analogy!), and often "opened not our mouths."   (Also a painful regret)   We had to be led to green pastures and shown when and where to drink. We were controlled by rods and staffs which I assume meant that it was ok for the Shepherd to whack us on the skull when our attention wandered.  COGers are well aware of this analogy and they are endless.  

Sometimes we forget sheep are kept just for sheering or for entrees.  I am just not comfortable with sheep hood as the way to define my life.  Maybe that works for others. 

Well, if we keep up the analogy, if not a sheep then a wolf.    Wolves, being the carnivores they are, are not the friends or to be the friends of sheep.  Of course, we need wolves or there get to be too many sheep and God made wolves too, so there ya go!  As wolves, one is a stalker, a lurker or a chaser of sheep.  At least this is what those who are by analogy Shepherds tell the sheep.  But mostly it is not so.  In real life I don't eat sheep or lamb very often so the analogy breaks down a bit. 

The Apostle Paul loved analogies even if he butchered them.  

Galatians 3:16

New American Standard Bible
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ.

Now hold your horses here a bit.  (Nice analogy those horses). 

 "Seed" in  this context means descendents as in offspring.  It is PLURAL already!  Paul says since the word is not "Seeds", it must refer to the once seed...which is Christ.  I don't think so!!!!!    Paul is saying if the OT meant descendents of Abraham it would say, "The promise is to Abraham and to his seeds."  Really?   Feed my sheeps?   If I say "feed my sheep," it means I have a herd of sheep not one sheep.  I'd have to say, "Please feed that sheep," to make it one sheep.  Anyway, I think Paul bunged this up and it never seems to have come up again. 

Paul goes on to produce one of the most jumbled analogies known to theologians.  In Galatians 4:21-31 he makes an analogy between Sarah the wife of Abraham and Hagar the slave woman and her children.  Somehow the children of Hagar end up being the Jews of Jerusalem and Isaac and his descendents end up as the "Children of promise," symbolizing the uncircumcised Gentiles who accept Jesus.  Really?  He uses Isaiah 54:1 to kick off his analogy but really makes a scripture mean what it never meant, which like Matthew, he was very good at.  

Somehow the Father of the Circumcision, Abraham, ends up the Father of the uncircumcised Gentiles.  Theologians , real ones, call this "over reaching."  The whole idea of hardened hearts needing to be circumcised is kinda creepy.

Paul makes all sorts of amazing analogies that tend to fall apart upon examination. But he so badly wanted to get the Gentiles into the Covenant, making things mean what they did not mean was raised by him to an art form.  

In 2 Corinthians 3:13-18 Paul goes nuts with an analogy that simply is not true.  He says that when Moses brought the Decalogue to Israel that he covered his face to hide from the people his fading radiance.  Paul then goes on to say "Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their heart but when anyone turns to the lord, the veil is taken away."  What a slaughter of context Paul makes with this analogy.  He makes it mean the exact opposite of what it did mean!  Any good Bible reader can discern that when Moses descended from the mount with the tablets of stone, his face shown.

Very impressive.  When Moses spoke to the people about the law and when he talked with God in the Tabernacle he did so with his face uncovered.  When he was NOT discussing the law or in the presence of God, he covered his face.  The point was the radiance referred to the divine and should not be taken lightly or used in a profane way.  
Ex 34:35

"And the Children of Israel saw the face of Moses,

that the skin of Moses face sent forth beams;

And Moses put the veil back on his face, until

he went in to speak with HIM. '

Paul, by analogy, tried to make the fading radiance to mean the glory of the law was passing away.  However, when Moses radiated, there is no mention of fading radiance and no veil when speaking about the law.  Paul reverses the intent of the OT to make his non-point.  Paul turns the veil into a blindfold over the eyes of the Jews when they read their own Scriptures.  As a result they miss Jesus in those scriptures.  Of course the reason they really missed it is because Jesus is not in those original scriptures and making a bogus analogy and making their scriptures mean what they never meant is not going to work. 

It's a dumb analogy and Paul has lots of them as he wrenches scripture from its context to present his Gospel, quite different from anything Peter, James, John or Jesus would have done.

Anyway, enough of Paul, we had our own modern analogies to herd we sheep.

I went to College at "The West Point of God's Work."  Nice analogy, but pretty weak.  I'm pretty sure the rigor at West Point was a bit more than that I found at AC, or "God's College."  

Once, I had a bad cold and was told wine was good for that.  I had not been a drinker of anykind before AC or the Church.  I grew up with it, but it was no big deal.  At any rate, I sat studying "the Harmony (now understood as disharmony) of the Gospels drinking wine out of a gallon bottle.  The first time I lifted my head to look up, I got dizzy and fell out of the chair..."full of the spirit."  It was hilarious.  Nice analogy.

I very often studied on Saturday evenings alone at my dorm. The Dean got wind of this "study thing you do," and told me I needed to get out more.  He made me attend Basketball games and be the flag boy in the white coat during the Pledge of Allegiance.  I hated it.  On top of that, I had to watch Dave Pack play basketball and I don't like basketball and about the worst thing you could do to me was make the spiritual life into a sports analogy.  From "gun laps" where we ran out of bullets to "team work," which I never really saw much of in reality,  I hated sports analogies  about the Christian life.  They can be abused.  God becomes the team owner, Jesus is the Coach and no matter how hard I tried, I was either the batboy or just a team member.  Members had it worse as they were mere spectators.  

So, I've been a seed, a sheep, a wolf, a shepherd, a snake, and a living sacrifice.  I've landed on fertile ground, sorta fertile ground, unfertile ground, rocks and ravines.  I've had roots and I've fallen over because I had no roots.  I have built my house on sand or on the rocks depending.  I have fallen down, away and flat.  I am once born, twice dead , a wandering star and vomit in the mouth of God...

Man!   All I ever really wanted to be was authentic, genuine and myself.   I only wanted to know what was true and what was not. I didn't want to be scorched by the dragon nor stalked and devoured by a roaring lion.   Raging wave of the sea?  Not me!  No better than a bunch of sticks that are only good to be burned?  Oh please. 

 Is that asking so much?  Yes, evidently, from religion it is asking way way too much...but life is not really an analogy. It is a gift and lasts about as long as the winds across the plains or an ice cube in hell. Religion needs the skeptic like the ocean needs the sand or all risk being swept away in a tsunami of confusion, error and mere compliance like a sheep before her shearers is dumb... Hey, great analogy!!!

Dennis C


What If...?

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorWhat if it was ok if all the members or ministers in any COG didn't all speak the same thing?

What if gentleness, goodness, meekness, kindness and longsuffering was taught and displayed more than the unknowable meanderings of prophecy?
What if the minister had a servant personality instead of a Plantation Owner mentality?
What if "give as you are able," was all one ever heard from the Pastor or the Church Organization?
What if the lowest priority of a Church was a building program?
What if you could look your Pastor in the eye and tell him "that was the most far fetched view of scripture I have ever heard?"
What if the Pastor laughed at himself when he gave such sermons and was called out on it?
What if some of the membership really had a more balanced view of scripture than the minister?
What if it was not permitted for the Pastor to use the words "soon," "in our lifetime," "gun lap," or "soon coming...."  in any sermon?
What if a member could tell the Pastor he'd take his advice under advisement ?
What if you were able to make your own decisions about living your life even though the Pastor felt the decisions he makes in his life are more correct?
What if you messed up and had a Pastor who could freely admit "I messed up too," and had a good laugh together?
What if members gave up on the idea of becoming "perfect or mature as God is perfect," and just did the best they could under the circumstances?
What if it was ok to get to church or the Festivals as best you could without fear of being a slackard?
What if it didn't matter what Adam, Abraham, David, Solomon, the Prophets, or any real or imagined character in the Old Testament did or didn't do thousands of years ago?
What if a COG Organization did not have to spend so much energy and time trying to convince others they were the one true Church?
What if numbers and statistics didn't matter and were proof of nothing?
What if the leadership of Grace Community International apologized for reckless theological games and realized the damage and doubt brought to the minds of tens of thousands was more than the sweetness brought to the hundreds left over. 
What if "I am sincerely sorry for the pain caused," and "I was wrong," were ok concepts for the minister to utter from time to time.
What if advertisers of religious perspectives did not have to scream in red print at you from the pages of the Journal?
What if any minister who declared himself a Prophet, Apostle, Watcher or Witness , out of the blue and without due process and proof was bounced out on his ass or asked to get some counseling?
What if a member could freely sit through a sermon and be ok with telling themselves this particular sermon is boring, crazy, weird or egocentric and probably not true as presented.
What if a member could utter the words, "Please don't tell me, us, my family, my wife, my kids what to do or how to be."
What if you had a minister that said, "I have come to see that things are not exactly as I always thought them to be..."
What if you had a minister who understood the background, context, origins, intent and story behind the scriptures?
What if science was not "falsely so called."  
What if all the COGs could say, "Let's face it, we have allowed some pretty weird personalities to tell us what to do and how to be and perhaps have not understood the Bible as it was intended to be understood."
What if everyone understood the Bible is not inerrant or perfect and you really can't be 100% God and 100% Man in any way anyone can imagine.
What if we all laughed at those who sound and act like they understand the above concept evolved over hundreds of years to plug the holes in other questions raised over time.
What if the COGs understood the concept you can never make a scripture mean what it never meant.
What if pious conviction with marginal information was not how a COG wanted to present it's views?
What if you didn't "send it in," or wouldn't "send it in" until or unless you were confident it would not be misused, wasted or stashed away by the Pastor?
What if everyone roared with laughter when the Pastor wanted to build another college or House for God knowing how big the Universe is?
What if the words, "I was wrong,"  "I didn't know,"  "I have no background in that,"  "I see the problem,"  "I know I tend to be...",  "I have made (and list them) mistakes in my life,"  "I am sorry...",  "I apologize",   "What do you think we should do..?",  "I don't know the answer to that..."
What if perfect love actually cast out fear and like Rodney King, we could all wonder why we can't get along?
What if all the COGs never again allowed ONE Minister, Pastor or Self Appointed human being to tell them how it all is as if they really knew?
Whew......now that's back on track!


"My eyes are anointed..."
"No!  My eyes are anointed..."
"Are not..."
"Are too..."
"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, 
and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
Matthew 16:18
Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorNow there is a scripture that has launched a hundred thousand churches if ever there was one! 
Aside from my suspicion this text has been inserted years after the fact to support a much more mature set of practices and beliefs than any Jesus in Matthew would have had in mind, every COG leans heavily on this scripture to know without a shadow of a doubt, the Church they are is the Church the author of Matthew meant and put in the mouth of Jesus.
I'm pretty sure Jesus never had the concept of himself building any church. Jesus either thought he would not die and God would rescue him in the nick of Roman time, or if not, he would return immediately, or perhaps the "Son of Man" would, who he may or may not have thought of as himself, and kick the collective Roman ass once and for all.  Sadly, and of course, we know how that worked out.  
My personal regret about this scripture is that Jesus, who wrote NOTHING himself evidently, but is quoted here never went on to define what that Church would look like.  What would its beliefs and realities be?  What would it teach?  Who would get to have the final say?  Would it be a Jewish Christian perspective as Peter, James and John would have found correct, or would it be the Gentile Church as understood by the Apostle Paul?  If you believe these two groups "all spoke the same thing," or had the same one truth and Gospel, you are not doing your homework.  
The Gospel of Paul, with his Cosmic Christ and the soon coming "Son of Man" in a Jewish context were not the same Gospel message.  The Book of Galatians is clear that these men were at odds with each other and not on the same page.  Paul cursed those who brought another Gospel than the one Paul thought up and he was talking about the Jerusalem leadership, who Paul defined as "however, in all men is not that knowledge")  He even called them "reputed to be pillars" but went on to say that they added nothing to his own Gospel and actually he learned nothing from them.  When Paul chided Peter for his turn around in the presence of "those from James,"  it sounds like Peter was the bad guy and not near as mature as Paul.  In fact, in my view, Peter recognized at this meal that Paul had no intention of going along with the Acts 15 directives to place the Noahide rules on those who wished, as gentiles to become Christians.  I believe Peter probably noticed Paul was serving not unclean meats but meat offered to idols which Paul is said originally to have agreed not to do in Acts 15.  In I Corinthians 8 we see that Paul considered that view as "weak" and had no intention of teaching it in fact.  
In short, Paul was a liar and two faced in just the same way he accused Peter of being.  The reason Paul comes out looking so good and Peter so bad is that we only have Paul's story and really a dummied down version of that. We don't have Peter's view or a description of exactly what Peter found to be a problem with Paul's table.  Paul gets to brag about his bravely getting in Peter's face over the issue and "winning."  Peter gets to say nothing.  
So back to the original concept of Church building.  How nice it would have been had Jesus taken a few moments to outline exactly what that Church would look like.  But since he probably neither thought about it in reality or actually said these words added years later when there was a version of the "one true Church" up and running already, we can never know.  Jesus would not have known what his Church would look like because he never considered the concept.  Like bearing one's cross, the concept was a product of another time and the priests of those times were not unwilling to put words in Jesus or Peter or Paul's mouth to justify their current practices, when there actually was a Church.   
So we can see, and the NT is full of evidence that Peter was not to be followed according to John who thought him to be no better than Judas.  In a process called "Intercalation", the author of John always sandwiches a negative comment about Simon Peter between negative comments about Judas, Son of Simon.  While we miss the point, the readers of the day would have understand that Peter was no better than Judas and was the baloney between the two slices of Judas.  
We also have the sarcastic story of Peter , who said he would do one thing, (never leave Jesus) and did another, (Denied him) killing off Ananias and Sapphira who said they would do one thing (Give all) and did another, (held back).  We miss the point today but the audience of Luke and Paul would have clearly understood the sarcasm and humor behind it sending the message not to follow Peter the Judas and hypocrite. Peter denies...Judas betrays...no difference!
The Book of James , asking how you can have faith without works to show the faith in action and Paul's Book of Romans which makes great fun of works of any kind proving anything are not the same Gospel.   While the COG's try to see both men speaking the same thing, they really are speaking the opposite.  
Today in Fundamentalist Christianity in general and the COG's in particular the war designed to see which version of the True Church is the True Church wages on. 
Its a Church version of "I'm Spartacus...No, I'm Spartacus...oh no your not, I'm Spartacus!"   It's both funny and sad but also confusing and harmful to those that feel that their job in life is to discern EXACTLY which one of these competing views is the right view of Jesus and God.  Ok, and the Holy Spirit too.  
But I will say it again.  Never in the history of whoever and whatever Jesus said, did, meant and taught has there ever been one true church.  There was not one to be found in the New Testament either.  What you find is a smaller more focused battle between the Jewish version of Peter, James and John and the Gentile version of the Apostle come lately Paul.  
It is no accident that Paul, who never met any earthly Jesus or quoted him ever because for Paul, Jesus was a cosmic hallucinatory version in his head, while the Gospels, written long after Paul died, are the bringing his Jesus down to earth version.  For Paul, Christ died in the heavens and was killed by demons and spirits while for the Gospel writers the Romans, oops, the Jews killed the earthly version.  They are not the same story.  They are not the same concept.  They are not the same Gospel.  And there never was one true coherent, all speaking the same thing Church of God EVER.
In my opinion, the Apostle Paul was the false prophet proven false by the Ephesian Church (home of John?) that was tried and found wanting in Revelation.  Vespasian was the Beast.  None of it has anything to do with today. It is what Paul was getting at when he noted "all those in Asia have turned away...may God not lay it to their charge."  Ephesus is in Asia.  All of them found Paul to be one donut short of a dozen and they all sent him on his way.  Paul, in his typical way, never seemed to ask why?  He merely noted that they were all wrong and he was still right and he hoped God did not hold it too hardly against the Ephesians.  However, the Jesus of Revelation assured the Ephesians that they had done a good thing by telling them "well done," so guess who won that argument?  The topics was the Ephesians finding certain Apostles to be found wanting.  They weren't talking about the original 12 you can be sure.  
Also, we have to note that of the 24 times Paul is called an Apostle in the NT, Paul calls himself one 22 of those times with Luke, his biographer adding the other 2. Seems no one else but Paul thought he was a genuine Apostle.  Kinda like today with the competing true Apostles telling their churches "and yes brethren, I am an Apostle,"  but no one outside that organization believing that to be true in any way.  Paul made himself an Apostle and said that Jesus and God did it.  He had to say Jesus and God because you can't prove that and no others humans were buying it.  It's kinda like saying that if the Apostle is wrong, God will correct him, not you or I.  But really, who would say such a stupid thing in real life?  :)
So for those of you who still struggle with seeking the one true and exactly right Church of God.....RELAX!  There isn't one.  Never has been and never will be.  There will always be many versions both similar and so very different from each other that are the one true church.   Don't stress over to eat or not to eat out on the Sabbath.  Forget about Moons and Moon Pies.  Don't feel obligated to go along with any man who says he and his wife are the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 or this, that or any other prophet.  I mean really...what's the chance? 
The most amazing True Churches of God are really not all that amazing and the moment the guru dies, you are going to be back in the mud wondering if anything is ever going to work out in your lifetime.  Lighten up.  Don't fret about days and dates, time is short or the night being far spent.  2000 years is really a long time for time is short and the Book of Revelation being written to "show the things which must shortly come to pass," so long ago now.  Revelation is true. It really did try to show the things which would shortly come to pass in the 70's AD.  It was just wrong and the Romans won.  The brethren it was meant to encourage either ran for their lives or died on the spot on the ends of Roman swords.  That's what really happened and what really came to pass.
Personally, if I am wrong and ever get to speak to a genuinely resurrected Jesus or God, I am going to ask why they did not make these most important topics more clear.  I mean if it determines our eternal lives, should the gods leave any of that in the hands of humans to get right in the translation?  I think not.  I am going to mention that faith seems to be what is required but then along come the facts and ....well, things change.  
I'd like to ask why they did not write anything down themselves.  Even the Buddha wrote much and all the great writers of the day, some of whom actually lived just down the street at the right time, never seemed to notice the events spoken of in the Gospels. Maybe they were at a writer's convention and out of town for that year (according to Matthew, Mark and Luke)  or three years, (John). 
At any rate, whatever "more correct,"  "more true," or  "the original" Church of God means is up for grabs and debate. I do know that the Church of Brotherly love today seems hateful and nuts.  The Church that has restored has really just copied not true either stuff.  The Church that is United is terribly divided.  The Church that is alive seems small and dying.  And the true church that is a mere remnant is ...well, not all that impressive and can't get their message down the street, much less to all the world.
Relax...Take a deep breath.  You don't have to struggle over which organization, Apostle or view of scripture is the exact right one.  It does not exist.  It NEVER has, not in the pages of your Bible nor in present day reality.  It never will. 
While everything you see today in the COGs is very much, if not exactly what we see in the New Testament Church and its leadership doing and being exactly what we see in the NT,  I don't mean that in the way you might think.  

Faith Without Anxiety is Dead

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorTo write or not to write?  That is the question.  I find myself in a bit of a quandary over whether to address this topic of post-WCG anxiety.  I strongly suspect it to be a great part of the experience that many have when leaving the comfortable confines of friends, church and the comfort one gets from knowing how all of life will turn out for you.  I could have never imagined the existential anxiety that is generated from the loss of religious belief and faith.  I do now.  

Evidently, I did not invent this.

Lynn Min

"Spirituality can make a significant difference in sufferers of anxiety. There exist numerous studies indicating that religious people are less likely to become anxious than their nonreligious counterparts.

In 1993, researcher Harold Koenig studied the relationship between religious involvement and anxiety in 2,969 individuals. He found that young and middle-aged individuals who attended church at least once a week were significantly less likely to have anxiety-related disorders than those who did not attend church regularly. Devotional activities such as prayer and Bible study were associated with lower incidence of agoraphobia and other forms of anxiety. Regular church attendance was also correlated with lower levels of anxiety.

Anxiety can be viewed holistically. Their beginnings manifestations are not simply psychological, physiological, or social. It is the interaction of all of the above, plus the spiritual.  Consider the following example of the spiritual component of anxiety. Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl pointed out the type of anxiety which follows from the belief that one's life has lost its meaning. In other words, if I begin to believe that my life is without purpose, the result can be anxiety. While the resulting anxiety is coined a psychological disorder, the root of it lies in the deep spiritual search for life’s meaning. "

 I am writing this while having yet another round of the anxiety that seems a genuine tendency for me personally as a result of the loss of faith, friends and fellowship along the way.  I could be smarter perhaps and keep it to myself and just get through, but what is the use of a common experience if you don't share it.  I am quite able to blow off the advice I know is out there to "come back to Jesus,"  or "you're problem is...."  I cannot help how I feel nor can I help the conclusions I have drawn, for now, over this entire WCG fiasco.  

My only choice seems to be does it dominate the rest of my life, or can I find a safe place to file it all away as just another experience meant to teach and take one further on a more genuine life journey?  The impression of being stuck has hurt personal relationships and probably contributed to the loss of friends and contact.  I also can't seem to help that as stuck is stuck and it would probably be obvious when unstuck has become the norm again.  

I find I don't find comfort in teachings I doubt or in history that is not presented as it really was or is.  I am not inspired by those who are so sure the Bible is without errors or contradictions knowing they refuse to even look at what the problems might be.  That behavior, common in the COG perspectives , simply does not work for me.  I know how COG ministers think and I know how little study outside the acceptable box they do.  I also know current COG ministers and frankly, a number of other minister types who freely admit, to me, their skepticism and realizations, but you would not know it when you hear them preach or write.  I have heard the phrase "I know that is true, but I will lose my job," more than once from these men.   There are two of them, the one inside and the one they show, and their church only sees the one they present to them.  They also seem much less inclined toward anxiety living in two worlds instead of picking one.  Something does not have to be true either literally or at all to keep the beast of anxiety at bay.  All it takes in belief that it is so, even it it isn't.

For example, I have always had a problem with prayer.  Oh I know the should's and must's of it all, but it was always difficult for me.  I always had a sneaking suspicion that I was just talking to myself.  I did a lot of it though.  But then I realized how sincere the prayers of the people of faith are when they find themselves in harms way and beg God to save them and they die some horrible death.  I wonder what a Christian in Somalia feels when they get a gasoline filled tire hung around their neck and they know what's coming or have to dig their own grave while soaking in gasoline.  I know they are begging God to help them and there is no help coming...ever.  I have buried a lot of children who inspite of "Their Angels do always watch over them," are quite dead and no Angel showed up in time. Then I think how stupid my asking for a calm spirit or a bit more security in this or that area of life really must sound to a real Deity who neither helped the poor soul in Somalia begging for mercy or saved the child leaving muddy hand prints along the edge of the pool trying to get out.  I just think like that and it does indeed fuel an anxiety that simple faith, justified or not, seems to keep at bay.

I think the world needs its skeptics to keep those who use critical thinking in what they accept into their beliefs honest.  I say critical thinkers because frankly I knew few if any among my ministerial peers.  I read some of the articles they write to inspire their current followers and just shake my head over whether or not they really believe what they say or are just on auto-pilot saying what they are used to saying or are expected to say.  A recent update from LCG showing how pet store pythons left to grow big and eat the animals in the Everglades relates to prophecy is a great example of this silly kind of connections that are almost unbearable to read. I suppose runaway cudzu is also a sign that time is short.

So here I sit and spin out an anxious, which really a somewhat fearful, chemistry.  Perhaps the price of knowledge is anxiety.  I know it is a byproduct. I felt ever so much more safe in the group.  No matter what happened, I had hundreds of friends there to answer the call.  We all had each other. We all believed the same thing,  and whether it was right or wrong did not matter.  Shared errors. if never looked at, are comforting.

Critics will use the fact that those who press ahead and aren't easily sold the ideas of others having anxiety as proof that they are outside of the grace and plan of the Deity.  I don't believe that either.  If we left everything up to the church, we'd still be in the Dark Ages.  Progress is fueled by inquiry and even the anxiety caused by just standing still, or getting stuck perhaps.  If everything is totally comfortable, where is the need or motivation  to learn anything else or examine what the current belief is?  Belief is not the same as truth, but ever so much more comforting.  Is not passivity, compliance and "whatever you say," the dream state for the one man religious show to get his followers in?  I simply cannot do it.  I felt this disturbance often at the Feast when other ministers gave their standard sermons and everything in me was saying,  "and you know this?" or "yeah, yeah, fine...can you speed this up?"  My bad.

So now, during the course of writing this  (I am at school with the occasional student wanting to talk to me), I feel the anxiety lifting.  Writing off loads it for me as does talk with a patient and understanding friend.  I love study and learning the things I was never told either because they weren't known or were but not spoken.  I can only take my journey.  The Universe is beyond huge. In the scheme of things we are just one of billions of galaxies each containing millions of life yielding planets.  Quantum physics and cosmology informs us that reality is not what you think it is and we may just be one grape on a cluster  of many universes in one local vineyard.  Paleontology informs us that evolution is generally true and the mythology of Adam and Eve is merely that.  I kinda knew this all my life but now we know more than at anytime in the history of humans, we are conscious hairless apes with an amazing past.  This does not preclude the existence of a Deity, but perhaps does the cultic one of the OT.  While fundamentalists will argue for the mythologies of the Bible being literally true, they are not.  While the stories have a meaning, it is not related to literal origins of everything from the Grand Canyon, language or conscious humanity.  

So the price of breaking free seems to be a round or two of lonely, bouts of anxiety and a smattering of with  at times for good measure as meaning takes a hit. .  I suspect this is the normal progression in the lives of those that are seeking rather than judging everyone based on what they feel they have found and no longer need to let any new information in to rain on their parade.   That approach, in spite of the anxiety produced in not clinging to fables, myths and hearsay as being literally true or comforting is simply no longer acceptable or an option.  I cannot unring the bell of  skepticism formed by my WCG experience or the facts that I have let in to inform me on theology and religion.  If I could do it again...well I wouldn't have.

Thank you for listening...


The Joy-Filled Kingdom of Men

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorI'm not so sure I'd enjoy being ruled by the fundamentalist or theologically challenged Christians I know. They just know that they, the true true saints, will rule the world under Jesus Christ. This makes me nervous and I'm not so sure it will be source of my never ending joy realized when Jesus returns to rule us all with a "rod of iron." 

Somehow the use of seminars, luncheons and field trips never seems to dawn on Jesus or God as a way to better teach us poor ignorant slobs. I respond much better to genuine information and question asking. I'm just not sensing much that questions will be tolerated but rather we'd all be given a loose leaf binder with all the questions already answered..end of discussion. 

It is my hope the Rod of Iron thing is made up by the men who love to rule with such things. In becoming as little children, you'd think rods of iron would be prohibited as an acceptable way to solve problems and teach truth. I know, there is a way that SEEMS right to me but ends badly, God's ways are not my ways.  God does not see things as mere men do.  And of course, the wisdom of man is foolishness with God, but I just thought I'd mention it.  Actually the Proverbs tell us the Rod of Correction will be good for kids and a good beating won't kill them, so there ya go!  

I'm not holding out a lot of hope for the Clergy I know.  They don't get along very well among themselves. The screamers among them seem to compete for the recognition and preeminence and the rules they believe they will enforce upon all mankind within their reach are down right depressing and frightening. Worse yet, they don't seem to be able to agree on which rules are rules, which are suggestions and which are done away with. I do know they tend to want to be in charge and not just work for the Lord in lower positions.  Everyone wants to be a King or Priest it seems. All Priests and no Indians or something like that...

In their perfect Theo-world there will be no dancin' or card playin'. No hair longer than that of the 1950's and no dresses shorter than ankle high. They will be made mostly of boring colors and put you in mind of your grandma. Clothing will be boring because that proves your sincerity and humbleness of spirit. A uniform of some sort would be even better according to some.  All children will wear Y.O.U. clothing I guess.  All fundraising will be accomplished selling Ten Commandment Plaques.  And those tattoos are going to have to come off!  Tattoo Eradicator would be a great profession to go into in this Kingdom.  Tons of business. 


You'll be forced, because it's the rule, to go to Bible studies on Wednesday nights and church EVERY Sunday, or Saturday depending.  You'll agree that Jesus really was born on Christmas and really died on Easter for all the appropriate reasons. You will be baptised by immersion or sprinkled depending. You're repentance will be heartfelt and genuine and you will become perfect like God is, or else of course. In fact you'll agree with what you are told to agree with even if you don't. If you don't, you will keep that very very quiet. However a local pastor says that God knows our thoughts, so that will be a challenge. I just know he's gonna tell!

As far as entertainment is concerned, you will love Andy Griffith and hate American Idol.  Movies will be strictly monitored and you will learn to love "The Sound of Music"and "Oklahoma" as you never thought you could, or else. Stores will close on the appointed days and times and only sell the appropriate Christian things. I imagine only Christians will be allowed to even own or run a store. Oh yeah, the non-believers will be dead.

Concerning science, well, hold on to your hats. Evolution, which is literally true, will be banned and creationism and the Fall of Man because of woman in the Garden of Eden, which is not literally true, will replace it. Your vacations will be to the Creation Museum in Arkansas or Kentucky. Science will be ever so much more easily understood. Phrases like "Quantum physics tells us," or "human consciousness studies inform us that," will be replaced by "God says." In fact, every finding of archaeology, paleontology, astronomy and every other "onomy"and "tologies" will be replaced with "God says." A degree in science won't take long at all and the answers will become so much easier to come up with on the test. All the science you need to know you will find in the Bible....mostly the Old Testament.  

Clergy will replace politicians and giving to the State will be regulated by Old Testament laws on tithing and many other such things you won't believe how happy they will make you. It will be to one's advantage to become a Priest of the Most High if you ever expect to accumulate any real material wealth. The Ten Commandments will be suspended long enough to steal the unbelievers blind, rape their wives, enslave their children and kill those who can't see the light as it is revealed to them. If you should find yourself in any kind of conflict over why you have to be so compliant and believe the unbelievable, this is why Jesus has his very own rod of iron. He will convince you that you need to adjust your attitude and you will do so nicely and with sincerity. After you learn anatomy by seeing eyes and tongues dissolve in the appropriately "God is Love" wrath, , you'll feel more inclined to obey and be happy.

Now we can all hope the above nightmare scenario in the hands of Christian Fundamentalists will never come to pass. However, we have ample Old Testament predictions that Jewish fundamentalism will prevail in a very similar way. The above mentioned pastors will be forced to give up Sunday for Sabbath, Easter for Passover and Christmas for the Feast of Tabernacles.   Christian Pastors , falsely so called, will be really surprised! Most will claim they are merely farmers once they see what's in for the false prophets and ministers of Satan among them. 

Let's take a quick look at how happy we will be when the Messiah comes from the Jewish Christian perspective, and how deep our joy must be, or else.

Zechariah 14:
(1-2) Jerusalem under siege from the nations.

Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
See, I told ya the Ten Commandments would be suspended for the greater good!  But not to worry.  It's a YHVH trap and those who were gathered against Jerusalem because they were gathered there by God will be sorry they showed up....
(12-15) Enemies are forever plagued.
And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths. It shall come to pass in that day that a great panic from the Lord will be among them. Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor, and raise his hand against his neighbor's hand; Judah also will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be gathered together: Gold, silver, and apparel in great abundance. Such also shall be the plague on the horse and the mule, on the camel and the donkey, and on all the cattle that will be in those camps. So shall this plague be.

See, I told ya you could still have lots of good stuff if you were the chosen ones and you'd learn anatomy in new and interesting ways! A man's life may not consist of the abundance of things he possesses, but that sorry belief will be put to rest in this huge booty raid.  I'm not sure there are going to be all that many horses, mules, camels and donkeys if this really is a time in the future but what do I know.  It could happen.

(16-19) All the nations come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord.
And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

See, I told ya have to give up the pagan Christian holidays and absolutely fall in love with the Jewish Holy Days, or else.  You see, being forced to be happy and obey is the way. Force makes you sincere or else. You will love church or else.  You know..kinda like those poor North Koreans that had to show sincere grief over the loss of Kim Bong Bill or risk a the need for some re-education summer camp.  At the Feast, when you asked, "How did you come into the truth?" you can say,  "It wasn't raining so I thought, "what the hell, I may as well go to the Feast and act interested."  

(20-21) The common is made holy.
In that day "Holiness to the Lord" shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the Lord of hosts. Everyone who sacrifices shall come and take them and cook in them. In that day there shall no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts.

See, I told ya Church was going to be a lot different and you better not be one of the not so special ones!  Again, it appears horses will make a major comeback as a mode of transportation.  

Doesn't being under enforced, for your own good, religious rule sound inspiring? For those who have traveled through the WCG/UCG/PCG/PKG/LCG/GCG/RCG/LSD/DDT/MSG/STP Wild World of God Church experience, what human leader, now God as God is God, would you like to be under?  And you can't prefer to just be yourself and even born right the first time.  You must pick one!  You must feel evil, wicked, worthless, poor, blind, naked and a general loser with no hope unless you love being associated with this one and only way to be.  Rather insane isn't it....

 I sincerely hope this is not what "and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free," really means. Freedom under religious rule and control is truly frightening and depressing.  

" Those who can make you believe absurdities

can make you commit atrocities."
 Voltaire ...

Dennis C

It's Just a Story...

Remember-Repeat-React-Resist is Not the Way

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorThe experiences in all our lives is just a story.  With a little change here or there, a look, a wave a mistake or an event outside of our control, every story changes.  

When I was 14 I wanted to go see my sister in Idaho.  I was in NY.  Shortly after getting the airline ticket, the airlines went on strike.  Guess that idea was on hold and school started soon.  Then I saw a train and wondered if I could take a train.  So I did.  It was there at 14 I found them reading the Plain Truth.  Being weird and curious I devoured everything they had.  I went to church with them. I heard a good sermon for a change...and the rest is part of my story in life.  Had I not taken that train, the story would have been different for years to come.

I postponed a flight once just for a day and didn't die on Big Bear Mountain in Duarte, California


I waved at somone once across a parking lot and the story swerved and changed.

I got several times where that story would play a part in more stories years later

I made a phone call or two in life that changed the whole story again.

While that story unfolded, the stories of others unfolded around me and those stories began to affect my story.  Various people came and went in and out of my story and the story kept turning into another one and not the original story I had envisioned for myself.  Finally the stories of others pretty much ruined my original story and a dramatically new story, yet just another story, came into my life to play out.  That story changed too into yet another and another and another. 

Everyone has a story to tell and yet one of the real skills in life is not to identify too much with the ever changing story  of one's life.  If it was not one story, it would have been another complete and replete with different characters, experiences, offspring, relationships, drama and outcomes.  Yet in it all, it is still just a story.  

Eventually, if we are lucky and live long enough to accumulate stories, we begin to look back and remember, repeat, react and resist the stories that were burned much more deeply into our memories and self more than others.  These are stories that leave deep impressions on us, have hurt us deeply or put us in situations where we had to come up with yet another story to fix or at least learn to accept the consequences of the last story.  Yet again, it is all just another story.

I don't believe we here have to speak in code.  The WCG story, which for whatever reasons, we allowed into our lives and become a major player in our own personal life story , has left some pretty big scars, lessons and , if we are not present in the moment of our current life story, can easily put us all back into the ever looping cycle of remember, repeat, react and resist.  What we resist persists as far as I can tell.   
In other words, we get stuck. 

Personally, and in the context of my own story, I am not confident of what may be really true and what is not.  Well meaning friends or readers sometimes will try to explain it to me or sometimes we all endeavor to explain it to  each other, but I don't ever see myself or others finding much encouragement in the stories and conclusions of others in their stories.  I'm thinking we each have our own unique story, experiences and such to learn our own life lessons.  It is why we find so little success in using our own stories to influence the story of others.  It's certainly why we see little "success" in bringing one sitting in their own story to "their senses" and filter their lives through the opinions, views, truths and discoveries of our own stories.  Simply put, it is why few change much from their own story to ours, yours or mine.  

I have noted that one of the reasons, if not the main reason, people of all kinds of faiths and beliefs don't easily give them up is that they/we adopt our beliefs to protect us from the fear we have of death.  All religion is born out of this fear and conscious awareness that we only seem to have that we will go through the cycle, no exceptions, of "Not here---Now here---No longer here" whether we like it or not.  The Apostle Paul, in his-story, for a time thought that others would die in the faith, but of course, WE who will be alive shall be changed.  Bzzzzzzzzz..thanks for playing Paul, but you got that wrong didn't you.  

Ministers give sermons every week and tell stories.  Ministers are story tellers and because of our story, we get to have access to some pretty amazing stories that are spun and woven every week called sermons in the COGs.  Ron Weinland spins a tale, as if he really knew, and draws people into his story.  Dave Pack has a story to tell as does Gerald Flurry, Rod Meredith, Joe Tkach Jr and hundreds of others, all competing to include others and even sometimes each others audiences in their story.  The real trick is to tell a story so compelling or in such a way as to seem to be the "True Story of the True Church," that others drop their current story, include them in yet another story of their lives and give up their resources to perpetuate the story.  All this is designed to alleviate the fear of death and , of course, to give meaning to all the previous stories no matter how crazy they were.  

Most of us here have dropped out of the previous story and gone on to create new ones.  In many ways, the old story infects our new one.  It keeps coming up and I imagine most of us think about it in some form or another every day. And of course, doing so, pushes our own new story this way and that affecting our present lives.  We remember, repeat, react and resist a bit and get a bit screwed up, if just for a moment, in our present moments.  

But no matter the story each human being finds themselves acting out, all stories tend to teach us the same lessons.  It seems not to matter how we learn but that we learn the real truths of life that will serve us well and give us peace.  Because when it is all said and done, all I ever wanted to have and teach was peace, kindness, compassion and the kind of love which passes all understanding.  I can't say I have that kind of love and part of the reason is that , like most humans, I get stuck in the story and it impedes the progress I envision as being more meaningful than how I learned it.

So, I can't speak for anyone but me, but here is a sample of what the story of my journey into, with and out of the WCG has left me with.  They are in no particular order nor will I classify them as the bad things, the good things or the in between.  Of course I could make up a list of really negative ones like, "never trust anyone,"  "everything is bullshit," or "everyone is a liar (except me) and just out to screw you out of your mind, money and moments,"  but those aren't so much lessons as results of a perceived bad experience which was painful.  I suppose when we use the words, "everyone, everything, never and always," it is the pain speaking (painbody:) and not our genuine self.

So here are the biggies I learned up to this present time as a result of my personal story as connected and played out as a minister in WCG.

I had to resign as Master of My Universe, and admit that we actually control very little in life.

The story of others can infect my story and change my own story.

I don't have to allow the story of others to become my story but in not allowing that, I also change my own story 

We really are all small conscious parts of the same one big thing and we are all equal in it. 

I was/am responsible for my conscious and unconscious thoughts, actions, perceptions and views and that anyone of these can dramatically change my story whether I like it or not.

I chose to include WCG in my story.

I chose to want to be in the ministry of WCG aware or not aware of what may lie ahead. 

Life is not fair nor are humans who play a part in your story.

Good mental health depends on the ability to tell the story yet remember that is all it is. 

I am not my story.  I do not define myself by my story.  I cannot allow the story to define me.  

The only moment we really have is this moment.  The story is in my head and exists nowhere else.

Anger and depression lies in reliving the story or refusing to remember it could have been so many other stories.

Anxiety lies in using the story to create fear over what will happen in the future when no one on earth knows what will happen in the future.  (Sorry Dr. Bob and company)

One needs not to judge the goodness or badness of a story.  Good stories can lead to bad ones and bad stories can play out into very good ones.  Be careful what you wish for applies here. 

All suffering that comes from the story is the direct result of non-acceptance that the story happened. 

Clinging to a particular story keeps me stuck and living anywhere but the present

Sharing a story can help others with their own story

Sharing a story can be of little help to others with their own story

Pious conviction with marginal information is not good enough for me

Seeking may be more satisfying than finding

Once one finds a new story, it starts to change into another one

Some stories I wish I never read or heard of

I look forward to the stories that have yet to play out or I have never read or heard of yet

Realizing that I neither need to forgive anymore or require forgiveness is liberating

Never take anything personally as the reactions of others are based on their own perceptions of their own story

I spoke my truth as I understood it in the past and speak it today as the story has changed

Present truth is neither plain nor simple or set in stone

There never was nor ever will be one True Church or human beings who are more chosen than others

Any Deity who is omniscient and all knowing will completely understand my story and why I am who and what I am at this point in time.

That Deity will not judge me for my story that is different from all others as they are from mine and even HIS.

I did my best or I would have done better back then.

How about you......?  What life lessons has your story as reflected in your Church experience left you with?

Dennis C. Diehl


And Finally...Forgive Yourself

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorForgiveness is such a difficult topic to deal with and has so many complicated dynamics. Either it is almost an impossibility for people to grasp, or maybe it is so simple, we simply don't get it. It's probably both.

Most of the time we focus on either being forgiven by others, which has it's own dynamics, or trying to figure out how to forgive those that hurt or offended us. Everyone has both kinds forgiveness going on and so it can get complicated at times. We often are motivated by the idea of "well, I guess I have to forgive them because they said they forgave me...how dare them, damn it." Even the Bible encourages Christians to forgive simply because they were forgiven by God,through Jesus. It even says that God forgave us, not for our sake, but for Jesus sake, which seems a bit like missing the intended mark. I want to be forgiven for my sake for Jesus sake!

Frankly, most don't really forgive but rather let it go to a point of trying not to think about it and yet it simmers on the stove, always available to continue in some form of drama or painful memories to throw back and forth like lawn darts trying to hit the ring right in the middle and claim points over.

I have people in my life who I hope in time would forgive me and I have issues with some for which I need to keep growing toward a more complete and genuine forgiveness. I am at a stage where I am able to look back and see that sometimes what seems such an insult is really an opportunity to grow past something where things can work out better than it ever could have without the push. It is not always this way, of course, but can be if we look for the good in the "bad," which often lurks there grinning at us.

I'd like to talk a bit about the one kind of forgiveness that seems the most difficult of all. That would be forgiving YOURSELF. Forgiving yourself is something that is the final issue to be resolved when offenses have occurred for which forgiving or being forgiven has run it's course. We either can forgive others, and we do it over time and in degrees, or we can't. We are either forgiven, again over time and to various degrees, or we are not. We can control the pace of the one, forgiving others, but not when, if or how others forgive us. That is their issue, not ours, even though we wish it could be given in such a ways as to feel genuine and perhaps open some new doors to reconciliation in any way.

But forgiving yourself feels almost impossible. Why? First of all, there is that funky part of our nature that feels our forgiving our self is contingent on being forgiven FIRST by others for our offenses. Once they do that, then MAYBE, one can think of forgiving themselves. The problem is you might wait until hell freezes over before you are given permission of this kind to forgive yourself. If you forgive yourself without being forgiven by others, there tends to be a voice in your head that says, "How dare you forgive yourself. We have not forgiven you yet. What are you thinking!" It is followed by, "when we get around to forgiving you, we will let you know and then you can play at forgiving yourself, you jerk."

You see , forgiving oneself seems to others a some form of denial or that you don't take what has happened very seriously. To forgive yourself is to send a message that you are rather shallow or oblivious to the pain caused, when in fact, only you know that it is the depth of the pain that makes you want to be able to forgive yourself and move on. NO ONE can be harder on me than me. That is my own experience. I am the monkey on my own back when I cause pain to others. Perhaps others don't know this, believe this or even want to think this as it might take away some of the sting they can inflict if they choose to, but it is true. Most sensitive people, who even care about this topic are way ahead of their accusers in self condemnation and knowing the pain they have caused that they seek forgiveness for. There are flippant types who hurt others and seem oblivious to it. I do not speak of this type of person, nor is that who I am.

Secondly, as mentioned, we feel that if we forgive ourselves, even if there is no forgiveness extended to us, we are not taking the drama seriously enough. I felt and can feel guilty if not careful for even enjoying life as that might prove I don't take things seriously enough on this topic of forgiveness. "No I won't forgive you. You don't seem miserable enough yet." So often, being forgiven includes requirements and proof you are really sorry for the offense and prove it day and night, over and over by being miserable, practically forever...amen.

Sometimes the requirements that one must meet to be forgiven are just impossible to comply with. Sometimes there is a temptation to comply just to feel forgiven, but it won't last as the two really can't be connected. Forgiveness is a clean experience that allows everyone to be who they really are and think as they really think, no apologies. Anything less is mere compliance for a time and then of course, on go the masks until the next time they fall off. Messy forgiveness is the obligatory kind usually enforced by a fear that if we don't, then Jesus or God or some Deity might just not forgive us of our picky little sins, that we really have very few of.

So in order to forgive ones self, one has to not connect the forgiveness with performance as proof. I can only speak for myself, and I am sure this would be a point of contention, but when I cause the need to be forgiven, I was doing the best I could at the time of the perceived problem. We always do our best at any particular moment which is different from doing better as others might wish us to do to come up to standards they feel are more correct, in their view. But doing better is a future thing. Doing our best is what we always do at any moment we do what we do, or we would do better!

Finally, it is hard to forgive ourselves because we tie being able to do that with fixing that which we are needing to be forgiven for. I am a fixer and caretaker by nature. That is how I am wired. ENFP according to Meyers and Briggs. That is Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeling and Perceptive. People like me become ministers, counselors, negotiators and of all things, massage therapists. So I have not strayed far from how I was wired at birth. We are negotiators because we tend to see both sides of all stories and the points that both sides make for their views. But the downside to this is that we can get stuck in views and not make decisions. If we can't fix it, we can't move on. If we can't fix it, then we don't mean it. If we can't fix it, then we are shallow and gutless. The fact is that some things just don't fix. That is painful but true. All things broken cannot be fixed and if forgiveness of the self is based on first fixing that which is broken, or different, or changed or one sided, then you can't forgive yourself and never will. And so you spin. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. Stuck between rocks and hard places, heaven and earth, the devil and the deep blue sea.

But, fixing is not a criteria for forgiving yourself. It can't be because we can't always fix that which is broken but we must forgive ourselves as a part of real living.

So examine how things came to be.

Know that you probably were doing the best you could under the circumstances at that time and that is not the same as doing better, but these are two different things.

Don't base your need to forgive yourself on whether anyone else on the planet forgives you for what you have done, not done or said you wished you could do.

Realize that, of course, you have taken this all very seriously. This might be proven by, oh say, the tears, the anxiety, the doubt, the head banging against the wall, the depression, which is anger turned inwards. It might be the shame you feel which is a perception that you have not lived up to tribal or religious expectations, as if most do, or the guilt over breaking the taboos of the group. Only you need to know how seriously you take that which happens in life and do not let your forgiving yourself depend on whether others give you permission to do so.

And finally, some things don't fix. Just getting back into some box that doesn't work is not a fix. Patching is not fixing and trying to be what others expect as the only way to fix is patching and masking. Often things don't fix because one is not accepted for what they are, how they think or what they believe. This is why many with marital problems separate for six months, return, separate for three months, return and then separate for one week , return for their socks and can't fix it.

Forgiveness is not something to take for granted, but a healthy life includes the ability to see through this topic in practical ways and forgive YOURSELF as well, and maybe even first of all.

And finally finally, since writing this I have had to face that some things don't fix personally and it is painful to be sure.  But there is one more level of forgiveness that exists and it is for the mature to say the least.  Give up the idea that you need to forgive in the first place or that you require someone to express their sorry to you.  This is the truest freedom of all, but we'll save it for another time. 

Dennis C. Diehl


"Let Every Man Be Persuaded In His Own Mind"
The Lost Art of Saying "I don't agree"
"Be sure to choose what you believe and know why you believe it, because if you don't choose your beliefs, you may be certain that some belief, and probably not a very creditable one, will choose you."      Robertson Davies,'The Deptford Trilogy ' (p477).
Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorEarly in life, people believe what they have been told and taught to believe by those who have been also so taught before them. For better or worse, most humans on the planet still believe what others have taught them from the beginning as if, by chance, they just happened to luck out and end up being born into a family that absolutely had the final truth on most topics already understood. Of course we know this is not really likely.

But humans are mostly content not to look out and wonder if what they have been told is really true. Most humans, it seems, are not so much interested in truths as they are with comfortable beliefs. Comfortable beliefs don't really have to be true, but they are satisfying as long as one does not think too deeply about them or question the facts or their presentation.

Truth on the other hand can be very uncomfortable and yet while true, pushes the person away from that set of beliefs they were given at birth and expected to abide by. This causes no end of drama, as those who are content with beliefs, do all they can to punish and coerce those who opt for truth over belief.

One of the pitfalls of sitting in just about any congregation of the Churches of God is the phenomenon of an entire congregation seeming to be in 100% agreement with what the minister is teaching and saying every week.  Of course, this is an impossibility in real life, but sometimes the COG experience does not take place in real life.  It can be somewhat surreal at times.  This is particularly true in RCG, PKG and PCG with assorting smatterings in UCG and LCG.  It is emotionally and literally impossible for any group to "all speak the same thing."  Truth or even beliefs simply do not work like that and are filtered differently by each and every member and minister.  All speaking the same thing usually means being in compliance with the ministers view of the world, who he thinks he is and where in the world of prophecy we are now.  Crazy stuff!  

They may over talk to them about how wrong they are, or not speak to them again to punish them for straying outside the tribal beliefs. In some pathetic cultures, they simply kill you and solve the problem of you're influencing others to rethink their own beliefs, given by the tribe. It is not nice to fool Mother Nature, but it is even worse to buck the tribal beliefs and wonder if maybe you have not been told everything.

Today we see that discomfort over beliefs vs. truths in the rancorous debates over evolution vs. creationism. While the facts of evolution are generally true, details to follow, creationism is falling quickly out of favor as the explanation of how life and mostly humans came to be on this planet. The people who defend creationism do so to defend their belief on how God did or didn't do something. Their belief is based on an ancient text. It is also based on the absolute need to defend the inerrancy of the text and reality of God as we have been taught "him" to be in Sunday School.

Science defends evolution based on evidence that there might be more to life than what is contained in ancient texts. They don't claim to understand it, but are willing to step outside a box that creationists aren't, because there is so much evidence that contradicts the Biblical account.

Now creationists are endeavoring to defend the text as being good science, but it simply can't be done anymore. Showing animals in Old Testament stories spotted and stripped poles before birthing so that they produce spotted or striped offspring is something even they will have to admit is not how it works. That's really bad science on the part of the Bible, but made perfect sense to them three thousand years ago. Modern genetics really is the answer to really bad biblical "science."

Other beliefs, based on biblical texts are falling out of favor due to overwhelming evidence that contradicts them. Most honest pastors and theologians know that the birth stories of Jesus are not literally true. Most know, the story of Jesus is not all that unique in human history and the archetype of a dying God/man, persecuted, crucified, dead three days and risen again is not a once told story of Jesus.

Most recognize that the Old Testament did not spring out of vacuum, but rather out of the pagan cultures and Egyptian influences that proceeded it. Most who take the time, realize the concept of God evolves even in the Old Testament right on through the New. The simple Christian, "loving father God" of today is not how it all began. Today we have a difficult time thinking an all knowing, all caring, all forgiving, all everything God would define himself as a "jealous God" who punishes generations of people for the sins of their great great grandfathers. Although literalist Christians are very comfortable with that because, "God says, I believe it, that settles it for me." Whatever is not comfortable to even a literalist is dismissed as your not really understanding the text, or that God, while jealous, is all the other good stuff too. I think if I hear, "for the wisdom of man is foolishness with God", "My ways are not your ways", or "God does not see as a man sees", one more time as a way to bale the literalist out of a pinch, I shall scream :)

With just a bit of time today researching a favorite topic on the Internet, one can find that there is much much more to the story, the facts and the implications of a topic than what they simply had passed on to them from mom and dad who got it from their mom and dad, who got it from ....

Many today are coming to realize that the entire drama played out in the New Testament as the literalized story of Jesus was first played out in the heavens and still is today as the earth rotates around it's axis and around the sun. The rising and setting of the Sun of God in the heavens, which is literally the "light of the world" and literally as the sun, delivers us from darkness, and "in which is no variableness nor shadow of turning" is a type that literalists christians will someday have to come to terms with. It is no coincidence that when Jesus is said to have been born of a virgin on December 25th, at the end of the three darkest days of the year, Virgo, the Virgin precedes the sun rise and thus literally "the Virgin brings forth the Sun."

It is no coincidence that the Lamb is "crossified" in April when the Sun is in Aries,the Lamb, at the junction of the celestial equator and the sun's path across the heavens at the spring equinox (equal night). Humans have seen this story acted out for thousands of years. The entire circle of the zodiac, and the path the Sun/Son takes through it, tells the identical story of the life and death of Jesus and every other God/man in all cultures. The names have been changed to protect the innocent when it comes right down to it.

It has only been since the corporate and literalist church and church fathers demanded the allegory be believed as literal history upon pain of death that all the conflict and heartache of religion began. Taking an allegory and making it literally true is why the Bible seems to have so many problems and is not the harmonious piece of work that the Church would have one to believe. Many of them know it is not, but won't tell you because it does not keep the system alive if people think for themselves.

It is not to a literalist church's advantage for you to realize that a real God does not require you to go through anyone and certainly does not need you to show up at a specific building at a specific time where you learn specific and contradictory truths from the one true minister, and lose about ten percent of your annual income to boot. That's religion.

True spirituality is an inside job. What we see today in literalized Christianity is crowd control and a demand that people stay put in the box and reject any contrary facts in the name of Faith. Faith is what is demanded when the facts start to scare the powers that be. In truth, Paganism = truth when one understands Christian origins. The Christians met the pagans, and in spite of appearances, the pagans won.

So, back to original point.

Most of us had our truths pre selected for us and we simply were expected to carry on the traditions. But we live in a world where information is much more available to show that most likely we have not all been told the truth of many things. Frankly, most won't even bother to look outside their given truths. I know that. Some will look and in horror at being wrong, will retreat back to where it is safe and comfy. Some will be intimidated for a time to not look, though they want to.

Some ministers today are forced to warn their parishioners NOT to go on the Internet and research the real background of their church, religion or sacred story. Whatever you do, don't use the search words "Jesus mythology", or "pagan Christian origins", or "Astrotheology", "Errancy", "contradictions Bible" or a host of other words combined in such a way as to open your mind and infuriate everyone else who does not want you to learn one bit more than the guy, and it's mostly guys, who is the provider of his truth to you.

But go for it anyway, and remember...

"Be sure to choose what you believe and know why you believe it, because if you don't choose your beliefs, you may be certain that some belief, and probably not a very creditable one, will choose you."

Dennis C. Diehl


Oh Ye Of Little Faith?

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorLast weekend I had the rare Saturday afternoon off from the spa where I work in therapeutic massage.  Januaries are like that.  So I tuned into Ron Weinland's sermon to hear what Witness One had to say.  Ron , as we know, is one of the very true Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 and Pastor Only of the Preparing for the Kingdom of God Church of God. 

I'm am writing this to those of you from Ron's congregation or who follow him as if he really was who he thinks he is....but is not.  

I would have hoped that most would have learned by now to question their minister when he claims to see himself written of and spoken of in the pages of the Bible.  I mean really, what's the chance?  I suppose believing such things goes back to when we got "Waterhoused" over who and what everyone from HWA to GTA to Joseph Tkach were in the pages of the Bible and the mind of God, but look back and see how well that went.  

If HWA brought the hearts of the father's to the children and the children to the father's," etc, I guess I don't see it.  If Joseph Tkach was a "Weaver" then all i got from that is that he used lousy material, mixed his fabrics and it all fell apart as a very inferior garment.  What i mean is that if you look at what was supposed to be what, it was not and still isn't.'  Personally, if I have to be under a Ron Weinland, Dave Pack, Gerald Flurry type in the Kingdom...well,  can I just have a log home in the mountains and be left alone?

Ron thinks that holding back your money over the next few months, "just in case," is a total lack of faith.  Those of you who do this, congratulations, it is a total exercise in common sense and proper care of yourself and your family.  Don't quit your day job as they say.  

Somehow, Ron had found out that some of his very own congregation were holding back on their offerings and funds that he would really like to get his hands on "just in case Jesus doesn't return " in May of this year. (2012)  I expect that a year or so from now, this article will seem prophetic, but I spare you.  Don't confuse prophecy for Common Sense.

He chided you for your lack of faith.  I think he must of said, "incredible" in there somewhere because that is what Ron always says when he simply can't understand why others do or don't do what he does or doesn't do.  

But we have to talk...

Please don't put all your hopes, dreams , faith and resources into Ron's opinion, and it is just an opinion, of what the immediate future holds for you. No God is going to chide you for your caution.  "Prove all things.." remember?

 I listened to Ron totally misuse the original context and meaning of the Book of Daniel to motivate you to see the error of your ways on this putting all your eggs into one basket thing.  Ron does not really know the historical context , setting of or even the actual time and peoples to whom the Book of Daniel was written, so of course he can't get it right to begin with.  But please, please, do your own homework and draw your own conclusions.  

Anyone can be a Bible reader.  When you read the Bible like a newspaper, which you should not do, you can come up with all sorts of hope that "time is short," "the day is far spent," or it is time to reveal things "which must shortly come to pass."  Ron never notices that ALL those verses were addressed to people 2000 years ago who just knew the end of the age was upon them and Jesus would soon return.   From our perspective, we now know that they were wrong.  How badly it hurt them, their families and resources we don't know.  The Bible never really tells us the rest of those kinds of stories.  I always wish Paul had not just told us what a loser he was ("The things that I should not do I do and the things I should do I don't," but what exactly he did or did not do that made him such.  But alas, I know the trick.  I'm a bad person, I do bad things but don't ask for specifics.  We'd probably all feel better if Paul had told us specifically how he was just like us.

 Ron, like most, read the New Testament as if it was written yesterday to all of you today, but that would be wrong wouldn't it?  Ministers get around that by fooling you about the idea of "types."  Remember when Ron was wrong about a date or event awhile back that you all had been earnestly looking for and when he had to finally speak up about his failure, HE BLAMED YOU!   I remember him saying something to the effect that "You people took it all wrong.  I didn't mean it was physical, I meant it was spiiiiiiritual.....incredible."   Evidently most of you bought it as you are still there waiting for the next shoe to drop. 

I prophecy ahead of time you will hear, "God is giving us more time," or "Who knew God had even MORE to reveal to me!   I never know until we get to that time where God talks to me and tells me more!!!"   Of course, Ron is full of bullshit on this, but it's a great technique and keeps you in your seats doesn't it...

I don't question (maybe one should) Ron's sincerity, perspectives, motives or way he filters his world both Biblical and currently, but I do question his common sense and wisdom.  Do you?  You do realize that every prediction about the imminent return of Jesus, every date set, every expectation expressed, sermon given, shortly, soon and almost ever expressed on this topic over the past 2000 years has been 100% wrong 100% of the time don't you?  What's the chance a real Deity is talking to Ron and will get it right this time.

I will spare you from the entire argument that Jesus is not coming back at all and all of the Bible including the New Testament is past history but that is terribly hard for us all, me included to accept.  Even in the New Testament after the Apostle Paul had told the married to be as they weren't and those that were not married to forget about dating and marriage at that point, (hmmm, sounds familiar?), we find Paul was dead wrong. 

Real people listened to Paul, adjusted their lives accordingly and ended up with nothing to show for it but less funds and broken relationships.  Of course, Paul never said, "I apologize,"  "I meant well,"  "I thought that voice in my head and light in my eyes that spoke to me was real but I guess not,'" or anything like that.  He turned on the church and accused them of being "scoffers who asked where was this coming of Jesus we keep hearing about."  Please stop and realize that to Paul these people of common sense were scoffers, but in fact, they were right.  Time was not proving to be short nor was the day shown to be far spent.  Life went on, Paul said basically, "oh well, I fought a great fight. It was fun while it lasted.  I kept the faith.  I came up with and I know there is laid up for ME a crown of righteous which I guess you get too maybe someday...gotta go."

I know you will have a hard time with this, but from all we can see and read in the New Testament,  the Apostle Paul, Peter, James, John, all the Elders, all the opening prayer givers, all the closing prayer givers, Deacons , Deaconesses, False prophets and false apostles and yes....even Jesus as presented to us in the Gospels was wrong about the arrival of that Kingdom and just how soon it would be upon them.  "We shall not all sleep but we shall be changed, " for them and every prophecy haunted minister and church since has turned into "We shall all sleep...deal with it."

I am speaking to you with a sincere heart.  I suppose in some way, I am ministering to you in a really weird way from what you have always thought of what ministers do.  Actually I am no longer a minister but go with me on this concept.  :)  








Well, I think you get the point.  I promise that if the real Jesus really really returns on Pentecost of this year and you really really are the only true church and Ron was truly truly God's faithful witness of two, I will write a humble letter off apology and recognition of this as being so.  I'll renounce my own insights over the years and sit quietly in church and never never want to be a deacon, elder or minister ever I promise.  I'll just give what I have not got, or should not give and call it even.

Well, I guess this is the Forrest Gump moment.   And that's all I want to say about that.....

Dennis C. Diehl

"For God So Loved the World...."

A very sincere question to consider

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorI would like to seriously and sincerely reopen a question I have had for years about the teaching that God gave his only son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for us.  I believe this audience would be able to draw on scores of scriptures to this effect so I will not reproduce them here.  

What I would like to ask, and sincerely so, is "In what way is Jesus death a real death and in what way did God give his son?"

I know our initial reaction is "on the cross" or "he turned his back on Jesus and abandoned him at death," or "Jesus gave his life for us..."  etc.  But in what way? From my perspective, it was not in anyway I can identify with as a human and the "loss" God suffered is not like any loss I have seen in the faces of parents who lost real children in death.

My personal problem with the concept is that from all accounts, well most, Jesus knew he would die but also that he would return better than ever in a mere three days and not in the flesh, but back at the right hand of God.  In what way is that a sacrifice?  Every sacrifice that died in the entire Bible stayed dead.  Jesus merely appears as a sacrifice but in a way that is not really like all the so called '"types."  Jesus death was not like human death.  It was almost like a play that has a really good ending once we get to the end.  It seems more like going through the motions but not really the emotions.

Now granted, it is no fun to die at a young age, but hundreds of thousands and millions have done it before and since Jesus.  But they are all dead and gone.  I can't imagine any grief lasting long if the families and friends of those who have died would have had to wait a mere three days to get them back better than ever. I can't even imagine any of those who died being all that upset if the knew, as Jesus and God evidently did that they would be back shortly better than ever.  That's not dying.  That's stepping out for a bit and coming right back.  That is not what humans call death nor parents who have lost a child, a tragedy that eats their soul up for the rest of their lives. 

God the Father knew, evidently, what his plan was and could bring his "only begotten son that he gave  back quickly.  I can't do that.  No parent of any children I have buried can do that .  How can this be said to be the most amazing parental sacrifice in the history of the world?  I can see if  the figure of Jesus STAYED DEAD and was not himself ever to be part of the coming Kingdom.  Now that would be a sacrifice on the part of both Jesus and God the Father.  But this mere "weekend inconvenience," seems to fall far short of that?  I ask sincerely for an answer.

In what way would God have agonized over Jesus death if it was merely a short weekend event from which God would easily recover the life of his son?

In what way is this the most amazing sacrifice of all time?  (Thousands of humans have been crucified, skinned alive , boiled alive and burned to death which would seem far more hideous than any six hour death on a cross.)  I have my doubts about Jesus being "marred above any other," as well but will leave that for another time. Death on the cross is generally a days long event where no burial is afforded the criminal and the body is left to fall off the cross to be eaten by dogs.  Jesus had the burial of a King with little of the humiliation that would normally accompany such events.  I'm sure many would have said in his day that "Jesus got off easy. He died really quickly."  

I have recalled how this question came to me when a client told me she lost her only child in an accident.  After telling me how little help her church had been trying to encourage her with, "God won't give you more than you can bare," "at least you have other children," (She didn't) or "At least you will see her again in heaven," the Pastor himself made the mistake of his theological career.  He told her that "well, God lost his only child too."  

"Uh oh.." I remember thinking.  He sure stepped into that.  I asked what she said and she assured me that she screamed "NO!" at the minister and then said,  "Jesus seems to have known he would die and come back in three days. God knew He was going to resurrect him in a mere three days better than ever.  My daughter is still dead!  A real sacrifice should stay dead.  Jesus death was merely a weekend inconvenience for both Jesus and His Father."

Ugh....I just listened and thought that she , in her grief and clarity, had hit on something so deeply disturbing to me that I later wrote about it.  I asked what the minister said and she said he just looked at her and said NOTHING.  Probably the best think he could have done under the circumstances.

It is a sincere observation and it has raised a deeply troubling but sincere question in myself since then.  

So in sincerity I ask,  In what way did God so love the world that he gave his only begotten son....?  How was it the most amazing sacrifice of all time?  Should not a real sacrifice stay dead?  And why would Jesus actual death which quickly was remedied by a better than ever resurrection be considered some kind of substitution for ours?

I simply have no answer for this observation and if I were still a minister and this was thrown in my face while someone was grieving the real loss of a child, would have nothing to say but,  "that's a good question.  I don't know."

Dennis C. Diehl

"...among other things, and some have again committed to “get back on track.”

Not Again!

"Maybe we should reconsider this route?"

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorIf we have heard it once, we have heard it a thousand times.  "God has put his work back on track!"   It used to be "we are in the gun lap," but evidently there were so many gun laps, they all ran out of bullets. 

What did that mean?
Back in the day it always meant that HWA had been spending so much time flying around the world preaching the Non-Gospel of the Soon But Not Real Soon Kingdom of God to world leaders , that when he got back for a few days, he found out the mice had been playing.  
Mouse play could have been anything to a drop in income while he was gone to publishing an article or a PT cover that was less than pleasing and for sure was done without his permission.  Often times he probably had given permission but simply forgot.  And so after the appropriate sermon blasting everyone for "not getting it,"  the Church was put back on track and the appropriate member was sent out declaring it to be so.  
The Church got put back on track in 1968, 69, 70 ,71, 72,73,74,75,76,77,78----all way up to 1986 when it derailed again because the Engineer had died while the train, now on another right track was speeding ahead throttle up knowing that his end was near and unwilling to admit it or ask someone to take his place.  One of the conductors had spent a lifetime telling all the passengers that the Engineer could not die and would live until the train pulled into the station, but that was just rail road talk. 
Pretty quickly though, a new Engineer put himself as far as we can tell into the cab as all the conductors once again put the train back on the tracks.  Or at least back on tracks because these were different tracks than previous tracks.  Very often in the past, the impression was given that the train was always put back on the same right tracks as God and Jesus, I mean Christ, would have done if they were actually here helping with the heavy lifting.  But often, while close, it was at best a parallel track yet a little more right of center than the last.  Derailments were generally blamed on falling off the tracks on the left side.  
At any rate, it did not take long to see that the new Engineer, a Mr. Weaver, was unlike any Engineer WCG had ever had.  These can't be the same tracks as all the others we suspected.  He really had little training as an Engineer as far as one could tell and was prone, as was the original WCG Engineer towards nepotism putting close relatives and friends in charge of the train, the station , the conductors and all the passengers who wanted to be on the train on the right track.  I think they even took over concessions as far as I can tell.  
However, it was not long before it was obvious this Engineer was on Jesus Drugs and the train plowed into a miracle caused by Jesus, who was quite different from the Christ of WCG.  Well they said it was a miracle, but I say it was one of those abutments that announce this track is going no where and one has reached the end of the line.  I think you are supposed to stop when you see that coming up, or even be smart enough to know the route being taken actually ends up ahead and slowing down would be in order. Not being there in the first place would be even better.  But alas, no one on the train seemed to understand this or at least assumed the Engineer would know this and stop in time.  Wishful thinking evidently.  
When the train, Engineered by Mr. Weaver hit the end of the line, ugh...bodies everywhere.  The momentum took the wreckage clear into the little town of Evangelical where it burst into the flames of the Holy Spirit.  Conductors and passengers alike, who survived crawled out and off to join new railroads and work on safer and more predictable trains.  Some even started their own railroads and put those trains back on the right tracks all over again.  
It wasn't long before we could see dozens and then hundreds of separate trains each with their own unique passengers, crews and Engineers lined up, one behind the other, yet all on the same "right track."  What a site.  Have you ever seen a train behind another one on the same track try to pass the one ahead of it?  Not pretty and certainly not easy!   I guess when you are in a line anyone of them can claim to be at the head of the line and the one ahead is really at the end of the line, it's just that you caught up with it. 
Pretty soon there were hundreds of right tracks all part of the one true railroad and lead by the one true Engineer barreling down the right track.  New stations sprang up all over the country and then the world, all claiming to be the true and right railroad and back on the true and right tracks.  Problem is, they all forbid their passengers from ever riding or even reading the brochures of the other trains on the right tracks and surely never even thinking of riding on their same but different true but false railroads not driven by God's chosen Engineer.  
Soon we had competing one true railroads all on track.  There were the PCG, RCG, LCG, UCG , GCI, and dozens more railroads, all back on the same right track yet denying that each other really were.  We had "That Engineer," "And yes brethren, I am an Engineer," and even "We are the Two Engineers," of all things.  I was concerned that two engineers on the same train would cause conflicts, but was relieved to see that the one engineer never spoke and really didn't know how to run a train on the right track anyway.  Anyway, we also have, "Presiding Engineers," and "Engineers for life. " He runs the GCI line but doesn't seem to have much of a route.  
I tell you, all these trains back on the same right track makes me nervous.  Sometimes conductors from one true train on track jumps track and lands on the same right track again but different.  I can't figure that one out.  They say the last true right track train was true but is now less true and on a track but maybe not THE track.  I don't know.  Some say that some railroads pay conductors better than others and, of course, that is the real reason for jumping trains.  
Anyway, sometimes it crosses my mind that all these Engineers blowing their own whistles and stoking their own fires really aren't back on the right track after all.  I think they are on a track, but the right one?....not sure.  Well, pretty sure they aren't actually.  No, positive!  I think you can put a train back on the same WRONG track and just think you are on the right one....until you see that bumper thing at the end of a dead end staring you in the face and you going way too fast to slow down, much less stop and avoid yet another train wreck with casualties.
Personally,  I don't ride trains anymore because I am leery of the tracks.  None of these companies seem to do much maintenance or educate their conductors on how to take care of the passengers.  You know, "Jones pays the freight, give Jones what he wants,' as the old original Engineer used to say.  Shoot, their engineers haven't even gone to a real engineer school it turns out nor have they learned the many nuances of engineering.  They know nothing of the origins of real railroads or what constitutes right tracks much less how to get back on them when you drive recklessly and plow into reality.  Sometimes I think they even have the wrong book or at least read the directions half drunk.  Maybe they just filter out the stuff that they don't understand and make what they think they do mean more than it does.  
Anyway, once again, a conductor on one of the older new true railroads has jumped on to and even newer and truer one, even before the other once crashes.  He's sending passengers on all sorts of sorta true railroads and trains new schedules and wants to meet them at the station, the true station anytime they have time.  We'll see.
But, while the claim is made that once again, the true train has now been put back on the true tracks and the most true conductor and Engineer will meet you at track 29,  I have my doubts.  I have never understood how the passengers that survive can crawl from one wreck after the other and still sit on the latest train as if there never was a wreck or OK there was, but God put me on this track and damn it, I'm riding this train into glory!  Passengers are the biggest enigma to me.  They buy a ticket.  Step over the bodies, find a new train and let any glib talking, railroad reading , Engineer come lately take them along for the ride on tracks that have already proved less than safe and reliable.  Go figure.
Oh well.  Pardon me boys, is that the cat who ate your new shoes?  Ok, sorry, couldn't resist.  Personally I think you can be put back on the wrong tracks and never even suspect it the whole time you are on the train going nowhere. 

Dennis C. Diehl

Flurry, Pack, Weinland - Evil Incarnate


Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorAs a child, I sat through many a Presbyterian church service.  We went twice every Sunday, morning and evening which also included Sunday School after morning church and our youth group until about 8:30 PM after evening service.  I was on churched kid!

NEVER in all those sermons did I hear our minister utter anything that he remotely thought was speaking of him, our church or his place in it all from the Bible.  He never said such a stupid thing as , "And yes brethren, I am an Apostle."  He never claimed to be a prophet , priest or king of any kind.  He never would have spoke of himself as "that Prophet" or any other for that matter.  He never bragged about how big our church was because it wasn't.  He never pushed to build a college in the parking lot.  I never heard him utter the words, "Send it in" and by that he meant the proceeds from the sale of our home and my dad's Kodak retirement.  He never used the words "incredible", "awesome", "Overarching" or "amazing" all that much.  Actually I never recall hearing those words.  He never ever read anything from the Book of Revelation that I recall which is one reason I got snookered by WCG. I wanted to know what was in it and where it came from.  Presbyterians must have learned long ago that "John" had good drugs and that book should be avoided if you wish to stay sane and have a normal life.

And this minister never ever ever saw himself in the Book of Revelation as one of the Two Witnesses.  We would have starred in disbelief and then laughed our asses off. He would have been out the door by next Sunday with a parade of new guys hoping to get selected by the board as permanent minister in about a year from then.  I'm pretty sure we would not have even known what a Two Witness was but would have seen some serious mental problems with the man.  

Not so in the COG splits, splinters and slivers huh?  
I did not personally take HWA all that seriously when he or others beat around the bush about his being this or that.  Whether Apostle or Elijah to come, I have to say (along with British Israelism) it was all a rather ho hum topic to me.  You all know how I felt about Gerald Waterhouse's perspectives.  (My kids called him Mr. Watermelon) Pure bunk which I often prayed would not prove to be the least bit true as I could see it tanking the church when it came not to pass. I certainly knew I was not going to tell the church anyone had decided it was time to "flee", whatever that meant.  Sometimes such talk and tales made my stomach hurt. 
 I never bought into GTA being the Joshua with "filthy rags " either.  Most of us, minister and member had filthy rags to worry about so how could we know if we weren't the Joshua to come?  :)
This ego centric habit that the highly untrained leaders of the Revelation based COG's is disturbing to say the least.  Who sits week after week listening to these guys repeat the same stuff about me, my and I over an over?  Where is their critical thinking?  Are they afraid to listen to that "still small voice" that I know speaks to them during most sermons that notes, "this is stupid,"  "he is nuts,"  "how does he know that,"  or "if I and my family keep following this guy, I can see a train wreck in our future."  Why do they suppress it?  Habit I guess.  I thank the gods that I did not grow up in my youth with this kind of mentality in my minister.  
One can't help the church or life one is born into, but one sure as hell can look at it and sense something is very wrong and move on.  
So, to be blunt.  Gerald Flurry is NOT "That Prophet."  He simply is not.  He's a God-Haunted man as are the others in competition with each other for the title of the most or best or truest.  Neither Ron Weinland nor his silent wife in the matter are the Two Witnesses of Revelation, and David C Pack is NOT a real Apostle who has restored anything except the misunderstandings of others he worships. 
These types don't have the theological training and education to utter such things and if they did, they would not utter them.  While David C may mock Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Einstein (because he had "wild hair" of all things), he'd have done well to actually read them.  
Ron Weinland makes fun of science because he doesn't understand science or it goes against his form of literalism.  Nonetheless and unlike himself, when science makes a mistake they admit it, add the facts found out to the existing body of information on the topic and keep looking.  Ron simply makes a new end game with no admission of being wrong in any way at all.  It's either "God is giving us more time," or "God is not done revealing truth to us...incredible, amazing brethren."
So, what's the point?  For those who attend those groups with those kinds of leaders who have those kinds of visions dancing in their heads about themselves and how they fit into the Bible, please at least think and listen when your stomach tells you what you mind is dismissing.  When you have a choice between how your stomach feels when this or that is said and what your brain and head is telling you, your stomach is always telling the truth.  The mind is fooling you into staying a bit longer than will prove to be to your benefit. 
"Prove all things..."  Remember?  "Trust me Brethren" is a formula for personal disaster and disillusionment. 
What word don't you understand?
The COGs are excellent Bible readers .  The vast majority of the followers are sincere people or they would not put up with that niggly feeling in their stomachs they get when their leadership makes some other lame ass announcement about how it all is and where he fits into their lives.  They know what is in the Book but that's can be not much different than knowing what is in the story of Hansel and Grettal or The Emperor's New Clothes if you get my drift.  

Dennis C. Diehl


They come....They Go

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorHaving been a 26 year pastor in 13 congregations in 5 states, and after having gone through the theological slaughter of the 90's perpetuated upon the membership by "leadership," of the WCG, I have to ask the question, where did all the friends go?

I found myself in an odd situation. I loved the people in my congregations and had many wonderful friendships and friends, I thought.  This final congregation in South Carolina was the toughest by far, even if everything was going well.  They were used to being rewarded by the minister for their loyalty and friends became deacons and included in the lives of all the brethren. There were always three or four waiting and chaffing at the chance to be the real minister.  Ugh!  I didn't work that way so quickly fell afoul of their system. I didn't take deacons on visits to  know and hear the problems of others.  That was not their business and people aren't honest when they feel they are being grilled.  One on one worked for me, because someday I'd be moving on.  At any rate, Church Picnics went from really fun to drama events. We stopped having them.

Some would tell me what the church was really up to at HQ and that this or that really was going to change. Dumb me would call Joe Tkach and simply ask him if A/B or C was true or not.  It was never true according to Joe.  It was ALWAYS true according to what actually came to be. As a result , I'd come back and tell the church all was well and then end up looking like a fool caught between the Administration that lied to me and the members who thought I was stupid and naive.  Of course I was..ha.   Thus, as the baloney in the middle of the sandwich, neither side kept much in touch.  That was my experience with friends.

The only time those who have either stayed with the new and improved version of the Church, which has changed it's name to distance itself from it's own past, or those that have left it for splinter groups that profess to keep the old ways intact, or those that have moved on to greener and more stable pastures, or the disillusioned meet is at funerals or in the final days of some former church friend. Sad isn't it? One has to be dying or dead to find out you had friends after all. But then unless you were having an out of body experience attending your own funeral, you'd not know. It is more comfortable being friends to the dying than the living. And I am sure after I am dead, thousands will once again say that we were friends. Dealing with a dead Diehl is easier than dealing with the real Diehl. :)

When churches implode, as they do, friendships explode. I can count on one hand the friendships that have stayed in tact since my being labeled a minister who "knew a lot about Jesus, but did not know Jesus" and then being terminated.  Don't misunderstand. I was outgrowing the literalism of any church but was in a transtion.  And...I have fingers left over!

It is reckless change and administration of policy that tears friendships apart when associated with churches and the hope the promote in their teachings. Local ministers, who can have their own dictatorial ways, can tear friendships apart as well by causing "friends" to make choices and take sides in endless and stupid disputes or personality cults.

In my own case, I have had more than one former member, whose children I had married and whose husbands I had buried, pass by me at the lobby desk in a hospital where work to make ends meet. I simply do not exist to them because I am no longer one of them, whatever that might mean. I have known minister friends who have drank themselves to death after reckless change confused them and their friends marginalized them for being hurt and confused. One minister even jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge if you can imagine that. That takes planning and a total lack of friends left to help you through. Suicide seems often the mistaken idea that the death of an old idea mistranslates into we think we have to die  It's a permanent solution to a short term problem. . Very sad but I understand it.

So when your church implodes, why do your friendships explode? There are several types of friendships built when we become a part of a church and their dynamics are all a bit different.
First of all, everyone in any particular believes that "we all have to be friends," because, well, we are in the Church. The common bond of similar or same beliefs is what constitutes the friendship. In any other setting, we would not be friends with most of these people as we would really have nothing else in common to hold it together. Thus, when the church implodes, the friendships explode, fall apart and are not salvageable. They are based on being in the common church with a common belief. When that falls apart, that is generally the end of your friendships.

If you leave the church in discouragement, anger or theology fatigue, you are now a seed fallen on bad ground. Those who you leave behind will read about you in Matthew as one of the seeds that fell on hard ground and when trials came alone etc, did not have the ability to survive. Of course, it will be a bullshit explanation, but it makes them feel good to see that they are off the friendship hook with you for being disillusioned, hurt, marginalized or just worn out by controversy. Without the church work, doctrine or goals, you have no friendship. These people will disappear quickly should you ever begin to wake up to the fact that NO church knows all it needs to know about the Bible to be THE one true church. Of course, since no one attends the one false church, you will be labeled, disfellowshipped, avoided and generally cast into the Lake of Fire, Hell or other imagined bad places for the wicked person you are. These are mere not friends that stick closer than brothers, or at least not unless you live in the same house. Since you moved out, you are no brother of theirs.

The second kind of church friends you will cultivate are genuine friends that are friends in spite of church. You have the church in common. You met at church, but you also have kids, ideas and needs in common and develop a friendship outside of just church stuff. Your kids grow up together, make fun of the church and minister together, as do you from time to time and it's just normal. But if you leave the Church or the Church leaves you, they have agonizing decisions to make. If they stay, they might sneak your friendship but if the Church was still the main draw, they eventually will leave you alone, high and dry. They might even leave the church themselves, but if they move on to an even more righteous church than the one they left, and you just became disillusioned and non-committal, they will spend some time getting you to follow them into the truer church, or drop you in time as well. They don't mean it. You're not being theologically tied to any belief and even willing to step outside boxes that lead to different conclusions about religion will leave you without these friends in time. They will feel sorry for you for not moving on to even an more true church in their quest for the one true one. These friends will make you feel icky if you insist on staying around them just because they are all you have left. They will make you feel inferior for your beliefs or lack of them compared to their now new and improved ones, which is always a sign you might need to just forget the friendship. It's not real.

Another group are those that may be somewhat like you in your skepticism and having learned more than the church would have wished you to learn from the whole experience. You'll have all the bitching in common about the past. You will have quality time living in, mulling over and analyzing the past, but when you tire of that and realize that your life is not going forward in the past, these friends will also dry up and blow away.

You may outgrow them and bring your life up into the present while they wallow in the past and you grow tired of it, or you may stay stuck and they move on. Either way, the friendship will dissolve in time, as friendship based on sharing only a bad experience is doomed in the long run. You'll know the "friendship" is over when they keep sending you updates on the goings on the past Church and you don't care. In the world of blogging and email, you may have attracted these types of friends because of your common disastrous experience, but you have never even met these people in real time and would not know them if they sat next to you. But you were friends, until you weren't.
I am writing this while listening to the great hymns of the Church. Me...Mr. Skeptical, listening to the old hymns. I get teary because it provokes the chemistry of a more simple time, when I was younger and didn't know I was going to learn and experience all I was going to with regards to Church, ministers, theology, politics, behavior, humans and reality.
Wait a sec, It is Well With My Soul is playing...gotta get teary...ok, back.
Seems a shame church friends who have suffered through the ridiculous and reckless folly of those who are determined to not think change through, have to meet only at funerals of the wounded and now dead friends of the past. Maybe if someone had been a real friend, in spite of Church, they would still be alive.
Well, I guess that answers in part, where did they all go? People who hop from truer church to truer church in pursuit of the TRUE Church build friendships based on being a member of that particular church or set of beliefs. That is one kind of friendship but they also tend to dissolve quickly when conditions in that church change. That has been my experience in spades.
While the Bible says "a friend loves at all times", that has proven elusive to say the least among the survivors of the WCG debacle.
In reality, I  find that many who say they love you or are you best friend don't tell you it's conditional.

Dennis C. Diehl


Churches Need the Skeptic 
Like the Oceans Need the Sand

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorI have always had a very skeptical side to my perspectives and in what others tell me is so.  I have been this way since I was a kid and do not credit with WCG with "making me this way."   I'm Dutch.  I have to be skeptical!   

But  all during my tenure as a WCG pastor, I had topics that easily aroused my skepticism.  One, and one I never gave a sermon on, was the speculation about the Place of Safety.  All crazy proof-texting aside, I knew in my soul that I would never deliver the message to "flee" to any congregation I was pastoring.  I simply did not believe it and the risks far outweighed the benefits.  "Hide me in the grave," was ok with me on this one.  I simply did not trust any human to get this one right.  Gerald Waterhouse kept my skepticism at an all time high and on red alert with his serious yet nutty speculations that he made sound like the way it all is.  I can honestly say, I took Gerald Waterhouse with more than a grain of salt when he came to town.  It ended for me finally telling him that his visits caused me more problems than they were worth, and that from now on, any fears or questions the membership had about what he said would be directed to him personally to answer.  I was not standing in for him.  

Dates when this or that Biblical event would come to pass always left me terribly skeptical simply because , to date, everyone had been 100% wrong 100% of the time.  The odds were on my side. 

I was skeptical about whether it made any difference if a woman wore makeup or parents had their kids immunized.  I had mine immunized in 1974 which was my second year into the ministry. I was skeptical of the Divorce and Remarriage question and never kept a current couple apart if that was their decision regardless of their past marriages.  I just didn't feel i was smart enough to decide such things and had no clue what the Bible formula for such things was anyway.  On many topics my skepticism just manifested in telling the member to do as they saw fit and as they understood it.  I have never regretted that. 

Perhaps it is more common sense that I am speaking of.  It seemed in so many to be in such short supply. but a healthy skepticism can protect one from a lifetime of believing the unbelievable and following the wrong guy with the wrong ideas down the wrong road.

If I were you in RCG/PKG/PCG/ and whatever other combo of alphabet soup you can come up with, I'd listen up.   Your first clue would be that ONE man at the top who knows it all, decides it all and declares it all.  A bit of skepticism expressed can save you a lifetime of regrets. 

With this in mind, let's expand a bit on the topic of being skeptical.  Is it possible that when a minister stands every week giving a sermon on a given topic or quoting the various "And God said..."  or "And Isaiah said..."  he might simply be passing on hearsay?   We sooooooooooooo easily assume that what everyone said, did, did not do or told everyone else how it all is, is true and was truly said.  

Can we sometimes see the Bible, especially the parts where people can be motivated to do terrible things or believe harmful stuff, may just be hearsay, inaccurate and not intended for today?  Do you have enough of a skeptic in you to protect you from the wild ideas of ministers gone nuts?  Let's ask ourselves a few questions on this topic of skepticism and the Bible itself.  

First, a definition of hearsay.

Evidence that is offered by a witness of which they do not have direct knowledge but, rather, their testimony is based on what others have said to them.
And herein lies the rub.  Everything written in the Bible about everything from Genesis to Revelation is mere hearsay.  I was not there.  No God said anything unto me.  I never knew Adam or Eve, Cain or Abel.  I only know what someone said they said, or did or why they should not have done it.  
I never knew a Noah or his family or got to actually see how righteous he was or how bad the rest of mankind had become.  I only have some one else's word for it and they got it from someone who got it from someone who got it from who knows who.  

There is not one story, event, conversation, declaration , idea, truth, practice, misbehavior, sin, righteous behavior or quote that I ever actually was there to see or hear for myself.  I have no idea what was really said, by whom and for what reason.  They say the winners write the story anyway?  Winners of what?

I am told someone named Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. But there is evidence that this is not so. It is more likely they were written by the captive priesthood during the 5-600 BCEs while in Babylon to give their obscure people a dazzling pedigree. But I can't know. I wasn't there. I didn't see who wrote what and how it got put in the mouth of some one named Moses.  

I am told hundred of thousands to a couple million Israelites left Egypt "that same day."  Really?  How do you do that.  I can see how long it takes to get a marathon of hundred or a few thousand going.  How do millions do that in a day?  How do you tell them to stop before those in front are pushed into the sea or a sand dune and suffocated?  Why is there absolutely no evidence of this event in archaeology or secular history?  It's all hearsay as far as I can tell. 

Whoever wrote it and told the story had some great details about who was related to who, but then could not once name a Pharaoh in the whole story.  Why would you not mention the name of the presiding Pharoah. It would help place the story. Or maybe no one really knew of one specifically and besides the story was more important that who the stars were.  Yet, it's all hearsay.  I simply have to trust the storyteller knew the facts. But how can I do that?  Where did he get them? 

I am told that Adam named ALL the animals on earth.  Really?  How did he do that and why can't you write down what he called them then.  Or are we just led to believe that this is why a hippopotomas is not called a hippopossum?  Who named the Polar Bear and the Walloby?  Where did the platypus and the kangaroo get their names?  Who wrote them down and passed them along.  Could Adam write?  The story is merely hearsay.  None of us were there and we couldn't prove it if you put a gun to our heads.

Hundred of times we are told, "And the Lord God said...", or "And God said..." Really?  I didn't hear it and yet so much seems to ride on my absolutely believing that someone told someone who told someone who told someone what some voice said to someone at sometime over something important that God wanted us all to know.  How can I believe that is how a God communicates such important things?  

A woman once told me that while I was not aware of it, I was , in fact an angel.  She meant that I was a real Angel in disquise on this earth and that even I did not know it.  Trust me, I did not believe her.  So if I would dismiss something like this I heard yesterday from the source who said, "God told me...", why on earth could I reach back and trust something supposedly said 2000 or 3000 years ago and not even to me!  I can't. 

Churches base entire prophetic musings on what they READ the Lord God said to an Isaiah, Jeremiah or and Ezekiel who then turns around and tells us that God said for them to tell the people this or that.  How can we know that.  What if Isaiah was schizophrenic and no one understood that then?  What if Jeremiah was on egg short of a dozen and nuts needing counseling or medication and not followers?  What if Ezekiel was paranoid or Amos a bit daft for spending so much time in the hills tending sheep?  How can I trust that.  The very people who were told such things rarely believed them.  Why 2500 years later would I take their written words, (are they really their words?) seriously?  I was not there and evidently even if I was , I may have laughed them to scorn as we are want to do of our own Prophets, Priests and Apostles in the COG quackery.  

On top of that, all I actually have is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy , copies without end of what someone was originally told before anyone even wrote stuff down.  Really?  

The biggest mistake the compilers of the New Testament made was to include four Gospels.  At least now we can see how hear say works.  None of the four agree and are far from harmonious no matter how sweetly one inserts, "we believe the entire New Testament to be the inerrant Word of God."  Really?  Have you read it. What we end up with are four different accounts of hearsay.  Someone later called Mark for convenience told us his view of "And then Jesus said..."    Someone, later called Matthew for convenience gave us his rendition of "And Jesus..." amending a few of Mark's more embarrassing memories of Jesus or why John baptised Jesus, since it was for the remission of sins, which of course, Jesus had none of. 

You should know by now the Birth Narratives of Jesus must be hearsay.  Mark knew of none. Matthew had his version very different from Luke, while John said Jesus was born from the foundation of the world.  Nice touch?  Was he there?  No. He just heard it from someone who heard it...you get the point.  We have no idea what Jesus said himself as Jesus either could not write himself or chose not to.  Big mistake.  Letting others get it right decades if not a couple hundred years later is not very dependable.  I can't remember or quote my dad from 1963 much less my Great Great Great Grandfather from who knows when. 

And don't even try to figure out what happened at the crucifixion and resurrection.  Those four books can't even get it straight.  Who wrote down what Jesus said when they were all asleep and he prayed privately to God?  Who wrote down or was told to pass on what Pilate's wife dreamed and said to her hubby about letting Jesus go?  Beats me. But that would have to be hearsay for sure. No one was there.

Was there an earthquake?  Was there not?  A man in white?  An Angel, Two men in white. Two Angels?  Depends who you ask.  Who went to the tomb? Peter and John.  Just the women?  Which women?  Did they believe or not?  Did they tell anyone or not?  Depends on who you ask.  Hearsay.  

And finally...the COG of God Manuel for Church Growth....Revelation.  One man, named John, whom is assumed to be the John of the Gospels but may not be at all, has a vision.  Really?  And I am supposed to throw my heart and soul, money and time, belief and loyalty into this vision of dragons and demons, vials, trumpets, trombones and the occasional saxophone?  Is this not hearsay?  Would you believe anyone today who had such a vision.  We don't believe Dave Packs view of himself or Ron Weinland's view of himself.  We don't really think Gerald Flurry is "that Prophet," do we?  Some very few do, but they do so on hearsay as well as God did not actually speak to the brethren about these great truths.  Ron Weinland just makes it up as he goes as do most but loudly proclaims "God  wants...", God says..." , "God inspires me to say...."  "God needs us to...."   Really?  All hearsay that you choose to believe without proof.  And to your harm I might add.

So here in lies my problem.  God did not speak any of what is contained in the Bible to me.  Oh yes, I know..."That is what faith is all about."  But I am not so willing to give my mind over to that easy out for the Prophet, Priest, king, Apostle or Witness.  Much too much at stake to allow myself to give in so easily to someone else's vision of what God or Jesus is doing, how and when.  I'm sorry. I just can't do it.  It is all hearsay or made up to sound like something official from on high. 

When HWA used to say,  "God says," or "God is doing...",  I sorta believed it and I sorta had the attitude of "well, we'll see i guess."   Nothing HWA said God was doing or saying or inspiring or anything was really true in the long run.  It all was hearsay on HWA's part and then on ours if we bought into it.  None of us, not even the leadership had any direct experience with any of it.  It was mere Bible readers seeing themselves in the scriptures as some still do today and all they have to say is mere hearsay about who and what God is , and what is expected of the congregation.

Ron Weinland declares there not enough time now to bother with marriage or divorce issues  in the church so there will be none, no dating and no marriages.  What a fool.  Even I know the hearsay in the Book says, "In the latter days....some shall depart from the faith,  forbidding to eat meats and to marry," or something like that since that too was hearsay passed on.  And while Ron, or Dave or Gerald or whoever may say it with conviction, eh..so what.  It's all opinion and hearsay and no one has ever yet been right about how it all is. 

So, the next time your guru tells you who said or who did or what God said or Jesus did or did not do, ask yourself, "Really, and you KNOW this?  Or did you just read that somewhere?"  Because there is a 100% chance that they got it from someone who got from someone who got it from someone who wrote it down and made a copy of a copy of a copy for the next 3000 years.  All hearsay and something that would never stand up as evidence in any real ability to prove anything really happened or was said as advertised. 

Faith is what we require of ourselves to keep the story alive. Faith is what we have to bridge the gap between what someone says happened, or is said to have happened, and what really happened or did never happen which we can never know.  We simply weren't there. Faith is all too often what we cruise on until the facts present themselves.  Most of the facts may not present themselves in our lifetime which is annoying to me. 

God created skeptics to keep the clergy honest  and the laity on their toes, though it doesn't work all that well from what I can tell.  

"God said it. I believe it. That does it for me,"  just doesn't work for me and many others who filter such things the same way.  I wasn't there.  It is mere hearsay. 

Maybe it's just me. Amen for now...

Dennis C. Diehl


A Monkey Named Ubastard

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorI have a monkey. His name is Ubastard. I named him that because that's what he calls me when I let him. He lives in my head and is the monkey on my own back. I suspect I have befriended him by now and give him a comfy place to live in there, but I wish he would go away.

Ubastard has an amazing ability to bridge the gap between my mind and my emotions. Once he starts his dialogue with me, I can literally feel him connect the two. Since emotions are the body's reaction to the spinning of the mind, the little booger seems to have the amazing ability to start the processes of anxiety or a bit of depression at will. Ubastard!

I believe UB has live there since I was a kid but spent most of my own childhood just growing up himself. I don't remember all that many discussions with him when I was kid. I didn't even know his name was Ubastard until I went to Bible College. It wasn't really a seminary. The way the Bible was studied was to simply read it and weave it together in one complete incoherent whole. There was no study of the who, what, where, when, why and how's of scripture. I have had to do ALL that during my time as a Pastor and since.

 Let's face it, when you go to a denominational school, you get the denominational spin. I would have done better at Harvard Divinity School where one no doubt can freely admit to other perspectives on the topic. As a life long liberal Dutchman, I am sure I could have been persuaded to let go of guilt, shame and fear aspects of religion and enjoy the philosophical study of theology. But oh no, I had to affiliate with the literalists who feed Ubastard and inserted him in my mind when I was either deep in prayer or sleeping.

Anyway, at Bible College, one gets molded, shaped and eventually cloned into the very image of God, even though you don't. I remember sitting in first year Bible class which was a survey of the harmonious Gospels which later I came to see aren't. We heard a lot about the life and times of Jesus and his merry men, but a lot about sex as well. Ubastoring young people on the topic of sex in Bible College is a must. While I was wondering how the 12 could go so long without intimacy or sex, I was being assured that they had become Eunuch's for the Kingdom of God's sake. Ewwww.

I did read where Peter had a mother-in-law, and thus a wife, but then she faded quickly out of the picture. For either one year, or three or ten, depending, these guys must have been serial killers at heart walking around in the desert and saying "behold" all the time. Guys who don't experience intimacy and sex do this I believe...and are very angry inside. I get curious when a pastor dwells on the evils of sex. But I spare you.

The should not's and must nots were endless. We were entertained with the professor prancing around the stage acting "queer" as that was the in word then and we all were supposed to laugh and be men about it all. We tried to talk in deep masculine voices and not wear pink so as not to be confused with the enemy. Once, he counted slowly to four to illustrate to the women in the class just how quickly a man could aroused over their not dressing discretely. My buddies and I estimated he was more than two seconds off on the slow side and that what a girl wore had little to do with it. Add to all this weekly in class meme programming, weekends of Bible Study and Sermons, and Ubastard has acquired an endless supply of criticism to throw at me when I left him out of the picture and fell short of the expectations of others or the Book they thought knew how we all should and must be.

Of course, we had to become perfect in all things. We had to think like Jesus thought and Act like God in all things. I once called someone a fool just as Jesus did from time to time, but got reamed out for being in danger of hell fire as Jesus taught would be the fate of those that called people fools. I'm confused!

I could have come up with the "What would Jesus do" thing years ago, but I was too busy feeling inadequate, fearful, guilty and shameful as was expected to think I could do what Jesus would do. Years later I came to wonder just what exactly Jesus was doing with Mary Magdalene who it seems ended up on the right hand of him in DaVinci's Last Supper. I can see where the part in the Gospel of Thomas with Peter chiding Jesus for kissing her too often on the lips, didn't make the NT cut of acceptable books. I believe he also asked Jesus why Jesus loved Mary more than the guys, but Jesus is said to have replied, "Why does she love me more than you do?" Whoa...nice comeback!

I remember the couple that found themselves the first semester and got kicked out by the second. They married and I spent the next three years wondering how their sex lives were going. All the rest of us were in limbo over this and Ubastard was in full swing by now. "ONE, TWO...doh" I tried all I could to get to FOUR, but I was evidently a particularly perverted Dutchman. I found out later that the only ones allowed to break the rules of God, as laid down by the professor, were the kids of the Evangelists, faculty kids and those that grew up in the denomination and were only allowed to go to this particular school being programmed from their youth to do so. Actually they didn't have a Ubastard from all I can tell. There is no freedom like the freedom church kids have when they grew up soaking in something they had no intention of doing.

Ubastard thrives on the sincere.

At any rate, Ubastard still lives and chatters too much in my mind. Some believe this is good as his purpose it to direct me to the straight, narrow, righteous and true. Some say God put Ubastard there as my monkey on my own back guide. But personally Ubastard, the Monkey on My Own Back is a creation of my mind to keep me less than authentic, under the control of the powers that be and kept in line with guilt, shame and fear, which a the trinity of worthless emotions if ever there was one.

Guilt, shame and fear are all imposed upon one in some way as a way to keep one weak, compliant and pliable, to the will of others...to the tribe or church if you will. They all assume there is just one way to be as a human being and any stepping outside of the the organizational box produces these emotions to get you back in. Maybe back in is not where one really needs to go.

There are several ways to defeat Ubastard. One is to breathe through when his fear, shame and quilt shatter provokes anxiety which is projected fear into the future or the fear of future consequences for not getting back into Ubastards camp. Just breathe...slowly, from the tummy and breathe. I don't know why he does not like that, but he doesn't seem to thrive in deep slow breathing. Ubastard is more of an upper chest breather and does it quickly. Maybe opposites defang him. Maybe his way of making my body breathe sends my brain the chemicals he loves to bathe in, which of course is fear, quilt and shame. Slow breathing might send the message to my mind that all is well and that it can keep the fear, quilt and shame juice but feel free to send the love, joy and acceptance juice on down! I think that's how it works. That's one of the few times Ubastard calls me Ubastard, and leaves me alone for a time.

Of course meds can be helpful. Whoever created Ativan must work directly on the right hand of God. On occasions breathing won't cut it and Ubastard has the upper hand. So as not to have a completely worthless and anxiety ridden morning, I take it. I don't like to, but I do and it's my decision. I know when Ubastard is on the offensive, I need some keymasters to help out. It runs right to the favorite cell receptors for Ubastard's mix but blocks them so his keys are worthless and he can't get into my breathing, tummy or thought spinning cells. Ha! Locked out! Take that Ubastard! I'd like to think, in time and with skills of thought that this amazing biosuit I wear to transport my spirit and experience my world in a limited five sensed way, could take over and simply remove Ubastards keys once and for all.

There are hundreds of sites with wonderful information on defeating Ubastard the Monkey on your own back. I think I tolerate him because I am supposed to keep him around for my good, but he doesn't feel good and in both the short and long haul, doesn't serve me much good. I have watched thousands apply the rules of Bible School to themselves all my life. Some do nicely but admit to a certain duplicity behind the scenes. Some claim no duplicity, but seem sad and unfulfilled. Some seem happy and and bouncy and I consider these the most dangerous of all. I always want to know what's really going on with them. Me thinks you gush too much in Jesus. I am often proved right down the road. Many are stuck in relationships that feel more like brother-sister stuff. Nothing much to look forward to. Nothing much left to say. And no creative intimacy or talk about how one really feels down deep inside. Certainly they are not going to explore anything the church would disapprove of, even if the minister was doing that himself.

Ubastard seems to govern just how much one allows themselves to speak about as well. Let's face it, it is no fun sharing when, in fact, one is supplying the one spoken to the bullets with which to shoot back at you. As a result, there are many quietly desperate human beings who neither speak their heart nor share their thoughts out of anxious fear , guilt for doing so or shame over what they feel they need in life, before it goes away. Human stuff really and Ubastard, the Monkey on One's Own Back, seems bent on keeping the human in line with a thousand soul sucking organizations, churches and denominations , that feed him endless shoulds, musts, should nots and must nots, but never free to find no need for them and seek an authentic self.

This is why "Born Right the First Time" is quite a dose of poison for Ubastard and I am pretty sure he simply can't handle the thought. It would take away his power of control and his litany of reasons one has qualified today as Ubastard. All I know is that it does not help and does not serve me personally in any meaningful way to strive for a perfection the book says we must and yet not know one single person on the planet to point to as having done well in that. Perfect people are scary people and duplistic beyond measure behind the scenes. Perfect people, with the perfect understanding of the perfect on set of perfect truths are perfectly scary and often make a big splat when they fall and join the human race. Ted Haggard, former head of the National Association of Evangelicals comes to mind as an example of struggling with Ubastard all one's life and never just being authentic. Of course being authentic often means you lose your job and high position in the minds of others who know Ubastard only too well themselves. 

Sometimes a church congregation is content to let a pastor be the sacrificial life of goodness and light, while they can tell Ubastard to go to hell anytime they wish. As long as the pastor type proves it can be done as expected, all is well. Let the pastor prove himself way too often in open conflict with Ubastard, and out you go. Scares the people that they might get caught next.
One hint to me is that all Ubastard seems to say to me is that you really aren't good enough as is. You need to be more like someone else, who I am not sure is who I really ought to be like or even need to go to the trouble of being like. I haven't found another human on the planet , save maybe the Dali Lama, who appeals to me as the kind of person I'd rather be. And I am also not so naive to think that wanting anyone else's dirty laundry is a good swap.

So here we are. A little piece of consciousness contained in our limited five sensed carbon based wetsuit for a short time of experiencing this world as best we can. It's all a wonder and I believe benevolent more than malevolent, though some people let Ubastard take over and loose themselves completely in becoming the sharped fanged nasty Monkey personified. No longer is UBastard the monkey on the back of a person...he is the person. The monkey ate the man.

I'm not advocating exterminating Ubastard completely. But I think there need to be some rules of engagement.

1. Ubastard shall not endlessly repeat one topic over and over. He will understand that I am usually way ahead of him and don't need to keep hearing it over and over.

2. Ubastard will not use fear of eternal punishment when a human life is less than a hair width's experience in the arena of billions of years of galactic, star and planetary evolution.

3. Ubastard will acknowledge that "born right the first time" has merit and never being good enough is a tool of control and results the unhelpful experiences of anxiety and depression in which nothing good gets done.

4. Ubastard is not allowed to only quote ancient texts of Taliban perspectives in his onslaught but is now assigned to read and understand Conversations with God by Neil Donald Walsch, The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. No bananas if he refuses to read and apply these books.

5. Ubastard is not allowed to disturb sleep time.

6. Ubastard is not allowed to quote only from the King James, New International, and the Bible for Modern Dudes in promoting guilt fear and shame.

7. If Mebastard finds Ubastard not to have done and understood the above mentioned assignments, let him be banished to the forest of guilt, shame and fear where he seems to thrive better anyhow and there are millions backs he can easily jump on....just not mine anymore


Well, That Was Stupid...

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorLast week I broke my own rule.  "Whenever  you have a choice between the thinking in your head about something and the feeling in your stomach about it, your stomach is telling you the truth."

It was just minutes before a couples massage session with another therapist. This was the chocolate covered strawberries, champagne and cozy fireplace kind of session.  Actually it's not all that cozy as four people and a burning fireplace (Kerosene) sucks up most of the oxygen in a few minutes and I don't remember much about the session!  Anyway, it looks nice.

The fireplace was out of kerosene so in a room that only lights up so much, I  filled it.  Actually, I must have overfilled it unknown to myself.  Something told me, as I pointed the igniter at the grate not to pull the trigger.  I had no reason not save for the reasoning’s in my head and the feeling in my stomach.  I pulled the trigger.....

Poof!   Now the floor is on fire. The wall is on fire. The decorative Christmas tree on the bench is on fire.  And i am on fire.  Funny how you can block out stuff for the sake of the great good.  I grabbed the tree to get it out of the room and the faster I went the more the flames came back on my hands. 

The tree went out. The smothering of the fire worked. And my hands were really really red, but it seemed ok.   We moved the clients to another room (they didn't see what happened) and did the massage session. 

As the hour went by my hands really were hurting more and more.  Trapping them between the client's back and the table made it much worse as the heat from my hands was trapped.  I got through it and went home.

Over the week my fingers went numb on the ends and turned white in places.  No blisters meant I avoided 2nd degree burns but alas, now the blistering starts. It just took some time.  But they are healing and I did everything I knew to do to get through the process.  Well not everything.  I  skipped the doctor part because I have no insurance so I asked myself, "What would Tecumseh do?  And just took care of business myself.  But it is healing and it is interesting to see that in every disappointment, accident, mistake, trial, goof up, misunderstanding, stupid idea and stuff that makes up our own story along the way, healing does occur.  Sometimes shortly and sometimes over much more time, but it does come for most.

I lost the love of my life partly because of "you're stuck in the past."  I can't deny that but have chosen not so much to be stuck but to help others, including myself get unstuck by taking a good look at the whole experience.  It was taking too long. 

I believe some have been helped by my not just walking away as if it never happened.  But I mourn the personal loss which has left me learning another lesson I still have trouble going into.  Now I am somewhat stuck in another kind of past.  I wonder if it ever ends?  I have learned that alone and me do not get along. I have the kind of heart that seems to need to share it with someone who half understands me, but I digress.

The stages of loss and trauma are well known. 

7 Stages of Grief...


First we go into denial that what is or has happened , has really happened.  When I saw the fire spread, I went blank for a second or two and heard myself call myself a name.  That didn't last long because i had to move and solve the immediate problem.  But denial is not so easy.  I was in denial for years over all the WCG drama.  My prayer was simply,  "May God bless and keep the Administration and Most ministers far away from me."  And for the most part it worked...until it didn't. 

Many Christians are in denial of many things.  The  delay of or non- existence of the Second Coming, their own mortality, that tithing does not come back to you as advertised, that ministers really do get whacky and their getting to give the sermons does not mean they speak the truth etc.  Those older in the faith and having lived a life of "we who are alive and remain," simply can't imagine they simply will die like billions before them.  It's not easy to face these things. 

Next comes the pain and guilt.   Plenty of that to go around for sure and if anyone can be the monkey on one's own back, it is me.  Pain you can't help.  Guilt is useless (I did a bad thing,) as is shame, (I am a bad person).  Bells can be unrung.  However, this does not mean they will easily let you go.  I still have an issue or two that are so painful and guilt producing, I want to scream.  So scream, see if it helps!

A simple and heartfelt "please forgive me" will not fix anything because the answer is "no" or "I forgive you, but...."   That but is a big but.

Anger and Bargaining.  Oh, plenty of that to go around.  Anger keeps us stuck until somehow we feel we have experienced all we can stand and see it does not really serve us.  Bargaining is the , "if I do this and never do that, we can fix this right?"  Wrong most of the time.  People or the gods aren't that easily swayed. It never seems to cross their minds they need to be forgiven for a few things as well.  I find the solution to the enigma of forgiveness not feeling all that helpful is simply giving up the need to forgive.  I don't need to forgive anyone anymore and perhaps they don't have to forgive me either.

Depression, Reflection and Loneliness.  Ugh...this is a tough one. Some days are diamonds and some days are stone when it comes to these topics.  Medication is not the answer to issues not faced.  I forbid myself from buying a gun "to protect myself in case society collapses," knowing full well I had my moments where I no longer cared about many things or couldn't "figure out," how things could work out. Who can?   The reflection part is why I write and the loneliness part is what I suffer as if you could not tell.  It's what everyone feels depending on their story

The last three are the "you're on your way stage" and what take time to get to. It would be nice if we could just will ourselves into healing but these burns are going to heal in their own time and in the proper order for such things. 

It's all a process and there are times where you can even fall back from one to the last one you thought you had seen enough of.  But let this well known process work it's miracle.  Where are you stuck in all this?  What part can't you get past?  It's ok. It's just how it works and time does heal not that you won't have some scarring.

Whatever 2012 has in store I'm pretty sure it will be nuts.  Life does what it does with or without us so relax if you can.  It's all just a story. We all have one.  

Burns heal. Skin grows. Nerves feel again.  The wisdom of the body should show us how to view the wisdom in our hearts. 

Dennis C. Diehl


"And Yes Brethren...I am that..."

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorDear Brethren,

Yesterday, Apostle Ron Weinland, with some nervous tension, announced that , "yes brethren, I am the third type of the Elijah to come."  That was the last straw for me.

I have had to endure Gerald Flurry declaring himself "that Prophet," and David C Pack, "And yes brethren, I am that Apostle."  Now I have to put up with Apostle Ronald Weinland declaring he is the third type of an Elijah to come.  He also made it clear he was the final one.  I guess Elijahs come in threes.  I assure you they do not.

I'm going to be honest about this.  I want a title.  My writings have brought me some derision where one called me "The High Priest of Marduk."  Now don't get me wrong.  I haven't had a title in a very long time and being the High Priest of Marduk is not bad considering he was the chief Deity over Babylon and lived at the top of a Ziggurat in Bagdad.  But it is not enough for me. 

Ron Weinland started his humble climb to stardom with being content at being an Apostle. Then he switched to one of the Two Witnesses with his wife being Witness Number Two.  To date, these witnesses have not wielded much power and have not impressed anyone with the word of their mouths, but there may be time.  Now Ron is declaring himself the Third Elijah Type to Come.  Great!  All the good titles are fast being consumed by the faithful ministry in him.  Ron may, however, fall back to Mr. or just plain Ron sometime in 2012.
Far as I know, Joe Tkach still goes by "Mr." so I congratulate him for at least not becoming the Arch Angel Michael.
Dave began as "The Watcher," progressed (in his fine mind) to "and yes brethren, i am an Apostle,' to darn near Prophet status or something of late.  I think he is basically out of titles and Ron has usurped the last legitimate one from him.  Nice work Ron!!  I suppose Dave could give a four hour sermon on "and yes brethren, i am the Fourth Type of the Elijah to Come," but it doesn't have a good ring to it.
The only titles I find not used yet are, "Man of sin,"  "false prophet,"  "who say they are apostles and are not," "Messiah,"  "scoffers,"  "King of Kings and Lord of Lords," and "Family guy..."  
Therefore, and I am going to forgo the four hour sermon proving this and simply say, I am Jesus, no wait, I am God, and let me see you beat that one!
As Supreme God I command you, Ron Weinland, to step down as both Witness and Elijal type.  I fire you.  I did not call you to that and  you have been fibbing to the brethren. If I had appointed you that, I am quite sure I would have remembered doing so. You're fired.
This goes for you too David C Pack.  You were never a Watcher and certainly never an Apostle. Or if you were, you were in your own mind and like Paul, announced it yourself 22 times out of the 24 times Paul called himself one in the NT.  Seems no one else is familiar with your grand titles.
As for you Gerald,  you are not this or that or another prophet.  You made that all up and I have not appointed you. Again, I would have remembered that, and frankly I don't.
Now a word to you brethren who sit there comatose and unable to speak up with that niggly voice in your head that tells you, 'what!  That's a bunch of shit if I ever heard it."   Wake up brethren.  These men are fooling you and themselves.  They are self appointed, somewhat mentally unstable and while MAYBE sincere, not in touch with me on these things.  I know who I assign callings to, and none of these guys are on the list.  I am a bit disappointed at your lack of critical thinking, but it is what it is.  Save yourself however and question these guys and pay attention to your doubts.
Frankly, ALL the prophecies of my son, Jesus' return were for 2000 years ago.  I know what "shortly" means and "the time is hand" is all about.  It was not code.  I goofed.  I sincerely thought the night was far spent and the time was at hand.  Shortly means shortly and was not code for longly.  I simply made a mistake.  Or if not a mistake, did not mean the return would be as you have thought.  I think I meant the Jewish faith would pass the baton to the Christian one. The Fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD was kinda what i meant.  Wasn't thinking much past that and if you think 2000 years later is a good definition of "shortly", well I can't help you.
At any rate, as God, I have to negate all your titles as invalid and not of my choosing.  I know that's a toughy for you, but trust me, you'll thank me. 
Ok, well that's about it from HQ here.  Nice Auditorium for me there Gerald, but I don't like living in Oklahoma so won't be visiting there often if at all.  Dave, are you nuts?  Winter in Ohio is brutal.  I am a Middle Eastern kind of God so won't be living in your House for God anytime soon.  Ron, well what can I say. "When I was in prison, you visited me," may be the best I can do.  I wish you well.
That's about it .  Being God is not what it's cracked up to be.  You get credited with things you did not do or cause and you get the blame for things you had nothing to do with.  It's a tough job, but I had to adopt a title you could not out do.  Having done so...I return the reader to the channel they were watching, and myself to just being me.

Dennis C. Diehl


These Shoes are Killin' Me!

Do you like the color?

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorShe came through the front door of the local hospital looking more like a person who was about to ask where the emergency room was than the visitor she turned out to be. She was middle age and walking like she felt 100 years old. Limping and listing side to side, I thought she was going to tip over right in the lobby before ever getting to the desk. She asked the room number of a friend she wanted to visit and we found out they had been discharged and gone home.

What followed was comment that symbolized how so many live their lives on lots of topics.
"Good," she said, "Now I can go home and get these damn heels off." It was her church shoes that were tormenting this poor woman and giving her this grotesque walk that she must have counted as her normal "these are my damn Church Heels" walk. She was miserable in them. They were physically killing her feet and adding peril to her walk from points A to B. But damn it, "these are my Church Heels and I wear them every Sunday," I suppose is what she felt and expected of herself.

Why do we do that? Why do we torment ourselves wearing things we are expected to wear and doing things we are expected to do, when in fact they hurt us and make us miserable? She was obviously expected to wear those shoes, certainly by her own force of habit, but maybe also by all the other women in her church who tolerate the same torment of wearing shoes that in fact are "killin my feet." In her case, just stop wearing the darn things lady! They are either too small, too high, too narrow, too old or too so not your style. Just stop wearing them and every bone, muscle and joint from your toes to the back of your skull with thank you a thousands times over!

You pick the topic, but this wearing, doing, participating in, going to and believing things "that are a killin my feet," seems to be such a human trait and why do we do it? Seems so easy to me, but that's because I have gone through the process of rejection for not doing things that don't personally work for me anymore and leaving some shaking their heads in dismay over the changes I have made in ways of doing or not doing, being and not being. How about you? What is it you are doing, or practicing, or forcing yourself to believe, or participating in that you really don't want to and are physically, mentally, emotionally and even spirituality killin you?
Why do we torment ourselves by doing that which we don't really want to do and not doing those things we really want to. If that sounds a bit like the Apostle Paul, I'm not speaking of the same frustration he was thinking about.

First of all, we don't do or think the things we really feel because it is not acceptable with the Tribe. They have a belief and plan for our life all ready pre-approved, and we are not to stray from that plan without their permission, which we will never get, or approval, which we also shall never get. Solution: "I can't wait to take off these damn heels. They are killin my feet."

Secondly, wearing the clothes we want to wear, thinking the thoughts that work for us and believing that which we have found to be more true for ourselves, takes homework, effort and determination to be our authentic self. That poor woman knew how she felt in those lousy heels, but she still made no effort to correct the situation for her, choosing rather to endure it, and to her peril. How many people do I know who wear their ill fitting ideas, beliefs and practices on the outside, knowing full well that this is not who they are nor what they really believe. As I have noted in the past, how many ministers I know who understand a topic to be more true in their understanding than that which they are willing to share with their congregation. There is no difference between their discomfort and the woman wearing the heels that she hates and can't wait to get rid of, but can't or won't. In this case, these men have done the homework, but won't share the results because it is too risky. There is no difference between that problem and wearing "these damn heels." We just don't mention our discomfort, aches and pains and keep on wobbling along. Solution: "I can't wait to take off these damn heels. They are killin my feet."

Finally, we must do, practice, go, participate in and believe that which is "killin us," because, well, we like to. Oh my feet hurt, but everyone wears these damn heels and their feet must hurt too. Somehow, as long as we know that everyone else is miserable, we can just follow along in the misery and be happy with it. Scary huh! It is truly a case of "Doc, every time I do this, it hurts," to which the Doc tells us, "then stop doing that." We can't. It's a habit, we paid good money for those damn shoes, ideas and classes, and we gotta wear them. Well, no really we don't have to do anything. Just because one invested 20 years in one set of ideas, does not mean we have to invest the next 20 in the same set of erroneous ideas, although I realize that if something was "good enough for papa, it is good enough for you," as some will say.
Solution: "I can't wait take off these damn heels. They are killin my feet."

So don't put up with that which does not serve you any longer for any reason. There is no good reason to do that as you just end up with crooked feet, aching shins, lousy knees, fractured femurs, grinding joints, a twisted pelvis, painful back and a lingering headache. Take off the heels and get you some moccasins that fit and feel soft as a babies butt, and see how many want to join your tribe.
 Dennis C. Diehl




I'll let this be one of the shortest "articles" I have written.  I love this video. 
I love the message and I still wish it were so. 
For all the skepticism on origins and content, one would be a fool to not want this to be true.  
The world is really screwed up. 
Leaders are finally being challenged politically as religious leaders are 
by those like us who have had enough. 
Maybe it is people that make things happen after all. 

When in WCG, I stayed way too long because the hope of the message was still bigger than the stupidity of the administration.  

Then the stupidity won and it was time to move on. 

So to prove I can get to the point....I love this video. 

It still bring tears to my eyes.  

I still have hope.  
I just can't prove it and don't trust anyone to tell me how it all is anymore.
Season's greetings to you all however you perceive it.  
I love you all for the journey you have been on and have so freely shared.

This is For All The Lonely People...

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorI suppose it would be easy to label the downside of breaking free of religious dogma, drama, misinformation and imaginary outcomes as "the Dark Side" of the process, but perhaps it is simply "The Other Side."  

Being out of the group, while liberating, can be one of the most lonely journeys in life you will ever go on.  While there are great gains to be recognized, there are also many losses.  We lose most of our friends who were friends because of the tie that bound us.  To sing, "Blessed Be the Tie That Binds," in a crowd of thousands where we were under the illusion we were all bound together in the same one grand thing, was always emotional for me.  To sing, "God be with you til we meet again," as the last hymn at a festival site before heading back home to the real way it was would leave me teary yet hopeful.  

Just feeling safer knowing so many like minded people all over the world made living in the world easier somehow.  There was order.  Be here, be there, do this, do that set a framework upon which one could build the illusion of safety and harmony.  I can't say I don't miss it. 

I have always found that speaking one's feelings and sharing the stuff that lies deep within, while sometimes risky, most often is far from it.  All my ministerial career (is that the right word?) being ahead of my time, saying what my ministers friends often only thought or sharing thoughts and feelings deeply on a very practical level, were common observations about my "style."   It was not a style.  It was just me.

But what I found over and over again was that I was not alone in these thoughts, questions, observations or realizations.  Everyone was thinking on these things and just not sayin' nuttin'!  Oh sure, you had the oblivious and the suck ups, but most people simply sat on their feelings and doubts, or their hopes and dreams. Everyone down deep feels what we all feel and think we alone have cornered the market on that feeling, disappointment, loss or recognition.  It simply is not so.


I want to relate to all of us who just under the surface and for all our bluster, information, realizations and observations are simply lonely in this life.  One does not have to be alone to be lonely.  You truly can be lonely in a crowd.  I imagine many COG members understand this.  They stay because there is no emotional place to go and yet they are lonely to talk or express themselves or even lonely to disagree for once and not feel threatened by the higher ups that seem threatened by not all speaking the same one thing.  Speaking the same one thing is not the same as speaking the same right thing.

So let me begin. I consider this a form of personal therapy and yet know that the vast majority of us all completely understand it for ourselves.  While risky at times, self disclosure and sharing the stuff of life is still better than keeping it inside where eventually what eats you...eats you!

I have honestly never been more lonely in my life as I find myself now.  That loneliness has been costly.  It ruins relationships and sometimes makes one look in all the wrong places for a fix, no matter how temporary.  Being lonely is painful.  For me it causes both a conscious and subconscious anxiety.  It gives one too much time to ruminate about bad choices, good choices gone bad and what may or may not happen in the future.  Sometimes  you find yourself sitting alone in the dark with your dog talking to it and saying dumb stuff like, "well, here we are Chewy. Just you and me. Who would have guessed?"

One of the lessons lonely leaves you with is that if you depends on others to make you happy or give you meaning, the Karma Fairy will have to make a visit and straighten you out on that.  I have deeply depended on others to make me feel fulfilled, alive and loved.  The problem is that if we allow others, even jobs and churches to "make us happy," or to fill that void left by loneliness, they have the power to take it away overnight, and they do.  It's why I study the fine art of acceptance and forgiveness now.  These are two things I never had to do when everything was just fine.

While I recognize that "If you understand, then things are as they are.  If you don't understand then things are as they are," is true, it still is a lonely road when what is sucks or appears to at the moment.

Loneliness shows.  It manifests in the inability to get out and fix it because at times we have to be careful what we wish for.  Loneliness has made me moody and distracted from necessary pursuits.  It has also left me very distrustful and at times with the feeling of just killing time  until it's over.  Loneliness gives too much time to the critical voice in the head that loves to rub it in.

Perhaps Church and group think only mask loneliness?  Maybe one can be alone in a crowd.  Yes, of course they can.  I was often lonely as a minister because who do share expanded thinking with in the COG?  That was always a great formula for something bad to happen to you.  I find the same problem here with the school I teach at.  They don't listen and just as I could see with the Church and now again with this school, if they don't they won't be here in a couple years.  Is it so hard to see you can't disturb, disaffect, disillusion and dis-everything everyone and expect anything but a negative outcome?

Anyway, back to lonely.  One of the reasons I am lonely is because, try as I might, I still feel anger at a few specific life situations and people that is taking way too long to dissipate.  I accept responsibility for those I angered and this often leads me to tell myself that I don't deserve to be angry because I have angered others.  You know, Karma Fairy. But that thinking does not help.  In fact, it leaves me in limbo.  In my soul I know that anger serves me in no positive way. It changes nothing and like loneliness , shows too often and poisons the punch.  Intellectualizing about it doesn't release it anymore than sitting home alone cures loneliness, or at least takes the edge off.

Actually, perhaps the whole world is one big lonely planet.  We buy stuff to distract  us, eat ourselves into comfort and play endless video games into the wee hours of the morning to stop thinking about it.  "Gamers" are now an official cause of broken relationships and blood clots in the legs leading to stroke.   Distraction is not a cure for loneliness.  It merely postpones having to come to terms with what really makes one content.  "Happiness" seems like an illusion to me.  It is why, when sitting through the few services I could stomach in the new WCG, and happy singing and happy hand waving was introduced, I felt sick to my stomach.  It did not make me "happy."   Being "happy" about Jesus was just not going to work with who I am, what I know and where I want to be.  I guess lonely is going to go with my kind of temprement.  Actually I was told as about the only prophecy ever given me that was 100% true,

"Dennis, you outgrow your boxes quickly. Most people never look at the box they were born in.  You have two choices.  You can get back in the box you came from and make everyone happy. However, you will be on antidepressants the rest of your life.  Or you can leave the box you are now in, as you actually have.  But YOU WILL GO ALONE."

Truer words were never spoken to me.  Of all thing then...I had a feeling to turn around and look behind me in the grocery store awhile back.  You know, that feeling you get when you feel someone is looking at you.  It was my counselor who I had not seen since the day he told me of my journey.  He looked awful. He looked sad and very very lonely.  He perked up when I related how I had told most of the planet of his observation and that he had done many some good.  It was an odd experience.

Well, between "shut the hell up,"  (spoken by lonely pain bodies I know:), and this having the potential of getting too long, I admit I am very lonely.  While I will never give my brain to group think again, or feel comfy in a church of uneducated Bible readers who know the answer to everything, it's still lonely. The holidays don't seem to help and yet I find it doesn't seem to help many.  Everyone is scattered and we all are caught up in our dramas, hopes, dreams, fears and realities.  Perhaps the way we think or view things is our worst enemy.  I have to admit, I am not much of a one to apply "the Secret," and get the Jaguar of my dreams.   Simple works best for me.

So, this is for all the lonely people, thinking that time has passed them by.  This is for all the people in my past who came to me and sharing their own loneliness whether in a crowd or  at home alone.    I get it now!  I do understand. 

We used to say, "Experience is the best teacher, but the tuition is high."  Perhaps "Experience is the ONLY teacher. Everything else is hearsay."

Dennis C. Diehl


No comments: