Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Stranger and stranger

It's a strange old world. On the same day the Vatican astronomer pontificated on life on Mars, the latest Journal was released.

I have to admit that I didn't know there was a Vatican astronomer. I mean, what on earth (!) would his job description be? "Holy Father, I wish to confirm that after rigorous research and observation from the Dome of St. Peter's, it is now possible to possibly affirm, with the appropriate qualifications and disclaimers of course, that Galileo was right."?

Is there also a Vatican agronomist who can advise the faithful on the merits of organic pumpkin soup?

But on to The Journal, and my nomination for the worst COG website design of the decade. Yes, there have been some really strong contenders for this coveted award, but - tipped off by the front page story - Living God Ministries has got to be the unanimous choice of the academy. Try clicking around on this sucker in anything other than the demon-spawn Internet Explorer browser! Even in IE it's, well, in a class of its own.

Dennis Diehl is back with another column, and that's worth the price of a copy in itself. On the other hand Alan Knight (of La Mancha?) is serializing his latest improbable book beginning with this issue. This guy is capable of making Bob Thiel look good!

All those years in WCG have messed with my head, so I hope Dixon will forgive me if I note that the regular Connections column by Darlene Warren is a reprint of one that appeared back in 2004, and knowing that Darlene is connected to the current palpitations in Big Sandy, the obvious question arises...

The Big Sandy Church may be bloodied, but apparently it's still unbowed, with a major ad promoting five FOT sites.

You can, as usual, download the front and back pages of The Journal without charge.


Lussenheide said...

My nomination for worse COG site:

Yes, it is good old Tom's new blog! Several posts now up, and not a single response on any of them! .

Should we all go over there and muddle up his comment pages, like he used to over here, as a farewell parting gift??

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Richard said...

Admittedly the LGM site is barebones. But this is a case where the younger minister (in Alabama) truly is busy with ministry -- with a Christian children's school in his city, and efforts to promote COG unity.

I've been listening to this group's Tuesday night Bible discussions, and went to some services this spring. They're appealing to me a lot more than the large Church of God group I've been attending for years. Not perfect, to be sure -- but an improvement.

Charlie said...

Luss, I checked out Tom's blog and found something ironic. Remember all the noise he made about Dixon allegedly refusing to run his article and Gavin banning his comments on one particular thread?

Tom has comment moderation on.

Gort of Voltron said...

Perhaps the Vatican is being told to prep the world for an announcement! We can hope! There is also a story about Shuttle pilots saying they know there is Alien life....somewhere. Washington probably...

Anonymous said...

I wrote the in the last Post the comments from Knight's book not knowing it was being serialized on the Journal. I have had the book for some reason for three years. I did not buy and not sure where it came from. Just started to read it and felt compelled to answer.

DennisDiehl said...

Tom Mahon's site is pure pain body talking. It's "piously convicted yet marginally informed personified." Pretty common approach to that which threatens one's secure "knowing" of just how it all is.

Tom mocks Gavin for doing the homework on the Pastoral Epistles done by thousands of good scholars who recognize the problems with the NT as presented to the public. No COG has ever admitted that there could possibly a problem with the text, context, history or real origins of the Bible. How do you tell the faithful it's not what you have been told?

Once again the pain body, and everyone processing the WCG experience has it is....

"This accumulated pain is a negative energy field that occupies your body and mind....

It is the emotional pain-body. It has two modes of being: dormant and active. A pain-body may be dormant 90 percent of the time; in a deeply unhappy person, though, it may be active up to 100 percent of the time.

Some people live almost entirely through their pain-body, while others may experience it only in certain situations, such as intimate relationships, or situations linked with past loss or abandonment, physical or emotional hurt, and so on. Anything can trigger it, particularly if it resonates with a pain pattern from your past. When it is ready to awaken from its dormant stage, even a thought or an innocent remark madecby someone close to you can activate it.

Some pain-bodies are obnoxious but relatively harmless, for example like a child who won't stop whining. Others are vicious and destructive monsters, true demons. Some are physically violent; many more are emotionally violent. Some will attack people around you or close to you, while others may attack you, their host. Thoughts and feelings you have about your life then become deeply negative and self-destructive. Illnesses and accidents are often created in this way. Some pain-bodies drive their hosts to suicide." Tolle

I know most don't care about this stuff. But it really helps to understand where people are coming from and the energy that motivates them towards the negative and sarcastic which is merely anger turned sideways.

For what it's worth and now I shall not bring it up again :)

Promise. No really..I promise.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to change subjects, but there is "Breaking News" on Nancy Grace Show regarding a fringe Armstrong COG splinter group.

Breaking News! Breaking News!! Breaking News!!!

The House of Yahweh (Yisrayl Hawkins) is now under investigation in Texas for polygamy and child abuse charges.

I didn't know any Armstrong fringe groups practiced polygamy.


Disclosure - I am a different Richard from the Richard that posted earlier. I am the Richard who posts portions of his unpublished essay, "My Worldwide Church of God Reflections - 1972 In Prophecy, God's Practical Joke" on the AW site.

Anonymous said...

I visited Tom's website, and posted the question, "Has anyone seen a picture of Tom Moron posted on the internet yet as he promised on the AW site".

Of course, my post was not allowed.


paco said...

Two subjects:

1. Gavin, are you aware that there seems to be problem posting a comment when one tries to post from the preview mode? I have had two comments disappear over the past couple of weeks.

2. Regarding "The House of Yahweh" and its leader Yisrayl Hawkins - It is my understanding that Hawkins attended the WCG church in Odessa, Texas for awhile back in the 1970-80 "ish) time frame. Odessa is about 140 miles west of Abilene, Texas and in fact, Hawkins reminds me somewhat of Gerald Waterhouse physically. (Waterhouse was from the same general area of west Texas.)

Hawkins has had a TV show for several years and has been written up in several Texas newspaper accounts over the years.

I last saw him on TV probably 10 years ago and one could tell he was influenced by HWA. He seems to have gone more and more into Old Testament stuff over the years.

I am amazed that Hawkins has managed to accumulate assets worth over a couple of million dollars. He is just another guy who has personally been called by god to tell you exactly how to live your life, spend your money and procreate (or not).

Kiwi said...

Item of note on front page of The Journal: "Residents of Kenya, in East Africa, a few months ago received a visit from the Almighty Creator God through the persons of two white men...." so writes Bill Glover of himself and his son.

And John Ritenbaugh advocates the breaking of half of the Sabbath law by causing people to be servants working for you in restaurants.

Gavin said...

Bwana Glover and the White Man's Burden

Richard said...

To put the "white men" quote in context: Bill Glover explained during a recent Bible discussion that some Kenyans had a vision -- about "white men" coming to see them and help them.

They encountered the Glovers -- and voila.

By the way, how about that touch of evangelism on Bill Glover's shirt? Almost scandalous for a COG.

Colonel sanders wore a white suit said...

Uh oh....

"To put the "white men" quote in context: Bill Glover explained during a recent Bible discussion that some Kenyans had a vision -- about "white men" coming to see them and help them."

That same spiel was spoken when HWA visited Africa in the 70's. An older man in a white suit, which he wore, was prophecied to be sent by God to the Africans just before Jesus returned.

It makes for larger personal appearances.

Kinda like the Jesuits telling the Native Americans if they don't give up the land, the Blackrobes will blot out the sun, knowing full well when the next eclipse was to take place. The rest is history.

And what's with the sons of the father apostles? GTA, Joe Jr., Flurry Jr, Pack Jr (who up til last year ask me if he should destroy his father's ministry) are now all well paid seconds.

Anonymous said...

Gort, the Vatican astronomer reckons it's OK to believe in ETs:

Anonymous said...

I read parts of Alan Knight's first publication, Primitive Christianity in Crisis, and found it contained some interesting and thought provoking information. I am planning on digging deeper into that book today and hopefully will finish the book soon.

Kiwi said: "And John Ritenbaugh advocates the breaking of half of the Sabbath law by causing people to be servants working for you in restaurants.

I did not perceive that John Ritenbaugh was advocating the breaking of half the Sabbath law. Hopefully everyone will read what he has to say about this and form their opinions from that piece of material.

Kill the Stick Picker Upper said...

"I did not perceive that John Ritenbaugh was advocating the breaking of half the Sabbath law."

You have not lived until you have lived through John Ritenbaugh's oft given 12 week series on HOW to keep the Sabbath. Not IF or IF NOT, HOW. Nothing but metal and spiritual paralysis is the result. Plus amazing new ways to judge others unfit for the KofG

Squinting on Down the Road for Jesus said...

oh...forgot that, according to JR, sunglasses were forbidden as well as they cut off the light to the eye which the spirit or some such trash as that.

Kiwi said...

To Anonymous:
Hmmm, the Sabbath Law?
You don't do your regularly scheduled work.
You don't require your maidservants etc to work either.
You don't engage in commerce.
Christ made it clear palliative and emergency work are humanitarian-based exceptions.
Let's see.
Put in modern context you don't hire anyone unnecessarily to work for you on the Sabbath. Unless by some weird COG rationale, having a meal at a restaurant can be construed as palliative or emergency care, no one has any business saying they are "keeping the Sabbath" if they willfully cause someone to work unnecessarily for them - something within their control to manage.
I'm not saying for or against the Sabbath. I'm saying no one has any business saying they keep it if they cause others to work unnecessarily for them on that day.
It's hypocrisy of the utmost degree. By their own extrapolation, they are causing others to "sin" to serve them.
JR could always take a pack of sandwiches and go and sit in a park somewhere, couldn't he?

Weinland Watch said...

The hell? These people have no idea what they're arguing about!!

You either go to the restaurant after sunset, or you sit at table with forks in hand waiting for the clock to strike the fateful second.

As far as the "work done by others" schtick from the last anonymous, I really hope you're being sarcastic: Wait-staff were "the worldly" after all, so it was mandatory for them to break the sabbath!

Yeeeurp. I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. :-(

Sabbath Sandwich or Baal's Buffet said...

Topics COG's Have Never Been Able to figure out.

How to keep the Sabbath

Allowing people to make their own choices about Sabbath practices without having a cow or a pig if you are the New WCG.

How to govern themselves.

How to tell a man whose only witness to his Apostleship is himself to take a leap.

If makeup makes you a Ho

Does God heal or doesn't he.

What "if you beat him he won't die" means.

Gross or Net

What is Leavening

How to tame a loose Apostle

When to stand up and say this sermon is to damn long.

What it means to be a non-Prophet organization

Inappropriate spending of other people's hard earned contributions

Law and Grace/or Grace/or law with only a smattering of Grace

Who would Jesus vote for.


Who and what is God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit

Exactly what the Kingdom of God is and How it Will Be

How all life came to be for sure.

We are all guilty of sin due to Adam and Eve who really existed

The nature of man

God's plan for Women

The Unity of the Trinity or the Monotony of the Unity

Where the true church is for sure.

The end of the age give or take 3-5years.

And they sure have never figured out for the most part that

"The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."


"Humans are not in servitude to the Sabbath and the son of man (humans)are more important than Sabbath observance and can make their own decisions on what's appropriate for them, even on topics relating to the mighty Sabbath."

The topic of Sabbath rest is exhausting

Neotherm said...

I heard a bit of a sermon a couple of days back by Dennis Mouland of David Havir's organization. The sermon was given back in 2007 sometime. Mouland stated that there was a COG that had developed a different interpretation of the time span required for the Sabbath. Instead of being 24 hours long, it was really 24 hours and a few minutes long -- based on something in the Hebrew. This COG then maintained that anyone who did not understand this important truth would not receive salvation. This is almost like stamping "CULT" in big letters across one's forehead.

There is also something recently in the news about a Michael Travesser and a Wayne Bent that lead an organization called "The Lord Our Righteousness Church" down in New Mexico. This cult apparently originated in the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

I may have a mistaken impression, but it seems like to me that Sabbatarism in general spawns cults. Its like people who are willing to buy into traditional Sabbath observance will buy into anything. Maybe it is a test commandment.

-- Neo

Bamboo_bends said...

That's an awful web page. Floating elements cover his links. That's not smart!

Cults R Us said...

Neo noted:

"I may have a mistaken impression, but it seems like to me that Sabbatarism in general spawns cults."

I believe that's because one has to go back to the OT to find Sabbath origins and then find that continuim in the NT. This then immerses one in both the OT and NT which leads to nothing but confusion of what is to be kept or practiced, not kept and discarded.

Sabbath leads to holydays and holydays lead to debunking holidays. From there we go into just what is the K of G and who is obeying the right things the best.

Add to this government from the top down with only one person at the top and we have Bibleland war for true leadership which is chaos.

The Bible itself is the cause of cults. There is no one pure true anything. That is obvious from the contention between the key players in the NT right from the empty tomb, and who got there first, to Paul who hijacked the whole shebang from Peter, James and John not matter what the apologist Lukes tries to make us think.

Baashabob said...

Gavin wrote:
"I have to admit that I didn't know there was a Vatican astronomer. I mean, what on earth (!) would his job description be?"

Well Gavin, you may be surprised to learn there are a whole bunch of them. (Sorry about the Tomism, but I just couldn't resist.) On a tv series I watched about them they were affectionately known as the "Sons of Galileo".

PS: I have had the same problem as Paco over the last couple of weeks. If you try to publish after a preview your post disappears into the ether. The only way to succeed is to go straight to publish.

Publish or Perish said...

the post is still there under "leave your comment." You can preview it, but it won't publish below the brown preview box. You have to go back up, where it still is under "leave your comment" and publish from there...for some new reason

Purple Hymnal said...

Re: Sabbatarianism causing cults:

Did I misread something amidst the reams and reams and reams of material I have ingested in the past six months, or is Herbie a spiritual descendant of the SDA? By way of the CoG7 of course. I seem to recall seeing a chart where it looked as though WCG and the Branch Davidians were first cousins (!!!)

As for Sabbatarianism causing "cults", wouldn't observant Jews disagree and/or object to that opinion?

Sorry. I know I have not been making much sense as of late. With the last threads of Armstrongism finally disentangling themselves from my brain, I am rather disheartened to find that the one possibly mostly harmless part of the theology that warped us all for life, actually doesn't exist, in the wider religious world.

That damned Bible jigsaw again. On the one hand, Armstrongism joined together the old and new testaments. Not seamlessly, but it was joined nonetheless. It could have been a poster theology for Judeo-Christian interfaith.

It wasn't though. That would have gotten in the way of fleecing the sheeple.

The absolutely vast (and, it seems, ever-widening) chasm between Judaism and Christianity, is a little disturbing to me, to say the least. On the other hand, I was the one who happily spouted "I belong to a nondenominational Judeo-Christian sect" without even knowing what it really meant.

I am under no delusions that the "bible jigsaw" is in any way shape or form anything other than pure proof-texting. Debunking the bible jigsaw has revealed to me a lot of where the faultlines lie, on both sides, between Judaism and Christianity.

I'm reinventing the wheel of CoG recovery here aren't I? :-P

Bill Ferguson said...

Purple Hymnal said...

Did I misread something amidst the reams and reams and reams of material I have ingested in the past six months, or is Herbie a spiritual descendant of the SDA? By way of the CoG7 of course. I seem to recall seeing a chart where it looked as though WCG and the Branch Davidians were first cousins!

More like 2nd cousins, Branch Davidian is a splinter from the SDA movement.

SDAs and JWs would be the first cousins to the WCG.

Click here for the Church Family Tree

$chnippert's mercedes dealer said...

I see THE TRUMPET magazine is being quoted by apocalypticist Matt Savinar

Purple Hymnal said...

Thanks Bill, that's a better chart than the other one I had found.

Anyone should know this said...

Southern Bastards...
Northern Bastards.....
Four Square Gospel.....
Catholic bastards....
Protestant bastards....
Herbert Hamstring.........
Gagme Fred Hamstring
Unites Church of God....
Not so United Church of God....
Living Church of God.......
Not so living....
Restored church of god.........
Church of Brotherly love for ourselves COG....

This is the true history of God's church.