Within hours of Corky's announcement that he'll close his ex-Christadelphian blog, Aggie has revealed that her Purple Hymnal blog, currently on ice, is gearing up for the Second Coming. No, not that second coming, but a retooled version on the Internet with a broader appeal. In an email she writes:
I want things to be different now. I want the blog to get as much attention and be as widespread as I can possibly get it. In my opinion, the time is no longer right for the ex-Church of God Internet to remain insular and navel-gazing and interested only in the civil war between non-believers (myself among them) and those who have chosen other religions.
As Aggie says, stay tuned.
Dennis has submitted the following piece for your seasonal consideration.
Digging Deeper: Processing the WCG Ministerial Experience
Whether uniquely so or not, I am the only, by name, career, former pastor I know that has written on AW. That always surprised me, but then again perhaps not. Ministers in and of WCG are symbols to many people of what went wrong or of the abuses they experienced growing up or participating in a local congregation. Don't misunderstand. I knew many insensitive, hard ass, "I'm in charge" and goofy ill-read ministers who were allowed to simply be moved around to inflict themselves on others year after year. I never understood how some, so abusive, with such terrible reputation for a lack of empathy, understanding and even common sense could just keep going and going and going.... But they did.
Most of those types have now migrated to being in charge of or at least a part of whatever slpinter, sliver, shit or splism that appealed to them. (Had to throw that in. I said that once in a Bible study and it was hilarious. I ended by saying, "well we do have some shits in the church.")
For me personally, what was that all about? Was it just a part of life's training for other things? Do I really think "God" uncalled me or recalled me to be a massage therapist? Can I do better or more before the end? (Of me, not civilization, which I expect will be around a long long time after I am gone.) Was it just really poor choices sincerely made when I was too young to see or know there was more to theology than men who said they understood it?
Sometimes I get snarky. That is the anger turned sideways. Sometimes I get reflective. That is what I perceive as what's left of my soul wanting to know as I always have wanted to know as a kid. Sometimes I "give up," whatever that means and want to be left alone. And then I realize I have few enough good friends and meaningful relationships as it is and I better be careful not to loose them as well.
I have been asked to "debate" one of my former teachers at AC who is well known to most, on the validity of the Bible, errancy issues, "who wrote what" and who really didn't, and perhaps the disharmony of the Gospels and "Just Who Do You Mean...Paul?" I don't know if I want to as I don't need anyone to believe me or have as burning a desire to convince as he might have. I certainly would be walking into a bee's nest. Maybe it would just be good for me to calmly explain what's in my soul and what I have learned after ten years of real study outside of the WCG mindset. I don't know.
It's been a disappointing and painful summer. Life doesn't seem to go as one would hope or expect, though I realize expecting life to go anyway is rather lame. Life does what it does. I'm alone in life and it is a challenge. A time to learn perhaps...
The WCG ministerial experience has both helped me and hurt me. It has helped me to dig deeper. It has hurt me in that I trust few and have a difficult time listening to any man tell me how it all is. I'll do my own homework thanks.
So now comes Christmas and while , to me, it's origins are so obvious, we will have to endure weeks of the accepted meaning, even though it really doesn't mean that. I always marvel at WCGracie's Christmas shtick. It ranks right up there with their mistaken focus on the Trinitarian nature of all things included. The God of the OT was a Pantheon long before he was a Trinity and perhaps a she long before he was a he. Long story, and one few examine as the Bible itself evolves its Canaanite God ("El") into YHVH and on into Jesus. I was doomed as a WCG pastor no matter how long it would have taken. I probably would have been doomed as a Presbyterian Pastor, which I almost became as well because "facts is facts." Actually Faith is actually what we have until the facts clarify themselves.
So the processing goes on. Some days are diamonds and some days are stones. I both marvel and am repulsed by the "Big Guns" of the splinters and their narcissism unleashed . I am also amazed at what kind of people are left to still put up with the one man shows that suck them both financially and soulfully dry. I guess it's their choice.
I wish you all a good season however it strikes you and whatever your evolving traditions have become. I'll leave you with what seems to encourage me.
"Right now, and in every moment, you are either closing or opening. You are either stressfully waiting for something — more money, security, affection — or you are living from your deep heart, opening as the entire moment, and giving what you most deeply desire to give, without waiting.
"If you are waiting for anything in order to live and love without holding back, then you suffer. Every moment is the most important moment of your life. No future time is better than now to let down your guard and love.
"Everything you do right now ripples outward and affects everyone. Your posture can shine your heart or transmit anxiety. Your breath can radiate love or muddy the room in depression. Your glance can awaken joy. Your words can inspire freedom. Your every act can open hearts and minds.
"Opening from heart to all, you live as a gift to all. In every moment, you are either opening or closing. Right now, you are choosing to open and give fully or you are waiting. How does your choice feel? . . .
"Your heart always knows the truth of openness. In every moment of your life, your heart tacitly compares the closed suffering that you are doing, to the bliss of your true openness. 'This moment can be deeper.' 'Our love can be more full.' 'My life can be more fulfilling.' Your heart knows the truth of openness and suffers the tense lie of your closure.
"Chronic dissatisfaction is how you sense that you are living this lie. No matter how much pleasure or pain comes your way, dissatisfaction means you are resisting the openness of the moment, the openness who you are, the truth. When you are not open to emotions, people, and situations, then you are denying your most basic nature, the openness who you are.
"Practice being openness by opening to feel. Just as you are, even though you may have habits of closure, you can always practice opening to feel. Open to feel whatever you are feeling now. Open to feel your breath moving in and out, feel the posture of your body, feel the space and motion in your room around you, feel the emotional tone of the people nearest to you. Open and feel, Open as feeling. Open to feel everything, and feel as openness itself."
Warm regards to all