Friday, August 26, 2016

Cognitive Dissonance

In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time; performs an action that is contradictory to one or more beliefs, ideas, or values; or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.

The fact is that the Old Testament God is indeed a jealous God, full of wrath and short mercy, compassion and not a God given to "Come let us reason together."

In the original intent YHVH is quoted as "You shall not bring any other gods into my presence, for I the Lord YOUR God am a jealous God."  No one then believed there was just one god, just superior and inferior ones as they competed for top god.  Today we say, "Well , ahem...OF COURSE, there is no other God", but to them, there were plenty. 

Did these events actually happen?  Probably not as written with the Scribes and Priests of Israel giving themselves a great conquering pedigree in written form to advance their status and exaggerating beyond measure.  Men do that.  

Here are the statistics.

 How many did God kill in the Bible?
  •                                                 2,821,364
How many did Satan Kill?

  ( In Job) and even these he shares with God, since God allowed him to do it as a part of a bet. 
Even as a child in the Presbyterian Church constructing "Temples in the Wilderness"  and models out of shoe boxes and hearing these stories in Sunday School, it all  seemed beyond the pale and confusing as to why all these were good stories and what was the point for us?  Some of them were dismissed as merely "Earthly stories with Heavenly meanings."  I took that, as a child, to mean, "Don't screw with God."  Jesus was taught to be the solution to just about everything in the Old Testament and while his Father slew children in ways too horrible to imagine, Jesus advised the disciples to let them "Come unto me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."  Quite a contrast and relief for sure.  Perhaps he only meant Jewish children. 
Yet the stories are horrific. The amount of condoned killing in the name of religion should give one pause as to the cultic nature of the stories, the people and the Book. 
As a child it ALWAYS left me wondering just what kind  of a God is this and why I am I supposed to feel good about it and hold it all as sacred text. 

It might be easier to accept if we could leave it all behind in the OT and move on to the New. Sad to say, the Book of Revelation reveals a Jesus unlike Gospel Jesus, who shows all the signs of having not fallen far from the tree and is embraced far more often and with far more enthusiasm in the Churches of God as everyone but them getting what they deserve.  From the hymns they sing to the sermons they hear, "Blessed are the merciful" Gospel Jesus is a mere shadow compared to the powerful and Rod of Iron wielding Christ of Revelation. 
Recall how you could rarely if ever find any Jesus in the Church's Sabbath School Lessons.  
And so they are to this day
It's a shame to not live the life you actually have for one the cultic minded and theologically challenged one man show types imagine for you....send it in.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

BREAKING: Grace Communion International to Move HQ To North Carolina

While we have long enjoyed our home office being located in Southern California, the location in the USA isn’t necessarily a huge factor impacting our international operations. However, when we focus on how we can better serve our US congregations, location becomes a more important factor. Southern California has served us well, yet over time the cost of living has reached the point where consideration has to be given to relocating. It reminds me of an old joke that is still funny every time I hear it. A man walks into his boss’s office and says: “Sir, I’ll be straight with you, I know the economy isn’t great, but I have three companies after me, and I would like to respectfully ask for a raise.” After a few minutes of haggling, the boss finally agrees to a 5% raise and the employee happily gets up to leave.

“By the way,” asks the boss, “Which three companies are after you?” The employee quickly answers, “The electric company, the water company, and the phone company!”

A major consideration for relocation is that we can cut our overhead (i.e., cost of doing business in California) by $500,000 per year. While this may seem reason enough to move out of California, there are other advantages. Our Glendora church property has significantly increased in value; by relocating, we would access some of that accrued equity to go directly into our mission of the gospel proclamation.

Every time I attend any of our regional conferences or visit one of our churches, several members and ministers suggest their location as a great venue for our church headquarters. It is true there are many locations with a lower cost of living.

Another significant factor to consider in relocation is 65% of our congregations are in the eastern half of the continental US.

We are confident we can relocate to an area where the business environment is good for both business and non-profits – in other words a place of economic growth and development. Our management team has been searching for an area with good quality of life and access to more affordable housing for our employees.

After much prayerful deliberation, our Board of Directors has concluded that relocating to North Carolina would fulfill these desirable requirements.

For some, it may seem like an historic move since this is only the third time our headquarters has relocated. Just as our relocation from Pasadena to Glendora ten years ago had virtually no effect upon our churches, this move will be similar. Mostly the impact will be on our staff in successfully relocating.

We are on sound financial footing, and we strive always to be the best stewards we possibly can be. We were pleased when Capin Crouse LLP, our external auditors, gave a “clean and positive” report to the Board in June, 2016. During the presentation of the report, the auditors also shared a “Letter to Management” outlining any suggestions they may have for changes or improvements. The report did not make any suggestions for improvements. The presenting partner shared, “It is unusual to have a letter to management without any suggestions, because we always try to find something!” She complimented management on the Church’s financial systems. 

Read the full letter here:  Donor Letter
And here: About the GCI Board and Plans Relocate Our Home Office

LCG Northeast Men's Training Camp This Weekend: Where The Men WIll Learn to Be Men Once Again

Faaaaaaabulous pink shirts will be provided!

The much anticipated men's weekend is here.  LCG men have been letting down on their masculinity, so they are heading out to the woods to pound their chests and beat a some drums as they rediscover what it means to be a man's man.

Apparently the men of the church have been letting down on their masculinity component and its time for the church to step in and make them he-men again.  After all, how can weak effeminate men ever be leaders in Petra or become god's ruling their own planet?

Northeast Men’s Training Camp 2016August 26-28​  We live in a time of crisis for men. The role, identity and the very purpose for being a man is being called into question. How do we fight the demise of men... as a man? Here’s one way. Come and be part of this unique program this summer. Our spiritual “boot camp,” August 26-28, is specifically designed to build and strengthen men through eye-opening and interactive learning. We’ll learn what it takes to build bonds of brotherhood, serving God, our family and our brethren. It’s time to stand in the gap and take action against the tide of cultural correctness sweeping over our nation.

See more about the masculinity problem in LCG and the COG's.


United Church of God Joins Up With God's Only Doubly Blessed True Leader To Create New Hymnal

Those aging but fun guys sitting at United Church of God's headquarters are starting to let their ecumenical side come forth!  James Malm will be FURIOUS!  They have joined forces with Almost Arrested Doubly Blessed Bob Thiel to help the Continuing Church of God develop a new hymnal for its members in Africa.

The Chief Overseer writes:
It has taken a lot longer than we originally hoped, but finally we were able to approve a proof of The Bible Hymnal in the language of Kiswahili today. 
We would like to thank Aaron Dean, Mark Graham, and others at the United Church of God for their cooperation in providing us their translated music files.  
The African people have been abused for centuries by over zealous missionaries placing Western versions of what they think Christianity should look like upon them.  Now they will be subjected to the tunes of Dwight Armstrong. May God have mercy upon them.