Friday, January 10, 2014

Dennis muses: The Return of Awesomeness

Pastor General's Yearly Letter
Pastor General David C. Pack’s fifth annual “Fruits Letter,” written for those with a background in the Worldwide Church of God and its offshoots, will be available early next week. Once again, this year’s letter is loaded with statistics that reflect the explosive growth unique to The Restored Church of God.
Wrong fruits Dave

Galatians 5:22-23

New International Version (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

1 Corinthians 13

New International Version (NIV)
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy (you don't obviously) and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, (Not even close) and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor (I think you said RCG didn't do such things so no problem here) and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. Iit is not proud.It does not it does not envy, it does not boast, dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; (Or blow up in your addled theological speculations face)where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes,what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. (You still do and no offense to children) When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.  

...And not overarching, mind boggling internet hits and statistics , seat gyrating announcements, mahogany trim, Steuben Crystal, and now I even hear you are toying with the Plane for Dave ego buster.  You could use some pastoral lessons from the current Pope.  He is far ahead of you in things you know nothing about.  

It's always been about the numbers Dave no matter your denial. I was going to send you a New Testament for Christmas but you'd probably not understand it. Not even that Revelation part.


Thursday, January 9, 2014



As Dave Pack is busy recuperating from the inexplicable failure of all COG splinter groups to meekly coalesce under him last fall, the current story of the day seems to be the meltdown of another group of another Dave, i.e. David Hulme.

It's an interesting exercise in group herding psychology to read dissenting  ministers' arguments vs. establishment-supporting ministers' arguments.

Bemused and amused, I found a sermon by a supporting minister, Eric Keefer, to be particularly interesting, not simply because of the at-the-door-brain-checking aspect ("obey authority!") but yet more so because of the blinding hypocrisy of some of the arguments.  The sermon audio is here (sermon given on Dec. 28, 2013):

All the background one needs is to recall the general history of COGic.  Hulme (with followers) left WCG sometime in the 1990s, forming UCG, and the sometime later left UCG to form their current group. In other words, COGic exists because they were willing to rebel against "God-appointed authority", not once, but twice. But now we see what happens when the rebellion becomes the establishment.

Things get unbelievable at around the 25 minute mark. After reading from (you've got to be kidding me!!!) HWA's Mystery of the Ages (which should immediately on-the-spot destroy any speaker's credibility), Mr. Keefer sets forth his argument as to why dissenters are wrong to speak up.

"If Mr. Hulme has disqualified himself by leading us away from God, that would be one thing, but he has not...  This is a matter of some deciding they know better, and God has not put them in a position to make those kinds of decisions, and ... they're rebelling against those decisions.  I don't think God's arm is too short to put whoever he wills in that place to make those decisions.  I just don't believe that God said "Oops I made a mistake, put David Hulme there, I should have never done that, but now I'm stuck with him so now I've got to create a rebellion to overthrow him".  That's not the way God works, brethren.  If God has a problem with Mr. Hulme, God will take care of it.  If God wants us to change our approach, he certainly could have placed one of these ministers in his spot, but guess what?  That didn't happen.  He would have certainly done it without appealing to what amounts to be a public rebellion.  God does not work that way.

However, if you still have questions and doubts, that's ok.  I completely understand why you might not be as confident as I am.  But my advice to you, as it always has been, is to remain calm and wait on God.  Let God fix it, if there's a problem, let God fix it.  Let God deal with it.  If there's something hidden it will be revealed in time..."

Yeah.... right.  God always fixes leadership problems in COG, doesn't he?  :-)  Double smiley :-)  No,  make that a triple :-)

Mr. Keefer, do you have any idea how bizarre and hypocritical those words sound?

That is of course why half the church had to leave into various splinters against the "God-appointed" Joe Tkach (appointed personally by HWA, for Pete's sake!  How much more validity do these HWA-acolytes want?)

So, Mr. Keefer (and Hulme supporters), this implies that you took exactly the wrong course of action, whereas the proper response should have been "C'mon now, if God has a problem with Joe Tkach, God will take care of it! Remain calm and wait on God".  After all his arm is longer than Joe Tkach's arm.  Or was God simply no match for the mighty Tkach?

We all know that the WCG splinter ministers/members were patient and relied on HWA's God to set things straight, don't we? 

Keefer later argues that differences in how the gospel is to be preached (i.e. minister and member dissatisfaction about Vision magazine) should not be grounds for dissent.  Yet when COGic formed from UCG, that was one of the stated reasons for the defection, at least according to

"David Hulme, used two  doctrinal issues  (better governance and being more proactive in proclaiming the gospel) as his justification for leaving UCG and starting his own organization."

So, instead, shouldn't you have submitted to the authority that UCG's God had supposedly established? Why didn't Hulme & Co. take a more humble approach and realize that "that's not the way God works"? and if he had a problem with it, "He would have certainly done it without appealing to what amounts to be a public rebellion."

Well, I understand it's all different when you're the one being rebelled against, but it's the blatant hypocrisy that is so dazzling.

Of course, this is all very, very human-like behavior and simply accentuates the fact that all of this drama has nothing to do with some God and His Work(TM), but simply humans and their contrived beliefs and power-plays.


The Holy Golden Oil of Gerald Flurry

The sickness spreads:

Just turned on my laptop after getting up from my knees this morning when I read about this event concerning Mr. Gerald Flurry. Had to go back down on my knees to petition our Father, the Great God in Heaven, to restore our beloved Apostle’s health back to normal again. We truly need to back up and support our Apostle with more of our prayers for his health and continuing vitality during this more challenging times as we get closer and closer to the very climax of the last hour. We need to hold up his arms more steadfastly as the war we are fighting against Satan and his minions continues to heat up.
 Golden oil?
Praying for your speedy recovery Mr Flurry . We love you and really look forward to receiving more golden oil through you .

The good news is that Geralds sermons are soooooooooooooooooooooooooo bad they are enraging Satan: 

My prayers are and thoughts are with Mr. Flurry I have asked God to give him extra protection especially now when he delivers these exceptional sermons that enrage Satan.

Eric King's 2014 Predictions Claim White House May Need To Be Moved

Eric is out with his new prophecies for 2014.

Among the many things he predicts is the following:

On the world scene we will witness many assassination attempts and assassinations in the year 2014. This is all due to major global power shifts which will begin to occur in 2014 due to how the world economy is being affected by population, weather changes, and natural disasters. Record heat temperatures in 2014 all around the globe to be expected. I have warned about earth shaking events…including literal earthquakes. As our weather continues to do funny things so will the surface of our planet. A major volcano incident is likely occurring in 2014 as we watch our earth shift. The animals in our oceans will exhibit strange behavior.

I will continue to share more as God directs throughout the year 2014. I would like to share one more issue with you: The White House will face new security issues and we will perhaps see talk of relocating the White House. These are just some of the sad facts due to the result of the fallen human condition as we approach the Second Coming of Jesus Christ our LORD.

Spilling The Family Secrets On Grandfathers Religion He Started

Biblical Literalism as Handy Ammunition

One of Armstrongism's biggest issues is that it takes the Bible as 100% literal in all aspects.  Every single story actually happened.  Most also fail to realize that almost every single story in the Bible is from an oral tradition.  Stories passed on from generation to generation to tell the story of the people and bring meaning to their existence.  It is the same with American folktales.  Stories we know to not be true, but ultimately have great meaning to us as we grew as a nation.  They are stories of identity that convey a message.   

Since so many in the COG know so little about Jesus, they automatically jump to the conclusion that every parable or story he told was of an actual event.  They weren't and never were meant to be. The entire point of the parables of Jesus was to illustrate a point.

Richard Rohr, one of my favorite writers, has this to say:

Jewish midrash extrapolated from the mere story to find its actual spiritual message. We all do the same when we read anyway, but Jesus and his Jewish people were much more honest and up front about this. Fundamentalists pretend they are giving the text total and literal authority, but then it always ends up looking like what people in that culture would want to believe anyway. (Remember, good Bible Christians in the U.S. Confederacy and in South Africa were quite sure the Scriptures justified oppression and enslavement of black people.)
To take the Scriptures seriously is not to take them literally. Literalism is invariably the lowest and least level of meaning. Serious reading of Scripture will allow you to find an ever-new spiritual meaning for the liberation of history, the liberation of the soul, and the liberation of God in every generation. Then the text is true on many levels, instead of trying to prove it is true on just the one simple, factual level. Sacred texts always maximize your possibilities for life and love, which is why we call them sacred. I am afraid we have for too long used the Bible merely to prove various church positions, which largely narrows their range and depth. Instead of transforming people, the Biblical texts became utilitarian and handy ammunition.