This is just a status update on various things relating to the blog. I’ll be working on a regular type of article shortly that will hopefully be posted today. Physically, it has been demanding of late, I’m not getting any younger, and I just did not have it in me to post yesterday.
The truth is that we all get old, frail and die. During the Feast of Tabernacles, the Israelites were commanded to gather branches and build huts from them. The details have been debated over time, but I believe the branches and boughs were to be “green”:
40 On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees—from palms, willows and other leafy trees—and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.
Imagine a hut made of freshly cut boughs of living trees, most likely with leafs and such interwoven to make a roof that repels the rain if it falls. Imagine day by day how they turn brown, deteriorate and die away. Imagine this occuring during a time that celebrates a coming time of great prosperity and harvest. It sort of goes against the grain, no?
Actually, I wish we didn’t have to imagine it. I’ve only been to one Feast site that actually put up a hut for all to see, and unfortunately I don’t think the fire codes would not allow it to be up the entire time. I think something gets lost when we don’t see these things firsthand.
This physical life is not the endgame. Whether it is this age or the next, the physical is only temporary and will be replaced by something more permanent. When you think of it, that is just the opposite that the human mind tends to think of things. We call the spiritual “etheral”, as though it wasn’t real. We point to a physical rock and call it “real” because it is not just physical but densely physical. However, these things are not permanent, and it is actually the spiritual that lives on.
The executive summary (TLDR) version: When you are young, you are full of life and energy, but as you age you learn to depend more and more upon the Lord to get even the minor mundane tasks accomplished. This is a lesson for now and in the Millennium for all physical creatures.
I’ve not moved all of the Helium articles over yet, although I recently was able to copy over quite a chunk. Some have been posted here previously, while others are not, so I have to do searches each time (some go by different titles since Helium at one time dictated the titles). Meanwhile, there is new stuff I want to post as well, so I have to swing back and forth a lot. It takes a while, since I have to review the old articles for any missed errors (and there have been some), but mostly because I have to adapt them to the style for this blog. If they were previously posted, I usually (time permitting and if they are important enough) still have to update to conform to the current style due to changes in platform and such.
If that were all I had to do, though, it probably still wouldn’t take that long, but I find myself constantly evaluating priorities against other things, some of which are outside of my control.
I have played around with various environments to test out a doctrinal wiki. I originally wanted to test in a manner that killed two birds with one stone, but I ended up backing out of that. I’ve just about got a more representative test environment going for testing, though, and I’m pretty certain I want to use MediaWiki as the platform.
This actually has consumed a lot of my time, and has resulted in a few late night troubleshooting sessions. I fear that if I don’t get this going for real by Thanksgiving that other things will push it out of the way.
There are a number of reasons for wanting to do this, but the biggest one is that this is a huge hole in the COG web universe. There are lots of blogs, opinions, even booklets and online magazines, but there are very few actual encyclopedia type doctrinal statements and articles where you can look up a subject and find it and related material. The few that do exist are not really in that format, and they are far from unbiased.
I’m not saying that I’m not biased, BTW. I am, and I unashamedly am. I am biased towards what God’s word actually says first and the traditional understanding of it second. If something calls into question the traditional understanding, then can the traditional understanding be upheld by Scripture? Most of the time, it can, but there are instances where it actually cannot or the evidence is pretty weak. “The main things are the plain things, and the plain things are the main things,” after all.
You know, I have written a lot very recently about relationships and closeness in relation to responsibilities. I plan on writing more about that, but this brings to mind:
25 At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike.
It is humbling that there are those who proclaim themselves wise, apostles and prophets who fall away from the truth while a few struggle to hang onto the truths they have been given.
What is interesting by Jesus’ words is that children have implicit trust in their parents. God the Father is the ultimate parent. Jesus Christ is the Firstborn, the Elder Brother and the Head of the Church. How many have listened to strangers and wolves in sheep’s clothing and fallen away? How many of our siblings do we take heed to and follow rather than plain words of Scripture?
Notice, “plain” is the key here. There will always be things that are not plain, but if you look hard enough, there are plain ways to deal even with those. I can tell you that the answer to dealing with the unplain things is not everyone doing what is right in his own eyes!
However, far too many people really seem to want to cater either to the strange, weird and esoteric or to the powerful, those of status or make a great show of physical things. I think that leaves the remainder of us scratching our heads pondering what it is that drives people to go to such unbiblical extremes. I fear that the latter group grows smaller each and every year.
3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me [note how Paul as a leader of the Church had authority!], I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are [could that include usurping the authority Paul was just speaking of?]. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.
3 for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? 4 When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world?
5 After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.
We are not given a choice. We must soberly look at the traditional teachings that have been passed down to us and evaluate them against the Bible, but we must be careful to not throw out the baby with the bath water as well. That includes the authority of the Church. Where does it have authority? Where does it not? If we cannot answer such a simple question as that, how will we ever rule in the Millennium and beyond?
Just as important: What are the “traditional” teachings of the Churches of God? Do we even know? There are many who claim to hold to the traditions of HWA, but do they really? Most of them are liars, and that can be proven! Why follow proven liars? At least some organizations are honest enough to admit when and where they break with traditional teachings, but it is still incumbent upon them to show why. However, there is little point in following someone who claims to hold to all the teachigns of a dead man to begin with, but when it can be shown that they are lying, then it is better to go somewhere else.
So, it is important to know our history but not be totally bound by it. The kings of Israel were blessed when they put away the Baals and other idols, but those blessings were limited because they still followed the teachings of a man, Jereboam son of Nebat. They were bound by their history, and in the end it destroyed them.
While I am not comparing HWA’s teachings to the obviously idolatrous teachings of Jereboam, there is an important lesson to be gleaned from that example. In fact, the degree to which some place HWA upon a pedestal, the difference is neglible to begin with.
Seeking the Truth
In the end, who will be saved? Those who seek the truth wholeheartedly or those who cling to traditions without knowing why?
There is one tradition that HWA taught to the end: Don’t believe me; believe your Bible! Believe God!
How well do we do that?