Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Existing ARTICLE VII in the ERC Mailing

I've clicked on the link to the existing ARTICLE VII in two emails and, to be certain that it wasn't a glitch related to the emails I received, I clicked on the link directly from the ERC website.

When I click on it, I don't get the existing ARTICLE VII. I get a supporting document for the new ARTICLE VII...a piece that actually promotes the NEW ARTICLE VII.

My emerging belief that the new ERC leadership team is profoundly dishonest and lacks integrity, which I'm struggling against, in spite of growing evidence,...

...also tempts me to believe that this was not a mistake but an attempt to promote the new ARTICLE VII under the guise of providing a full picture of the proposed changes.

(I wonder if anyone other than I even noticed the error. It's been up for a few days...and it's still there.)

The only alternative explanation that I can think of is that this is a genuine mistake that further points out the incompetence of the ERC's current leadership team...

...and reminds us of what we lost in Kevin, who, in spite of other perceived shortcomings, was a very capable administrator.

At this point, I'm leaning toward the incompetence theory.

Either way, though, we are worse off now than we were. Make no mistake about it!

Whether it's dishonesty or incompetence, don't trust these guys as far as you can throw them.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Proposed ERC Constitutional Changes: Ministers

Numerous people have sent me the proposed changes to the ERC Constitution.

The change that interests me most initially is the proposed expansion of ARTICLE XI--MINISTERS.

Among other things, it places the ERC ordination vows into the Constitution.

And, I think about the attack on my ordination which, according to rumor, was discussed on the floor of the ERC Conference in session in 2016.

Two thoughts:

1. I am and have always been true to my ordination vows.

2. It is the ERC hierarchs who continually and shamelessly abuse their ordination vows.

In particular they are still making a mockery of the proposed Section 5. C. (3) having to do with the requirement that ministers subscribe to, teach and defend the doctrines of the Churches of God.

First and foremost among the doctrines of the Churches of God is that the Bible is our only rule of faith and practice.

And, these guys are pressuring the Conference to adopt a Strategic Plan with no Scriptural authority which they presented to the people of the Conference...

WITHOUT A SINGLE REFERENCE TO THE BIBLE!

Here's my take on the proposed amendment to ARTICLE XI:

1. Unanimously adopt it, then,
2. Defrock each and every member of the ERC Shepherd Mafia on the charge of insubordination to the doctrines of the Churches of God.

In my opinion, as long as the people who think of themselves as our leaders assert their own traditions and opinions over the doctrines of the Churches of God and the teachings of the Word of God, two things will be true:

1. Most of the people in the Conference will never follow them, and,
2. The Lord of all authority and power and grace and mercy and blessing will never bless us.

We must dive head first into the Word of God.

We must repent.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

My Dad's Peaceful Exit

Dad died yesterday afternoon a little after 4:00.

As I blogged earlier, he took a turn for the worse last Tuesday night.

From that point on, he was not able to swallow. He went without food or liquids for more than a week, which is remarkable to me because he'd lost so much weight before this all started.

During most of the time, except for losing more weight, he seemed unchanged.

When the end came, it came very quickly. A nurse at the home said that he was beginning to show signs of immanent death about noon yesterday and he was gone about four hours later.

Dad was peaceful throughout. Even with morphine, he seemed somewhat uncomfortable during the last day or so. The Hospice nurse thought that the staff at the home might have been a little more aggressive with the morphine. Who knows?

In the end, though the end came quickly, his room was packed. Dad's remaining brother and his wife and had stopped by for a visit and stayed until the end and one of mom's sisters arrived with her beau about five minutes before the end.

Besides that, my brother and his wife, their daughter and a friend and Evie and mom and I were there. Dad was always a very private man and I'm certain that this was not his idea of a perfect end to his life.

It's a temptation at times like his to remember only the good about a person.

Dad was human. Like the rest of us, he was a son of the first Adam.

But, he was an absolutely devoted husband and father.

His mother died tragically when he was 14 and there were four younger siblings in the house. Over the years the younger ones have spoken to me about what a wonderful older brother he was. I think, in some ways, he took on the role of their mother.

He understood duty as well as anyone I've ever known and he did his duty to one and all.

He was a loyal churchman and did his part over the years, serving on boards, even teaching Sunday School.

And, though he was rarely vocal about his faith, he was, more than a churchman, a follower of Jesus.

In his later years, while he still had his mind, he told me stories of his care for widows who were in need. Twice, he took in a child who had been removed from his parents' home. I was growing up then and knew those stories well.

He lived the life much more loudly than he talked it.

(Undoubtedly, my frustration over today's church's tepid, church-focused definition of righteousness can be traced to the sacrifices dad made to show Christ's love and to obey His commands. Dad would never been vocal in expressing his own frustration, if he, indeed, was frustrated.)

Near the end, when I hope his mind was clear enough for him to understand, I told dad that he was my hero and that he still is. He will always be my hero.

His body died yesterday. Except for rare moments of clarity, his mind had been completely gone for many months.

Still, I'll miss him more now.

I'm blessed to have known him.

I'm proud to be his son.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Arrogance on the ERC Mountaintop

It was some time ago that I was made aware of the ERC Shepherd Mafia's plans to dismiss Kevin and that the idea was that his replacement could fill in one day a week until the search for the new E. D. was completed.

The Mafiosi are saying that we have an interim Executive Director but, from the moment I first heard what the plan was, here's what I thought:

This person is not an interim. He is a care-taker. 

And, that's the arrogance.

So, their guy can do as well, no better than, Kevin did working the job only one day a week!?!?!?!???

Apparently not!

Do you really think that we'd be enduring the fiasco over the rescheduling of date of Conference if Kevin was still in the chair?

Do you think that KEVIN would have tried to pull the wool over the Eldership's eyes over the real reason for changing the date...

...or, at the very least, have been less than transparent about it?

I do not.

We are not better off with this care-taker regime.

We'd be in far better hands with Kevin still in place, if this is how the Shepherd Mafia plans to lead!

The ERC is at a crucial moment as it faces a very uncertain future...

...and, we are not being led well.

It's time for a major overhaul of the Conference.

We need to get rid of the gang that's been our leadership culture for decades.

We need to dive head-first into the Word.

We need to deconstruct the institution and walk in the Spirit.

We must repent.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Dad's Health

If you're a Facebook friend you may already know most of this.

(I use this blog, to some degree, as a journal so this is as much for me in the future as it is a plea for prayers from brothers and sisters in Him.)

Dad took a turn for the worse this past Tuesday during the night.

At this point, he's sleeping most of the time, though he wakes up from time to time and is actually fairly clear minded. He says he's not in pain and that he is peaceful.

He's been taken off of nearly all of his medications, though he still gets morphine.

Until two days ago, mom, who is in the moderate stage of Alzheimer's, was in complete denial about the state of his health. Then, in an instant, she came to grips with the reality.

She's struggling. They've been married for 65 years and their lives have absolutely revolved around each other. She is about a ten minute walk, at her snail pace using her walker, from dad's room and she makes the trek in the morning, afternoon and evening. Last night, apparently, she stayed late into the night.

The rest of the family has been regular in visiting them anyway but we're all there daily now. Evie's on her way now. My brother's there now. I have work midday. But will go down after work.

The people at the store have been very supportive. I can take off to be with any time I want and can take as much time as I need. It will be at my own expense but knowing there's no pressure from the job is a tremendous relief.

Hospice is telling us that it's a matter of days, not weeks.

Nevertheless, dad's body is resilient. He's lost so much weight that he looks like a holocaust victim. But, his pulse is steady and his respiration is fairly regular. It could still be a long haul, though he seems to be perfectly at peace with the awareness that he is dying.

Dad has been quiet over the years about his faith but has lived the life right out of Matthew 25:34-40 and James 1:26-27. There is no question about his place in eternity.

We are all sad. And, very tired.

Push Back over the Issue of Institutionalism

There's someone who is in regular conversation with me off the blog over my blog posts. I often think that our off the blog exchanges are better than anything I put on the blog.

Yesterday, this guy (That's right, Lew, I identified this person as male.) took me to task because I'm pretty consistent in calling the new New Strategic Plan institution-based and the framers of the plan institutionalists.

He suggested that I'm making a much bigger point than is justified in pointing out that the new New Strategic Plan calls for the expansion of Conference staff to an E. D. and FOUR directors.

In the Round Table Meetings, apparently, Kevin suggested that not as much money would go into paying for these Directors as it might appear and that Kevin expected the E. D. to fill one of the Director roles.

So, let me be clear:

My strong objection is that this plan is focused entirely on polishing up the institution...

...AND NOT ON DISCIPLING AND MOBILIZING THE ENTIRE BODY.

All we've done in recent generations is attempt to get hierarchy right with the assumption that effective ministry will result from a perfectly functioning leadership structure.

Yet, all we've accomplished is turn our people into increasingly passive consumers of our leadership's religious products and services.

And, this new New Strategic Plan will continue that trend.

In the Church of God movement days, the Priesthood of all Believers functioned.

These days, we are becoming theologically conservative Lutheran wannabes. And, this plan will make us more like the Lutherans and even less like we were when we were a thriving Spirit-empowered movement.

We need less, not more, institution and more, not less, life in the Spirit.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Competence and Integrity on the ERC Mountaintop

First things first:

I RECEIVED THE NEWS ABOUT THE LAWYER DRIVING THE DECISION TO CHANGE THE DATE OF ERC CONFERENCE EARLY IN THE WEEK, LONG BEFORE I PUT THAT INFORMATION ON THE BLOG. 

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My network is abuzz with rumblings and reports concerning the upcoming FLY BY NIGHT ERC Conference session now scheduled for January 13, 2018.

It was people who converse with me who filled me in on the actual truth behind the reason for change in the date of the Conference meeting.

Because the hierarchs have removed me from the mailing lists, I honestly didn't know that the original memo from the Conference didn't tell the full truth until an ERC person, who is a reader of this blog, informed me that he didn't know that it was because of legal concerns that the date of Conference was changed.

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I never expected that this blog would serve as source of "All the News That's Fit to Print" about the Eastern Regional Conference of the Churches of God, General Conference.

But, that is precisely what it seems to have become.

You should know that I still have friends across the CGGC and that I hear a lot. I only pass on what I consider to be important to the Kingdom and to come from sources with direct knowledge.

I don't spread gossip.

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So, as a matter of historical fact, understand..

...this blog told the truth about the reason for the change in the date of the Conference session...

...BEFORE the truth was unloaded from the Conference office.

Perhaps the Interim E. D. planned, all along, to wait at least several days, until late Thursday afternoon to tell the entire story about the change in the date of Conference...

...and, perhaps, the fact that I spilled the beans, earlier in the day, had nothing to do with the timing of the Conference memo.

Perhaps.

I personally doubt that.

We all know the real-life timing.

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As I see it, there are now several issues:

I already raised one of them: Current ERC leadership doesn't do institutional church as well as Kevin did.

Make no mistake about it.

These guys are institutionalists.

They support the new New Strategic Plan. They advocate the expansion of Conference staff to an E. D. plus FOUR Directors. But, based on this little dance over the date of Conference,...

...these guys do institutionalism very poorly.

-----

The second, more crucial, issue is the question of the new leaders' integrity.

Why would they wait even a minute to tell the real story about the change in the date of Conference?

Only revealing the lawyer's role...

...AFTER THE TRUTH WAS TOLD ON THIS BLOG?????

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I've pointed out many times over the years that, unchecked and left to their own devises,...

...shepherds are so focused on relationship that they have trouble telling the truth.

The indisputable fact in this case is that there is only one reason that the date of Conference was changed...

...and, the ERC mountaintoppers didn't reveal that reason until the truth was mentioned in a public forum elsewhere, i.e., here.

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My network is telling me that, when you get the proposed changes to the Constitution, you'll see that the hierarchs will be asking the Eldership to give up its voice in determining the makeup of Conference Commission Structure.

Or, the hierarchs will be asking for even more authority over the body...

Or,...

...to be less accountable to the Eldership.

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The hierarchs need a two-thirds majority, FROM THE ELDERSHIP, to be released from accountability to the Eldership in this way.

It's up to the Eldership to release the hierarchs from accountability.

In my opinion, it would be foolish for the Eldership to grant the hierarchs the new power they crave.