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T-Bone

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T-Bone last won the day on June 13

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  1. Rocky, I took no pleasure in reading “Night” but that’s not to say I don’t appreciate you recommending this book – it is something that I believe is necessary to read. In the bigger picture – some of which was discussed here - the sheer enormity of the Jews murdered…the brutality…the inhumanity…is nothing short of absolutely mind-boggling – and to be honest, when my mind is overwhelmed like that, I sometimes have to stop thinking about it for a while. But the book has a different and more profound effect. The story is told not from the panorama of the entire Holocaust – but from the perspective of just one 15 year old boy Elie Wiesel. At the start of the read, I had a bad habit of second-guessing or judging how he handled things mentally – so I had to intentionally set aside the comfortable zone of my perspective from a pleasant upbringing and carefree teenage experiences. I’m not saying I could then identify with Elie – but at least I stopped finding some fault in his reactions and thoughts. Maybe we all have a tendency to play Monday morning quarterback sometimes. The older I get and the more experiences I accumulate – I like to think I’d be able to handle some catastrophic event – but the bottom line is I just don’t know. Oddly enough, I did not want to take a break from the book, like I mentioned above when thinking of the immensity of the Holocaust. Maybe it was simply a thing of Elie’s simple straightforward compelling and engaging narrative of events and me wondering how much more could he take and how he would handle it that so held my interest. From the book a few things stick out to me: Things held dear – family, faith, dignity, belongings…a gold crown tooth or just the shoes on his feet…even life itself – were upended and devastated…Elie seeing children and babies thrown into the crematorium (I cannot erase that scene from my mind)… The disparity of human behavior – Elie seeing their tough and cruel guards engage in a friendly interaction with some local German girls as they marched the prisoners through the streets to a labor camp…They were forced to look upon other prisoners being hanged for some infraction. While seeing a young child hanged – someone behind Elie asked “where is God?” and Elie replied “there – hanging on the gallows”…At one camp, crammed into very small barracks it was literally people piled on top of one another – some suffocating under the blanket of bodies, dying overnight – Elie digging his nails into unknown faces to move them for an airway – that’s got to be one of the creepiest things that really got to me…another time laying silently in an upper bunk while an SS officer brutally beat his father in the bunk below – fearing he would also get beaten – even when his dying dad called out his name he would not answer – if that was me hearing my dad’s last word of calling out my name - that would haunt me for the rest of my life. Tonto and I went to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. in 2002 – and that was certainly a somber and sacred experience. Reading “Night” was certainly like that but also felt more emotionally immersive - one person’s story is truly a powerful thing.
  2. You can analyze minutely verses like that in Matthew 7 on wolves, corrupt tree and evil fruit – but if you have a cultic-mindset like I had in TWI – you might not see who it applies to. In the if-the-shoe-fits-wear-it scenario – way back when, if you would have asked me “are you in a cult?” my response would be “nope - it don’t fit”. I was blind to the manipulative and deceptive tactics of TWI and could not see that the real fruit TWI produced was usually exploitative by nature – their ways and means...their methods were infused with taking unfair AND unethical advantage of followers for the convenience, profit and advancement of those in the power structure - the hierarchy that encompasses the most powerful people in The Way International…the wolves in Jesus’ warning conjures up images of rapacious animals – aggressively greedy or grasping... predators ruthlessly exploiting their prey. Somewhere along my journey through The Way – unperceived by me of course - there were mental habits and beliefs instilled that frustrated or suppressed clear thinking - basically orienting me to think TWI’s doctrine and methods were the be-all-and-end-all of what’s important and crucial to life…Such is the nature of self-deception – which is “a process of denying or rationalizing away the relevance, significance, or importance of opposing evidence and logical argument. Self-deception involves convincing oneself of a truth (or lack of truth) so that one does not reveal any self-knowledge of the deception.” ( from Wikipedia - self-deception ) My 12 years of involvement can briefly be summed up as a continuous effort of spinning my wheels thinking I was getting somewhere in life. Just keep confessing and believing someday it will finally work.Keep your nose to the grindstone – think of the drudgery of way-corps-indentured-servitude as a way of being free from the cares of this world...Matthew 6:24 says you cannot serve two masters…and I was such a compliant little sheep that for all practical purposes the board of trustees, corps coordinators, and any other Pharisee wearing a way corps name-tag held more sway over my life than even the Lord Jesus Christ. For me it took the chaotic and irksome $hit-storm after Chris G’s “passing of the patriarch” to somehow expose a chink in my armor of ignorance – questions and doubts came rushing through the gap. That was the beginning of my escape out of the rabbit hole. “Against logic there is no armor like ignorance”... Laurence J. Peter educator, psychologist, writer (best known for the development of the the Peter Principle ) It takes some courage to damn the torpedoes and face those doubts and questions head on. “We deceive ourselves because we don’t have enough psychological strength to admit the truth and deal with the consequences that will follow.” (clinical psychologist Cortney S. Warren Ph.D.) On a side note, I believe self-reflection is a necessary part of interpreting or understanding the Bible - in other words, determining if or how it applies to me. And even in secular applications some habit of self-awareness matters – to determine if something is a good fit for us, to honor our uniqueness instead of just absorbing some popular mindset, and to become more comfortable and confident as we learn to be ourselves. (see Psychology Today What is self-awareness )
  3. According to Wikipedia the genocide was carried out not just in Nazi Germany but also across German-occupied Europe and using more than just gas chambers: "The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the World War II genocide of the European Jews. Between 1941 and 1945, across German-occupied Europe, Nazi Germany and its collaborators systematically murdered some six million Jews, around two-thirds of Europe's Jewish population.The murders were carried out in pogroms and mass shootings; by a policy of extermination through work in concentration camps; and in gas chambers and gas vans in German extermination camps, chiefly Auschwitz, Bełżec, Chełmno, Majdanek, Sobibór, and Treblinka in occupied Poland." from Wikipedia - the Holocaust see also Wikipedia - German-occupied Europe
  4. I think you might be comparing apples to oranges – your example with the stop sign assumes I see the approaching speedy car and that I assess it is exceeding the posted speed limit and it does not look like it's slowing down for the stop sign – in that simple scenario I agree with you, it would be foolish on my part to ignore such risk factors from my perspective and judgement. There’s a lot more to understanding the Holocaust - since it involves many perspectives and how people evaluated things, and how involved others may want to get in keeping something bad from happening (speaking in reference to the international community - which I'll get into below) - so I don’t think your simple example is appropriate – but your statement “if you can see something bad is going to happen, it is in your best interest to avoid it” got me thinking of the bigger picture – and in general, ask “what were the warning signs and were they ignored?” I found this on - U.S. Holocaust Museum - “While warning signs are undoubtedly clearer in hindsight, reflecting on the events of 1938 challenges us to consider what might motivate us to respond to indicators of genocide today. History teaches us that genocide can be prevented if people care enough to act. Our choices in response to hatred truly do matter, and together we can help fulfill the promise of “Never Again.”…this page also gives a timeline of some of the early warning signs like in March of 1938 “German troops enter Austria, which is incorporated into the German Reich…German authorities quickly implement anti-Jewish legislation that encourages an atmosphere of hostility toward the Jewish population.” And on - PBS – Why Jews didn’t leave Europe - Leon Botstein is a Swiss- American Jewish conductor and scholar in an interview discussed “why Jews didn’t leave Europe, particularly Germany, after Hitler came to power in 1933. “The Nazis were not as organized as the American film industry describes them,” he says. “In the breach, segregating the Jewish population was the first order of business.” Indeed, Hitler even ordered that Jewish classical musicians be fired from their groups in the early months of 1933. However, says Botstein, most German Jews didn’t question that they would live and die in Germany. They thought Hitler was temporary or that he was so extreme that there would be a reaction against him. “There was always two Germanys,” Botstein cites, “There was the Germany of high culture…and the Germany of the beer hall and…of blood-and-soil nationalism, which eventually triumphed. Anti-Semitism or even radical anti-Semitism wasn’t a surprise to Germans at the time, even after Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass in 1938) and the outbreak of World War II in 1939, according to Botstein. “People knew things would be terrible, but no one imagined to what extent,” says Botstein.” There might have been many who thought something bad was going to happen – but as Botstein said maybe they couldn’t foresee how bad it would be or thought it might just be something short-term . And there’s another thing to consider about the early warning signs – the lack of response from the international community – in July of 1938 – “Intensified persecution in Germany led more Jews to try to emigrate, which required a nation to allow them to enter. In response to increased refugee demand, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt convened a conference in Evian, France. There, representatives from 32 nations discussed their immigration policies. Delegate after delegate expressed sympathy for the refugees, but most countries, including the United States, refused to alter their immigration policies to admit more of them. Only the Dominican Republic agreed to accept a large number of additional refugees.” (this quote is also from above link to US Holocaust Memorial Museum ). There's a lot more to this topic - I'm just offering up a couple of examples of why I don't think the simple stop sign/avoiding risk analogy is applicable. By the way, the time-frame of Wiesel’s book is when the Holocaust was already in high gear (his original manuscript was completed in 1954). Rocky, sorry this wasn’t a discussion of the book – but I thought these few historical details gave some background to Wiesel’s dire situation...I’ve never experienced such hopelessness and utter cruelty – so it’s hard for me to relate to his story – maybe that’s why Moishe had difficulty finding people who would listen to his warnings (even Wiesel says he did not believe him) – until they experienced it for themselves.
  5. you present a false dilemma to further your opinion.
  6. I tend to be very skeptical of attempts to spiritualize a situation past or present. It seems to me that there is usually an assumption that undergirds these attempts – the assumption being that this outlook dubbed “spiritual” is the real, true or correct perspective – and I think this will always obfuscate the matter…Even though the Bible does mention spiritual entities (God, Satan, angels, demons) when it comes to attributing evil to a responsible party – I think Jesus’ words were plain and clear on this: 18 “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”…Matthew 15: 18-20 NIV 6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!”...Matthew 18:6, 7 NIV The other thing I wanted to say about your post is that it seems to find fault with or blame the victim. Maybe that’s not what you meant. Since your ideas spanned two forums I brought this quote over from the Atheists FAQ forum, to add one more thing that’s wrong about “spiritualizing” events. Without getting into a lot of politics here – if you were referencing the recent protestors and the Black Lives Matter movement which actually began several years ago – to suggest there is something spiritual behind it is to trivialize it all (trivialize = make it seem less important, less significant, or less complex than it really is). And as I said above it tends to obfuscate the matter (obfuscate = render obscure, unclear, or unintelligible) which means it prevents any meaningful conversation from taking place.
  7. T-Bone

    Anyone else?

    Saying that to a little kid is just plain cruel – besides being wildly foolish (what if the child crosses paths with the supposedly dead parent?) And if I’m understanding your story right – that’s exactly what happened when the divorced parents remarried…I think if you told a kid something like “your dad never loved you anyway” would be pretty psychologically damaging all by itself – but to say “your dad is dead” presents a totally hopeless situation to the kid. Now it appears there’s no way to verify that or improve on the relationship. Anyway - how horrible to do that to kids…I’ve never personally heard of death “stories” like that but I’m familiar with TWI’s other manipulative and divisive tactics to force people to choose between family/friends/loved ones and “The Word”.
  8. Being contentious, difficult and especially maligning other Christian groups is exactly what wierwille did to distinguish and separate The Way International from all other Christian groups. I’ve been in meetings where wierwille would get into his anti-Trinity rant and say stuff along the lines of wrong-seed are promoting the Trinity and to really believe in the Trinity you have to be possessed…As Skyrider said, TWI is a cult - not because of its beliefs, but because of its methods…There was no debating the Trinity – strict obedience to wierwille’s leadership was expected and enforced by sowing the fear of following wrong seed or risking devil-possession. Thinking about that now, I don’t think it was ever really a concern over “right doctrine” but was just another method of closing the ranks – to keep TWI followers united against other Christian groups…wierwille’s “Why Division?” in The New Dynamic Church book seems like some great rah-rah-let’s-go-team rhetoric – but I tend to think many of us who were caught up in the spiritual elitism of TWI, assumed we were the only “team” that really counted – we were the true Church with more of the rightly-divided-Word than anyone else…teachings on “the household” had a similar agenda – to immerse us more deeply in commitment to the organization but also to further isolate us – set us further apart from other Christians and even other grads of PFAL who didn’t get that involved with TWI…I began to realize how pervasive this “spiritual hierarchy” was shortly after I left TWI when I heard of Chris G’s comment about those who left, saying “now is the fat being trimmed from the body of Christ.”
  9. When I was a little boy my aunt saw that I wasn’t spitting out the watermelon seeds and told me that a watermelon would grow in my tummy…if my aunt were alive today and could see my big fat gut she’d probably say “see, what did I tell you?”
  10. Thanks, Waysider - that makes sense.
  11. I clicked on the bookstore ( TWI bookstore and research ) and noticed that Power For Abundant Living (the orange book) is NOT listed there…guess I never got the memo on this omission in the lineup LOL - was this discussed before on Grease Spot?
  12. Well at least they’re not wrong seed...but give them time - I bet some of them will be raisin Cain.
  13. Speaking of barbaric…in less sophisticated times both garlic and onions were believed by some to ward off evil spirits, demons, werewolves and vampires (I wonder if that was good against bloodsucking cult leaders too)…hmmmmm – maybe there was a good reason why TWI banned garlic and onions. see Garlic, demons, werewolves, vampires link see the family of onions link
  14. I agree - hopefully he's not gone for good.
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