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T-Bone

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  1. Your post reminded me of some stuff I read by the Italian theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli…I have his book “The Order of Time” (copyright 2017 Riverhead Books) on my Kindle…what follows are some thought provoking excerpts from that book, as you’ll see the author refers to previous chapters of the book…some of this touched upon what you were talking about – especially when you mentioned Bergson , the flow of time, eternity, existence, and consciousness - this book came to mind…anyway here’s some choice excerpts from pages 96 -204: "…Divested of the trappings with which Newtonian theory had draped it, and to which we had become so accustomed, it now shines out with greater clarity: the world is nothing but change. None of the pieces that time has lost (singularity, direction, independence, the present, continuity) puts into question the fact that the world is a network of events. On the one hand, there was time, with its many determinations; on the other, the simple fact that nothing is: things happen… …We started out with the image of time that is familiar to us: something that flows uniformly and equally throughout the universe, in the course of which all things happen. With the idea that there exists throughout the cosmos a present, a “now” that constitutes reality. The past for everyone is fixed, is gone, having already happened. The future is open, yet to be determined. Reality flows from the past, through the present, toward the future—and the evolution of things between past and future is intrinsically asymmetrical. This, we thought, is the basic structure of the world. This familiar picture has fallen apart, has shown itself to be only an approximation of a much more complex reality. A present that is common throughout the whole universe does not exist (chapter 3). Events are not ordered in pasts, presents, and futures; they are only “partially” ordered. There is a present that is near to us, but nothing that is “present” in a far-off galaxy. The present is a localized rather than a global phenomenon… Perhaps we belong to a particular subset of the world that interacts with the rest of it in such a way that this entropy is lower in one direction of our thermal time. The directionality of time is therefore real but perspectival (chapter 10): the entropy of the world in relation to us increases with our thermal time. We see the occurrence of things ordered in this variable, which we simply call “time,” and the growth of entropy distinguishes the past from the future for us and leads to the unfolding of the cosmos. It determines the existence of traces, residues, and memories of the past (chapter 11). We human beings are an effect of this great history of the increase of entropy, held together by the memory that is enabled by these traces. Each one of us is a unified being because we reflect the world, because we have formed an image of a unified entity by interacting with our kind, and because it is a perspective on the world unified by memory (chapter 12). From this comes what we call the “flowing” of time. This is what we are listening to when we listen to the passing of time. The variable “time” is one of many variables that describe the world. It is one of the variables of the gravitational field (chapter 4): at our scale, we do not register quantum fluctuations (chapter 5), hence it is possible to think of spacetime as determined, as Einstein’s great mollusk; at our scale, the movements of the mollusk are small and can be overlooked. Hence we can think of spacetime as being as rigid as a table. This table has dimensions: the one that we call space, and the one along which entropy grows, called time. In our everyday life we move at low speeds in relation to the speed of light and so we do not perceive the discrepancies between the different proper times of different clocks, and the differences in speed at which time passes at different distances from a mass are too small for us to distinguish. In the end, therefore, instead of many possible times, we can speak only of a single time: the time of our experience—uniform, universal, and ordered. This is the approximation of an approximation of an approximation of a description of the world made from our particular perspective as human beings who are dependent on the growth of entropy, anchored to the flowing of time. We for whom, as Ecclesiastes has it, there is a time to be born and a time to die. This is time for us: a multilayered, complex concept with multiple, distinct properties deriving from various different approximations. Many discussions of the concept of time are confused because they simply do not recognize its complex and multilayered aspect. They make the mistake of not seeing that the different layers are independent. This is the physical structure of time as I understand it, after a lifetime of revolving around it… …What is entirely credible, in any case, is the general fact that the temporal structure of the world is different from the naïve image that we have of it. This naïve image is suitable for our daily life, but it’s not suitable for understanding the world in its minute folds, or in its vastness. In all likelihood, it is not even sufficient for understanding our own nature, because the mystery of time intersects with the mystery of our personal identity, with the mystery of consciousness. The mystery of time has always troubled us, stirring deep emotions. So deep as to have nourished philosophies and religions. I believe, as Hans Reichenbach suggests in one of the most lucid books on the nature of time, The Direction of Time, that it was in order to escape from the anxiety time causes us that Parmenides wanted to deny its existence, that Plato imagined a world of ideas that exist outside of it, and that Hegel speaks of the moment in which the Spirit transcends temporality and knows itself in its plenitude. It is in order to escape this anxiety that we have imagined the existence of “eternity,” a strange world outside of time that we would like to be inhabited by gods, by a God, or by immortal souls.* Our deeply emotional attitude toward time has contributed more to the construction of cathedrals of philosophy than has logic or reason. The opposite emotional attitude, the veneration of time—Heraclitus or Bergson—has given rise to just as many philosophies, without getting us any nearer to understanding what time is. Physics helps us to penetrate layers of the mystery. It shows how the temporal structure of the world is different from our perception of it. It gives us the hope of being able to study the nature of time free from the fog caused by our emotions. But in our search for time, advancing increasingly away from ourselves, we have ended up by discovering something about ourselves, perhaps—just as Copernicus, by studying the movements of the heavens, ended up understanding how the Earth moved beneath his feet. Perhaps, ultimately, the emotional dimension of time is not the film of mist that prevents us from apprehending the nature of time objectively. Perhaps the emotion of time is precisely what time is for us. I don’t think there is much more than this to be understood. We may ask further questions, but we should be careful with questions that it is not possible to formulate properly. When we have found all the aspects of time that can be spoken of, then we have found time. We may gesture clumsily toward an immediate sense of time beyond what we can articulate (“Fine, but why does it ‘pass’?”), but I believe that at this point we are merely confusing matters, attempting illegitimately to transform approximate words into things. When we cannot formulate a problem with precision, it is often not because the problem is profound: it’s because the problem is false. Will we be able to understand things better in the future? I think so. Our understanding of nature has increased vertiginously over the course of centuries, and we are continuing to learn. We are glimpsing something about the mystery of time. We can see the world without time: we can perceive with the mind’s eye the profound structure of the world where time as we know it no longer exists—like the Fool on the Hill who sees the Earth turn when he sees the setting sun. And we begin to see that we are time. We are this space, this clearing opened by the traces of memory inside the connections between our neurons. We are memory. We are nostalgia. We are longing for a future that will not come. The clearing that is opened up in this way, by memory and by anticipation, anticipation, is time: a source of anguish sometimes, but in the end a tremendous gift. A precious miracle that the infinite play of combinations has unlocked for us, allowing us to exist. We may smile now. We can go back to serenely immersing ourselves in time—in our finite time—to savoring the clear intensity of every fleeting and cherished moment of the brief circle of our existence." ***End of excerpts*** from: "The Order of Time" at Amazon == == == == I know - - kind of a long post of just quoting from a book – but I thought some folks might enjoy sifting through the ideas – I know I do – sometimes authors express an idea I already am somewhat familiar with – but they say it with such fluency and coherency! And sometimes I just like hearing someone make a point that is coming from a totally different perspective from mine. The last few years I have gotten more into reading up on philosophy – to be honest, a lot of stuff goes way over my head…but who knows, maybe I’ll learn to swim at the deep end of the pool …but I guess we’re all philosophers to some degree – even if you don’t have a degree == == == Philosophy: "The original meaning of the word philosophy comes from the Greek roots philo- meaning "love" and -sophos, or "wisdom." When someone studies philosophy they want to understand how and why people do certain things and how to live a good life. In other words, they want to know the meaning of life. Add the suffix -er to philosophy, and you get a word for someone whose job it is to think these big thoughts… the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics… any personal belief about how to live or how to deal with a situation" philosophy definition from the internet
  2. I agree - saying we are not a mix of all that stuff from before but we now have something special worked out with what Jesus Christ accomplished is a big spiritually defining deal! Besides all that he achieved for us spiritually, I think there might be a practical interpretive tool that the Gospels/his earthly life provided. I’ll get to that further down – but first I want to mention something that got me thinking along that line. I just finished reading an interesting book “Making Sense of the Bible” by Adam Hamilton and will probably reread it a few more times down the road since I found a few of the author’s ideas very intriguing. One of the ideas is about how God inspires people today may not be all that different than it was in biblical times… That alone is a lot to think about... And spoiler alert - in case you haven't noticed - a while back I started leaning to a more liberal theology ( which I shared on another thread concerning the Bible ). Our current knowledge of the world often presents challenges when studying the Bible because of the much larger frame of reference that we have. I feel - to be honest - within that larger frame of reference - I must differentiate between the human and divine elements of scripture. Viewing the Bible through an historical lens might recognize certain changes as religious developments. But that’s not to say God is developing…evolving… or has been brainstorming all along the way as if flying by the seat of his long flowing robes, making sure “the changes to policy and procedure” memos get out on time, informing folks of the current way God behaves or superintends his creation…I’m thinking more along the lines of how people mature in their understanding of God. What if the “fabric” of the God-inspired scriptures isn’t so seamless? One of the things that Hamilton’s book got me to think more deeply about is the idea of a dual authorship of scripture. I believe scripture is inspired of God - but there’s the human element of each author. What exactly does that mean to us when trying to understand it? How much of a nuance do we allow for when taking into account the author’s humanness, individual style, historical outlook and cultural context? One of the problems I have with the fundamentalist’s viewpoint of scripture as being inerrant even when speaking of the things of science, history, geography, etc. - is that this viewpoint ignores the human component of authorship and might give the impression that the God who created the cosmos is an ignorant old coot who forgets details and glosses over errors. What does all this have to do with an “administrations” viewpoint? maybe a lot...I dunno – maybe it's important when it comes to practical application. Some scholars suggest one of the things we should do in trying to understand the scriptures is try to understand what a passage meant to the original recipients. But if we look back at when a certain passage occurred and just say that’s how God ran things at that time – we might miss its relevancy for today. For instance, in “The NIV Cultural Background Study Bible” (editors John Walton & Craig Keener) when handling the fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 say that one can imagine a variety of ways that people might strive to “be like God”; some commendable, others inappropriately ambitious or subversive… and that in the ancient near east the aspirations of wisdom and godlikeness were defensibly laudable pursuits… and that back then it was common for folks to meditate on ways in which people succeeded or failed in achieving wisdom and godlike noble qualities. TWI / Fundamentalists take a lot of stuff as very literal – so they focus on the forbidden fruit. What was it exactly? And if not speculating at what the fruit was they usually have a very rigid interpretation of the fall of mankind saying in an act of disobedience they questioned God’s word. While I do agree it was insubordination, I don’t think it was a specific fruit or item in the Garden of Eden – even though it says “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” since Genesis 1 Informs us that mankind was made in God’s image and was given a very comprehensive mandate to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” – and besides the fact that we are given very little details of the drama unfolding in Genesis 3 – leads me to believe there’s more here than just someone refusing to simply follow God’s Word without question. I mean that pretty much puts the kibosh on critical thinking. And in my opinion critical thinking is pretty much the cornerstone or foundation of how mankind still continues to fill the earth and subdue it. In my opinion asking questions...challenging ideas are all part of the critical thinking process for any discipline - theology, philosophy, the sciences. Even in matters of faith the intellect has its place.II Corinthians 5:7 says we walk by faith and not by sight. It does NOT say we walk by faith and not by reason...I go back and forth - sometimes it's faith in pursuit of reason and sometimes it's reason in the pursuit of faith. oy vey ! …For me among other things what the story of Adam and Eve shows is the danger of pursuing a shortcut to success. They were already godlike – made in the image of God….this is overly simplistic speculation here – but what if they were freaking out over God’s comprehensive mandate – wondering how they were going to accomplish all that and perhaps the tree of the knowledge of good & evil represented a way to circumvent a lot of long hard work. I dunno…just thinking out loud. ..anyway it seems to have a lot more relevancy for me today if I see the fall of mankind as a life lesson – there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Well, I know there’s a lot more to it than that – just gotta lighten up sometimes. When I get into my critical thinking mode and look at the grand scheme of things in the Bible - why is it I sometimes get bugged by the inconsistencies between one book and another and sometimes find it very difficult to nail down “ the biblical view” on certain topics? Also the character of God seems to change within dispensational or covenant theology...but maybe that's just the way I see things...this point is not a deal breaker. If Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh then why does it seem the loving and forgiving God he reveals is quite different from the law giving , sometimes violence advocating , sometimes outright vengeful God of the Old Testament? It’s also interesting to note that Jesus Christ himself never wrote a book of the Bible... I don’t mean to trash these theologies – but maybe I’m looking for a viewpoint that looks for common ground. Again this is not a deal breaker for me. At the end of this post I will offer some redeeming qualities of these theologies. So anyway, with Jesus Christ being the Word made flesh I find myself trying to work out a Christ-centric theology as an “interpretive filter” when I study the Bible – maybe that’s the common ground...maybe similar to that what-would-Jesus-do thing. May not be the most scholarly way of practical application but it might help me see what’s relevant to living the Christian lifestyle today. In other words, how would Jesus address a certain issue? Take for example how Jesus reinterpreted some Old Testament stuff in Matthew 5: 38 to 48 - what the law said about an eye for an eye. == == == Going over the draft of my post several times – and not wanting to give anyone the idea that I am totally opposed to dispensational or covenant theology - I kept thinking about Galatians 4 Where it says “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.” I have sometimes wondered why Jesus Christ was born in the first century. Recalling all the prophecies in the Old Testament, all the laws that were laid down, all the accounts that exposed the human condition – I see all that as God’s way of preparing people…helping to guide them in their spiritual growth...in that regard dispensational or covenant theology goes a long way in showing how people grow practically, intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually as well as gaining a deeper understanding of God. that's all I have for now...I've tried to edit out the duplicate paragraphs the best I can...sorry for the mess of copying and pasting from my laptop to Grease Spot - - I think next time I will copy the entire draft to Grease Spot, minus the links to outside references - then I will go back and edit in the links...anyway thanks all for listening to my ramblings...time to go to bed...sweet dreams everyone
  3. Ok, yeah I got you now...it’s been awhile since I read and saw The Hunger Games trilogy. Like The Matrix, Hunger Games has similar themes of what is fake/real, the motivation to survive (evident in all the main characters), rebellion & revolution. TWI and splinters survive by the way they ensnare folks in the virtual world of wierwille’s delusion; unbeknownst to followers they have become captivated by core beliefs that are held like almost absolute truths - and which often function as rules and regulations to control the way things are done and even the way people behave - thus the threat of rebellion is reduced or nonexistent. For example in the foundational class followers are taught the road down to failing God starts with questioning “The Word” (wierwille's manipulative teaching about Genesis 3 ).As one gets more involved with the group, that expands to questioning leadership is the road down to failure - failing God and the ministry. My hope and prayer for folks still involved with these religious fakers is that in reading about the other side of the story here on Grease Spot (that is, the real story ) is that perhaps the pilot light on critical thinking gets rekindled; that is how you can survive a cult!!! (though not always guaranteed, things like rebellion and revolution are sometimes byproducts of critical thinking) ... Speaking of critical thinking, Jesus Christ often challenged the status quo not only of the religious hypocrites but even of his own followers; check out what Jesus said to his followers criticizing others outside their group who were doing work in Jesus’ name in Luke 9: 49, 50 It must be a cult trademark of TWI and splinters to be so critical of anyone not associated with their group.
  4. is that the same as "being held in abeyance"?
  5. I agree with Waysider…and I like the dichotomy that Skyrider mentioned (“we” or the group vs me the individual) - and that got me thinking on how I’ve readjusted my values scale over the years since I let TWI. I don’t know if trying to live a good, kind and honest life can be considered a “noble cause” but I can say with a clear conscience that’s something I’ve tried to do all my life. And that’s probably what frustrated me the most in trying to be a successful sales rep for TWI. I bought into the supposedly noble cause of “moving the Word over the world” but most of the time I felt like a failure because of my inability to get people signed up for the class. You’d think (using my personal scale of values) being friendly, helpful and sharing stuff about the Bible with all who crossed my path would count for something – but I can’t even begin to count the number of times leaders would stress we should spend 80% of our time with the 20% who want to “move the Word”. Which in way-speak meant (depending on what level the 20 percenters were at) take the class, go WOW, go way corps, go in some program…it basically means you should motivate people to do whatever TWI says is “doing the Word”. Talking about how I let TWI’s priorities outweigh my own scale of values is not to say my whole time of involvement was a totally bad experience. Life is too short to paint my experiences in such broad strokes. I met a lot of good, kind and honest people and had a lot of good times too (usually good times didn’t revolve around official TWI functions…like when some of us went up to a little bar in Albion not too far from Rome City. And I don’t know how many quarters I pumped into the Juke Box and waited and waited and waited for Glenn Frey’s “The Heat is On” to play. Finally, as we were about to leave, the song came on and our little group of wayfers went nuts on the dance floor. Yeah – good times…btw, I also learned there how to get the most bang for the buck abiding by the 2 drink limit rule – by “discovering” Long Island Iced Tea…yowzer the good times!!!). Honestly, it was the good people (some were in leadership positions) and sweet times that made life in TWI bearable. But it was the a$$holes (some who were in leadership positions) along with the corporate agendas and insidious machinations that made life in TWI almost intolerable.
  6. There is so much thought-provoking stuff in what you’ve said, Skyrider ! I entered the Way Corps program toward the latter part of my 12 year involvement with TWI. “Fortunately” I was in residence when the $hit hit the fan (pause for special effects ) – the night Chris G read “The Passing of a Patriarch” and then all the commotion that followed after that. I think it took the firsthand experience of a collapsing house of cards to jar me awake (mentally speaking). Maybe it was that jarring effect that helped to shatter the rose-colored glasses I wore for 12 years – I started having serious questions and doubts about wierwille, the ministry and even PFAL. The Way Ministry – like a house of cards, was built on a shaky (and shady ) foundation and will collapse if a necessary element is removed. That’s why it needs continually propping up – and covering up by lies for it to continue in its decrepit “life” of using people. The more wierwille and his work is scrutinized the more one will find the treacherous, deceitful, exploitative and abusive basis for The Way Ministry. That all reflects the nature of its founder. wierwille plagiarized - he stole the work of others - and lied about it - saying it was his own work - so as to garner the respect and allegiance of others. I went into the way corps thinking I was going to learn the best way to serve God from THE man of God - and come to find out I was serving a con man...he's dead and gone but the con lives on.
  7. Thanks Skyrider for getting us back on track...gee I wonder if Mike B or Raymo ever read that first page...well, here's a second chance
  8. I have the same problem - I have to write passwords in a book...sorry don't know either Bob or Don.
  9. A great point there, Socks…you using the word “inertia” reminded me of something I found on Wikipedia regarding mindset “A mindset may be so firmly established that it creates a powerful incentive within these people or groups to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviors, choices, or tools. The latter phenomenon is also sometimes described as mental inertia, "groupthink", and it is often difficult to counteract its effects upon analysis and decision making processes.” I heard something on the news the other day about an investigation left on autopilot…This idea fascinated me so I found a definition of autopilot "The literal meaning of autopilot is a device that steers a ship, plane, or spacecraft by itself, without a person. However, the expression “on autopilot” has developed a different meaning. Here are some typical uses of the expression “on autopilot,” which should make its meaning clear: He wasn’t thinking very hard, he just did his job on autopilot. Instead of driving to school my brain was on autopilot, and I started driving to work! By the third week of her campaign for mayor, Quimby was making all of her speeches on autopilot. As you can tell from the examples above, to do something on autopilot means to do it without focusing on it, without thinking about what is happening." In a sense I can think of a certain mindset as being on autopilot. Where I’m doing something, going through the motions without really thinking about it. I agree with you - things could change – but that depends on if top leadership is willing to make the effort to change the direction of the existing mental inertia. That's a pretty tall order.
  10. Then there's the problem of offshoots tapping into the same source as the Way Tree
  11. The Way Tree and its haunting scam
  12. Great posts! Here’s a few thoughts I had after reading them. I think I learned more about honesty and empathy from my Mom & Dad than I ever did from wierwille. And my parents taught me that stuff – not by lectures or sermons on how to be a good Christian – but by how they lived their lives in raising me and my siblings. As a parent myself – now looking back on my folks – I believe I draw some inspiration of self-sacrifice for my kids by recalling how they would be supportive of our interests and dreams – not only financially – but even in just talking with us about all that stuff. That is a crazy interesting thing about parenthood – there’s someone who is a part of me – yet separate from me – who may have some totally different hopes and dreams than me…fascinating! I didn’t always feel that way about my parents. I’ve shared this before on another thread cults: the art of deception ...While growing up I was influenced by the counterculture of the 60s – there formed a gap between me and my parents. When the glue of family ties is weakened we may be attracted to a group that seems to satisfy our sense of belonging. But after being in TWI for some 12 years – I became disillusioned with them – and it took me some time to figure out why. Basically it amounts to there being nothing like the real thing when it comes to family ties - even as imperfect as they may be and as hurtful as they may be at times - there is a real connection there. Blood is thicker than water as the expression goes. In general, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with groups (churches, organizations, friends, etc.) that help you see the value in life or even just help you cope with life. I think my weak family ties made me vulnerable – set me up as a target – for the leader of a pseudo-family. Yes, wierwille in all his narcissistic glory was the “patriarch” of this pseudo-family. His pet saying of “I have no friends when it comes to the word” speaks volumes about his exaggerated feeling of self-importance and his lack of empathy to how others felt. wierwille’s pet dictum really covers it all – "I have no friends - or ties to an earthly family for that matter - when it comes to the word"…really ? where does it say that in the Bible? Chapter and verse please. The twisted version of self-sacrifice I learned during my 12 year involvement with TWI was that I was expected to put the priorities of The Way International ahead of everything else in my life. Actual family ties you may have are subjugated by the “reality of your spiritual family” (contrary to the bogus claim on the back of the PFAL sign up card “develops more harmony in the home”). . it's a variation of the previously mentioned dictum: don’t let anyone – not even your earthly family come between you and your spiritual family of The Way International.... how many marriages, families and friends were split up because a TWI follower was "taking a stand on the word"? and you know there were a lot of situations where upper leadership put the pressure on folks to make a choice between staying with The Way International or staying with their spouse who didn't see eye to eye with upper leadership. Sure glad I left that mess. In my ever evolving opinion, when it comes to family stuff - I see in the Bible a lot of stuff about reconciliation ( the prodigal son for example...or better yet, how about seeing reconciliation as having a higher priority than even worship in Matthew 5:23, 24 ) . I believe having patience, being supportive...having forgiveness, and empathy towards others...especially family members is a big deal.
  13. I’m NOT surprised vpw gave little or no attention to anyone of note in theology. That goes along with his failing to give credit to all the sources he plagiarized. It’s like he was aspiring to become the unannounced gatekeeper for understanding the Bible. I think for many TWI followers he was just that.
  14. Hi Raymo and welcome to Grease Spot. Hope you stick around and check some things out further. I don’t mean to rain on your parade but thinking about my time of involvement in TWI, I now look at PFAL, and for that matter the WOW program, the Way Corpse program and even wierwille himself in a totally different light. While I will say I’ve learned some good stuff about the Bible and met many good people in TWI, it is a very troubling thing to consider the fact that wierwille unabashedly plagiarized the material in PFAL. That makes him a thief and a liar. Why did he do that? Maybe to use PFAL as bait to lure people into the bondage of his ministry. The Bible speaks of false teachers wierwille’s plagiarism and why he did it so flagrantly makes me think of counterfeit money. Besides the fact that counterfeiting money is a crime, think of how it defrauds the recipient of something valuable - i.e. buying a genuine Rolex watch with counterfeit money...I don't think it's too far fetched to say that wierwille “bought” the respect and allegiance of folks by passing off PFAL as his own work. You may be interested in a few other threads that tell the real TRUTH about wierwille: The Way Living in Wonderland The wierwille legacy interview with Ralph D about wierwille & plagiarism
  15. welcome to Grease Spot, Surfers !!!!! I'm confused - are there 2 - Surfer Cat and Surfer Girl? If so I'll pay for 2 cups of coffee and 2 donuts.
  16. Socks, thanks for sharing some of your process. As always great stuff in your post. I probably should knuckle down and write out some of the things I read and think about. I used to do that some on Grease Spot a few years ago…but I dunno…some of it was half-baked…not fully developed…whatever…anyway… I like what you (and Annio) said about observing the flow of events between God and his creation - making for an easier way to read the Bible – letting it speak for itself (as the expression goes) would mean we may not have to get into a whole lot of elaborate explanations…as you said: “As annio stated there's a flow of events between God and His creation, and the changes that occur within that. It's a much easier way to read the Bible and if it does indeed speak for itself it will as we read it and learn it. So while I might use the idea of labelling the more obvious segments of the history and learning what changes and what stays the same I haven't found any great value to nailing that down till it hurts.” The flow of events in the past is history. What is history? It’s the study of past events, particularly in human affairs; the whole series of past events connected with someone or something. And usually historians have some keen sense that observes developments, trends, progress, changes, etc. Along with observations an historian might offer explanations to connect certain events in an effort to make sense out of things – that all being the historian’s own “lens” or perspective. I tend to think of dispensationalism or covenant theology (and for that matter even systematic theology in general) as a lens also – through which the reader views and tries to make sense of the Bible. But along the lines that you said, the Bible isn’t like a modern textbook – with everything organized by topics with charts, diagrams, index, and ALL the verses on a given subject are gathered together in one chapter so there’s no guesswork as to how this verse relates to that verse. That would be a book on systematic theology or something like an encyclopedia on the Bible. Don’t get me wrong – I do think being somewhat organized (theologically speaking) in how we look at the stuff of the Bible is necessary. But I think it’s detrimental to growth and expanding our horizons if we exclusively cling to one perspective as if it were set in stone. I probably use more of an amateur historian’s lens when I read through the Bible – sometimes noting the developments and changes in people – maybe as a way of understanding my own personal journey. Maybe that has something to do with what Annio said: “Covenant theology, the little that I know of it, seems much more revealing of a God of continual Presence, grace, relationship, mercy, support, and love.” I really like that! Maybe this is a bit of exaggeration or overly simplistic but to me covenant theology has a subjective feel to it and seems to focus more on folks developing a working relationship WITH God…written by ordinary folks like you or me – inspired by God, yes – but conveying God’s message through their own experiences…so it’s ya know, touchy feely kind of stuff ; whereas dispensationalism is more objective-ish and seems to be more about man versus God, Old Testament versus New Testament, law versus grace, what’s God’s rules and regs for a particular time…not saying either viewpoint has it all right or all wrong – but my ever-evolving “theology” tends to aim toward a synthesis of various ideas. Perhaps Galatians 5:14 is like a synthesis of sorts – “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: Love your neighbor as yourself." Some of what I believe about the Bible and certain topics are still in a state of flux – and I’m comfortable with that – although it’s been a long time for me to get to the point where I’m okay with not feeling like I have to be a Bible-know-it-all or thinking “The Word takes the place of the absent Christ”. Any of my studies in the Bible are usually geared more to helping me think about my relationship with God and the people in my life, understanding more about Jesus Christ, and sometimes even reevaluating my priorities. Theologies and philosophies can be helpful. On a journey through the Bible or in life - we need to have a feel for the lay of the land. When I was young, I felt fully equipped for the journey with the knowledge, hopes, and plans that were wrapped up in my TWI life…now I’ve come to realize there’s lots of stuff in the Bible (and in life!) I may never figure out or truly understand…I’ve got a lot more of open-ended questions that simple pat answers can’t satisfy. ..I’m okay with that - it makes for a much more interesting journey... So I’ll leave you with this quote: "If it were all truly known and planned and determined, life wouldn’t be worth living, just a giant to-do list waiting to be crossed off"…Helen Mirren
  17. Engine, thanks for sharing this book, I'm enjoying reading it now
  18. Great post Socks !!! That's some deep stuff...I always enjoy reading your posts - they give me a lot to think about.
  19. Thanks for the link - - and here is link to the 2nd part part 2 of vpw and plagiarism …and at the end of part 2, Charlene has this note: “Note from Charlene: Anyone who ever worked in The Way’s Biblical Research Department, as I did, knows the truth about Wierwille plagiarizing from others. We used to rationalize this by saying, well, he never said he taught anything original, he said he took what he learned from others, put it together (like a puzzle), and “made it accurate.” Really? Accurate according to whom?” The fact that the Bible clearly shows lying and stealing are both no-no’s makes plagiarism a double whammy – since plagiarizing is stealing the work of others and claiming it is your own work. One of the first lies I stumbled across was when I found out wierwille lied about taking correspondence courses from the Moody Correspondence School. see letter from Moody Correspondence School That led me on a long journey of mind-expanding questions. Like what else did he lie about? What is a lie? It’s a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive. What happens when a liar starts believing the lies they tell to others? At some point we’re probably talking about a serious delusion. Looking back over my years of involvement with The Way International, I sometimes wonder what the intent behind his deception was. Maybe he started out with good intentions and just wanted a shortcut to becoming a person of influence who could help others… I dunno. But good intentions don’t guarantee good results. Well…if the proof is in the pudding – the end result of his efforts was the establishment of an abusive, ever-more-entangling and exploitative organization (The Way International) based on his delusion of greatness. As devoted followers many of us bought into that delusion and believed we were doing great things for God. wierwille’s lies had a subtle way of promoting himself as a trusted leader/teacher, and at the same time encouraged followers to use his products (PFAL, other classes, programs, books, magazines, etc.) because they were based on “the accuracy of The Word”. Perhaps as a smokescreen to conceal plagiarism wierwille even claimed that God said (in an audible voice! ) he would teach the Word to wierwille like it hadn’t been known since the first century if he would just teach it to others…sorry to say I bought into that lie too…Lies upon lies. One definition of a cult is a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object. What comes to mind are some of the things I’ve heard during my years of involvement – here’s a few choice ones: referring to wierwille as “our father in the Word”, “PFAL is God’s epistle to the 20th century”, and “remember who taught you the Word”. All in all, great respect and even reverence was always heaped upon wierwille …oh and don’t forget his teachings on “the accuracy of The Word”. A cult figure and object indeed! The propagation of lies helps develop a certain mindset in followers. The lies are somewhat like malware. Malware is malicious software – which refers to all types of threats like viruses, spyware, worms, Trojans, etc. These computer programs are designed to infiltrate and damage computers without the user’s consent…The TWI mindset is basically intellectual malware that’s full of lies. It’s a mindset that cannot see the invisible walls of its own mental prison. Devoted followers never saw wierwille’s works as plagiarized material because of a rationale based on lies. As Charlene said in the note above “We used to rationalize this by saying, well, he never said he taught anything original, he said he took what he learned from others, put it together (like a puzzle), and “made it accurate.” …maybe it's the old hidden-in-plain-sight trick: plagiarism goes unnoticed because of all the attention that's given to how "accurate" it supposedly is. Jesus said the truth will set you free (John 8:32). On the flip side – maybe it’s lies that keep us in bondage...Behold the sneaky intellectual malware! It starts out in PFAL, where we heard from wierwille things like the battle of the senses versus revelation faith – basically insinuating you can’t trust the five senses or even your logic when dealing with spiritual matters. We were expected to just trust “the teacher” he’ll lay it all out for us - as far as what is true and real. Malware is transmitted to its target anytime there are vulnerabilities in the system – in this case the student’s critical thinking skills. wierwille’s insidious teaching of Genesis 3 was effective enough to convince a lot of folks that doubting, questioning or in any way challenging his teaching on “the accuracy of the Word” was equivalent to how the serpent tricked Adam and Eve out of "the Word" – and that’s the road down – you question or doubt something wierwille taught and you're skating on thin ice - you could trip out of “The Word”! Oh horror of horrors! By the time I got in the way corps this idea was strongly reinforced by a teaching wierwille gave from John 13:30 where Judas left Jesus and it was night. The essence of how wierwille applied that verse to our commitment with TWI was to say if you trip out from the ministry that taught you the accuracy of the Word your only option is oblivion...malicious lies upon lies that can ensnare your very soul...this bears repeating: the truth will set you free – lies keep you in bondage. So…where to go from here…One of the things I use on the journey of mind-expanding questions is an idea from I Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good…My PFAL books are in a box in the attic - why? well, besides plagiarizing he was also incompetent when it came to the biblical languages, being inconsistent with principles of interpretation and using goofy logic - it's difficult to sort through his hodge podge of twisted theology - - and frankly I just don't trust the liar.…however I still keep some of Bullinger’s stuff handy on my bookshelf – The Companion Bible, How to Enjoy the Bible, and Figures of Speech in the Bible. And I don’t agree with everything Bullinger said either…that’s the freedom I now enjoy since I left TWI.
  20. Great post Annio !!! Closure: a sense of resolution or conclusion at the end of a work or project; a feeling that an emotional or traumatic experience has been resolved; an often comforting or satisfying sense of finality…I don’t know if typical closure is possible on some things that happen to us…but I think there may be some sense of bittersweet triumph when we repurpose our “scar tissue” to warn others or help others recover from a similar experience…and I am sure the courageous way you (and others) have shared of your experiences continues to frustrate the hell out of the modus operandi of sexual predators.
  21. I agree. Wierwille’s modus operandi was in developing an undercurrent that grew stronger as one became more involved with the organization (like joining programs and staff). Undercurrent: an underlying feeling or influence, especially one that is contrary to the prevailing atmosphere and is not expressed openly; a current of water below the surface and moving in a different direction from any surface current…teachings available to the general public were seemingly benign promoting study of the Bible, offering keys to overcoming adversity and finding fulfilment in life. All that supposedly wholesome sounding Bible stuff on the surface hides the undertow. You'll find it's all about wierwille's skewed interpretation of the Bible commingled with lies... Your hopes and dreams become entangled with the busy work of the ministry. Any false sense of happiness and fulfillment really depends on how much you commit to an organization. Christian, beware these are treacherous waters! The deeper you go the more you find wierwille’s influence leading you further and further away from the simple and honest life of a Christian. Wierwille was like Captain Nemo and my experience in TWI was like twenty thousand (or more) lies under the sea.
  22. I think this thread is also another reminder to those who have already been seduced by TWI and may feel they have some vague inkling they have been duped. I left in 86’ and looking back on my somewhat lengthy exit experience – I’ve come to the conclusion my decision to leave was ultimately more about the methods of TWI to shore up their doctrine and practices rather than about any particular doctrine itself. Rocky and Word Wolf have made excellent points about regret; we are only human – imperfect and unfortunately without a time machine – so we can’t go back and re-do situations where we screwed up, failed or were taken advantage of by others. Rather, I believe being human and imperfect we are nonetheless endowed by our Creator with some kind of “indomitable machine” that enables us to bounce back from failures and overcome obstacles. Regret is to feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity; to feel sorry or unhappy about something you did or were unable to do…There will always be regrets - - but if we never felt sad, repentant or disappointed over something that happened where would the impetus come from to decide to change our course of action? I also tend to think the stronger the regret, the stronger is the stimulus that drives us to change something. We may not yet know what that something is – but we still may find that the gears are already in motion in our head – to question, to challenge, to modify how we look at something. After a while – I think you may find the baby steps you’ve taken and what you’ve achieved and have to be thankful for will by far outweigh the regrets. I said leaving TWI was a long and slow process for me. It was a series of baby steps. Doing something – even something small - is better than doing nothing. Back then there was no Grease Spot …Penworks had not yet written “Undertow”. I did my own research on doctrine and practice – even looked at books outside of those promoted by TWI, did a lot of thinking…questioning…challenging… talking to others who had left TWI or were thinking about leaving. I Thessalonians 5:21 was my motto during these baby steps times “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good”. You may want to spend more effort in scrutinizing the methods and practices of TWI rather than fretting over a particular doctrine. In other words, look at how they reinforced their teachings and way of doing things. Perhaps you'll notice some of the hindrances they've put in place to frustrate clear or critical thinking. "Prove all things" applies to methods and practices too. In the end, maybe regrets can be just one chapter in the book of your life – a chapter that is a lot shorter than the chapters on baby steps and the chapter on what you’re grateful for. So dear TWI follower, what is stopping you from considering the ideas on this thread? here's Penworks' book "Undertow"
  23. Ahhhh…such is life in a hamster-wheel: hamster-wheel: Noun. (plural hamster wheels) A circular cage for a hamster or other small rodent, which rotates vertically as the animal runs at the bottom. (figuratively, by extension) A monotonous, repetitive, unfulfilling activity, especially one in which no progress is achieved.
  24. Welcome to Grease Spot, Ghosted !!! Thanks for sharing your story. Enjoy your visit here. I was in Family Corps 11 and know firsthand how much bondage and stress all that stuff can put on someone – kids as well as adults. Grease Spot is great for encouraging freedom of thought and developing critical thinking skills.
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