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Everything posted by T-Bone

  1. Skyrider, good point on wierwille actually designing a follow-ship rather than a leadership program. So true! If a leader is supposed to have the vision for the direction of a group – wierwille certainly had that – but I think it was along the lines of everyone under his thumb doing it his way. His vision was a grand delusion of course. Rocky, thanks for the link to that article; some great points from it: “A sense of belonging is a human need, just like the need for food and shelter. Feeling that you belong is most important in seeing value in life and in coping with intensely painful emotions. Some find belonging in a church, some with friends, some with family, and some on Twitter or other social media. Some see themselves as connected only to one or two people. Others believe and feel a connection to all people the world over, to humanity… …A sense of belonging to a greater community improves your motivation, health, and happiness. When you see your connection to others, you know that all people struggle and have difficult times. You are not alone. There is comfort in that knowledge…One way to work on increasing your sense of belonging is to look for ways you are similar with others instead of focusing on ways you are different…Another way to build your own sense of belonging is to work on acceptance of others. To accept others and views that are not the same as yours may require that you open your thoughts to the idea that there is value in everyone's thinking…” from Psychology Today article As the article indicates, our sense of belonging can be fulfilled in various ways. I can see how TWI and any controlling cult for that matter – can take advantage of that. Initially, I joined because it appeared to me this group had all the answers to any struggles in life. But over time my autonomy was being chipped away – as I felt more and more pressured through groupthink and browbeating to accept TWI’s perspective and solutions for any struggles. Think about all those claims on the back of the PFAL class signup card – if you wanted more harmony in the home, or to increase your prosperity or whatever they listed – you come to find out sometime later after taking the class, they were just unsubstantiated claims and how ineffective and frustrating their solutions proved to be. And not just life struggles but stupid ridiculous time-wasting struggles – like having a hard time trying to get another PFAL class together. TWI and offshoots appeal to one’s sense of belonging but over time start encroaching on one’s boundaries and self-governance; within the group one finds only a certain view is acceptable and only a certain class of people are acceptable – those in good standing with their group. They sort of turn around one's sense of belonging - almost like saying "now you belong to us." yeeeeccchhh ! well said, Skyrider - subdued.
  2. Maybe the “Trust-o-Meter” is another name for critical thinking skills. I think it might be like a muscle…while in TWI, critical thinking skills are not something one is encouraged to develop…so the muscle atrophies. Grease Spot is a great place to get various points of view…I believe humility is an important element too – and since I don’t know it all, it pays to check out what others have to say. It would be impossible to make a 3-D rendering of an object if all I had was my one perspective. What’s behind it? What’s on the side? And if others had just the same perspective as my frontal view that wouldn’t help to complete the rendering. And perhaps critical and creative thinking go hand in hand. I’ve learned a lot more about Bible stuff after I left TWI – reading and listening to other sources – analyzing – and then seeing various options on how I can apply stuff I learned. keep on with the keeping on love & peace T-Bone
  3. We watched the final episode last night too. I was shocked at the number of folks that raised their hands when asked if they knew someone who was sexually abused in Scientology…I think the illicit motives for sex, money and power are (or is )the ubiquitous trinity found in many abusive cults. Interesting article on this undesirable dark triad
  4. So has JAL ever addressed or exposed the hypocrisy of wierwille? Seriously – I’m just asking anyone familiar with his body of work…I mean whatever supposed “gold” he got out of wierwille/TWI and whatever “qualifications” or “credentials” he got from them might have an insidious quality to it…like picking up a chunk of graphite that was blown out of the Chernobyl reactor disaster…I mean think about Matthew 23:15 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”
  5. As a representative of an offshoot, JAL epitomizes the logical output of TWI – a “ministry” which wierwille himself derived – like some parasitic insect…by plagiarizing, hijacking, and using basic-megalomaniac-bossy-pants-feats-of abuse, shoved an insidious idea down the throats of anyone who would listen; this idea was the key element in any sales pitch promoting TWI…the idea being that wierwille/TWI had cornered the market on correctly interpreting the Bible. This insidious idea continued with JAL – as evident in an early letter from him suggesting his group - leaving the drudgery of servitude to TWI was like the Hebrews of old escaping the bondage of Egypt with all their gold. In my opinion, JAL is more along the lines of a motivational speaker…a salesman. What is he selling? Having been through way corps training I remember much of it was geared to developing myself as first a good salesman and then learning to manage those who I have motivated to get or stay involved with TWI.
  6. I remember one of the earliest descriptions given by wierwille was in PFAL. Something along the lines of (with the exceptions of things like figures of speech) we were to take the Bible as literally true – with a mathematically exactness and scientific precision – his words at one point in the class. What wierwille pushed was basically a Fundamentalist type view of the Bible – however it continually grew to an increasingly wierwille-centric interpretation. I think over time how TWI defined a believer morphed on an ad hoc basis – whatever was needed to focus the mindset of the masses. Folks here have occasionally quoted an old TWI statement that clearly lays out the fundamental characteristics of a believer: "The Way is a fellowship of the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ for the manifestation of the more abundant life. A follower of The Way is filled with and manifests power from on high, holy spirit, and freely avails himself of fellowship meetings for spiritual nurture and growth. The Way fellowship is cemented together by the Spirit of God with each individual believer being transformed by the renewing of his mind according to the Word of God." So, on the flip side – I would say an unbeliever is one who does not adhere to any of the above things I mentioned. My mindset when I was involved with TWI was as follows: If you do not stand with God's ministry which has more of the rightly divided word than anyone else, you are an unbeliever
  7. Like Java Jane said - if you subscribe to TWI’s definition then I too am an unbeliever. However, I’ve taken up a more active role in my evolving belief system. I look at life as a journey. Raised Roman Catholic but at a critical juncture in my young life I chose to join TWI. Initially, I felt I was in the driver’s seat. But after years and years of programs, meetings, adopting a certain mindset and thinking I was serving God – most of my “motoring” skills took a back seat. If life is a journey - then this portion of the trip I was taken for a ride. Why did I leave TWI? Maybe it was something like watching a train wreck in slow-motion…me slowly coming to the realization that there was something morally wrong with the whole thing. My beef is not over theology or some particular doctrine. I mean, if you look at the Pharisees in Jesus’ day – they may have had a tight theological system (whatever that is) but morally there was such dark overgrown jungle-like stain on their hearts that they often received Jesus’ most vehement criticism. I would describe myself as a believer – with the Bible and the basics of Christianity as part of my moral compass on this journey of faith.
  8. Excellent points Skyrider…the word “parasite” came to mind…I firmly believe wierwille/TWI/PFAL etc. are parasitic in nature…from the internet: 1. an organism that lives in or on an organism of another species (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other's expense. "the parasite attaches itself to the mouths of fishes" · 2. derogatory a person who habitually relies on or exploits others and gives nothing in return. "the capitalist is really a parasite on the workers" My involvement with TWI was an exercise in how to install a filter on your perception. Stick with them long enough and you only see what they want you to see. That’s the parasite’s cloaking device.
  9. Hmmmm… ...impossible to have a meaningful conversation with me because I do not conform to your idea of what’s normal. Perhaps you’re right.
  10. I watched “The Usual Suspects” again recently - and this time I was amazed by another great trick Verbal (Kaizer) was able to pull off; by his own deceitful narrative of past events Verbal manipulated the detective to think another member of their small band of criminals - Keaton (played by Gabriel Byrne) was actually Kaizer Soze. In his first post on this thread Skyrider talked about the subterfuge agenda hidden in PFAL , Defeating the Adversary class ...and I think it goes beyond that - into a deep level of deception sewn into the very fabric of a certain frame of thought - the TWI mindset - this acts like a blinders on a horse, you look at only what they direct you to look at. Like the character Verbal redirecting the detective’s attention - essentially shifting the blame off himself - wierwille, craig and other well trained illusionists were adept at avoidance, minimizing and blame shifting. If you had a problem with something they said or did or even an issue with a policy or practice - it was because YOU are walking in the flesh...going by your 5 senses ...letting the devilish or worldly influence of family/friends or the church you grew up in sway you...or they’d use some other intentionally obfuscating tactic...anything to get you to sever ties with the real world and your own better judgment. So-called benefits of the class tended to be nullified by one’s continued commitment to the principles of the class. The supposed development of more harmony in the home went out the window many times when a gung ho grad really took a stand on “the word” - some families and marriages suffered and split up...yeah like Kaizer Soze , manipulative cults like TWI always make greater and greater demands on your commitment and yet any familial, financial or social problems or damage caused by your “stand” are attributed to the world trying to hold you back...remember “when it comes to the word I have no friends. It’s “the word” vs the world”...yeeeccchhhh! Yeah I think one of the greatest lies by manipulators like wierwille and craig was that false teachers / wolves / predators did not exist in TWI.
  11. I think something happened to generate a narrative...granted, the narrative may be derivative, scientifically or historically inaccurate but nonetheless it is a story of what happened as interpreted through a Hebrew viewpoint.
  12. With Raf saying “To think that the existence of Adam and Eve as historical figures is more certain than the existence of George Washington takes a level of denial of reality, history and scholarship…” I think he DID acknowledge TLC’s extreme level of certainty. However, one’s certainty on a matter does not necessarily make it true nor does it mean that one has made diligent inquiries with the highest degree of precision or used any scholarly standards...and I wonder...if one's certainty flies in the face of facts or reality - can it be labeled a delusion? But I'm not qualified to address matters of science and history - or epistemology for that matter - but I tend to think maybe TLC is relating more of an opinion. An opinion does not have to be based on fact or knowledge. == == == == == …Wikipedia says of certainty it “is perfect knowledge that has total security from error, or the mental state of being without doubt.Objectively defined, certainty is total continuity and validity of all foundational inquiry, to the highest degree of precision. Something is certain only if no skepticism can occur…Physicist Lawrence M. Krauss suggests that the need for identifying degrees of certainty is under-appreciated in various domains, including policy making and the understanding of science. This is because different goals require different degrees of certainty—and politicians are not always aware of (or do not make it clear) how much certainty we are working with.” It has taken a while for me to come to grips with the tension between faith and reason – not saying I’ve got it mastered – but I do have a better sense of what the issues are when it comes to science and scripture. And in that regard I’m a lot more open-minded than I used to be…matter of fact, about the only non-negotiable belief that I have - that I can think of right now - is that there is a creator. But that is a matter of faith and not reason. I cannot prove a creator exists nor can someone prove to me a creator does not exist. Speaking of Adam and Eve, I read an interesting book – still digesting it and will probably have to review it a few more times to better grasp the concepts - but it has some interesting ideas that I think relate to this portion of the discussion. It’s "The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say About Human Origins" by Peter Enns On page xix Enns says that scripture and science speak two different languages…that alone is a big thing to think about…and as I’ve mulled over some key concepts of the book I find it is necessary for me to rethink a lot of the Bible – and mind you I’ve expressed elsewhere my tendency is to shoot for a synthesis – and in matters of faith and reason it might be more along the lines of deconstruction or something… I don’t know…but anyway, speaking about the issue I’ve encountered on my own journey…when I got involved in TWI – I found that to fit in and be accepted by the group - it was almost like I was presented a choice…to accept the pseudo-science of PFAL or else reject Christianity…and there’s probably a similar crux for many Christian groups – accept or believe in the inerrancy of the scripture even when it touches on matters of science and history – or else reject Christianity...I'm of the opinion there's more options when it comes to valid interpretations of the Bible. so I hear Grease Spot will be gone soon…that bums me out...because one of the great things I get out of it (and more so in Doctrinal than in About the Way forum...I post more in About the Way than Doctrinal - probably because I tend to listen or think more about what's said in Doctrinal ...cuz it seems I'm usually exploring new territory ) is a reevaluation – or maybe a recalibration of my own views of the Bible…One last point I wanted to share from Enns’ book on page 144 – “Understanding the nature of the Bible as analogous to the mystery of the incarnation helps us to adjust our expectations of what the Bible is prepared to deliver…There is a reason why Scripture looks the way it does, so human, so much a part of its world: it looks this way to exalt God’s power, not our power…”
  13. Ok – I watched the video again…there's a lot of insight into the nature of politics and the dynamics of groups & organizations in this short clip! ...and perhaps you’re referring to the alpha chimpanzee being impartial when “settling disputes” - are you drawing some comparison with the Mormon’s treating women with respect / abuse is grounds for excommunication – versus wierwille and his ilk treating women like second class citizens? I dunno…just guessing here…once again – I’m sorry for going off-road on this thread.
  14. So I need to master the bipedal swagger interesting video, thanks Rocky
  15. The evangelists and pastors have disappeared, here: but we get miracle workers and healers instead, and great "helping and managing" gifts (as described in another version). This bunch of people never got a mention in Wierwillian theology. Wouldn't fit on the pentagon, I suppose. (Maybe you'd need a double pentagon?) Aha! Two pentagons! Established!! (well ... something's established!) Twinky brought up a good point… It’s difficult to remember any clear thoughts I had on “the gift ministries” – but I vaguely had the impression they were a big deal...almost like they were rock stars - and the rest of us were roadies and support crew for them...but that in all likelihood was just how I interpreted things anytime I heard something taught on them…I never saw myself as fitting into one of those roles – and probably should have made more of an effort to figure out “my voice” in spreading the Gospel - - in other words – what was my main role? maybe folks like me fail to see the value of what we offer. There’s another passage that goes along the lines of what Twinky shared: We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully…Romans 12: 6-8 NIV I remember something a corps work coordinator said when I was working in carpentry for a block – “you can lead from within the pack.”…maybe I took it wrong but I interpreted that to mean I didn’t have to be the Alpha dog – but I could set an example to others of the right way - - and with the right attitude to carry out a task; being exemplary. Now that inspired me! Even to this day I have never been ambitious to be a boss or manager during my work career – though I have had those roles many times throughout my livelihood. But something I have always taken great pride in was leading from within the pack. More or less leading by example - from within the ranks; for me a great reward was often just being designated as a trainer for the installation or service personnel…So perhaps a failure in my corps training was partly due to my dense head of not figuring out my strengths and deciding on personal goals and partly due to the pigeonhole thinking of the way corps coordinator, just wanting to pump out great sales reps. (and I wonder how many of us simply accepted what we were told our strengths were and what our personal goals should be ) I knew some corps who were great – in terms of really being into service instead of reigning as a Nazi over folks...but it seems like for some corps - the more the ministry pushed classes, abundant sharing, witnessing…whatever – they tended to bear down more on those under them…on that kind of trend I could never get into leading from within the pack…I would just brood over how unspiritual I must have been for not getting into it…I dunno – it was almost like a conspiracy to dull the souls of men & women on the ministry-hamster-wheel-of-unfulfilling-activity… I guess different folks are attracted to different things…some people get into being the big cheese. I had a boss who was former secret service… one of my favorite pep talks he ever gave us was along the lines of “there is no higher calling than service.”… And that makes me think of Jesus talking about leading from within the pack: Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”…Matthew 20: 25-28 NIV
  16. Wow, Socks – you’ve really got me thinking there! Wasn’t it something along the lines of a transition out of necessity for the early Christians to start meeting in the homes – since the Gospel message wasn’t that welcome in the synagogues… …but as you said seeing something like what we read about in Acts as just one facet of a “functional guide as to how to proceed to build what is really described as a growing, dynamic living organism. We're really like a body…” so maybe there’s some formalism…or traditionalism in the thinking of some folks who have an excessive adherence to doing some things exactly as they did in the Bible. I guess it looks biblical. …different times, different cultures…and a lot more technology…the Internet, cell-phones, blogs, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, books, magazines, "planes, trains and automobiles" etc. help folks connect, focus, organize, meet, stay informed and not just the social aspect but even scripture/doctrine/research-wise…we’re light-years ahead of the printing press – online Bibles, commentaries, research tools, etc...that reminds me - I heard of a drive-thru church on the radio...I'm not kidding...that's just another amazing modern marvel . a few years ago there was a discussion on one thread where I mentioned something along the lines of Grease Spot being my church. In some ways it still is…granted, it’s a pretty diverse congregation with no special creed... I think there’s an ongoing healing service in the About the Way forum…well, it’s great therapy for me anyway…and I kinda see the Doctrinal forum as a multi-faith * council where Grease Spotters come together to exchange ideas and information and to have a dialog about biblical/spiritual/religious/philosophical and sometimes social issues. (* by “multi-faith” in this context I simply mean "faith" is whatever your beliefs are - I just used "faith" cuz it sounds churchy ). but - - - - even though the times and cultures may be different – I think you’ll still find the same basic concerns are present: family, safety & security, livelihood, social needs, the human condition…purpose and meaning in life...so I think the guts of your religion, philosophy...or whatever it is that you believe has the "timeless answers" - should be able to adapt to any given environment and conditions to meet those needs. Yikes ! Can I ramble or what?!?! Sorry about that…anyway bringing it back to some thoughts I’ve had pertinent to this thread: who wants to revive and restore things to “the good old days”...or however you fondly remember things...Not me…honestly, everyone has had different experiences…I prefer to pick and choose what to hold on to and what new direction or directions to explore...as far as the R and R folks go - - I guess I am a little very leery or cynical that a bunch of “old timers” who have no retirement benefits from TWI now want to start their own group purely for altruistic reasons…getting back to the good old days or whatever it is they're trying to resuscitate …yeah – right – that’s some noble-sounding bull$hit if you ask me.
  17. Socks and WordWolf, true that! after this thread I might need some R and R ...rest and relaxation.
  18. I think you've got an excellent point, Raf ! I've had some similar thoughts too - but haven't been able to articulate them...kudos to you !
  19. mine has too...Vincent's Word Studies is great ! Shortly after I left TWI, I “discovered” a whole other world of perspectives at an estate sale of a pastor in my neighbor; I bought a few one day and after looking through them I went back the next day and got a few more…I got the biggest kick out of reading one commentary disagreeing with another author over the interpretation of a certain verse – giving other scripture references to back it up too…this really got me mulling over how in TWI it was more or less expected that you absorbed information and never questioned or challenged the teacher…these commentaries awakened something in my head…so besides baseball, maybe this too was a thinking man’s game . I have a few sets of commentaries on my bookshelf but I always come back to these three favorites – concise, technical but brief with good cross-references: The New Bible Commentary Revised Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary vol 1 & 2 The Bible Knowledge Commentary vol 1 & 2 Speaking of II Timothy 2:15, I like what The Bible Knowledge Commentary offers in vol 2 page 754: “Paul had spoken of shame before men (2 Tim. 1:8, 12, 16); far worse is shame before God. Timothy need not fear such shame if he would correctly handle the Word of truth (cf. Eph. 1:13; Col. 1:5; James 1:18), which for him included both the Old Testament Scripture and what he had heard orally from Paul. The Greek orthotomounta, “ correctly handling” found only here and in the Septuagint in Proverbs 3:6 and 11:5, means literally “to cut straight” but just what image Paul had in mind here is uncertain. Stone masons, plowers, road builders, tentmakers, and (least likely of all) surgeons have all been suggested, but a firm conclusion remains elusive. What is clear is that the shame of God’s disapproval awaits those who mishandle His Word.”
  20. Well that’s just it - - I can’t ignore who the teachers are…maybe it’s helpful for you try to hold folks at arm’s length – but I like to take it all in - I still go by a simple principle: actions speak louder than words...I’m not convinced anything is any different than before…the thing about such hypocrisy and callousness is they slip by unnoticed when history, context or any personal dealings with these folks are ignored…I’ve already mentioned about Rico’s “great” PR work at TWI to dismiss charges of fraud and sexual abuse by TWI leadership in an earlier post here . And others have commented on certain R & R leaders here , here , and here. I’m probably jaded about these folks because it all sounds like what I’ve heard before - - when I was in…it looks to me like all they want to do is carry on the same old con of playing at church. What credentials or titles do any of them have other than what they got through TWI? What makes their spiel noteworthy? Yeah, and how about TWI’s “great” standards of excellence! They told me The Way College in Rome City was accredited…imagine my surprise when one of the staff at a professional resume company looked into that and informed me that it wasn’t – and so they recommended I leave that off my resume. I would probably have some respect if I’d hear them renounce the insidious…dishonest…manipulative…exploitative nature of wierwille’s teaching and practices...and come clean themselves…instead of regurgitating the same old BS…but I guess there is something comfortable about the same old BS - - there’s no great challenge to one’s thinking. I think the elephant in the room is wierwille…his insidious teachings and practices live on in TWI and beyond...granted some of it may have been sanitized by now but no one wants to talk about the creepy side of wierwille's legacy. Sorry to sound so negative – I guess my criteria for judging are different than yours. maybe I'm just old school ...We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don't try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this... II Corinthians 4: 2 NLT
  21. link to Rico's teaching "obedience to the household of faith" was a link on this thread in Skyrider's Sept. 13th post - see below
  22. That’s a lot of teachings - and don’t think it would be a fair assessment on my part unless I listened to them all - and to be honest, i think it would be a waste of my time - I mean, the topics look like they’re about the hope - I’m not that interested in some feel-good-pablum over one interpretation of the return of Christ...been there done that... ...my intention in referring to Rico’s teaching on the household of faith was to point out the same captivating or ensnaring technique that wierwille used to make “true followers “ feel duty bound to stick with his group. Manipulative! My point was when a teaching or doctrine is put into practice- when the rubber meets the road - when a theory or teaching is put to the test...how do they handle it when their teachings don’t jive with the real world or that their teachings are hypocritical? Or for that matter - how about asking if what they teach is consistent with the biblical data? Do they get into dispensationalism? I know this is not the doctrinal forum - but I think there’s a lot more debatable issues than what’s been lightly touched upon on this thread. I don’t want to steer you one way or the other on what to think...I’m merely pointing out something obvious in Rico’s teaching. Another thing that occurred to me by you wanting my feedback - I was wondering what other churches or teachings, Bible studies, etc. that you have checked out besides stuff from TWI or former TWI personnel.
  23. I think this is comparing apples to oranges; Saul of Tarsus attacked the church from the outside - being a zealous Pharisee. Phonies like wierwille and Rico (supposedly Christian ministers who should have known better) have preyed or continue to prey upon those within “the household of faith “ ( that’s their distinction for those committed to following some form of wierwille’s teachings)...it’s an inside job - a royal scam ! Not an outside attack - but sabotage from within. i realize your comment was in reference to yourself and the R & R group - - but I would be very wary of anyone who associates with Rico or for that matter anyone as their teachings are put into practice - starts showing their true colors as being some form of wierwille’s teachings.
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