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  1. socks

    Happy Deathday!

    That door's a floodgate now, old friend! Wow... Random thoughts...Back in touch with some of the old Cookin' Mama guys, one specifically who ended up in fact working for 10+ years with Gregg Allman on the road. He is a great musician, Tommy played guitar and was the founder of Cookin' Mama. We'd played together in a blues band prior to that which is how we met (and through that group of people is how I met my later-to-be-wife, although we soon realized we'd actually met the year prior to that - different story to that!).........Tommy picked up organ along the way when the CM band fleshed out from a 3 piece to horns and an expanded rhythm section which soon included me. He was getting his chops together on it by that summer when we went east after the ROA '71 to NY. I remember that C3? organ of Ralph's in his basement, where we rehearsed.....Alley Pond Park! that gig lingers in memory - playing with PDSTRO, and I think Sweet Fellowship, right? It was sort of a sprawl across the stage of several guitarists and bass and organ, etc. Loved playing there. We'd worked our way across the country that summer, Kansas first stop where we played in Wichita with Donnie F and the gang who we'd met just the year before in California and played a few gigs with Dove, and some group named "Crank" who I think did plenty of it.....then Indianapolis with John Lynn and the early Good Seed boys and we played a couple times, then the Way Nash for the summer school and ROA, then on to New York.....Tommy went on to do more organ work, and eventually got hooked up with Allman and that group worked for quite awhile with him. They still gig together and go billed as his former road band. Course there's the whole extended family of musicians that are the top tier of the lineup around that family of musicians (Betts, Haynes, Trucks, Herring, etc etc) but Tommy and the boys can, as they say, play. Allman didn't have any you had to knock it out and cut it every time from what I've heard. I've jammed with his group before and they canmove it right along, as they say. I'm working on a bunch of his guitars right now in fact and every couple months we chat, exchange some guitars - we've talked a lot about that summer and how great it was to meet all of you other there.... And back to Brian - I'm not sure if he was in the fellowship in '71, up in White Plains or Larchmont at that time, I don't recall meeting him when we played up there in Rye at Bishop's Dad's church......but I remember you, Cliff, Richie, Steve Perez, the gang.....we stayed for a week or so with Donald and Polly L too - our VW bus engine blew up, on the way in (Throg's Neck Bridge) and we had to get it replaced - in fact we had it at Geer's family's home who were gone for the summer? but he was there, as I recall, in the backyard of what I remember as a huge-ass house, and after not getting it repaired by our collective efforts it went into a shop with our family picking up the tab to help us out - whole nother story there too - ! Anyway.... I remember your red 335! I had the gold top Les Paul at the time. And I get what you mean about living there for more years - unfortunately it all turned inward. Many of the earliest plans were to get music together and hit the road. JN did a fair amount of that as time went on............. CMama certainly never had any plans to go with a "house band" role although we were more than happy to support the Way Nash's efforts. I also tried later with Sonrise in California, in '72 and the Way Nash wasn't sure what it wanted to do yet - Dr VP asked me about the 4th Corps as he thought a few others were coming into the 4th too, which would have included you. So that was the next step, but without a full rhythm section it wasn't able to get off the ground at the rate I think I'd originally envisioned it. I'm a guitar player and it doesn't work telling musicians they're f'd up all day long and working for the devil if they sneeze wrong. I figured there'd be some of that but it got way out of hand..............There was that early spark and I always remember after that first concert in Minster when we did Richies "As He Is", with the fast/4 jam at the end and I did kind of abbreviated bebop solo style and later VPW commented he had no idea "I could play that stuff", I think he thought I was a hippy plucker from Cali and that was it. He made the infamous statement - "turn up, I could barely hear you!!!".............something that didn't get said much after that as between Dorothy and Mark G there was always someone to make sure it was never "too loud"........Ken M was more than patient from his perspective and eventually did the kind of work he wanted to which was great, stuff........ Cookin' Mama burned VP's hide on volume though - we made loud go a whole nother place. Somewhere in the middle would have been nice but it's weird and you reminded me, every dammed set of ears in the Way Corps was always being an expert on sound and volume and what God liked and disliked............having a bunch of farmers-kids and former MacDonald's managers run things for a worldwide audience was........limiting to say the least. But - we tried. Which then reminds me of after Skip came in and joined in - Dorothy had always pumped that pipe organ like a tank, her and Rhoda could actually played pretty dammed loud for that BRC, at times. I remember Skip and I looking at each other at a SNS during one of those power-fests and cracking up! LIke - "whhhhuuuuut's happening HERE?".......they would crank it! Meanwhile I had a little pea shooter amp stuck under a piano somewhere and we were trying to figure out why no one could hear me....!! LOL! The memories, man - I do wish we could have picked it some for another year, that would have been fun. Who knows? I remember that when we did that first ROA album of tunes my song ended up being that last one we worked on and we had to rush the guitar parts, but we did do some harmony parts and wrapped it at the last minute. Don't remember the name of it but I remember working the parts out with you. I've never really told you I don't think, but it was a bit of a let down you re assigned as there were no other blues/rock players in the group then, there was me. And me, and then me. The other guys were good musicians yes, but different styles. I did learn that whole Travis thing from Cliff - prior to that I did kind of a backwards roll being left handed, so I liked learning the "right way" on that. Cool stuff, ol' friend!
  2. socks

    Happy Deathday!

    From my perspective, Brian was a very talented, and very young man when he went in the Way Corps. We were all pretty young, but he was one of a few who had just graduated high school. He literally grew up and was raised in The Way Corps, for better or worse. Have you heard his CD "Electrified", TLB? It contains a range of old and many new songs he's recorded. Listen to that - you'll hear his journey, it'll tell you everything you want to know about his songwriting. IMO - Brian wrote two great songs, or I"ll say, I have two that would be my favorites - "Sons of God" and "Captain of Salvation", and of the two, CoS is my favorite. Sons of God is basically a reworking of "Maybe I'm Amazed", which McCartney had put out in 1970 on his first solo release after the Beatles parted ways. The chordal approach and chromatic run, etc all felt like that song and it was the obvious "where have we heard this before" influence but Brian did a good job with it - and it's not exactly like McCartney owns that bass run down now although he's made it part of his personal style. The original guitar solo that GDE played was patterned off McCartney's bend and release country/rock guitar solos on that song, again not a direct copy but the style fell into place that way. I switched from gutiar and played the bass on the earliest version and live, and added thunky ghost notes to the bass line, alternating between roomy 1/2 notes and percussive hits. The recording was plain vanilla all around, as usual but live there was room to play with the feel of it. Tempo-wise Sons of God could be very slow and dramatic or pick and move at a steady clip so it filled more than one emotional spot for the listener and that could be seen by how listeners reacted to it. It doesn't really tell a personal story, and I think Brian was stronger at this kind of direct statement/metaphor approach. Captain of Salvation pulled all of that together into a full, mature statement, using a similar maestoso feel to sections and this time with more of the heroic feel of a struggle that overcomes and as told by an observer - since the song didn't have an actual verse-chorus A-A-B-A structure it was able to kind of get going, keep going and roll to a big end with a flourish. The recording of it included "strings" and some orchestral sounding arrangement that served the overall vision well. I especially liked those two songs because while the lyrics had an element of inspiration to them they also reflected craft, how the rhymes were constructed, the editing process of the writing and then the final product being something that reads well as well as sings well. The music was based on the original piano parts and the arrangement enhanced the piano which contained the full statement of the song. That was part of JN"s challenge musically, there was always a lot going on, a lot of duplication in the tonal range, piano and guitar parts stacked on top of each other, etc. etc. Sometimes chords moved around each other, like 1's and 6's circling wagons. : ))) It took a few years to sort out a way to approach the music. Based on the earliest work we did with DWBH he and I were probably more inclined to a rock version of things, in fact we tried some Allman Bro's harmony parts here and there, he plays very lyrically, melodically, and I'd been a blues player dabbling in fusion-y stuff previous to all this so there was a basis for the music to go forward in a strong direction but alas - and interesting there was No Drummer from Day One so it was up to KM who gallantly took the task on. Without that we'd have had ol' Ted and his snare drum. And I loved Ted but yeah - ya gotta have a strong percussionist. I'd played all sort of music over the years prior so although I have my preferences like the others, I jumped in and gave it a shot. I'm happy with what we did, we tried and grew in the process. Great people working together towards a goal. Sure, it was a PFAL marketing machine for a lot of the time but the hearts of the individuals that wanted to serve God's people made it work when it did. Brians part in it was huge. These songs have meant a lot to a lot of people in ways that has nothing to do with The Way Nash and a lot to do with their faith and God's part of their lives. So - there's that and that's good thing. : ) Heiwa!!!!
  3. socks

    Happy Deathday!

    We chat every blue moon or so. He's had some surgeries the last few years, and I keep him and his health in my prayers. Far as I know he's doing well these days. There's a few things we likely disagree on but at this stage there's no point, our paths hopefully remain on the same long arc of God's love and grace. My prayer for all of us is to live these last years without doing harm and without getting our butts kicked too much, or at least in a way that doesn't cripple us for the remaining time. I always tell anyone from the old days, if you were my friend then, you're still my friend now - let's not give each other a reason to change that. Brian's been gracious in talking and sharing with me, and I return the courtesy in kind. PEACE!!!!!
  4. Thanks Mark. The original question - "Did Jesus 'do' 7 of the manifestations" - doesn't have much meaning for me - so I can't really answer it. Why is that important? What would that mean to me or to my understanding of Jesus? Or who I am and the life I live. Spiritual life is too mechanical the way that Dr. VPW taught it. On the one hand he believed that "spirit" and things of the spirit can't be analyzed, can't be put into a test tube and broken down into an understanding produced by human, 5 sense analysis. On the other hand he attempted to do exactly that when he proposed PFAL as a class on "How, with a capital H-O-W", to live the more than abundant life that Jesus promised. One the one hand he believed that Jesus Christ promised a "more than abundant life" in all "categories that was only possible - "available" - when one was born again of God's spirit. On the other hand he said he looked "round about me" in the community in which he lived and saw the "unbeliever" who wasn't born again living a life that was often "more abundant" than the "believers" in church. Etc. etc. etc. One of the great successes of PFAL's content is that it opens the Bible and reads it to the audience. "God's Word" is given preeminence, is made the authority and is the thing which must first be understood in order to understand everything else. One of the great failures of PFAL's content is that it contrasts the "physical" and the "spiritual" in a way that never comes together for the listener to the end that they can ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND H-O-W it all works, as promised. In fact it comes together more as a conflicting set of conditions that never resolve, once assembled and listed out the way it's taught. Sure we're born again, "operating" God's spirit by session 12 - but GreaseSpot Cafe is a validation of an unfortunate but honest fact - many many of those who "took the Class" either faked or fumbled their way through a process that they later perfected through practice. "Excellors sessions" indeed. Does that negate what the Bible teaches, what we can actually read? No. In further fact I would contend that VPW's dualist theology, while based on biblical ideas and concepts, is really a non-biblical man's view of the spiritual universe described through out the Bible. The great "battle of the senses" and the "spiritual warfare" of Ephesians aren't described as a winnable "war", in this time frame before Christ's return to gather His Church together. It may be a fight but it's only a fight between losers. We "win" by choosing Christ, allowing God's sovereignty to reign in our hearts and living as best we can in the time we have. VPW suggested as many many teachers have, that the emphasis in this life is to be placed on the "walk", the process, the sets of decisions and actions we take day after day......and our lives are made up of such things - but the emphasis of Christianity is that Christ bore the weight and responsibility of moving mankind forward and sets our paths towards the future. Thus there's no dualist ideal, no great division of good and evil and a war to see who "wins". God wins. Always, and always has, does and will. "Light and in whom there is no darkness". Once we are "seated in the heavenlies" of God's promises we are to no longer struggle to be better, or essentially see a problem where there is no longer one - rather we are to apply ourselves to "grow in grace" and grow in the abundance of God's gifts upon which our new life is made of. . Period. That's it. The dualist, work-hard-win mindset isn't "the Believer's Lifestyle". The earliest "believers" didn't have the time or the teaching to tweak doctrine the way we try to now. Their experience was real, the healings real in signifying God's greater presence and power, miracles that gave real human testimony to the spiritual. It wasn't like getting a perfect score on a test - it was Real Change, Real Life and Real Love. Whether we or Jesus or my gramma "do" 7 of the 9 or 15 of the 20 or anything of anything is the wrong way to look at it. God's people need to stop being led around by the nose of that loser-ville jock-for-Jesus attitude that's been heaped on them. Start living the life. Start being "what God says you are".
  5. socks

    The Manipulation of Language

    Retemories - a branded term for the small flash cards with scripture verses on them. "Believers" don't memorize, they "retermorize". Cop Out - a version of the older term that meant to "cop to a plea" or 'fess up. Adopted by Wayfers to mean someone who left the Way, dropped membership, was no longer "standing" or "believing" the "accuracy of the Word". Eventually everyone but a small remnant will, in order to pattern closely what happened to Paul by the end of his life. The Best - when good just isn't good enough, everything has to be "the best". A bar frequently not reached, usually because of something you did. Blessed - another word for doing fine, feeling good, things are going your way, but with the added weight of God's eternal approval and judgment. All leadership is blessed and if they're not, it's your fault. Joyful - spiritually happy. Makes regular "5 sense" happy seem like a dirty word, no one's really blessed being happy, they have to have JOY and be full of it. 5 Senses - very limiting way of learning and knowing something, unreliable and bad. Never rely on your senses unless it's a leaders senses in which case they're not really just 5 senses, they're the very fabric of God's Presence. All 9 All The Time - another way of saying you're "believing" and "walking" with all the manifestations in operation, means you're in fellowship and pretty much golden. A goal, unless you're a leader in which case you're next fart is really a Word of Knowledge. There's so many more of course. And there's a common theme to many of them. I agree that it's not unique to "religious" cults, and is more a part of humanity's need to recognize who's a friendly and inside the inner circle of trust, like family and your closes associates. Like jokes only you 'n' me understand (wink wink) and the noobs don't get yet, kind of thing. Definitely can be used as a tool of manipulation too.
  6. socks

    Evidence: Letters VPW wrote to the Way Corps

    Hi Penworks - in Buzzard's archive of doc's there's a letter from October 1978 covering events involving Marty McCrae, John Fanning and Peter Bernegger and they're involvement in some research project(s)....what's your take on all that? I vaguely remember some details but think we were traveling a lot at that point. You can message me too if that works better.
  7. Browsing and reading.... I think it has to do with perspective. What's the fundamental place from which I view this or any "technical" question in the Bible and from which I then get my view, my perspective that informs me? Christianity, faith in Christ, life in "the way, the truth and the life" is a rebirth, a new birth, a new beginning for me. So then, a question - if I didn't know anything more about it than that, could I still live it? If all I knew was that I now follow Jesus Christ, and accept my own human condition as one requiring mercy and forgiveness to succeed, that Jesus Christ has acted on my behalf and bridged a gap I would have been unable to, and that the full life possible is to be "born again of God's spirit", or God's "life".....then what? The most basic place to go from there is "living the life". And the question would be is it "on or off", active or passive, in wait mode for a future or in act mode, living now? I think we could agree it's on, it's active, it's a life to be lived. Everything I read in the New Testament encourages me to be patient and steadfast in living this new life now, while knowing death is not the end, that there is a future beyond that, a "hope" and that I must transition to that future. So again and still - what is this new life, this place from which I now live and work? The question of "gifts or manifestations" and related issues answers itself then - we have a new life, in Christ. We are born again of God's spirit, we are God's children, we are new creation in Christ, we have a fresh new set of answers and ideas to bring to our fellow man - Accept God's gift of forgiveness and mercy through Christ. Believe that God showed us the Way through death in Christ's resurrection, believe that God raised Him from the dead and that now we too can be raised into new life believing in that, and that the new life to come is our future. Believe it, say it. Now - forgive as you've been forgiven. Extend mercy as it's been shown to you. Lift others as you have been lifted. Pray to God and seek Him, pray for others and that they will do the same. Act as Jesus did, do as He did, live the new life without owing anyone anything other than to love them. I encourage people to a living faith, an active lifestyle that embraces all the fundamentals, all the time. "All nine all the time" sounds childish, boorish, to me now, like somethng I'd hear in a football game analysis. The whole attitude takes something eternal and incredible and turns it into a list of things-to-do and "believe for", greek words to be twisted and squeezed to gain some deeper understanding of what is already here, now and living in me. One thing I learned in the Way - men will torture the life out of each other and every word in the Bible while condemning each other to hell, to get to some elevated stated of enlightened understanding and ignore mercy, forgiveness, grace. There's that old saying - you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink"......in the Way we saw it as no, you can lead that horse to water and if you hose it down, stand it in 10 feet of water, show it pictures of water all day and say "water water water water water" a million times it will eventually just swallow whatever you're giving it to just get you to stop. It doesn't mean it liked it or won't bolt the minute you're not looking. And that isn't belief or faith or trust. How can God have the heart of a man or woman if they're only trying to please some lesser power or get something of lesser value than to please their Creator? The line of people that want to start some new improved version of Christianity that's better than what's come before is pretty long. The line of those who give a shit about people, care for them and are willing to be as passionate about learning to forgive and love as they are about cutting out their lesser competition is much shorter. “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:8,9.
  8. socks

    Raising the Dead 1 & 2

    Maybe the dating's messed up on this thread but it looks like you just responded to a discussion that started about 2 years ago, saying you just listened to these - again? - and it was less than an hour not two hours.....there's been no link to the Youtube vid's you watched, and if I search under Raising the Dead 1 or 2, all sorts of dead things come up. Anyway - if it's been two years, and you did listen to them again, how's it going with this? Anything new to share? Thanks.
  9. socks

    Hello! Anyone out there?

    Yeah, both of everyone seems back. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  10. socks

    Random thoughts

    "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
  11. socks

    Random thoughts

    "Correct me if I'm wrong but..." Means - NO way in heaven or hell am I wrong and even if I were you're not up to the task of correcting me in this or any other world, so just listen please."
  12. socks

    Get Over It already

    Wow!! I've been perusing the posts here lately and just saw this and thought hmmm.... the sower online page link came up "nothing found for Sower Current.html" which seemed ironic for a site with the slogan "Building an Enduring Work of Truth" and then I checked back on the start post date and realized this post was started on May 31, 2006......Bush Jr. was president.....and a year before the first iPhone was released. I thought about where I was and what I was doing in 2006. A year later I took a major career step, one that turned out very well. It was a very different time and place but even now when I read that I thought how odd, what's this person talking about? And I think if I'd read that in 2006, and maybe I did, I'd have thought the same thing. I hope things have gone well, frisco person! Looooooooooooong time no see! Live well and prosper!
  13. socks

    Random thoughts

    (inserts LOL's) Used in a sentence together - "With all due respect, it goes without saying that the proposed plan under review, well, it sucks donkey balls."
  14. socks

    Random thoughts

    You can always tell when something "goes without saying" because that's what gets said next. Usually.
  15. socks

    Athletes of the Spirit Video (from the '80's)

    Some stuff to catch up on here - I heard VPW play that tune a few times, "Ol Rattler" or whatever it was. Later years, on one occasion, he did it on one of the Saturday "Doos" on the "Asphalt Terrace" outside the Wierwille Home and the Barn. I remember dropping in and thumping out the chords behind him the second time through - C and G7. VPW had told me way back in 1971 when he was out on the West Coast that he played some guitar, just a few chords and had played a little when he was young. I was showing him my Gibson LP, a '67 Gold Top and one of the other members had a Gibby SG he liked too. He was interested in the way you'd expect, like okay, now what. But it's funny, while he'd play that tune with all of it's two chords, he could strum with his thumb and keep the beat. Not exactly a player but he could play that. Shazdancer - the music was weak, I agree, but they had enough talent to do something decent. It seemed to be just all wired together wrong, the arrangements didn't sound coherent to me but there wasn't really any "story" for the music to follow. It was so abstract, yet struggling to communicate a complete vision. As I posted above early - it reminded me of that old 50's horror flick "The Mask". Today it would be one of those "so bad it's funny" movies, if you're doing a year in County. In fact, the only way I'll ever watch AOS again is if it's shown by Mystery Science Theater 3000.
  16. penworks - howdy! I've got a question for you on this topic and I'm kind of spring boarding from some things in your book "Undertow". Did you think or do you think now that Walter Cummins had any real moral or ethical platform from which he dealt with the lack of footnoting and crediting in the books? Since he'd done the time in Germany and been the bedrock of the current work we heard and saw in the Way Corps I have to wonder - in reading through what you wrote in Undertow, and what I've heard from others that were in the Research department, I don't think i've ever heard if there was an actual set of standards & guidelines for how to deal with footnoting and crediting that covered this topic of copyright and ownership. Or was it just ignored? My sense is that it was ignored but perhaps I'm just looking for a clear statement, was it ever really recognized by the teams over the years, to your knowledge? T'anks! Also - I remember you DWBH one day early in the 4th Corps when you came from VPW's study with some photo copies of pages from one of his copies of a Bullinger book - some stuff on Ephesians? Anyway it was a big deal as I recall, like there was real mojo in that paper!
  17. It works now. That's a great link there, thanks. I'm glad I took the time after leaving active participation in the Way to slowly and surely re examine my experience. What'd I'd been taught, learned, done, seen, etc. Not all at once, it took several years and in fact I took awhile after leaving to basically decompress. I was fortunate that my relationship with my wife wasn't a product of or embedded into the Way, we'd come into PFAL and our education and work with the Way together and I always understood that our foundation together was the foundation to whatever else we did, singly or together. We've spent probably 100's of hours going over many many things and in that way I've been able to compare two different perspectives - hers and mine. It's amazing what the human mind can do and how it works, and I say that with the appreciation of my own limitations. I remember hearing some mook in the Way say once "It's good to think things through but it's better to believe", which was Way talk for stop acting like you know more than me and do what you're told. After that guy got terminated from his position later I had to wonder if he regretted not having thought things through more. Y'know?
  18. You saved me the time, DWBH, thanks. But as long as I'm here I have to say this casts some light towards understanding SMS, "selective memory syndrome". It can take different forms including as a legitimate form of therapy for some forms of depression. Not to say that's the case with Mike's Mystery Corps-Person and Mike's verson of what actually happened and when but it may explain how certain "facts" from the past can become real for some people. I've spoken to some ex-Wayfers and Corps who are sure they were at certain events and heard certain things or conversely did NOT hear or experience certain things, and it all wraps up into a kind of wash-of-memory. An individuals perspective and actual experience may be very different in an event shared with others of course but I've found that when people endlessly quote what "Doctor always said" about something over and over as if they heard it many times over a long period when in reality they only heard it once or twice if at all, but have then HEARD IT FROM OTHERS TOO that he said it.....this can create the kind of "absolutely true" statement of a "fact" that may not be tethered in reality. BGL considered VPW a "bad student", not a bad copyist. Whether that be true of not it's an understandable perspective if Leonard is seen as the instructor of a class curriculum that VPW then changed and re formatted into his own class. That's the territory of both plagiarism and ethics. (aka "thou shalt not steal", a very inclusive order from God meaning to not take something from someone that isn't yours....and whether that be the stealing of God's own Word and taking steps to protect your own ownership of it or just outright theft of another's work done heartily before their Lord....it's not a hard concept, unless you're guilty) Both VPW and BGL functioned knowingly in a country with laws that they were obliged to recognize and obey. I myself never thought that VPW felt justified in collating BGL's and others existing material into a new form that he would then "own" because it was "God's Word" and governed by a higher standard.....because IF he had truly felt that way, he would have been able to openly make his case and take his stand on those grounds when he was challenged. It would not MATTER who wrote what first, if that were really his position. Instead he constructed his own version of it in his own timeline and constructed a very complex and detailed history to support it, of who he himself was, what he'd done and what experiences had influenced him and how. Anyhoo - this is an interesting article - https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/8620360/Selective-memory-does-exist-say-scientists.html
  19. Yeh, I remember How to Enjoy the Bible Doglover, it was a very good book of Bullinger's, I got a copy shortly after taking PFAL the first time in '68, along with one of the early hard bound Companion Bibles, a huge book that was cheaper than the leather bound, which I got later. There was also a set of tapes the Way did titled "How to Enjoy the Bible", with a lot of the parts taught by Walter Cummins, and VPW, if memory serves. It was basically a shorter rehash of the book..I know because the Way West had a copy of them and my wife and I got them after we were married in '71 and listened to them off and on over the next month. HTETBible really did have most of the study and "research" methods taught in PFAL. It was a very good book, and one I used to recommend people get after they took PFAL.
  20. socks

    The Way "Gift Ministries"

    Gift ministries - a short hand term for the stuff in Ephesians 4:10 - 12. They're gifts, they're ministries, etc. I don't spend much time tripping on that one. Today we have a collection of scripture from which to establish a usable context for the Christian message, religion, belief, history, etc. And we have a "New Testament" of writings. From which I gather that all of the things specifically listed in Ephesians 4:11 are also generally the kinds of things that followers of Jesus Christ are able to do, or can be doing let's say. The Way's teaching sub text for 4:11 was that all those born again had the "same measure of faith" that wasn't received or achieved by their effort and wasn't earned but is given equally to all who believe in Christ. The "gift" of "holy spirit", pneuma hagion. There are therefore no special accoutrements that are given to some and not others. All are enabled with the "enablements", and that is whatever well, whatever we're told in the New Testament. So - without going into a lot of detail we're probably all familiar with I think one has to ask themselves what makes these 5 things different from anything else the born again child of God receives in the gift of the new birth? Today I would assume from what the NT says every born again child of God.... Can apostle - and is sent to bring the message of Christ to others. Can be a prophet - and speak for God and on God's behalf. Can teach - and teach the Word of God. Can pastor - and provide support and care for the church, the "flock". Can be an evangelist - and act as an ambassador for Christ and tell others about HIm. ....Without a special dispensation from God to the Church. Where this has gone for me is a slightly different view of what the "Church" is, and what exactly the "body of Christ is", and what God through Christ is doing ... with all this. Man's "Church" is largely a collection of traditions and tangibles that deal with the physical world and lives and so that needs support and provision, ordnance and protection even.....but....a lot of that deals with the affairs of a kingdom that is not part of what God is actually building and won't be resurrected in a future phase. One point I would call out is that it appears these 5 things listed in Ephesians (and referred to elsewhere too) and termed for "the work of the ministry" is for a specific kind of function or "office" within the church. And that carries a hella bunch of baggage with it in today's religion, but not if it's viewed in an Ephesians context, a "spiritual one" where there's no phoney man made construct. A function or even call it a "distribution" isn't a job or a position. Man thinks up and down and sideways, hierarchically - in the Kingdom of God there's no big hierarchy of mid management, which is how I think the religious version sees it. Anyway, however we view it we're given very clear instructions by both Jesus and "Paul" on how we should treat each other, think of ourselves and conduct our affairs in this life, as His followers, children of God and it isn't political or economic - it's social, familial. Abusive behaviors and practices in the Church by people doing "the work of the ministry" always reveal a departure from the fundamentals of our faith. It's not nearly as exotic or complex as we might make it - Jesus told us don't act prideful, don't put yourself above others, don't be an ass hole and treat people like shi t and they should be grateful you even talk to them. Be meek, be a servant to others, help them, treat them nice, be willing to forego revenge everytime someone looks at you wrong, forgive. And I guess Jesus could have said "Look at how I put up with you morons. Remember that the next time you want to hate someone who's cut in front of you at the pita bread stand." God didn't send a judge, He sent a savior. Dig it.
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    Revival and Restoration

    R and R - Martin Luther's objections to Roman Catholic doctrine and practice led his actions. RC doctrine was a hybrid of the Bible's "saved by faith" or as Paul put it another doctrine that wasn't really another doctrine but a completely different animal of it's own kind. Luther also objected then of course to them selling Indulgences, certificates that gave remission of sins after one died. Now THAT'S a scam worthy of some effort. If you're going to absolutely degrade anything resembling even the slightest bit of good, then go all in - put one's eternal future on it and sell that puppy. Sit back and watch it roll in. Pretty nifty. If you're THE DEVIL. Anyway, Luther wasn't really trying to demolish or destroy the Catholic Church, he wanted to clean it up, purge it. He also had some ideas that would become popular later, like getting rid of the Jews in Germany. Anyway... Restoring and reviving is only important to people's lives. I can say that easily because whatever I lost through my dis association with the Way has been far outweighed by not having to be entangled with their bullsh it. The only thing I care about still today are the people involved, but if they're happy stewing and simmering there I can't do anything about that. Frankly I've never made it a full time job to "save" them from themselves. Cuz they don' a wanna change, so they's a not a gonna change, no matta wattah I do. Luther never got the RC's to change. Well, maybe a teeny bit sort of over years but not in any real substantive way that they would recognize. More recently I think it was Pope Benedict who tried to establish some ecumenical platform for RC's accepting a couple tenets of Protestant theology buuuuuut I think that's just window dressing on the ol' RC Childcare Store front. I mean, they're church face. Anyway - that's why I don't worry about what the next wave of geezers leaving the Way is doing. The only advice I would give them is they aren't young anymore, so there's not a lot of years to burn doing something you don't really want to do. So get busy livin' and get on with it.
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    Revival and Restoration

    Thanks. The stand-for-the-boss routines used in the Way were, are heinous. You'd think if they read Corinthians and Ephesians they'd get the idea that when the "believers" get together to hang out, pray, fellowship or eat it should be the ONE and possibly last place on earth where you can chill and be yourself and not have to lose a good seat and the big piece of chicken to some "elder" everyone feels the need to impress since they took their precious time to come and eat your food, drink your coffee and talk to you about something you may have already heard. Many times. And better. So I agree with that. Someone told me once they'd drive hours to hear Lynn teach - "He's SO FUNNY". He's not that funny. You gotta be pretty lonely, desperate or just plain sad to think that. I think that's why he mugs it up so much - he uses physical tips and triggers to signal when he's trying to be funny. Somewhere between the standing up for His Reverendship and the auto-laughter triggers there's a sore butt in a chair, that much I know. But - it's better than robbing a 7-11 I guess.
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    Revival and Restoration

    You're a ramblin' TBone, but no more than me! Great stuff, I'll be digesting for awhile.
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    Revival and Restoration

    True. But I am not for reviving and restoring anything from the past, to be honest. I made a mostly rhetorical statement with that, since I think we can guess that as long as some of these peeps have an audience, an interest and a paycheck be it dollars or just ego-boosting praise and worship, they're going to go their own way. But yeah, remove and replace is the ideal way to go. My view of the Gospels, Acts and Epistles are that while they give me a view of what happened, and why and a strong degree of "what God wants us to know" in terms of doctrine and practice I don't think they should be viewed as the one-and-only way in which to do things, to live. They don't really provide a finished template from which a final product will be produced, rather they give what I'd call 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, we have attributes of say, a fountain or a river - everyone sees the water and hears the sound of the water but it's not the same water every minute. The whole of the expanse of what is that river or fountain is much larger than the single drops I see at one time. For generations the word "Church" has been synonymous with "Building". The Church has for many been first a place where a leader of some sort presides and the people gather and attend to listen and participate in some form of ritualized activity. Yet we don't see that happening in the first few generations of Christians and there's nothing written indicating that's the desired state for the Christians in the records we see generated by Luke, Paul, Peter, and other writers and scribes of that early era. So we get from the Bible a kind of "how to do all things through Christ, how to be abased and how to abound", in both individual life as well as group church life. The clearest message of the epistles is that there is no need for anything extraneous beyond the people themselves and their ability to come together and meet and interact as a "body" of Christ, with each person an individual part contributing to the whole, with support and assistance from God through Christ to each member. A "diversity" of ways and means, all through that "selfsame spirit". So - and this is like preaching to the choir I suppose - but by building an extensive library of copy cat rituals, traditions and requirements that essentially act as governance for individual and group behavior we, they, whoever, severely restrict their own ability to really "be" the body of Christ. Any artifice or facade, any set of authorization codes for specialized access, any levels of participation, titles, recognition and reward that restricts the free movement of all the parts will reduce and even prevent growth and function. Timothy and Titus give us a well rounded view of how the church should "run" itself, and there aren't any peripherals. Anyway - I find churches pretty boring and dull if all they do is meet/greet/sit down/shut up/listen/and go home, and they'll become germ-farms for all manner of ungodly viruses. Today more and more churches diversify and work "across the aisle" with other churches who may do different things. And they should - if we're all Christian in essence we're all related and have a godly right to our own diversity as well as a godly responsibility to share with others. What say ye?