Thursday, 21 July 2011

Parasites of Ill Fortune

Petra: wanna house swap Christchurch for this?
Though Christchurch remains a shattered city months after the earthquakes, 'Cantabs' are a hardy breed, as witnessed by their continued prowess on the rugby field.  In trying circumstances most have elected to 'stay put' and are, as people do in situations like this, getting on with their lives.

My old bete noire Bob Thiel rattled his keyboard over Christchurch recently.  Bob, a California alternative health practitioner and self anointed apologist for Roderick Meredith's version of Armstrongism, is a prophecy buff.  In fact he's even self-published a book on "2012".

Here's what Bob has to say about Christchurch.
New Zealanders are still rattled by earthquakes... Well, Jesus, of course, warned about a time with such issues... The Bible repeatedly indicates that “natural disasters” are intended to get people (and nations) to repent... Yet, the idea of national repentance does not seem to have gotten much press coverage over there... There will be other problems in New Zealand and elsewhere. The beginning of sorrows is not yet over, and the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), AKA the Great Tribulation, will follow it. Whether or not your nation repents, you can personally. There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians and it may Be Petra.
Yep, the solution to earthquakes, my fellow Kiwis, is 'national repentence', the Trib is barrelling down on us, but as national repentance is unlikely you, if you are a 'Philadelphian' (part of the 'Philadelphia era' of the church which Bob thinks is described in the seven letters section of Revelation), can be 'spared' by joining the Meredith sect.  Do that and you'll be flown away on the wings of an eagle (jet planes, not the Darby rapture) to a prophesied 'Place of Safety' while all your dear friends and family go to hell in a hand cart. Bob hints heavily that this hidey hole is Petra, the famous tourist destination in the Jordanian desert.

Well, well...

The ethics of this kind of fear-religion are subnormal.  Parasites prey on people's uncertainties and tragedy, throw around a few proof texts with no regard to their context, historical setting or genre, prescribe the appeasement  of a foul-tempered god of their own imagination, and then toss out moronic speculation (parading as 'bible truth') about just how the divine deliverance will be, um, delivered.

I guess even on his death bed, hopefully at a ripe old age, Bob will still be spouting this nonsense.  No worse than Hal Lindsey, Harold Camping or Tim LaHaye.  But certainly no better.

Prophecy buffs or prophecy buffoons?

12 comments:

  1. Place of Safety vs Christchurch... let's see now: Dry arid desert with not much to live on, Cobras galore, scorpions, no water and... lots of competition from over 200 other groups who see it as their Place of Safety and, if there is a way to survive 3 1/2 years there (and some people say the Tribulation is 7 years), most of it will be marginal living in hard scrabble efforts just to stay alive. Those people who need meds are out of luck. The infirm and elderly will have a really tough time.

    Christchurch, on the other hand, is known as "The Garden City". Lots of water, nice green lush vegetation, its residents continue to enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle amidst a natural environment world-renowned for its beauty.
    There is nowhere else in the world where within two hours of an international airport you can ski at a world class alpine resort, play golf, bungy jump, go rafting, mountain biking, hot-air ballooning, wind surfing, whale watching and visit world class wineries and gardens.

    Great people, active prosperous businesses and more than a pub or two where you can get your favorite food with beer and chips.

    I dunno. An earthquake or two may be devastating, but New Zealanders take it in stride, building back up again, likely better than before.

    Petra: Not much to work with. I suppose you could make fine glassware if you had the tools to make it, but you'd probably have to fill the glasses with more sand.

    Petra or Christchurch. Petra or Christchurch.

    If I have to make the trip, and even if it is shortsighted, I'd take Christchurch.

    And I suspect that Bob Thiel is in for a very large non surprise. There haven't been many miracles under Meredith's dominination except for how the heck is this lying cultist still in business? Nothing he's been saying since the 1960s has much come true and it seems likely that not coming true is pretty much going to be his epitaph:

    There was an Evangelist so sure,
    That his prophecies were so pure,
    But though his fame grew and grew,
    The prophecies never came true,
    So now they've lost their allure.

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  2. I have been to Petra. Never been to Christchurch, but it sounds nice.

    Didn't see any cobras though.

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  3. Didn't see any cobras though.

    I'm thinking that's a good thing.

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  4. What??? No Cobra Malt Liquor? How could you have a Feast of Tabernacles without it?

    BB

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  5. For that matter, how could you have a Feast of Tabernacles without alcohol?

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  6. IIIII'll fly away, oh glory, IIIIII'll fl....Oh, hi there...yes, it's Corky again with GOOD NEWS of the great escape.

    The good news is, you don't have to escape unless you live in Jerusalem and surrounding areas. What? You never read Mark 13, Matt. 24, Luke 21??? Well, read it and see where Jesus is telling his disciple to flee from and to where.

    That way you won't have any ideas about flying to Petra or to the moon to escape a great tribulation that was predicted to happen in Palestine only.

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  7. I remember getting the letter, from Headquarters, with the picture of Petra in it. I believed, at the time, that was where the Church was going to flee.

    Given that, as Douglas mentions, there are 700+ splinter groups in existence, and none of them, that I've found, even remotely discuss a "Place of Safety" (the most some will admit to, is that "God's chosen will be protected where they are" uhhhhhh no, sorry, but thanks for playing), and I've yet to find one that's still stumping for Petra, I'm not sure what to think.

    I don't worry about it, though. I don't think we really worried about it, back then. I think Headquarters thought we wouldn't have a problem eking a living out of the desert, since that's basically what California is. I also doubt the "understanding" Armstrong had with the then-king of Jordan, still stands.

    The final thing to consider is, what if that verse is metaphorical, and not literal? Looking out over the wasteland of apostate groups and woebegone "leaders" that make up both the Church and its splinters, I don't think there's any better description for it, than "wilderness," and yet all of the truly faithful ex-WCG members (in splinter groups or otherwise) are, indeed, being "kept from the face of the serpent," by not being swayed over to false Christianity.

    (The same is true for those of us who departed the Church into agnosticism or atheism.)

    Oh, and by the by, it will be 19 years exactly, that the changes took place, in mid-December, 2013. Does that mean anything? Who knows? I don't know. All I know is, I personally have to watch, and wait, and be faithful.

    And is it just me, or does the conversation between Byker Bob and Larry sound like it's coming to us live, from the Twilight Zone?

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  8. PH, concerning your Revelation verse, the church did not give birth to the man-child, therefore, the church is not the woman. Oh, and yeah, the verse is metaphorical.

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  9. Velvet,

    I don't know what you might have meant by your Twilight Zone comment regarding the brief exchange between Larry and myself on the other thread.

    I believe that Larry's beliefs are probably more similar to mine than are yours and mine, although I prefer my sources for those beliefs to his.

    I've moved beyond raining on the spiritual journeys of others, or questioning their sincerity except in cases when others attempt to impose their beliefs on me as being the only truth. It seems that God has designed a collective consciousness into all living things which often causes a certain synchronization. As humans, we at the top of the food chain are probably the only beings capable of usurping, or working against the flow of this, bringing grief or bad fruits upon ourselves and others. Such usurpers are somewhat plentiful and often quite articulate! Of course we can seek to be in tune with our Creator, but ultimately this will not be 100% possible until the reconciliation of all things.

    BB

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  10. Shouldn't at least one COG over the years have taken the trouble to actually make arrangements to stay in Petra?

    You know -- purchase land, reserve space, organize a chain of command, etc?

    COG's do that sort of thing with the Feast of Tabernacles every year.

    But of course, if some COG leaders actually did that in Petra, they might have it vetoed by a Conference of Elders. :-/

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  11. "I don't know what you might have meant by your Twilight Zone comment regarding the brief exchange between Larry and myself on the other thread."

    Larry said he'd been to Petra, and you started talking about booze. Maybe it's a Yankee thing??

    (By the way, I never personally saw the widespread, systemic alcoholism that some ex-members claim existed in the Church; sure there were alcoholics, but not to a larger extent than there was in the general population at the time; too, the Bible, and sermons from the pulpit, warned us about "moderation in all things," so that was individual failing, nothing to do with the fact that the WCG didn't insist on teetotaling. (I don't drink, though, so as a teetotaler myself, I'm probably not objectively biased.)

    "I believe that Larry's beliefs are probably more similar to mine than are yours and mine, although I prefer my sources for those beliefs to his."

    I wouldn't be so certain of that, Bob; in fact, I think Larry's beliefs are closer to mine, than mine are to yours, and our sources are, unfortunately, cold, hard, experience (and plenty of heaping doses of actually reading the Bible in various translations, and with a few good concordances to hand).

    I cannot speak for Larry, nor do I presume to, however; I am under the impression that his sources have less to say about your beliefs, than anyone believes they do.

    "I've moved beyond raining on the spiritual journeys of others, or questioning their sincerity except in cases when others attempt to impose their beliefs on me as being the only truth."

    I'm glad, Bob, and I'm glad you don't think I'm attempting to impose my beliefs on you (or anyone else); I'm sure you (and everyone reading) will remember that the Church taught it was (And is?) God who opens people's minds to the truth; the proselytizers and Bible-beaters obviously don't like that doctrine, but there you go. By their fruits you shall know them.

    "Of course we can seek to be in tune with our Creator, but ultimately this will not be 100% possible until the reconciliation of all things."

    Okay, maybe the circles in our Venn diagram overlap just a smidgen. :-)

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  12. "Shouldn't at least one COG over the years have taken the trouble to actually make arrangements to stay in Petra?"

    Wasn't there some kind of agreement, or negotiation, in place with the king of Jordan, at one point? At least, that's what I vaguely recall. It was in one of the Behind the Work films, I believe.

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