Friday, November 30, 2012

A "Supralapsarian" Tale of Two Churches

One of the great problems for a "Supralapsarian" like myself, is that with it's attendant view that all is ordered, all (as Brandan Kraft says), down to "every grunt made by (a) beast," you walk into every doorway and every situation and know that it was purposed and intended from before the foundations of the world by God. That hardly means though, that you know what the resulting events actually mean.
This gets worse when the information is very specific. I still don't know what it means.

Faith and obedience come into play here. I can know a few things, and one of them is that the subject matter selected by two different pastors to preach when I walked through the door, was not an accident.

I still don't know what it means, beyond the selection of the topic material.


The fact is that this blog has fallen into relative obscurity again, perhaps even worse than before it became popular. I don't contribute much and contributions are sporadic (so my "popularity" isn't much of a surprise). The "popularity" issue means that there is little chance those congregations and pastors will find and identify themselves in this piece. Most can't spell my name correctly. Most aren't looking anyway. I also have the evidence of attending Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Vermont for a year and a half while this blog was relatively popular, and no one visited it from the congregation, even though one or two members knew I blogged and my name was plastered all over it.

This is an elaborate way of saying I think it is safe when I am talking in vague terms when it comes to "where I've been." I wouldn't wish to cause more trouble than I have already.

I have attended two churches while living in (name of town omitted). In the case of the first, I had met the pastor once before in another venue, but he did not remember. When I walked through the door the first day, they were preaching on marriage. Not only did they preach on marriage, but Pastor (insert name here) actually doubled down on the concept of monogamy and kinda ground it in. I'll blow part of the punch line here and say that's sorta what happened in the next venue as well.

As with most "Reformed/Theologically Conservative" venues, the various parishioners are ravenously about "fresh meat" (me, in this case, being the meat) and generally don't let you go without thorough questioning. Having traveled about, the goals are all the same. The nice smiling folks want to know WHY you came, WHAT you believe, does it qualify as "Reformed" from their perspective, and it becomes very evident that the goal is to see WHEN you are going to become a member.

Because OF COURSE you believe EXACTLY what they believe.


There is of course "Are you MARRIED?" followed quickly by "Where's your WIFE?" and "How many Kids do you have?" and "Where are they what are they doing etc, etc."

In the first case, the denominational affiliate I attended had been planted by a former church of mine, and they started (without realizing this) to do all the above "drill downs" to ascertain my bona fides.

I got invited forthwith to the pastor's post church lunch-ish afternoon get together (complete with BEER, this congregation even has their own BEER variety, their very own, really) and the drill downs began in earnest.

What's the name of your church i haven't heard of them how can it be so small how did you get into that congregation Oh, you were THROWN out WHY? What about marriage do you believe....

And so on.

I was promised an audience with one of the other pastors that never materialized and was asked not to come back shortly thereafter.

So, the "God is Sovereign" guy that I am says to himself:

"Why of all Sundays did I come to a church on the day they're preaching about MONOGAMY?"

Months later I go to the "Other" denomination's local representative. In both cases I declare disinterest in formal membership because I am a member elsewhere. "It's a LONG story" I say (very true) and I omit mentioning certain uncomfortable details and succeed in rather oppressively controlling the conversations I get into (which bores many) but succeeds in steering clear (it would seem) of the third rail marriage topic.

I of course had been invited to attend the after church pot luck, where most of these discussions took place.

And the pastor preached on one of my favorite chapters (of late) in scripture.

Genesis 4.

Oh brother.

Maybe he'll be like a good little Reformed preacher, and he'll skip the uncomfortable bits in making his point.

Except, he doesn't.

Pastor reads the WHOLE chapter and doubles down on the plural marriage aspect, and of course declare it wrong.

You've got to know how infrequent such occurrences are, sitting in the pews of various reformed venues across the country. They do happen, but not that often.

I just "happened" or "accidentally" walked into these churches on the day they were preaching in part on the topic of plural marriage.

What's a "Supralapsarian" to do?

Or think?
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Here we go again, Christians BEWARE

In a move that should frighten every "Fundamentalist" Christian in the country, Texas wants to take the Yearning for Zion ranch away from the FLDS and it's resident members:

The San Angelo Standard Times - "The Texas Attorney General's Office on Wednesday filed search and seizure paperwork in 51st District Court in Schleicher County, seeking to take over the 1,600-acre YFZ Ranch owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."
Of course, Texas isn't trying to render FLDS members homeless, no.....
"The Office of the Texas Attorney General doesn't know how many people still reside at the ranch, Strickland said. Nevertheless, the seizure 'is not an eviction notice,' he said. He said he didn't want to speculate on what might happen to the ranch if the state succeeds in seizing it."
It does look like the residents knew something was afoot earlier this year:
"It's uncertain how many people still live at the ranch. In 2008, more than 400 children were taken from the ranch before appellate courts ordered them returned to their families. Over the past year, massive building projects began to crop up around the ranch.

Then earlier this year, a huge tower that resembled an airport control tower was toppled shortly after it was finished, and work has halted on an amphitheater-like building larger than the temple on the property."
Supposedly, the way the money was brought in to finance the acquisition of the "Yearning for Zion" Ranch was illegal. Are you really sure than you're exempt? Just parceling the money out in a way that the government doesn't like, is illegal it would seem:
Fox News - "In the affidavit, prosecutors allege that sect members illegally structured financial transactions and that Jeffs personally toured the ranch before the land was purchased."
But no one has been charged with a crime, yet, just like before:
"To support prosecutors' claims that FLDS leaders financed the property through money laundering, one section in the affidavit lists 175 deposits, almost all of which are just less than $10,000, made at San Angelo banks over the course of two years and staggered by only a few days each. The total is about $1.5 million.

Prosecutors say the series of four-figure deposits -- which financial investigators call 'structuring' -- are typically done to evade federal reporting requirements.

However, the Texas attorney general's office, however, has not formally charged any FLDS members with any financial crimes."
Yup, a bunch of child molesters, who cares? Right? Except if you haven't read this blog, or others like it over the last four years, you probably think you know things about the YFZ affair that never happened, such as there being a bunch of pregnant teenage girls wandering around YFZ during the raid in 2008. To this date Texas has never said WHO they saw that was pregnant and "underage" when they raided YFZ, and only one girl out of all the underage girls on the ranch might have been visibly pregnant. That's wholly unremarkable in today's America.

This tactic can be used against YOUR church. The YFZ ranch is a FLDS church trust holding, and the church is being treated like a sort of organized crime syndicate. With as many laws as this country has, all they need to do is pick one your church members seem to violate, and start combing through your church's finances, and declare that you did something illegal to buy your land, and on it, you engaged in "crimes."

The smaller you are, the more conservative your beliefs, the greater the danger.

Just remember how they got the documents that they are using to seize the property:
The San Angelo Standard Times - "The ranch had been created with the intent of illegal activity, the affidavit alleges. The civil document liberally quotes Jeffs from his sacred documents, recovered from the ranch in the 2008 raid."
But the basis for the raid was a hoax call:
Fox News - "Texas Rangers raided the ranch following a call to a domestic abuse hotline that turned out to be false, and took 439 children into state custody."
The hoaxer now is completely forgotten in the narrative, as she was so obviously NOT genuine. Fox even forgets to mention that none of the kids were kept by Texas, but at least San Angelo's paper did remember:
"In 2008, more than 400 children were taken from the ranch before appellate courts ordered them returned to their families."
Go back to sleep now.
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