calling your bluff...
|Sent:||Tue 12/25/07 4:43 PM|
|To:||stephen flurry (firstname.lastname@example.org)|
Dear Mr. S. Flurry,
Some things have been brought to my attention, and I am interested to know what you have to say about them. It has been my experience that concerns like these go unaddressed, as ministers sidestep the issue(s) at hand by accusing the concerned person of having a wrong attitude. Well, to be clear, I actually don’t care what you think of my attitude right now. It is not your opinions about my attitude that I am after, and I think it is an act of cowardice to avoid answering questions in this manner. I’m honest and straightforward and I don’t like BS. If you can address these concerns satisfactorily, then perhaps we can talk about my attitude (if you notice a confrontational tone, don’t get excited—it’s intentional: the following arguments will not be defeated by attacking my attitude).
Just so you know, I’ve “tried the spirits” of the local ministers and found them to be inadequate. Sorry if that sounds a bit critical, but they can’t even get their own thoughts straight; and when they do, they’re such simplistic thoughts that they don’t help me. These guys seem proud of the fact that they can’t even understand what I’m talking about (I refer especially to Mr. Campbell’s excuse of “I’m just an old farm boy,” for not being able to comprehend anything above a third-grade reading level)—except that my language is “corrective.” And these are men who try to run other people’s personal lives for them (and that’s a shameful track record, I’ll tell you). Such are their fruits. Anyway, I come to you because I feel like you are intelligent enough to appreciate the import of my concerns, and because you know a little bit about me and don’t have a tendency (as they do) to mistake me for someone else. It’s me, Casey. You know, the guy who went to war against his own dad in support of yours. You know, the guy who responded so eagerly and positively to your exhortations of “catch the vision” and “think big.” Well, now I want you to answer for some things, because I can’t believe you would be so careless as to miss these problems. I’ll just fire them off, because frankly politeness and humility in this arena are for men-pleasers. And I’m angry over what I have found (although it is not anger that prompts me to send this; my anger has only to do with the tone I have chosen).
I assume you are impressed with the number seven, so here is a list of seven controversies I have discovered (these are just what I presently consider the big ones; I could compile 12, 19, or even seven sevens).
- Malachi’s Message is a plagiary? I’ve seen the Letter to Laodicea by Jules Dervaes. I know that it was sent to Mr. Flurry by certified mail, before Mr. Flurry has claimed to have started work on Malachi’s Message. I also know that a letter from Mr. Dervaes challenging the copyright of Malachi’s Message was later sent to Mr. Flurry by certified mail. I’m not a fool. What is the church’s answer to this challenge?
- Malachi’s Message was not revealed directly to Mr. Flurry. Early on, Mr. Flurry claimed that it was a collaborative effort between himself and Mr. Amos, with input from local members, and that it was based on the ideas of an unnamed minister (Mr. Dervaes?). I remember this history. Why did Mr. Flurry change his story (after he decided he wanted to be a prophet)? I’m not a fool. What is the church’s answer to this challenge?
- Malachi’s Message has been revised a number of times. If it was revealed to Mr. Flurry directly from God, delivered by a “mighty angel” (which itself is a “truth” that transformed), why would it contain mistakes? And which iteration of its revelation is the correct one? Is God confused? I’m not a fool. What is the church’s answer to this challenge?
- Mr. Flurry changed Mr. Armstrong’s teaching on the role of a prophet, when he became one. Mr. Armstrong taught that there are no prophets today, and that if there were, they would be reporting to an apostle in accordance with the hierarchy of God’s Governmental structure. Apparently to avoid addressing this problem, Mr. Flurry removed this teaching from his version of Mystery of the Ages (a book that he claims to believe was written by God through the end-time Elijah). Why does Mr. Flurry think he can tamper with this “vessel,” this precious treasure “raised from the ruins?” Did we all supposedly fight so hard for this knowledge only to abandon it, a piece at a time, as it benefits the swelling ego of the man at the top? I’m not a fool. What is the church’s answer to this challenge?
- “That prophet” refers to Jesus Christ, not to Mr. Flurry. This is plain when one allows the Bible to interpret itself, and it is precisely what Mr. Armstrong always taught. Mr. Flurry gets his self-promoting “revelation” exclusively from the uninspired reasoning in two worldly commentaries (a practice Mr. Armstrong disdained). He uses no scriptures to back it up; in fact he only brings up the relevant scriptures in the context of his mind-warping attempt to deny what they plainly say (again by citing commentaries, not scriptures). Besides this, claiming the “title” of “that prophet” did not change anything. It is a moot point. Why would God reveal a moot point? Is it merely to impress men that Mr. Flurry claims to be “that prophet?” I’m not a fool. What is the church’s answer to this challenge?
- Mr. Armstrong’s literature, unadulterated, has been available free of charge for many years. Yet the PCG would have the public (and their own membership) believe that their organization is the only outlet from which to obtain these works legally and in unadulterated form. The message throughout the court case was that the WCG was trying to keep Mr. Armstrong’s literature out of print, and that the PCG was fighting for John Q. Public’s right to read it. This is absurd! Anyone with an Internet connection knows better (just the other day I read the original text of 1975 in Prophecy in its entirety from my computer screen—incidentally, why would the PCG want to keep this “out of print?”). And any such a one with a working printer can do what the PCG has done (except to ask for money), without the hassle of defeat in an epic legal battle followed by a $2 million out-of-court settlement. What’s more, they can read it in a condition that is free from Mr. Flurry’s “revisionist history” editing (see #4 above). I’m not a fool. What is the church’s answer to this challenge?
- During the court case Mr. Flurry made the statement that the PCG would not settle out-of-court with the WCG, since that would be making “a deal with the Devil.” Yet that is exactly what transpired, once the courts decided in favor of the WCG, and the PCG’s appeal to the Supreme Court was denied. I guess sometimes “a deal with the Devil” (using other people’s hard-earned money) is the only way for a self-proclaimed prophet to save face? Or was it more a matter of a preconceived agenda to “get” centralized control of this information, at all costs? Fortunately for the truth-seekers out there, information has been democratized, and there is no institution that can use copyright law to suppress it (not even the PCG). I am not ignorant of the fact that having the copyrights allows you to alter the literature (as you have done already) such that a reader might never suspect that what they are reading has been edited and does not faithfully reflect the original author’s views. After all, these are the “official” versions, not some dubious download from a fly-by-night website! (“Changes...what changes?”) This out-of-court settlement wasn’t a miracle or a victory; it was a deal. I’m not a fool. What is the church’s answer to this challenge?
I know I’ve made much of the fact that “I’m not a fool.” Perhaps some clarification is in order. That is, I’m not a fool now, but I certainly have been. I have believed with all of my heart that Mr. Flurry is all he claims to be (and that’s a lot). But I know that “the heart is deceitful above all things.” That’s why I started using my head. I have found that emotions will lead you astray far more often and more profoundly than logic will, especially if that logic follows the inductive pattern of reasoning from observation rather than the deductive pattern of reasoning from assumptions. It has been said, has it not, that it is Satan who appeals to one’s emotions and moods in order to deceive, whereas God says, “Come reason with me?” From whence comes this teaching that one should distrust his own thoughts and his own ability to observe what is in plain view? Have we not been given the Spirit of a “sound mind,” one which leads us to believe what has been firmly established through a rational consideration of the facts (rather than an emotional acceptance of men’s baseless ideas)? Comfort and loyalty have made me a fool (and fear would have too, had I ever subscribed to it as many do); taking the teachings of men for granted has made me a fool. But I have been taught to prove all things. And for all these years I have been remiss in this duty. But now through dispassionate observation of events, of the plain statements in the Bible, and of those in the literature of Mr. Armstrong, I have proved that I have good reason for concern.
This much at least is certain: wide and comfortably thronged is the highway of belief, over which the blind multitudes wander, following their blind guides into various ditches; proof, on the other hand, is the narrow way and the “strait” (difficult) gate, through which the wise and faithful few pass. It is not an organization, under the sway of a man drunk on power, that passes through that gate. You must concede this, for it enjoys an abundance of scriptural support. Then again, perhaps this means nothing to you. Perhaps you wish to trample all over your precious scriptures and the teachings of your spiritual father to make the claim that the church is an organization. The church, however, is the people, a collection of individuals, each of whom is supposed to be in direct contact with their heavenly Father (no priesthood intervening). And you have been charged with “ministering unto” (serving) them. This is why it is such a diabolical sin for ministers to magnify themselves in order to devour the church. Claims of kingship notwithstanding, ministers (including evangelists) are not above the justice they themselves preach about.
I don’t expect a response to this, other than to be disfellowshipped, marked, and slandered. I say this because I have made the observation that most ministers turn out to be little more than cowards who hide behind their offices like shields. They wield power as a weapon against inconvenient truth, rather than as a tool for its propagation. They like “smooth things” and flatteries and seats of honor. They are opulent cowards. They are wolves in shepherds’ clothing. And the sheep are too stupid and too busy practicing the institutionalized art of flattery to recognize them for what they are. The sheep themselves are fat and complacent (“in need of nothing”) just like sheep on their way to the slaughter house. But even the relatively clever ones (or the unfortunate ones who come close to being devoured) are also timid little sheep, because they are afraid to question HQ; they dare not “prove all things,” since that could put them outside the fold, where it’s cold and lonely—and where the wolves are! The irony of this was apparently not lost on Jesus: “He who seeks to save his life will lose it,” right? They “don’t get it” because they are acquiescent cowards, worried more about saving themselves, their comfortable lifestyles, and their social circumstances (and in some cases their spoon-fed fantasies) than they are about plain truth.
Cowards preying upon cowards: it’s the history of human civilization (and of every cult) captured in a single phrase. But the funny thing about cowardly wolves is that they will back down when you challenge them directly. When predator ministers see that you aren’t afraid of their teeth, that you are armed with plain truth (which can only be met with truth) they will snarl and back away because “the truth is not in them.” This is what I expect you to do. And I fully expect to be demonized, since cowards understand and utilize the impact of fear on other cowards. But realize that the God you preach about hates cowards. And he hates hypocrites. And he hates liars. I challenge you to show some personal integrity and character by answering the questions I’ve put to you. If you fail to do this, then I am sure you will fail to resist slandering me. This possibility gives me no cause for concern, however; for, although it might mean a lot to you (in the way of political control), my reputation among a circle of cowards means absolutely nil to me.
In actual fact this is more about you than it is about me. Are you a true minister of God, who loves the truth and loves God’s people, or are you just another institutionalized, power-hungry, cowardly hypocrite like the rest? If you are the latter, then just snarl and back away and I’ll get the message.
I hope to hear from you,
P.S.: When he suspended me, Mr. Campbell suggested that I stop studying politics altogether (a suggestion that runs counter to what Mr. Armstrong always instructed, by the way) and focus instead on “what the church is doing.” So I followed his advice. Ironically, then, it was this evangelist-mandated navel-contemplation that led to all these wonderful discoveries concerning “what the church is doing.”
P.P.S.: I have heard of the so-called “Bamah matter” as well, and I have read the detailed testimony of at least two witnesses of these events. I do not believe it is hearsay. However, I chose not to include this in the seven points above only because it does not fit the general theme (and because I do not wish to give the impression that I am aligned with that group—or any other). I do wonder how you would respond to the accusations, though, because (if true) they are a dire testament to the corrupting influence of undue power in the hands of mortals. And before you cry “Korah!”, let’s just keep in mind that the Bamah matter is nothing like Korah’s complaint, and that I’m not interested in claiming any authority for myself (quite the contrary). Administrative decisions are one thing; deciding to operate a local region in direct contradiction to the doctrines of the church (and then trying to cover it up—using fear tactics) is another matter entirely, one that I am obliged to judge. I hope this isn’t a case of cuius regio, eius religio. I suspect that it is though, because of other evidence I’ve seen: but the altogether non-standardized “Philadelphian Standard” (and the occasional aspiring “king’s” tendency to interpret it according to his own personal whims) is another controversy in its own right...for another night perhaps.
P.P.P.S.: I will give you ample time to respond (in case you actually have anything to say) before sending copies of this letter to my brothers. If you wish to maintain your sway over them, you should provide them with follow-up “counsel” (interrogation/indoctrination) about my status as antichrist, etc. But you should know that my brothers are not fools either, and they might want to hear your answers to my questions as well. Good luck (not Godspeed—because I am skeptical of you, an attitude the Bible endorses). You have until January 16. =)
Notes (please do not neglect to read them).
 After all, I have been taught to “confront confrontation,” and not to shrink from controversy (and keep in mind that it was you and your “brotherhood” who taught these things, and that therefore you are perfectly obliged to practice what you preach). My attitude is one of righteous indignation—and lest you accuse me of self-righteousness, let it be clearly understood that the right-ness of my indignation is predicated on the factual and evidentiary nature of these charges. However, if you have a satisfactory explanation for them, I will be obliged to change my attitude (the parameters for satisfaction in this case being factual and evidentiary arguments to the contrary). This means that appeals to authority (except biblical authority, that is), ad hominem, straw man arguments, and all such logical fallacies will fail to persuade me that my indignation is less than righteous. I respect the truth, which has nothing to do with my (or your) person (be it my feelings, my prejudices, my preferences, my genetic disposition, my attitude, etc.)—and is not therefore a position of “self-righteousness.” I am not arguing opinions (although you may very well attempt to do so, in which case, you would be exhibiting self-righteousness). The truth is “plain” because it is susceptible to independent verification or “proof.” On the other hand, you may debate among your “brotherhood” just where “understanding dark sentences” and disseminating private interpretations will get you. You expose yourself when you make non-falsifiable claims (for instance, the “expert” opinions of Bible scholars who reject the Bible’s own interpretation of itself)—by turning the task of “proving all things” into an inscrutable shell game: acceptance is not proof, and should never precede it.
 Ad hominem is faulty logic, the very thing the church identifies as the cause of Lucifer’s fall. You shouldn’t be using it as a crutch, and it will not win you a free pass from me. Address these arguments directly or expose yourself as a coward.
 This does not include Mr. Mark Zollner, whom I consider to be the image of how a minister should be: unassuming, helpful, and knowledgeable; in a word, down-to-earth—unlike certain power-hungry madmen and the petty careerists who flock around them.
 I’m referring here to the younger Mr. Cocomise’s attempt at assuaging my concerns that the church is exhibiting a general trend toward conservatism: he began his short, nervous, rambling speech by claiming, a priori, that my concern is a “delusion” and then promptly concluded by saying that, after all, “we are conservative.” Now that’s what you call cognitive dissonance...perhaps it is Mr. Cocomise who is delusional. Surely that kind of self-contradiction (confusion) is not inspired by God’s Holy Spirit. But at least he pretended to address my concerns, which was kind of him—in a conniving/stupid sort of way.
 And I’m just the dirt-poor son of a carpenter who couldn’t afford to send me to college; but I took Mr. Armstrong’s instruction about educating myself seriously. I didn’t make excuses, and I’m not in the position of having to guide other people to salvation; nor do I want to be (that is, I have no ambition for ministerial careerism or for control over others)—but I certainly wouldn’t want that responsibility if I was willfully ignorant and intellectually lazy (due in part to the implications of such for my eventual judgment). God helps those who help themselves and he expects his ministers to be educated. After all, they are supposed to be teachers. Teachers should at least be relatively literate, as a pre-requisite. Being well-read would be a nice addition to this, for a start. It’s hard, is it not, to decry something as heresy, for example, if you can’t understand a word of it because you are barely literate? Besides all of this, these very men are responsible for continuing to preach the “educate yourself” message. To place a burden on others that one does not lift a finger to bear himself is part and parcel of the pharisaical hypocrisy that Jesus so fiercely denounced in the Bible.
 If they had been more literate and less anxious to find fault they would have noticed that my language wasn’t as corrective as it was confrontational. There is a difference. I was not interested in correcting anyone (and I said as much in that letter); I just wanted to speak my mind and hear my challenges refuted, if possible. And the same is the case here. I want answers. I have not the remotest interest in the correction of others who should know better than I do (and who are not in a position relative to mine whereby I may reach them to do any “corrective” work—kingship, after all, puts one unattainably high above the filthy and ignorant spiritual peasant, who cannot even be trusted with his own decisions and thoughts); it’s the truth I’m interested in. If those in charge don’t want to fix their problems; what’s that to me? But if you don’t even have the backbone to confront these charges, then we can go our separate ways (and I’ll feel satisfied that I made the right decision—i.e., to part ways with a pack of lying cowards). Speaking of that letter and the idea of correction, I explicitly asked for correction. Sadly, the only correction I got was not related to the content of my letter. It was evasion, nothing more. What did they think would come of their avoidance? Was I supposed to be more impressed with the power of these men to put me out of the PCG than with their complete disregard for truth? And why would I want to be involved with an organization that promotes and supports men like that? There’s obviously something wrong with an organization, which claims to be standing up for the truth, when complete and blind submission to authority is more vaunted than is accurate knowledge. So, please, correct me...if you can. But remember, “to correct” means “to make correct;” it doesn’t mean “to get rid of people who inconveniently love the truth.” That’s called something else, and it’s something you don’t want to be associated with (that is, if your public life is any indication of your private wishes).
 As to the extra-biblical injunction against reading “dissident literature,” it should be noted that I had well-developed concerns before I quite literally “stumbled upon” some things that developed them even more; only then did I go searching (and sorting) in earnest. I trust you will find that I considered seriously only the highest-quality dissident literature that the informed public had to offer. After all, I’ve been taught to hold very high standards, have I not? It would be a failure on my part if I did not hold you to those same standards. And I would say that lies, hypocrisy, and forgetting (or abandoning) what you were taught by God’s apostle (while claiming to be faithful to those teachings) all fall pitifully short of the mark. What needs to be defined with regard to the phrase “dissident literature” (which cannot be found in the Bible, of course) is, dissident to what? If some tract of literature is “dissident” to a pack of lies then it is worth reading. The Bible, for example, is “dissident” with regard to whole swathes of text in the Koran. It would be absurd to argue then that the Bible is “dissident literature” and should be avoided like the plague—unless, of course, you were a Muslim preaching to Muslims, or if you had some reason to keep people ignorant. I challenge you to come up with a biblical argument for the teaching on avoiding “dissident literature.” For an alternative source of this doctrine (and, indeed, of the very phrase itself) we could look at the policies of various totalitarian regimes throughout history (say, of the Utopian, socialist variety) and their invarious crackdown on writers who dared to expose the lies of their “Big Brother” shepherds. Why should the Body of Christ have to follow such a policy of hushing up inconvenient facts and making criticism obsolete by banning dissident literature? Does Jesus have something to hide? Or do you? Now I dare you to say I am being deceived by Satan: even moreso, I dare you to prove it. After all, it’s hard to deceive someone who loves the truth enough to insist upon it—to fight tooth and nail for it—to shove it in your face and demand that you acknowledge it. It’s hard to deceive someone who loves the truth enough to “dig deep.” It’s hard to deceive someone who loves the truth enough to think carefully and to remain skeptical of men’s’ claims until they are proven to be correct. It’s hard to deceive someone who loves the truth enough to read “dissident literature.” It’s hard to deceive someone like that. Isn’t it? Here is a quote from one of Mr. Flurry’s sermons: “All you have to do is a little research ... It's there for anybody who really wanted to prove it, but people don't want to know, they want to, well they want smooth things. They want deceit, so God's going to give it to them. ...What is it going to take, what is it going to take for people to get rid of those illusions and that deceit?... They're going to have to get rid of the illusions. They're going to have to come to see what they're following ...I'll tell you in this information age, if we don't see things, that really are there, it's, it's not because we couldn't, and God's going to hold them accountable.” Indeed! But then, he’s talking about reading “dissident literature.” Is he not? Explain that one to me, please. Isn’t one man’s “truth” another man’s “dissidence?” And isn’t this why you are not to follow any man? Let’s drop the charade. God doesn’t need people to avoid “dissident literature”: men do, because they are liars. And if you aren’t carefully proving all things like you should, sometimes it takes some “dissident literature” to shake you out of your complacency and restore to you a healthy skepticism of men in power, not to mention a more tenacious love of truth. After all, isn’t that what the Letter to Laodicea was supposed to do (or, if you prefer, Malachi’s Message)? An interesting question: would you consider Jules Dervaes a dissident?
 Incidentally, you may want to ban members from surfing the Internet altogether, since they might find facts there that make the PCG look less than honest. Of course, it goes without saying that a smart person is quite capable of recognizing bias and of sorting through the cacophony of information to find useful and verifiable facts. But that’s exactly the problem, isn’t it? Perhaps you should consider banning thought as well—oh, right, you do have “thought-stopping” already...and then there’s the oft-pontificated disdain for “human reasoning,” etc.—I suppose you’ve got it well under control.
 Mr. Campbell assigned this category to himself at the last Sabbath service I attended, announcing in dramatic tones, “I am your king!” When I asked him whether he meant that Jesus Christ’s office extended to himself, he assured me that this wasn’t so and wondered aloud whether the rest of the brethren got the same impression (but Mr. Cocomise cleared it up once and for all by assuring him that they in fact did not—I guess he used the Holy Spirit to read all their minds directly from my dining room table—creepy! Then again, perhaps he simply knew better than to allow that the sheep would actually have been doing the unthinkable: thinking critically—and on the Sabbath, no less!). It was fascinating, especially because Mr. Campbell never did explain exactly what he did mean, but also because I never knew the office of evangelist could be so extravagant as to confer upon this man the title of “king.” In all fairness, though, he also pronounced Gerald Flurry as our “king.” I began to wonder which of these men I was expected to bow down to. I also considered the fact that the church also teaches that I myself am a king; I’m sure, though, that Mr. Campbell meant that he is a kingier king than I: like a king of kings, perhaps. King of kings: now that’s a glorious title befitting an evangelist of his stature, to be sure!... I hope this little foray into sarcasm (which is not a sin, by the way—unless God is a sinner) has amply illustrated the dire peril of men getting absolutely loopy-drunk with power to the point where they play fast and loose with scriptural references and grand words meant (by them) to be taken as descriptive of themselves and of their supposed lofty positions over the lowly sheep. These mortal men ought to get back down to earth and back to the humble task of serving God’s people or, if what they themselves preach is correct, they will have a lot to answer for. I’m not a Bible scholar or anything, but I’m pretty sure that claiming God’s titles for oneself is bad form, and an act that carries with it some consequences.
 Instead satisfying themselves with the lie that to confirm what their leadership tells them to believe is sufficient. But this is not what the Bible says to do. For example, the scriptures praise the Bereans for being skeptical, not (as Mr. Flurry claims) for being acquiescent (if you don’t agree, then ask yourself what it was their “readiness of mind” prepared them to do, and what the word “whether” means in this context—hint: as opposed to “that”). The Ephesians are also praised for being skeptical of their ministers. Et cetera (and I invite you to dispute the biblical mandate for skepticism with regard to men and their claims, especially under the new covenant). Mr. Armstrong also repeatedly challenged us to be skeptical—of him! “Don’t believe me; believe your Bible,” was his mantra. Mr. Flurry’s mantra is “have the right attitude.” Translated, this means, “Accept this extra-biblical interpretation first, then read the scriptures in light of your accepting attitude.” Of course, if you see that one of his claims seems a little fishy, it is only because you have the wrong attitude (because the right attitude is acquiescence, of course). But what, may I ask, is the point of “proving” anything if it is already pre-judged to be correct? And since when did proof depend on my attitude? There are a lot of truths I don’t like but which I am obliged to accept because I can prove them to be true, regardless of my attitude. For example, I don’t want to accept that I am out of beer; I’d rather I had a six-pack of Bully Porter in my fridge. Or, better yet, Taddy Porter! I am in fact very adamant against there not being a four-pack of Taddy Porter in my fridge. Yet one does not appear when I open the refrigerator door. Similarly, wishing for Mr. Flurry to be “that prophet” does not make the scriptures support the claim. It may sound like a wonderful idea; but, like that crisp, refreshing porter I like so much, when I open the Bible, it just isn’t there. No, something else is there instead: the truth, the Bible interpreting itself. And it does this despite my attitude of wanting to remain in contact with my friends and family in the PCG. After all, isn’t the “right attitude” a love for truth? (And I would love to hear your answer to that one.) Unfortunately, the sad truth here is that Mr. Flurry actually advises us to take the exact opposite approach to that of the Bereans, namely, to be skeptical of the scriptures and to accept “with all readiness of mind” what he has extrapolated from the flawed reasoning in a couple of commentaries—a private interpretation! Some might call that heresy. I, however, think it is sufficient to call it baseless, vain, inconsistent, and dishonest...or, if you prefer, just plain wrong—that is to say, the wrong attitude.
 Although, obviously, this is a rare case due to the fact that, arguably, precious few go to the trouble of actually proving the ideas that are funneled into their heads by the ministry. Most of these suckling babes do not digest what their mother feeds them, and are therefore in no position to even understand (or remember) the teachings, much less question them. This conclusion is drawn from my many personal experiences of having to explain to some fellow member (and in at least one case a minister) the church’s oft-repeated position on some subject (ranging from human leadership in the kingdom to the dichotomy between Satan’s nature and human nature, etc.).
 But if you are worried about me, you should consider that axiom about answering a fool according to his folly, and that I will feel fully vindicated in my reasoning if you ignore me. And if that sends me to the Tribulation (or worse), will you not be accountable? If you think I am a fool who will feel vindicated if not corrected, then you have a mandate from God to do something about it, as a shepherd who will have to give an account for the souls in his keeping. On the other hand, if you have not the means to correct me, and cannot summon them, then you must admit that I am not a fool—and that you have some tough decisions to make. It’s not all glory at the top, is it? (In actual fact there is no more glory at the top than there is in the “bottom,” if you get my scriptural reference.) The hazard is that if you are right about the things you profess to believe, then you could be in big trouble. And that trouble comes from being disingenuous and/or careless (which is the same as being disingenuous, since you profess that you care...especially about truth). And if you pre-judge me as being not open to correction, then you are just making excuses for yourself: consider that if you have something to give that another needs but you withhold it (for any reason—even if the person in question is as pretentious and acrimonious as I am) you are violating a clear command from God. As far as my “delusional” mind is able to grasp, you enjoy absolutely zero biblical support for ignoring me. This is why I will feel fully vindicated if you do. As a matter of fact, it is your job to answer questions like these, to care for the sheep by protecting them from error (whether it be their own or otherwise); when did the ministry, seemingly wholesale, abandon this nurturing vocation for one of mere political control?
 Incidentally, how does a supposedly strict Armstrongist like Mr. Flurry make a statement reflecting God’s alleged anger over a certain political group’s “winning” a majority in Congress? Doesn’t he know why we don’t vote? Has he never heard of the church’s teaching that it is God who puts men (or women) in the offices they hold? Is God upset at himself? Absurd! More importantly, is He mocked? No, if Mr. Flurry’s image of god is “upset” over Nanci Pelosi, perhaps he is upset at you and me...for not “rocking the vote.” Forgive me for “speaking as a fool” after claiming not to be one. But perhaps you can see how a “delusional” person like myself might get the impression that Mr. Flurry is a right-wing nut job posing as a man of God. After all, he also endorses the Fox Propaganda Corporation and its unholy spawn, shock-jock sleazeball Bill O’Reilly—as reliable news sources! Are you kidding me? Now that’s delusional. Seriously, let’s just be frank with each other: Have you ever actually viewed this slop personally? Does it not remind you of television wrestling (you know, the stuff that’s obviously staged)? Or a circus? Without doubt, it is a dog and pony show where facts are disregarded in favor of wild flights of political rhetoric (not to mention fraudulent manipulation of statistics, outright lies, emotional appeals, shouting matches, personal attacks, opportunistic slander, and all such chaotic drama as one would expect to find in the baser entertainments—by which I mean brain-rotting intellectual pornography like soap operas and Jerry Springer-esque “talk shows”). You can just forget about journalistic integrity. Furthermore, it’s meant to be that way (just ask Rupert Murdoch, he’ll tell you flat-out). And here I thought we were supposed to be against bias in the media. Oh, yeah, only liberal bias is bad—I forgot...but then wouldn’t that make us (say it with me) politically biased? It may be instructive to note that, lo and behold, this “liberal bias” message also just so happens to be a mainstay of contemporary (“worldly”) right-wing political rhetoric (and similar parallels may be drawn with regard to many of the supposedly prophetic warnings about and approbations of certain political leaders, factions, and policy decisions). This evolving message (one salient example here is the church’s “flip-flop” on global warming, which I doubt anyone else noticed) is a far cry from one of national repentance for specific spiritual and physical sins: it has strayed much farther out into political waters than Mr. Armstrong ever dared to venture. Of course, this nation is supposedly more polarized today than it was in his time, and sadly the PCG has (along with its similarly-simple-minded worldly counterparts), picked a side. Under Mr. Armstrong we had a message that couldn’t be nailed down politically, but I challenge you to bring up one point (bearing on issues that could be considered politically charged) in which the PCG’s message diverges significantly from conservative (nay, Republican—or worse, “neo-conservative”) ideology. On the strictly political front we have merged with the so-called “religious right.” Our constant harping on abortion and homosexuality (that is, in the style and rhetoric of certain other conservative pundits) is one indicator. (It is interesting to note Mr. Flurry’s use of the phrase “San Francisco values” in his recent sermon/political speech denouncing the Pelosi “victory.” Perhaps he should have spent more time studying his Bible and less time watching Bill O’Reilly—then maybe he wouldn’t have made such an inexcusable blunder as to suggest that God was “upset” that this wily Democrat managed to get so many votes). We’ve even cast our lot in with the “Intelligent Design” quacks (whose so-called “science” is so ridiculous that we should be ashamed for ever having mentioned it—since some of the very people we are called upon to correct have thoroughly demolished these arguments, and quite publicly) and the public-prayer-in-schools lobby—did we forget God’s very clear instruction to pray in private? Did we forget that putting this so-called “god” “back” in schools is not our mandate? These false “christians” don’t worship or pray to the true God! Why, in the name of all that is truly sacred, would we dare to waste God’s tithes on endorsements of these superstitious pagans and their political endeavors? Or is that the answer right there? I am aware of the religious right’s conspiracy to usher in a “millennium” of righteous political rule—and the abolition of our religious freedom—by filling the halls of government with believers and thereby enforcing their brand of “christianity.” These would-be Utopian despots also preach to their congregations the misleading and historically inaccurate notion that the Founding Fathers were, unequivocally and in all cases, “christians” (just like the PCG does) and based the Constitution on the “Laws of God” (you know, laws like Sunday worship and praying in public to idols). This is disingenuous and is done in the interest of bolstering one’s own views by taking dead men’s statements out of context and broadly applying them (leaving them quite incapable of defending themselves against such wrangling, incidentally). In the case of the PCG, it can only be done in the interest of choosing a side in a political culture war—since we don’t really believe that the Founding Fathers were “true christians” in the first place! They were all either Protestants, Catholics, or DEISTS! And for all that, we also have quotes from many of these men that paint quite a different picture from the conveniently simple one the religious right (and now, the PCG) would like for us to believe. Obviously, these were complex men with subtle minds, rather than cardboard props for use in modern-day religio-political disputes! Forgive me if merely getting suspended from “church” (by which I mean the PCG—an institution where ministers, as well as members, gather together on a weekly basis merely to “play church”) was not enough to convince me that I am delusional. Perhaps someone, somewhere, would be so honest as to actually address this concern (along with the others) head-on, like a decent, upright, bipedal vertebrate. Could it be you?
 Although I do know of the RCG and “apostle” David Pack. I also would be interested to hear how you explain the existence of what can only be described as an alternative “Philadelphian remnant” work (alternative, that is, to the PCG). I am also not affiliated with this group and do not wish to be.