“DOOM’S DAY PROPHET UPDATE! & TRUTH BEHIND TITHING”
www.para-x.com, ON -DEMAND, for the Archive of the show.
We were nearly lulled to sleep with Brother Mike's babblings about the coming of Doom's Day. May 2011, that's just a couple of months away.
Do we look worried?
We got this!
Lemme fill you in on a little theological secret:
*whispers* It's not literal. Theologically speaking, God is claimed to have said you will NEVER know the date, purposely.
If you oppose this idea, you are acting as the Satan.
Are you a spiritual terrorist Brother Mike?
The jig is up. It's no longer a secret. Your lunacy is public knowledge. You have been exposed.
I enjoyed Jim Brayshaw's commentary on various aspects of the interview. I can't say that I agree with him wholly, but I do agree that churches should be held accountable for paying taxes. I do not agree with reducing them to nothing more than social clubs with member fees.
So what is Tithing anyway? Is it really just handing your money over to the church?
Today? yes. Historically, no. Tithing comes from alleged historical events, specific groups within the holy city of Jerusalem, which would give a portion of their earthly goods to their temple. Whether that be live stock, grain, produce, silk, herbs, money, etc. This did not apply to villages outside the city, but they would provide a portion of their earthly goods upon visiting the temple, or religious observances. In truth, it was meant metaphorically as a teaching modality. *sigh*
Today, the collection plate is passed to obtain charitable donations from the congregation. What is the money used for? Anything from paying the clergy person's salary, to hosting events for the congregation.
I spoke briefly about the church that was the heartbeat of my hometown of East Boston, MA. Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This church, was an integral part of daily life in East Boston, but was not treated like a community center. There was a community center, several blocks from the church. No, this was a holy place and was treated as such. In fact, when the church was approaching its closure, women slept in the pews hoping that there were be an over-turn of the decision by the Arch Dioces.
I shared THIS article in the chatroom. It describes the events surrounding the fall of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This wasn't a mere prop that fell over during a town meeting, no. This was a holy icon, and was viewed as a sign from the lady herself, or even God, over the closing. This was a matter of faith and belief.
So, I think it diminishes a person's place of worship, or holy ground by calling it a social club.
Open letters to the neighbors in East Boston
The collection plate goes round, and EVERYONE gives. Even if you don't have the money, you pretend to give. I spoke about the mentality of the congregation. It wasn't the man at the pulpit who was coercing you to give, but the mob in the pews. If you didn't give, you got the stink eye from the person sitting beside you, or across the way.
I was laughing at April's commentary about the baskets on long sticks. Ya know, I've never seen anything like that, outside the Catholic Church.
Considering the area, and the wise guys in the pews? I thought it was common place. I had no idea that other churches didn't do this, and it was all left up to trust and faith in your congregation. The Catholics? Yeah, a bunch of money grubbing thieves! *giggles* I kid, I kid.
Accountability was discussed. Hold the man at the pulpit accountable for asking for the money, and abusing his power. I took the position that the congregation must be held accountable. Rather than sit complacent, they should question. They should report an abuse of power. Or else, STOP going to the place they receive the abuse! When discussing non-denominational churches, there is no residing agent over the clergy person. Many churches are non-denominational! However in the cases in which there are overseers, the congregates should be addressing these issues with church authority. Now, that doesn't mean that every complaint has validity. Or, that the church will see it the same way the congregate does. There are often theological issues which haven't been settled in hundreds of years of reformation, and may not be settled any time in the near future. Many Christians are not associated with a church, instead they follow the teachings of Christ as best as they can understand them. With the release of the New International Version bible, the scripture is in plain, and easy to understand English. Many see the metaphors, and symbols and do not take the words to be literalisms; however many do. It is the believer that walks among us in our society, in the voting polls, in our neighborhood community centers, and town meetings. If you wish to see changes in your community, then you must first understand where your neighbor is coming from. Be prepared with knowledge, understanding, but most of all empathy.
A personal note:
When my neighbor is concerned for me, and my 'soul' - I appreciate the sentiment. She believes that my lifestyle will lead me to hell, eternal suffering and damnation. What more can I say to her, but thank her for her concern? I too, am concerned for her. I often wonder how she lives her daily life, and why she believes what she does. Is she among those responsible for keeping us from a more secular society? Is she for, or against a clear division of church and state?
One day, I was vending at a local Church yard sale. I was selling my crafts, my jewelry, my mojo dolls, and witchery. She was surprised to see me there. I had some rosaries made. She picks one up and says "These are beautiful, I had no idea that you make this sort of thing." I smiled at her, "Why wouldn't I? I think rosaries are beautiful, and praying the rosary a therapeutic practice." She goes on to say, "Well, the Wiccans that I know are anti-Christianity." I couldn't help but laugh, I know so many butthurt 'ex Christians' that at are still dealing with their emotional baggage. "Ah, but I'm not a Wiccan. I'm a Satanist. I take no issue with religion, I find it fascinating and a part of human psychology." I saw the blood leave her face. I don't think anyone had quite put it to her like that. She put down the rosary, and smiled an awkward smile and told me she had some more shopping to do. When I see her she's friendly. She waves to me, asks me how I'm doing. And we laugh and joke as we are pulling weeds in our flower beds. It's all very 'neighborly'. If I reduced her beliefs to nothing more than a social club, I think that's more apathetic towards human needs. I doubt she would be friendly to me, let alone speak with me. We live a mere few feet from each other, why make it unnecessarily awkward? Seems self-defeating to me.
Do I believe religious leaders take advantage of their congregations, the believers? Some do, certainly. There is corruption in all things involving human beings. This does not mean that every religious leader is corrupt, or that every congregate is a mindless sheeple, subjecting themselves willingly to abuse. I have loved ones that are believers, devout in their faith. We may not see eye to eye about the moral codes we follow, or our 'purpose' in life but I don't tell them how stupid they are for believing in what they believe. I think Dr. Rose, author of Godless and the Good Life, put it best when he said, it's a relationship of love and mutual respect.
My own beliefs come from personal experience, study, and an acquisition of knowledge. I recognize the human need to believe in *something*. While some are content to look outside of themselves, I am not. I'd rather see myself as that something to believe in. It doesn't mean that I require others to believe in me. I take no issue with faith and religion, provided it is not imposed on me.
More recently I have been addressing the issue of conversational intolerance. There are tons of subject we do not tolerate in conversation. Especially with the use of electronic media such as this one. We write, we make our opinions known, publicize them and open ourselves up for criticisms. Good, bad, and the ugly. To say that we should be tolerant is fallacious. There are lots of things I will not tolerate in my life. When speaking of religious tolerance, there are tons of ideas I will not tolerate in my own belief system. There are tons of religious beliefs I will not tolerate in my sphere of existence. I empathize with those that suffer under the vices of religion used to terrorize people. I see it all around me, children murdered by their own parents, people hunted down and dismembered for their pieces and parts, genocide in the name of religious superiority, and religious organizations trying to shape the world in which I live all the while infringing upon my rights and liberties. This, this I do not tolerate.
I do not tolerate Pastor Harry, Brother Mike, and any other 'prophet' or their delusions of conspiracy and self righteousness - presuming to know when the world will end, and believers are to pay the piper.
I do not tolerate being told what I should believe in and fight for, and what constitutes a Free Thinker. Thought, is not as free as people would like to believe. We are all subject to influence. I prefer to be inspired to critical thinking.
I hear the message of Pastor Harry, Brother Mike, etc. and I reject it. It's nothing more than rhetoric and a mad man's rantings. All the power to him. Good luck with reaching the masses Harry!
I hear the message of James Brayshaw, but I'm not entirely sure this isn't just the plight of a political activist. James believes in God, but doesn't call himself a Christian. He is raging against the machine, deconstructing the 'church' as an empire which invented the idea of Satan, is robbing people of their money, and should be reduced to a social organization.
I hear the responses of Pastor Jim, and see his Fig Tree. Beautiful metaphors which can be used to understand his position on the issue of Doom's Day prophecy, and Tithing. He does not believe churches should be taxed, he believes in the giving of the self, to the temple.
The fig tree metaphor...
"he said, "Is it not written: " 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations'[c]? But you have made it 'a den of robbers." 18
The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. 19 When evening came, they[e] went out of the city.
20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!"
I wonder, if he (Pastor Jim) is barren to his congregates. Have his roots been exposed, or is his fig blooming and worthy spiritual food.
This is not known to me. One can only hope.
Until then...I have my own trees to climb.