THE SOUTHERN SENTINEL
VOL.1 NO.2 © December 1987
Feast Attendance Remains 2200
Local Leadership Training to Begin
The Southern Sentinel
Letters To The Editor
Home Office Headlines
Read This Book
The Paper Pulpit
Local News of Interest
REGIONAL MINISTERIAL SEMINAR RE-SCHEDULED
The next Southeastern Regional Seminar will take place in the Spring of l988 at a location to be determined later. The reason for postponement is to give the ministers time to prepare a rough draft of their paper on the application of democratic process to the selection of Ministerial Council members.
Due to their busy schedules, it will he more efficient for each one to prepare a rough draft or outline of principles to consider on his own. These will he sent to the committee secretary who will prepare a composite document including the various alternate suggestions for discussion in the spring.
After the spring meeting, a final draft will be made and sent to each member for final suggestions. Then it will he sent to the Ministerial Council for their review prior to a planned presentation for discussion to the ministry as a whole at the next conference in Tyler.
Some of the ministers have indicated that they will submit additional papers on their own regarding related and unrelated topics. It is hoped that ministers from other areas will also prepare papers for the next conference. The discussion of papers on various topics important enough to demand the time to write them is one of the best vehicles available for the ministry to grow together in Christ to meet today's challenges facing CGI.
SUBSCRIBE TO THE SENTINEL
If you want your own copy to come to you in the mail, we must have your address. Currently, we send some copies to each local church requesting them.
Look for the date in the January issue, but the Women's Retreat is still planned for the Spring of 1988. Pinehurst, NC is the place, and a great place it is to be in the spring.
Topics include: Women and Fatigue; Discipleship Means Dedication; Train Them Up: Children and the Church; and Partners for Life: The Marriage Contract.
If you are interested in attending, lease write: Ruth Hertzler, c/o THE SENTINEL P0 BOX 32102, RALEIGH, NC 27622.
Greetings form the Statesville congregation! Well, we're on the move again. On the fourth Sabbath of October, the Statesville church said a fond farewell to the Girl Scout Hut in Statesville. No more cold toes in winter and heat stroke in summer, but, nevertheless, it was with mixed feelings and fond memories of the past couple of years that we said good-bye. Forty-two members celebrated their good-bye with a last potluck meal and a good time was had by all.
In honor of our move to larger facilities at the Ramada Inn in Statesville, Thad and Audrey Miller hosted their annual hay ride at the Miller farm in Lenoir on November 14 after services. We were happy to see Anthony Chappell turn up from Raleigh to be with us and hope to ses you again soon, Anthony! We would like to thank Audrey and Thad for all the time and effort they put into the hayride which is one of the highlights of the year.
For anyone interested in meeting with us, or just visiting, we are now meeting weekly at the Ramada Inn off 1-77 exit 49B at 1:30. Y'ALL COME!
We regret to report the passing of ANNIE MORROW on October 12 during the Feast. She was 73 years of age. Mrs. Morrow was at home and died in her sleep. She died from complications deriving from her bone cancer and heart problems. Mrs. Morrow is survived by her daughter, DENISE PATTON, wife of CHRISTOPHER J. PATTON, pastor of Pinehurst, New Bern, and Newport News fellowship groups, and her three grandsons: Aaron, James Allen, and Andrew.
Mrs. Morrow was buried at Mountain Rest cemetery in Kings Mountain, NC with her parents. The funeral and graveside services were performed by her son-in-law and are reproduced elsewhere in this edition. Those attending ineluded family and friends from the CGI, WCG and other Christian faiths. The family wishes to thank all those who sent cards and flowers without return addresses. Chris Patton wishes to apologize for misplacing, and thus delaying, Denise's timely responses to those who did include addresses.
RONNIE SINCLAIR still needs your prayers for his eyesight. His mother, MARY SINCLAIR, has located a meeting place for the church in New Bern, NC. The first service will be on January 9, 1988. Those attending will discuss whether to continue meeting bi-weekly or weekly. The time is 2 pm. The place is the Holiday Inn at
CHARLES E. HERRING of Pink Hill, NC needs your prayers as well. Pink Hill is in eastern NC. For the last year, Mr. Herring has had a serious eye disease in which he lost almost all of his vision. Recently, there has been some improvement but not enough to allow him to drive. Since Mr. Herring is an self-employed accountant this illness has probably put a strain on his ability to earn a living. He is looking forward to attending at the New Bern fellowship group.
VERNON BORING is still very sick with cancer. He and his family need your prayers. While there is life, there is hope. There is a lesson for each of us in this story of continued struggle, of strength of character in the face of seemingly endless obstacles to recovery.
TED PHILLIPS' arm is much better, but he was recently admitted to the hospital for gallbladder problems. The Sentinel learns that he is much better and plans to attend the Ministerial Council meeting in Tyler on December 12.
GLADYS GILBERT now has a new dubbing machine which will allow her to copy cassette tapes in three minutes instead of twenty minutes or more. The Woodruff church presented her with the funds to get this machine in recognition of the very valuable service she is performing for our scattered and shut in brethren.
What started as a small act of love has grown as the word got out. She bas done this at her own expense with some help from the local churches and individuals. Gladis is a widow with uncertain health who is making the most of her time. She knows from personal experience what it is to not get to services and has overcome that by service to others similarly disadvantaged. Thank-you Gladys.
DAVE AND KIM NIX should be in their new home by mid-December. As many of you know, they are expecting soon so we hope that there are no further construction delays. Dave loves his new job and is looking forward to working with the brethren in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area.
WORLDWIDE RECLAIMS SOME CGI MEMBERS. That is the story from several different areas of the country. In all the cases we have heard of these people have returned despite some doctrinal differences in order to be re-united with family and/or friends. Concerns over youth programs and socialization are also factors. Apparently, they feel it is better or will be easier for them in a larger, more well- established group.
FEAST ATTENDANCE REMAINS 2200
by Christopher J. Patton
For the third year in a row festival attendance has stayed at the 2200 mark. Each year there seem to be a significant number of new, first time attendees. But despite this sign of growth the total attendance has remained virtually the same. Why?
One possible explanation is that about 50 part time attendees to the Banner Elk, NC site could not travel to either the Panama City, FL or the Williamsburg, VA Sites for one or two days as they did last year. The Situation is probably similar for people in the Midwest and other parts of the country, too.
Some have suggested that part of the problem is financial. Some on small fixed incomes simply can't afford to travel long distances to attend or stay in higher cost resort facilities. For them local congregations should set aside some money each year in order to aid them. If all can't make it in any one year, then at least the benefit can rotate.
Others, who could afford it, simply do not save or plan in advance for the Festival. The principle of saving an additional tenth makes practical sense even if one doesn't believe it to he mandated by the Bible. Others may use part of their first tithe to attend believing there to he only one tithe or simply not having enough money to do it any other way. In essence they believe that they are commanded to attend by God and conclude that part of God's tithe can he properly used to help them keep His commanded purpose.
The above comments should be read as a report of some members' remarks and not a commentary on a doctrine. The subject could use further study by the ministry and discussion through the established procedures. Part of those discussions should include the application of practical solutions to increased Festival attendance on the local level. A well planned and well attended Feast is very important for the growth of individual members.
Obviously, a successful Feast is also a Feast in which the services and activities are so excellent that they draw nearly full participation. Unfortunately, there are too often too many empty seats. For example, Panama City, FL has always been the best attended Feast site since it was chosen. This year, except for Garner Ted Armstrong's messages, there was never a problem to get a seat in an auditorium that should not have been able to accommodate the known registered attendees. Why? You write and tell us. Then we'll share that information with our readership.
LOCAL LEADERSHIP TRAINING TO BEGIN
by Christopher J. Patton
Beginning in January of 1988, Henry Nix will teach two 45 minute seminars on the second and fourth Sabbaths of the month. Services will continue as in the past on the first and third Sabbaths of each month. The fifth Sabbaths are reserved for regional socials and special events.
The seminars will he for both men and women. They are based around the Bill Gothard seminar series entitled "Training Faithful Men/Women". Ted Phillips has been using this seminar series to great success in Sacramento, CA. Ted has been so kind to send a copy of his edited adaptations of the Gothard seminars for use in the Carolinas.
Chris Patton, pastor of the eastern North Carolina congregations, will help to prepare written materials to go along with the seminars as well as occasionally speaking. The seminars be in Bible Study format and cover the basic truths of Christianity. The sessions will he taped and made available to other interested CGI congregations.
Henry and Chris are finishing up an introductory booklet entitled, "Blueprint for Building a Local Congregation". This booklet will he packaged with cassette tapes. One is entitled, "Building on Strength", by Henry Nix from the Feast seminar in 1986 in Banner Elk, NC. Two tapes by Chris Patton: "What is the Church?" and "The Community of the Church" will also he included.
Anyone interested in the "Blueprint Package" described above should write the Sentinel, P0 Box 32102 Raleigh, NC. Although there is no charge, donations to help cover the cost of production will he appreciated. Checks should he made out to the Church of God, International. The estimated cost is twelve dollars including postage.
THE SOUTHERN SENTINEL
by Christopher J. Patton
The Southern Sentinel is published bi-monthly by the Carolina congregation of the Church of God, International. © Copyright 1987 all rights reserved.
The Southern Sentinel encourages the submission of news, and helpful information for any of our regular features. We are also looking to you, the reader, for any special interest articles - even commentary for the editor's page. Any materials submitted become the property of The Southern Sentinel. This paper will be published in a timely manner regardless of the amount of material available.
Financial support comes from local church accounts and individual member donations. Checks should be made out to the Church of God, International.
THE SOUTHERN SENTINEL NEEDS YOU!
The Sentinel staff is small and completely voluntary. We need help from you. The Sentinel needs one correspondent person or team from each church. The correspondent's responsibility is to coordinate with the local pastor and church members who are planning or involved in local church projects or activities. The objective is to have one reliable and objective source who can provide us with newsy and informational articles about what's happening or more to the point, what is planned to happen in your local congregation.
In each issue we want to print a calendar of events and a directory of church meeting locations, times, and contact persons. This way members will be able to attend the scheduled church activities that they have an interest in which take place outside their immediate areas. This will be especially important as more Local Leadership training and discipling sessions are instituted This will help to counteract the scattered nature of the church. This can be especially important for the youth.
We also want to Include news of past events, and copies of what you may have submitted to the International News would be fine. However, it is the advance information that we are most interested in. The next issue is planned for January and should mention activitities through April or later.
Articles of general interest about practical Christianity may be sent directly to The Sentinel since they do not involve group activities that require coordination. This could include, for example, editorials, member spotlight, or ideas for helping the aged, infirm, disadvantaged, or proven ideas for improving local church administration.
The Southern Sentinel will only accept clear, typewritten copy as it saves the volunteer staff hundreds of hours. All articles or other materials sent to The Southern Sentinel become the property of the paper and will not be returned.
The success of this church newspaper will depend on you, the reader. Perhaps you don't think you can write. If so, then participate by answering our surveys or send us ideas of what would like to see in the paper. If you can write, then get together with the other members of your congregation and select someone to act as your represent to us. Let's make this just one more tool that Christ can use to build His church.
The Sentinel staff is writing a simple series of children's stories/lessons about the Sabbath, Holy Days and God's plan for mankind. We need illustrations for these lessons, which will be published serially in The Sentinel for later publication as children's books.
lf you draw well and think you would like to illustrate stories for children, please send your name and address to THE SOUTHERN SENTINEL, PO BOX 321O2, RALEIGH, N C 27622. We will forward the first story to you with instructions about our talent search.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Due to the small size of the CGI and the fact that people did not indicate whether they wanted to be mentioned by name or not, we have not included names. Some comments indicate possible personal problems between members in the church or between a member and his/her minister. We would encourage any who have such problems to approach your brother - though he be minister - and talk to him. -ed. note.
I have just read the September 1987 issue of your publication, and I really enjoyed it. I especially appreciated the listing of Local Church Directory. I think this will be great for our members who travel throughout the Southeast and desire to attend Sabbath services.
Our membership in Atlanta is enthusiastic in general concerning the publication, and we look forward to future issues. Please add my name to your subscription list. Thank-you.
We'd like you to know you have our full support and prayers - yes, even respect - for asking questions of Tyler and are praying that it will bring about healthy changes so desperately needed in CGI/Organization.
Thank you for The Southern Sentinel. We had heard so many rumors about "what was happening in the Southeast". I thought you had all left the church! The Sentinel explained all. I was so happy to see that you are working to help the church and preserve it. Keep up the good work and stay in touch even if they disfellowship you. We are praying for unity and growth in the church. Our congregation sometimes seems to be just waiting for the end.
HOME OFFICE HEADLINES
by Christopher J. Patton
The CGI's ministers and wives received a letter from the "Home Office" dated 9-30-87 on their way to the Feast.
Besides some travel updates and friendly sentiments there was the following quote: We want you to know we appreciate your dedication and support for the work God has given us to accomplish. Our individual ministries are acutely import ant to the direction and well-being of God's church. We know that pastoral and leadership responsibilities are sometimes burdensome and frustrating but we also know how rewarding and tremendously fulfilling our calling can be.
Several ministers have expressed their appreciation for this (according to some) long overdue thanks. Its always been understood, annually expressed at the Ministerial Conference, but not often committed to print. The Feast is quite demanding on the ministry and their families so the letter was timely. Thanks.
The letter also asked for input from the field ministry towards overall improvement of the Feast. Elsewhere there is a brief article requesting your input (yes, you the reader) on this same subject.
The ministry is also to look forward to "future correspondence" on the following topics: "*What is the Ministerial Council and its role within the ministry and the church? *HOW do we effectively communicate our concerns, ideas, suggestions, doctrinal papers, etc? *Responsible pastoring. Solving problems within our ministry. * Update on 'papers' under review by the Ministerial Council."
MINISTERIAL COUNCIL TO MEET
The Ministerial Council of the Church of God International will be meeting in Tyler, Texas during the weekend of December twelfth. It is assumed by this paper that the above topics will be among those discussed. Another topic will be the location of the western Feast Site.
DALLAS/FT. WORTH CHURCHES COMBINE
The weekly tape from Tyler announced that CHARLES GROCE has been named pastor of the new, combined Dallas/Ft. Worth Church. LARRY WATKINS has been named pastor of the Tyler congregation.
Charles Groce said he was looking forward to the new challenge. The Home Office is planning an integrated program of local ads in connection with the existing TV broadcast.
The new congregation will probably meet in Grand Prairie which is near the airport between Dallas and Ft. Worth. The initial meeting will take place January 9, 1988 and will be organized similar to a campaign with churches in attendance from all over the region.
NEWPORT NEWS FEAST SITE
Charles Groce has told The Sentinel that he is looking in Newport News for next years Feast site in the east. This will put th place closer to the ocean with Williamsburg and Washington DC still accessible. Newport News accommodations should also be more reasonably priced, Mr. Groce said.
by Ruth Hertzler
(ed. note: The following article is one result of the Thanksgiving Break Workshop in Pinehurst, NC. We would love to publish frequent articles on this subject. Why don't you send us one on your successful or unsuccessful programs and experiences.)
Spit balls flying, deafening roars and fists flailing, and thus goes another Sabbath School!
Teaching kids can be as horrendous as the above, or it can be a pleasant spiritual experience.
The secret? Stay with me.
First... a little planning goes a L O N G way.
So where do I start you ask? Check out the local Bible Book Store. There is a treasure of usable material: maps, records, tapes of songs and stories, crafts, games and books on ideas galore! The only problem is what to buy and how much to spend.
Children learn best with a series of connected stories. It also allows others to help with this part of the school. (More on that later.) It saves a lot of time since you won't worry about what to teach.
We are going through the Epistles of Paul tape series in personal Bible study, so the Journeys of Paul seemed a good place to start. Excellent flannel graph material was available. We had fun learning episodes in early church history the problems encountered and the perils along the way.
A craft project also helps. In this case we made a topographical map with different colored threads for each of Paul's journeys. A similar approach could be taken for the Wanderings of the Children of Israel, the kings of Israel and Judah, the Feast Days, the Patriarchs the Tabernacle and the Temple to name just a few.
Another excellent source of material is Bill Gothard's Character Sketches. These teach such good habits and morals as kindness, thrift love and obedience. Contact a friend who has attended his Basic Youth Conflicts Seminar.
IMPORTANT! Children have short attention spans: only about one minute for each year of age. So its up to the teacher to make the most of that attention span. Keep your program moving along by breaking the hour up into 1O-15 minute segments: i.e: story, memory work, coloring or craft game and review. You will be surprised at how much they learn - how little disruption you'll have.
Reward good behavior. Stars on a chart, sticker, treats, or a balloon. But keep the biggest prize simply being there. Everyone is a winner. A Bible brought, extra memory work, extra effort in any way - all should be recognized publicly and rewarded.
If a child insists on being disruptive, take him to his parents. He can come back next time.
ENLIST THE HELP OF EVERYONE. Every one should have the privilege of helping with the kids. Teens can help with younger ones who can color, use play doh, etc. Someone should teach the Bible verse, another takes the song, another gives the story, someone else the craft.
I know that this sounds idealistic. Usually the same one or two gets "stuck with the job all the time because they're "good at it". Too often that's because the program isn't broken up into these smaller segments. Or perhaps they assume you don't need help or would like to hear a sermon for a change. Hah!
Solve that problem with a sign up sheet which will let each person, male or female, sign up for a section of the program they feel they can do well. There's a big psychological difference between having the responsibility for the whole program and the responsibility for ten minutes of singing or a story. This way they're committed for a short time and no one gets the whole load. Get everyone involved. Don't let anyone feel left out! Obviously, in a group of any size there will need to be one person present for the entire time to maintain continuity and fill in any gaps or no shows.
When should you run your program? You'll need at least an hour to develop a good program. We use the sermon time for the little children because their attention span is too short to benefit from a mature, usually adult subject and from an hour of sitting still. The sermonette is usually short enough and on a topic narrow enough to benefit school age children. They get a more favorable impression of services this way because they can understand and participate more.
Our teens meet separately during the sermonette and sit in on the sermon. Sometimes they start a little earlier, and sometimes they meet after services, too. This way we need only one extra room.
Scripture tells us we must be like little children, not the other way around. We can only learn the Godly characteristics of children if we spend time with them. Their honesty, openness, faith, purity, and unconditional love warms any heart. You'll learn to love them, and they'll love you for sharing yourself with them. Then we'll all grow, and !he church will become a strong witness.
INSIGHTS - My Blessings
by Gina Lentz (member, Statesville, NC)
1. By the grace of God, I am able to see, hear, smell, walk, talk, write drive sing, type, sew read, macrame, think clearly, walk about unaided. I have no physical or mental defects, am not deformed. I have superior intellect, personality, am charitable, congenial, am understanding and pleasant.
2. My daughter is alive.
3. My parents and whole family are all alive and functioning properly.
4. I have: my own house, bed, food, shoes, clothing, furniture and indoor plumbing. No enemies, money to get by on my own, my neighbors are at peace. The roof doesn't leak, and I don't go hungry. I don't wonder where my next meal is coming from. I go to bed safely and get up safely, I don't have nightmares. I have water to drink that is pure. God has given me the materials I NEED - not always everything I WANT.
5. A family who loves, helps and cares.
6. A friendly dog, a telephone.
7. An optimistic, hopeful attitude that a Kingdom is corning SOON!
8. There is no war in my home, county, state, or nation. I live without fear of assassination.
9. A church to attend; people I love, trust, and admire.
10. Freedom to speak, write, worship.
11. I live in the greatest country in the world - I am an AMERICAN!
12. I am not in jail, ,in trouble with the law. I don't have to pay a find, be confined or face a judge. I can face myself in the mirror because my conscious doesn't condemn me.
13. I have a Bible, and the pearl of great price!
14. Faith, hope, yearnings, aspirations, confidence.
15. I have the abundant life because money doesn't buy the Truth. That makes me free.
Why don't all of you take time to sit down and count your blessings? Especcially when you feel down and out, feel depressed or hopeless. When things aren't quite right. When Satan bugs you. You may be able to list far more than I. You may be ashamed of yourself Counting your blessings will help.
READ THIS BOOK!
The Different Drum, by M. Scott Peek, M.D. published by Simon & Schuster, Inc. copyright 1987
Report by Christopher J. Patton. Every now and then a significant book is written. One that can really help you to understand life and, consequently, to improve it. This is one such book. A friend gave it to me to read in November, and I want to share my thoughts with you about it.
First, I encourage you to read the book for what it is: one man's expression of his thoughts and experiences. It is not the Bible so I do not suggest that you accept everything he says as dogma. Neither would he. What it is, however, is a well expressed perspective to help organize and understand some of the great truths expressed in the Bible..
The author is an MD and a psychiatrist. He is also a Christian, though not a Sabbath keeper. He is dedicated to world peace and the general improvement of communication and hence "community" between persons and peoples. He is pragmatic and not a blind idealist who is oblivious to the existence in this world of unrepentant evil.
What he has done is demonstrate how people can, if they will, communicate with each other in brotherly love. He has broken it down into defined stages of growth and an orderly process of development which can be rationally utilized in self analysis and tolerant, practical application in groups.
Dr. Peck is basically dealing with the fact that in this world each of us is at a different stage of spiritual growth. It's like being in a one room school house with kids of all different ages and grades. Furthermore, the grade doesn't even necessarily correlate with the age: first graders could be five, ten, or fifty years old. Groups and cultures are likewise in different stages of maturity and effectiveness. The two iter-relate in that groups are obviously made up of individual people. The idea is consistent with Biblical truth as taught by the CGI.
The primary concept dealt with in within the context of American culture. And by that I do not mean your local PTA or Chamber of Commerce fund raiser or civic beautification project. I say American because, even though the subject material includes the extension of his principles into the international scene his audience and experience is obviously American.
He defines "community" as a group of people who openly acknowledge their differences, faults and individuality, and yet possess a common identity in love for a shared purpose. The community's identity is defined by itself, and its purpose is to self-perpetuate or grow.
A community is inclusive. Its enemy is exclusivity. True communities seek to reach out and extend themselves. A true community seeks to build genuine consensus among its members by accepting and transcending the differences of its individual members in forgiveness, acceptance, and love. A true community doesn't isolate itself by excluding others or by disfellowshipment or shunning.
The members of a community possess a commitment to one another that is stronger than their personal differences. It is recognized by the presence of an atmosphere of humility.
Pie in the sky? No, not at all. This book has been written as a result of hard experience repeated over a period of years. The bulk of the author's experience has come from short term "communities" developed over a period of a few days or weeks. Similarly, the author has worked extensively with "communities" such as churches and professional support groups that meet regularly over a period of months or years. To a less extent, his experience includes work as a consultant to some permanent social groups, like a monastery, which do live together day-in and day-out.
IMPORTANT! If you haven't yet got the point, note that this book is not so much about communes, monasteries, or civic pride as it is about interpersonal relationships and a self-recognition of your own spiritual growth process as it relates to others. It is the community of husband and wife, parents and children, fellow workers on the job, and, obviously, your local and national church.
The central purpose of community is to provide a safe environment so its members can grow individually and so the group can grow collectively by adding other members. One primary truth recognized is that a person can only change himself. You can help another person some, but in the end each of us must change himself.
COMMUNITY BY DESIGN
The central reason for writing the book is the author's contention that community doesn't "just happen". There are definite, progressive stages a group must go through before true community is established. Knowledge of these stages can help speed the formation of community and increase the chances of its success and continued healthy existence.
PSEUDOCOMMUNITY is the first stage. A pseudocommunity appears to be a community or an identifiable group. It may have a name, such as a church or club, but its members do not strongly identity with each other. The interpersonal bonds are superficial or pretended.
A pseudocommunity seeks to avoid conflict. It uses generalities in defining its existence and purpose. There is an external or legal reason for its existence, such as a set of doctrines or a social program but individual differences are glossed over or not even mentioned. Its organization and identity is imposed externally on its members by a code of rules, spoken or unspoken.
Generally, pseudocommunity is the reason that people find themselves in a social situation with others to begin with. Trouble and "issues" are avoided like pain, Its members don't listen to each other in an effort to overlook or ignore problems arising from individual differences. Theoretically, they should be a group for one reason or another, but in reality they are not joined together by the heart. Pseudocommunity members are still what the author calls "rugged individuals".
CHAOS is the next stage. Once individual differences come out into the open, the logical reaction is to try to convince or convert all those who disagree with you to your point of view. This is an expression of selfishness or self will. On the surface the motive is pure enough: you are trying to help, heal, or convert the poor sinner who has a different opinion from your own. Sometimes it's concluded that the purpose for being together is simply to hash out "the issues".
What happens is that each person resists change in himself. The result is grand conflict. People find allies and take sides - each side trying to change the other rather than changing themselves or recognizing that each must change himself. Party spirit reigns. This is the classic case of doing the opposite of Jesus' advice by trying to take the log out of your bother's eye in spite of the splinter in your own eye (Matt. 7:1-5).
Chaos is typified by despair and boredom. It is unproductive and gets nowhere. Any nominal leader is often attacked. The natural tendency is to escape chaos by returning to pseudocommunity.. This is done by retreating to organization. One strategy is to excommunicate those who don't agree with you and form your own group. Another is to break up into task groups, or other strategy designed to physically, externally diffuse, isolate or eliminate the expression of differences. It's a retreat from the reality of humanity.
Without a doubt the easiest and most common form of escape is to give up one's moral responsibility and self determination to a dictator. By that, Dr. Peck means rallying around and depending on a strong leader - a "father figure" worthy of totalitarian powers and your total submission. This was Germany's choice out of the economic chaos from their defeat in World War I.
Another example is the WCG's fearful retreat into "apostleship" in the face of a "chaotic identity crisis. This crisis was caused by a number of significant moral challenges. They included: the California Attorney General's challenge of fiscal accountability, internal power struggles among church leaders, the failure of certain prophetic expectations regarding the destruction of the USA and the beginning of the "Great Tribulation", as well as the increased variety of individual social backgrounds and doctrinal perspectives.
EMPTINESS. Dr. Peck's title for the next step towards community - humility. It is the only other way out of chaos. Rather than retreat from their our own in completeness; the brave and humble embrace it. They recognize that neither chaos nor organization build community. They recognize their own role in the prevention and formation of community.
In short you must empty yourself of your own preconceptions prejudices, expectations dogmas, pet theories, and only- right-solutions, or in other words, the SELFWILLED "OLD MAN", in order to come to unity in love, to heal and be healed. This means giving up the need to heal, convert or fix others and their problems. It means giving up the need to control, which is rooted in the fear of failure. The key is to be willing to fail, to be willing to sacrifice your personal needs, concerns, angers glories, and fears - to become vulnerable.
COMMUNITY is the natural consequence of the interaction of humble individuals. Each accepts his own humanity and his neighbor's. The individual differences are transcended by the formation of the group's goals and identity. It is no longer a collection of separate cells but a body. It is an unstratified community of leaders.
The community's members listen to each other with true care. Brotherly love grows out of an unqualified commitment to each other. The community has become a safe place where psychological or spiritual healing can take place, where people put their efforts in removing the log from their own eye and the splinter from their brothers. In other words repentance and growth and love come out from within the individual rather than enforced from the outside.
Dr. Peck then points out the potential dangers of community: emotionalism, group sexuality, an individual's dependency on the group, the group's dependency on its leaders, and the falling out of community back through chaos into pseudocommunity.
The return to pseudocommunity may take place as a result of fleeing from the pain of new problems that arise, or old problems that resurface. Another way is a return to attempting to heal or convert one another. Either may lead to "pairing" or party spirit and rallying around a strong man.
In other words the mere formation of community is just the beginning. It must he maintained, and
in the case of a short term community, it must have time to end.
Dr. Peck then relates the stages of individual spiritual growth with the stages of community formation.
Stage 1 Chaotic/Antisocial: These people are incapable of loving though they may think the are or may pretend they are. In fact they are unprincipled and self serving being governed by their own changeable wills. When people see themselves for what they really are in this stage, they will usually either commit suicide or convert to the more Socially acceptable Stage II by conforming their behavior to and accepting as their own a particular code of morality.
Stage l in personal growth relates to Pseudocommunity in that the individual and the group members are in both cases really self-serving and only pretending to be what they claim: a loving person or a united group. The pseudocommunity looks like a community, but it isn't. The person postures to be caring. But in either case there is no lasting fruit. There is no real love.
Stage II Formal/Institutional: These people are the model citizens or members of a social group. They often enter this stage by dramatic conversion from the conviction that anything is better than the anti-social chaos they have hithertofore experienced.
In essence they give up being selfwilled to conform to an external code of behavior which they consider right having adopted it for themselves. This is a legalistic stage in which God is viewed as an external being. It is Old Covenant in concept. The source of this code of behavior is some kind of social institution: the military, a prison, a church, or a cult.
People in this stage resist changing traditions, rituals, and doctrines for their external practice is the source of their identity and security. People at this stage can be real zealots determined to convert those poor souls who still lie in the gutter of life they had know in Stage I, or anyone else who is not a member of his institution. These people solve the problems of personal differences by getting rid of any person who has an opinion different from their own.
Stage III Skeptic/individual: In this stage a person has internalized the principles of Stage II and no longer needs the group to tell him how to behave. He has developed his own moral code, is selfgoverning, and continues to actively seek the truth.
Many people enter this stage as a result of personal disillusion with their former Stage II reference group. They may have unanswered questions or see through the self-righteous hypocrisy of Stage II leaders or friends. Perhaps they personally experience the lack of true brotherly love at the hands of their chosen institution and thus feel betrayed.
Of course, they can regress back into chaos but if they overcome the obstacles of this trial, they often give up on organized religion or be come agnostics. They turn their backs on religion but not morality. They may get involved in social causes, education, politics, or the pursuit of knowledge through scientific discovery.
I think many who have left the WCG - some of whom have passed through the CGI - or those who have grown up in the Church but who will have nothing to do with organized religion today could be classified as Stage III. Sometimes people get stuck in this stage for years, or the rest of their lives.
After some active searching for answers to their doubts and questions, the Skeptics get involved with the necessity of a daily though it be full of decency and good works. Their search for truth is not primary in their minds because they haven't found the answers to their questions, the healing for their hurt feelings, or been challenged by meeting someone in Stage IV.
Stage IV Mystic/Communal: People in this stage of spiritual development have found the answer to their questions. They have found the underlying unifying principles of life the way of humility and love. Here one sees the "connectedness" of all of life and the growth process of conversion as opposed to the dramatic change from a life of obvious sin to one of decent morality and truth.
At this point one understands that the more you learn, the more you don't know. This realization is not uncomfortable but welcomed as part of the eternal journey into the unknown. These people are lovers of mystery and knowing why.
Stage IV people utilize the rules of logic and reason so typical of Stage III, but they also understand the use and role of faith. They have returned to Faith. They have internalized God and His love. It is New Covenant in perspective and reality. It is no sham. These people usually return to religious organizations possessing community. They understand and experience the substance of the Body of Christ. They accept the inclusivity and paradox of spiritual truth. They understand the humanity and divinity of Jesus, the physical and spiritual sides of man, the balance of faith and works, law and grace, and of death through spiritual sacrifice to live.
One of the observations Dr. Peck makes is that people can usually best help those who are in the stage immediately below their own. They are usually threatened by those in the stage above them. or example, Stage II people are threatened by those who doubt, ask questions, or are able to live righteous, moral lives apart from the Stage II institution of reference (sect, political party, etc.):
TRUTH AND THE CHURCH
The Church is the ideal community. It is what Jesus had in mind, By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one or another," (John 13:35). "To survive, a community must respectively stop whatever is doing, to think about where it the community, needs to go, and to be empty to hear the answers" pages 211-212, The Different Drum.
Dr. Peck enters into the discussion of spiritual truth and heresy. Religious truth is recognized by possessing the qualities of inclusivity and paradox. Heresy is false thinking which finds itself expressing in false doctrine. It is a half truth reality which emphasizes one side of the paradox of truth over the other, e.g. salvation by grace in the absence of obedience.
To the author, the greatest heresy is Docetism: the doctrine that Jesus was mostly divine and not really human. The result from a practical standpoint is that man can not really follow Jesus as He lived since He was divine and we are not. It's impossible for us to really take up our crosses and follow Him and do works greater than He did while on earth.
Docetism means that we can not really be His Body doing His work of peace and reconciliation now today. The world's problems are insolvable by man and must wait for God's return. Anything converted men could do, won't and can't make any difference in the world today.
It's once again the imbalance of truth. It's the thought that the believer's responsibility ends with the preaching of a warning witness. He feels he doesn't need to try to improve life now or promote world peace since only the divine Messiah can solve the world's problems when He comes again as Warrior-Conqueror.
Peck also maintains that it is heresy to persecute heresy (p .245). He rejects bad behavior but allows the expression of immature ideas that may seem heretical as a part of the learning process.
These incomplete ideas can grow and become complete within the context of community.
Blasphemy is defined as the use of God's Name for the purpose of pretending you are holy. It is the use of the sacred to hide the profane. It's claiming a Christian relationship with God when you don't have one. It is the false prophet of the Bible. It is the proclaimed believer who has compartmentalized his life - the classic Sunday Morning Christian" who worships both God and Mammon.
CHURCH AS BATTLEGROUND
Dr. Peck sees the arms race as the central issue facing Christianity today. That is his perspective and his audience. In addressing this issue he makes some very interesting observations which reflect basic principals applicable to any church reaching for community - either to form, maintain or strengthen it. So I conclude with his quotes:
In enumerating the specific failures of the Church as he knows it, Dr. Peck concludes: "the superficiality of the Church, the lack of community within the Church, the blasphemy of Church leaders, and other factors. But of all these failures.. .was the refusal of the Church to serve as a battleground.
'This refusal is so traditional that even the very notion that the Church should be a battleground is likely to seem strange, almost bizarre. The Church is not a place to fight is it? Indeed, we try to keep all fighting out of it. We try to keep it a pseudocommunity where everything is all smiles and politeness, all sweetness and light. If any fighting is to go on, it should be restricted to vestry meetings -or better yet, to prevestry meeting political caucusing. The problem is that this has nothing to do with real community-only with mannerly pretense" (p.299).
"The Church likes to refer to itself as the 'Body of Christ.' But it behaves as if it thought it could be the Body of Christ painlessly, as if it could the Body without having to be stretched, almost torn apart, as if it could be the Body of Christ without having to carry its own cross, without having to hang up on that cross in the agony of conflict."
"One of the characteristics of a true community is that it is a body that can fight gracefully."
'It must become a community before it can serve as the Body of Christ.
'The process of community-building begins with a commitment - a commitment of the members not to drop out, a commitment to hang in there through thick and thin, through the pain of chaos and emptiness," (p.300).
"But such advice is not easily taken. We still live in the age of 'rugged' individualism. Individuals should be free to come and go as they please, should they not? Should it not be left up to individuals to decide whether or not they attend a particular.. church within that denomination,..?" (P. 301).
(Perhaps here is some advice regarding the existence of two or more CGI congregations within a few miles of each other? -ed. note.)
"But we must also return to the reality that faces us again and again: it is - or should be-a risky business to be a Christian in the first place. Perhaps there will be a start with a few brave individual clergy who are willing to take the risk of telling their congregations that the time has come for Christians to stand up and be counted. But I shudder at their sacrifice. It could be made much easier for them if they were encouraged by their bishops or other Church leaders in this risk. And ultimately their sacrifice will be in vain if their bishops and leaders do not also assume the risk. For just as the true Christian individual must live a life of risk, so the Church as a whole, as a body, must be willing to be at risk if it is going to be the Body of Christ." (p.302).
by J. Anthony Chappel
Some of you may be asking yourself why is a 27 year old writing an article on "What it's like to be a teen in God's church". I will answer that for you. In order to do this I must reflect back on my church youth days growing up as a teenager in the parent organization.
My family and I came into the church when I was13 and Immediately entered into the youth program. Unlike any other youth program whether it be church or civic we had the usual like softball, basketball, volleyball, teen dances, cookouts, beach parties or teen socials. After two years had passed since being in the church I was at a church beach party and preparations were being made for an up-coming youth day. One of our youth leaders asked me the very same question which is the title of this article, What it's like to be a teen in God's church"?
Little did I know the youth leader and others wanted me to answer that question on youth day in front of the entire congregation. I went back and played my youth day sermonette which is on tape and I asked myself what was it like to be a teen in God's church? I would look at the teens during the Feast and in other church areas. I was fortunate in having more teens in my local area whereas today they are scattered about the different states and other countries.
To be a teen in God's church today is a lot harder because society doesn't seem to get much better or should I say the peer pressure gets worst. But to be a teen in God's church today makes you a lot more fortunate.
The way I approached my teen life growing up was that my parents had already laid the foundation. In other words they were seeking God's truth and God was calling them. I replaced most of my school activities with church youth activities, especially if there were Sabbath conflicts. Being in the church gave me a different outlook on life. There appeared a right way to do things. A more excellent way.
You teens of todays church era have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to look forward to. Be really thankful that you have a church to turn to. People who care and can show you a better way of life. You teens of today may think we adults don't know or understand what you are going through, but we do, and we care because we have been there ourselves.
As a teen in my time we all looked forward to the Feast every year. That is the one time when you can meet teens from other areas. You can meet other teens by way of pen pal through this teen section of the Southern Sentinel.
I want to ask each and every one of you the same question that was asked of me. What is it like to be a teenager today in God's church? Are you the only teen in your area or are there others. Why don't you give me an answer to the question and write to me right away. I'd like to know your comments. I'll even print some of your ideas in the next issue of the Sentinel Remember, you're not alone, at least not in spirit!
THE PAPER PULPIT CHRISTMAS AND THE CHRISTIAN
by Christopher J. Patton
This is a sermon outline. You may request a tape of the sermon by writing The Sentinel. -ed. note. Look Christmas up in the encyclopedia and you'll learn that the only thing about Christmas that isn't pagan is the name of Jesus Christ and some aspects of the "Christmas Story". It is well known that Jesus wasn't born on December 25 but most likely in September. Simple math will show that He was probably conceived in December, perhaps on the 25th. Regardless of all that, nowhere does the Bible suggest or command that we observe Christmas. Jeremiah 10:1-10 - This section condemns idolatry in general and specifically that involving a tree, possibly an evergreen tree in the worship of the female fertility goddess, Asherah. The specifics may not really apply, but the principal does. Deuteronomy 12:29-13:11 -We are not to worship a false god, nor the true God in the way that pagans worship their gods. II Kings17:24-41 - The sin of Samaria was worshiping YHVH, God, the Eternal' in the manner of the pagans. The Samaritans feared God but worshiped their idols. They had their idols in their homes and in their temples, upon their high places, but sometimes called Them YHVH. II Corinthians 4:1-7-Satan is the god of this world. How you worship, the ritual you follow is important because behavior sets up patterns of thought in your brain. Ritual which is false sets up a pattern of thought in harmony with a demon and can lead to demonic influence. The net result is that you can end up worshiping in fact the god of this world, Satan, instead of the true God, the Eternal. The Old Testament dealt with the nation of Israel from the perspective that God, YHVH, was the civil King of the nation. He had the right to issue the sentence of capital punishment because He was King, and the people could obtain His direct final answer through the Urim and Thummin. I Corinthians 9:19-27 - Paul's approach is to save some by relating to each on his level and from his perspective. I Cor. 4:1-5- Only Jesus is Judge. I Cor. 10:1-33-The example of Israel and it's application to the church. Avoid, flee idolatry. Don't take Christmas in to your home and your heart. Use it as a tool to reach your brother. You can visit other religions and churches, but don't participate in the ritual. For example, don't take communion, for if you do you are partaking of the table of demons. The fallen spirit world is real. You are free from it through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but don't put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation and tempt God by practicing its ritual. Christmas today is a social issue similar to the issue of meat sacrificed to idols in ancient' Corinth. Just as meat is inspected and stamped USDA today, so it was routinely sacrificed to pagan idols back then. Some alternatives were vegetarianism, which we will see later, and the Jewish butcher. Because Judaism requires the blessing of the meat by special trained rabbis, buying from Jewish butchers meant a dependance on, or indirect support of Rabbinic Judaism. Christmas is nothing. It is simply a social practice of the American and western cultures. Its trappings are Christian just as the trappings of western civilization are Christian. In each case the truth of any one tenant of belief or cultural practice must be separately determined. Don't put Christmas into your own home, unless it is to live in peace with a mate. But do go when invited to your neighbor's, your relatives, or to the party at work. Your neighbor's tree may be pretty, Christmas generally is. So what. Use the good intentions and the subject matter of Jesus's birth to help your neighbor to take a step, perhaps small step into greater truth. The root of Christianity is love. Let that be your guide. If it is at all possible live at peace with all men - and that includes your family. Thank God for your understanding, but don't condemn your family or your neighbor. Don't give offense. Don't ostracize yourself or others. Realize that they shall all understand one day. Romans 14:13-23 - Here is the section about the weak who are vegetarians rather than face "head on" the issue of meat-sacrificed to idols. Whatsoever is not faith is sin, so do not put yourself into a situation where you violate your conscience. Also, realize that you cannot convert another. But you can set an example and witness the gospel. The key is not to give offense and create an obstacle to your brother in overcoming sin and accepting the truth. II Cor 1:18 - Don't be threatened by Christmas, but come out from Babylon. Do not repeat her sin of trying to worship the true God in the manner of the idol, the pagan. Jn.13:35; 1 Jn. 4:7-21-Keep in mind the Love of God which leads men to repentance and declares the identity of the Church, His Body, His Disciples. Jn. 17:13-23 - Study to know why you believe what you believe. Then you can be in the world without being of the world. Then you can enjoy the Christmas season without being part of it. It will become a tool for you to further the Gospel, the True Gospel of Jesus Christ
The following is the text of Christopher J. Patton's funeral service on October 18, 1987 for his mother-in-law, Annie Mae Morrow. It is reprinted in full because the CGI does not at this time have a selection of funeral or marriage services to choose from. It is hoped that sharing this service might help those facing similar situations at this time and perhaps make some contribution to the future compilation of such a resource. -ed. note.
Dear Friends and Family:
We are gathered here today to share with each other the passing of one we love. Yes we should mourn, but also, let us celebrate her life.
Like all of us, Annie Morrow was not Perfect. She could be perfectly charming, or tough as nails. She was often an aid to those in need, but no fool. She was a woman of faith, but she wouldn't budge unless convinced by reason. And, Annie never missed a chance to help matters along the way she thought was best by the dint of her own strong personality and agile tongue.
I shall never remember her as a person of weak body, but one of strong personality, will and character. Let us share in the memories of her life.
She was a Christian, and it would please her for us today to reflect on God's ways and our own mortality. Then, she would remind us to celebrate our own lives with her to the glory of God.
Death is half mystery and half hard facts. It is mysteriously spiritual and painfully physical. It is inevitable. We shall all die given the nature of all physical existence. In some way or another our natural lives will cease - that is, what can be measured and determined by medical science.
But man has long been considered to be more than just a physical animal. To those who do believe, let us hear in faith what the scriptures say and promise to us. To those who doubt, who don't know, or who are uncertain, I encourage you to listen today and to study God's Word on your own later -until such time as faith should come.
For the coming of your faith is as inevitable as the coming of your own death. It's not that I'm sure you will believe before you die, but the fact is that when you have died, then you shall know by personal experience what I know by faith today.
At this point let the scriptures speak:
In James 2:26 death is defined as the separation of the body and breath or spirit. Genesis2:7 relates how man became a living or mortal soul - created in the image and likeness of God. This verse reveals the two aspects of man: his physical resemblance to the form or likeness of God and his mental or spiritual capacities and gifts in the image of God.
Ezekiel 18:4 & 20 state that the soul of man is mortal. Adam's gift to us is mortality and a life cut off from direct contact with the Eternal. Those are the consequences of his original sin. But in 1 Corinthians 15:45 Jesus Christ is called the last Adam who became a life giving spirit. It is through Him alone that a direct relationship with God the Father may be restored.
Jesus is the key and central figure of the scriptures. Without Him we would not know the Father (Jn. 14:7-9). Without Him there is no salvation (Acts 4:10-12). Without His resurrection there is no hope (I Cor. 15:12-19).
Read I Cor. 15:20-28). HIS RESURRECTION IS THE PROOF OF GOD'S PROMISE TO MAN - OF OUR OWN RESURRECTION TO LIFE AT HIS COMING. It is the core of the Christian's faith and hope.
(Read Rev. 20:4-6). There is a First Resurrection of the righteous. There is a Second Resurrection of "the rest' to judgment. Those who live unrepentant lives in this Second Resurrection face what the Bible calls the Second Death in the Lake of Fire, which is a permanent cessation of any consciousness many form or manner. (Read Jn. 5:28-29; Rev. 20:11-15).
The Second Resurrection is to JUDGMENT. It is not to a Sentencing, but a lifetime in the presence of Christ after a physical resurrection from the First Death we all face now.
(Read Matt. 10:28.) The mortal soul of man puts on immortality when the spiritual part of him, the Spirit of Man, is joined to the Holy Spirit and placed in a resurrected, spiritual body - indestructible, possessing Life Eternal.
(Read Rom. 8:1-11; 1 Cor. 15:42-58). This is the Christian's victory through Jesus. This is the Glory and Hope of the First Resurrection.
But what of the unbeliever? The unsure? Jesus is Judge and not man. Not you, nor I. It is God's goal and objective to have mercy on and save all. (Read I Tim. 4:10). He has shut the world in unbelief in His mercy to save all. (Read Romans 11:32-34; 14:9-13).
Jesus alone will determine who shall be in the First Resurrection by His joint presence within that
person, with the Father, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit - the earnest and guarantee of the First Resurrection to Life Eternal.
The Rest shall be in the Second Resurrection of a physical life of judgment. Then, Jesus shall save through the process of the judgment those to whom in this life faith is a mystery - just as He saves the Church in judgment today (I Pet. 4:17) for a 'better resurrection".
IN THE END ONLY THOSE WHO REFUSE REPENTANCE TO THE GLORIOUS FACE OF
A RESURRECTED JESUS CHRIST WILL INHERIT ETERNAL DEATH - THE SECOND
DEATH - IN THE LAKE OF FIRE, GEHENNA, HELL.
To God and Man, then, Death is no longer an enemy but has become a tool, a way of instruction and learning about life. God has already defeated Death. Victory is sure.
(Read Heb. 9:26-28). If Death were evil, God would not have ordained it to all men. Through the death of others we are brought to a sobering realization of what is important in our own lives and the purpose for life. We are brought face to face with our own mortality. Sometimes that is enough. If not, then the personal experience of our own death and resurrection to judgment should do the job.
Today we have a choice. Although Adam sinned in choosing the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and thus gave us an inheritance of physical life and death apart from God, we can though the Second Adam Jesus Christ come now to the Tree of Life - Eternal Life.
God says that though the Christian life is difficult and hard, it is the best way. For, Instead of a life filled with lonely doubt and worry, God offers His saints a life of growing knowledge and fullness that becomes sure in maturity. A life full of purpose, joy, faith, and love.
What you should choose to do with your lives from today- the hows, whens, and whys of your walk with the Lord, I won't necessarily know in this life. Why God even does it this way, I don't know except that it must be that there is no better way.
For GOD in His immense, incomprehensible Love has chosen to do it His Way - that He might save all. That we might -all of us-in some future, gather in His Presence, as He is, with Annie, alive with us - alive with Life Eternal.
Let us pray.
Graveside: Read Psalm 103:1-22 Cemeteries are important places to be kept holy and beautiful. Here the Spirits of Man rest until Christ returns to call His saints from the grave to the resurrection of life. The remainder shall rest until He calls them as well, resurrected to a lifetime of judgment that will also hopefully end in eternal life for them.
Read I Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Let us pray.
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