Monday, July 24, 2006

7/12/06, Asinine Analogies Assiduously Characterized and Cauterized or Hypothetical Analogies Euthanized

[Looking back on this, Albany probably wasn't the big deal for B&N. Rather euthanasia referred to the session and Society of Prince George's questions about it, which were largely unknown in the church. Some of us knew something was going on, but nothing specific.]

Posted by: Bob S
Mon Jul 24, 2006 12:06 am (PST)

Dear Nick (and Brian),

Long time, no hear from, a good thing.

Now lately, hear a lot, maybe not such a good thing.

That is, can we stop playing possum and put this pious pretense and miserable fraud to rest once and for all? First it was the phony affidavit. Now it is some phony analogies. You know exactly what you were getting at with "Euthanasia Analogized," so what's all the futzing around and pontificating long and hard about? After all, when Christ told the Pharisees his parables, they had no doubt what he was talking about. So if EA is anything like that as we have been told, we ought to be able to forego the tedious fine print we have had to put up with so far and jump right to the foregone conclusion.

That is, at least most people who know something about it, can connect the dots between EA and the questions of principle/opposition in Albany, to Albany giving funds to Edmonton, unbeknownst to the Edmonton Society, to continue paying a ruling elder a preaching elder's salary, which according to the EA scenario is taken to be an attack on the well being of the church as impersonated in the same officer because his salary is at stake.

Even further, would all the dialectical fun and games, ie. obfuscation, have anything to do at all with a lack of integrity on your part, as opposed to ignorance? That's right, integrity. The same word Elder Barrow used to talk about a lot, when he and Pastor Price used to visit us in Everson a lot more regularly when the church was much smaller.

Did it come up at all in your private little unannounced meeting with Elder Barrow at Brian's house in Colorado the very same weekend, some of us private persons were attending a very public meeting in Prince George? (Somehow it is only conspiracy, malignancy and troubling Israel when it is the other guy, right? So Haman to Mordecai, Athaliah to Jehoida, Ahab to Elijah and Joram to Jehu.) While we certainly enjoyed the fellowship, no church officers were able to attend for whatever reason. Elder Barrow can of course fill you in, if he hasn't already, why he wasn't able to make it. (And isn't that three visits Colorado has had from an elder or elders, all the while for the past two years, Prince George is still waiting for one?) Of course I assume you heard a sermon and had some kind of meeting in Colorado on the Lord's Day with Elder Barrow officiating. For ourselves, we heard an old sermon of 2002 on Prov. 15:32 in Pr. Geo. Therein Pastor Price stated that it was suicide to resist faithful admonition and rebuke. (There was of course, no mention of euthanasia.)

Proverbs 15:32 He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

Which is to say that the problem with all these little parables is that they don't go far enough, if not that the presuppositions they are built upon are the problem.

The Question Stated

A better question might be whether a moral person can refuse reproof and instruction? Can a moral person commit financial suicide, all the while complaining of euthanasia by others - if not can a moral person write a post which condemns malignancy, obstructionism and confusion broadcast on Internet forums and then in a second post, insinuates, if not explicitly demonstrates in aces and spades that all three are within our midst in the church? Go figure. That is why I was not interested in answering any of Brian's nine abstract and obtuse posts he dumped on the forum in the first place (with more just recently). They were, shall we say, less than forthright. Likewise the relief pitcher's ever since he showed up in the tenth inning. Nathan to David was to the point. "Thou art the man."

True, 1 Cor. 12 does speak of the eye and hand when it comes to the different members of the body that EA speaks about. But the euthanasia analogy still completely misses the point. While Chap. 13 goes on to talk about charity or love, which includes love of the truth or it is nothing, it is in Chap. 14 that we really get down to brass tacks. There Paul opens the best gift, prophesying or preaching. But who is attempting to assault or euthanize the office of preaching, which is after all the chief means of grace as per SC 89, LC 155? No one to my knowledge. Perhaps you could enlighten us. True, without preaching, the church of Christ withers, if not dies on the vine, but that is not euthanasia strictly speaking according to our pet little analogy.

The Question Stated Further

Of course in conjunction with this, one might respectfully ask why pay somebody a preaching elder's salary when they are not doing the work of a preaching elder, ie. preaching? But if to simply ask that is euthanasia, I would refer you to the parable of Chicken Little. And if you would deny the lawfulness of asking straight forward questions like that, which deserve an honest answer as opposed to the short shrift with a tarbrush they are essentially getting so far in this discussion, I would only ask if you are a guard or just a trustee in this prison camp?

(And if somebody is getting paid to write papers, perhaps you haven't heard. The birth control paper is on hold. While our society I thought had a verbal from the elders that a public announcement of this development would be in order at the Jan. '05 visit, so far there has been no word that that is actually the case. True, there has been a paper on tattooing or carnal graffiti, of all things, but our preaching elder wrote that.)

Even further, Edmonton can, I suppose, do what they want when it comes to paying a RE whatever. But when Albany is asked and I and others contribute to Albany, then some items properly come up for discussion. I mean, is this a reformed church or a rubber stamp church? We are not congregationalists or independents, but an informed consent rather than a passive by default assent is the desideratum. Granted this may not be the best place to discuss them, but remember just like in January, who started all this? Neither did any of this get resolved in Albany when the question came up.

When SPG asked for clarification on the public sins to be confessed in the public day of fasting and prayer, the phony affidavit thing began. Now it's these phony hypothetical analogies. Emboldened I suppose, by your exclusive audience with an elder - hey, at least it's not His Holiness the Pope - you took the bait and again presumed to enter the public forum with all this and if the whole truth is to be told, some straight forward questions - and answers - are in order to counter the spurious overstated scenarios, filibusters and long winded insinuations we have been subjected to so far. That, not to mention, this whole idea of consent by default forces me to answer what I would otherwise flush into cyberspace. Neither do I have to put up with being put into a simplistic and crude little cookie cutter of an analogy and qualify as a malignant. Neither do I have to be quiet about it. Or is it free speech for thee and not for me? Are people supposed to be intimidated or just buffaloed by all this crap - I use the term deliberately? But you are confident of course, of the righteousness of your approach because what, an elder has vetted your posts? Or just tacitly assented?

But one thing can be said for certain. When you gentlemen convened privately in Colorado with Elder Barrow, Strunk and White's Element's of Style was definitely not up for discussion. How could it be if Will Strunk's motto was "Omit needless words?" This post is long enough, but Mr. B. posted 21 last night.

Rather the moderators should have never allowed this to start, much less continue, but they did, so guess what? It gets left to the rest of us to pick up the pieces and clean up the mess, church government being what it is amongst us, the elders are shorthanded etc. Of course I anticipate after a post like this, things will be shut down. Fine, as long as the issues are dealt with. But so far they haven't been. Since January. True, (hypothetical?) heresies must come, that those who are approved are made manifest, but neither of you are going to own up to instigating and provoking anything at the first of the year, are you? I didn't think so. It was all the SPG's fault or the undersigned's. Whatever, my friend.

The Further Question Qualified

But I digress. To return to the main point under discussion, make no mistake about it, we are not talking about parables, petty spite and/or personalities, never mind euthanasia, regarding the questions of principle and/or opposition in Albany or elsewhere when it comes to giving Edmonton, unbeknownst to the Edmonton Society, some money because they can't afford to pay a ruling elder a preaching elder's salary now and will not in the future. We are talking about presbyterianism. Accountability. Transparency. A written record and stated purposes.

1. Concerning the argument from extraordinary times, Rule 11 of Concerning the Doctrinal Part of Ordination of Ministers in the Westminster Form of Church Government says "In extraordinary cases, something extraordinary may be done, until a settled order may be had, yet keeping as near as possibly may be to the rule." So too the letter from the elders June 14, '03 regarding the dissolution of presbytery: "Where it is possible to do things in an ordinary manner, that is what we intend to do, and where it is not possible, we intend to do all that we can to bring the church into that state in the future (endeavoring at all times to keep as close as possible to the rule)."

In other words, extraordinary times or circumstances does not erase the requirement to keep as closely as possible to the rule, instead of just throwing it out altogether because in one instance or particular things are out of the ordinary. Extraordinary times is not an across the board carte blanche to do whatever is most easy or convenient, while disregarding what you can implement of the ordinary rule whether for starters, it regards minutes, salaries, congregational or society meetings.

2. It is true a case can be made that according to the 2nd book of Discipline, Melville and others intended for a paid full time ruling elder, but it never happened even at the time of the 2nd Reformation. Consequently maybe something should be in our minutes regarding this exception to standard operating procedure in presbyterianism, if even the ephemeral e-mail trail? That is because when a student for the ministry, particularly one on scholarship, is under care of a session or presbytery, they must usually make reports of their progress to the same for starters which usually end up in the minutes. But for a student for the ministry to complete his studies and then have his position morph into a full time paid position without any explanation or record in the minutes of session or presbytery at that time or thereafter is very unusual. Neither would a restatement of such a pertinent statement be out of order when a question of salary comes up for review again. Did that happen? Not that I know of, but maybe you know more of substance. Please tell us instead of tantalizing us with vague allusions to we know not what.

3. Another item of moment is what unfortunately is called public scandal. That's when you have a situation in which it is common knowledge that somebody repeatedly doesn't come to church, even a member of the family of an officer of the church. By all means not something anybody really wants to bring up for public consumption on a forum like this, but if the alternative is to dance around the mulberry bush to the beat of Pop Goes the Weasel as you and Brian have done so adroitly on this thread so far, it unfortunately needs to be mentioned. Again, but another salient detail that got left out of the mix in the rush to judgement by analogies.

The Question of Christ's Relation to his Church

Yet to cut to the chase. Just what is it that you don't understand about the fact that in this church, as in every Christian church worthy of the name, our Elder Brother is the Lord Jesus Christ. There are no analogies about it. There are no doubts about it. That's the way it is and if anyone has a problem with it, they don't belong here.

In other words, do I make myself perfectly clear? This is not Elder Barrow's church. This is not Pastor Price's church. This is not Elder Dohms' church. This is not your church. This is not my church. This is not even SWRB's church. This is the Lord Jesus Christ's church and all parties, whether members - or officers - are under his Word and law. No one is unaccountable or has free rein to do as they please and run things the way they like them to be run and don't dare ask any questions or object, because if you do, the elder's proxies will be out in full force with a bag full of phony analogies (and/or affidavits) looking to either obfuscate and confuse the issues - baffle them with baloney, lots of it - or essentially hang derogatory labels on those who disagree with the program. (I am surprised we haven't heard about the Doctor Kervorkian analogy yet. I suppose it is only a matter of time.)

The Correlative Question to the Previous

In short and in sum the question might rather be whether we are a presbyterian church or a church full of puppets. After all, speaking of analogies or parables or whatever, it has been ages since I have seen it, but you do remember the Wizard of Oz, don't you? Dorothy and the other three main characters have finally got an audience with the Great Oz and they are standing in the great hall listening to the great One on the wall carry on, but Toto, Dorothy's dog is over at the side of the room, barking and pulling back the curtain on a little guy standing in an alcove at the control panel. My question to you is who is at the controls with all these elaborate analogies and explanations that so carefully skirt the concrete issues and situation we find ourselves in these days? Is the Lord Jesus Christ dictating your actions and comments or is it rather crude analogies, carnal motives, manipulative strategies and domineering ends? The relevant scripture texts would include, but are not limited to:

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Galatians 2:4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:

1 Peter 2:16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

2 Corinthians 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Consequently I am inclined to think that word to Pinocchio is, 'Puppet, heal thyself.' Then there might be the necessary credibility to be taken seriously on these kind of questions.

The affidavit might run something like this: "I, N.S./B.B. of sound mind and body, do hereby solemnly swear and attest that I personally own all the baggage I have brought onto this site. It has remained under my care and has been in my sight at all times before I got onboard nor has anyone asked me to carry something on for them or substituted some of their own luggage for mine. Neither have I talked to or fraternized with any known religious terrorists on the way to this forum. " The attached rider might read something like this: "I am not now nor never have been a catspaw, tool, surrogate, favorite or mouthpiece of anyone else in the church, even a church officer." Just my opinion, but that might suffice for starters.

After all, if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. If you can't speak to the point and the question in a concrete and edifying manner, silence is golden. If you won't acknowledge your previous responsibility for exacerbating the public discussion in January, why should anybody listen to you now? Do you understand why your credibility might be lacking or are those who disagree with you automatically just disgruntled malcontents on their way out the door and let's see what we can do to help them? Just asking.

The Conclusion

Which is all to say Mr. B. posts and yours in the same vein miss the real issues and that's to put it very mildly. They end up being what seem to be a very deliberate diversion from the real questions before us if we would claim to be a faithful covenanted reformed presbyterian church, if not that they anesthetize and distract their audience, instead of apprizing and edifying the same as to the real state of affairs amongst us however uncomfortable or troubling that might be. Being in denial is not the positive first step needed toward correcting a problem. Neither is dancing around with a bunch of analogies very productive or edifying.

Consequently gentlemen, you have the last waltz all to yourselves. Anyone with their wits about them either wasn't invited, didn't come or left early.

Thank you very much.

cordially yours, in Christ

Bob S.

The Legal Beagle Fine Print

One more thing. I am already on record with at least one of our elders as of Jan. 26, '06 that:

I would be more than happy to stand an open and public trial for my "public remarks" - I will grant that they are that - in a genuine and lawful presbyterian court with a written and public record that operates on the basis of written procedure and rules implemented prior to the trial and not after. But maybe not otherwise. A court where Act 10:34 and Deut. 19:19 carry real weight: Not only is the Lord no respecter of persons, if a false witness can't prove the crime, they 'do the time,' ie. whatsoever penalty they intended for the court to inflict upon the defendant, becomes their own instead."

In other words a repeat performance of your little tantrum last time promising to press charges against me in a public forum would be inappropriate. At least Mr. B. when he filed his curious hybrid "amicus curiae" or self appointed "friend of the court" brief consisting largely of heavy breathing and a heavy handed attempt at intimidation back in Jan. did so privately to the elders, the SPG and myself. Nothing of course came of it. (And neither was he reprimanded for it, either.) But at least a little class was demonstrated. You might go and do likewise if Deut. 19:19 allowed you to and I don't think it does. But what do I know?

Other Analogies Analysed

Also I had to ask somebody for an interpretation of the Brazen Serpent post. They clued me in on the gnostic truth alluded to by Brian. Hint, the initials are GM.

Hmm. Does that mean that the elders instead of signing themselves off as the Session of the Reformed Presbytery (GM) should really be signing themselves off as the Session of the RP (Brazen Serpent)? Just asking, you know, since you and Brian do seem to have the inside track with the elders as the pet junior grade speculative (heavy emphasis there) theologians among us.

Or maybe the pentecostal word of knowledge got goofed up in transmission and you really know what the post is about. Maybe you could advise.

The Conclusion Again

On second thought don't bother. This whole purported discussion involving these stupid little analogies is so pathetic as to be puerile as should be obvious by now, with Prov. 26:4, "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him," being just as inspired as Prov. 26:5, "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit."