Coventional Wisdom isn’t Common Sense (3)

(Part 3 in a series that just might be 4)

Simon’s Law: Everything put together sooner or later falls apart.

Whispered Rule: People will believe anything if you whisper it.

Cults and cult-like belief systems follow a specific formula, even before Jesus’ time. The leader is a charismatic person who often claims to have been revealed “more” about the Bible than any other religions because all of the other religions have become unfaithful and won’t go to Heaven. If there is a contradiction with the Bible, the material revealed to the leader, usually referred to as a prophet (but sometimes as an apostle or something else) is more correct. If the Bible is preached out of, it is usually old testament and often from the book of Job. (While it’s true Job’s friends said what they did, they were technically incorrect, if they weren’t God wouldn’t have set them straight!) If sacrifices are to be made, the believers are called upon to give up pretty much everything, but anything that is really nice is the prophet’s. The more cult-like the group, the more control over even the smallest details of the believers’ lives the prophet has.

Wallace’s Observation: Everything is in a state of utter dishevelment.

Manley’s Maxim: Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.

In the Boy Meets World episode in which Shawn joins a cult, he doesn’t realize that he’s in over his head. He wanted a place where he could be accepted, and they provided it. It even felt like a family that he longed for so many years. He moved in with the group, gave up any posessions, and was given a new name. The leader invited him into his chambers, to discuss how proud he was with his acceptance of the faith, which were well-decorated and comfortable, but he didn’t notice because all he wanted was to make the leader happy. He grew defensive around his friends who had become concerned about him. Cory was able to help him out, but Shawn lost the family that he had finally come to know. All along, Cory was family to him, but he never saw it that way.

Names, faces, and details of the faith differ, but the results are always the same: broken lives, broken relationships, and broken faith in anything that could be true. Granted, most of these cults won’t commit mass suicide, but they almost did in that Stargate episode. Most of these cults you’ll never hear about or know anybody who have fallen into the fold, but it’s possible. Most of these cults won’t become well-known, but they will be judged. It won’t be easy to get the message out, and for those of us who can’t lend a hand, we can lend prayers, for that is what these people don’t have but they could really use.

Conventional Wisdom Isn’t Common Sense (2)

(Part 2 of I Don’t know how many)

The Obvious Law: Actually, it only SEEMS as though you mustn’t be deceived by appearances.

McLean’s Maxim: There are only two problems with people. One is that they don’t think. The other is that they do.

Unfortunately, so many belief systems “borrow” Christian Theology and twist it into something unrecognizable. These people sound like the false prophets the Bible warned us about. So many have been decieved it’s mind-boggling. They’re taught to question the Bible but not their prophet. The Bible says that you should test everything, get rid of that which is evil, and hold fast to that which is good. By their fruits you shall know them. If things seem to be happening that are not good, then something must be done, a re-evaluation of the things that leads to the trouble. Abraham Lincoln once said that he didn’t trust a religion if the person’s dog or cat wasn’t the better for it.

Hacker’s Law: The belief that enhanced understanding will neccessarility stir a nation or an organiation to action is one of mankind’s oldest illusions.

Matsch’s Law: it is better to have a horrible ending that to have horrors without end.

They’re called Couterfeit Christianity. They’re virtually indestinguishable from Christianity if you don’t know what to look out for. Many find what they’re looking for such a family and friendship, but they ignore that little voice telling them that the water is turbulent under the surface. So many people just experimenting with Christianity are unaware of the deception. A majority of these dangerous belief systems are ones that the majority have never heard of until they get big. By that time, all that can be done is to tell the people who have left the faith that they have hope in the true Jesus Christ that wasn’t taught to them.

It’s like that A-Team episode, “The Children of Jamestown.” Adherents of the faith were required to remain silent and always wear white. The monks always kept guns at their side. The leader was a man of profound ego and slight insanity. He had control over all of them and he had other locals afraid of him. There were big posters on the walls stating, “Silence is Salvation.” In the end, the leader, often referred to as the prophet, was arrested and the adherents were free to leave the compound. Having recovered his boots, Col. Smith wiped the dust off of the cover of the Bible and left, obviously having more respect for God’s word than the prophet had. The Children of Jamestown was fictional, but such places, and people for that matter, do exist.

Conventional Wisdom isn’t Common Sense

Symphony – (Part 1 of I don’t know how many)

Churchill’s Commentary on Man: Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on as though nothing has happened.

Berkeley’s Laws: Information which is true meets a great many different tests very well.

Some time ago, I acquired a list of Murphy’s Laws and other conventional wisdom. Only lately have I begun to look through the pages. The really good laws apply to other situations as well as the one for which it was made. For example, one of Murphy’s Military Laws, “The problem with taking the easy way out is that the enemy has already mined it.”, also applies to almost everything else. Some of the laws are almost insulting, but it is fair enough to insult everybody. Some of them require a dictionary to understand a particularly comlicated word. I’ve already realized that we have a tendency to write out more laws than neccessary.

Boyle’s Laws: The success of any venture will be helped by prayer, even in the wrong denomination.

Bartz’s Law of Hokey Horsepuckery: The more ridiculous a belief system, the higher the probability of its success.

It’s amazing what people can be led to believe. The Bible warns us so many times about people that would decieve us through “knowledge” or empty philosophies. Adolf Hitler once said, “The great masses of people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one. Especially if it is repeated again and again.” Just looking for that quote, I was amazed that he once called himself a Christian man. He believed that God had authorized him to lead the German people in the way that he did. Not only was he decieved, but he decieved others and we all know how that turned out. True Christian beliefs are not against the Jews. They recognize that the first Christians were Jews and that it is only right to treat them according to the Golden Rule.

We can’t make it into Heaven on our own volition. We can write out dozens laws describing how to live each and every day on our lives to make us better people, but it won’t get us into Heaven. We can put our time into following various self-help doctines of salvation, but they aren’t the ticket into Heaven. There is only one book that shows the way into Heaven, no other book has the same authority, and no other book is fit enough to be called the Holy Bible. At every baptism I’ve seen, the person is asked, “Have you made the Lord Jesus Christ your Savior?” If your answer is yes, you’re well on your way to Heaven.

Over and over again, and once more for good measure

Sylfaen – There are some things that would have been really nice to learn the first time around. It would have been much easier to figure it out the second time around, too. It’s like they always say, the third time’s a charm. That’s probably because you recognize the situation from the first two attempt and know at least two approaches to the situation that are less than helpful. That narrows down the options and choosing the best of these is usually correct. The second time I took Algebra II, I passed. Not because I had learned something from my failure, but because they added probability and statistics, which I already knew well because I took a class called probability and statistics. I imagine that my Spanish would have been much improved if I had put more effort into it during the three years I took the six classes. Then again, there are the things I have yet to learn. Over and over again, I just can’t seem to find the right way to get through a given situation. I’m thinking that I’m down to only a few options, and I happen to find yet another wrong answer. It’s like a difficult dungeon on an rpg. I find myself back at start each time. I try every available route through, and it fails. It’s at this point where I can use a magnifying glass to see the unseen and it shows me a route that I haven’t yet taken. The only magnifying glass out here that does the same job is the Bible. It’s up to me to follow it down roads called peace, joy, patience, and it leads me back from roads called anger, jealousy, pride. That lesson I know full well.

(no words)

StymieT – In the movie, Contact, the scientist is allowed to drop through the machine. She goes through an extraordinary experience. It was so beautiful, she repeats over and over again, “There are no words … no words…” I can remember quite a few days when there were no words. Nothing could or needed to be said, for that matter, and everybody understood in a sort of stunned silence. There are other moments of no words, as well. To that, I offer this moment of profound silence.



<Sigh> I haven’t been able to think up much of anything to write anyway. I can’t explain why that is. I just know that the way that I write falls into a sort of pattern. The more I get into whatever I’m writing, the worse the case of writer’s block when it hits. Ok, thought up of something, here it goes…

The last day of school, the homeroom teachers passed out the student’s official record to its respective student. Most of them cataloged how much each student grew from one year to the next, how much they weighed, and any achievements they had accomplished as far back as kindergarten. Some, like mine, came with a little note that said something like this, “Called school, requested files, no response.” Everything before I moved to Indiana was gone as if it never even existed. When we are saved everything from before is erased. Including that refocus I got for throwing grapes back at the guys who threw them at me. (The refocus was meant to be a system of punishment, it was a sheet of paper that asked what did you do, why did you do it, and what would have been a better alternative. My sister once got one for giving her friend a packet of ketchup. It was less than effective.) I don’t know what might have been in that file, but it’s probably better that way, as the majority of students attending there were, in fact, my bullies. I still thought about them during my graduation. Had they grown up to be nice well-adjusted individuals, or were they still confused, miserable, and mean? I’ll never know. So that past, it was gone. The file contained only information about my enrollment into that school system and report cards. So it is with sin, the past is gone and the future looks bright so long as you’re willing to stick with it thick and thin, in the easier times as in the difficult times, and He’ll help you through the times of no words.

New Goal: Don’t Quit

(StymieSCTReg) Don’t quit:

When things go wrong as they sometimes will;
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill;
When the funds are low, and the debts are high;
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh;
When care is pressing you down a bit –
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Success is failure turned inside out;
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;
And you can never tell how close you are;
It may be near when it seems afar.
So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things go wrong that you mustn’t quit.

Thomas Edison tried over two thousand materials before finding the one that would make a decent filament. WD-40, an experiment of water displacement, failed the first thirty-nine times. Any record-holder probably wrestled with the “I could quit” moment. As I understand it, it goes something like this: “I’ve gone this far. I’ve tried my hardest. I’m aching, sore, and tired. I’ve given it my all and then some. I could quit right now and nobody could fault me for it. They’d give me slap on the back and say, ‘good try’ or ‘there’s always next time’. I really don’t think I can carry on much longer, it’s very difficult. I could quit right now.” The really great ones then think, “But I’m not going to. I know I can do this if I hold out just a little longer. I’m going to succeed, they’re going to give me a medal or a certificate that affirms that I’m the best. They’re going to clap and shout and whistle because they’re happy to see that I proved them wrong. I can see on their faces that they’re thinking that I can’t hold out much longer, but I can. I will, too. They’ll say, ‘well done’ or ‘you’re number one’! I just have to endure a little longer.”

The man that walked all the way from the Mexican border to the Canadian border and back said that he had to set micro-goals to ensure success. He explained that he would set his goal as a tree or rock not too far away and once he reached it, he would set another goal. It struck me that he could always see what he was aiming to reach. His goals were realistic. He realized that little goals are important to the success of the big goal. Only once have I seen South American soccer. Every time a goal was made, the announcer would shout, “Gooooooooooooooool! Gol! Gol! Gol! Gol!” We should celebrate our success with the same vigor. Plus, it’d make things a little more interesting.


TO: (SpringfieldD)
Jesus, Son of Joseph
Woodcrafter Carpenter Shop

Jordan Management Consultants

Dear Sir:
Thank you for submitting the resumes of the twelve men you have picked for management positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests; we have not only run the results through our computer, but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant.

It is the staff opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.

Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership. The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale.

We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew has been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau. James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus definitely have radical leanings, and they both registered a high score on the manic depressive scale.

One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right-hand man. All of the other profiles are self-explanatory.

We wish you every success in your new venture.

Sincerely yours,
Jordan Management Consultants.