Armstrongists are the masters of standing on other people’s work to make themselves look impressive and wise. This is especially true of the splinter ministers, particularly those who have a ready made forum provided by their very own church cult corporate patron hero worshippers. Even the most well-crafted puff piece that is a mere book review of someone else’s work oft has gaping holes: After all, you are at the mercy of the original author of such articles of worldly wisdom. You can just cross your fingers and hope — nay, wish — that everyone will be impressed by your selection of cut and paste and that everyone will give you credit for finding such helpful material.
Our outing today is found on page 3 of the June 30, 2015 The Journal by the wily columnist and minister of the Church of God, Big Sandy, David Havir, in an article entitled, “Do you suppress, express or release anger?” He starts out:
BIG SANDY, Texas—Recently I posted a series of articles about anger on our congregational website (under the “Among Friends” section at churchofgodbigsandy.com). The series of articles was based on a book titled Getting the Best of Your Anger Before It Gets the Best of You. The book was written in 2007 by Dr. Les Carter. I thought I would share some excerpts from the book here in THE JOURNAL.
From there, he quotes passages of the book by Dr. Les Carter without adding any material or ideas of his own. It’s a straight cut and paste with headings. Furthermore, even though there is chapter 14 in the book, “The Bible and Anger”, there is not one single Scripture quoted in the Havir article, which you would think rather odd for an Armstrongist minister until you realize that just maybe Dave does not really put much stock in the Bible but uses it “inspiration“, not unlike the discussions we’ve had with the Editor of the Journal here and over at Otagosh, a brilliant blog with the byline, “Raking through the Ashes of Christendom”. Gavin Rumney has done a stellar job of not just raking through the ashes, but lighting the match to produce them. Articles like the one by David Havir makes the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia ministry look to be more useful than they really are.
Now it really isn’t that mystifying that an Armstrongist minister would refrain from quoting Scripture given the opportunity to do so. After all, the sects of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia are secular corporations and more often than not don’t have that much to do with religion but do have everything to do with providing profits for the shareholders, and, in the case of the Church of God, Big Sandy, to hold a society of people together by making them think they all have so very much in common (which, if you think about it, will just generate more profit for the shareholders). For those who have read Moral Mazes and The Corporation, the corporate posturing using the ‘magic lantern’ is very clear. Taking every advantage of every PR opportunity is good for the corporation.
To fill the void left by this article, we provide two Scriptures:
Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
This caused no small discomfort for many of us when Joseph Tkach, Senior took over the helm of the Worldwide Church of God Corporation. In retrospect, we should have applied the passage to Herbert Armstrong for his legendary temper alone. Today, no one should follow any of the majority of the Armstrongist Churches of God because of their anger. As the Apostle Paul commanded, “from such turn away”.
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath
We’ll just skip over all those places where God exercises His wrath.
There’s something else the article did not address and it is extremely important: Anger is biology. You can read about it in this article in The Daily Mail. Specifically, those with the ‘TT’ and ‘TC’ allele variants of the DARPP-32 gene are going to have grave difficulties with anger: It is a genetic property which must be managed. If you watch Dr. Phil, you would know this. There are tests for it. That being the case, one would think that instead of reading Dr. Les Carter, one would do better to follow Dr. Phil for solutions to the problem. The point is, the article by Dave Havir neither mentions Scripture nor does it mention the anger / warrior genes. It would seem that to really help your congregation, you should give full disclosure because it’s important and incomplete disclosure puts those with the problem at risk. Or so it would seem. Actually, anger provides an evolutionary advantage which makes it possible to overcome seemingly impossible odds, like the dog chasing off the bear or the hero cat that chases off a dog attacking a child in the family.
Anger does have its uses.
The article represents one of the three main aspects of typical Armstrongist presentations:
1. Material is plagiarized from somewhere else without attribution and then modified to suit the needs of the Armstrongist;
2. Material is summarized and presented as if the Armstrongist’s wisdom found and validated the material to benefit the Armstrongist;
3. Scraps of pieces of this and that are scrounged and the Armstrongist creates an entire presentation that has been fabricated out of whole cloth by just making stuff up.
The article by Havir is of the second type.
There is quite a downside to the article. It is intended to help you deal with your own anger. The question is, just how helpful is this when you have to deal with the anger of other people? What if you have to face down a Terry Ratzman in your congregation? A Chuck Harris? How do you deal with the temper of your Apostle / Evangelist / Prophet? We aren’t given a clue. What if you don’t have the anger / warrior gene but have to deal with people who do? How do you do it? What steps can you take to defuse a potentially threatening situation fueled by the anger of others?
You know, Armstrongist articles are generally self-serving. They are designed to keep the Proles docile. This particular article is very useful to keep people from erupting with anger from frustration — those who are suffering injustices which really should be fixed. You are oppressed? Your money is being drained for the benefit of the minister? Your freedoms are being taken away? Your privacy is being violated? The best advice (for those in authority over you) is that you suppress and channel your anger in a direction which will not affect them, so no change will ever occur (like we’ve never seen that before).
Could the article (basically written by a Christian psychologist) be useful? Perhaps. Is it going to improve your life? Maybe… maybe not. In any event, if you want the real information, go get the book because anything less and you will be deprived of the full experience. Go to the source. Prove all things. Hold fast to that which is scientific.
There is one thing we know about anger: You can make people angry by lying to them. When they find out you lied to them, they will be angry.
But there is something else we know: If you want to make people really angry, tell them the truth.