Paul's Passing Thoughts

When is Enough, Enough? Texas Church Massacre Exposes the Black Heart of Church

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on April 16, 2018

Note: Construction on the new building begins May 5th, yet the majority of monetary gifts designated for the victims have not been released because “it’s a complicated process.” Building a 3 million dollar building is not complicated? Moreover, though there are additional funds not accounted for from miscellaneous funds, the total of giving thus far for victims and infrastructure only totals about 3 million…yet, construction begins on may 5th? Stay tuned, how this ends will be interesting. 

ppt-jpeg4In case you haven’t noticed, there is a second historical revolution going on. After thousands of years of misery, mankind finally said no to Plato’s Republic and the American Revolution ensued. However, a large degree of caste still remains; while people are more free legally than they have ever been, manipulative tyranny still exists through the belief of expertism over individual ability.

Let’s not confuse the issue with branding; church is church. Whatever the stripe, it’s a caste system. Whatever the stripe, it’s where people go to get their spiritual needs met by others who are supposedly more qualified to do so. And, what church does not claim authority from God? Supposedly, submission to authority prevents chaos that flows out of individualism, but who can deny the chaos produced by authority? Historically, what country has shown more stability than America? The first government by the people and for the people.

Over and over and over again in history people trust governing authorities until the misery becomes too much. In the same way the masses finally said “no” during the American Revolution, they are now saying no to the elitist class of cultural mind-controllers. Families get things done efficiently without expert regulators who supposedly prevent chaos eruptions from the serfs.

Yes, church authorities, those of “church government,” the purveyors of “church polity,” have been the trusted experts for thousands of years and now we must ask, “Is there a bigger train wreck than church culture?” Hardly.

Let me borrow a cliché as we continue. In the same way case-hardened detectives can be shocked by a particular case, even I, a case-hardened church-detective who has investigated the church culture morass for ten years, am stunned by the recent unfolding drama surrounding the Sutherland Springs church massacre.

As an aside before we move on, the subject of this post is in addition to very strange circumstances surrounding the shooter, the church, what was going on the day of the shooting, and its families prior to the shooting. Lots of unanswered questions that will probably remain unanswered.

As expected, though deemed totally depraved by churches everywhere, monetary donations by individuals have poured in to help the victims and the church. But since “like sheep we have all gone astray,” the church experts must oversee the management of the money lest things not be done, “decently and in order.” The results? Utter chaos, mistrust, the appearance of evil, and generally speaking, disaster.

How bad is it? Where to begin? This post will only hit the infamous high points. First, money was donated to replace the original church building which I understand.  A different scenery that will temper the horrific memories is a valid use of money. But, have you seen the plans for the new building? Uh, perplexing to say the least from a commonsense perspective. This is the old building…

First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas

This is the proposed (and approved) new building…

SS

Say what? Why is a 1 million dollar plus upgrade necessary just because you have the money? Why not spend half that, still have one heck of an impressive building for that size congregation, and invest the rest of the money in people?

Answer: what is a better example of church focus being on infrastructure and the way such infrastructure represents authority and elitism? Families are about nurturing and building people; church is about using people to build the clout and authority of the institution. To me, this absolutely says it all.

Next, we may thank Lauren McGaughy, Texas Government Reporter, for this piece which lays out the sordid affair in a thorough, well-organized  fashion. I only wish we could give her thanks under better circumstances.

So, for some reason, the church was given control over all benefit funds, many of which were designated for specific victims or all victims as a group. One or two funds were designated for the church infrastructure. The church was even given control over…”More than $1.4 million was raised through the website GoFundMe.com for specific families.” And of course, a “Restoration Committee” was formed to oversee the disbursement of funds, complete, I might add, and of course, with all kinds of regulations attached. Let’s be clear here; money designated for victims was regulated by the church, and according to hypothetical situations where the church would stand in judgment over the supposed misuse of the money. That’s because in Protestantism, EVERYTHING is about sin. No parishioner can do anything without the church “leadership” first partaking in sin-sweeping the area. And that includes the practice of one’s own gift granted by the Spirit. We can’t have people running around willy-nilly practicing their gifts without permission from the church philosopher kings.

Keep in mind, these are all church members who suffered unimaginable terror due to, in my estimation, the leadership of the church being asleep at the switch, and one hypothetical stated that would circumvent disbursement was, “to relieve the consequences of sin, such as bail bonds, drug/alcohol issues.” But all in all, I want to emphasize that, according to the aforementioned article, “First Baptist is paying specific victims’ expenses with proof of need, like copies of bills and prescriptions..” Proof of need? The money was given to THEM based on public knowledge of what happened and how much was being collected progressively which is also public knowledge. Also, the church is not releasing the funds without a confidentiality agreement. Huh? Why not? Folks, this is barely less than extortion under the most grievous of circumstances.

Let’s say one of the victims received more money than needed for specific needs arising out of the tragedy, like medical bills, but decided to use the money to take some new direction in their life that would temper the horrific circumstances they experienced? Maybe the experience would inspire one to go to nursing school or something like that, and normally they would not have the money. Who is the church to judge over that? IT’S NOT THEIR MONEY!!! In fact, one victim who was on the verge of retiring lost her daughter in the shooting and is now raising her daughter’s children. In such a case, any money gifted to her should be released immediately with no questions asked. Instead, she is limited to a certain amount of requests per year (per year?), and must show proof of need. She made this comment accordingly:

“My grandson fell down the stairs the other day. I had to take him to the emergency room to make sure that the plate in his leg hadn’t been jostled and moved. Am I supposed to go to the church for $20 for gas and wait two weeks?” she asked. “And I’m sure as heck not going to give them my account numbers.”

And then there is this:

McNulty also claims the church has received donations for specific families, including hers, that have not been handed over. The News reviewed copies of the alleged checks, which were paid to the church with “to the family of Tara McNulty” in the memo line.

Kati Wall, a local teacher who lost her parents in the shooting, said the church helped her cover the salary she lost while she was off work. But it took months to reach the church, she said, and once she did, she had to prove she couldn’t get the money elsewhere before it would help.

Let’s talk about how family handles these things. When the 1st century assembly of Christ were apprised of a need, letters were sent, messengers picked up the collection and delivered it…end of conversation. Involving the church in this matter as an institution has also led to complicating government regulation, or at least perceived regulation, according to the “Restoration Committee” if its not merely an excuse.

Oh, lest I get distracted by the sheer chaotic absurdity of it all, I need to simply mention that by and large the families are not receiving the funds:

“This has gotten way out of hand — way out of hand,” said Lisa McNulty, 54, who lost her daughter in the shooting and says she never received donations the church received for her family. “There’s some greed going on, and it’s wrong.”

And here is the rub: I mentioned that a 1 million dollar building was over the top for the size of the congregation and what they were accustomed to in the past. With that said, I will also tell you, that is what has been collected thus far for the building, but the actual approved plans call for a 3 million dollar structure. That is equal to total funds collected overall leading some to wonder if that’s what all of the foot-dragging is about regarding the disbursement of funds. That would be the ultimate statement concerning where priorities are with the institutional church: with the institution and not people. The pastor himself stated that the new building will “represent new life. This is going to represent new growth,” How can a building represent anything about spiritual growth? And what was the excuse for the delay of funds from the committee’s head?

Dziuk defended the church’s rules, including requirements that victims exhaust other funding means first. He said they “probably” could have distributed the money faster, “but this isn’t the only thing we’re doing. We’re in the process of building a new church. “There’s just a lot going on.”

Again, clearly, the building project is a higher priority than the needs. And how bad does all of this smell? Two donors who account for about 1/3 of the money raised, plus the nonprofit fundraiser for the building project have cut ties with the church. Another person who raised about 100,000 dollars is considering asking for the money back. Yet another fundraiser was asked to start another fund for, get this, “victims who fell between the cracks.” Say what? After more than 3 million dollars is raised, more is needed because some victims were overlooked? Are you kidding me? Anyway, the fundraiser refused and has also cut ties with the church.

But it doesn’t stop there lest the church would only exhibit mere intemperance spoken of in the secular realm.

Facebook has become the center of the fight, with words like “cult” and “greed” bandied about by those questioning the church’s silence, “lynch mob” and “witch hunt” to refer to those asking questions. One particularly active group was archived due to “threatening messages,” its moderator told The News.

Of course, no such scandal took place in the disbursement of funds to the Las Vegas shooting victims who were paid lump sums. Was that somehow less complicated?

But no worries, the victims will prevail one way or the other because GoFundMe is involved and the bottom line follows: the church can’t implement restrictions on funds designated for specific victims with no strings attached. That is, unless the victims foolishly signed some sort of agreement with the church allowing them to have full authority over the money.

When is enough going to be enough? Is there a better way? Well, when the people were disgruntled about the disbursement of support to the Greek widows (book of Acts), or the lack thereof and complained to the Apostles, what did they do? They told the people to deal with it. Likewise, the Sutherland Springs victims themselves would have been told to oversee the disbursement. Why not? In contemporary terms, each victim would have been told to seek their own representation. In Acts, the people were told to pick seven men from among them to oversee the care of widows and to represent the people as a whole.

My point is this: it was a body/group effort and not overseen by those concerned with having authority over the situation. The money belonged to the Greek widows, not the Apostles. But we must remember that Protestant orthodoxy calls for the church to have all authority over its members, and for that matter, everything the Lord owns as well, which is everything. So, this behavior shouldn’t surprise us that much.

And given the Protestant false gospel of justification by faith that denies the new birth, we expect church authorities to have no confidence in individuals to use gifted money for their own needs or any other private life matter.

I see a different vision. I see a network of 100 home fellowships taking up a collection for a need, and mailing a check directly to the one or ones needing it…end of story. It IS that simple, and anything less is an excuse for some sort of evil intent.

paul

Addendum: No church victim story would be complete without examples of church authoritarians demeaning the victims as uneducated petty children. According to the head over the “Restoration Committee”:

“There are going to be some people who are not going to be satisfied no matter what,” Pat Dziuk, head of the church’s Restoration Committee, said in an interview with The Dallas Morning News. “God bless them. I know they’re hurting and I’m sorry, but we’re not going to make everyone happy.”

 

 

10 Responses

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  1. John said, on April 17, 2018 at 6:54 AM

    I once (with one eye and one ear) watched a disaster movie on TV late one night while working. It was about lightning and the “catastrophic” effects it had on a town or something. A lightning bolt even demolished a huge building (ten times the size of the new hipster-looking church in the illustration above, which was obviously designed by a hipster architect…see the bunch of hipsters in front of the “small” double-cab vehicle).

    Anyway, imagine a stray bolt of lightning at 3 a.m. when there’s no one on the premises. And imagine that bolt of lightning striking and demolishing an ugly building that has nothing to do with the God of the Bible.

    Maybe, that way, souls would turn to the truth instead of running to the new coffee “shoppe.”

    Oh, just a thought.

    Like

  2. Republican mother said, on April 17, 2018 at 7:40 AM

    I see the North American Mission Board logo in the bottom right corner of the concept art. I wonder if they would comment on the craziness? I wouldn’t hold my breath.
    Glorieta Conference Center and all.

    Like

  3. lydia00 said, on April 17, 2018 at 5:14 PM

    This just makes me sick. But I am not surprised. I don’t see any upside to the “institution’ anymore. Life is complicated enough without adding to it voluntarily with church.

    Like

  4. lydia00 said, on April 17, 2018 at 5:15 PM

    Oh boy, right. NAMB is involved. The pastor is getting expert deception advice.

    Like

    • John said, on April 17, 2018 at 6:54 PM

      Hi, Lydia. About NAMB you’re right; it’s akin to receiving counsel from the enemy . . . good idea, unless they are on the same side. The only upside to the “institution” is that there are souls in there that need to be freed. Yeah, I know, it’s a double negative/positive/confusing/contradictory statement, hence my lightning reference. There is no life in the church; there’s life in Christ and born-again children of God. In Calvinism, there is only death.

      “Life is complicated enough.” Are you kidding me? Life is bloomin’ (such a lovely euphemism) complicated. Every time I’m ready to remove my training wheels/wings, a piano broadsides me.

      Like

  5. republican mother said, on April 17, 2018 at 10:26 PM

    The give link to this building project is on the front of NAMB’s give tab:

    https://www.namb.net/sutherland-springs-rebuild-fund

    “With an estimated cost between $1 million and $1.5 million, groups, organizations or individuals could give $1,000 each without placing an undue burden on anyone.” Cost is double now, but this is the information currently on the page.

    Apparently, the cost is double because there are two buildings: the church and the activity center.

    “Construction on the property is being split into two phases. Phase 1 will include a worship center and education building. Funding for this phase is backed by NAMB with construction expected to begin in early May and a completion date anticipated for early 2019. Plans for Phase 2 of the project include a multi-purpose community and activity center and will be funded from other sources.”

    There you have it. The NAMB articles on this thing express what a glowing idea it is.

    Like

    • Andy Young, PPT contributing editor said, on April 18, 2018 at 8:04 AM

      I get really passionate about the whole “church giving” issue. I made the following comment in one of my sessions at last year’s TANC conference: “Churches are spending millions and millions of dollars on infrastructure, meanwhile millions and millions of people are on their way to an eternity in hell!”

      https://paulspassingthoughts.com/2017/12/13/a-historical-survey-of-the-first-century-christian-assembly-part-4/

      Like

      • Lydia said, on April 20, 2018 at 8:22 AM

        They have to build buildings. It’s all they know. It’s very ego driven by the leaders and the congregation.

        The old Cathedrals in Europe are tourist attractions now. At least they had craftsmanship.

        Many years ago, I was attending a dinner party with a well known (in those circles) mega church developer. He was sharing some of their attempts to go green and do some recycling in building. He was very proud of the idea of filling areas with beer/pop cans before they filled them with concrete or whatever.

        Such a “foundational” metaphor. 🙂

        Like

    • John said, on April 18, 2018 at 3:41 PM

      And I bet my hipster tie that a coffee “shoppe” (girl/boy/man/woman pick-up joint) and ultra-modern media center will be in the activity center, close to the ACBC’s offices of horror.

      Andy, I share your passion, 100%, hence my comments about it.

      Like

    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on April 19, 2018 at 5:33 AM

      Same thing I saw as a church leader for 20 plus years over and over again; it’s all about the building programs.

      Like


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