Paul's Passing Thoughts

Goldfish, Laundry, The Church Lie, Grandparents, and Finding God’s Love Through Individualism

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 24, 2019

ppt-jpeg4I had a special relationship with my grandparents who lived in the country outside of Portsmouth, Ohio. Their lives were storied with the narratives of rugged individualism that made America great. For reasons not stated here, they raised me much of my life.

Truly, life has pots of gold everywhere. If one were to make a sitcom based on my grandmother’s personality, it would be pure gold. For one thing, not one thought in my grandmother’s head was ever a mystery, and it was usually things other people wanted said, but were afraid to say it themselves. A little bit of that may have rubbed off on me. Her open commentary on life is family folklore, like the time she commented on a family member living with someone out of wedlock: “Well sure, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” My grandmother didn’t have to debate much; her statements usually left people shell-shocked and therefore speechless.

She was the perfect wife for my grandfather. He was not only a John Wayne like character in real life; he even looked like John Wayne. You might get an idea of what he was like based on the fact that he was a union leader for a boat dock and Operating Engineers during the 60’s and 70’s. When the union leaned on his men to vote for a Democrat in one particular election, he endorsed the Republican candidate to make a point, and his men followed him  accordingly.

Together, my grandfather and grandmother went from living in a barn and making $1.75 a week as farmhands during the depression, to owning an impressive homestead outside of Portsmouth.

And that homestead was my sanctuary growing up. It was a different world. Time stood still, there was peace and quiet there, and security. As a teen, I once said to my girlfriend; “See if your parents will allow you to go to Portsmouth for the weekend to meet my grandparents.” With permission secured, my girlfriend asked what my grandparents said about me bringing a guest. But that’s not how it worked. I never called when going there by myself or bringing a friend, or friends. You just showed up. If you were family, it was an open door policy. Prior arrangements were interpreted as some notion that you were not welcome. “Of course it is alright! Why wouldn’t it be alright? You know we never go anywhere. Do you think we are mad at you?” No, trust me, if grandma was mad at you, you would know it.

The Whistman homestead was exactly  2.5 hours from Dayton unless I was going for a new record. According to grandma, one could make it in 2.25 hours if they “drive like your grandfather.” When I was near, I observed the eta and announced to any guest that might be with me what would be happening when we arrived. If 6:30 pm, as we drove in, “Bo” the coon dog, and “Jack” the rabbit dog would sound the alarm as if the gravel driveway didn’t make enough noise to begin with. Grandpa would be in his recliner smoking his pipe with “Fran,” my grandmother’s Pekinese laying between his feet on the elevated stool. One of the two TV stations they could receive (because they had a tower antenna beside the house) would be on, and grandma would be in her rocking chair.

Grandma would stand up and walk to the door to report who had arrived. She would stand at the door until the arrivals walked up the steps and then she would open the door wide and say, “come in.” While standing in the living room, grandma would walk to the kitchen to remove leftovers from the refrigerator and instruct the guests to sit at the kitchen table. There would be no argument or refusal at that time; grandma often stated that all people from Dayton were underfed. As the spread was laid out, a virtual feast, as predicted beforehand to the guest, grandma would say, “I know it’s not much, but it’s all we have.” With the unfolding of each event, the guest would look at me in amazement as if I was a prophet of some sort.

Grandma always took pictures of my guests and wrote them letters, especially the girlfriends. All totally fell into her scheme to know what I was up to in Dayton. But in all cases, they were struck by the family unity and unquestionable love between us.

However, though I found this kind of love on earth among mere mortals, we find such experience with God elusive. Why? Though I knew my own weaknesses, and at that time knew very little about life, I never thought for a moment that my weaknesses could ever diminish my grandparents’ love for me or my brothers. Though much, much closer than I have ever been to feeling this kind of relationship with God, I still fall short. Why?

One reason: 30 plus years of church. I could have the relationship I had with my grandparents because there was no condemnation between us. Church is in the business of keeping condemnation between you and God. That’s church orthodoxy…period. Try to argue the point, and be sure to bring your favorite church expert sycophant; they will lose the argument big. Church orthodoxy NEVER states that the professing Christian is free from all fear of condemnation; such a notion is not in the church’s soteriology or membership contract. Church wants to control you…through fear of God’s condemnation.

Such fear is directly responsible for the trending evil in the church. In order to control people, there must be some fear of condemnation in regard to salvation. The Bible calls this, “under law” as opposed to “under grace” (under love). The church DOES NOT teach that the condemnation of the law is abrogated by under grace. Under grace is presented as a church system that enables one to continually strive against condemnation. According to the Bible, being under condemnation actually fuels sin against the law of God. Trending evil in the church is a direct result of the church’s false gospel. If you really want a thorough understanding of this, get “The Church Lie” (

Church condemnation and its subsequent bondage to evil and fear begins with an understanding of justification by new birth as opposed to the church gospel of justification by faith. That will not be addressed here, and again, if you care to understand the difference, get The Church Lie. With that said, our relationship with God should be very much like my relationship was with my grandparents, and by the way, between God’s children as well. That is a primary goal of this ministry: we have the justification part nailed down; now we want to be a leader in striving to find that perfect love experience with God void of condemnation. This will require an utter rejection of the church’s credibility, especially their pseudo-authority, and a pursuit of individual understanding leading to a cooperative effort in Christ’s mandate. The cells of a kidney do not wait around to get permission from braincells to do what they are created to do. If they did, you wouldn’t live very long. God’s family is a body with ONE head, not a top-down institutional authority.

Church, that’s why we have relationships on earth that we wish we had with God. It shouldn’t be that way, not even close. And in another attempt to control people, church makes suffering a way of life. Yes, we are called on to “pick up our crosses and walk daily,” and “live by the cross of suffering.” Since life is supposedly all about returning to the cross daily for re-salvation via the church, we should also happily embrace the “suffering of Christ.” Current events in my life have caused me to look at that differently.

My grandparents took me in throughout my childhood when needed, often for long periods of time. More than once, my return to Dayton was a crushing experience. An attachment more than mere duty was the cause for the pain. I wasn’t old enough to experience their pain when I was with them a couple of years as a baby, but I saw their anguish vividly when it happened in my adolescent years…and, how they handled it. They handled it the same way they handled losing half of their extended family during WWII, they handled it the same way when they lost friends and loved ones during the depression. Life doesn’t stop. If you don’t tend to the garden because of grief, the living will not eat. If you take a day off work because of grief, one from the long line outside the factory gates will take your place. A world was on the verge of being taken over by three madmen, you must go to the arms factory and do your part. And on that day when it was determined that I was going back to Dayton, my grandmother did the laundry.  I remember that day like it was yesterday as I watched her toil at it with that helpless feeling I will never forget. That’s how life raised my grandparents; if you stop to grieve, life will run over the grieving. You tend to life in your pain until the pain passes. Indeed, time does heal most ills.

Of course, my grandparents would have never gone to court against blood, and the reasons for Susan and I having temporary custody of my grandson are far different. But if a court ruling is not in our favor, it will be painful. I never saw this coming at all; that I would share the same sufferings of my grandparents. When I was a young boy, I could only watch my grandmother doing the laundry with that helpless feeling, now I am doing the laundry.

However, because of the relationship I had with my grandparents, there is a certain kind of honor about it. The opportunity to follow in their footsteps, win or lose, is the highest of honors. Words cannot explain the experience of reliving what they did for me, and in their shoes. In understanding this afar off, I know this should be our like experience with Christ, but the church has robbed us of it. Condemnation has no place in a true relationship with Christ. We cannot share in his sufferings because we are under condemnation, Christ was never condemned. Suffering for love and suffering as a condemned person are not the same. We share in HIS sufferings that have become our acts of love as well. Christ never suffered for anything other than love.

Life is that way; it can throw you a curveball. It can inform you that you are being called on to be dad again at 62 years of age. That can certainly cause you to question some things. In case God hasn’t noticed, I have some other things going on. My grandparents were young grandparents; with me, not so much. But goldfish can remind you of what is important. Goldfish can remind you that grandparents have something a lot of people do not have; experience, and better yet, trial and error experience. Older grandparents obviously have more experience than younger ones.

I take what young people do and say seriously. Early thought patterns and habits make old ones. Of late, I have been concerned about my grandson’s lack of compassion towards animals. Animals are a lifeform. Then, the other night, when I heard him crying in his room, opportunity called. I guess I am like Christ in that regard; I see all of life as a teaching opportunity for myself and others. Christ didn’t need much teaching for himself, but he certainly never passed on an opportunity to use a life event to teach others.

When I went into my grandson’s room to investigate, I discovered the reason for his grief; his goldfish died. Yes, I took the opportunity to make a big deal out of that. After all, we live in an age when delivering a baby under DNRCC (Do not resuscitate comfort care) is a “mother’s right to choose what to do with her own body.” If you think delivering a baby and laying it on a table while the mother decides whether it lives or dies is wrong, you only want to “control her body.” Wow. So here we are; the ability to deliver a baby has nothing to do with God’s enablement or what God’s opinion on that would be. As the baby you delivered lays on the table awaiting your thumb up or thumb down as in the Roman Coliseums of old, God would say, “Damn right, it’s your body, and your choice.” Really? As the Bible states, people know better and deliberately suppress the intuitive knowledge of common good. And do I think diverting these kinds of attitudes towards life starts with how a child thinks about losing a goldfish?  Yes. After all, somehow, we go from crying about the loss of a goldfish to making the life of a newborn baby some kind of a political statement.

Look where we have come and become. In spite of decades of secular expertism, trillions invested in church infrastructure, and innumerable books on how to live life, we are further from knowing the love of God than ever. My grandparents grew up during a time when you figured out life on your own, or life would run you over. While grieving death, tragedy, and misfortune, not attending to life actively, and  in a better and wiser way, would only lead to more death, tragedy, and misfortune. Out of the individual strength and contributions of the many, a purer love was born, and a closer experience to the true love of God.

In other words, an authoritative collectivism is much further from God than an individualistic body life. A body depends on collective roles and the values of individual members, not the supposed wisdom of a minority expertism. Caste systems endorse  hierarchical condemnation, and where there is condemnation, there is no real love.

So, this is my prayer for all of us children of God; that we will be at complete peace in our relationship with Him and our heavenly family siblings; that we will feel complete security in Christ. Failure to love perfectly is not the issue as the church asserts; the motive of love flowing from our changed heart is the issue.

If we feel completely secure in earthly relationships, how much more should we feel secure in Christ? And why should we let any institution steal that hope from us? The church has had more than 1500 years to prove itself to humanity, and its supposed “reformed” version has had 500. What are the results? A lawlessness never before seen in the church and outside of the church. Obviously, the church is powerless.

Love believes all things and endures all things, and frankly, the Scriptures are clear; it is the only gift we will take with us past this life, and the only thing worth pursuing presently.  If we pursue love, and avoid the peddlers of condemnation of which the church is chief, we will experience a love and security in Christ never before experienced. Christ died to end condemnation. Fear of judgment is not a motivator for godly living, because…

“there is no fear in love.”


3 Responses

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  1. Jerry Collins said, on May 24, 2019 at 11:55 AM

    The analogy of your relationship with your grandparents, with our relationship with Christ nailed it. That’s exactly right. I had the same relationship with my grandparents so I could feel intuitively that analogy. It is tragically amazing how the establishment church at large has stolen this love relationship with Christ and one another from the people of God.

    Condemnation for the purpose of control is the Devils work and yet that’s what the institutional form of church has been offering people. Such a shame and such a sham. This was a Provocative read. It resonates deeply.


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on May 24, 2019 at 1:03 PM

      Thank you Jerry.


  2. lydia00 said, on May 25, 2019 at 2:53 AM

    I loved reading this because it reminds me of my childhood. The welcoming, the love, the directness, the continuity as one grieves, the belonging,etc. One knew what to expect. I had never considered that life experience as a parallel to our relationship with Christ.

    My mom once said to me, I am not here to see through people but to see people through. And she did.


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