Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Below is a copyrighted review that I am only copying verbatim … The book is -

Thirty years after her death in March 1982, Ayn Rands ideas have never been more important. Unfettered capitalism, unregulated business, bare-bones government providing no social services, glorification of selfishness, disdain for Judeo-Christian morality—these are the tenets of Rands harsh philosophy.

In Ayn Rand Nation, Gary Weiss explores the people and institutions that remain under the spell of the Russian-born novelist. He provides new insights into Rands inner circle in the last years of her life, with revelations of never-before-publicized predictions by Rand that still resonate today. Weiss charts Rands infiltration of the Tea Party and Libertarian movements, and provides an inside look at the radical belief system that has exerted a powerful influence on the Republican Party and its presidential candidates. Its a fascinating cast of characters that ranges from Glenn Beck to Oliver Stone, and includes Rands most influential disciple, Alan Greenspan. Weiss describes in penetrating detail how Greenspan became a stalking horse for Rand—slashing and burning regulations with ideological zeal, and then seeking to conceal her influence on his life and thinking. Lastly, Weiss provides a strategy for a renewed national dialogue, an embrace of the nations core values that is needed to deal with Rands pervasive grip on society.
From The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged to Rands lesser-known and misunderstood nonfiction books, Gary Weiss examines the impact of Rand's thinking across our society.

"In this riveting and disturbing inquiry into Ayn Rand's widespread influence on American economics and politics, Weiss (Wall Street Versus America) tackles the history and the present of objectivism, emphasizing its paradoxical return to prominence in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Enshrined in Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, Rand's philosophy spawned a cult following that included Alan Greenspan, and whose current purveyors include Glenn Beck, Paul Ryan, and members of the Tea Party. As Weiss details, objectivism is a theory of radical individualism: 'To Rand, the infant's me-centered view of the world is correct, selfishness is right, and altruism is the antithesis of everything decent and moral.' Along with atheism (ignored by many), this view demands that business be completely unregulated, social welfare programs and taxes abolished, and the government, with its support of education, medicine, and infrastructure, rendered nonexistent. Weiss describes how objectivism, aided by wealthy and influential figures, has influenced the deregulation of financial markets, the radicalization of conservative voices, and today's toxic political climate. Despite a good faith effort to understand Rand and her followers, the result reads like a memoir, with Weiss's ample personal commentary, and pays little attention to objectivism's deep philosophical roots. Nonetheless, Weiss poses an important question: will we be a country that values human life and dignity, or one that values only the dollar? Agent: Richard Morris, Janklow and Nesbit." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author
Gary Weiss is a journalist and the author of two books probing the underside of finance, Wall Street Versus America and Born to Steal. He was an award-winning investigative reporter for BusinessWeek, and his articles have appeared in Condé Nast Portfolio, Parade magazine, Salon, and The New York Times, among other publications. He lives in New York City.

From Walking With Warner,
this review speaks for itself and
I believe it shares something we all need to know ... Wallkingwithwarner.blogspot.com

Monday, March 5, 2012

Holiness & Unity; Heritage & Truth!

Do I think the Church of God has abandoned holiness and unity? NO, I don’t, nor do I believe it ever will!

I don’t always apply Church doctrines the same way I did when I first began in ministry. Nor does the Church of God Movement apply itself in precisely the same ways it did in earlier years, when it was a much different and much smaller body of believers. My experience tells me a greater percentage of our churches are practicing a healthier kind of both holiness and unity than ever before.

Having said that, I will admit we went through a drought in the preaching and teaching of holiness. There was a time when we, as a Reformation Movement, were an end in itself; we were overly concerned with the “Reformation Movement”, which we saw as a movement of holiness and unity--and an end it itself. Barry Callen, writing as the Editor of the holiness journey, “The Wesleyan Journal” has done much to improve our understanding of our holiness roots in Church history; in turn, helping us realign ourselves and return to our holiness heritage.

As such, Dr. Callen (among others) has gone far in helping us understand who we are as a people, and to understand that we were intended to be a “Re-formation Movement” and not simply a “Reformation Movement” (cf. Marvin Hartman/Gospel Trumpet/10-19-80/p7). I hear a great deal more about our holiness heritage today, as well as more holiness preaching-teaching, than I did when I began ministry in the early fifties

I can offer you all kinds of reasons that prevent Church of God people from practicing Biblical unity--
1. like being considered liberal, (ecumenical),
2. like fear of being considered “not Church of God” (not seeing the church),
3. like having a romanticized view of our history, and I could add
4. other reasons, like insufficient biblical teaching, doctrinal differences, et al.

But one thing I know: if every Pastor taught the same sermon every Sunday, using the same passage of Scripture, we would, even then, not all be in total agreement. This was not understood in earlier times, nor was it always accepted. However, I thank God for the freedom we experience today, as well as the degree of unity we experience among ourselves, and for the love that binds us together as family when we do experience those differences.

Finally, in confronting this question, I admit I do believe the Church of God Movement has “fallen short of the mark”. By that I mean we abandoned our major mission of “go into all the world preaching-and-teaching as you go”? That lesson imprinted itself on the mind of this “Church of God boy” when I became a Seminary student in a non-holiness denominational seminary and discovered people out there in what my church taught me was “Babylon” who actually were more mission-minded and evangelistic than the Church of God. They did not live up to the teachings of holiness and unity as we thought they should, but they willingly shaped their priorities more intentionally and remained more biblically focused on reaching the world for Christ than did the church of my “holiness upbringing.”

We proudly waved our “denominational flag” that proclaimed the imperative of A UNITED CHURCH FOR A DIVIDED WORLD. Yet the truth was, we failed to perceive the intent of our claim. As a young pastor, I heard many a sermon from John 17, pointing to the need for the church to unite so that a lost and divided world "MIGHT BELIEVE.” Church Unity is not an end in itself; it is to help the world experience belief in a Christ who is THE CORE MESSAGE OF THE CHURCH and the only HOPE OF THE WORLD.

The Church of God Reformation Movement got derailed in becoming an Institutional Organization and “we” lost sight of prioritizing God’s “Unfinished Reformation” … “God so loved that he gave…"

As a result, we are too much a part of this “uncommitted-to-anything culture” and that severely hinders us. More than ever before, I believe that IF WE EVER AGAIN CATCH THE VISION OF GOD‘S UNFINISHED RE-FORMATION, our commitment to Christ (and to holiness & unity) will take care of itself because we will then actively pursue every avenue of cooperation possible. We will use every means possible, to reach every person possible. That will drive us out of Anderson, Indiana, and will cause us to network throughout Christendom, until we circle the globe as part of a network bigger than we are.

From Warner’s World, this may sound radical, but Jesus was pretty radical, unless you took Him seriously … walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Due to the present state of the church's spiritual level, do you think that the Reformation Movement of the Church of God has abandoned the message of Holiness and Unity?

This question came to me just this way. In reading it, I perceive the interrogator holds a negative, or low, opinion of the church's spirituality. The question, as worded, calls for an obvious conclusion of negative proportions, but there may well be two jet streams of opinion regarding the church today, rather than just.

In looking at the question, I will agree that the popular opinion of the church may be low today, even abnormally low … but not necessarily. That does not necessarily make it so, for it is also possible that the Church of God, Anderson is healthier today than it has been, with its dysfunctional history. I see some reasons to view the church negatively.On the other hand, good reasons for negative views may say as much about the person with the opinion as it does the church.

I for one, choose to participate in the church, with a positive view, for two reasons:
1. I am part of the church. The level of the church's spirituality is determined in part by me and my relationship with God.
2. I happen to believe God can-and-will take better care of "His Business" than you or I can. Thus, I am willing to entrust it to Him, take my marching orders from Him, and do all I can to make His Work look as good as possible.

The Church of God Movement and Church of God Ministries are more than a Movement today; we are an Institution, which has a life all of its own, with or without my participation. Some may find that personally threatening and uncomfortable. However, as an Institutional Body [of Christ], I believe we are healthier as a Movement than we have ever been earlier.
1. We have more means with which to pursue our task than ever before, and we continue to make better use of what we have.
2. We are better trained and educated as people than ever before, and we have a better understanding of who we are and what we are about.
3. As a self-governing institution, we continue to improve our self-governing processes. We have a more open fellowship, and a greater transparency than ever before. Dialogue is encouraged more than discouraged. Differences are accepted, without being demonized, and that makes for a more spiritually and emotionally healthy Body (of Christ).

That is NOT to say we do not have issues, or even problems. We do, but we are Family. Having been married 65 years, and having raised a family, I have lived with all the ups and downs of a relationship that often had different perspectives, different points of view, different generations, and all the problems these entail. Yet, we have a wholesome Family Relationship that dares to differ, dares to dialogue, and dares to love and trust one another when differences come. And, I have yet to find one willing to be the first defector.

This is generally true in the Church, in spite of greater mobility between differing Faith Communions. It is true to such a degree that I rejoice and push forward.When we retired from pastoral ministry, we began calling the 100-member North Avenue Church of God our home. This many years later, some 600 people call North Avenue home.

The pastor does not preach the Bible and Church doctrine in the manner that I did. I can, however, testify that we have a church full of people who are growing in the love and knowledge of THE WORD and in the theological practices common to this Movement, and the fellowship is close and harmonious, while open in all directions and growing.

What I can say is, A REST HOME FOR THE SAINTS, NORTH AVENUE IS NOT! Does it always look like traditional Church? ‘Fraid not! We may range from black suit and tie to cut-off blue jeans. I can‘t say I always like the music, but there is always a sense of worship and prayerfulness blessed by warm fellowship. When Tommie and I examine more closely, we see the results and conclude the proof is in the pudding--changed lives--transformed living--as metamorphosed as is the worm-become-butterfly.

We have all the stages in process of that metamorphosis (a wonderfully descriptive word). It is more like an Emergency Room than some of the churches I pastored, with all of the attendant sicknesses congregations have, and I always considered myself pretty mainstream, theologically orthodox,, and at times even “cutting edge.”
Seen are North Avenue Work Campers

From Warner’s World, another time we’ll look more closely at whether the Church has abandoned holiness and unity … walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com

Saturday, March 3, 2012


What do you consider the main obstacles to Unity?

This question came up in a recent conversation. The Church of God (Anderson fellowship) has long proclaimed the unity of the Family of God, often doing a better job of proclaiming it than practicing it.

So, what do we see as practical obstacles to Church unity? Or, “How can we eliminate those obstacles?” Following are a few of my thoughts on the matter, nothing conclusive but hopefully provocative of further discussion.

1. First on my list
is our misguided, worldly motivated, independence of one another (what some have called Lone Rangerism).

We sit at computers all day and talk electronically to everybody and face to face to nobody. You can’t make a phone call and get anything but a phone tree. Or, watch individuals stand around with a gadget in their hand, or a phone in their ear - texting everybody but talking to nobody

We talk bibleze and pay homage to the biblical interdependence of 1st Corinthians 12, but the language we speak is that of “me-ism”. Me, myself, and I are in a majority, which is idolatry, or even core atheism if you know anything about Ayn Rand.

The institutional church remains suspect, as are group concepts, and denominational goals. Congregations reflect the precepts of a visionary pastor, who frequently turns out to be a Lone Ranger, or an “Independent” Church Leader.

2. Denominational pride was a strong factor in the evolution of Christian denominationalism--pride that was ethnic in origin, denominational, doctrinal, or just “independence” pride. The list is endless.

Without discussing all the reasons for “ethnic” churches, or “holiness” or “Pentecostal” church”, suffice it for now to say that when a church or denomination majors on being competitive rather than complimentary and cooperative, generally a huge factor of human pride is involved, or just too much institutional and organizational baggage..

Such pride need not always be the case. In the early days of the Church of God, there were ethnic-speaking congregations where a local body of believers speaking a given language reached out to other newcomers speaking that same language. I know of several such churches that eventually found it expedient to initiate English-speaking services and relinquished their ethnic identity to become culturally mainstream. They pursued their mission of reaching people, which was more healthy.

Denominational pride as such is not so prominent as it once was. We no longer have such fierce debates and denominational competitions, where everybody felt he or she had the right form of organization, or the most pure form of doctrine. In each case, their “distinctive” was what made them the only choice for the pure in heart.

Actually, “distinctives” are a word we Church of God folk like to use, and we feel pretty good knowing “our church” outclasses everybody else … Hummm? I like the way James Earl Massey clarifies usage of this word “denomination” - it being first used “to express diversity in a related community” and not intended “to express exclusiveness” (Massey/Concerning Christian Unity/1972/63-79).

Massey suggests there is nothing wrong in “denominating” something, or naming it. Because of our dislike of “denominationalism” as such, we call ourselves a “Movement,” rather than denomination; yet, there is nothing inherently wrong in the word denomination.

However, I would suggest that it is an abuse of scripture, a misuse of doctrine, and an arrogant pride that causes any institutional body to claim for itself exclusive rights to doctrines, practices, and teachings, when that agenda belongs to God’s Universal Church (cf. Morrison/The Unfinished Reformation/Harper/1953).

I would not say this problem is unfamiliar to the Church of God (Anderson), but I tend to believe such pride is downright sinful … even heretical, if you please!

3. “Come-out-ism” remains for me a major obstacle to unity within the Church of God (Anderson). This tends to overlap, but space here will not allow adequate discussion.

4. Closely akin to the “come-out doctrine” is a fear of cooperating with “Babylon” (perhaps even misunderstanding what Babylon is).

Babylon in this context is generally “others” not of our more pure practice or teaching; thus, diluted in their faith, or less pure.

5. Lack of misunderstanding remains a major hindrance to unity.

This comes out of one’s inability to see the need for cooperating with, and/or complementing, the efforts of others to win lost souls to Christ. If a major reason for unity of the church is that the world may see and believe, it stands to reason that evangelism was a major factor in God calling “his people” (the church) into existence.

Failure to understand this often results in individuals, and denominational bodies of believers in failing (or refusing) to unite enough to correlate their missionary efforts and complement--fulfill-flesh out--one another (cf. dictionary meaning of complement).

From Warner’s World,
it seems indisputable that God intended for all of His Universal Family of God to be one in faith, one in fellowship, and one in purpose… walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com