Nyssa's Hobbit Hole

Month: January 2015 (page 1 of 2)

Online Shenanigans–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–March 1995, Part 1

One day, Speaker offered to let me use his alternate screen name, Alone.  He didn’t let everyone know it was his account, so I could be incognito that way.  I think I was out of hours and he wanted to keep talking to me.  He even trusted me enough to give me his password.

While I was in teleconference with Speaker and Krafter and probably others, Nobody came in and began to troll, which is cyberspeak for stirring up trouble, giving out insults, trying to start arguments, etc.

He told all the people in tele how sad it was that they were on the computer on a Saturday, and to get a life.  (Yet he was in tele on a Saturday, too!  And I know I had a life, one that existed long before we got the modem.)

Pearl or Sharon was watching at the time.  I posted that he probably said all these things because he had no girlfriend.  He said to me, “And what about you, ALONE?”  But that didn’t bother me because I had a boyfriend.  Speaker wasn’t sure he liked my comment, though, because he had no girlfriend, either.

Nobody trolled some more, getting everybody mad, until all of a sudden he disappeared from tele: Krafter killed his connection.  He was now banned from TCB for a time, though he came on again soon with a new screen name (I believe he was Sub-Zero).

Along with my other usual online exclamations, I now included, “Purrr…<lick!>”  Guys weren’t always sure quite how to take that.  🙂

I also “nuzzled” Speaker and Stimpy.  This was my own action word, made by typing “ga is nuzzling Speaker.”

The “ga” stands for “global action.”  Whatever you typed after “ga” showed up onscreen after your name, just as you typed it.  My ga showed up as, “Nyssa Of Traken is nuzzling Speaker.”  Misty also popularized this: “ga is innocent.”  This was especially funny because we knew he was not innocent.  I and others also liked to type “ga is innocent.”

Oftentimes in tele, I said I was Nyssie, the Loch Nyss Monster–“but a cute monster!”  Stimpy typed, “I’ll say!”

One popular expression among TCB users was “doh!”  It was generally used in Farwest Trivia when someone didn’t answer a trivia question for one reason or another.  I began to use it online after a while, and I think my roommates did as well.

My roommies and I helped each other out in Farwest Trivia.  Also, Ish told Pearl once that the answers to the music questions were generally the Bee Gees or the Beatles, and he seemed to be right.

Krafter paid for the first month on TCB ($5) for both Sharon and me.  Now that he was dating Sharon, he still paid for her, though I didn’t expect the same and paid my own fees.

****

Catherine and I went to lunch together every Wednesday and Friday after Chaucer.  Usually the first ones to get to the cafeteria, we’d talk about such things as Chaucer, the ridiculous sex scenes in the bodice-rippers she kept reading, Cugan, and Stimpy.

Charles often joined us later on.  Catherine flirted with him as if he were a stud.  He looked at her strangely because she was married.

But it was all just fun and games with her, lots of raunchy humor but nothing meant seriously.  She did this to all the guys, and enjoyed their discomfort.

I believe this was my first introduction to the concept that heavy flirting can be harmless even when you’re married.

With all the guys now in my life, I told Charles and Pearl once that I was having more fun now than I did when I was engaged.

Catherine wrote a story about Cugan and me in the style of her bodice-ripper romance novels: “The Coy Mistress.”  I couldn’t believe what she wrote.  Yes, there was a sex scene.  I can’t imagine writing something that explicit about my own friends.

****

One evening, Stubby drove Stimpy and me to his house for a Beavis and Butthead party.  Though I used to hate the show, Phil got me into it.  For a while, it probably reminded me of him.  But now, watching it with Stimpy and attaching new memories to it, I liked it even more.  I also loved being the only girl in a room full of guys.

Stubby said he was engaged to a girl from Indiana whom he’d met online but never seen in person.  We thought he was crazy.  Stimpy said when he saw her picture, “How do you know this is really her picture and not her daughter’s or her niece’s?  How do you know she told you the truth about her age?”

Stubby was supposed to go meet her at some point.  I don’t know how the whole thing turned out, if he ever actually married the girl.

Once, Stimpy and I were in Teleconference, cuddling and kissing and all that, when all of a sudden, Crystal Dragon hosed us off.

One night, with Krafter, Stimpy and Randy at the apartment with all of us roommies, we watched The Lion King and my copy of Wayne’s World.  My youngest brother gave me World for Christmas a year or two before, but I’d been saving it, waiting to watch it when all my friends were together.  This was the perfect time.

Now that I could hear everything and had my friends around me, I could enjoy it and realize it actually was funny.  My first time was at the Zeta party, when I was uncomfortably shy and could not hear the words.  Several of my friends saw it in the theaters, so it was the second time for them, as well.

****

Stimpy was only nineteen.  I hadn’t dated someone that much younger before, unless you count Aaron in Sunday School when I was 5 and he was maybe 3 or 4.  It was only two years’ difference, but when you’re twenty-one, that seems like a lot.

Sharon was seeing Krafter, a whole five years older than she.  That was unbelievable.  Even the Vampire, at only four years older, seemed like an old man.  Charles seemed old, too, though not as much.

In college, just as in adolescence, even one year’s difference seems like a lot.  Cugan was twenty-seven, making him seem positively ancient.

****

People online joked about computer geeks, and I said, “I like geeks.”  I wasn’t one myself–I didn’t sit around talking about computer programming languages and the latest upgrades–but I liked geeks.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have liked Krafter or Stimpy, and I thought they were cool.

Ish Kabibble was a cool guy of about 33, generally regarded as the nicest guy online.  Even the trolls Avenger and Lima liked to talk to him.

One day, he said he found an obituary saying Ish Kabibble had died.  Now, for him, “Ish Kabibble” was some nonsense word that popped into his head when he chose his handle.  It turned out to be the name of a comedian.  It was weird to see his own obituary.  (The comedian died on June 5, 1994.)

Turtle, a teenager and jailbait, had an obvious crush on him, and made passes at him whenever she found him online.  Ish, of course, didn’t encourage her, but it amused him.

Ish, on the other hand, met Pearl online and wanted to meet her in real life.  Pearl didn’t know what to think.  He was much older, and she didn’t know what he looked like or what he was like in person.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

On The Purpose-Driven Life

I tried reading this.  My husband tried reading this.  We both quit because of all the misquoted and mangled Scripture and misrepresentations of the Gospel message.  Translations were used based on which one made the exact point the author wanted to make.

You want to know your purpose?  Read the Bible, plain and simple.  It tells you how, more importantly, you fit into God’s purposes.

I’d find you a good Orthodox critique, except that–not counting the Protestant converts who rip it apart on Orthodox forums–it seems to have fallen under the Orthodox radar.  I guess they’re too busy reading Fr. Seraphim Rose, the Church Fathers and the Philokalia instead of fluffy Protestant pop psychology.  So here are some Protestant sites:

A site that critiques PDL in detail: PDL by Tony Capoccia

An Evangelical Lutheran review: Partners Book Reviews by Lawrence R. Wohlrabe

A Lutheran (Confessional/Missouri Synod) review: PDL Sells 20 Million Copies by Reclaim News

Another Lutheran–Missouri Synod (LCMS) review, on the radio show Issues, Etc.: http://www.issuesetc.org/resource/archives/purpose.htm

A review from the point of view of Baptist/traditional Presbyterian (PCA) Reformed theology: Book Review–Rick Warren’s The PDL by Tim Challies

In the last link, this writer also notes Warren’s

carelessness in his use of the Bible.  He continually removes Scripture passages from their proper context in order to make them suit his purposes.  He carelessly applies promises to the reader that clearly do not apply.  He also distorts or changes the meanings of certain passages to make them say what he wants them to say.

What’s even more disturbing to me is that I have heard pastors preach sermons doing all these things.  I have read accounts from others that their pastors do the same.  This is one reason why we left the Evangelical-Free church.  Has this become a common trend in modern American churches?

The Orthodox answer to Purpose-Driven Life (though not intentionally so): Theosis: The True Purpose of Human Life

Written around 2005/2006

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

Tithing 
End Times and Christian Zionism 
God’s Purpose/Supremacy of God Doctrine 
Cat and Dog Theology 
Raising One’s Hands in Worship 
Christian Music 
On the “still, small voice” and Charismatic sign gifts
On church buildings 
The Message Bible 
The Purpose-Driven Life 
The Relevance Doctrine, i.e. Marketing Churches to Seekers 
Republican Party 
Abortion Protests 
Creation 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation
Miscellaneous 

Page 2:

Name it and Claim It Doctrine, Prosperity Doctrine, Faith-Formula Theology, Word-Faith Theology,  Positive Confession Theology, Health and Wealth Gospel, and whatever else they call it
More about Pat Robertson
Dr. Richard Eby and others who claim to have been to Heaven
Women in Marriage/the Church
Spiritual Abuse 
Other Resources 

Page 3:

Why do bad things happen?
Should we criticize our brethren’s artistic or evangelistic attempts?  Or, how should we evangelize, then?
Angels: Is “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti a divine revelation or fiction?
Halloween: Not the Devil’s Holiday!
Hell and the Nature of God 
Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday? 
Is everybody going to Hell except Christians?
How could a loving God who prohibits murder, command the genocide of the Canaanite peoples? 
What about predestination?
Musings on Sin, Salvation and Discipleship 
An Ancient View which is in the Bible, yet new to the west–Uncreated Energies of God

Page 4:

Dialogues
The Didache 
Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go? 
Are Spiritual Marriages “real”?  (also in “Life” section, where it’s more likely to be updated) 
Does the Pill cause abortions, or is that just another weird Internet or extremist right-wing rumor?
What about Missional Churches, Simple Churches, Fluid Churches, Organic Churches, House Churches or Neighborhood Churches?
Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?
What is Worship? 
Evangelistic Trips to Already Christianized Countries
Fraternities, Sororities, Masonic Lodge 
Was Cassie Bernall a Martyr?
Some Awesome Things heard in the Lamentations Service (Good Friday evening) during Holy Week

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church

 

On The Message Bible

It’s not the actual Bible!  It’s merely one man’s interpretation of the Bible.  It often is quite different from the actual Bible!  Please stop using it in everything: sermons, CCM magazine article series that basically are ads for The Message, books, etc.

I recommend the Orthodox Study Bible.  It’s supposed to come out in Old and New Testament form next Pascha (Easter), and it’s supposed to include a translation of the Septuagint.  Ooooooh!  [Update 1/24/15: It came out in 2008, and is available on Amazon and here.]

Also, I hear that Orthodox believers are supposed to avoid such paraphrases–not surprising when they tend to come from an Evangelical viewpoint.

Written around 2005-2007

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

Tithing 
End Times and Christian Zionism 
God’s Purpose/Supremacy of God Doctrine 
Cat and Dog Theology 
Raising One’s Hands in Worship 
Christian Music 
On the “still, small voice” and Charismatic sign gifts
On church buildings 
The Message Bible 
The Purpose-Driven Life 
The Relevance Doctrine, i.e. Marketing Churches to Seekers 
Republican Party 
Abortion Protests 
Creation 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation
Miscellaneous 

Page 2:

Name it and Claim It Doctrine, Prosperity Doctrine, Faith-Formula Theology, Word-Faith Theology,  Positive Confession Theology, Health and Wealth Gospel, and whatever else they call it
More about Pat Robertson
Dr. Richard Eby and others who claim to have been to Heaven
Women in Marriage/the Church
Spiritual Abuse 
Other Resources 

Page 3:

Why do bad things happen?
Should we criticize our brethren’s artistic or evangelistic attempts?  Or, how should we evangelize, then?
Angels: Is “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti a divine revelation or fiction?
Halloween: Not the Devil’s Holiday!
Hell and the Nature of God 
Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday? 
Is everybody going to Hell except Christians?
How could a loving God who prohibits murder, command the genocide of the Canaanite peoples? 
What about predestination?
Musings on Sin, Salvation and Discipleship 
An Ancient View which is in the Bible, yet new to the west–Uncreated Energies of God

Page 4:

Dialogues
The Didache 
Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go? 
Are Spiritual Marriages “real”?  (also in “Life” section, where it’s more likely to be updated) 
Does the Pill cause abortions, or is that just another weird Internet or extremist right-wing rumor?
What about Missional Churches, Simple Churches, Fluid Churches, Organic Churches, House Churches or Neighborhood Churches?
Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?
What is Worship? 
Evangelistic Trips to Already Christianized Countries
Fraternities, Sororities, Masonic Lodge 
Was Cassie Bernall a Martyr?
Some Awesome Things heard in the Lamentations Service (Good Friday evening) during Holy Week

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church

 

On the “still, small voice” and Charismatic sign gifts

Most denominations seem to agree that God speaks to people in a still, small voice.  But I don’t think He uses Pat Robertson-style words of knowledge/wisdom that you sit there and actively seek.  The techniques sound like New Age meditation to me, and I don’t trust that it’s always God speaking.

I’ve heard that the Early Church Fathers teach to beware of things you think the Holy Spirit is telling you, until you reach an extremely high level of spiritual discernment which is beyond the reach of most people.

A website on such things has a good rule of thumb, to just let God decide when to speak and how: Demonology, the forbidden subject.  The “possessed” section is a good place to start (“How does one get possessed?”), but the subject is mentioned here and there throughout the webpage.

Considering the trouble that these “sign gifts” have gotten me in, such as making me think God wanted me to marry guys who were totally wrong for me, these days I’m wary of anything that even sounds like them.

Now, where does Pat Robertson get these words of knowledge from?  I’ve wondered about this for some time.  One possibility is that he has a familiar spirit.

Or, it has been charged, he and Benny Hinn get them the same way stage hypnotists and stage psychics get their information on audience members: Benny Hinn: Healer or Hypnotist? by Joe Nickel

(And Pat Robertson has been called a prophet?  My only excuse for believing what he said back in the 80s and early 90s: I was a naïve teenager who believed anything Christian adults told me!  I began to lose faith in him when he prophesied that Bush would win in ’92, and Bush lost to Clinton.  That showed him to be a false prophet (Deut. 18:21-22).)

This webpage not only describes many different denominations in their own words, but also describes faith healers Benny Hinn and Peter Popoff as fakes.

Also see here, where I go into more detail about Pat Robertson, and about how charismatic sign gift teachings greatly harmed my judgment in college.

My understanding is that biblical references to words of knowledge/wisdom are about knowledge and wisdom on spiritual matters, not about getting little messages on what career you should have or something that’s going on in another town.

Pat’s teachings on words of knowledge/wisdom said that everybody could get them (the prophecy version), and over time “your track record will improve.”

He’d sit there during the daily 700 Club prayers, and say, “Somebody’s being healed of blindness,” or “Somebody who needs $5000 will get it.”  Not only did he claim to be hearing these things from God in his spirit, but his co-host shared in these words as well.

Unless someone calls in with a story of a healing, you don’t know what’s really happened.  I always wondered why I never got one of these “words.”  He’d say someone was being healed of nearsightedness, but it never meant me.

Why would the co-host participate in this?  I suspect the co-host is innocently following along with her svengali Pat, but is actually getting these “words” from herself, not from God–since it’s hard to tell the difference between a “still, small voice” and yourself.  The power of suggestion is strong, especially from a charismatic leader.

Some webpages on Pat’s “words of knowledge”:

700 Club video of Pat’s word of knowledge connected with a healing of ear pain

Pat Robertson Explains Faith Healing

Let Us Reason Ministries quotes,

A former employee describes Robertson’s “Word of Knowledge” performance in James Randi’s book, “The Faith Healers:” “There was nothing “mystical” to understand; it was simply “statistical”. Robertson’s little faith-healing procedure is a charade — he simply “calls out” an illness and predicts its cure, and with millions of viewers the statistical probabilities are that someone will have the disease named and that they will naturally recover. People put their faith in the belief that God speaks to Pat. (James Randi, The Faith Healers, 1989, p.201)

While I don’t agree with James Randi’s cynicism he has spoken for the numerous people that watch and can see through the antics that are presented as genuine Christianity and the power of God.

“(Gerry) Straub relates a non-miracle he witnessed while still a believer in the ministry he worked for. He describes Robertson, at the close of a “700 Club” videotaping, shaking hands with members of the studio audience:

“He stopped when he reached a man sitting in a wheelchair … Pat … laid hands on him as everyone prayed for healing … at Pat’s urging the man stood up. The people cheered as the man took a couple of very shaky, small steps. While everyone applauded God, I feared the man might fall.

The next day we showed the nation the miracle (on the “700 Club” broadcast). I simply wanted to know if the old man in the wheelchair was permanently healed by God or if he temporarily thought that he was healed.

A few weeks later I had an assistant track down the man’s family in order to see if the cure had lasted. He had died 10 days after his visit to [the Christian Broadcasting Network]. We reported his “healing” but not his death. (James Randi, The Faith Healers, 1989, p.201)

How The 700 Club describes these words:

Q: Your Word of Knowledge on The 700 Club brings healing to so many people. I love to participate in your prayers. Can I learn to receive words of healing from God, too? There are several people in my church who want to bring healing prayers to others. Where do I start?

A: You bet you can get a Word of Knowledge. These gifts are for everyone who believes.

The unique thing about the gifts of the Holy Spirit is they are given freely, and they are given at the point in time of baptism. So don’t go around saying, “I don’t have this gift.” You have it.

What you need to do is start practicing how to use it. So go into the meeting, and when you’re in a group, a prayer meeting, or church meeting, ask God some questions. He’s waiting for you. “You have not, because you ask not.” So ask Him, not for the gift, because He’ll say, “Well, I’ve already given that to you.”

Ask Him, “Who do you want to heal today?” Or “What sickness do you want to heal today?” Or “Do you have a Word for me for this person?” One of my favorite Bible verses is, “Many are your thoughts, O Lord, towards us.” I can’t even number them.

Ask God, “What’s one of your thoughts for this person I’m praying for? What do you think about them? What do you want me to do to encourage them?” And realize it’s encouragement, comfort, and exhortation. It’s not judgment. Judgment isn’t part of that gift. Anyway, there is a whole lot to that. —Bring it on: Sickness and Healing

I have found no evidence of sweet Sheila Walsh (Christian rock/pop star in the 80s and now with various ministries) deliberately setting out to deceive the American public.  In fact, I keep finding bloggers who hate Robertson but loved Sheila.

The Lutheran church (which is not into such terminology as “God laid on my heart,” “such-and-such is on the heart of God” or “God coming into the room,” as written by Don Matzat in the Promise Keepers article noted above) also says that Christ meets us through Word and Sacrament.

It says that any spirit which uses another vehicle (such as a “meditative altered state of consciousness in order to make contact with God”) is from the devil (Don Matzat, paraphrasing Martin Luther, The Intrusion of Psychology into Christian Theology).

For more on the Lutheran view, also see Gifts of the SpiritThe Charismatic Movement and Lutheran Theology Part 1,  and The Charismatic Movement and Lutheran Theology Part 2.

Luther’s Small Catechism states that,

The Scriptures do not teach, however, that God will necessarily give all Christians in every time and place special miraculous gifts.  The Holy Spirit bestows His blessings according to His good pleasure. . . .

In popular English, the word charismatic describes a dynamic person, highly emotional worship, or claims of special miraculous gifts.

But the Greek word charisma means simply ‘gift’ and refers, for example, to Christ’s whole work of salvation (Rom. 5:15-16), to eternal life (Rom. 6:23), and to being married or single (1 Cor. 7:7). –(p. 151-2)

The Orthodox view of the gifts of the Spirit: The Holy Spirit and His Varieties of Gifts by Rev. George Mastrantonis.  The article contrasts the New Testament gift of tongues with the modern Charismatic version.  Quotes:

The gift of the ‘utterance of wisdom’ means the deeper understanding of the Will of God and mysteries of salvation; the ‘utterance of knowledge’ means the good sense of knowledge; ‘faith’ means the supernatural achievements through the Spirit; ‘healing’ means the ability to heal various sicknesses; ‘working of miracles’ means supernatural achievements; ‘prophesy’ means the miracle in the form of preaching; ‘ability to distinguish between spirits’ means being able to distinguish between good and evil spirits by which various spiritual expressions exist; ‘various kinds of tongues’ means the gift of speaking in many dialects of which the meaning is known only to him who speaks them, not even an interpreter; ‘interpretation of tongues’ means the ability to interpret the language of the speaker of ‘tongues’ to the people who do not understand what is being said….

The ‘speaking in tongues’ in the New Testament as described above is far different from the new glossolalia, tongues movement, of today. Although the word, glossolalia, is a term which was lately adopted, in the 19th century, the phenomenon of speaking in tongues is very ancient, as mentioned before.

The difference is that in the past, and especially in the Bible, the speaking in tongues was the speaking of a human foreign language, which could be understood directly or through an interpreter. Glossolalia today has another meaning entirely.

Nor should it be associated with the Pentecostal Church, either. This new movement of glossolalia of today started in 1960 with an Episcopal priest in California. This movement has flourished, but not without opposition.

The point of this movement of glossolalia is that the ‘tongues’ are not human languages, but inarticulated speech. Some claim it is gibberish foolish sounds; others say not.

All agree that from a linguistic point glossolalia is not a human language, for one cannot identify any positive language being spoken, and there is no evidence that the glossolalia contains actual speech.

Despite the claim of the members of this movement, they cannot provide any case to stand up under scientific investigation.

Another good Orthodox article: Speaking in Tongues/Miracles by Fr. John Matusiak.  Quotes:

Concerning the gifts of the Holy Spirit and specifically speaking in new tongues, I offer the following observations: While the Orthodox Church does not deny this gift in any way, it does acknowledge that this gift is rarely given, spontaneous, and only evident in cases of need….

If everyone speaks the same language, what is being revealed? If what is uttered is not intelligible to the hearers, what is being communicated?…

If it is a way of showing who in a congregation is filled with the Holy Spirit and who isn’t, it constitutes heresy, for the Holy Spirit is everywhere present and fills all things, including those individuals who have been created in God’s image and likeness yet who reject the very notion. Scripture is very clear that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are never to become sources of personal pride….

With regard to miracles, surely there can be no end to the age of miracles, for God is present everywhere and at all times in the midst of His people. This in itself is a miracle.

If, however, by miracles we are referring only to physical healings, flashing lights, unexplained phenomena, and the like, then we may very well be disappointed. Christ Himself condemned those who continually wished to see signs, or miracles. And Scripture is clear that even those who witnessed miracles with their own eyes often rejected that which they had experienced.

There’s a bunch of information here about charismatic sign gifts, from one Orthodox writer’s point of view (Fr. Seraphim Rose): Charismatic Revival as a Sign of the Times.  (Keep in mind that this is one writer; it is not the “official Orthodox view” to be so scathing of Protestants and Catholics, or of Christian rock.)

It can be said that the Charismatic Movement is actually a rebirth of an old heresy, Montanism–and it has also been said by Charismatics that Montanism was “a revival, not a heresy!”  You be the judge:

History of sect from Pentecostal point of view

Wikipedia description of Montanism

The Pepuzians or the Montanists

Catholic Encyclopedia article on Montanism

An Orthodox Priest’s view of Montanism

This article by Cooper Abrams explains how speaking of tongues, as practiced in charismatic churches, is nothing but gibberish.  It also explains how suggestible people can be in church:

Clearly, some people are more susceptible that others to having a what can be referred to as a psychological experience. For example some people are easily hypnotized and others are not susceptible to suggestion.

Some people are more emotional than others, which means that some can control their emotions in a greater way than others.

A crowd of people can be stimulated or emotionally whipped up. It can be easily observed at rock music concerts, sports events, and rallies of all sorts.

Rhythmic music, singing, and/or chanting can have a great influence on people and strongly effect their emotions. Some preachers preach in a rhythmic style and can captivate their audience.

All these common experiences show that people can be stimulated mentally to act in unusual ways.

I used to know a guy with a deep, sonorous voice which easily charmed me.   He knew how to hypnotize, and also used to be a Foursquare preacher, who was very popular, rising in the ranks, and could have become a famous TV preacher if he wanted to.

But his lifestyle had been full of sin, even in Bible college, and he told me that he faked speaking in tongues for the congregation!  I thought he had since repented, only to find he was probably a sociopath.  This is a real-life example of the danger congregations are in.

Written around 2005/2006

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

Tithing 
End Times and Christian Zionism 
God’s Purpose/Supremacy of God Doctrine 
Cat and Dog Theology 
Raising One’s Hands in Worship 
Christian Music 
On the “still, small voice” and Charismatic sign gifts
On church buildings 
The Message Bible 
The Purpose-Driven Life 
The Relevance Doctrine, i.e. Marketing Churches to Seekers 
Republican Party 
Abortion Protests 
Creation 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation
Miscellaneous 

Page 2:

Name it and Claim It Doctrine, Prosperity Doctrine, Faith-Formula Theology, Word-Faith Theology,  Positive Confession Theology, Health and Wealth Gospel, and whatever else they call it
More about Pat Robertson
Dr. Richard Eby and others who claim to have been to Heaven
Women in Marriage/the Church
Spiritual Abuse 
Other Resources 

Page 3:

Why do bad things happen?
Should we criticize our brethren’s artistic or evangelistic attempts?  Or, how should we evangelize, then?
Angels: Is “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti a divine revelation or fiction?
Halloween: Not the Devil’s Holiday!
Hell and the Nature of God 
Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday? 
Is everybody going to Hell except Christians?
How could a loving God who prohibits murder, command the genocide of the Canaanite peoples? 
What about predestination?
Musings on Sin, Salvation and Discipleship 
An Ancient View which is in the Bible, yet new to the west–Uncreated Energies of God

Page 4:

Dialogues
The Didache 
Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go? 
Are Spiritual Marriages “real”?  (also in “Life” section, where it’s more likely to be updated) 
Does the Pill cause abortions, or is that just another weird Internet or extremist right-wing rumor?
What about Missional Churches, Simple Churches, Fluid Churches, Organic Churches, House Churches or Neighborhood Churches?
Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?
What is Worship? 
Evangelistic Trips to Already Christianized Countries
Fraternities, Sororities, Masonic Lodge 
Was Cassie Bernall a Martyr?
Some Awesome Things heard in the Lamentations Service (Good Friday evening) during Holy Week

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church

College-Style Living–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–February 1995, Part 9

In my second letter to Cugan, I used a more familiar tone.  I made no secret of my attraction to him, though I didn’t talk about it much.  After all, now he knew how I felt about him, and he already knew Catherine was planning a movie night to get us together.

One night around this time, Krafter and Sharon left Stimpy alone with me and went off by themselves, which was agreeable for all of us.  I took Stimpy to the Muskie for dinner.

I had fun showing him the campus and the Muskie.  There was probably a commercial on the TV for Step by Step or Family Matters, or else one of them was playing, and Stimpy said how much he hated those shows.  I said I used to watch them, but didn’t anymore.  (They were okay when I was still in my late teens, but around twenty they began to seem lame.)

I also showed him the campus to get him to want to come to Roanoke.  He’d never gone to college before, and some of us were trying to convince him to.  If he did, though, I hoped he wouldn’t join the Zetas.  Wouldn’t that just beat all?  (Peter was a Zeta, Phil had just joined, and now Charles was pledging–Charles!)

I talked with him a little about my relationship with Phil, that it was “borderline abusive.”  I told him we got engaged too quickly.

As you’ve seen, I had a tendency of getting engaged (officially or unofficially) after dating a guy for only about two months.  Then the relationship crashed and burned, and I soon discovered that this “perfect man” was SOOOO not the person for me.

“Next time,” I said, “I want to wait at least six months before getting engaged.”  He agreed this was a good idea.  (And no, there was no hinting here.  I didn’t even think of referring to marrying Stimpy, and I don’t think he took it that way.)

I carried out this resolve: Cugan’s first proposal was after about eight months, which I didn’t accept, and his next was after about ten months.  (I get the impression that modern generations find even this too “fast,” even “creepy,” but in those days, there was nothing seen wrong with it.)

****

Though far away from everything else on campus except the two scary-dorms, living in the apartment was liberating.  With the kitchen and the occasional Friday late-night grocery run with my friends, I could make lunch or dinner when need be.  I even had frozen treats sometimes.

So on weekends I could sleep in and then make my own lunch, instead of getting up at 11 or 11:30 so I could shower and get lunch before they closed the doors to the cafeteria line.  I often slept until somewhere between noon and one.

And on weeknights, especially Tuesdays or Thursdays, when my roommies were out and I went online for hours after class, I could either choose to get off and go to dinner before the cafeteria closed, or simply make up some Spaghetti-o’s, eat them in front of the computer, and keep talking with my Stimpy or with Krafter et al.  There was also my frozen chicken to zap in the microwave (like I did my Spaghetti-o’s), or my mac and cheese.

TCB was addictive, and my favorite users would come online around dinnertime.  Once, I used up all of my daily allotted five hours, and next time I spoke to Stimpy online, he said, “See?” because I discovered just how easy it was to use up all those hours.

One night I told Stimpy I was eating a Mississippi Mud ice cream sandwich in front of the computer for dessert.  He typed, “Mmmmm! Can I have some?”  So I gave him a cyber-Mississippi Mud.  People online liked to feed each other cyber-food when someone said he was hungry.  Krafter had his “pizzia delivery.”  You could go into the games menu, order a sausage, pepperoni or smurf (blue) “pizzia,” and a few minutes later it showed up onscreen in primitive pixel art.

My roommates introduced me to the wonders of stove-heated s’mores.  I thought you had to roast the marshmallows on a stick over a fire, but my roommies knew you could stick them on skewers and hold them over a heated burner on a stove.  It didn’t have to be a gas burner with a flame: Even electric coils could heat up the marshmallow.  I began making them all the time.

My roommates and I didn’t bake much, but sometimes Astrid came over and baked something, such as cookies.  We often smelled delicious odors wafting from the apartment above ours, and were jealous because they cooked more often than we did.  We wondered what they were cooking, and wanted some of whatever it was.

Our appliances still got much use, however.  Nuking Spaghetti-Os in the microwave or, in my case, cooking Kraft Macaroni and Cheese at the stove were done quite a lot.  I wasn’t the only one making my own lunch on weekends: Pearl often got up between noon and one or two.

I had been keeping up with Beverly Hills 90210, which I always called “Beverly Hills” while everybody else called it “90210.”  But lately it was too boring.

I’d do other things, such as ironing, while it was on, and barely pay attention to it.  Brenda was gone, Andrea was having problems with her new husband and looking at divorce, there was no couple I really cared about, their view of college life was unlike anything I’d ever experienced, Brandon had turned into a nice but “I’m cool and I know it” type of person, Dylan never got back together with Brenda even though everybody wanted him to, and Dylan and Kelly made an awful pair, totally mismatched.  Kelly and Brandon began to like each other, and that seemed more believable to me.

The show had gotten too soap-opery.  The couples would never stay together, so it wasn’t worthwhile to care about any of them.  Brandon and Kelly looked good together, but they were still hard to care about.  The Minnesota kids had turned into just Brandon, and he had become totally Beverly Hills.  His parents didn’t even show up anymore, and they’d helped make it “real.”

It was sad because, at the very beginning of the year, the show got interesting again: Dylan had a near-death experience and the episode was mystical, weird and cool.  The actor playing Dylan was now directing and said he would make it less soap-opery, more like it used to be.  But apparently he had little success with this.  It wasn’t long before I stopped watching for good.

Stimpy said he chose the handle “Stimpy” “when Ren and Stimpy were still cool” and Beavis and Butthead hadn’t taken their place.  Of course, people always said to him online, “Steempy, you EEdiot!” just like Ren.  He joked about taking away the privileges of people who liked to do that and thought it was funny.

Krafter and Stimpy went to an Mystery Science Theater 3000 convention in late 1994 I think.  Many people were in costume.  Someone was dressed like the Head That Wouldn’t Die.  An older woman even came on to Stimpy, which was really weird to him.

I often called up registries for people I knew or didn’t know but saw online.  Nearly everyone, including me, and especially the guys, listed alternative as their favorite music.  I wondered if alternative was “geek music” just as Mountain Dew was the “geek drink.”

One of the younger teenagers online really liked Sharon.  He kept logging in with new names, and one day, Sharon logged on to find Son of Ziggy.  It was this boy.  She thought it cute.  Krafter found out about it, though, and killed his account because the users weren’t supposed to use all sorts of different names like that.

Since the demo class allowed for full use of the system in those days, a person could use one name until it ran out of credits, then log in with a different name, and never pay money to Crystal Dragon (CD).  CD didn’t like this, of course.

CD, the sysop, was about thirty, with a wife and a new arrival: a cute wiener-puppy, Peanut.  CD joked about him online.  He presided over a BBS full of mostly teenagers, some of whom would bully and verbally abuse others, then complain “freedom of speech!” when CD forced them to stop.

Stimpy and I could get into conversations on Beavis and Butthead or personal things, but trying to start one with him on almost everything else didn’t work.  We just didn’t have enough in common.  We could meet on lowbrow humor, but that wasn’t enough to establish a long-term relationship.

He was also agnostic.  As long as we weren’t serious, his lack of religion didn’t matter, but in time it could.  (I was not supposed to marry people who were not Christians.)

I knew early on that there would be a breakup, though I didn’t start dating him with this on my mind.  I knew it would be soon, and that I would probably be the one to do it.  I knew it would make me sad.  The only consolation was that, for once, a breakup would be my idea and not the guy’s.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

 

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