Someone left this as a comment on a different post but I thought I would repost it here where more people might see it….
“How many folks on here have been rebaptised after leaving the Holdeman’s?”
Someone left this as a comment on a different post but I thought I would repost it here where more people might see it….
“How many folks on here have been rebaptised after leaving the Holdeman’s?”
I received the following email from a concerned reader and thought it was worth passing on. I inquired and was given specific names and information, which I will not post here, but I will say that all of it matches up with other very credible information that I have received over the last year or two from other people. Please feel free to comment, and corroborate or dispute the information in the following message.
12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.
16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
7 In that day shall he swear, saying, I will not be an healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: make me not a ruler of the people.
8 For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory.
9 The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.
10 Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
11 Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.
12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.
13 The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.
14 The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
15 What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts.
16 Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:
17 Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.
18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,
19 The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,
20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,
21 The rings, and nose jewels,
22 The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,
23 The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.
24 And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.
25 Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.
26 And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God
Micah 6:6-8 Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
What does God require? The answer is clear. He wants us to do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with him. This is pleasing to him. In the verses above, the examples of efforts to please him are given; coming before him with burnt offerings, thousands of rams, or ten thousand rivers of oil…the offering of the first born for our transgressions….But no, these will not do. No matter how hard we try with outward shows of devotion, God will not be pleased. He wants it to be a matter of our hearts.
Why then is it that so many requirements are made of people? A more careful keeping of this doctrine or that one is shown as being desirable to God. He does not care. These regulations start with what appear to be small things and escalate to much larger ones, but all must be kept. If one is a woman, it is important the the bodice of your dress is attached to the skirt. The blouse must not be separate or of a different color, and tucked in. It must be attached. The print of the fabric must not be too “loud.” If one is a man, apparently great importance is attached to the beard. There are scriptures put forth in order to justify this supposedly mandatory statute. Never mind that in the passages where this injunction is put forth, it is also commanded that a man should be put to death for lying with the wrong woman, among other strict rules. The men were being told that they were not to follow the ways of the pagan priests, who carved their beards into distinctive shapes. It was not a commandment for all ages that a man must wear a beard of a certain style and shape in order to be pleasing to God.
In all of these Old Testament laws God was putting forth an effort to control a disobedient and savage people who were not under the power of the Holy Spirit. He was also laying the groundwork for his Son Jesus Christ to come and live a life that was in contrast to the law. Without the law there would be no doing away with the law and no entrance of grace. The law was the schoolmaster that brought us to Christ, Paul said. It was not meant to control us and condemn us forever. When did we forget this?
There are many other laws that are focused on. A more strict holding of the avoidance. A more careful adherence to the holy kiss. Let us take a look at these two things. Why such a focus on the holding of the avoidance? What we are seeing is an effort to enforce the walls and the boundaries, not bring erring ones to repentance. The best way to do this is to demonize anyone who has departed and to force loved ones to cut such out of their lives. Whether or not there is any redemptive quality to this action is not the point. The point is that the members are being forced to erect higher and stronger walls between themselves and those who are without. The holy kiss is a nice thing, if you want to look at it that way. “Greet one another with a kiss of peace,” Paul said. He was instructing the people to give a warm greeting to one another, not creating a rule that must be adhered to at any cost. These secret signs of belonging are employed by many cults and secret societies. God forbid that any true follower of Christ would indulge in such worldly practices and claim that God is pleased with him because of it. I do not intend to demean the scriptures alluding to this practice, but I am saying that it has been misused to create another wall or boundary, another means for disciplining, another law that can be broken. This was never the intention. Paul came preaching grace, not law. Why are we missing this?
The laws pile up. How to dress. What to drive. How to live. Which songs to sing and how to sing them. How to conduct almost every aspect of ones daily affairs. And yet strange things happen. Word came to me about a group of youth boys who vacationed over New Years in South Beach, Miami. This is a mecca of pleasure and debauchery. Topless beaches and homosexual bars are the norm. These boys were apparently the sons of preachers and deacons. I have heard countless stories of families who depart for the mountains or the beaches for the Christmas holidays, spending huge amounts of money to rent beautiful accommodations for up to a week. At these upscale destinations the church members shop and dine and partake of the entertainment (on a limited scale of course) that these places offer in abundance. Church members vacation in Hawaii, Mexico and Jamaica. They go forth in their “plain” garb so that they might be a light and a witness in these worldly vacation spots. This is all fine, or so it seems, but they must come under the gun at revivals. When the revival ministers come there will be grilling about private sexual thoughts and required testimonies about one’s love for the church. Almost anything goes as long as one adheres to a proper keeping of the avoidance and the practice of kissing people of the same gender on the lips. The logic of this escapes me.
The scripture from Micah that I quoted above comes as the era of the Old Testament law was drawing to a close. After all of the laws, all of the sacrificing, all of the rivers of blood and oil, the people still had not gotten the message. God wants our hearts. He always has. He always will. He cares not for denominational affiliation. He cares not for our clothing or hairstyles. Whether you kiss your brother or sister on the lips in greeting probably does not concern him, although I would say he might possibly view it with alarm. Do you not realize that one can keep the law and feel proud for doing it, and yet your heart can be filthy? Why do you worship the preacher and seek his approval for the smallest things that you do? Why do you feel so pleased with yourselves when he smiles and nods proudly and commends you for seeking direction from him? Can you not discern when someone is arrogant and lifted up? Seek God and his approval. Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. This is scripture. This is truth. There is nothing more required of you. Love God with all of your heart. Do good to your fellow man. Be like Jesus. Let truth, justice, mercy and love mark all of your ways. Look at the preacher with clear eyes, eyes that have been fixed on Jesus and if he condemns you for breaking one of his laws, smile and walk away. His power over you is a lie. When you deny it in a calm and quiet manner you take all the power from him and he is left standing naked and condemned. I am tired of seeing otherwise intelligent and capable men and women give their power away to men of judgment and law. Please stop this my friends. Read the bible and see what it really is that God requires of you. As a side note, let me add: DO NOT READ THE BIBLE DOCTRINE AND PRACTICE OR MIRROR OF TRUTH AS A MEANS OF KNOWING THE MIND OF GOD. YOU ARE SURE TO BE LED ASTRAY IF YOU DO. You can read these books for any other reason than to be told how to live. These are books of law and order, not books of how to please God. Please people, wake up and shake yourselves, the days are evil and we must be strong.
I have been thinking about the capacity of the Holdemans to indulge in rejection and hurt, which in turn leads to a great deal of chaos and destruction as it regards a community of inter-related people. Why, why do they believe that the walls that they put up between people…family members, former church members, etc. are a good thing? Do they understand AT ALL what Jesus taught and what his message was all about? All efforts should be made to create unity and peace, not destruction and damage.
I have been made aware of a movement that took place in Sierra Leone after the civil war in the 1990s. Consider these numbers and facts: A special criminal court tried 13 people for war crimes at a cost of 20 million dollars. Nine of these were found guilty. Blanket amnesty was given to all others who were not captured and tried. Because of this, many people who had joined with the rebels were allowed to return home to their villages after the war where they mingled among the people upon whom they had committed atrocities.
In comparison, a grassroots peace and reconciliation movement began in the villages that had been decimated by war. In these villages, as the war progressed, three things happened to the occupants. One, they packed their meager possessions and hit the road, escaping, at great peril, to neighboring countries until it was safe to return home. Two, they stayed and tried to survive the war, which was not a wise move, as many of them were slaughtered. Three, they joined the rebels. After the war when people began to return home, they found themselves mingling together with former rebels, those who had been amputated and raped (favorite tactics of the rebels in that conflict), as well as the exhausted and displaced refugees who had returned. They tried to co-exist, but it was a very difficult situation. Then comes the truth and reconciliation movement. In this effort, 1 million dollars were spent, 55 villages were visited, and 600 war criminals found peace and reconciliation with their friends and families.
It is easy to look upon these citizens of an extremely poor and backward country as primitive and far below us in social and spiritual development, but they teach a lesson that we can learn from. They stated that even though they were living together in the same villages with the rebels who had received amnesty, there was no peace between them. If they met them walking on the path, or found themselves working nearby them in the fields, they were filled with fear and anger. They recognized that this is no way to live with neighbors. They wanted reconciliation. In the past they had been accustomed to community meetings where people were allowed to air their grievances and restore harmony to the community. It was a daring move to bring the truth and reconciliation movement to these villages and ask the victims to be reconciled with their abusers. The way this played out is that there were village meetings which took place around fires at night. The entire community was gathered around the fire and one who had been wronged would step forward to voice a complaint. One young woman came out and said that she had been raped by 15 men and that her uncle had been among them. She said “As young as I was, he had a mind to rape me. He is here tonight. I would like to hear from him.” The man stepped forward and prefaced his apology with an excuse, as did every single one of the perpetrators who were asking for forgiveness. He said he was forced by the rebels, whom he had been forced to join, to participate in this evil act. Then he asked his niece if she could forgive him. He bowed in front of her and begged her forgiveness. She readily forgave him and they embraced. This happened over and over. One young man had been forced to beat his best friend nearly to death. He refused and his friends father was brought forth and the young man was given a knife and told to kill the father, and told that if he did not, he would be killed. He cut the man’s throat with a knife and then he proceeded to beat his friend with the sticks that he had been given. He stated that in his heart he believed that his friend would forgive him because surely he could see that he had been forced. The two young men were now living together in the village but there was bitterness and fear between them. When the one who had done the beating came forward and begged forgiveness on his knees from his friend, they embraced, and began to dance with their arms around one another, singing happily. Even after that, the young man who had done the beating was remorseful and said he still felt so guilty. His friend said “it’s ok, it will take time for you to understand it, but I forgive you.” Later they walked off down the path together, the one who had been beaten limping and leaning on a cane. The other young man stopped and allowed him to climb on his back and they continued on, the perpetrator carrying the victim on his back, laughing and singing.
One young woman had watched the rebels, her own brother among them, enter a house where 15 family members were hiding. He brought them out one by one, beat them to death and beheaded them. She was then given the bag of heads and asked to carry them to a deep water hole where dead bodies were disposed of. She was asked to open the bag and dump the heads and identify the heads of her children before she dumped them in. She had lived with this horror for years. Her brother could not be found and was presumed to be dead, but the captain who had given the orders was located and at first he vehemently denied his involvement. However, after viewing a video of the woman pleading for reconciliation, he broke down and admitted his wrongdoing. He begged forgiveness. He said that for the last 10 years he had only been existing, not living. He said “I have something to confess. I need peace and I want my conscience to be clear. Forgive me for what I did. I’m sorry and I beg for forgiveness for what I did. For the development of peace, forgive me.”
Which Holdeman minister has ever made such a speech? When has there ever been an open meeting where those who are cast out from their society are able to reconcile with their families and members of their communities? I don’t recall it ever happening. Instead, enforced shunning is in place. It is commanded to be stronger harder, meaner and more cruel all the time. Instead of ways to find peace and reconciliation, they look for ways to alienate people further. What do a primitive and poverty stricken people know that we do not? They understand that EVERYONE suffers when there are deep wounds in a community that are not healed. They have a saying..”There is no bad bush where you can throw a bad child,” or “There is no place where you can throw away a bad child.” Do you understand what this means? If you have a wayward or even a really bad child, there is no place far away enough or bad enough where you can get rid of it. A child is always a part of the community. You cannot do away with him/her. Consider this proverb from these people…”The family tree bends, but it does not break.” You cannot do away with your loved ones. They are always there, just within the periphery of your vision, agonized, hurting, alone, causing hurt to the entire community. No matter how hard you shun, no matter how far away you throw them, you are not rid of them, and they are not suffering alone. You are suffering. You are wounded. Most often, the one who has been thrown away is not the one who has been the aggressor. Very often, there is a cruel and proud minister or group of ministers who have dealt unkindly with this individual, figuratively raping them, amputating them, and beheading them. Atrocities are committed that are never healed. Sometimes people return to the village and are given a sort of amnesty, but because the wounds are never really healed, the peace is uneasy.
The Sierra Leonians said “Anything can be achieved if we come together collectively.” Why do we as civilized, advanced people find it so hard to understand this? Why is reconciliation and true peace so far from us? Why are there so many hurting people, fractured families, why is the village so damaged? Why do we meet on the path and avert our eyes or step aside? Why is there fear and mistrust? Why do we hurt one another? Why do we not humble ourselves and bow before a brother or sister whom we have hurt, and beg their forgiveness, in front of the rest of the community?
I am asking that anyone who has access to one of the expelled ministers pass this on to them. Encourage them to seek reconciliation with those they have harmed, if in fact there are those. If any who are expelled have done harm to others, family members and such….please, ask forgiveness in humility, in love, and spread this wonderful message of reconciliation. Let us experience the same kind of love and restoration that these primitive people are enjoying. Amputation, rape, beheading…what crime or sin is to big to be forgiven? Why did Jesus die? Was it not so that we could forgive? As he was dying he begged his father to forgive his tormentors, as an example of how we are to behave.
Why, oh why, do primitive people know more about this than people who presumably have ALL THE TRUTH? What are our excuses? I want to see reconciliation and peace. As the people around the fire said, “What’s done is done, it can’t be changed, and what is there to be gained by continuing to hate?” http://www.sierraleonetrc.org/
Peace and Love
Dear Brother Errol, I invite you to come here and discuss your writings with me. There is much error in your writing, and I apologize but I must point it out. However, I would never do it without being willing to engage in honest debate with you. I am going to dispute your Messenger article, but would never do so without inviting you to rebut my rebuttal. Here goes.
Yes, you use a little scripture. But only to point out that Satan is indeed deceptive, and that he comes as an angel of light. I will go through the article by paragraphs, pointing out the lies and subtle deception. Subtle if you are already deceived but not so much if you are capable of understanding truth. He begins by mentioning the first part of Genesis, where Adam and Eve are tempted to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Very often this is misunderstood. People believe Eve ate of the tree of good and evil. Actually, she ate of the tree of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil. After this she knew right from wrong. Forever after this, mankind was bound to judge and make rules, each rule that he made somehow setting him apart from others whom he saw as wrong. This was the beginning of legalism and performance-based religion. This is where men began to size up other men and punish them as they saw fit. God understood that now man was of a mind to judge and make rules so he therefore set up the law. If you want law, then this is what I will give you, he said. Subsequently he set up the ten commandments and the six hundred and thirty some ceremonial laws. We all know that it was impossible for any man to keep all of these laws perfectly, hence the arrival of Jesus Christ on the scene. He had a task, and that was to live the law in perfection. Despite all of the efforts of the Pharisees to trap him and cause him to sin, he carried out his task, which culminated in them actually killing him in order that the law might be preserved. They loved it this much. Jesus fulfilled the law. It no longer binds us. That is not to say it is unimportant, for he says that he did not come to destroy it. The law is beautiful. The Hebrew word that is translated “law” is actually “teaching.” The teaching was complete with the life and death of Christ. Those who still cling to the law, whichever one they see fit to institute, are doing away with the work of Christ. I will leave you to contemplate the implications of this.
Errol does not seem to realize that as he passes judgment on others that he is actually weaving the net that ensnares himself. He says that while over the years the evil spirits of Satan have not changed, he is now presenting them in a more subtle form. How very true. There was a day when an article was written that was almost exactly like this, back in the 70′s, except that it was entitled “The Foreign Spirit.” I have a copy of it in my archives somewhere and when I’m of a mind to go to the effort I will dig it up and present it in a side by side manner with this one and the letter that was recently sent out detailing the intricacies of surrender. They read almost exactly the same, as these men endeavor (acting as Pharisees) to weave a net that will entrap all those who are desiring to walk in the spirit of Jesus Christ. They say things like “Those who are captured in this spirit” and so on. Those who are captured in this spirit have one overriding factor in common and that is that they testify of a walk with the Lord, which those of the law claim does not vibrate with the spirit that is within them. This is ingrained in the people. If you testify of a walk with the Lord and the Pharisees have not put the stamp of approval on it, you have a foreign spirit. The terror of having an individual walk with the Lord is unspeakable. People, wake up. You are expected to have an individual walk with God, one that no man can take from you. The pride and exaltation of these men is beyond belief. In the second paragraph Errol says that an intellectual spirit is one of being as gods, knowing good and evil. How much does this apply to the ministry, as they set about defining good and evil for everyone who has ever walked on this planet? They have the laws and they are written down. Transgress one of them and you will be crucified, because the true flowing loving spirit of Jesus Christ must not be allowed to flourish. If it should, all control would be lost and the tightly defined boundaries of the Church of God in Christ Mennonite would fall apart, in much the same way that the Pharisees feared losing the temple worship and all of the rituals that made it so gratifying. Errol says that this spirit is a subtle spirit, it’s roots being held in pride. How true is this of the ministers? How much pride do we see in them, and how subtle is the fearful control that they wield over the people? Contemplate this at your leisure.
Moving along, we address the third paragraph. Jesus told the disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Say, take a look at that, would you? Who were the Pharisees? They were the leaders, the men with the long beards who held the law. They were the ones who put others out of the Synagogue (the fellowship of the people). They were the enforcers, the judges, the law-lovers. Errol do you realize here that you are speaking of yourself? You are the Pharisee. I hope I don’t hurt your feelings with this, but it is of such vital importance that I cannot spare you. You are judging people according to laws you have made. What car can people drive? What cell phone can they use? Can they take a picture with it? How must they trim the beard? What pattern and style can the ladies’ dresses be of? I’m all for order and decency, but Jesus did come to do away with these directives, you know. When his law, which is peace and joy, is written upon the heart of a believer, all that the believer does will be harmonious and beautiful, lending itself to the furtherance of the kingdom. No man can force this on another. But I forgot. Jesus does not enter this picture. I shudder in fear for you. Errol covers his tracks here by suggesting that this spirit is not easily detected. This is to warn the people that they may not see the wickedness of the man who is thus judged. The onlooker might say that they see nothing amiss. But be warned, a dreadful spirit is at work behind the scenes, leavening the lump. This spirit could cause you to go to hell if it is not rooted out, so please, stand behind us in this work, he is saying. We have the eyes to see; you do not. Trust us. Believe us implicitly. Bow to us. We know what is best for you. God has told us things that he is withholding from you. Oh my, the pride, the arrogance!
In the fourth paragraph he elaborates a bit more on this dreadful leaven, the spirit of intellectualism. He has already told us that the bible says to beware of the leaven of the Scribes and Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Now Errol is bidding you to beware of the leaven of intellectualism, which is pervading the brotherhood. He has removed himself from judgment, twisting the scripture ever so slightly so make it about the people, not the leaders. Shame on you, Errol. Once again, he warns that it is not easily detected. It can brew like yeast, for sometime, all apparently seeming well on the outside, all the while producing, like yeast, gases and such that are causing a puffing up and a pride. One day it will burst out fully grown and the damage will be too far progressed to contain. Yes, I can see that in you Errol, and friends. This leaven has gotten far out of hand, and you are out of control. I like the way you are exposing yourself thus, and as you say in this paragraph, all that has been hidden will be revealed. Here is the revealing, friends. There are no more secrets. This is being brought out into the open, and you have no reason to say you do not know who they are. They are Pharisees, puffed up with pride and self love. God have mercy.
Next paragraph; he says that this spirit desires to control the mind and the heart (no, Errol, you desire to control the mind and the heart). The one who is captured with this spirit has the ability to explain his relationship with God and bring a personal testimony, but it does not witness to the one who is led of the Holy Spirit. Errol, how about I tell you that what you are writing here does not witness to me, and I am led of the Holy Spirit. This has such a dull off-key ring to it that it hurts my ears. Who are you to decide who has the Holy Spirit, and who does not? And who is there to pass judgment on you? You have a distinctly off key ring. May I be the judge of you? What spirit has taken hold of you? I didn’t think you would like that idea. Pride and arrogance are the spirits I see here. A refusal to be held accountable by the people you are supposed to serve. You are supposed to be a servant, Errol, not an arrogant bully. You continue…One reason for this is that the one who has been captured with this spirit has been unwilling to yield his will to God. Let me pause here and make an observation. By your continued use of the words “captured by this spirit” you endeavor to instill fear and insecurity in the hearts of the people. To be captured by a spirit seems to indicate that one can be taken completely unaware, be sailing happily along, trusting God, relying on the voice that he speaks to you through the Holy Spirit, gaining wisdom and knowledge, and suddenly, POW, there you are captured. Ensnared. On the wrong road, going to hell instead of Holdeman heaven. Scary, no?
On we go. It may be hard to identify where the problem lies (no kidding) but something does not bear witness to the Spirit of God. (What, I must ask, does this mean? How does he know what bears witness to the Spirit of God. Very very dangerous ground, if you ask me.) He has allowed disobediences (great or small) in his life (ah yes, the small disobediences. Not poking out the camera on your cell phone. Not coming to a visit when called. Asking a question!) and, by reasoning, circumvented the real issue of a surrendered will. To the carnal man, it has a satisfying effect, because it does not bring conviction to the heart that something may be wrong.
Oh dear, where do I even start with this? First of all, why, oh why, is a man so bent on finding someone wrong? Why does a man not rejoice with another who is seeking the Lord, and even if there is something slightly amiss, why not work with him lovingly and tactfully to share the truth with him? Why oh why must you judge and condemn. I suspect it is because you are standing there eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You are not far from your mother Eve, desiring to know right from wrong so that you yourself may be a god, passing judgment on all others. Very sad state of affairs indeed.He goes on to say The spirit of intellectualism is born out of pride. The danger lies in the fact that pride is deceptive. (Errol, could it in fact be so deceptive that you cannot see where you yourself are caught up in it? Defining, implementing, judging, please stop here and take a look at yourself. Deceptive, indeed.) therefore, one does not see himself as God or his brethren see him. When pride produces an unforgiving or offended heart, it creates a fertile ground for an intellectual approach to Christian living. What he means to say here is that if you do not concur with their diagnosis of you, you are offended and unforgiving. They weave such an inescapable web for you. You have no option, if you want to go on with them, but to denounce the work of God in your heart, which is so very personal, and give yourself over to them. This is what the Pharisees attempted to do with Jesus. They killed him because he did not comply. Be aware that this is what they will do to you. Bow or die. How could there be any more intellectual approach than this, where every detail is defined, lined up according to good or bad, judged, viewed with a critical eye, and the poor victim is found guilty and hanged by the neck until dead. This is intellectual Christian living. Jesus came to set us free. May I suggest that there is not one single rule about how to live that another man can force on you? When Jesus came, he came to restore to the individual heart the perfection that was in the Garden of Eden before Eve bit into whatever fruit she wanted. The bible does not say it was an apple. Maybe it was a plant containing a psychedelic drug, such as DMT…the one they call the spirit molecule. Many of these psychedelic plant drugs minister a very spiritual experience to people, one where they are shown the secrets of the cosmos. Much of it is true, but it is a realm that we are not to enter, and yes, in this realm there is deception, and there is sin. Errol, maybe you are tripping. Get away from that tree. It is telling you bad things. Now I’m upset. He goes on to tell us that the 15th chapter of 1 Samuel gives us an example of intellectualism. In this chapter God gave clear instructions to Saul through Samuel as to what should be done to the Amalekites (should we insert the word Mennonites here?) God told Saul to “utterly destroy all that they have and spare them not but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass” Saul reasoned through this commandment, and coupled with an unyielding will, he came to a different understanding than God had given him. This seemed more convenient to him, and after all, he was going to offer sacrifices to God with the animals. The spirit of intellectualism will not lead one to the cross where the slaying of self takes place. it rather redirects one’s thinking so he will circumvent the cross. How do you like this, my friends. He takes this verse and he justifies cleansing the land of all who resist him, the infection must be wiped out, even if it causes the death of men, women, children and the suckling babe. If you think any mercy will be shown, or anyone spared, please contemplate this carefully. He pretends he is using it to say that each man individually must bring himself to the foot of the cross and utterly be destroyed personally, but I rather suspect he believes himself to be the messenger of God who directs the killing of all in the land who threaten the position he is trying to maintain. This is quite severe, is it not? He uses this chapter to define and justify his spirit of intellectualism. Let me make this one comment, Jesus came to set us free, not find us guilty at every turn. The law found people guilty. Grace and mercy set us free. Will you be free, or will you be bound by the law, always under the foot of man, who wishes to carry out his own agenda to cleanse the landscape of what he sees as evil? Ask yourself these questions. I’m growing weary of this and there are yet several paragraphs to go. Let me forge ahead here. He speaks of the wise and the foolish virgins and he does leave room that one does not to assume more than what the tenor of the scriptures would give (although this does not stop him) however, IT WOULD APPEAR that the foolish and the wise mingled in the society of that day, and there could even have been a blending in outward appearance and conduct. One big difference was that the foolish had the language of a believer but lacked the warmth of the love of God. Was the spirit of intellectualism governing their spirits? Oh, how subtle this spirit can be!
Yes, it is that season again. The one where the revival ministers rove the country side expelling and benching and withholding communion! In this cheery season of peace and good will, yet a few more ministers have been excommunicated from the fellowship. There are interesting charges against them, the most eye popping one being “a spirit of consolation and deep pride” which was laid at the feet of Newell Mininger. I’m rather astonished. How can this be? How can a minister be relieved of his anointing which came from God over such a strange and foreign accusation? What exactly did this man do? I understand that others have come under the cutlass, being severed and turned over to Satan that they might be destroyed. All that the soul could be saved in the day of judgment of course. An offended spirit. One of pride. One of laxness. One of questioning, doubting, intellectualism… I think when it’s all said and done it is about questioning the leaders, (whoever they might be) and failing to bend over and grab one’s ankles. I do find it ironic that it is a sin to be intellectual in this maelstrom of expelling, benching and withholding communion.
Yes, there have been a few recesses, although the boys were not allowed out to play. There have been people who have been spanked for the vehicles they drive, the pictures they view on the internet, the beady eye of a cell phone camera and much much more.
I find it quite disheartening. I had hoped that by now there would have been a revolt and those heavy handed ministers would have fallen back on the seat of their pants as the laity rose up in rebellion. But no. The potlucks are hard to give up. Mother does so love carpooling to school. Dad likes leading songs and counting the offering. Why should he suffer the loss of these things when all he has to do is bend a little farther. Pretty soon it all seems so right. It seems like the thing to do. I saw a fancy Holdeman woman out shopping in some sort of outlet store recently. She was wearing high heeled leather boots, a shiny black leather jacket and was trying handbags to see how they looked hanging off of her arm. Her little daughter was also in boots and a strange looking dress, the likes of which I have never seen before, not in any church or in the so called world. Very strange. At that moment I wished I had power to expel and shun, for this surely is deserving of punishment. The small black cap was almost invisible. I admit I furtively followed them all over in an attempt to see their faces and determine their identity. It’s wrong to claim to be plain and simple people who are not of this world, and then do everything under the sun to appear to be of this world, but then wear a little hat to sort of make it all alright. I don’t really care how some one dresses, but my point here is that they have become a very odd and strange culture with rules and mores that are impossible to keep up with or make sense of. And yet if a person transgresses in some small way he/she could wake up with striped sunlight on his pajamas. In jail with very little likelihood of ever being let out.
I have serious questions about these spirits that are being levied on people. They seem to change with the seasons. They always have new names, but it is always the same spirit deep underneath, and that spirit is “do not question us, do not disobey us, or we will do away with you.” It has been called a foreign spirit in years past but that one won’t fly any more, so it has become a spirit of intellectualism, a spirit of un-surrenderedness.. a spirit of consolation, a spirit of offendeness, anything to justify bringing them up in sad and grave tones and telling the people that this man/woman must go. Pride. Self-will. Lifted-up-ness. Once in a great while some one will have done something that is typically seen as a sin, such as actually falling away, but most often it is these manufactured sins, and they are usually labeled as such and the label slapped on the man after a long period of working with him. It’s like they have a ball of clay and they are trying to make a pot that suits them. They knead the clay, they press it, they roll it around, they put it on the wheel, they stretch it and pound it. All the while they make sure the members of the congregation know what they are doing. Suspicion arises about the one being kneaded and stretched. People’s minds become adjusted to the fact that there is something wrong. No one knows for sure what it is, but they do know that the rest of the people could go to communion if this one rascally individual would just come through with a good experience. They become exasperated with him/her, and when it finally comes to the point where he/she is disciplined and gotten out of the way they are actually relieved. Now the obstacle has been removed and things can continue as usual.
Does anyone recognize this pattern? Brother so and so has become offended. Well, then, by all means he must go. By the time he is done away with very few people question whether he is right or wrong. he has become a blot on the church and they are a little embarrassed that he is still around. But who ever stops to consider whether or not it is really right to do these things to people? Honestly, no one cares any more. No one searches the scriptures, no one questions the leaders (whoever they are) no one goes to the poor lost soul and offers to lend a helping hand.
This may seem like I am rambling on a bit, but this is a matter of extremely serious importance. These are people’s lives. These people have families. These people have feelings. These people are being injured. It is a bit late in the night right now, but I promise you that tomorrow I will dissect the recent Messenger article about a spirit of intellectualism. Please do stand by. And in the mean time, I encourage you to take a stand. You don’t have to if you don’t want to. I know I’ve been suggesting it forever, and I have very few takers on the line. But please, my people, listen to what I am saying. It is wrong to do these things to people. God really is not pleased with you. Aren’t you afraid at all?
The day will come when you will be fully revealed. You can go on beating the sheep for all I care, but be advised, your day of reckoning is near at hand. You can deprive the people of communion, put them on repentance and expel them for the most frivolous reasons. You can frighten people into compliance, you can rape them spiritually and mentally. You can abuse sexually, emotionally and mentally. You can cover up these same types of abuse. You can shame people into all kinds of things. You can misuse the Holy Scriptures, you can lie and distort the truth. You can cast people into hell fire and turn them over to Satan to be destroyed. Keep it up if it’s what you want to do, but the day of reckoning is at hand.
There is an interesting principle at work. Once you have been called out, once your sins have been revealed and you have been given the chance to repent, it is far more dangerous to continue as you have been than it ever was before. Once you are confronted with the accusation, once you are liable and accountable, you are at great risk. You are being given a chance to repent and change your wicked ways. Do you care to listen? It is not that I, Hiram have so much power, but it is simply that I have taken it upon myself to publicly denounce your wrongs and I have called for repentance. I have heard that this revival season is as grotesque as ever. People are being disciplined for the most foolish reasons. Communion is being withheld.
And yet, I do not expect you to turn on a dime. However, it is a risky thing to laugh in the face of God. You are not tending the sheep, but rather, you are beating them. You are not telling them the truth about what it means to be saved. You are teaching the doctrines of man and making the people believe that they are requirements of God. There will be a penalty and consequences for this. Continue to do so at your own risk, for God will hold you accountable. I can’t stop you or punish you. The people cannot resist the force of your control and heady power. The people want to live the lives that they so love. They want their families, their schools, their potlucks and mission trips. There is nothing so wrong with this, but as we can see, very few are willing to give it up for the sake of truth. This is very discouraging, as I was raised up reading the Martyr’s Mirror. I was raised up on stories of forefathers who crossed oceans, gave up homes, families and livelihoods. I grew up thinking that it was a noble thing to give up everything for the sake of truth. I actually believed once upon a time that great men would do so even in this day and age, but alas, ease, technology and wealth have taken their toll.
In the face of the people being unwilling to make sacrifices, your responsibility to nurture and protect them is even greater, although I do not for one minute suggest that they are off the hook for refusing to take a stand for truth. Do you really think there are no consequences for all of this? Do you really think God is not taking note of your evil ways? You may think I am a bit harsh, but the Pharisees, the religious hypocrites, are the ones for whom he reserved his greatest wrath. He spoke to them in the harshest of terms. There is no excuse, no leeway at all for the men who are entrusted with the flock, and know very well that they are doing wrong, and continue on in their ways. You know the truth about what you are doing. You have a bible. God has presumably made himself known to you at some point in your life. You know that you are teaching a most abominable idolatry; that of worshiping the church. The Church. The Church of God in Christ Mennonite. It is an idol that you have set up and that you are bowing down to and that you are forcing the people to bow down to. I am ashamed.
Here is the thing: When a man is confronted with the truth he becomes accountable. You have been publicly called out on this blog. I know that you are reading here. I know that you are aware of the discrepancies in your doctrine and practice that have been pointed out. I know that you know the truth of what you do. I know you are aware of abuse and instead of offering comfort and help to the abused ones, you instead punish them when they ask for help and cover up for the abuser. This is indeed shameful and disgusting. You are being called to account right here and right now. If you do not repent God himself is going to bring you to your knees.
May he have mercy upon you!
I have been alerted several times over the past year to the relevance of cultural Marxism in our society. It surfaces in many forms, but in the end, it is taking us all to a collectivist state, rather than an individualistic state. This is of concern to me because as I have studied it and wrapped my brain around it, I see a direct parallel within the Holdeman Church. God halted the work on the Tower of Babel, according to the Bible, because it was bringing about a collectivist society. He scattered the people, disrupted their language and removed from them the central idol/ideology that he knew would be to their detriment. God is not in favor of collectivism. He strongly desires our autonomy and free thinking. Today we see our planet headed towards a one world government, with centralized banking, trade, government and military control. The bible speaks out strongly against this. There is a temptation in humanity to relinquish autonomy and look to centralized authority. In this manner the individual is relieved of the responsibility of making decisions and of bearing the responsibility for them when things go wrong. How much easier it is to set the cruise control and let some other force make the decisions. You may believe yourself to be in the driver’s seat, but in the end, someone else is driving the car.
In the 1930s there arose a group of thinkers in Frankfurt Germany who were communists/Marxists, and who opposed Hitler and fascism. As Hitler rose to greater power they fled Franfurt and resettled in the United States, where they became known as the Frankfurt School. Under this guise they began to introduce many radical ideas and social change.
There is a great deal of reading and study that could be undertaken in order to gain a more thorough understanding of The Frankfurt School but let us focus on a few of the more surface issues. There are many websites that give information, but for the sake of brevity and conciseness, I will quote from Wikipedia: The Frankfurt School is the name usually used to refer to a group of scholars who have been associated at one point or another over several decades with the Institute for Social Research of the University of Frankfurt, including Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Ernst Bloch, Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm, Herbert Marcuse, Wolfgang Fritz Haug and Jürgen Habermas. In the 1930s the Institute for Social Research was forced out of Germany by the rise of the Nazi Party. In 1933, the Institute left Germany for Geneva. It then moved to New York City in 1934, where it became affiliated with Columbia University. Its journal Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung was accordingly renamed Studies in Philosophy and Social Science. It was at that moment that much of its important work began to emerge, having gained a favorable reception within American and English academia.
Out of the Frankfurt School have come several present day social and philosophical ideas; multiculturalism and political correctness. Multiculturalism seeks to remove all cultural bias, to blend everyone into one cultural identity and to remove all signs of racism or recognition of any differences, which are labeled “microaggressions.” A micro aggression would be if you are riding a bus and a person of another color gets on the bus and there are no extra seats. Failing to surrender your seat to the person of another race would be a “micro aggression.” In this manner you could be accused of racism, because the assumption would be made that if the person who was left standing on the bus had been white, you would have gotten up and offered your seat. When it comes to accepting homosexuality and all sorts of unbelievable variations on gender and sexuality, there are many ways in which you might commit micro aggressions, or even “macro” aggressions. For example, the movement known as LGBT (lesbian gay bisexual and transgendered) was formerly known as GLBT. However, this seemed to be a slight to the female segment of the homosexual lifestyle. There was a day when all homosexuals began to be known as “gay.” However, the females began to feel that this applied more to men than women and began to demand that they be known as lesbians. So be advised, female homosexuals are not “gay” but “lesbian.” That is the politically correct way of addressing them. In deference to the way women had been slighted, then, there were those who endeavored to right this wrong by changing GBLT to LGBT. This was an effort to smooth the ruffled feathers of the female homosexual population by giving them first billing in this acronym. It could be hoped that this would somehow add a feeling of worth and value to those who had presumably been “oppressed” by the dominant male culture around them. One wonders how people have survived up to this point with all the opportunities for oppression and loss of dignity that have been forced upon them! Furthermore, if you kill a person and that person is gay or a person of a racial minority, the murder is labeled a “hate crime” and the penalty is more severe than if it had been an ordinary run-of-the-mill murder!
Naturally all of this seems rather ridiculous. Life is life, and it is hard. There is always someone being oppressed or overlooked. There is always a dominant culture, no matter which country or community you live in. To require those of the dominant culture to relinquish privilege or pay a penalty for being dominant and therefore “privileged” surely rubs against the grain of most of us. Was there not a time when members of just about any culture or group were oppressed? But never mind, all of us are supposed to feel guilty and ashamed of wrongs that were done generations before and to take steps to make amends.
I’m not saying here that we should not be conscious of racial and cultural slurs, we should never (God forbid!) be engaged in the business of oppressing or insulting anyone. We should live our lives in a way that we show respect to all of our fellow men. There are those we do not understand or even approve of, but it behooves us all to love them. So why do you think I am writing about this? It is because I can see parallels between the ideas of cultural Marxism and the Holdeman religion. The Holdeman religion seeks to label things more suitably in an effort to reduce any offense. Because some in the world or the church are offended at the idea of “the one true church” they have made an effort to re-label it as the true faith. All the while, nothing has changed. There is a tremendous push towards “collectivism,” cloaked as “unity.” Free thought is discouraged and punished. There is a centralized government and authority in the church which removes all possibility of free thinking and true spirit led living. Satan knows that when individuals are free, they are harder to handle. They are not “manageable.” People are more comfortable when directives come down from the top. They like to be told what to think, what to do and how to feel. This is so much easier! This removes all personal responsibility.
There is much about cultural Marxism that does not resemble the Holdeman religion. In cultural Marxism, the existing culture is supposed to be wiped out by the infiltration of every other race and minority and the world, who are allowed to keep their racial identity instead of assimilating into the dominant culture of the society which they have entered. We would not agree that the Holdemans allow other cultures to remain true to their roots when they mingle with Holdemanism. So in this way I am not making a comparison. The things about the two, however, that are the same, are the eventual outcomes; collectivism, loss of individualism and free thought, centralized government and control.
God wants us to be free. He despises central control. When Jesus was preaching there were those who wanted to follow him and set up their own little group. Jesus told them instead to go away. He was not interested in being the leader of a sect. He was encouraging the people to remain autonomous and refrain from being a solid lump. He knew that the people would love to idolize him and put him on a pedestal. He was trying to save them from this type of idolatry. And yet, the centuries and millenniums have proven that humans will create governments that dictate to them, and the more distant the dictator is from the common man, the better the common man will like it.
It is indeed a challenge to live as an individual. In today’s society, it is in fact, almost a crime. In today’s Holdeman church it is a grave sin, one that will get you expelled and shunned. The pressure to conform and to be lost in the whole is overwhelming. Those who stand out, whether in society at large, or in the Holdeman Church, are marginalized, stigmatized and punished. It takes more strength of character than one can imagine to buck the tide. The ridicule and ostracizing will break even the strongest. There have been idealists throughout history who stood alone for a cause that they believed in. Jesus Christ was one of them. He paid a very high price, but in the end he arose victorious. Let me suggest here that the pressure to conform is all a bluff. When one takes a stand and asserts one’s individual right to think and behave in an autonomous manner, the rewards are greater than the negative consequences could ever be.
I hope I have made sense with this post. I am greatly troubled to see the masses swallowing us up. I am horrified to see men and women who claim to be willing to die for Christ, and yet they would not give up one penny of their financial stake, not one friend or relative, they would not suffer one moment of loss in order to follow that which their heart tells them is true. This can only have a sad and tragic conclusion. This is why in the Bible Jesus says “Will I find faith when I return?”
My friends, wake up. Take a stand. Refuse to be a part of that which is “unified.” Unity of the spirit, which the bible does speak of, is good. That means we are all one in the bond of love and peace. But it does not mean that another’s opinion or behavior will determine ours.
Blessings, my friends, please think on these things!
Damn them to hell. That’s right. Send them to the hot place. If they make a small mistake, make sure they burn forever. If they wear short sleeves to church, punish them for all eternity. In the Lake of Fire. Do it over a headcovering, a beard, a way of thinking, use of the internet, driving the wrong car or having too much money. If you can’t think of any other reason to damn them to hell, make something up and call it intellectualism. It was a foreign spirit once upon a time, but that won’t fly anymore. Call them bitter and offended. Call them deceived. Call them lukewarm, and damn them to hell. Turn them over to Satan, and do it without shedding a tear. You say you believe in hell fire. Do you really? Do you ever stop to think of the absurdity of sending people to hell over these things? Do you really believe in hell? Do you really care that so many people are going there? Or are you just glad that you are not. At least according to the way that you understand the rules.
Hell. The Hot Place. The place of flames and torments and awful screams. The place where you will burn to a blackened crisp but yet never be destroyed. The place where there will be utter torment and gnashing of teeth. The place where the fire never goes out, the worm never dies and all that stuff. You know it’s real. You’ve heard about it your entire life. Everyone knows its there, just waiting for the bad among us, those of us who make a mistake, understand something incorrectly or fail to meet the mark. Into the fire with them. Stand up and expel them and DAMN THEM TO HELL. Then go home from church and fix yourself a bite to eat…maybe a grilled cheese just before bed or a big bowl of ice cream. Lay your head on the pillow and get some rest. Sweet dreams. Never mind that one has fallen and is now DAMNED TO HELL.
Does this really make sense to you? Does the punishment seem to fit the crime? How do you feel about the fact that Hitler (the one we always love to damn to hell) will be burning there, right along with the teenager who was expelled for text messaging. The mother who was a bit prideful in her dress. The father whose farming operation was too large. The church member who was suddenly snatched away in a moment when he/she was a bit slack. Flames and everlasting torment.
And yet, we believe that God is good, that he loves us more than we can ever know, that he had a great plan to save us and that he is almighty, sovereign and just. How do we reconcile these facts with the fact that he would throw you into hell at the drop of a hat and seem to enjoy doing it? How do you explain the fact that you believe in this everlasting hell fire, and yet you live your daily life, going about doing your shopping, your farming, your job, reading a magazine, mowing the lawn, eating a potluck, shopping in the mall. Do you really believe in hell? I rather doubt it. If you really really did believe in hell, and you believed that your close family and loved ones might be going there, would you let them go? Would you not give all that you have in an effort to save one soul? The next time there is a member’s meeting and someone is damned to hell, should there not be an awful cry wrung from you, a wail that would go up wringing of hands and buckets of tears? But no, the preacher stands up and he says we are going to sever brother/sister so and so from the faith, it seems that he/she has become a bit slack. We are now going to damn him/her to hell for all eternity. We are now required to hold the shun and push this person even farther into the abyss. Next time this happens, look around. You might see a sister or two with a handkerchief to her eyes, mopping a tear or two at the thought of this dear one burning in hell while endless ages roll, but I’m sure that when the meeting is ended and the door slams on the mini van, the conversation will turn to something more pleasant. Maybe a word or two about how you had seen it coming, and it really isn’t any surprise, in fact you wish it had happened sooner, because it is people such as these who are causing the church to drift, and it would be better for all concerned if more would be lopped off.
Damned to hell. Forever and ever and ever. Yes, send them to the hot place, where they can be with their master Satan and his demons forever and ever. Let them weep and wail along with Hitler and Atilla the Hun. Throw in a few serial killers and mass murderers for good measure. One size fits all. Hell fire is good for all of them. All because they heard about the one true church and failed to join it. All because they went to a movie and lost their salvation in one night. All because they asked a question of the preacher and got on his nerves and hence were labeled intellectual. All because they forgot to poke out the lens on the camera on their cell phone. Let em burn.
This is pretty sad, and I’ll admit I’m stirred up. If hell is all that they say it is, and if the Christians love God the way that they say they do, more should be done to save the lost. If God in fact did say to expel them and shun them for trivial things, then all should be done to win them back that is humanly possible. Oh. you say you are holding the shun. It’s very effective at bringing people back. If you want to think so. It certainly takes a load off of your back. You can go on your merry way, living your life, eating after church at the home of your friends, shopping in the big city when you feel like having an outing, taking yourself off to the mountains where you have rented several lovely cabins over the holidays for your family. It’s all ok, because the shun is bringing them back. Rest easy, it just isn’t you…..YET. Any day it could be. You could find out that you’ve broken a rule and you will hear the grating of the iron grate as the door is opened and you are thrown in. Imagine the flames, even now. The smoke, the screams, the regret, the remorse. If only you had listened to the preacher you could have been spared all of this.
I find it odd that God is so vindictive and hateful. One small slip and it’s the hot place for you. He is apparently really powerful and great and mighty, and he loves his creation with an everlasting immeasurable love, but in the end, Satan wins. God saves a few but loses most. Thank God that the Holdemans have salvation nailed down. Let’s see, out of all of God’s creation, anyway of all the people alive on the earth right now, God has managed to save at most 20,000. Jesus died an awful death to save a few. A very very few. The rest are damned to hell.
Pardon me while I go ponder and weep. Something is very wrong with this picture.
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