If they were giving out awards for flapping your gums, then Bruce D . Hales is the 'Champ-een' of the world.
The bible as we and the world knows it, is only 1510 pages long including all the notes and stuff. Written we are told over huge passages of time with contributors galore, it just manages to break the 1500 page benchmark, not including its Moroccan hide exterior.
The INDEX to Bruce D Hales utterances however, in a bit over a decade- and after a shaky start- is sitting at 1454 pages and counting. Because he's still talking. So the basis of religion with all of its stories and ideals, its psalms and epistles, its parables and persuasions, written over many hundreds of years, will fall dramatically behind in the word count sometime this month.
The Stow Hill boys fingers must be a flurry on those keyboards and their PC's must glow red hot with the daily input of Hales' doctrinal wisdom and double takes. And chastisements. These scribes play the game of Plymouth Brethren Roulette - edit and be damned or don't edit and be doubly damned, as one found out recently when he let some unguarded words of Hales run through to the wicketkeeper and the printing press.
Remember - I said INDEX. Not the actual ministry itself, which, by conjecture, must run at several hundred thousand pages. So what we are talking about here is a lot of talking. As opposed to - doing. The Brethren are very good at talking. Doing anything that benefits their fellow man is well down the priority list though. Well if you can see past the rotund tummies of highly nourished fire-fighters, filled with the fruits of the toil of corpulent sisters, that is. Extended to them in latex-gloved hands that will never be contaminated by the evil of this world. 'Eat my sandwich - but be damned if you think I will eat mine with you!' is the Hales mantra on the subject. (BDH Volume 233 - Page....well I forget - but it's in there somewhere.)
To do an expose of the saucier bits of this index would be a job for someone like John Nelson Darby. A huge undertaking! It would take years - our Man of God as it were, being so dynamically prolific in the verbiage department. But over the next few weeks I am going to give it a try.
The Brethren are very proud of their ministry stashes. They are cache's that - despite their sheer worthlessness in the scheme of things, represent their biggest capital investment since they bought the house and the new Hyundai people mover.
I remember ours when I was a kid. One entire wall in the drawing room given over to its guardianship. Each oak shelf groaning under the volume-enousweight of words. Stressing and deforming God's most venerable tree stock to almost breaking point. Sadly, in this day and age, the Brethren bookshelves now visibly scream under the collective weight of Los manifiestos de Hales. You could buy a decent house with their collective expense. Much like the Scientology fiscal cornerstone - book selling being the way of making the 'church' rich before you hit them up for good old plain cash. I think Ron Hubbard got the idea from the Peebs actually.
Hales being the marketing genius that he is, decreed that they also need the 'Pocket Hales' volumes. For ready reference. "What would Mister Hales say?" Peebs go about their daily routines they would have us believe, with Hales subliminally by their sides, pulling the choker collar on their compass and pointing their heads in the right direction with one of his awkward and at times, increasingly cryptic demands. From his little white paperbacks. Simon and Schuster have nothing on this guy. In time he will put J.K Rowling in the shade. In both sheer volume and income.
Which begs the question. Who really reads all this drivel? I mean - most of it is just a rehash of the un-rehashable. I know of some Peebs, who haven't looked at their ministry hoard in decades. It is conserved in a healthy coating of accumulated dust that will never be wiped off in their lifetime. It's just not a place that they go to anymore. After working for an ungrateful Peeb all day - they must go every night to entertain more ministry generating talk before getting home utterly knackered at 9.00 pm.
The last place you are going to go, is for another session in front of a protesting bookcase for another dose as it were. There comes a point where your average Peeb is 'full'. Their eyeballs are now waterlogged puddles of doctrinal over-indulgence. Their brains fail to separate the who from the what. And 'who' said 'what'? Which is why they ask lots of questions all the time. "Would this link with that?" It's akin to swallowing the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica and then some. Just Google it I say.
To divest yourself of old ministry is an act of treason. Despite the fact that the original authors of these volumes would never get their foot in the door of a Peeb church today. Get rid of it and Hales will ensure you go out with it. The utterances of men are now more important than the good book itself. The bible is a relatively minor work in the Brethren world today.
They say that cows and cars are the main contributors to greenhouse gases today. I say bullshit! They forget the thousands of PBCC adherents -who have failed to adhere, and Scientology believers who have failed to believe and who made the major step of retreating to their back yards with their wheelbarrows and matches at the ready, as their first step in getting back to reality.
I can say it was a weight off my shoulders as I watched the box after box of now worthless utterances from grey men, go up in smoke in a pyre that could be seen from the heavens. Guy Fawkes himself would have approved.
But I kept my bible. Heavens knows, it's all in there in a much purer, more concise form anyway. Neatly packaged in one 6 x 4 inch 1510 page volume. A bargain when you see what Hales is charging these days.