Friday 15 December 2006

The best defense

I'm not sure who first coined the expression "the best defense is a good offense", but the lesson seems to have not been wasted on LCG's leading independent commentator, Dr Bob Thiel. In the midst of a series of appalling gaffes and unwelcome publicity surrounding the apostasy of Charles Bryce, Dr Bob responded by (1) saying the least possible on the subject, and (2) drawing the heat away by attacking UCG.

Gary Scott (XCG) links to another independent "COG writer" who has documented Bob's diversion. This guy, who goes under the pen name "Buckblog" (hereafter BB) is a UCG member, and he's definitely not amused.

It all begins with Bob inferring that UCG has gone soft on Halloween.

"...when I visited V. Kubik's web page today, I saw a picture that I at first thought was a Halloween party. So, I am really wondering if UCG is somewhat trying to see how close it can get to worldly practices--and while I do not believe that this is intentional on UCG's part, seeing that picture, combined with the Winter Festival, gave me pause for concern."

BB's response: "...he neglected to inform his readers that the costume party was December 9, nearly a month and a half after halloween so clearly there is no connection... One more cynical than myself might believe he unleashed his recent attack to take the focus away from other events."
Bob added on a little note shortly thereafter: "I am not trying to say that UCG endorses Christmas or Halloween (or that they ever will in the future). My basic point is that I have long had concerns that UCG has tended to be a bit more worldly-oriented than many other COGs, and thinking about these two events today did not lower those concerns."

You can read the full first posting by BB here.

But the story isn't over yet. Bob next cut out the offending comments without explanation or apology, and BB, far from satisfied, flew for the jugular.

"He first attempted to backtrack by saying that’s not what he was implying when it clearly was. Now he has removed all reference to it altogether treating his site like one would an Etch and Sketch, shake it and pretend what was there before wasn’t... He should also apologize and state he will be more careful about what is posted.

"I assume many people from different backgrounds check his site out. Those coming across yesterday’s original post who took what he said seriously could come away with a grossly distorted view of what is going on within UCG... he has a responsibility to not only remove it but to apologize for it on his site, not to pretend as if it never happened... I publicly call on him to do the honorable thing and post a mea culpa today."

You can read THAT full posting here.

And BB seems determined to see the issue through.

"This is day 3 of the Bob Thiel hostage crisis. His reputation and credibility remain captive to negligent error and gross misrepresentation. However this hostage crisis cannot be ended with hostage negotiators or a SWAT team but rather the truth.

"Yes, Mr Thiel the truth shall set you free. Just admit you messed up."

I'm ordering in the popcorn, as this could be a lengthy wait!


Anonymous said...

Bob Thiel is an "independent" commentator? Guess that depends on how you define "independent." Can someone who invariably follows the party line ever be truly independent?

Buckblog shouldn't hold his breath waiting for an apology or he'll become Blueblog.

Anonymous said...

The behavior of these "ministers" is classically Armstrongite. Those of us who have seen it before readily recognize it. Yet in an earlier posting, Dennis Diehl observed that these ministers were never taught this at Ambassador College. Yet the ministry in each Armstrongite derivative of the the old WCG is rigid in its adherence to a set of common and reprehensible behavior patterns.

We must ask ourselves where this approach comes from. Is there an "invisible college" which is the subtext to the overt and apparent AC education? Are Armstrongite "ministers" somewhere along the way immersed in something that turns them each into the stereotypical smarmy, religious martinet?

I assert that what we are seeing is evidence of the fact that there is a "spirit" that permeates, supports and sustains Armstrongism. It is not a nice spirit. But it imposes certain standard behaviors on those who are enslaved to it. And it transmits those behaviors from generation to generation and place to place.

If we were to climb into a time machine and go one hundred years into the future, I am sure we would find the Armstrongite ministry then to have the same behavior patterns that it has now.

People may pass away, but the spirit continues.

-- Neo

Anonymous said...

Oh please no, not another hundred years of Armstrongism! At the rate it is loosing followers it won't be around in another 6 yrs.

Anonymous said...

Bob Thiel's comments re: Did Roderick Meredith really Make 26 Doctrinal Changes is not based upon fact. The facts show otherwise on a number of issues. It is my opinion that Bob Thiel is fully aware that RCM has not been truthful, has made serious doctrinal changes as elaborated in the first back and forth letters between him and Mr. Bryce, and is stacking the Council. It is also my opinion that unless he comes clean on this and other matters, he cannot be trusted. Furthermore, it is my belief that the ONLY reason he is allowed to hold this site is that it has been an indirect way for RCM to promote, what has been, up to this time, a credible dissemination of proof that what he indicates is accurate. Now that that has changed, should not Bob Thiel either just stop adding anything to the site, or shut it down entirely? Truth is truth. A review of the letters clearly demonstrates that truth has been missing from a VIP. You guess who.

Anonymous said...

Life kind of sucks sometimes. You read Bob Thiel's comments on the UCG, Christmas, and Halloween, and you say to yourself, "Alright! Looks like some more members of my family are about to stop being Zombies!"

Then you read what Paulie has to say on Buckblog, and you realize it was all an LCG dirty trick.

What's a poor boy to do?

"original" BB

Anonymous said...

"And it transmits those behaviors from generation to generation and place to place."

"People may pass away, but the spirit continues."

Well as a member of the next generation of the cog, I'm going to post a copy of a response I left on the original website. I won't go in to my criticisms of your spirit, because I'd be repeating the same thing I said to "BB" and Bob. How can you criticize someone's spirit by displaying the exact same one? Hypocracy and judgment.


LCG has their own version of UCG's Winter Weekend. It occurs the week after UCG's. BOTH weekends have bible studies, a costume dance, sports activities, and fellowship opportunities, particularly for the youth and young adults. Having attended both weekends, I speak from current first-hand experience, something that seems to be sorely lacking by most of the opinionated posters on both sides of the UCG vs LCG issues.

I dislike correcting my elders, but the sibling rivalry comparisons I can make are rather ridiculous. There is a difference between judging and righteous judgment, something we hear continually in sermons and yet none of us ever manage to get perfectly right. And like children, we members of the church practice far too much judgment, particularly of each other.

Bob's blog judged, and that's what you are criticizing him for. But by the same token you are now judging him in like manner, by what you think he's accountable for knowing and reading, what you assume he's thinking, and disproportionately criticizing his original statements. I read Bob saying "the connection between UCG's Winter Festival and Christmas was too much of a stretch" and "I do not believe that this is intentional on UCG's part", and that added to the fact that he deleted it leads me to assume he saw that he was making a judgment. So your point is already made, and the apology you seek is for personal satisfaction, and certainly not out of righteous humility. And for the record, the concern over appearances by having church functions over holidays is hardly a new thing. It goes hand-in-hand with the appropriateness of holiday decorations in church halls. It's not a direct accusation, it’s a concern, nor is it an issue I expect will go away.

I would truly love to see the day when the 40+ generation can retract their claws a little bit, take a deep breath, and at the very least play in the same room without throwing things at each other. Or maybe it'll be my generation (your children) who come along and teach their parents how siblings should behave. We are to be a light unto the world and an example for all, not the type of people that provide easy entertainment for our critics (read the popcorn reference on the AW site). Shame on both sides.