Tuesday, 21 August 2007
Trading in the Lada
When I was a young chap, barely out of short pants, I thought I knew it all when it came to religion. There was no doubt in my mind that I knew more about the Bible than any of the good folk who attended the church I was raised in. In fact, I was convinced that I knew a lot more than even the pastor, who looked uncomfortable when I posed any of the questions that were bothering me. He may have learned Hebrew and Greek (and German too, the lingua franca of Lutheran scholarship) but he sure as heck wasn't drinking from the deep spiritual wells of Tomorrow's World and the Ambassador College Correspondence Course.
Garner Ted Armstrong was never backward in making claims for the edifying effect of WCG literature. "Read this booklet and you'll know more about what the Bible says than your minister, blah, blah." This from a man who didn't even know how to keep his fly zipped!
Nothing cures post-adolescent arrogance like age. Pity the man or woman in their mature years who still clings to that kind of ego-infused conceit.
I thought I'd bought a Lamborghini, but I was mistaken. It was definitely a Lada.
Worrying about which church is most correct is like arguing about who makes the best pizza. We all know it isn't Pizza Hut, but that doesn't stop anyone from dropping by every now and then when there's a special on. I know some poor deluded souls who think there's nothing nicer than Hell's offerings (and you know who you are!) but they obviously haven't scored a cheese burst crust with meatballs from Domino's.
The competing COGs are like fast food franchises, each trying to carve out a niche by trumping the opposition with whiz-bang gimmicks and special offers: Christianity meets the consumer. "We're the Philadelphians," "we're republishing Mister Armstrong's books," "we've got the restored truths," "we've got an apostle," "we've got stuffed crust." Okay, so everybody else seems to be doing it from Joyce Meyer to Franklin Graham, but that doesn't make it any prettier to watch. It'd be nice to say it was just an American problem but (1) McChristianity is globalised and (2) even New Zealand has Bishop Brian Tamaki.
Surely there's got to be something more meaningful out there than that. Wherever it might be, you can be pretty sure it won't be found on Sunday morning TV.