Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Travail of the Rodomites


An email from a kindred observer of the COG scene arrived today, drawing attention to this little gem of exhortation to the dumb sheep from LCG's Dougie Winnail.

Guidelines for the Feast of Tabernacles (CONDENSED from the September 6 issue of The World Ahead)

To Be Read in All Churches


Beach Parties—Appropriate Swimwear Guidelines


The Living Youth Camp swimwear policy has been adopted for LCG Festival sites. Appropriate attire for women is a modest one-piece suit; men should wear boxer style trunks. Two-piece outfits for women and “Speed-o” type bathing suits for men are not acceptable.
Dance Guidelines

1. All music must be chosen carefully with the approval of the Festival Coordinator or an individual he specifically assigns this task.


2. No “free-style” dancing is permitted.


3. Fellows should politely ask a young lady or woman to dance, i.e.: “May I have this next dance?” If the lady accepts, he should offer his arm to lead her out to the dance floor. When the dance is over, he should lead her back to her table or chair.


4. We discourage “pairing off” of teens at our Church-sponsored dances and encourage dancing with many partners, particularly noting who sat out the last dance. Older singles and engaged couples who are of age may be exempt from this rule.


5. Music should not be so loud that those who prefer not to dance have a difficult time carrying on a conversation.


6. Lighting should not be turned down so low that the average person could not read a book with ease.


7. At any dance organized primarily for youth, all parents are welcome to visit.


8. Appropriate dress for a Church dance in the northern hemisphere is slacks, coat and tie for adult and young men and modest knee-length dress or long gown for adult and young women.

9. A minister should be present for the entire function.


10. Small children should be supervised and not allowed to run or engage in horseplay.
These rules and traditions should apply for all our ballroom dances, because they are based upon godly principles of love toward others. Some of these rules obviously do not pertain to square dances, barn dances and dances in other cultures.
I guess it's a mercy to know that Rod and Dougie will be refraining from wearing speedos at the poolside, but beyond that, as the correspondent states: "Sounds almost solidly like the old rules from back in the '60s and '70s. And please note the most important one: A minister must be present for the entire function. Whatever else might have changed within loyalist Armstrongism over the years, one thing that hasn't is that lay people cannot be trusted. Aren't you glad you're out of that crap?"

96 comments:

Anonymous said...

your obvious objection to those guidelines reveals a lot about your character.

what decent, civilized person would object to any of them?

Anonymous said...

Actually, what is going on at Oral Robert's University is more interesting.

Talk about hypocrisy
in the ranks of Orthodoxy...

http://www.ambassadorreports.blogspot.com/

"There's trouble brewing up at Oral Roberts University - just 100 miles east of AC - down I-44, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. No, God isn't "calling him home" unless Oral raises at least eight million dollars. Three former ORU professors – Dr. John Swails, Dr. Tim Brooker and Dr. Paulita Brooker -- filed a lawsuit October 3rd in Tulsa District Court against ORU; son Richard Roberts, now ORU university president and evangelist; and three university administrators.

ORU president Richard Roberts is accused of coercing Professor Tim Brooker in 2005 to assign students and use university resources to work on a local Tulsa politician's election bid, Tulsa County Commissioner Randi Miller, in her bid for city mayor. That would be a violation of state and federal law, since ORU is a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt, nonprofit church organization."

danny said...

i once had an extra ticket to a neil diamond concert in 1985 in boston,mass. i called mr. winnail and asked him if he knew of a single person who might enjoy the show, gratis of course!

mr. winnail proceeded to grill me about my motives and just who is this "NEIL DIAMOND," character! seriously! true story!

i addressed all of his concerns, you know, was diamond demonic? was the atmosphere conducive for a legitimate good time? creepy stuff you know!

after a thorough tongue lashing about church protocol, mr. winnail gave me the phone number of a guy about my age. i called, invited him, and we went and sat on about the 10th row front center and reveled in the demonic music of neil diamond!

it was great! and in appreciation, my new found friend gave me a gift on the night to be much observed. he gave me an original double album of neil diamond's "hot august night!" believe me, it was worth three times the price of the concert ticket!

in case i didn't thank him enough for that album, let me say thanks again!

as for winnail, well, what can you expect. armstrong recruited and trained these tyrants. i pray that all of them come to know the freedom and love of our Lord and finally renounce the bondage they are trapped in!

VonHowitzer said...

Oh horrors!

They left out the obligatory pre-event Biblestudy!!!

VonHowitzer

Anonymous said...

((what decent, civilized person would object to any of them?))

An angry, hateful, dogmatic, opinionated fundamentalist moralist like yourself who wants submission and obedience from everyone to mindlessly agree with your narrow-minded worldview has no objection to any rigid and inflexible codes to just keep people in line.

BC

Lyle said...

Note to self: Don't attend their parties. They are boring.

Byker Bob said...

Well,

I think I'd probably use that dance as a meeting place for certain select friends and then go off into the woods or desert for a kegger. The music from the best car or truck stereo would provide good entertainment, and I don't think anyone would particularly care if everyone had on their jeans and tank tops. If anyone had a special CD they wanted to turn everyone on to, the owner of the stereo could decide whether or not to play it.

The moon and stars would provide the lighting for anyone who cared to dance, and if one of the young adults had obtained an ordination from Universal Life Church, you'd have your minister present. Dancing would be whatever you wanted to do.

Assuming the kegger was held near a pond, lake, or river, underwear would suffice as appropriate swimwear.

Any adults that wanted to party with the kids as equals, without being condescending or ruining the party should be welcome.

So that fun was still fun tomorrow, designated drivers should be chosen to make sure everyone got home safely.

Kids who would rat, or those who naturally tended to idolize the zombies should go to the official church swim party or dance.

BB

*Disclaimer* This is intended as satire, but is probably the way that many kids with an innate sense of fairness would react to the draconian Pharissaical laws laid down by Machiavellian ACOG leaders. Why not just have fairer standards that the kids will recognize as being halfway cool and actually respect?

Anonymous said...

"your obvious objection to those guidelines reveals a lot about your character."

It's not about anyone's character or lack of it. It's about CHOICES and giving the freedom even to make mistakes and learn from them.

One can ask the kids to use their own good judgement and common sense and probably do just fine, but it has risk to it. Some feel that detailed rules take away the risk of others bad choices. I don't believe they do.

In some ways they provoke poor behavior as a way to show individuality in a system that tends towards believing we're all evil bastards at heart and must become like anyone else but ourselves.

It's a balance. Such lists are not conducive to balance in my view and a simple plea to the kids (not even the parents) to exercise good judgement makes kids feel included instead of supervised.

Libro 66 said...

Ah, but that's not all!

Once we got to the Feast, we were treated to the usual "Behind the Work" video. A healthy percentage of it (at least a third) was devoted to a video Gerald Weston had made outlining the rules Gavin just shared -- and more!

Just so you know:

Weddings shall be conducted in a dignified manner, with a sense of sanctity. After all, Christ will not be marrying His Church while skydiving or scuba diving, and we won't all be sitting on Harleys -- so we shouldn't get married that way, either.

Embarrassing practical jokes are a no-no. Overtly suggestive wedding toasts and wild bachelor parties fall into this category. Bachelor parties and wedding showers should not feature strippers.

Weston related an interesting story -- have you heard this one? It seems a female member in one congregation actually volunteered to jump out of a cake at a male member's bachelor party! -- and no, she wasn't his fiancee!

Funerals should be funerals, not parties. No rap or hip-hop, please. The minister should not have to feel like he's the only one there taking Dear Aunt Edna's death seriously.

Dances: "Freestyle" dancing means "free of style" -- only dances with appropriately defined steps should be enjoyed. This is not to say that every interpretive dance is inherently evil -- but where do you draw the line? If we're not careful, someone might spontaneously start moonwalking or (shudder!) breakdancing. Best to just outlaw it all.

Ministers should explain to young people that slow dancing is not to be hugging set to music. There are appropriate places to put your hands while dancing.

Kids, remember that there's supposed to be a reasonable amount of space between you and your partner. Come to think of it (Weston actually said this!), even married couples are dancing far too close to one another -- they need to be told the same thing about space in-between.

Okay, so not every breach of these rules is necessarily bad. But we have to be careful, brethren -- people have cell phones with cameras these days, and you never know when a questionable picture of an LCG activity might pop up on the internet and embarrass the Work of God. (After all, didn't Bob Thiel accuse United of going soft on Halloween when he brushed across a photo of a costume party that wasn't even held in October?)

- - -

About the time Weston got to the "no getting married while skydiving" rule, my Significant Other leaned over and asked "Is he for real?" She's right. It's not so much that all of the rules are unreasonable -- I personally think Dear Aunt Edna should be remembered with dignity, and I made it clear there would be no strip joint for my bachelor party. It's just that they're being so picky. We have to have space between us while dancing? Even when we've got matching wedding rings??

But Weston got the lion's share of the "Behind the Work" video -- he even got more time than Rod Meredith!

And -- get this -- we were told later that Feast that RCM was *resisting* the efforts of some hardliners to lay down even *stricter* rules!

Corky said...

A formal church dance? Wheeeeee . . . NOT. And with the lights on yet . . . sheeeesh.

1. All music must be chosen carefully . . .

Yeah, we don't want any music that young folks might like.

2. No “free-style” dancing is permitted.

Yeah, if you don't know how to dance like your great grandparents did - just stay home.

3. Fellows should politely ask a young lady or woman to dance, i.e.: “May I have this next dance?”

Would it be okay to say, "wanna dance?" I mean, I may not know what the next dance will be.

4. We discourage “pairing off” of teens . . .

What? Are you jealous? Are you afraid someone may have fun?

5. Music should not be so loud that those who prefer not to dance have a difficult time carrying on a conversation.

Uh . . . what? Is it a dance or a sewing circle?

9. A minister should be present for the entire function.

Well, there goes any chance of having a good time. It might as well be a Bible study with soft music in the (distant) background.

Lussenheide said...

All:

I normally like to offer "sardonic wit" to AW, but this time I am not.

Christianity is about being "called from the world" and "being seperate". Nearly all activities of teens today, in the "worldly sense" are sexual, debauched, sensuous, drunken and disorderly.

In looking at myself, I can see that nearly every bad habit that I have in my life came from, or had its genesis during my teen years. Most of you will agree, that bad habits like swearing, smoking, alcohol abuse, sex hangups, drugs et al. all started while you were in teenagehood. Teens need to be protected from others and themselves. Im 50 years old, and the cigarette companies know that Im a poor candidate to start taking up the habit, so they concentrate their efforts on appealing to teens.

Worldly dances are cesspools. Byker Bob is probably right, that indeed teens so inclined can find lots of places to "act out". Easy to ridicule LCGs standards , but I challenge anyone here, to come up with a list of standards for such events that would please Jesus Christ.

Our Western Society is consuming their own children, whether it is aborting them,sexualizing and sensuousing them, marketing to them, or ignoring them.

Lussenheide

camfinch said...

"Easy to ridicule LCGs standards , but I challenge anyone here, to come up with a list of standards for such events that would please Jesus Christ."

As the point has already been made, it's not really the issue of morality that we're ridiculing. It's the puffed-up arrogance that screams out. And some of the rules really are too stringent. The fact that only the event coordinator/minister even gets to select the music is illustrative of the power-lust that drives the church hierarchy.

Would it not be a mark of some humility and genuine concern to include in the music rule that the coordinator should consult with those planning to attend the dance about what music they'd like to hear and dance to? Is it necessary to require knee-length skirts? Couldn't the rule just say no miniskirts? I don't particularly care for the coat-and-tie requirement for males, but if it's a formal dance, well, I suppose rules are rules, however stuffy.

But again, the real clincher, the real choker, the real stifler of authentic enjoyment is the requirement that a minister be present. If it's a young people's dance, why not just have some adults (men and women, no chain of authority) in attendance as chaperones? Why is a minister needed? He certainly is no smarter, no wiser, no better than anyone else. It's that whole smug perspective that began my exit from authoritarian religion three decades ago.

Lussenheide said...

A nod to Camfinch:

Your comments are wise and well spoken.

Yes the process there can definitely be more "collaborative".

And yes, the entire event, sounds "unempowered" with an arrogancy that only "management" knows best always. A committee of teens along with interested parents and mentors would have likely sufficed.

Lussenheide

Anonymous said...

"but I challenge anyone here, to come up with a list of standards for such events that would please Jesus Christ"

1. All Male Youts shall be circumcised

2. Robes shall be neatly pressed.

3. Underwear shall be worn at all times under robes.

4. All 12 disciples will be in attendance.

5. All girls shall check with Peter's wife, oh I forget her name, about proper headwear.

6. Single Disciples shall bring a watermelon

7. We don't care if David danced naked, you're not man or woman enough after God's own heart to do the same.

8. I will turn wine back into grapejuice at halftime for refreshements. Please do not bring your own grapejuice.

9. Music shall be provided by the Shofar Five only. Do NOT ask for Gentile music to be played.

10, Oi Veh Nageela, the Chicken dance, and the Bunny Hop are considered Kosher music. Please hop in sync with the female ahead of you and keep your Yamica under control at all times.

11. For those who don't wish to dance, the movie "Torah, Torah, Torah" will be shown in the courtyard.

12. If we run out of gefelte fish and crackers, keep your eye on Jesus. He is wicked good at fixing this problem.

13. Girls, please say away from the Roman soldiers. Please remember to say "Mr. Caesar" should it come up, that it goes well with us. No wisecracks about his long shiny sword either! Esther Marie will not be at this dance this year due to that crack last year.

14. Mrs, "ewww, I want my boys to sit on Jesus left and right hand" will take your tickets at the door. Don't mess with her.

15. The music has all been pre-selected by Thomas, though he has had his doubts about some of it. Please do not ask to play "Sugar Pie, Honey Roman" or any such things, that again, it goes well with us.

16. All dancing will be joyful, non touching, spinning guys in the guy bunch, girls in the girl bunches style of Judaism. Roman, Parthinian, Greek and Samaritan styles are forbidden.

17. Entertainment will be by disciple Peter who will sing, "I will follow him, follow him wherever he may go," "Unchained Melody, the Prison editions," and one he wrote, "I am a Rock, I am an Island and a Pope all in good time."

18. Cost is 3 Shekels, 5 at the door. Please pay Judas the Daggerman...Iscariot to you all.

19. Lighting should be such that the average disciple could read a scroll...if they could read.

20. Only Jesus can dance with harlots or the wives of visiting Sadducees, Pharisees and Butt-u-sees. He is spiritual, you are carnal.

21. No one is to speak to the Pharisee Saul, should he stop in. He seems a bit loose in the sandals and is not a good influence at this time.

ohhhh, you meant modern rules for today...sorry :) I suspect The Apostle Paul would cancel the whole thing

Tom said...

>>It's not about anyone's character or lack of it. It's about CHOICES and giving the freedom even to make mistakes and learn from them.<<

Although I disagree with the leaders of LCG, because some of their doctrines are pure heresy and their policy of hiring ministers that didn't speak out against Joe Tkach's doctrinal changes or who leave one COG group to join them, I see nothing degrading in the guidelines they have issued to the young people.

The idiot assertion that the guidelines undermine the young people's "CHOICES" and "freedom" to make mistakes and "learn" from them is so ill conceived, that we can only conclude that it was uttered by a madman!

What lessons do young people learn after taking mind altering drugs? What lessons do teenage girls learn after discovering that they are pregnant, after a one night stand under the influence of alcohol and wild "music?" What lessons do teenagers learn after being killed as a result of speeding? Would you like me the multiple examples, or would you like to supply some yourself?

Do your really understand what is meant by CHOICES and freedom? And that is rhetorical question!

Anonymous said...

"What lessons do young people learn after taking mind altering drugs? What lessons do teenage girls learn after discovering that they are pregnant,"

we were discussing how to have a church dance Mr. Dramatic, not how to put your life on hold.

Anonymous said...

I had teens and singles organize their own WCG dances and it all went just fine.

Anonymous said...

When teens and singles own the activity, they own the success, the problems and everything in between. They also learn to make choices and see how they go. In my experience, few kids wanted to be buttheads or ruin things. Those few of the many who did reaped their reputations with others.

Part of the problem is that adults, ministers, church leaders don't want to take chances on how things are planned without their control. Tight rules that cause eyes to roll are a function of being out of touch with those for whom the rules are written.

Anyway..call me mad...as in nuts, not angry.

Anonymous said...

"Do your really understand what is meant by CHOICES and freedom? And that is rhetorical question!"

Well excuse us all to hell, Chairman Mao!

How do you get from having a social that is memorable, to drugs, alcohol, and teenage pregnancy?

Try letting the youth of your gulag, er, church come up with the ideas for a social by themselves and present them for review and allow them to argue in favor of any elements that may be worrisome or questionable? Would it be so terrible that your children learn how to organize, collaborate together, come to a consensus, learn how to prepare and deliver a presentation, and put forth persuasive arguments? Is the end result that they might develop, *gasp* skills needed for adulthood and have a good time, so objectionable or threatening to you? Teens need guidance, not a police state.

Be reasonable man! No one is suggesting letting teens loose in a nightclub unsupervised.

If you really try to keep teens from having choice and freedom, you will wind up with some very unhappy children at best and some very unpleasant results at worst.

Anonymous said...

I think that the guidelines have nothing to do with morality, or preventing immorality. It's about control.


Paul

douglasyo said...

I no longer attend LCG, but was at the Myrtle Beach feast, and appreciated the comments made by Gerald Weston. You may disagree with a detail or two, but, like Lussenheide said, these principles are important if the people of God are to distinguish themselves from an increasingly hedonistic society. Further, the dinner/dance there was the best one I have ever been to. As to the control issue, yes, LCG does have a tendency to exercise excessive control, but I have never seen it in the areas Weston addressed. In this case, it was just good, sound teaching. Exactly what a church leader is supposed to do.

Stingerski said...

8. Appropriate dress for a Church dance in the northern hemisphere is slacks, coat and tie for adult and young men and modest knee-length dress or long gown for adult and young women.

Hmmmmmm. I wonder what "appropriate" dress is for those in the southern hemisphere? Bermuda shorts and tank tops?

Of course, since the seasons are reversed south of the equator, and no autumn harvest is anywhere in sight, perhaps all those down under need not worry over this issue. Because there really is no fall festival for them to attend at this time of year :-)

Once again, these Jewish fests were meant for :
- a limited time
- a limited geographical area
- a people of very limited knowledge

Neotherm said...

The issue here is not what constitutes a good set of standards for a dance. Nor is it the issue of the degree of freedom or empowerment. Well, maybe these are secondary issues.

I found nothing wrong with these standards and I am sure that some conservative Christian dances follow similar standards. These standards are somewhat stringent and a little old-fashioned. But they guarantee a wholesome evening for all.

But so is camping, hiking, swimming, roasting food over a beautiful fire in the forest and learning about survival. All of this is uplifting, challenging, recreational and conducive to the development of good character. And for these good reasons, the Hiter Jugend engaged in all of these fine activities during training sessions in Germany during the Thirties and early Forties.

You see, it wasn't what the Hitler Jugend did, it was the government and philosophy behind the activities. The philosphy behind the Hitler Jugend was Fascism. And the outdoor skills they acquired were put to destructive use later.

So these dance standards, though somewhat odd, are not repugnant per se. It is, rather, the government and philsophy that backs these standards. The standards were promulgated by an organization that actively teaches that if you disobey these rules, a minister may abrogate the offender's salvation. He can kill you not just now but for eternity -- maybe for dancing free form. The rules are a legalisic expression of a violent, murderous, terrorizing and controlling power.

I recall the FOT as being a time of a warm family spirit, spiritual reinforcement and recreation. Nothing wrong with this. But if it is done to indoctrinate people with rank heresy, all of the good is really just a vehicle for expanding evil.

-- Neo

Bamboo_bends said...

Where book did Rod lift that clothing style boilerplate from? Some 1950s Sears catalog?

Reminds me of the TV show Big Love where you can tell the polygamous Mormon women by the prairie garments.

But the real question Rod and Theil (aka Spanky and the Brain) want to know is "Are we happy in our 'preacherless' apostasy?"

You bet!!!! And we can dance without supervision too!

Bamboo_bends said...

Lussenheide said...
I challenge anyone here, to come up with a list of standards for such events that would please Jesus Christ.


I seem to recall that Jesus got a lot of flack for eating and drinking with with tax bounty hunters, prostitutes, and general riff-raff. Jesus didn't look down on others.

I guess he didn't get the memo from Rod.

Tom said...

Charlie>>>How do you get from having a social that is memorable, to drugs, alcohol, and teenage pregnancy?<<<

By implementing rules that prevent such things, for human nature without the help of God always defaults to the lowest common denominator. Any more silly questions?

You obviously don't have any idea what is meant by Christian CHOICES and freedom. Christians were made free so that they can choose good over evil, not debate about what is right and wrong.

The church of God is a community of saints, not a democratic institution where conflicting opinions are welcome.

Ripley said...

Ah, we worry about Rod, but he'll die. So will Gerald Flurry. So will Dave Pack. And so on.

HWA and GTA did. Who in the Radio days of the '50s and '60s can honestly say they thought then they'd live to see the day -- much less the many years after?

When these men at the top disappear, their empires will implode. The pattern has been set. One-man rule leads to lots of splits, centered mostly around who should get to take over.

Flurry has his son, but, true to form, Flurry II has revealed himself, primarily in that silly, wildly subjective book of his, to be shallow, and too eager to jump to preordained conclusions. People will wonder.

Let Winnail and Weston have their fun, as oppressive as their regime must be. (The "minister must be present" thing is presumptuous in the extreme. If you believe your members have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, shut up, already. That you still must outline such rules doesn't speak well to the effectiveness of your system.)

These organizations will fragment, and on we'll go.

Anonymous said...

Rules are ok but those in charge want to focus on controling rules rather than facing larger moral issues that are never mentioned anywhere that I have ever seen -- one of these is the issue of men holding their daughters up in their arms with the daughter's legs wrapped around them or holding their daughters tightly while dancing to a love song meant for an adult relationship. I know some will think this is really farfetched, but with the incest issues in the churches that most leaders don't want to address or even acknowledge (that would affect their income base), it seems some attention should be paid to what is a clean and respectful way to treat a child.

Also why should women have the decision made for them to wear a dress to a dance. A lot of women prefer pants because they are more comfortable to wear especially for the overweight and more mature adults.

It all gets down to the fact that perhaps teens do need some guidelines, but if adults can't make some decisions on their own, what's the point of anything?

Anonymous said...

"The church of God is a community of saints, not a democratic institution where conflicting opinions are welcome"

Seems you missed something in the drama and politics of the NT. Don't make the mistake, well you already have, of thinking your spiritual leaders got it right the first time.

Christian choices in the COG is to choose not to have choices and simply learn the art of compliance. It sucketh out the soul.

Anonymous said...

The Apostle Paul said...

"To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings."

This is not exactly the concept of a personal integrity bound up in right and wrong. Paul's freedom allowed him to be duplistic and untrue to himself, if it helped the cause.

You could never trust what a man really believed or felt in this mode of being. Obviously, he did not choose this route when bashing his rivals Peter, James or John who where uncomfortable with Paul's interpretation of Jesus.

However, we do find in Acts 15, a compliant Paul who then goes away and does what he wants and teaches the Church the Jerusalem bunch didn't know what they were talking about regarding meats offered to idols and just about everything else.

So with regard to " Christians were made free so that they can choose good over evil, not debate about what is right and wrong."...You'd have to exclude Paul from this perspective.

Douglas Becker said...

When these men at the top disappear, their empires will implode.

Armstrongism has never been about Christianity at all: Armstrongism assumes all people are evil, including converted ones and must be treated like unconverted Israelites who must be confined within very very narrow parameters and boundaries for a high degree of control.

The view is destructive to growth.

It is also demeaning and insulting.

More important would be guidelines for ministers during the Feast of Tabernacles:

1) No false prophecies;
2) No negative stuff like sermons / sermonettes about suicides, suicide bombers, starvation, famines, pestilence, war, etc, etc.
3) No eating out in restaurants on the Sabbath or Holydays: It is expressly forbidden by the Old Testament Prophets;
4) Actually ministering to the people and being among them: Take people to dinner (not on the Holydays or Sabbath);
5) Treat people as equals and peers with respect and even occasionally esteem others better than yourself;
6)Take offerings only 3 times a year, not seven -- or don't take them at all, since there is no Temple System;
7) No mention of anything about British Israelism, not one word;
8) Deliver messages about being the Bride of Christ and respect for Jesus as a future husband;
9) Keep everything edifying;
10) Pay special attention and participate with the stranger, fatherless and widow;
11) Cut back on alcohol to set a better example for the community, and if alcoholic, don't drink at all;
12) Do not yell, threaten or otherwise frustrate the youth;
13) Learn to forgive;
14) Mentor others -- based on your example of your own mistakes and how you overcame them with God's Power.

And so forth.

Anonymous said...

"Armstrongism has never been about Christianity at all: Armstrongism assumes all people are evil, including converted ones and must be treated like unconverted Israelites who must be confined within very very narrow parameters and boundaries for a high degree of control."

You're talking about the NT here.

Anonymous said...

Just a tip about some news: several of spanky's tv stations have received a copy of herb armstrong's letter to spanky. Wonder if this will make them think?

Anonymous said...

Tom wrote:

"By implementing rules that prevent such things, for human nature without the help of God always defaults to the lowest common denominator. Any more silly questions?"

That is one of the least intelligent statements I have ever read on this blog. Think about that, really. Take your statement to its logical end.

Tom wrote:

"You obviously don't have any idea what is meant by Christian CHOICES and freedom. Christians were made free so that they can choose good over evil, not debate about what is right and wrong."

I sure do have a very good idea about what *you* mean by that. Your idea is that everyone must either do exactly as the minister says or lose their eternal life.

Pure poppycock. Sort of a religious version of Sophie's "Choice".

Douglas Becker said...

The churches of God, in this context, are comprised of leaders who may be seen as modern Pharisees: Strict attention to detailed letter of the law devoid of mercy, justice and especially judgment. At the same time, they are hypocrites who cannot measure up to their own impossible and unbiblical standards, and, in fact, violate Scripture at every turn.

In terms of the New Testament, the ministry focuses and obsesses on the works of the flesh and not the fruit of the Spirit. It is as if they have been so corrupted by evil that they only see wickedness everywhere in their suspicion. No one is good enough. Everything must be controlled.

In this empty vacuum, there isn't any humanity, let alone godliness because there isn't any room for it. The ministry carries excess baggage of death, doom, destruction, devastation everywhere with it. It permeates the lost souls of the ministry.

Love, joy and peace, right off the top, are not an option. Anything fun may be deemed suspect. Human relationships must fall within boundaries and not find their own level. Behavior is totally prescriptive. As such, there has to be huge volumes of material added to an already ponderous tome of made up stuff not found anywhere in the pages of the Bible to satisfy the self-righteousness of those who have put themselves in charge without any qualifications based on the good ol' boy's system of doing things.

In the end, it boils down to two things:

1) How much honor and prestige which can be accumulated to satisfy the insatiable lust for narcissistic source to attempt to fulfill the emptiness of two dimensional creatures pathetic in their own inward characterizations;

2) Money.

And related to the salary is the retirement of the hireling.

Neotherm said...

Tom wrote: "By implementing rules that prevent such things, for human nature without the help of God always defaults to the lowest common denominator. Any more silly questions?"

Tom, you are a classical legalist. You elevate rule-making to such a stature that it exceeds the influence and effect of the Holy Spirit. The "help" you see from God are human conceived and human implemented rules.

"You obviously don't have any idea what is meant by Christian CHOICES and freedom."

Actually, it is you who do not understand this concept. Christians should have the freedom to decided with the direction of the Holy Spirit. You would create a body of detailed rules and regulations that would make no decision ever necessary.

"The church of God is a community of saints, not a democratic institution where conflicting opinions are welcome."

If this is your approach, if heresy insinuates itself into your belief system (which it has), how do you ever get rid of it?

Your "church" is not a community of saints but rather a top-down authoritarian, Nimrodian government that will truck no criticism no matter how well-founded and constructive.

-- Neo

Anonymous said...

"Ah, we worry about Rod, but he'll die. So will Gerald Flurry. So will Dave Pack. And so on."

After I got out of the WCOG in 1974, I watched it split and split some more. Meanwhile my parents were still there. My mom passed before HWA so she only knew WCOG. My dad stayed until his death in 2001 by that time he was with Rod Meredith.
I told him once "One more split and you'll be an evangelist".

Anonymous said...

I told him once "One more split and you'll be an evangelist".

Aren't congregations supposed to mark those who cause divisions? Shouldn't those who are heady and high minded be turned over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh? Shouldn't people beware of false prophets?

What's with embracing them?

Douglas Becker said...

Unity

Isn't it typical for the church of gods to ignore the obvious?

In concert with this topic, it should be noted that the church of gods set inappropriate boundaries. Instead of making divisive Pharisaical petty rules, shouldn't the church of gods be highly concerned and motivated that they aren't of the same mind and that they don't speak the same things?

Shouldn't every member and every leader have one mind? The mind of Jesus Christ? The mind of the Holy Spirit?

Each church of gods can be as arrogant as they want to be, but don't you suppose that if Jesus Christ were really to return, he would and could only say, "I never knew you"?

It does indeed, brethren, appear that we are in "the gun lap" and the church of gods have shot themselves in the foot with the gun. Instead of making stupid rules, shouldn't they be much more concerned about limping to the finish line as best they can? Because as sure as death, taxes, revenge and the fury of a woman scorned, 2007 is some sort of turning point after which warnings will diminish and the witness to the church of gods will cease and they will be left to face certain death, destruction, demise, depression after this point in a long decline which has already become painfully obvious to even the most dense.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what LCG ministers are paid ? Is it true that Tkach has cut WCG ministers' salaries to $25,000 ? Half that of LCG, UCG ?

Robert said...

Reminds me of that 80s song, We Can Dance if We want to, we can leave your friends behind, and if your friends don't dance we can leave them behind.

In my short time in the WCG the only dancing socials were barn dancing. They were great fun. Perhaps the LCG should be barn dancing. It would include everyone.

Anonymous said...

Strangers in the night exchanging glances
Wondring in the night
What were the chances wed be sharing love
Before the night was through.

Something in your eyes was so inviting,
Something in you smile was so exciting,
Something in my heart,
Told me I must have you.

Strangers in the night, two lonely people
We were strangers in the night
Up to the moment
When we said our first hello.
Little did we know
Love was just a glance away,
A warm embracing dance away and -

Ever since that night weve been together.
Lovers at first sight, in love forever.
It turned out so right,
For strangers in the night.

jdschroeder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lussenheide said...

How the dance finally turned out!

Submitted video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qb-qLIKlS7A

cut and paste into browser.

Lussenheide

Tom said...

DB>>Armstrongism has never been about Christianity at all: Armstrongism assumes all people are evil, including converted ones and must be treated like unconverted Israelites who must be confined within very very narrow parameters and boundaries for a high degree of control.<<

Even you, blinded by prejudice, know that this is not true. For unlike many cults leaders, who exercise control over their members, HWA never prevented anyone form leaving WCG. People were FREE to leave at any time.

Your post is just another attempt at scraping the bottom the barrel again. It must be very murky down there, as you keep coming up these grubby opinions.

Douglas Becker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Rod is so scared of the heresy he is promoting that is contrary to HWA's teachings, that he needs to make it look like he is true died in the wool HWA conservative. That way the hundreds that are about to join the hundreds that have left may be persuaded that God is actually guiding the LCG.

Rod knows that there is only one individual that adults and the kids trusted to hold unto values; that was G. Weston. So to avoid a complete breakup of LCG, Rod gave Weston a big piece of the show. It may work for a time. People are duped sooooo easily.

Bottom line: Nothing has changed...just the cosmetics to make it look like LCG is still on target spiritually. Rod still distains HWA while giving him lip service. He never got over being sent away by him.

Only when LCG truly returns to the ways and teachings of HWA, without PARTIALITY IN ADMINISTRATION will the discerning members support Rod.

IMHO, Rod is about to lose his job to a value oriented man, Weston, but Weston is also sharper snake in the grass. Weston is even more partial in his administrative judgments than Rod, and he w/b worse than Rod.

Watch out LCG, the Germano/Weston team is coming, and they have an appearance that is totally contrary to HWA's teachings.

But hey, how else can we bring in a church big enough to fill the Laodicean ranks predicted by God's Word.

Enjoy yourself now because you will soon be vomited out of His mouth.

Anonymous said...

IMHO, Rod is about to lose his job

Or, as is more likely, his life.

Meredith is over 70 years old, has diabetes, can't see that well, has trouble remembering Scriptures on camera and is over all in serious decline.

As Dr. Who says, "Everything dies".

Douglas Becker said...

Phantasy Christianity

In this role playing game, each player can choose to be:

1) Leader of the WCG;
2) Leader of an xCG;
3) Atheist / Agnostic against the WCG / xCGs;
4) A sincere Christian seeking a viable existence outside the WCG / xCG, but still wanting to keep the Sabbaths and Holydays.

The goal of the game is to win points in a war with the other players.

There are various strategies. As leader of the WCG, you can win points by ignoring everyone else, pretending to be a Christian and collecting non tithe tithes from your members.

The leaders of the xCGs win points by sheep stealing and collecting tithes for salaries and retirement as hirelings while doing insidious things to reduce the credibility of the other xCGs while pretending to ignore other critics of the venue, even if they are helpful to your particular cause. Bonus points are awarded if you can make up silly rules arbitrarily that the members are too afraid to break even though they know better.

The Atheist / Agnostic gains points by destructive reduction of the credibility of the whole regime begun by Herbert Armstrong. Even more points are gained by walking away from the whole thing and going on to live your life without being influenced by the other players.

The sincere Christian seeking a viable existence outside the WCG / xCG, but still wanting to keep the Sabbaths and Holydays gains points by finding a godly group which is really sincerely following Jesus as Lord and Master and future husband of the Church with God as their Father, and by leaving the past existence of Armstrongism behind. Points are taken away if they only "attend" services over the phone or Internet.

It should be noted that the only real winners of Phantasy Christianity are the ones who do not play the game.

Robert said...

>>>>The sincere Christian seeking a viable existence outside the WCG / xCG, but still wanting to keep the Sabbaths and Holydays...

It is possible to maintain the Sabbath and holy days outside of the Armstrong empire. More people are becoming attracted to Messianic Judaism or living a Torah based lifestyle while professing a belief in Jesus (Yeshua).

Interesting at the time when Tkach abandoned the Sabbath and holy days, many people were discovering the joys of keeping the old testament festivals (without the legalism of Armstrongism).

Herbert Armstrong attempted to restore first century worship of the early followers of Jesus. Unfortunately he did not bring the correct understanding of first century Judaisms. Rather, he looked at Christianity as a separate religion created by Jesus, taken to the world through the writings of Paul.

In reality the movement of Jesus was heavily based in Judaism, with it being another sect. HWA never resolved the Acts 15 question, nor Matthew 5 where Jesus said He did not abolish any laws of the Torah.

Herbert Armstrong didn't really observe the laws of the Torah, he simply cherry picked those he liked and kept those. He always struck me from his writings that he was always concerned what people thought about him. He wanted a big empire like the world leaders, in fact, he wanted to be somebody.

Those are not always the right characteristics for someone who is willing to follow all of God's laws.

There are many contradictions in HWAs form of religious observance. For instance it is taught that we stay away from unclean foods, but he does not instruct his followers to buy kosher certified products. The only way to truely follow the food laws is to regulate it, to ensure that you are not eating unfit by products.

I have known many WCG members who ate sweets containing animals fats and buying products which contain animal fats or pork by products. Smarties, is not kosher because the dye is made from crushed beetles. Red wines can have the blood of bulls, and other non kosher fats used in the fining process. That is why there are Vegetarian wines. How much non kosher wine is used during Passover services?

You get the point. If you are looking for authentic first century practice, you are not going to find it in Armstrongism.
If you want to live a life of service to God and want to follow
His laws, you will have to join a Torah based community.

Neotherm said...

To Douglas Becker: I agree with the substance of your response to Tom. But I object to the way you packaged it. Tom is not a moron. Nor is he stupid. No more than any of us who were a part of HWA's religious cult.

Tom is throughly indoctrinated. Most of us have been there.

And, of course, once we all bought into Armstrongism, it was impossible to leave. There were no armed guards at the gates of Ambassador College but there may as well have been. If you are an Armstrongite, leaving is certain loss of salvation.

Tom is being a litte sophistic. But realize that manipulating information and creating expedient viewpoints is an Armstrongite methodology. Tom is just imitating his leaders.

If he is fortunate, one day he will wake up during he sermonette or sermon and realize that the guy at the pulpit is having him on.

-- Neo

Anonymous said...

Douglas Becker scares me. By his own definition he is clearly a psychopath. He should be watched.

Lochinvar

Douglas Becker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Douglas Becker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"And, of course, once we all bought into Armstrongism, it was impossible to leave. There were no armed guards at the gates of Ambassador College but there may as well have been. If you are an Armstrongite, leaving is certain loss of salvation."

The same is true of Orthodoxy. Our society is structured so that you can NOT easily leave it.

You can only leave Orthodoxy at significant personal risk... and there are armed guards protecting Orthodoxy in our society.

Orthodox Christianity is at the very core of our society; it must be maintaned to help control the masses. Our societies hierarchies, its litergies, its holidays, and most of its institutions have all grown from Orthodoxy.

The World Wide Church of God was and is a part of Orthodoxy. The off shoots of the WWCG are a part of Orthodoxy. Only they are all on the fringe of Orthodoxy.

They just gained too much influence and strayed too far from some of the core tenents of Orthodoxy; and they needed to be reigned in...

Anonymous said...

DB

I've never known you not to mean well. You are tending to be more mean spirited over time it seems with those that you feel don't listen to you or get what you want them to get. (They won't) People reflect on information when you don't attack them. Your personal anger is oozing through more and more. People are individuals with perspectives and all kinds of different experiences in WCG. Observations aren't always specious or invalid, devoid of intellect or slanderous. Lighten up. We're the choir here for the most part.

Neotherm said...

"The same is true of Orthodoxy. Our society is structured so that you can NOT easily leave it."

Right. There are societal norms, if that is what you mean by Orthodoxy. And it is hard to leave those norms. People kind of expect you to wear clothes and stuff.

I was referring to the Armstrongite view that they are the one an only true church and if you cut yourself off from them or if they cut you off from their "body", your loss of salvation is assured. If a Protestant wanted to leave one Protestant congregation and join another, there is no threat of loss of salvation, except maybe among fringers.

-- Neo

Douglas Becker said...

Mercy triumphs over justice.

Based on the advice of those here who certainly have my respect, I hereby repent and have deleted postings, following, as it were, the command of Jesus in Matthew 7:6.

Anonymous said...

I was referring to the Armstrongite view that they are the one an only true church and if you cut yourself off from them or if they cut you off from their "body", your loss of salvation is assured.

Lately, the Armstrongists of the XCGs have been declaring that if you are not of their particular "body" and in another church of God, you will be found worshiping at the feet of the true called out ones to be in the First Resurrection, only because you had the misfortune to keep the wrong calendar in the sin of syncretism, whatever that is.

Is it my imagination, or are the churches of God getting more mean spirited as time goes on or is this business as usual?

Anonymous said...

We're all in this together in one sense Doug. Each having had our own experiences, disappointments and issues not a few that raise our anger. I've played every game from "I can't believe I was so stupid," to "I should have..." Alas, we are where we are.

We all have something to contribute based on our own experiences. If it helps, it helps. If a true believer comes along and reminds us of where we never wish to be again, it helps us too. I can't speak for whatever they think they are getting from the exchange.

You're a good man!

Anonymous said...

"...you will be found worshiping at the feet of the true called out ones to be in the First Resurrection>"

woo hoo...can't wait. I think while they get resurrected in the first, I'll be hangin out waiting for Second one. Then it's my turn and the first thing I'm going to say when worshipping at their feet is "have you washed these things in the past 1000 years 'cause I don't wash up what what I know not. :)

Neotherm said...

"...you will be found worshiping at the feet of the true called out ones to be in the First Resurrection..."

This, of course, is a direct tie to their belief that they will be "God as God is God." But the word here used for "worship" has a number meanings, meanings that do not imply the Divine.

My guess is that the importance of exclusivism among the XCGs will cause them to forever wallow in self-congratulation for being the one and only true church. Whatever is corrupt, corrupts utterly.

-- Neo

Douglas Becker said...

Robert,

I wanted to respond to your comments. You seem to be a really nice godly innocent person. At first, I was concerned that you could be ripped to shreds by the vicious infighting of the various churches of God, but have put that behind, realizing that you are not part of that scene any longer.

You are certainly right about people beginning to keep the Feast of Tabernacles outside of the venue with which we are most familiar. I was deeply moved by this video on You Tube of such a celebration some years back in Jerusalem:

Days of Elijah - Paul
Wilbur


What a wonderful beautiful celebration which certainly makes me ache for an opportunity to join in such festivities. I do recognize that it may take some time for more of this to spread throughout the traditional Christian community, but, as with the Church of God, Seventh Day, it seems to be coming.

Jesus said that stones could be raised up to declare glory to the Lord. Perhaps, as you may be suggesting, the days are coming that the churches of God in this incarnation will be dead, to be replaced by the righteousness of God. You might pause for a moment to reflect on this offering, again from You Tube:

Seek Ye First The
Kingdom of God


The point is that even though some Christian institutions may not have it entirely right today, it may well be that in seeking the Will of
God, there will be those who find it.

And that is the problem with the Armstrongists.

My wife and I had a discussion today over Sabbath Lunch at home, that the problem is that the XCGs simply don't seem to be seeking the Will of God. If they really were, they would find it. They would find common ground. They would find unity.

The problem is not the people we have come to know and love in the Churches of God. They seem to get along. It is the leadership of the Churches of God. As my wife is oft fond of pointing out, no matter where they have gone, and what church they have founded, they were taught at Ambassador College and they know nothing else.

As a pseudo insider, over the past few years, I have -- with my wife -- been trying to find something worth salvaging within the XCGs. There is a lot more chaotic disorder than many of you may know because most of you merely see the symptoms of much deeper problems. In this particular posting, and in so many others, weird strangeness meant to preserve past glories of the Armstrong Empire of an hierarchy of absolute control to enforce "righteousness" by setting absolute boundaries, has established instead Pharisaical hypocrisy. The harm and injuries to victims have increased and we have seen them personally. It is difficult to describe the grieving pain that it gives us to see people suffer the injuries and insults generated by those who are supposed to be the helpers of our joy. It's worse than some of you can imagine. Just note that people have died as a result.

So we see an outgrowth of a new world developing with a new spirit: Just one of these is the Charismatic Jews and similar Hebrew Roots organizations professing Jesus while keeping the beauty of the traditions of the past Testaments.

It is the case that we should not forget the Acts 15 decision for the Gentiles:

1) Abstain from meats offered to idols,
2) Abstain from blood,
3) Abstain from things strangled,
4) Abstain from fornication.

No other burden was put upon the Gentiles, except of course, if you count, Do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not covet, honor your father and mother and love one another as well as love God with all your being and your neighbor as yourself. Such burdens we must bear in the spirit, but the reward is ample: If nothing else it is love, joy, peace and the other fruit of the Spirit.

I, myself, am underwhelmed by the rotten example of the evil leadership of the churches of God. They not only know better, but claim they know better. They have long been given a chance to actually do better. Perhaps their time is past and those 7,000 (symbolically) who have not bowed before Baal -- or gone parasailing on the Sabbath while their minister cowered in his cabin on the cruise ship -- may very well be preserved and pass on or move over to a new venue as the case may be in due time.

No longer will there be ministers giving [and this is real and recent] sermons telling their group of 50 or less that they will be the ones in Revelation 3 before whom those other Churches of God will kneel in worship before them because they didn't keep the right Holyday Calendar. God's truth! I heard the sermon! That's about as nutty as you can get, right next to an angel plucking you up to take you to the Place of Safety for 3.5 years to be taught by Christ in the 3.5 years before he returns during the Great Tribulation.

No, the Churches of God have devolved into crazy nuttiness. I have been highly unsuccessful to persuade them to repent -- as have others who have warned them repeatedly [don't do this, it's a bad idea!]. They don't listen, of course, because they have the idea that "the truth wasn't invented here and so it's not the truth" and my personal favorite: "Who are you? What authority do you have?" [to which I answer, "Don't ask me, ask God!"]. All they would have to do is blow the dust off their Bible, admitting that they have, ironically, become Biblical illiterates, and look to see what it says for themselves. Though I feel really sad, I oft must look away from those who trust in themselves with all their heart and lean to their own understanding. To show them the way is futile. They will have to learn some other way.

In the meantime, the joy of celebration of Spiritual Peace continues to manifest itself in unexpected places.

I'm on the edge of the last little bit of caring any longer. From my perspective, the leadership of the churches of God have had their chance to seek the Will of God and have succeeded only in following their own egotistical narcissism to the destruction and hurt of many. While we care, it it's something that isn't going to be of much concern much longer because the dawning of a new age is coming and they won't be a part of it unless they make seriously painful changes in their lives.

There are those who claim this is the Year of Release, beginning at the Day of Atonement. I cannot speak of this except personally. This is the year my wife and I will be moving, being released from many things which have hampered us in the past. May it be so for you and so many others, some of whom we know not now, but will be future friends.

In the meantime, enjoy:

Our God is an Awesome God

Anonymous said...

"Herbert Armstrong didn't really observe the laws of the Torah, he simply cherry picked those he liked and kept those."

Jesus Cherry picked as well. The New Testament canon does not necessarily reflect his teachings about Judaism. Jesus reject much of Judaism...

For example he rejected circumcision, notice what Jesus says in the Gospel of Thomas

GT53 His disciples said to him, "is circumcision useful or not?" He said to them, "If it were useful, their father would produce children already circumcised from their mother. Rather, the true circumcision in spirit has become profitable in every respect."

Much of what we read in "the law of Moses" was added by priest who made themselves priests (the Levites). Moses did not write the Law of Moses. The Priests in the time of Hezikiah and Josiah wrote the "Law of Moses".

In fact Moses did not exist.

God never made the Levites priests. The Levitacal priesthood is a human creation.

Jesus knew this, and he knew what laws were genuine, coming from God, and what laws were created by a the Levites.

That is why Jesus was such a threat to first century Judaism.

One does need to cherry pick the laws in the OT and choose those that genuinely from God.

Douglas Becker said...

Helpers of your joy

For those who are interested and wonder where "helpers of your joy" comes from, describing the ministry, it is found in the writings of the Apostle Paul in II Corinthians 1:24

Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

In reference to the rules and regulations given for the Living Church of God concerning keeping the Feast, one should note the first part of the verse: "Not for that we have dominion over your faith". No, Christianity is not about dominating over Christians. It stands rather for the ministers to be "helpers of your joy".

"for by faith ye stand," continues the Apostle Paul. As Habakuk says, "the just shall live by his faith".

No Christian should allow picky cult leaders to undermine faith by their dominion, but rather should look to the ministry to be helpers of their joy.

One could ask, just where is there such a thing in the churches of God these days?

If God trusts you, just why is it that your church of God doesn't?

If nothing else, could we not say that if it does not bring you joy, that it may not be worth your time to pursue?

Douglas Becker said...

Whatever is corrupt, corrupts utterly.

Neotherm! What a lovely turn of phrase as a truism.

I love it!

Douglas Becker said...

"...you will be found worshiping at the feet of the true called out ones to be in the First Resurrection..."

This, of course, is a direct tie to their belief that they will be "God as God is God." But the word here used for "worship" has a number meanings, meanings that do not imply the Divine.

My guess is that the importance of exclusivism among the XCGs will cause them to forever wallow in self-congratulation for being the one and only true church. Whatever is corrupt, corrupts utterly.


Neotherm, let me share with you the kind of harm that the churches of God can do to you.

Here's a little secret that you should know -- and I hope you will keep it under your hat -- is that this same group which claims that the other churches of God "claiming to be Jews and are not" that will be worshiping at their feet of these 50 or so people, prints up a monthly magazine, nameless, except it has the word "Truth" in it. Each month or two, there are articles strewn all the way through about the Calendar and what's wrong with the one that the churches of God -- those other ones -- keep.

And one of the magazines came and in an article in big capital letters they quoted Herbert Armstrong in -- and I testify this is exactly as it is -- "The Pasture General Report".

Both my wife and I laughed and laughed over this obvious misprint over which the leader was oblivious. Even today, every time we think of it we have a hearty guffaw. We could ignore it if it weren't for the fact that along with the articles on the Calendar every issue, there are a lot of misprints, wrong chapters and verses for Scriptures and even Scripture references that don't exist. Thay reely nede a poof reeder.

The first time I read it, I laughed so hard my sides hurt and I had difficulty catching my breath. So you can say that the churches of God cause harm in unexpected ways.

I'm laughing as I write this.

Although, I am convinced that "The Pasture General Report" has a lot more manure in it than we would have expected.

Yes, yes, I know: "Let him who is without faulty communication cast the first cow pie". That would be from the General's Pasture.

Douglas Becker said...

One might say:

"Proof Read All Things".

Von Howitzer said...

I can respect the desire of people to live in a way that pleases God. WWJD bracelets are an example of that in Protestant circles - why shouldn't LCG have some standards for beach attire and dances?

Problem is, the focus for "what pleases God" is almost totally on the material, and almost entirely non-sensical. God is unhappy if an American wears speedo swim attire, yet doesn't care if a Frenchman or German does? Besides, where does scripture describe Godly apparel, other than for Levitical priests and visions of the future?

Something is seriously out of alignment when church leadership needs to focus on dance attire, strict selection of music, the level of lighting in the hall, and the manner in which a man asks a woman to dance. All of this must be overseen by a "minister", who by his presence comes across more as a cop than a guide. Hopefully, in practice he is more guide than cop.

There is one nice thing - an exhortation to include everyone in the dance. This is the only item mentioned that approaches what God is really more concerned about - justice, mercy, love, grace. Paul noted that the KOG is not meat and drink - this Rodomic set of rules reminds me more of the actions of Peter, who didn't want to be seen with the wrong crowd when the "right" crowd came along.

I wish these silly men would start to look beyond their silly rules at the actions of Jesus, whom they believe they follow. He said that if he were lifted up he would draw all men unto him. That's draw - not drive, and the difference is critical.

For all the yapping in the XCOG's about developing righteous character you'd think they'd allow a person to actually exercise some of his own judgement to be able to do that. Doing something because you want to is a whole lot different than doing it because a minister is standing over you to make sure you do. Jesus came to forgive sin, not ensure that is never happened again. (Don't confuse this with sinning so grace may abound - I'm just saying God knows we sin and will sin, but he is ready to forgive us when we do). Why not emphasize this enormous love God has, instead of being ready to crack down on someone who is wearing the wrong kind of clothes, or doesn't ask a young lady to dance with the exactly correct words?

And this group wants to be taken seriously as a church of God?

Lussenheide said...

Video From Beach party now also available...looks like the LCG kids totally ignored the swimwear and dance prohibitions.

Start video at 0:27 .

http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZjrNTn0NoDY

Cut and paste into browser and press enter.

Lussenheide

Ron Bryant said...

Is it standard policy of Living to steal widows houses so the ministers and upper brass hats can get more money to do the WORK... or buy more cars or more caviar or whatever is done

Douglas Becker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom said...

NEO>>To Douglas Becker: I agree with the substance of your response to Tom. But I object to the way you packaged it.<<

Where is DB's response to me? Has he got cold feet and deleted it?

>>Tom is not a moron. Nor is he stupid.<<

I appreciate you observation. However, being attack by DB is like being savaged by a dead sheep, to quote a former chancellor of the exchequer. But I don't attack people, I use logic to uproot their silly opinions. DB is trying to make a career out of attacking HWA, by blaming him for everything that has happened in WCG, and has subsequently occurred since the break up of WCG. No honest, objective person could agree with such an illogical stance. One may as well blame Hitler for every problem the Germans face today.

>>No more than any of us who were a part of HWA's religious cult.<<

Like DB, you are free to describe the former WCG as a cult if you so wish. But you were neither conscripted nor coerced into joining WCG. On the contrary, ministers were very careful about who they invited to church. They tried to make sure that prospective members understood what the church was about before allowing them to attend.

In addition, people were encouraged to prove all things. HWA always said: "Don't believe me, believe me when you see it in your bible." Plus, you, DB and his cohorts had a God given responsibility to obey Jesus' command: "Let no man deceived you." If you, DB and his cohorts did not prove all things; failed to obey Jesus' command, and as a consequence, were deceived, whose fault is that?

Now don't duck this question, please answer it. And if the answer undermines your current stance and uproots your misguided opinions, please don't let pride cause you to continue clinging to wreckage of anger and hatred against a man that did nothing to harm you.

Anonymous said...

Since when are beetles not kosher

Anonymous said...

Living University prayer closet preview

Douglas Becker said...

Proverbs 14:7

Douglas Becker said...

But you were neither conscripted nor coerced into joining WCG.

Untrue.

Douglas Becker said...

How Herbert Armstrong is responsible for everything gone wrong in the Churches of God

If he hadn't created it, nothing would have gone wrong.

Douglas Becker said...

I would just like to point out that stress does not exist, because the word can nowhere be found in the Bible.

Robert said...

To anonymous regarding smarties. They now use carminic acid to make the reds, which is made from cochineal insects. It means that they’re not Kosher.

OK Kosher Certification stated:

Q:I read in a magazine that there is a dye in most lipsticks that is made from beetles. Am I allowed to wear such a lipstick?

A. Lipstick is not eaten; therefore, lipstick containing carmine, the dye derived from beetles, may be applied to lips.

http://www.okkosher.com/Content.asp?ID=72

The beetles can be used on the skin but not disgested.

Neotherm said...

Tom wrote:

"However, being attack by DB is like being savaged by a dead sheep, to quote a former chancellor of the exchequer. But I don't attack people, I use logic to uproot their silly opinions."

The fact that you do not want to engage in rational debate and consistently resort to ad homoneim attack indicates to me that it is very unlikely you have any of the influence of the Holy Spirit in your life.

First you attack someone and then in the next breath say you don't attack people. This muddled logic also makes it pretty unlikely that you use "logic" to do anything.

My actions made me complicit in my own screwing over by Armstrongism, there can be no doubt about that. But my personal lack of wisdom (I was seventeen when I joined up) does not mean that Armstrongism is not diabolical.

Like most cults, Armstrongites carefully screened those who entered. Cults do not want unmanageable people or people who ask questions. They want people who will permit themselves to be exploited in exchange for what the cult is willing to give them.

HWA used to say don't believe me, believe the Bible. But he later renounced this in principle. At the time of the GTA rebellion, he stated at Big Sandy that this was only for new people being first attacted to Armstrongism. After joining your were to be unquestioning.

Once a person makes the mistake of believing that the path to salvation is through Armstrongism, that person may be mistreated in all manner of ways.

"Let no man deceive you" is not a command that you bootstrap your way out of deception, which of course is not possible. Nobody says "I think I'll go out and get deceived." The deceived do not know they are deceived (yourself being a good example).

This is a quaint or literary way of saying, "be careful because there are deceivers full of empty words out there". This fact that you have misunderstood this and turned this misunderstanding into a sophistic argument should give you pause to consider.

-- Neo

Robert said...

For anyone who is interested, the Bible Sabbath Association produced an article entitled, Should Christians Eat as Jews?

It made a compelling case that Christians should be living by a higher standard using kosher certified products to enable them to eliminate blood, animal fats, and some unkosher by products in their diet. The article stated that we could not trust government food agencies to give us any sort of acceptable biblical standard.

I have uploaded the article in pdf format.

If you are interested to read it, then here it is.

Page 1
http://www.biblesabbath.org.uk/eatasjewsp1.pdf

Page 2
http://www.biblesabbath.org.uk/eatasjewsp2.pdf

Page 3
http://www.biblesabbath.org.uk/eatasjewsp3.pdf

Tom said...

Neotherm

When you or DB get around to answering my question, please let me know.

Frankly, I was embarrassed by the incoherence of your reply, not mention your shameless failure to answer my question. You are either excessively dense or unscrupulous argumentative to write and publish such nonsense.

Byker Bob said...

Neo,

Why even bother? Tom seems to be quite content being deceived, although he does seem to want all of us to realize that he's intelligent.

It might be best to just ignore him, and maybe he'll go away.

BB

VonHowitzer said...

Tom:

Neo answered your question better than you can understand.

If you "prove all things", it stands to reason that you've got a lot of literature on your shelf that disagrees with your current COG.

Care to admit that? Or do you wet your pants when your local cop, er, minister comes by?

Merely being able to parrot back what your minister or church declares as proof is not proving all things. It's being a good parrot.

Richard said...

Amid all of this, I'm surprised no one has brought up the UCG Feast.

My site had a printed "liability policy" in the brochure for teen activities (we had a dance, among other things), stating teens 18 and under had to stay at the activity until it either ended or a parent/authorized adult picked them up early.

If a teen left an activity, UCG stated it was not responsible for the oversight of the teens.

This didn't seem that legalistic to me. Protective, yes -- but recent cases of violence in the U.S. suggest the church was protecting teens from "this present evil world" outside the site, not bad music getting inside it.

Anonymous said...

"not bad music getting inside it."

Are we going to hear any Da Hool this year ?

SmilinJackSprat said...

This excerpt on proper decorum for the Meredith Feast of Tabernacles brought back mixed recollections, most of them quite happy and satisfying. They began when a friend introduced me to Herbert Armstrong’s radio broadcast. The daily broadcast had a wonderful, almost healing affect, bolstered in no small part by Armstrong’s constant urging: “Don’t believe me; believe your Bible!” I accepted that advice, and still do. It was reasonable, and always put me in some disagreement with his teachings. How could it not?

Dr. Meredith spent thousands of hours in close company with Mr. Armstrong through which he might have absorbed more of the Armstrong influence than any other living human being. Logically then, now that Armstrong is gone, the Armstrong admonition should be extended: “Don’t believe me – or Meredith -- or any other human leader speaking on God’s behalf; believe your Bible!”

One might argue that non-Jews have no binding responsibility to observe the annual feasts; but if one is convinced that he or she must observe them, I would argue that under those circumstances one should take his or her cues from the Bible, no?

Biblically speaking, the Hag haSuccot, the Feast of Booths, is explained in terms of (1) the building materials for the succa (booth), (2) the seven day length of the feast (followed by Shmini Atseret, another feast, on the 8th day), (3) the reasons why Israelites should dwell/sit in succot seven days, (4) the means of financing the feast, (5) the types of food and drink one should enjoy during this festive time, (6) the location of the feast, and (7) who should observe it.

Due to so many tragic factors, not the least of which was the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, some commands pertaining to Succot cannot be observed now, but others can. For example, the succa itself.

If one dares to accept the Biblical explanation, a succa (booth or tabernacle) contains no overt promise of future luxury, but serves as an annual reminder that when Israel left Egypt the people could not have survived without the miraculous canopy – the succah, if you please -- of clouds by day, and a pillar of fire by night. The home-made succa primarily looks backward in time, not forward, and in so doing poignantly reminds us of our helplessness apart from the Source of those ancient clouds and fire. In other words, the future holds no promise at all if we dare to forget where we came from and how we managed so perilous a journey. Yes, in those days a new home in a promised land of bounteous blessings was the pot of gold at the end of the desert rainbow; and today we still look forward to a better world – but temporary living/sitting in the succa was and is still the only way to get there. Once there, we will still look back, annually from the succa, to the challenging years we spent in the desert.

Only by experiencing the privations of that miraculous past are we prepared to face and successfully manage the future. So we are commanded to build succot (plural of succa) and we’re told what the building materials should be. Meredith, with the rest of the spinoffs, believing Armstrong rather than the Bible, learned different opinions and continues to pass them on. How exactly does a Hyatt Regency Hotel recall the rigors of outdoor life in the Arabian desert? It might be at least marginally acceptable if somewhere on the premises there should actually be a succa, or several of them, to enable at least a respectful nod toward the actual and plainly true intent of the Feast of Succas. If the Bible is to be heeded at all, then whomever avoids the obligatory meals in the succa has completely ignored the core intent of the Feast.

Armstrong transmogrified the intentionally precarious nature of succot into luxurious temporary accommodations picturing a future time of unprecedented wealth. He metaphorically flew over the desert experience to land directly in the promised land – but it didn’t work that way then, and it won’t work that way now. We willy-nilly abandoned the intentionally vulnerable succa in favor of luxurious accommodations during a festival that exists precisely to reflect on vulnerability rather than luxury. Would it be a sin to look it up in the Bible? Is it the Feast of Booths (Succot), or the Feast of Luxurious Living Quarters? Hint: Moses wrote “Hag haSuccot” (Feast [of] the Booths) in Leviticus 23. And Jesus said it would be easier for the universe to dissolve than for even one letter to be removed from the perfection of Moses’ writings. As Christians who accept the Hebrew Scriptures as presently applicable, what is the rationale for ignoring succas at the Feast of Succas?

If Meredith could dare to take Armstrong’s advice and believe his Bible rather than Mr. Armstrong’s sometimes contrary opinions (after all, the Bible is there for anyone to read) his Feast instructions might have had to do more with Succot (Booths) and less with swimsuits. After all, the entire nation of Israel knows what Succot are; even secular Jews build them and revel in the joy of their annual construction and use. If their conduct is interpreted as lacking in spiritual intuition, please remember that holy men in ancient times wrote such things as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit – and the Holy Spirit said booths, to facilitate memories of life in the bleakness of the desert.

Modesty is for every day of the year. “Don’t wear your Speedo in the succa” hardly sounds germane in a Biblical context – but it might make a catchy song title.

In the Garden of Eden, our first ancestors took the smooth words of a talking reptile over the kind admonitions of their Creator. I suppose that if our first parents could go to that ridiculous extreme in believing clever half-truths, then it will always be a financial shoe in for men with enough gall to offer distortions, no matter how charming, no matter how well meant, no matter their extra-Biblical source -- in exchange for just a little more -- or even a lot more -- than 10% of their followers‘ net income. Such a deal!

But don’t believe me; believe your Bible. And if you can, or if you dare, perhaps you can also find a way to persuade your leaders to do the same…

Anonymous said...

Richard,

I'm curious - Are they still playing Kool & the Gang's "Celebration" at church dances? Aside from Tom, who has obviously been in a coma for 30 years or so, everyone knows that this song was near the top of WCG approved music.

jdschroeder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jdschroeder said...

With reference to Jack Sprat's lengthy commentary, the "fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook" of Leviticus 23, to my knowledge, have never been required construction materials for succas. They're used in processions and certain joyous rituals worked out for Succot, but the booths themselves have more liberal guidelines, which can easily be found on the web. Just the same, it's good to see someone still cares about the annual feasts. From what I read, they have a glorious future ahead of them.

Stingerski said...

A new interloping Armstrongite, by the moniker "skbeam" has posted this over on the Alumni Forum :

We await the time spoken about in Zechariah when we all will be together again celebrating this glorious time with all of mankind and with our Savior and Father!!

I was just wondering if you are this crusading person? If so, how do you explain this "wonderful future" time you are going to have (as quoted from Zech. 14:20) :

On that day 'Holy to the Lord' will be scribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord's house will be like sacred bowls in front of the altar.

Could you please, err, explain how you are going to ride your horse, complete with cooking pots, in front of the "Lord's" altar at this future time?

I mean, I've heard of you Armstrongites substituting Motel 6 for a sukkoth. But I'm not sure you will really be willing to trade in your Chevrolet for a horse to make this "prophecy" be fulfilled.

Or then again, maybe Hertz will rent you a horse at that time.

Richard said...

I don't have any teenagers, so I don't know if they played it at my Feast site (Panama City Beach) this time.

There was no all-comers or singles dance, for that matter.

Bamboo_bends said...

Neotherm said...

Like most cults, Armstrongites carefully screened those who entered. Cults do not want unmanageable people or people who ask questions. They want people who will permit themselves to be exploited in exchange for what the cult is willing to give them.


I don't know if this overtly intended but it certainly was the end result.

They never did know what to do with the questioning children of such people.

I think HWA had short man's disease and just didn't like to be challenged. So he berated everyone around him into submission to his short little will(y?). His example set the pattern and tone for the sycophants around him. It was his way or the highway.

jdschroeder said...

Stingerski? Were you addressing me? I'm not your interloping crusader, skbeam, but I am old fashioned enough to expect Zechariah's vision to come true someday. A time of continuous day with neither the sun nor moon as the light source must be far enough in the future to allow for vastly different lifestyles. Why not horses?

As for metal pots and basins being "holy to the LORD," that's already part of every kosher kitchen. Pots and pans in the homes of observant Jews are all kashered, or made kosher, which involves immersing them in the living waters of a mikva prior to their use in any proper Jewish home. There the table is an altar and even the act of eating is holy, so holy utensils are the norm.

I don't mind giving up the jagged edges of this present world in exchange for fine horses, a permanent place of my own somewhere in the Holy Land and a functional Temple in Jerusalem. I wouldn't mind a new Chevy either, or even an old one, if we're still milking the planet for fossil fuels.

If this goes from my lips to God's ears, then for the record, I'm in no rush to leave this life now. There are still some things I hope to accomplish before lights out; but the future projected at the end of Zechariah's book more than meets my best expectations. It all sounds good to me.

Corky said...

We're doomed. We will have to breed billions of horses and build billions of horse stalls and grow billions of acres of hay and build billions of hay barns.

Could be a boon to horse breeders though . . .