Friday, 23 September 2016

The other "Watch"

Ambassador Watch and Twenty-first Century Watch. Not to be confused.

The latter is the quarterly rag produced by the remnants of the Holy Family, the Armstrongs; namely Mark, grandson of Herb and son of Ted.

The Living Armstrongism blog describes the MA style as "venomous, misanthropic invective". I completely agree. MA's writing drips with bitterness and stereotyping. It's hard to imagine anything less likely to reflect the sermon on the mount. It's a loveless message that owes more to nationalistic exceptionalism and loathing of progressive views than anything you'd identify with the teachings of Jesus.

When it comes to political invective, this Watch leaves little to the imagination. MA and his colleagues just spew it forth. If CGI is the slightly brighter side of Armstrongism, ICG - the gloriously misnamed Intercontinental Church of God (which seems to be a pet poodle sect tied to Mark Armstrong's Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association) is a bilious cul de sac.

TFCW has an editorial policy wrapped up in misanthropic and shallow readings of Bible passages. In the latest issue:
  • MA has a hernia over "the Green solution to terror". Hint: Green isn't a good word in the Armstrong vocabulary.
  • James Ricks provides a Bible Study (??) on the perils of socialism. How seriously you take a guy who thinks Karl Marx is spelled Carl Marx I'm not sure.
  • Michael Armstrong (another member of the Holy Family?) postures as an expert on Venezuela. 
  • Garner Ted Armstrong is exhumed once again with an article on heaven.
  • MA is back to fire spitballs at the pope over his willingness to engage in dialogue with an Islamic leader.
  • The other features seem to be lifted from various politically agreeable sources.
Then there's a selection of wheedling letters from like-minded souls.
Dear Mr. Armstrong,
Praise God for your grandfather, your Dad, and you! The USA needs more of your kind. Thank you so much for this information. I agree one hundred percent!
I can think of only one reason to download this drivel... simply to keep one's disgust fresh.


Hoss said...

Mark and his mate Murray (who seems to have disappeared with the weekly report from Australia) also seem to think it's their mission to spew on Global Climate Change. While several months in summer were listed as the hottest average temperatures on record, Mark said it wasn't really hot in Tyler, so there, Climate Change is a scam!
Their approach to meteorology is not unlike their approach to theology.

Connie Schmidt said...

Their TV program is called "THE SHOCKING TRUTH". I wonder after a few weeks of being shocked , if someone would simply pass out from exhaustion from such stimulus! Certainly more "electrifying" than the more vanilla "Plain Truth" ;-)

Redfox712 said...

Thanks for the mention. His screeds are so bitter and nasty. Just terrible.

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

...more "electrifying" than the more vanilla "Plain Truth".

Yes, when dealing with various topics, such as sustainable energy, an article written in the old Plain Truth style would have at least appeared to give a balanced appraisal. But then, no matter how good something may appear, the final summary would show that it was still not enough.

MA cuts straight to the chase...

Miguel de la Rodente said...

I don't imagine that Mark will be spearheading a drive within his local congregations to join in on the Black Lives Matter demonstrations. He's probably not exhorting his members to leave as small as possible a carbon footprint with their lifestyles either. These would be just two of the very positive contributions his and other ACOG groups could be making right here and right now, to positively impact the world around them.

The ACOGs have always subscribed to the old Fidel & Che blueprint: when you are trying to create a revolution, you make the status quo appear as bad as possible. You don't do anything to mitigate the bad, even if such things are comfortably within your power. You hope for the worst, dramatize, magnify, and even exacerbate, so that people will literally be begging for your "solution".

Minimalist said...

Tyler,TX could soon be a suburb of Houston if its unfettered urban sprawl continues.
Why should they worry about conservation when Jesus will be soon returning?

Steve D said...

I've never met Mark Armstrong and know little about him, other than being GTA's son. Does anyone on this website know him, personally? I wonder if this is the life that he really wanted for himself. Or, like his dad, he felt pushed into it, found that it is a rather easy way to make a living but perhaps has left him frustrated and feeling "stuck." Perhaps both MA and GTA had other hopes for themselves when they were young. Perhaps other children of church leaders (Meredith's kids, etc) find themselves in the same situation. Some may not be very ambitious, not want to do the heavy lifting to succeed elsewhere, found themselves in a position due to their family ties and all end up in middle age frustrated people? Just wondering.

The Skeptic said...

I think Steve is onto something.

Black Ops Mikey said...

First of all, how can you possibly have Volume 19 of "Twenty-First Century Watch" when you are only 16 years into the 21st Century? It gives new meaning to prophetic publication -- and not a very welcome meaning at that.

And then... AND THEN: You get to only the second page and there's a continued on page 27!!!! It wouldn't be so bad if you could click on it and be whisked to the page in question, but no, you've got to page down. And when you are finished with the article, you have to page back to the next article.

When are these Armstrongist morons going to figure out that with .pdf publications, there is no shame at all in actually completing the article with contiguous pages, even if you have some blank space on the final page of the article? This is NOT a printed magazine -- it's an electronic publication, for heaven's sake!

And then there are the articles themselves which are not worth reading in the first place.

Hoss said...

Decades ago I attended a conference dealing with concerns over energy, food and population. When I returned home, the conference was the topic of my next Spokesman’s Club speech. The speech was in a pessimistic style of which MA would have probably applauded. But not the club director: he lamented what he considered the overuse of the “bad news theme”. He expressed his view of “Judgment” as including certain “sins of omission” – “We” (the world, and the church) ‘have the technology” (to borrow Oscar Goldman’s catchphrase) but fail to use it to solve problems that we can solve ourselves.

A few years ago, possibly prompted by EPA regulations, MA said the government had no right to take away our God-given lifestyle. I took that to mean the right to drive fuel-inefficient gas guzzlers. As if BI gave us the right to be the world’s number one polluter.

Miguel de la Rodente said...

Based on his behavior as a young man, at Imperial, AC, and in the Pasadena and Big Sandy areas, Mark was a rebel, an outlaw. At that point in time (the late '60s, early '70s), most church people would have considered him as being lost to wine (and other stimuli), women, and song (his rock band). What he is doing now would be far more effective if he had applied himself to his father's and grandfather's craft rather than blowing off so many years. He could be in front of the mike and camera rather than allowing his deceased father to continue to carry that weight if he had applied himself. There are just some things that you can't really fully reclaim and use, although you might inherit them. His father's fall also acted as a huge limitation to his horizons.

Connie Schmidt said...

Mark Armstrong at the time of GTAs death in 2003 was an unordained person in the church. I wonder if that is now changed? His mother Shirley Armstrong recently died as well, so both the Patriarch and Matriarch of the bombastically named "Intercontinental Church of God" are now gone. Does this small remnant group view him now as "head of the church" or is the operation primarily a service ministry or "mail order" type of operation?

Pam said...

"Does this small remnant group view him now as "head of the church" or is the operation primarily a service ministry or "mail order" type of operation?"

Their corporate website has a listing of towns where supposedly there are groups meeting. Some of those in the list have a link to the "local group's" website. I rummaged through several of those. ALL seemed to be just clones of one another...the first page was usually just Mark's latest diatribe. There was no real mention of ANYTHING local, other than an address for a Saturday meeting. (One was in a cafeteria of a local Masonic Lodge.) On one such site, the few "navigation tabs" at the top included one to the "dedication of the new ICG HQ." Uh, yeah. That took you to a page about the dedication (of the metal pole barn-style facility)...which occurred in 2002, including a detailed run-down of GTA's prayer on the occasion. (No mention I could find on the site about his death in 2003...)

There is certainly no online proof that I could find that the "church" consists of any real people who meet in fellowship regularly. :-) In other words, not one had any actual pictures of local people having a potluck or some such, like you would find from many small COG groups. Each site was just a collection of links to GTA booklets and ICG videos on Youtube and such.

An "area coordinator" map is included on the corporate site showing the seven areas into which the nation is divided and their coordinators. Areas 1 and 3 (Northeast and Southeast)have no one listed. Area 5, straight down the middle of the country from North Dakota to the Rio Grande lists the coordinator as Frank Scherich. I happen to know Frank from our years in CGI back in the 1980s. Cheerful guy. Or at least he was... when he was alive. Frank died in October last year. Not much coordinatin' going on in the ICG, evidently.

Hoss said...

He could be in front of the mike and camera

Back in the 1970s on The World Tomorrow, GTA patched in a clip that ended 'this is Mark Armstrong in Jerusalem'. Later GTA said how excited he and Shirley were about Mark's on air debut.