Saturday 5 August 2006
Vision Casting with PG Joe
The latest Together (the replacement for the Worldwide News) includes the following informal job description for Pastor General Joseph Tkach:
"President Joseph Tkach oversees the spiritual and business affairs of the denomination, providing denomination-wide leadership and vision casting and fulfilling the many administrative duties required for national and international incorporation and registration.
"Dr. Tkach speaks regularly at church leadership conferences and meetings around the world, keeps current on theological and social issues, and represents the church at the various Christian organizations in which it holds membership..."
Vision casting? Keeping current? In other words, Joe doesn't do much. The position is, one might conjecture, a sinecure: very nice if you can manage it. The hagiography, part of a glowing report on the sect's new facility in Glendora, is written by Mike Morrison.
Mike fails to mention that PG Joe has an undisclosed salary, has never been elected to his position, runs a rubber-stamp board (making it almost impossible to replace him) and has overseen the continuing and irreversible disintegration of the church. Joe is, in other words, the Fidel Castro of the Evangelical gulag.
The stark nature of the WCG's continuing autocratic rule is plastered over by claims of "episcopal governance" (an outright misrepresentation) and sickly evangelical rhetoric. Apparently most people haven't been fooled: those with get-up-and-go have simply got up and gone. Sadly, too many into the waiting arms of the Armstrong warlords: Meredith, Flurry and their ilk.
How then does Joe justify his role or the perks of his office? Clearly he has been less than demonstrably competent. In recent months he even seems to have lost the support of Greg Albrecht, once an obsequious apologist, now steering "his" Plain Truth ministry in new directions and freezing out Joe and the WCG. And then there's the issue of the name change that changed back again. The church doesn't seem to be exactly in a safe pair of hands.
The reality is that Joe is unlikely to ever do the right thing and either step aside or (the better option) reform the administration by creating representative leadership. Sitting back in that big comfy chair, it's more than likely he'll be there till they wheel him out. If he can't do the deed, those remaining can still do the next best thing: cut their financial support and start looking for a healthy alternative.