Thursday 7 December 2006
LCG in trouble?
It's not always easy to know just how hard groups like LCG are impacted by negative events, but there are signs the Charles Bryce defection has left Meredith's church reeling. Others - like Syd Hull - have walked away, but Bryce was one of the sect's top guns, and the church can probably only cope with so much dissent before the rivets start popping.
Indicator 1: Bob Thiel's reluctance to cover the sorry tale. He has buried it in an obscure section of his website rather than airing it on the main news page. First coverage was a highly selective cut and paste from AW. Bob omitted what, in my view, was the most important part of Bryce's December 5 letter. His latest comments, however, amount to less than fulsome praise for the actions of LCG's leadership. If Rod is having trouble raising cheerleaders like Bob to his cause, things are looking pretty grim.
Indicator 2: The following comments from an LCG member were forwarded from one of the discussion boards. It seems there are some unhappy folk out there in the congregations.
"This morning I went on the lcg.org and the lcg member site & there were then still sermons by Mr. Charles Bryce on these websites; tonight I did a search and they are already wiped out.
"We have not even been told officially that he's been marked, fired or disfellowshipped, yet the sermons have disappeared.
"The place I first learned about this situation was on cogwriter and that is not an "official" church website and yet, there was the info supposedly given to Mr. Thiel by Mr. Meredith.
"Why is nothing on the LCG Member Resources site?
"Doesn't all this blogging & posting & etc. as we've seen and found out about this situation just encourage gossip & bad attitudes?
"I don't understand. Why is/was it done this way? Why were we as a church, the body of Christ, given no opportunity to pray about this or fast about it with Mr. Meredith and the Elders?
"Mr. Bryce was an Evangelist, wasn't he? I don't think his letter was an attack; it just doesn't come across that way. In fact I've always agreed with what he states about the issue of make-up and can back up what I believe by what I saw happen in the 1980's when it was allowed & I saw what happened to the attitudes of women and then men & the singles etc. as I was one of them. I am confused and saddened by this situation & how it was/is being handled. We are going to pray about this; we all need to very seriously pray about this and ask God to lead us and show us the real Truth of the matter."
LCG members have suffered a number of significant hits since the terrible events in Wisconsin. Cannibalism by the Pack cult must be a continuing worry. The church struggles to hold its hardline identity against the Armstrong lunatics who now crowd it out on the fringes. With this latest crisis the agony is visible for all to see. The timing has also been an issue with nothing being released till after last week's services, and a whole week for things to fester before the members can gather for "damage control." Did Meredith really believe his ministerial emails wouldn't leak like a sieve?
Which raises the question, has Rod Meredith, now well past his prime, got what it takes to ride the tempest out, or is this the storm that will see the lifeboats launched? One thing seems certain, this is neither a robust nor an optimistic fellowship, and the fumbling of the Bryce affair is the last thing it needed at the moment.