Sunday 11 March 2007

Flying Pigs Over Charlotte

Big things are ahead for God's Philadelphian Work, the Living Church of God. Yes folks, that's no bunny Rod just pulled out ears-first, it's (gasp!) a university!

Dr. Winnail just now came into my office and asked me to include a preliminary announcement to all of you about our plans to start the “Living University”—with classes beginning this coming autumn! As one who taught Ambassador College theology classes more than any other human—and one who assisted Mr. Armstrong as Second Vice President of Ambassador College for many years—I have a deep desire to educate our young people and members and give them the opportunity to participate in the proper type of educational setting in a truly Christian environment.

So please take note! The goal of this University will be to provide accredited degrees, as well as diplomas and certificates, through distance learning courses. We already have a dedicated faculty who have committed to this program with the necessary degrees and background to make it a resounding success. Along with my teaching many of the Bible classes, Dr. Douglas Winnail will also assist in overseeing this Living University—as well as Mr. Richard Ames who taught for years and has an M.A. from Stephen F. Austin University. The Chief Executive Officer of the University will be Dr. Michael Germano—holding earned doctorates from the University of Southern California and the University of La Verne. Dr. Germano served as Academic Vice President at Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA and as Academic Dean at Ambassador University in Big Sandy, TX. Most recently, he served as Vice President of Academic Services at Haywood Community College in Clyde, NC.

Living University, with administrative offices at Living Church of God Headquarters in Charlotte, NC, plans to begin with “all the world as its campus” and offer distance learning courses for undergraduate degrees, diplomas and certificates. Eventually, we hope to offer an on campus program for a limited number of students... So let us be inspired, again, in all that Christ is doing!

This is of course wonderful news. An accredited COG university issuing real degrees. That's a trick that Herbert Armstrong himself never managed to pull off in his lifetime. The current WCG 'college' is unaccredited, nor is UCG's or the lavish clone-campus in Edmond operated by 6-pack Flurry & Son. Moreover, none of these institutions calls itself a university.

So we're all very impressed. But there are a few nagging questions.

1. Can LCG afford the big bucks necessary to bring its new project up to accreditation standard?

2. Will Rod live long enough to see the first degree issued?

3. Will LCG - which is losing members, ministers and (therefore) money - need to mothball the project even before then due to one of the many crisis derailments that plague the sect?

4. Is it ethical to assure prospective students that their qualifications will be recognized when that situation neither exists nor is likely to exist for a long time (if ever)?

5. Granted that Doc Germano has some experience with college administration, is it realistic to expect this gentleman to deliver accreditation to LCG's 'university' single-handed?

6. Would anyone want to accredit a university which hired Rod to teach, with no academic credentials other than a bogus doctorate from Ambassador College?

7. How many of the 'staff' have relevant degrees. What classes does Ames' MA, for example, qualify him to teach?

8. Is Rod nuts for investing energy in this strange beast - part albatross, part white elephant? Consider:

*** More ministers keep jumping ship (see previous post)
*** The Canadian branch is having problems
*** Attendance has reportedly halved in LA and San Diego

A little prognostication: "Living University" is unlikely to survive long enough to see its first graduate, and in the very unlikely event it does survive, none of us will still be around when it gains accreditation sometime in the twenty-fourth century. But the path from now till its demise is surely littered with wasted greenbacks from sincere people who trust Rod and really believe white rabbits (or flying pigs) can be pulled from hats.


Douglas Becker said...

Wrong name.

Should be: Geriatric CoG Learning Center.

Anonymous said...

Pigs are flying among the Evangelicals as well. Please see today's LA Times...

Evangelicals battle over agenda, environment

Global warming and other causes stray too far from battles on abortion, gay rights and similar 'great moral issues,' some leaders say.

By Stephanie Simon
Times Staff Writer

March 10, 2007

A struggle for control of the evangelical agenda intensified this week, with some leaders declaring that the focus has strayed too far from their signature battles against abortion and gay rights.

Those issues defined the evangelical movement for more than two decades — and cemented ties with the Republican Party. But in a caustic letter, leaders of the religious right warned that these "great moral issues of our time" were being displaced by a "divisive and dangerous" alignment with the left on global warming.

A new generation of pastors has expanded the definition of moral issues to include not only global warming, but an array of causes. Quoting Scripture and invoking Jesus, they're calling for citizenship for illegal immigrants, universal healthcare and caps on carbon emissions.

The best-known champion of such causes, the Rev. Jim Wallis, this week challenged conservative crusader James C. Dobson, the chairman of Focus on the Family, to a debate on evangelical priorities.

"Are the only really 'great moral issues' those concerning abortion, gay marriage and the teaching of sexual abstinence?" Wallis asked in his challenge. "How about the reality of 3 billion of God's children living on less than $2 per day? … What about pandemics like HIV/AIDS … [and] disastrous wars like Iraq?"

A Focus on the Family vice president, Tom Minnery, said he would be happy to take up that debate. Dobson himself, Minnery said, is busy writing a book on child rearing.

"Without question," Minnery said, "issues like the right to life for an unborn child concern evangelicals far more broadly."

The public dispute began with the release of a letter signed by several men who helped transform the religious right into a political force, including Dobson, Don Wildmon of the American Family Assn. and Paul Weyrich of American Values.

The signatories — most of them activists, not theologians — expressed dismay that an evangelical emphasis on global warming was "contributing to growing confusion about the very term 'evangelical.' "" ...

Anonymous said...

Dennis asked about "that great pig"

Do a google search for flying pig pictures on the web. There are other very good animated ones also.

Here's one of my fav's:


Anonymous said...

Living really does seem to be falling apart. I didn't want to get my hopes up, but now it looks to be pretty obvious. This is wonderful news and makes my heart sing!!! I hope in my lifetime I will be able to see all the Armstrongist cults similarly self-destruct.

My only concern now is that LCG members will begin moving to UCG. UCG is close to gaining a critical mass which will allow it to become a self-perpetuating cash machine. If only Douglas Becker could do to UCG what he did to Wade Cox and the CCG.

Douglas Becker said...

Oh, I don't know. The church of gods is like the protagonist in these slasher movies where you think he or she is as dead as can be, rigor has set in, but in the next scene....

You never know the fortunes of war. CCg could have a second wind, even as Cox seems to have obliterated the Assembly of Eloha, the collection of his former lackeys.

Living also could enjoy a comeback. We all thought ICG was dead after GTA, but it's still hanging on, like a cat on its eighth life.

And UCG could evaporate and disappear instantly. However, United is seductive and liberal. It has appeal to those who have gone over to it. It's like having a rock in the shoe: After awhile you don't notice it any more and limp away.

My personal opinion isn't that I did anything at all. I think there was Divine Intervention, and, if not, it was a whole collection of people behind the scenes working at pulling the plug over at the coxcult project [we still have new stuff until the website expiration date and then it will be gone].

The effort to do in just PoppyCox was extreme enough without putting together another team and working for a couple of years to do in United. It just isn't worth it. UCG isn't particularly benign, mind you, but it isn't worth the effort. It's preferable to let nature take its course as it has been doing for some time.

And you never know.

Ninevah repented.

Anonymous said...

It seems odd, not to mention totally confusing, that Dr. Germano has cast his lot with RCM & Co. I know it was alluded to in a previous blog entry, but his position for the last decade seemed to be quite contrary to the doctrinal positions of Living.

He had put together a pretty credible website on biblical archaeology and wrote a number of thoughtful articles that carefully refuted many historic COG doctrines. These included Sabbath-keeping and the holy days for Christians, and certainly included British-Israelism.

Now he's going to start up an online school for Living. Sometimes, truth really is stranger than fiction.

Douglas Becker said...

Sometimes, truth really is stranger than fiction.

Let's wait and see if the truth really becomes fiction.

Anonymous said...

Gavin, can you or can any who frequent here shed any light on what the subject matter is on the "must play" video that is to be shown in all UCG USA congregations next weekend?

Douglas Becker said...

Do catch todays UCG podcast about depression. Those United guys are now mental health professionals.


Guess not.

But they pretend to be on TV or, more accurately, .tv.

Now it turns out, anybody who knows just enough to be dangerous about depression and bipolar disease realize that it is because of an imbalance in the brain. These yahoos should be prosecuted for malpractice by intimating that you can overcome depression by happy thoughts. Unfortunately, unless you remove "The Good News" from your coffee tables, there will be little success in either realm.

Oh, right.

Depression is a spiritual sickness.

Like they could deal with that either.

Confidential to depressed minister in United: You need to take another trip to your mental health professional. Is he still in Alaska?

Anonymous said...


The first Germano/Living online college course is up and loaded!
A must see...simply copy and post this link into your browser to view!...

(Copy above link and paste into your browser, should load in a min or two)

Looks up to date, modern and relevant by COG standards. I think if future courses are as engaging, I will be enrolling!


Anonymous said...

You are right, I especially like Spanky in his professor hat, kinda reminds me of AC in the 60's,without the hat of course, they all had such big heads that hats would not fit.
rod 2

Richard said...

The fact that Living U. will be "distance learning" only should show there's a lack of $$ to build a facility for it.

I asked a UCG Pastor about the "must-play" video, and he believed it had something to do with a presentation at the recent Council of Elders meeting in San Diego. Perhaps the meeting minutes will provide a clue.

Douglas Becker said...

After visiting the notes for the San Diego UCG COE meeting, we can play a new game: Subtitle for The Good News. Currently it is "A Magazine of Understanding". Suggestions: "Hope Beyond Today's Troubled World", "Hope Beyond Today's World", "Beyond Today's Troubled World". What fun we could have, like, "Beyond Today's Troubled CoGs" or "Hope Beyond being a UCG Member".

As Howard Davis once told me, "I feel like I'm lying [on the telecast] when I say that The Good News is the World's Greatest Magazine". Good call that. It's just a loss leader to get people into a cog, not necessarily the UCG.

Anonymous said...

Bye bye, Cinci - Hello Dallas

Yup, Betty Bible got it right!

Of course, we had suspected this for a long time... =)


Anonymous said...

Hey, I live in Cincinnati and those winters can be brutal. Can't blame the dear boys for wanting to go to a warmer climate.

Anonymous said...

Wait just a minute there!

See: Now what are they going to do?

Anonymous said...

It makes zero sense for UCG to move from Cincy to Dallas. Most of the church membership is located within a half-day's drive from Cincy. Plus the HQ building is already paid for. There would be an enormous cost associated with physically moving the bloated UCG home office bureaucracy halfway across the country to Dallas.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the pigs are cordially flying over Charlotte on their way to Houston. I wonder if Wally has any 'Thoughts en route'?

Anonymous said...

bloated? What is going on at UCG headquarters that is in excess?

Unknown said...

Maybe the video in UCG will discuss their HQ move to TX? Maybe the video will be a bible contest (Jeopardy style) between UCG's ABC and LCG's U? Either way it should be a hoot. UCG has enough $$ to move HQ but doesn't have enough $$ to pay for the meals of the brethren who are too poor to pay for their own Holyday meals. I was told that UCG took in $9,000 in offerings on the same day they crossed off the names of those who couldn't afford to pay for their meals. So much for serving the brethren.

Anonymous said...

douglas becker said. . .
"And you never know.

Ninevah repented."

I wonder why that wasn't in the world history books when I went to school. You know, along side of the king of Babylon eating straw and repenting.

Anonymous said...

It is highly inaccurate and poor journalism to state that attendance is down 50% in LA and San Diego congregations in LCG. Attendance has dropped closer to 75%. Get your facts straight next time.

Anonymous said...

To poster 5:15 P.M., Yes it is just poor journalism to quote those figures wrong, i guess LCG will say attendance is UP - 50-75%, to counter this.
rod 2

Anonymous said...

To anonymous 5:15,

First, are you even in CA? Or do you just believe what others tell you?

What is the attendance in LA? I thought at one point I heard that LA had around 150. I heard that LA is down to around 60 now for regular (weekly) attendance. If they went from 150 to 60, that is not maintaining 75% attendance. I am trying to get the facts straight, so help us out.

Feel free to join our forum. Just click on my name at the top of this comment and join the discussion about LCG.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder why that wasn't in the world history books when I went to school."

Hey Corky, there is a lot not in your school books when you were learning, more was in the history books earlier and even less now. Who cares about what you think anyway?

Anonymous said...

"What is the attendance in LA? I thought at one point I heard that LA had around 150. I heard that LA is down to around 60 now for regular (weekly) attendance."

The attendance after the global split was never more than 120 at best. But, there have been a lot who have moved out of town from there. Maybe about 20 have left there max in the last year.

Anonymous said...

"The attendance after the global split was never more than 120 at best. But, there have been a lot who have moved out of town from there. Maybe about 20 have left there max in the last year."


Who are you???

Why not email the Pastor, Harold Way, who resides in San Diego (I think) and ask him. copy and paste this to your browser:

After that, please join the livingcog forum at:

Also, feel free to email me directly at

Anyone else interested is welcome to join or email me.

hope to hear from you soon.


Anonymous said...

Will the Living University have a gun safety course for its students?

Anonymous said...

Sorry if my previous post was unclear. What I meant to say was-

It is highly inaccurate and poor journalism to state that attendance is down 50% in LA and San Diego congregations in LCG. Attendance has FALLEN 75%. Get your facts straight next time.

5:15 PM

100% - 75% leaves only 25% for RCM

Frank said...

You guys are sick!! Put down LIVING if you may, but the GREAT GOD will have the last laugh!! Frank