Another evangelical dilettante offers an uninformed and facile endorsement of Joe's WCG "reformation." Stan Gardner (webmaster at Ambassador Reports) has attempted to politely point out the other side of the story, but you get the impression that the guy has his head stuck firmly up his own sandpit.
Then there's Steven Cooper. He started life as a Methodist, hooked up with our happy band of Herbalists, then inexplicably packed his bags and became a convert to Roman Catholicism. He's relating his journey in a series of blog entries. Cooper joins other former WCG members like Jared Olar and Dennis Embo (who chronicled his own return to Rome in The God That Prevailed.)
Which is as understandable as anyone else's transition to evangelicalism, agnosticism or one of the ripoff splinters, but I've yet to find a COGger who has adopted a non-rigid variety of Catholicism: the kind which emphasizes social values and activism. The WCG DNA seems programmed only for the hyper-traditionalist strain.
Well, your part of the Armstong DNA strain, does that make you a hyper-traditionalist too?
Gavin, you will never or seldom find any of the COG's, members or former members being involved in social programs or activism. We are extremest of the worse kind. Religious or atheist/agnostic, we swing wide and hard with our believes. We are also a reflection of the world of today.
Churches in another century actually did good works. The members went out into the world to feed the poor, etc. Now days good works consist of calling in a credit card donation while sitting down and watching the TBN while enjoying a cold beer.
The churches of this century and the last, enjoy a tax exemption. The pastors collect million dollar salaries and the best of their good works consist of healing the healthy.
Then we have the catholics and their problems with rampant homosexuality within the priesthood. But we will save that for another day.
Yes we are screwed up, but so are the rest of the nuts in the world.
point #3 at Fallen and Flawed:
"... Yet, he lacked the training or discipline to reconcile the Bible with tradition and experience. "
in other words, he refused to take man's interpretations but instead stuck with what God said.
HWA was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but you have to hand it to him, he did the very best he could to teach the truth. and he did a very good job indeed.
"in other words, he refused to take man's interpretations but instead stuck with what God said."
Wow! That's news, most everyone else knows that HWA plagiarized his religion from other men's books.
Where were you when all that came out in the Ambassador Report?
But, at the end of the day, we have no idea what, if anything, God said. All we have are writings of men saying that God said...
The church which I've been attending for the past 6 months is decidedly activist! Considering what we were all taught by WCG about personal evangelism and involvement in "the world's" system, this is somewhat of an envelope stretcher for me. I never did like the laissez faire attitude we were encouraged to take by WCG. It seemed selfish, and if one uses Jesus Christ as an example, decidedly unChristian.
I do tend to want to get involved, by nature. In the past, I've participated in the 100 Club, a grass roots support group for police officers, the NRA, and some annual charity events to raise funds for the education of homeless children. Since becoming a Christian (I don't know what we should refer to ourselves as having been during our WCG tenure!), I have also become aware of the plight of the African continent, and have contributed to a missionary effort that provides food, clothing, healthcare, and education for African children, as well as fresh, pure, water supply. I'm not a rich man by any means, but also occasionally contribute to Joni and Friends, a Christ-based group giving aid and wheelchairs to paralyzed people around the world.
My new church, Christ's Church of the Valley, is just incredible with their sense of vision. There is a huge missionary program where members can serve overseas. This is often dangerous, but according to our recent annual show, is very rewarding to all involved. In another example, our pastor, knowing the economic times we all face, put on a gigantic garage sale, where the members gave away all of their unused items to some of the folks who were having a rough go of it. Also, as a church, we've purchased a facility to be used to house and rehabillitate teenage prostitutes, some of whom were runaways or were lured and kidnapped by vicious and violent pimps. Police officers, and the courts will bring some of the teenagers who were trapped into this type of lifestyle to this residential facility, where they will receive counselling and learn Christian living principles.
Our pastor has stated that his mission is to win our city for Jesus Christ, one household at a time. Attending this church is the closest thing I can imagine to what it might have been like to live as a Christian in early apostolic times! Over the past months, I've been checking these people out for possible cultic behavior, and to give myself time to get rid of the personal fear factors created by Armstrongism. If there is no let-down following the honeymoon period, I believe I'm going to need to deepen my commitment and involvement. Of course, that will mean less time to post on forums, but I'm sure everyone can live with that!
"...emphasizes social values and activism..."
I transitioned from Armstrongism to the Evnangelical and then to a more progressive form of Christianity before moving away from religion.
During the progressive Christian phase I was heavily influenced by Ammon Hennacy, Tolstoy, Jacques Ellul, Philip Berrigan, Walter Wink and the Catholic Workers Movement.
Although, my activism is much more secular now I still find myself working with members of the Catholic Workers Movement.
And lately I have been influenced by Daniel Quinn's interpretation of the "two trees." I find it makes much more sense than HWA's....
What I see in a majority of ex-COGers is suspicion against the idea of any absolutes or an abhorrence of religious authority. That's what the WCG experience has fostered. It's a fear of being burned again, resulting in a withdrawing from any commitments of a religious nature.
The fact that there are a few of us who have submitted to the teachings of the historic, visible Church in spite of -- not because of -- our COG backgrounds is a testimony to God's grace. Converting to orthodox Catholicism is not a residual symptom brought on by the Armstrong disease; it's the cure.
a non-rigid variety of Catholicism: the kind which emphasizes social values and activism.
You mean "the kind which emphasizes social values and activism while downplaying or ignoring most Catholic teachings." The reason there've been few ex-WCGers to convert to that sort of Catholicism is because there are few humans who convert to that sort of Catholicism -- it's really not the sort of religion that anyone would go to the trouble to convert to.
We "rigid" Catholics do emphasise "social values and activism," but they're usually not the values and activism that are associated with modern "social justice" Catholics.
P.S. I got a chuckle about your saying I'm some sort of "hyper-traditionalist." Guess it's a matter of perspective. Traditionalist Catholics tend to think I'm a quisling modernist heretic.
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