Saturday 23 April 2016

Loopyness, loopholes and leavening

What's in and what's out during the Days of Unleavened Bread? For the more myopic COGophiles Jewish understanding of the Tanakh doesn't really matter, only what their own authorities have decreed. John Carmack of COGWA, for example, can pontificate: "It should be noted, however, that modern-day Jews keep "Passover" as a seven-day celebration, mixing the two celebrations of Passover and the Days/Feast of Unleavened Bread together. However, the Bible makes it clear that they are two separate celebrations." Don't worry about all those rabbis and Talmudic scholars down the centuries, it's our own less-than-a-century-old tradition of fundamentalist dilettantes, founded by a failed ad salesman with alcohol issues, that has the inside track. Oh yeah, that's credible.

When it comes to advice on what can and can't be consumed over the period of unleavened bread, the Jewish approach is varied, as demonstrated in this article from Atlas Obscura (thanks for the link, Bill! I still mourn the passing of your website.) Kareth, chametz, kitniyot... I don't know about you, but I've been pushed up the learning curve. Nothing is, it seems, as simple as it first appears.

There's a bigger issue here, though: what species of arrogance does it take for an ostensibly Christian group to appropriate Jewish traditions, modify them, impose new meanings to fit in with their literalist eschatology, and then imply that they can teach someone else's granny how to suck eggs?

It gets even worse when we're dealing with the Feast of Tabernacles, but in the spirit of Leviticus 23:4 - declaring the holy days in their seasons - let's leave that till later in the year.

For those folk who are observing the COG version of DUB, I hope everything goes well. But do keep an open mind, and do remember that your pastor and his bosses are winging it when it comes to the details.


Stephen said...

"...a failed ad salesman [and incestuous child molester] with alcohol issues..."

I wouldn't praise him with fainter-than-deserved damnation.

Byker Bob said...

The Armstrong movement always looked for numbers, as in threes, sevens, nineteens, fifties, thousands, etc. I suspect that the reasons for which they parsed the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles to get two extra festivals had something to do with obtaining yet another magical number seven.

Curiously, in their theology, there is no such parsing applied to arrive at trinitarianism. They also teach that Jesus was the God of the Old Testament, a theory which is partially utilized to justify contaminating the New Covenant with parsed, picked and chosen elements of the Old. Yet, when considering that death of one party abrogates all provisions of a covenant, they don't really emphasize that in the case of the Old Covenant, and the New, the One they identified as "God" died. Finally, since they make HWA into a quasi-Biblical character, "God's end-times Apostle", anything the man ever taught is considered to take precedence over the traditional understandings of the Hebrews, or what has developed in Christian theology over the past 2,000 years. Rather than understanding that there were Jewish Christians (who eventually died off), and Noachide gentile Christians who were the essence of Paul's work, HWA taught that these gentile Christians were part of an apostasy, during which "the truth" was lost for over 1900 years. Again, one must parse and manipulate actual history, injecting several dubious conspiracy theories, in an attempt to substantiate such a view. It is a ridiculous artificial construct, making sense only to those who drink the Kool Aid.

Armstrongism, by its very design, was intended to kill off traditional Christianity. The mantras about "once you have known the TRUTH" were so oft repeated that many members or former members believe that it is more logical to embrace atheism or agnosticism than to return to the mainstream. Not that many elements of the mainstream are not a circus. They often are. However, there is also that segment in which there is fund of deeper understanding, dismissed and ignored by Armstrongites. Being only superficially rooted is why most were attracted to Armstrongism in the first place.


Redfox712 said...

HWA insisted that the Jews were wrong about their own religion and insisted that Passover was supposed to be celebrated a day earlier than was done by them. HWA taught his followers to observe Passover at the start of Nisan 14. But that celebration is observed 24 hours later by Jews. So HWA insisted the Jews were wrong.

It would have been better to leave their religious observances alone. I am not a Jew but no doubt these festivals are precious to them. HWA would have been more respectful to them if he had simply left these festivals alone instead of using them as a club to discredit the mainstream Christian churches to build up his own following.