All About Armstrongism has an excellent commentary up today about how "special" those in the Church of God considered themselves, while the world that existed all around them could have cared less.
This so true in Pasadena. Years after the Auditorium opened and concerts had been going full blast, we regularly had Pasadena residents who just lived a few blocks down the street that had NEVER heard of the college OR Auditorium. Most ignored the property and those that did pay attention thought it was all a quirky anomaly.
The same had to be true for the college and church headquarters. We believed it was God’s Headquarters on Earth and nearly worshipped it. Everyone else thought they were nice buildings with great looking gardens and grounds – and a strange religion for those who really wanted to dig into it. While internally we had universal implications of the property, externally, it was just buildings and it was just grounds. Members gasped at actually being on God’s property for the first time when they feasted in Pasadena. Others thought it beautiful property, but that was it. Most of what we felt and thought was in our heads, and our minds, as we turned it into the biggest Golden Calf since the days of Sinai.
Now, we face the reality that there really wasn’t anything special about any of it. Why? It’s demolished. Not just the campus, but the whole thing. Self-appointed leaders are desperately attempting with their whole minds and souls to resurrect what was destroyed, but instead their fighting and bickering and power plays are making a very mockery of the unity they are fighting to try to achieve. Some even take the worship of the campus to a whole different level in sickening idolatry of the buildings or materials themselves, using those materials to try to resurrect what once was.
But in reality, it was a small parcel of real estate that was said to be worth priceless money and needed at all costs – that was torn down and destroyed, and within just a few years, there will be nothing left of a hint of Armstrongism on that property as it turns into real estate and “regular people” take it over, finally. Our delusions were false. Our giving of our lives and money was pointless, and came to nothing. Some cannot and will not accept this, as I said, and try with their power to bring it all back. Their own delusions rule against reality, and it definately is beyond sad to see.
How I wish I could have been one of those neighbors across the street who didn’t care to know anything about the properties even though they were right there, then to be thousands of miles away and think God dwelled there like he dwelled in the Temple at Jerusalem in the Holy of Holies. I was deluded, I was delusioned. But it is better now to be where I am knowing the real truth. The truth that salvation is not dependant on how much you give to support a real estate program for a gospel imagined by a biblical illiterate high-school dropout and untrained theological huckster. The truth that in Pasadena, life went on as normal except between Orange Grove, West Green, Del Mar and St. John’s. The truth that the SEP Campuses of Orr, Big Sandy, as well as Pasadena were made with the same material as any other campuses. The truth that life in Armstrongism was, as big headed as we thought, not so special at all – and that we were so full of ego and pride and self righteousness – full of ourselves, thinking of ourselves as so big without realizing we were so small, and so empty, looking at life as a small box instead of looking out at the reality of the immensity of what we all missed. We put everything into the barrel of Armstrongism at that time and missed the world around us and our place in it.
The excellent observations can be read in its entirety here: It's A Small, Small World