Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Rod Meredith: Personal - Pray for Our Financial Growth!

(From a reader here on Rod Meredith's latest beg for money.)

It's a beg-for-money-disguised-as-let's-pray-to-God-for-growth article.  Because, you know, when the rubber hits the road it's always about the money and always will be.

While older members/ex-members will recognize it doesn't quite pack the ol' HWA punch that the old co-worker letters did, unfortunately it will still cause some cowering fear to whip out their checkbooks once again, which is quite sad.

The title is:

Personal - Pray for Our Financial Growth!

This old phrase is, of course, the old stand-in for "we need money".  Because it sounds much more pious to ask for prayers than money.  But, amazingly, it seems you simply can't grow an organization just on prayers, so...

First, the usual positive introduction to get you in a giving mood!

Dear Brethren and Friends, I can honestly and sincerely tell you that this recent Feast of Tabernacles celebration was the most unified and inspiring Feast many of us have ever experienced.

For the love of all that's good and sacred give this old canard a rest already!
The MOST unified?  Most inspiring?  ever experienced?  They can't all be the bestest ever.  From high to higher to higher yet, a veritable one-way rocket trip to unimaginable heights of inspiration and unity!  The dude must be on a permanent high from such constant levels of inspiration each of which consistently transcends the last one.

Then, the "God works miracles" part to trigger the awe factor and, well, get you more into a giving mood.

Also, as a number of our “updates” have reported, Almighty God intervened at least several times in acts of divine protection and direct healing that took place at Feast sites all over the world. Thank God!

Never mind the details.  If the past is any guide, these "interventions" are entirely indistinguishable from chance and circumstance.

In spite of bad weather all around the site, our heavenly Father blessed us with much less rain and bad weather than many other areas nearby. So the weather did not stop our meetings

Uh huh, just as suspected.  Indistinguishable from chance and circumstance.  So he blessed you but cursed those poor souls who got the bad weather.  Also, I love the ambiguous phrase "much less rain and bad weather".  Imagine if the Almighty was just a teeny bit more mighty, you could have had "no rain and no bad weather".  Whatever, now let's get to establishing how important this Work is that you must send in money for.

Brethren, as the end of this age approaches, and as the power of our Work increases, there will undoubtedly be great persecution in the years just ahead. Each of us needs to beseech God to grant us—and all of our brethren—the faith and the courage to keep going and growing!

The above implies that your "Work" is growing, which seems to contradict what you imply below, that it is not growing or at least not anywhere near like it used to.

One special prayer that I would ask all of you to join me in praying is this: let us all together beseech God to grant us in this Work at least half of the financial increase that He gave Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong for about 35 years!

If I were a member, I would think that would be a silly thing to pray.  If the "Work" is of God, which he wants done, and indeed has promised to do, and it is the most important thing going on, even to God himself, then why do you need to beg him to increase it?  Rod talks almost as if it's something HE wants and hopes God will grant him.  Oh, wait, maybe I'm onto something.......

So, let us together beseech God, as this terrible society around us deteriorates more rapidly, as the wars and violence and weather upsets and earthquakes increase, that He would grant us much greater power to do the Work by giving us such a financial increase.

Yes, because before modern times there really weren't all that many societal problems, or wars, or violence, or bad weather or earthquakes.  Society was much better when, for example, criminals were crucified or slavery was common.  But I digress.

Again, if it's so important to God, and part of his Master Plan, why does he need you begging him to give it greater power through increased funds?  The dichotomy of thought is amazing.  On the one hand, this is God's most important Work of all time, the Gospel that has been prophesied to be preached, where events are inexorably taking place all according to God's master plan, the gates of hell shall not prevail against his church, etc. etc.  On the other hand, if we don't pray and "beseech" this God to let it all happen as prophesied, it might not happen!  Cognitive something or other.

By the way, what is it with the word "beseech"?  People who use it don't seem to know that it's a quaint and outdated term that nobody else uses anymore.  Continuing:

Perhaps none of us have the tremendous personalities and magnetism that the Armstrongs had.

I think I would scratch the "perhaps".

He is working through us right now, and—as these terrible end-time events approach—we really need to shake the world with the knowledge of His Kingdom far more than we have ever done.
Remember, brethren, we are only “beginning to fight.” We have not yet finished!

Yes, because unless and until you finish your work, the end cannot come!  Oh how dependent your God is on the whims of human beings.  Will they send in money?  If not, the work will languish and God cannot get on with his business!

So again, since Jesus told us: “ask and you shall receive,” we can with faith ask God to give us at least one-half of the financial increase He gave His Church all those years when Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong were still alive and doing the Work. That would be a 15 percent financial increase of this Work year by year.

15% growth?  Not likely.  Not likely at all unless you see a major uptick in membership rolls, which is almost certainly not going to happen in the increasingly non-religious country that is the U.S.

I hope all of you will sincerely and zealously do your part.

Ah, now we're getting down to the brass tacks.  Prayer is all fine and dandy but in the end it boils down to whether or not your money arrives at HQ.

But I am not going to “press you” on that. For that is up to you and between you and God as you “walk with Him” in the fear of God.

Ha!  I love it.  I'm not going to press you, but it's up to YOU if you want to face the fear and wrath of God if you don't send in more money!

Then, we could go on far more television stations, greatly increase our impact over the Internet—which is certainly the “wave of the future”—

Um, you mean the wave of the present, right?  What is this future "internet" you speak of?  Sounds interesting...

... increase our personal appearance campaigns and “grow” the Work in every possible way.

Uh-oh, does every possible way include a new Big Beak and Young Ambassadors?  God I hope not, but then again I'm not too concerned.

When I first began this present Work back in 1992, I was a little embarrassed to ask for money.

Yeah, rrrright. Too embarrassed to ask, uh-huh. Sure.

If you read some of the old [HWA] co-worker letters today, as many of you brethren have kept some of them, they were almost “hair-raising” in the power they had!

Yeah, come to think of it, they were hair-raising, with their dire predictions of calamity always within 5-10 years, and the need for the "final push", the final lap, impending collapse of society and return of JC always around the corner throughout the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.  Duh, of course they were hair-raising -- fear is what those co-worker letters were all about.   Fear and guilt, I might add.
And naturally those hair-raising warnings all turned out to be wrong, but hey, who cares, the letters did what they were designed to do, which was increase income.

But because this world so desperately needs what we have to give, I urge you to join me along with our top ministers in beseeching God to grant us at least 15 percent increase in our financial resources year by year and therefore enable us to really get going far beyond what we have yet done so this world will have a powerful “witness” of the Plan of God

I hope you will join us to beseech (almost starting to like that word) God that you will send us more money.  Please beseech God to make you send us more money.

Dear brethren, some of you may wonder why I am coming on so strong at this time.

Uh... desperation, perhaps?

After Mr. Armstrong’s death, God’s Church came apart in many ways. We have been truly scattered into many different groups and denominations. The power and effectiveness of the Work has been shattered beyond belief.

Oh, great.  Because you guys didn't have enough faith, and broke up into a hundred splinters, now the world has to wait another who knows, 30 or more years in Satan's clutches.  Damn.  And to think, JC was just about to arrive like HWA was saying.  Damn.

All of the little groups that have clung to at least part of the Truth are literally unknown to 99 percent (or more!) of the world’s population! Most of you realize this. If you go around your neighborhood you find virtually no one who has heard of the Living Church of God or any of the other groups that are trying to do God’s Work today.

No one has heard of LCG?! No kidding?  Shocker!  Why I thought LCG and UCG were household names by now.

So I hope all of us can begin to fast and to pray fervently and ask God to help us stir ourselves to do our part far more zealously and begin to serve our Creator with zeal and to give of our physical substance sacrificially as we are able.

That wonderful phrasing again: Ask God to stir us up to send in more money!
Love that physical substance!  Fasting, praying and zeal are all fine, but give me some physical substance any day.

Some of our brethren are already doing this. But I am fully aware that many of our brethren—often fine brethren who mean well and who are already giving a little bit of their substance—are nevertheless sitting on hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars worth of money, property and other resources they very rarely touch to help do the Work of the living God at the very end of this age.

Oh for the love of rationality, please do not send one dime in to this guy who's telling you to do so or else God can't do His Work that He is supposedly going to do anyway, and besides we might paraphrase Captain Kirk who once asked "What does God need with a starship", as follows: "What does God need with your money, for crying out loud he (supposedly) created the cotton-pickin' universe ex nihilo".
RCM, on the other hand, desperately does need your money as he has no ex nihilo powers and is forced to resort to begging for money in articles like these.

Brethren, as our beloved peoples of America, Canada, Britain and other Israelite-descended nations ....

No, no, no, no, no, the genetic evidence says otherwise.  Don't you guys keep up on these things? is obvious that God will soon shake us beyond what we have ever experienced before. It is obvious that our own standards of living will greatly diminish more than what many of us can perhaps imagine. It is obvious that many millions of people of the descendants of Israel will go into captivity—experiencing anguish and suffering which they have never before experienced.

Now you're getting with it, Rod!  Hair-raising like HWA.  Although I have to admit HWA was better at it.  Nuclear winters, parents forced to eat their children, diseases of rotting flesh, that kind of imagery.  A little more specific and visual imagery would have scaled up the fear and helped bring in more dollars.  But then again, HWA was a pro.

It is in that spirit that I am asking all of you to become more truly zealous and “sacrificial” in the way you give of your resources. We in America, Canada, Britain and Australia often have far beyond what we actually need to lead a comfortable life, and far, far more than we need merely to subsist.

WTF?  You mean you won't be satisfied unless your members sacrifice their money to you so that they are on "subsistence" levels?  Should they be living in the woods off berries and mushrooms?  Certainly no one should own a house, car or have more than one set of clothes (far, far above what's needed to "subsist").
And of course, you're going to set the example first, right Rod?  Right?

So, “God is watching and testing” our attitudes in this regard. I am just asking you to do what some of us are already doing to a degree.

Pure bullcrap.  Oh wait, maybe they've hesitated on getting that second coffee-maker.  Sacrifice, after all.

I hope all of you can see the “signs” of the soon-coming end of this age. We all know what this means.

Lessee, I see wars and rumors of wars (whatever that means), earthquakes, volcanoes, crime, hurricanes, disease, etc. all of which have been going on for all of human history or for millions of years earlier, even before they were prophesied.

We know that it means that we have just so much time to get out Christ’s message so that people all over the world will know that our God is real, and that He is now beginning to intervene with increasing power to set up His Kingdom on this earth.

And if you don't get that message out, then what....?

Really, what a silly letter.  So sad that there are going to be some people who read this, get all excited and send their hard-earned funds and or liquidated assets to this guy and his minions.

What happens if LCG can't pay for a few TV programs, 2nd coming on hold?

What does God need with a starship.

Or in this case, a dingy boat.


Byker Bob said...

All the money in the world wouldn't help them be more effective in getting their message out, or in becoming household names. It wasn't only the internal splintering that killed their power. To use a couple of allegories, it was the boy who cried wolf syndrome that immunized the public against Chicken Little messages, science that killed the British Israel theory on which their religion is based, and a greater awareness of the dangers of cults which did the job. Plus, the implausability and dangers of a cultically-ruled place of safety, which is used as one of their primary carrots. Plus, they are dealing with the Snopes or Yelp effect. Many potential members who are attempting to make an intelligent decision are going to take to the internet to try to get a little background, and there is just too much cautionary information available.

The best the leaders of these groups can hope for is that the people they are asking for money are not aware of all of these factors, and the uselessness plight in which the ACOGs find themselves. The fact is, there are still religious groups out there that are growing 15 to 30% each year, and who are known in most households. Just not the ACOGs..


Dennis Diehl said...

RCM can't begin to match Apostle David C Pack in the "Send it in" category.

Nov. 3 2007

"Yeah, I know, one or two can leave and say, 'Hey, you stopped preaching and started meddling, now you're messing with my goods here on earth'
"First Timothy 6 verse 17...'Charge them that are rich in this world'...If you were born in the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, then you're rich"
"If you hold those riches, I'm telling you, you trust in them"

"Go get a big chunk out of your home. And put your money where your mouth is and send it here. And I'm not talking about one, two, three thousand either. How about ten, twenty, thirty, fifty, or one hundred thousand dollars? Go do it."

"Wives, you can be independent in this. You have 1/2 the worth of whatever you have in your house.
I'm officially telling you this...Wives, legally you have the 1/2 the funds. What are you going to do about it?...Husbands...'well, my wife is not in the church'...tell her...'you don't have a voice woman' "

"Go get those assets and get them here"

"Don't sit on vast resources that we can use now

"I do not covet your silver or gold...the gold and silver is God's and He will get it someway"

"This is different...ask Him for the faith to liquidate certain assets and give it to the work"
"I'll say it again, we are talking about liquidating existing all belongs to God and the brethren"

"Herbert Armstrong wrote an article...'Prepare to greatly reduce your standard of living'...What he wrote by far, is more for us now than it was then... its all going to be taken away from us anyway brethren"

"Let us know how much you plan to send and when you plan to send it...You must be willing to communicate... If you do need to counsel, please do that...If you are not ready to distribute what you don't believe the flow of prophecy"

"This is announcing the last blast, the clarion call as it were, to finish the work...Whether it is 4,5,7, 9 years to go, God knows...This is liquidating assets...I have the authority to tell you to do it... I have the moral and spiritual, and ecclesiastical authority to tell you to do what I have also done"

"Get it now when it requires faith... when you are dead you don't need it... if you named us in your wills, it can take us months or years to get it"

"The wives in the faith will say give everything you can...We don't have the luxury of waiting, leaving everything in your will simply doesn't work"

"Now you just have a second mortgage... and frankly we flee before most of it ever becomes due"

"...some may think that they want to tap their 401k--maybe you want to let us know that... why would you want to tell us? We are starting to prepare a budget now, the needs are would be nice to know now"
"Think big...Pull big triggers"

"...Put your money where your mouth is...Empty your assets"


"...Be careful that you don't tell us how to spend your assets... It belongs to God.. You don't tell God or His servants how to spend it"
"Your faith is being tested. Think about that"

"We will all fast on November 17th...Go get a big chunk out of your house...their assets, IRAs, and pension funds...(e). Ask God to move specific properties...that they have told us they want to sell. Pray that these properties move...that is part of what this fast is about"


Michael said...

"I do not covet your silver or gold...the gold and silver is God's and He will get it someway"

No, he doesn't want your gold and silver, he just happens to be the one who benefits when you "give" it to God! Hey, Dave is merely the custodian of God's money, y'know.

Tough job, but someone's gotta do it...

Anonymous said...

10.54PM. My heart goes out to the Pack victims. Obviously many will lose their homes and become destitute. Claiming that they will flee before the mortgage comes due, is hardly sound and just economics. It's robbing the creditors. Christ would never give such advice.

DennisCDiehl said...

10.54PM said... My heart goes out to the Pack victims. Obviously many will lose their homes and become destitute.

At what point does a RCG member have to take their own responsibility for giving Dave monies, retirements, homes and such, if many or any actually do that in response to his ill advised rants, and take their losses? At what point does one just have to accept that there are sincere yet foolish members who allow others to make the Bible mean what it never meant and weave tales that will simply end badly for them if they buy into it? And all this will end badly.

Nothing RCG or LCG says will happen will acutally happen when they say it will. Dave Pack is not really all these glorious Biblical characters an titles he thinks he is. Is he serious or simply deluded and in need of professional help?

What kind of men make up a "council of elders" and allow that one man over them to speak, spend and act so foolishly without restrain or correction?

Who on this earth would allow a man to tell them they better not question how this one man spends their money and not wince at the thought of doing so or not vote with their feet before it is too late?

We live in a time where people are "on" to the foolishness of televangelist and mega church types. It is not so easy to fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all the time as it was in the past in the realm of religion. Faith healers have made a mockery of of religion over the past 50 years with their antics and self absorbed preaching and the one man show of religion has become much more something folk are suspicious of an want little or nothing to do with. In short, RCG and LCG are mostly on life support and will always be insignificant side notes in the world of religion. Dave may insist he is not a splinter but in fact, sliver is being generous. Big fish in very small and shrinking ponds.

I feel, I suppose, for those who fall headlong into this Biblical farce, but there is so many outside insights into the ideas and antics of these self absorbed religious dictators to allow them to say "I wish I had known..." You can't not know. It is merely the difficulty in making a decision and understanding the one man is not giving you an accurate view of the Bible and how you need respond to it or him.

Getting over the "One True Church" idea would help.

Biblical injunctions to have faith, trust, not question God or suffer marking and dis-memberment are all designed by the Biblical writers, priests and church, to keep the sheep off the shepherds back as they stomp through the tulips...your tulips.

Byker Bob said...

Pack is quite the piece of work! In the coming decade, as trusting members who do become destitute because Pack's (or Meredith's) prophecies do fail, and they don't flee, they will be told "we didn't have complete understanding of God's plan", or "God gave us more time."

If these false prophets play hardball with you over the money you will probably need in the future, the only intelligent thing to do is take the "wrong" half of the ultimatum which they present. At the very least, leave organized Armstrongism. You may want to sift out the rest and find new solutions, but for heaven's sake, get out of the talon clutches of the failed prophets, as they are simply not dependable!


Black Ops Mikey said...

How about praying for spiritual growth?

But that would assume that there was anything spiritual there in the first place.

Anonymous said...

At least he didn't use the "we're in the gun lap brethren" phrase for the 1 millionth time!

Anonymous said...

Rod's letter was embarrassing. In my opinion, it was worse than any PBS beg-a-thon or 700 club info-mercial begging for money.

I'm sure he thinks his writing was "powerful" but in reality it was just pathetic.

I embarrassed for him!

Anonymous said...

Spanky and crew continue to shock me with their complete and utter lack of self awareness. I've known 16 year old psych patients with more personal insight!

If they are reading this, I have a message for them:


The good news is that it is never too late to change. It is never too late to right your wrongs. I pray these hard-headed, hard-hearted men will do exactly that before they die and their fate is sealed.

Anonymous said...

If God were blessing LCG, wouldn't the blessing just flow with abundance?

If God were truly pleased and felt that they were preaching more powerfully than anyone else on earth, wouldn't He reward them with whatever they needed to continue and grow?

LCG is not God's church. They are like salmon swimming upstream.

Nothing ever really changes. A few leave. A few join. It is not now nor will ever be a "great work".

Anonymous said...

I have an idea. How about instead of spending crazy amounts of tithe payer money on Living University, more property and Jim Meredith's exorbitant travel expenses, we use it to actually try to preach the gospel. If we can do that, plus be kind instead of hurtful to one another, maybe God will bless us. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Eloquently and accurately spoken, Dennis.

Most also applies to what's spouted by "mainstream megachurch Christian ministers", too.

Connie Schmidt said...

"Dave Pack is not really any of these ...Biblical characters and titles he thinks he is."

Dennis, you are wrong. Pack indeed is a Biblical character. He is the DEVIL!

Anonymous said...

This is a good example of why the ministers hide trade as described in the parable of the talents. Trade means mutual consent for MUTUAL gain, a win-win situation. There are no losers. This means that church members relationship to the work is also a trade. They are not slaves to the church or the work. This alone knocks on the head the idea of church members handing over thousands or millions of dollars of their assets. Hmm,I don't see Pack, Rod and associates living under a bridge.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this whole thing is a travesty and a giant laugh to the atheists of the world. Wonderful greedy/predatory religion at its finest!... All we need now is the public "be healed" spectacles!

But lets address the other side for those who have proven there is a Real God, and the Bible is for Real.......I'll speak to YOU NOW

Why isn't God calling multi-millionaires? Just takes one Bill Gates to write Big Tithe checks.

Why is God calling people in high-cost areas with children in school. Aged parents to support. Disabled Family members. ...people sick with multiple ailments. Retirees's and Disabled People Can't Work! Need Help. All these years how many Bentley's and Ferrari's have you seen at Feast Sites!??

YOU REAL Christians out there...look to your REAL Calling. Don't get "scared" by the Hucksters!

Worry about serving God. Like He can't come up with money!

Anonymous said...

Nothing was said about the feast in Gatineau (Canada) in 14. On the last great day, we were evicted from the meeting hall and we were forced to meet on plastic chairs in a cold tent. Or FREEZING in Niagara falls this year.

Maybe they should sent jimmy to fix those problems.

Anonymous said...

well, said, anon Jan 7, 7:49am...

Anonymous said...

There's only two ways LCG, without a member growth rate, can have a "financial growth" rate: either go out and rustle up new tithepayers (good luck with that), or start asking your stagnant existing tithepayer base to start ramping up the percentage of their income they donate.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anon asked: Why isn't God calling multi-millionaires? Just takes one Bill Gates to write Big Tithe checks.

The early Christians had the same question.

"Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong."
I Cor 1:26-27

It's another way of noting that most who responded to the story of Jesus weren't very educated or had much power in this world. Paul calls them "weak" which is a nice way of saying not the sharpest pencils in the box. This weakness in education, practical knowledge and power is turned around and made their strength so now they can all feel good about believing what they are told to believe without much real proof of it's reality and all speak the same thing now so their be no division among them. Once the group all thinks the same way and believes the same thing, that nasty experience of wishing you had known then what you know now can be held at bay.

It's like calling those who notice nothing the Apostles said about "soon" and "time is short" scoffers and was literally true, though they literally thought it was, and then "realizing" God does not count time as men do. The "realizing" comes in hindsite when you need answer to sticky questions.

God is merciful and giving us more time or testing us also comes to mind in this way of human apologetics for things that simply were not true in the first place.