Friday, December 23, 2016

It's That Time of Year: The Annual COG Pseudo Christmas Celebrations


COG News has this about how UCG, COGWA and LCG have their pretend non-Christmas Celebrations.

2016 will be the 20th year for the Annual Winter Family Weekend, to be held at the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort in Lexington, Kentucky, December 23-26. The event is open to all.
Three Church of God groups in the USA have taken up the tradition of holding a very large social gathering over the Christmas period.
Church of God a Worldwide Association members will be in Louisville, Kentucky, December 23-27, where the Galt House Hotel will be offering a range of seasonal activities for its young guests.
The United Church of God Family Weekend, will be at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio, December 23-27.
The Family Weekend for members of the Living Church of God will take place at the Renaissance Charlotte Suites Hotel, North Carolina, December 22-25.
Activities will begin on Thursday evening with a casual themed dance at the hotel. Friday morning there will be a number of targeted seminars followed by an afternoon activity. Friday night and Saturday morning there will be special Bible Studies for everyone. We plan to again live-stream the Saturday afternoon Church service over the Internet. Saturday night there will be a formal dinner/dance for all ages. Sunday we will have the increasingly popular Sports Day with basketball and volleyball tournaments, free play, kids’ games and lots of free food! Sunday night we will wrap things up at the hotel with a Games Night. Last year we had over 800 people join us for the events and we hope that this year even more of you will attend. So grab your dance shoes and your tennis shoes and come join us for an exciting weekend of physical and spiritual rejuvenation!”—Jim Meredith


42 comments:

Byker Bob said...

That explains a heretofore mysterious trip some of my relatives are making to one of those locations. Amazing how much we can learn here!

BB

nck said...

3500 newspaper boys celebrating christmas in the ambassador auditorium

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/thedailymirror/2007/12/christmas-pa-18.html


Also setting of the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie "Flying down to rio". Available on vimeo for the holidays.

nck

Anonymous said...

Yo Ho Ho, merry Xmas to all my readers at Banned.

DennisCDiehl said...

I believe just under the surface most COG types don't really see a problem with the sentiments of Christmas but "go along to get along" with the more "it's pagan" loons in the churches. No Deity really cares and it doesn't take a genius to do a bit of homework to see that even their sacred Holy Days had their birth in agricultural observations of many cultures before the Hebrews. Even the Sabbath is merely a Hebrew spin on a much older Sumerian Creation myth. The only difference is that in the Sumerian version, it is the god's who grew tired of the worker human drones complaining and wanted rest so they flooded them out and took the day off.

It is also no secret that the savior that is born on Christmas is the Sun. Again, it takes no genius to see this reality. No one knows year, month, date or season of Jesus birth and while it is celebrated , be it ever so inaccurately portrayed, in Matthew and Luke who don't even agree with each other and obviously woven from OT scriptures that never mean what Matthew made them to mean, the COG's would have a hard time celebrating because they minimize their own birthdays.

I recall never having heard the birth narratives mentioned in one sermon in WCG. Perhaps the risk of someone feeling "the day of one's death is better than the day of birth" would be diminished in some way.

There is no harm done in customs not spoken of in the scriptures. I think most church members feel that way but belong to a church that shuns it and so are compliant. Sitting on the outside but perhaps standing on the inside which is hidden. It just takes one blowhard leader to sound righteous on such issues but blowhards none the less.

Merry Christmas, the Sun is born...

DennisCDiehl said...

....and taking away the darkness of the world as it moves toward "Easter" Passing Over the Celestial Equator, where it wins... :)

Anonymous said...

If the world gives us days off (i.e during X-Mass and New Years), we're gonna take them...and use them to benefit our church members with separate Bible studies for teens, singles, married couples and everyone all together. We're also gonna have weekly, Sabbath services, a sports day and a family dinner and dance. These aren't pseudo-Christmas celebrations in any shape or form, no matter how many times you say they are.

Black Ops Mikey said...

That's the beauty of hypocrisy: You really can have it both ways!

Opinionated said...

When the guru Rod dies (not far down the road) It will take a year or two before they will celebrate this family oriented event. Then another split by the self righteous ones who parrot herbies crap.

Anonymous said...

Opinionated said...

When the guru Rod dies (not far down the road) It will take a year or two before they will celebrate this family oriented event.

Are you saying Rod's death will be a family oriented event?

Anonymous said...

The size of the event is a barometer of LCG's health and the members' satisfaction with the leadership.

Lil' NCIS Jim last year bragged that over 800 people attended the Winter Weekend. Yes, it is a "Winter Weekend" as you can see by the actual Facebook page name (the URL, not the text fields). Watch for this year's numbers. Will they lie and pretend to a bigger number, or will they admit that people are moving away from LCG?

Anonymous said...

I agree that these churches believe they are using 3 day weekends to have these gatherings, aside from the timing of them. That said, I think the real issue that people in the church used (and still do), as an example, is to make the Feast into a type of pseudo Christmas....family gatherings, giving presents, etc.

I think the church was always so much against anything the world practiced, they were totally blind when the brethren would find alternatives to take their place. We were once invited to a LCG event, called a "Winter Program" that actually had kids singing songs that were very familiar to the X-mas season and even the place it was held had holiday decorations in the room.

I mentioned the obvious to someone and was given the same reason we usually hear, even with these annual events...we are only trying to do something that we can believe in. The sad truth was, they couldn't see the straddling of the fence they were doing that left the impression they believed in the very thing they railed against, just in a varied and more kosher way that somehow made it acceptable and Biblical..

Anonymous said...

Black Ops Mikey, there's no hypocrisy at all involved here when these gatherings take place. Most people (COG members included) are off from work during this time of the year anyway, so what a better time to get together and have Bible studies, Sabbath services, seminars, sports and other activities and bond as an organization. Nothing wrong with that, no matter how you try to twist and pervert what we are doing.

Anonymous said...

Look at what LCG itself named its event, as revealed by its Facebook URL:

https://www.facebook.com/LcgCharlotteWinterWeekend/

They aren't celebrating YHVH. They aren't celebrating Christ. They are celebrating Winter. That's outright paganism, and it was by their own choice. Nobody forced LCG to call their page LcgWinterWeekend instead of LcgFamilyWeekend.

Yes, someone later on started using "Family" instead of "Winter" in the text fields, but they have kept the "Winter" URL. That tells us what they really think they are worshipping.

Anonymous said...

Aw, heck, let's just celebrate Festivus. Remember, Festivus for the rest of us?

Allen C. Dexter

nck said...

Now wait a minute. If xHwa can have his christian christmas completely separated and severed from age old and established folk practices in local germanic communities. Than cogs can have their fellowship separate from american custom. That the dates coincide does not make it pagan according to what i learned at bereans blog. Nck

Byker Bob said...

It's a team building thing, unity expressed through separatism and retreat. Not unlike the militias, but without the anti-government rhetoric and firearms. Honestly, if they could get away with extending it backwards so that the time precludes what they see as damages inflicted on their impressionable children by the public schools, they'd probably make these winter retreats longer.

Whether or not it is misguided, or an integral part of the ACOG brainwashing programs would certainly be additional questions to be addressed.

Really, a better program or antidote would be WWJD. Jesus honored the historical (as opposed to Levitical) celebration of Hanukkah. John 10:22-23. www.learnthebible.org/festival-of-lights.html

They claim to be descendents of Israel. Why not just go with a tradition Jesus kept from the history of their adopted people? I believe that HWA was antisemitic deep layers down into his soul, and wanted to distinguish his church from the Jews. He had to have known that Jesus went to temple on Hanukkah. But HWA chose to ignore His example.

Hey, ACOGs! Get off the fence, and with the program. Do what Jesus did, rather than making up your own stuff that only ends up sending mixed messages!

BB

Black Ops Mikey said...

Black Ops Mikey, there's no hypocrisy at all involved here when these gatherings take place. Most people (COG members included) are off from work during this time of the year anyway

Yes, just like the Feast of Tabernacles. Except they can't use Second Tithe.

For an outfit that claims it's separate from the world, you'd think if they were going to keep a Winter festival, they'd at least do it away from all those malls and arenas with all that xmas stuff surrounding them.

And hey, can they use second tithe?

It's no wonder the Oxford Dictionary named "Post-truth" the 2016 word of the year (it's not -- it's two words, hyphens are for wimps!). Armstrongists are doing what they feel is right.

It it's not hypocrisy, then why don't all the congregations just have extra Bible studies, dances and activities in their local area instead of spending money as if it's Christmas and renting hotel / motel rooms?

Of course there is one reason: They all can be boozing alcoholics together in a bigger group! Bigger is better! It's no fun boozing it up alone!

Gee, it's like the Kingdom of God is meat and drink after all.

So what would be wrong with using second tithe? It's like a mini-Feast-of-Tabernacles without it being one. And is there some program so everyone can go? Or is it just for the Armstrongist elite that has discretionary income they aren't about to share so they can have their selfish fun, drinking with their friends?

It just seems that if they're going to do this, they should be all inclusive. Pay the way for the fatherless and widow. Help the poor come. Make special arrangements for the sick and infirm who could go if someone would provide for them.

Unbelievable hypocrisy, sugar coated with truthiness... um, sorry, post-truth.

Hoss said...

They could celebrate Hanukkah, Jesus did.

The Greek occupation period and non-canonical books of the period are conspicuously absent from WCG's biblical histories. Study of that period is necessary to get a clear perspective on some of the issues of the First Century CE.

Anonymous said...

Of course it's called Charlotte "Winter" Weekend" (it's also just called Charlotte Family Weekend on its Facebook page)...because it's in during the WINTER time - not Summer or Spring or Fall, LOL.

And Mr. Weston commented last night at the live broadcast Bible Study that LCG asked the hotel staff to not include any Christmas lights or decorations in the room. Which none are present. That's just one example of why this isn't a pseudo-Christmas event, as much as you all here so desperately want it to be.

As far as lying about how many are attending this event, just look at the live stream Sabbath service from just this afternoon. The cameras frequently sweep the entire meeting room and 800 are easily present. Over 750 were there last night at the Bible Study (as the video easily proves).

Anonymous said...

To the point about how many attended LCG's Sabbath service today. There are clearly 800 or more in attendance this afternoon. Here's video of that. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0YB1w8gzlc

Anonymous said...

To help us all get into the spirit of the occasion, here's a short video message Meredith released before the big live-streamed service:

A Personal Video Message from Rod Meredith

Just how old is he again?

eddby said...

No matter how you slice the baloney, it's still baloney.

Byker Bob said...

Let's say it's all good. No pseudo-Christmas, no lies about attendance. They're still preaching 1) British Israelism, 2) German Assyrianism) and 3) African Canaanism. These have all been disproven and refuted. Lies are lies, but wouldn't it be less harmful, less scary to just be lied to about Santa?

BB

Opinionated said...


A Personal Video Message from Rod Meredith

The old buzzard seemed confused.

Anonymous said...

Don't bore yourself with the whole video. Skip ahead to the last 15 minutes, where the crowd shots reveal just how bored the congregation had become.

Recapturing True Boredom at 1:53:45

Jesus said His message would bring joy and hope to His people, but would upset and offend His enemies. I have an exercise for you. Count the number of smiles you can find in the crowd shot above, and then count the number of scowls or frowns or yawns. This is not a group of happy people, yet in their enforced depression they have no idea of just how miserable they truly are. Is this because they are enemies of Christ? Or is it that they are Christ's people, but the message they are hearing is not Christ's message?

Do the LCG dupes seriously think this video makes their church look attractive to potential members? It's a total turn-off. These are people who listen to Meredith because they have been shamed or coerced into doing so. For every one listening with rapt attention, several are clearly just enduring the exercise. It's a P.R. disaster, but you can be sure LCG will promote it as a great success.

Anonymous said...


“It's That Time of Year: The Annual COG Pseudo Christmas Celebrations”


Even before they went totally pagan around January of 1995, the apostate Tkaches had started to teach that it was okay to go to company Christmas parties because they were supposedly just an excuse for a party rather than a seriously religious thing. The Tkach enforcers now in control of the UCG are just continuing to lead the people back into the world.

This looks like yet another reason why the UCG, COGWA, and LCG cannot expect to grow. They are tired of their own customs, and envy the world and its customs. There is no compelling reason for anyone to join these godless schmucks. The world has plenty of churches that openly observe X-mass and are proud of it. People who want to observe X-mass can go to other churches instead of putting up with the endless horsing around of the so-called COGs.

One tragic consequence of this sort of behavior is that those who want a church that takes things more seriously will be turned off by all the godlessness in the UCG, COGWA, and LCG. They might then fall for something like the PCG or RCG, both of which have always pretended to take things more seriously. Then, these “true believers” will learn the long, hard, expensive way that the PCG is really only serious about wrecking their families, and that the RCG is really only serious about stealing everything they have.

If someone did not know any better, they might think that this is the Laodicea era of the church, with some false prophets and their satanic imposter cults tossed into the mess to add to the confusion.

Anonymous said...

Wow, 6:32pm you are so right. Half of the audience in the crowd shot is checked out, either staring off into space or whispering to their neighbors. Meredith looks horrible. He's lost weight since I last saw him.....wonder how long he is for this world.

Martha said...

Since nck brought As Bereans Did into this discussion...

You raise a good point. Granted, it's been at least 15 years since I've been to a "Winter Family Weekend." But there was not anything Christmas-y about it that I noticed, and I was a pretty good little pharisee in my day. Basically, you had some time off work/school and certainly nothing else was going on. It was a good time to get together with other people who also weren't doing anything. I mean, otherwise it's a pretty depressing time of the year if you're in the COGs. Even before there were WFWs, we would sometimes get together with other COG families on December 25.

But I can understand the frustration who are sick of being criticized as a bunch of dirty pagans for doing, for practical purposes, the same thing on December 25 that the COG folks at the Winter Family Weekends are doing. Both are spending quality time with family and friends, eating and, sometimes, spending some extra time in scripture. One batch has a tree somewhere in the house. The other doesn't. Or, at least, not in the part of the structure where they're meeting. There's a little more to the Christmas gathering than the COG gathering, but what's good for the goose should be good for the gander, too, so to speak.

It's probably not the battle I would pick, but I'm sure we pick some odd ones ourselves, sometimes.

RSK said...

Dont know that its hypocracy so much as cynical, trying to keep their members' brains tied to this particular cult's HQ in a period when many are (despite their defensiveness) feeling lonely, left out, and suffering while a deceived world goes on without them. Especially those whose families are not of like COG mind. Anons description of "enforced depression" might be apt.

I know some COGlodytes will probably get all spitty over that remark, but I saw more COG members pushing thru obvious depression during this time of year than any, by far. The overdramatic lectures from the defensive ones I see year after year make it pretty obvious to me that its the case for at least a portion of the members.

Anonymous said...

Opinionated,"the old buzzard" is nearly 87 years old. Yours (and mine) mental faculties wouldn't be too sharp either at that age. He's also suffering from the effects of a stroke from a couple years back. He still has a sharp mind for the most part.

Retired Prof said...

Scowls, frowns, yawns? How can that be, with Rod Meredith leading the festivities?

I haven't sat in any audience of his since 1960, but I doubt he's changed, considering who he is. Back then he had his own method to thrill the crowd. He would shout in a commanding voice, "God wants you to be filled with JOY!" Then he would pause while he peered around the room and scowled at us to emphasize our solemn duty to experience exultation.

Anonymous said...

At 1:59:15, there are two women in the front row wearing skirts that stop several inches above the knees. In WINTER! The old Rod Meredith would have called those women out as whores. Has he gone blind?

Anonymous said...

Notice who was absent from the service. Weston and Meredith spoke after Ames gave the opening prayer. So who gave the closing prayer? Weston! Where was Doug Winnail? At these events they make sure to spread the speaking duties around among the top men. Giving Weston a prayer and a "sermonette" while giving Winnail no role at all sure suggests that there's something unpleasant going on among the LCG HQ evangelists!

RSK said...

Maybe,Anon 7:25, it looks more like Pergamos.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:18AM, notice that Rod McNair, Winnail's assistant CAD director, was the song leader. This snubbing was a big insult to McNair's boss. If the snub came from Meredith, McNair may be protected, but if it came from McNair this is a sure sign of conflict within LCG CAD, and McNair may be in trouble. For all of Rod Meredith's talk of proper government, McNair wasn't practicing it by excluding his boss while the other HQ evangelists were included (or even doubled up like Weston).

RSK said...

Of course, the idea of doing your own thing on someone elses holiday is not new; according to the line towed by the COGs, its exactly how their much reviled Christmas started anyway. I can just hear a third century Christian grumbling "But pastor Dioskammaron made sure there were no images of Sol Invictus in our meeting place!" You see how that turned out, right? Heh.

Anonymous said...

But a lot of money is spent hiring stuff for this event that is not spent for the holy days. Why not meet up for unleavened bread or pentecost ? Why is it only done in America ? All the rest of the brethren throughout the rest of the world get on with it and survive why not America ?

Anonymous said...

"It's a team building thing, unity expressed through separatism and retreat. Not unlike the militias, but without the anti-government rhetoric and firearms."


"Separatist" seems to be the operating word, and actually I'd be surprised if there wasn't some anti-government rhetoric involved, as well as lots of 'anti-everyone-else' rhetoric that pits themselves as "God's people" against the 'world'.

It it's not hypocrisy, then why don't all the congregations just have extra Bible studies, dances and activities in their local area instead of spending money as if it's Christmas and renting hotel / motel rooms?

It's an indoctrination vacation! Gathering in a larger group setting with those who share your sense of your 'mission' can help get a cult member all hopped-up, focused and recharged. Plus, they can have the most effective speakers lead meetings. (Those who probably aren't in local gatherings.)
It's not unlike how multi-level-marketing companies' conventions- or other rallies- work. Get the members all worked up, creating cognitive dissonance to the extent of losing their identities to those of the group identity, and you've got a group of more willing, excited, pliable and pluckable rubes.

Anonymous said...

What's the big deal about usurping earlier customs?
In this case it's about COGs making holiday celebrations at the same time when people of older and more ingrained celebrations are observing.
That's really old news!
Conquering Christians had to retain many aspects of pagan culture's celebrations in order for for the conquered peoples to accept the new way of celebrating with the 'Christian veneer' on top of them.
(If that hadn't happened and pagan traditions had been rejected, Christmas today would bear little resemblance to the Christmas traditions we see today.)

It's ok with me if COGs harken to pre-Christian solstice celebrations and don't admit to what they're doing. I think it's a total gas!

Byker Bob said...

When you stop and think about it, HWA took the Jewish traditions and injected Christ into them. It is a common theological theme that you purify or perfect by winning something for Christ. It changes or subverts the meanings and origins so that everyone only remembers the Jesus aspect to it. Nobody would remember or think of Nimrod's pelotas if Herbert W. Armstrong hadn't started reminding everyone about them.

The Festival of Lights was not observed by classic WCG simply because it fell near the Winter solstice, and HWA sensed guilt by association. Yet he taught that Jesus was the God of the Old Testament, which means that Jesus would have been responsible for the miracle of the holy lamp oil lasting for temple usage during the time when the only new oil available was Antiocchus's pork oil. Armstrongism was always in search of anything that they could portray as being wrong, pagan, or bad, while missing out on the loftier principles, same as did the Pharisees! I bet they ressurrect and teach all about all of the old long-forgotten paganism at places like Living Uniperversity, and make all the students quite paranoid

BB

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bob,
I'm a chef and looking for an exciting dish for the New Year to feed about 17 to 20 people.
I would like to try in my experimental recipe the Antiocchus's pork oil that you mentioned.

Calls to my local Piggly Wiggly, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods didn't help.
What to do?

Byker Bob said...

Sorry, I can't be responsible for antiquity. If this pork oil still exists today, it is most likely an anachonism. But, have you tried giving your heart to the lard?

BB