Church of God phenomenon is worn out, tired, pooped, exhausted..."
The Tiring of the Churches of God
I have to say I miss the
Feast. My last was at Myrtle Beach where I spoke to about 8000 on the
"Politics of the New Testament." You know...James distrusted
Paul and his teachings. Peter didn't like Paul. Paul confronts Peter.
John likes neither Peter or Paul and both don't like him. It was a
journey through the sarcasm and writing styles in the NT that show the animosity
these guys had for each other. I have to say I had a lot of fun with it
and in a passive aggressive way, was able to show that nothing has changed in
the Church to this day. There never was a time when anyone all spoke the
same thing, no matter the admonition to do so. I pushed it a bit, kidding
about how we must stop singing, "We are not divided, all one body
we....." and "One in hope and doctrine. One in charity,"
because we all know we had a long long way to go.
In hind site it was a
mistake to show where Matthew got his Virgin Birth views and how he made
scripture mean what it never meant, but that is another story. I did
learn you don't say, "Where do babies come from?" in such a
But it was fun and the
response was great. I got a free dinner out of it that evening from a
well known Evangelist type who wanted to know more.
It was the last time I
ever felt good about the energy and "we can work through this,"
attitude in the Church. A few months later, I was gone.
The Churches of God are
tired and suffering, whether they know it or not, from everything from
"time is short," to "We are God's people," fatigue.
It's a normal cycle and the one you see played out in the New Testament itself,
but one they never thought they would have to face themselves. These are
folk who have seen the hope of things to come blasted to pieces. They
have seen split upon split and suffered the loss of friends who used to stick
closer than a brother. They have gone from trusting everyone, sometimes
to their harm, to trusting no one. Teachings that were so sacred
have been trashed and replaced by those that most feel are merely a reinvention
of the wheel or simply bullshit.
The splits and
schisms (I once said "shits and splisms" in a study) are expected
and men who have waited in the wings for decades unnoticed now have their
chance to step forward and make fools of themselves simply because they can
read the Bible.
In my view, the cold and
unstable former full time WCG ministers that most wished back then would simply
go away, have risen to be the millionaire gurus of dozens. They are doing
today what they did back when and I see little life change or personal
introspection in these guys whose names we all know well. They dis-courage
their congregations with their "much speaking," and haven't
grown an inch in their understanding of the Bible in their entire lives.
These are not men who can admit that what they learned between 18 and 22 might
have more to the story than they were told. While some might be flashy or
mouthy, for the most part, the active ministry is ignorant of Bible origins,
background and intent. They fill congregations of people who, while
sincere, are listeners and not thinkers.
Ron Weinland talks to
his followers as a disgusted parent to the children who need to get it.
He is no teacher. Dennis Luker, a formerly good friend, looks and sounds
exhausted. Dave Pack, as ever, just sounds stern and in charge.
Michael Meredith's thrown together "Let's rejoice at the Feast in
Hawaii," is a metaphor for the exhaustion and boredom most are
feeling. His video was simply awful and whoever let it be the one they
wanted must be in a fog of fatigue. The "Jelly" video concept
is beyond embarrassing and the fatigue is shown by the fact that no one cares
if the church wants to make fools out of themselves. Few have the energy to be
offended or at least express the idea that this might not be all that Gospel
People move around from
church to church and Feast site to Feast site hoping to find what will never be
found again. There is no security, hope, specialness or
inspiration. One site at which I have family took in $19,000 the first
Holy Day. Remember when one site could produce nearly $180,000 and most felt
we could do better the last day. I suppose we can say those high amounts
reflected our hope, firm belief in the Church being "THE" Church and
our naive and simplistic views about the times in which we lived. I had a
sneaking suspicion that since Jesus did not return for the Holocaust, He might
not return because of KISS or Queen, but I spare you.
At any rate, the entire
Church of God phenomenon is worn out, tired, pooped, exhausted and sliding into
home base. Members always die. Even well known ones, but soon in the
scheme of things the men of renown will pass. A second or third
generation will take up the mantle and grow even more weary being stuck in
something they may not have personally chosen in hind sight.
Eventually it will simply be a memory in the tradition of Billy Sunday, Aimee
Semple McPherson and Benny Hinn. All the smaller churches and dramas will
simply be forgotten.
What caused all
this? Human and Ego and the human propensity to be deaf, blind, dumb and
stupid. It didn't have to be this way. Or maybe it did.
I believe it was the
True Church at one time. I could read the Bible and see everything from
Holy Days to tithing and Sabbath. Kingdoms sounded much better than
Heaven and I'd rather burn up in hell than just burn. While British Israelism
never captured my interest and I never spoke on it, it had a ring to it,
if you lived in the the 19th Century. I didn't see where the New
Testament cared about such things and it did seem contrived to me. But
then again, I thought, being Presbyterian in the past, one could take and leave
different views as believed or not believed much.
I just didn't have all
the facts I would have liked to make better decisions. The Booklets and
media did a great job in my youth of capturing my attention. In reality,
just like Bob Jones University two streets over from me, WCG and the COGs are
mid life crisis factories. Only those who never thought to think outside
the box or only allowed their church to inform them are still keeping
on.....and they are exhausted, tired and quietly wondering what the hell
happened to their good intentions, hopes and dreams of The Wonderful World
The COGs have simply
relived and created all the drama and disappointment , excuse making and
doctrinal evolution that we see in the New Testament. They have gone from
"soon" and "shortly" to "I fought a good fight,"
and now I'm going to die. Paul still hates Peter and James still
thinks Paul is a putz. John still views Peter as no better than Judas
and Paul still is the only one in the various shits and splisisms who thinks he
really is an Apostle, Prophet, Watcher or Presiding Somebody and eventually got
his butt bounced out of Ephesus...
Anyone got an orange