Friday, November 10, 2017

UCG's Mixed Messages To Its Youth Concerning Winter Family Weekend

United Church of God claims it is all for its youth and is concerned that they learn true messages when it comes to being a UCG Christian.  However, UCG continues to send so many mixed message to its youth that they are left confused.  One thing teenagers and youth quickly can see is when adults tell them one thing and practice another.  They see through the crap that adults blissfully accept as "that is the way it always been so why argue over it anymore."

Case in point, UCG's Winter Family Weekend.  The WFW was actually started by Jim O'Brien and the arrogant boys in Cincinnati did not appreciate him doing something that they had not thought of first.  O'Brien was called on the carpet by UCG and eventually terminated.

UCG was none too happy that non-UCG youth were invited to attend the WFW.  Whether they were from outside UCG in another COG or not even members, they found this wrong.  This upset many who rightfully wanted to know why it was happening.  Apparently, none of them ever thought what better role roll model could a non-COG youth have than to spend several days in a safe Christian environment where UCG members and youth could set an example for them.

There are many family weekend events during the year, but by far the largest gatherings are at the WFW over Christmas – this year December 22-26. 
The 21st Lexington Winter Family Weekend, sponsored by the Cincinnati and Lexington churches, will be held at the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort in Lexington, Kentucky. The event is open to everyone.
Its Facebook page says, The Winter Family Weekend in Lexington, Kentucky has helped change the culture of the Church of God. Twenty years ago God blessed us with an event without borders. People quickly learned that it is what you believe -- not the name on the church door that makes the difference. It’s an environment where friends can meet as equals to worship together and celebrate the Faith that is common to us all.
In 1997 these two churches were independent corporations affiliated with the United Church of God. By 2004 attendance had increased to 2000, up to 20% of whom were members of other ex-WCG groups. 
At that time UCG’s governance was a strict hierarchy, and the Home Office did not look kindly on large scale local events not being under its control, or including non-members. Furthermore, any form of congregational authority, such as local boards and advisory councils, was regarded as contrary to its founding principles.
The local pastor, Jim O'Brien, was suspended for comments he made during Sabbath announcements at Lexington on 13th March 2004, and was summoned to the Home Office, where he was interrogated about the WFW and his difference of philosophies with UCG, by members of Ministerial Services. After breaking a demand not to discuss these matters, even with fellow ministers, his employment was terminated. The Lexington church voted to leave the UCG, while the Cincinnati church was split.  COGNews
Part of the problem UCG has always faced is that they are doing this weekend during one of the most widely observed Christian festivals of the year.  Beautiful bright lights, joyous songs filling the air, warm and wonderful smelling food, and so much more fill the entire complex that the WFW setting is in. Talk about sending a mixed message to its youth!
You are to hate Christmas, but ignore the fact we booked a hotel filled the glorious and beautiful Christmas decorations.  Just put your ear plugs in and blinders on your eyes.  Don't look at Satan or the pretty lights and above all don't eat any Christmas cookies.  Its all pagan, after all.  Look at all of the poor deceived people surrounding you who are being blinded by Satan and feel sorry that they don't know what fun it is to play games down the hallway while they could listen to Dwight Armstrong hymns being played.  After all, it is a foretaste of the Kingdom to come! 
Even with this mixed message being sent to the youth, there is an even bigger problem that UCG parents got upset about last year.  Apparently, there were people not in UCG attending the weekend with them!  Ghastly days!  God forbid if they were set an example for these people that might impress them so much they would want to join UCG.  Oh no, we can't have that!   Even worse, these vile cretins were playing games on Friday night!  OH, NOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But seriously, it is another mixed message being sent to the youth.  It is OK for the "outsiders" to play games on Friday night, but not you.  You have to sit in your hotel room and play The Talent Game and read Mystery of the Ages while they are all having real fun.  Just remember, handwriting out the Book of Deuteronomy as a Bible Study is more important that having real fun!

All was not well for some at the 2016 event, one UCG Parent commenting:
“My family and I participated at winter family weekend this year in Ohio and was very disappointed when we found out that apparently people who are not in our church can participate in the sporting events, and these are people who are playing on Friday nights and are not even members or even go to UCG - they just show up for the perks!! This is very frustrating, because we try to raise our kids up that its not OK to play sports on Friday nights!! Our church is supporting people who do those things. I remember back in the WOU days, if you werent a regular church member, you didnt play!”   COGNews


Anonymous said...

In WCG a family in the Tupelo, Mississippi congregation kept Xmas but if I remember correctly we all just kinda looked over it. One member told me that it was their business and not ours. I don't have a problem with people observing the world's holidays.

Helen Wheels said...

Having attended in the past for over 10 years, my sense of it is that UCG has had, and continues to have, even after expelling the more conservative and authoritarian COGWA folks (who hew closer to LCG in temperament), a deeply conflicted nature, so it can't help but send mixed messages.

On the one hand, they aspire to be open, accepting, and democratic, but on the other hand, they're unable to deal with the loss of control that brings. So their authoritarian tendencies always seem to crop up at times and in ways that put a big blemish in the middle of the better natures that many in UCG hierarchy still feel makes UCG better than their competitors.

It's not just an Armstrongist conflict, but a christian conflict that springs out of the conflicted nature of the christian canon. Christians took the Jewish canon, and added a progressive spin on top of it. But the fact remains, the Jewish canon is founded primarily upon concepts of purity based upon ritual observance coupled with strict legal obedience. Many christians, for various reasons, reject Jewish notions of how to obtain purity, embracing NT ones instead, even while maintaining the Jewish canon still belongs in the christian canon, which was their Achilles' heel. Armstrongists, on the other hand, have always embraced those Jewish notions of purity, which left us vulnerable too. Needless to say, HWA built his brand by attacking "mainstream" christians, basically accusing them of OT impurity, and thus, of not being "real" christians, because they prioritized the progressive aspects of the NT. They fought back by calling us Judaizing legalists. All we could do was object that they were saying this like it was a bad thing.

UCG gets a lot of ire from old-school WCG folks with the traditional Armstrongist charge of "liberal" because UCG would like to be less authoritarian and controlling. But there's no safe ground to be had. Being holier and purer than thou, judgy as all-get-out, and dictatorial isn't higher ground. Somewhere deep down, UCG knows that too, even if not consciously. As a result, it tries to split the difference. But you can't, because they're two opposing principles. So what winds up happening instead is that people, and churches, wind up being unstable, two-faced, and of two minds as they oscillate nonstop between two ends of the liberal-conservative spectrum. And then they make everything worse by both repudiating and cozying up to christmas at the same time.

Higher ground does exist, but from within christian perspectives, it can never be identified. Hence, when UCG does tend toward that higher ground, they always think they've made a mistake, and they retreat from it, in error, back toward ugly, controlling, authoritarianism again.

I think there are many in the hierarchy of UCG who would genuinely like UCG to be open, accepting, and democratic, but their christianity keeps getting in the way, tripping up their better instincts, and leading them back into darkness again.

Jim said...

Wow! A group needing new money...i mean members won't let potential payers....i mean members see something they like and join! Wow wow Wow! Well at least that will allow for a slow demise and maybe extinction of one Armstrong cult!!

Anonymous said...

Helen Wheels comments above reflects much light onto a key factor which is missing: God.
But besides that glaring obvious obmission these comments are GOLD as She/he reveals, as someone who did/does attend, previously/presently ten years within UCG miraculously, knowing key thoughts about the UCG hierarchy.
Helen Wheels says UCG EXPELLED the ones now in COGWA. Wow that's quite a statement. So is expressing the alleged conflict with the Jewish cannon. This exposes much.
Helen Wheels admits UCG have ended up unstable, two faced and of two minds. No kidding.
Wow this is amazing to see typed out on this website by someone from somewhere who so happens to know the inner thoughts of the UCG hierarchy.
Now if a member dared to raise any of these comments they would immediately be branded a liar and all kinds of hell, hatred and lying would erupt to assassinate their character. Such is the hypocrisy that abounds,