Gerald Weston has written a new missive to the members of the Living Church of God. In his most recent "Personal" to the members Weston admits that the membership of the Living Church of God is dropping, but that does not mean the church will ever stop putting forth its forceful message.
The church has always loved to get up and brag, especially during the Feast, about how many were in attendance, how much money was collected in offerings, or just how special the church was compared to everyone else.
Weston writes in Is Bigger Always Better?:
During our Charlotte Family Weekend, we had a theme of keeping our focus and not getting distracted. In the Worldwide Church of God, we always looked through the lens of “the best ever” and “bigger than last time,” whether at the Feast or some other activity. In this light, we must ask the question, “Is bigger always better?” There is a human tendency to think that it is.Yes, I bet it was hard keeping the insular focus upon self and not getting distracted by the beautiful Christmas decorations, the piped in Christmas music, the Christmas desserts in restaurants, and other holiday accoutrements, considering you keep your "family fest" in Christmas laden resorts every year. Anyway, it was your grand guru Herbert himself that loved to quote figures on how big and better everything was, except when he was begging for more money.
He also writes:
The Worldwide Church of God also grew. Eventually, more than 150,000 attended the Feast of Tabernacles, and more than eight million Plain Truth magazines were distributed every month. At one point, there were three Ambassador College campuses, and how beautiful they were! But as the Church grew, so did the opportunities and so did the distractions. The Church lost its focus and became a comfortable social club to far too many. Large sports tournaments, exotic Festival sites, various clubs to “build self-esteem”—all took our focus off what God called us to do. We were ripe for the picking, and Satan, as a roaring lion, was all too eager to leap on the prey (1 Peter 5:8).The eight million PT readers was a complete farce. Hundreds of thousands were thrown in the trash every month never getting delivered or making it to newsstands. Everyone in Pasadena knew the numbers were highly inflated. Eight million magazines prove nothing. Three campuses proved nothing either, other than being huge money pits for tithes to be diverted to and their leaders being puffed up with grandiose ideas of themselves. The fact that he mocks "large sporting events" and "exotic Festival sites" proves how out of touch he is with his own church! Lil'Jimmy has to be having major butthurt over that comment! Besides, not a single COG today is capable of having a large exotic Festival site. They don't have enough members or the desire to cooperate together and produce grand Feast sites like no other, even though they ALL preach the same thing when you get down to the underbelly of each group.
Weston then goes on to quote Rod Meredith:
But the Church of God does not think BIG, as it has sought to exclude as many as they can from the kingdom they expect to inherit first. Instead of bringing the kingdom of God to the world today, one person at a time, by helping the disenfranchised, the poor, the widows, the orphans, etc. it has done all it can to exclude people. If church leaders think the way they run their churches today is a sample of the Kingdom to come then we and all of humanity are all royally screwed! Would anyone want to be in a kingdom run by COG leaders? Can you imagine any of them sitting at the right hand of Jesus and being wise judges? The lake of fire never looked so appealing!The question remains: Is bigger better? Conversely: Is smaller better? Dr. Roderick C. Meredith frequently emphasized that the Bible is the mind of God, so how does it answer this question?The opening verse of Genesis says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” To say that God thinks big is understatement to the extreme! Consider the vastness of the universe with its myriad galaxies and stars. The size and scope of God’s creation baffles the human mind (Psalm 8:3–4)! Jesus’ parables indicate the Kingdom of God, His family, begins as the smallest of seeds, but grows immensely (Matthew 13:31–32; see also the other parables of Matthew 13). Isaiah informs us, “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end” (9:7). God thinks BIG.
Lowliness? Gentleness?? Long-suffering??? Bear fellow members burdens in love???? Unified????? Peaceful?????? Seriously?Our focus must always be on the commissions given to us. We must learn “to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1–3). It is through working together as a family, having educational programs, summer camps, family weekends, Spokesman Clubs, and more that we learn servant leadership, right government, humility, and putting up with one another’s imperfections. These activities provide opportunities to learn how to get along with those different from ourselves. We learn teamwork and come to appreciate qualities others have that we lack. We learn perseverance and patience. All of this helps prepare us to rule in the Kingdom of God. But even with this, these qualities must not be ends in themselves. We must not allow them to distract us from focusing on other commissions.
When has the LCG ever done any of these things? When has its leaders ever set the example of lowliness? When have they ever been gentle? When, oh WHEN have they ever been long-suffering with their members? Pride, arrogance, jealousy, and bitterness seem to be the things most COG leaders identify with today. When has the Living Church of God ever been a family? That concept died when the WCG imploded. The "we are family" mantra was tossed in the Glendale dump as countless "lowly, gentle, meek and long-suffering" men set themselves up as splinter group leaders dividing families and wrecking lives. Rod Meredith and Gerald Weston's dirty hands were right in the middle of that mix.
Weston then shovels the crap even deeper with this:
In all that we do we must adhere to Paul’s admonition, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:3–5). These words must be more than platitudes. They must be a part of us, internalized by the Holy Spirit of Christ in us (Galatians 2:20).When has a COG leader or most ministers ever "esteem others above himself?" When have they ever truly taken the brethren's interests into account? When have the brethren ever been listened to? When have the members ever had a say in who leads them?
How can the "mind of Christ" be "in" the ministry and leadership of the LCG (or any COG) when all of them ignore the guy and discount anything he accomplished. Grace, mercy, and justice are qualities of Jesus that not one single COG leader knows anything about.
Weston ends with this:
Weston apparently does not have much faith in his skills to push the LCG into the forefront of all the COG's today and proclaim a message of hope and salvation that will draw in large numbers of people.Dear brethren, how large we will grow remains to be seen, but history indicates bigger is not always better. “Better”—that is, better quality—is always better! We must never allow the “bigger is better” mindset to guide our thinking. Nor should we think that smaller is better, because we like small. God thinks big and so should we. God uses both sizes to fulfill His plan and purpose, but either way, staying close to God, avoiding distractions, and keeping our focus on the purpose for which we are called is what matters more than size. We must constantly test our thinking and our actions to make sure they fit within the commissions we have been given. We must do this individually and collectively.
And why does EVERYTHING had to be a constant "test" for COG members? They have been over-tested for 80 some years now. Perhaps it is time for the leaders to be tested!
So go on Gerald, show the world just how merciful and loving you and your god are. Set the example and humble yourself so ther world can see.
After all, the fields are white with harvest, aren't they?