What is ahead in 2011?

      The Buffet Churches of God

      Douglas Becker

      January 1, 2011

      Perhaps the most amazing development is the gentle passing of the past administration of the United Church of God, an International Association and the installation of a new leadership ó a bold new leadership with qualificationsone would expect would lead to a glorious new day of peace and prosperity for the UCG.

      It was not to be. The legacy of chaos continues as it was from the beginning of the Radio Church of God and the Worldwide Church of God, with the constant crisis to crisis under the helm of Herbert Armstrong where the Work was always in peril, one step away from disappearing from the earth if YOU BRETHREN OUT THERE WOULDNíT SEND MORE TO SUPPORT THE ONLY WORK OF GOD ON EARTH! Somewhere embedded in that constant mental noise of hyperbole was the loss of reason that should have whispered, if it really is the only work of God on earth, shouldnít Jesus Christ make certain he kept his promise that we would never fail and the gates of hell would not prevail against us? It just proves that if the lies are loud enough, people wonít notice how ludicrous they are.

      The past year has been a very good year for the spit offs and independents. In fact, itís been nothing short of amazing. In the last month of the year, at least four new CoGs popped up like mushrooms on the lawn after a rainy day. More Armstrongist ministers than ever before are in the gun lap of luxury, seeing as how they get all that money locally that used to go to the Home Office all for themselves and they can now set up their own little fiefdoms. Truly it was a year of opportunity for the opportunists.

      There were also sad events, which, since we are so optimistic for the new year, we will just forget to mention in passing. Sure ministers died and were disabled, but thatís no great thing in the scheme of things, given that Armstrongism is steeped in error to its very core ó the very basis of all things Armstrongism, British Israelism, is now fallingÖ fallingÖ fallingÖ with more of a whump than a thud. Now a lot of ministers were out right fired, but thatís not necessarily such a sad event, even for them. Some how they just manage to keep going and going, like the Energizer Bunny.

      As we head into 2011, things just donít look that good for United. At current count, it appears that 30% of their ministry are fired or left. The UCG lost about 10% of their membership in Latin America due to a controversy over a couple owning a day care center who let their employees work into sunset on Friday nights in the winter and on Holy days. United said no and that the couple couldnít be members in good standing. This is ironic, since the UCG is adamant that their own members not only can conduct commerce on the Sabbath by eating out in restaurants, but are encouraged to do so. One would think that this would be a glaring inconsistency and invalidate their entire eschatology, but somehow the cognitive dissonance is not just dismissed, but embraced. If you give it some thought, maybe this isnít so weird, if you consider in what high esteem they hold Herbert Armstrong, the false prophet, who based his prophecies on the abundantly disproved heresy of British Israelism. Anyway, since United took such an intransigent stance with the couple, the ministers south of the border thought it so unfair and not just left, but formed their own CoG.

      Amidst this turmoil, those left in the UCG are becoming restless. Some are saying that Dennis Luker is trying to destroy United. This is patently silly. Heís not trying. A number are beginning to have some difficulty with the doctrine of the UCG. What do you think it may be? Eating out on the Sabbath? Church Governance? No and no. You may be as startled as I was to learn that the newest issue causing division isÖ wait for itÖ Postponements. Say what?!? Postponements? Thatís totally weird. There are other things you would think would come to the fore first, even though this issue has been fomenting for the last 8 years under the radar. Itís like Lutherans objecting to their religion because of Martin Luther not proposing to keep the Sabbath.

      So with these things in mind, let us blunder on into speculation ó clearly labelled speculation ó and not based on ďin Jesus NameĒ speculation ó about whatís ahead for 2011.

      At minimum, Armstrongists will have a greater buffet of choices in the Buffet Churches of God.

      Right off, itís like retiring and picking which Medicare youíll get. Will you choose, the UCG Part A? How about Part B with the newly spawned minnow CoGlets swimming upstream to the headwaters? Or how about Part A and B with Part D with choices from the really weird heretical psychopathic splinters? If you want chaos and oppression, Part D of the CoG Spiritual Medicare Medicine for the aging seniors, is the way to go. You can be certain that the Medicine you get from the Part D CoG Pharmacies will be very bitter. You can also take the Supplemental Part C by attending the Church of God Seventh Day during the year and have Jesus Christ, faith and peace and go off to the HMO (Holyday Meeting Option) for the Feasts and Feast Days. Itís a confusing wonderland of land mines. You choose. Or maybe nothing at all. It may not be an option to stay with the plan you have in your area. Sometimes weíre forced into retirement before we are ready ó like when the UCG is wiped out from underneath you in your region of the country. Then you must go through the paperwork, do the research and make your Choices. You may want to check on the CoG7 package at http://cog7.org/. Be warned: Do not pick cog7.com. Thatís something different. See how confusing these CoG Spiritual Medicare packages can be?

      In 2011, less will be more. Consider your next Feast of Tabernacles location choices. Obviously, United, with 30% fewer ministers and who knows how many fewer members ó a number decreasing daily ó the Feasts will have. Where will the money come from? What will we eat? What will we wear? It would seem to be a rather safe prognostication to make that the UCG will have not just smaller sites, but, perhaps, fewer of them.

      Not to worry: New Festival Sites will pop up all over the place. The newly formed spit-offs will assuredly support their membership as long as they can be assured to continue the lifestyle to which they would like to become accustomed. The big problem will be trying to find them. If you happen to live in an area where you have left en masse with the N masses, your local ó very local and very vocal ó minister of choice will assist you.

      But maybe you donít want to deal with Armstrongist style churches any more. Then thereís the choice of the Seventh Day Church of God, holding its Feast of Tabernacles in Fruitland Washington again in 2011 [http://www.theheraldoftruth.org/]. I have it on very good authority that they will have their Feast information up on the website very shortly. Be warned though, they do not keep Postponements. Expect to see a calendar for 2011 posted early in January so you will know when everything is kept. The group has been keeping the Feasts much longer than the Armstrongists, having started no later than 1920 ó over a decade before Herbert Armstrong even discovered the Church of God. Expect to hear more about Jesus Christ than you would at the standard Armstrongist CoG Festival and the participation is a lot more Scripture oriented ó not to the liking or style of everyone.

      It is a reality that fuel costs have gone up. At this writing, gasoline is well established to cost over $3 per gallon in most places and by Summer, itís not a stretch to believe that it will be $4 per gallon. This means that flying by jet may be prohibitively expensive, particularly if you have been RIFfed or are now retired or both. Since we have all come to realize that there is no such thing as Second Tithe for Festival keeping in Scripture anywhere, scraping up the dough to go to the Feast may be more problematic for some people. Thereís still the Internet and there will be Internet broadcasts of Feast Services, though not at the time they should be held since Postponements kick in this year and the Feast is two days late by reckoning of all calendars except the ones given to us by the very Jews who rejected Jesus Christ and were cut off in 70 AD, if not sooner.

      As crime continues to increase, mostly in the area of theft, getting to and from the Feast may also have additional challenges. Good advice is to consider your options, beef up your security, make sure your insurance is paid up, maintain your vehicle and make sure your membership in a good Auto Club like AAA is paid up. Weíre supposed to be prudent in these sorts of things.

      For 2011, do expect more whining from the Armstrongist Churches of God. This is not so much a prediction for the future as it is merely projecting trends of the recent past. If thereís one thing that Armstrongists have honed to a fine art, it is whining. Expect more. How much more, we will leave to your imagination.

      For 2011, do not expect greater peace and stability within the Armstrongist Churches of God. Do not expect that the Armstrongists will take the Passover this year and everything will suddenly get better. For one thing, they seem to have gone amoral on us over the years and not only donít they know right from wrong any more, itís become irrelevant. One would not expect a kind a merciful Creator God to be generous to people who are set in the oppressive deeds to the point that it is no more than careless collateral damage to those who are under their supposed authority. Scripture is very clear on this point. While the wheat and the tares may be growing together, the tares are not going to be prospering quite as much during 2011, or so it would seem. Besides, itís not the Passover: Itís the Lordís Supper. Also, most of the Armstrongists will be keeping it two days late or so this year, but, then, who can tell for sure?

      For 2011, do not expect to flee to some mythical Place of Safety. JustÖ donít. Itís a waste of time.

      For 2011, do expect to hear and see even more utter rubbish, particularly from such luminaries as David Pack, Ron Weinland, Gerald Flurry and my personal favorite, Dr. Robert Thiel. If weíve missed anyone, we apologize. There are so many of them, weíve lost count ó 1,200+ and counting. Donít feel slighted. If you want to be included with the loonies, drop us a line and we will be glad to identify you with the rest.

      For 2011, expect more people to be wising up and leaving the venue of the Armstrongist community.

      For 2011, do expect that we will continue to reveal astounding annoying truths fearlessly to cast the stone of stumbling in the way of the false prophet scoundrels sent forth to deceive to give you more options with your lives.

      Donít put money on any of this. But still, itís a pretty safe bet. 2010 has been quite a year in the land of the Armstrongist community, donít you think? There have been meltdowns and auditoriums in the midst of a proliferation of anti Armstrongists popping up all over the place in blogs and websites galore. Itís a wonderland in which Armstrongist ministers whine about ďChurch WarsĒ and how many sites are saying bad and nasty things about Herbert Armstrong.

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