May 2002 Brethren/Co—worker letter by Joseph Tkach
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“…the cares and concerns of our lives cause us difficulties because we cannot always “see” where we are headed in the short term.”
He goes on to talk about how Abraham (actually it was Abram at that juncture) was asked by God to leave all he knew and follow God…
Notice that Joe Jr. uses the word “short term”. We were always told to ignore the “long term” in our day in the Worldwide Church of God. And by omission of the term “long term” so are the current members of the current “evangelical” cult. We were told to avoid the “long term” and God/Faith would give us just “enough light” to see a few steps ahead…
When is the last time you enjoyed driving in the fog and rain only to just be able to see past your headlights? In life, as in driving, we enjoy viewing the road ahead. Mastering our human lives includes setting goals, making choices of our own volition, and achieving those goals and dealing with those choices. But all of us, to a greater or lesser extent, find our lives in a condition due to choices that were made for us by a hierarchal church that sadly, many of us felt compelled to voluntarily join. Why?
I posit that up to 80% of the people that joined the Worldwide Church of God did so because of “ordinary religion”. The “normal” religious doctrines were either too illogical or scary for most of us. And we happened to hear Herbert W. Armstrong “by a miracle” which, in the end, was much worse. We all can remember the particular doctrine(s) of Herbert W. Armstrong that attracted us, but it is not my point to go into “how he did it”. Strangely, I am thinking of Gene Wilder as he found Victor Frankenstein’s book entitled “How I Did It!” in the movie Young Frankenstein.
However I digress…My point is that MUCH has already been done to educate people about cults. But NOTHING can be done about “ordinary religion”. Our society complacently indoctrinates children that they need to “go to church”. Children are told of their need “to be good”, that they need to “accept Jesus”, and then in the teenage years they experience the inexperiences of human nature only to have a religious reawakening at some time, to some extent, in the future. Or they get some sort of “liberal” education and they see religion is bogus. All of us should reflect on the long road around the block that we had to go around to realize that religion does not have to be a part of a safe and productive life. But then there are those that have not been around our block that can be susceptible to the following statement:
“…There are times in our Christian lives when God provides very little insight about our immediate destination, but instead asks us to live by faith…”
In this statement, the susceptible can be lead down the garden (of Eden) path, as I was. Imbedded in the statement is the idea that a deity needs to be in charge of peoples’ lives…
You know, anyone can come to an untimely end at anytime. We have no control over unforeseen events, yet again, faith mongers will tell us that we can if “we put it in God’s hands”…however it can only get worse when we let the faith mongers tell us how to control the areas of our lives that are not part of unforeseen events. It doesn’t matter whether we make a few minor mistakes, or if we commit horrendous atrocities, religion is always there to let the needed (non-existent) deity heal us. And if it is not exactly clear what we should do, the faith mongers will gladly tell us for the proper doctrinal commitment and contribution.
“Your generosity enables these and other missionaries to share the gospel.”
To what end? Even in the days of “The True Church”, we only superficially practiced our religion. I’ve never seen much “ingo” in regards to peoples’ hearts, but I’ve seen plenty of “outgo” from their pockets. I’m not just ragging about the Worldwide Church of God’s brand of the “Gospel”. It’s the deal with all “missions”. At no time has the preaching of the “Gospel” changed a person’s heart permanently (Herbert W. Armstrong certainly used that as a draw). The only reason that I don’t cheat on my wife is that I choose not to. The only reason that I haven’t is that I was unsuccessful. So you see it is relative.
The real problem with the missions is: that logically no group could ever reach all the people in where ever… and that was another Herbert W. Armstrong draw. But—evangelical outreach “is a good thing” as Martha Stewart would say, and it can provoke people to give extreme amounts to “works of God” that are supposedly helping people that are suffering from political or Darwinian situations. Have you ever wondered why there is no religion in STAR TREK? It’s because the PRIME DIRECTIVE of non--interference and the thrust of religion are philosophically incompatible. Just ask the Aztec, Maya, and the Inca…
I guess the simplicity is in the deception and the deception is in the simplicity. Joe Tkach has really pared the program down to its barest terms:
One is not supposed to “see” or know where one is going, but one needs to give so that others can have the light of Christ, which will ultimately keep them in the dark…
Oh, I know, followers are supposed to be laying up treasure for a glorious future, God is making them holy now, they “see through a glass darkly”… I love how religion, which is supposed to have so much substance, is only propped up by generalities.
Every Co—worker/Member letter I read shows me that after all the attempted repackaging, it is still: follow our lead and we will lead with your money to the point of no return…
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