To my newest readers in the Restored Church of God:
Welcome to my blog! I am flattered by your recent interest in my personal journal and pictures. I had no idea they could be so interesting to complete strangers! Please feel free to riffle through and view anything you’d like – after all, this is the Internet! May I remind you, however, that any writings or pictures posted here should not be assumed to represent official Living Church of God policy, and may only be used with my expressed, written consent. For official LCG doctrine I suggest you consult www.lcg.org or the Living Church of God Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs.
I am a very recently baptized member of LCG; while I certainly strive with my whole being to live according to God’s way of life as described in the Bible and as directed by LCG, I cannot claim to perfectly live up to those standards. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (I John 1:8) I cannot claim to be a perfect or even a typical example of a LCG member. As I have mentioned, I was baptized very recently – less than a month ago – and to pretentiously claim that I represent all that the Living Church of God stands for would undermine both the enormous amount of work that Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong put into establishing God’s physical church initially through the Worldwide Church of God, and the decades of effort and experience which went into establishing the subsequent Living Church of God. I cannot begin to compare myself with the physical leaders of LCG whose combined experience in ministerial service to God constitutes hundreds of years. To use my every word and deed as representative of LCG would likely depict LCG in an inappropriate, unfair manner. That being said, I believe it is time to tell the whole story.
To my friends:
I owe you an explanation. Firstly, let me thank you all very much for the care and concern so many of you have shown me in the last several days. I know I’m one of the more regular bloggers, but I was overwhelmed by the concerned response I got to the temporary removal of my blog. Thank you for showing your love and concern for me, and no – I didn’t die 🙂 I took my blog down in the interim between discovering I’d been slandered, and deciding what to do about it. The scriptures I quoted were not meant as a rebuke for any of you.
For those of you who don’t know, RCG is a Church of God group lead by Mr. Dave Pack. I have both family and friends in RCG. Arleen, Jeff, Kevin, others – I do not love you any less because of what has happened. I wish you, and all members of RCG, well, and pray that we will all reach our goal of God’s Kingdom.
This past Friday I received a report that links to my blog had been circulating around RCG headquarters in Wadsworth, Ohio. Having not recently discussed on my blog anything with relevance to RCG’s cause, I was shocked and surprised and decided to follow up on the report. The crux of the situation is this: a certain employee in the RCG office (whose name I will not mention) apparently views blogs of unknown young people in other Church of God groups as an ideal way to “follow trends” – otherwise known as ascertaining the righteousness of the churches these people are purported to represent. In this case myself and my bloggity blogger were used in a judgemental attack on the Living Church of God. Other blogs were used as well, although I don’t know specifics. If I have a link to your blog, it is possible that you also may have been a victim of this exploitation, and for this I apologize.
My blog was read and my pictures were viewed – and I have no problem with this, as my blog is an open site on the public Internet, and is available to anyone with Internet access. What I do have a problem with is the attitude and purpose with which they were viewed. This was done not with the purpose of getting to know me better, or to enjoy my stories or pictures of my experiences. This was done by someone who didn’t have any idea who I was, other than that I was a member of LCG. How this was determined, I don’t know. What matters is that this person went through my blog and pictures looking for spiritual ammunition to use against me and LCG. Upon finding supposed inappropriate content or attitudes, he then forwarded links to my blog on to several men in the RCG headquarters office. It seems clear that this was done for the purpose of saying, “Look how unrighteous Living is! They’re all going to hell! Good thing we’re righteous over here!”
As I have mentioned, I cannot attempt to claim perfection. I am a sinner, and of this I am keenly well aware. I freely admit that I have not always expressed myself in the most appropriate or unoffensive manner, or even in a form which is in line with the teachings of the Bible and the Living Church of God. This is something which I strive to overcome. If I have offended you in some way, I apologize.
It seems, however, that the person who took these actions against me could not find sufficiently blatant sins for his purposes in my writings and pictures, and as a result had to create them. I’m sure I don’t know all of the conclusions that he came to, but I will list for you a few. I would like to state from the outset that each of these “sins” or “offenses” has been taken out of context and twisted. Keep in mind that the person who did this does not know me. Although I met him once for a few minutes, it clearly did not make an impression upon his mind as, even after having discovered my blog and profile, he had no idea who I was.
1. Astrology – As many of you who use Blogger are aware, when you set up your blog through Blogger, several questions are posed in the building of your profile. One of these is the question of your birth date. I answered this question and didn’t think anything of it. Most online services require this sort of information, so this is not uncommon. Upon viewing my completed profile later, I saw that my astrological sign was included. No, I don’t believe in astrology or horoscopes, and no, I didn’t want that information on my profile. It had been completed automatically by Blogger, and I didn’t think there was any way to remove it. So life went along merrily. I noticed that the astrological signs of several other people had been included in their profiles as well, but certainly no one was going to assume we believe in astrology. At least not someone who didn’t already have it in his mind that there was reason to believe we were unrighteous. This man, seeing the astrological sign included in my profile, assumed I believed in astrology. And, considering his action of sending links to my blog out to several other people in RCG, I believe it is safe to say he presented it as being representative of LCG. Knowing absolutely nothing about me or what I believe, this person used this silly automatic astrological inclusion to make a judgement on both me and LCG. Ridiculous. I have since discovered that it is possible to not answer the birth date question, which removes the astrology sign. I appreciate having this brought to my attention, but not in an assumptive, judgemental manner.
2. Hippie – I have the words “self-proclaimed hippie” as part of my profile. I believe this was assumed to mean drugs and free love and sex for everyone. Consider its general dictionary definition: “a person who opposes and rejects many of the conventional standards and customs of society.” If this is the meaning of hippie, I think as members of the Church we can all be considered hippies. Yes, it does have its liberal connotation as well: “…especially one who advocates extreme liberalism in sociopolitical attitudes and lifestyles,” but notice that this is a qualifying statement and not the broad definition of the word. I don’t believe in the liberalism promoted by the hippies in the 1960s, but I do appreciate the concept of counter-culture they embraced. I believe in natural healing, organic foods, and living a healthy life by pursuing a more natural lifestyle instead of one centered around synthetic medications. I believe in opposing what this world accepts, and accepting what it rejects – that is, God’s way of life. I believe in yoga, the usefulness of organizations such as La Leche League, and the importance of educating yourself (even about things that seem strange at first glance, like squatting during labour so as to work with gravity instead of against it) so you can make informed choices for yourself and your children. I listen to non-mainstream music like Jorane, and love learning about the music of non-Western cultures. I could go on, but the point is, most of you know these things about me. The only way you could come to the conclusion that to me “hippie” means drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll is if you don’t know me and make the assumption yourself.
3. Charlotte – I’ve taken two trips to LCG headquarters in Charlotte, NC, and pictures from both trips are posted in my Gallery. Apparently there were several things regarding these trips which the RCG member decided were offensive and disrespectful. a) We were being disrespectful by sitting in the boardroom chairs. b) We were being disrespectful to Mr. Armstrong and the booklets by reading them in the library. c) We were mocking the telecast by standing behind the podium and learning how the TV cameras work. In this situation, Tom DeSimone was actually placed behind the podium by the person giving us the tour so that we could see him on the TVs with all the backdrops behind him, and see how the production of the telecast really works. All very disrespectful and offensive.
4. Mr. Weston – This past year at camp, Mr. Weston took all the counsellors out to lunch at a restaurant on Counsellors’-Afternoon-Off as he always does. At the front of the restaurant were a few “Love-O-Meter” type play machines which we found entertaining. A few of the boys put in their quarters, placed their fingers on the sensors, and were able to find out their supposed love or kissing status. It was entertainment; we laughed. No one took these things seriously. We convinced Mr. Weston to take the “Kiss Meter” test, and I got a picture of him with his fingers on the machine. Apparently this was viewed as something that a minister just should *not* do, and was very disrespectful of us, because we were clearly being too casual with him. This is outrageous. I think those of us who have gone through LYC, L4T, and the whole LCG system, respect Mr. Weston probably more than a lot of the ministers. Not that we are disrespectful towards the rest of them, but Mr. Weston is a father figure to us because he has put so much effort into leading, directing and guiding the youth of the church. He is willing to get down on our level; he doesn’t set himself on a pedestal and look down his nose on us, and I think that is why we relate to him. Yes, the ministry is on a different level of service and responsibility from the rest of us, but ultimately, they are human just like we are, with all the same temptations and trials.
I think the best way to describe my perception of this situation is a feeling of violation. My own words and experiences were taken out of context and twisted to be used against me and the Living Church of God. They were then spread as rumours and gossip. This was done by someone who doesn’t know me, nor the background behind any of this so-called offensive content.
I’d really like to know how long he spent going through my 2000+ pictures. And I can only imagine this was while on the RCG clock?
I’m not entirely surprised by what has happened. Approximately a year ago RCG came out with a letter claiming to describe the differences between RCG and LCG – but in reality just slandering the name of the Living Church of God with outrageous claims. I like to call it the “Top 60 Reasons Why Living is Going To Hell.” To anyone who actually attends with Living, it is obvious that these reasonings are either blatant lies, or are true situations which were either not representative of LCG doctrine or simply had their meanings twisted to suit the purpose of RCG. I’m sensing a pattern here.
I just really don’t see how slandering members of other Churches of God is doing anyone any good. Spreading gossip and rumours serves no good purpose. We’re supposed to be focusing on ourselves and our own salvation, not criticizing the salvation of others.
Mat 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.
Mat 7:2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
Mat 7:3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
Mat 7:4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?
Mat 7:5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.