Wednesday, 9 February 2011

After the Dust Settles

It's one of those Life of Brian moments in the United Church of God. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if they added Always look on the bright side of life to the next printing of their hymnal.

The lads are already accentuating the positive by talking about "new beginnings." It is a measure of just how dysfunctional things must have been that everyone who remains seems to be fairly gushing about the church's future prospects. Vic Kubik seems genuinely upbeat about the pounding UCG has taken.

What a wonderful and energized conference we just held in Cincinnati! Several of you commented about our new beginning, energy and enthusiasm to preach the gospel, as well as to serve the churches... The focus of the conference was not only on ministerial service in the churches but also continuing the momentum we’ve achieved in publicly proclaiming the gospel. Our media services department has come through this crisis virtually intact... We were heartened by the optimistic spirit of moving on. We have come through a serious separation, yet we are optimistic for a strong recovery...

For your information, in early 2010, there were 492 credentialed elders in the United Church of God, an International Association. Of that number, 323 (66%) are still with UCG. Of that total, we have retained 62 of 131 salaried field ministers (47%); 15 of 20 elders salaried by the home office (75%); 9 of 14 retired elders (64%); and 237 of 327 non-salaried elders (73%). In the United States, we have retained 250 of 382 elders (65%). Of that total, we have retained 46 of 100 salaried field ministers and 180 of 248 non-salaried elders (73%).

Obviously I need to take the same brand of happy-pills that Dennis Luker is prescribing, because I just don't see those stats as in the least encouraging. A bit like the bloke who has fallen off a ladder and tells concerned onlookers, as he lies there unable to move, "I'm fine, don't fuss, it's all good."

If UCG survives, the more thoughtful approach taken by the current administration seems certain to become entrenched (let's face it, the not-so-loyal opposition have tossed their toys out of the playpen and then all crawled off.) The best of the US ministry have stayed put - though of course that's a generalisation with exceptions to prove the rule. No more need to "kick against the pricks" (to steal a marvellous King James expression) because Joel and his bad-tempered buddies have headed off into the wilderness. But is relentless optimism and a sunny disposition enough to arrest the very real demographic decline that has been evident in UCG from long before the current blowout?


  1. If anything in our culture the idea/hope of Jesus coming back to fix it all has become somewhat suspect. 99% of anyone I know who retains a deep faith has pretty much given up on wanting to fix earth so Heaven sounds just lovely when we die as individuals.

    Jesus would have to be a terrible task master and dictator, which seems to be a rather ouchy topic on our planet these days anyway, to get everyone on the planet to see the truth of the one right way, taught by the one true Church who now are the not many but best true leaders of the New World Order, oops...Kingdom of God.

    Hopefully by now, Adam and Eve, especially Eve has gotten over casting all of the billions to come into sin, Abraham is on his meds for thinking that voice in his head about taking his son on a one way vacation up the mountain and the main players in the New Testament Church can finally agree on just what the Gospel was and the game rules.

    But if there is a heaven. If I get to go because unconditional love really doesn't have all those conditions. And if I don't have to be around some people who may also have made it, Then perhaps that would be nice.

    However if I hear one word about:

    There were two trees...

    God is a uniplural being made up of three Hypostasis, fully this yet fully that, totally connected and yet ONE...

    Send it in...

    And yes brethren, I am an Apostle

    God is testing us...

    God is cleaning up his Church

    We are now on track (wrong trip though)

    Let's sing, "Death shall them seize and to the tomb alive they shall go down.." Smile brethren!

    Many are called but few are chosen

    Few are chosen but some even more chosen than the few chosen

    Satan is angry

    Give and shall be given back to you

    Ask whatever you will and I will give it to you

    ...if it is God's will becaue he knows what's best

    Did I say "send it in"?

    There were Two Trees in the Garden...oh I said that already

    I'll opt for a lesser place than Heaven if these things show up, or at least spend a lot of time sitting under my vine with a few good friends who also just got in by the skin of their teeth.

  2. There may be cause for optimism: Most of the ministers and churches which have left the UCG were among those with poorer incomes; as such, they had to be supported by the other churches with greater income.

    As a result, United may be more rich and prosperous, increased in goods, and not only need nothing, but have lots of loot to spare to boot. Besides, they got rid of all those useless dissidents.

    We're talking physically, not spiritually.

    It's too bad that the whole thing is a tempest in a teapot which is utterly meaningless. With British Israelism little more Science Fiction alternate history, not unlike Scientology, the UCG cult is little more than an abberation of insanity from a Heretic who rebelled against the CoG7.

  3. Perhaps the black knight going "It's only a flesh wound" while he's only a torso sitting on the ground is more appropriate.

  4. That's right, Dennis. Sooner or later preterism is going to sway the believers. No choice when it comes to a no show.

    Well, actually, there is this one other choice . . . that's the way I went.

  5. One UCG Pastor had this quote from a man who attended the Cincinnati conference: "It looked like an AARP convention."

    But UCG looks like it's ready to come out roaring in terms of preaching its message -- with big plans for evangelistic seminars (even if they don't want to use that adjective for it) starting later this year.