Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Burn, baby! Burn!

This blog is often, and very fairly, labelled 'critical' in its dealings with the family of sects that have evolved from the Worldwide Church of God. A lot of the people who comment here have, like this writer, "done time" in that movement.

So why do we bother? What's our point? What would we like to see happen?

The answers vary from person to person. I was brought up short by these comments submitted for a recent thread.
Congratulations to those who have been hammering against British Israelism recently. It's really paying off now as the morons in charge of UCG are just about to give up on it. When they do, we can ridicule them for dropping a major plank of Armstrongism. Either way they lose big time. 
How would you characterise those comments? My reaction: speak for yourself brother.

For me, there are three major pillars of Armstrongism that are fair game. More than fair game, they need to be continually exposed to fresh air and light for all to see. These are:

  • Racism (e.g. British-Israelism)
  • Anti-intellectualism, a kneejerk reaction to social and scientific progress (e.g. creationism)
  • Authoritarianism, exclusivism and non-accountability (e.g. church government)

I don't know what the contributor quoted above wants to see, but I get the feeling that he won't settle for anything less than a complete crash and burn so he can toast marshmallows in the embers. Collateral damage doesn't seem to be a concern, but past experience tells us that lots of people are hurt when a high demand sect collapses. Divorce, anxiety, suicide, estrangement and not least, leaping into the arms of something far worse. I'd opt for managed, sustainable change any day.

I'm one of those people who "have been hammering against British Israelism," and not just recently. Will the United Church of God walk away from BI? The best that can be expected is probably a continuing de-emphasis. And hey, that's progress, even though there's an awful lot more change needed yet. But UCG is one of the few groups that has demonstrated any capacity for negotiated change, unlike the one-man-band warlords (Flurry, Pack, Thiel etc) who have placed themselves beyond the pale.

Critics do help bring about change, almost always by first influencing individuals. But organisations are made up of individuals. The civil rights movement would have failed if it's message had merely been "burn, baby! burn!" What I really find remarkable is that this modest change - if it is change - can be greeted with gloating ridicule; playground taunting. Not for one minute do I think that UCG isn't struggling with this issue. That's a welcome development. For that, they deserve credit at least.