Ruining The Raises
Ruining The Raises

Or maybe Razing the Ruins.

Or even Raising the Runes, if you are given to admiring mystery alphabets.

Joseph Tkach, Junior is tired and wants to retire.

Word is out that the Grace Communion International sect is dumping its employment pension plan, along with rumors that the various congregations are set to be cut loose from the Glendora office. Now the speculation is that Pastor General Joe wants to lay down the crown leaving the remaining stalwarts to fend for themselves.

There are those who believe the truth lies in the effort of Joseph Tkach, Senior, Joseph Tkach, Junior and Michael Feazell to obliterate the legacy of Herbert Armstrong, the Worldwide Church of God, Ambassador College, take the money and run. It’s difficult to counter such a proposition, since that’s what’s happened. The Feasts are no more, the congregations in the hinterland are abandoned to fend for themselves as best they can, the Plain Truth Magazine has been spun off and isn’t really doing that well, even if no one particularly notices it. And Bernie Schnippert died after retiring.

Joe Tkach, Junior should take note, since the actuaries are not optimistic on the topic of retirement: Many men die within two years of retiring. It doesn’t look good, especially for one who looks so tired and spent. It does look like his get up and go has gotten up and gone.

Just where is that life and fire of Christianity? Where is the burning desire to spread the Good News of Redemption? Where is the enthusiasm (Greek enthousiasmos, from enthous ‘possessed by a god, inspired’ (based on theos ‘god’)? The energy?

Compare his energyless existence with that of the fiery Herbert Armstrong, shouting, waving his arms (pointing up into the air), the relentless pursuit (sounds like a board game Milton-Bradley might want to sponsor) of cult religious excellence (not that we really want to relive those days, mind you).

Well, yes, entropy does seem to have taken a particular stranglehold on the GCI — not unexpected given that the participants in the enterprise seem to have wanted to destroy what Herbert Armstrong built (not entirely a bad thing, mind you), take the money and run. There’s little doubt that to oversee the demise of the stinking putrid enterprise was a murky goal from the very beginning.

But now those who are left are just plain tired of maintaining the mouldering decayed collapsing ruins and want to walk away.

I visited the local congregation a few years back. I think there were 11 people. There used to be over 200. Then there’s the website:


Note that it still calls itself the WCG and that it meets on Saturday afternoon — at the local Scottish Rite Masonic Center.

At least they have a pianist and organist, so the music is good.

Still… it’s a waste of time, even if Mr. Pate’s sermons are good (he had an excellent sermon on I Thessalonians the day I was there).

But apparently Joey is Tired, Tired, Tired. Maybe he has better things to do than to insure that the world has the Good News of the Redemption through Jesus Christ, the Redeemer.

This is not to say that the other sects spun off from Armstrong are much better. United is casting about to find relevance in the world. Let’s face it, those sessions led by Dennis Luker in Victor Kubic’s off campus apartment were to insure continuing paychecks and set aside a retirement fund for the founders of the UCGaIA. Yes, they did have qualms about the doctrines, but let’s face it, a lot of them were preaching the Hypostasis and disfellowshipping people for believing the ‘old’ doctrines of Herbert Armstrong before they jumped ship. The first Chairman of the Board, Robert Dick, stepped down from the Chairman spot some time back to become an ordinary pastor and has recently retired. Some of the others who attended the conference in Indianapolis have also retired. The program has worked as planned some 20 years ago (unfortunate that some of the younger and recent addition to ministry in United may not have much waiting for them). Anyway, the goal of these groups does seem to be rooted in self-aggrandizement, power over others and, of course, money.

The good news is that those who step down won’t be doing new damage to the Proles now under them. They will just leave a legacy of chaos, entropy and confusion.

One wonders where the spirit went — that fire, that life?

Maybe they should take a clue from Galaxy Quest:

Those of you who remain, just remember:

You are paying for them!