This is one of those rare occasions where the irony of something compels me to just write to process my own experience as a pastor now having moved on. The irony of life sometimes is overwhelming at times.Today coming into work at the local hospital on Kentucky Derby Day, I heard a wonderful story of a man who spent years betting on horses, now taking up the cause of horses that no longer could run and provide great revenues for their owners. He had learned of one great race horse that, after the useful days had passed, had been shipped and processed as food in Japan! Finding this to be absolutely unacceptable, he started retirement farms for former race horses to make their last days more kind and to save them from the overseas food market. I guess the idea of Secretariat Steaks was too much. Wow! I wish I had been a race horse instead of a Pastor with the Worldwide Church of God! This kind man even had 16 horses already shipped to the rendering plant in Japan returned to the States and put on his retirement farms to live happily ever after for services rendered.
When I was 22 years old and heading out into the ministry to my first Church assignment, I was handed a paper to sign by the Personnel Department. It was a release from paying social security on my pastoral paycheck. I was young and since the organization, then known as the Worldwide Church of God said not to be concerned and that "we will take care of you," I signed it. Churches can do that with income they provide for Pastors. It is a savings to them as well I am sure.
Like I say, I was 22 and thought that since God had called me to pastor and feed the sheep, so to speak, "we will take care of you" actually meant, well, we will take care of you, feed my sheep.How ironic that my experience as a Pastor, who "inspired" the giving by tithers in 5 states and 13 congregations over 26 years in excess of 50 million dollars receives not so much as a bag of oats! Race horses are saved from being ground up as food for services rendered to their owners and put in horse heaven on earth for their years of service. On the other hand, most former ministers of the Worldwide Church of God, (long story), are sent to Japan to be rendered for their years of service! One has to love God's sense of humor! Not only did WCG not provide for basic pastoral social security considerations, because they didn't have to, but also gave no church sponsored retirement for those with decades of service unless they were "loyal" to all the malarky they came up with as "a miracle from Jesus.".I remember well into my ministry at a minister's conference in Pasadena, asking about retirement issues for the ministry and again being told, "don't worry, we will take care of all you fine ministers." Hmmm, I wish I had researched the meaning of "take care of" as the Church and it's legal department understood the term.
Well actually I do feel taken care of, but not in the way I had envisioned by the phrase at the time. I later learned that meant, "loyal ministers," which of course, I was not. I have been assured that I would have been fired in time anyway over any number of life issues and wouldn't have deserved it anyway. I managed to outgrow the small box most fundamentalist and evangelical Christians stay in theologically, and also mishandled, at times, the stress put upon the ministry by that organization through the years with their own way of being.
I take responsibility for my life and I wish they took responsibility for their and how it has affected mine. I guess that can be said all around on lots of topics. I truly believe that my dad, who has been retired now from Eastman Kodak for 28 years, yes he's 90, would not have been thrown off Kodak retirement if he had dared to buy Fuji film. Not so with the Worldwide Church of God and the effect their irresponsible change has had on their perspectives. If there ever was an organization that could say "be warmed and be filled, but gives not of that which is needed," it would be WCG.
In reality, the great Jesus sent changes are merely reckless change inflicted upon very sincere. loyal, hope filled, and faith-full members and ministers alike. It's a case of horse owners who didn't like the track, tearing it down without asking the fans, sending the race horses off to the grinder, at a personal profit to themselves, selling the grounds, switching over to NASCAR, and then wondering why that may not have gone over too well.
One would think it would have been them that the board of horse racing might demand to move out and on, instead of destroying that particular kind of racing. Interesting the harm that not speaking up can do in our world. I hope the Republicans are listening too. I have said elsewhere, I came in my youth to play hockey and they melted the ice halfway through the game, put up hoops and demanded I now play and coach basketball. Oh well, I guess that analogy is a horse of a different color.Well,I feel better, I think.
I am happy for the horses that get to avoid being rendered in Japan for their years of services to former owners. I bet those horse farms in Kentucky are beautiful and just short of horse heaven. I am amused and perplexed by the irony of being one of the horses that, instead of retirement, gets sent to Japan and rendered for years of service, along with a lot of fine older race horses, even if I didn't win every race along the way.Well thanks for listening to this older and wiser horse. I've never seen Japan so it could be interesting I suppose:O..
By: Dennis Diehl