Student Life: It’s the Roaring ’20s Again!

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated reading time: 4 min.

The Living Education students hosted a 1920s-themed dance for over 40 young adults in the local congregation. 

This event was several months in the making. It began when Kezia proposed a themed dance, and what could be a more apropos theme than the ’20s? She rallied the students together to transform the guys dorm into a venue straight out of the 1920s. But what did it all look like? Let’s take a little tour. 

Arrival

It is a brisk Saturday evening. You pull into a church parking lot across the street from the LivingEd. dorm. You make your way across Thompson Road and up the concrete driveway. You knock on the front door, and it swings open for you. You receive a hearty welcome from the hosts. You walk into the dorms and back in time, to the 1920s.

Welcome to the Speakeasy

The house is flooded with soft, warm light. There is a red telephone booth ahead and slightly to the right of the door, by the stairs leading to the second story. Your eyes gravitate up. There is a string of twinkle lights wrapped around the light fixture. More hang between the light above your head and the light in the living room. Another string of lights hang between the light and the telephone booth. It dangles across the top of the booth and then wraps around the handrail going upstairs. 

You look to the right. There is an open entrance. Hanging from the trim of this entrance are more twinkle lights, outlining the walkway. Through the opening is the billiard room. There is a pool table squarely in the middle, on which two guys and two girls are playing team 8-ball on the table. The guys are dressed in formal and nice looking dress clothes, apropos of the ’20s. The girls are wearing flapper dresses, formal gloves, and headdresses. 

You turn to the left now. There is an entrance to a study room. Two tables are set up, and people are crowded over one. You glimpse between two people and see that they are playing some sort of card game. The room erupts in laughter and movement for some reason you can’t put together. Before you can figure it out, one of the hosts says, “The food is this way.”

There’s a Dance Floor Too

You follow them out of the hallway by the front door and into the living room. There are no couches, and it has been cleared to create a dance floor. You notice a red cloth suspended by the light. This red cloth extends from the bookshelf on the other side of the room to the light and then to the bookshelf near you. It gives the dance floor a defined shape and feeling. On the dance floor, a fair amount of people are dancing to ’20s music. You feel the limits of space in the room as you slide by the bookshelf and under the red cloth to get to the other side. 

The host directs you to the patio, where you find a buffet table lavishly adorned with cloth and stocked with hors d’oeuvres. To the left of the table is patio furniture and part of a regular couch stashed to make space for the dance. The house  is warm from the dancing, and the patio provides a cool (no pun intended) place to relax and get a snack.

After you get a plate, you hear the dancing paused for a moment. The hostess announces a few games of trivia. The first person to say the answer gets a small prize: moon pies (in existence since 1917)! There’s questions about the most famous events of the ’20s, and prizes given out for a few rounds. Then, the dancing continues and everyone returns to their previous activities. You stick around, dancing and catching up with friends you haven’t seen for a while, even seeing people from across the country. At 9 pm, the event is not formally over, but the Living Ed students begin the process of cleaning up. You make your way out the front door, across the street, and back to the church parking lot, content with the memories you know hold. 

This was not the only event at the LivingEd. dorms in January; they also did a Bingo Brunch for local widows! 

Kaleb Johnson is a student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the spring of 2022. In addition, Kaleb enjoys writing, video-making, trying new activities (anything and everything), playing chess, and debating (it’s not arguing!) with people. He currently works in the Living Education department producing written content, videos, and helping with a variety of other projects. 

Forum Summary: Focus on Your Goals

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated reading time: 4 min.

The head of the Mail-Processing Department, Mr. Gaylyn Bonjour, spoke to the students in a recent forum.

He emphasized the importance of setting goals, common mistakes people make when setting goals, and the need to adjust goals periodically. To begin, Mr. Bonjour explained the significance of focusing on a small set of goals by putting them ahead of other priorities in life. To illustrate this intense focus, he turned to an example from Christ.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

Matthew 13:44–45, NKJV

Set a Good Goal

To focus on a goal, Mr. Bonjour explained, we must first set a goal. Too often, life distracts us and we spend our days with no direction because we never set a goal in the first place. If we want to choose our path, our destiny, we have to set goals. But this should not be done in a rushed, haphazard way. Mr. Bonjour recalled an all-too-common situation: A friend of his spent years in college and got student loan debts. When he got out of college, he decided he liked a different field better and all that time and money was wasted. Mr. Bonjour gave some advice to avoid this: get internships, talk to people in the field you’re interested in to see if you truly like it, and ask God to help you discern and guide you in the right direction. God promises he will guide and teach those who are willing to be taught!

“The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.”

Psalm 25:9

Another key to goal setting is to set achievable goals. Mr. Bonjour referenced the adage, “Success begets success.” Making sequential goals keeps a real-life objective in front of us at all times, and it makes it easier to adjust to the curveballs that life throws at us. 

When Do We Adjust Our Goals?

Sometimes, Mr. Bonjour continued, our goals bend to the environment around us. This can be good or bad. He told the story of some brothers who started a chicken farm to make “a million dollars.” Not a bad goal. After they stocked their chicken house, a few of the new chickens died (not unusual), and they decided to put in an alligator pond and feed the dead chickens to the alligators. In a couple years, they found the alligator farm was thriving and making more money than the chicken farm! They switched priorities and began only growing chickens to feed the alligators. They adjusted their short-term goal and priority to match reality!

But bending our goals to the environment is not always good. Mr. Bonjour pointed to the examples of the Israelites, who started with good goals as set by Moses and Joshua, but soon drifted away, thinking they would have better success following pagan gods.

How do we know when to bend our goals and when to stay firm? Mr. Bonjour gave the answer: “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

Once we start down a path, we may get a better look at it and realize it is not leading where we want to go. We must evaluate and prove our goals as we live. We cannot stop moving forward, but we can continually check to ensure our goals align with God’s way. This will keep us moving in the right direction. 

The Most Important Goal

Mr. Bonjour concluded with a stirring reminder. He turned to Romans 10:4 and read, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4).

He explained that the word “end” in this verse means the end result, the goal. Becoming perfect—as Christ was perfect—is the goal of keeping the commandments. Mr. Bonjour gave the students the most important goal: become like Christ. And he gave them the way to get there: keep the commandments. 

Mr. Bonjour also gave a fantastic forum about living the give way of life: Be A Giver.

Kaleb Johnson is a student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the spring of 2022. In addition, Kaleb enjoys writing, video-making, trying new activities (anything and everything), playing chess, and debating (it’s not arguing!) with people. He currently works in the Living Education department producing written content, videos, and helping with a variety of other projects. 

Forum Summary: Is Earth a Privileged Planet?

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated reading time: 5 min.

Evangelist and Tomorrow’s World presenter Mr. Richard Ames gave the Living Education students a forum presentation on our privileged planet.

Mr. Ames presented a powerful proof of God’s existence: the improbability of the planet earth. He directed the students to a documentary and book with the title The Privileged Planet. Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards authored the book and starred in the documentary, and they challenge the Copernican Principle in a fascinating way. 

Mr. Ames’ Opening Comments

Mr. Ames introduced the documentary by expounding on a certain worldview that influences much of modern society and thinking: the Earth is just a tiny speck floating in a vast universe, and the fact that Earth is perfectly suited for life is only a cosmic quirk, one that no doubt has happened elsewhere. Mr. Ames appealed to the book Pale Blue Dot, in which Carl Sagan highlights the insignificance of the tiny Earth in a massive universe. When one looks only at size comparisons, the Earth is insignificant. However, there is more to consider. 

Mr. Ames pointed out the vast improbability that the universe exists in a stable expansion, referring to Stephen Hawking’s The Nature of Space and Time.  He also referenced solar eclipses. The sun and moon align precisely, an improbability that has greatly helped mankind—but more on that later. Ultimately, our planet is a pale blue dot, but it is a very special pale blue dot. After this introduction, Mr. Ames began the documentary.  

What is the Copernican Principle?

The documentary began with Copernicus, the Polish mathematician who derived the Heliocentric model—which presents the planets as orbiting the sun—rejecting the ancient Greek perspective of the earth being stationary. Fast forward to the beginning of the twentieth century: Astronomer Edwin Hubble peered through the Hooker Telescope (the most powerful of the time) and discovered that many of the nebulae thought to be dust clouds were in fact galaxies just as large as our own. The universe seemed to grow overnight. Now that the universe was known to be incomprehensibly large, contemporary philosophy and astronomy merged to form the Copernican Principle. 

Copernican Principle: humans, on the Earth or in the Solar System, are not privileged observers of the universe.

Peacock, John A. (1998). Cosmological Physics

Life in the Vast Universe

The Copernican Principle dictates that life must exist elsewhere. If not, Earth is unique and occupies a privileged spot. Thus the search for extraterrestrial life began, and it continues to this day. This search is conducted by a reactive method—radio telescopes analyzing radio waves for signs of intelligent life—and a proactive method of finding and examining planets that could hold life. 

Given that the laws near earth are proven to be in effect throughout the universe, the best model for a planet that sustains life is Earth. When researchers began to compile a thorough list of the factors that make Earth suitable for life, a different picture began to emerge. While the universe is massive, the Earth is quite unusual. It possesses an unusual atmosphere, an odd core—hot enough to have molten metals move and create a magnetic field—that protects that atmosphere, water and other elements, a large moon that regulates tides, a certain distance from the sun, and many more factors. Even its position in the solar system is unique, as gas giants protect Earth from rogue celestial bodies. Astronomy proved that the universe is big; astrobiology proved that the factors for a life-bearing planet are bigger. The notion that the universe is teeming with life is not as alluring as it once was. 

An Unlikely Connection 

This documentary honed in on a specific concept. Is humanity a privileged observer of the universe simply because we can observe the universe at all? This question strikes at the heart of the Copernican Principle. The authors of The Privileged Planet saw a correlation between factors for life and factors that enable scientific observation. For instance, the atmospheric composition of the Earth is critical for life, yet it is also transparent, allowing us to observe the sun, moon, stars, and wider universe. Also, a large moon and a certain distance from the sun are necessary for a planet with life. This creates a likelihood for solar eclipses, and these are perfect opportunities to view the sun. In fact, solar eclipses in the 19th led to a number of discoveries that greatly aided humanity. In the 20th century, the fact that light is bent by gravity was proven during a solar eclipse. 

It is another odd “coincidence” of the universe that the conditions for life are exactly the conditions for scientific discovery. In essence, intelligent life exists in a place with characteristics only beneficial to intelligent life. This, when coupled with the many other improbabilities of the universe’s nature, points to purpose. 

The Earth: Center of the Universe

The documentary ended with that correlation between life and discovery, but Mr. Ames made a fascinating remark before he began the documentary. There is no way of knowing whether the Earth is the center of the universe now, but there is a time when it will be, because God will dwell on Earth. 

“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.”

NKJV Revelation 21:3 

Ours is a pale blue dot with a great big future.

Kaleb Johnson is a student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the spring of 2022. In addition, Kaleb enjoys writing, video-making, trying new activities (anything and everything), playing chess, and debating (it’s not arguing!) with people. He currently works in the Living Education department producing written content, videos, and helping with a variety of other projects. 

Student Life: It’s all fun and games until someone yells “Bingo!”

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated reading time: 2 min.

To bring a little fun and games to the Charlotte congregation, the Living Education students hosted the inaugural Bingo Brunch at the women’s dorms. 

On a cloudy Sunday morning, to kick off our return to classes and the second semester, the students set up refreshments and decorations in the women’s dorm for a round of bingo games for local widows. The food for the brunch portion included mini-muffins, cinnamon rolls, sandwiches, and the main entree: chicken and waffles! 

The decorations transformed the whole dorm for the event. There were hand-drawn signs and some larger-than-life dice on the buffet table that featured fancy platters with all the food perfectly placed. Inside the living room, three large tables were set up with folding chairs to fit the guests comfortably. All the tables were adorned with vibrant tablecloths and flower centerpieces that brought energy and excitement to the room. 

The Games Begin

Mr. McNair kicked off the first round… and explained the house rules. Each table became a team and competed with the other tables. If anyone at that table got Bingo, it was a point for their team. After five rounds, prizes, ranging from pens to applesauce would be handed out to the winning team. The tables chose curious team names: the Winning Team, the Packers, and the Yodeling Yaks. One team seemed to dominate the playing field: the Packers (If only the “real” Packers also had that kind of luck that day). At the end of three rounds, the guests were sent home with a commemorative Living Education mug to remind them of their time spent with the 2023 students. 

Afterward, the students got together and cleaned up what was left behind—all while feasting on leftovers, Ellie’s favorite part. We then sped off to their next activity—a game night with friends and nachos, or watching the Packers game that night.

This was the first event the students helped host since the Living Education Alumni Dinner in 2022.

Kaleb Johnson is a student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the spring of 2022. In addition, Kaleb enjoys writing, video-making, trying new activities (anything and everything), playing chess, and debating (it’s not arguing!) with people. He currently works in the Living Education department producing written content, videos, and helping with a variety of other projects. 

Forum Summary: Jesus’ View of the Old Testament 

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated reading time: 4 min.

For his forum presentation, Mr. Kenneth Frank detailed how Jesus quoted the Old Testament and how He confirmed its authority. 

Scripture after scripture, precept upon precept, Mr. Frank went through the numerous times that Jesus referred to the Old Testament, showing both specific implications from Christ’s words and also His general perspective. Mr. Frank proved this truth: if you believe in Jesus Christ, you must believe in the authority and accuracy of the Old Testament. 

The Old Testament Is Scripture

Mr. Frank turned to a few passages in which Christ referred to the Old Testament. First, he mentioned John 5:39, where Christ calls the Old Testament scripture. In Matthew 5:17, Christ refers to the Scriptures as the Law and the Prophets, a division of the Old Testament that was common in the first century. And to alleviate any remaining doubt, Christ also referred to the Old Testament as the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, which refers to the Writings section of the Old Testament (Luke 24:44-46). 

These divisions cover all the books in the Jewish canon. In fact, Christ quoted directly from 14 of the 22 Old Testament books (by the Hebrew reckoning), and never once challenged the canon, though it was well-established and defined by that point. 

Old Testament Characters Are Real People

Efficiently and effectively, Mr. Frank presented the instances wherein Christ referred to the people in the Old Testament as real. In Mark 2:25, Jesus cites David eating the showbread to the Pharisees to justify His disciples’ actions. He also challenges those around Him by stating that the queen of Sheba “came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:42). 

Christ treats these individuals as real, not as characters in a story or allegory. After all, would not this statement undermine Christ’s greatness if the queen of Sheba who visited Solomon was just a myth? Countless times, Christ refers to characters from the Old Testament, from Abel to Lot’s wife, and never once does He insinuate that they are only fictional characters. 

Old Testament Stories Are Real

What does Christ say about controversial stories like those of Jonah and Noah? Mr. Frank pointed out that Christ compares His own resurrection to Jonah being spewed out of the whale’s belly (Matthew 13:40). Christ refers to the flood (Matthew 24:39) and other stories doubted by many in the world today, even professing Christians. 

Old Testament Prophecy Will Come to Pass

Mr. Frank then pointed to the scriptures that show that Christ verified Old Testament prophecy. Christ referred to a prophecy He was fulfilling, “and He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’” (Luke 4:21). He confirmed John the Baptist coming as Elijah (Mark 9:12-13), and He spoke of future fulfillments of prophecy with certainty (Matthew 24:15; Luke 21:21-22). 

Christ’s Personal Relationship with the Old Testament

Before concluding, Mr. Frank covered the passages highlighting Christ’s personal relationship with the Old Testament. Summarizing, Christ understood that the Messianic prophecies were referring to Him (John 5:39), and He personally submitted to the Old Testament. Christ made the law full and did not do away with even a single word (Matthew 5:17-19). Mr. Frank pointed out that Christ even set the example of using scripture to justify His disciples (Matthew 12:3-5), showing Christ’s reverence for the Old Testament.

Trust the OT because Jesus Did

Mr. Frank concluded that Christ unilaterally presented the Old Testament as factual, binding, and important. He validated characters and stories, and His continuous uplifting of Scripture leaves no doubt: Christ trusted and revered the Old Testament. In fact, it was about Him. As Mr. Frank eloquently stated, “Both Testaments are primarily about Him. It was only natural that He quoted and referred to the OT so often, to substantiate that He fulfilled the many OT prophecies.”

“Both Testaments are primarily about Him [Jesus Christ].”

Mr. Frank

Kaleb Johnson is a student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the spring of 2022. In addition, Kaleb enjoys writing, video-making, trying new activities (anything and everything), playing chess, and debating (it’s not arguing!) with people. He currently works in the Living Education department producing written content, videos, and helping with a variety of other projects. 

Student Life: Working in the LivingEd Department

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated reading time: 3 min.

Here’s an inside look at work/study positions in the Living Education Department

Have you ever wondered what the students in Charlotte do in the work/study program? Well, this post is the first in a new series of Student Life posts that will answer that question by describing the student roles available in each department of the Living Church of God Headquarters. Today’s post covers the student positions in the Living Education department. The two students featured are Kaleb Johnson (c’est moi!) and Nathan Kroon. 

DSC06154

Nathan Kroon is the Media Associate who edits videos, makes posts for Living Education  on social media, and organizes the weekly newsletter

Nathan is one of the three students in the new Student Leader program. In addition to being the Media Associate for the LivingEd department, Nathan is also the lead landscaper for the dorms and the Resident Assistant for the guys’ dorm. For the LivingEd department, he is the primary video editor, official photographer for events, and much more. 

Nathan’s Roles in the Living Education Department:

What does Nathan have to say about:

The most fun part of the job? “I think video editing has been most fun, especially when I am able to be more creative with it. But that requires having a lot of material to work with like photos and B-Roll.”

The most challenging part of the job? “A bunch of different things get thrown at you. Mr. McNair is sometimes. . . unpredictable with what he’ll throw at you next. Keeps it exciting, but also can be challenging.”

DSC06133

Kaleb Johnson is the Staff Assistant who writes web content, works with Google Analytics, and assists with ongoing projects

Kaleb is a first year student who works only for the Living Education department. I perform—wait, I mean Kaleb performs many support tasks for projects that are ongoing in the Living Education purview, such as creating videos and slideshows for events and making scripture and quote indexes for new study courses (check out all the courses here).

Kaleb’s Roles in the Living Education Department: 
  • Writing/posting forum summaries and student life posts (like this one!)
  • Creating weekly Bible quiz (click here)
  • Using Google Analytics
  • Providing support in video editing 
  • Assisting with ongoing projects 

What does Kaleb have to say about:

His favorite part of the job? “It is a lot of creative work. You get the chance to write, to make storyboards for videos, and brainstorm ideas. It is quite different from engineering, almost more challenging as you have to be creative and think outside of the box.” 

The most challenging part of the job? “Interviewing myself. I am both a terrible interviewer and interviewee. Seriously though, it is difficult to manage all the different projects we have, only working four hours a day. Mr. McNair really does know how to keep you on your toes.”

Working: Part of the LivingEd Experience

Both first and second year students get the opportunity to work at the Living Church of God headquarters in many different departments; this post has only covered one. The Living Education department provides an invaluable experience for the students by challenging them to learn new skills and master ones they may already possess, and it gives students the chance to help out in the Church’s commission to feed the flock. 

Working is only one part of the Living Education program. If you’d like some more details, read this article: A Day in the Living Education-Charlotte Program

Forum Summary: The Predestination Doctrine

Estimated Reading Time: 4 min.

Predestination, as a misunderstood doctrine, has led many religious groups astray for thousands of years.

Mr. Wyatt Ciesielka spoke about it to the Living Education students, and explained its effects on modern theology. He explained that the late Dr. Roderick C. Meredith called it “the foundational principle of [the father of Calvinism] John Calvin’s entire theological system.” Predestination is commonly known as a generic name for the idea of eternal damnation, meaning that you are predetermined by God to either enter the mainstream concept of heaven or burn in hell forever. Why are people so keen to see this doctrine as absolute truth?

The Protestant Position

When people are given a false sense of inevitability, it can lead to all sorts of disaster. Restraint tends to be cast off when they already believe themselves predetermined to be saved or doomed. The Spanish Inquisitors, for example, believed themselves saved, yet they killed multitudes of people—supposedly in the name of God! Similar to the doctrine of predestination, the selling of indulgences in the Middle Ages caused people to think that as long as they gave alms to the Catholic Church they would be saved, or could save others from purgatory or hell, no matter what. 

Martin Luther realized that this practice was not sound, and soon after posted his own statement of beliefs through his “Ninety-five Theses.” He was right to doubt the Pope’s intentions, but would go on to make some wild statements and teachings of his own. He would often say, “God is the cause of why men sin and are condemned,” which rings false when we read James 1:13: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” From these examples, we can tell that early Catholic and Protestant Church fathers misunderstood certain biblical topics, and as Mr. Ciesielka reviewed, had in fact brought into their false-Christianity fatalism inherited from ancient Babylon. Is it then possible that a deeper look into Scripture can disprove the modern idea of predestination?

What does the Bible NOT say?

Using statements by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, Dr. Roderick C. Meredith, Mr. Richard Ames, Mr. Gerald Weston, and others, Mr. Ciesielka demonstrated what the Bible DOES and DOES NOT say regarding predestination. For example, proorizo is the Greek word most commonly translated into “predestine” in the Bible, yet it only appears in six verses (Acts 4:28; Romans 8:29, 30; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:5, 11), and predestination is only discussed five times (Romans 8:29–30; 11:2; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:4–12; 1 Peter 1:2). “Don’t read more into it than the Bible actually says,” stated Mr. Ciesielka. Ephesians 1:11–12, for example, says, “In Him [Christ] also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” 

Real predestination refers to people that have been chosen and called by God to be given the chance to be conformed to the character of Christ. People may be called, but that does not make them incapable of sin any longer, or incapable of falling away. In fact, we know that Christ and His angels will gather those who persist in lawlessness during the Great White Throne Judgment, and their only reward will be the second death (Matthew 13:41–43). Predestination is not our finish line; it’s more of a head start to the Kingdom of God. We must still choose whether or not we will use it.

Nathan Kroon is a Student Leader at Living Education. He originally hails from Washington State, and is a 4th generation Christian. Currently, he works at Headquarters as a Video Editor, and is the Lead Landscaper at the LivingEd dorms. His hobbies include playing guitar, listening to music, drawing, and watching movies.

Forum Summary: A Survey of Feast Administration

Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

Mr. Rod McNair took the opportunity to share a little bit about what goes on in the world of Feast Administration.

The Church has experienced some new developments this past Fall Holy Day season, and he was eager to explain them to the students. On multiple graphs, Mr. McNair showed record-breaking statistics that the Living Church of God achieved in 2022. On the Festival Survey, there were more first-time Feast attendees than ever—many people have come into the Church through the efforts of the Tomorrow’s World Presentations.

International or Local?

Mr. McNair listed the benefits of traveling internationally as well as the benefits of traveling locally. There was a considerable increase in transfer requests in comparison to last year, though that was mainly due to COVID-19 being more normalized in the United States today. Perhaps the most obvious benefit to traveling internationally is that you get to see new sights that you may not be used to. Another benefit is experiencing the customs of other cultures and seeing what traditions international members have during the Feast of Tabernacles. Some sites, like Myanmar, have not yet been able to hold any Feast activities since the COVID panic. One advantage of traveling locally, however, is that you may have a better idea of how to serve others in the area and help your local pastor. Mr. McNair suggested that if you mostly travel locally, it could be rewarding to go international, and vice versa.

Multiple Miracles

There were also many instances in which God granted protection to several Feastgoers. Most notably, He allowed hurricane Ian to pass over four southeastern US locations in which there were Feast venues, without any sort of damage or harm inflicted upon the brethren. On top of that, during the middle of church services while Mr. Kenneth Frank presented his sermon, a tornado nearly missed the site in Fontana, Wisconsin. Also, a married couple attending the Lake of the Ozarks feast site avoided death when their car fell into a heavily wooded ravine; when it seemed like they were about to crash into a large tree at a high speed, the car came to an improbable slow-down, and they were stopped by a younger, much smaller tree. Afterwards, they recalled that they introduced the ambulance driver to the Tomorrow’s World telecast. These examples and others made it clear that God was watching over His Feast sites!

Through this forum, the students were given some insight on what goes on in Feast Administration. They also saw what statistics those working in the Festival Department pay attention to, such as new attendees, transfer requests, and possible concerns and circumstances in which God intervened.

Nathan Kroon is a Student Leader at Living Education. He originally hails from Washington State, and is a 4th generation Christian. Currently, he works at Headquarters as a Video Editor, and is the Lead Landscaper at the LivingEd dorms. His hobbies include playing guitar, listening to music, drawing, and watching movies.

Forum Summary: The Battle for the Planet

Estimated Reading Time: 4 min.

In today’s society, the “Go Green” movement is being heavily pushed.

As a result, there has been an increase in “meatless” meats and electric vehicles. “There’s a lot more to this than just making a buck,” said Mr. Paul Kearns in his recent forum. While there are certain elements of this movement that are laudable, such as leaning away from the use of plastic bags that only produce more waste, could it be possible that the world is taking it too far, and that this movement can impact morality?

PETA Pandemonium

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is one of the lead proponents of this “Green” push. While many may not realize it, they are actively advocating a new morality, promoting the elevation of animals to the same level of existence as humans, whom God created in His own image. “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy,” they have said. To them, if you so much as eat a hamburger, you are eating your own kin. While it is not wrong to eat a vegan meal, it certainly is not right to paint eating meat as a criminal offense!

The Cost of Gas

Some scientists claim that the fate of our world’s well-being is in the hands of the people, and that as long as you care about the environment, you are a good person. These claims are taken more seriously in certain places than in others. Mr. Kearns explained that New Zealand, his home, is quickly becoming “the most liberal country in the world.” Recently, its government is considering taxing cow burps to reduce emissions! This ridiculous proposal has caused many people to protest as this would cause farmers to have to raise their meat prices and would ultimately be a detriment to the consumer. 1 Timothy 4:3 tells us that God created clean animals to be eaten and “received with thanksgiving,” but fewer and fewer people are doing so, because of absurd new agendas in our world.

Stay Vigilant

Nearing the end of his forum, Mr. Kearns advised us to always stay vigilant and watch for turns that the “Go Green” movement might make. This “battle for the planet” may sound good to most people, but it’s beginning to show a sinister side. God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, not the tree of just plain evil. We have to realize that Satan offers ideologies with a mixture of both bad and good, so as to make them seem more inviting. This is how he deceives multitudes so easily. One recent development in certain media is that some people are telling everyone that they should refrain from having children now, because they are the “world’s biggest polluters.” To them, not having children is a good thing, but Malachi 2:15 tells us that God desires godly offspring. Even when they have children, most are usually conceived and born outside of the sacrament of marriage. Satan fools many and causes them to see evil as good. We have to know the difference between the two.

Mr. Paul Kearns ended his speech by reminding us that though caring for the environment is not ungodly, we must learn what environmental extremism looks like, how Satan is pushing it, and how it can rebel against the word of God. We have to remember that climate change is not in the hands of the people, but in the hands of God. Yes, the world will heat up, but not in the way most people think! Revelation 16:8 tells us that the fourth bowl, when poured out onto the earth, will leave men scorched. The Day of the Lord will ravage the world, not cow burps.

Nathan Kroon is a Student Leader at Living Education. He originally hails from Washington State, and is a 4th generation Christian. Currently, he works at Headquarters as a Video Editor, and is the Lead Landscaper at the LivingEd dorms. His hobbies include playing guitar, listening to music, drawing, and watching movies.

Forum Summary: The Details of Design

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated reading time: 4 min.

The Managing Editor for the Living Church of God, Mr. John Robinson, gave an exemplary forum presentation for the Living Ed students in which he discussed his role, the editorial process, and the details of design theory.

Mr. Robinson began his presentation with a short, ironic story. When he was in highschool, he had to take a vocational survey that would show him what fields he would excel in. By now, he has forgotten completely what it said he was suited for, but he remembers what careers it said he shouldn’t pursue: the clergy and creative work like graphic design. Today, Mr. Robinson is an elder and a managing editor, a position that involves a lot of creativity, especially in making graphical layouts and designs. But he did not end up in the position by accident. 

Mr. Robinson delved into his professional experience, explaining that he spent 20 years in the print design field. He tried to get into the growing digital design world, but life always worked out in such a way that made him stay in the print field. One Sabbath day, he heard the job ad for a Managing Editor position at Headquarters in the announcements; it was practically his job description. He waited a few weeks before applying, and then he got the position. And an interesting thing happened. Mr. Robinson emphatically explained, “Within the first six months of working for the Church… I used every single life experience that I had from the previous 20 years.” God works everything out just right. 

The Editorial Process 

Mr. Robinson described the system the Editorial Department uses to refine submitted articles. First, the staff make sure that the article has no spelling mistakes or punctuation issues. Next, the editors go through and remove redundant information, which always manages to creep into writing. Mr. Robinson mentioned a quote from Blaise Pascal that many editors are familiar with: “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” 

The editorial department also ensures that the message is crystal clear for all potential readers. Then, the article is put into a template, like it would appear in the magazine, and sent to a group of reviewers for feedback. The reviews are processed, and then it is approved and sent to be printed. 

Design Theory 

Mr. Robinson then began to talk about design theory. The challenge in design is taking a complex idea and communicating it with a design anyone can understand. Mr. Robinson stated that the most effective designs follow the principle of this anonymous quotation: “Elegance is not the abundance of simplicity, but the absence of complexity.”

The purpose of design is to penetrate to the essentials with clearly intelligible organization. The designer must eliminate excess and clarify the subject. Mr. Robinson explained that design demands decisiveness. The designer must know where the reader’s eye should be drawn and what information is most critical, and use font size, pictures, location, and color to communicate it. He showed slides with examples, and he explained how choosing font type can even be a complicated design choice. 

Color Theory and Cover Selection

Mr. Robinson moved into color theory. He briefly explained complementary colors and the color wheel, and moved into the difference between print and digital colors. The difference between additive colors on a screen and subtractive colors used to print creates a unique situation. Sometimes, we can see a color on a computer that cannot be printed. Even these color considerations are part of Mr. Robinson’s role. 

Mr. Robinson gave the students an extra insight into the editorial process. He showed the different covers that could have been on a Tomorrow’s World issue. We discussed the differences between them, and then he explained which one was chosen and why.

Kaleb Johnson is a student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the spring of 2022. In addition, Kaleb enjoys writing, video-making, trying new activities (anything and everything), playing chess, and debating (it’s not arguing!) with people. He currently works in the Living Education department producing written content, videos, and helping with a variety of other projects.