Oklahoma? You’re Kidding!
Wherever I travel in the United States, people pick the Aussie accent and inevitably ask, “What are you doing here?” When I tell them that a work transfer brought me here, they usually then ask, “Where do you live?” When I answer “Oklahoma,” the responses vary from a seemingly incredulous, “Why Oklahoma of all places?” to “You’ve got to be kidding—you left Australia for Oklahoma?” or “I’m sorry, what did you do to deserve that?”
On first thoughts, leaving the sparkling shores, the golden sands and the surf of one of the most pleasant climates in the world to live in the flat, stark, landlocked state of Oklahoma, with its great extremes of weather, parked right in the midst of Tornado Alley, might seem a bit odd. Personally, I never dreamed of ever living here, let alone having my own daughter marry a real Okie who is genuinely from Muskogee!
But, this morning I was counting my blessings for living in the heartland territory of Oklahoma, usa.
As the country of my birth suffers under a leftist, green-dominated government, its feminist prime minister becoming the first in that country’s history to live in a cohabiting state with her unmarried “partner” in Canberra’s prime ministerial Lodge, I despair at the outcome. The more so when I see that, to survive, Australia is continuing to sell its birthright blessings to foreign nations. Add to this the social disruption that the country is suffering due to its foolish immigration laws—allowing anti-Anglo-Saxons to flood its cities—and I’ve more than one reason to be content right now to live in Oklahoma.
Yet there are other reasons for being thankful to be an adopted Okie at present.
In the midst of the great economic crisis that currently holds America in its vice-like grip, with the nation on the verge of default, a real unemployment rate exceeding 23 percent belying the fiddled official figure of 9 percent, with other states jumping on the bandwagon of “legitimizing” homosexual unions by changing the fundamental laws of marriage, I’m glad to live in a state where the vast majority is still conservative in outlook, and not given at present to extreme changes in the law.
Oklahoma recently topped the polls as the most enterprising of entrepreneurial states with a record number of business start-ups. The official unemployment figure in Oklahoma City is just 4 percent (National Public Radio, July 14). The state boasts one of America’s most diversified economies. It’s an education mecca, having 18 state universities, 13 state colleges, 16 other universities and colleges, 4 tribal colleges and a number of private liberal arts colleges within its borders, including our own Herbert W. Armstrong College.
Culturally, Oklahoma has really come of age in recent years, increasingly drawing performances from some of the world’s greatest artists and featuring a revived downtown precinct that would do any state capital proud. Its museums and galleries, in particular its unique National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, draw escalating numbers of tourists.
Oklahoma’s latest gem, not yet one year in operation, is Armstrong Auditorium, located on our college campus in north Edmond, which features world-class acoustics in the most elegant of concert hall settings. With its second season of world-class acts officially opening under the thundering flyover of F16 fighters from Oklahoma’s Air National Guard on July 3, Armstrong Auditorium is rapidly becoming an outstanding feature on the state’s cultural agenda.
When I first visited the city of Edmond in central Oklahoma it was in the hot, dry and dusty August of 1992 in transit on my way to taking up employment in England. As I walked downtown Edmond, I thought, “Well, this really is a one-horse town!” I was far from impressed.
On visiting Oklahoma City, I was even less impressed. Its downtown city area seemed quite seedy by comparison with the sparkling northern Australian riverside city of Brisbane I had just left, then still basking in the wake of its international expo of a few years previous.
Today, the blessings of living and working in Oklahoma, with the additional opportunity to now have a good portion of my family sharing in those blessings, have become most apparent. Yet the real reason for the blessings currently being enjoyed by this state and by the city of Edmond, in particular, would be hidden to most.
When Herbert Armstrong was first led to set up Ambassador College and the headquarters of the work that it sponsored in the city of Pasadena back in 1947, much of the surrounding city area had fallen into disrepair. Over time, as the Ambassador College grew, featuring fine new award-winning buildings and an increasingly beautiful campus grounds, the surrounding area took on a new lease of life. Pasadena’s former pre-war vibrancy revived.
The opening of Ambassador Auditorium in 1974 lifted Pasadena into world class as a cultural center. The auditorium became famed for both its beauty and the clarity of its acoustics. World-class performers lauded it. It gained international fame. The city thrived.
I have watched something similar occur in the city of Edmond, Oklahoma.
In January 1990, the Philadelphia Church of God established its world headquarters in Edmond. At first, one small office building was acquired, then another. Though the grounds fronting the buildings were small, they lent themselves to a beautification project that soon attracted the attention of locals with a pool featuring mini waterfalls and colorful koi fish becoming a regular feature on the local community pond tours.
When the pcg moved on from that small beginning to establish larger office premises and a liberal arts college on acreage in north Edmond, it left behind a much enhanced environment in its old office surrounds. In the meantime the whole area around the original pcg offices had become a thriving location for business and the ongoing expansion of the University of Central Oklahoma.
Twelve years ago, the pcg purchased some land in north Edmond. At the time, the surrounding region was largely undeveloped. Gradually a college campus began to take shape on what was to become, upon completion of new office premises, the new location for the pcg’s world headquarters. As the campus grew, building, construction, road and infrastructure development grew apace in north Edmond.
In September 2010, the pcg opened its capstone structure on campus, the elegantly beautiful Armstrong Auditorium, fronted by the famous flying swans fountain produced by internationally renowned British sculptor Sir David Wynn. As each month goes by, more and more people are drawn to view this fine structure. Its concert series is rapidly becoming a feature on the Oklahoma social calendar, its fame spreading with each and every concert performed.
In the meantime, not only the city of Edmond, not just Oklahoma City, but the whole state of Oklahoma is shining brightly with a reputation of being “recession proof” amid the increasing pain that is being brought upon the United States through its current economic crisis.
Is there a lesson to be drawn here?
There certainly is, though most are blinded to it.
God blesses His work. Those blessings soon benefit the whole community surrounding the location where He places His name and from which He chooses to administer His work.
Place is important to God. It always has been. He makes that evident by showering His blessings on the location of His choice as He moves the earthly headquarters of His work to suit the times we are living through in any given generation.
God’s work is a work of prophecy (Revelation 19:10). It always has been. The true gospel message is indeed a message of prophecy itself. Wherever there is a true work of prophecy, ordained of God, there will be a prophet receiving that revelation and conveying it to the world. The place where He bases His prophet for any particular era is always a special place chosen by God with His divine purpose in mind.
Believe it or not, today that place is Edmond, Oklahoma. The very meaning of that name, Edmond, is “protector of wealth.” God has charged His remnant Church—the very remnant of the original Church which Jesus Christ established, preaching and publishing the very same message which He preached during His earthly ministry—with protecting the wealth of divine revelation restored to the Church through His servant Herbert Armstrong (Revelation 10:11).
There is a very direct link between the blessings currently flowing in the state of Oklahoma amid national recession in America and the work of God emanating from the city of Edmond. Though few indeed will see this connection or even admit to it if they do, it is undeniable to those who truly understand God and His ways.
The corollary of this is what happened to Pasadena, to Los Angeles and to the once great state of California after God moved the world headquarters of His work from Pasadena to Edmond in 1990. California soon went broke. It has suffered curse upon curse on its state economy, in its weather, in the destabilization of its society, and has been victim of a general cultural demise ever since.
The reason is obvious to those who have eyes to see. When the administrators of the work that Herbert Armstrong established and led for almost 60 years rejected the foundational truths upon which it was founded, God rejected them. In doing so, He removed His blessings from them. This removed the real source and the real reason for California’s 20th-century success from the equation.
Great curses have since ensued in California for the sins of the church, the sins of the state, and the sins of its residents. The blessings were transferred to the location which God chose in place of Pasadena, California, from which to conduct His work: Edmond and the state of Oklahoma.
If you are really interested in this connection between the work of God and the blessings that always, undeniably, surround it and the place wherein He places His name for the conduct of His work, then request our booklet This Is the Philadelphia Church of God (you may also view our Philadelphia Church of God website). It will clearly demonstrate this to you.
You may even want to then share in those blessings. It’s surely worth considering.