I think this an incredibly sad example of how faith divides familes, friends, and even whole communities. I won’t offer much commentary, but I wonder what your thoughts are when your read a story like this…
It was almost closing time and I was out on the sales floor straightening up my department. When all of the sudden…..
I was approached by a young man in his twenties who began to barrage me with questions about my beliefs and the Lord.
The following is my best recollection of that conversation…
Jesus Tweaker: “Do you know the Lord?”
Me: “Uh….that’s a complicated question.”
JT: “Well, I’m here to tell you that the Lord loves you..I’m a messenger of love.”
Me: “Well, I won’t fault anyone who wants to share love.”
JT: “Do you believe there’s evil in the world?”
Me: “Yes, but I don’t believe in thought crimes.”
JT: “Did you know that Jesus talked about our thoughts and said if we even look at a women lustfully we have committed adultery?”
Me: “Well, that’s what I’m talking about. I think that Jesus is teaching a form of thought crimes. I personally think morality is based on consent. If you harm or do something to someone without their consent, you’re immoral in my opinion. Demonizing, natural sexual attractions is a form of thought crime and I think it’s only purpose is to make people feel guilty, even though they haven’t done anything wrong.”
At this point Jesus Tweaker seems confused and begins to talk about right and wrong. He’s talking so loud and with a huge smile…that it reminds me of when I’ve talked to people who were massively drunk. After skirting some more on morality, the inquisition continues.
JT “Do you believe in a higher power?”
JT “No…why not?”
Me: “Because, I don’t have any evidence that sems to indicate a higher power exists…”
JT “But do you have a wife or kids?
JT “You love them don’t you…well, how can you explain your love for them?”
Me “I’m not sure how that’s relevant.”
Again, my answer seems to have thrown Jesus Tweaker a bit off track and he changes course.
JT “Well, I’m just here to tell you that God wants a relationship with you.”
Me: “And how do you know this?”
JT: “Because the Bible is God’s word and it tells us about God’s love.”
Me “OK…but why am I speaking to you and not God himself? Doesn’t he have the ability of making that clear to me.”
JT “Well…I’m a messenger of the Lord, a messenger of his love. I don’t believe it’s an accident that we’re speaking right now. I didn’t come here on my own.”
Me “Hmmmm…..but you did walk in on your own 2 legs? You did come in here by your own choice, didn’t you?
JT ” I just want to tell you God loves you and sent his Son, Jesus to die for you. I’ve seen demons cast out and I believe that I will see the dead raised.”
He then proceeds to tell me about how he prayed for a woman with one leg shorter than the other. She asked for him to pray for her back, but he refused and they prayed for her leg and it grew out 2 inches.
Me “So it grew out 2 inches? What about an amputee, have you ever seen one healed by having their leg grow back?
JT “No…I did ask a couple of amputees in the city if I could pray for God to heal them. But they seemed offended and wouldn’t let us pray.”
At this point, a concerned shift leader stops by to make sure I’m ok. I indicate that I am and I begin to try and wrap up the conversation.
Me “Well…it’s been nice chatting but I need to close up my department.”
JT “Can I just pray for you?”
Me “No..I don’t think that’s appropriate since I’m on the clock. You can feel free to pray on your own time.”
JT ignores me and prays loudly “I just bless you in JESUS name. THANK YOU FATHER! I bless you”
At this point he walks away to a cash register, where he loudly proclaims his love for the Abba Father, and begins asking employees and customers if they beleive in God.
I turn away and wonder if I was ever that “crazy” for the Lord.
I’m still getting a ton of hits from folks searching for info on Young Life. Just wanted to highlight a new post over at Young Life Watch.
One of my bone of contentions, is Young Life’s lack of honesty. What I mean is this, Young Life is an Evangelical Christian outreach to teens. Their goal is to win an audience with teens and convert them to an Evangelical form of Christianity. The problem is, that Young Life leaders are often coached to be vague with non-Christians. In other words, hiding their true intent to convert teens. This is deceitful, in my opinion.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. The following are two quotes from a Young Life Leadership manual published in 2008…,
“How would you explain Young Life?
Christian: Young Life is a Christian outreach to adolescents.
Non Christian: Young Life is a non-profit that connects caring adults with kids.
Christian: Young Life is a ministry that shares Christ with kids through relationships and helps them grow in their faith.
Non Christian: Young…
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In my last post (which you can find here), I commented briefly, that Creflo Dollar is claiming that he did not hit and choke his 15-year-old daughter, he only spanked her.
Future mad scientist DB had this to say
First, as a still-Christian, the rod is symbolic of parental authority not permission to beat your kids.
Second, why is everyone up in arms because of her age? Why is it ok to beat little kids but spare older kids? No one should be hit period.
One of the things I regret as a result of my time in the same cultish church as our dear host is that I ever physically assaulted my children.
Nothing will take away that shame and regret.
What you may not know about DB and christianagnostic, is that we used to go to the same church. In fact, we used to go to the same small group, at this church.
It was at this church that I was first exposed to the teachings of Gary Ezzo. DB approached our pastors about some concerns she had with the Ezzo and his parenting advice. They kicked her and her family out of the church and forbid anyone to speak to her. They shunned her family for merely asking them to justify these extreme parenting ideas. You can read DB’s story about these events here.
So there’s a little context as to why DB and I fell so strongly against spanking. It’s because we were parenting young children at a church that encouraged parents to spank at almost any infraction and at any age.
In the parenting classes I attended, we were instructed to begin disciplining children as young as 3 months old. And when I say discipline, I mean we were specifically taught to flick a baby’s backside if they were crying and showing their “sinful” nature. All of this was according to Mr. Ezzo and our pastoral staff, the “Biblical” way to raise “Godly” children. This same pastor, went so far as to suggest that we NOT take our children to any doctor that would inspect their backsides for marks, because then the doctor might be obligated to report suspected abuse.
He went on to say he could recommend a Dr. who “understood” Biblical discipline and was always careful to never inspect children’s backsides for bruising.
If you’re sitting here with your mouth now open and wondering if anyone actually followed this advice….I’m sorry to report that I witnessed young babies being “flicked” for crying too much. As a parent of a toddler, I had been encouraged to begin spanking with a foot long glue stick. Yes, a glue stick. I was told that it ensured that pain was felt and that it left very little bruising.
Now call me crazy, but this sort of teaching is all about control through violence and intimidation, not discipline. And you want to know the other side of it. It doesn’t work….I could list family after family that used to follow this regime, believing that they were raising “Godly “children that would never rebel or disobey (yes-they actually pitched this as a way to insure that you did not ever have rebellious children). Only to have major issues with their children.
I actually attempted to follow this parenting model, but just couldn’t. It seemed so wrong and harsh. As a new parent, I didn’t realize that it wasn’t just harsh, it was abuse. We chucked it pretty soon into it and decided we didn’t care what our church thought. But I still have regret for ever giving heed to such an abusive outlook and it has weighed heavy on me, at times. Once I realized how awful it had been, I would cry (almost uncontrollably) at how adversarial I had been to my own children. They were young and tender, and I was assuming the worst of their tiny hearts.
So when it comes to spanking, I say “Buyer Beware”.
You might be able to control your children in the short-term with such tactics, but you could be sowing seeds of resentment that could last a lifetime.
I was never into the Word of Faith movement, so I don’t usually follow or comment on the semi-regular scandals that seem to bubble to the surface now and then.
As for the latest, Creflo Dollar is the on the hot seat, after his 15 year old daughter called 911 and said her father had choked her and slapped her. Her 19 year old sister backed up her story and an investigation is ongoing. You can read a brief news report on the incident here.
I guess what stood out for me, was that while Pastor Dollar denies choking and slapping his daughter, he apparently admits that all he did was wrestle her to the ground and spank her.
Wait a second, that’s your explanation? That’s your defense? That it was just a little spat that ended with you ( a 50 year old man) wrestling your 15 year old to the ground and spanking her?
I don’t know about you, but the spanking of a 15 year old seems like grounds for possible abuse. I have 2 teens close to that age and I would never dream of slapping them, let alone wrestling to the ground and spanking them…this whole thing is wrong at it’s core.
If I were one of Pastor Dollar’s 30,000 congregants, I would want to know how he justifies spanking a child that old.
When I started this blog, I had no idea what I’d be writing about and how people would respond. Overall, I’ve found that I love to write and genuinely enjoy the folks who take the time to comment and add to the discussion.
One of my big surprises, has been the huge amount of hits due to Google searches on Young Life. In fact, the number one search engine phrase that people use when clicking to the christianagnostic is “Young Life Cult” or some similar phrasing. It seems, that there are a lot of people with questions about Young Life, but there are not a lot of places on the web that discuss the ministry with candor.
Since the focus of my blog is not exclusive to Young Life, I’ve set up a separate blog called Young Life Watch. All of my older posts dealing with Young Life can be found there, and hopefully, it can be a place where people with questions or insight to Young Life can go and discuss the relevant issues.
If you have story to tell, or a question about Young Life, please click on over and add to the discussion!