‘Recovering Grace’ Reaches Out to Those Harmed by Bill Gothard’s Teachings

"Recovering Grace is a Christian organization dedicated to helping those affected by the teachings of Bill Gothard, the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), and the Advanced Training Institute (ATI). As the foundational statement of our faith, we adhere to both the Apostles and Nicene creeds."  link

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=30938&picture=silhouettes-of-childrenSilhouettes of Children

In our four years of blogging, we have yet to focus on Bill Gothard and his unusual teachings.  That is, until now…  I consider myself fortunate that I had never heard of Bill Gothard until a few years ago.  How did my Christian parents miss being influenced by him during my formative years?  I believe it was divine providence. 

Gothard, who turns 80 next year, has had a tremendous influence in Christendom for over fifty years, and the fruit of his labor is becoming more and more apparent.  He attended Wheaton College, where he earned his undergraduate degree in 1957 and a Masters in Christian Education in 1961.  That same year he began an organization which evolved into the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP). In 1984 Gothard founded the Advanced Training Institute (ATI), a curriculum-based homeschooling program.

Bill Gothard's popularity peaked in the 1970s, with him often drawing crowds in excess of ten thousand for a one-week seminar. His conservative teachings ranged from encouraging Bible memorization to having large families (despite his never having been married), homeschooling, respect for authority, finances, education, healthcare, and music. 

One might be tempted to discount his teaching as fringe, but that would be a mistake.  Incredibly, Bill Gothard's teachings have influenced mainstream Christianity.  For example, Dee had friends in Boston at Gordon College and Park Street Church as well as in Dallas at Prestonwood Baptist who embraced Gothard's teachings. However, none of those churches endorsed or participated in Gothard seminars. While in Dallas, Dee became acquainted with a well known Dallas businessman who told her that there is a problem with rock music and the drumbeat in music (ideas derived from Gothard). He has since rejected these ideas.To give you some idea of what the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) entails, here is a video overview:

Not everyone who has been influenced by Bill Gothard is a 'fan'.  Over the years, those adversely affected by his teachings have tried to warn others,websitelogo but as far as we can tell there was no concerted effort to sound the alarm.  

We are grateful that a website has been established by those who have been harmed by Gothard's teachings and are willing to come forward. 

It is called recoveringgrace.org, and here is some information about their beliefs:

"Recovering Grace is a Christian organization dedicated to helping those affected by the teachings of Bill Gothard, the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), and the Advanced Training Institute (ATI). As the foundational statement of our faith, we adhere to both the Apostles and Nicene creeds." 

In order to gain an understanding of what the website contributors are trying to accomplish by speaking out against Bill Gothard and his teachings, here are some questions and answers from their FAQ page:

Why are you attacking a godly man who has helped so many people?

While it is true that in some cases Bill Gothard has influenced people for good, the truth is that the damage his organization has caused far outweighs any good. That being said, our focus is not to attack a person, but to expose an ideology for the trap that it is.

Much of what IBLP teaches is truth.  Why throw of the baby with the bathwater?

There are indeed elements of truth in the principles that Gothard teaches, but he has so interwoven these biblical principles with legalistic rules and regulations that it is nearly impossible to separate the good from the bad.  We believe that it is better to avoid Gothard’s teachings altogether, and to find the “baby” somewhere else.

Why don't you take a Matthew 18 approach with Bill Gothard?

Recovering Grace does not believe our issues with Bill Gothard are the type that Christ is speaking to in Matthew 18. Our issues are primarily doctrinal, as they pertain to what we believe are faulty interpretations of Scripture–and the effects of such–rather than personal offenses by Bill Gothard against us. As any person who has spent time browsing our site will notice, we firmly believe that Gothard teaches a definition of grace and a view of sanctification that misses the heart of the gospel and of the New Testament. This leads to many negative consequences of which we seek to warn others. For our complete stance on Matthew 18, please read this article.

How is ATI/IBLP connected to the Duggar family of 19 Kids and Counting fame?

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have been utilizing the Advanced Training Institute homeschooling curriculum with their family for over 15 years. Many of the ideas and beliefs shared on their program originated with the teachings of Bill Gothard and the Institute in Basic Life Principles.

Based on the testimonies of those who are now coming forward to tell their stories at recoveringgrace.org, sexual abuse appears to be an issue among Gothardite families.  We are not sure to what extent, but we will definitely be investigating…  For this reason, those who host this website are drawing attention to April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).  

What is SAAM?

The month of April has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in the United States. The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.

By working together and pooling our resources during the month of April, we can highlight sexual violence as a major public health, human rights and social justice issue and reinforce the need for prevention efforts.

We here at TWW are committed to investigating Bill Gothard and his teachings, and we will be doing a series of posts to warn our readers about the downside of ATI and IBLP.  Next week we will share a gut-wrenching story about a young man who was adversely affected by the teachings of Bill Gothard and the devastation he unleashed.   It is truly heartbreaking, and there is a personal connection.  

Stay tuned – there is so much more to come…

Lydia's Corner:   1 Samuel 8:1-9:27   John 6:22-42   Psalm 106:32-48   Proverbs 14:34-35

Comments

‘Recovering Grace’ Reaches Out to Those Harmed by Bill Gothard’s Teachings — 273 Comments

  1. No wonder I am a whack job. Yes, I went to this guy’s classes, too. Every time I see his books on my shelf, I want to burn them and then I think: No, wait, that’s more blogging material. lol. I don’t think about umbrellas when it comes to rain, but “umbrella of protection.” ACK!!!! Help me!

  2. I went to a Gothard seminar back in the early 80’s in Pittsburgh. We were strongly encouraged to attend by our SGM pastors (it wasn’t called SGM at that time). It definitely had a big influence on our church, probably mostly in regard to the idea of authority, as Julie Anne alluded to – the “umbrella of protection.” And I’m pretty sure that Gothard was also instrumental in getting people interested in homeschooling at that time, although I have never known anyone personally who has used the ATI curriculum. I’ll be very interested in reading the upcoming posts on this topic. It’ll probably help me to understand more of where the SGM wackiness came from.

  3. I have never been involved with any Gothard seminar, but I regularly read Recovering Grace and some of the stories sound like things I have been through.

  4. Julie Anne,

    The next post on Gothard will address the umbrella concept. The more I learn about this ungodly teaching the angrier I am getting. 🙁

    My heart goes out to those like you who have been hurt. Praying for you.

  5. Marge,

    Now why am I not surprised that PDI congregations (now SGM) were influenced by Bill Gothard? Ugh!

    Thanks for making that connection. 😉

  6. I’ve heard of this “umbrella covering”, though I don’t remember exactly what the concept was, and I’ve heard this strange theory about “devil music” and how it’s the upbeat that is a call to Satan, etc. since it’s used by the pagan African tribes, therefore, all modern “christian rock” music is of the devil. Is this all Gothard stuff?

    Thank you Dee and Deb for gathering all this information and making it available, and showing us all the connections between the different movements and big names. Makes it easy for us who cannot devote hours each day to research all this to put it together.

  7. More seriously, I’m pretty sure that Doug Phillips got his covering idea from Gothard. And did all that idiocy about rock music and backbeats originate with Gothard, or did he pick it up from someone else?

  8. I almost went to a Bill Gothard seminar; when I seriously considered going, the hair stood up on the back of my neck and my skin started crawling. I thought at the time (30+ years ago) that there must be something seriously wrong with me since everyone spoke so highly of the seminar. 30 years later I recognize it as God’s prompting to avoid spiritual abuse. I still get those feelings now and then when I read about the patriarchal neo-reformed movement and other controlling groups. God save His people from self-proclaimed leaders and experts who have such a narrow vision of His grace!

  9. Hester,

    Will we ‘cover’ the Cabbage Patch controversy?  Absolutely!

    I’ll even create an acronym for it – CPC – since Gothard seems to love them (acronyms, not CP dolls). 😉

  10. Julie Anne wrote:

    No wonder I am a whack job.

    Oh Julie Anne, you are not a “whack job”…((((((hugs)))))). You are an earnest person who I believe is truly seeking to obey the Lord. We Christians don’t always agree with each other on how we work out our attempts to follow Christ, but one thing we can all agree on is that we all need forgiveness, first from God and then from each other.

    I had a very close friend who followed Bill Gothard, It seemed so misguided to me. She was a physically stunningly gorgeous girl who struggled with all the male attention that she got, even after having several children. She came to my house and gently chastised me for wearing blue jeans while she herself had on a denim skirt that was in length nearly down to her ankles, but was straight, tight, and slit in a manner that caused my visiting brother-in-law to not be able to take his eyes off her. (SIGH). Talk about obeying the letter of some made-up law while completely missing the spirit of it!

    I am so thankful for what the Lord said in Matthew 22:36-40 about loving God and neighbor being the foundation for the Law and the Prophets. So thankful we don’t need that huge Gothard binder to tell us how to live, but instead have the Word and the Holy Spirit.

  11. @ Robin:More to come about this. A lot of accusations have emerged about sexual harassment. Totally shocked me. We will be writing about this.

  12. Deb wrote:

    Hester,
    Will we ‘cover’ the Cabbage Patch controversy?  Absolutely!
    I’ll even create an acronym for it – CPC – since Gothard seems to love them (acronyms, not CP dolls).

    From Teletubbies to Cabbage Patch-Satan is alive and targeting Toys R Us.

  13. Robin wrote:

    Don’t you find it strange that he never married? Was he overcompensating for something??

    Yeah, when I see “Christian” leaders being excessively homophobic or pushing “Biblical” “manhood” a lot, I can’t help but wonder…

    Julie Anne wrote:

    I don’t think about umbrellas when it comes to rain, but “umbrella of protection.” ACK!!!! Help me!

    My mom was given some ATI materials, which she casually used for a bit in my home schooling. She never enforced the stricter parts of the legalism therein, so I didn’t have it as badly as many. To this day, whenever I hear of it, the “umbrella” nonsense irks me (ok, “irks” isn’t strong enough, but we’re in polite company…).

    Hester wrote:

    More seriously, I’m pretty sure that Doug Phillips got his covering idea from Gothard. And did all that idiocy about rock music and backbeats originate with Gothard, or did he pick it up from someone else?

    I heard the concept fleshed out in full for the first time in some ancient Frank Garlock videos that were played at the independent fundamentalist church my parents and I attended. They liked to think that they were rejecting the legalism of our church by listening to Christian ultra-soft-rock. But since I got in big trouble for having an MP3 of Boston’s More Than a Feeling (which I downloaded from Napster on our 56K modem, because I could never have hidden a CD), their protestations of liberty rang hollow. On a completely different note (can you tell I’m ADHD?), it’s frightening how much racism is under the surface of the western classical music superiority nonsense?

  14. Hester wrote:

    Are you going to cover the Cabbage Patch dolls? : )

    The “DEMON-possessed” ones that showed up on Pat’s 700 Club during the Satanic Panic?

    P.S. Recovering Grace = the Anti-Gothards?

  15. Josh wrote:

    Robin wrote:

    Don’t you find it strange that he never married? Was he overcompensating for something??

    Yeah, when I see “Christian” leaders being excessively homophobic or pushing “Biblical” “manhood” a lot, I can’t help but wonder…

    Doubling down for self-treatment? “I Have X Problem, so Everybody MUST Have the Same Problem”?

    Remember recovering alcoholic Billy Sunday preaching Against Demon Rum and ONLY Against Demon Rum? Dry Pledge as part of the Altar Call?

    Or Ted Haggard preaching against Homsexuality before he got caught with a male prostie?

    Or Rush Limbaugh, Number-One Fan of the War on Drugs while battling a secret Oxycontin addiction?

  16. dee wrote:

    From Teletubbies to Cabbage Patch-Satan is alive and targeting Toys R Us.

    Don’t forget (dum dum dummmmm…!) DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, Harry Potter, and My Little Pony…

  17. Hester wrote:

    More seriously, I’m pretty sure that Doug Phillips got his covering idea from Gothard. And did all that idiocy about rock music and backbeats originate with Gothard, or did he pick it up from someone else?

    Well, in Kooks Magazine they mentioned a “Bob Larson” (AKA Jack Chick’s Hatchetman against Satanic Rock Music) as being pretty active about it in the Eighties and Nineties. Then there was “Pastor Gary of Eagle’s Nest”, Long Beach, California, who started the entire Satanic Backwards Masking scare in the early Eighties.

  18. Deb wrote:

    I’ll even create an acronym for it – CPC – since Gothard seems to love them (acronyms, not CP dolls).

    Deb, between the Federal Government and Microsoft Documentation’s mania for acronyms, all possible three-letter combinations have been exhausted.

  19. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Don’t forget (dum dum dummmmm…!) DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, Harry Potter, and My Little Pony…

    If I recall, didn’t playing D&D also make you a full-fledged Satan worshipper in a few years time? 🙂

  20. Lola wrote:

    I’ve heard of this “umbrella covering”, though I don’t remember exactly what the concept was, and I’ve heard this strange theory about “devil music” and how it’s the upbeat that is a call to Satan, etc. since it’s used by the pagan African tribes, therefore, all modern “christian rock” music is of the devil. Is this all Gothard stuff?

    “Pagan African Tribes” as in “N*gg*ers”? Rock’s predecessor R&B was limited to “Race Records” until Elvis made the crossover, and Elvis himself took a lot of flak for “corrupting our (White) youth (The Children, The Children, The Children…)” because he was a white boy who moved and sang like a black R&Ber. (Like one of THEM and THEY’re after Our White Women…)

    Note the first (pre-Beatles) generation of rockers, AKA Buddy Holly types — clean-cut, wholesome-looking, glasses & crewcuts, like they could have stepped off of a Christian School brochure. Oozing “We’re Wholesome White Boys, We’re Not a Threat.”

  21. Lola wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Don’t forget (dum dum dummmmm…!) DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, Harry Potter, and My Little Pony…
    If I recall, didn’t playing D&D also make you a full-fledged Satan worshipper in a few years time?

    Pretty much. I wouldn’t have been allowed to play D&D. Heck, even Pokemon was completely off limits! When I met Christian D&D players in college, well, let’s just say mind = blown.

  22. Deb wrote:

    Agreed. Gothard should have walked the walk. Why has anyone listened to him???

    1) Because he’s a CELEBRITY!

    2) Because the snake-oil he’s selling Promises Perfect Godly Families and Perfect Godly Children in the midst of The Big Bad World — just follow the checklist exactly.

  23. Fasten your seatbelts it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. You will laugh, you will cry, you will stare in amazement at the screen.

    I already had to up my blood pressure meds when I saw the title of this post. Thanks Glam Bloggers for spreading the word about Gothard. I always wondered if he got the umbrella idea from Watchman Nee. It’s been years since I read Spiritual Authority but I think Nee uses this concept. I could be wrong.

  24. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Wow, you just blew my mind, I’ve never thought about it in a black/white paradigm. I always thought of it as a “Christian”/heathen category. I always assumed that the flak against Elvis was his sexual hip-movements! Okay, off to the library for music history books! Thank you for pointing this out!

  25. Julie Anne wrote:

    I don’t think about umbrellas when it comes to rain, but “umbrella of protection.” ACK!!!! Help me!

    Me too! This probably explains why I hate umbrellas now!!

    I think the “umbrella of protection” concept strongly influenced the discipleship/shepherding movement, or at least the segment of it that I’m familiar with. Back in 1980 or so, the d/s church my husband and I were involved in was pro-Gothard. I think there are a lot of connections between these different “streams” (Gothard, shepherding, homeschooling, etc.) although the names and the emphases have changed over time. If anybody wants a time-consuming research project, there ya go.

  26. Well this is sad, some of my fondest memories from high school was going to the seminars sitting in the very top with the other teens and doing- what boys and girls naturally do. Couldn’t tell you a single thing about the seminar, but that wasn’t the point of going.

  27. @ Lola:
    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    DUNGEONS & DRAGONS

    Can only imagine what Mr. Gothard would say about World of Warcraft… which I’ve been playing for 6 months now (yes, I’m a girl & play WoW!). I’m not a Satan-worshipper… yet… LOL!!!

    I never played D&D, as I was a good little ATI girl until about 2 years ago. I’ve been told that it was a paper game? That’s why I think WoW, with its animations & real-time human interactions would make Mr. Gothard roll over in his grave except that he’s not dead yet.

  28. Lots of accusations emerging about Gothard and his over attentiveness to the young ladies at his facilities. Also a scandalous cover-up for his brother’s sins.

    Gothard’s stuff definitely drove the hyper-conservative wing of homechooling and leavened the whole movement with legalism.

    It was a big part of SGM’s woes, too. Whether a particular pastor or congregation overtly pushed Gothard’s stuff or even heard of him, his teachings were woven into the DNA strands of PDI/SGM back in the day.

    Mahaney and his posse capitalize on Christian trends, and the big trend in their formative period as a church was the culturally reactive focus of Gothard, separatist homeschooling, Moral Majority, etc.

  29. Lola wrote:

    I’ve heard of this “umbrella covering”, though I don’t remember exactly what the concept was, and I’ve heard this strange theory about “devil music” and how it’s the upbeat that is a call to Satan, etc. since it’s used by the pagan African tribes, therefore, all modern “christian rock” music is of the devil. Is this all Gothard stuff?

    YES – all of that is Gothard stuff, plus much more.

    The “Umbrella of Authority” is taught on Tuesday night of the Basic Seminar. Basically, if you get out from under your “Umbrella of Authority,” which for girls is first your dad & then your husband, then Satan WILL attack you. There’s some mention of “what if your ‘umbrella’ has holes,” but it’s been a long time since I attended a seminar & I can’t remember now what he says.

    It’s the back-beat that (supposedly) calls demons. In “good” music, the emphasis is on the 1st & 3rd beats of a 4-beat measure. In “bad” music, the emphasis is on the back-beat, or the 2nd & 4th beats. Mr. Gothard doesn’t know much about music, as he doesn’t address 3/4 time, or 6/8 time, or any music genres other than “rock music.” Apparently if it’s not hymns or classical, it’s “rock?” As I was growing up, all music was banned except for hymns & classical, & since my parents weren’t really big on classical music, it was mostly hymns. You can’t go to a Christian bookstore & buy CD’s (back then it would’ve been tapes! LOL) of hymns, though, because many of those are played/sung in a “sensual” or “rock” style. Most of our music was purchased through the Institute. We did listen to Patch the Pirate tapes, but even one of those – “Down Under” – was confiscated by my dad because the music was “too rocky.”

    The African thing – which by the way, now strikes me as rather racist – is that some teen-aged missionary daughters were playing their new Christian record, and the African believers were shocked & asked why they were playing music that called for demons. Ergo, ALL music with a backbeat is African music that calls for demons. Note that, as with most if not all of his anecdotes, no actual names are given, no time frame, no way to research & find out if it actually happened as he tells it.

  30. Please don’t forget to address the “courtship” mindset. That teaching has been the most harmful in my life, combined as it is with the umbrella of authority teaching, which is a close second on the “most harmful in my life” list.

  31. I was reading up on Gothard because I didn’t know a whole lot about him or his teachings. One of the statements in the article I read was that Gothard redefined grace to say “the desire and power to reproduce ourselves spiritially.” If you are a fundamentalist and aren’t allowed to to hang out with non-Cristians(and witness postively by your life) then there are two ways to spiritally reproduce. One is witnessing to strangers, which is generally not terribly effective. The second is have lots of children and keep a tight reign on them. Is this part of why they stress having large families and children are under their father’s or pastor’s authority, basically forever unless they rebel? It seems kind of mormonistic to me but I have seen a few posts here alluding to that. Glad I don’t have to do anything to earn God’s grace because I wouldn’t have it if I had to earn it.

    By the way, is there someplace that lists how these Biblical concepts have been redefined and what their definitions are? I am thinking of the neocals and other fundamentalist. They seem to be talking a whole different language. I need a calvinista/real Bible translation dictionary.

  32. Emily wrote:

    The African thing – which by the way, now strikes me as rather racist – is that some teen-aged missionary daughters were playing their new Christian record, and the African believers were shocked & asked why they were playing music that called for demons. Ergo, ALL music with a backbeat is African music that calls for demons. Note that, as with most if not all of his anecdotes, no actual names are given, no time frame, no way to research & find out if it actually happened as he tells it.

    That’s exactly the “theory” I heard! And what about my favorite time, 5/4 time! Oh Mr. Brubeck, I miss you! 🙂

    I was spared all this information, being raised catholic, so I’m in shock learning all this other stuff is out there!

  33. The guy in the video said that it would be his 7th session to attend! Really?! Who needs to hear the same thing seven times? I’ve never been once and don’t think that I’m missing out on anything.

  34. @ Nicholas:
    The Duggars are BG’s poster family. It makes it tons easier to explain to people why I’m not quite normal. Conversation usually goes something like this: Me: “Well, I was raised in a cult.” Them: “Huh?!?” Me: “Have you ever seen the Duggars? 19 Kids and Counting?” Them: “Um, yeah…” Me: “Well, they use the same ‘homeschooling program’ I was raised in. It’s a cult.” Them: *Understanding dawns.*

  35. There was definitely a connection between SGM/shepherding and Gothard in the church my family belonged to while I was growing up (small IFB). I remember the umbrella of authority (or “chain of command” as it used to be called), as well as the hammer (father)/chisel (mother)/rough gem (child) concept. My church suddenly became zealots for homeschooling, courtship, patriarchy, quiverfull, extreme corporal punishment, the idea of omnipresent demonic influences, and a whole host of bizarre and harmful practices. Yes, we kids even lost our Cabbage Patch dolls, along with My Little Pony and Care Bears.

    I have spent my entire adult life, and thousands of dollars in therapy, trying to recover from the Gothard teachings I grew up with. I have lost my family of origin and all hope of ever believing in a loving God. I wish I could believe in some sort of eternal punishment or accountability for this man, but I can’t even believe that any more.

  36. @ Josh: My son loved Pokemon and I must say I indulged him. He still has his cards preserved in two large books-convinced they will be worth money some day.

  37. dee wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe….there’s a witch. Lewis is a heathen.

    Heard that and then some in a Christian radio interview during the Satanic Panic: Proof From SCRIPTURE(TM) that Aslan was a Pagan Sun God and thus Satan. (Funny… I thought Aslan got really soggy and hard to light when you call him Tash…) Ever since, I’ve referred to it as “Aslan-is-The-Antichrist” activism.

  38. Wisdomchaser wrote:

    If you are a fundamentalist and aren’t allowed to to hang out with non-Cristians(and witness postively by your life) then there are two ways to spiritally reproduce. One is witnessing to strangers, which is generally not terribly effective. The second is have lots of children and keep a tight reign on them. Is this part of why they stress having large families and children are under their father’s or pastor’s authority, basically forever unless they rebel?

    Bedroom Evangelism.
    Outbreed and Overwhelm the Heathen.

  39. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Sadly, there is some embedded racism these pronouncement. They went after the African tribal beats and ignored the Spanish flamenco. And that is why I did the post on racism. We must never forget that David danced so vigorously to the lyre and drums that his wife got irritated when he showed too much skin. God invented the beat.

  40. Emily wrote:

    The “Umbrella of Authority” is taught on Tuesday night of the Basic Seminar. Basically, if you get out from under your “Umbrella of Authority,” which for girls is first your dad & then your husband, then Satan WILL attack you.

    “YOU WILL! RESPECT! MAH! AUTHORITAH!!!” — Eric Cartman, South Park

  41. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    just follow the checklist exactly.

    This statement is the key. Paul kept telling people not to return to the Law. They were trading grace for the impossibility of keeping the rules. But humans like rules and checklist. Just do this and that and bazinga! You are a good Christian and will go to heaven. Easy peasy or is it?

  42. If you want a good book that critiques and exposes a lot of the problems with Gothard here is one:

    http://www.amazon.com/Matter-Basic-Principles-Gothard-Christian/dp/0974252808

    It certainly has a lot of interesting information about Gothard in it.

    One was that when a sex scandal broke that as I recall Gothard and Gothard’s brother were invovled in they came out with some type of teaching about not spreading a bad report. Sad the motives were for this type of teaching. It kind of reminds me of SGM and their definiton of gossip and slander being used to keep people in the dark.

    In the 70’s there were a lot of people following him. I rember in the mid 70’s he would be speaking at the Capital Center (now closed). It was the facility where the area’s hockey and basketball teams use to play. I never attended but he must have had a large draw to justify that large of a facility.

    It is baffling that so many did follow him. Why someone should listen and follow someone giving advice on marriage and children who had neither married or had children is baffling. It is easy to teach certain things till you have been there yourself.

    As I recall the book indicated that parents liked Gothard’s influence since Gothard’s teaching contradcited a lot of the attitudes of the day including lack of respect for and questioning of authority. The example was that you weren’t picky about what fire company came when your house was on fire.

    One tactic that Gothard used was to tell people that attended his seminars that they weren’t to let people who didn’t attend his seminars look at his materials. Gothard would claim people might not understand it if they didn’t attend his semiars. This worked to minimze people who didn’t attend his seminars the ability to critique his material since they didn’t get easy access to it a lot of time.

    My undersanding is that Gothard really isn’t open to any criticism and has mostly “stonewalled” critics. I am sure it would be hard to admit your failings after having a large following at times etc. This sounds similar to C.J. Mahaney.

    Check out my new blog: http://www.sgmanalysis.wordpress.org

  43. Emily wrote:

    The African thing – which by the way, now strikes me as rather racist – is that some teen-aged missionary daughters were playing their new Christian record, and the African believers were shocked & asked why they were playing music that called for demons.

    Lola, that is a known Christian Urban Legend. Nobody has ever been able to track down a source. I heard it quoted pretty much word-for-word during the Satanic Panic to denounce the then-forming CCM scene. Always way off in Darkest Africa, always some teen-aged MKs, always “Why are you playing the music that summons the demons?” Word for word.

  44. Mykingdomforahorse wrote:

    I always wondered if he got the umbrella idea from Watchman Nee.

    I told Deb that I could take 50 control freak people with little church experience (or even lots), put them in a room, and tell them to create a denomination. I am willing to bet that you would see: covering, YEC, women to stay at home, lots of kids, rules about worldly pursuits like movies, etc in almost all of them.

    Rules are far easier to concoct than to look at a verse, sit back and think about the entire Scriptural narrative.Then, it becomes a bit less clear and options open up. Nope-let’s do rules.

  45. Meg Moseley wrote:

    I think there are a lot of connections between these different “streams” (Gothard, shepherding, homeschooling, etc.) although the names and the emphases have changed over time.

    Bingo!

  46. @ Emily:
    @ Headless Unicorn Guy: So, I need so thoughts from the gamer set. I watched the new TV show called Defiance because I was most curious. My understanding is that it is going to tie into a video game and that, as the game progresses, they will write things into the show. Is this a new concept?

  47. @ dee: Even the phrase “African tribal beats” is – at best – a misnomer. It shows that they know next to zip about African music – in other words, music from anywhere in Africa.

    Really, the most complex music I’ve ever played is stuff I’ve learned (originating in parts of West Africa – more specifically, Guinea and Mali) for percussion ensemble.

  48. Emily wrote:

    Note that, as with most if not all of his anecdotes, no actual names are given, no time frame, no way to research & find out if it actually happened as he tells it.

    Now why did i suspect this might be true?

  49. “You too can be right with God if you follow my 87 steps. However, if you miss just one step, well, bad things will happen.”

    Prosperity Gospel wrapped in endless steps.

    Yes, I went to the basic and one advanced. I’m so glad we got out of all that junk.

    It’s so nice to not have to be more spiritual than everyone else.

  50. Wisdomchaser wrote:

    The second is have lots of children and keep a tight reign on them. Is this part of why they stress having large families and children are under their father’s or pastor’s authority, basically forever unless they rebel?

    I believe that we are beginning to see the first wave of rebellion from this group. Keep you eyes out for more and more stories”Why I left my quiverfull home.”

  51. @ numo: You are correct. Music evolves as time passes and I would bet there are many variants of music throughout the entire continent. Yep, it is wrong, and somewhat culturally insensitive to say X=African music.

  52. Nicholas wrote:

    he Duggars’ oldest daughter is a leader in IBLP’s youth program:

    I am banking on rebellion at some point. It will be fascinating.

  53. Lola wrote:

    I always assumed that the flak against Elvis was his sexual hip-movements!

    I have a cute pair of shoes with a picture of Elvis on the front!

  54. Gothard appeals to theonomy – “a nation under God” and thinks of the Old Testament in a way that applies it to today. His materials tell married Christians when and how to engage in sexual activity, following Levitical laws regarding a womans’ period. (This, from a single man!) He does NOT like accountablity, and historically has refused legitimate debate with Christians who tried to discuss his teachings with him. Read the book by Don Venoit. He has a history of “my way or the highway.” He does not use Biblical references for a lot of his stuff..but relies on “testimonies” from his followers as to how his principals “work.” So much for being accountable! Why would anyone listen

  55. Lola wrote:

    And what about my favorite time, 5/4 time! Oh Mr. Brubeck, I miss you!

    Whew! I guess I can still listen to “Money” by Pink Floyd. It’s hard to summon demons with 7/4 time. And, as far as I can tell, most of my Dream Theater (progressive metal) should be ok. The devil must get mightily confused when the time signature changes every other measure!

  56. dee wrote:

    God invented the beat.

    Amen. And pardon me, the choir nerd, but I must share this. This African beat thing reminded me of this video I put on my Facebook wall earlier this week. I tell my kids that I will one day sing in a Black Gospel Choir (I’m a fair skinned redhead). My 10-yr old told me he didn’t know how I’d fit in. Oh, he just doesn’t know. But check out this praising. Have you ever seen white folk praise like this? I could learn something from this beautiful worship. It gets even better as it keeps going. http://youtu.be/sIXqpjlOPeA

  57. Not a fan of Gothard by any means.

    However, I do have friends from Nigeria and friends in other ethnic groups that deliberately will not worship in churches using a strong beat in their worship music if it is used in a way to engender a specific emotional response.

    As they have taught me, yes, sometimes that is part of pagan worship and they cannot understand why Christians would imitate it.

    Not an issue for me, though, since I prefer liturgical services rather than contemporary anyway as a matter of personal taste.

  58. @ dee: Africa is so enormous – and there’s no way its cultural (including musical) resources will ever be fully catalogued, let alone exhausted.

    I’ve spent many years learning/listening to/studying (and occasionally learning to play) music from many parts of Africa, which is one of the reasons phrases like “African tribal beats” gets my hackles up! It’s not only (imo) racist and insensitive, it’s just plain ignorant.

    Now, one that would make these peoples’ heads spin: they don’t realize that much of what they think of as entirely European music got a strong infusion of rhythms and musical ideas from the Middle East and North Africa, starting with the Crusades.

    When I listen to some parts of Bach’s solo cello sonatas – and other, similar pieces – I can hear Arabic and N. African rhythms, changed slightly – also (this is going out on a limb a bit), I hear some echoes of sub-Saharan Africa. (Likely due to the slave trade route that existed between N. Africa and West Africa for centuries… there are lots of people in N. Africa who are descended from sub-Saharan Africans who were enslaved.)

    There are genuine historical reasons for these influences (keep in mind that Bach’s cello sonatas are all based on dance music of the time) – also true for why flamenco sounds the way it does.

    People ignore all this at their peril. We in the West owe a very great deal to both Africa and the Middle East, but we’ve tended to write it off. The influences are huge, ranging from cooking to medicine and music (including musical instruments that originated in the Middle East and n. Africa but were brought to the West and altered somewhat – the lute is one example,but there are many others).

  59. @ linda:

    I do have friends from Nigeria and friends in other ethnic groups that deliberately will not worship in churches using a strong beat in their worship music if it is used in a way to engender a specific emotional response.

    Not all W. African Christians take that approach, though… I do understand that some do, but many don’t.

  60. I distinctly remember overhearing (as a young kid in the early ’70s) the name “Bill Gothard” and the words

    “…spank them til they stop crying”.

    This was never employed in our family, thankfully. But I can remember thinking the 4-year old equivalent of “what ridiculous illogic is that?! what kind of dork came up with that one?!”

    Is this tactic familiar to anyone? Did i hear this right at 4 years old???

  61. @ numo: I wanted to add that I’ve only been able to hear and study what amounts to a drop of water from an all-encompassing ocean… and, never having been to any part of Africa, I’m very limited in terms of actually getting to hear, see, and otherwise experience culture – from any part of Africa – first hand.

    So take that as the disclaimer it’s meant to be, please! I am no expert on any of this stuff, but I do love it and feel very grateful for having been able to learn some of the music from people who really *do* know it.

  62. @ elastigirl: I’d bet $ on your having heard right.

    I was in my teens/early 20s during the 70s and ran across Gothardite stuff back then. it’s ugly.

  63. @ linda:

    “…will not worship in churches using a strong beat in their worship music if it is used in a way to engender a specific emotional response.

    As they have taught me, yes, sometimes that is part of pagan worship and they cannot understand why Christians would imitate it.”
    **************

    makes me wonder: well, what is worship, anyway? a cerebral activity?

    If so, let’s come up with another word, then.

  64. justabeliever wrote:

    Read the book by Don Venoit. He has a history of “my way or the highway.” He does not use Biblical references for a lot of his stuff..but relies on “testimonies” from his followers as to how his principals “work.” So much for being accountable! Why would anyone listen

    Don Venoit is one of the places I learned more about this after I kept seeing Gothards name brought up here and there mainly on thatmom’s old website and this was only about 5 years ago. Mid Western Christian Outreach was the name of Venoit’s site, I think.

    All of this sort of stuff was another world where I grew up in the SBC. The chain smoking hardworking deacons who knew one of their jobs was to make sure the pastor knew he was a sheep, too, would have eaten Gothard for breakfast.

    btw: my mom once played Pink Floyd “money” for my friends on the organ after listening to it once on my album. It was really cool.

    One of the things that strikes me as I read these posts is how the fringe legalism/authoritarianism really wove it’s way into mainstream Christianity. At some point, there had to be a focus on leaders instead of “the Holy Priesthood”. I can look back and now see why this was drilled into us as youngsters…that we are part of a Holy Priesthood and will stand before God alone as in “soul competency”.

    Even after all that drilled into our heads, when most of Christendom around you is sold out to certain doctrines it is hard to not question your beliefs and stand alone if necessary.

    I put part of the blame on the church growth movement which needed the doctrine of authoritarianism to grow and amass large followings. They sort of institutionalized a softer version of it but before long, the idea of hierarchy in the Body was totally accepted. And most of it was a backlash to the culture.

  65. Dear me, that means my cousins who were missioanries in West AFrica for 18 years and came back with all sorts of strange instruments which they would use in worship were really imitating pagan worhsippers!!! You would think they would have known better.

    They left the mission field because the new and improved SBC/IMB started requiring missionaries to sign stagements like the new and improved BFM2000 which would have put them in sin because when hubby was out in the bush working with new church plants, his wife, an MDiv, would be leading the church back at headquarters. And that is a sin, don’tca know because the new and improved BFM2000 says that women cannot be pastors. Even in West Africa. Lottie Moon would have been in BIG trouble!!!

  66. linda wrote:

    However, I do have friends from Nigeria and friends in other ethnic groups that deliberately will not worship in churches using a strong beat in their worship music if it is used in a way to engender a specific emotional response.

    As Paul said, I have become all things to all people. For them, bad; for others good.

  67. @ numo:

    …i’ll continue, then. (with good manners)

    I’ve long wondered why the word “worship” as an activity is thrown around in christian culture like “errands”, or “soccer practice”, or “go out for brunch”. Or why it is equated to sitting in a pew, following cues, & listening to a lecture.

    I can’t think of a more inherently emotional, stirring, & powerful word (in a positive sense).

    It seems to me it’s another of those words christian culture has redefined because of “fear”. (fear of this or that, fear of a people group, fear of a certain kind of person, fear of change, fear of losing power and control, etc.)

  68. elastigirl,

    I totally understand your question. But we can use words that others seem to relate to, i hope. CAn someone point me to specific examples of “worship” within the Body in the NT? The only example I can think of at the moment after years of looking at this is very eclectic (but orderly which does NOT mean a bulletin with an order of worship!) according to our standards and Paul admonishing about it with some “how to” examples in 1 Corin.

    Is not worship the act of beleivers gathering to support one another because of their corporate love of Christ? Or, is not me alone in my home with my spirit communing with Christ? Is prayer alone not a form of worship? Is not our gratitude to God a form of worship?

    So how do Christians know when they have “worshipped” and how come it cannot be every day as we go about our way?

  69. @ Anon 1:
    @ elastigirl:

    When I first believed in Jesus and understood what that meant, some thirty years ago, I was often taught that worship unto God was a lifestyle; happening in no certain place, but an attitude a believer takes with them wherever they are. That concept seems to have changed drastically over the past 30 years. Now there is untold emphasis put on the Sunday service, worship at that time, and communion at the Sunday service. Modern American Protestant churches are denying that “gathering of the saints” can exist UNLESS it is in the context that those Protestant churches approve of. This is something that bothers me immensely and creates the atmosphere of “worship” is at church on Sunday morning.

  70. @ Bridget: I dunno; for me, it’s always been that church is a place of worship, but that probably has lots to do with my background (ELCA – Lutheran).

    I guess a lot depends on culture and context? (Honestly, I don’t know… just thinking aloud.)

  71. @ Anon 1:
    Oh, whatever. Don’t you wish the SBC would get over themselves and just stop judging everyone else? Sorry to be so snarky. It’s just that there’s so much tragedy all around us these days, and as Christians we waste so much effort stroking our pet doctrines. Where is the love?

  72. @ linda:
    IMO, emotional response is a part of what music, and in fact, art is. To use music means we are worshiping not just with our heads, but with our emotions. For anyone to lead worship is to target and try to bring out certain emotions, and I don’t think that is wrong (scripture calls us to worship with song).

    So I think we have to be very careful when we look at “manipulation” in worship to realize that evoking emotions in people is not wrong. What is wrong is when we evoke emotions in people that WE want them to have, rather than emotions they desire to have. Or for them to have emotions tied to the wrong things (excited about self or others rather than the work of Christ). I can see how music would have trouble crossing cultural boundaires, but I don’t think that means we throw it out.

    I think its good your african friends were in touch with their own worship to be uncomfortable, but I don’t think that makes the music itself problematic.

  73. @ Anon 1:

    Hi, Anon 1,

    I just did a quick word search on the word “worship” in the NT. Every reference is pretty abstract. The only descriptive one was this:

    Romans 12:1
    “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”

    I haven’t done a thorough study of the subject, and I suppose a case can be made that “worship” means a number of things by logical extension. But from what I’ve seen the NT doesn’t seem to break the word down into various activities.

    Coming together for mutual encouragement, support, community is just that — coming together for mutual encouragement, support, community.

    Prayer is just that. Prayer.

    Seems to me, worship inherently involves both state of mind and emotion both directed toward God. Prayer can certainly involve worship. Coming together in community can certainly include worship.

    But in and of themselves, they aren’t necessarily worship.

    I’ve heard things bantered around that we can worship God by all manner of horizontal activities (person to person) and by having strong character. Making right choices in our conduct. These things are good and great and right…. they’re just not worship in and of themselves.

    To me, worship is quite a unique and special word, denoting a very unique, powerful, and (I hate the word)”sacred” thing. I really hate to reduce it all down to mundane, generic things.

  74. elastigirl wrote:

    I distinctly remember overhearing (as a young kid in the early ’70s) the name “Bill Gothard” and the words
    “…spank them til they stop crying”.
    This was never employed in our family, thankfully. But I can remember thinking the 4-year old equivalent of “what ridiculous illogic is that?! what kind of dork came up with that one?!”
    Is this tactic familiar to anyone? Did i hear this right at 4 years old???

    I hate that kind of evil messed-up cruelty with all my heart. Yeah, continuing to spank a child is a great way to get it to stop crying. Spanking it harder will stop it quicker surely? Unconscious or desd children tend to stop crying, as do, eventually, deeply traumatised ones. That kind of teaching is stone cold abuse.

  75. @ elastigirl: Interesting. Given my background, I have always thought of worship as something particular – dedicated time, spent (in church or not) in prayer, singing, etc.

    I do think most people from high church backgrounds – as well as many other backgrounds – see it that way, and I think it’s very legit.

    I guess the problem comes in when we see worship as *exclusive* to time spent in a church service, but again, I think maybe the problem is not that church services are bad.

    (gosh, I better close – feel very rambly today.)

  76. @ elastigirl: I have heard – but cannot verify – that many different words, with different intentions/nuances – are translated into English with the single word “worship.”

    Wondering if anyone has resources on this? It would not surprise me if it’s true, as translation is a difficult business at the best of times, and there are other words in the NT that are sometimes translated with one single word in English. (Thinking of Hades, Tartarus and Gehenna all being made equivalent to “hell,” when in fact they mean quite different things – am sure there are many other terms where this is the case…)

  77. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Bedroom Evangelism.
    Outbreed and Overwhelm the Heathen.

    As the Christian war is not a flesh and blood war, but against principalities of Satan’s world, that seems a too fleshy strategy – even if I knew little Christianity, the mere idea of doing things not by the flesh but by the Spirit would tell me that outbreeding is not the solution.

  78. “Justice On The Fly: Voyage of The Offended?”

    hmmm…

    Bill Goddard teaches, “people should allow the hurts from offenders to reveal ‘blind spots’ in their own lives.”

    By this Goddard seems to indirectly imply (in some apparent twisted form of logic) that the ‘offended’ is somehow partially responsible for the ‘offense’ they received.

    Thi is what PDI (later renamed SGM) taught with devastating results.

    Also Goddard teaches : “Genuine joy is a result of fully forgiving these offenders.”

    A principle SGM pastors toted about and abused, as in the very young child under the table forced to forgive her ‘alleged’ sexual offender.

    Was Goddard’s teaching, on this subject, used to justify PDI/SGM ‘actions’ they took/ have taken, in relation to child abuse within this ‘family of churches’?

    hmmm…

    Sopy

  79. dee wrote:

    Nicholas wrote:

    The Duggars’ oldest daughter is a leader in IBLP’s youth program:

    I am banking on rebellion at some point. It will be fascinating.

    So, given the two main ways that preachers’ kids lose it, which way do you think she’ll go: Marilyn Manson or Fred Phelps?

  80. Retha wrote:

    Bedroom Evangelism.
    Outbreed and Overwhelm the Heathen.
    As the Christian war is not a flesh and blood war, but against principalities of Satan’s world, that seems a too fleshy strategy – even if I knew little Christianity, the mere idea of doing things not by the flesh but by the Spirit would tell me that outbreeding is not the solution.

    It’s a strategy that’s been used in the past. In the Lebensborn program of the Third Reich, in Comrade Ceausecsu’s imitation of it, and more recently promoted by a couple factions of Extreme Islam: “WE CONQUER THE LANDS OF THE INFIDEL! OUR WOMBS SHALL BE OUR WEAPONS!”

  81. @ elastigirl:

    re: “worship”

    …or, i hate to reduce it down to politics, agendas, & self-promotion. Like when I heard John Kerry running for President show up at a large church of influence and as soon as cameras were rolling casually waltz up to the podium and say into the mike “it’s so good to be here with one another to worship the Laaahhhrd”.

    Yes, that marked the first time my toes curled backward in response to that word (& using it for one’s own purposes — especially in an annoying voice — double especially when dripping with insincerity).

    It’s hard to keep them flattened out now.

  82. @ numo:

    hi, numo.

    “I have always thought of worship as something particular – dedicated time, spent (in church or not) in prayer, singing, etc.”

    Yes, I agree.

    My main thought is that it doesn’t seem true to the word and the concept to remove “emotion” from it. Or a sense of the “sacred” from it.

    And to attach salaried careers and a church building to it.

  83. I’ve pretty much considered “worship” as “the act of exalting something higher than yourself”, not necessarily limited to God (though he is the only one disserving of worship).

    I try to be pretty careful not to fall into the trap of equating music with worship. I don’t mind being called a “worship leader” because when I take on that role, I am using music to lead people in corporate worship, however, I usually cringe at statements like “after the worship, then’ll we’ll have a sermon”. I think preaching is a part of the worship too, as are many other activities. On Sunday morning we come together for a worship service, which means a time of corporate worship OF GOD.

  84. my parents had all the books, but thankfully, didn’t enforce much of it….I think they had too many of their own problems to erect a difficult-to-enforce Gothard system in our household…though I remember hearing about praying the “umbrella of protection”, the demonic influence of Dungeons and Dragons (my brother had to play it covertly), etc. We even had a guy at our church that made sure that none of the congregation bought a Gremlin (a car popular in the 70s)….he said it was giving the Devil glory….arghhhh!

  85. Steve240 wrote:

    It is baffling that so many did follow him. Why someone should listen and follow someone giving advice on marriage and children who had neither married or had children is baffling.

    Well, for a Protestant, atheist or some other faith tradition it might be hard to accept but Catholics do it all the time – and in the USA they are by far still the largest Christian faith tradition. I’m sure there are more parallels between Gothard and certain Catholic clergy than are comfortable for followers of either school of thought.

  86. elastigirl wrote:

    …or, i hate to reduce it down to politics, agendas, & self-promotion. Like when I heard John Kerry running for President show up at a large church of influence and as soon as cameras were rolling casually waltz up to the podium and say into the mike “it’s so good to be here with one another to worship the Laaahhhrd”.

    Followed immediately by “When I Served In Vietnaaaam…”

  87. For a conservative Christian critique of Mr Gothard’s teachings, here’s a link:

    http://www.pfo.org/evol-fad.htm

    Some of you have no doubt seen this already.

    The story of the reaction of Third World Christians to European/North American Christians listening to rock music does seem to have been bounced around a bit. While I don’t have any time for sleaze in music or selling sex to kids via music as one of the promoters of Pop Idol once put it, I think Christians often make themselves look ridiculous with amateurish or over-the-top critiques of rock music. Ironically at least one such author was quoting East European scientific experiments, which did make me raise my eyebrows as the East European/Soviet authorities were largely antipathetic towards rock music for the same reason as Bill Gothard, ie they thought it undermined authority.

    At the end of the day, no cultural activity, or section thereof, is going to be perfect or free from sinful human behaviour, any more than any sporting activity is going to be miraculously free of cheating and gamesmanship just because it’s approved by church or state.

  88. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Heard that and then some in a Christian radio interview during the Satanic Panic

    One of my favorites from that time was that the Proctor & Gamble moon-and-stars logo was satanic.

  89. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.

    I’d say we can check this one off the list of the events to occur before the end times. It’s like the False Prophet version of Whack-A-Mole in this country.

  90. @ elastigirl: You know, not to be a know-it-all or anything, but I went and looked up the derivation of the word “worship” earlier. here’s what merriam-Webster says –

    Middle English worshipe worthiness, respect, reverence paid to a divine being, from Old English weorthscipe worthiness, respect, from weorth worthy, worth + –scipe -ship

    Looks like the 1st bit is about titles like “Your Worship,” while the rest is about what I would (probably) characterize as actual acts of worship – like going to church, singing, praying while there.

  91. elastigirl wrote:

    I’ve heard things bantered around that we can worship God by all manner of horizontal activities…

    If I misunderstand “horizontally” on purpose, I’m reminded of a sermon I preached once, years ago. I used about a dozen examples of people in the Bible who worshipped “horizontally” meaning face down on the ground. John in Rev 1 for example. I believe the title was “Worship on the road” based on Saul (later Paul) falling down on the road to Damascus when Christ appeared. Anon1 wrote, “So how do Christians know when they have “worshipped” and how come it cannot be every day as we go about our way?” Main Point of sermon, if I recall. Anyway, great discussion today!
    On the Gothard topic, my college roommate attended Basic Youth Conflicts, returned with a very large notebook crammed with material he studied daily. It seemed a little crazy to me. It took him about a year to recover. Myself– I studied complementarianism (years before Mrs Kassian invented it). It seemed reasonable to me. My teacher was Pastor Wilson– Doug’s dad. I’m still recovering today!

  92. I remember sitting through my one and only Gothard seminar and then at lunch walking to the WAshington Monument and hearing Petra perform. Talk about irony!

    One of the friends I was with was very legalistic at the time and tried to convince me that the members of Petra weren’t Christian. Heresy to me!

    I unfortunately came home from that seminar and threw away many of my secular LP’s. Can’t remember what was in the collection. At least some were by that subversive named John Denver.

  93. elastigirl wrote:

    My main thought is that it doesn’t seem true to the word and the concept to remove “emotion” from it. Or a sense of the “sacred” from it.

    Now that triggers something for me. I cannot begin to tell you the long meetings in the mega industrial complex looking for ideas to whip up emotion and give people a new experience every time they came to “worship”. How to wow them and bring emotional experience was a HUGE focus. So, we all have our triggers and problems with trying to figure out such concepts based upon our experiences. I can smell a “performance” a mile away.

  94. @ Robin:

    I’ve never been married, either, though I wanted to be and was engaged at one time. Let’s be careful about not reading too much into adults over 35 who’ve never married.

    I don’t know about Gothard specifically, but we’re not weirdos who have hang ups.

    I can’t remember the details, but someone on another site was telling me months ago that Gothard has some screwy beliefs about dating and marriage, ones that have messed up other Christian teaching on dating (along with the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” book), which has in part led to this epidemic of Christian ladies today over the age of 35 who desire marriage but can’t meet anyone/ get any (or hardly any) proposals.

    There also seems to be more single Christian women than men, something else that is problematic, but goodness knows Christian attitudes about dating and marriage make getting married (or just getting a date) for Christian singles a billion times harder than it should be.

  95. justabeliever wrote:

    He does NOT like accountablity, and historically has refused legitimate debate with Christians who tried to discuss his teachings with him. Read the book by Don Venoit. He has a history of “my way or the highway.” He does not use Biblical references for a lot of his stuff..but relies on “testimonies” from his followers as to how his principals “work.” So much for being accountable! Why would anyone listen

    That was one of the items I remember from the book. For all the teaching Gothard did on being accountable and under one’s “umbrella” of authority Gothatd didn’t practice this himself. It was pointed out that Gothard wasn’t in submission to the pastors at his local church.

    Sure sounds similar to C.J Mahaney.

  96. @ numo:

    hi, numo. “respect, reverence paid to a divine being”

    that seems right (not at I can argue with Merriam and Webster). Reverence and respect can be an act of will, a choice, minus the emotion. So perhaps emotion is not part & parcel of the word. Perhaps it’s a cultural or personal expression of the word. but emotion isn’t inappropriate. (not that you were saying it was)

    did a little reading on the greek words used for worship, and the “flavored” meanings… dabbling in internet NT greek and commentaries — just enough to be armed and DAYNgerous! (layperson simpleton that I am) and just enough to realize it doesn’t matter all that much. just can’t improve on “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind; Love your neighbor as yourself.’d 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

  97. Lola wrote:

    how it’s the upbeat that is a call to Satan, etc. since it’s used by the pagan African tribes, therefore, all modern “christian rock” music is of the devil. Is this all Gothard stuff?

    I have read of fundamentalist preachers who are clueless about all of this.

    Someone on another site said back in the 1990s, a preacher at their church stomped up and down on a Janet Jackson CD some teen kid accidentally dropped and left in the church.

    Janet Jackson is PG-rated. To get that upset over her music is ridiculous. There are death metal and other type of bands who sing about and do far worse stuff on stage (some of it quite perverted) than anything Jackson has ever done.

    I’ve personally been insulted and put down by legalistic Christians on other forums when they find out that some of my favorite movies or music is secular – the majority of my tastes run PG to PG-13. I will watch some R rated stuff but don’t approve of all the nudity and so on.

    Hester,

    Are you going to cover the Cabbage Patch dolls? : )
    And Tinky Winky. Don’t forget Tinky Winky and his purse.

  98. My girls still tease me about this! I bought my first grandchild a cabbage patch doll just to be “rebellious!!!”

  99. elastigirl wrote:

    I distinctly remember overhearing (as a young kid in the early ’70s) the name “Bill Gothard” and the words
    “…spank them til they stop crying”.
    This was never employed in our family, thankfully. But I can remember thinking the 4-year old equivalent of “what ridiculous illogic is that?! what kind of dork came up with that one?!”
    Is this tactic familiar to anyone? Did i hear this right at 4 years old???

  100. @ Anon 1:

    anon 1 said:
    “Now that triggers something for me. …long meetings in the mega industrial complex looking for ideas to whip up emotion and give people a new experience every time they came to “worship”. How to wow them and bring emotional experience was a HUGE focus. So, we all have our triggers and problems with trying to figure out such concepts based upon our experiences. I can smell a “performance” a mile away.”
    ************

    Yes, I can smell performance at a distance, too, and wrinkle my nose while trying to flatten out my curled back toes. So, in working out my own conclusions here, i suppose I can say that as I see it emotion is neither wrong nor required, but manipulation is always heinous.

  101. @ Barb:
    @ Barb:
    @ Barb:
    You were asked to determine why they were crying. 1. out of true repentance or 2. to punish you. It it were the latter you were told to keep spanking. (This was terrible.)

  102. Steve240 wrote:

    It is baffling that so many did follow him. Why someone should listen and follow someone giving advice on marriage and children who had neither married or had children is baffling. It is easy to teach certain things till you have been there yourself.

    Don’t Catholic priests do this all the time? Do you object to the Roman Catholic church?

  103. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    The “DEMON-possessed” ones that showed up on Pat’s 700 Club during the Satanic Panic?

    Is that for real, or were you joking?

    On a 700 Club episode this week, a guy sent Robertson a question about using video games that have magic in them. Robertson mentioned ‘Dungeons and Dragons,’ which was not a video game.

    Maybe it was made into a video game at some point, but I remember my friends back then who played it using die (I think), paper, booklets and stuff.

    I remember that Christians on television in the 1980s and the 1990s remained intent on setting up ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ as the pinnacle of Satanic games for children.

    That Robertson was mentioning it now, in 2013, and not even trying to reference current video games looks lame. Some people may still play it, but D&D is not anywhere near as popular or trendy as it was. Evangelicals and fundamentalists remain behind the pop culture curve.

    Not that I keep up with it as much as when I was younger, but at least I have a vague idea of what the trends are, or know better than to keep bringing up a 30-35 year old game.

  104. Steve240 wrote:

    For all the teaching Gothard did on being accountable and under one’s “umbrella” of authority Gothatd didn’t practice this himself. It was pointed out that Gothard wasn’t in submission to the pastors at his local church.

    That’s the surest sign of a religious fraud and charlatan – everyone is under his authority but he is accountable to no one.

  105. Daisy wrote:

    I can’t remember the details, but someone on another site was telling me months ago that Gothard has some screwy beliefs about dating and marriage, ones that have messed up other Christian teaching on dating (along with the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” book), which has in part led to this epidemic of Christian ladies today over the age of 35 who desire marriage but can’t meet anyone/ get any (or hardly any) proposals.

    Makes me wonder why Gothard and Carolyn McCulley haven’t ever courted (SGM reference here).

  106. Steve240 wrote:

    Why someone should listen and follow someone giving advice on marriage and children who had neither married or had children is baffling

    I’m a never married, 40sish female, and married Christians males who got married at age 18 and have been married for 30 – 40+ years, or males who are 27 years old who got married at 25, love to dispense advice in person, at churches, in blogs and on television, to never married adults who are past the age of 35, as though they have an inkling of what it’s like to be single and still celibate at the age of 35 – 45 – 55 (they don’t have a clue).

  107. @ elastigirl: I agree that there’s a big difference between emotion(s) evoked by music (etc.) and the deliberate manipulation of emotions by words and music and images and… whatever.

    The thing is, whenever we watch movies or TV, there’s a soundtrack (usually) and that’s emotionally manipulative, whether we’re aware of it or not. Not sure what it was that I was watching recently, but the soundtrack was so obvious (let’s add tension-building music here because some Big Shattering Revelation is going to happen, or else A Big Scary Thing) that I could just sit her and be detached – since the upcoming plot twists were so obvious!

    99 & 9/10ths % of the time, I’m drawn in, just like everyone else, though.

    I have heard people from other countries talk about the way that music is used to manipulate people in evangelical services, and it was quite revealing. This was back in the 80s, long before the calvinistas and megas came along… so I have a feeling that ’twas ever thus, though “ever” had its start at some point in time. (Hope that makes sense!)

  108. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    Bob Larson used to be on TBN late night all the time, sometime in the 1980s or 90s.

    I remember Larson did one Halloween special (more like a few, I think), but in one he didn’t even approve of a mother putting a bib on her baby that had a cute little jack- o- lantern design on it.

    I think these Christians are the “weak” ones Romans talks about. They don’t realize Christians have liberty in Christ.

    Larson may find it sinful to put a pumpkin bib on a baby, but I do not, but he’ll sit there and command that I, and no woman, put a jack o lantern bib on a baby, as though it was written on the tablets by God Himself that were handed to Moses.

    I don’t see it (or the secular/modern celebration of Halloween, kids wearing costumes to get free candy) as an endorsement of Satan worship itself.

    It never bothered my conscience to celebrate Halloween at all growing up, and I was a huge Christian goody-goody.

  109. @ Daisy: I was anti-Halloween for a while, but my goodness – a baby’s bib? And it’s a pumpkin, not a ghoul or a witch or… – ???!

    that really is silly.

  110. Daisy wrote:

    I don’t see it (or the secular/modern celebration of Halloween, kids wearing costumes to get free candy) as an endorsement of Satan worship itself.
    It never bothered my conscience to celebrate Halloween at all growing up, and I was a huge Christian goody-goody.

    You can thank Mike Warnke and his cronies in the Satanic Panic of the Eighties for all that. Warnke claimed to have been a Satanic High Priest who was Born Again and had speshul sekrit insider knowledge (“Occult Gnosis” in Greek) of the Vast Satanic Conspiracy taking over the entire world.

    Some years later, two investigative reporters from Cornerstone exposed him as a fraud (check Amazon for the book-length version, “Selling Satan”), but by then his Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory (like all others) had become a completely-closed system. All evidence that Warnke and his Conspiracy Theory was a fake was Disinformation planted by The Satanists, anyone who doubted the existence of The Conspiracy had to be part of The Conspiracy, lack of evidence for The Conspiracy was Proof how Vast The Conspiracy was.

    The Dwarfs were for The Dwarfs, and Wouldn’t be Taken in.

  111. Wisdomchaser wrote:

    One is witnessing to strangers, which is generally not terribly effective. The second is have lots of children and keep a tight reign on them. Is this part of why they stress having large families and children are under their father’s or pastor’s authority, basically forever unless they rebel?

    That is one problem with the over-emphasis on marriage and family in all of contemporary Christianity, not just with the extreme groups, but it’s made in roads into more mainstream ones, such as the Southern Baptist Church and conservative evangelicals.

    Back in the Old Testament days, a woman had to have a man financially support her (husband or son). If she didn’t, she was up the creek.

    I believe this is one reason of several why Jesus Christ abolished this teaching (Matthew 12:48, Luke 14:26, Matthew 12:50, Matthew 10:35), but do contemporary Christians want to follow placing spiritual family ahead of flesh ties, or witness to strangers to reproduce the family of God? No.

    They want to heavily stress marriage and cranking out babies, which is actually against New Testament teachings.

    Such groups also show no respect to singleness, and do not acknowledge Paul’s comments about singleness being preferable or acceptable, or they brush off those passages as though they are nothing.

  112. lemonaidfizz wrote:

    Yes, we kids even lost our Cabbage Patch dolls, along with My Little Pony and Care Bears.

    That is sad. (Even sadder of course is that you suffered damage and have to work through it all in therapy.)

    My Mom may have been over protective (she was also a Christian), but she did not have too many hang-ups with my siblings and me being into secular pop culture, so I got all the Bat Man toys and what not as a kid that I wanted.

    My Mom was a devout Christian, but I am glad she wasn’t a very strict legalist type.

  113. Josh wrote:

    Whew! I guess I can still listen to “Money” by Pink Floyd. It’s hard to summon demons with 7/4 time.

    But that Pink Floyd song has a SWEAR WORD! And yet it also kind of quotes the Bible (“money is the root of all evil”). Are the lyrics ironic? Secular music is so confusing! Burn it! 😉

  114. Daisy wrote:

    I can’t remember the details, but someone on another site was telling me months ago that Gothard has some screwy beliefs about dating and marriage

    I will never forget the day when a single woman I knew was sitting next to me in a booth in a local diner telling us how Gothard taught at the seminar she recently attended that before God brings His choice of mate for you Satan brings his choice.

    No, I’m not kidding. This woman was in tears because she was dating a man she really cared about at the time and was also tormented about her singleness. She was petrified this man was Satan’s choice for her and not God’s and she was going to have to break up with him for no other reason than because he had to be Satan’s choice since he was first.

    That relationship did end eventually and she did marry someone else but I will never forget the unnecessary torment she was put through about this nor how angry I was at her emotional torture.

    I know a man who was a follower of Gothard, who tried to do some kind of courtship thing with his kids (the younger 3, the oldest having safely escaped by the time this came along) where he did this same thing to at least 2 of them. I know about one of them because she and I met for lunch at a Campus Crusade conference we were both at during college and she told me (in tears, of course) about this wonderful guy she met that her father wasn’t going to let her marry and she was told she had to break up with him. That was the second one I learned about. I already knew about the first. The reason I knew about the first was because for that kid I was the Satanic choice. At least I guess that was my unfortunate role because he wasn’t allowed to date me at first until he turned 16 (we were 15 when he found this out and why he did not know about this restriction before it was an issue — especially one that involved someone else, in this case me — In never did learn) and when the 16 years restriction didn’t work, it was changed to 18 and he couldn’t talk to me anymore at all. And, oh, by the way, while he’s telling me he can’t talk to me anymore at all he also tells me the youth group Sunday School is now being segregated with the guys on one side of the room and the girls on the other, and the teens all have to sit with their families during the service now and can’t sit together anymore.

    Which introduced an interesting problem for me since I did not have family who attended church.

    You know, some phone calls you just never forget.

    Anyway, yeah. I’d say Gothard has some really wacko ideas on dating.

  115. @ numo:

    This is getting interesting… yes, movie soundtracks. I always pay attention to the music. I love some of it (Grand Canyon, Scent of A Woman, the early James Bonds, Dave, especially ET, etc.)

    I’m sure you agree, in movies music helps tell the story, the way literary devices in a book do. Creating and easing tension, enabling the reader to join the characters in what’s happening. In social situations, it helps sooth the mood, create a fun mood, or (like in As Good As It Gets) to help “pep things up” or as a last resort “for emergency purposes only!” (did you see that one? So great)

    (I’m sure I’m stating the obvious here – just thinking out loud)

    As I see it, there’s nothing suspect with being drawn in. It’s what happens to a normal human being (who isn’t moved by “The Nutcracker Suite”?). I guess in venues where those in power desire decision and action from people, music if used can too easily become a tool of manipulation. Multi-Level Marketing rallies come to mind, of course religious events come to mind. This seems very wrong.

    But I wonder: when Billy Graham had “Just As I Am” played at the end of his meetings during the “altar calls”, was that manipulative? I honestly don’t know.

    I do know for myself that music can help me respond to God, to spiritual things. Nobody panic – but it is like foreplay, to a life-giving connection with God-Jesus-Holy Spirit. Actually, I think many would agree.

  116. @ Retha:

    This is something I discussed on here before, giving links to articles and vidoes.

    Pat Robertson, Christian host of a well known daily Christian tv show, said that Christians should “out breed” their (I think he said “enemies” or “opponents”), and there’s a lecture by a Christian lady (on video online) where she quotes, with citations, several Quiverfull type group leaders who believe that Christians should have lots of kids to win the USA for God. The Bible says nothing about this. It says to convert non believers by telling them the Gospel.

  117. @ Kolya:

    I’ve only glanced at it a tiny bit, but of note is that the author felt it pertinent to mention that the guy is “a bachelor.”

    Gothard sounds like a crack pot on many a topic, but I find the continual reference to the guy’s never married status off putting – as a never married person myself.

    I do think his views can be critiqued apart from mentioning whatever his marital status is.

  118. anonymous wrote:

    ’d say Gothard has some really wacko ideas on dating.

    I, too, had a friend who told me that her other friend’s parents were not Christians and did not want her to marry her boyfriend because he was a Christian. She was 27 at the time. She was a Gothard follower and was told buy the Gothardites he had to wait for her family’s approval, even if it meant she never married and even if her parents were nuts. It was “the rule.”

    Talk about nuts.

  119. FormerCLC’er wrote:

    At least some were by that subversive named John Denver.

    You know very well that “Sunshine on My Shoulders” was chock full of Satanic symbolism. Don’t even try to deny it
    /sarcasm

  120. I remember hearing a cassette tape from the Institute that talked about “backbeats.” Then it offered an example. It was Sandi Patti, witch that she is.

  121. @ Kolya:

    Reading farther down the page you linked was this total icky oddity:

    On pages 170-171, Gothard suggests that a man keep track of his wife’s menstrual cycle and use it as a reminder of the sufferings and death of Jesus, then quotes Isaiah 53:4-5.

    Ew. If I knew how to make a barfing face emoticon, I’d put it here.

    There was even more weirdness under that section. Bizarrely, he suggests that couples who want to conceive a baby – abstain from you- know- what (I don’t think I can use the “S” word – rhymes with “Tex”- because my post will be sent to moderation).

    Another quote:

    In 1991, popular Christian artists, including Bill and Gloria Gaither, Dave Boyer, Sandy Patti and Michael Card became Gothard’s newest scapegoat. What was destroying the youth of America was contemporary Christian music, in Gothard’s mind.

    Give me a break. The Gaither show is even more G-Rated than Lawerence Welk.

    …[Gothard] provides [in one of his books] … information on how women are to select makeup and choose colors that enhance skin tone, how to choose a hair style, how to wear accessories and the place of accents on the clothing as well as how to stand (with illustrations) and why to avoid any slits in the skirt. Gothard opposes women working outside the home.

    There are several things wrong with that, the only one I’d like to mention is that wouldn’t your John Pipers consider a man giving women make-up and fashion tips to be unmanly and going outside his manly role?

  122. @ elastigirl: Well, hey… I’m a musician, so I’m not going to disagree about music and emotion, in general.

    Not sure how I feel about “Just As I Am” at an altar call, because I’m not sure how I feel about altar calls.

    But I do understand that some people use music to manipulate emotions before and after intense sermons, and I don’t agree with that.

  123. Dee wrote:

    anonymous wrote:
    ’d say Gothard has some really wacko ideas on dating.
    I, too, had a friend who told me that her other friend’s parents were not Christians and did not want her to marry her boyfriend because he was a Christian. She was 27 at the time. She was a Gothard follower and was told buy the Gothardites he had to wait for her family’s approval, even if it meant she never married and even if her parents were nuts. It was “the rule.”
    Talk about nuts.

    Oh yeah. I forgot about the parent worship. It doesn’t matter if the parents are Christians or have the same values as you. They are your parents so what they say goes.

    That doesn’t go away either. Last I heard from someone who knew him, that fellow to whom I was Satan’s choice has apparently become a “shell of a man still following in Daddy’s footsteps.” That would have been around our late 20s, early 30s. I can only hope that was really old news and he’s got his own life now that we’re in our 40s.

  124. @ numo:

    Yes, it was a small, cute jack o lantern design. A cartoony drawing of a jack o lantern smiling with the little triangle shaped eyes and nose. I didn’t see what the big deal was.

    I went to a church in person for a couple of years whose preacher felt that way about holidays, even Christmas. He said he used to not see the harm in Santa Claus, but now, he won’t support it. He won’t permit people in Santa suits at Church functions or at his home, etc.

    I realize children need to be taught the true meaning behind Christmas and Easter, but I think people who are that set against observing holidays like that have hyper sensitive consciences (as discussed on Romans 14) and can be safely ignored (I always did. I didn’t permit their weak consciences dictate my choices on entertainment and so on).

  125. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    Oh yes, I am familiar with conspiracy theorists – of the secular variety. I have some internet acquaintances who believe in it (re: political topics), and I find them repulsive. I have to avoid certain discussions with them as a result.

    My Mom was a committed Christian, but thankfully she never had much of a problem with my entertainment choices, or that I used to adore Bat Man, Star Wars, etc., and that I liked to go trick or treating.

    My Mom was very level headed and sensible, and she didn’t understand Christians who freak out or get legalistic over Halloween and stuff like that.

    My mom did make my big sister throw out one or two rock albums that contained naughty language and pro-drug usage reference, but my Mom let my siblings listen to lots of secular rock and pop bands the same ones other teens were into.

  126. @ anonymous:

    I’m very sorry for what you went through.

    And that “first guy is Satan’s choice” is entirely of his invention. I don’t remember the Bible teaching anything like it. It’s also just strange.

  127. @ Daisy: I think it’s sad when adults take the fun out of holidays – and not just for kids, though certainly, trying to ban Christmas for kids is a super-killjoy thing to do.

    I’ve also seen lots of people objecting to the Easter Bunny, but somehow, that always seemed a bit ridiculous to me.

  128. RE: numo & elastigirl on worship:

    To be honest, I’m not all that sure what worship is. When I dabbled in fundamentalism years ago, it seemed that worship was all about who could abase themselves with the most aplomb and grovel the lowest. Later in the Lutheran faith (ELCA), it seemed to be all about rote liturgy and ritual.

    Please understand that I am not denigrating anyone’s faith or belief system here. I am only wondering why a deity as powerful as the Almighty would need constant ego-stroking from his devotees.

  129. @ Muff Potter:

    muff —

    as I see it, God doesn’t need it. It’s for the pleasure of each other’s company. God enjoying us, and us enjoying him. Perhaps the spiritual counterpart to s-_-_ (rhymes with tex). I may be inviting criticism here.

    Connection in an emotional/ physical/spiritual way — as opposed to a cerebral/spiritual way (like reading something or listening to a sermon and getting insight, inspiration). The former tends to be envigorating and enlivening, the latter tends to be a deeper, more quiet thing.

  130. @ elastigirl: Worship in liturgical churches tends to be a “deeper, more quiet thing” in general, so while I partly agree with you, I think there’s a broad range of “worship styles,” kind of…

  131. @ elastigirl: “Contemplative” is another way to describe some aspects of worship in liturgical settings. It really does appeal to me in many ways, just as gospel music appeals to me in other ways.

  132. elastigirl,
    Thanks for the kind reply. Late in life, it seems I have rediscovered my own Native American spirituality and means of connecting with the Almighty. When I watch the red-tailed hawk wheel in carefully crafted circles on the thermal updrafts where I live, I am more connected than I ever was when I sang Amazing Grace in corporate church services.

  133. @ Deb:
    A really good resource that critiques the “covering” teaching is Frank Viola’s book, Who Is Your Covering? A Fresh Look at Leadership, Authority, and Accountability. I highly recommend it.

  134. @ Muff Potter:

    I think that’s completely awesome. I think you’ve got the real deal going on. Whatever methods or templates for “worshipping god” which the institutional church employs are only there to give numbskulls like me a starting point. You’re way ahead.

  135. numo wrote:

    @ elastigirl: “Contemplative” is another way to describe some aspects of worship in liturgical settings. It really does appeal to me in many ways, just as gospel music appeals to me in other ways.

    I don’t disagree at all. I think I used words like envigorating and enlivening because that’s how it usually seems to me. But you are quite right, quiet connection is just as potent. I am seeing that the more I try to define and seek to understand by putting words to this topic the less definitive it is ending up. And the bigger it all seems. And the more of a dogmatic whatsit I observe myself being. Please excuse my carrying on here….

  136. @ Elastigirl: I don’t think you’re being a “dogmatic whatsit” at all!

    thinking things through like this is very refreshing, for me, anyhow… please carry on!

  137. Daisy wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    The “DEMON-possessed” ones that showed up on Pat’s 700 Club during the Satanic Panic?

    Is that for real, or were you joking?

    As far as I knew, it was for real. Probably originated in a tabloid and made the jump into Fact. Christians can be so gullible if you know which buttons to punch.

    On a 700 Club episode this week, a guy sent Robertson a question about using video games that have magic in them. Robertson mentioned ‘Dungeons and Dragons,’ which was not a video game.

    Maybe it was made into a video game at some point, but I remember my friends back then who played it using die (I think), paper, booklets and stuff.

    I started with pencil, paper, and funny dice back in early 1976. When D&D was a garage-band operation of “three little books plus Greyhawk”. Actually, it helped me ditch an abusive Christian Fellowship(TM) situation.

    I remember that Christians on television in the 1980s and the 1990s remained intent on setting up ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ as the pinnacle of Satanic games for children.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Kgx2b1sIRs

    Then, it was D&D. Twenty years before, it was EC Horror Comics. Twenty years after, it was Harry Potter. What’s next, My Little Pony?

  138. “Gothard suggests that a man keep track of his wife’s menstrual cycle and use it as a reminder of the sufferings and death of Jesus, then quotes Isaiah 53:4-5.”

    : O

  139. TWW Posted: “Justice On The Fly: Voyage of The Offended?; Part Two”

    hmmm…

    Bill Goddard teaches, “people should allow the hurts from offenders to reveal ‘blind spots’ in their own lives.”

    By this Goddard seems to indirectly imply (in some apparent twisted form of logic) that the ‘offended’ is somehow partially responsible for the ‘offense’ they received.

    This is apparently what PDI (later renamed SGM) taught with devastating results.

    Also Goddard teaches : “Genuine joy is a result of fully forgiving these offenders.”

    A principle SGM pastors toted about and abused, as in the very young child under the table forced to forgive her ‘alleged’ sexual offender.

    Was it Goddard’s teaching, on this subject, that was used to justify PDI/SGM ‘actions’ they took/ have taken, in relation to child abuse within this ‘family of churches’?

    hmmm…

    In SGM’s apparent pathology, the victim is some how complicit in the crime. That the victim is therefore obligated to forgive one’s abuser. That this is what SGM pastors have come to understand and practice, is reprehensible, and to the extent practiced certainly beyond civility.

    (sadface)

    Sopy

  140. Daisy wrote:

    @ anonymous:
    I’m very sorry for what you went through.
    And that “first guy is Satan’s choice” is entirely of his invention. I don’t remember the Bible teaching anything like it. It’s also just strange.

    Thanks.

    I don’t believe I’ve ever come across that anywhere else either. I do know I’ve seen the opposite more than once. One couple from our youth group who started dating as teens ended up happily married, never having dated anyone else, though they did try breaking up for a while just to make sure. That didn’t last long. And I am my husband’s first girlfriend, so the Satan thing bombs again.

    Horrible stuff.

    Incidentally, my husband is another Gothard casualty. He doesn’t talk about it much but one place it has had an enduring negative impact is in his ability to sit down with his Bible. Because of all of Gothard’s legalism on Bible reading my husband is triggered every time he tries to sit and read. He, unfortunately, actually went to a Gothard seminar in his youth. (I only got Gothardized second hand.)

    I was just wondering last night what American Evangelicalism would look like today if there had never been a Bill Gothard. I somehow expect it would be a whole lot healthier.

  141. Daisy wrote:

    “…[Gothard] provides [in one of his books] … information on how women are to select makeup and choose colors that enhance skin tone, how to choose a hair style, how to wear accessories and the place of accents on the clothing as well as how to stand (with illustrations) and why to avoid any slits in the skirt. Gothard opposes women working outside the home.”
    There are several things wrong with that, the only one I’d like to mention is that wouldn’t your John Pipers consider a man giving women make-up and fashion tips to be unmanly and going outside his manly role?

    Sounds like Queer Eye for the Straight Woman to me…

  142. anonymous wrote:

    Incidentally, my husband is another Gothard casualty. He doesn’t talk about it much but one place it has had an enduring negative impact is in his ability to sit down with his Bible. Because of all of Gothard’s legalism on Bible reading my husband is triggered every time he tries to sit and read.

    How awful that these wolves in sheep’s clothing can have such a lasting effect on people. And so many American evangelicals continue to be glib and judgmental when spiritually abused Christians have issues with the church or the Bible. Question: does Gothard’s legalism on Bible reading, as you put it, have to do with shaming people into reading the Bible, or is it just that he pushes legalistic interpretations of various biblical passages? I am only just learning about Gothard but from what I know about others like him, I would guess he would discourage people from seeking out the Scriptures on their own. These false teachers equate their own personal twisted views with the truth, and then use their various control tactics to make people believe that if they question the false teacher, they’re really questioning GOD. (Mark Driscoll is a master at this.)

    I wonder if it would be helpful for people with these horrible negative associations to try reading the Bible translation by Eugene Peterson called The Message. I’ve only just starting reading it myself, but I’m definitely finding that the very fresh take on translation (colloquial language etc.) really helps me approach the Bible as if it’s the first time I’ve ever encountered it.

  143. Hi guys,

    Daisy, I understand what you’re saying re Gothard’s bachelor status. I think it wouldn’t be an issue if it weren’t for the fact that Gothard then lays down a lot of rules re both marriage and raising children, and not just commonly accepted biblical ideas but extreme or strange interpretations of Scripture.

    I too find it a trifle irritating at times when youngsters still in their 20s pontificate from the pulpit about things that really they have no experience of, but then that just may be my pride railing against their presumption, neither of which are very healthy 😉

    Also in the examples just cited about “Satan sending his choice before God sends His choice”, you will all notice that there is no scriptural basis for that assertion whatsoever.

    Re the music and other cultural activities, we have to recognise that at one time a lot was made of youthful rebellion and the generation gap. I certainly distance myself from anything that explicitly suggests children reject authority simply because it is authority. On the other hand birds of a feather flock together, and young people like to hang out with other young people – what the FIE-type people believe seems to fly against human nature. Johnny Cash actually spoke positively of the hippies in a prequel to his song “What is Truth” (check his commentary at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-m-ga0uvY4). Most people realise by now that the self-destructive acts of certain “celebs” are not good career choices, even for a career in rock. (Speaking as a rock musician!).

  144. @Daisy – maybe Rocky Mountain High was a bit more subversive (I refused to believe that John Denver could actually be smoking pot- ha!)

    Anyway, I can relate to your feelings about being older and single. Though fortunately for me, I think I personally am happier single, but have many friends who struggle. I once wanted to punch one of my care group leaders when I asked him what the advice was for older singles from SGM and he said it’s the same as for younger singles. No clue at all!

  145. @ lilyrosemary:

    lilyrosemary,

    It seems to be both. Here is an account from someone at Recovering Grace on Gothard’s legalistic approach to Bible reading per se:

    In a recent conversation with a friend, who also is a former Advanced Training Institute (ATI) student, we reminisced about our experiences in the EXCEL program at the Dallas Training Center. One of the disciplines required of us was recording in a notebook how much time we spent each day in Bible reading and prayer. If we spent less than 20 minutes, we were asked to give an explanation. It was as if spending less than 20 minutes was shameful. Bible reading often became a duty, and, at times, a drudgery, rather than a delight.

    http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2012/12/the-right-thing-for-the-wrong-reason/

    Here is another article on Gothard and his own Bible reading, but the author doesn’t give any citation so I can’t verify the accuracy of it:

    Gothard is always pointing to his own success as an example of the results of living by these  principles. Recalling his experience as a child in school, Bill recounts how he was the worst student and had to pass every grade on probation. Then one day someone drew Gothard’s attention to Psalm 1, where it says, “in His law he meditates day and night…whatever he does shall prosper.” Gothard took this literally, concluding that to meditate on God’s Word will “guarantee that everything you do will prosper…”

    So Bill started spending seventeen hours a week memorizing and meditating on scripture. Believe it or not, he immediately started getting straight A’s, without spending any extra time studying. When Gothard felt he no longer had time to spend seventeen hours a week meditating on scripture, his grades plummeted back down, but as long as he spent a minimum of seventeen hours meditating on the Bible, his grades remained constantly good. This experience had such an impact on Gothard that he has built his whole life around the idea that predictable results can be achieved by following the right steps.

    http://robinphillips.blogspot.com/2008/03/bill-gothard-ati.html

    I would assume those who have been more heavily involved could corroborate this.

  146. lilyrosemary:
    lilyrosemary wrote:

    I wonder if it would be helpful for people with these horrible negative associations to try reading the Bible translation by Eugene Peterson called The Message. I’ve only just starting reading it myself, but I’m definitely finding that the very fresh take on translation (colloquial language etc.) really helps me approach the Bible as if it’s the first time I’ve ever encountered it.

    I did buy a copy of The Message last year, and you are spot on: it’s the first time I’ve been able to read a version of the Bible without getting triggered. I haven’t read much of it, but it is a friendly and accessible text, although Gothard and his ilk would condemn it as a “per”version.

    I also cannot go into a church without having a panic attack, as someone else described upthread. I have been to services in nearly every Protestant denomination, as well as a Catholic Mass, and the least frightening one I’ve found so far is the Episcopal Church. Then someone in the congregation started singing with her hands raised (I am NOT judging this style of worship) and it brought back a lot of negative associations for me and I had to leave. So I am still faithless and backslidden and wish so much that I could believe. I keep hoping that by reading about others’ experiences in fundamentalism and how some have survived with their faith intact, that someday I’ll be able to find my way back, too.

  147. lemonaidfizz wrote:

    I did buy a copy of The Message last year, and you are spot on: it’s the first time I’ve been able to read a version of the Bible without getting triggered. I haven’t read much of it, but it is a friendly and accessible text, although Gothard and his ilk would condemn it as a “per”version.
    … I keep hoping that by reading about others’ experiences in fundamentalism and how some have survived with their faith intact, that someday I’ll be able to find my way back, too.

    Hi Lemonaidfizz, thanks for sharing your experience with The Message. I’m glad you find it more accessible. It’s crazy to me that there are still so many people who use the Bible to try to control others in the name of God. Do they ever stop and question their own motives?

    I’ve come to believe that doubt and questions and uncertainty are not the enemy. Look at all the damage done under the guise of of “knowing the truth”! I believe in truth, but the absolute certainty sold by the fundamentalists seems so often to be built on sand. I think you’re on the right track reading about others’ experiences. If anything I hope it allows for some healing.

  148. @ anonymous:
    Thank you for explaining more about his views. I suspected that if he did actually encourage Bible study, it would involve these awful shaming tactics. Really, it seems as bad to me as discouraging people from studying the Scriptures at all. All that legalism squelches any joy one might experience in seeking God … is that the point, I wonder?

  149. The “umbrella covering/protection” concept reminds me of (a) the relationship between a feudal lord/king and his serfs and (b) a mafioso’s relationship to the people who pay him for “protection.”

    In other words: submit to me, pay me, do what I say, and be grateful for the “benefits” you receive!

  150. What I get from all this Gothard stuff, & others like him, is just the total waste of hours/weeks/months/years of people looking at themselves & their families in minute detail, creating ‘spiritual’ Himalayas out of every tiny human molehill. This leaves next to no time for serving the poor, being salt & light in society, doing anyone any bloody good at all. It’s based on both fear & pride. Just horribly empty & devoid of….love. Where is the love? And without it what is the frikkin’ point?

  151. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Doubling down for self-treatment? “I Have X Problem, so Everybody MUST Have the Same Problem”?
    Remember recovering alcoholic Billy Sunday preaching Against Demon Rum and ONLY Against Demon Rum? Dry Pledge as part of the Altar Call?
    Or Ted Haggard preaching against Homsexuality before he got caught with a male prostie?

    In my view, this pattern fits well within the theory that many of these sorts of aggressive, overbearing Christian leaders suffer from NPD. (Or perhaps it’s more appropriate to say that their followers suffer from their NPD). One of the hallmarks of NPD is assuming that everyone else is like you, in part because of a refusal/inability to empathize in any meaningful way.

  152. numo wrote:

    I think it’s sad when adults take the fun out of holidays – and not just for kids, though certainly, trying to ban Christmas for kids is a super-killjoy thing to do.
    I’ve also seen lots of people objecting to the Easter Bunny, but somehow, that always seemed a bit ridiculous to me.

    I agree. So much of modern Christianity has been infused with non-Christian concepts and ideas, that unless you make a hardline break with everything, it’s inconsistent and hypocritical to harp on some things but not others.

    Sure, “Easter” is actually Ishtar, a fertility goddess (hence the eggs and rabbits). But Christmas trees are an ancient Germanic pagan ritual, as is the Yule log. And I’m pretty sure these fundies wouldn’t dare ban Christmas!

  153. Beakerj wrote:

    What I get from all this Gothard stuff, & others like him, is just the total waste of hours/weeks/months/years of people looking at themselves & their families in minute detail, creating ‘spiritual’ Himalayas out of every tiny human molehill. This leaves next to no time for serving the poor, being salt & light in society, doing anyone any bloody good at all. It’s based on both fear & pride. Just horribly empty & devoid of….love. Where is the love? And without it what is the frikkin’ point?

    Bingo! And is has folks looking to the human “leader” which is the whole point of it.

  154. @ Mr.H: Christmas has been banned before (England for a while, beginning in 1647; Massachusetts Bay Colony); am sure someone, somewhere is still banning its celebration.

    As Dr. Seuss rightly said, that’s the action of a Grinch! 🙂

  155. @ Mr.H: I kind of prefer Eostre, since the story is obscure and it seems to have more to do with a woman who cared about animals; hares in particular.

    I am a big fan of the House Rabbit Society, personally – http://www.rabbit.org

  156. I love the Recovering Grace Facebook page. They often post quotes and verses about Grace – the real stuff. It was so helpful to me last year when, in the midst of all my questioning, God’s Love and Grace started to become living, breathing realities in my life rather than doctrinal bullet-points. I’ve never been involved with any of Gothard’s stuff, but I strongly suspect he has had at least some influence on the circles I was involved in. Lots of similarities.

    I love that so many are stepping out from under their suffocating umbrellas, and discovering the beauty of both the sunshine and the rain.

    Check out this song by Switchfoot (here are part of the lyrics):

    I found the way out
    This city takes everything it can
    But outside the crowd
    I can feel my lungs again
    Born for the blue skies, we’ll survive the rain.
    Born for the sunrise, we’ll survive the pain.

    Switchfoot says the song is dedicated to homeless kids, but I can’t help but see the parallels to those who’ve left authoritarian religion behind at all costs.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLyGum9sb8I

  157. P.S. Sorry I’m not able to comment much any more. 🙁 Trying to put my life back together, a daily uphill battle. I try to read everything but it’s hard to keep up! I love this blog and have a deep appreciation for everyone here, always will. Cannot ever forget how helpful so many here have been to me in my searching to know a GOOD God. I still struggle, but am at an infinitely better place spiritually than I have been in years and years. Best of all, I can take my struggles to God and rest assured that he loves me anyway. 🙂

  158. The associations of ancient pagan festivals with Christian festivals is a bit of a red herring, I think, much abused by both the militant atheists and the militant fundamentalists who want to ban Christmas. Easter is I believe based on the Passover when Jesus was crucified. I’m not sure whether the Middle East has a spring in the sense that North Americans and Europeans would undersatnd it (fresh buds on trees and little bunnies bounding around – I thought rabbits bred whenever they wanted anyway!). I think such pagan rituals would have been more normal in our northern latitudes where the turn of winter to spring would have been more noticeable, although of course the Mieddle East has their own fertility cults.

    The other elephant in the room is of course that Christian festivals honour Christ and Christ alone, not pagan deities, seasons or anything else. Granted the timing of Christmas is a bit arbitrary, but I see no reason not to celebrate the Incarnation. I can’t remember reading any of the theological giants of the Christian church over the past two thousand years being against it.

  159. @ Looking for You:
    I’m sure Dee, Deb and most other commenters on this page could say this better than I can, but our hearts go out to you and we pray that you will continue to “get it together” at your own – and God’s – pace, and yes, God loves you anyway!

  160. I attended the Institute for Basic Youth Conflicts in the early 80s with a group from my church. I was a pretty naive 21-year-old, with no idea who Bill Gothard was. I was surprised at one couple in our group who were absolutely convinced that “if Bill Gothard said it, it was right” –even as young and immature as I was, I knew that he was just a man and he was not infallible. The lists of “7 steps to …” also set off my BS radar. There are no guarantees, and nobody can tell you for certain that if you do X, Y will *always* happen. It just don’t work that way! I put the book away on a shelf and after a few years, threw it out. It makes me sad to see how many people’s lives and families were so deeply messed up by this teaching.

    I remember the umbrella, the Cabbage Patch dolls warning (also He-Man, Master of the Universe!) as well as the warning against adopting, since you don’t know what kind of sin may be in that child’s background. The opposite of kindness and compassion. Oh, and the music stuff. I thought that was just weird and ignored it. Actually, that was my reaction to pretty much the whole seminar.

    My mother told me that she’d heard Chuck Swindoll, a friend of Bill Gothard’s, say of him: “There’s nothing wrong with Bill Gothard that a nagging wife and four whiny kids wouldn’t cure.”

  161. Church humor from the early 80s:

    Did you hear that Bill Bright and Bill Gothard have re-written The Four Spiritual Laws?
    The first one now is, “God loves you and has a terrible plan for your wife.”

  162. @ Kolya:

    I think such pagan rituals would have been more normal in our northern latitudes where the turn of winter to spring would have been more noticeable, although of course the Mieddle East has their own fertility cults.

    They didn’t even have rabbits in the Middle East – I know this might sound strange, but all European rabbits (wild and domestic) came from the Iberian Peninsula originally.

    The thing is, the church apparently did choose to conflate certain dates that were important in various “pagan” cultures with certain church feast days, which is (I think) one of the reasons Christmas is in December – I mean, when are lambs born in the ME? Probably not in December – i know I’ve read things about this in the past but am drawing a complete blank right now.

    Apart from anything else, I do think it makes sense that mid-December was chosen, from a Northern hemisphere perspective, since it’s the time of year when (imo) we most need a good and joyful celebration. (of course, nobody consulted people in the Southern hemisphere about the date, or they’d likely have chosen June/July! ;))

  163. @ Kolya:

    I thought rabbits bred whenever they wanted anyway

    They do, though wild ones tend to mate more frequently when the days begin to get longer… like everything else in the world, they’re “waking up” as winter passes.

    Hope that’s not too much rabbit trivia – I have an indoor rabbit and am kind of a bunny fanatic at this point.

  164. Back in the 1970s my church was one of many that promoted the Institute for Basic Youth Conflicts and Advanced Training Institute. Gothard was so popular back then he filled the convention center in our major metro area.

    It took years to get that legalistic, shame-inducing stuff out of my soul. I find it hard to believe he’s still around and anyone finds him credible.

  165. @ numo:
    Numo, I had to laugh at the phrase “kind of a bunny fanatic.” I just don’t think I’ve ever seen those words together before!

    I think it’s great you know so much about bunnies. Have you ever read Watership Down?

  166. Beakerj wrote:

    What I get from all this Gothard stuff, & others like him, is just the total waste of hours/weeks/months/years of people looking at themselves & their families in minute detail, creating ‘spiritual’ Himalayas out of every tiny human molehill. This leaves next to no time for serving the poor, being salt & light in society, doing anyone any bloody good at all. It’s based on both fear & pride. Just horribly empty & devoid of….love. Where is the love? And without it what is the frikkin’ point?

    This.

    People sneer at the plain proposal of love, smearing it with overtones of hippy free-sex, or of naivete and girliness, or of “liberalism” (code for Satan, I’m noticing), etc. But actually, not one of the issues that Gothard self-righteously preaches can be understood without a heart of love, which he doesn’t exhibit. Therefore, a clanging waste.

    And that is literal biblical truth. 🙂

  167. I think that one of the reasons that people fall for these guys in the first place is the very real human desire in all of us for certainty. Whether it’s Wall Street investors or devotees of religions who want assurance that they won’t burn in hell after death, we all want to bet on a sure thing. The human psyche abhors uncertainty, it recoils in horror from it.

  168. Muff Potter (inter alia) wrote:

    I think that one of the reasons that people fall for these guys in the first place is the very real human desire in all of us for certainty. Whether it’s Wall Street investors or devotees of religions who want assurance that they won’t burn in hell after death, we all want to bet on a sure thing. The human psyche abhors uncertainty, it recoils in horror from it.

    I commend to all of your attention, if you’ve not already heard of it, the famous Milgram Experiment. I don’t want to make this post overlong, so I recommend at least a quick skim over the Wiki article on it. It was actually designed post-War with a view to understanding how and why apparently normal human beings had participated in perpetrating the Holocaust.

    Milgram himself noted:

    … authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation.

    Although the Milgram Experiment dealt with peoples’ willingness to inflict harm on another, rather than suffer privation or hardship themselves, I suspect the basic premise is the same in both cases: people will do what they’re told if the person telling them carries the trappings of authority. Thus, as per the post by anonymous above, a young woman deeply in love with a certain young man attends a seminar at which the Eminent Speaker, Bill Gothard, declares that said young man is probably planted in her life by Satan. She believes Gothard, over her own conscience, because he is an Eminent Speaker with a lectern and a microphone.

    It all goes to show just how careful we need to be in choosing our heroes. The trouble is that, as C. Northcote Parkinson put it, if we could tell good advice from bad advice, we wouldn’t need advice in the first place.

  169. @ Patrice:
    No love = no Christianity. It wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for love and isn’t supposed to function without it. Both Jesus and Paul were pretty clear that all we need to do to be ‘good’ Christians is love each other.

  170. Anne

    Unfortunately there is a group of men who now wish to define love as church discipline.You know-I love you enough to punish you. That really gets me mad.

  171. Muff Potter wrote:

    I think that one of the reasons that people fall for these guys in the first place is the very real human desire in all of us for certainty. Whether it’s Wall Street investors or devotees of religions who want assurance that they won’t burn in hell after death, we all want to bet on a sure thing. The human psyche abhors uncertainty, it recoils in horror from it.

    You are right, Muff, often we humans choose certainty over truth. But I believe doubt and uncertainty is built right into the human experience and it’s a mistake to focus on squelching questions instead of simply seeking truth in whatever form it takes. When I read about this guy telling people he’s figured out this simple checklist for guaranteed success I cannot help but wonder: has he ever read the book of Job? Who ARE these men claiming to know the mind of God?

  172. Numo, thanks for your information. Rabbits are popular pets over here too, although paradoxically the authorities tried to wipe out the wild ones in the 50s because of the damage they were causing to agriculture.

    That’s interesting re their Iberian origins – they certainly weren’t native to Britain (so I understand) until the Romans brought them over as a food source. In Iberia they probably had large birds of prey and lynxes to keep them in check. Wikipedia suggests hares were introduced to Britain in prehistoric times. A hare in full flight across a field is certainly a sight to behold.

  173. @ Kolya: I could talk about rabbits forever, pretty much – so many thanks for your comment!

    There are organizations in Britain devoted to the rescue and rehoming of domestic rabbits; as here, many are neglected, abandoned, or both. People who have domestic buns in the UK have to get yearly vaccines for them for myxomatosis and viral hemorraghic [sp?] disease even now – and sadly, the vaccines aren’t 100% effective.

  174. Numo, now that’s what I call a lagomorph! 🙂

    It’s interesting that a lot of the giant forms of otherwise fairly modest-sized groups of animals have disappeared. Size doesn’t always confer an advantage in the animal kingdom. Maybe we could whip up some money for a cloning project 😉

  175. lilyrosemary wrote:

    When I read about this guy telling people he’s figured out this simple checklist for guaranteed success I cannot help but wonder: has he ever read the book of Job? Who ARE these men claiming to know the mind of God?

    These men claim the Bible as their authority. I am convinced that they sincerely believe that Holy Writ MUST HAVE an absolute black-and-white application for every nuance in real life. So long as they do not seek to enforce their beliefs on others and obey the laws of the land regarding life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all, I care not what holy book they follow, or what god they worship.

  176. @ Nick:

    “Although the Milgram Experiment dealt with peoples’ willingness to inflict harm on another, rather than suffer privation or hardship themselves, I suspect the basic premise is the same in both cases: people will do what they’re told if the person telling them carries the trappings of authority.”

    What I think is an important addendum to this: Especially if that authority manages to make their subject afraid and make themselves (the authority figure) seem like the only one who can protect/save the subject. Or if the subject came to them afraid in the first place. And this is exactly what many of these legalistic teachers do – instill fear in their listeners. It could be fear of hell, losing their children to the world, their marriage falling apart, whatever. It’s still fear and it’s a very useful tool for a manipulator.

    I recently had this brought home to me by, of all things, a video game…as stupid as that sounds.

  177. @ Kolya & Numo:

    So glad someone else knows the word lagomorph! : D

    I’m actually a bit of closet nerd about island species…I recently discovered the giant barn owls that used to live in the Bahamas and I kinda geeked out a bit…for a whole day… : /

  178. Hester, just read your critique of Mr Phillips’ writings. Very interesting. The obsession with “vision” seems a bit of a novelty – I can’t remember anyone preaching that it was the Christian’s duty to have a vision, esp when things like holiness, love, witnessing, fellowship, good works, etc are specifically mentioned in the NT.

    Island species are fascinating indeed, esp the trend towards giantism within such a small environment. Komodo Dragons are another prime example, but have you ever seen the Macroscincus skinks of the Cape Verde Islands? (Now probably extinct – sigh….)

  179. dee wrote:

    Anne
    Unfortunately there is a group of men who now wish to define love as church discipline.You know-I love you enough to punish you. That really gets me mad.

    The same ones who will scream in the face of soemone they barely know or a stranger that they are a sinner who needs to repent or they’ll BURN IN HELL and then define that as loving.

  180. Emily wrote:

    Can only imagine what Mr. Gothard would say about World of Warcraft… which I’ve been playing for 6 months now (yes, I’m a girl & play WoW!). I’m not a Satan-worshipper… yet… LOL!!!
    I never played D&D, as I was a good little ATI girl until about 2 years ago. I’ve been told that it was a paper game? That’s why I think WoW, with its animations & real-time human interactions would make Mr. Gothard roll over in his grave except that he’s not dead yet.

    6 years+ here. Still not a Satan-worshipper. I felt pretty rebellious at first, because I had the whole D&D thing hanging over my head.

    There was no Internet in those days back in the mid-80s, but Gothard et al.’s teachings made their way Down Under, filtered through all kinds of places & people.

    It’s funny (not ha-ha funny) that while I lived through completely different circumstances to the those common to many people here, reading about people’s experiences triggers so many emotions and reflects my current state of mind.

    I still have a Bob Larson book on my bookshelf (mainly because I don’t want anyone else ending up with it)

  181. Warwick wrote:

    The same ones who will scream in the face of someone they barely know or a stranger that they are a sinner who needs to repent or they’ll BURN IN HELL and then define that as loving.

    Yep.

  182. I’ve taken to calling it pretzel logic; I’ve heard and seen way too many people say “I know this seems really hateful and awful, but it’s actually really loving because…” then they twist themselves into a pretzel, and still can’t see how twisted up they’ve become.

  183. We were involved in a church that had several ATI families and Gothard sympathizers.

    – Cabbage Patch dolls
    – back-beats
    – redefining Grace
    – not tithing causing miscarriages
    – adoption being discouraged
    – circumcision still required
    – “rhemas”

    etc… The man was able to churn out an amazing material designed to keep you in bondage.

    There is a Yahoo discussion group that has been around for 15+ years that has reams of information on Gothard. If anyone is interested you can find it here – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Gothard_discussion/

    You do have to join to see the materials in the group.

  184. @ numo:

    The little “pikas” are most adorable of all. Now they would make a totally approachable Easter bunny!!

  185. @numo – I’m not sure if you’re male or female, but I know a gal who brought her bunny to church for a therapy pets event in a baby stroller. Turns most guys off, I think, but perfect lady for a guy bunny fanatic and perfect BFF for a lady bunny fanatic.

  186. @ Former CLC’er: Hey – when the bunny is OK with the stroller, it’s very cool. Many aren’t, though – being prey animals and all.

    therapy buns are pretty amazing, though! (I’m a woman, but taking animals out in a stroller is not necessarily my thing – plus, I think my bun would be in freakout mode. She was dumped and, I suspect, abused prior to that, so…)

    Their personalities vary widely and some are never entirely comfortable with humans, while some others are a lot like little puppies (but in a very rabbity way).

  187. @ Bridget: Well, that Minorcan giant lagomorph is not very bunny-like, imo… In fact, those artists’ renderings make it look a bit scary and definitely weird.

    btw, there are giant bunny breeds – I met a giant bun (young) 2 weeks ago, and her ears were as long as my bun’s body! (My bun is little; not quite 3 lbs.)

  188. LOL does anyone remember that film “Night of the Lepus” when a town is attacked by giant rabbits?

    There’s also a picture of the world’s biggest bun Hermann, being held by a German breeder. It looks like his head is as big as his owner’s. According to Wikipedia he gets through a bale of hay a day.

    Warwick, re Larson, didn’t he have a change of mind after he met Stryper? Bob Larson is a name you don’t hear so much of these days.

  189. @ Kolya: Oh yeah – it’s a really terrible movie! My favorite line, early on, is when there’s speculation that an attack was caused by a saber-toothed tiger. Seriously! The actors play those lines with straight faces.

    Those pics of the giant bun (Herman) make me cringe because of the way the guy is holding the bun and also because of the poor fellow’s (bun’s) purpose in life.

  190. @ Warwick:

    “Bioshock Infinite?”

    Amnesia. I can’t deny that a lot of the game was seriously disturbing and graphic (I usually hate all things horror, heck I’m not even a regular gamer ever since the Myst series ended, so this was way outside my normal) but it’s an excellent portrayal of fear-based manipulation nonetheless. Complete with horrific, tragic and fatal consequences. Note: chock full of triggers if anyone has ever been the victim of violence.

    What’s the plot of Bioshock?

  191. @ Kolya:

    I think I had heard of those skinks but I’m more into birds and mammals than reptiles so I probably forgot about them. I’m the kind of person who’s sad that there aren’t any moas in New Zealand or thylacines in Tasmania…or heath hens and passenger pigeons in my backyard, come to think of it. : (

  192. @ Brian:

    “not tithing causing miscarriages”

    Okay, this has been bugging me for a while. Christians have been claiming miscarriages as God’s judgment for centuries but where in the Bible does it say that God uses miscarriages as a punishment? How can people who are pro-life and will go through all sorts of hoopla to defend unborn babies, simultaneously claim that God kills those same innocent babies to punish their parents?

  193. Hester wrote:

    @ Warwick
    What’s the plot of Bioshock?

    Honestly, couldn’t tell you. I know it’s chock full of religious imagery and a redemption narrative, but I couldn’t get past the intro video of Bioshock 2 :/

  194. Hester wrote:

    How can people who are pro-life and will go through all sorts of hoopla to defend unborn babies, simultaneously claim that God kills those same innocent babies to punish their parents?

    The same way they can jump through all sorts of hoops to justify denying any financial assistance to the same unwed teenage mothers they demand not have abortions? The same way they can explain violence is always bad except when God does it or commands it, or when executing a prisoner, or supporting Ugandan laws attempting to have LGBTs executed.

    Many pro-lifers aren’t pro life, they’re just pro-birth.

  195. @ Warwick:

    So you believe to rectify what you believe are infractions (e.g., “assistance to the same unwed teenage mothers they demand not have abortions? The same way they can explain violence is always bad except when God does it or commands it, or when executing a prisoner, or supporting Uganda…” etc) -they should start supporting abortion on demand, that would nullify all the other things or make everything okay in your mind? I don’t follow that reasoning.

    Some pro-lifers do adopt children, volunteer at shelters and medical centers that assist pregnant teen agers, etc.

  196. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Twenty years after, it was Harry Potter.

    This isn’t meant as a put-down of Harry Potter, but it’s just an observation the Harry Potter peak of popularity was over a few years ago.

    It’s hard for me to pin point an exact year, but the trend died down. So for some Christian preachers to keep using HP as an example of the “dangers of the occult” or witchcraft is ridiculous. And they do, by the way, every so often, I see tele evangelists refer to HP – even this past year I’ve heard one on TV mention HP as being a dangerous influence on kids.

    When I see regular people (not preachers) mention HP now, on Pinterest and other sites like that, by the people who were kids when HP came out, they discuss it in nostalgic terms, fondly remembering it from childhood, not as though they are still into it.

  197. @ anonymous:

    If your husband is having a hard time Bible reading – could he try an audio version?

    The Bible is available on CDs, and I think mp3 format?

    Also on DVD. My dad has a DVD copy of the NIV (I think my dad’s copy also comes with the KJV).

    You pop it into your DVD player and can listen to a guy read the Bible (while the verses are displayed on the TV screen).

    The DVD Bible version is broken up into chapters, so you can skip around to whatever part of the Bible you want.

    Maybe for someone who has obstacles picking up a paper copy of the Bible could more easily tolerate a DVD or audio version?

  198. Daisy wrote:

    So you believe to rectify what you believe are infractions (e.g., “assistance to the same unwed teenage mothers they demand not have abortions? The same way they can explain violence is always bad except when God does it or commands it, or when executing a prisoner, or supporting Uganda…” etc) -they should start supporting abortion on demand, that would nullify all the other things or make everything okay in your mind? I don’t follow that reasoning.

    This is why I shouldn’t try and reply from my iPad when I’m late for work.

    What I was trying to say that if someone wants to be pro-life, they should be consistently pro-life. Not that someone should give up their pro-life stance, but that they should extend that right through their beliefs. My experience is that many pro-lifers don’t. I was like that for many years, until I started to talk to people, and think through the consequences of a black and white position. I’m glad I did too, because I had no idea what was to come…

    A baby is a lot of work, and takes a lot of effort to raise properly. For a society that condemns abortion, but then seems to do everything in its power to rip support away from those who chose to have the child, that seems inconsistent to me. The fact that some pro-lifers do that is why I said “many” pro-lifers – not all.

    Greg Boyd has written about it far more eloquently than I can, so I’ll just link his post here.
    http://reknew.org/2012/10/qa-what-is-your-stance-on-abortion/

    What personally frustrates me the most is that the issue gets boiled down to a black and white issue, when there are incredibly grey areas in between. I knew a Christian woman who lived with many years of condemnation because she and her husband chose to terminate a pregnancy which was literally “If you don’t do this, you will both die”.

    Then there’s our experience. At twelve weeks gestation, our daughter was diagnosed with a fatal birth defect. No chance of survival, nothing could be done. If we chose to go to term, she would die during the birth. We were offered a D&C, we couldn’t do it. We prayed, and had dozens (hundreds?) of people praying for us. At 18 weeks we had another ultrasound, and there was no healing – things were worse.

    People congratulating you in the supermarket and asking “when are you due? Is it a boy or a girl?” can take it’s toll on you; my wife’s mental health was disintegrating.

    At 22 weeks, labour was induced.

    I got to dress my little girl. Her brothers and sister got to meet her, and acknowledge her. We were able to say goodbye. We visit her grave every year.

    Make no mistake, though. One of the nurses made it quite clear (and coldly too) that we were having an abortion.

    As far as the statistics go, we’re just another abortion. People in our church march every year to see our state abortion laws overturned; a side-effect of that is that people in our situation would be required to carry the baby to term. I sit quietly when they talk; to them it’s black and white, to me it’s grey and exquisitely painful.

    I wrote a couple of blog posts about it, the first one is here:
    http://www.warwickrendell.com/2010/11/10/the-worst-day-of-our-lives/

  199. Kolya wrote:

    I think it wouldn’t be an issue if it weren’t for the fact that Gothard then lays down a lot of rules re both marriage and raising children, and not just commonly accepted biblical ideas but extreme or strange interpretations of Scripture.

    I too find it a trifle irritating at times when youngsters still in their 20s pontificate from the pulpit about things that really they have no experience of, but then that just may be my pride railing against their presumption, neither of which are very healthy

    It not just the youngsters who do this, though.

    There are Christian guys in their 50s, 60s, 70s, who got married at 18 – 25 who are still married who tell never marrieds over the age of 35 how to date and so on.

    They feel very comfortable, these long- time married men, giving romance/ dating/ (how to get) marriage advice to never- married women (and to men) who are past 35 – but they have no idea what it’s like to still be single at this age and still abstaining from sex.

    Can I say that as a never- married (and celibate) person, I tend to notice a lot more that married people do not.

    Because I’m not coupled up, not engaging in sex, I’m able to pick up a lot of weird attitudes and trends that often go un-noticed by married Christians. Some of it seems to sail over their heads. (Until they get divorced or their husband dies when they’re 45, then they discover what it’s like to be single in most evangelical or Baptist churches.)

  200. FormerCLC’er wrote:

    I once wanted to punch one of my care group leaders when I asked him what the advice was for older singles from SGM and he said it’s the same as for younger singles. No clue at all!

    Yeah, it’s not the same being still single at 35+ as it is teen years to 35.

    I do go through times when I’m okay being single. It varies. I have time it bothers me, other times I feel okay about it. I also see a lot of miserable married people and divorced people… marriage does not bring happiness and can bring misery.

  201. EMR wrote:

    Church humor from the early 80s:
    Did you hear that Bill Bright and Bill Gothard have re-written The Four Spiritual Laws?
    The first one now is, “God loves you and has a terrible plan for your wife.”

    Hee hee. That’s funny 🙂

  202. Janey wrote:

    I find it hard to believe he’s still around and anyone finds him credible.

    I feel the same way with other disgraced personalities in Christiendom. I think Tilton made a come back, and so too has Jim Bakker.

    Jim Bakker has denounced the prosperity gospel he used to espouse, and good on him, but now he’s on television trying to scare people out of their money.

    He keeps peddling a fear-based outlook where ‘the world as we know it is going to end any moment, so buy your dried food and solar panels from me.’

    I don’t know how these guys get back on the tv after having been exposed previously.

  203. Brian wrote:

    – not tithing causing miscarriages
    – adoption being discouraged

    The tithing one is weird.

    Speaking of the adoption one-
    Pat Robertson’s Advice: Don’t Adopt Children

    -Which is even stranger because Pat’s co-host on that show, Terri, has herself adopted several kids and regularly encouragely people to adopt. She also spends time at orphanages, encourages Christians to help orphanages, etc

  204. Hester wrote:

    What’s the plot of Bioshock?

    I played Bioshock a long time ago, about 99% through, didn’t finish it all.

    All I remember is running around in a retro style, deco- influenced art type city that’s built underwater.

    I do remember you can choose whether to help or hurt little girls in the game (they are called “Little Sisters”). You get one kind of instant pay off if you kill them, and another at the end of the game if you choose to spare them or what not. I always went the good guy route and spared the kids.

    Wiki has a page about the game that tells you the story line.

  205. Hester wrote:

    How can people who are pro-life and will go through all sorts of hoopla to defend unborn babies, simultaneously claim that God kills those same innocent babies to punish their parents?

    I wish I could remember where I saw it, but there was a similar discussion a few weeks or months ago, when a guy (I think it was a Neo Calvinist) said (on a blog of his, or in a Tweet?) that rape was God’s punishment on society for society rejecting God and/or God’s commandments. Many women argued with the guy over that, asking how it made sense.

  206. @ Warwick:

    I’m very sorry for your loss.

    Just because many, or some, pro lifers don’t go out of their way to personally adopt a baby, or what not, does not make abortion on demand correct.

    In America, something like 90% (or higher, I forget the exact number) abortions are done on women where they conceived via consensual sex.

    Here in the USA it’s popular to support abortion on the premise that raped people need it, or if mother’s health is in danger, but most are done on women who chose willingly to have sex.

    My mom was told after pregnancy #1 to never have another baby, that should she conceive to get an abortion, because it would kill her. (She had a miscarriage between either 1 and 2 or 2 and 3.)

    My mom got pregnant with baby 2, was told to have an abortion, did not. She had me later (#3).

    Then you have stuff like this:

    Worker admits cutting [spines of] 10 babies at abortion clinic

    Shock Allegations in Gosnell Trial Include Bloodied Patient Files, Dirty Tools Spreading STDs and Babies ‘Screeching’ (WARNING: Graphic)

  207. @ Warwick:

    I just left you a post, but it’s sitting in mod queue, I assume due to two links or a word used. Here is the same post, minus the links:

    I’m very sorry for your loss.

    Just because many, or some, pro lifers don’t go out of their way to personally adopt a baby, or what not, does not make abortion on demand correct.

    In America, something like 90% (or higher, I forget the exact number) abortions are done on women where they conceived via consensual — (had to remove word or it will get caught in blog spam).

    Here in the USA it’s popular to support abortion on the premise that raped people need it, or if mother’s health is in danger, but most are done on women who chose willingly to have you- know- what (that word sends post to mod queue, rhymes with “TEX”).

    My mom was told after pregnancy #1 to never have another baby, that should she conceive to get an abortion, because it would kill her. (She had a miscarriage between either 1 and 2 or 2 and 3.)

    My mom got pregnant with baby 2, was told to have an abortion, did not. She had me later (#3).

    Then you have stuff like this:
    (-removed links)
    -links to stories about Gosnell abortion clinic where grown babies, out of womb, had spines cut by Gosnell and nurses, some of the babies killed by him even though they breathed, moved on their own, etc.-

  208. I’m confused here, Daisy. I feel like you think I’m arguing for on-demand abortion. I’m not.

    I’m not saying that abortion on demand is OK. I’m saying that it’s a complex issue; it’s not as black and white as either side makes it out to be, and as pro-lifers we need to have greater consistency in our pro-life stance, making sure that we’re consistently pro-life.

  209. @ Warwick:

    I just skimmed over the first page of the Boyd editorial you linked to and am very troubled to see him advocating on getting people to agree on what = legal human, by way of how much brain activity is taking place, etc.

    That chills me, can’t agree to it at all and am surprised a Christian would use that argument.

    That is some of the same rhetoric used in the Terry Schiavo case, and I was against her being starved to death. She was still a human being, I don’t care how much brain damage she had, or most of her brain was missing, or most bodily functions based on brain stem alone, etc. Her parents loved her and were willing to care for her, as was one of her brothers.

    Boyd said he does’t believe it personally but that it’s a pragmatic argument to put forward, and I don’t think I agree.

    As to this (quote Boyd):
    “What about those rare cases when a woman’s pregnancy is the result of rape or where it threatens her life?”

    That was my mother’s situation, and she went through with all three pregnancies anyway.

    I’ve seen women who were raped who had the baby and raised it. Some gave the baby up for adoption. I’ve never understood why the baby has to pay for the sins of the man (the rapist).

    Boyd said
    “Yet, most pro-lifers who insist that it is self-evident that full personhood begins at conception want to make exceptions in these circumstances, and the question is, why?”

    I do not (see my comments above).

    In the “Becky and Dorothy” example he gave (with the teen Becky who is unmarried), he lost me. I chose to refrain from sex, so I never had to worry about “unplanned pregnancies.”

    I don’t think it fair for all expenses fall on the fictional Dorothy – why didn’t the Dorthy lady in the example go to a local church, tell them of the situation, and the whole church pitch in and donate diapers and baby formula and such?

  210. And yet another post I made to Warwick has been sent to mod queue. Dang.

    Here it is again, censored so it will get through (I hope):

    I just skimmed over the first page of the Boyd editorial you linked to and am very troubled to see him advocating on getting people to agree on what = legal human, by way of how much brain activity is taking place, etc.

    That chills me. I can’t agree to it at all and am surprised a Christian would use that argument.

    That is some of the same rhetoric used in the Terry Schiavo case, and I was against her being starved to death. She was still a human being, I don’t care how much brain damage she had, or most of her brain was missing, or most bodily functions based on brain stem alone, etc.

    Her parents loved her and were willing to care for her, as was one of her brothers.

    Boyd said he does’t believe it personally but that it’s a pragmatic argument to put forward, and I don’t think I agree.
    As to this (quote Boyd):

    “What about those rare cases when a woman’s pregnancy is the result of rape or where it threatens her life?”

    That was my mother’s situation, and she went through with all three pregnancies anyway.

    I’ve seen women who were raped who had the baby and raised it. Some gave the baby up for adoption. I’ve never understood why the baby has to pay for the sins of the man (the rapist).

    Boyd said,
    “Yet, most pro-lifers who insist that it is self-evident that full personhood begins at conception want to make exceptions in these circumstances, and the question is, why?”

    I do not (see my comments above).

    In the “Becky and Dorothy” example he gave (with the teen Becky, who is unmarried), he lost me.

    I chose to refrain from “TEX”, so I never had to worry about “unplanned pregnancies.”

    I don’t think it fair for all expenses fall on the fictional Dorothy – why didn’t the Dorthy lady in the example go to a local church, tell them of the situation, and the whole church pitch in and donate diapers and baby formula and such?

    Warwick said,

    I feel like you think I’m arguing for on-demand abortion. I’m not.

    I’m saying abortion doesn’t become morally acceptable merely because some pro-lifers all don’t personally open their wallets and homes to pregnant teen girls. Should they? I’d say so.

    I see a parallel to this in my own life.

    I’m barely holding on to faith in Jesus Christ myself lately.

    I was neglected and insulted by self professing Christians at a very tough time in my life, when I needed support the most but got kicked in the face instead (by Christians I went to for help).

    It’s very hard to hold on to the faith when the Christians you go to for help do not only not help, but beat you up or just brush you off. They make Christianity look meaningless and pointless.

    But I’m trying very hard not to let their laxity and poor examples make me abandon the faith.

    I’d also shy away from the premise that ‘because some pro lifers don’t personally adopt unwanted babies, this is a reason for abortion to stay legal,’ because it’s a favorite talking point of Non- Christian, pro- choice people who converse on child-free forums.

    Some pro-lifers have funded pregnancy centers, where unwed mothers can go and they do get free medical care, free baby food, free baby clothes, etc. I’ve seen these clinics discussed in segments on Christian programs.

  211. I feel like I probably should just leave it at this for now, Daisy.

    I think we actually agree on many points, but I can see this discussion becoming incredibly complicated if we continue further.

    Daisy wrote:

    I’m barely holding on to faith in Jesus Christ myself lately.

    And that there… that’s what we both have in common right now :/

  212. @ Daisy:

    Oh, that is Bioshock. Come to think of it I do remember reading a plot synopsis about an underwater city and Little Sisters. Never played it though.

  213. Hester wrote:

    @ Brian:
    “not tithing causing miscarriages”
    Okay, this has been bugging me for a while. Christians have been claiming miscarriages as God’s judgment for centuries but where in the Bible does it say that God uses miscarriages as a punishment?

    Well, nowhere that I know of but that does not seem to be a hindrance to Gothard. The tithing/miscarriage is in one of his “Basic Care” bulletins. I could probably find quotes if need be.

  214. Daisy wrote:

    Hester wrote:
    What’s the plot of Bioshock?
    I played Bioshock a long time ago, about 99% through, didn’t finish it all.
    All I remember is running around in a retro style, deco- influenced art type city that’s built underwater.
    I do remember you can choose whether to help or hurt little girls in the game (they are called “Little Sisters”). You get one kind of instant pay off if you kill them, and another at the end of the game if you choose to spare them or what not. I always went the good guy route and spared the kids.
    Wiki has a page about the game that tells you the story line.

    I understand the background and backstory of Bioshock is both a retelling and a subversion of Ayn Rand and Objectivism.

    The first kind of instant payoff is what you get if you go through the game like an Objectivist. But if you commit the Objectivist Sins of Mercy and Altruism, you get the bigger payoff at the end of the game.

  215. EMR wrote:

    Church humor from the early 80s:
    Did you hear that Bill Bright and Bill Gothard have re-written The Four Spiritual Laws?
    The first one now is, “God loves you and has a terrible plan for your wife.”

    With the Calvinista/Comp/Patrios, that’s Funny Because It’s True.

  216. Hester wrote:

    @ Brian:
    “not tithing causing miscarriages”

    It’s WTF? time…

    What is this? First Church of Lillith?
    “Gimme Money or I’ll Kill Your Kid in Your Womb”?

  217. anonymous wrote:

    And, oh, by the way, while he’s telling me he can’t talk to me anymore at all he also tells me the youth group Sunday School is now being segregated with the guys on one side of the room and the girls on the other, and the teens all have to sit with their families during the service now and can’t sit together anymore.

    Next they’ll be passing out burqas to all the girls.

    And whips of office for the boys chosen to be the Religious Police.

  218. @ Warwick:

    I read that entry and it is heartbreaking. I’m so sorry. There are no words.

    I noticed you have a son with Asperger’s. My teenage son has autism.

  219. I went to a Gothard seminar in 1978. I was 17. It was a great experience by and large. I learned a lot of good stuff. The authority stuff was really helpful to me as a 17 year old as it related to my parents, teachers etc. I liked the chalk drawings.

    But that was the end of my contact with that movement. I never kept up after that.

    It did seem to me that the movement was legalistic, which I realized as the years went by.

    Also, while I believed the story about Africans and rock music when I first heard it, it did not take but 2 or 3 years for me and others to sort of debunk that rumor. That rumor reminds me of stories that I hear about speaking in tongues (how come speaking in tongues never occurs in France, or Germany with lots of educated people? Why does it always occur in some far flung place?) These stories always occur on the mission field in some far away place, they are unverfiable, they are always told by a friend of a friend of a friend etc.

    That rock music story, along with the story of Satanic lyrics being put on the music, or the best one – the Eagles used to pray that Satan would bless their music – or something like that were awful. People who said such things should be made ashamed of.

    Even Rush Limbaugh made fun of that one. When he was in Sacremento on the radio years ago, he said that a pastor had told him that messages from Satan could be heard on Slim Whitman albums if they were played backwards. Rush did it (it sounds awful), and then spoke as if he were the devil. Satan’s first line was to ask how the radio station got a record player that plays records backwards because only pastors have those things. Rush carried the spoof on for several minutes, and some called in thinking that Satan had been on the air.

    At any rate, even though I enjoyed Gothard at the time, I moved on quickly and apparently was spared some really bad stuff.

    I just never followed Gothard after 1977, but he was a big deal back then.

  220. @ Warwick:I am so, so sorry that you went through such a trial. Your story is important. Would you consider letting us post it here. I think it would be helpful to others. However, i do know it is painful and would understand if you did not want us to do a post on your situation. I have been praying for you since i read it.

  221. dee wrote:

    @ Warwick:I am so, so sorry that you went through such a trial. Your story is important. Would you consider letting us post it here. I think it would be helpful to others. However, i do know it is painful and would understand if you did not want us to do a post on your situation. I have been praying for you since i read it.

    Hi Dee.

    I don’t have a problem with that. Our Jessica’s memory is with us constantly. As I write this I’m looking up at the molds of her hands and feet in a photobox on the wall. I’m fine to discuss it.

    Just for the record, we went on to have another baby. Out little guy was born last May. He’s wonderful, and painfully cute 🙂

  222. anonymous wrote:

    Here is another article on Gothard and his own Bible reading, but the author doesn’t give any citation so I can’t verify the accuracy of it:

    Gothard is always pointing to his own success as an example of the results of living by these principles. Recalling his experience as a child in school, Bill recounts….

    The source for this story is from the Basic Seminar itself. Gothard tells this story early in the week, and uses this anecdote from his own life to share how the principle of meditation leads to success in all areas of life. He uses a lot of anecdotes in his seminars and teachings which are nothing more than the logical fallacy that “correlation equals causation.” I was raised in this program and under his teachings. When you examine his teachings and theology, his lack of logic and misapplication of hermeneutic principles is very disturbing.

  223. Bev

    Welcome to TWW. We will be doing further stories this week on Gothard. I plan on writing about a family that I know who is discussed on that blog.

  224. Mr.H wrote:

    . And I’m pretty sure these fundies wouldn’t dare ban Christmas!

    I’m pretty sure if someone tried to ban Christmas, at least now, they’d wind up with a (possibly armed) revolt on their hands 😛 People love Christmas. Even people who aren’t Christian love Christmas- my Muslim coworker is obsessed with Christmas decorations, she always goes WAY overboard with decorating her cubicle!

    No, I highly doubt these folks are willing to risk incurring the wrath of an entire nation of cranky, holiday-deprived people.

  225. dee wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe….there’s a witch. Lewis is a heathen.

    My ATI friends were eventually required to throw out CSLewis. He had an “immoral” marriage. (To a divorcee. Gasp!)

  226. Rachel wrote:

    My ATI friends were eventually required to throw out CSLewis. He had an “immoral” marriage. (To a divorcee. Gasp!)

    I really think some Christians, if they are indeed Christian (I think it’s up for debate, you know, judging a tree by its fruit etc), would be happier with people dying alone for the remainder of their lives (as long as 10, 20, 30 years) than in remarrying a divorced person, to have companionship again.

    Like on another thread, I mentioned I really believe some Christians are so cold-hearted and legalistic in their views about psychiatry, and so bizarrely devoted to a warped view of sola scriptura / sola fide (concerning mental health), they’d rather a depressed, suicidal Christian commit suicide, than see a doctor or take pills for their distress.

    One of the nifty things about never having been married by my age (40s) is that no body can accuse me of having an ulterior motive when it comes to divorce (since I’ve never been divorced).

    I don’t think the Bible prohibits divorce as much as many evangelicals, fundies, and Baptists think (see this page)
    .

  227. I meant, ‘living alone for the rest of their lives and then dying alone’ – I didn’t type out my full thought above so it came out funny.