Archive for May, 2006

"a culture of ingratiation"

May 18, 2006

(Related: 1, 2, 3, 4)

The following is part of someone’s analysis of the UBF culture:

In my opinion, there is a huge amount of desire for recognition in UBF. This results often in competitive, ambitious behavior to get it. A typical place to try and get it is to show off somehow during testimony sharing. Competition or ambition exists to be, among other things, the most

knowledgeable (Bible knowledge, usually)
witty (but only in message examples–there is a tacitly assumed range of acceptable topics for humor)
fruitful (a big one, this)
obedient (especially to Samuel Lee, or now, the memory of him)
“proper” (he who follows the UBF way most closely)

In this setting, UBF members are constantly eyeing each other to see who is doing what and how much, especially if anyone is veering off the path (Koreans call this 눈치–Hangul here in case you can’t see it, or “noonchee;” ask your wife; it literally means “measuring with the eyes” and basically means critical or judgemental). They (not necessarily members only–“sheep” learn to do this too) work hard to be accepted by others, especially leaders. There is a form of very strong peer pressure and corporate behavior. This is what I call, for lack of a better phrase, a “culture of ingratiation.” It means to gain favorable acceptance, especially from the leaders, by deliberate effort. Basically it’s a drive to be recognized, to be accepted and praised. The term “ingratiation” fits, but might be a little incomplete–if you can find a larger term that includes it, then that one might be better. I find it to be really immature behavior.

“Culture of ingratiation” bothered me a bit when I first read it. Could I come up with better words? But thinking about it again, the author has captured it perfectly with “ingratiation”. It’s all about human action, human accomplishment. Where’s the grace in UBF? Where’s the grace in the gospel of UBFism? It’s missing. “Grace” is mentioned, but it’s rendered meaningless, dead–drowned, strangled, suffocated by the culture of ingratiation.

In my totally unqualified opinion, “ingratiation” sounds like it has the same roots as Phillip Yancey’s concept of “ungrace,” the man-made laws and legalism that rob grace of any meaning and wonder in UBF. All I have to do is remember the 15-20 foot wide X-Mas “registration battle” chart (among other charts) plastered against a UBF headquarters wall to know what Yancey means by “ungrace.” (Christmas 2006 UPDATE: They’re still using that huge “registration battle” chart.)

UBF and human rights

May 4, 2006

(Related: 1, 2)

The right to make your own decisions is a fundamental human right. It is the pattern of all cults and abusive groups to attack this fundamental right, subtly, relentlessly, from the start of your recruitment process. Here’s a comment on UBF and the concept of human rights, which was prompted by the report of another UBF message that tries to erode respect for the concept of human rights:

31st-Mar-2006 02:51 am (UTC) – Jesus’ lordship as dictated by a UBF leader

“The author claims that ‘But we cannot talk about our human rights with Jesus.’ ”

This just continues a pattern established by Sam Lee in his sermons for many years. He consistently disparaged the concept of human rights in his sermons. The motive was obviously to erode respect for human rights so that many kinds of abusive training could be justified. So, here is more evidence that UBF continues or wants to continue to employ abusive training.

A Christian ministry knows and teaches that our fundamental rights and value as human beings come from God’s image in us and God’s absolute moral character. UBF evidently does not have a clue about that. They never have.

The sick thing is that they try to bring Jesus down to their level. Jesus did not operate that way. As Chris has said, because a UBF leader is the one who dictates “Jesus’ lordship” to you in your life, it’s easy to see through the statement, “But we cannot talk about our human rights with Jesus.”

Here’s another important observation made by someone else:

31st-Mar-2006 03:51 pm (UTC)

UBF seems to want to present the notion of human rights as a concept invented by men (for example, the founding fathers of the U.S.). Every other Christian organization I’ve been a part of has specifically acknowledged human rights as something that flows out of humans’ special creation by God; therefore, each one of us has individual freedom of choice, worth, and purpose.

This has prompted me to add the following to my “statement on reconciliation”:

5. They continue a system of authoritarian shepherding … As has been their decades-long habit, they continue to disparage any notion of human rights, rights which might restrict or moderate the totalist nature of UBF “training.”