Archive for September, 2006

"True rest" and "true freedom"

September 25, 2006

(Related: 1, 2)

A comment that I posted elsewhere months ago regarding the use of the UBF-ism, “true rest”:

28th-Jul-2006 03:10 am (UTC) – “true rest” and “true freedom”

The UBF-speak that most of us are familiar with includes phrases such as “true rest” and “true freedom.” They mean “constant work for the group” and “obedience and subservience to the group’s leader(s),” respectively. Rest is almost always equated with laziness in sermons and other forms of teaching. Freedom is equated with permissiveness and moral decay. You can hardly hear the words “rest” and “freedom” without that adjective “true” in front of them.

In their teaching and sermons, Jesus’ attempts to rest and vacation with his disciples were ALWAYS interrupted by things like crowds of “sheep,” Jesus’ many “one-to-one” appointments with his disciples, and the occasional need for Jesus to appoint a new UBF-style “director” of the remote region that he happened to be visiting with his disciples. Never mind that there were probably interludes of real uninterrupted rest and time off with his disciples that are not recorded in the Gospels. Never mind that Jesus actually saw the necessity of physical rest for both himself and his disciples.

Here are some examples of UBF’s “true rest” and its “therapeutic” effects from a previous discussion:

* Andrew and his elder brother Ivan were down with influenza and temperature above 39C. Yet, they were commanded to attend a meeting. Ivan did not attend the meeting, therefore his wedding was postponed. Andrew – being younger and not so courageous to decline – attended the meeting that lasted after midnight when there was scarce public transport. After that, he got a sever pneumonia and later bronchitis, which healed completely only after leaving UBF, because in UBF he had never enough time to rest and recover.

* Before conferences, they had 15 different meetings a week in Kiev (in Heidelberg, it was similar, by the way) where they had to come to the center

* Those who wanted to visit their parents in the summer holidays were publicly dispraised

* Those members who attended other churches in Kiev were considered “lost sheep” [must not be “true rest” if you “keep the Sabbath holy” in a different church]

* You could not be in a good standing with UBF without attending *all* meetings

* One shepherdess was told to come to a meeting, although she had fever and her infant at home

* When the wife of the leader left the hospital in order to attend a UBF meeting, though she was on a drip, this was presented as exemplary behavior

* If you leave Kiev and visit another church in another town, you are denounced by the leader [Again, the “true Sabbath rest” must only be in UBF.]

Only after you leave UBF do you learn that “rest” in the Bible may actually mean rest and “freedom” may actually mean freedom.

A reputable teacher knows and teaches that Jesus himself is a Christians’ true Sabbath rest. But in UBF, with the holy importance given to the Sunday meeting(s) and equating it (and only it) with “keeping the Sabbath holy,” I did not once hear that Jesus is our true Sabbath rest, in my decades spent there. UBF effectively turned Jesus’ teaching on its head and made Sunday my least favorite day: Man was made for the Sabbath, not the Sabbath for Man.

Advertisements

Easing into abuse one small step at a time

September 8, 2006

(Related: 1, 2, 3)

The following is from an advice column that I read recently. It reinforces what many agree on, that abusive relationships–be they in marriages or in cults–share many characteristics and dynamics in common:

I am involved with a woman whose husband abandoned her. At first our relationship revolved around her heartbreak over his actions. He was unfaithful to her and moved out of the house twice. The first time he left she begged and begged for him to return, and he eventually did.

He promised he would be the perfect husband, but less than a year later he left a note in the kitchen saying he was leaving again and took all his stuff. He abandoned her completely. He had emotionally abused her in too many ways to mention.

I met her four months later. Initially I provided a sympathetic ear for all her problems. Slowly we became closer until one day she told me I made the pain go away and she loved me. I fell in love also, and she filed for divorce.

After he was served papers, I overheard a telephone conversation and was shocked to hear the abuse coming from him. He screamed profanities and made threats. I watched as she listened and afterwards told her his behavior was awful. She stated “he’s just mad,” no big deal.

I was leery that she was so prepared to rationalize for him, but she swore everlasting love to me. About six weeks ago her ex found out about our relationship. He promised he would do anything, including go to church, if she would take him back. He kicked it up a notch and confessed he was the worst husband ever.

He called and cried, playing the I’m-still-your-husband card. He kept her on the phone and dragged out the conversation. Last week she agreed to see him. More tears and begging. I told her this was pure manipulation and so did every friend and member of her family.

After a day of agony we recommitted our vows to each other, and I thought we were going to get through this. Last night we had a wonderful evening together. Then when she got home, he was waiting for her.

Around noon I received this e-mail. “Real love requires risk, putting one’s feelings out there in the most vulnerable state. The thought of risking another chance with him scares me to death, but in reality, the risk would be no less with anyone. I believe this with all my heart.” She is ignoring my phone calls, and I need advice.

Tyler

Tyler, she is an abused woman who is not ready to break the cycle of abuse. Framing her decision in terms of love makes sense to her, but that is a measure of how distorted her thinking is. Real love has nothing in common with her relationship to her ex.

A person eases into abuse one small step at a time. No one step seems large, but over time a person’s perception of reality is changed. The leap from where she is to where you are is too great for her to make. It will be years before she can choose a healthy relationship over an abusive one. If there was something you could do to change her behavior, we would gladly share it, but the best thing you can do is accept her decision and move forward with your life.

Wayne & Tamara