UBF Needs Troublemakers

troublemakersPlease cause trouble! A friend sent me this link and I thanked him for paying me the highest compliment: Make Trouble, My Friends. It is a commentary of what Pope Francis said to millions of young people in Argentina last month. The Pope’s exhortation is winning him acclaim as the renegade leader of the world’s largest church. To shake up the church he said, “I want to see the church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes (churches)…or structures.” His final message was, “Don’t forget: Make trouble.” Doesn’t this “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”? I am beginning to love the Pope! I long to hear a senior UBF leader say something like this. This was perhaps David Weed’s dream.

Does the Pope’s exhortation ring true for UBF??? Sometimes I wonder if UBF is more interested in primarily catering to our missionaries and coddling our older UBF leaders, or are we truly focused on winning indigenous people to Christ and truly empowering them (rather than trying to control them, such as by giving them years of “message training,” which has sadly distorted the natural way that they would normally speak in their own native tongue).

troublemakers1Destabilizing the status quo. The church has attracted leaders of the worst kind: megalomanics, bullies and leaders who do not know how to form healthy relationships with their own members (sheep). Such leaders are toxic. They break bruised reeds (Mt 12:20; Isa 42:3) and wound others without apology, while claiming that they are shepherding them. But the church also attracts rebels for Christ’s cause. These latter kinds of people–the trouble makers–are the difference makers whom the Pope seem to be speaking to, for only trouble-makers destabilize the unhealthy status quo.

troublemaker2What might the lifestyle and character of a healthy spiritual trouble-maker look like? As I read this list, I wondered if any senior UBF leader has encouraged any of this among UBF people?

  • Trouble-makers own their own spiritual growth, and do not rely on their church to be the primary place of spiritual formation in their lives.
  • Trouble-makers do not wait to be asked by a pastor to use their spiritual gifts for the benefit of others in the Church. They aren’t especially concerned that the graces God gave them to give others may or may not fit on that congregational org chart on a wall in a church leader’s office. They do their level best to respect their leaders’ structures and authority, but they refuse to stop thinking for themselves or silencing the leading of the Holy Spirit.
  • Trouble-makers are willing to ask and answer hard questions.
  • Trouble-makers may not always have perfect manners, but are motivated by love. Love keeps trouble-makers from becoming full-on jerks.
  • Trouble-makers recognize that Jesus is not calling them to form self-protective, cozy cliques.
  • Trouble-makers worship God, recognizing that adoration is the ultimate act of disruption.
  • Trouble-makers ask the Holy Spirit to test their motives. They understand if they have a sense of entitlement or a rush toward self-justification about an issue, they’ve probably veered off course somewhere.
  • Trouble-makers understand that transformation – their own and the Bride to whom they belong – always requires more courage than they currently possess. Dependence on God fuels their willingness to disrupt the stale status quo.

Isn’t it beautiful that “adoration is the ultimate act of disruption”? Based on these characteristics, I am prompted to ask some hard questions:

  • Does senior UBF leaders welcome trouble-makers, or do they try to silence them?
  • Does UBF encourage initiative or do they create a spirit of dependency on UBF?
  • Does UBF encourage critical thinking or expect unquestioning submission?
  • Do UBF leaders encourage asking hard questions, or to defer to them for answers?
  • Are some top UBF leaders too comfortable with their own positions of power and leadership, which they have held for decades and counting?
  • Are they in a self-protective oligarchy that seems determined to preserve the status quo?
  • Or are they willing to truly entrust authority to indigenous leaders different from them and trust the Holy Spirit (Jn 3:8)?

Have all trouble-makers left UBF (or were forced out)? Is anyone left in UBF who is willing to boldly be a trouble-maker to disrupt the stale status quo? Is leaving UBF the most appealing option for trouble-makers? Do you agree with the Pope that we should make trouble?

111 comments

  1. Ben, your post reminds me of Matt 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

    Our Lord, the Prince of Peace, shook up the established religion more than anyone else in Christian history. If we are to imitate Christ, we must be willing to stir up the kind of trouble that he stirred up. Isn’t it true that many of your bullet points could be rephrased to say, “Jesus is…”?

    This begs the question: do UBF leaders want to raise disciples who are like Jesus, or do they want to raise disciples who are like them? As far as I’ve seen, there is not a clear distinction present in ministry. (Although there are notable exceptions!)

  2. Joe Schafer

    Ben, thanks for posting this.

    Your seven questions appear to be directed at ubf leaders. From my perspective, the questions are now rhetorical. For the last several years, you and I and others who frequent this website and some others (e.g. young leaders from The Well) have been acting as troublemakers, and ubf leaders have repeatedly shown by their response (and lack thereof) that they have no intention of submitting themselves to questioning, scrutiny or accountability.

    Perhaps it would be better to pose some hard questions to the native disciples, 2nd gens and others who are not happy with the state of ubf but until now have been unwilling to speak up and make trouble, but have merely stood by and watched as the senior leaders continue to make bad decisions as morale deteriorates. Perhaps they think that by remaining silent, they have chosen the better way / the high road / the more Christlike approach / whatever. But from my perspective it’s impossible to read the four gospels and not conclude that Jesus was the quintessential holy troublemaker. I realize that not everyone is called to make trouble in exactly the same way. We have different gifts, different roles, different opportunities. But shouldn’t some hard questions be directed toward the many members who obediently attended the ISBC and weren’t inspired by it and yet will still probably remain silent because they just don’t want to rock the boat?

  3. UBF does need troublemakers, but how many young (or old) people are willing to kick against it. Many young people have so much potential, but it can also be a risk being consumed by the tension being created. I experienced this myself. For a very long time I actively vocalized where I felt necessary. However, it was detrimental to my spiritual outlook and health. In the end I became outwardly passive and inwardly independent. Sometimes I envision ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.’ Makes me think that if UBF could justify surgery to stop trouble makers – they would!

    It is up to the young people to voice their concerns or inspiration. My advice to a young person – Don’t just leave ubf, at least speak up publicly – dare I say, even in a testimony if you can’t seek normal avenues for discussion.

    • @gc,

      “Makes me think that if UBF could justify surgery to stop trouble makers – they would!”

      > These are painful words to us old-timers. There was time when SL ordered missionaries to have eye-lid surgery and get perms to look less Korean. Let’s not forget the issues with ubf go beyond culture. There are many Koreans who suffer as well.

      “Don’t just leave ubf, at least speak up publicly.”

      > Will do.

    • I totally agree with gc, I felt I was not able to speak up when things were clearly wrong- it’s just not my personality, I am extremely conflict-avoidant, and when I am hurt or upset I have a very difficult time articulating my feelings, especially if I know my critiques are not welcome. It has been almost 5 years since I joined a different, healthier church, and over the years I have come away with a better grasp on what exactly happened, what was good and what was wrong with my experience in the small UBF chapter I had joined. I’m still sorting it out.
      My point is – like Joe said above, some people, like the author of this post, my dad, are skilled confronters – they are totally cool with rocking the boat, and they just need to work on doing so in a way that is beneficial and not destructive. Others, like me, need to just get out of the unhealthy environment and into a place of healing before they can speak out – speaking up at the time when I was hurting and totally confused would not have been beneficial to me or anyone else. But even now, I’m not sure if I need to be speaking out. I’ve moved on and have many other priorities that I’m just not sure this is a battle I’m called to pick. But more power to those whom God has called to speak out – I just pray you do so in a way that honors Him.

    • Hi cth and welcome. You make some very good points, especially this: “speaking up at the time when I was hurting and totally confused would not have been beneficial to me or anyone else.” Most of my time in ubf I chose to be silent because I had enough troubles of my own. And I found out right away if you flattered and patronized ubf directors, you would be treated very well.

    • cth, thank you for joining us. Do as you feel best for your spiritual well-being. Since you are already gone there is no direct consequence from personal shepherd etc….

      That being said, revisiting past experiences is never easy. Some of us can do it while others can’t. There is a difference between the articles or issues that poke at the UBF system and those that are reflective personal accounts. I lean toward personal experiences myself – I just do.

      Your critiques may help all of us. Some may even feel exactly the same way. Silently read as you can or share personally when you are provoked (or convicted). As you said we must remember to honor God in our speech.

    • Mark Mederich

      frontal lobotomy, there’s a solution: not for troublemakers, for powermongers: would you like to humble yourself? or would you prefer the surgical option?
      (gee, i thought you would see the light:)

      maybe sweet talk is not the solution for outofcontrol leaders, maybe reality check/brusqueness is just what the doctor ordered..

  4. Great question, Joshua: “do UBF leaders want to raise disciples who are like Jesus, or do they want to raise disciples who are like them?” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/08/12/ubf-needs-troublemakers/#more-6707 I sent a mass email a few years ago asking our UBF leaders, “Does UBF raise Christ-centered leaders or UBF-centered followers?” I do not believe I got any answers… Maybe it’s a bad question!

    • It is a great question Ben. Any healthy organization would immediately respond and attempt to answer it. Every Christain pastor I’ve interacted with or read about is intensely interested in knowing how they are doing. Christian pastors will either seek to learn something or defend what they are doing. They don’t remain silent.

      Still we can’t be discouraged by the silence. We have a significant and growing readership here. People may not respond, but they are reading and thinking about what we say.

  5. @Joe “Perhaps it would be better to pose some hard questions to the native disciples, 2nd gens and others…” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/08/12/ubf-needs-troublemakers/#comment-9766 Maybe I am too empathetic and sympathetic toward our younger UBFers… I do have a soft spot too sometimes :-) Imagine that—but it’s not too often!

  6. @gc: “…if you can’t seek normal avenues for discussion.” That might be a pretty big IF in some places…….

  7. Well Ben, I tried to steer the discussons into a SHOT (for JohnY), hoping to generate some discussions about various sermons. But clearly there is more interest here in talking about ubf :)

    I agree fully with all your points, and thanks for the follow gc, joshua, everyone. This is all the right kind of dialogue to have.

    I would just add:

    1. ubf doesn’t just need troublemakers, but sacred rebels. Jesus was the ultimate “holy outlaw”. (if you haven’t noticed that’s been my philosophy the past two years :)

    2. There is no use posing questions to ubf directors. They have taken vows to die trying to pass on the ubf heritage. It is better to attract and inform the others in ubf.

    Also, if ubfers ever want to begin the journey of healing, someone must grow some GONADS and fire about 20 Korean directors. Yes there are about 20 leaders in ubf who are causing the problems. The heritage could be revamped if those 20 people would just step away. ubf needs Mr. Trump to step in and say “You’re fired!”.

    We all know who the 20 or so people are. I was SO FURIOUS when I saw one particular ubf director who supposedly retired but was STILL SITTING IN THE SAME SEAT of power after the ISBC. I mean literally there is a picture of him in a meeting (for the guests travelling after the ISBC) where he is sitting in the same place at the table. He has more power and influence now than before retiring. No one has the courage to kick him out and say “Your lust for power and glory is not welcome here and does not represent Jesus Christ.”

    • Gonads might be a little more euphemistically palatable word than some other word :-)

    • Until someone in ubf musters the holy fortitude of men like Luther and Wilberforce, these conversations will continue to cycle and ubf will grind to a halt.

      Why do I speak so strongly? Because I’ll be damned before I let something I cherished and loved and sacrficed for 24 years of my life just slip away. I will give my all for ubf people to become the one Korean ministry who ends the cycle of dividing every 5 years. I will give my everything just to hear the gospel messages infuse and transform the ubf ideology. I’m still in this conversation because I believe Jesus is not done with ubf.

    • Joe Schafer

      Speaking of Luther: Have you seen the Lutheran Insulter? It’s quite hilarious.

      http://ergofabulous.org/luther/

    • Hilarious!

      “A natural donkey, which carries sacks to the mill and eats thistles, can judge you – indeed, all creatures can! For a donkey knows it is a donkey and not a cow. A stone knows it is a stone; water is water, and so on through all the creatures. But you mad asses do not know you are asses.”

      From Against the Roman Papacy, an Institution of the Devil, pg. 360 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 41

      Just to state the obvious: this is not directed to anyone I know personally!

    • Nice Joe. Yes someone pointed that out to me a while back. Even though my wife cringes every time I say this: I am gaining an amazing command of the English language that is enabling me to speak and write with speed and power and effectiveness. I feel so free now that I threw off all the “messenger training” I recieved and started listening to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. I’m so happy now that I regained my ability to speak as myself, and as an American.

    • @Brian:

      I agree it’s wonderful to not constantly have to repeat myself, water down my vocabulary, and speak v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y to make myself understood.

    • For years, all of you have loved so much in deep humility and consideration in order to accommodate the language limitation of your foreign brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.

    • Yes Ben, and they took advantage of our accomodation. We are the “hosts” and yet they imposed their culture on us. And worse yet, they turned the upside down gospel upside down, trying to make it right side up when in fact they were subverting the gospel Jesus preached.

      No more accomodation. No more coddling.

      As Scripture says, I gave the ubf missionaries double honor, covering their mistakes, translating their harsh words into more palatable words, defending them even when they failed, and spending countless hours working out a careful justification for their 12 point heritage.

      That’s over now. The cycle will end. The pattern will lead to new places.

    • Note: When I say “their culture” I am not referring to Korean culture being imposed on Americans, Russians, etc. I am referring to their “ubf culture”. The ubf lifestyle has been imposed on many host cultures, including Korean culture.

    • Mark Mederich

      hopeless devotion to reformation is admirable & addictive, but is the object worth it?

      oh heck, it’s alot of fun, that’s all that matters:)

      religious humanism (man is great), that’s the greater evil than secular humanism (man is sufficient); religion must be trained to obey Jesus (He LORDS the sabbath, but the mere sabbath could never lord Him. amen HALLELUJAH

  8. I am sure there still are “fighters” and “troublemakers” in UBF. Yet, after 50 years of “keep spiritual order, just obey,” it might be hard to buck this seemingly rigid inflexible trend, even for those who have been in UBF for decades. It just might not “feel normal” or even “feel Christian” to defy your “God appointed” leader.

    Also, it is very hard, if not impossible for someone “younger” and especially “single” in UBF to speak up for obvious reasons and the real fear of “not being introduced to the one I like!”

    Maybe we are suffering from “affluenza” to some degree, which sucks some zeal and guts (or gonads!) out of us. I shared about this in my sermon yesterday: http://westloop-church.org/index.php/messages/new-testament/38-revelation-messages/326-the-sick-church-laodicea-rev-3-14-22

    • Mark Mederich

      perhaps inertia is on our side (used to be hard to get honest dissent moving, but once it gets a rollin, hard to shut it down:) arab springs, religious reformations, Holy Spirit revivals, oh the beauty of it all!

  9. For those who may misunderstand and be offended by Luther’s Insults (http://ergofabulous.org/luther/), read this (http://ergofabulous.org/luther/insults-explained.php): Luther felt he was using the rhetorical device of insults – violence, as he calls them – in service of the defense of pure doctrine and against tyranny and godlessness (of the Roman Catholicism of his day).

    • Indeed. One great American reformer once said “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” What can you do with those who have power and keep authority over others? Rhetoric is a powerful sword. Unfortunately, rhetoric is a double-edged sword. Too much rhetoric has the opposite of the intended effect.

    • The most effective tool against corrupt authorities seems to be a Pope who is reformed :) I would bet Luther would love what Francis has been doing.

    • Mark Mederich

      there’s more of us than them, all we need is: decide what’s right & do it, how can the few hold us back..:)

  10. “There are many Koreans who suffer as well.” Though non-Koreans and “sheep” might be blind to it, in some sense, some of our older UBF missionaries might suffer even more than the “sheep” they lorded over (Mt 20:25; Mk 10:42; Lk 22:25).

    You might wonder, “How can they suffer more when they were like untouchable and unaccountable leaders who bossed over all others in their UBF chapter?”

    They suffer so much partly because many of our missionaries and shepherds live with a strong overpowering sense of indebtedness: they want to pay back their debt to Christ, and they expect you (their sheep) to pay back your debt to Christ and to them. This causes a degree of suffering that is tremendous! Then when some of you “run away,” their suffering increases even more!!

    So I respect and admire their ability to take on such a tremendous degree of suffering and indebtedness upon themselves, even if it is uncalled for.

    • “some of our older UBF missionaries might suffer even more than the “sheep” they lorded over”

      Yes Ben, that is one of my main points. I am keenly aware of this, which is yet another layer in the twisting web of the ubf situation. It is one of my highest priority concerns (believe it or not). We need to keep in mind the near-suicidal tendancy of some of these leaders. Many of them have a Buddhist/Taoist view of repentance, so they will sit there and take their floggings, then just keep moving in the same direction.

      There were several such “flogging” meetings in Toledo. I refused to participate. Such meetings do not help the one being flogged. We desperately need the Christian idea of repentance and healing, which does not include self flagellation nor leader flagellation.

      Some ubers may take my words personally, but they should not do so. I am untwisting the ubf heritage and creating a space for accountability based on bilateral, worldwide communication. In no way to I want to see flagellation going on. Swift and decisive action is needed to get ubf people on the path to healing.

    • Mark Mederich

      gee in that light i see the great burden religious humanism puts upon leaders, i pray they may be set free by the LORD JESUS CHRIST! HALLELUJAH

  11. @Brian, do you think there were any ethical violations with “several such ‘flogging’ meetings” that you witnessed?

    • The entire Toledo situation was handled poorly and in a non-Christian way, in my opinion. HQ didn’t help matters and outside help was not utilized. Yes there were ethical violations on both sides. Sometimes during that time, I felt like shouting “Is there no one who undersands the gospel Jesus proclaimed?”

    • Mark Mederich

      the answer is no, noone understands (mostly true, but just kidding..)
      SHOUT it out & feel better (sounds like a song)

  12. For the record, I for one did not run away. I resigned in protest. I am still here.

    • “Run away” is not the attitude of those who left, but the unfortunate choice of words of some leaders.

    • Only those who deny the facts of reality will say I “ran away”. I’ve talked with more ubf people and had more in-person meetings and discussions (including the GD himself) with ubf people the past 2 years than the prior 8 years.

    • Mark Mederich

      some UNTOUCHABLES probably wish you ran away, BUT thank God you didn’t, for the sake of betterment of the movement

  13. Previously, a friend asked me “What does the UBF church require?” I wonder how Dr. Ben would respond to that…

    • I’m not sure I understand the question.

    • Hmmm… Maybe I didn’t understand the question as well…

      Stephen asks what does the following statement mean (switching words?):

      Trouble-makers worship God, recognizing that adoration is the ultimate act of disruption.”

  14. @Joseph R, I love that quote! Let me extemporaneously paraphrase a response.

    Generally church leaders do not like nor want to have to deal with troublemakers in the church. They view them negatively and critically; they caricature troublemakers in numerous unflattering ways in their attempt to silence them, marginalize them, diminish their influence, and do away with them. For instance, some have suggested that UBFriends be shut down.

    But this post is basically saying that troublemakers are good for the church. Not only so, the “troublemakers” are Christians who worship God and adore Jesus. Therefore, they persistently defy and challenge the leadership (that wants to maintain the stale status quo), not out of disrespect, but because they worship God and adore Jesus.

    Sorry for such a long labored answer and response to a simple question. As Abraham Lincoln once apologized, “I am sorry I wrote a long letter, because I did not have time to write a short one.”

    • Joe Schafer

      To Ben’s excellent answer, I would like to add one thing: Troublemakers (the kind described here) also love the church. Their outspokenness is not to destroy the community but to help redeem it. They recognize that sin within the church is actually sin against the church.

    • These are excellent points, Ben and Joe. When I resigned in 2011, I published my reasons for resigning.

      I wrote back then that my leaving UBF was for the sake of Apostolic unity in 1 Corinthians 12:1-31. I believe the church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic. (And yes I’m currently reading Your Church Is Too Small.)

      If you think Western Christian denominations are fractured (having over 30,000 schisms) wait until Korean Christianity hits the mix. Korean Christians tend to split their churches every few years, which we have all witnessed in ubf ministry. Korean Christianity will bring tenfold division to the West.

      However I believe that if ubf can find God’s resolution for this ubf/exubf matter, ubf has the opportunity to bring the healing balm of the gospel to splintered Korean churches. (Just my 2 cents musings…)

    • Can one be a peace-maker and a trouble-maker at the same time?

    • Joe Schafer

      Depends on what you mean by peace. If your idea of peace is something like Pax Romana, then no.

    • From Scripture’s point of view, I would say yes it is possible to be both. Apostle Paul was found to be a troublemaker, Acts 24:5-8. And because Jesus was both I believe it is possible for us to be both. I think the answer may be in being both shrewd and innocent, and to avoid being just a troublemaker, 1 Samuel 30:22 and being just a peace-and-safety guy, 1 Thessalonians 5:3. Both extremes seem to lead to destruction but combining both in a holy outlaw kind of way seems to be highly useful and blessed by God.

    • Mark Mederich

      constant schism=strong headed determinism
      (‘our way or highway’) (frank sinatra syndrome: they did it their way)

  15. @John Y: “Can one be a peace-maker and a trouble-maker at the same time?” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/08/12/ubf-needs-troublemakers/#comment-9806 Wasn’t Jesus the ultimate peace-maker and trouble-maker at the same time?

    Since we are all fallen, fallible, fragile and flawed, our peace-making attempts could be biased blatant injustice and favoritism, while our trouble-making attempts can be sanctimonious, self-righteous and driven by vengeance and vindictiveness.

  16. @JohnY: The problem comes when peace-maker is mistaken for “status-quo-keeper”

    • For John Y via Joshua (and me):

      To be a peace maker means you must directly deal with a painful situation and not avoid it. Just look at the ISBC video for Canada. You can see my wife and I are attached to no chapter at all. Also, you can see a very prominent chapter has been omitted in place of the two others who almost never get recognition at such a gathering. (The trouble making part is mentioning some but not all.) Honestly speaking no one knows the chapter director anymore – that is none of the second gens and younger sheep know who or where but they certainly know who was missing from the conference and this video. Where’s you know who….?

    • Thanks for sharing this, gc. That is exactly the kind of crap that needs to be called out. ubf directors tidy things up nicely after an exodus of people, then they look so nice and holy to newcomers. Those who refuse to deal with the facts of reality, however ugly or messy they may be, become dangerous wounding machines.

      All exubf people know this reality all too well. Once you are “out”, you are written out of ubf history with the implication that you have “run away” from God and abandoned your “mission”. These are lies.

      It is not exubf who creates division, but ubf directors who create division after division by continually rebuilding the wall of hostility in a cunning passive-aggressive kind of way.

    • Hey! Guess What!! I found him! He is in the center at the 2012 GTA-Hamilton-Guelph conference photo! :)

    • Well that’s good, gc. At least the video makers didn’t go through the photos with a fine tooth comb.

    • Sometimes it feels like we’re playing “Where’s Waldo?”

    • I agree Josh. This post might not make some happy – or even leave some uncomfortable. Leaving Joshua out is not the problem, but represent the missionary family at least.

      However, what does it mean to be a peacemaker?

      I can quickly point out two things that are not sufficient.
      1) Move on and (try to) live newly as though nothing ever happened
      -this is seen through the video and also anyone can account for behaviour when various members left
      2) Recognizing that there have been problems in the past, discussing the problems, desiring to change the problems, but never actually confronting the parties involved in a public manner.

      I would agree that an ISBC is not the place to address peacemaking for present and former members. That being said, when and where would be a good time and place? It has to be public. I took advantage of the video because Joshua was used for the glory of the director. (To be crude it is like a poor man showing off his very new and expensive car.)

      Others can argue that Joshua had something to gain by all of the attention – true, but that does not take away from the repeated handling of conflicts.

      I joined that chapter, married and then had to go away, ahem….as a missionary to many over here. But, I am not asking for recoginition. I receive more than enough of that from my community of heritage so what is ubf in that respect…

      If anyone wants to play peacemaker they must call together a tribunal hearing with unbiased third parties and confront all of the dirty details so everyone can grow in a healthy relationship with God. I already know what is happening with that chapter and family, but the details must remain confidential at this time.

      Someone indulge the video (or all of the ISBC videos) please!

    • @gc: “so everyone can grow in a healthy relationship…”

      Incidentally, I coincidentally bumped into my former pastor’s wife a day or so after she arrived home from the ISBC. We shared a warm hug and both said how nice it was to see each other. After our meeting, I felt something deep inside of my heart. I wanted to burst out and say, “I don’t love UBF, but I love you.” Of course, I didn’t because we had already parted. But that’s exactly how I feel; I don’t love UBF, but I so deeply love my former director and his wife and family.

      Is that okay to say?

      Does it really matter if I love a particular ministry or not?

      Are we commanded to love a ministry, or does Jesus command us to love one another?

      If I say that I don’t love UBF, does that offend the people I love who are in UBF? Should it?

    • Haha, Josh. I totally relate to your feelings and the hug you gave. No matter how much pain and agony my original shepherd gave me for misunderstanding and difficulties with communicating perspective etc….I really love him and his wife so much. I still keep in contact and always ask about his health and family so I may pray for him. It is sad that our history was what it was….but hindsight is always 20/20.

      >>Is that okay to say? (about love)
      Yes, Yes, Yes!!!

      >>Does it really matter if I love a particular ministry or not?
      No, priority should be on Jesus our loving father and the Holy Spirit.

      >>Are we commanded to love a ministry, or does Jesus command us to love one another?
      Love one another!

      >>If I say that I don’t love UBF, does that offend the people I love who are in UBF? Should it?
      Maybe if some people are the type to believe that you received something and should therefore remain forever in UBF. But, it should not bother people at all – hmmm…you already know it will.

    • Joshua: “We shared a warm hug and both said how nice it was to see each other.”

      Yes I’ve done that twice now. ubf directors keep apologizing to me when I happen to meet them. But why? I accepted their apology 2 years ago.

    • Mark Mederich

      yes we must ‘run away’ from religious humanism (not God) & ‘abandon’ mission impossible (not godly purpose)

      hehaw!

  17. @gc, you mentioned some words above that stands out to me: “Many young people have so much potential, but it can also be a risk being consumed by the tension being created. I experienced this myself. For a very long time I actively vocalized where I felt necessary. However, it was detrimental to my spiritual outlook and health. In the end I became outwardly passive and inwardly independent.”

    At some point, people will decide to tune out or shut off due to the self-preservation nature of human beings. I know several senior Americans in Toledo did just that– for over 10 years! They stayed “in” but were checked “out”. That is unhealthy for everyone.

    A few weeks ago, a ubf leader and I discussed what we were seeking. He was seeking closure to the Toledo situation. I told him I was seeking tension. I have sought tension up to now because I see that external tension is effective to counteract the insane pressure applied by ubf shepherds on people.

    When I discussed closure and tension with a pastor, he made a comment that sticks with me. He first said closure won’t happen this side of Heaven, most likely. And seeking tension too long could have adverse affects eventually. He said the best thing to seek might be resolution.

    So I ask anyone who cares to answer. What would resolution look like in our situation? Could we find resolution so that exubf is not shamed or demeaned and so that ubf is not torn apart?

    • Brian, I really want to address deeper what I said, but I wonder if it needs an independent article. I have shared personal accounts already, but it is really just scratching the surface. (Keep in mind everyone that I have been around for many years, but never saw prominence outside of Canada.)

      I am still getting in there and addressing things when necessary. The difference now is the obvious fact that when I act I must consider my wife and children. They are affected by every ripple in the water.

    • “when I act I must consider my wife and children.”

      Excatly one of the reasons why I didn’t become a holy troublemaker until after my wife and children found a healthy Christian church and after my wife was able to see the problems as well. Now they are safe, so I am free to speak up. That was never possible while we were still under the ubf authority.

      Speak up while under ubf authority, and someone will “pray with” your wife. Speak up while reporting to your lifelong personal shepherd in ubf and you will be mentioned in the Sunday announcements as “needing prayers”. Speak up too much while on the inside of ubf and you’ll be chosen to be a messenger so you can be trained to be loyal to the heritage. That’s how it works. That’s how it still works today.

    • Mark Mederich

      resolution is always good but do those in control want it?
      is individual/organizational honor more precious than difficult right things?

      if human honor is overvalued, the battle will continue to the last member & disappear into nothingness rather than give in..

      overseeking closure=avoidance; too much tension=anxiety

      i pray enough tension may induce enough resolution so that enough closure may occur

      more important than closure if spiritually healthy ways going forward

    • Mark Mederich

      Rocky: getting strong now!
      adversity makes us stronger than our adversary, they can move ahead with us, or get left behind in the dust:(

    • Mark Mederich

      sensitive defense mechanisms of sensitive systems try to shame us into submission for they have no strength to overcome, but a simple mirror reverses the flow…i offer to pray with your spouse, & publicly request prayer for you, & please give us a Holy Spirit filled message! HALLELUJAH, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST CAN REVERSE THE FLOW OF ANY CROOKED/POLLUTED STREAM, & THEN THE SOURCE DOESN’T LIKE IT & IT STOPS FLOWING ALL TOGETHER..Hallelujah.

  18. “some people, like the author of this post, my dad, are skilled confronters – they are totally cool with rocking the boat, and they just need to work on doing so in a way that is beneficial and not destructive.” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/08/12/ubf-needs-troublemakers/#comment-9815

    I am flattered by my daughter’s comment, but I am clearly not a “skilled” confronter. I may be a fearless one, which tends to push the envelope as far as I can, which may be disconcerting, distasteful and discouraging to some/many. Yet, it is what I feel I MUST do, and then to pray that God helps me to not be a “full-on jerk”!

    My family dynamics of 6 (wife and 4 kids) is such that only I and one of 3 sons are “confronters” or “conflict creators,” while the other 4 are “conflict avoiders.” It makes for very delicate and fun family dynamics!

  19. Probably also depends on what one means by “trouble” as well.

    • Question to New Testament Greek scholars out there: I’m trying to reconcile how Jesus came to both bring “peace” (eirene in Greek) (John 16:33) while at the same time he came NOT to bring “peace” but a sword (also eirene in Greek)(Mat 10:34). Does it depend on the audience? The first peace is promised for the disciples, and not to the world? The second peace is denied to the unbelieving world and instead a sword is promised? Huh? And however one resolves the question above, what does Jesus mean that it is blessed to be a peacemaker/sword-giver?

      Clearly “peace” that is an excuse to maintain an uneasy status-quo where reconciliation isn’t the primary motive, where sins do not need to be repented of, and where a radical love does not need to be offered is truly no peace at all. Clearly the same could be said about the sanctified “trouble” that attempts to disrupt an uneasy status-quo.

      Sorry I guess I’ll admit that I’ve been somewhat of a trouble-maker with the clear intention to disrupt the status quo of our UBFriends community–and yes, there is a “status-quo” to this online community as well!

      Ouchie. Now I’m being really irritating. Ok, I better stop.

      I just have to say that truly Dr. Ben’s friend who first inspired him to write this article is got to be the ultimate “trouble-maker” here.

      By the way, I dig the “like” and “dislike” facebook-esque function. Great work! I wonder if Big Brother of UBFriends can find out which countries these likes and dislikes are coming from. Just curious. I think we need a neutral option, however. Instead of a thumbs up or thumbs down, I need thumbs “neither-like-nor-dislike-and-I’m-still-thinking-about-it-because-I-cannot-perceive-the-emotional-content-of-your-post-enough-to-know-whether-to-like-it-or-dislike-it-but-only-thing-I-know-is-that-I’m-emotionally-reacting-to-it-and-trying-to-give-the-benefit-of-the-doubt-when-a-gentle-tone-of-voice-or-a-reassuring-expression-of-your-face-in-person-may-completely-change-my-reaction-to-your-post-or-help-clarify-my-understanding-so-that-I’m-not-prematurely-reacting-to-simply-words-on-a-page-but-responding-to-you-as-flesh-and-blood”.

      Yeah, someone put a facebook thumbs symbol for something like that. Maybe a thumbs-wrestling symbol would work. Like this: http://www.wikihow.com/Image:Thumb-Wrestle-Intro.jpg

      Because there the symbol brings out the wrestling/ambivalent aspect of the response, while showing a personal touch of two wrestling thumbs coming together as one unit through the messy process of wrestling together in online debate. And in the end, though it is a neutral response, it is one which both sides have thumbs up in the end.

      That is peacemaking to me.

      Random.

    • JohnY, there is always “room in my chariot” for you and people like you! Yes indeed we need to consider the meaning of trouble and peace. Being just an outlaw is not good. And we need to constantly re-evaluate how we have defined our goals and actions, constantly adjusting if necessary (actually “when” necessary because if we don’t adjust we become irrelevant and die).

      So I hope and wish there would be more troublemakers for ubfriends. Come and share thoughts that challenge and stir us up! It is no longer painful. What is painful to me is all the words of flattery and appeasement I heard for so many years. Good leaders don’t just appease, good leaders are often tough and push you to be better. Flattery just diminishes the one you flatter. So I’m glad for your sharing here John.

      There is no “great agenda” or “big goal” for this website. We are just a virtual community sharing our stories and thoughts and reactions right now. Perhaps one day we will publish incredible, polished articles. I’m not sure how or when this website will be used. For now I am rejoicing at the dialogues that have opened up worldwide.

  20. Maria Peace

    Very interesting post, Ben. Jesus calls us to be new wineskins. When we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit it makes us do things that is not status quo. Also the ministry we serve becomes dynamic and unpredictable. I remember my old chapter when I would come to SWS and my mind would just dose off because I knew what the message was going to be and the application. At first it was interesting because I was just learning the Russian language. Then it became very predictable. When Jesus preached people marveled and asked “What new teaching!!” It was the same Bible that the Pharisees taught from but Jesus taught it with authority that only God himself could teach. Now the Holy Spirit (new wine), God himself dwells in the heart of each believer. Only new wineskins can contain and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Old wineskins will burst so they prefer the status quo. They prefer the predictable. They do not want to change even if it destroys the ministry. We need to be ready to change beginning with me. I want to be like Jesus. Love like him and make trouble like him;)

    • Mark Mederich

      Amen. Hallelujah! may new wine be allowed to ferment productively in new wineskins (not drained out by outside unenlightened forces)

  21. JohnY wrote:
    “Clearly “peace” that is an excuse to maintain an uneasy status-quo where reconciliation isn’t the primary motive, where sins do not need to be repented of, and where a radical love does not need to be expressed is no peace at all” !!!!

    If this describes your church I say stop right there. Think about what you are saying! Perhaps it makes perfect sense to take the advice of Roger Olson (and others) who say, “My advice to you is to RUN from such churches. And, if possible to expose them as aberrational and abusive – even if their doctrines are perfectly orthodox by evangelical standards.”
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2013/08/14/nine-reasons-to-run-from-a-church/

    …..sorry to be going nuclear, it really isn’t for the fun of it.

    • Sharon, thanks for sharing that quote. It is good advice. A friend of mine (who was a longtime ubf leader who left ubf recently) discussed with me about creating gtfo.com (it’s just a joke but really I feel like creating that often…)

      There are a myrad of problems however with the “run” advice. You have to fight throught the heritage layer, the personal layer, the family layer, the biblical layer, the Korean layer, the fundamentalist layer, the school layer, and the work layer.

      It takes a lot of courage and faith, and until recently most who ran that gauntlet were shipwrecked for many years. One of my goals is to make that path easier and more accessible.

      One young man I spoke with this year was entangled with the situation where his boss at work was his director at ubf. He was the “ancestor of faith” of their ubf chapter. He was 100% faithful for 10 years to ubf heritage. But he was suffocating. He decided it was so bad that finally he left without taking his last paycheck from his ubf boss (who had a self-supporting business). He felt so bad and was so full of fear that he packed up late at night when no one would see and just left. This did not happen in 1976. It happened in 2013. WTF?

      I long for the day when ubf leaders don’t get diminished to feeling like criminals leaving in the night. Such leaders should be treated with much more dignity and respect. As of 2013, my sense is that most if not all ubf directors are still infected with lust for power and hunger for control and filled with selfish ambition to preserve the ubf heritage at any cost.

    • Another leader who left ubf recently (a young woman who was a leader faithful to the ubf heritage for several years) contacts me from time to time. I’m happy to say that she is doing much better now, but still not quite comfortable sharing here.

      The words I share here publicly almost always echo the words of such leaders who left ubf. I firmly believe I have been called to give voice to their concerns while they recover from their time in ubf.

    • Sharon, what’s so nuclear about that? Who would disagree with what you said? Seems sensible advice to me. Still wanting the thumbs-wrestling button, however…

    • Joe Schafer

      I don’t think Sharon’s comment is nuclear. But it is rather damning because, in Roger Olson’s 9-point list, a certain organization that we discuss a lot on this website has problems with at least the first 7. If I could sit down with Olson and be completely honest with him, sharing with him all the things I’ve seen and heard during my 30+ years in the organization, I’m pretty sure that he would say, “Hard shell TACO supreme. Run!”

    • Hard shell TACO supremes taste better with HOT sauce, followed by several SHOTs if necessary.

    • A taco and shots party!

    • [blowing off steem, don't read if you are offended easily]

      Hellllooooooo! (owwg) My name is (uh) Benevolent Dictator and today we’re (ah) going to (ahem) talk about tacos! My wife is the mooossstt beauuuutiful woman in the world! Once I was a lazy, wicked, self-seeking, spoiled brat. But after 1:1 I am (ahem) a world-class (uhck) leader! Praise Jesus for tacos! But beware of HOT sauce. HOT sauce is Satan’s attack. Some who were once among us tried HOT sauce, and they became most fatalistic and wounded. I heard they (ahk) created a website to complain about tacos. How sad and wounded they must be. But praise Jesus for blessing tacos! Amen.

      [back to our regularly scheduled program...]

  22. @Joshua, gc: “If I say that I don’t love UBF, does that offend the people I love who are in UBF? Should it?” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/08/12/ubf-needs-troublemakers/#comment-9844 The short answer is “yes” and “no.”

    To expand on your question, are you not really simply saying, “I don’t love UBF,” but that you don’t love the aberrational, abusive, authoritarian attitudes (including being elitist, exclusivistic, evasive, superior, sanctimonious, condescending, gossipy, etc) that are present, and perhaps sadly quite prevalent in UBF IMHO?

    Newcomers may not realize or notice such unhealthy attitudes. So they excitedly love UBF and the 2013 ISBC (which allows the older ancestors of UBF to justify such expensive conferences and to keep perpetuating it). But many who once attended and love UBF conferences eventually found them to be quite repetitive and predictable, and not really engaging or inspirational (except for the mystery non-UBF speaker!)

    • @Ben: To expand on your question, are you not really simply saying, “I don’t love UBF,” but that you don’t love the aberrational, abusive, authoritarian attitudes (including being elitist, exclusivistic, evasive, superior, sanctimonious, condescending, gossipy, etc) that are present, and perhaps sadly quite prevalent in UBF IMHO? – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/08/12/ubf-needs-troublemakers/#comment-9863

      Precisely. Or spoken plainly, simply UBF. If it looks like a duck and it sounds like a duck, its probably a duck. Or to put it more biblically, “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (Mt 7:16)

    • Joe Schafer

      One problem with saying “I love you, but I don’t love UBF” is that for some people, their personal identity is so closely bound to ubf that they have a hard time distinguishing the two. They cannot imagine themselves apart from the group, to the extent that any (even mild) criticism of the group feels like a direct personal attack on them. I know what that feels like.

    • I understand what you mean. I felt that way sometimes too.

      I have been listening to some excellent sermons from Ephesians explaining the riches we have in Christ. The preacher explained that many people who don’t know the full riches that are theirs in Christ, including self value/meaning/purpose/identity/worth/etc, look for those things in the world or in religion. That resonated with me. Isn’t it true that the typical life testimony basically says, “I was empty and had no purpose and meaning in life, but then through 1:1 Bible study I found life-purpose as a shepherd in UBF?” These sermons really pointed out how wrong and ultimately unsatisfying it is to derive my value/meaning/purpose/etc from a mission or group. Those things are already given to me in Christ, for God “…has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Eph 1:3)

      Actually, I treated UBF like the conduit through which God’s blessings come to me. I received purpose from God through UBF campus mission. I received forgiveness from God through UBF Bible study. I received inspiration from God through UBF testimony writing. I received correction from God through UBF discipleship training. I received commendation from God through UBF approval. I was treating UBF as the distributor of God’s blessings. For me, Eph 1:3 read, “… who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing [in UBF].”

      This really opens a can of worms. Why did I feel this way? Does UBF really cause people to identify so strongly with its activities and methods that they begin to treat it almost as an intermediary for receiving God’s blessings, rather than Christ?

    • @Joshua:

      “Does UBF really cause people to identify so strongly with its activities and methods that they begin to treat it almost as an intermediary for receiving God’s blessings, rather than Christ?”

      Yes, I believe that is exactly a big part of what’s happened. That is one huge layer to fight through, and I call it the “evangelical layer”. The same problem exists in the Evangelical Protestant churches in America/West, and I can see it in all three areas of Christendom: Roman Catholic, Protestant and Eastern Orthodox.

      We tend to think that “our church” or “our group” is the intermediary of God’s blessings. It was Jesus Himself who promised to answer our prayers and bless us. The whole balastic power of Apostle’s Paul’s writings hinges on the direct access to the throne of grace. This does not mean organazations should disappear; it means that to be considered a Christian organization the organization must be transparent.

      Goods question for ubf and Evangelical churches in the West is this: How opaque is your organziation? How transparent are you? Can people see God through you?

      ubf is about as transparent as a block of wood.

      On a side note, I think I need to organize my thoughts about the “layers” of the ubf situation into an article. That way people can see what I’ve been navigating through. This one that you pointed out Joshua is very important, and I believe one of the last layers to fight through to get to freedom. If someone is talking about these kinds of issues, that person is well on their way to recovery from ubf.

  23. JohnY: “I wonder if Big Brother of UBFriends can find out which countries these likes and dislikes are coming from. Just curious. I think we need a neutral option, however.”

    I’m not “Big Brother”… but the answer is no we cannot tell what countries the likes/dislikes are from. Those are anonymous. The only stats tracked are which comment/article and the number of likes/dislikes. They are anonymous (so they provide a SHOT way of interacting here :)

    I can tell you that we’ve had 1,891 buttons clicked, with 94.7% “like” and 5.3% “dislike”.

    • Ok, that’s helpful. Because I wanted to click “Like” about a hundred times to my own posts so that I can be in the running for the Most Liked Comment award. But I didn’t want my scheme to be revealed.

    • The like button service we use won’t allow you to click more than once on a comment or article. The service also reconciles likes/dislikes at night, removing any duplicate clicks that might have slipped in. So yes you can click once on your own article or comment, but only once (per machine :)

      I might be able to add a 3rd button…maybe something like “I’m conflicted about this”…

  24. “I just have to say that truly Dr. Ben’s friend who first inspired him to write this article has got to be the ultimate “trouble-maker” here. – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/08/12/ubf-needs-troublemakers/#comment-9864 YES!!! That person knew how to push my buttons!

    Those of you who have Netflix should watch “House of Cards,” which has been nominated for countless Emmy awards. It’s produced and directed by David Flincher who directed “The Social Network” (http://www.ubfriends.org/2011/01/25/are-you-a-true-friend/) one of my favorite movies. It’s political intrigue, crafty maneuvering and diabolical dialogue is impeccably mesmerizing, devious and devilish. It’s about politics as usual in Washington D.C. Sadly it reminds me of the church, except that nobody physically kills anyone else (at least not today) :-)

  25. “…we’ve had 1,891 buttons clicked, with 94.7% “like” and 5.3% “dislike”. – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/08/12/ubf-needs-troublemakers/#comment-9866 What does this practically mean?

    95% who read UBFriends are of a similar mindset. I am hoping that mostly they are critical thinkers…with a leaning away from habitual traditionalism that basically does not work, or that will work less and less with time.

    Only 5% “dislike” suggests that the vast majority of UBF loyalists do not read, will not read and likely will never read UBFriends. This is somewhat troubling, though expected.

    A nice recent post: The Church Is a Harlot, But I Love Her

    • Nice post…I agree. But can I love the church and still RUN? If I run, does it mean I don’t love the church? What this man doesn’t address, that the blogs he refers to are full of, are the actual stories……the real breakdown of relationships within churches that drive people out. He implies that people leave for rather superficial reasons. I don’t agree with that.

    • I suspect that there are many, many aberrational little sectarian groups that people must remove themselves from and critique in order to heal. He says that change comes from within the church. Yes, but change comes from outside the church too. I’ve been impressed with many of the disaffected people he refers to. I know some of them personally and believe God is blessing and will use all their critique and questioning.

    • The Church is very different from a church.

    • I really dislike that blog post, Ben. The initial framing gets it off on the wrong foot.

      I had a similar though, Joshua. I think we need to ask the question “Are people leaving the Church or are people leaving my church?” And furthermore “Are people leaving my theological position?”

      I am outside the gates of Christendom. No evangelical Christian would accept me as a leader or teacher because I believe in the tenants of the outlaw preachers. I believe orthodox Christianity has gotten some things wrong. Yet I am not outside the Body of Christ. I am a Christian, following Christ on the journey of life. Sometimes I’m running, sometimes I’m walking, other times I’m being carried by others, sometiems I’m just standing or kneeling, yet I journey on, as well all do.

      People will always and have always come and gone from churches and organizations. Our church is indeed too small, for the Church is not made up of 30,000 denominational organizations or even just the Roman Church or the Eastern Orthodox church. The Body of Christ is made up of all believers, which in my mind means all humanity because I can’t see inside people to know if they are “saved” or “unsaved”. All I can do, and all I believe I’m required to do, is to love and to serve– to love all and to serve all.

      Some people leave a church or oganization because they don’t fit the vision the leaders present. Some leave because they have been hurt badly. Others leave becuase they were suffocated by controlling leaders. No one leaves because they are just complainers. We all complain. It takes deep wounds or excessive control or major diconnect with vision for people to part wasy with relationships that were built up over many years.

  26. Like you, Brian, the young people I’m referring to have not yet found a place within the church. Yet, I am convinced that they are sincerely following Christ. There little prayer group looks significant to me, and I suspect that there are many like them as I read several blogs on the Internet. At this point I’m just not comfortable with faulting them for not finding and committing themselves to a church.

    • Indeed, I cannot fault people for not associating to a particular church or theological position. The issue for me is the taboo word that I’ve not read much about, or even here on our blog is: Hypocrisy.

      Jesus talked a lot about hypocrisy. I say it is high time we did too.

      If the church is a harlot, then the church is full of hypocrites. People of this day and age are DONE with hypocrisy. Yes we all fail– to error and to fail is to be human. But to learn nothing from failure, to deny failure and to intentionally promote failure–that is hypocrisy.

      My article would be: “The church is a hypocrite and I hate it.” I believe more than ever that the yeast of this hypocrisy stems from an attempt to rebuild the Jewish sacrificial system in a Christian manner, which stems from a flawed idea of grace and a poor understanding of what happened on the cross.

  27. @Ben: I also don’t like the blog post. It smacks of the kinds of arguments I was given to convince me to remain in UBF. I was told that leaving a church with problems is tantamount to leaving my spouse when she has problems. I was told that just as I have a life-long commitment to my spouse and I must not leave her even if she has problems or difficulties, I should have a life-long covenant to UBF. But where does Scripture support that position? I can’t find any indication in Scripture that commands believers to a life-long commitment to a particular congregation. Our covenant is to Christ, and through that to the Church as a whole. Moreover, we are indebted to love others (Rom 13:8), but not to covenant ourselves to a particular body.

    Moreover, the blog smacks of the “blame those who leave” attitude that is so prevalent in UBF and the “in vs. out” dichotomy that is completely unnecessary.

    Instead of blaming those who leave and excusing those who stay, let’s get real. Let’s root out the hypocrisy, as Brian said. Let’s get serious about the real reasons people are getting disenfranchised. Let’s take relationships, health, and holiness within the church as seriously (or even more) as the outreach to those outside the church. Let’s be known more for what we’re for than what we’re against.

  28. 1 Peter 2:1-25 explaines my thoughts better than I can. ubf loves to focus on verse 9.

    But the following are far more relevant:

    1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

    > Sure, we will not be perfect until Heaven. But what measures could we take to remove malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander from Christendom? It must be possible to do so. I believe this verse is not just speaking to individual believers, but the leadership and to the Body collectively. I believe we can obey this direction together, with the Spirit’s help. How much malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander did I see among ubf leaders? And then I watched them do nothing to address it. People leave because hypocrisy is not called out and removed. People leave because they long for justice and love and grace and hope. Covinering up hypocrisy is most dangerous.

    12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

    > We here at ubfriends have accused ubf directors for doing wrong. But do we see good deeds among ubf directors? Do we see their good lives when we honestly examine them?

    17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

    > Do we see the leaders in Christendom showing respect to everyone?

    20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.

    > When your sin is pointed out, enduring a beating is not the way of Jesus.

    25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

    > Do ubf shepherds continually say “Return to Jesus”? Do they lead people to Jesus who oversees their life or to themselves so they can oversee their life?

  29. Joe Schafer

    Is it ok to say, “I love Ben Toh, but I abhor the articles he posts?”

    Just kidding.

    I guess it comes down to context. In certain contexts, that article would be fine, even helpful. In other contexts (e.g. when talking about our experiences in UBF), many of us will feel that it’s inappropriate.

  30. Is it ok to say, “I love Ben Toh, but I abhor the articles he posts?” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/08/12/ubf-needs-troublemakers/#comment-9879 YES!! with a BIG SMILEY.

    Thanks, Sharon, Brian, Joshua, Joe for sharing. I concur with what you wrote. I saw this article posted on facebook and as I read it I felt convicted. This is because I have heard from some that I come across (subtly or otherwise) as critical rather than grateful, negative rather than positive, discouraging rather than encouraging, being a downer rather than uplifting, “bashing” rather than praising, etc. You get my drift.

    The account at the beginning of the article about a guest complaining to the host about how horrible his wife and her cooking is, somehow connected with me, when I considered that perhaps I might be the clearly inappropriate complaining guest.

    For the record, I have no major regrets posting and commenting as I have, and I would (humbly) stand by all that I have stated. I am also quite sure that I would continue to do so. Yet, perhaps, could I not be more charitable and gracious toward those whom I am critiquing?

    That’s why I thought it was a good/nice article for me.

    • @Ben:

      I’m glad you posted it. I’m glad you comment and critique. I don’t think you’re inappropriate at all. We could just smile and say nice words and placate each other and stroke each others egos, but then we’d face 50 more years of collateral damage.

      In my opinion, if UBF shepherds feel that they have the liberty to comment and critique every little thing in their members’ lives, oftentimes in not-so-gentle ways, they should be able to take the same.

      And to point out the obvious: it’s a good thing for a guest to complain about the food if it contains poison.

    • Joe Schafer

      Ben, exchanging ideas on this forum is an ongoing learning experience for us all. We are all figuring out how to see things through the eyes of others. Please continue to share links to your highly offensive articles, and we will continue to slam them forthwith. All in good fun.

  31. I think that critiquing a church should be compared not to a guest speaking about his friend’s wife but to Nathan speaking to David or even Samuel speaking to Israel about the king issue, especially when critique is based on Jesus’ words such as in Mt 23. Was Jesus like a guest in His church? And in the ubf context it is hardly possible to compare former ubfers to “guests” for they spent in ubf many years and were even married to ubf.

    • Yes the world needs more of Francis! Speaking of which… there was another “troublemaker” named Francis in ubf, but of course he and his family just “didn’t like Korean culture”… :)

  32. Mark Mederich

    problems happen (unpleasant but make us strong); troublemakers don’t cause the problem, they expose it to seek resolution, but that makes trouble if nothing is done to address the problem..

  33. forestsfailyou
    forestsfailyou

    This article is relevant to my interests.

    • Forests, you do seem like a major serious troublemaker to me! I hope and pray you survive without becoming jaded. :D

  34. big bear

    Forests you are a troublemaker….stand firm….once you tame an animal they lose their spirit…

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