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18 October

Breaking free of old thought patterns

By |2020-10-18T11:29:26-06:00October 18th, 2020|Uncategorized|100 Comments

I realize that the use of the word "cult" is "triggering" to some. But nevertheless, I persist, because confronting reality is better than sticking our collective heads in the sand. I don't want to get off-track on the subject of whether the Stanton Church of Christ is actually a cult or not. For that, you can go here for my thoughts. But for this article, I'd like to flesh out the idea that there is a common thread among those who have come out of—let's say—controlling organizations. I promise that I won't use the word "cult" from here forward, to reduce any further "triggering." I want to approach this from the standpoint of an abusive/controlling relationship. Why, you might ask? Because I've helped mentor dozens [...]

31 July

Why Stanton’s view of unity is self-refuting

By |2020-07-31T15:15:46-06:00July 31st, 2020|Uncategorized|29 Comments

Does Stanton really believe the church must be unified on all teachings in order to remain "The One True Church?" You could be forgiven for coming away from their classes thinking that. I mean, after all, that's their chief criticism of other churches. "The Catholic church changes their teachings to whatever the Pope says." "The Baptists change their teachings at their annual Baptist Convention." "The Mormons change their teachings at the whim of their current 'Prophet.'" "The Jehovah's Witnesses change their teachings at the behest of the Watchtower publication." "The Lutherans change their teachings to whatever the Missouri Synod decides." Given the above, how is it not fair to say that the Stanton Churches of Christ change their teachings according to the results of the [...]

28 January

An Open Letter to My Daughters

By |2020-01-28T10:25:38-07:00January 28th, 2020|Uncategorized|71 Comments

I’m not sure where to start. Should I start at the beginning? A-when I held you for the first time after that 28-hour labor, knowing a love like no other? M-when I brought you home and you refused to eat, trying everything while I was alone, worried that you were losing weight? I had no money, no support, no phone…I’m not sure I’ve ever told you how hard that first week was. I was thinking about all the good times we’ve had. I was a good mom. I made almost every decision after having you around YOU. Date nights? No, my kids are too small and I already leave them because I have to work to pay the bills. Travel alone? I don’t think so. [...]

29 December

Go ahead and be proud

By |2019-12-29T13:00:02-07:00December 29th, 2019|Uncategorized|29 Comments

I'm proud of my wife. I'm proud of my kids (most of the time!). I'm sometimes proud of this site, and of the people who have made it a good place to grow in faith and knowledge. I'm also proud of my country, and its forefathers who designed it to preserve freedom as well as it has (so far). But then there's this handy little verse I memorized as a kid: Proverbs 16:18 - Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Do the above statements make me prideful in the sense that this verse is talking about? Of course not. One of the biggest problems with Stanton's exegeses of scripture is that they refuse to think critically about the meaning of the [...]

30 September

The swan dive into hell

By |2019-09-30T16:06:42-06:00September 30th, 2019|Uncategorized|86 Comments

When people leave Stanton, they are typically talked about bashed gossiped about slandered from the pulpits of Stanton churches. Preachers, teachers, and evangelists are all fond of characterizing these former members as "fallen away." One phrase at least one preacher is fond of using is that leaving the church is like taking a "swan dive into hell." Have some people, upon leaving Stanton, truly taken a "swan dive into hell" and chosen to be separated from God? Oh yeah. No doubt about it. Stanton exudes overplayed confidence that it is the only receptacle for one to plug into God. So many who leave Stanton do so just to give up on God and dive headlong into darkness. And why not? In practical terms, their experience is [...]

26 September

Rules for employment

By |2019-09-27T06:53:43-06:00September 26th, 2019|Uncategorized|16 Comments

You may not take a job that keeps you from working on Sunday. You may keep a job within the first two years that keeps you from working during midweek class, non-member class, or personal work. Within the first two years, you are expected to give up any job that requires you to work during midweek class, non-member class, or personal work. You may not take a job that may require you to relocate. You may not keep a job that suddenly asks you to relocate (unless there is an established church in that location, or you are trusted enough to start a church in that location). You may not be a paramedic, nurse, doctor, or any other job that may require you to see [...]

25 September

How to whitewash your sepulchre

By |2019-09-26T08:15:11-06:00September 25th, 2019|Uncategorized|5 Comments

I'm trying hard not to be unfair or nitpicky with this headline and my comments on TC's talk at the 2019 March Week on unity. While he pushes hard for the suppression of negative information using the tried and true "fear and intimidation" tactic of the threat of withdrawal, which I find very problematic, he does seem to rightly understand the subject of gossip. On that, I completely agree with him. Believers should NOT be promulgating gossip, and I commend him on that instinct. However, the problem is that Stanton long ago lost the moral clarity to distinguish between destructive gossip and honest dissent.  When you suffer generations of oppressive teachings and practices, you become desensitized to this distinction, like generations of Chinese and North [...]

30 August

The Labor Day Meeting is here with hours of talks in the pipeline

By |2019-09-09T06:24:55-06:00August 30th, 2019|Uncategorized|20 Comments

I don't have a clue about where the upcoming Labor Day Meetings will be this year, or who is on the roster for giving talks. I don't really think about or care about such things, although I'm always interested when people send me talks they find interesting. The hard part is listening to all the audio, which is usually light on Biblical content. However, if anyone sends me the audio, I will dutifully listen, so the rest of you don't have to. (OK, I'm just being sarcastic, I'll actually post the full audio for the world to listen to, whether I agree with it it or not.) It's not that I'm opposed to Stanton having a Labor Day Meeting, or Thanksgiving Meeting, or whatever they [...]

30 August

Anonymous Source: Church members refuse to help wife in sexually abusive relationship

By |2019-09-16T15:33:37-06:00August 30th, 2019|Uncategorized|15 Comments

First of all, let me say that no, this is not satire. Sadly, this is a true story. And it hits home hard for me. I have tried to make my family a safe place for kids in foster care, and young adults who need mentors. One of our former foster daughters is living with us right now to escape an abusive relationship. One of the highest callings we have as believers is to love unconditionally, and that means to help people in productive ways whenever we can. Obviously, we can't solve all the world's problems. But James taught us this: "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." (James 4:17) I just received an [...]

22 August

Everything I know about bad relationships, I see in Stanton

By |2019-08-27T13:11:31-06:00August 22nd, 2019|Uncategorized|1 Comment

One day a few years ago, I got a call from the adult son of a Stanton member. I'll never forget how he described, point by point, his relationship with his mom. It was like he was describing my relationship with my mom. Personalities were very similar, after decades in the sect. Stories of dysfunction in family gatherings were eerily similar. And yet, I'd never met his mom (or if I did, I was a young child). This is not a random coincidence. It is because Stanton is a petri dish for bad relationships, spurred on by "counsel" from the ruling rabbis (teachers) instructing their students in how to live life. They have built a culture that destroys families even when the family is intact [...]

14 August

Leading our families out of the wilderness

By |2019-08-14T23:03:30-06:00August 14th, 2019|Uncategorized|12 Comments

The men in Stanton, or on the outskirts of Stanton due to family connections, have typically been cajoled and worn down into submission to the powers that be. I'm convinced Stanton top brass intentionally bleed the leadership qualities out of the men in the congregations because they feel threatened by leadership of any sort. This is why the "No Elders" Clock has been ticking for well over 50 years. Yet bold leadership is exactly what's called for when it comes time to start extracting your family from the grips of Stanton's control. Who will have the courage to lead their families out of the wilderness? The beating down of a man's leadership instincts can come in many forms. If it's not directly at the hands [...]

5 August

Spiritual Abuse: Are You a Victim?

By |2019-08-27T14:35:31-06:00August 5th, 2019|Uncategorized|26 Comments

By Martha Long A while back, someone commented on this blog with a video link on Spiritual Abuse. It was very interesting. Many of the signs covered were exactly what many of us have experienced in Stanton and spoken about here on the blog. While a few of the signs (such as sexual abuse by leaders) are not a typical part of Stanton's modus operandi, there were so many other signs that point to spiritual abuse in one form or another in Stanton that it's hard to deny that Spiritual Abuse is part of Stanton's culture. So, what is spiritual abuse? It can be defined as abuse in which leaders find ways to control your life for the purpose of accomplishing their goals. I think [...]

19 July

Denying the moon landing and dinosaurs

By |2019-07-19T22:07:31-06:00July 19th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

On the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 — which my father in law contributed to as an electrical engineer — I thought I'd write about a couple of the anti-science positions of Stanton. Stanton came from the old-guard of Biblical exposition: If your understanding of the Bible contradicts science, throw out the science. Don't even question that maybe your exegesis of scripture might be wrong. Don't get me wrong. I'm not here to say that the scientific establishment speaks the truth all the time. It has become very politicized as government funding has taken over what I like to call Big Science. Scientific schools of inquiry are incentivized by their funding biases to produce conclusions that I don't always agree with (think Big Pharma, for [...]

12 July

For Immediate Release: Stanton COC Source Says Teachers Are Actually Rabbis

By |2019-07-15T08:40:07-06:00July 12th, 2019|Satire, Uncategorized|8 Comments

Stanton, Calif. - In a surprising move, an anonymous source in the Stanton Church of Christ said the Teachers and Main Teachers of Stanton affiliated congregations nationwide are planning to start referring to themselves as "Rabbis," the Pharisaic teachers in Jesus's day. The source says this change took decades to come about. "We started off referring to members who taught classes as 'teachers,' she said. "But we gradually elevated them from a position of honor to a position of authority. We then decided that every last decision in a member's life be made with the counsel of teachers. Underwear choices, vacation plans, whom you can marry, whether you can relocate your family...everything." She says because every congregation has a teacher, it also became necessary to distinguish [...]

6 July

Sacrificing on altars of Stanton’s own making

By |2019-07-06T14:16:59-06:00July 6th, 2019|Uncategorized|1 Comment

The essence of idolatry is the creation of one's own rules for religion. If you make the rules, those who can be convinced to follow them are like clay in your hands. Nearly 3,000 years before Karl Marx and Hitler discovered that, and put the state in charge of religion, Jeroboam had already beat him to it. His rebellion against Rehoboam's despotism ended up splitting the Kingdom of Israel into the divided northern and southern kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Having lost access to Jewish religious life in Jerusalem, Jereboam made a calculation. He decided to build his own altars and appoint his own priests so his subjects wouldn't have to cross into Judah's territory to worship in Jerusalem. Why not just give the people [...]

4 July

“Curious Chris’s” Story

By |2019-09-29T17:38:17-06:00July 4th, 2019|Uncategorized|56 Comments

A reader asked if I would post this account of his withdrawal under the pen name "Curious Chris." As some readers probably know, the two of us do not see eye to eye on everything.  However, I think there's value in hearing his account of the events. To that end, here is his story, in his own words. --Kevin The 2016 May Trip, had a topic that had been scheduled for years.  It was a study of Romans 16:17 'Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them'. The May Trip question was to ascertain if this was talking about withdrawal or excommunication.  It was expressly chosen to address my excommunication, [...]

2 July

Does God cause bad things to happen to good people?

By |2019-07-02T19:08:45-06:00July 2nd, 2019|Uncategorized|6 Comments

I think it's fair to say that anyone raised in Stanton, or who attended there for any length of time, came away with some distorted views of God's nature. Is he wrathful? Vengeful? Loving? Is everything bad thing that happens to me because I sinned and didn't confess it in the proper sequence (privately, then publicly, prior to the Lord's supper, standing up, and with the right formulation of words)? It all depends on how you read the Bible—or didn't, as the case may be. Perhaps a teacher in Stanton warned you that if you were to leave (what they disparagingly call "falling away"), God may punish you with car accidents, cancer, miscarriages, the loss of a child, and more. Maybe you've even had one [...]

31 May

New Atheism and smashing babies against the rocks

By |2019-06-11T09:13:17-06:00May 31st, 2019|Uncategorized|34 Comments

The Bible says "happy is he who dashes your little ones against the rocks," so God must be evil. So says the New Atheist Movement, led by authors Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens. These Four Horsemen, and others with them, have made significant inroads against Christianity in the pop culture. This is not good from my perspective, but it is reality. And it's not surprising. After all, parents have outsourced their parental job to government schools, social media, and Netflix, and eagerly let pop culture icons like Katy and Miley raise their kids. Sects like Stanton teach a distorted view of God as well, and contribute to the problem. I've seen so many people escape Stanton and turn to atheism in [...]

24 May

No, Sunday is never called “worship service”

By |2019-05-24T18:02:12-06:00May 24th, 2019|Uncategorized|15 Comments

We often call the Christian assembly "worship" or "worship service." But if we're going to use "Bible terms for Bible things," should we? Maybe, maybe not. Let's think this through. Is the congregation primarily a format designed to follow a specific pattern of prescribed worship and service to God? Or is its purpose to strengthen and build up believers to steel them against the persecutions they might face? In short, is it for Him or for us? These are two very different philosophies that lead to two very different conclusions about what happens "in church." I really don't like saying that phrase anymore, since we are "in" the church (the called out of Christ) no matter where we are. But I used to be in [...]

22 May

Six easy tips to measure your relationship with God

By |2019-05-24T18:42:27-06:00May 22nd, 2019|Uncategorized|8 Comments

Not sure if you're right with God? Here are six easy tips to measure your relationship with God and know that you're going to heaven: Keep perfect church attendance. This is definitely one of the most important measurements of your spiritual status. Attend. Every. Service. Don't be like those really bad people who "fall back unto perdition" and stay home when they are sick, or their spouse or child is sick. Attend more nonmember classes. This is a really easy tip if you want to get ahead in your "relationship" with God. God wants more converts. Obviously, showing your commitment to attending a class to recruit new converts is exactly what God wants you to be doing. Don't question it, even if it causes problems [...]

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