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18 November

Should you try the “Clean Church” challenge?

By |2022-11-18T13:39:12-07:00November 18th, 2022|Uncategorized|89 Comments

Back in 2013 (wow, time flies!), I wrote an article challenging readers to what I called the Clean Bible Challenge. Some have asked me how I got my head out of the legalistic teachings I was raised in, and one big piece of it was this "challenge." Of course, I didn't name it that until I wrote the article. At the time, I was just earnestly trying to figure out what I truly believed and why—and I did that by putting away the notes in the margins of my Bible, and reading a fresh copy, as if for the first time. More than once. Wow. I had missed so much by cluttering the words of Scripture with chain references, cross references, and book references. What [...]

4 November

It shall not be so among you

By |2022-11-05T14:35:25-06:00November 4th, 2022|Uncategorized|18 Comments

I want to dive headlong into the subject of politics. No, not national, regional, municipal, or school board politics. Those are all important. But I'm talking here about church politics. I'm talking about who has the most influence over church policy, doctrine, who's in, who's out, who gets withdrawn from, who is the next to become the golden boy, etc., etc., etc. And I'm talking about how one obtains that power and influence. Yeah, I'm talking about that unsavory aspect of organizational life. But first, some definitions: politics : 1a: the art or science of government b: the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy c: the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government 2: political actions, [...]

3 November

Here’s Joe Gautreau’s letter of withdrawal…where do I start?

By |2022-11-04T14:00:17-06:00November 3rd, 2022|Uncategorized|20 Comments

Stanton leadership's lack of Biblical understanding is appalling, to say the least. This letter stating the reasons for Stanton's "withdrawal of fellowship" (a completely misused term) should be an embarrassment to anyone who even has a cursory knowledge of scripture. I will provide it here for your perusal and comments below. Dear Faithful Brethren, We are deeply comforted in knowing that all the churches continue walking in the faith, unity, and peace that we have enjoyed for so many years. This letter is sent to help answer the many inquiries received regarding the recent withdraw (sic) of our brother Joe Gautreau. While it is not customary to send out letters to the brotherhood over local church discipline, we felt it necessary to do so in [...]

2 November

My (unanswered) email to Gary on August 10, 2004

By |2022-11-02T15:38:03-06:00November 2nd, 2022|Uncategorized|4 Comments

I have hoped, prayed, and acted in good faith for many, many years in trying to have a conversation with Stanton leadership. When I heard Paula in her own voice incorrectly tell the world that I failed to show up to meet her kids for an unfriendly (her words) conversation about the church, I was reminded that I had seen a copy of my email to Gary somewhere from "probably a couple decades ago." I was close. As it turned out, I sent it on August 10, 2004, over 18 years ago as of today. I ran across the copy, and will share it below. For the record, I still have no ill will toward Gary, Paula, or any other Stanton leader. The offer still [...]

28 October

An October Meeting to remember. Here is my take.

By |2022-10-28T09:11:12-06:00October 28th, 2022|Uncategorized|9 Comments

This article will evolve over time as I have the opportunity to listen to more of the October 2022 meeting. Initially, I'll go ahead and post it as a "stub" article so that there can be conversation around it if people would like. As I get time, I will add to the article, but this will be a long term effort, as I have other higher priorities than Stanton. It is important, and I want to help people open their eyes. But Stanton is not at the center of my life, thankfully (nor should it be yours). Feel free to crowdsource highlights in the comments here. It will be helpful when you quote snippets, to reference (a) which audio file you are referring to, and [...]

25 October

A reminder of my goals for this blog

By |2022-10-26T10:28:03-06:00October 25th, 2022|Uncategorized|6 Comments

Since time and distance have a way of blurring the "first principles" of any endeavor, I think it would be helpful to restate the goals of this blog for the benefit of newer readers. Why did Stanton Blog come into being? Why does it still exist? What are the motivating factors for me, and for those who have engaged with the content through conversation and comments? But first, I think it's important to clarify some things that are NOT the reasons for its existence. NOT the reasons this blog exists This blog was not started to insult or tear down the Stanton group, or even to reform it, for that matter. I actually care little whether Stanton disbands or reforms (as a group, that is—I [...]

19 October

Did Jesus really come to set families against each other?

By |2022-10-22T21:06:57-06:00October 19th, 2022|Uncategorized|11 Comments

Jesus: "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household." Matthew 10:34-36 Stanton: "See, our families are against us, so we must be on the right track." Inigo Montoya: "I do not think that means what you think it means." One of the grossest perversions of Jesus's words by Stanton is its abuse of Jesus's prediction that a man's enemies would be the members of his own household. If you're in the sect, you've probably heard this argument over the [...]

17 October

A quick update

By |2022-10-17T23:51:11-06:00October 17th, 2022|Uncategorized|6 Comments

I apologize to the commenter or two who appear anxious to dance on my grave, but the rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated, to misquote Mark Twain again. First of all, I want to say thank you to those of you who have been praying for me and for my family. I even had a phone call from a reader asking about my health, and I truly appreciate that. I also want to thank those who have warned me of some of the spammers that have been attracted to this site. I appreciate the heads-up about various inappropriate comments, and apologize for not having a quicker response to get rid of the filth. I have taken steps to delete not only the filth [...]

18 October

Breaking free of old thought patterns

By |2020-10-18T11:29:26-06:00October 18th, 2020|Uncategorized|69 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 [...]

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