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I’m Going Back to Shofar!

December 16th, 2007 · Posted by Hugo · 35 Comments

Having handed in my thesis, I’m finally on holiday. Finally I get to do what I want, without the nagging feeling that there is one particular thing I should be busy with 24/7. With this new-found freedom, I’m heading back to Shofar today. The last time I went to Shofar was back in 2004. I wonder how much has changed, and how much has stayed the same. For those not local to Stellenbosch, Shofar is often described as a pentecostal church, and many members seem proud to tote the “fundamentalist” label. Heh, labels. Whatever.

I looked at a poster yesterday. It seems they now typically have four sermons, in two pairs. Each pair repeats the sermon in Afrikaans and in English, so the idea is that the committed can go to church twice each Sunday. They usually use the largest hall available on campus (they are registered as a university society). Right now, it is holiday. Until 20 January, they have only two services, one at 09h00 and one at 18h00. These services are held at High School Stellenbosch.

There is a lifestyle choice that many diverse people strive towards: the ideal of following Jesus’ example. It does seem that there is some diversity with regards to what this means exactly. Personally, I’m convinced one can learn about ideal lifestyles from just about any source. Currently, I think attending Shofar again could be a brilliant source for learning more about what it really means to follow Jesus…

Why did I stop attending in 2004? Well, I had a lot of baggage to deal with. Your baggage always has a huge influence on how you perceive any interaction with anything. I believe my baggage made it hard to see Truth, and caused me to focus more on flaws, and here’s the thing: every church has flaws. In fact, if we start looking for flaws, we find that just about everything, everywhere has flaws. This is a flawed universe. It is only perfect in its imperfection… ordered in its chaos. ;) Either way, it feels I have considerably less baggage now. I’m hoping that would help me keep my eyes open for Truth. I hope to share what I learn on this blog.

I’m a thinker. I think and I ask questions. I believe our minds are a great gift, a gift that should be cherished. As such, I will not refrain from asking honest and inquisitive questions, especially when there is something I do not understand. May the discussions in this category of my blog bear wonderful fruit.

Categories: Shofar
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35 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Irene // Feb 19, 2008 at 12:21 am

    I am a student at US and I am not only disappointed but concerned for the fact that so many of the supposed bright minds of tomorrow are diligently attending Shofar sermons. Universities serve a fundamental function in teaching people to think for themselves, However Shofar is jeopardizing this by preaching fundamentalist ideologies of creationism and irrational faith. Walkouts from creationist students should be smoldered. Either you attend class with an open mind or you stay away and let the lecturers do their jobs.
    Next time you plan on attending church, opt for a walk in the mountain. And then you ask yourself- do you really think God created this intricate and amazing planet with all its life forms just for us? or do you think maybe that self indulgent notion maybe belongs to a time before we knew the earth was round and the sun does not revolve around us. Science is not the antichrist. Intellectuals are not the devil, they are there to inform and enlighten.
    FYI- Everything is not flawed, the universe is perfectly formed (however chaotic). You see flaws in Shofar cause that is exactly what it is. “truth” cannot be institutionalized, so you might do well to keep on searching

  • 2 Bad Ben // Feb 19, 2008 at 12:37 am

    Irene, Irene, Irene.

    please read before you comment. You are a little bit like someone who overhears a conversation about a film, where the contributions have been largely defamating, to praise the wonderfull work of art.

    May I suggest you consider that you are in fact not the first person to raise (raze – Hugo!) such an opinion. That is what this blog is about: a response to these opinions with the hope of establishing dialogue.

    I hope you forgive me my brashness, that you get over the offence and that you continue (commence) – to engage us constructively and critically*.

    *sorry but what you have just done is not critique: not the kind I take seriously as a graduate of this fine University.

  • 3 Hugo // Feb 19, 2008 at 12:45 am

    /me winks at Irene. I’m a huge science fan, don’t worry. And I’ve finished my studies. I hope you’ll hang around for a while. (How did you come across this blog?)

  • 4 Bad Ben // Feb 19, 2008 at 1:26 am

    Sorry if I was unnecessarily hostile Irene.

    I just feel we don’t need people who come in and assume stuff about situations. I am a lover of the truth, science and all things good. Science can be a very good thing: in fact it is. Sex too. But Sex can ruin someones life, and not just from a moral perspective.

    I am myself sometimes frustrated at the “shofar-mindless” paradigm, but am seeing a lot of inspiring change, and struggling more and more to find ignorant blabbermouths who wanna spew morally based arguments on topic they are hopelessly undeducated in.

    How many times have you been in Shofar, if I may ask?

    What is the basis for your criteria.

    See I have a lot of respect for Hugo, who actually goes through the trouble of reading the faith policy etc. and formulating clearly, yet humbly, why Shofar is not his home. However hugo is a bit of a geek (can’t live without em’ fullstop.) and not everyone is as rigorous in their approach.

    So what are you like then, love?

  • 5 Hugo // Feb 19, 2008 at 1:32 am

    hugo is a bit of a geek

    Aw, Ben, I feel so flattered! (And I’m sincere here, no sarcasm. ;) )

  • 6 Irene // Feb 19, 2008 at 2:02 am

    Dear Bad Ben
    My criteria- my brother attended sermons for more than a year and I saw his personality change over the period of time. I myself haven’t been to a church since I was 15 or so, but I have friends of all convictions, also from the Shofar church. So don’t think of me as biased or ignorant. I just cannot believe that if there is an omnipotent God, that he will discriminate between the the 300 hundred or whatever branches of the Christian faith. For that matter it’s rather self indulgent of any omnipotent god to expect praise from his ‘seedlings’. a Moral or value based life has nothing to do with religion. I have no religious convictions but I respect my fellow man, and the earth with all that dwells on it, christians like to think of themselves as the elites on earth. Actually im sorry im not sticking to one point but honestly, in my opinion the only purpose any religion can still serve in a science proved world is to lay down a moral code according to which we can live and fyi- most religions agree on the the basics. What’s your basis of criteria for other religions? all i’m saying is if you’ve spent more than two weeks at shofar you should get yourself checked for brainwashing. just a tip.

    Hugo- i typed in Shofar blog, on google and out came this website. quite entertaining reading ive got to say.

  • 7 Hugo // Feb 19, 2008 at 2:27 am

    Hehe, welcome. Excuse the madness that happens every so often. I still blame the thesis stress factor.

    In terms of denominations, check out this page:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations

    I’ve heard Theo at SG say “33,000 denominations”, I’d need to find a citation for that to know what kind of denominations those would be… ah, yes, here we go:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestantism#Denominations

    Hehe.

  • 8 Irene // Feb 19, 2008 at 2:53 am

    Thanks for the reference- i generally don’t research my blogs as such, so i tend to go to the lower end of the scale. however, i never speak out about something i dont know about (bad ben)- oh and youshouldn;t call a lady ‘love’ in a blog, its condescending.

  • 9 Bad Ben // Feb 19, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Hi Irene

    Sorry for the “love” – i guess it was meant to be a bit condescending. It was unnecessary, forgive me. I’m actually very open to hear te issues that people have picked up with my church; how else ca we address our shortcomings.

    I am sorry to hear that you have had such an unpleasant experience with our church: but it doesn’t change the fact that you express largely opinions in sweeping statements, with a dissapointing lack of recognition for diversity of experience. Just because it makes sense to you, does not mean it’s true. i am sorry.

    I am not going to try and defend myself or my church situation, but will expect any critique that comes my way to be backed up argumentatively and well researched. Without trying to be condescending: I fear yours are neither. I urge you to consider for a second that you might not be right about everything after all – even if it only starts to appear so in the way you write.

    Oh and brainwashing is an outdated concept: look into interpolation ( i hope I haven’t misspelt ). It is a much more complex interpretation of the situation to which you actually choose to accept uncritically information that you are presented with. Volition & expectation plays an important role whereas it’s completely ignored in the idea of brainwashing.

  • 10 gerhard // Feb 19, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    ben : you need to research brainwashing , first start with what it is, what it’s history is, how its done. more importantly , what conditions need to be present for it to be able to take a hold of someone.
    I dont mean , just read the wiki entry.

    _everyone_ needs to have read this stuff..

    (points of interest: the little red book, freuds impact on society and pretty much anything goebles wrote)

    if you want ‘but will expect any critique that comes my way to be backed up argumentatively and well researched.’ then you must give ‘but will expect any critique that comes my way to be backed up argumentatively and well researched.’

  • 11 Bad Ben // Feb 19, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    GERHARD.

    I don’t go around making statements about brainwashing. please man. when did I say “as the expert on brainwashing I declare this not to be the case”?

    stop reading stuff into my requests. If it is unreasonable to expect someone to have researched something better than I have in order to convince me of something, then I humbly apologise.

    Please allow me to mention the little bit of exposure I do have, not as authoritative, but as at least as a point of departure: which is my intention in requesting further research.

    why are you so difficult?

    And if you’re the expert then why don’t you contribute positively and maturely to the conversation instead of condescending me?

  • 12 Bad Ben // Feb 19, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Sorry that last bit was useless rhetoric.

    But I will take you up on that. You check out the concept of interpolation with regards to the subject. We might actually have something to contribute to each other’s understanding.

  • 13 Irene // Feb 19, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    bad Ben (what exactly does this name imply?) since you’ve made so many assumptions about me and my intelligence, here’s an observation. You seem to be one of those people that is constantly fighting from your high horse of justice because your beliefs have been knocked so many times, its the only option other than change your actual beliefs. Now, at first I thought I was the one who was to aggressive in my stance but I now see you pick a fight with everybody who has a problem with shofar. maybe they have more than just a handful of problems they should attend to? if it truly makes you happy there- good for you. i left my initial comment with respect to the impressionable student who are sucked into the institution before being able to make informed decisions. why do you think so many of the uni’s lecturers are up in arms with Shofar’s practices? you never addressed that.
    thanks gerhard- just for using the word brain washing- Ben- it’s not an outdated concept -it is very often used psychologically- and always without the subjects being aware of it.
    But here’s a sincere question now- has shofar brought you closer to this Truth you like to speak of?? and how do you know it’s the ‘truth’ because your church says so or because you have god telling you its the truth- cause between the 6.5 billion or so people- you must be one damn special guy to have him talk to YOU. also – read up what an over active imagination can do to a person-

    PS: im still snickering about your comment comparing Shofar with a wonderful work of art. I am not a sheep, i do not attach my name to the end of other people’s comments. all my observations about shofar is exactly that- mine.

  • 14 Die Nuwe Blogger // Feb 19, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    One of the ‘contributers’ to this ‘argument’ invited me to this blog. Having never blogged before I looked forward to read waht’s on your mind. Gosh, julle kan darem kak praat. The only real contribution came from old Hugo, whom I seem to bump into where ever I go!

    The only way I guess we could save this from being a total waste of time is to go back to Hugo’s story.

    Now I think we could assume that Hugo, having handed in his his thesis and all is not stupid, and kindly accepting being called a geek by bad ben, problembly proves that his well read. Don’t worry ’bout ben calling you a geek, his called me cousin before! Further more I’d say that his not really brainwashable, having spent some time in Shofar and leaving it before.

    And pleas excuse me if my English is not great, i’m quite boer.

    Anyway, Hugo’s gonna check out Shofar again. I believe any man who loves truth would have an open, yet protected mind. He wonder’s how much have changed in the meantime. Having been in Shofar Stellenbosch since 2005 and now attending Shofar London in Wimbledon, I’ve really come to love the church and its leaders despite their many flaws. So be ware of my prejudice! At the same time I hope Hugo would say that nothing at all has changed and also I’d hope that he’d have found a great change in that the church would’ve corparately reached a much greater level of maturity and intelligence in the way that you should deal with people.

    Wether you agree with this or not, I believe the reason for our convictions concerning baptism, creationism and such is only because we aim to earnestly seek after God. Now please understand, this doesn’t mean I want to force any one to feel like I do about stuff, but if you ask me if I think that what I believe is true and the Truth, obviously there can be only one answer in my heart, wether that be offensive to you or not.

    What do I mean to say with what is said above. I want to come back to ‘what would have changed’ according to Hugo upon return to Shofar. When I first attented Shofar and joined a cell-group (like a CSV ‘kring’), a lot of guys said stuff like I need to be baptised and speak in tongues and all that, ofcourse not always directly, but very subtlely trying to convince you. Any one who’s not retarted will spot it a mile off. Luckly I was neither ‘brainwashed’ nor that other thing bad ben said nor offended. That was so because I’m not easaly convinced or offended. Then I said, well these guys’ testimony speak of God’s work in their lives and they are passionate about the lost getting saved, so I’ll go with them and their mistakes but check out for myself what I feel God says to me about baptism etc. I’m not gonna go further into that.

    Now some could even question us on being passionate about the lost getting saved, saying that it’s wrong and that we believe we are better than other religeons, but that’s another argument. This all comes back to what would’ve changed for Hugo since 2004. When I fell in love with this church, I fell in love the passion for the lost getting saved and the earnest desire to worship God. I hope non of that changed.

    However I do hope that we changed for the better concerning maturity and basic intelligence in the way that we deal with people.

    Furthermore Hugo said that Shofar could be a great place to learn about following Jesus and he said that he’s a thinker that loves ascing questions. I hope that he attends the church and do ask the questions here on this blog so that we may reason about them.

    I’d like to, in conclusion,add to Hugo’s comment of any body having it’s flaws and how I came to grips with it a long time ago. Actually no, yhis entry is way to long…

  • 15 Al Lovejoy // Feb 19, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    In the first place, aangesien jy net so groot klomp kak praat – you cannot earnestly seek after God in theories that having absolutely nothing to do with Christ or his teachings like evolution/creationsim and anything to do with eschatology. What are the references in the New Testament where Christ commands you to preach and argue about this??? Eschatology was something He told us to dismiss as it belonged to the Father’s will.

    So you cannot earnestly seek God like that no matter how much Fred May and the Shofar leadership tells you different. It is a mumbo jumbo distraction that has nothing to do with Jesus Christ. Rather listen to his sermon on the sheep and the goats before you put on that new Hillsong CD too….

    The believer only finds the source of faith in The Word. And the Word and the Word alone is the source of faith. Faith without works is dead and the will of the Father is only found in Matt 18.

    You say someone like Irene just talks kak – do you know her? Or is rabid arrogance allowed if you are a Shofarian? One of you accused me of making up stories and spreading them around in public yesterday.

    I’d love to discuss it with Fred May in Court.

    Watch the Rapport this weekend!!!

  • 16 Al Lovejoy // Feb 20, 2008 at 1:29 am

    “We aim to earnestly seek after God…”

    “When I fell in love with this church, I fell in love the passion for the lost getting saved and the earnest desire to worship God. ”

    This little refrain was introduced into Shofar by Fred May right back in the beginning Irene.

    JN 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

    JN 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

    MT 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.

    MT 12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.

    MT 18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

    MT 10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you he shall in no wise lose his reward.

    MT 18:6 But whoso shall cause one of these little ones that believe on me to stumble, it is profitable for him that a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and `that’ he should be sunk in the depth of the sea.

    MT 18:10 See that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.

    Now explain to Irene and everyone else talking kak what these clear and easily understood Scriptures on worship and the will of God have to do with picking fights about the orgins of our planet or convincing yourself you can look down on other believers because of their lack of “earnestly wanting to seek after God” – the Fred May Method – bulldozing arrogance, oozing disdain to all non-shofarians and an utter lack of a solid knowlege of Scriptural basics because Fred May thought for all of you already and all you need to do is memorise his bullshit Foundations and sign on the dotted line.

    That is not Christianity you idiot. That is idolism. And you can see it easily because people only worship idols for what they can get from them. Blessings….and they sing, make music and give sacrifices to appease them…Give money to Shofar or Jesus won’t bless you (Mal 3:8).

    No, see if you don’t give money to Shofar – you won’t bless Fred May and his leadership’s empty pockets.

    Truly and earnestly seeking after God and being a worshipper in Spirit and Truth will only lead you in one direction – Matt 18.

  • 17 Bennie Booker // Feb 20, 2008 at 4:06 am

    Glad this has now had more sides aired, not just the one side this blog seemed determined to only air as if the other does not exist.

    What is to be gained from trying to hide one side, that’s not seeking the truth, is it?

    Seeking after God begins in Scripture, which cannot be self-suitedly ignored when we want to believe something else.

    My respect goes to Irene for stating her case, and not to those wanting to just sweep it aside since it’s not in their words. I respect what she has gone through (and no I do not know her personally) but she hast the right to lay out her poersonal experiences, and as mature individuals, it’s not up to us to try and correct them or sweep them aside. Kudos to you, Irene. You do not need to express things in any way but the way you have experienced them. You know the truth as it happened to you, nobody has the right to tell you otherwise.

  • 18 Hugo // Feb 20, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Just some general comments:

    Die Nuwe Blogger:

    Don’t worry ’bout ben calling you a geek, his called me cousin before!

    You miss my culture here. I’m kinda from the “Open Source movement”, I am “proudly geek”. I suspect Ben can recognise this, and did not make that comment as an insult.

    Al Lovejoy:

    Shofarians buy into the justification that they MUST be offensive,

    That is a generalisation. Die Nuwe Blogger’s post was cool, calm and collected. Bad Ben’s comments are usually quite good. Pity he insists on offending you though. We know Shofarians typically have a particular view of you, having gone on the defensive due to your activism. Whether their views are justified or not (for the record, I don’t share their views), your comments do come across as offensive. And you know it.

    This is an exaggeration:

    “Foundations” that Shofarians have to memorise

    Shofarians:

    I know well what the typical Shofarian stance is on Al. I don’t know how to ask you to try to put your prejudices and biases aside. I also realise the perceived tone of Al’s comments don’t make it easy for you.

    *sigh*

    Bad Ben:

    Yes, notice how difficult Gerhard is. Give it enough time, and you’ll probably start to understand why my comments towards him recently turned ugly.

    Let’s hope he can change his ways a little, to facilitate valuable discussion.

  • 19 Bad Ben // Feb 20, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Hugo, Come on man! Percieved tone? Ive tried my best to give Al a chance, but it seems he has made up his mind and is out to change mine.

    When did I insist on offending him?

    The shofarian stance on Al is simple: ignore him. I have gone against Clause 11 and asked him to back up the slander he throws at Fred and Lucille which contradict my experience of them. He responded with venom.

    So I have deduced the Shofar approach to Al is in fact the best one here.

  • 20 Bad Ben // Feb 20, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    No. In retrospect, that was euphemistic.

    Al takes personally held opinions of shofar and propagates them, without proof, as fact. He in fact manipulates facts to make them seem shocking.

    Take the “memorise foundations” thing.

    Al is happy to dish it up, but can he take it? I think not.

    I’m going to take the risk of sounding self-righteous now, but if, with the “facts” that I know, I were to use Alex’s approach on him, I would be brutal.

    I will opt for the Shofar option until Al shows me that he wants to talk, not just insult my intelligence and integrity.

  • 21 Hugo // Feb 20, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Yea, euphemistically stated. A diplomat naively trying to call for a ceasefire, with the weak kind of diplomatic language that makes everyone hate diplomats. ;)

    When did I insist on offending him?

    /me scratches my head at my word choice. What was I thinking at the time? Bad word choice. Did I get some of my thoughts crossed again?

    I think the piece I had in mind was “Acid alex slanders the crap out of the people I love and trust.”

    I can try to reconstruct my sentence, dropping the “insist”. I think I’d rather forget of my weak attempts at… …ah, just forget it.

    Sorry Bad Ben.

  • 22 Hugo // Feb 20, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Grrr… /me starts gnawing my own shoulder.

  • 23 Hugo // Feb 20, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    /me bites my tongue… or wait, my own foot, after having inserted it up to the ankle.

  • 24 Negate // Feb 20, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    >Al takes personally held opinions of shofar and propagates them

    And you talk about personally held opinions about shofar and propagate them. You both are doing the same thing. While either of you are trying to take the high horse while both of you are already biased towards your respective personal held opinions is beyond me.

    >Al is happy to dish it up, but can he take it? I think not.

    Neither can you, i remember a ignoring comment from you. Jeesh, how about both of you accept you have different held opinions and leave it at that. Why the personal attacks?

  • 25 Al Lovejoy // Feb 20, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Hugo, you are right I am being offensive to these people.

    Insult your intelligence, really? You still haven’t explained this slander I am guilty of, clause 11 aside – is this some kind of extra-scriptural nonsense Fred thought out to avoid accountibility?

    Scripture says do not receive an accusation against an elder except by two or three witnesses. How many more credible witnesses do you need???

    While, you propogate idolism and call it Christianity and accuse me of being a bare faced liar, something you still cannot qualify – expect nothing from me except to tell you straight what a fool you and all Fred May’s disciples are.

    Slander…??? I’m sure your insulted intelligence can qualify this….

  • 26 Hugo // Feb 20, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    On request from Al, his most recent (offensive) comment has been demoted to the moderation queue. (Read: deleted.)

    So… let’s try to keep discussions here “clean”. Al, can I suggest you try to provide a concise explanation of your offensive tone, in two or three polite sentences?

    My guess: he would like to have a discussion, but Shofar’s “ignore him” policy, and their belief that he is manipulative, has him frustrated to the point of no patience.

    /me looks at my foot longingly again. It fits my mouth so comfortably.

  • 27 Al Lovejoy // Feb 20, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    What is a Cult?

    “A cult is a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control (e.g., isolation from former friends and family, debilitation, use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individuality or critical judgment, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc.) designed to advance the goals of the group’s leaders to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community.” (West & Langone, 1986)
    What Are Some Characteristics of a Cult?

    * Authoritarian in their power structure
    * Totalitarian in their control of the behavior of their members
    * Pyramidal structure
    * Uses thought reform techniques
    * Isolation of members (physical and/or psychological isolation) from society
    * Uses deception in recruiting and/or fund raising
    * Promotes dependence of the members on the group
    * Totalitarian in their world view
    * Uses mind altering techniques (chanting, meditation, hypnosis and various forms of repetitive actions) to stop normal critical thinking
    * Appear exclusive and innovative
    * Charismatic or messianic leader who is self-appointed and has a special mission in life
    * Controls the flow of information
    * Instills a fear of leaving the group.

    Okay, I agree wholeheartedly with the wirter, it is my stance too and Shofar fits the criteria.

    We don’t see the Studentekerk or the Roman Catholic church in Stellenbosch coming under the same crtitism – or churches like Vineyard, St Paul’s or Die Studentekerk. Especially Vineyard who have recently adopted the corporate policy that the church expects all members to be involved with ministry to the poor locally and of course let’s not forget the Studentekerk, which I simply do not recognise as the same church it was 15 years ago. Those churches have been asking deep questions, changing their views – and GROWING.

    Now, let’s recap how this train went off the rails, apparently by my fault and “venom”. I was trying to have a real, valid discussion with Hugo and others on the subject of fear of the afterlife and Christ’s resurrection. The latter, something that never seemed to be broached properly in the suggested manner or even simply like one potential participant requested nicely.

    Instead, I had to face this oke hijacking the discussion for no reason other than to sound clever, find fault and tell me he has the “goods” on me – “physical evidence” he called it and then blanketly accusing me of slander.

    As a professional and highly accomplished non-fiction writer – I take great exception to being called a liar as I would being called a plagiarist.

    As yet, and while he continues to accuse me of “slander”, maybe for the observers we can qualify this a little…and everything I say next can be corroborated by another witness. I’m only going to mention three things, because this list will just go on and on and on….

    1. ) Did Fred May fire my best friend Siebe (Shofar’s first church secretary and a man who “sowed” his BMW into the kingdom and then gave Fred the keys…) back when I was in Shofar? Yes. Why? Because Siebe told him something I said in private, in relation to Fred’s claim that – “God had raised him up to lead a revival that would transform Stellenbosch and eventually sweep through Africa”. I told Siebe: “God would not limit himself to one lone coloured man with very barely concealed racial resentment and a deep sense of material entitlement to and from Afrikaans white people to usher in a revival. He would do it His own way and thousands would be moved by His Spirit…”. He told this to Fred and got banished from Shofar and fired immediately. I’m sure that if I and Siebe were to confront him, Fred’s reason would be – Siebe was being divisive. That is why “submission to Authority” is in the Foundations. It allows Fred to marginalise or threaten anyone who dares to disagree with his “prophetic” – regardless of whether it is contrary to the authority of Scripture or the revealed Nature and Character of God. And at the time, I was the only person in Shofar who had actually studied in a formal Bible College. Something Fred was going to resent very, very deeply – because I kept on pointing out the flaws in his teachings. True or False?

    2. ) Did Fred May lie to my parole officer in an attempt to silence me by having me imprisoned for the rest of my sentence? Lucille May told my wife that Fred claims he has never even spoken to the man and this is a figment of my imagination. Something I hallucinated while in drug rehab. This one would be a coin toss either way for or against the truth, if it were not for my unique friendship with Major Rodney Barkhuizen. How many scews take a convict home to meet their wives and children? So far from being a coin toss – this one can go to court under oath. The Truth the whole Truth so help me God or False?

    3. ) Did Lucille May tell my wife of a long list of virgins that I apparently seduced while I was in Shofar and to whom I must repent before she or her husband will accept me as a Christian two weeks ago? Did she repeat it about six times and insist on this during their interview. This one, I suggest you follow up properly yourself and question Lucille and Natasha independantly. While I have given you every reason to judge me, and let’s face it – you have risen to the occasion magnificently – you will have to back up these things you say to me with facts. True or False? (Well that depends on the integrity of your homework. Tash is in our Kodak shop most days and I’m certain you cannot possibly have any reason to write her off as a Christian too.)

    Only facts will bring to light any lie I am accused of Bad Ben. So let’s see you put your money where your mouth is and see where the integrity you claimed to have treated me with leads you. You clearly do not like being treated the way you treat other people – as someone has pointed out. So let’s go back and start all over again without agendas and equipped with hard facts instead. Bringing my character into it AGAIN will prove nothing except a willingness to embrace superstition, gossip and ignorance.

    (Watch Bennie B. – this will go directly back to my personality, character, sanity, etc…, etc… In those urls you mailed me – did it ever go into the methodologies of cults when confronted by individuals who point out their most obvious flaws. Haven’t had time to read them all yet. I posted a long article in Facebook on the anatomy of the subject from a pastor banished from Rhema…)

  • 28 Bad Ben // Feb 20, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Negate: I don’t equate propaganda to voicing opinions in an online forum.

    the ignorance is not of criticism but of facts of which I have physical proof Al is ware of the inconsistency of opinion, yet still presents as facts.

    Ignorance is my last option. I choose it reluctantly.

  • 29 Al Lovejoy // Feb 20, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.

    – Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, Propaganda And Persuasion

    The “physical proof” Bad Ben keeps on harping about – show us…scan it, take a picture, make a copy – post it. Let us see the big hairy monster thing up your sleeve.

    It is not an opinion.

    Something…, any valuable material object that I either: …work for, is given to me or I inherit, steal or win in a competition – is mine to do fit with as I please.

    Is that acceptable?

    Shofar takes money from single women and orphaned students.

    Fact.

    No matter what excuses are dredged from Scripture – this is socially immoral.

    To fix that immorality and correct that gross error, I am holding a public protest on 01 Mar to see Oude Molen transformed into Oude Molen Orphanage – rather than Fred May’s Gift From God for “obedience” – I’m quoting Lucille.

    Considering we have never seen a bus load of people from Prochorus in Kayamandi ever enter the gates and only the inner circle of Shofar ever gather there for closed meetings, braais and sing-songs – we think that Oude Molen should be given to orphans that the students care for, it being the cult, racist and economic apartheid enclave it is now.

    Simple.

    Anything I say to achieve that is propaganda, advertising, social activism – name it I claim it…

  • 30 Bad Ben // Feb 20, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    Al.

    There is much to be researched in your claims. Unfortunately I don’t have the time or the energy to do so. But it doesn’t seem fair to me that someone presents something as fact when someone else (also personally involved) presents facts which are inconsistent with it. full stop. end of discussion from my side.

    * Totalitarian in their control of the behavior of their members
    * Uses thought reform techniques
    * Isolation of members (physical and/or psychological isolation) from society
    * Uses deception in recruiting and/or fund raising
    * Promotes dependence of the members on the group
    * Uses mind altering techniques (chanting, meditation, hypnosis and various forms of repetitive actions) to stop normal critical thinking
    * Appear exclusive and innovative
    * Controls the flow of information
    * Instills a fear of leaving the group.

    All these points in my experience have very little relation to the reality of Shofar’s teaching and practise.

    But you seem to have made up your mind, so who am I to argue?

    end of discussion.

  • 31 Irene // Feb 20, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    This blog has just about reached its due date. You are in one big loop hole, and every so often one throws a turd at another invisible blogger, but no one is making their points very clear. I have to apologise since I added the first comment- Which was about Shofar, as a whole entity- which is , and I hold this dear, winning over impressionable minds and as a result- clouding their logic that uni is supposed to develop.

    >Now explain to Irene and everyone else talking kak what these clear and easily understood Scriptures on worship and the will of God have to do with picking fights about the orgins of our planet or convincing yourself you can look down on other believers because of their lack of “earnestly wanting to seek after God”>

    Thanks AL- i have no difficulty understanding the metaphors of premodern men. I never criticized the scriptures of any damn religion. I’m also not picking fights- i just wish that the young ones, especially, will not sell their rationality for a little sense of belonging. I gather you’re not too happy about Fred May’s way of conducting business either. So let’s leave it at that- you’re entitled to believe anything that makes you happy- so long you don’t come onto campus and start converting us.

    In conclusion to this awfully dull argument- if you truly believe geologists, paleontologists, and academics to a great extent are wrong about the earth being give or take 7.3 billion years old- then dont be surprised if skeptics criticize your point of view.
    And one last point- I wish christians will STOP talking about the LOST needing to be SAVED. It’s condescending, and closed minded.
    Rather spend your money on feeding orphans and planting trees than trying to buy a bible for every lost soul on earth. Being a GOOD person has nothing to do with being a RELIGIOUS person. Any religious text can teach you about ETHICS. I can understand people being on a bad path- of whatever nature- but dont think its a god that saves them, its you who saves you from yourself.

  • 32 Hugo // Feb 20, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Al, if this is your idea of a renewed attempt to communicate, I am truly very disappoined in you. You might understand the psyche of people with the same kind of past as you, you might even believe you understand Fred’s psyche, but you definitely have no clue of the psyche of the typical Shofarian. The tone of your comments gets you nowhere. You must be realising this.

    This goes for everyone, not Al specifically:

    Verbosity is not a blessing. It is a barrier to building relationships. I’d probably say the same about debate. The whole principle behind debate is a dichotomy. A battle between “who is right” and “who is wrong”. I think it is a waste of time. I would much prefer a discussion, instead of a debate. I know it is hard when it comes to religions and worldviews, a very touchy topic, but that’s what, well, makes this so difficult. (Nicely tautological there.)

    I’m shutting down comments on this post.

  • 33 Hugo // Feb 20, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    OK, I’ve opened up this post again.

    There is a piece of wisdom that says, if all is well at home, a man can handle anything the world throws at him. Well, all wasn’t well at home. All was going wrong everywhere. And my cellphone, she was being extremely difficult. At long last, we negotiated peace, diplomacy was successful. At least one thing is going right now. So now I’m ready to handle the world again.

    *sigh*. I shouldn’t let what happens on this blog affect me so much. But y’know what the last straw does…

  • 34 Sad Ben // Feb 20, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    jippee!

  • 35 Al Lovejoy // Feb 21, 2008 at 12:31 am

    Irene, I was in no way suggesting you pick fights – that was levelled elsewhere.

    I believe our universe is incredibly old but I also believe it came from a will beyond our understanding. I believe our world is millions and millions of years old. I also believe that we are not alone and that there are billions of galactic systems with billions of worlds remarkably similar to ours.

    In my understanding the only universal language is pure mathematics and its alphabet the periodic table.

    Hugo, when you have exhausted every avenue to attempt reasonable dialogue with people over a period of years – derision is called for.

    Maybe not with the same more positive sentiments as Irene – but it also galls me when people will not think for themselves and take other people’s dogmas out for a walk. There is no way that Bad Ben knows me personally and every reaction he has to me comes from an idea he entertains. Sure, I’ve played into that idea without too much subtlety – but if the shoe was on the other foot, I would have invited the oke to come drink coffee with me to get to know the real person like you did and see what it is that causes him to think like that, while I would try and become his friend.

    Something that I have done repeatedly with Shofarians, many who have agreed to meet and then for some reason – suddenly changed their mind. For all the bluff going on – Bad Ben has no desire at all to get to know who I really am. And here I’m just a bunch of meaningless words on a screen. One has to wonder why? If I am merely being needlessly nasty to this man, why is it he cannot rise above it?

    I invite any Shofarian who wants to get to know me for who I really am to e-mail me. My wife and I have an open door. If we can deal with being knocked up in the early morning by close friends in a coke relapse and felling like they’ve committed spiritual suicide – we can have a reasonable chat person to person.

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