thinktoomuch.net

Pondering the South African Memesphere – Looking for the Good in Everything

thinktoomuch.net header image 2

Why I Cannot Join Shofar

February 18th, 2008 · Posted by Hugo · 371 Comments

There are a couple of reasons, but here’s one. Point Eleven on their Statement of Faith aka membership contract…

11. With regards to submission to authority, we believe in the principle of being in authority because you are under authority. As such, it is understood that membership shall be subject to submission to authority in matters pertaining to church governance, doctrine and personal behaviour.

They’d claim authority over my personal behaviour?! I’m sorry, I thought the point of Jesus dying on the cross was to give each believer direct access to God? This really doesn’t correspond to my understanding of the Christian tradition… Every believer, in my understanding, should submit only to God, not to some authority figure, not to one another. The alarm bells are clamouring in my head. Yes, we walk a path through life together. We learn from one another. We listen to pastors preaching, lecturers lecturing, teachers teaching. We discuss things. We respect one another. We apply the golden rule. But we don’t Lord it over one another. Will that meme ever die, or do we need Jesus to come back so that we can kill him again?

I find inspiration everywhere. I can learn from Fred May, I can learn from Richard Dawkins, I can learn from philosophy, fiction, other religions, other myths, other cultures, the Bible, I can learn from Shofar. But no man will ever play God over me. That position is not available.

I, the undersigned, freely and voluntarily subscribe to the basic principles set out in this Statement of Faith and understand and consent to the fact that should I violate such principles, I may be required by the leadership to either accept their counsel and discipline or forfeit my membership.

No can do. It goes against my beliefs.

Categories: Shofar
Tags: ·

371 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Hugo // Feb 18, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Hmm, does this post also contain too much melodrama?

  • 2 Al Lovejoy // Feb 18, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Calling on all atheists, non-theists, agnostics, Moslems, Jews, Taoists, Maoists, Closet neo-Buddhists and worshippers of the Great Crocodile God Offler…

    Answer the simple questions you might have running in your mind after first imagining, growing up without a father and secondly growing up an orphan:

    Listen to this kid:

    Is it wrong for my Mom to give money to Shofar, when she is alone …and I know she is lonely too (I’ve heard her crying at night but she doesn’t know), and she has to work all the time and we both need stuff and me and my little sister never see her? And the Pastor says if she doesn’t give him 10% of what is left of her paycheck at work – Jesus isn’t going to bless us. And it’s been like that since our dad died when I was six and Missy was two. That’s when she started to go to church. Afted dad died. Before that we never went to church and we always had everything. Sometimes when she had no work at all they would help out with some money and food but when she got work again – she started paying them money again.

    Doesn’t Jesus want our Mom to buy us stuff we need first? And pay for the flat? Can’t we save just a little bit so we can maybe go on holiday? The Bible school teacher says Jesus loves little children, so can’t Jesus let us keep a bit for ourselves? Please?

    1. Do YOU, yes you reading this – think it is immoral to take money for any conceivable reason from a woman, alone and trying to earn a living and raise children alone? Very simple question – Do you think it is immoral?

    Do you think it is immoral to take money from a child who has lost forever, one or both their parents?

    Shofar Christian church preaches this filthy money scam, my wife Natasha heard Senior Pastor Fred May explaining to the Congregation how single mothers were to give him money, the full 10% of their paychecks – and if they got into financial trouble doing so – the church would pray for them. BUT they had to understand that this was NOT A LAW, no, but, BUT if they were obedient, JESUS WOULD BLESS THEM!!! And of course the opposite of a blessing is a CURSE FOR NOT GIVING FRED MAY THEIR CASH!!!

    This is nothing more than the extortion and exploitation of single mothers, something that is immoral, criminal and then and then only, at last, we come to the religious understanding – it is decideldly unchristian and it is a sin.

    If you agree, join our protest behind Stellenbosch Station on Mar 01, 2008 at 15h00 to 16h00 – just one hour and join us – NO MATTER WHAT YOUR RELIGION!!!

    We want to see Oude Molen become Oude Molen Orphanage. Immediately.

    The reason I am calling on every other religion and non-religion I can think of (I think I forgot Rastas and Rooster Worshippers) to join in is – ANY human being, no matter their belief systems – can protest against gross social immorality – Jesus Christ simply got dragged into the middle of this particualar ugly mess (without His Permission I might add).

    If you can’t join us, leave your comments on the invitation wall – we welcome them but of course we would welcome you and every friend you know to join us for that hour on the 01 March preferrably.

    One of my very best friends observed to me once and I agree with him whole heartedly:

    IF WE TREAT JUST ONE GENERATION OF OUR CHILDREN PROPERLY – WE WILL CHANGE THE WORLD FOREVER.

    P.S. For those of you who may be dismayed at the ferocity of my anger in other places on the net – as directed at this man, his wife and lieutenants – allow me that anger, which I consider righteous – because nothing makes me more speechless with fury – than child abuse. And I consider myself pretty much an expert on it in all its insiduous forms. Starting with something utterly innocous like: Mommy is NOT going to LOVE you if you DON’T EAT YOUR PEAS…to the misery of being used as a human toilet. Allow me anger as I defend those to whom this is happening right this second and support us to stop it somewhere close. Matt 18.

  • 3 Al Lovejoy // Feb 18, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Gal2:20, 1 Tim 2:5, Heb 8:6 to support your position Hugo – and The Promise:

    Joh 16:13

    I too, will worship no man – or have any authority over me except Our Father.

  • 4 Sweet Chili // Feb 18, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Hugo, I think you have the answer in the question itself…otherwise, you wouldn’t ask, would you?

  • 5 Bad Ben // Feb 18, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    I think its really sad that there is not adequate explanation for clauses like that one in the statement of faith.

    Similar to baptism etc. there are quite deeply rooted reasons for adopting these principles, but all one ever sees is the clause.

    Im not trying to say its something I completely agree with – but ots something I prefer to question out of a place of loyalty. (kindof like the whole evaporation thing) Every church you fellowship in will have certain points that won’t agree with you Hugo. That being said I do believe there is a church out there that connects with something in you, that you can slot into and be loyal to. Do this as a matter of urgency, I emplore you.

    There is a lot of points to consider before writing off something like that as against your beliefs. It would be possible to ignore the development of certain of one’s beliefs if investigation is not fulfilled.

  • 6 Bad Ben // Feb 18, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    I don’t think it is melodrmatic: but it’s tone could have been a little less certain, a little more seeking. Maybe that is more pertinent to your approach to the topic in general than this blog per se.

  • 7 Ben-Jammin' // Feb 18, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    I hope you get plenty of supporters with the protest, Al Lovejoy, and some good comes of it. You sound a lot less angry than I would probably be.

  • 8 Bad Ben // Feb 18, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    O en PS:

    Is dit nie billik om te verwag as jy deel van ‘n instansie wil vorm dat jy jou aan daardie instansie se ideologiese inslag onderwerp nie?

    A house divided against itself will not stand.

    Dis vir my ‘n taai ene, want telkens verskil ek ook met die leierskap op fyner punte.

    Constructive Input please?

  • 9 Hugo // Feb 18, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Sweet Chili, yea. I’m working on figuring out what seems to be a fine line between “melodramatic” and “passionate”. Or maybe it isn’t a fine line, I must just find better ways of expressing passion?

    Ben:

    I don’t think it is melodrmatic: but it’s tone could have been a little less certain, a little more seeking. Maybe that is more pertinent to your approach to the topic in general than this blog per se.

    Thanks. I will take a page out of Borg’s book and try to infuse my writing with humility, even in cases where my own views are pretty strong. It will be necessary, there are many finicky details I’d like to consider/discuss, and I’m not really interested in enemies.

    A house divided…

    I see a church more as an organism. A living organism, embracing diversity. I like Stellenbosch Gemeente’s approach. It seems to stand just fine, despite diverse views on homosexuality, diverse views on literalism, baptism, etc… I think there are better things to be certain about, better things to build foundations on, than a strong, deep hierarchical corporate structure.

    Can I ask you about this?:

    That being said I do believe there is a church out there that connects with something in you, that you can slot into and be loyal to. Do this as a matter of urgency, I emplore you.

    May I ask what your motivation is for imploring me like this? What is the context, the framing, of this request? (What was your terminology for loaded questions/statements again?)

  • 10 Bad Ben // Feb 18, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Hmmm. i think it’s a difficult question to answer without the help of paralinguistic communication. ie. we should have coffee over it.

  • 11 Bad Ben // Feb 18, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Actually: Its got to do with the swimming pool. I’d like to see you stay in a pool.

    Secondly I think you (while I can understand you thinking so) are missinterpreting the point of that clause. It is not something that is policed upon: and my experience is that it will probably only really come into play when a person is acting devisively. I really don’t experience a lack of freedom for expressing a contrary opinion. I did an internship year last year and was in close contact with many of the pastors and have agreed to disagree on some finer points. But yes our church can become quite ruthlessly dogmatic about things like baptism etc. which are problematic. even so I sincerely Love being there and I am in fact hurt when good ol’ Acid alex slanders the crap out of the people I love and trust.

    We can, and should still have coffee over it.

  • 12 Hugo // Feb 18, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Yea, coffee or tea before the week’s over. Consider this a commitment.

  • 13 Johan Swarts // Feb 18, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Sies Ben, daar steel jy my lyntjie oor paralinguisme. Skaam jou 😉

  • 14 Johan Swarts // Feb 18, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    (Kan ons nie sommer saamdrink nie?)

  • 15 Hugo // Feb 18, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Ooh, ‘n threesome! Wat sê jy, Ben? Ek, jy, en Johan?

  • 16 Auke // Feb 18, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    me too, me too. And I’ll be vewy vewy quiet…

  • 17 Hugo // Feb 18, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    lol @ Auke… 😉 That could be lots of fun. I don’t want your tongue to start bleeding though, y’know?

  • 18 Bad Ben // Feb 18, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    aai Johan ek sal dit as ‘n eer vat om gecopy te word deur so ‘n wannabe intellectual as ek!

  • 19 Natasha // Feb 18, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    Bad Ben, ek sal graag meer met jou wil praat oor die mense wat Al so slander, die mense waarvoor jy so lief is en vertrou. Ek dink jy was tot dusver nog gelukkig genoeg om nie die kant van hulle te beleef wat Al moes. Ek het geen probleem met die kerk nie, net met die leierskap. Ons hoor DAAGLIKS van mense wat deur dieselfde hel moes gaan en steeds gaan as wat Al ‘n paar jaar gelede deurgegaan het. Dalk sal jy beter verstaan hoekom Al dit nie net sal laat gaan as jy ‘n paar van die horror stories hoor. Hoeveel onskuldige mense se lewens moet nog verwoes word???
    Natasha

  • 20 Al Lovejoy // Feb 20, 2008 at 1:02 am

    What does this word slander mean “Bad Ben”, since you are not forthvoming on your innuendo and “physical evidence” you were bleating about. You seem to know a lot of big words, including what used to be my name and the title of the bestseller I wrote. You must have been there in the early nineties.

    So help my ragged semantics out. What does slander mean???

  • 21 MonSiret // Feb 20, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Bad Ben,

    Eerstens, met so ’n naam skaaf jou skowwe sekerlik so nou saam in die strop met die Bose dat jy glad nie eers meer die skrynende ironiese kontras besef nie!

    Die Here het mos jou naam verander…

    Tweedens, ’n afdraaipaadjie:

    [… a little more seeking…] ?

    A seeker is not a seeker who does not find. Dit leer ons by die Groot Soeker wat nie aanhou soek totdat hy ons kry nie… Sien Luk 15 (lees maar die hele hoofstuk en nie net ’n vers of wat nie.)

    Nee, Ben, laat ons nie aanhou soek en soek en soekender verlore gaan terwyl die Weg, die Waarheid en die Lewe aan ons hartsdeure hamer met die Goeie Nuus van sy volbragte verlossing nie.

    Derdens die crux:

    Waarom verdedig jy diegene wat lynreg teen jou Here staan met aansprake op sy gesag?

    Delf eerder dieper in die onuitputbaarheid van Christus soos Hy Homself aan ons bekend maak in sy Woord en aanvaar slegs Hom as Hoof en Heer oor alle mense, want eendag sal elke knie voor Hom buig en elke tong sal erken dat: Jesus Christus die Here is tot heerlikheid van God die Vader,

    nie Fred May of Shofar nie.

    m

  • 22 Mon'Siret // Feb 21, 2008 at 7:09 am

    Hallo

  • 23 Hugo // Feb 21, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Mon’Siret, I don’t know why comments are ending up in the spam queue lately. Have you been commenting on other blogs, where your comments might have been flagged as spam by the owner?

    No further comment from me, I havta get some work done.

  • 24 Sad Ben // Feb 21, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    “aansprake op sy gesag”?

    nogals sterk gestel! Ek ervaar dit nie – hence verdediging.

  • 25 Sad Ben // Feb 21, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Maar ek dink nie hierdie lyn van argument gaan vrugbaar wees nie: Kom ons gesels eers meer persoonlik; kry ‘n gevoel vir konteks – voor ons weer in die ons en hulle slaggat val. Dis nie nodig om aanvallend of verdedigend te raak nie.

    Oja – die bad ben was ironies…

  • 26 Mon'Siret // Feb 22, 2008 at 7:37 am

    Almal, veral die administrator

    Vir een of ander rede het my posts nie ge-submit nie en toe weer dubbel ge-submit. Die lang relaas is dus nie regtig van toepassing tot hierdie blog-lyn nie. Baie jammer hieroor.

    Hugo, kan jy post 21 en 22 afhaal aangesien 23 die ware jakob is? Ek weet nie hoe werk jou system nie.

    Dankie

  • 27 Mon'Siret // Feb 22, 2008 at 8:15 am

    Ben, ‘n woord oor gesag.

    C.S. Lewis observed, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 40-41).

    ‘n Mens kan maklik dink dat die Here gekom het om ons ‘n beter (díé) weg te wys, of ‘n groter (díé) waarheid te kom vertel of ‘n dieper (díé) lewe te kom gee. Die Skrif bring ons egter die wonderlike boodskap dat Christus self die Weg, die Waarheid en die Lewe IS! Nie bring so asof ons

    Hoekom sê ek dit?

    Want Jesus het gekom om EXCLUSIVELY erken te word as die enigste PERSOON deur wie ons vrye toegang tot die Vader kan kry. Dit beteken ons het nie as sulks enige leermeester of dominees of leier nodig buiten HOMSELF nie. Die volle gesag om gedien en gevolg te word vestig in Hom as persoon en daarom durf ons nie ‘n godjie maak van ‘n mens nie, al is hy hoe suskesvolle prediker, besigheidsman of inspirasie. (Hugo, hier haak ek aan jou vraag aan by die “many meetings” topic. Ja, eksklusiwiteit kweek verdeeldheid, maar dit is juis wat Jesus gesê het hy bring! Die swaard van Mattheus 10:34-36 /Miga :6)

    “aansprake op sy gesag”? – nogals sterk gestel! Ek ervaar dit nie – hence verdediging”

    As jy nie ervaar dat Fred ‘n magshand in jou en ander Shofar gemeentelede het nie, dink ek jy ervaar dit as sy invloed. Oordeel maar net wat hierdie invloed jou laat glo en dink oor die Christus, die fyn lyn word maklik oorgesteek.

    Die invloed wat Paulus byvoorbeeld oor sy gemeentes se lede gehad het, was sekerlik een waarmee hy uitsluitlik die oë op die Christus gevestig het, eerder as morele praatjies en sinnelose debat. Die algemene oor die ervaring van mense met Fred May, is dat hy (aspris of onbeplan – dit weet ons nie) mense se aandag op hom en sy kerk vestig. Indien dit nie sy bedoeling is nie, behoort hy na sy metodes te kyk aangesien

    Ek moet sê, ek hoor min van mense wat bloot hoor sê: Die Here is groot. Ek hoor egter baie mense goed sê soos: Sjoe, maar kyk wat doen Shofar al weer (goed of sleg) of: Jissie, maar Shofar feature nogal of His People in N1 stad is nogal groot, “soveel-soveel” mense. En kyk net hulle facilities.

    En ja, dit is nogal ontstellend.

    Sjoe, ek wou net vinnig iets sê oor gesag, toe raak dit ook ‘n monster verduideliking.

    Hugo, as jy my wil afskop, waarsku net!

    ;o-)

  • 28 Rad Ben // Feb 22, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Nee Mon’Sirat!

    Ek ervaar jou post as baie insiggewend en het geen aanstoot geneem nie! (jy was evidently nog nie baie lank op die blog om van die voorafgaande discussions te beleef nie…)

    Ek reply nounou op jou baie geldige concern.

  • 29 Rad Ben // Feb 22, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Jy lewer baie geldige kritiek op 2 punte:

    *Mense (veral mense in shofar) weet nie wat om te maak met Fred May nie. You either “worship” him or loathe him.

    *Mense (weereens hoofsaaklik die “shofarians”) is tot op die hede geneig om baie eng en shofarsentries ingesteld te gewees het.

    Ek wil my ervaring/waarneming van die twee issues (waarmee ek ook ‘n paar jaar al stoei) gou weergee.

    Ek het in shofar gekom en in beide hierdie slaggate getrap. Ek weet honestly nie hoekom dit gebeur nie, maar dit doen, veral met die jong oukies. Ek het egter op ‘n stadium baie ontnugter geword met die kerk sisteem en veral mense se sterk opinies teen ons. Sien ek het gevoel dat ons regtig waar net goed wil doen, maar mense ons misverstaan.

    Deur introspeksie en ‘n lang tyd waarin ek baie vare gevra het, en deur God se genade nie die kerk verlaat het met offence nie, het ek besef maar my eie baggage, verwagtinge en maniere van relate tot leiers het meeste van die probleme veroorsaak. Ek besef nou dat ek self die keuse gemaak het om Fred op daai pedestal te sit.

    Kyk laat ons geen mispersepsies toelaat nie. Die man is ‘n passivolle, uitgesproke en intense prediker, en dit maak dit soms maklik om te mis dat hy ook maar net ‘n skaamerige, soms baie verstrooide mens in sy persoonlike hoedanigheid is. Dis juis sy “menslike” karakter eienskappe wat baie keer maak dat mense so offended met hom raak. anyways. Ek dink nie dis nodig om te veel uit te brei nie. Ek sal maar net sê dat mense se persepsies van hom hulle eie is. Net oordat hy ‘n powerfull preacher is beteken nie ons moet hom worship nie, en die fiet dat hy so baie klem in sy strategie op leierskap-ontwikkeling plaas justify dit.

    Die Shofar obsessie is ‘n funny en hartseer ding vir my. Wat ek dink mense optel is dat ons nie uit ons pad gaan om saam te werk met ander kerke nie. Weereens iets waarmee ek lank ‘n groot issue gehad het. Ek dink die official stance is dat Fred en van die ander leierskap al ‘n paar trainsmashes beleef het met ecumenicals (kerkeenheid-vibes) wat maar baie shaky was. Ook het ons maar ‘n harde geskiedenis in terme van verhoudinge met ander kerke op die dorp. Bad goed wat ek nie alles van weet nie, maar ook nie noodwendig iemand se skuld was nie. Suffice to say sommige verhoudinge is bietjie versuur. Tog ervaar ek ‘n willingness om vooruit te beweeg en in sentiment wil ons baie graag hande vat met ander gelowiges:

    Die probleem van doktriene is wel prominent hier; maw, die fundementalisme ding sal weer aangespreek moet word. Ek sal vir nou eers sê ek ervaar sommige van ons stances as baie borderline- maar ek glo hierso integriteit sal weer nie hoef plek te maak vir lojaliteit nie…

    Meer hieroor later.

    Dankie vir jou oop gemoed Mon’Sirat.

    Uiteindelik! Non-sentimental Shofar-critique!

  • 30 Hugo // Feb 22, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Dankie Ben. Goeie terugvoering.

  • 31 Mon'Siret // Feb 22, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Mon ‘Siret, dankie, ek noem jou nie Ban nie. ☺Hugo , hoe maak jy daai smiley face?

  • 32 Hugo // Feb 22, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    That’s a wink… 😉 – I make it by typing semicolon closebracket (or semicolon hyphen closebracket).

  • 33 Hugo // Feb 22, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Ooh, here’s another way: colon wink colon, i.e. six characters of which the first and last are colons. Or in other words :bleh: with “bleh” replaced by “wink”.

  • 34 gerhard // Feb 25, 2008 at 11:01 am

    great post

  • 35 Mon'Siret // Feb 25, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    :bleh:
    😉
    🙂
    😉
    just had to try, thanks
    meer woorde en minder jibberish later
    m

  • 36 Mon'Siret // Feb 25, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Ben, 😉
    vir jou, dat jy weet wat die gesindheid van my laaste post is
    m

  • 37 Al Lovejoy // Feb 26, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Hugo, these are two letters that I think you and your readers might benefit from reading…

    Hi Alex

    I hope this gets through to you. You might not remember me, but I was part of Shofar when you were around, in fact, you slept over in my room for a couple of nights while me and a mate watched over you during one of your drug rehabilitations or detoxes. This was end of 1993. We even brought you cigarettes when you were in Stellenbosch Hospital! I have followed, with interest, your campaign against the Mays.

    I am not really interested in getting involved in all of this, but I am not too sorry to see them sweat a bit. When I contracted cancer in 1994 they dropped me like a hot potato, even though I was a member of the “inner circle”. The sad thing is their hold on our minds was of such a nature that my first reaction was to consider what I had done wrong, where my sin was. I even went back to Shofar once the chemotherapy was over. But by this time my eyes had been opened and I realised that they were not the sincere “nice” Christian people I thought they were. In a confrontation with Fred just before we left he started out by telling me what my big problem was and why I could not go ahead with God. I stopped him in mid stride and told him that I had felt betrayed when they dropped me with the cancer-thing. He actually admitted this and apologized, but the simple fact that he had never from his own convictions apologized was enough for me. We simply left.

    Afterwards we found out that Lucille was telling everybody that I had contracted cancer because I had defied Fred. I assumed that these statements followed because I had told Fred once that I do not accept his doctrinal views on a certain matter. He then wanted me to promise him that I will only share the Shofar doctrine and I responded that I could not do so with a clear conscience. The discussion ended with him telling me that I should be willing to accept the consequences of my actions. They must have been overjoyed when I contracted cancer.

    Over the years I have met so many people who were damaged and hurt by the Mays. Even Lucille’s own sister was kicked out of Shofar and Lucille basically spoke a curse over her life when she and her husband left Shofar. Lucille is a venomous person; I really have no time for her. Fortunately I have very little fear of these types of “curses”. Her sister seems fine too lol. By the way, my wife helped them (the Mays) out at home for a spell and after that she would refuse to go to any form of counselling where either of the two Mays was involved. It seems they often told their house guests about things that people shared with them during counselling sessions. My wife was really shocked by this.

    I have moved on, you say that you are doing this to help those currently involved with Shofar. I hope this is the truth, because life is meant for positive things my friend. I have recently become a dad for the first time. A miracle as we thought we could not have kids (not bad for a “cursed” guy!) You might remember J, he and his wife are now helping drug addicts somewhere in Europe, they have two lovely kids. They also left Shofar under a cloud (I think his wife claimed that Fred had acted inappropriately towards her at one stage). But since only 1 person has ever been kicked out of Shofar (big lie!) I guess they left out of their own free will. But he is a lovely person, a real Christian. What happened to Guys? I often think of him and wonder if he ever “made it”. He was such a deeply hurt human being. I think nobody at Shofar was ever qualified or equipped to help someone with such desperate needs. In the end so many of us were really sincere but naive young people. We really believed that there was something special at Shofar, and the truth is that in the beginning things were beautiful. I have so many fond memories of these times. When you were not on drugs you were a joy to have in a small group. I am glad you are drug free. You are a better person without.

    There is a dark part of me that desperately wants revenge. I would love to see them suffer for the lies they have told, the lives they have damaged. But I have better things to do. I think we all believe that at some stage they will come to a fall – that this type of extortion and exploitation will stop. But you do as you see fit. Just remember that there is a difference between Shofar and the people involved. I will never call the former a church, it is a business, the latter is the church and with her we should be gentle.

    C

    PS: I see you are sporting a new range of tattoos. I could not help but chuckle, does one of the old ones not say: “Child of Destiny” with a dagga-blaar at the top! LOL

    Hi Brother C

    I’ll stick to that because I don’t know how well known your internet handle is and I want to retain anonymity outside of the old “inner circle” because I am going to publish this. I don’t really know quite what to make of your letter, so I’ll deal with it in sections.

    It is truly wonderful that you overcame cancer, praise God. And what a blessing it is to be a father, even expectant like I am currently. Not bad for two cursed guys!

    C, have to tell you, I do find it saddening that you remember me mostly as a mandrax addict whom you watched detox once a long time ago. If that detox were a murder, I would have served my time for it already and been paroled. I don’t know if you have read Acid Alex yet, but I make it clear that in my opinion addicts of all species and plumage are living out their internal emotional pain, fears and spiritual damage. When I look back at the way I attempted to kill that agony with ugly debilitating drugs – I do so with different eyes, and I do not look down on myself in any way because I have looked deeper than that and done it through the eyes of grace. Some of my friends are in the very same place today and I would never, ever look down on them for trying to quit no matter how sick it makes them. And Tash and I would do anything to assist. And I would never ever take them back to that place when they had recovered to remind them of it fourteen years later. I would not want to embarrass them or attempt to make them feel small. But that is just me. My wife Natasha is a very gentle and beautiful woman but her blunt comment to your letter was: “Jy kan iemand uit Shofar neem – maar kan jy nou actually Shofar heeltemaal uit hulle neem?”, admittedly she was being cynical because in her recent nasty interview with Lucille – she dwelt on that specific detox deeply and contrary to your account, it was actually her and Fred who stood by my bed day and night until I was better. I remember your account more accurately.

    C, I was a drug addict. A bad one. It nearly killed me and had me hospitalised on numerous occasions. I’ve faced life imprisonment for it, yet I consider it ALL joy that I came through that dangerous trial because it took me to a place where I was taught what grace really is, and that it is God and Him alone who led me into a relationship with Our Father and who always has and always will watch over us. Like J and his wife, I have a deep compassion for people hurting themselves with chemicals and self-destructive habits, but don’t see anything on the outside – I’m only interested in the pain and fear that drives it. I met an old friend in the parking lot of Boord Spar the other day and although M is still the remarkably beautiful woman she always was, she had a thin scar dissecting her neck in a sine wave type cut. I inquired carefully into the injury and she told me it was from surgery in her own fight with cancer. She also beat it and it is in complete remission but she laughed when I asked if she had been frightened because she reckoned, like me she had beaten heroin addiction – and she was more frightened of that while it was happening than she was with cancer. Crosses come in all shapes and sizes and we all have to bear our own and I am certain that Our Father allows us this for a purpose. My brothers, my true brothers are mostly men like me. Rob, John-John, Verster. Rob is a drug of choice juice junkie like me and Sterra and John-John coke heads. We’ve watched each others backs through relapses, clean time, more relapses, bad times, back on the wagon, etc and it has made us stronger and love each other as brothers more and more. For Rob and me, we are currently both on the wagon and his second laaitie and our first are going to be separated by about seven weeks. John-John is on the back end of secondary phase recovery. And we tell each other everything. Including when it goes wrong. That is love in it for the whole distance, exactly like Our Father is with us in all our trials.

    I am doing this for a lot more than Shofar C. What Fred and Lucille represent is an extreme example of the festerous sore that has become entrenched, evident and accepted throughout the Body affected by the Word of Faith movement. That means Rhema worldwide, and more importantly Ray McCauley, the IFCC and every other abusive ministry like the one the Mays are running as a business right here in beautiful broken Stellenbosch.

    The reason why I have taken the May’s to the mat on simple social and financial immorality – is because an imbecile worshipping a stone could tell you that transferring hard earned money from a single mother’s savings account to Shofar’s corporate current account for any reason takes food from her child or children’s mouths. Hard cold fact. Telling you God cursed you – we can debate for days. That is why I focussed on money directly.

    You must remember Griesel. It utterly sickened me watching Fred become his best friend and weave his spell of blessings and curses over him to get his hands on the inheritance money – “for the Lord’s ministry”. See, it’s like Koos Kombuis said in the Rapport on Sunday – anyone who hands over money to the Mays is doing it of their own free will and it isn’t against the law to do so – but when people are carefully and deliberately lead to believe they will either be cursed or blessed by God Himself for something as base and corrupting as money – depending on their heartiness and generosity – we have moved onto an old criminal activity in organised crime, something Jesus called extortion. Making someone fearful or guilty before God as a means to extract cash from them or playing into their subliminal greed with esoteric promises – is nothing more than criminal extortion and confidence trickery. And it is born in pure unbelief that God is not He who supplies all our needs in Christ Jesus. People give only in the expectation that they will be blessed and that is a terrible thing because it does not lead the church away from materialism and into a life marked by selflessness – of which our finances only play a small part and in which we are all equally responsible in the dispensation of our stewardship before God.

    A woman on her own with a child is a person who suffers the most burdens of anyone in any society anywhere. And to isolate her further and add to her burdens financially in the church is not only contrary to every single passage that speaks of the fatherless in Scripture – it invokes all the terrible warnings upon the church to actively engage in doing so – for that and that alone is the primary Pentecostal and evangelistic task of the church.

    Exactly the same applies to orphaned students. The deep insanity of it is that this is exactly the sort of thing that Martin Luther was opposed to!!!

    Of course they are going to claim everything from their house, cars, to mansion offices, designer clothes and salaries are all “blessings” from God in the form of “gifts”. They are really not that stupid. But we are Christians C. If God “blessed” me with Oude Molen – it would be an orphanage right this second. It is and always will be – WHAT we do with our gifts that matters to Our Father.

    I too have no idea what poison possesses Lucille’s spirit. I have become a member of a lovely family, from Oupa and Ouma all the way down to my beautiful little nieces. I cannot imagine any reason for any person in our family to curse another. Especially in the event of a frightening illness. That is something that comes with unconditional acceptance because while our family is not perfect, it is the love in it that binds us together so closely – through both success and disaster. I have no fears for the future, because if something happened to me and Tash, Robbie would still grow up surrounded by love and care every single day of his life. There is no currency worth more than that.

    I am long over the May’s C. I have my own walk and ministry with my Father. Our personal dream is to achieve financial success independently for our personal children’s trust fund and begin our own private children’s home. With everything we have, we both want the maximum amount of children the law will allow us, and whom no one will have to adopt as our own. But we promised ourselves that we would trust Our Father and Him alone for the material means to do it – and I am determined to realise that through sales of my literature and photographic fine art, both here and overseas. After seeing so much ugliness through money in the church, neither one of us will ever ask for help like that. Not using the children’s plight as an excuse. I became involved in doing that for a while but when I examined my motives, I found myself wanting – so I will trust that my Father looked ahead and instilled enough talent within me to satisfy my overwhelming need to be a father to the fatherless. Christ not only tells us that we must bear our cross He also promises to bear it with us.

    My crusade to see Oude Molen into Oude Molen orphanage is more than an attempt at flushing the Mays out over their blatant manipulation and financial scamming; it is to bring to the student Body of Christ the hands on importance of understanding that faith without works is dead. And here in our contemporary world we are surrounded by a silent, massively growing population of fatherless children – who are going to impact on our futures as predictably as global warming unless something utterly radical is done to recognise the seriousness of the problem and actively change almost every activity the lends to its growth. That means learning first hand, day in and day out as a greater church how to care for them and love them right here in Stellenbosch. For each believing student, this period in their young spiritual walk should be marked by the memory of this ministry they were all involved in while they were studying. The truth of the matter is that if Oude Molen were turned into an orphanage next week, in the future, there would be students graduating with their doctorates in hand with heartbroken tears as they say good bye to children they’ve come to love deeply – who under any other circumstances would have been dead before they graduated, degree, Christian books and super gospel band CD’s in hand.

    The student Body of Christ, regardless of denomination, are One Body in Christ and among them, the only voices raised in heated contention – all surround Shofar, its doctrines, theories, foundations and social practises. The greater body of students don’t see this as the direct influence of the Mays and their curses and blessings brainwashing – they just see the logo the t-shirt and the smug self-righteous expressions and respond in anger, irritation and rejection.

    Those who attempt to mimic the Mays should be stopped dead in their tracks, with absolutely no nonsense tolerated – exactly like the Mays need to be stopped, because regardless of how offended they might feel at the time, the Christian part of them should be screaming that there is something wrong. But C, you know as well as I do that it is a spirit the Mays brought into Shofar from the beginning and which is perpetuated and has been perfected in its replication by the Mays through trial and error. People like us, in all the laughable irony of one domino pushing down another to please and defend the bitter ego of one man and his poisonous wife – were their learning curve. They learnt to deal with people like us by firstly convincing us we are out of God’s will and have unclean motives and spirits that only Fred can discern and expel. If we did not bow to his will and his leadership’s threats we were ostracised, gossiped and slandered over and called cursed.

    So many beautiful Christians suffered this and had their friendships and fellowship torn apart – and almost all of them were usually confronting Fred May on his twisting of Scripture and false doctrine. I know that there are students in Shofar, who are not in it just for the fun social ride and the thrill of being considered controversial because they have been convinced they ahead of the pack spiritually – they are led by the Spirit and find their final authority in the Word.

    They are going to suffer the same fate as the rest of us when they scrape up the courage to confront the Mays. And I will not stand by and watch it still happening indifferently. The Mays must be exposed to the world for exactly the nasty people they really are. And I don’t think that has anything to with revenge, it is meant as warning and a prophylactic measure to those who are not completely sucked in.

    Stay well and all the best for you as a family, may you have more children to love.

    Al

  • 38 Al Lovejoy // Feb 27, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Hi Alex
    Fred once told this story, way in the beginning, of a lady he had prayed for with cancer who got healed. When my dad was nearly at the end I finally managed to convince Fred to come and pray for him at home. He did exactly as he did in the story he had told. It was then that I realised that this was all a hoax, all of this was fake and the stories were just stories. Needless to say we buried my dad shortly afterward.
    I once visited you with J in the house across from Fred and Lucille in Die Boord. Fred arrived at some stage and crapped you out about something. He said that you would do well if you just followed in J and my “spiritual” wake. Those were his exact words. At the time I felt really flattered but afterwards it made me feel rotten. You never said anything during the session. It was kicking a man who was down. I am sorry about that and for that I apologize. But the rest was an experience. I always thought of you as a highly intelligent person who really had a shit life as a kid and had had to, as a result, struggle through addiction etc. I did not remember your tattoo because it showed you up as an addict, it was just something I remembered about you. Like the way you sometimes spoke: sucking in your breath audibly through your teeth when you were about to launch into a monologue! LOL Do you still do that? I also remember the jokes during “Bible school”. You once passed me a note that asked: “What is this sound: Shlliiick, thwoop, thwack, whikata whikita”. Answer: “Confidently extracting your sword and embedding it in your enemies forehead at a distance of 5 meters”. I think the topic of discussion was some Israelite invasion or conquest.
    Bottom line: you and Guys were warning signs along the road. Shofar was not able to help you, in fact, we saw so many people like you turn away, worse off for the experience. I never saw any miracles during my time there. Only stories about Fred and his glorious past. I was never in it for the money. I came from a rigid religious experience and the prospect of a God who cared to interact with us, respond to us – was just something I had to experience. I think many such people are currently in Shofar, but their hopes are being shaped and raped by the doctrines there. The innocent hunger after a living God is slowly being turned into a desire for the fake experience which Shofar offers.
    Thank you for your kind words. I am really sorry if you or your wife misinterpreted my first message. It is deeply painful to hear that someone thinks I am still “Shofar” on the inside, but I understand where your wife is coming from. I am not. I am overjoyed that you have found peace. A child is beyond words. It is seeing God. Many more to you as well. (We are still not sleeping ……. 3 months and counting).
    Go well.
    C

  • 39 Al Lovejoy // Feb 27, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Hi Alex
    Fred once told this story, way in the beginning, of a lady he had prayed for with cancer who got healed. When my dad was nearly at the end I finally managed to convince Fred to come and pray for him at home. He did exactly as he did in the story he had told. It was then that I realised that this was all a hoax, all of this was fake and the stories were just stories. Needless to say we buried my dad shortly afterwards.
    I once visited you with J in the house across from Fred and Lucille in Die Boord. Fred arrived at some stage and crapped you out about something. He said that you would do well if you just followed in J and my “spiritual” wake. Those were his exact words. At the time I felt really flattered but afterwards it made me feel rotten. You never said anything during the session. It was kicking a man who was down. I am sorry about that and for that I apologize. But the rest was an experience. I always thought of you as a highly intelligent person who really had a shit life as a kid and had had to, as a result, struggle through addiction etc. I did not remember your tattoo because it showed you up as an addict, it was just something I remembered about you. Like the way you sometimes spoke: sucking in your breath audibly through your teeth when you were about to launch into a monologue! LOL Do you still do that? I also remember the jokes during “Bible school”. You once passed me a note that asked: “What is this sound: Shlliiick, thwoop, thwack, whikata whikita”. Answer: “Confidently extracting your sword and embedding it in your enemies forehead at a distance of 5 meters”. I think the topic of discussion was some Israelite invasion or conquest.
    Bottom line: you and Guys were warning signs along the road. Shofar was not able to help you, in fact, we saw so many people like you turn away, worse off for the experience. I never saw any miracles during my time there. Only stories about Fred and his glorious past. I was never in it for the money. I came from a rigid religious experience and the prospect of a God who cared to interact with us, respond to us – was just something I had to experience. I think many such people are currently in Shofar, but their hopes are being shaped and raped by the doctrines there. The innocent hunger after a living God is slowly being turned into a desire for the fake experience which Shofar offers.
    Thank you for your kind words. I am really sorry if you or your wife misinterpreted my first message. It is deeply painful to hear that someone thinks I am still “Shofar” on the inside, but I understand where your wife is coming from. I am not. I am overjoyed that you have found peace. A child is beyond words. It is seeing God. Many more to you as well. (We are still not sleeping ……. 3 months and counting).
    Go well.
    C

  • 40 Al Lovejoy // Feb 27, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Thanks C

    I’ll let Tashie read this when she comes home tonight. And ja, we are excited beyond belief. Our due date is around the 10 June and we have confirmation it is a boy!!!

    Stay well mate, I hold nothing against either you or J, I know you were trying to do what you believed was the right thing and you had to go through it yourself too. Tashie is very sensitive at the moment, she had to go through Lucille’s nonsense recently and wants to donner anyone judging me. Toe maar, it’s all good and I’m very glad we came out of it okay with our faith intact. If truth be told, I actually owe Fred a thank you. If he had not lead me to believe I had lost my salvation – I would never have discovered grace at the gates of hell and understood that God is in it for the long haul regardless of what anyone says…

    Al

  • 41 Oubaas // Mar 17, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Al – either you write with godly inspiration (as in faster than the speed of light), or else you have the unfortunate habit of SHIFT INSERT. There is a thread here somewhere, bra.

  • 42 Do Any Shofarians Care About Science? // Apr 20, 2008 at 12:00 am

    […] If such a group were to be successful, We’d have to hack out some ground rules: It must not be a place to debate the age of the earth. It must not be a place where “young-earth holier-than-thou, real Shofarians” come to try to convince the scientifically minded Shofarians to “get with the program”. Like Paul’s advice to the Thessalonians, to avoid being socially dislocated and “persecuted” by other Shofarians, I’d also have to advise such Shofarians to not make any waves. It would not be about fighting Shofar’s official position. After all, membership is subject to submission to authority on matters pertaining to church doctrine. […]

  • 43 Al Lovejoy // Apr 20, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Ag, one cannot believe a word that comes out of any person in the leadership of Shofar’s mouths concerning the origin of life or the age of our world.

    How can they debunk proven science when Fred May claims to have “raised the dead”? And on every forum and blog that I have mentioned this monstrous humdinger – it is the only topic that shuts Shofarians up completely. When I tackled them and the IFCC on money, I had an instant cyber stoning of Scripture and a hobnailed boot excursion into my deplorable character but suggest that we discuss how Fred May raised a dead man and it is suddenly more dead silent than two billion light years out into space in any direction…

    I have a few “scientific” questions to ask Fred May:

    Fred, We’ve heard you claim to have raised the dead, well more specifically that “dead” oke you pulled from a dustbin or something … I have a few questions to ask you here in a public forum because I think it is high time you discontinued being yellow and allowing other people to be cannon fodder spokespersons for you and present your own case like the big boy you claim you are. Besides, on the four or five occasions I personally heard you preach on this under the (untouchable/unquestionable) “anointing” – you never allowed for a question and answer session afterwards, so here:

    1. Who determined medically that the man was clinically dead and not merely unconscious or concussed?

    2. Did you pull him out of the dustbin alive or was he still “dead” at that point? I ask because it has been my unfortunate task to have worked with dead bodies and a fresh warm one is still all floppy, very heavy and difficult to work with. A stiff one is better but still, warm and floppy or cold and stiff – a dead body is extremely heavy and I cannot see you pulling one from a dustbin alone. So, was he alive at that point or still dead and did you have help? And if so, what are the names of the people who helped you?

    3. What was the man’s name and where does he live today (or did he get dead again) and considering you have preached repeatedly about him, why have you never brought him to a Shofar meeting or had him interviewed on TBN?

    And Fred, I do believe that God has power over death – Scripture says love does, and no, I don’t believe for one second that the man in your fable was dead – I think like all your miracle war stories, they are lies you have been telling and re-telling about yourself for years – quite simply for the shock sensation value to young, very inexperienced and naive kids fresh out of school and away from the rational influence of their parents and home pastors.

    And of course you absolutely revel in rational and direct critism like this, which in reality you crave psychologically – because it fuels your martyr complex of the poor downtrodden victim of apartheid with your just Heavenly (transmogrified into very material) reward as God se rykste seun…

    Come on Fred, you had the balls to try hand me over to the cops, thrown out to the street – handed over to your (invented) “jezebel spirits” … You and your wife lie about some phantom list of Shofar virgins I need to repent to before we can be reconciled … wharra, wharra. Fred, none of your social backstabbing, lies, slander, curses, screams of hate speech, lawyer’s letters or any other thing you have tried ever since I started voicing these questions back in the nineties – HAVE WORKED!!! Notice that yet? You cannot shut me up…

    Same old questions, no more ways to hurt me and you still owe me and others the answers.

    So let’s hear it, you claim to be God’s black key in Africa, the torch that is going to set the continent on fire – I think you are just a victim of your own obsessive slave mentality and addicted to slaking your craven sense of exclusive entitlement and simultaneously feeding your racial bitterness by enslaving those you envied and despised so deeply as a child with your own breed of inverted racism through twisting the Bible and actively persuing segregation to yourself – and mostly of course leeching and leeching off those rich white people you claim to care for.

    I would like to remind you and point out that it is the easiest thing in the world to play the meekest, yet disarmingly generous philanthopist in the world – WITH OTHER PEOPLE’S HARD EARNED MONEY.

    I know my tone might seem harsh to your delicate ears Fred – just answer the questions…

  • 44 “What is your agenda?” he asks. // Apr 24, 2008 at 3:29 am

    […] I was unable to sign their membership contract. I documented one of the reasons in the post titled Why I Cannot Join Shofar. One friend in particular suggested it might be worth it to go covert and sign it anyway, but I […]

  • 45 Abusing the Story of Job // Jun 30, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    […] in Shofar’s later Foundations series in particular, those that I may not attend for being unable to sign their membership form. I have nothing to say about this in this section, I’ll come back to it in the […]

  • 46 Anon // Aug 19, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    I, the undersigned, freely and voluntarily subscribe to the basic principles set out in this Statement of Faith and understand and consent to the fact that should I violate such principles, I may be required by the leadership to either accept their counsel and discipline or forfeit my membership.
    >>

    Surely the church should be entitled to ask you to leave (without having to endure endless litigation) if you don’t adhere to the tenents of their faith? For example if you commit adultery and insist it is not a sin, what would be the course of action the church should take?

  • 47 Hugo // Aug 19, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    Hmm, I believe a church’s doors should be open to all. I see that in Jesus’ teachings about the Pharisees and their “in crowd” and their purity principles rejecting and keeping the “impure” out.

    By all means, if you want an organisation with a contract where the right to be a member depends on members submitting to the authority of the church, of course they can do that. They are also free to set themselves up as Pharisees. I have no trouble with that. I’m just explaining why I cannot be a member. Amongst other reasons.

    And non-members may still attend, that’s probably fine as well. (But to the committed Shofarian, losing your membership kinda feels like condemning yourself to hell…) This contractual agreement isn’t even talking about something as strong as asking people to leave…

    For example if you commit adultery and insist it is not a sin, what would be the course of action the church should take

    Do they need to take action? Is that what they’re there for? To punish those that sin? Isn’t that God’s job, if you believe in a punitive God like that? Or do they want to set up a Pharisaic “pure” culture?

  • 48 Senior Pastor Fred May // Aug 20, 2008 at 1:37 am

    [Ed: This post is an impostor. As confirmed below, it was not sent by Fred May.]

    In 1989 Pastor Fred May felt the need to take a ministry sabbatical after spending much time in intensive ministry both in South Africa and abroad. At the same time his getting married to Lucille posed some practical challenges in the light of the prevailing political environment at the time. After prayer they both felt the Lord leading them to settle in the Stellenbosch area, where God graciously provided them with an idyllic cottage on a beautiful wine farm.
    Both Fred and Lucille enjoyed the break from ministry. Lucille had been active as a worship minister for several years before then. While both of them were working full time, God began to impress a tremendous need on Pastor Fred’s heart to begin interceding for the town of Stellenbosch. The prayer burden became all-consuming. It became clear that there was a mighty spiritual contention raging for the town at the time, with occult practitioners even becoming so bold as to do door-to-door visits, leaving call cards that encouraged residents to pursue an interest in “Luciferology”.
    Attempts to mobilize renewal churches in the town against the spiritual advance of that danger proved unsuccessful. At the same time the intensity of the burden grew, as did strong, satanically inspired opposition. By this time Lucille had given birth to their first son, Stephan. The home and family came under increasing criminal attack and harassment. God’s faithfulness however, kept them from physical harm, save mere material loss, and eventually brought complete, miraculous deliverance.
    Despite the initial misgivings of a community very committed to what was the quintessential legacy of traditional white, Afrikaans, South Africa, the truth of God’s calling on Shophar Christian Church as a blessing to this town, with this town and for this town has dawned and is now being embraced even here. The name of this ministry has enjoyed respect for several years both nationally and in other countries.
    This church believes in the great redemptive purpose of the town and university of Stellenbosch and of the nation of South Africa as a whole and seeks partnership in this regard relentlessly and sincerely.

  • 49 Hugo // Aug 20, 2008 at 5:46 am

    Hmm… Fred? That you? (I find it hard to believe, but I’ve been wrong about something like that before.)

    This church believes in the great redemptive purpose of the town and university of Stellenbosch and of the nation of South Africa as a whole and seeks partnership in this regard relentlessly and sincerely.

    From what I’ve hear, it did sound as though Shofar isn’t interested in partnerships with SG or Moederkerk…

  • 50 gerhard // Aug 20, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Surely the church should be entitled to ask you to leave (without having to endure endless litigation) if you don’t adhere to the tenents of their faith? For example if you commit adultery and insist it is not a sin, what would be the course of action the church should take?

    sure 🙂 they should have to right to prevent you attending service, however , i don’t think the cirtisism is aimed at that.

    Cults like this tend to socially isolate that person from friends and family. the church encourages you to be a good christain ridding youself of satans influence (by shedding what it percieves satanic , basically most things not directly associated with the church and its doctrine) this creates a social dependence on the church and church members. So if they do decide to disagree with the church then they loose everything because their lives were built up around it and its people. (as intended by church leadership and apparently by freds god)

    so there you have it , listen to me , do as i do , or you will loose everything .you love.. thats a powerful and very oppressive thing …

  • 51 Bad Ben // Aug 20, 2008 at 10:52 am

    so there you have it , listen to me , do as i do , or you will loose everything .you love.. thats a powerful and very oppressive thing …

    too bad it’s not true.

    I recall a very recent situation where Fred was adressing a bunch of songwriters (including me) at an official meeting. He referred to a michael bolton cover of the classic song “Georgia” which he stated inspried a reaction of affection towards Jesus.

    It took me by surprise too, which is puzzling, considering I am in the church. So I can understand your position; but this is purely members perosonal simplification of church “policy”.

    Fred says once: “maybe you should turn off linkin park and listen to some gospel” and most of the sheep thinks that means NO LINKIN PARK EVER AGAIN.

    Weird. But if you are a mature (or stubborn) enough member you realize that you need to discern for yourself what things are harmfull to you – ie. Fred has not told me that overconsumption of coffee is harmfull – and take responsibility for yourself.

    Sorry for the utterly fragmented and “postmodern” reply.

  • 52 Bad Ben // Aug 20, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Oh, and by the way.

    I just spoke to Senior Pastor Fred May, coincidentally, who has no recollection of posting on thinktoomuch. The above QUOTED paragraph is from our website, and is in fact composed by Fred, yet I doubt it would have been his personal answer to the prior discussion.

    So. Well-meaning shofarite. What you are doing is not only unethical, but actually against the law. Stop speaking on behalf of Fred IMMEDIATELY. It’s not on.

  • 53 Kenneth Oberlander // Aug 20, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Weird. But if you are a mature (or stubborn) enough member you realize that you need to discern for yourself what things are harmfull to you – ie. Fred has not told me that overconsumption of coffee is harmfull – and take responsibility for yourself.

    I don’t follow this line of argumentation. If you need to discern for yourself the relative merits of things, then why do you need a pastor at all?

  • 54 Bad Ben // Aug 20, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Thanks for the question Kenneth!

    I would like to clarify: for this reason I used the word “mature”. Hence, until you grow to a place of maturity you are going to need someone to trust enough to instruct you. Kinda like babies who are prone to put their hands on hot plates. (sorry for using such an emotionally loaded anecdote, but I does convey an important part of what I want to say).

    Shofar is built upon a system of discipeship which is the term we use to refer to the abovementioned process of growing as a christian.

  • 55 Oubaas // Aug 20, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Bad Bed, who decides where this “place of maturity” is?

  • 56 Oubaas // Aug 20, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Should be “Bad Ben”, apologies.

  • 57 Bad Ben // Aug 20, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Scriptures point to qualities that can be considered maturity, but obviously this is problematized in practise (like the sheep simplifying pastoral instruction)…

    The official position is that considering oneself mature and “arrived” is pride and betrays the exact opposite.

    It’s a scriptural paradox that I don’t think I will ever be able to communicate adequately.

  • 58 Hugo // Aug 20, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Thanks for the responses Ben.

    What do you suggest I do with the impostor’s comment? On the one hand I feel I should not “police” comments, as it cannot be done consistently. On the other hand, I’m thinking it might be helpful to just add a little “(impostor)” note next to the name on that post?

    Most curious I remain as to who posts comments like that and what their intention is. Because I think you really cannot tell for certain if it was a Shofarian or an anti-Shofarian… y’know? 😉

    The maturity thing… I understand where that comes from, but it certainly contributes to the impression of Shofar as “better than thou” – I ran into a friend recently that said he went to Shofar for a short while. Eventually felt uncomfortable there because he was expected to be able to pray in tongues, and felt the idea that he is “immature” in his religion to be rather condescending.

    I suppose there isn’t much that can be done about it, if Shofar really believes everyone should be able to pray in tongues and that people that haven’t followed your path of discipleship have not reached “maturity”… “that’s just how it is, unfortunately”…?

  • 59 Hugo // Aug 20, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Um… and now I’m worried we’re effectively pouncing on you, Ben. Make a little contribution and suddenly everyone is at you like a pack of wolves. 😛 Kinda discourages people from commenting, doesn’t it?

    Not sure what can be done about this kind of dynamic, still scratching my head and dreaming about potential features of an “ideal” commenting system for what we need it for. Will probably take me until year’s end before I have everything implemented.

  • 60 Kenneth Oberlander // Aug 20, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    @Bad Ben

    I take it, in this system, the pastor is considered to have fully grown to maturity, whilst the congregation have not?

    If so, when does the congregation determine that they have matured sufficiently?

    When does the pastor, for that matter?

    @Hugo

    I’m not really pouncing on Bad Ben, so much as asking the questions that I would ask, if I was in that situation.

  • 61 Bad Ben // Aug 20, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    @Kenneth

    I think you might be missing the point of my previous post. no-one is considered as perfectly mature. The Pastors are expected to be humble: not mature.

    @Hugo

    Thanks for the comments.

    Good point about pro- or anti-shofar fraudulent commenter. but it still smells like misdirected Pro-shofar good intentions to me. Anti-shofarians aren’t usually that clever 🙂

    On the superiority complex thing: yip it’s an issue. I have no clear cut answer or rebuttal. But I, as shofarite, believe it should not be this way. I hate the nobody’s perfect evasion, but it does seem rather apt.*

    *jy het mos my klip in die bos rubriek gelees…

  • 62 Bad Ben // Aug 20, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Oh.

    PS. I don’t feel pounced upon. Hgo lyk my ek en jy gaan weer moet koffie drink…

  • 63 Kenneth Oberlander // Aug 20, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    I think you might be missing the point of my previous post. no-one is considered as perfectly mature. The Pastors are expected to be humble: not mature.

    I’m not really worried about perfect maturity per se. I’m more interested when you determine when someone is mature enough

    e.g. is a person mature enough when he/she can make up their own mind about the relevance or merits of their pastors teachings?

  • 64 Hugo // Aug 20, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Ben: that would be nice. Note though: I’m leaving in a week, it would have to be before then.

    With regards to “pouncing”, I’m thinking also of… -M- 😉 , who rather refrains from commenting *at all*, knowing that one comment will drag her into long debates/discussions she does not have time for. I’m wondering if there’s any way of reducing that problem a little. And no, there probably isn’t, and I should just shuddup and stop going completely off-topic. 😛

    Kenneth: … um… I’d think that’s something you find in yourself? Could probably compare to some ideas in the Zen tradition as well. Apprenticeship with spiritual teacher showing a way, personal journey and search to start following on that way, at some point student feels they “get it”, and have grown to the point where they feel mature enough to challenge and expand on master’s teachings. It then becomes more of a peer-based relationship, I suspect.

    Maybe you could refine your question? Give “us” some more direction? Hmm, it was in this context:

    you need to discern for yourself what things are harmfull to you

    We are talking in the context of people that have committed themselves to a certain “way”, a certain religion. In that context… um… I’m clearly floundering in my attempts to get some grips on your question. Can you present me with a handle?

  • 65 Kenneth Oberlander // Aug 20, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    OK, let’s try an analogy. Let’s use Ben’s example of coffee.

    Your pastor tells you coffee is bad. Are you mature enough within your faith when:

    you need to discern for yourself what things are harmfull to you

    ?

    In other words, when you can decide for yourself that coffee is bad? Scrutinise your pastor’s words, and then weigh the evidence for yourself?

    Now, substitute Limp Bizkit for coffee. Or dinosaur. Or university. Or racism.

    Is the sign of sufficient maturity when you can justify to yourself, without the intervention of your pastor, that something is right or wrong?

  • 66 Al Lovejoy // Aug 21, 2008 at 12:03 am

    Some one named Corne you told me: “Mr Lovejoy – You have become slanderous to an extent of discrediting yourself and all that follow the heresy that you believe in and teach.

    Luk 17:1 And he said to his disciples, It is necessary for causes of trouble to come about, but unhappy is he by whom they come.
    Luk 17:2 It would be well for him if a great stone was put round his neck and he was dropped into the sea, before he made trouble for any of these little ones.”

    Yet, you could not…

    However, someone powerful, who deals directly with the money, the programs … the multimedia Christ product – contacted me and eventually asked me a simple question. One that no Christian leader has yet thought to ask me in response. The stock reaction is either meaningless Third Party threats like his or silent denial.

    Q: What is my solution?

    The problem … is when truth is brokered for a price … Someone innocent dies between two thieves … and more than a problem – it is the entrenched and celebrated Institution.

    It is not Him.

    If Truth be told, will it eventually be a story of a rich white church who stops being self-obsessed with money and the self gratifying trappings of Christianity and starts actually and personally rescuing millions of black children and bringing them in, many who are sick and all who have nothing – so that ten years from now … the concept of white’s-only Christian family is relegated to a part of SA church history we remind our children of like the Boogeyman – lest they never forget … that we once in our blindness tore our Lord’s skin off with senseless racism and in our greed we tried to sell Him into crucifixion for the media dollar – until we realised, that instead of truth and reconciliation, our Father is only interested in repentance and restitution to the fatherless victims … ???

    Or … ignore what I’m pointing out so bluntly because it is to big, horrifying and uncomfortable to the pocket and move on to a bigger feel good back slapping superhug in a greater oligarchic sports monument, with even denser upbeat media coverage of the lovely mostly white and black empowernment crowd and newer, ubercooler, ticket selling gospel idols?

    I liken the current Charismatic “leadership” of this country with the same distaste and blunt nausea as the SABC of the eighties. I remember once we won some test, against some rebel team who played in spite of the political sanctions against us – and on the news that night nineteen minutes of primetime was dedicated to the match, two and half covered troops shooting just under twenty kids in the townships.

    Why didn’t Buchan hold it in the middle of Alex or Kayelitsha to be different to them?

    Everyone can understand the first part. Angus came to the Bos. Hooked up with Shofar Publishing, also a media publishing company with a non-profit church front, our own little assimilation cult – Shofar Christian Church. Free talent in the front, profit out the back …. Angus and God se Rykste Seun, Fred May bought sacks and sacks of potatoes, stamped them with venue details and sent the starstruck Shofarians out to go dish those tatoes out as marketing gimmicks to people in shops and on the street who looked like they could afford tickets to come to the show. They eventually came into our shop and when my wife told them to leave the clients and take the potatoes down to the squatters under the railway bridge to eat, there are at least thirty hungry children down there – the Shofarians got furious and left. Same response as when they came begging for money so that they could go on “missions” to Mozambuiqe.

    Ja, there are always consequences in the application of several glaring truths. Here is the biggest truth of all – I am led to believe … Angus Buchan … in a poor developing nation, where the distance between the minority who have everything and still want more “Christians” and the have-nothing and no-belief-in-anything fatherless children is almost the widest chasm in the world – and Angus pays other farmers not to plant crops so he can have a mega tent meeting for rich mostly white Christians.

    He paid other farmers not to plant crops so he could sell cut down trees and plastic not one child in South Africa can eat. That is the simple truth in application.

    Solution:

    1. Bring back the Lord’s Supper immediately.

    2. Open a free crèche in every church.

    3. Place the babies abandoned in the crèches with those couples who have clean financial houses and are ready for them in the church. Their house church is their support system.

    Keep on doing it until no more babies are left in the crèches and the churches are full. Just pray and make a decision.

    The Lord’s Supper is our basic currency in a world that has forgotten what is priceless and Who loves us equally. it is the one thing that a stinking rich man can bring to worship and remember Christ and share with the poorest of the poor on the same terms. It is Jesus in John’s Revelation saying I stand at the door and knock – and when He says come in and sup, he is talking about making breakfast for Peter, feeding him AND giving him a catch of fish that Peter has the choice over. Turn into cash or the Lord’s Supper and feed his lambs.

    It was such an integral part of the early church public worship that Paul seems to speak from the assumption that the Corinthians had no clue really why they were doing it – thereby turning something Holy into a drunken cliquey party.

    A key is a key, it opens a door. In this instance to the Kingdom of God in all its Glory – it is not simply just a cool idea from Al Lovejoy, what people think of my ideas is utterly immaterial to me – it is Jesus SYSTEMIC system, that deobjectifies people, generates syncretism and people are measured by His merit as opposed to the appearance of material capital. He commanded us to do it often. When believers who have money are afforded the opportunity to provide a simple plate of food and eat it before the Father with those who barely have none and no one to believe in, for no other reason than to celebrate His love, grace and forgiveness to all men – things start happening like three thousand people are found by Christ in a day through the gospel and the ACTS of Pentecost return with the gifts. Real life long faith emerges and those who are too good or too hypocritical will be revealed and slink away. Something special will happen, really special.

    Test Him.

    It was what the prophet Malachi was talking about when he issued that warning, the warning which went unheeded and resulted in necklacings and murder in our streets again and which is so misused for MONEY in the “faith” movement – it is the real tithe of Israel, the one that is eaten in the Temple annually at Passover, the Lord’s supper that has somehow been sold for 10% cash to support these strings of parasite’s and their multimedia cash business of the gospel instead of a storehouse to feed His lambs.

    The church has way too many Senior Parasites and almost no financially stable Timothy men capable of using ALL their resources for the Kingdom and standing in as “father’s” in the church.

    I’ve known wealth and power … was a millionaire drug lord at 36 and connected worldwide from politicians to terrorists but when I came to my senses, I walked away and divested myself of everything. Everything, right down to the very clothes I bought with drug money and stark naked started the long business of rebuilding my business affairs from scratch – the way my Father would expect of a trusted son and a son who trusts my Father so much – I never need to chase money again.

    The biggest lie of the “cash tithe”, other than starving the church spiritually to almost the point of death – is that it suggests that Jesus, who gave us His life to us only expects a 10% cash stipend from our disposable income. The great Commission was issued to Peter on the beach … feed, feed, feed. Morne Bosch laughed in my face when I told him this, but he is a man for whom the gospel is really first and foremost a source of income all the way from non profit tithes …. to the more under cover commercial Shofar Publishing … real South Africans coming to meetings with food instead of star stuck Maties with study money to support his and all the rest of the Shofar leader’s lavish lifestyles, would mean he would have to become master of his own house by his own means first, like a true Timothy man – so he has something after he has worked to share with the Body like a repentant thief.

    To start off with, let’s begin with the greatest in the Kingdom and the most vulnerable member of our society – the chid. To me, Madiba was right – there are three stations, which all men may try to choose reaching in life – that of a son, a husband and a father.

    The reason why we as men are told to love our wives and not vex our children is because together, with them, we make Three and complete the Mystery … and the two became one flesh. We are created in His likeness and are destined to be husbands and shepherds of all the mothers and lambs in the Father’s Kingdom; it is the anointing of which Jesus testified in the synagogue and has become our given responsibility. There is no other anointing.

    This simple “unit” of human relationship is like fire, holy fire. This is the fire of revival. A fire needs fuel, oxygen and heat to exist – a church needs mothers, fathers and the most important and vulnerable among us – children to love and care for. This is life begetting life. When this is in a state of balance, the Spirit is able to move more freely among us and lead us into deeper truth – because the Father’s heart is always towards His children and it is not his will that any of these little one’s should perish.

    This basic of basic “units” of human relationship, and one we all share, no matter how orphaned from that our own personal experience may have been – is what we as leaders of the church must nurture and where necessary, bring back to a state of balance. Watch over the flocks and feed the sheep. Recreate, repair and nurture families by all means, including and most importantly – because of the orphans of our recent politico-religious civil war and the advent of AIDS survivors in dead families – EXTENSION. Our understanding of Eph 1 is that we are all adopted orphans in our Father’s family and the function of the bride of Christ is that of a mother to these real lost lambs.

    So … using the same analogy of a fire being put out by removing either heat, oxygen or the fuel – think of the reverse mirror image and removal of the father, the single mother and eventually leaving nothing but the fatherless child in a fractured family unit, and without any spiritual sanctuary as the source of spiritual death and crime blazing across our country.

    Our Lord found Himself very much in a similar position to us, where the letter of the covenant had taken on a rigid and controlling outward form to the almost complete detriment of the spirit of mercy and grace co-existent in that same covenant by faith. And it had found real commercial value. He was surrounded by a tangle of conflicting and dangerous politics, and like ourselves … the “detritus” at the bottom of the gulf between the very few who have everything materially, yet live in utter denial of this and those who do not, yet are enslaved to sustain that materialism creating social casualties … fatherless children.

    Our Israeli friends learnt this hard lesson after WWII, when they had a vast population of very young survivors in ratio to those old enough to stand in as primary caregivers and adult role models. The lesson in church building we can learn from the Israelis is that every man is a father to every child in the church and every child belongs to the mothers. I will discuss our friend’s failures and partial triumphs later in rebuilding their nation; suffice to say – this preamble was intended to identify the primary basic social unit we are dealing with as Christians.

    The family.

    Remembering that our focus is on supporting and maintaining this basic ‘unit’, not simply our own but with those whom we would call brothers. That means the kids on tik in the squatter camp affect yours! It is what our ‘business’ is about as our Father’s children and keepers of his Kingdom called to serve the greatest as we wash our brother’s feet – And keeping this as a continual unspoken focus in any and all our endeavours, frees us up to be ourselves in our gifts and callings as we work to do so … with the cement of course being love.

    Remember, no matter how massive a corporation or tangled its operations, its core business can always be reduced to something extraordinarily simple.

    So the ideal … a church, by definition, must be in all her endeavours dedicated to building, supporting and nurturing family units – to care for the greatest in our Father’s kingdom, and by all means possible extend them. And we do this consciously aware that without grace, we become evil fathers, yet in this grace we work out our salvation with fear and trembling and watch over each others lives. As brother’s in one greater Family, we bind ourselves together by remembering Him in the fashion he commanded us to – and celebrate Him when we gather publicly with the Lord’s Supper.

    The solutions Jesus presented us with as humanity, could be understood by the most illiterate and poor, yet also the educated and rich. This simple public gathering together as families, and the only neutral meeting place of cultures, rich, poor, enemies and friends and people who believe and adhere to His teachings to celebrate and feed one another’s families a sacred meal in His name and thank our Father often for each other in forgiveness and that Day’s bread – this is the foundation, the corner stone which the builders have rejected – and all He asks from us as our first act of faith. Any normalising, relational system dedicated to returning balance to the Body has to achieve this simple shift and re-focus of who we are and what we do – throughout every aspect of the church. Anything that draws attention away from this work we have been given, for any reason – is out of our Father’s will.

    If we understand our core and primary business – the legacy to overcome and the embedded points of migration become clearer, the smoke is easier to see through and thus it is easier to introduce the concept of refocusing effort to the stakeholders, without engendering anxiety. Above all it remains a simple measuring rod against which all things in our midst are tested and the wire frame around which we can design our children’s common future.

    One thing to remember, is that we are dealing in every aspect with human beings and a system which becomes effective eventually is only going to be one which serves to bring change – not one which demands service, that, in the final analysis – always breaks down.

    I might add … when a person comes back from far, far away and you come back to the place you were, yet find it worse than you left … from exactly the same corruption that caused you to leave and swear never to come back in the first place – you pull out a sword and use the blunt edge to challenge anyone to a fight over the core issue of that corruption. Here, it happens to be about heavenly wealth that has been given to all mankind, yet is now up for sale, miracle gimmicks, for man made money, to the elite few, at the top of a terrible pyramid – and it made Christ violently angry when he confronted the same spirit of commercial religion, because it is the abomination which brings desolation … while it in turn screams louder that it brings the gospel … …. …. no matter how innocuous it is portrayed … or in God’s “best interests” it seems.

    The only place you will see the light of our Father’s love is in the eyes of your brother, And you are commanded to love and break bread with him.

    Those who deny it or get up to fight you are not your brothers, the men who ask for pause and create space to reason with you and listen instead – are.

    As system is only as resilient as it’s weakest component – and in the analysis above, it happens to be us fathers. Without us fathers, in our own families and in the Body – the trinity of our reflection of God breaks, which makes us men – the weakest link.

    The church is family; the family is the church and nothing else.

    Usury.

    Two men are seated at a table … at a Universal micro-economic level – what tangible object can those two men exchange in terms of absolute and real value, which allows for the poorer man to give more than the richer man … although the inherent value of that object is identical and has been from the time the same object was in the hand of our Lord?.

    A plate of food, and that and that alone is the basic unit of currency in Our Business.

    What happens when money in any form is placed between them instead? Any scenario ….

    Usury.

    One of those men owes the other something. And the money belongs to neither.

    A Timothy man does not live by credit. In any form. His Father has already given him everything. A Timothy man owns everything he possesses as a steward, yet has relinquished legal control over any of it. A Timothy man understands that all the money under his control belongs to Caesar, and to that institution he will pay what he owes but the only decisions he will pray for when using it, will be for single mothers and fatherless children in the greater Family he was adopted into by faith – first. A Timothy man is a tentmaker and trader, he generates more than he consumes, so that he may have something to give. A Timothy man is driven to support the weak. A Timothy man measures all things by a different currency. A Timothy man does not live by credit – he lives by faith.

    A Timothy man’s business is to break bread.

    Usury.

    Money … how can we trust God to bring healing to the Body with something that belongs to man and corrupts him? How do you make a poor man feel rich? How can we give that which is priceless to a world in which we are in debt through loans, credit and usury. Count honestly … and what exactly do you own?

    Because once you realise the debt must be paid and no more made – the real question becomes: What do you really want to own?

    This is not a prophecy; it is pure analysis – the day that churches all over South Africa gather once a week, and the onus is upon each and every faithful believer and member of that church to provide two plates of food through a buffet or organised collection for the ingredients – And invite one stranger to that celebration of The Lord’s Supper – will be the dawn of everything our Father wants for us. It will only come through Timothy men.

    Test Him.

    In feeding the multitude, Jesus was telling us that 100% of a single loaf, once divided equally – feeds more than the sum of its parts until baskets of leftovers … I don’t think Keynesian Macro Economic principles were invited to that party – Capice?

    I write this as to brothers and sisters and with Our Father listening. Validation I have in my Father’s love, and I hope this reaches the right ears, who then take it to Him like I have and allow it to become heart and a life of faith.

    I, unfortunately … am called to other creative engagements and lovelier responsibilities beyond this discussion and consider any merit I have brought it complete.

    Bless you…

    Al

  • 67 Bad Ben // Aug 21, 2008 at 8:42 am

    thus endeth the dialogue…

  • 68 Hugo // Aug 21, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Another email from another friend concurs with a “Instead, we get treated to another magnum opus comment by Al Lovejoy…sigh.” And I’m back to scratching my head “um… grrr… what to do? get my vapourware commenting system implemented ASAP…”

    Basically, Al, I appreciate the effort you put in and the thoughts you share (though that comment is long enough that I only read bits and pieces here and there) but I’m going to have to have some way of keeping them “to one side” so as to not break the flow of a discussion other commenters are trying to have, y’know?

  • 69 -M- // Aug 21, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    @ Hugo: thesis should be finished in more or less a month time, so I shall return on this blog, soon…very soon… 😉

  • 70 Gavin // Nov 4, 2008 at 10:34 am

    If this chruch’s teaching on tithing is so bad, why do I not see any cmoplaints about the money you’re all giving to the Muslims for the propagation of Islam. Every product purchased with the Halaal symbol on it attracts revenue for the Halaal Trust for Muslim evangelism. And if you have ANY diary products in South Africa, you have no choice – you’re giving the Muslim’s money for the purpose of “certifying your food Halaal” – therefore you have no choice but to give them money, even when you don’t know you’re giving the money to them.

    Yet you complain about people who knowingly give money – saying they have been brainwashed and don’t know what best to do with their money because they give a portion to the church.

  • 71 dinkvry // Jan 31, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    🙁

  • 72 Freely So // Apr 17, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Great post & succinctly put! Agree unequivocally

    No disrespect meant to the man. I see there is another BIG MCC meeting underway soon. I trust my family members, co-habitants and neighbours won’t be returning from the exclusive party with any unwanted baggage for the rest of us. APRIL ’09
    -:)

  • 73 Shofar member // May 25, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Hugo I could name many MANY places in the Bible where it was said to submit to the authority above you because ‘all authority is put in place by the Father’. I dont mean to be rude but you have all believe a big load of lies! Never EVER has Shofar forced anyone to give money… it just seems like not one of you reads your bible because Jesus talks about the 10% tithe, but having said that, iv never been forced to give at shofar!

  • 74 Shofar member // May 25, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    And i really encourage replies to this because i wana explain some stuff that you guys seem to have no clue. I think iv grown more in shofar in the last year than I have in my entire life of being a christian…

    Seriously… lets hear what you have to say…

  • 75 Bad Ben // May 25, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Shofar Member.

    While I appreciate the sentiment with which you comment, I feel the comment does not consist of much more than sentiment. Nothing you say is backed up by anything more than your conviction in saying it: which is inadequate in a neutral forum such as this blog.

    Also. If you are interested in other people’s opinions, I would recommend staying away from patronising insults like “…you guys seem to have no clue.” This is not the way to endorse a Christian institution in any case…

  • 76 Hugo // May 25, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Hi member! Glad you stopped by, and are interested in a conversation. Welcome!

    I’m not so sure about “all authority is put in place by the Father” … unless you go and redefine authority. When a dictator orders, with his authority, a genocide, or other atrocities, should we be submitting to that authority? As it is put in place by the Father? Should Jesus have submitted to the religious authorities of his time, rather than challenged them? (In some ways, he did submit though, allowed himself to be crucified. But if we take that route, we will be running into a senseless semantic argument.)

    You talk about money. I wasn’t talking about that in this post. Al was the main person commenting on money and tithing, and Gavin also touched on it. Now you. I don’t think I mentioned it here. The time will come when I blog on that topic, in a careful and well-considered manner. We can talk about it then, if you’re still around.

    So, on to the interesting conversation:

    I think iv grown more in shofar in the last year than I have in my entire life of being a christian…

    I’m curious what kind of growth you experienced? I consider there to be good growth, and bad growth. Do you feel you have grown much with regards to living in compassion and love towards your fellow humans (especially those you believe or feel are wrong)? Have you grown in terms of making a good contribution to this world, in making the kingdom come on earth? Or do you feel you have grown in your adherence to your church’s authority, or improved your adherence to your church’s purity code, or maybe in your separation/isolation from “the world” and other influences you deem bad?

  • 77 Kenneth Oberlander // May 26, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Welcome Shofar member @ #73
    I have a few questions, if I may.
    1) What is the attitude of Shofar to other religions? Are they demonised? Looked down upon? Respected?
    2) What is the attitude of Shofar to the non-religious? Are they demonised? Looked down upon? Respected?
    3) What is the attitude of Shofar when Shofar itself is criticised? Do you circle the wagons, so to speak? Or do you consider whether the criticism is relevant?
    4) What is the attitude of Shofar to science? To the findings of science?

    @Bad Ben

    While I appreciate the sentiment with which you comment, I feel the comment does not consist of much more than sentiment.

    This is a lovely statement…mind if I use it? With attribution, of course… 😉

  • 78 gerhard // May 26, 2009 at 10:06 am

    gavin : so ? what does that have to do with the price of cheese? we’re actually not giving the Muslim council cash , its the Muslims we’re buying from .:P what they do with their earned cash has what exactly to do with this conversation?

    shofar member:

    Hugo I could name many MANY places in the Bible where it was said to submit to the authority above you because ‘all authority is put in place by the Father’.

    cool, that makes me feel soooo much better about zuma now and i’m sure Mugabe serves the lord just fine 🙂 probably here to test the Zimbabwean .. thank god it has nothing to do with their greed or hunger for power but rather that they were choosen by the lord to full fill his oh so kind plan.

    I dont mean to be rude but you have all believe a big load of lies! Never EVER has Shofar forced anyone to give money…

    well, i also dont mean to be rude but you don’t have to physically force someone to encourage something beyond what is reasonable. I don’t think anyone ever actually lied and said that shofar forces people to pay, i think what was being said is that they take advantage of people. in similar vain to pre-martin-luther catholicism. promising ‘more’ attention because you’re proving your worth . even if it involves a kid of 17 from a broken home with a broken life who’ll just about do anything for a break in life. its like selling homeopathy or snake oils to cancer sufferers in the name of ‘giving hope’ , which is of cause , giving them false hope……. *cough * cough* .. you see , if the cult members were truly good and partaking in something wholesome then they would act like that even without the pretext of having to sell your soul to some arbitrary cause.

    I think iv grown more in shofar in the last year than I have in my entire life of being a christian…

    This echo’s my friends sentiment about Scientology … heck.. even my friend who recently discovered the mormonism’s power of belonging to a new community that in their self interest of keeping you , welcome you into their sect with open arms and all the support you need to stay with them. 😛

  • 79 Bad Ben // May 26, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    @KENNETH

    sure! I’m Flattered!

    @HUGO

    I think what I what mean if I said that “I had grown in shofar” is that I have a newfound confidence in living. Newfound, as being contrasted to the sad shape I found myself in prior to commitment to this new system, which now seems to lend such vitality to my way of life. As a humanist (playing devil’s advocate here 🙂 ) I’d speculate you’ll agree that ultimately if no-one else is harmed, the positive effects of even self-righteousness are justified.

    So that would then lead to the questions Kenneth has so succinctly put…

    An interesting musing from the “kings of punk”; NOFX (explicitly NON-Christian mind you):

    http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/nofx/happyguy.html

  • 80 Shofar member // May 26, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    I wana apologise first for my tone in my first message, I was just really shocked at what i was reading.

    Firstly with the submitting under authority… When it comes to authority, the Bible says we must submit under the authority place over us, parents, teachers, headmasters, principles, government etc. Jesus said it, the Bible says it so you cant argue with that. However we must firstly submit to God, agreed? Therefore when submitting to the authority over us it out of line with what God would want from us, then we first submit to Him and do His will. In the case of Jesus, the authority of the time was way out of line to the will of God so He submitted to His will, in dying on the cross.

    Now the following part may be debated by most… but Im am very involved in Shofar in various areas, and have personally friendships with many of the leadership, including Fred May, and I can assure you that the leaders of the church are seeking God’s will for the church and for the members of the church.

    I am a pastors son, therefore I have been brought up with christianity all my life and have been to many churches, and what I have experienced in Shofar is no different than what I have experienced in any other church.

    I will reply to other comments when I have more time but i am very interested to discuss these points.

  • 81 gerhard // May 26, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    bad ben: most of the time when people say ‘ultimately if no-one else is harmed’ they mean ‘ultimately if no-one else is directly harmed’…
    but what about indirectly? Joining may give credence to the group to become more extreme in their self-righteousness. its like second hand smoke stat in that propagandized anti-smoking campaign. Sure , exaggerating the truth doesn’t hurt anyone directly but it has provided policy makers a way of controlling what you do at home and how people react to smokers in a social setting.
    if that example doesn’t cut it , may i give another one . terrorists fear mongering leading to anal exams at airports. (just think at how many women/men/kids had their privates examined by some over worked airport employees because he/she simply didnt like their face or name. )

    as for the benefit to ‘shofar member’ as a person, i ask you even if it helps him as a crutch why not address the disease instead of swapping out the symptom for immediate relief?

    my speculation is , that shofar member simply has joined a tighter community and therefor is reaping the benefits , a sense of belonging. He may be growing up within that community but whether he’s capable of dealing with life outside such community and remains a functioning adult is a different matter. Do hard drug users generally ahve a easy time off the drug? How long does it take for them to readjust to the real world?

  • 82 Kenneth Oberlander // May 26, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    @Shofar member:

    When it comes to authority, the Bible says we must submit under the authority place over us, parents, teachers, headmasters, principles, government etc.

    By that logic, gerhard’s point about Robert Mugabe is relevant. He is placed above other Zimbabweans, should the Zimbabweans submit to him? Replace Bob with Hitler (yes, Godwin, I know), Stalin, Napoleon, Caesar etc. etc.

    Jesus said it, the Bible says it so you cant argue with that.

    Actually, I can…argument to (Biblical) authority is not the ultimate answer by any manner of means.

    However we must firstly submit to God, agreed?

    Again, I don’t accept this premise.

    Now the following part may be debated by most… but Im am very involved in Shofar in various areas, and have personally friendships with many of the leadership, including Fred May,

    This, I think, is one of the major benefits of religious practice: a community, potential friends who share a common background.

    OK, I see gerhard already has a post which addresses this (#81), in his rather characteristic style…

    and I can assure you that the leaders of the church are seeking God’s will for the church and for the members of the church.

    How do you know this?

    I am a pastors son, therefore I have been brought up with christianity all my life and have been to many churches, and what I have experienced in Shofar is no different than what I have experienced in any other church.

    If previous churches are no different to Shofar, then why did you change churches?

  • 83 gerhard // May 26, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Therefore when submitting to the authority over us it out of line with what God would want from us, then we first submit to Him and do His will. In the case of Jesus, the authority of the time was way out of line to the will of God so He submitted to His will, in dying on the cross.

    yeah but what you’re forgetting is that even hitler acted with the knowledge and consent of the church. Catholicism is still in the process of being held accountable for their religiously inspired acts.
    So basically , the church , the next heigh-est authority after goverment/political parties which you’ll accept no matter what because they are representatives of god and _THEY_ represent and interpret what is acceptable and what is the word of god.
    historically speaking religions have partaken in almost every social ill imaginable and have convinced their followers to react accordingly.
    ie. fred may say , followers do.
    So THAT argument is gonna get you nowhere really.

    Esp when someone like fred may has a bit of a cult of personality built up around him.

    I am a pastors son, therefore I have been brought up with christianity all my life and have been to many churches, and what I have experienced in Shofar is no different than what I have experienced in any other church.

    how many different chruches/sects have you belong too? Surely you know that Christianity does not equal Christianity. Many christian sects have major differences between them. The god they describe can be vastly different, and some even feature alien planets and diapers.
    so please go into more detail about the religious background. It actually sounds quite interesting..

  • 84 gerhard // May 26, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    ken : i’m really enjoying your comments , that’s a brilliant question asked at the end of the last one. 🙂

  • 85 Shofar member // May 26, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    @Kenneth

    Well keneth… biblical authority is the answer because the Bible is the word of God. Im not going to get into an argument about the that because if you dont believe that the Bible is the word of God then we are just going endlessly argue. And i moved church as a result of moving to stellenbosch to study so I was forced to find a new church… so much for your great question.

    @ gerhard

    I agree that christianity is not christianity. The christianity that I believe in states that the Bible is the word of God, that Christ came through a virgin birth and died for our sins, raised from the dead and is now sitting at the right hand of the Father. In a nutshell, it believes in the Bible and what the Bible says. Now Shofar is no different from any other churches and denominations that believe in the Bible (altho there are some doctrinal differences in most denominations). So if you’r bashing Shofar, why not bash every other church that believes in the Bible? Because all the teaching in Shofar with Bible school, foundations, and other classes, are all Biblical, nothing else!

  • 86 Shofar member // May 26, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Once again, il get to other comments when i get time…

    lets discuss this people:)

  • 87 Kenneth Oberlander // May 26, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    @ Shofar member

    Im not going to get into an argument about the that because if you dont believe that the Bible is the word of God then we are just going endlessly argue.

    I think it is very important to be able to test your premises before attempting to build an argument. Thus it is relevant to the discussion for you to understand that your premise (an argument from inerrant Biblical authority) is invalid to any non-Christian.

    And i moved church as a result of moving to stellenbosch to study so I was forced to find a new church… so much for your great question.

    You seem to think I asked this as some or other unanswerable zinger of a question, which isn’t true. I was trying to get behind the potential contradiction between your “have grown more in Shofar” comment and your “Shofar is no different” comment, to see whether it was a contradiction or not.

    So if you’r bashing Shofar, why not bash every other church that believes in the Bible?

    Clearly you don’t know gerhard! 😉

    Once again, il get to other comments when i get time…lets discuss this people:)

    Could you take a stab at the questions at #77?

  • 88 gerhard // May 26, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    shofar member : nice reply. I am just left with questions now tho. (and you still need to answer one or two that i’ve already given you, in your time of cause. )
    the thing is , bible literalism doesn’t really make sense to me in the context of Christian and societal history especially if you take into account that by interpreting the bible you destroy all concept of literalism. can you honestly take something as literal if the meaning is subjective? the answer is no.
    You yourself point out the doctrinal differences between literalism of the same religious origin so quite literally , they aren’t being literal.
    ok, so getting into the bible. how much do you know about it? I know you’ve probably studied the words in it , but what about the history or variations? what about the variations of the bible? how did you choose which variation of the bible to take literally? Why did you dismiss the others, let alone other religious works claiming to the the one true authoritative word of god?
    also , have you ever investigated skepticism of the bible literalism? I know literalists think things like dino bones are ticks the devil is playing or god ‘f$%king with you’ . But what interests me is the selective rejection of science. A lot of the things you reject you’re also relying on without necessarily knowing it, so how does one reconcile something like that? Does that mean stuff exists/works only if you want them too or what? i’m hazy on this kind of thinking , so if you could explain it then it would be quite cool.

    So if you’r bashing Shofar, why not bash every other church that believes in the Bible? Because all the teaching in Shofar with Bible school, foundations, and other classes, are all Biblical, nothing else!

    i can’t talk for the rest of the people posting comments here but i dont really see a difference between religions in general. (yes, fundamentalist christianity and fundamentalist islam is the same thing just with differences in doctrine and the usual characteristic differences in the god they worship). I dont consider myself as bashing Christianity but rather religion. (so you dont need to feel singled out as shofarian)

  • 89 gerhard // May 26, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    oh right , before i give you the wrong impression , shofar does tend to get singled out tho, because of it’s behaviour in regards to stellies etc. like trying to turn it into a glorified bible school. Religion has nothing to do with education so it should stay away form that … my last 2c for a bit …

  • 90 Ben-Jammin' // May 26, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Jesus said it, the Bible says it so you cant argue with that.

    Well, umm, actually, I can. 🙂

  • 91 Hugo // May 27, 2009 at 12:13 am

    @Bad Ben #79, thanks! Good explanation, and a good framing for the relevance of Kenneth’s questions in #77. And thanks for the NOFX lyrics.

    @Shofar member #80, thanks for the apology, much appreciated! What was it that shocked you? The post itself, or some of the discussions that followed, in the comments above?

    With regards to authority, I submit to authority that I feel has proven itself trustworthy and truthful. I don’t feel that at Shofar. (The leadership may be sincere, but it conflicts with what I see in “creation” all around us, hence my sentiment.)

    I’m interested in your father’s views. (Or your mother’s, if she’s the pastor. 😉 ) Is he Dutch-Reformed? Has there e.g. been some theological (or other) disagreements with regards to your choice of church or doctrine?

    With regards to gerhard, in my experience, he’s the most “anti-” here, his style often includes the use of sarcasm. And he’s toning down here… be thankful for that, I certainly am. I suspect his first might have been reactionary to your first? In any case, beware that you don’t project any of gerhard’s more caustic style onto your interpretation of other people’s comments, for example your “so much for your great question” response in #85, that seems to be triggered by gerhard, rather than Kenneth?

    Kenneth, do you think “Now Shofar is no different from any other churches and denominations that believe in the Bible” is borderline no-true-scotsman? Shofar member, the gripe I have with that thought, is that any congregation that doesn’t agree with yours’ interpretation, will simply be labelled as “not believing in the Bible”. I have a number of theologian-friends, when I get to discussing more of Shofar’s teachings, I’ll try drawing from their knowledge for more input on what the Bible says that seems to contradict the Shofarian (and typically the US Conservative Evangelical) interpretation.

    Sorry for deferring some of my contributions to future posts, my time’s a bit limited for the next month. Generally, apart from a couple of gripes, I’m very satisfied with the way this discussion seems to be developing, I’ll be reading attentively. Try to keep it clean and friendly, guys! (So I guess that means gals are exempt. 😉 )

  • 92 Kenneth Oberlander // May 27, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Kenneth, do you think “Now Shofar is no different from any other churches and denominations that believe in the Bible” is borderline no-true-scotsman?

    Good point, I hadn’t picked up on that…

  • 93 Bad Ben // May 27, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    @Kenneth

    Well keneth… biblical authority is the answer because the Bible is the word of God. Im not going to get into an argument about the that because if you dont believe that the Bible is the word of God then we are just going endlessly argue. And i moved church as a result of moving to stellenbosch to study so I was forced to find a new church… so much for your great question.

    @Shofar Member.

    I know you mean well. I understand what you are (generally) talking about. Better than you’d imagine…

    But the fact is you;

    1. Insult people by condescending talk and refusing to talk to them on any terms but your own.

    Is this the way of Jesus? Did He generally refuse to engage anyone who did not agree with Him and his proposed truth? (please resist referring to singular occasions such as his silence before pilot, these are not general contexts…)

    2. Infer Biblical Authority without doing any justice to the complex arguments that leads to these ideological standpoints.

    This could mean at best that you are merely adopting your leader’s opinions for yourself because, well you trust them (I can really relate! Been there…). At worst it once again refers to point 1. You are not serious about engaging in conversation with these people who differ from you, but in fact attempting to force your views on them; and if they resist your “rules of engagement” (ie. the bible is perfect and flawless-or I can’t talk to you at all)

    I see God; and specifically Jesus as long-suffering with people (ie. the disciples!), Willing to listen (the woman at the well), willing to dine/engage intimately with those who are not yet repentant (Zaccheus). I mean Jesus healed the servant of a Roman Centurion who was a practising pagan! There isn’t even mention that the man converted to (then not yet existing) Christianity!

    Gerhard made a pretty strong counter when he referred to Hitler. Hitler’s regime was built on a foundationalist understanding of the bible. Interpretations on a great deal of scripture vary. I am weary of denominational appeal to the “inerrancy of Scripture” because even if scripture is perfect our interpretations can be flawed. Even by 2%. Or in Hitler’s case by a whole lot. So what you are in fact saying when you argue a point from “ultimate scriptural authority” is that you have “ultimate interpretative authority.

    We have debated this point ad Nauseum in a previous post (Only God can save People). Maybe read that post. Pray about it and this (I might be completely out of line and whack for criticising you so harshly), And I’d be VERY interested in hearing some genuine, heartfelt and sincere answers to Kenneth’s questions in post #77.

    Bless you!

  • 94 Cecile // Aug 9, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Read ‘Under Cover’ by John Bevere, then revise your view of submitting under authority.
    Do not perish for lack of knowledge.

  • 95 Hugo // Aug 9, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Hi Cecile, thanks for stopping by. I would like to understand what you are suggesting. You are saying that if I’m not willing to submit to some human authority, I may perish? (Or was that last sentence just a rhetorical device?)

    I took a quick look at the book on Amazon, and found some interesting reviews:

    John Bevere, I believe, is a sincere man of God who intends to encourage God’s people with biblical truth; however, on this subject I found his handling of Scripture a bit misplaced in some instances. He tends to rely heavily on the traditional ideals of positional leadership and authority, which are popular among most of those who teach “covering theology.” While Bevere’s handling of the subject is perhaps a bit more graceful than some, it is still primarily the same ol’ traditional view that is backed by scarce biblical support. In fact, one has to rely principly upon Old Testament texts to really push this view of leadership because the New Testament pattern is so different.

    The concept of “church covering” is not even found one time in the New Testament and Jesus, in fact, told His disciples NOT to serve His body as “authorities” who were over them, bearing titles and having men address them as such (Luke 22:25-27; Matthew 23:8012).

    […snip lots more interesting stuff…]

    There are a number of other negative reviews, and a number of very positive reviews. I would like to know how you decide who you should listen to. What makes you trust John Bevere so much?

  • 96 Sally Springfield // Aug 26, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Hi Hugo, firstly congratulations, you certainly do have one of the most lively discussion boards I’ve come across out here. This one intrigues me particularly. Actually, the subject and its cause are of interest because they stand out amongst the myriad of discussions raging between rational thinkers and, for want of a better throwaway term: fundamentalists. I use the last term very loosely, since, to a certain extent – I possibly belong in part to both subsets (and a great many more), being someone who believes in God spiritually but as an intelligent person, can quite comfortably accept all the findings of empirical science in this world I find myself in, something which does lead to much deeper questions for me. For now I am happy to pray and meditate about them and spend time reading discussions like these for education, and dare I say it … entertainment.

    The reason why I’ve tentatively joined this discussion is because this one and some others on your board are not just about two worldviews having a difficult time reaching consensus, due to, among other things, closed hostile attitudes, that do reduce things to a personal level that any person will obviously defend and hold onto like a pit bull. The hallmark and end of almost all these discussions everywhere eventually. Be that as it may, this topic stands out because it is about a Christian organisation and its leader and while this discussion echoes so very many other debates on religion and non-religious ideas, I do not think it is Christian to strive like this, without cause, because as has already been pointed out so clearly – Christ was able to reconcile himself to all the people he met with. So, keeping that in mind here goes:

    Two things stand out among the discussions on Shofar, the writer Al Lovejoy’s contentions with Pastor May and the utterly deplorable teargas incident last year. I hope my wish is respected when I say that I don’t wish to debate either person personally but Christian authority is recognised by the actions of the individual, not necessarily by the position that the person holds. This unfortunate reality is why so many terrible and true accusations can be laid at the door of the entire Church. Like any social system, the Church cannot operate without checks and balances because the Church, while seeking God’s guidance is still very human after all.

    I am not going to take a stance either way for or against anybody but Christ’s way is through reconciliation and forgiveness. I read the deeply alarming “Friend” letter Pastor May wrote after the disturbance in the meeting last year. It does seem very, very angry and I’m sorry to have to it but dark too. That is not the point here, he had every reason to be angry at the time but I’m curious to know if Pastor May forgave those young men and went to them? Bullies, no matter how cowardly, usually need to know what forgiveness is more than most. I’m reminded of the Pope who visited his would be assassin in prison. A deeply Christ like gesture by a true Christian leader. In the same breath, has Pastor May forgiven Mr. Lovejoy? Would he be willing to go to him and tell him that? It is probably out of line and rhetorical at best but would Pastor May be willing to forgive the Dutch Reformed and other Churches too? It is clear that he has some serious differences with his brothers. And I’m not risking getting out of line for an arbitrary reason. I am convinced that healing broken bonds is what sets a Christian believer apart. It has to be expected of a Christian leader because like trust, authority also needs to be earned through leading by example. As a courtesy to those who do not share certain of my spiritual beliefs, I will not revert to tossing out what the Bible teaches on this subject but I’m sure that those who share my beliefs and do know the Bible will agree that this should be expected of a leader, because it is a terrible thing to follow someone blindly on their own say so.

    Christ told his disciples to be His example to the poor, the sick, the lost and broken. He made it a mandate. Pastor May claims he was called to fight the devil and Luciferlogy in Stellenbosch. Between these two statements lies the brunt of this discussion.

    I’m convinced that publicly forgiving the men involved in the incident last year would have had a completely different outcome publicly. The same applies to seeking reconciliation with Mr. Lovejoy and other churches. This, and this alone would be the test of Pastor May’s Christian example and authority. It might possibly negate all these discussions about this man and his organisation. There would be no need for it.

    Looking foeward to more of your discussions – 🙂 S

  • 97 Bad Ben // Aug 26, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Pastor May claims he was called to fight the devil and Luciferlogy in Stellenbosch.

    please cite this statement.

  • 98 Kenneth Oberlander // Aug 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Hallo Sally Springfield. Welcome.

    In the same breath, has Pastor May forgiven Mr. Lovejoy? Would he be willing to go to him and tell him that? It is probably out of line and rhetorical at best but would Pastor May be willing to forgive the Dutch Reformed and other Churches too?

    What did these people/institutions do to Fred May that requires his forgiveness? I’m ignorant of the history here.

    I second Bad Ben. Do you have any references to back your claim that he quoted?

  • 99 Sally Springfield // Aug 26, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Hi again

    I took the liberty of checking the “imposter” post above, it does seem to quote this page:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20040810201934/http://shofarworld.com/about/index.html

    “During this break the Lord placed a burden to intercede for Stellenbosch on Ps. Fred’s heart, especially when he saw that occult practitioners had become bold enough to gather in public séances and do door-to-door visits.”

    The rest is right here on this site quoting the “Friend” letter Pastor May wrote:

    “The Holy Spirit wants to alert us to the need to focus our prayers on a stronghold of wickedness in this town that must be broken down in the spirit – NOW! The intercessors at both meetings in the week had visions of the Free Masonry obelisk crumbling under the power of God”

    “It certainly has the marks of an occultic ritual.”

    “The other reason I’m convinced of it being a deliberate, demonically inspired attack was because I received clear warning in this regard by the Lord the previous weekend. I was on my way to Namibia when I felt strongly to alert the pastors and elders of a pending attack – in the evening service – by satanists. That was the previous weekend. For that reason we were mobilised and ready. So while I’m open to have been wrong about the timing, I’m still convinced that it is of spiritual significance in that it is a plan hatched and executed by people who are enemies of the cross of Christ. I too, like the intercessors, feel that the act is somehow symbolically representative of the act of rape – in keeping with the phallic obelisk of Freemasonry.”

    Each of these quotes seems to concern Luciferology or rather Demonology and the Occult, which Pastor May calls Shofar members to battle against in prayer and if I’m not mistaken: on the streets. It also seems, as Hugo says, that he has come a full circle now that he has seemingly been a martyr to this for over fifteen years.

    I’m simply drawing a very clear distinction between Pastor May’s own claims and what Jesus Christ taught His disciples and commanded us to do. And rather than spend too much time searching for direct quotes of people who’ve attended services and spoken about it out here, can we maybe agree that many people have reported Pastor May’s hostility towards both the Dutch Reformed and Roman Catholic churches. Stellenbosch is most certainly a town full of Dutch Reformed congregations. Do you possibly understand why I made that remark now? Can we possibly reason for Christian reconciliation and forgiveness, rather than debate Pastor May’s statements? (I guess I’m saying I’d rather discuss the way to peace than argue against anything) 😉 S

  • 100 Kenneth Oberlander // Aug 26, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Can we possibly reason for Christian reconciliation and forgiveness

    Heh. I would ask for just plain human forgiveness. But I see your point.

  • 101 Deborah // Aug 26, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    I’ve been following your blog for quite a while and I’ve got one question to everyone Christian that post commends on this blog, when last did you introduced Jesus Christ the Messiah to any person? I am talking about the Prince of Peace, The Peace Maker! The very same one that said that mellicious gossip equals Satan? When last did you speak to God about the so called ‘evil’ man Fred May? May God help everyone to discern what we are busy doing to His kingdom while partaking in gossip sessions like this. Don’t you think that you would be of much more worth in His kingdom preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God rather than gossip about people that do preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to all nations? May the God of Peace really touch each one’s heart and reveal the deception in your own hearts. Matt 5:9 ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.’ From Deborah a fan of Jesus Christ alone!

  • 102 Kenneth Oberlander // Aug 26, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    I’ve got one question to everyone Christian that post commends on this blog

    Well, that lets me off the hook… 😉

    May the God of Peace really touch each one’s heart and reveal the deception in your own hearts.

    Wait, am I included again now?

    ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.’

    For I come not to bring peace, but the sword. Anyone? Anyone?

    Seriously though, Deborah. Which one of the thirty thousand versions of Christianity is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God?

  • 103 Deborah // Aug 27, 2009 at 8:36 am

    To answer your question concerning the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, the fullness of the price on the Cross explains the full Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ, the Truth, the Light & Life Himself explains the Kingdom of God and what it is all about in His Word.

    We were never supposed to change this message in any way to motivate our own lifestyles but we are supposed to preach the bear, honest, loving but hard Word of God. Al together the Word explains the fullness of the Kingdom of God… So to answer your question about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and which version is the correct one, there is only one correct version and that is the message of the Cross. It is all written in the Word of God – the Bible – when a person receives Jesus Christ as Master and Savior, then he/she become part of a royal Kingdom – His Kingdom. The change starts within and the world should observe it in the change of lifestyle, speech etc.

    Luke explains one of the many aspects of the Kingdom of God: Luk 17:20 Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, 21nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within[b] you.”

    The sad thing is that many times the world confuses religion with relationship with God. Religion is dead works (the letter kills) but relationship with God is a life changing, life giving power. Holy Spirit alone can convict of sin if we choose not to submit to God we will not receive council from Him.

    Lastly, the only way that I can get to know God’s will, is by building my personal relationship with Him through studying the Word of God, praying and allowing Him to lay a solid Biblical foundation in my life. He uses Godly leaders to teach those who struggle to understand the Word, but ultimately we are responsible for our own spiritual growth.

    I called out, he answered and He changed my mourning into dancing! I am a living testimony for Him.
    Shalom
    Deborah

  • 104 gerhard // Aug 27, 2009 at 9:40 am

    debrorah, you didn’t answer kenneth’s answer. his point was rather, which Christianity based on which bible/”word of god”.
    there are so many and you’re not saying much other than “whhhhaaat??? which Christianity ??? well obviously the TRUE Christianity?! ” but which one is the true one? which one / version is true “_THE WORD OF GOD_”? mind you … all this is based on revelation … so … really, using buzzword phrases like “personal relationship with god” is meaningless between variations. I think what you’re doing is appealing to authority here.

    [He uses Godly leaders to teach those who struggle to understand the Word, but ultimately we are responsible for our own spiritual growth.]
    soo this really bothers me, those leaders themselves disagree what is to be understood by “the word”…….

    [I called out, he answered and He changed my mourning into dancing! I am a living testimony for Him.] I actually know many people who say the same thing about their religions and they are’t following the “him” you are 🙂

  • 105 Kenneth Oberlander // Aug 27, 2009 at 10:04 am

    @ Deborah

    It is all written in the Word of God – the Bible

    Which language? The original Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek? The Latin translations? The Old English versions? Or a current translation?

    Which canon? What about the apocrypha?

    The point here is, there is no single word of god. The bible has been assembled, edited, copied and mistranslated over millenia.

  • 106 Sally Springfield // Aug 27, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Deborah, discussing the direct public statements and press releases made by Pastor May is not gossip. It seems you are not comfortable with this but it is a reality. I agree, gossip is deplorable but it is a human frailty not satanic. And nowhere in the Bible are the two connected, which leads to the question: Who taught you this?

    Pastor May wrote a heated letter and spoke his mind. Asking anyone, let alone a Christian to accept it verbatim and at face value without question suggests that we are to accept that phallic symbols, occult rituals and freemasonry have anything to with the teachings Jesus gave His disciples. Teachings we are taught to treasure and uphold in our lives without adding to them. That letter is a dark nasty letter, saying dark nasty things and blowing out of all proportion an act of criminal hooliganism that has already been punished. Forgive me for speaking my mind so bluntly.

    I question how it is that Pastor May describes being anointed by the Spirit and then feeling sexually violated moments later? The Spirit does not leave us in trouble. What on earth is any Christian supposed to make of such an alarming description and statement? That letter is here and now, those stupid young men have been punished BUT the message of demonology, freemasonry and Satanism spoken over Stellenbosch is still published here and now by Pastor May.

    I suggest the message that letter contains will always have nothing to do with seeking peace, reconciliation and forgiveness or anything Jesus taught his disciples. If we cannot discuss these things maturely, then there is very little substance to our faith.

    I realise I’m arguing so I will stop but I must ask you to consider looking carefully at what you expecting any person here to accept. Especially when you quote the Bible. 🙂 S

  • 107 gerhard // Aug 27, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    @sally
    [I question how it is that Pastor May describes being anointed by the Spirit and then feeling sexually violated moments later? ]
    well, it seems obvious he feels penetrated by the holy spirit 😛 i too would feel sexually violated. *ducks hugo’s wrath*

    [I suggest the message that letter contains will always have nothing to do with seeking peace, reconciliation and forgiveness or anything Jesus taught his disciples. ] does Christianity or literalism ever?

    [If we cannot discuss these things maturely, then there is very little substance to our faith.] respect.

    [I realise I’m arguing so I will stop but I must ask you to consider looking carefully at what you expecting any person here to accept. ] no. don’t ever stop. you are not _agruing_ you are discussing. you are thinking .. you are mushing … you are calling for people to listen to ideas and (from what i can pick up) are at least willing to do the same.

    [Especially when you quote the Bible.] yes, i agree , he /she wouldn’t like me quoting from the lord of the rings in the same manner either. it’s not a productive conversation..

  • 108 Kenneth Oberlander // Aug 27, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    yes, i agree , he /she wouldn’t like me quoting from the lord of the rings in the same manner either. it’s not a productive conversation..

    To quote another holy text, RAmen!

  • 109 Deborah // Aug 27, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Oops, I really did not want to offend any person by quoting from the Bible. Enjoy ‘speaking’ your mind… I just thought I could do the same! Have fun…D

  • 110 Kenneth Oberlander // Aug 27, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    @Deborah

    I just thought I could do the same!

    Of course you can! I doubt anyone here was offended. But what gerhard says is true. Generally conversations around here that start to include Bible quotes tend to stop being conversations…

    Personally, I’m more interested in what you have to say than what your book does.

  • 111 Hugo // Aug 27, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Hi Sally! Glad to have you here, I really like your style.

    Hi Deborah, thanks for following, and welcome out of the shadows and into the commenting chaos. 😉 Please do call us out if we do ever descend into gossip and don’t seem to notice: gossip can become truly ugly. We’ve certainly done so on occasion, and we’re likely to do so again, and we might not always catch ourselves quickly enough.

    Also, you’ll notice we’ve got something of a tough crowd here. Don’t be discouraged by the toughest of them. Do learn what you can from them, but some things you’re going to have to “let slide”.

    A quick couple of questions I’m curious about, to understand more about your relationship with your religion and God (I mean the “religion” word broadly):

    Holy Spirit alone can convict of sin if we choose not to submit to God we will not receive council from Him.

    This also touches on the semantics of “sin”, but I’m wondering: would you agree that if someone feels convicted about some sin of theirs, that the source of that conviction they experience, is that which you call the “Holy Spirit”?

    Second question: what would you describe as the core of your religion (relationship with God) to a non-theist? And I mean now the core beyond the “relationship with Jesus”, but rather what that relationship results in, functionally. The kind of answer I’m hoping for could be one or more of the words or concepts like these (i.e. here’s a multiple choice): love, compassion, justice, purity, escaping-death, community, transformation, peace, righteous/spiritual-warfare, … running out of ideas. (I’m trying to include concepts I agree with as well as those I disagree with but think others might feel is critical.)

    I do recognise the “problems” with the question: I know you feel the core is Jesus, alpha and omega. Let’s take that part as a given, I’m after the secondary results. I also know that picking just a couple of concepts is limiting it too much: it is surely much more than just the one or two concepts I’m hoping you’ll identify, so let’s take that as a given too, I just want to try to identify one or two core concepts that we can consider important, something worth focusing on…

    Does my question make sense?

    It being an opinion question, I don’t intend to debate about it. It’s more just mutual understanding I’m after (that being the primary focus of this blog).

    @gerhard:

    soo this really bothers me, those leaders themselves disagree what is to be understood by “the word”…….

    There’s the fundamentals of love and compassion, and a particular kind of justice, that you’d be hard-pressed to find a leader that won’t agree. Even if there’s a whole host of other things they’d disagree on.

    It is all written in the Word of God – the Bible

    How about our hearts? I reckon a lot of it is written in our hearts too. And no, I don’t mean that in the super-literal sense… 😛

    @sally and gerhard:

    I realise I’m arguing so I will stop but I must ask you to consider looking carefully at what you expecting any person here to accept.

    no. don’t ever stop.

    Yes do stop. 😉 By all means, continue thinking and discussing, but when it starts becoming a harsh argument, it often comes at the cost of relating to one another. And it’s all about relationship, isn’t it?

    Yea, I’m just juxtaposing with gerhard, understand the context. 😉 I don’t mean to judge on whether you’re coming across as arguing or not, I think the important thing is our personal feelings about the matter: if I feel like I’m starting to argue, it speaks about a particular attitude I’ve got and am challenging, more than it speaks about what words I’m expressing my ideas and discussions with.

    Deborah, I think scripture speaks to the follower of said scriptures. So we could share what some scripture meant to us personally, but should guard against using scripture as a bat to clobber *other* people that don’t follow said scriptures. You know what I mean? I think we had a clash here as your words and narratives are designed for communicating with other Christians who hold the same scriptures dear, that speak the same language, but Kenneth and gerhard don’t speak that language, don’t share your context. Even talking of a “kingdom” sounds strange or archaic to people used to republics. The word choice can cause minds to focus on the differences between a kingdom and a republic, rather than the differences between for example a kingdom “of men” (or of Caesar) and a kingdom “of God”, which is surely the immediate thought of audiences in Jesus’ time?

    Anyway, I do hope to hear from you again. (Just a couple of sentences here and there is perfect!)

  • 112 gerhard // Aug 27, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    @deborah,
    huh? hey now, no-one is offended here. we’re really interested in what you have to say we just need to be able to communicate. my quoting from taoist writing would be pretty useless to you because the _meanings_ I or a Buddhist instil is impossible to convey in a casual conversation.

    Our little community is quite diverse and in the interest of all us being able to understand each other we try stay on as common of a ground as possible , express yourself in your words.
    oh and don’t worry we’ll keep hugo from acting up too much, so if he tries to ban you or something then kenneth will unleash a horde of monkeys on him.

  • 113 Hugo // Aug 27, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    Ah oops, I also meant to reply to @gerhard about this:

    I suggest the message that letter contains will always have nothing to do with seeking peace, reconciliation and forgiveness or anything Jesus taught his disciples.

    does Christianity or literalism ever?

    Yes, gerhard, it does.

    (Or maybe you were employing some gross hyperbole there, just a figure of speech…)

    Not sure if this message counts as “Hugo’s wrath”, but yea, you’re welcome to duck for this if you like, it’s all I’m sending your way this time. 😉

  • 114 Hugo // Aug 27, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    my quoting from taoist writing would be pretty useless to you because the _meanings_ I or a Buddhist instil is impossible to convey in a casual conversation.

    Beautiful! Thanks gerhard. Similarly, I reckon Christians try to convey meanings that get completely lost as a result of not sharing the same context.

    oh and don’t worry we’ll keep hugo from acting up too much, so if he tries to ban you or something then kenneth will unleash a horde of monkeys on him.

    Bwhaahahahahaha! I love this ‘lil role-reversal. Or that’s how it feels. /me goes to bed with a smile, idly wondering, but not too much, at the mystery of what meaning that was actually supposed to convey. 😉

  • 115 Deborah // Aug 28, 2009 at 12:47 am

    Hugo, my love for people includes all, that is why I made an effort to study not only the life of Jesus Christ but also Buddha and many more. Been in the Far East many times, spend hours talking to generational Buddists, I really do respect them but the way God revealed Himself to me since a very young age formed me. That does not mean that I don’t appreciate different values. I discovered it is better to be a peacemaker than a peacekeeper…Much more joy in ‘talking’ out hard issues and find the place where we can agree to disagree or agree…thanks for your honesty. D

  • 116 Kenneth Oberlander // Aug 28, 2009 at 8:17 am

    so if he tries to ban you or something then kenneth will unleash a horde of monkeys on him.

    There’s an evil scientist joke in there somewhere hey? 😉
    I’ll have to polish up my maniacal laughter. It’s getting rusty from disuse…

  • 117 Hugo // Aug 28, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Hmmm… but Kenneth is a botanist, where would he get a horde of monkeys? /me contemplates a horror movie, with the protagonist attacked by a horde of banana trees.

  • 118 Kenneth Oberlander // Aug 28, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Banana trees? BANANA trees? However do you inspire awe and fear with banana trees? I’m insulted!

    My recombinant mutagenic razor-edged shark shrubs with the tentacle tendrils, on the other hand…
    /lame humour

  • 119 Sally Springfield // Aug 28, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Thank you Deborah, we share similar sentiments on peacemaking but curses have real power. My original question was whether Pastor May would be willing to forgive the young men and others and take the “secondary” step Hugo mentions by going to those people and seeking reconciliation and peace. Quite fankly, and please this is not meant as insulting, but I doubt whether it is possible for the members of Shofar to see Pastor May as proposing dangerous ideas and obsessions publicly. Insane ideas – to anyone, especially a Christian who is not a part of his group. Ergo, it would be foolish to allow him authority over any other person. And never over a Christian. Deborah, this is not personal and I hope you understand this. What this chap preaches publicly is dangerous, wrong and unbiblical. Let’s discuss it, because without any shadow of doubt, Pastor May wanted this message to be heard.

    In his “Friend” letter Pastor May says:

    Statement #1 “The other reason I’m convinced of it being a deliberate, demonically inspired attack was because I received clear warning in this regard by the Lord the previous weekend. I was on my way to Namibia when I felt strongly to alert the pastors and elders of a pending attack – in the evening service – by satanists. That was the previous weekend.”

    For the sake of avoiding the wrath of Kenneth’s monkeys I’m going to try out a loose Tolkien metaphor here to analyse what is being stated and not so subliminaly suggested in this letter. In Statement# 1 Pastor May describes how seven days before the incident he “received clear warning” of an impending attack by servants of Lord Sauron. He makes it very, very clear by repeating that this happened seven days before the incident. Pastor May then communicates this idea to the “pastors and elders”, and tells them to expect an attack from Ringwraiths.

    The Ringwraith attack does not take place. Then, a week later:

    Statement #2: “I was interceding in the foyer at the time. I ordinarily do it backstage when I’m not ministering, and not usually during the time of worship. But on this particular night the worship was so special. The Holy Spirit was present so palpably that I felt led to pray in the foyer instead. That’s when the attack happened.”

    Without any “warning” this time, six drunk and naked Hobbits run into the.service, not evil Ringwraiths just nasty drunk hobbits who get dragged off by police and punished like they should be. See, once again I question Pastor May’s account of how the “Spirit” warns him and then doesn’t warn him and then leaves him to feel “sexually violated”. That is not testimony of the Holy Spirit and it is the duty of any Christian recognising this – to point it out.

    This should have been the end of the incident but a week and a half later Pastor May angrily pens the “Friend” letter. In his letter, the drunk hobbits are still evil Ringraiths and he now expands Stellenbosch to being a stronghold of Sauron that, if you are his “Friend” – you will join him to fight and “tear down”.

    No. No. No. Never. Drunk men, no matter how callous and idiotic are simply not satanic – even a week and a half later they are not Satanists and a Pastor who suggests something so ugly and so clearly unchristian and is unwilling to undo it – is no Christian leader at all. The Spirit never leaves us nor forsakes us, is not confused from moment to moment and loves those young men. They were not Satanists any more than Hugo, myself or Kenneth’s monkeys are for that matter.

    Statement#3: “That’s why I’m asking you to pass this mail to as many people as you can. I believe God wants to mobilize many people in the Body of Christ to stand together in prayer to see a dark and ancient stronghold break over this town.”

    I state: There is no curse over Stellenbosch or over those young men’s lives – except the carefully written curse and auto-suggestions Pastor May wanted us to read. I cannot find one Christian sentiment in that letter, just the product of two and half weeks of satanic self-obsession and auto-suggestion. And the auto-suggestions seem to have power and do work because his elders were having satanic visions apparently too.

    Deborah, as a Christian, you have to recognise that this dark nasty letter and this man’s dark nasty obsessions he wants other people to embrace have nothing to do with either the teachings of Jesus or The Lord of the Rings. It would be remiss of me to say nothing and let “it slide”… 😉 S

  • 120 Kenneth Oberlander // Aug 28, 2009 at 11:01 am

    To add to what Sally has been unpacking:

    Without any “warning” this time, six drunk and naked Hobbits run into the.service, not evil Ringwraiths just nasty drunk hobbits who get dragged off by police and punished like they should be.

    This is a beautiful example of confirmation bias: a very human – but well-understood – failing. Cherry-picking the data for aspects that support one’s own previously-held suspicions, and ignoring the mass of contradictory evidence.

    it is the duty of any Christian recognising this – to point it out.

    I think it is as much a duty for any non-Christian.

    I cannot find one Christian sentiment in that letter, just the product of two and half weeks of satanic self-obsession and auto-suggestion.

    Not to mention a textbook case of psychological projection. Just because those who penned that letter see demons under every bush does not mean that the motives of the streakers were demonically inspired.

  • 121 gerhard // Aug 28, 2009 at 11:30 am

    sally:

    [Ergo, it would be foolish to allow him authority over any other person. And never over a Christian.] are you saying what i think you’re saying, here?
    seriously … and never over a Christian?

    [Without any “warning” this time, six drunk and naked Hobbits run into the.service, not evil Ringwraiths just nasty drunk hobbits who get dragged off by police and punished like they should be.] yes you are perfectly right, one should for the pepper spray bit (if indeed they were the ones doing the spraying). the nudity deserves a slap on the wrist (like you would get for running down a public road) so not courts should be involved what so ever, the fact that it happened in a church or service should have no baring in the matter. (it’s all just a cultural respect thing and you should _never_ get seriously punished for not wanting to respect a particular culture. ) ie. when you pie the pope you should get punished as a pie thrower but not because he is the pope.

    [Deborah, as a Christian, you have to recognise that this dark nasty letter and this man’s dark nasty obsessions he wants other people to embrace have nothing to do with either the teachings of Jesus or The Lord of the Rings. It would be remiss of me to say nothing and let “it slide”… ]
    sally…. sally… i’m so impressed with the post that, if i wasn’t about to get married, I would ask you out on a date 🙂 awesome reply to deb. don’t ever back away from things like this. (and thanks for getting/accepting the idea behind lotr)

  • 122 Sally Springfield // Aug 28, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Hi it’s me Cherry! Somehow, all I’ve managed to achieve is get my husband howling with laughter at me like one of Kenneth’s monkeys, passing comments about elaborate pick up lines and internet dating and waving a bannana at me in a meaningful way:-) S

    Elaborate Point is: I’m convinced those kids were not Satanists. For someone in supposed Christian authority to suggest it empahtically to the world at large a week and a half after the event and without legal proof or sane burden of evidence is rehensible and to not retract it worse. One of the men I believe was expelled for previously coming to class in a g-string. Hardly the behaviour of a servant of anyone’s Dark Lord other than his own absurd need to act outrageously and attract attention to his (if you can hide it in a g-string honey…).

    And She-Bear retracts her claws. For the “never” gerhard. A mom thinks in two ways and yes, one of them is always paranoid and imagines the very, very worst.

    Imaging what on earth you would do if it were your own son in that room.

    And then have that letter delivered to you as an explanation. The letter scared me far, far worse than the incident. Really frightened me to my core because a mom thinks like that. She’s always with her children. And gerhard, honestly, I would never, and this time I mean never, let ours or any other people’s children near this man. For any reason. I don’t care what else or how beautifully he preaches. As far as I’m concerned the preaching of his occult ideas should be limited to Kenneth’s monkeys but even those sweet little things don’t deserve that dark ugly and nasty.

    From both sides and always to make things better, not worse. Love you monkeys too… 😉

  • 123 Kenneth Oberlander // Aug 28, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Kenneth’s monkeys but even those sweet little things don’t deserve that dark ugly and nasty.

    Clearly you haven’t met the New TerrorMonkey v2.0…

  • 124 gerhard // Aug 28, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    [ my husband howling with laughter at me like one of Kenneth’s monkey..elaborate pick up lines..and waving a bannana at me in a meaningful way] ha!

    [One of the men I believe was expelled for previously coming to class in a g-string. ] i would love to get more info on this. were they maybe taking revenge on the church or one of the church goers? was there a meaningful purpose or was this just random drunk juvenile anti-social expression? how did the pepperspay get involved ???!!!

    [Hardly the behaviour of a servant of anyone’s Dark Lord other than his own absurd need to act outrageously and attract attention to his (if you can hide it in a g-string honey…).] ramen. it bothers me that I don’t know more about _why_ and what? he is already using this to make it seem like the lord is talking to him. what else is going on over there? what other things are they so eagerly constructing. a prophecy? is he wanting to be a messiah or what? I would love to look at their “books” and listen in on their chatter.

    [ Imaging what on earth you would do if it were your own son in that room.] *nod* well, i think it would depend on their age. My job is to teach them how to “live well” , so i would have to bitch about it because it’s anti-social but secretly i would be going “hey ! there goes MY BOY!!! *gushing with fanboy admiration* my son, having the balls to do what?!!!!! ”
    naturally it would depend on the context. disrespect for sake of disrespect for instance would not be acceptable and if done with reason and thoughtfulness then why not even reward them for standing up for their beliefs. stupid drunken barbarity is all part of growing up and learning about living well. … context.

    [The letter scared me far, far worse than the incident. Really frightened me to my core because a mom thinks like that. ] yes. it frightens me too. i think i can speak for possibly kenneth , saneman and hugo that it does them too 😛 there are many many many more of us who find many of the going ons as .. frightening.

    [ And gerhard, honestly, I would never, and this time I mean never, let ours or any other people’s children near this man.] fantastic!!
    -g

  • 125 Hugo // Aug 28, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    gerhard:

    [One of the men I believe was expelled for previously coming to class in a g-string. ] i would love to get more info on this. were they maybe taking revenge on the church or one of the church goers? was there a meaningful purpose or was this just random drunk juvenile anti-social expression? how did the pepperspay get involved ???!!!

    This was all discussed in a comment thread on the original post, which was here:
    http://www.thinktoomuch.net/2008/10/31/pepper-spraying-streakers-at-shofar/
    However, with the comment thread so derailed, I had moved the relevant comments together with the irrelevant ones here:
    http://www.thinktoomuch.net/2008/10/31/pepper-spraying-streakers-at-shofar/
    My intention was to move the relevant comments back to the original post, but it has suffered from more comment spam/verbosity, and I never did move them. So if you want to know, please go read the latter. And suffer a wrath of your own making: the excessive amount of derailed-comment-thread spam that hides the signal in a tonne of noise… Hah! 😉

    I assume you’re not really asking about the earlier g-string incident (which had nothing to do with churches or religions, he walked into a university lecture, I forget which), even though that’s what your words seem to imply. (BTW, the g-string had an elephant theme… as in, it had a trunk.)

  • 126 Hugo // Aug 28, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    @gerhard:

    what else is going on over there? what other things are they so eagerly constructing. a prophecy? is he wanting to be a messiah or what? I would love to look at their “books” and listen in on their chatter.

    Ah… the first bit feels like it’s risking drifting into “gossip”, in the sense that it provokes gossip, it could feel “gossip seeking”.

    The second part sounds like you actually want me to continue with my original plan for my blog, when you so successfully derailed it and seemingly tried to shut it down in the past, to the point of me postponing any further investigation until I have the infrastructure to deal with the likes of the “past you”… or similar derailings, coming from other sides. Such infrastructure is a good idea anyway, so I’m not angry at the moment, I just hope you can understand how from my viewpoint it seems as though you’ve kinda pulled a 180…

  • 127 Sally Springfield // Aug 29, 2009 at 1:25 am

    @ Deborah: “I’ve got one question to everyone Christian that post commends on this blog, when last did you introduced Jesus Christ the Messiah to any person? I am talking about the Prince of Peace, The Peace Maker! The very same one that said that mellicious gossip equals Satan?”

    Listen to me gently Deborah, I read the “Friend” letter right after Hugo published it and imediately went and had a quiet chat with Mrs.van Wyk – Senior State Prosecutor for the Stellenbosch area. I discovered she is a wonderful lady and a very deeply committed Christian who listened to my plea for clemency so that those students could keep studying their educations. By the way, I don’t know any one of the kids. She told me she had refused to handle the case and passed it on to her regional bosses but winked and said it wasn’t inconceivable that the young men would only receive a stiff bit of community service. I didn’t know the elephant boy already had a suspended sentence from the University for that prior prank and was subsequently expelled. That took care of the boys then, BUT, I’ve been waiting and as yet, it doesn’t take care of Pastor May’s satanic curses over them. Or over the rest of Stellenbosch. Those were filthy spritual curses that man uttered. Will he recind them?

    Now I am going to withdraw from this, but I would dearly like to hear from Shofar. From Pastor May himself. Are those silly boys still damned to hell or are you willing to forgive them Pastor? Or anyone else for that matter sir? Including the “satanic” town that “gave” you your livelyhood for fifteen years? Are you able to take the second steps of the Jesus you preach in person? Or am I just another one of your satans gossipping about you?

    I think as a Christian mother I have every bit of authority to demand an answer with at least a retraction to your own public letter. So does any other person here who listened to your plea to read it – “Friend”. In fact, maybe God thinks it is about time too. You do not, and never ever have had the authority to satanicly curse any child like you have, no matter how much they shock or disappoint you Pastor. God is not like that with me and I am never like that with my own children.

    What sort of MAN are you Pastor May?

  • 128 Bad Ben // Aug 29, 2009 at 2:14 am

    This is fucking ridiculous. Im not even gonna comment

  • 129 Hugo // Aug 29, 2009 at 2:30 am

    Hey Ben, I can understand that you’re feeling torn. (To the point of commenting that you won’t comment.) My guess: you’ve been reading for a while and struggling to figure out where you can contribute to this discussion? A discussion that’s been completely one-sided… Maybe we can discuss this one-on-one a bit, you can blow off some steam, and I can hear some of your opinions/experiences on all of this?

    What I wanted to comment on earlier was the “strength” of Sally’s response. However, unsure how to tackle it, and also having decided to have a particular conversation with gerhard first (thereby leaving the conversation with Sally for later), I postponed, or chickened out. I did actually go looking for a particular example I remember, that I wanted to quote and discuss with Sally, but I couldn’t find it. I’ll try again, since I think it is also an important conversation, give me a moment…

  • 130 Hugo // Aug 29, 2009 at 3:24 am

    I’ve reread much of what was discussed. I still don’t see the particular bit I seem to have in mind… odd. I’ll go with this bit by Sally:

    Ergo, it would be foolish to allow him authority over any other person.

    Sally speaks her mind, and she speaks it clearly and bluntly. Much more blunt than I’m prepared to be these days. And with much harsher conclusions than I would feel comfortable with. If these ideas/comments Sally raises were to be expressed as harshly by any non-Christian, we’d probably have another fight on our hands, because I’m trying to get discussions to remain open and accessible. I’m more lenient on Christians as I don’t consider a Christian to be as much of an “outsider”: outsiders can’t really comment and expect to be heard. Ben, you mentioned that in the past too: certain things really do have to come from the inside. But I also forget that to Shofar, Sally is possibly close to as much of an outsider as any of the rest of us?

    Sally considers a leader that teaches such things about the occult to be dangerous. I also consider such a leader dangerous, that’s no secret. This makes it hard for me to argue directly against Sally’s sentiments(*). The best I can do is try to challenge her “hard-line” approach, in search of a softer compromise that would make communication between insiders and us outsiders easier.

    (*) In fact, shortly before Ben’s comment, I mailed Sally to ask permission to use some of her comments in a blog post at some point in the future (some months down the line, when I have a chance to frame it well), because I also so much like the idea of having “out there” a clear and public request for a retraction of a number of the sentiments in Fred’s letter. I don’t know if that’s a realistic request, so I would probably frame it in terms of it being something that, if we received it, would put our minds more at ease. (It: some retraction or apology or something. Minds at ease about: Fred’s role in Stellenbosch, and his ability to publicly admit to being human and making mistakes. Leaders claiming infallibility, or permitting followers to develop impressions of infallibility rather, makes us particularly skittish…)

    But I still digress. Back to Sally’s hard-line. I somehow picked up the impression that she’s arguing Shofar should not be permitted to exist / Fred should not be permitted to lead — and that she meant it in a literal sense, i.e. “Shofar should be shut down”, as opposed to a softer meaning of: “I don’t consider that a healthy leader, and in an ideal world in my head, that won’t happen, he wouldn’t be leading people”. That was the kind of hard-line I was contemplating, working on a response to a line like that. The sentence I quote above is the closest I could get.

    So if we all take a step back and reconsider all that was discussed, recognise the strength and bluntness with which sentiments were communicated, then find a more calculated and diplomatic angle on the disagreement, what can we come up with, for the purpose of communicating “across the boundary”? Shofar is big, many people are dependent upon it, many do feel they find nourishment there. And they respect their leader, maybe considering him more sacred than we feel a leader should be, but still, it’s there. How can the requests above be communicated in a way that won’t trigger the defensive response, in order to have our concerns more broadly understood and thereby increasing (even if only marginally) the possibility of finding a good and positive response of some sort?

    ……

    Now a quick note to gerhard: my #126 is what I’d like to discuss with you. I would ideally like that conversation to be completely independent of #127-#130 (this one) and any further discussions on this topic. I’m also wondering, could I possibly ask you to sit out for a while on further discussions surrounding #127-#130? Either that, or show more sensitivity than the “picture of gerhard in my head” seems to have. My apologies if I’m selling you short here, and the picture-in-my-head is drastically incorrect. (I’d love to be proven wrong.) I think you know where I’m coming from and what I’m asking. Am I asking too much? (Might I ask for world-peace while I’m at it? 😉 )

    Sally-et-al, some self-reflection from the perspective of “the other”, and an attempt at some reconciliation?

    …Or am I now just being totally silly? Should I just let this conversation be what it is and live or die the way it wants…? Ben, what says you about the sentiments in this here comment? And you, Sally?

    /me heads to bed.

  • 131 Hugo // Aug 29, 2009 at 4:06 am

    /me didn’t head to bed. Instead, I had an excellent 1:1 conversation that’s worth gold, to me. And now I’m going to sleep on it.

  • 132 Kenneth Oberlander // Aug 29, 2009 at 10:03 am

    @Bad Ben
    I’d appreciate your insight here. Please do comment!

  • 133 Sally Springfield // Aug 29, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Enough. Nobody ever speaks to my wife like that. Nobody. Son, go wash your dirty filthy mouth out with soap. And don’t you ever speak like that to a woman who asks a simple question, no matter how headstrong she is. It was not even addressed to you. Sally has had her say and asked her questions and now she will leave.

    Here’s my opinion: That satanic empowering thing who calls himself a Pastor and curses kids – is a piece of filth. Enough said. Good-bye.

    M. Springfield

  • 134 Hugo // Aug 29, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Mr Springfield, that sounds like “righteous indignation”…

    Some questions: why is it okay for you to call another human “a satanic empowering thing”, “a piece of filth”, etc., but you take offence at someone using a swear word in general? Ben’s comment was directed as much at the rest of us as to your wife: it wasn’t directed at anyone in particular, it was directed at the whole situation we have here with regards to how we’re handling this discussion. And your wife’s comment was directed at Ben at least as much as his comment was directed at her.

    Would you take offence at him saying “This is ridiculous. I’m not even gonna comment.”? Or is it only the swear word that is troubling you? Do you feel the use of a swear word for emphasis, standard practice, is worse than smearing someone? (Even if the smears are accurate or they deserve it… in which case I suppose that “smear” would be the wrong word.)

  • 135 Hugo // Aug 29, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    At the rest of us here (minus Sally) — I respect the Springfields’ decision, they’re no longer taking part:

    A chat with Ben helped me get some perspective, so I understand where he’s coming from. I’ll try to share some of the perspective I picked up, will probably spread it over a couple of comments, possibly over the next few days, not all today. And maybe later this week Ben can fill in a gap or two.

    First question I want us to think about: apologies for exaggeration, but, we kinda turned into a lynch mob. (In Sally’s absence, I’d like us to “own” the sentiments expressed, emphasize and amplify the parts of us that were in total agreement with her sentiments.) So, first premise:

    We demanded an apology, feeling we have the authority to make such demands.

    Let’s unpack that a little bit. What motivations might we have around such demands? We all understand where we’re coming from and why we feel like that, and we feel we’ve got righteous reasons to do so. But what are we really asking for? Functionally, I mean… what would be the function of such a demand?

    * Is the demand really motivated out of us having the best interest at heart for everyone around, everyone in Stellenbosch, Shofar, the streakers, the rest of us? What would be the function of such a demand, what would be the function of an apology, if it were to be received following such a demand? Or…
    * Are we being vindictive? Are we maybe merely seeking to humiliate Fred by rubbing his face in his letter? Are we in fact rather seeking retribution?

    This isn’t a black-and-white answer, I believe both components apply to varying degrees, at least with regards to our intentions, if not the result of our “demands”. I want us to be aware of both. And if we discuss some of the rationalisations behind the first point, I’ll have a fulcrum I can use when I raise the next point in this perspective I’m trying to share.

  • 136 Bad Ben // Aug 29, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    @KEN
    Coffee would be a better idea.

    @ the Springfields
    Im sorry you feel this way. Hugo expresses my sentiments well, but not exhaustively.

    @ALL
    Sorry for the swear-word. But in my defence, I was somewhat drunk when I posted the comment. 🙂

  • 137 gerhard // Aug 29, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    holy slabberdash. what the hell did i miss last night?
    @hugo

    [At the rest of us here (minus Sally) — I respect the Springfields’ decision, they’re no longer taking part] wtf? what did i miss. was that because of ben’s comment? what am i missing?

    @M. Springfield: WTF? bleek. are you putting you foot down? Or is this also her choice? because we’re not in the 1950s and she’s a adult , a mother who can talk for herself and can handle grown up discussions even if the language isn’t to your taste. you sound like a good guy from what sally has said but she would be selling herself short if she could not at least explain her exit herself.

    I’m guessing you guys are new to commenting and on-line discussions people speak freely and openly so language and normal social rules get distorted in the process, you are after all , talking to many people with many diverse social backgrounds, cultures, beliefs and ideas.

  • 138 Hugo // Aug 29, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    @gerhard:

    [At the rest of us here (minus Sally) — I respect the Springfields’ decision, they’re no longer taking part] wtf? what did i miss. was that because of ben’s comment? what am i missing?

    No, it’s rather because Sally was getting too passionate, emotional, involved… Remember that crazy thread we had towards the end of last year? That was an example of me getting too emotionally involved, something unhealthy for me, so it would have been a good idea for me to e.g. quit the discussion. Being passionately opposed to something means that something still has great influence over your life. If that’s an influence you don’t want, it’s best to let go of an issue and focus on other things that are more positive in your life. Thus, unfortunately we won’t have the company of Sally, and that’s that.

    In terms of “exit strategy”, I’m sure you’ve seen some of us trying to quit in the past, and failing hopelessly. Sometimes if you’ve made up your mind in that regard, it truly is the best choice to simply step out of the conversation and move on, avoiding getting stuck into trying to put into words your reasons for doing so. (That could even suck you in further.)

  • 139 Sally Springfield // Aug 30, 2009 at 3:05 am

    Here’s a bottom line for you, I don’t believe in anything. There is only science and this conversation is pointless. And I can call him a piece of filth, because nobody would give a damn if he made his money quietly and played by the accepted church rules. No, he has to bring in the extra poisonous bullshit and has a really good go at screwing with kids heads using his demons and satanistic crap and for what? To make them turn on each other? And I might not share my wifes beliefs and I don’t go to church but I respect them and I love her. She loves our kids and tries to love everyone elses too. Too much. A forgivable sin if it has ever been one. This occult crap this May arsehole projects to the world is psychologically damaging, has no purpose except acting out the homo porno and b-rate horror movie in the smiling creeps head, while his hand is out emptying the students pockets because he has obviously mastered a party trick and can sincerely shit a bible, get the holy roller shakes and spit satan on demand. Kids are impressionable. The only thing Sally will get for her troubles is some punk psychologically projecting the same satan crap onto her to try and please him. Or swearing at her already, or climbing into her character and insulting her for sicerely trying. Oh, and all for Jesus. Don’t even bother trying to tell me I’m wrong. I can see it a mile off and she is starting to. She’ll read a retraction from that snake oil salesman when little pink fairies are discovered ruling mars. Sally can better spend her unrelenting good energies by serving her god with something that doesn’t upset her so much and she can still fix with a smile on her face. Like going to the prosecutor when she read that letter and leaving it at that. It’s my marriage. I’m responsible for her happiness and I’m not a part of this conversation. And swear and curse me all you want Shofar freaks. I’m a man and I don’t give a shit. It’s your god who should teach You manners when speaking to a woman who believes in the same Jesus you say you do. Why don’t you go shove some satan back up your pastors arse where it belongs. I prefer my wife laughing and feeling good to crying her eyes out for no good reason. End of Story and back to 1950. M. Springfield.

  • 140 Kenneth Oberlander // Aug 30, 2009 at 10:00 am

    Ummm…

    OK.

    Don’t know what warranted that.

    Not the rant, although I would like to know who it is directed at. If you’re aiming at the commenters on this blog, I’d like to point out that this is not a Shofar blog, and a substantial number of commenters here are irreligious. I can understand that you feel you need to protect your wife, but surely the rant above is over the top? You’re painting with rather a broad brush there.

    No, I would really like to know this: why are you leaving? There was only one comment that could be seen as insulting or offensive, and it was duly apologised for a few comments later. As gerhard said, this is Teh Intertubes and less-than-polite conversation is common…to get an apology not so much. I’ve met Bad Ben, and he has good reasons for his reaction, alcoholically mediated or not. Nevertheless, he apologised, and in good faith. What reason do you have to leave?

    I enjoyed the Happy Monkey conversations, and I thought Sally Springfield contributed a perspective we haven’t seen much of here. I think both of you could add to and learn from this blog, if you’re willing to hang around and give this place another try. If not, that’s fine. Just thought I’d express some interest in your staying.

  • 141 Hugo // Aug 30, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    I wrote a longish response, then thought the better of it, I think Kenneth pretty much says it best. I started with again answering why Sally is leaving (has left), but I reckon #138 probably already said all that I have to contribute. I suspect Kenneth is mostly interested in how much, in what way, and which of the comments/discussions that took place here influenced Sally’s decision. I hold by my belief that it has very, very little to do with what comments were made here, and I do this holding only after specifically reconsidering it all, all the comments, the sequence of events, and the couple of emails I exchanged with Sally. FWIW, me knowing that that’s not exactly a “solid argument” to those reading it.

    Now pure speculation on my part: if she becomes more relaxed about the “Shofar/Fred thing” in a few months time, she might return for further spending “time reading discussions like these for education, and dare I say it … entertainment.” This blog does desire to be about much more than just Shofar… (though I wouldn’t know which parts people actually find interesting 😉 ).

    If Mr Springfield is interested in exploring his own prejudices when it comes to discussions like these, he’s also welcome. But if he chooses not to, there’s not much point in explaining how his comments come across, even if we might feel “justice hasn’t been served”. (I’m referring to the desire to fire off a couple of sentences “from the hip”.)

    So… moving on then: if y’all would first like to wait a bit to see if Mr Springfield wants to chat with us a bit, that’s fine. If there’s otherwise some interest in continuing the discussion, namely Kenneth’s request:

    @Bad Ben
    I’d appreciate your insight here. Please do comment!

    I would find it helpful if someone responds to #135. If no-one wants to respond, but would still like to hear “the other view” (as if there’s only one), say so, and I’ll continue by first flipping perspectives to provide my own answer to #135.

    And please note: the continuation of this discussion must not involve Sally, as in, we’re talking about abstract ideas, human responses/reactions, we are *not* talking about an individual. Please respect that, and make your word choice reflect this. Or no, rather: we’re not talking about any individuals other than *us*, the people actively taking part in the conversation. Like I said in #135, let’s *own* this. We have amongst us (me included) enough of those same sentiments/reactions we are seeking to discuss.

  • 142 Bad Ben // Aug 30, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Yes. Please avoid talking about individuals. Unless they are “satanic empowering pieces of filth” like Fred May. ~These kind of people do not deserve the same kind of dignity the rest of us do in conversations like these

  • 143 Hugo // Aug 30, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    😉

    Indeed. So let’s stop talking about Fred May too now, we’ve got some “self-ondersoek” to do, there may be some beams for us to become aware of… The kind of thing we can actually do something about (ourselves that is), since we’re actually here, taking part in a conversation.

  • 144 gerhard // Aug 31, 2009 at 10:20 am

    ok seriously, FINALLY people!!!!!!! i’ve been here 2 years almost and some of the best commentary happend last week . the springfields have the most _correct_ response to this may crap imaginable. YES , you SHOULD get MAD about this stuff. YES you should speak frank and say it how it is.
    if you think fred may is a evil piece of shite for the things he gets up to (like declarations of child demons ) declare it for the world to see. SALLY is right to get angry and worked up. NO ONE ELSE IS. (at least not to the point where we can openly and honestly talk about this shite, the anger it causes and harm to the environment _WE_ share. [something i, in the past, tried to point out] )

    Remember MR springfield says [..kids are impressionable. The only thing Sally will get for her troubles is some punk psychologically projecting the same satan crap onto her to try and please him… ] , that is the reality here, and no one is MAD. ( well, no one really, because people don’t want to rock the boat too much because they will probably end up drowning in a sea of stupidity and anger or worse , upset someone , god forbid.)

    [Or swearing at her already, or climbing into her character and insulting her for sicerely trying.Oh, and all for Jesus] makes me think he’s referring to this blog , which i think is not really representative of what was going on. easy mistake to make , not knowing everyone , M.springfield. mate. most probably the rudest/blunt person here is me and sally is on my whitelist. (she is obviously more switched on than the norm mate, despite her religiosity. that earns her respect) yes, some religious people do end up here , but between hugo ken and me , we keep them waaaay busy.. most of the time the hyper religious run away screaming and shouting about satan. *G*

    [She’ll read a retraction from that snake oil salesman when little pink fairies are discovered ruling mars. Sally can better spend her unrelenting good energies by serving her god with something that doesn’t upset her so much and she can still fix with a smile on her face.] well, she shouldn’t be doing it for the _current_ community , she should be doing it because of all those _other_ kids that are gonna get drawn into this cult. what about your kids ? what about the future? her unrelenting good energies are exactly what the future needs other words , may will ascend into his prophecy and in a couple of moons your kids will have to fight or maybe even worship the legend that was fred may. because problems don’t go away by themselves.

    [And swear and curse me all you want Shofar freaks. I’m a man and I don’t give a shit. It’s your god who should teach You manners when speaking to a woman who believes in the same Jesus you say you do. Why don’t you go shove some satan back up your pastors arse where it belongs. I prefer my wife laughing and feeling good to crying her eyes out for no good reason. End of Story and back to 1950. M. Springfield. ] err. dude. noit. reread the comment i made and consider this, i’m an atheist . i hold almost hold exactly you wife’s opinion. i agree with the sentiment of this comment tho, just not your target. seriously, sorry about your wife crying and your anger but the sentiment of my replys stays the same and if you/her reinspects some of the comments that were made then you’ll see it wasn’t actually _that_ bad.

    @hugo , ha! at least i haven’t made anyone cry?! *glares at bad ben* hahaha

    @everyone else, honestly , we need more of this , not the over-reaction from the springfields (meant respectfully), but the conversation up until their departure. sally contributed a considerable amount in terms a personal outlook and “say it as it is” stand point . sally springfield is our Robert Paulson. her name was sally springfield.

  • 145 Mon(k)ey // Aug 31, 2009 at 10:27 am

    “Bible-Based” Spiritual Abuse

    Abuse — it is an ugly term that comes in multiple varieties, all dark and sinister. Under every shade, it always produces pain and trauma. Its victims often suffer silently, agonizing over what might have been or what should have been if only they would have acted sooner.

    While abuse has torn asunder marriages, divided families and deprived innocent sons and daughters of having normal childhoods, this often-silent destroyer too often goes passively unresisted in the world of religion, where faith and affiliation serve as the tie that binds many families together. Here, its effects can be utterly devastating, perhaps likened to a pasture of sheep ravished by wolves with no protective guardian shepherd nearby. Some find themselves dead to religion afterward, forever carrying the scars of spiritual abuse to their graves. Others, however, have learned to fight back against their abusers, promising to themselves “Never again!”

    Driven by an obsession to live up to higher standards, some churches and religious groups turn to abusive practices as a means to control their members and stifle dissent. Over time, their leaders typically blame the members for their own failures and lack of progress while covering up their own deficiencies. By playing on the fears members have of losing their salvation, these spiritual abusers are able to hold their congregations under the sway of their manipulation. Threatening eternal damnation in Hell to anyone who leaves the church and portraying anyone outside the church as “Satanist” is often the chief means they use to keep members inside the organisation and under their thumbs.

    When independent churches and fundamentalist religious organizations turn from “the straight and narrow” of sound Biblical practice into the wayward direction of excessive authoritarian control or peculiar behavioural cultishness, look for corruption in high places — namely, in the words and actions of their leaders. A pronounced love of money, the root of all kinds of evil, likely also is involved. An obsession with the occult, demonology and vitriolic preaching against “Satanists”
    As the Jesus pointed out to the unscrupulous, judgmental Pharisees of His time, corruption typically manifests itself as religious hypocrisy and double standards. Many of the religious leaders of this age are no different, or perhaps are even worse. Likened by the Messiah to whitened tombs, they may appear pure and devout, but inwardly are full of filth and corruption. This document seeks to expose their spiritual hypocrisy, using the pronouncements of the Scriptures to reveal their corrupt behaviour for what it is: Spiritual abuse.

    Perhaps the primary tell-tale sign of this corruption is hatred, the hallmark of spiritual abuse. Sadly, the hatred toward one’s neighbours can become so obsessive that the infected church can degenerate into a pernicious hate group, wherein anyone in disagreement may find himself or herself regularly denigrated by their church leader. In time, the entire church contracts this malignant mindset. A “cult-like paranoia” often consumes these leaders and their followers, which can lead to tragic outcomes. Those who attempt to sound the alarm against such hatred, including this writer, are routinely disparaged so as to redirect others’ attention away from the problem. Scripture becomes the justification and rationalisation of this hatred and it is seen within as bringing “Glory to God” by giving expression to it.

    So-called Bible churches or groups built on a Scriptural foundation that feature many of the telltale signs or indicators of spiritual abuse as listed below should be regarded with caution and suspicion. Behind each sign of possible abuse may be tales that tell of the mistreatment and manipulation of the innocents at the hands of conniving and controlling church leaders — the ravenous wolves among the flocks of believers in the end times of whom the authors of the latter books of the Bible forewarned us.

    Many believers with a craving for greater Scriptural knowledge are drawn to such organizations, also called D.R.U.G.s — Dangerous Religious Unconventional Groups. Captivated by the lure of receiving revealed hidden teachings, they unwittingly exchange their freedom for knowledge. But in so doing, they imprison themselves within these groups; mind controlled into believing the lie that there is no truth taught anywhere else. By allowing themselves to fall under this delusion, they succumb to living a life of cultism, which is actually a deceptive form of idolatry. Sadly, they surrender their faith along with an overflowing zeal for the Scriptures for the idolatrous worship of a cult leader and his man-made religious system. A system that is usually indoctrinated and entrenched into the new converts through the application of a set of doctrine that must be accepted and adhered too. This is almost always a form of “Bible School” or “Discipleship” seminars and the like. Some cult leaders may even insist on “contracts” being signed once this process is completed, with disclosure or “confession” clauses that violate basic privacy.

    In effect they have set themselves at enmity with the Most High, thus depriving themselves of His blessings by their waywardness. Therefore, it is the obligation of each believer to warn other believers of the danger of joining such deceptive, destructive organizations.

    Resist those who teach you things you know to contradict the Scriptures, who teach a different Jesus, or who teach that the path to salvation must go through their organization. Our Heavenly Father, YHWH* (the personal name of the Almighty, thought by certain scholars to be pronounced “Yahweh”), does not change, and He is by no means the author of confusion. Beware of churches that justify the mistreatment of their members and others. Beware of teachers of Satanism and the occult.

    Have you been spiritually abused, mistreated, hated or despised by the leaders of a so-called Bible-based church or organization? This document has been written to help you understand the machinations of those narcissistic shepherds who have strayed from serving the Most High to serving their own desires for self aggrandizement.

    If you know of relatives, friends, or acquaintances who are in a questionable religious organization where several of the tell-tale signs of spiritual abuse apply, gently urge them to open the Scriptures to the Spirit of the Word and consider for themselves whether these things ought to be. If it seems that the overwhelming majority of these characteristics apply to their situation, they may be trapped within a dangerous cult and are actually under bondage to a demonic stronghold. See ROM. 8:38-39; EPH. 6:10-19.

    Pray daily for them that the Holy Spirit will give them the discernment to understand what is happening and will lead them to a way of escape. Once they have gained their freedom, pray regularly that they will be fully healed from the trauma they have endured.

    On the other hand, if you are a religious leader who has engaged in spiritual abuse or cultish behaviours, this document is intended to help you identify your sinful condition, not to judge and condemn you.

    If you are willing to acknowledge your problem and repent, you have already put yourself on the road to recovery. The next step will be working toward the restoration of those whom you have harmed. You must be willing to undo the damage you have inflicted upon others before you can experience a complete healing of this condition. Trust YHWH and turn your life over to Him, and He shall deliver you from whence you have fallen. Acknowledge the truth of the matter and He shall set you free from the bondage under which you live.

    We are, and always will be – whom we protect…

  • 146 Bad Ben // Aug 31, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Thanks Monkey.

    There are some great points and some bad points to your argument/teaching, which I won’t discuss here in detail. Suffice to say that I don’t think there is too much to be gained by “conspiracy theorising” these problematic systemic tendencies. The process of systematic/systemic differentiation (read “us-them polarizations) is often an internal reflection of broader societal megatrends. This (usually) “other-demonising” mechanism relies on a caricature of “the other” which does not hold up to closer scrutiny.

    I fear you may have created a bit of a caricature of these so-called cult religious groups, which, may be as dangerous in supporting/creating the chasm that such groups create between themselves and the world.

    just my 5cents worth for the day.

    Gerhard. Dude. stop making atheists look like a bunch of sensitive liberal pansies okay?! 😉

  • 147 Mon(k)ey // Aug 31, 2009 at 11:36 am

    At some point ignorance starts being a mendacious choice. The lady who seems to have left this conversation has pointed out a very valid example of horrific public abuse quite succinctly.

    Pastor May does spiritually curse these students and his own home town. From the point of view of a believer, these things have eternal consequences and she is absolutely right that it needs to be addressed.

    She also needs to be underwritten from an objective position in relation to her own, as well as the students involved in the incident and other believers, including the students themselves possibly, and including the Shofar members partisan only to their pastor.

    The polarisating factor was not the student prank, the event merely served as a psychological trigger that launched the very, very dark public outbust of spiritual abuse aimed at them from this man Fred May. It seems to fit all the criteria that would warrant the post above in every respect.

    That lady, and others it seems, quite rightly sees this man’s outburst as an dangerous issue as yet unadressed and resolved publicly. I tend to agree. It is less a call to partisanship than accountibility. Admitting the fault and taking the next responsible step. Nothing less should be expected or requested in response to Pastor May’s letter by any Christian believer.

    After all, those students have already been punished and no one was seriously injured or harmed. It is time to forgive them, since the source of this spritual confrontation and the eternal judgement spoken over their lives was initiated by Pastor May and no one else.

  • 148 Bad Ben // Aug 31, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Pastor May does spiritually curse these students and his own home town.

    Sorry. But this only hold from the position of someone to whom the letter is not aressed and whom actually believes in the power of curses. We can talk about slander, but there is no argument for a curse.

    The polarisating factor was not the student prank, the event merely served as a psychological trigger that launched the very, very dark public outbust of spiritual abuse aimed at them from this man Fred May.

    What do you mean public outburst? This was a private letter to friends that leaked. Once again the unintended audience misreads the meaning of the (highly jargoned) letter.

    That lady, and others it seems, quite rightly sees this man’s outburst as an dangerous issue as yet unadressed and resolved publicly. I tend to agree. It is less a call to partisanship than accountibility. Admitting the fault and taking the next responsible step.

    Yes. I agree. A sincere apology for any demeaning misinterpretations would be a redeeming act.

    Nothing less should be expected or requested in response to Pastor May’s letter by any Christian believer.

    I am afraid that expecting such an apology is not consistent with my idea of Judeo-Christian ethics. Christian apologies are given, not demanded upon. And the sincerity of a demanded apology will be dubious at best, able to render it at largely ineffectual.

    At some point ignorance starts being a mendacious choice.

    Interestingly enough I deleted a reference to ignorance in my original post. I fear a lot has been posted about this topic from emotionally inflamed ignorance. I do not want to propose having exhaustive insight into the matter, but see no evidence that anyone commenting on the letter has any idea of the letter’s intended audience, and/or how they would read the letter as intended by mr. May. I wouldn’t mind debating this though…

    Thoughts?

  • 149 Kenneth Oberlander // Aug 31, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    @Bad Ben

    These kind of people do not deserve the same kind of dignity the rest of us do in conversations like these

    This isn’t so much a question of dignity as it is a question of what making unchallenged statements does to your dignity, at least to me. If you are going to make unsupported claims such as are made in that letter, other people have every right to challenge you on them, particularly if your statements are without foundation. If you have no evidentiary basis for such statements, retract or modify them. If you keep repeating them in spite of contradictory evidence, then after a while the only loss of dignity is self-inflicted.

    Edit: OK, in re-reading I caught your comment on this being a private communication. But my criticism still applies to the recipients of the email. To what extent would the content of such an email be questioned by the church leadership? Could someone conceptually challenge this view?

    I’ll tell you why I ask this. I keep a file of comments or quotes about various sundry subjects that resonate with me, gathered over the years, and one of my favourites is a handy acronym made by a certain Blake Stacey, on Pharyngula:

    CITOKATE: Criticism Is The Only Known Antidote To Error

    There is no better way to pick out errors than to have other people scrutinise your work, and hold you to account for your errors. I see Mon(k)ey says pretty much the same thing in his/her later post.

    @Mon(k)ey

    Therefore, it is the obligation of each believer to warn other believers of the danger of joining such deceptive, destructive organizations.

    At the risk of repeating myself, this is a job that should by no means by confined to the believer.

    Bad Ben again:

    This was a private letter to friends that leaked. Once again the unintended audience misreads the meaning of the (highly jargoned) letter.

    What do you mean by “jargoned”?

    Edit: as I say above, I didn’t know this. Thanks for the extra info. If it was mentioned in one of the comments/original post, mea culpa. My speed-reading clearly requires work!

    And the sincerity of a demanded apology will be dubious at best, able to render it at largely ineffectual.

    I’m not certain I follow. So a demanded apology is worse than no apology at all? OK, I can understand that an apology made under duress means less, but surely it is better than no recognition of wrongdoing?

    Something else that strikes me. You say that this letter was aimed at a particular audience. How would this letter have been written if it was indeed a public letter? Would all reference to demons/curses etc. etc. have been removed? If so, is this not also reinforcing the ingroup/outgroup thing you were referring to?

    @gerhard

    some religious people do end up here , but between hugo ken and me , we keep them waaaay busy.. most of the time the hyper religious run away screaming and shouting about satan.

    Ugh. It is my sincere hope that I don’t make them run away screaming. That does kind of defeat the purpose of the blog, no?

    Must be my shark shrubs…
    /OK, lame humour really being turned off now

  • 150 Mon(k)ey // Aug 31, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    @ Bad Ben – “Once again the unintended audience misreads the meaning”. I don’t quite understand this. One can argue that an atheist is not apropos to this communique but Pastor May penned that letter to a subset audience, which has to include Sally Springfield as a Christian believer, even if she was not an intended recipient, else you are aguing FOR Shofar being a cult whose leadership’s communications of a nature that they can only be understood by the “private” partisan Shofar group indoctrinated into his “jargon”. Subjectively, what she interprets as a curse — is a curse. One which she addresses.

    Which is the greater tragedy being forced upon Pastor May: that an apology is brought about under duress or that without intervention – one would never be forthcoming?

  • 151 gerhard // Aug 31, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    monkey:

    @145:monkey , i do take offence to what you imply. by what you said. i should be one of the people who fell victim of spiritual abuse. I don’t see it that way. simply put i see it as common sense. I don’t _just_ fight back at the abuses , i am mostly worried about the snake oil being sold to people who simply aren’t put into the situation for them to have a chance to decide otherwise for themselves. I don’t really care if you are a believer or not, but i do see unexamined belief (ie. belief only examined from within the belief) as one of the worst things going on. Homeopathy being sold in pharmacy and hospitals as the “good shit” with only the _actual_ users and dealers ever “examining” it’s worth. no good comes from this. yes, people get ‘fed’ up with the clear corruption orginized religion get , but desperate to cling to their framework on which all other beliefs are based they escape into “other” cults , often far worse because of their unique isolation, like cell groups. you probably wouldn’t call this swapping one evil for another, i would.

    [the ravenous wolves among the flocks of believers in the end times of whom the authors of the latter books of the Bible forewarned us.] errr… see my previous comment about bible authority

    [A system that is usually indoctrinated and entrenched into the new converts through the application of a set of doctrine that must be accepted and adhered too. ] and this is different how exactly from mainstream Christianity ? right kids , go off to sunday school, church gatherings , church organized activities , camp christianity ™… naturally with school, family and other members of society supporting and worshipping the process in amble supply… wait … you don’t want to be a filthy unbeliever who’s going to hell, right? you want to be part of the _right_ religion, right? you wouldn’t wanna be one of those inspired/driven by satan, right? remember , you god said so… (which one again? the all murdering or the all forgiving one or the one who’s gonna give you your own planet to govern? )

    @146: bad ben : bah … liberal pansies 😛 i’m declaring that all of us should be outraged by this shite:P i am all for emotional outbursts if it puts all the cards on the table … *tries to show off his south park republican-ness status*

    [this (usually) “other-demonising” mechanism relies on a caricature of “the other” which does not hold up to closer scrutiny.] you mean the swart gefaar wasn’t really all that?
    (sorry for be lack of boere like ability in afrikaans spelling)

    great, neutral comment, cool, at least you won’t make someone cry this time. 🙂

    @147:monkey , lots of stuff i agree with , lots of stuff that i dont.

    @148:ben,
    [What do you mean public outburst? This was a private letter to friends that leaked. Once again the unintended audience misreads the meaning of the (highly jargoned) letter.] are you being serious here? so if someone sent nazi propaganda out i could go , well… it’s highly jargoned and was talking to “in the know” audience? don’t we know the context of the jargon and hence the meaning? we may not be privy to the “chatter” that transpired leading up to it but speculation whether that adds even more context is questionable.

    [Christian apologies are given, not demanded upon. And the sincerity of a demanded apology will be dubious at best, able to render it at largely ineffectual.] public vs private figure stuff.. fed may as a community leader has the responsibility to.
    he would be apologising not for his personal opinion but the public nature of his response. kinda like bill Clinton apologising for the lies but not for getting the blow job.
    yes the value may be lessed by him not repenting personally, but what is important is that his followers don’t get the idea that this is _OK_ or even admirable to do.

    [I do not want to propose having exhaustive insight into the matter, but see no evidence that anyone commenting on the letter has any idea of the letter’s intended audience, and/or how they would read the letter as intended by mr. May. I wouldn’t mind debating this though…] yes , personallly , i don’t get whole panic from the christain world every time a fatwa is declared. i mean who are we to have any idea of the fatwa’s intended audience and or/ how they would react. it’s not like every fatwa turns into a major international incident where people get murdered.. *sarcasm* seriously.. i don’t understand this thought, it seems like you are overextending yourself for neutrality sake.

    @ken: yes. great comment, totally awesome .
    [Ugh. It is my sincere hope that I don’t make them run away screaming. That does kind of defeat the purpose of the blog, no?] well, what people intend and what happens , are two different things… at least I got m. springfield to come back for one more 1950s retort, pitty he didn’t decide to trust his wife with us. 😛

  • 152 Mon(k)ey // Aug 31, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    @ Gerhard – “I don’t really care if you are a believer or not”,

    The Mon(k)ey will eat bannanas and then will come a day, which is not a day and then will be no bannanas.

    @ Gerhard – “but i do see unexamined belief (ie. belief only examined from within the belief) as one of the worst things going on.”

    Agreed, in the greater context but this examination is only taking place within the framework of Biblical Christianity, which in this instance has been forced into open conflict by a letter written a week and a half after a alcohol fueled student prank took place. There is no point in proving or disproving the Bible, since, it is exactly within this framework that the spiritual abuse took place and the curses were uttered. It would be equally wrong to suggest that spiritual abuse is limited to Christianity. Arguing against the Bible as the authority by which this abuse took place, is to validate it or equate it as meaningless – something not experienced by the person opposing it. Or others able to recognise it once decontextualised.

    This is something that must be examined from within, as well as without – where possibly greater objectivity might be available to the point of conflict in terms of resolution. A fact Kenneth is keen to point out is not simply the duty of any person within Christianity.

  • 153 Kenneth Oberlander // Aug 31, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    at least I got m. springfield to come back for one more 1950s retort, pitty he didn’t decide to trust his wife with us. 😛

    I would still like them both to come back, if at least to see Bad Ben’s good side… 😉

    The Mon(k)ey will eat bannanas and then will come a day, which is not a day and then will be no bannanas.

    Fortunately there are lots of other fruit available…

    A fact Kenneth is keen to point out is not simply the duty of any person within Christianity.

    True dat.

  • 154 Deborah // Aug 31, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Hi to All,
    A lot of warm conversation went on while I was struggling to get rid of a very bad flue & then my hubbies 50th birthday…I just re-discovered the value of family and friends – priceless!

    One of the ‘words’ that stood out in nearly all the conversations is “curse” or “to curse”… This reminded me of the saying “a curse without a cause does not alight”. One of the things that I discovered in life is that a ‘word curse’ can be very powerful & binding unless the receiving end deals with it in a proper way by rejecting every word that has been said. No body has the legal right to curse anybody on earth. The fact is though that our lifestyle, actions and more than anything else, the way we talk, can automatically release curses that can influence us badly and not only ourselves but the generations to come. This kind of curse is much more effective than that of any human being directed towards us. ‘As a man thinks so he is’ …Whenever we call any person bad names, evil names or what ever, always keep in mind that if by any chance the same things may be in our lives that very same name or “curse” will be release unto us… this is what many people calls a ‘back lash or whip lash’ – in Afrikaans – ‘blinde sambok’! Deborah

  • 155 Hugo // Aug 31, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Excluding gerhard’s comments, I love the conversation that has been taking place since #145.

    Ben, one question:

    This was a private letter to friends that leaked.

    I seek some more context for your conception of “private letter”. The specific elements that make my interpretation disagree with yours, would be the following:

    From the letter itself:

    That’s why I’m asking you to pass this mail to as many people as you can.

    The letter does not specify who it should be forwarded to, just “people” in general. (And we’re all people.)

    After receiving it as a pdf attachment via email (a friend forwarded it with the words “I think you may be interested in this”, he knew I wasn’t exactly the “desired” recipient), I looked for additional sources to check how public this letter really is. I found it on the Shofar website in the newsroom, and concluded this is public. That’s when I proceeded with writing my blog post, linking to the URL where I copy/pasted the text from. (The letter is no longer there.)

    Thoughts?

    A public letter but addressed to “Friend”, so anyone not considering themselves “Friend” aren’t addressed, and “shouldn’t read it”, but it still seems public?

  • 156 Bad Ben // Aug 31, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Tricky one. Not sure that we are in fact in disagreement (as you stated).

    My conviction is that the letter was extremely careless, even irresponsible; but never intended as personal malice. Even if It was secretly or strategically always meant to go public, I believe the author was ignorant to the misinterpretative possibilities: worst of which would be the demonisation of the culprits. This would be inexcusable for a Christian leader. Yet my perception of the man’s character makes it inconcievable to me that this was his intention. I cannot but give him the benefit of the doubt for that; but get the inpression others feel he should be burned at the stake.

    More later.

  • 157 Bad Ben // Sep 1, 2009 at 12:13 am

    But you are right. Private letter is a bit of a push. Lets rather say “open internal communication” and remain speculative whether it was specifically designed as communication to the public VIA the “corporate-private”

  • 158 Kenneth Oberlander // Sep 1, 2009 at 8:32 am

    @Hugo

    Excluding gerhard’s comments, I love the conversation that has been taking place since #145.

    Why? He’s being typically blunt, but that’s his style. His comments have meat once you get past the tone.

    @Bad Ben

    I cannot but give him the benefit of the doubt for that; but get the inpression others feel he should be burned at the stake.

    I would settle for him not not doing it again. As you say, it is irresponsible.

  • 159 Mon(k)ey // Sep 1, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Bad Ben — “Yet my perception of the man’s character makes it inconcievable to me that this was his intention.”

    Deborah — ‘As a man thinks so he is’ …

    Pastor Fred May — “a stronghold of wickedness in this town that . . . left me feeling sexually violated . . . It certainly has the marks of an occultic ritual . . . I’m convinced of it being a deliberate, demonically inspired attack . . . by satanists . . . it is a plan hatched and executed by people who are enemies of the cross of Christ . . . the act is somehow symbolically representative of the act of rape – in keeping with the phallic obelisk of Freemasonry . . . That’s why I’m asking you to pass this mail to as many people as you can . . . to see a dark and ancient stronghold break over this town . . . ”

    Deborah — “One of the things that I discovered in life is that a ‘word curse’ can be very powerful & binding unless the receiving end deals with it in a proper way by rejecting every word that has been said. No body has the legal right to curse anybody on earth.”

    Sally Springfield — “I state: There is no curse over Stellenbosch or over those young men’s lives – except the carefully written curse and auto-suggestions Pastor May wanted us to read. I cannot find one Christian sentiment in that letter, just the product of two and half weeks of satanic self-obsession and auto-suggestion. And the auto-suggestions seem to have power and do work because his elders were having satanic visions apparently too.”

    Kenneth — “This isn’t so much a question of dignity as it is a question of what making unchallenged statements does to your dignity, at least to me. If you are going to make unsupported claims such as are made in that letter, other people have every right to challenge you on them, particularly if your statements are without foundation. If you have no evidentiary basis for such statements, retract or modify them. If you keep repeating them in spite of contradictory evidence, then after a while the only loss of dignity is self-inflicted . . . At the risk of repeating myself, this is a job that should by no means by confined to the believer.”

    Bad Ben — “others feel he should be burned at the stake.”

    Sally Springfield — “I would dearly like to hear from Shofar. From Pastor May himself. Are those silly boys still damned to hell or are you willing to forgive them Pastor? Or anyone else for that matter sir? Including the “satanic” town that “gave” you your livelyhood for fifteen years? Are you able to take the second steps of the Jesus you preach in person?”

    Handsome is what handsome does . . .

  • 160 Kenneth Oberlander // Sep 1, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Mon(k)ey, I don’t follow. Could you explain the last post please.

  • 161 gerhard // Sep 1, 2009 at 9:10 am

    kenneth : yes, it is a pitty, but an exit is an exit. i also would like to see both springfields return.

    Mon(k)ey,
    […but this examination is only taking place within the framework of Biblical Christianity..] sorry, what? why is this the case? the effects of the events and on goings are quite real and they concern all of us. there is no reason you should feel they demand examination only of within ‘Biblical Christianity’ framework where it is all to easy to monopolise and mix’n match ‘Biblical Christianity’ ‘s framework of morality.

    [There is no point in proving or disproving the Bible, since, it is exactly within this framework that the spiritual abuse took place and the curses were uttered.] .. actually that wasn’t the point. the point was that you were sounding rather authoritarian in your utterances , as if your “biblical Christianity” is the same as others making your agrument “valid”

    [..within this framework that the spiritual abuse took place and the curses were uttered..] again, what took place doesn’t stay within that framework. those boys for instance will carry a stigmata irrespective of the framework and what the followers do it reaction is just as important.

    [Arguing against the Bible as the authority by which this abuse took place, is to validate it or equate it as meaningless – something not experienced by the person opposing it. ] is that now? i don’t consider ‘the prince’ to be an authoritative work but I don’t consider meaningless 😛 I am just seeing the bibles influence this examination as a little bit of a discussion surrounding how many angles can dance on that little pin. like your post surrounding “spiritual abuse” , sure , but you’re failing to see that swapping one for another. if you like me to go into detail as to why i say you’re swapping one spiritual abuse for another , i will , but i will be accused of derailment.)

    ok i just noticed a request from hugo to stop this discussion from my part and considering hugo was just quite rude. i will pull and exit. bleek.

    enjoy the rest of the discussion.

  • 162 Mon(k)ey // Sep 1, 2009 at 9:47 am

    I’m reminded of the movie a “Few Good Men”. One of the little noticed parts of the story is at the end when Jack Nickolson’s character perjure’s himself on the witness stand under oath. Tom Cruise, the defense lawyer immediately moves the court to protect his legal rights and Mon(k)ey’s response is something similar. Pastor May should be made aware of these sentiments and given a chance to retract or modify the statements he made in that letter. It is only fair.

    In reality he has no legal right to violate the offending student’s civil rights in a chain mail, and including their freedom to choice of religion – even though they did violate his. The Christian difference is that no one has tried to protect their civil rights, until now — whereas the non-Christian State has already resolved and punished them for the violation of his. It is not Christian to not allow him the opportunity to seek and make redress, and procure reconciliation because other Christian believers beyond his organisation and who care about everyone caught up in the situation have been affected by his reaction and the chain letter deeply. The basic violation of the student’s rights is of a nature that non-Christian believers are even able to recognise it for what it is. Pastor May must be allowed to correct this and re-explain himself, if indeed he is a man of the character Bad Ben says he is.

    If Pastor May is made aware of this conversation, his next words in action will confirm or deny all these allegations levelled against him. Any friend of his should make him aware because his prolonged silence would simply ratify his original statements and entrench the partisan view his organisation is creating for Christians and non-believers alike. If he is unaproachable or refuses to retract his statements then everyone here has to conclude that the accusations levelled at him, are nothing more than true. But, he must be allowed to be left to his own defence.

    The Mon(k)ey reserves opinion until the man either responds or leaves his statements unchanged, that is fair to him and anyone else affected.

    Handsome is what handsome does …

  • 163 Kenneth Oberlander // Sep 1, 2009 at 9:50 am

    OK. Thanks for the clarification.

  • 164 Hugo // Sep 1, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Kenneth:

    Why? He’s being typically blunt, but that’s his style. His comments have meat once you get past the tone.

    My reason is because the tone *becomes* the message, it’s all some people see, and I believe it breaks down and prohibits the kinds of conversations we’d like to be having.

    Would you thus object to me removing gerhard from this conversation? (Would you explicitly prefer he remains, do you feel he is making a valuable contribution, with more benefit to the discussion than harm? If so, okay, I’ll respect that then.)

  • 165 Bad Ben // Sep 1, 2009 at 10:35 am

    My reason is because the tone *becomes* the message, it’s all some people see, and I believe it breaks down and prohibits the kinds of conversations we’d like to be having.

    I feel the same about a comment like “the enigmatic” #159.

    I feel the explanantion in #162 just doesn’t align to what Monkey seems to suggest in #159. The tone there is “dark & auto-suggestive”, almost “conspiracy theoretical”.

    Monkey, you make good statements, that I will respond to in due time (developing a bit of a backlog); but I don’t appreciate the sensationalistic tone of #159. Just say what you want to say – you seem perfectly capable of doing so.

  • 166 Bad Ben // Sep 1, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Ah, yes. I agree wit Ken. Gerhard should stay. I feel him pointing out the fact that this is not a matter that should be dealt with on Christian terms is a valuable contribution; will return to this later…

  • 167 Hugo // Sep 1, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Mon(k)ey mentions:

    If he is unaproachable or refuses to retract his statements then everyone here has to conclude that the accusations levelled at him, are nothing more than true.

    I know someone that won a certain ultra-distance race a record number of times. Officially five times. From what I’ve heard from his sister, there was a sixth time that he won, but wasn’t awarded the win. If I recall correctly, what happened was that another person accused him of foul-play. He didn’t want to respond, feeling the accusations were ridiculous. He didn’t want to give them the dignity of a “trial”. The person who had to judge on this matter said that, without some sort of defence, the accusation wins by default. (The person in question is a dear friend of mine. According to the version I heard, the “judge” would have ruled in his favour, had he given at least some response. Obviously I believe the accusations were totally bogus, but an outsider, considering the description above, must be left wondering “but maybe the accusations are indeed true, and he wouldn’t defend because he couldn’t?” Which is why the accusations won…)

    Was that silly of him? The thing is, I understand his views, and admire him for his dedication to what he felt was right, even though I might shake my head (while smiling) at the stubbornness of it all. (I bet that stubbornness is what helps him win endurance races, too stubborn to fail. 😉 ) I don’t know if he would have chosen differently if he had known it would cost him the win in that race, and thereby also the title as the person that won the race the greatest number of times (I think they’re tied?).

    I don’t know how good a metaphor that makes, in my head it works. In this instance, there is no race, there is no title, there is no black-and-white judgement that *has* to be made. If Fred feels this “trial”-like thing happening here is totally bogus, there’s no objective purpose to the “judgement” people are seeking (just subjective opinions will be decided by this: even if it might be *correct*, it would still be subjective — am I wrong? Do you know what I mean?), I completely understand and respect the fact that a “no comment” is a perfect response, as much as I consider my friend’s “no comment” to be respectable.

    That’s how I feel about this discussion, I’m not really invested in it. I thought this narrative might be useful for adding something with which to discuss/respond.

    @gerhard: sorry man. Your last two comments were pretty cool, but this is something I’m committed to trying. If anyone in the conversation explicitly prefers gerhard remains in the conversation, speak up. (Man, I miss the [vapourware] kibitzing section right about now.)

  • 168 Hugo // Sep 1, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Bad Ben says:

    Gerhard should stay.

    gerhard, feel free, do stay in the conversation. My apologies, I shuddup nao and won’t mention it again (on this thread). Because one single person in the main conversation wanting you in it, is by my policy (in my head) enough.

  • 169 Mon(k)ey // Sep 1, 2009 at 11:15 am

    @ Bad Ben, yes indeed Pastor May’s comments in #159 alarmed me too. That’s why I included them. I thought they were a lot more than sensationalistic though, it is my perception that they were meant to cause fear, harm and hurt beyond the actual events which have long passed.

    Abuse, always causes discomfort and pain. Some of that might be the discomfort you may be feeling at being confronted with these realities. The abused, as well as the abuser both need healing. And those who have to partake by proxy, else every other participant here who does not share your views and is affected by this, is worth less to you than protecting something deeply wrong. Something I cannot believe is true. It does not match up to your own other statements.

    Silence and denial do nothing more than cause the pain to fester and feed. The unanswered question and the one you seem to be defending this man from is: Is he willing to admit the fault and fix it? And if you wish to act in his defense – should you not be defending him another way? A nobler way?

    It is only his own next words and subsequent actions that will prove Pastor May. In either regard it can only bring healing. It is inconceivable that he is out to prove himself an abusive cultist to the world at large. Something that letter more than suggests – And he must be given that chance.

    Don’t stand in the way. Straight forward enough?

  • 170 Mon(k)ey // Sep 1, 2009 at 11:31 am

    The Mon(k)ey eat bannanas. Gerhard eat cherries. Me Bannanas. Him cherries. Lot’s of fruit, no problem.

  • 171 Bad Ben // Sep 1, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    @ Monkey.

    You are missing my point completely. I am accusing YOU of sensationalistically decontextualising quotes in order to create some kind of sentimental response.

    What is more I feel insulted by your presumptious statements about me “being confronted by these realities”. Im not interested in defending Fred May. Im interested in just and fair arguments. Monkey, I don’t like your style. You seem somewhat uninterested in an inquiring mindset or offering rebuttals to good arguments like Hugo’s analogy on “just-silence”. You come across as “knowing everything about the situation” and I struggle to accept your judgements concerning things like curses about things that are totally based on your particular Christian belief system. I am beginning to agree with Gerhard that you want to force this discussion into your terms.

    The reality is we are not wrestling about curses and spiritual auto-suggestions here. It is not possible considering that at least 50% of our discussion does not belief in these. We are talking about the very real implications of purpetrators being demonised. “Stigmata” as Gerhard so humorously “mis-termed”.

    it is my perception that they were meant to cause fear, harm and hurt beyond the actual events which have long passed.

    Prove this or stop writing as if it’s so. It really seems as if you are the one with a chip on the shoulder; not me.

  • 172 Bad Ben // Sep 1, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    @KEN in #149

    (been meaning to reply to this long-time)

    This isn’t so much a question of dignity as it is a question of what making unchallenged statements does to your dignity, at least to me. If you are going to make unsupported claims such as are made in that letter, other people have every right to challenge you on them, particularly if your statements are without foundation. If you have no evidentiary basis for such statements, retract or modify them. If you keep repeating them in spite of contradictory evidence, then after a while the only loss of dignity is self-inflicted.

    I’m not sure I agree. If this whole thing is about unsupported claims, then we are back to square one on the FAITH vs. POSITIVISM debate – better indulged upon over coffee. In my opinion this should be more about what entails intentional/unintentional public “demonisation” of guilty parties.

    Edit: OK, in re-reading I caught your comment on this being a private communication. But my criticism still applies to the recipients of the email. To what extent would the content of such an email be questioned by the church leadership? Could someone conceptually challenge this view?

    hmmm. I remember picking up “corporate dissent” at the letter, which I am pretty sure would be allowed to be expressed, however the generally accepted stance is that criticism=bad; especially if channeled through “agter-af” backbiting. This is one of the problems I do have, and always had. Criticism (even though it is most definitely allowed) is not welcomed. This is, from my experience, a far cry from the cultistic/manipulative idea that people present.

    What do you mean by “jargoned”?

    lingo is present in any group of our sub-cultured society. saying this is evidence of a cult is (to stal Umberto Eco’s term) simply not logically economical. Fact is, I don’t understand Soweto township slang. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are vengefully excluding me. The contextual nuances of language are an ever-present semantic danger. You cannot ignore this.

  • 173 Kenneth Oberlander // Sep 1, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    @Bad Ben

    If this whole thing is about unsupported claims, then we are back to square one on the FAITH vs. POSITIVISM debate – better indulged upon over coffee.

    Hmmm…I don’t see how. Either you are making a claim with no awareness of support for or against your claim (in which case the honourable position is either silence or an admission of uncertainty), or you are making a claim for which there is evidentiary support or dismissal (and you are not acknowledging that evidence, even though you are aware of it). If I say that your mother was a hamster and your father smells of elderberries, then I had better have good evidence of maternal furriness and paternal eau de fruit. If I continue to claim this despite never having met your parents, then I think any disinterested bystander would object to such a claim purely because of my state of actual ignorance about the matter. If I keep claiming this even though you present me with your Mom’s Ms Universe trophy and your father’s Hugo Boss Ice Storm, then I am either lying, or I was dropped on my head when I was a baby.

    I think the letter in question falls under the first option. There is no evidence of demonic possession, or curse-placing, or the involvement of Freemasons or satanic forces. So I don’t think these statements should have been made in the first place. Granted this was not a public email, but then I think any one of the recipients should be given the opportunity to question the language.

    In my opinion this should be more about what entails intentional/unintentional public “demonisation” of guilty parties.

    OK. I think if you deserve to be demonised, then fine. There should be evidence of such a claim showing you are a mass-murdering multiple rapist. Then it is justified. I don’t think a couple of drunk students running naked through a church gathering warrants the use of such language.

    Criticism (even though it is most definitely allowed) is not welcomed.

    OK. What happens if the criticism is valid?

    lingo is present in any group of our sub-cultured society. saying this is evidence of a cult is (to stal Umberto Eco’s term) simply not logically economical. Fact is, I don’t understand Soweto township slang. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are vengefully excluding me. The contextual nuances of language are an ever-present semantic danger. You cannot ignore this.

    Granted. But the word demons is not just jargon. It has a definite meaning and connotation in ordinary everyday speech. If it does have a specific “jargon” meaning, then what would this meaning be, in the context of the letter writer or recipients?

  • 174 gerhard // Sep 1, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    hugo 33
    back by invitation,

    @ben : [“Stigmata” as Gerhard so humorously “mis-termed”.]
    spell checker, linux does that sometimes it likes the unlikely hits .

    [lingo is present in any group of our sub-cultured society. saying this is evidence of a cult is (to stal Umberto Eco’s term) simply not logically economical. Fact is, I don’t understand Soweto township slang. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are vengefully excluding me. The contextual nuances of language are an ever-present semantic danger. You cannot ignore this]
    i dunno, it seems like you’re just opening up a whole can of worm here, basically, by that standard no one could truely understand conversations if you are not part of the group and don’t know the lingo. i may not understand the full cultural context of what is going on in soweto, but , i can still understand most of what is said in the group and get a rough idea esp in the context of past action. to lack a better example i will use one from slang. “dude, that vixen was so sick she’d break it off!”
    i don’t think you truly understand the nuances associated with vixens, sick or ‘break it off’ but you get the basic idea.
    language does not evolve in a manner where communication breaks to the point of what you are saying it does unless the intent of that language is to be separatist.

    @ken
    [OK. I think if you deserve to be demonised, then fine]
    define deserve? do germans deserve to be demonised for ww2? hitler to the point where he just isn’t human?
    (hence separating us from him) what about someone like goebels where the importance of his contribution to the world gets whiped under the table via the demonised? simply speaking the truth ie. calling a mass-mudering multiple rapist a mass-mudering multiple rapist is fine , but, there is so much more to all that.. if i think about how something like this little incident at the church will actually effect someone, esp living in a smaller community, if demonized. doesn’t that church have their fingers in all over the place? how many areas from employment to uni acceptance to finding mates may this actually seriously effect.
    if i go by what i have experienced and witnessed from others then i would seriously still be shitting bricks right now if i was one of those kids. community leaders simply should not act like that even in the religious context.

    anyway , my 2c, take it , leave it , make bibles out of it.

  • 175 Kenneth Oberlander // Sep 1, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    @gerhard
    No, you make a good point. To me, calling someone (justifiably) a mass-murdering multiple racist is demonising them, because it ascribes the behaviour I expect from the concept of demons to the perpetrator. Ironically, my use of the word demonise is probably not entirely how Bad Ben would use it, or you would. I’ll try to stick to the dictionary meaning in future… 😉

    Bad Ben, I think this is especially ironic after pointing out to you the whole ordinary, everyday meanings thing…my apologies.

  • 176 Mon(k)ey // Sep 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Hugo’s analogy is of a man who is NOT guilty, that does not apply here. This is not a third party accusation, they are the Pastor May’s own words to the world at large through a carefully written chain mail. And no, the quote was not meant to draw anything out of any context other than the fact that every statement and sentiment I quoted is extra-Biblical. It has nothing to do with Christianity as Sally Springfield pointed out. If Pastor May’s letter is not atheist or Biblical – then what is it exactly? I suggest it is pure spiritual abuse and reserve the right to identify it as such. Bad Ben you seem to be the only person who is furiously arguing the semantics of this. The discomfort you feel at me speaking about spiritual abuse is entirely your own. I would consider it a symtom.

    Recently someone’s most serious comments were “fucking ridiculous” to you . . . in vino veritas and all that.

    Big jungle, lots of ripe fruit

  • 177 Mon(k)ey // Sep 1, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    I have a similar legal analogy. I spoke with a friend tonight who is a pastor and who visits in prisons with the men he knows from his community. He told me he has spoken at length with the Mitchells Plain Station Strangler and reckons he is one of the most sweet and sincerest men you could ever have the pleasure of speaking with. Articutlate and converses in six languages. He can discuss anything except the children he murdered, that never happened. It is a travesty of justice that he refuses to speak about, since he didn’t do it.

    Pastor Fred May — “a stronghold of wickedness in this town that . . . left me feeling sexually violated . . . It certainly has the marks of an occultic ritual . . . I’m convinced of it being a deliberate, demonically inspired attack . . . by satanists . . . it is a plan hatched and executed by people who are enemies of the cross of Christ . . . the act is somehow symbolically representative of the act of rape – in keeping with the phallic obelisk of Freemasonry . . . That’s why I’m asking you to pass this mail to as many people as you can . . . to see a dark and ancient stronghold break over this town . . . ”

    He did.

  • 178 Mon(k)ey // Sep 1, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    @ Bad Ben — Mon(k)ey eat bannanas but monkeys have tail and poisoned letter, returned in the mail . . . however, meet my friend Howmuchwoodcouldawoodchuck. the Beaver. Not interested in bannanas or cherries. Look for logs in eye and chips on shoulder.

    Third party defendants, by reason of Apathy (to the streaker crime):

    Chip on left shoulder: “We’ve held back with it to give the university authorities time to react, but a week and a half later it’s clear that they don’t feel the need to. Which is why I’m writing to you . . . It certainly points to an alarming degree of moral declension within certain academic circles.” (The University)

    Chip on right shoulder: “alert us to the need to focus our prayers on a stronghold of wickedness in this town ” (The entire town of Stellenbosch)

    Log in eye: “Monkey, I don’t like your style.”

  • 179 Bad Ben // Sep 1, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Mon(k)ey.

    I’ll just shut-up now. you were always winning this monologue. do call the police and alert them of your finds so that justice can be served.

    @Gerhard.

    language does not evolve in a manner where communication breaks to the point of what you are saying it does unless the intent of that language is to be separatist.

    Erm, so you’re saying it is impossible to be wrong about what someone from a different sub-cultural group intends to say, unless they don’t WANT you to know the meaning? A stretch surely?

    simply speaking the truth ie. calling a mass-mudering multiple rapist a mass-mudering multiple rapist is fine , but, there is so much more to all that…

    Great. We have agreement. these matters are complex.

    @ Ken

    Hmmm…I don’t see how. Either you are making a claim with no awareness of support for or against your claim (in which case the honourable position is either silence or an admission of uncertainty), or you are making a claim for which there is evidentiary support or dismissal (and you are not acknowledging that evidence, even though you are aware of it).

    False dichotomy? What about believing something from evidence that satisfies YOUR criteria of plausibility, yet others disagree?

    If I say that your mother was a hamster and your father smells of elderberries, then I had better have good evidence of maternal furriness and paternal eau de fruit.

    Vintage. Ken you beauty. The rest of this argument does not hold, because there is no definitive evidence that Stellenbosch is NOT a centre of evil strongholds. This is far too ambiguous a term in any case for us to judge its merit. Maybe I could bug Fred for exhaustive defintions. Would certainly delight Monkey…;)

    I don’t think a couple of drunk students running naked through a church gathering warrants the use of such language.

    I agree. Yet I am not convinced that a court of law would find him guilty of “spiritual abuse”. The jungle council however might find him guilty of statutory fruityness…

    OK. What happens if the criticism is valid?

    I am afraid a lot of the best criticism is never heard. Like I said. Its a problem…

    Granted. But the word demons is not just jargon. It has a definite meaning and connotation in ordinary everyday speech. If it does have a specific “jargon” meaning, then what would this meaning be, in the context of the letter writer or recipients?

    The issue is not the terminology here; It’s the semantics. When Fred says it was a “deliberate, demonically inspired attack” he could mean, that drunkeness is a representation of chaotic inebreation which could be associated with African “witchery”. This does not necessarily imply they are practising satanists. Hence misunderstanding on the behalf of “purging agents” like our friend Monkey. I still maintain it is risky languge, and should NOT have been used so carelessly.

    Bad Ben, I think this is especially ironic after pointing out to you the whole ordinary, everyday meanings thing…my apologies.

    Not sure I understand? specific reference?

  • 180 Bad Ben // Sep 1, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Vintage. Ken you beauty. The rest of this argument does not hold, because there is no definitive evidence that Stellenbosch is NOT a centre of evil strongholds. This is far too ambiguous a term in any case for us to judge its merit. Maybe I could bug Fred for exhaustive defintions. Would certainly delight Monkey…;)

    Sorry. Dis haz fluffiness. What I mean is that even though there might be sufficient enough evidence to satisfy Fred’s criteria of such a reality, We have no definitive counter-evidence. Furthermore, we don’t know exactly what Fred means by an evil stronghold. It is a severely ambiguous term, and yea, the kind of language I would rather avoid…

    This does not necessarily imply they are practising satanists. Hence misunderstanding on the behalf of “purging agents” like our friend Monkey.

    Ok. on rereading I realize this is untrue. Most people are in danger of misinterpreting such abstract language. But hey; Im just feigning self-critique here in order to get you guys to think “hey, he’s self-critical, he can’t be a swearing-spiritually-abusive-fundie-freak…”*

    *laughs diabolically to himself 😉

  • 181 Bad Ben // Sep 1, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    We have no definitive counter-evidence.

    feel free to differ…

  • 182 Hugo // Sep 1, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Some comments, first a quick comment about my analogy, @Monkey:

    Hugo’s analogy is of a man who is NOT guilty,

    I believe so. My friend believes so. The accuser might or might not believe so, let’s assume the accuser does believe it.

    that does not apply here.

    Assuming the verdict has not yet been given, there is the likelihood that Pastor May* believes he is NOT guilty**, friends of his believes he is NOT guilty, and the accusers here present believes he is. I thus do see some potential parallels that *could* be explored, if we’re interested in taking a step back from our perceptions/beliefs of objective justice and explore what the “subjective realities” of those involved are. (I certainly don’t mean to say there *isn’t* objective justice, I certainly do also have a strong opinion on all of this, I’m just pushing it aside.)

    *(I’m not sure what I should call him, I’ve still got the habit to call him Fred, like people in his congregation do. I seek a term of sufficient neutrality and not indicative of disrespect.)

    **Do I hereby defeat my own argument/suggestion? Because I suppose you are discussing precisely that: the question of whether he considers himself innocent or experiences some remorse about the letter.

    Meh, I’d be happy for the above (my comment I mean) to just be ignored.

    @Kenneth’s comment on hamsters and elderberries, a link for those that have a huge gap in their education, it’s a 3min 8sec youtube clip – apologies to the bandwidth-starved, you anyway really ought to just rent and watch the whole movie:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OzIMHowtL8
    😉

    @Monkey’s comment:

    Bad Ben you seem to be the only person who is furiously arguing the semantics of this. The discomfort you feel at me speaking about spiritual abuse is entirely your own. I would consider it a symtom.

    I’d like to point out this would probably be a logical fallacy if it is meant as an argument about the main debate (selection bias due to the nature of this blog would result in reduced numbers in “the defense”, and verdicts shouldn’t be democratically decided by majority vote anyway). If it is meant as something to undermine Bad Ben’s arguments, I would classify it as an ad-hominem, generally considered a logical fallacy. My desire to “think the best of everyone” would urge me to consider it an aside, a new and somewhat orthogonal conversation interleaved into the existing discussion — but the more logical part of my brain claims I’m being naive, that this was indeed just an ad hominem attack, that the purpose wasn’t to engage with Bad Ben in a new conversation, but rather just a rhetorical technique to “win” the existing discussion.

    FWIW.

    Abuse — it is an ugly term that comes in multiple varieties, all dark and sinister. Under every shade, it always produces pain and trauma. Its victims often suffer silently

    I don’t like ad hominem attacks. I do like sincere discussions motivated out of compassion.

    Log in eye: “Monkey, I don’t like your style.”

    What on earth does a subjective impression of another’s style have to do with logs? I would love for us to be able to dialogue openly and honestly, including sharing subjective experiences, without getting accused of logs and stuff. If log-accusation comes from compassion and is backed by a good rationale, great. If it is meant as abuse of the ad-hominem variety, … “I don’t like it”.

    (I know, my Utopian dreaming again, but a man must dream, dammit!)

  • 183 Hugo // Sep 1, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Oh wait, and what’s this:

    Third party defendants, by reason of Apathy (to the streaker crime):

    Who’s the third party defendant? And who do you consider to show apathy? I can’t help but find my impressions here drifting in the direction of thinking you’re accusing those that don’t agree with you as showing “apathy”.

    Yikes man, isn’t that like saying challenging your state is unpatriotic? Or that anyone that doesn’t support the Iraq war is “un-American” and don’t deserve “American freedom”?

    Or am I misreading you here?

  • 184 gerhard // Sep 2, 2009 at 1:15 am

    ken: heh.

    @monkey
    [ If Pastor May’s letter is not atheist or Biblical – then what is it exactly? ] an good example of abuse full stop.

    btw, if i may derail for a moment. monkey what apples do you eat? what is your intent on this blog? to discuss this matter or to raise the flag? the flag need not be hoisted for there are many here with that flag. speak freely but speak in a way that furthers understanding between all of us. your monologues are entertaining but it’s a headache to translate every time so creative as it may be could you just tone it done a little for me?

    @ben
    [Erm, so you’re saying it is impossible to be wrong about what someone from a different sub-cultural group intends to say, unless they don’t WANT you to know the meaning? A stretch surely?] basically? i’m not saying it’s infallible but mostly when it comes to the big stuff, like shunning etc. if we can communicate these things naturally across cultures and languages which we do , because we need to, then we can do these things across sub-cultures. except when somebody purposefully becomes obscure. sub-cultures isolate themselves but they are too integrated by natural reliance into the greater group. (we’re not talking waco here)

    two star wars geeks are fighting over a toy one of them broke. while fighting they will be using their own language / jargon about why what is going is has what meaning. ie. the luke doll was mint. whatever mint means and whatever a luke doll means in the context of this is rather part of their domain and beyond your direct understanding. an observer however knows what is going on and even make meaningful judgements. a doll of great value has been broken. (maybe way over simplified?)

    [What about believing something from evidence that satisfies YOUR criteria of plausibility, yet others disagree?]
    are you going all hippy the world is all relative ..blah blah… subjective experience… blah blah . .. the matrix … on us?

    [The rest of this argument does not hold, because there is no definitive evidence that Stellenbosch is NOT a centre of evil strongholds. ] to chirp. you probably could if you could prove that less or no more acts of evil happened in this supposed stronghold of evil (registered trademark). less satan == less evil by this logic. i guess, from mon(k)eys standpoint that would probably also be acceptable proof. i suppose they could be like sucking eachother’s blood or sacrificing virgins so there goes that idea…

    [ Furthermore, we don’t know exactly what Fred means by an evil stronghold. It is a severely ambiguous term, and yea, the kind of language I would rather avoid…] yes!!!! we must. that is my problem with mon(k)eys word play. however smart he’s being he is monopolizing the conversation with it. maybe i’m not being open minded enough but i want to at least be able to talk about something tangible.

  • 185 sibongile // Sep 2, 2009 at 4:43 am

    Good morning ladies and gentlemen

    Newcomer I am. Judging by the comments I’m quite sure that I shall be made to feel most welcome when posting my honest remarks and opinions, naturally never offending anyone! You may gather from the hour of my posting that I do not live in South Africa any longer.

    First remark: It seems that a lot of us (if I may be allowed address the participants as ‘us’ in my first comment) get emotionally stirred to an extent where we abandon what I would see as the initial purpose – reasoning with peers on contemporary subject – for argument. Please do correct me if this is not the case – do we have an argument to ‘win’ as such?

    Bad Ben refers to ‘jargon’ which caused some dispute. Having attended Shofar for a few years when I studied at Stellenbosch I can assure you that Christian and spiritualised jargon is all too prevalent in the discourse produced by the church, even as a member I often found me at a loss interpreting what they saw as common talk.

    I was not in the church at the time of the incident or the writing of the letter, yet I feel that I could provide some insight. I am yet to read the letter, I base my response the fragments of the previous comments, dangerous I know… Could someone please send the original letter to sibongileramaphosa@gmail.com? Even so I have a good idea of the makeup of this letter, having been exposed to Shofar for a considerable time.

    If any of ever had the privilege (or endured the disgust) of dealing with Shofar in any significant way, you would agree with me that the organisation created a very unique culture, be that of positive or negative sentiment to you. In either case, I do feel that it is necessary to thus take a culturally relative position when interpreting the letter. Even if that serves only as a starting point. This would entail that we judge this letter first in terms of Shofar doctrine. I feel that Bad Ben could perhaps have been more helpful here.

    Shofar doctrine is strictly biblically based, according to their own interpretation of the Scriptures that is.

    The act that drew the response of the letter would’ve been seen as abominable by the organisation. Why? The Church (which Shofar is part of and which individual members of the Church are part of) is referred to as the bride of Christ in Scripture, holy and zealously loved by God. This could explain the strong sexual connotation and the general harshness in expressing disgust with the act.

    Some participants are quite concerned about the ‘eternal damnation’ of the guilty party. This need not be the case. I am a Christian, yet I sin – this sin is most definitely not inspired by Christ or by His Holy Spirit. According to Scripture my falling short of glory could then only be inspired by Satan – demonically inspired, satanically inspired. This is a strong, spiritualised way of expressing what I would biblically refer to as the origin of my sin. Have I now demonised or satanised myself? I have definitely not.

    Do you follow me?

    Still I believe that it was very audacious indeed to make such a letter readily available for all to observe. If Fred May wanted to reach all his members and friends, he could have emailed the letter. Shofar is notoriously efficient at obtaining contact details from all attendees to services. Which leaves me with the following conclusion – he wanted to make a statement. If this be the case, perhaps he could have composed the letter in a form that would be more digestible for the public at large. But even if he wanted to that, he could have done so easily. This leaves me with only one conclusion – he wanted to make a bold and intent statement, knowingly trampling on the toes in the grey area surrounding freedom of speech. This happened quite often in disparate church affairs, according to my recollection and interpretation.

    Was it unwise? I believe not. What could the church or Fred May possibly lose? Those who love him and Shofar would only be stirred positively by it, those who hate him are irreconcilable as it is, and those who didn’t know about the church al know about it now. Could he possibly feel threatened by a mother of two and ‘writer’ who still uses the slandering material he used a decade ago, still without effect? The whole ordeal may quite possibly have even led to growth in numbers.

    Very interesting situation though
    Best as always
    s

  • 186 Kenneth Oberlander // Sep 2, 2009 at 8:35 am

    @Bad Ben

    We have no definitive counter-evidence.

    Hmmm…I would disagree.

    OK, let me unpack that statement a bit more. Sorry to go all Popper on you, but under the null-hypothesis of Stellenbosch not being a stronghold of evil, certain behaviours are expected i.e. normal human behaviour. The hypothesis of demon-possession predicts certain, rather different, behaviours. If we observe normal human behaviour, and no above-normal evil behaviour, then the alternative hypothesis is refuted, and the null hypothesis is still considered to hold. Lest you question the “above-normal” statement, I think that student pranks are pretty normal for a university town!

    I’m not the one who is making the positive claim of demon possession here. It is up to those claiming such things to provide evidence of such an occurrence.

    Not sure I understand? specific reference?

    Well, after pointing out ordinary, everyday, commonly-held meaning, I committed the cardinal sin of using my own, unique, interpretation of demonisation, which is rather ironic…

    *laughs diabolically to himself 😉

    I can haz demon possession? HAELP! Feets don’t fail me now!

    @Sibongile, welcome, and thanks, that was very interesting…

  • 187 sibongile // Sep 2, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Good day

    Kenneth
    Concerning the “stronghold of evil” comment: Again I would urge you to be culturally relevant in your approach. There has been rather consistent resistance to Shofar over the last decade, the ‘prank’ probably serving as amplification to this in the hearts and minds of Shofarians. I have in my previous comment pointed out why they would have seen this deed as evil. What would they, as Christians, attribute this resistance to the spread of the Gospel to? They will maintain that spreading the Gospel is their main business in Stellenbosch. They will certainly not refer to this as a glorious stronghold, a holy resistance! No, in their hearts and minds resistance to their business will of course be seen as evil stronghold.

    I reckon that this is an example again of the influence of jargon; A very natural way for a Shofarite to express that “things are not going our way”.

    I conclude then that for the Shofarite there will always be a stronghold as long as they are challenged, and for the non charismatic Christian, the idea of strongholds and demons will always be foreign and over exaggerating.

  • 188 sibongile // Sep 2, 2009 at 11:26 am

    That said I would not want to dilute the weight of spiritual significance that a Shofarite would also attach to ‘evil stronghold’.

  • 189 Kenneth Oberlander // Sep 2, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    @Sibongile

    Again I would urge you to be culturally relevant in your approach.

    Hmmm…is this a two-way street? I’m willing to try to understand the Shofar mindset, which is why I found your particular comment very interesting. Would Shofar grant me the same courtesy? I am, after all, a part of a culture…

    I conclude then that for the Shofarite there will always be a stronghold as long as they are challenged, and for the non charismatic Christian, the idea of strongholds and demons will always be foreign and over exaggerating.

    I would change non charismatic Christian to everyone else.

    I’m really becoming a broken record about this, aren’t I? 😉

  • 190 Bad Ben // Sep 2, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    I would change non charismatic Christian to everyone else.

    I would change everyone else to the global minority of western-minded intellectuals

  • 191 Kenneth Oberlander // Sep 2, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    @Bad Ben

    I would change everyone else to the global minority of western-minded intellectuals

    Why? You don’t think an Aborigine in Australia or an American Indian would find those ideas foreign and over-exaggerating? Or, in religious terms, a Hindu? A Wiccan? An atheist?

  • 192 Bad Ben // Sep 2, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Ken:

    No, I actually don’t. For Wiccans Demonic strongholds etc. are normative. Why do you think they would?

  • 193 Sibongile // Sep 2, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Kenneth
    • Hmmm…is this a two-way street? I’m willing to try to understand the Shofar mindset, which is why I found your particular comment very interesting. Would Shofar grant me the same courtesy? I am, after all, a part of a culture…

    Absolutely! I view the culturally relative position only as the point of departure for critique of, let’s say, Shofar behaviour. Then we can proceed by effectively criticizing the letter and other Shofar discourse, reviewing it against whatever measure we deem fit.

    Having been in Shofar myself and very aware of the prejudices that I held at the time, I would love to say that they would return the favour onto you. However, it would probably not have been the case when I was a member. I hope that it has changed since though.

  • 194 Sibongile // Sep 2, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    I used “non charismatic Christians”, since they are the only ones whom I perceive to have the same view of strongholds, demons, etc. Obviously there are many outside of our Western Minority culture (that I’m also inevitably part of, despite my roots) who are also very aware of the spiritual realm, but I specifically referred to those with a biblical understanding of these matters.

  • 195 Sibongile // Sep 2, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Bad Ben: Normative, or the norm? Slight difference…

  • 196 gerhard // Sep 2, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    @sibongile, welcome. you sound interesting. the choice of words reminds me a bit of mon(k)ey. the language use.

    [could someone send the letter…] http://www.thinktoomuch.net/2008/10/31/pepper-spraying-streakers-at-shofar/

    [Having been in Shofar myself and very aware of the prejudices that I held at the time, I would love to say that they would return the favour onto you.]
    can you explain what you mean by this? what prejudices did they hold at the time and what prejudices did you experience? prejudices are a funny thing , they can be difficult to escape esp if they are your own.

    [ our Western Minority culture (th our Western Minority culture (that I’m also inevitably part of, despite my roots) at I’m also inevitably part of, despite my roots) ] explain?

    @ben : western .. what? global minority of western-minded intellectuals?
    ehm…. ok i can’t help but wonder if fed may’s peers would see him as that… i think they probably would… isn’t that a hallmark of ignorance? considering yourself part of a global minority of western-minded intellectuals. i suppose if you attended tedx cape town then you probably aren’t. tedx the new church for pseudo intellectuals

  • 197 Kenneth Oberlander // Sep 2, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    @Bad Ben

    I’m just quoting me for context:

    You don’t think an Aborigine in Australia or an American Indian would find those ideas [demonic strongholds] foreign and over-exaggerating?

    Your response:

    No, I actually don’t.

    Hold on, I’m not certain whether you are disagreeing or agreeing here.

    If you are disagreeing, what about the other examples I mentioned? I could extend that list to Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism etc. etc.

    If you’re agreeing, why are you specifically singling out western intellectuals? My original statement would surely be correct as it stands…

    For Wiccans Demonic strongholds etc. are normative. Why do you think they would?

    Really? An admittedly quick search of the Wiccan page on Wikipedia has no mention of demons at all, nor the page on Wiccan views of divinity…

  • 198 sibongile // Sep 2, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Gerhard, prejudices I held:
    Aristotle wrote about phronesis, a term showing to the perfect balance that can be found between extremes. Courage would be the balance between ruthless death wish type behaviour on the one side and cowardice on the other. Many Shofar members, me included, struggle to attain balance in their way of thinking. I would refer to zealous love of the Lord, His ways and Evangelical & prophetic purpose as the healthy balance. [Jargonised already…] Many however shift to the extreme where zeal turns into an obsessive keenness to impress their own view on others and a reluctance to give ear to others’ opinion. Thus I also was prejudiced against those with differing views from my, especially other church groups. Does that sound familiar in any way?

    In no way do I accuse leaders of producing this prejudice, rather I blame myself for becoming one track minded so easily. I was prejudiced not in that I thought I was right, I still believe I’m right in what I hold to. Don’t we all believe that we’re right!? My prejudice was that I lost my respect for others and their opinion, it’s a sort of arrogance really. Much of that was around when I attended, as I’ve said, I hope that this has changed in the last two years since I’ve left.

  • 199 sibongile // Sep 2, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Gerhard, concerning my ‘roots’ comment:

    I’m African by birth, but I see myself part of the Western Culture. I can’t speak any African language fluently, well you could argue that Afrikaans is African I guess (daai taal ek kan vir hom lekker praat!), I didn’t go to the bush, I didn’t even have many black friends growing up.

  • 200 sibongile // Sep 2, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    And many thanks for the letter!

  • 201 Bad Ben // Sep 2, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Ken:

    Disagreeing. Almost all the examples you mentioned are cultures that I (from the top of my headgranted) consider to have a fundamental belief in sentient spiritual beings.

    I spec’d the wiki article on wicca, and immediately found allusions to what I have described above. might we have differet understandings of the term?

  • 202 Kenneth Oberlander // Sep 2, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Aaah, OK. I see where we are missing one another.

    My specific point was to do with the concept of demons, not more general theistic belief. None of the cultures/religions mentioned would have come to the specific conclusion of demon possession or Stellenbosch being a stronghold of such, given the events that occurred. They might very well have put some other religious interpretations on the events, but not the specific ones that were used in the letter. So my modification of Sibongile’s sentence was done simply to express this.

  • 203 Bad Ben // Sep 2, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism

    These religions themselves do not refer specifically to “demons” but oftentimes the belief can be ascribed rather to a culture than a theism. i.e. chinese folklore. So even though Confucians, Taoists (not neccessarily, but possibly) and buddhists can & do simultaneously hold strong beliefs in spiritual enitities. hindus again are as notorious for religious bricolage as belief in demons (as depicted through dragon puppets etc.).

    None of the cultures/religions mentioned would have come to the specific conclusion of demon possession or Stellenbosch being a stronghold of such, given the events that occurred. They might very well have put some other religious interpretations on the events, but not the specific ones that were used in the letter

    How can you be sure of this? I think an African Sangoma might have actually thought the young men to be into witchcraft, considering the strong link between inebriation and witchery in their context…

  • 204 Kenneth Oberlander // Sep 2, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    How can you be sure of this? I think an African Sangoma might have actually thought the young men to be into witchcraft, considering the strong link between inebriation and witchery in their context…

    But there is a huge difference between African witchcraft and the Christian concept(s) of demons. A sangoma’s interpretation could have been very different, most probably involving the spirits of his/her ancestors or nature spirits…

  • 205 Bad Ben // Sep 2, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Sorry Ken. I realise now this is what you were saying:

    None of the cultures/religions mentioned would have come to the specific conclusion of demon possession or Stellenbosch being a stronghold of such, given the events that occurred.

    granted. but to say that they (and everyone else) would find these ideas “foreign and over-exaggerating” seems a bit of a push from your prior statement, no? Semantics again methinks. In needs of paralinguistic aides. Liek good coffee…

  • 206 Hugo // Sep 2, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Hi sibongile! I love the conversation that’s been taking place since I last popped in! (I love the style, that is.) And especially welcome to sibongile, kudos for great communication!

    Could someone please send the original letter?

    I sent the pdf I received.

    In repsonse to #187, my mind reminds me, Shofar has “a strongly dualistic worldview”, or language then. Either one, or the other. Kinda a lack of grey in the middle. Sibongile’s #198 concurs. And we’re both talking about the past, and wondering if there’s been improvement. Or not. I fear the latter I’m afraid. (Lack of improvement that is.) It’s my null hypothesis, maybe? And/or the bits of evidence I pick up here and there still seem to fit that hypothesis. BUT! We’re working on it! (Or so I try to convince myself. Taking the long-term view.)

    @Kenneth #189: love it, and a good example that I might want to use in the guidelines. (That’s a note-to-self.)

    I think this (sibongile #193) was at least a little misunderstood (gerhard asked about it), and I wanted to clarify:

    Having been in Shofar myself and very aware of the prejudices that I held at the time, I would love to say that they would return the favour onto you. However, it would probably not have been the case when I was a member.

    He would have loved to say that they would have returned the favour, but harsh reality is such that they probably wouldn’t have, back when he was a member.

    Is my understanding correct?

  • 207 sibongile // Sep 2, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Hugo
    An honour it is to meet the man himself. You are absolutely correct in your interpretation of my comment on prejudice – that is the notion exactly that I tried to convey.

  • 208 sibongile // Sep 3, 2009 at 12:59 am

    I’m saddened at the thought that the same prejudices that I upheld may still be prevalent in the Shofar community. It doesn’t come as a surprise though. I’ve learned that in recent times there has been a growth in the amount of 30+ individuals and families amongst the membership. They should steady the ship, so to say. Still, Shofar will always remain a church with a massive student base. Many of them will become ‘radical’ – as I also was. And it was usually us that managed to cause a lot of offense while being utterly convinced that we were doing all a holy favour! Why was I like that? My life radically changed (for the better I believe) when I gave my life to life to the Lord. Suddenly I was convinced that every single person that crosses my way should become the same as I was, and immediately! Even though I was sure that my intentions were pure, I quickly became an offence walking on two legs. I would not have granted Kenneth the courtesy of a two way street.

    I did eventually learn that it wasn’t very effective, forcing others into sharing your beliefs.

  • 209 sibongile // Sep 3, 2009 at 1:09 am

    Now the problem for Shofar is that they have a continuous influx of individuals such as me in the previous comment. By the time we mature we’re headed for a new town.

    Why is any of what I have written really relevant? I believe it is relevant, since the ‘prank’ incident probably would not have happened if Shofar weren’t causing as much repercussions in Stellenbosch. Individuals like me in my comment largely added to these outcomes.

  • 210 gerhard // Sep 3, 2009 at 1:47 am

    sibongile:
    [In no way do I accuse leaders of producing this prejudice, rather I blame myself for becoming one track minded so easily. I was prejudiced not in that I thought I was right, I still believe I’m right in what I hold to. Don’t we all believe that we’re right!?] I think leaders are people who set the tone. biblical language can be used both lovingly to guide the flock but when done mischievously one gets letters like the one being discussed. people do act righteously without respect when they under the spell of the understanding that their truth is the absolute truth and that is both re-enforced by the literature and leadership. don’t blame yourself for this.

    [My prejudice was that I lost my respect for others and their opinion, it’s a sort of arrogance really.] ha! that probably depends on what opinions you’re confronted with and how honest you are. honesty is showing disrespect when one can not respect another’s idea. you could dress it up but what is gained from such deception? are we not just learning to by default deceive others of our possibly negative opinions? give respect but give it where it is due. don’t learn to dilute the meaning of holding respect. the arrogance may not be arrogance rather the need for ideas to earn respect having been replaced with absolute certainty grounded in absolute truth.

    [Much of that was around when I attended, as I’ve said, I hope that this has changed in the last two years since I’ve left.] i am very keen to hear about your experience. like good and the bad.. things that stand out for you. how did your beliefs / practices change?

    [I’m African by birth, but I see myself part of the Western Culture. I can’t speak any African language fluently, well you could argue that Afrikaans is African I guess (daai taal ek kan vir hom lekker praat!)] erm. i wouldn’t argue it , it is. unless you mean of it to do more with ethnic origin than geographic origin.

    [I didn’t go to the bush, I didn’t even have many black friends growing up.]
    what is that experience like in south africa? I would expect it to make interaction with other black people a little bit harder? i too am bit disconnected from my roots culturally.
    how was the whole black man in shofar experience? I hear they weren’t that friendly to the whole integration thing and have asked people to leave before. did you get the feeling that sort of things still goes on? i hope not.

    @ken
    [But there is a huge difference between African witchcraft and the Christian concept(s) of demons. A sangoma’s interpretation could have been very different, most probably involving the spirits of his/her ancestors or nature spirits…] huge difference yes, but not worlds apart. they would understand each others ideas but they might seem silly and be dismissive because the grounding is different but fundamentally the concepts there.

    @ben
    [granted. but to say that they (and everyone else) would find these ideas “foreign and over-exaggerating” seems a bit of a push from your prior statement, no? Semantics again methinks. In needs of paralinguistic aides. Liek good coffee…] wasn’t i saying that a moment ago with how language evolves.

    @everyone
    who here knows or wants to knows what it was like living before the 19th century in terms of “human” experience compared to now? (ken you asked me about the etymology interest, it kicks in here.)

  • 211 Bad Ben // Sep 3, 2009 at 3:07 am

    Gerhard:

    I think leaders are people who set the tone. biblical language can be used both lovingly to guide the flock but when done mischievously one gets letters like the one being discussed. people do act righteously without respect when they under the spell of the understanding that their truth is the absolute truth and that is both re-enforced by the literature and leadership. don’t blame yourself for this.

    I’m it’s your belief up against Sibongile’s word here. Sibongile seems quite lucid, and healthily self-critical, without beating himself up about it: A witness that a court might consider quite trustworthy (there is no contrary evidence). You on the other hand do seem to have a slight “tendency” to veer away from positive opinions of (especially charismatic Christian) leadership; and use words like “spell”*. hmmm. Not to be overly pc, but I do think he has a stronger case.

    *have to give you credit for “biblical language can be used both lovingly to guide the flock” thats such a sweet admission 😉

    ha! that probably depends on what opinions you’re confronted with and how honest you are. honesty is showing disrespect when one can not respect another’s idea. you could dress it up but what is gained from such deception? are we not just learning to by default deceive others of our possibly negative opinions? give respect but give it where it is due. don’t learn to dilute the meaning of holding respect. the arrogance may not be arrogance rather the need for ideas to earn respect having been replaced with absolute certainty grounded in absolute truth.

    YES! COULDN’T AGREE MORE! and I called you a liberal pansy! TSK TSK. SHAME ON ME!

  • 212 gerhard // Sep 3, 2009 at 3:45 am

    @ben
    [I’m it’s your belief up against Sibongile’s word here. Sibongile seems quite lucid, and healthily self-critical, without beating himself up about it: A witness that a court might consider quite trustworthy ] i’m not sure what you mean by belief here? has charismatic leadership not proven itself generally untrustworthy explaining my “tendency”? I’m trying to keep things in the greater context here which could possibly contradict personal experience. quite subjective experience considering the investment. one has to see the good in something we joining for the “good” of things. humans are funny like that especially when it comes to people you’re supposed to respect or for whom disrespecting such individuals is disrespecting their god or their community.

    [You on the other hand do seem to have a slight “tendency” to veer away from positive opinions of (especially charismatic Christian) leadership; and use words like “spell”*. hmmm. Not to be overly pc, but I do think he has a stronger case.]
    well it’s not about being right it’s about the truth. i’ll gladly accept his word but if the actions displayed are different, then. I mean the things we’ve been discussing about the group, the behaviours and beliefs… now is a good time to get more info on that stuff from the view point of “free to speak” ex-member.

  • 213 sibongile // Sep 3, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Gerhard
    I can assure you with all confidence: In my experience the leaders never attempted to radicalize the flock. They did preach the gospel with passion, but I’ve always felt that their interpretation was safe and sound. I still download some of the sermons found on the website (about 3 in the last 2 months) and it still resonates positively in my mind.

    I would like to make the following clear. I am free to speak as an ex member, but I’m sure that I would’ve spoken as freely, if not more so, if I was still a member. Technically I am probably still a member – I never denounced my membership. If I returned to Stellenbosch tomorrow, I would join Shofar again. That is if they don’t excommunicate me because of what I have written here… this is of course a joke. I would possibly even shared more openly if I was still a member, because at the moment I can only recall from what I experienced two years ago.

    I still believe that we only win in this conversation when being brutally honest, and so I shall be.

    I think it’s safe to say that inter-racial relationships are very natural in Shofar. Here the leaders do set the positive tone! I am not oblivious to the challenges that still need to be overcome though. I had one friend whose father would say things like “die kaffers fok die land op” and for him it took time to become natural in inter-racial situations. I understood that, it wasn’t his fault, he just needed some time to free himself from the influences of his past. We obviously had some awkward moments, but we all laugh about that now in good spirit.

    One thing that I did find hard to understand though is why we kept the poor people from the poor part of the town ‘out’ of our equation to such a large extent. I felt that we could have done more to integrate them into the church. I know that the people involved in Prochorus (the church’s ongoing outreach program in Kayamandi) do sterling work and God bless them for that. Yet I feel that we as a church have a responsibility to care for the poor and to do more in terms of development in their community. Self righteous me never volunteered for Prochorus though, so I am actually in no position to criticize.

  • 214 sibongile // Sep 3, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Gerhard you ask about my experiences, good and bad, after I shared about my prejudices etc. To be absolutely honest with you: I can remember giving my life to the Lord, along with many others over the same period – many of whom became my friends, and I still am very close to some of them. I can remember us being excited about this new exciting development in our lives, but I can also remember feeling clueless at times. Even though Shofar are criticized often for it’s ‘rules and regulations’ on members, there still are no guide that absolutely ensures you conducting your business without failure. Many charismatic Christians (or all the others, or except the minority of the western culture would argue, or the Wiccans and witchdocters – whatever makes Kenneth and Bad Ben happy!=) would argue on this point, referring to the guidance from scripture and the Holy Spirit. The fact is that you still learn a lot purely by trial and error. And we made mistakes, we’re human. Sometimes however, I sensed stubbornness in accepting that we were at fault – this is probably my only bad experience. An example of this was when one friend of mine attended a few times and enjoyed it. Then one of the members put pressure on him to immediately become a member, and be baptized etc. He never came back and that member who caused this refused to accept that he was wrong in his handling of this matter. Another thing that bugged me was that I felt that we sometimes went overboard on campus.

    The good experiences outweigh the bad by FAR. I could go on for a week, back to work though.

  • 215 Hugo // Sep 3, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    I’m curious to hear more about the change you felt this brought about in your life. In what ways do you feel your choice improved your life?

  • 216 sibongile // Sep 4, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Hugo
    Simple question, yeti feel I need to be careful in answering. I could tell you the story of my life, like I would at an evangelical outreach, but I’m sure you’ve heard many of those before: I was addicted to some bad things that I got rid off since, I was generally unsatisfied and depressed because of constant underachievement, even if not measured in real terms, but only against my own expectation – this changed. The self image of the Christian change when he no longer sees himself in comparison to others, but rather in light of the God who purposefully created him, and loves him.

    The biggest positive change I would summarise in the following few lines: I attended bible school up to 2nd year level. In the 2nd year we had a module “The good news to the poor”. If ever I was emotionally stirred, if ever I was radicalized, it was in the few weeks that we worked through that particular module. Pastor Heinrich Titus led the discussion that changed my life. The basic message was this: we need to address the needs of our people. For millions of South Africans that is food, shelter, education, education, employment. I would not be surprised if all of us that partakes in this blog confessed that we take all this for granted! I always knew that there were millions of poor people around, but I was never poor, thus I really had no comprehension and I was never really willing not to turn my head from the things that I didn’t like to see. But in this module it was as if my heart tore loose from its comfortable world and broke for those economically ill-fortunate. This I have also embraced as my calling – to live for the development of my country and its people. This why I love living, for those whose circumstances will be changed, this makes a life worth living, this is my joy, this changed my life.

  • 217 Hugo // Sep 4, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks sibongile! That was perfect.

  • 218 sibongile // Sep 4, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    You’re most welcome!

  • 219 sibongile // Sep 4, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    | honesty is showing disrespect when one can not respect another’s idea.

    Good point you make in, but it does carry diverse implication. I’ll comment later.

  • 220 sibongile // Sep 4, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    sorry that was #210 by Gerhard

  • 221 gerhard // Sep 6, 2009 at 1:13 am

    hugo501

    [They did preach the gospel with passion, but I’ve always felt that their interpretation was safe and sound.] good then. thank you for providing some context. I hope your good and sound are similar to mine tho. People have the strangest ideas as to what constitutes a healthy normal sometimes, ideas that , because you never have reason to doubt, one never notices but are rather strange. i have this friend who is one of those people that once he notices something becomes quite obsessed with noticing it. do you know the kind? he’s great and all but if you point out some wrong in his “perfect” new toy then the new toy becomes quite the bother. he’s also a practising Christian. meaning he goes to church and does the odd prayer or two and the like. He and i got into a conversation about a buddies wedding we were going to and why i wasn’t looking forward to it. So i told him my reasons and he just didn’t believe me. he refused. we had a fight.my reason was that i was worried about the hateful and unpleasant things that were going to be said. finally we agreed to “wait and see”. Each counting “philosophical issues” that concern us. we would count things like condemnation of others, sexism and relevance to the couple or family. I told him how it would be (over 30) and so it was. Now he’s really bothered by it and he continues to be, much like in your case about poverty. the point is. he was completely oblivious to it and he would have stud up for it probably with teeth but by his own standards, once illuminated were hard to honourably and justly still observe..

    [I would like to make the following clear. I am free to speak as an ex member, but I’m sure that I would’ve spoken as freely, if not more so, if I was still a member. … That is if they don’t excommunicate me because of what I have written here… this is of course a joke. I would possibly even shared more openly if I was still a member, because at the moment I can only recall from what I experienced two years ago.] i hope so i just worry about the examples i’ve witnessed here. people quite different from you.

    [I still believe that we only win in this conversation when being brutally honest, and so I shall be.] great? gloves off then? just remember, an atheist’s viewpoint may seem rather rude and offensive by the very nature of the subject matter, after all who likes being told their going to hell.

    [I think it’s safe to say that inter-racial relationships are very natural in Shofar. Here the leaders do set the positive tone! I am not oblivious to the challenges that still need to be overcome though. ] yes, i believe so. that may guy is also in such a relationship. racism is a more complicated animal for me, less to do with your skin but rather the nature of your kin. I would rather use ideas like culturalism, classism and nationalism. just like people have the “die kaffers fok die land op” ideology they also have the “oh he’s not a kaffer he’s like us”. for them , “kaffers” remain , they just set new terms to it giving it new boundaries.

    I think the best way to de-kaffernate us is to change the meaning of the language rather than making it a living 911 by making it taboo. Either it should find a new and fitting meaning or _everyone_ should use it so that it becomes common and pretty meaningless.

    i would prefer the first route as i already have a fitting meaning, it’s original. I can see it now, people taking pride in celebrating probably forgotten kaap se kaffirs (sp?) etc. We’re loosing old historic culture on what grounds? shame? anger? *shrug*

    [One thing that I did find hard to understand though is why we kept the poor people from the poor part of the town ‘out’ of our equation to such a large extent.] what do you mean? do you have a brief example?

    [ I felt that we could have done more to integrate them into the church. ] integrate them into the church or into the church’s plans for the poor? *has visions of food for prayer programs where starving people were denied food hand out’s unless they showed “progress” to a good Christian life, ie go through the indoctrination process.

    [Yet I feel that we as a church have a responsibility to care for the poor and to do more in terms of development in their community. Self righteous me never volunteered for Prochorus though, so I am actually in no position to criticize.] hugo and i got in to a huge fight about this. a “teach them to fish otherwise let them drown themselves if they wish it so. otherwise they live off of your back and not their own” vs “I am a hippy and want to save the world by undertaking futile tasks that prolong some ones agony. feed the poor! feed their pain!” (he’s going to bitch about that interpretation)

    [ Even though Shofar are criticized often for it’s ‘rules and regulations’ on members, there still are no guide that absolutely ensures you conducting your business without failure. ] i’m not sure i understand what you mean. what is the criticism from your point of view?

    [hen one of the members put pressure on him to immediately become a member, and be baptised etc. He never came back and that member who caused this refused to accept that he was wrong in his handling of this matter.] bleek. is this kinda thing frowned apon or encouraged?

    [Another thing that bugged me was that I felt that we sometimes went overboard on campus.] please. do go into detail on this , am quite interested. this is turning into somewhat of an interview, hehe.

    [I was addicted to some bad things that I got rid off since, I was generally unsatisfied and depressed because of constant underachievement, even if not measured in real terms, but only against my own expectation – this changed. ] addicted in what sense? what was your poison?

  • 222 Hugo // Sep 6, 2009 at 1:38 am

    hugo and i got in to a huge fight about this

    We did? I don’t recall that fight, unless you mean it was “that kind of fight, but about a different topic” or something like that.

  • 223 Bad Ben // Sep 6, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Gerhard (in response to #221

    one never notices but are rather strange.

    Strange by whose definition of strange? society’s?
    Strange by what society’s definition of strange?

    When (by your definition) do we have to stop living and letting live?

    I told him how it would be (over 30)

    this could not by any chance have influenced the way he interpreted the statements? I do take your word for it: but I also know there are thing you might be likely to interpret as sexism where I would simply disagree. the old Liberal/Conservative binary doesn’t count in our favour here.

    i hope so i just worry about the examples i’ve witnessed here. people quite different from you.

    gloves off – name some please. (possibly avoid creationistic opinions expressed; that would be a bit boring…)

    I think the best way to de-kaffernate us is to change the meaning of the language rather than making it a living 911 by making it taboo. Either it should find a new and fitting meaning or _everyone_ should use it so that it becomes common and pretty meaningless.

    I agree with the sentiment. Tabooing doesn’t help. The term’s derogatory power is even amplified. But I fear you might oversimplify the issue here. It’s easy for me or you to suggest coffee shop solutions like this: the reality is that some have strong associations of such terms with the destruction of their lives and or social bonds. To tell them to simply accept the term in different semantic contexts seems a bit like telling them to “just forget”.

    *has visions of food for prayer programs where starving people were denied food hand out’s unless they showed “progress” to a good Christian life, ie go through the indoctrination process.

    Agreed. This is disgusting; but does not necessarily reflect Chirst’s ideology.

    “teach them to fish otherwise let them drown themselves if they wish it so. otherwise they live off of your back and not their own”

    Interesting! This is exactly the example that I recall from the same bible school module that Sibongile was referring to. Ironically this idea can often serve as a mask for complacency, as Sibongile points out.

    bleek. is this kinda thing frowned apon or encouraged?

    Oversimplifying the matter! effects are not always presupposed. the cause is ambiguous. But to say I have never heard a “now or never” attitude towards “aspiring members” (as described by Sibongile) encouraged would be oversimplification from my side. I can say that “relational flexibility” (meaning treat the situation as it warrants…) concerning these things has been encouraged; but is not always practised. Ambiguities, ambiguities, C’est la Vie.

  • 224 Bad Ben // Sep 6, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    but is not always practised. Ambiguities, ambiguities, C’est la Vie.

    it might be “overruled” by other prerogatives…

  • 225 sibongile // Sep 6, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Good afternoon Gerhard!

    It will take me a week to answer all of this! But I’ll be back soon.

    s

  • 226 Hugo // Sep 6, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    @gerhard, about fishing:

    [Yet I feel that we as a church have a responsibility to care for the poor and to do more in terms of development in their community. Self righteous me never volunteered for Prochorus though, so I am actually in no position to criticize.] hugo and i got in to a huge fight about this. a “teach them to fish otherwise let them drown themselves if they wish it so. otherwise they live off of your back and not their own” vs “I am a hippy and want to save the world by undertaking futile tasks that prolong some ones agony. feed the poor! feed their pain!” (he’s going to bitch about that interpretation)

    The interesting thing (and this is probably where I’m bitching about interpretation) is that it would appear gerhard thinks I was supporting giving people fish whereas he was supporting teaching them to fish. I’m still not sure which discussion this was, but I do recall quite clearly discussions which I would interpret as me arguing for teaching people to fish, and gerhard opposing me, with the result (in my interpretation) of him arguing to just give them some fish.

    Maybe we were arguing about teaching methods. Which would probably be dumb. Especially since it seems we’re not particularly clear as to what we were arguing about. Which is why I’m arguing such arguments are dumb and pointless. 😉 (Clarity-lacking? Goal-lacking? Meaningless, or with ill-defined “meaning”.)

  • 227 gerhard // Sep 7, 2009 at 12:54 am

    hugo502
    @ben
    [Strange by whose definition of strange? society’s?
    Strange by what society’s definition of strange?]
    strange by one owns definition i suppose.
    strange is this case means more that some beliefs , when followed , contradict others. that whole, “I help the poor but walk past them without even giving them time”. sort of way.

    [When (by your definition) do we have to stop living and letting live?] i’m unsure of what you are asking here.

    [this could not by any chance have influenced the way he interpreted the statements?] yes undoubtedly. I made him choose to re-interpret them and I gave him reason but his interpretations are different by the standards he set himself.

    [I do take your word for it: but I also know there are thing you might be likely to interpret as sexism where I would simply disagree.] do share. I am always curious to see what people see as sexism. I prefer to see sexism as undue projection of cultural roles onto a sex. thinking like “men == strong” or “men == philanders”or “women == less reliant on sex” or “women == better at keeping a home”. thinking that varies between cultures and the ages. Thinking that just doesn’t make sense in the greater picture of man. sure a culture has a right to define what is what, but when they are so commonly abused… then one has to think about what one has and what one is doing with it.

    [gloves off – name some please.] huh? (people storming off? thomas etc? hissie fit then runs off like a cry baby. there was some older couple too. )

    [the old Liberal/Conservative binary doesn’t count in our favour here.] *shrug* i don’t really know what that really means. sure i get what you’re trying to say. liberal vs conservative. I honestly don’t know what i am. that stuff doesn’t really have meaning to me. I often if not always sway between ideals. I have not found a way to earnestly say that what i do and what i am intellectually are reconciled. So yeah. whatever fence you’re on is cool but i am not really sitting on a fence.

    [ To tell them to simply accept the term in different semantic contexts seems a bit like telling them to “just forget”.]
    actually. i would like us to just be able to use the term. I would like use a name like “kaapse kaffirs” for an athiest community , naming atheists as “kaffirs”. I think it would be a positive association because of the historical meaning and the “current” cultural meaning. the experience for a atheist today generally amongst theists or “true believers” is that of being treated like “kaffirs”. Remember preaching has us often the hand of satan, the spoilt and spreaders of filths. that makes it’s way into their day to day. less “just forget” and more “erm.. why are you idiots still doing this to people?” .. either way .. even if the word just becomes the new “fuck” for people that’s still better than the meaning of the word now a new context is needed. I am quite curious about what sibongile has to say.

    [Agreed. This is disgusting; but does not necessarily reflect Chirst’s ideology.] by who’s definition of what christ’s ideology was?

    [Ironically this idea can often serve as a mask for complacency, as Sibongile points out.] I think the way this stuff is layed out is what gives the complacency. to truly help people is a life long commitment. The task proposed requires an prolonged active involvement in charity which i think for most people is unrealistic.

    [..but is not always practised.] that is the nature of the devil.
    relational flexibility… flexibility in absolute certainty and absolute certainty against flexibility. 🙂

    [it might be “overruled” by other prerogatives…] explain?

    @sibongile
    [It will take me a week to answer all of this! But I’ll be back soon.] hey. great. am looking forward to it.

    @hugo
    [Which is why I’m arguing such arguments are dumb and pointless] i’m sure if you declare it so then it must be so. I still say the method is where it matters. don’t hand out food. put people to work. teach people how to find work and do meaningful work. don’t build homes for people give them the gift of the means to build their own.

  • 228 Hugo // Sep 7, 2009 at 10:39 am

    [Agreed. This is disgusting; but does not necessarily reflect Chirst’s ideology.] by who’s definition of what christ’s ideology was?

    E.g. Matthew’s? Consider the three chapters considered the “sermon on the mount”. Jesus’ ideology is not nearly as ill-defined as some people would think. Even if what Christians do in the name of “following Christ” is diverse and sometimes quite contradictory to Jesus’ “ideology”. In fact:

    Agreed. This is disgusting; but does not necessarily reflect Chirst’s ideology.

    I’d argue Bad Ben is being way too soft there. 😉 “Not necessarily…” bah! But I do also appreciate (and encourage, don’t I) softer statements chosen for the purpose of less argument and more consensus, hence my response now to defend against what seems to be a challenge to a… “not necessarily”? Is the question “by who’s definition?” in this context not just needlessly picking fights? (Or is that what I’m doing now, which wasn’t my intention, I’m in a very good and friendly and positive mood.)

    [gloves off – name some please.] huh? (people storming off? thomas etc? hissie fit then runs off like a cry baby. there was some older couple too. )

    None of the examples you mention were Shofarians, which is what I think Bad Ben is getting at. To remind of the context: you chipped into a discussion on the state of Shofar with “i hope so i just worry about the examples i’ve witnessed here”.

    BTW I love the conversation that’s been taking place, I’m quite impressed! 😉

    Oh, and what’s this “hugo501” and “hugo502”?

  • 229 Bad Ben // Sep 7, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    strange by one owns definition i suppose.
    strange is this case means more that some beliefs , when followed , contradict others. that whole, “I help the poor but walk past them without even giving them time”. sort of way.

    care to unpack this some more? not sure I understand. What I was aiming at with the whole relativising exercise (asking whose perspective on strange) was just that there are readers who would not agree with you on what constitutes strange. Even in society there are schisms as to what constitutes “normal behaviour”. Furthermore, In any given individual there are ideological ambiguities present; this does not necessarily imply hypocrisy or schizophrenia, but complexity. For instance. I love speaking freely, often “colorfully”. I hold it as valuable to be able to converse with friends without any form of censorship. This does not make me a hypocrite when I use “less colorful language when I converse with my granny. Tactfulness, as a value, overrides my value of straight-shooting chatter. I wish I had a better example of this: but I genuinely experience human reality to be littered with such ambiguities. When I say “other prerogatives” (you asked about this), I am referring to these complex interactions of values.

    [When (by your definition) do we have to stop living and letting live?] i’m unsure of what you are asking here.

    I meant to ask: When, by your consideration, does something become more than you can just “let slide”, something that should be adressed? And try avoiding “when people get hurt”. A lot of girls are crushed yearly by beauty pageants: does that make them evil affairs, that must be stopped?

    I prefer to see sexism as undue projection of cultural roles onto a sex

    Ok. I see what you mean. but I think, in the context of this conversation, when we use the word we are immediately attaching a negative value to it. Your definition can include positive undue projections. stupid example: a woman lands her dream job as an automotive journalist because some big shot producer believes that “women make better drivers”. you get what I am hinting at? sexism in that sense is not necessarily a victimising exercise by such a definition.

    The liberal/conservative thing was just a way to kind of hint at the assumptions we make at each other. reading your reply, if I take your word for it, that idea is not relevant here…

    actually. i would like us to just be able to use the term. I would like use a name like “kaapse kaffirs” for an athiest community , naming atheists as “kaffirs”. I think it would be a positive association because of the historical meaning and the “current” cultural meaning. the experience for a atheist today generally amongst theists or “true believers” is that of being treated like “kaffirs”. Remember preaching has us often the hand of satan, the spoilt and spreaders of filths. that makes it’s way into their day to day. less “just forget” and more “erm.. why are you idiots still doing this to people?” .. either way .. even if the word just becomes the new “fuck” for people that’s still better than the meaning of the word now a new context is needed. I am quite curious about what sibongile has to say.

    It does not seem like you get my point. Creating a new context will not erase the old! furthermore, justified as you might be, I feel your “auto-othering” is a bit melodramatic. I have not come across such attitudes in the (pretty radical) community of which I have been a part for the the last 5 years…

    that is the nature of the devil.
    relational flexibility… flexibility in absolute certainty and absolute certainty against flexibility.

    huh?

    Oh, and Sibongile! please do comment on Gerhard’s questions! I am curious to hear what you have to say.

  • 230 gerhard // Sep 8, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    hugo503

    [care to unpack this some more? not sure I understand. What I was aiming at with the whole relativising exercise (asking whose perspective on strange) was just that there are readers who would not agree with you on what constitutes strange. ] I think we might be talking about two different concepts of strage. i’m not really using strange to signify “noramlity” , it’s more commentry about hypocritical action. i think i am doing x and say i am doing x and am intending to do x but when it comes down to it i actually do y , not even realising i am doing it.

    [This does not make me a hypocrite when I use “less colorful language when I converse with my granny] for sure. the tone of language may change but not the language and not the preposition it’s talking about. for instance. you’re not going to antagonize your gran by changing your stance or subtleties of the argument for the situation.

    [Tactfulness, as a value, overrides my value of straight-shooting chatter.] that entirely depends tho. To require this universally is just plain stupid and regrettably that is what the state of things is. If the language calls for it, then you just shouldn’t apply this. (hence if we scientifically define something as delusional then we shouldn’t redefine it to keep up with relatively subjective sensibilities. )

    [I meant to ask: When, by your consideration, does something become more than you can just “let slide”, something that should be adressed?] ok. I think this depends alot. It depends on what damage gets caused. I think it a bit of a balancing act really , like drugs. fine. the drugs cause damage but actively fighting them causes more. So what do you do? one compromises a little. Let it do the damage , but try and manage it. learn what the damage is. don’t just fucking ignore it or shun those that see it because that just makes the damage worse.

    [Your definition can include positive undue projections.]
    I wrote this program once, the result was often right tho the code generating it was wrong. should it be fixed?
    my objection isn’t whether the result of the projection is right or wrong , it’s the projection itself. if women are the better nurturers because of their nature then fine but does this reflect reality? that is what matters. why say women make better drivers if that is not the case. Even worse so, my soon to be wife would say, does that mean men are worse drivers? turning the positive into a negative.

    [Creating a new context will not erase the old! ] yes, and so it shouldn’t , i am just interested in lessening the emotional charge behind it. it’s like when you were smaller and if someone called you a fuckwit. the words had _real_ meaning back then because it was an absolute taboo. Now , an adult being confronted with it all the time, means the word has less of an emotional charge.

    [huh?] word of god being open to interpretation, however , science is considered un-interpretation-able.
    (science got rid of absolute certainty and implies that the universe can only be interpreted. ) the way i see it.

  • 231 Bad Ben // Sep 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    I think we might be talking about two different concepts of strage. i’m not really using strange to signify “noramlity” , it’s more commentry about hypocritical action. i think i am doing x and say i am doing x and am intending to do x but when it comes down to it i actually do y , not even realising i am doing it.

    So you’re saying if a person is not fully self-aware of their behaviour and the motivations thereof, and everything is in perfect consistency with each other, then that is a strange person? Am I still missing your point?

    for sure. the tone of language may change but not the language and not the preposition it’s talking about. for instance. you’re not going to antagonize your gran by changing your stance or subtleties of the argument for the situation.

    Not sure I follow I am afraid. In my opinion medium and message are inseparable. Speaking with my gran will most definitely affect both my style of speech and the content thereof. Plus I think you might be missing the point of my analogy: its about the interplay of values; not language.

    If the language calls for it, then you just shouldn’t apply this. (hence if we scientifically define something as delusional then we shouldn’t redefine it to keep up with relatively subjective sensibilities. )

    what do you mean? example?

    ok. I think this depends alot. It depends on what damage gets caused. I think it a bit of a balancing act really , like drugs. fine. the drugs cause damage but actively fighting them causes more. So what do you do? one compromises a little. Let it do the damage , but try and manage it. learn what the damage is. don’t just fucking ignore it or shun those that see it because that just makes the damage worse.

    Exactly! these are the kinds of ambiguities of human-experience that I am referring to! for instance: the value of “drugslessness” might be overridden by the value of “care”. If “drugslessness” were allowed to go unchecked, the end would probably justify the means, and drug-users could be put to death. Do you follow me?

    I wrote this program once, the result was often right tho the code generating it was wrong. should it be fixed?
    my objection isn’t whether the result of the projection is right or wrong , it’s the projection itself. if women are the better nurturers because of their nature then fine but does this reflect reality? that is what matters. why say women make better drivers if that is not the case. Even worse so, my soon to be wife would say, does that mean men are worse drivers? turning the positive into a negative.

    good point. I am interested in what some others have to say about this.

    OPINIONS PLEASE PEOPLE!

    (science got rid of absolute certainty and implies that the universe can only be interpreted. )

    what do you mean? where do you get this theory from? do any of the other readers agree?

  • 232 Kenneth Oberlander // Sep 8, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    [huh?] word of god being open to interpretation, however , science is considered un-interpretation-able.

    This is going to boil down to a semantics issue again (about the meaning of the word interpretation), but I don’t think I agree gerhard.

    An hypothesis is an interpretation. Granted, it is based on some rigourous, mathematical construct, which gives predictive ability, but nevertheless an interpretation. Science is simply the cumulative synthesis of conditionally accepted, evidentially tested, currently un-disproven interpretation.

    The fortunate thing is, we have reality to discriminate between different scientific interpretations of the existing data. 😉

    (science got rid of absolute certainty and implies that the universe can only be interpreted. ) the way i see it.

    Agreed with you on this point though…science is simply a way of saying whose interpretation is objectively better

  • 233 Hugo // Sep 9, 2009 at 1:39 am

    Science: I’m with Kenneth.

    Strange: gerhard is strange.

    Me: I’m working myself to death. More later. Like, in another life perhaps.

    😉

  • 234 gerhard // Sep 9, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    hugo 504

    @ ben
    [So you’re saying if a person is not fully self-aware of their behaviour and the motivations thereof, and everything is in perfect consistency with each other, then that is a strange person? ] huh? .. sorry… I’m probably expressing myself poorly again. I mean strange more of state. “I will not steal” “I do not steal” “i don’t like people who steal” “i have not stolen” but reality is I steal. I act “strange” because i am not aware of it and i would not like to act this way and if i was aware of it i would stop myself. similar to a racist not knowing he’s being a racist even though he knows what racism is and is against racism and that he by his standards would consider himself racist. am i making myself clearer?

    [what do you mean? example?] let me actually take an example from recent science history. h1n1? popular use changed. we broke from the naming convention for sensibilities sake. “oh god , what if we get a psychological connection between the two… oh noooooooo!!!*scream*”

    [Not sure I follow I am afraid. In my opinion medium and message are inseparable. Speaking with my gran will most definitely affect both my style of speech and the content thereof. ] hmmm. so when you’re speaking to your gran who is religious and like talking about religion and with whom you do not agree with on the subject. that will , change the content (ie. opinion or position) to suit the toned down style? Do you see how i could say that is a bad thing? tone down the style if you must but don’t act religious because you feel some socially motivated appropriateness.. the test of a man is going to the Vatican and challenging the clergy in contradiction honestly. I know all too many atheists that will not speak up or worse turn into believers just to avoid the shame or arguments. So yeah. tactfullness would be nice but when you’re talking to that granny and saying her beliefs are delusions by implication then there is no way to be tactful.

    [Do you follow me?] kinda, not sure why you are saying ends justify the means. it very much sounds like utilitarian thinking which isn’t implicitly implied by what i am saying. i’m more interested in spreading the love than to polarize it, obviously within reason. I really struggle to reconcile “compulsion”. Can one honestly punish someone for it? so what about pedophilia? If it gets considered a compulsion ( like one does any other form of sexuality) then it becomes a “damage to ” paedophile vs child thing … and the resolution of such only depends on your culture.. ie. how this subject gets seen in an indian culture vs. your culture.. it’s painful that this stuff is actually quite subjective intellectually.

    @ken
    [ but I don’t think I agree gerhard.] i’m not saying that .. i’m saying that’s what “they” are saying, science can be trusted up until a point… they say as soon as they are confronted with the probabilities and “interpretations” of science “where is the absolute certainty” while being selectively subjective about their absolute truth, the word of god.

    [The fortunate thing is, we have reality to discriminate between different scientific interpretations of the existing data. ] yes, fortunately.. just some people choose not to accept the responsibility.

    [science is simply a way of saying whose interpretation is objectively better] now this.. is .. truth.

    [Is the question “by who’s definition?” ]
    yes, we’re actually going down that road … ben with “strange” and me about this … they all sound so similar , but the devil, as i said, is in the details…

    @hugo , the hugo50x etc is a naming convention for indexing.. . sorry , didn’t notice i was adding that in the final…
    [Jesus’ ideology is not nearly as ill-defined as some people would think.] yes i’m sure. it’s just the interpretation there of that isn’t. good to see u’re in a good mood tho …

    [Strange: gerhard is strange.] everyone is strange but some people are stranger than others.

  • 235 Hugo // Sep 9, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Hmmm, argument by circular reasoning / “assumption”:

    So yeah. tactfullness would be nice but when you’re talking to that granny and saying her beliefs are delusions by implication then there is no way to be tactful.

    reduces to “if you are being untactful then there is no way to be tactful”.

    And people wonder why other people gripe about the whole “let’s call it a delusion” rhetoric of “New Atheism”… hrmph.

    If you kill the “assuming we’re being untactful” part, I immediately state “of course it is possible to be tactful!”

  • 236 gerhard // Sep 9, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    hugo , yes extrapolate what i was saying.. it would be nice…. but … there is no way to reconcile it … replace delusion with any idea that is diametricly opposing. sure you can be polite about it .. but telling someone they are going to hell or suffer eternal damnation is going to is not going to be tactful any way you phrase it. ( and people wonder why people gripe about the whole “lets tell everyone that aren’t like us they are going to hell ” rhetoric of certain form of theism 🙂 )

    exlusively@hugo for introspection.
    also hugo, you are going to go to hell , you know that right? you don’t really lead a particularly a good Christian life. oh you are? but you’re not christain according to my version of christianity … ooooooohhh… you’re stating otherwise… oh well.. what? your bibles backs you up? well mine backs me up?
    don’t worry about me we’ll see who’s right in the end… claims claims claims .. but nothing that could conceivably be backed up. oh wait.. here comes bob. bob makes assertions about the world based on it’s tendencies … bob looks at our claims and declarations and finds nothing to back up our claims except for more claims.. so he seeks proof for our claims and notices that the claims often contradict our observations and that there already exists other claims with proof that explain what we (u and i ) are seeking to explain .. so he uses the words that exist but they offend your and my sensibilities , now we claim, bob has to change the word to one with lessed meaning because you insist anyone who calls what you hold to such high regard as that is a biggot and a fool. well.. how big of us to demand bob’s assertions in a format we approve of. hopefully we could put our offence aside for an intellectual discussion?.

  • 237 Kenneth Oberlander // Sep 9, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    And people wonder why other people gripe about the whole “let’s call it a delusion” rhetoric of “New Atheism”

    Because it is?

    😛

    Sorry, Hugo, I couldn’t resist!

  • 238 Bad Ben // Sep 9, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    replace delusion with any idea that is diametricly opposing.

    This is my whole grip with Modernism. Always reducing everything to binaries. Things aren’t that balck and white. This is why I think you struggle with the idea of a “non-turn-or-burn” Christianity.

    Love the bob story. I struglle to follow all the complex layered implicit meaning, but what I do get is the following (I am assuming you were not being ironic here):

    .. so he uses the words that exist but they offend your and my sensibilities , now we claim, bob has to change the word to one with lessed meaning because you insist anyone who calls what you hold to such high regard as that is a biggot and a fool. well.. how big of us to demand bob’s assertions in a format we approve of. hopefully we could put our offence aside for an intellectual discussion?.

    This discussion can not be monologic. I experience the way you want to talk about our “delusions” as monologic (great ambiguity in that term: mono (ie. singular) logic and/or consisting of a monologue). There is no communicated reality beyond interpretations, and interpretations are not neutral. the are learned. Feel free to argue this. This is why I like the wording of “science is simply a way of saying whose interpretation is objectively better”.

    But I am convinced that “objectively” is a trem which is always going to require a learned norm; a cultural reference point. This problematizes the term. The simply is no universal objective appeal to “Reality” that I have heard that goes beyond using it’s own system of logic to verify itself.

    If anyone has an example do share.

  • 239 Hugo // Sep 9, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Ugh.

    hopefully we could put our offence aside for an intellectual discussion?.

    And you’ve been here how long? Two years? And you still don’t get what I’m on about…

    If I didn’t care about tact: “gerhard must be either daft, have a terrible memory, or show complete and absolute apathy towards me and what I care about.”

    I’ve explained over and over. And over. Both friendly discussion and intellectual debate becomes boring, tedious, if you have to keep on repeating the same thing over and over again.

    hugo , yes extrapolate what i was saying.. it would be nice…. but … there is no way to reconcile it … replace delusion with any idea that is diametricly opposing.

    I don’t quite know what you’re saying here w.r.t. what to do with your previous talk about “delusion”.

    sure you can be polite about it .. but telling someone they are going to hell or suffer eternal damnation is going to is not going to be tactful any way you phrase it.

    I disagree.

    Untactful: “you are going to hell and you will burn for all eternity”.
    Possibly similar to: “you are deluded”.

    I would campaign against both in equal amounts if I feel “you will burn” statements are offending people in the same personal manner as “you are deluded”. I just don’t see it though, I would love it if you could explain to me how the former attacks your identity and makes you doubt your self-worth and your place in society, and in particular, if you could explain to me how such statements stop you from taking part in discussions. Obviously they don’t. (And talking about people being deluded? Would you like to suggest that your talk of “delusional people” doesn’t have the effect of discouraging those supposedly “delusional people” from taking part in the conversation?)

    Moving on, or back, let me give you a concrete example of what I considered to be very tactful:

    “Well basically, I believe that what you do, matters.”

    This came from a Shofarian. Anyone that then goes ahead and says “they are all doomed to untactfulness due to their dogma” is, in my opinion, wrong.

    You could argue the person in question (giving this line above) has a softer impression than the hard-line fundie “all non-believers burn in a hell of fire for all of eternity which is literally years-and-years of experienced torture” belief, but then you’re also playing into my hand, because I’m precisely campaigning to also stop considering all theists “delusional”.

    Just this morning I was thinking about “delusion”:

    (psychology) an erroneous belief that is held in the face of evidence to the contrary

    By that definition, anyone that hasn’t come face-to-face with evidence contrary to their erroneous beliefs, cannot be considered delusional. Someone that has though, can. Since I’ve shared the line above, anyone that has read it and still considers Shofarians doomed to untactfulness, could be considered delusional, at least as much as they might consider theists delusional. Most theists have certainly not seen sufficient evidence against the existence of a creator than they have seen evidence for a creator. Take the favourite: the existence of the world and the universe is great evidence for the existence of a creator, from their perspective. If you argue that it is invalid evidence, then you’re busy arguing they interpret evidence incorrectly, not that they are delusional.

    exlusively@hugo for introspection.

    I tried to introspect as much as I could, but much of that felt like it is building a strawman of me yet again. Or probably still. If there has been evidence on this to the contrary of your strawman beliefs of me, say, … does that mean you are delusional?

    Let me work with the bob example. And I’m now talking about bob explicitly, not about you, gerhard.

    also hugo, you are going to go to hell , you know that right?

    (Comic relief:) Back in 2007 I blogged something with a subject line like “I am going to hell”, yes. 😉

    So… bob comes along and doesn’t know us enough to have any empathy for where we’re at. Fine. I don’t call bob a fool, and I don’t call bob a bigot. I’d consider bob to be judgemental if he is outspoken about it prior to having had a chance to get to know us.

    Next I engage with bob in a discussion. I explain to bob how I feel about his way of looking at things, and I try to explain how I feel about things. If bob continues to be judgemental of the people he is incorrectly stereotyping, while in my opinion not bothering or being interested in understanding how he is wrong, my opinion would state bob is a bigot.

    If bob asks me not to call him a bigot, but complains when I ask him not to call me delusional, say, then I also consider bob to be hypocritical. But bob is still no fool, and I wouldn’t call him a fool.

    However, if, given these developments, bob expects me to be interested in introducing him to all my friends and to spend my limited free time in discussions with him, I would call bob foolish. And I’m now too lazy and time-constrained to explore how to get from “being foolish” to “being a fool”.

    now we claim, bob has to change the word to one with lessed meaning because you insist anyone who calls what you hold to such high regard as that is a biggot and a fool.

    That sentence is a bit loose for good logical deductions, but… it would be foolish to tell bob he “has to change his word”. He doesn’t. It’s a non-sequitur, he doesn’t have to change his word, just like I don’t have to stop calling bob a bigot. If bob discovers that the social-interactions work that way, that he gets called a bigot if he calls others delusional, it is still completely his choice as to how he wants to proceed.

    well.. how big of us to demand bob’s assertions in a format we approve of.

    How big of me to only invite people I like into my home, right? How big of me to only spend my free time with friends… to only have discussions with friends, to not be interested in being insulted.

    Bob can make whatever assertions he wants, wherever he wants. But he would be a fool if he thinks that doesn’t have consequences. Walk through Guguletu shouting racist remarks peppered with”kaffir”, and bob would be a fool to think there would be no consequences, or that someone doesn’t ask him to shut up or fuck off, not so?

    I don’t know if that helped with your introspection at all, it was about bob rather than about you, and it was about me trying to define my words. But I’m also not sure what you wanted me to get out of the introspection you requested above. Please do give more details.

  • 240 Hugo // Sep 9, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Heh, sorry about derailing, guys. Getting back on track (or what I perceive to be the track):

    replace delusion with any idea that is diametricly opposing. sure you can be polite about it .. but telling someone they are going to hell or suffer eternal damnation is going to is not going to be tactful any way you phrase it.

    Exactly! So let’s refrain from being “diametrically opposed” then. 😉 To some degree.

    @Bad Ben:

    But I am convinced that “objectively” is a trem which is always going to require a learned norm; a cultural reference point.

    I disagree with that, depending on the context. I would say one scientific theory is objectively better than another scientific theory if its predictions are more accurate (i.e. it fails to be falsified).

    It might get more hairy if we start talking about things that cannot be empirically tested, say: but then we dwell into the “is that science?” question, and the philosophy of science. String theory, for example, I don’t consider to be science. Yet. No useful predictions, no falsifiability. No objectivity… but they are maybe exploring into realms of theoretical physics where our very presence ruins our objectivity anyway. (Anthropic principle: )

    In physics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the collective name for several ways of asserting that physical and chemical theories, especially astrophysics and cosmology, need to take into account that there is life on Earth, and that one form of that life, Homo sapiens, has attained rationality. The only kind of universe humans can occupy is one that is similar to the current one.

    Back to Bad Ben:

    This problematizes the term. The simply is no universal objective appeal to “Reality” that I have heard that goes beyond using it’s own system of logic to verify itself.

    Once we take a step away from empirical science, then I do agree with you. I.e. if we step into the realm of the human experience of reality.

  • 241 Hugo // Sep 9, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    [Strange: gerhard is strange.] everyone is strange but some people are stranger than others.

    Indeed. 😉 And I’m strangerer than all of you! Muhahaha!

    /me doubts the effectiveness of his attempts at comic relief.

    What were we talking about again? I should probably add a “topic” or “subject” for threaded discussions so that I don’t loose track. 😉

  • 242 Bad Ben // Sep 9, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    Hugo.

    Check: the term “Objectivity” is value laden within an Empirical scientific paradigm. And rightfully so. Certain theories are more valuable than others because they are predictively better, as you have pointed out. So empirical science certainly makes “objective observations” about reality. But Empirical Science cannot exhaustively explore or describe Reality.

    I refer to a “Cultural Reference point” concerning objectivity, because different social systems have differing criteria of what constitutes “objective perception”. For instance aesthetic objectivity. I do not mean to belittle or relativise empirical objectivity, but I cannot accept it as Universal.

    Hope that explains my stance better. I really have expressed myself exceptionally poorly in the last couple of posts!

  • 243 Bad Ben // Sep 9, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Universal –

    not in the sense of

    “Of, relating to, extending to, or affecting the entire world or all within the world”

    but in the sense of

    “Applicable or common to all purposes, conditions, or situations”

  • 244 gerhard // Sep 10, 2009 at 1:01 am

    hgo508

    [This is my whole grip with Modernism. Always reducing everything to binaries.] well there is a lot of space between one and zero but there is a whole universe between them. we’re speaking about the extremes here not everything in between.

    [Things aren’t that balck and white.] exactly, except there are _some_ constraints… bounds.. i’m not proposing a 1-dimentional line here. the line has width which is a natural constraint.

    [ This is why I think you struggle with the idea of a “non-turn-or-burn” Christianity.] heh. I struggle with the idea of theistic religion irrespective of “non-turn-or-burn” or not.

    [This discussion can not be monologic.] agreed.

    [I experience the way you want to talk about our “delusions” as monologic (great ambiguity in that term: mono (ie. singular) logic and/or consisting of a monologue).] ok, i will try use that less. I was a fitting example of what i was saying about tact. i would like you to go more into this idea, why specifically monologic?

    [ There is no communicated reality beyond interpretations, and interpretations are not neutral. the are learned. Feel free to argue this. This is why I like the wording of “science is simply a way of saying whose interpretation is objectively better”.] i think you’re looking at this a bit one dimensionally. science is simply a way of saying whose interpretation is objectively better also means science is simply a way of saying whose interpretation is objectively worse. it’s a constraint generator. best of all, the way it constrains is by revealing bits of reality that open up entire worlds. we’re talking about things on a human level here, like germ theory , electricity, atoms , inside the body.. think of it this way.. we constrained the limitless world of curses and witchcraft to the universe of biology and physics. superstition (ideas to which we have not applied the tools) which knows no bounds always gets constrained while opening up new near limitless layers of reality. you really seem to have a negative idea of the beauty of what we’re talking about.

    [But I am convinced that “objectively” is a trem which is always going to require a learned norm; a cultural reference point. ] *shrug* the tools don’t promis objective truth , they promis a way of getting to objectively better turth.

    [The simply is no universal objective appeal to “Reality” that I have heard that goes beyond using it’s own system of logic to verify itself.] this sounds interesting … can you explain this more not so sure i’m getting the full meaning.. unless you’re saying that one can’t use the tools we use to discover the world to verify the that world we discover? I would argue the results of the tools are what prove them. the tools don’t speak of absolutes because they talk of tendencies. so we’re really talking about a tendency of being correct or not. so either you’re correct.. or you’re not… (sorry i think i might be applying what you’re calling monologic)

    @hugo
    [And you’ve been here how long? Two years? And you still don’t get what I’m on about…]
    yes … 2 years and all i got is a promis for a post. 😛 i know.. you’re about feeding the dualism. j/k

    [If I didn’t care about tact: “gerhard must be either daft, have a terrible memory, or show complete and absolute apathy towards me and what I care about.”] what does tact and personal attacks have in common?
    well a least you didn’t call me a bigot.

    [I don’t quite know what you’re saying here w.r.t. what to do with your previous talk about “delusion”.]
    i mean that tact vanishes as soon as you’re talking about diametrically opposing ideas..

    [Untactful: “you are going to hell and you will burn for all eternity”.
    Possibly similar to: “you are deluded”……. I just don’t see it though, I would love it if you could explain to me how the former attacks your identity and makes you doubt your self-worth and your place in society, and in particular, if you could explain to me how such statements stop you from taking part in discussions…..]
    dude. straw man!!! straw man!!! burn straw. man burn.
    the sentences are incorrect , these are more along the lines of what we’re talking about:
    untactful: you will most probably suffer eternal damnation.
    Possibly not similar to : “the world model you’re using is so removed from reality that if we were to call a spade a spade then we’d call it a delusion ” mind you if read into what is meant then you’ll also see in reality it doesn’t cover _all_theism. so don’t confuse it with some form of universalism.

    [If you argue that it is invalid evidence, then you’re busy arguing they interpret evidence incorrectly, not that they are delusional.] no it counts as evidence but it count as evidence for what they are agreeing .

    [the introspection thing – derailment… ] no comment..

    [tring theory, for example, I don’t consider to be science. Yet. No useful predictions, no falsifiability. No objectivity… but they are maybe exploring into realms of theoretical physics where our very presence ruins our objectivity anyway] yes, but this is the process. first comes the theory .. eventually comes the falsifiability.. until then we can only make sure we stick to the tools that remain eventually they will give us something to work with.

  • 245 Hugo // Sep 10, 2009 at 1:45 am

    @Bad Ben #242 and #243: Agreed.

    @gerhard:

    well there is a lot of space between one and zero but there is a whole universe between them. we’re speaking about the extremes here not everything in between.

    I don’t think you can speak on our behalf here. I, for one, am not interested in speaking about extremes, I’m specifically interested in speaking about the big grey mush that doesn’t even fit nicely between some “two extremes”.

    [If I didn’t care about tact: “gerhard must be either daft, have a terrible memory, or show complete and absolute apathy towards me and what I care about.”] what does tact and personal attacks have in common?

    The connection between tact and personal attacks: Expressing objective-feeling opinions without tact can come across as a personal attack. Thus: even if the discussion is meant to be “intellectual”, in the absence of paralinguistic cues, tact is quite important to avoid having your “factual statements of your impressions” come across as a personal attack.

    dude. straw man!!! straw man!!! burn straw. man burn.

    Dude, we have a communications breakdown here. (What am I straw-manning? My own opinion of what I mean? That doesn’t make sense. Hence: my communication probably wasn’t clear enough / wasn’t interpreted correctly. Unless you mean I’m not understanding you correctly, and am thus responding to a straw-man of you… I’m really just trying to explain what I mean by being tactful. I understood you to suggest that “you are delusional” is no less tactful than “you will burn in hell”. Is that incorrect?)

    no it counts as evidence but it count as evidence for what they are agreeing .

    Je ne comprends pas.

    yes, but this is the process.

    yes, but until it becomes falsifiable, I’m not calling it science. The pursuit of science, sure, but not yet science.

  • 246 Bad Ben // Sep 10, 2009 at 2:54 am

    Gerhard:

    well there is a lot of space between one and zero but there is a whole universe between them. we’re speaking about the extremes here not everything in between.

    Not sure I agree. I think our problem is that we place ourselves at the extremes, because we assume we are dealing with the other extreme. Fact is even the extremes are often much more complex than we’d like to admit; because it’s easy to caricature our “enemies” I.E. those who are “diametrically opposed” to us. We end up learning nothing about each other; beause we assume to know already.

    Thats kind of what I mean with monologic. That and only having regard for one’s own logic. I have been guilty of this before.

    [Things aren’t that balck and white.] exactly, except there are _some_ constraints… bounds.. i’m not proposing a 1-dimentional line here. the line has width which is a natural constraint.

    This is an example of a really carelessly ambiguous statement on my part. sorry about that. What it boils down to is that saying “things are not black and white” is pretty much omnibiguous. We are probably not on the same page here…

    heh. I struggle with the idea of theistic religion irrespective of “non-turn-or-burn” or not.

    fair enough.

    you really seem to have a negative idea of the beauty of what we’re talking about.

    Sorry. This is but my poor command of the english language. Refer to #242 & 243 for a better idea of how I feel about science.

    *shrug* the tools don’t promis objective truth , they promis a way of getting to objectively better turth.

    I’d exchange “objectively” with “empirically”. “objectively” is misleading, but I think I agree.

    this sounds interesting … can you explain this more not so sure i’m getting the full meaning.. unless you’re saying that one can’t use the tools we use to discover the world to verify the that world we discover? I would argue the results of the tools are what prove them. the tools don’t speak of absolutes because they talk of tendencies. so we’re really talking about a tendency of being correct or not. so either you’re correct.. or you’re not… (sorry i think i might be applying what you’re calling monologic)

    once again refer to 242 & 243, for a better idea of what I mean. I’m no radical relativist. I’d rather say the tools were fashioned for a very specific use: you cannot do everything with a single tool; you need other tools as well. Istruggle to follow the logical jump from tendencies to either being correct or not. This isn’t monologue. Monologue is when you assume you know how I think or what I want to say (or at least come across as such) to the point of me not really communicating anything – so I might as well say nothing (extremely put – it’s not always so harshly applied). Or when you come across as closed to any kind of interchange. OR just coming across as KNOWING you are right, and not being the least bit self-reflective. It often feels like such a person is talking alone.

    I genuinely don’t mean to accuse you of this. I guess I probably came across this way towards Monkey. don’t take it personally. I am enjoying the conversation. There’s little in it at this stage that feels monologic. (the granny bit did – thats probably why Hugo responded so…vigorously)

  • 247 Kenneth Oberlander // Sep 10, 2009 at 8:29 am

    science is simply a way of saying whose interpretation is objectively better also means science is simply a way of saying whose interpretation is objectively worse. it’s a constraint generator. best of all, the way it constrains is by revealing bits of reality that open up entire worlds. we’re talking about things on a human level here, like germ theory , electricity, atoms , inside the body.. think of it this way.. we constrained the limitless world of curses and witchcraft to the universe of biology and physics. superstition (ideas to which we have not applied the tools) which knows no bounds always gets constrained while opening up new near limitless layers of reality.

    gerhard, possibly one of the best few sentences you’ve ever written here.

    @Bad Ben:

    Check: the term “Objectivity” is value laden within an Empirical scientific paradigm. And rightfully so. Certain theories are more valuable than others because they are predictively better, as you have pointed out. So empirical science certainly makes “objective observations” about reality.

    Not all values are created equal. Every idea will always come with some load of subjective baggage imposed by the fact that the idea comes from a human mind. This doesn’t mean that such a value-laden idea cannot be useful to the scientific method. Even if pure objectivity is an unattainable ideal, a reasonable approximation thereof will still be quite an effective tool.

    But Empirical Science cannot exhaustively explore or describe Reality.

    Hmmm…OK, technically I agree with you. Explore: we can’t ever explore the entire universe. Describe: all models are simplifications.

    I do not mean to belittle or relativise empirical objectivity, but I cannot accept it as Universal.

    I would cautiously agree, depending on what you mean by Universal. However, it is still the best method we’ve got to describe and explore Reality, to use your phrasing.

  • 248 Hugo // Sep 20, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    @gerhard, recapping my #126. gerhard wrote in #124:

    what else is going on over there? what other things are they so eagerly constructing. a prophecy? is he wanting to be a messiah or what? I would love to look at their “books” and listen in on their chatter.

    I wrote in #126:

    The second part sounds like you actually want me to continue with my original plan for my blog, when you so successfully derailed it and seemingly tried to shut it down in the past, to the point of me postponing any further investigation until I have the infrastructure to deal with the likes of the “past you”… or similar derailings, coming from other sides. Such infrastructure is a good idea anyway, so I’m not angry at the moment, I just hope you can understand how from my viewpoint it seems as though you’ve kinda pulled a 180…

    The first thing I want to admit, is that my impression of gerhard’s request is probably quite different from what he had in mind. I dropped the previous two sentences of gerhard’s #124 to pull out and highlight just the bit that supports the interpretation that gerhard is making an “apparent 180”. On reread I do recognise I didn’t treat that comment fairly.

    So let me explain the perceived 180 I was alluding to, mostly according to the world-inside-my-head:

    I’ve explained many times where I would like to take this blog. I would like to explore Shofar’s theology, for example. At the beginning of the year I mentioned Bible School. And I’ve tried to explain many times, I cannot do so if we, community-wise, general atmosphere, is going to be “anti-“. That would just be a total waste of my time. The point is to recognise the good, to understand what it is about, to have a positive, inquisitive, eager-to-learn and open-minded attitude. Only with that general approach by the community as a whole, am I prepared to tackle it. Only with that general approach, can I then critically evaluate the theology and point out the parts that seem harmful, or can become actively harmful when construed in certain ways or in certain contexts. I need the space to balance it in similar fashion as I tried to do with the Pepper Spraying Streakers at Shofar post.

    There absolutely must be room for open communication from all sides. If there isn’t, I’ll shut it down. Which is exactly what I’ve done, for closer to 20 months, because of gerhard. Sorry, not gerhard, because of the subset of humanity that gerhard and saneman represent here on the blog.

    And as I said: I’m not angry, it isn’t a problem with gerhard and saneman as individuals, it is a problem with the internet at large. I’ve spent many, many hours trying to argue gerhard/saneman “into line” (with regards to what I’d like here), and I’ve failed. Because that isn’t them, it really looks to be a lost cause, or at least a very inefficient use of time, because there are many, many more where they came from. E.g. the “Dawkins-fanboys” that misrepresent Dawkins and cause other people to avoid his book like the plague precisely because they don’t want to become like those people that seem to be touting his book as the new canon. God-Delusion-thumpers 😉 , “a pejorative term used to describe Christians Dawkins-fanboys in general, especially someone perceived as aggressively pushing their Christian atheistic beliefs upon those who do not share them.” (“God-Delusion-thumpers” is too long. How about we just call them “Delusion-thumpers”?)

    Enough with the excursion into the background context, here’s where my mind was pointing when it came up with the 180-thought: gerhard’s previous stance seemed to be that this blog is harmful and should rather be shut down, discontinued, etc. He didn’t like a blog that, as per a big part of its mission, seeks to explore “their books, sermons, foundation courses, bible schools, and some chatter”. And then in #124 gerhard said what seems to be the complete opposite, declaring his interest in exactly that:

    I would love to look at their “books” and listen in on their chatter.

    I suppose the non-negotiables are just not accepted. And delays will continue until I can sensibly cope with that whole class of problems, without risking the slippery slope of me personally having to decide in an all-or-nothing publish-or-delete which comments should be accepted and which should not. (If my dreams come true, I will still end up with a similar problem, but it will not be “all-or-nothing”, and others will also have some say as to what hits the “front-page” for newcomers with unknown preferences. I will give others as much of a say as is possible.)

  • 249 gerhard // Sep 22, 2009 at 9:37 am

    *Sigh* seriously? hugo. you really are helpless. that world-inside-your-head needs some working on.

  • 250 gerhard // Sep 22, 2009 at 11:39 am

    [gerhard’s previous stance seemed to be that this blog is harmful and should rather be shut down, discontinued, etc. He didn’t like a blog that, as per a big part of its mission, seeks to explore “their books, sermons, foundation courses, bible schools, and some chatter”.] if only you had that much common sense. the discussions which started all that were posts were you frivilously attack things you refuse to inform yourself on. so yes. if you are going to write a post condemning dawkins , his book and his readers, while stating that you won’t even bother reading the book because you refuse to then you’re a fucking schmuck and will get treated like one. I at least gave you the benefit of trying to get where you were coming from , even read / read up on some of the ‘angles dancing on the head of a pin’ so that i can contribute productively to the discussion. what did you call me in a previous post? biggot?

    as for the “Dawkins-fanboys” provocation. do you really think dawkins speaks for me? that the sum of my atheism has _anything_ to do with him? yes, you pope-fanboys. jesus , had you called me a hitchens-fanboy then maybe i could let this slide but fuck. he’s far more rational.. but dawkins the eternal pussy? holy crap. how little backbone do you think i have?

  • 251 Hugo // Sep 22, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Dude, you’re being a bit too sensitive now. I don’t think of you as a Dawkins fanboy. Don’t think everything I write is about you… 😉

  • 252 Hugo // Sep 22, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    I don’t mean you’re “sensitive” in the loaded sense of the word, I only mean you’re wearing shoes that I didn’t intend for you.

    I’m on a phone, can write more another day when I’m at a computer again, in the meantime just these short two.

    Could you explain, you seem to take the “bigot” thing quite badly? I can’t remember the context anymore (in what context I called you bigot?), but I do remember defining my terms above, the various ones for various behaviours. I do not recall you challenging my definitions or explaining how you don’t fit them, or asking me to clarify examples where I said or implied you meet my definition?

    Together with that, I would like to know whether you consider bigot a worse label than “delusional”, and if so, why? I recall you suggesting it’s fine or at least unavoidable to call your gran delusional, and suggesting we should make “kaffir” an accepted word… why’s “bigot” a problem for you?

    And in this comment I am *not* calling you a bigot! If I called you that recently, it was in a particular context for a particular interaction. I would do well to distinguish between a bigot, and bigotry ot a bigotted comment, much like I’d distinguish between being evil and doing evil (not suggesting bigotry is evil here, only illustrating”what we do” versus “what we are”).

    My mad provocational posts were a crazy phase in which I experimented and provoked to see what I’ll be dealing with on the atheist side once I find more fundies to take part in the conversation – amongst other reasons. Can tell you more about that phase, which I’m not particularly proud of, if you’d like to know.

    Can’t believe I just typed out all of that on my phone, while next to lake Geneva. Back to my vacation and family, will be back later or another day. Go in peace, H

  • 253 chozen_1 // Sep 28, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    On submitting to the Church’s leadership/authority, here’s some biblical truth: Hebrews 13:17- “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account”. Your grievance is often expressed by people who want to live as they want and often that’s a life not built on accountability.

  • 254 chozen_1 // Sep 28, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    On submitting to the Church’s leadership/authority (at Shofar or anywhere), here’s some biblical truth: Hebrews 13:17- “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account”. Your grievance is often expressed by people who want to live as they want and often that’s a life not built on accountability.

  • 255 Hugo // Sep 28, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Hi chozen_1! A quick question, how do you go about choosing which leader you obey?

  • 256 chezen_1 // Sep 29, 2009 at 2:12 am

    Hi Hugo.

    You obey the bible. “How can you say you love me if you don’t do what I tell you to do?” -Jesus Christ. So, who do we choose to obey? We obey the leadership that WE CHOOSE to be under. You choose the Church that you think follows bible teachings and submit to its leadership.

  • 257 Hugo // Sep 29, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Ah, ok. I was wondering what you would say about Islamic fundamentalists, how you feel they should choose their leaders, or how or why they should challenge their leaders. I understand you would say they’re reading and obeying the wrong book.

    If you’d like to answer this one: how does one choose which book? How would you expect a Muslim to think about who or what they are obeying?

    On to the Bible, do you feel the Bible gives clear, concise, unambiguous guidance as to what you should be doing / obeying? (The reason I ask, is because I’m under the impression it speaks with “multiple voices”, there are a number of things that are in “dynamic tension”, some pulling one way, some pulling another, and the golden path being somewhere down the middle. Example: Proverbs is big on conventional wisdom, Job challenges conventional wisdom.)

    And at what point and how do you challenge your leadership when you feel it is being or doing wrong? I suppose the leadership is considered wrong if it isn’t following what the Bible is saying? Then you would engage your leadership in conversation to try and direct it in the right direction, or would you go look for new leadership?

  • 258 Chozen_1 // Oct 2, 2009 at 4:30 am

    I am not going to entertain the question of religion or which book is the right book. I was under the impression that I was talking to someone who derives his spiritual guidance from the bible and believes in the God of that bible. My reply is limited to such a person. People of other faiths should follow their books too and I have no knowledge of what their books say, so I will not comment on how they should deal with the issue of submitting to leadership. I am not the kind of person who imposes my religion onto others. I respect people’s choices and preferences.

  • 259 Hugo // Oct 2, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Thanks Chozen_1! That answers my questions very well, because they’re not only about looking for reasons/answers, but also about being curious about your views in particular. (You answered giving your views, thanks!)

    I have heard a Jew suggest that Judaism isn’t as fragmented as Christianity. That’s another thing I’m interested (the first: inter-religion-fragmentation, this one: intra-religion-fragmentation 😉 ).

    Back to your first comment (sharing that biblical truth on leadership), would you be interested in sharing your views on fragmentation within Christianity? Thoughts crossing my mind: do you self-label as “Bible believing Christian”? And if so, do you feel those (Christians) that don’t follow that path are drifting off the path they believe they are following? (E.g. “liberal Christianity”.)

    I hope to write a post in defence of leadership soon, from my own more “liberal” perspectives, I’ve discovered I much appreciate good leadership as well – possibly taking a slightly different view on what makes a good leader. Might be an interesting discussion. I’ll also try to find out how “the leaders I choose” think about leadership and that particular verse. (I’ve heard someone suggest a certain style of leadership is particularly Christian, but am not sure what it’s based on yet – I’ll come back to y’all on this.)

  • 260 Hugo // Oct 2, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Another thought:

    Hebrews 13:17- “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account”. Your grievance is often expressed by people who want to live as they want and often that’s a life not built on accountability.

    I find “they are those who will have to give an account” is interesting. And if there’s misguided/misguiding leadership, there’s the defence of “but I followed my leader’s instructions, so I’m in the clear”, which is also a kind of not taking responsibility, not wanting to be accountable for personal choices. (Especially if a leader were to give instructions that thrill the followers, because it’s something they would want to do, and now they have a “good excuse” to do it.)

  • 261 Hugo // Oct 2, 2009 at 11:11 am

    The full verse 17:

    17Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

    The angle The Message gives on this:

    17Be responsive to your pastoral leaders. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God. Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harder for them?

    Reading the full verse thus seems to suggest the verse has at least as much to do with helping out the leadership as it does with helping out the congregation? Actually, I’m still making a bad mistake: isolating verses. I just took a look at the whole chapter of that letter of Paul to the Hebrews. I find it helps my appreciation of verses to more fully contextualise them.

    Thoughts?

  • 262 Hugo // Oct 2, 2009 at 11:27 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJuUy0x1ag4

  • 263 SATAN // Oct 19, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Hi

    Pleased to meet you. Allow Me to introduce myself and the personal nature of my game. Step back, stop arguing and please give the human some credit. Fair’s fair. For over fifteen years this man May has single handily laboured to give Me strength through fanning flames of belief in Me via fear. I had no power, no place, and no dominion – that was all … er, taken from Me through trickery a long, long time ago. Then he came along and like so many others, he needed Me to get something he didn’t have and couldn’t get but wanted. So there was a little trade-off and he got it. I’m his straight bogeyman. He needs Me and I need humans like him. Listen to him preach Me with such passionate conviction.

    He must obviously preach lots of Carrot too but I’m his real stick. And, eventually … everyone believes in The Stick.

    Humans irritate Me with that old humdinger that my greatest trick was to convince the world I don’t exist, pah! Child’s play. The greatest trick is to hide right out in the open where everyone sees and hears and looks right at Me. Like right here, in that letter May wrote. I could say to you, Friend: I write, therefore I exist – but that would be superfluous. I truly exist, and existence is measured in the means to exert and fulfil my will, because humans like my friend May do exactly what I need of them by creating that very space for Me. Inside.

    Contemplate Me.

    How many people would have actually contemplated Satanism in Stellenbosch until he spoke? Believed I stand as an ancient stronghold of wickedness over the whole town? Erm, probably none. Well, there were probably none. Now? Hahaha! And those few misguided idiots in your world who do lack dress sense and do try to give Me weird attention do bugger all for Me anyway. No matter how disgusting they act or how much chicken blood they drink. Urgh. Get over it and come inside. My true home, and the only one I truly deserve, is right inside a very brightly lit church. At the very top of the pyramid, front and centre with every eye and ear fixed on my mouthpiece, and all the video cameras catching every last word about Me. Without question. Be real, how else would I exist or have power in lives around May, exactly like he testifies, without his detailed teaching and his entire following’s utter conviction that this is entirely possible? More than possible, it is, dare I say it … a God-given fact.

    Whose demons does he actually cast out over and over?

    Anyone?

    Are we having faith yet?

    See, the only place I can exist in on earth – is in a warm, selfish, frightened human mind carefully stuffed with bits of the Bible. I’ve lost count of the families May has helped Me to split, because once I’m in his follower’s minds – the totally crazy thing is they start looking for Me everywhere!!! Outside of themselves!!! Now there is a wood without a tree in sight. And they use those little bits and pieces of the Bible to “find Me”. And they do, they do when they look hard enough, usually in their parents and siblings first, then all their ex-friends outside his organisation and onto indifferent strangers and other churches. How??? Oh, we always use the Bible together with something May invented and then wove Me into subtlety called “Shofar Foundations”; and this is packaged as something we like to call “The WHOLE Gospel to the whole world”. I make it the WHOLE Gospel. Lord Carrot’s Stick. All anyone outside his organisation has to do – is appear to reject this or be utterly disinterested in playing with Me and we start for real-real hide and go seek. And all that fine ol’ Holy Ghost religion and dead sound teaching frightens the believing followers about Me so effectively that they cling together for safety and take every bit of May’s WHOLE advice about Me.

    Boo.

    The most fun thing of all is when they blame Me for everything. Runny noses to damp weather. I love it. I love it. I love it. It’s like free steroids of belief for Me when they start praying to (against hahaha) Me, and damn if he doesn’t teach them things I’ve never even dreamed of. Like one of my people is responsible for homosexuality. Whut?? An’ Whooweee!!! Free Kudos! Thank you May. See, that there opened up worlds and worlds of new possibilities for Me. Since sermon #1: Shattered families a total guarantee! Glorious religious truths at work. Great days! Great days!

    May’s expressed hatred (of haha wickedness) feeds from Me. Oh, you forgot – God doesn’t hate Me. God doesn’t hate anyone. Even atheists, although I have no personal use for the hardheaded creeps with their indomitable Science and remorseless pandering of Reason. They are the bane of my existence. Could even destroy me. I need fear, irrational burgeoning fear and I have an unspoken arrangement with May based on his own repressed odium and political bitternesses and … erm; in case anyone is asking, he is actually politically entitled to the love of the other (his previously-advantaged follower’s money). Anyway they give it to “God” willingly and in fear of Me. Fair’s fair, his pride is my hook and money is a big part of what he wanted to service it – or … there is still The Stick…

    Now, no one can stop us because a deal is a deal. Buy the DVD’s.

    To nullify Me would cost something purely human but nevertheless quite possible. It’s called unconditional love, boundless tolerance and wholehearted acceptance. Blanket forgiveness, tangible mercy and actual justice to the destitute, broken and downtrodden.

    See, I can say those words. Without fear. So can May. Any human can. Break out the Bible – who is kidding whom? The Lord commanded these. But, try and repair over fifteen years of actual bitterness and the families wrecked or injured by the WHOLE gospel. Ruined friendships … suckers. Unsaved sinners. They refuse to submit so they deserved to be rejected and damned using bits of the Bible until, if they ain’t dead yet, they choose to repent and follow May’s WHOLE gospel.

    This is my game. And I’m winning six-six-six – Shofar love.

    So what is God getting out of this game (you might wonder)? Well, He gets all the Praise and Worship. All of it. And you should hear it. Sounds incredible. Got a lot of soul in there too. Really. Music you can get lost in. Real healthy stuff. Like carrot juice.

    Nothing negative.

    Praise God!

    See.

    And as long as we play God will always get all the Praise and Worship, but He gets all their shopping lists and the exciting militant manipulation the followers have learned to call Prayer too. Me? I give them their well-earned arrogance and the “purity” castes of pride up towards Me and in turn am able to be unconstrained in harvesting all their fear. Come listen to May. Once the music and tongues stop … I get invited to come out…

    Like I said: Wanna come and play?

    Nowhere have I a disciple more dedicated to seeking the personal glory and satisfaction of “re-defeating” Me. Nowhere have I disciple who attracts more fascination when teaching Me and commanding Me to manifest and re-manifest in the vulnerable heads he creates rent-free space for Me to be in. Nowhere have I a disciple who is more keenly aware that Scripture is so easily flexible for our mutual purposes. Nowhere have I disciple so dedicated to my ultimate cause/effect: bringing death to friendships and love relationships from two degrees of separation and one religious degree of safety, and always using bits of the Bible underwritten with a spite of Me. I might still be in chains, not even able to lift my pointy little tail but can you hear those relationships shattering under The Stick? Can you feel the revulsion the real gospel (I mentioned back there) suffers at the hands and mouths of the WHOLE gospel? To be Me or not to be Me … am I truly an anthropomorphological question?

    Definitely not the Imaginary Bard of a billion little monkeys.

    I wasn’t actually responsible for the naked men that was pure fluke and a bit of luck on our part. And apparently they were only drinking beer and tequila, not chicken blood, but close enough and it gave us an opportunity to let my boy rip about my “works” in Stellebosch and preach to the whole world about Me for the very first time. Pity there wasn’t enough closure and they weren’t gang raped in a non-occult prison ritual too. But do pass this on to everyone you know and read the “Friend” letter again; Fred expounds his passionate, cute and downright sexy disgust of Me far better.

    Don’t you think my children are sweet? Matt 23:15

    Lucifer the Satan.

  • 264 Michael // Oct 19, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Interesting. Just be careful not to call any congregation “a very brightly lit church” where satan likes to hang out. That’s mud-slinging, and just as much a source of glee to your namesake. While I agree with you about witchhunts and religiosity, it’s not necessary to get personal in these things.

  • 265 Hugo // Oct 20, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    I like Michael’s response, spot-on. Kudos!

  • 266 Michael // Oct 31, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Hey… this is not spam. I want your distinguished opinion [Hugo] on the question I ask in this blog entry:

    http://michaelrowancurle.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/subjective-truth-in-the-classroom/

    I think it’s right up your alley. And I would sincerly like some answers to this question myself for my own teaching carreer.

  • 267 Hugo // Oct 31, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Hey Michael, I’m on holiday at the moment, I will try to give a good and thoughtful reply there maybe tomorrow night, otherwise later this week, focusing on your last three “paragraphs”.

    With regards to Prof Horn’s views, they are objectively wrong. 😉 I can point at some old blog posts of mine that respond to some of his points, or write a quick summary of where he’s missing the bus, but I suspect you mean rather for me to use his bias as a backdrop for a discussion on your last question(s)?

    My next response on this will be on your blog, I’ll work with my assumptions above unless you correct me. And the study guide is specifically on “Teaching Natural Science”, so I’ll talk mostly in the context of science, what belongs in that class and what belongs elsewhere, and aim for sensitivity towards… teaching in a Christian school, with parents having an explicit expectation of children being taught Christian values.

    For now I’ll let my thoughts develop. 😉

  • 268 SATAN // Feb 17, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Michael, Michael … we Archangels are supposed to be above, or below … all this (as the case may be). Mud slinging me feathery compadre?

    Teeny little ouch there my winged and very ancient cohort. Teeny. Ouchie.

    See my Brother – y’all can’t sling shit at a shit slinger … it ALL be in yo nigga face a’ready – an’ dat a basic fact. I wuz just pointing out a basic and very clear fact about every person what has received the dear Lord Jesus as they very own personal, very personal SAVIOUR!!!!.

    Nobody in a chuch for da udder nigga – dat nigga, he dere for hisself. No, NO udder nigga – nossir. Hisself. Makin’ shooor Lor’ Jeebus an’ de Holy spook whut fuck Mary in dat one night stand we call Chris’mas doan burn his nigga ass when he shuffle, or lynch off (as the case may be) his niggaz mortal coil. An’ dat de truth Boss. Gimme a Bible, I’ll swear yo mamma if dat convince you it be da tru’t.

    Me, I was just making an observation, and damn me warden can’t a man have a tiny giggle once in a while at the expense of his supposed captors?

    Put your sword away Michael, the bars are too small to poke it through and you ain’t allowed to unlock the door…The Church has never, and will never have anything to do with Christianity, like Me – it is basically the most selfish thing in existence.

    Wanna die yet?

  • 269 SATAN // Feb 19, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Michaeal, kleilat you say: “My true home, and the only one I truly deserve, is right inside a very brightly lit church. ….”

    (Where did I get you … show me … c’mon if I got you I got you …)

    AND Please pretty please Mike, with all of them cherries on top

    Let’s not forget, we talking about everywhere the money gets counted, right after the meeting…Doing Jebus and the Holy Spookfuck – nigga dat all cost real MUNNY.

    One Blessing, two Blessings,
    Three Blssings, Four
    Five Hallelujah Blessings
    Dear God I want so much more

    Like a smoke, Mike pass a smoke through the bars … I know you doan like my ass no more, Hell, (hehe) I know you don’t smoke too but ask that Jah Rastafari fella three cells down from me to help a feathered friend out?

    I obviouly don’t need a light.

  • 270 Michael // Feb 20, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Umm… ok. I don’t know what I said to get you angry, and I certainly have no idea what you were talking about when you reverted to the slang. Maybe you could try more formal English. Cheers.

  • 271 SATAN // Feb 20, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    I’m not angry my feathered friend, what on or under the earth gave you that impression? Words like glee actually do come to mind (and dark evil spirit)… Dare I say it again Mike … ? Wanna be a teacher you say? Influence the ig’no’nt kiddies you reckon? It might be a Heebus Jeebus goody-goody idea to remove one of the three rrr’s out of “carreer” back there Teacher – try it like this: Career.

    It’s called spelling. I prefer to do it consistently in any number of dialects and languages. See, then you will have a much greater command over the English language yourself and maybe, maybne you will be able to keep up when anyone else plays around with meaningless wordies. Poor sweet Angel wanting so hard to be right.

    Micheal at the exact moment of death – you will experience nothing except death.

    No Heebus Jeebus, no lions, no lambs, no heavenly choir, no holy virgins or the Great Holy Spookfuck, not even biting sarcasm (since you are that way inclined) – just physiological and psychological oblivion.

    This is all you have waiting for you Mike, no more, no less. But for you … and the gazillions like you punting medieval supersitions like Me for faith and profit – it sounds like less because of your obvious fear fueled fantasies of the now.

    Do you think your irrational fears of the Geat Sabre Tooth Fairy In The Sky are so powerful and so threatening as to warrant more war? Anger? Real hurting anger? Dear God, why would something so stupid make me angry? Methinks thou dost seek means to avoid my humble request, Your Feathery Highness.

    Bum me a smoke from one of the other damned. I won’t tell if you won’t tell…Hell we all end up mostly evaporated water and carbon anyway. And does “Cheers” mean you gonna slip me a bottle of Scotch through the bars with that smoke or is that glib comment only ordinary Chistian doublespeak for “Fuck You”?

    Be honest. I know … it’s sooo hard.

    Lucifer the Satan

    (P.S.) I didn’t make anyone do it.

  • 272 Hugo // Feb 20, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Hoi, “satan”, what exactly are your intentions here? What are you trying to contribute to the discussion? If your purpose here is anything other than for your personal entertainment, I’d like to have a serious (even if brief) discussion about that, since from my perspective it doesn’t look like you’re accomplishing anything useful with your way of communicating. (A hit&run would’ve been quaint and entertaining, but you’re sticking around, so it isn’t that.)

    If your only purpose here is to entertain yourself, can I ask you kindly to please fuck off? Thanks.

  • 273 SATAN // Feb 21, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Editor’s executive summary in first-person narrative:

    “I’m some random guy that previously commented as Mon(k)ey. It appears I’m trying to pick a fight with a charismatic/fundamentalist Christian for my own entertainment, but my quaint style means no-one really understands what I’m trying to say here. Your choice whether you want to waste your time trying.”


    Oops … Simon says you didn’t tell me to: Fuck Off in Jesus Name!!!, And secondly: I was dragged into this discussion kicking and screaming with eyes pissing from tear gas – so Sir, please be so kind as not to accuse me of something as cheap and anti-social as gatecrashing a party. Luv to fuck off, truly I would but then someone woud have to answer my key question:

    To be Me or not to be Me … am I truly an anthropomorphological question?

    And no sir, it is doubtful I’ll disappear in a puff of logic or emotional spite that fast – because only Micheal or Bad Ben or even the great Pastor May could answer that particular question, (hell) let any happy-clappy take it on because I like listening to them still stubbornly lie to themselves for imaginary gain described in some book they barely understand at the full expense of life and the rest of the people in this world itself. That is some seriously sick adult entertainment with no intellectual rules, and subsequenly demands exactly the responses it gets. So, here I am, the Dark Lord and sum of all their written fears and just trying to bum a smoke from a Christian. The worst liars in existence playing an ancient lying game.

    Utterly sane people like Gehard and Kenneth know I don’t exist, pointless even saying Hi to them, yet still I’m here under heated (hehe) discussion, and if you want me so bad that you don’t want me – then you are right in the hot zone…

    Mud in your eye there dude.

  • 274 Bendul // Feb 21, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Satan; with all due respect. But I am with Hugo. The cuteness has worn off. You are no longer amusing or witty – if not only to yourself. And while your “arguments” might be utterly convinceing to the likes of Saneman and Gerhard, I doubt anyone who does not share your convictions will even consider them to be anything other than an emotional rant.

  • 275 Hugo // Feb 21, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Dude, way too predictable. 😉 (OK, not really predictable, I was pretty much flipping a coin in my mind wondering whether you’d quip about “in Jesus’ name”.)

    I like listening to them still stubbornly lie to themselves for imaginary gain

    OK, it seems we’ve established you’re here for entertainment. The kind of discussion you declared you’d like is certainly not what you’ll get based on your style, so I would still like to know who exactly you are trying to engage here? And how do you expect your style to help? (I suppose if you’re trying to engage me into trying to have this discussion I’m trying to have, then your style was indeed successful.)

  • 276 SATAN // Feb 21, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Oops again … wrong answer. Okay, actually no answer at all. Just some ad demonhem. Didn’t even need to flip a Denarius on that one but I do love you stepping into my pointy little shoes in the first person, one of those kinda (don’t) watch this bullshit coming type of storm warnings (and so utterly out of character for you Hugo, huh? And no dude, I’m not trying to engage you)…

    but then again, as an anonymous coward:

    I launch Cruise missiles everywhere.
    I cause the sweaty Palestinian kid to pull the detonator on his chest in the bus
    I grab the bald little cock of a sweet little choir boy.
    I slaughter and dig mass graves for Communists and burn their gook mutherfucking asses with Agent O.
    I planted the bomb in Omagh.
    I defraud people of money.
    I tell the naked kiddies the stones are soap and vhip them into the gas chambers.
    I tell my gay brother he is worth less than a dead mad cow being burned.
    I explain exactly why we must destroy them for oil.
    I invented Hell and hatred and the rules of holy division.
    I started the Crusades.
    I created AIDS
    I play evil music
    I steal laughter.
    I even steal children in Haiti.
    I am murdering your world.
    I am the ALL Seeing Eye.
    I sweat and scream about Jesus on TV 24 hours a day.

    I, I ,I … am the Gospel Truth.

  • 277 Michael // Feb 21, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Another rant. Forgive my ignorance (and my spelling 😉 ), but what exactly is the unanswered question that is keeping you here? As far as I can tell you have nothing to say other than you dislike charismatics. If that’s your point, then make it.

    Hugo: Honestly, if this guy can’t contribute something to this discussion, then what’s the point of allowing him to be here?

  • 278 Hugo // Feb 21, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Michael, I agree there’s no point — with his style of writing, it takes me minutes to figure out what he’s actually on about, and then I’m still not sure.

    I’m still working towards a more scalable solution to such inanity, unfortunately taking a stupidly long route to get there. 😉 (Leaving wordpress, so I need to reimplement a bunch of stuff. Spent some hours today on that too.) In the short term I’ve got some ways of blocking people. Simple blocks help just a little bit, I’d have to put the commenting system into a higher-maintenance mode if a commenter insists on being a pain.

    Heh, yea I accidentally employed an ad-hominem: I realise I just called someone a coward. How does someone do that by accident? By using a further-generalised form of slashdot lingo and forgetting an “AC” (anonymous coward) is in fact not an established phrase referring to people who don’t want to comment under their real name (which isn’t what it means in Slashdot either), no matter what my head considers it to be. 😉 FWIW I’ve changed my first-person executive summary to something that should come across less ad-hominem.

    and so utterly out of character for you Hugo, huh?

    I never can decide when people are being sarcastic or not. I sometimes have the same problem at work with certain colleagues, since they often like employing irony or sarcasm, thus every now and then on IRC I have to actually ask “wait, was that intended ironically/sarcastically or literally?” 😉

  • 279 Hugo // Feb 21, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Mon(k)ey/SATAN, I’ve enabled the moderation queue for you. If you write a comment that I consider a sincere effort to actually communicate something useful, I’ll approve it. Congratulations, iirc you have the dubious honour of being the second person I ever did this to. 😉 (In the greatest majority of prior-moderated-comments, I approved them after they sat in the moderation queue for a while. I played with the idea of adding an “editor’s-summary” during that time, can’t remember if I used that idea before though.)

  • 280 Hugo // Feb 23, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    By the way Mon(k)ey/SATAN dropped another comment.

    One part of the comment said “bye, I’m out of here” (towards the end of the comment). One part of the comment I couldn’t really get what he’s on about. One part of the comment asked what it is that I want here on this blog. I can’t determine whether that was meant as a rhetorical question, based on how he ended up answering it himself. But for what it’s worth:

    Yes, this blog seeks to encourage friendly discussions between people from diverse and clashing backgrounds. My dumb faith/belief is that this is actually possible, without having to moderate every single aspect of the discussion. I hold onto that belief despite lots of evidence to the contrary, and I work towards making it happen.

    He also asked “…how is it that you can entertain at enormous length … without direct, interventive, intellectual scorn of an unequivocal nature…” (quote extract, but the sentence was missing a subject, intended subject’s clear enough though) — because I believe simply piling on scorn on those that don’t have the same views is not going to open up dialogue. It simply encourages fundamentalism, it reinforces a cult-like isolation / them&us mentality, it accomplishes nothing within the context in which this blog seeks to accomplish something.

    Maybe I just answered some questions, maybe not. If you have more, try and ask them nicely and sincerely. And “they act stupid so I may also act stupid” is unacceptable. In the context of global politics that would just leads to MAD.

  • 281 ELBE // May 11, 2010 at 10:56 am

    There is just one question that I want to ask, to the person calling himself satan, where is the LOVE? How can you build and maintain any religion if you have no love for yourself or others? What kind of faith is it to scare and kill the people who wants to leave? Why are you satanists so afraid to sleep at night? Is it knowing that you are going to burn forever in hell? Or is that you know to follow satan is wrong but you are too scared to leave? How can any human being allowed that kind of stronghold on his/her life? Satanism is build on fear, there is no solid foundation like you will find in Christianity. Thats why people joining the occult is always someone who has been hurt or is lonely or just curious and scared, if its someone thats realistic, and has a healthy outlook on life, they wont even bother to join, because they know we have a God that makes satan tremble and lay low, we have so much authority over satan and his millions of demons, that we only have to say “In the name of Jesus Christ!” and you can hear them running!

    We as Christians dont have to live in fear, Jesus left us His love and peace, we need nothing more, except that we as Christians still have to pray for each other and help one another, and not only Christians but anyone who needs love, help and support. We are God’s hands on this earth, we have to reach out and be there for those who are hurt and never heard about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We must live a life of contentment, Christians are content, because we have Jesus and we must share Him with everyone, Jesus wasnt a snob, he loved the sinners, prostitutes etc. We have to be more open to the world around us, and let people see and feel why we love our Jesus so much!

  • 282 Hugo // May 11, 2010 at 11:47 am

    ELBE, the person that was calling himself “SATAN” is not a satanist. Most of his babble was aiming to criticise Shofar. For one I think he was suggesting Shofarians are effectively following some of the statements he was making as “SATAN”.

    General consensus was that his comments here contributed absolutely nothing to the discussion and that I should ban his comments. If you really want to see his reply, should he write one. I could either approve it, or send it to you via email (which I suspect would be the option preferred by most people here).

  • 283 ELBE // May 11, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Hallo Hugo

    Ek is deel van Shofar Bybelskool, ek is in my 2de jaar en geniet dit baie, wat vir my sleg is, is dat ons nie met die 3de jaar gaan aangaan nie want ons pastoor gaan na ‘n ander gemeente toe (kerkpolitiek).

    Ag ek het gedink die outjie is dalk nie regtig die duiwel homself nie, maar was net lus om my opinie te lug.

  • 284 Hugo // May 11, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Geen probleem. Hy’t ‘n paar van ons al lekker teen die mure opgedryf.

    Waar in die wêreld is jy, seker nie Stellenbosch nie?

  • 285 ELBE // May 11, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Nee ek is nie in Stellenbosch, sou graag wou wees… Ek het Shofar bybelskool in Potchefstroom by Christian Fellowship, Anton en Christelle is ons pastore, hulle bied dit baie goed aan, maar soos ek genoem het gaan ons nie ‘n 3de jaar he nie, as ons dit wil doen, moet ons Stellenbosch toe gaan.
    Ek is nou juis besig met ‘n boek van Doug Sheets oor Intercessory prayer en dan is jy nie lus vir iemand wat sulke simpel uitlatings maak nie, veral as hy nie weet waaroor dit gaan nie, maar jy kry mos mense wat daarvan hou om reaksies uit te lok, wel hy het seker ons s’n geniet of dalk sal hy bietjie nadink… hoop die laaste is waar.

  • 286 Hugo // May 11, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Terloops ek was self al lank van plan om na die Bybelskool te kyk (net eerste jaar egter), en sommer bietjie te blog daaroor. Die bedoelling is om as vriendelike buitestaander (non-Shofarian / ex-Shofarian) ‘n vriendelike gesprek te probeer vestig oor die materiaal, en so ‘n beter begrip en wedersydse verstaan te bevorder tussen Shofarian en non-Shofarian.

    Gesprekke soos hierdie hier bo het my wel laat besef ek gaan ‘n aantal dinge in plek moet hê voor ons sulke gesprekke gaan kan handhaaf – om te keer dat sterk-negatiewe mense soos Mon(k)ey/SATAN dit ontspoor. ‘n Quixotic droom? Ek weet dus nie hoe lank dit my nog gaan vat om daarby uit te kom nie.

    En ek’t nou so pas groter Afrikaanse woorde gebruik as wat ek dalk al ooit gedoen het – enigeen kan my Afrikaans gerus korrigeer as hulle lus is daarvoor. 😉

  • 287 Al // Jul 20, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Hi Hugo,

    Long … Time, for a little closure, disclosure and maybe a little self-disclosure tossed in there for good measure too. And, Part (a) of the disclosure mostly goes out to Gerhard and Kenneth:

    The kind of guys with whom I could quietly sip a beer and maybe share a spliff with (if you inhale) while we talked hours of kak about every serious subject anyone of us could imagine. Me, I love stretching my kop and I’ve already chomped sushi with Hugo. You ous, maybe some others and Hugo – once he gets over possibly being highly pissed off with me are going to understand exactly what I’m gonna tell you next. See, I’m exactly like you. Well, not exactly because I got caught up in fundamentalism, happy-clappyism, Shofar whatever we must call it and brother H is still exploring his options judging by his topics, something I consider deeply healthy. However, I personally spent a very long time in cutting edge psychological therapy that is too overwhelmingly complex to explain here in any great detail, but suffice to say: it is the holistic process of treating the entire body as a singular psycho-biological and neuro-biological organism, and, then by exploiting an understanding of how this very complex system works to “upload” and allow ungated pain stored throughout it in endless tissue and electro-cellular memory signals (the subconscious) – for the purpose of re-routing the signal via the pituitary into the left side of the higher brain where it must be gated to the right through simple cognitive right brain functions, which the client must continue to employ cyclically by manipulating brain wave patterns into altered alpha brain states that facilitate this gating, else the signal automatically represses back down and restores itself in the electro-cellular portion of the greater CNS whence it came from. It is the only effective treatment for acute re-compounded paediatric Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, which is what I was treated for. But, once you’ve learned to deal with the ensuing disconnection and accept, validate then reposition the pain signals and gate – the entire system starts balancing itself easier and easier. You heal from the past and become able to deal with new pain much faster. It also cures one of self-inflicted pain as a side-effect. I exited my therapy a while ago, although strictly speaking it will never stop. It is, effectively, the deep process of being a different human being completely moment by moment.

    A calmer, far more creative and very loving human being at ease with the concept of eventual demise and moved to design, build, learn and teach my children as much as I can before that unfortunate future event.

    The fact of the matter is that the entire God myth and my continual deeply ugly experiences with it, until eventually the Mays and Shofar as the very, very worst of them all – was one of the larger nasty pain signals I had to gate. But I had to gate it intellectually too. Something I think I did very effectively in my book and returned to here, albeit with a lot less editorial caution and almost no cultivation of a greater readership. BUT, I could not do this from the outside as my journeying self in my true roles as father, husband and engineer and someone who now personally contemplates the evolved universe as something so incredibly vast and so infinitely more complex and wonderful to explore with this mind that took so many billions of years to evolve within it and become my own. I stopped wasting my head to emotionally pander to invisible gods whose priests can barely agree even with themselves and who have as yet to display any kind of ability to inspire a real following of the their supposed teachings, much less within themselves and all as a means to get over my own fear, guilt and pain. So, I reverted to being a writer and to arguing and preaching from the inside as an embittered fundamentalist and carefully employing everything I learnt in studying one of my obsolete tertiary educations, namely theology – all wrapped in emotional barbs and direct very blunt statements … the terms sweeping and opii come to mind … oh, and erm … avatars. No apologies, writers use all sorts of characters, even themselves. Yeah, on this particular thread I’m Lovejoy the preachy writer and sweet Sally and her angry hubby and Monk(ey) and Satan (I screwed that one up because I used the same dummy mail when I should have opened a new one like I did for all the others and H took exception!). On other discussions around this and similar topics I can’t remember how many other avatars I have employed in other threads as deeply in character and style as I can write to provoke fundamentalist meme reactions. On your side and against you and against myself, deliberately bad English, good Afrikaans – sometimes wetting myself laughing at the answers and re-torts. You guys will probably truly understand that if one cannot argue something thoroughly from both perspectives in all directions and in the languages you have mastered, then you have not fully grasped the entire argument and ergo are unable to effectively debate it. I chose to preach to “Christians” as Lovejoy by preaching their own Bible at them, using their own tactics and their own manipulative emotional rants but I underpinned it with utterly rock solid theology as Lovejoy and numerous other “Christian” avatars, which as yet, not one single “Pastor” or barely literate fundamentalist adherent can refute. Leave alone a phoney pseudo-intellect like May or his clueless paying followers. In all reality, and from their own Bible, these ous are actually trying lie to their own “God” for what they desperately want but will never ever have. I made May the focus because I have, in my experience, yet to meet someone more selfish, greedy, bloated with self-importance of zero substance and utterly loveless with religion. A true human parasite feeding off induced fear, guilt and pain, harming relationships by proxy and using other people religiously for nothing more than their means and attention. His highest theological moment was to pen something as Biblically blasphemous, sick and completely self-contradictory as his satanic “Friend” letter. Amazing that someone who is self-purportedly “God’s Anointed” could be so self-evidently blind, theologically uneducated and completely empty as a person. I did go to Mrs. Van Wyk the Senior State Prosecutor about an hour after Die Burger called me for an interview concerning the streaker incident. Not as Sally, as ME. They are in my town amongst our children and I am a father.

    I wanted to expose this rich dichotomy in all its heavenly glory and for more reasons than you might imagine. My son will read this one day, and so will his friends and other curious young people who pass by here trying to make up their minds about things like “Is there a God or a Devil?” and it is a responsibility to present the argument from all and every angle to give them the freedom to make that choice. Like Acid Alex is and has being doing for thousands and thousands of people from every corner of the globe for over five years so far.

    Die (b) deel van die “post” is gemik op die Shofar meisie hierbo wat met “Satan” stry. Jy het gevra: “Where is the love?”. Mooi so. Ek gaan ‘n speëltjie voor jou ophou, met ‘n prekie by. Die hele Shofar kan maar saam luister en in die speëltjie saam kyk.

    Die eerste ding van liefde wat jy moet uit jou kop laat uitsmyt, is: Jy kan eenvoudig nie daarvoor aandring of dreig om dit te kry nie. Al is jy God. Liefde is iets wat ons alleenlik kan laat opwek en bestaan in onself, deur ons eie keuses, en daardie keuses word dan altyd uitgevoer in ons eie woorde en opvolgende aksies. Die dwang om so iets eers te vra met alle erens, bewys uit die vuis uit: Daai selfde liefdes keuse waarop jy so aandring, met iets wat nie eers bestaan nie – het jy self nog nie gemaak nie. Dit maak nie saak hoeveel jy van Jesus babbel, dis alles net woorde uit ‘n masker om aandag te lok of iets te kry. Net soos Christus en Johannes gesê het. Die dag wat jy omkeer van die Mays, en Shofar los, en leer om liefde op te wek in jou as jou eie mens – sonder om weg te kruip agter ‘n masker of iets terug te verwag nou of in die toekoms – sal die eerste dag wees wat jy dan wegdraai van hulle self-sugtigheid en self-aanbiddery – en ophou om hulle na te aap. Die “Bondage” is alles jou eie, en die ewige helvure waarvan jy skryf – is alles jou eie vrese en nog boonop alles baie netjies in jou kop geplant met Bybel kitsgesêgtes en “Foundations”. Jy hoef nie Jesus to koop by ‘n hol mens met sy hand uit om hierdie besluite te maak nie. Die antwoord op jou vraag is: Dit is veronderstel om binne in jou te wees, maar ek sien dit nie raak nie. Om die eerlike waarheid, ek hoor net raas. Fred May se raas. Onthou, die lewe is kort en die mense om ons is al wat ons het, en boonop op wie ons die liefdes keuses kan laat benut.

    Liefde is iets wat jy alleen kan gee en jy weet dit nie. Al het Jesus Self voor jou gestaan en dit vir jou gesê, sal jy steeds nie vir Hom hoor nie.

    Nes Hy gesê het…

    Al

  • 288 Hugo // Jul 20, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Hi Al! Thanks for that. No I’m not angry, not at all! Maybe because it was long enough ago. 😉 I quite enjoyed the exposition, and can chuckle at the whole thing too. And went back to read a couple of comments, especially one of SATAN’s I refused to publish – the one I responded to with #280.

    If you would like to discuss this more seriously, with sock puppets out of the way, I’d be happy to, since I am curious what you think I should be doing with this blog. I’m not done with it yet, though I am having trouble keeping momentum, both in the blogging and in the writing of code to help deal with sock puppets in the future. Since I do have to be able to deal with them, as you do run into real people like that too. (And we had some of that, it wasn’t just you.)

    I’m also kicking myself for not catching all the sock puppets. I remember comparing IP addresses and remarking on the similarities between some of them, but then ascribed it to “they probably use the same ISP? … odd coincidence” and moved on.

    Maybe Kenneth will end up being the most angry? (Just a possibility! Kenneth, you here?) We really were concerned about Sally. How angry we can be about this depends on what we sacrificed to take part in the conversation. Time, for one. If that friend of gerhard’s, for example, were actually your sock puppet, right about now I’d be conjuring up fictions in my head about coming down there and beating you up! ( 😛 – and trying to keep it unrealistic, you know, as a pleasing fiction about such a thing would need to be.)

    If you’d like to grab another bite to eat when I’m next in town, that could be interesting. Though, my holiday time in SA is short and very precious, and I wouldn’t want to go around spending it with sock puppets. 😉 Maybe this paragraph will be left at “it’s the thought that counts”, while I try to meet up with all my older friends instead.

    Have a good day!

  • 289 Hugo // Jul 20, 2010 at 10:45 am

    And Michael might also be angry. And Bendul will get some useful insights (about you), possibly answering some of the questions in his head. 😉

  • 290 Bendul // Jul 20, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Hi Al & Hugo!

    Longtime. Will read AL’s comments when I have time, seems very interesting. Although I must say, I became a bit over the level of discourse when “Satan” stepped in: stopped reading the comments & doubt I could contribute on that front…

  • 291 Al // Jul 20, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Hi All

    The absolute truth of the matter is that in every respect theology is intellectually irrelevant to me – I got over it, but if you really wanna be bored to tears let’s start talking about what I’ve just built, am busy building and still have to build. I dream engineering and do it all day long. Then there’s my son … See, boring.

    Hugo, I have about as much a clue as to what you should be doing with this blog as our family has in knowing how to keep my sister-in-law’s father-in-law from trying to get at her kids with his Shofar rubbish. And my epiletic mother-in-law whom he claimed just needed to be “prayed over” before my father-in-law nearly bliksemed him. It was his son’s birthday last Sunday and the whole of the rest of the family stayed away until his parents left back for George, simply because no one one wanted to confront him … it was better to come together as a loving family without a May clone up close and spouting crap. And my family is insanely close. Robbie is not allowed anywhere near him when he is in town and my sister-in-law never leaves the children alone with him. He is an elder in Shofar.

    I had what one might construe as revenge, although at the time it was immaterial. I was shopping in Die Boord Spar after work with my family when May shuffled up shopping with student’s tithes and offerings to God and saw me, realised that is what I was actually seeing and for the very first time I saw the self-satisfied holy smirk stripped away. That big shit eating grin collaped and was replaced by a deep ugly scowl on a yellow coward who then could not and still cannot face me. How fucking pathetic. Fucking bum.

    And he knew it. Like I said, irrelevant.

    Ah, fuck him I’ve got a lift chair to build for an old lady who cannot walk and the urge to talk about the nuts we’ve cracked in the design of the project is so great that I’m definitely gonna shut up now… seriously I so wanna talk about it 😉

    Al

  • 292 Hugo // Jul 20, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Sounds like good news all around, for you anyway. 😉 Good to hear!

    And your son isn’t boring, and neither is cool pieces of engineering.

    Shalom! (Hey, have a good alternative for that? “Go in peace” sounds corny to me too.)

  • 293 Al // Jul 21, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    I’m an old skool hippy:

    Peace Brother…and the same to all you other crazy katz and kittenz

    Al

  • 294 Al // Jul 29, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Hi

    I think it is also possibly a responsibility of mine to bring to those being damaged by religious fundamentalism, and to those who were the victims of terrible abuse and/or the survivors of extreme violence: some insight into what helped me. Two close friends of mine actually ended up in Stikland Mental Hospital from Fred’s demonic crap, which they were “councelled” for and he attached to their terrible traumatic experiences (killing your father and being repeatedly raped by your grandfather) – “demons” Fred May could not “cast out”. Like all his other fake healing shit such as my friend “C” wrote about in his letters to me above when he contracted cancer but no one cares until someone gets hurt.

    To my mind what makes both the Mays every evil ugly thing they have ever screamed and holy roller shaken about to pump their bitterness and inadequacies into other people’s heads – is: When people like these three get hurt, THEY get blamed for not living up to Shofar shit and immediately get hounded and hounded or ostracised completely. When you dare to point Fred’s crap out … you could even find yourself locked up for something you did not even DO, like me.

    Their behaviour is not only filthy ugly but very deeply, narcissistic and completely childish and attention seeking. And they have done it to so many people and families.

    Can you understand that I NEVER want one other person to go through this crap?

    This was written by my therapist, read it – if you need it – it might very well help you too…

    http://www.irenestrydom.co.za/05-Strydom.pdf

    Al

    P.S. Try and smirk at me now Fred, I was cursed by “God” remember, shit you said behind my back to Guys and you? You are still a fucking low life lying bum using youngsters for bucks you are too lazy to earn honestly. Mal 3:8 vs. Deut 14 22-29 – you are a thief. Scripture says so.

    Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is become so, ye make him twofold more a SON OF HELL than yourselves.

  • 295 gerhard // Aug 6, 2010 at 2:22 am

    al ,
    yeah, exactly! what a tool. I just can not contain my moral outrage when it comes to what _REAL_ harm such a monkey#$% causes to people and communities. How easily that is brushed away by the hundreds of people. entire communities hiding away behind that indestructible wall that serves as a the shield to criticism, “faith”, a so called holy man!!! Holy#$% why aren’t more of you onlookers enraged? why do you allow such horrible deeds to forever taint whatever good you sow in your communities? the communities you let your children run free in? what is wrong with you people? how dare people respect this man, that cause, flaunting destructive demonology, preying on the young and weak. what strength of character to withstand the horrors you must see when confronted with your reflection in the your children’s eyes.
    go ahead.. hand over your spawn for exploitation of their human weaknesses.
    come on .. drive past that church.. not caring.. oh come on!
    thank you al. whole heartedly. the human stories need to be told. The real cost of the human exploitation in the name of all things “good” need to be heard. I just can’t believe that certain communities aren’t hanging their heads in shame.

  • 296 Al // Aug 19, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Here goes nothing G … I took the liberty of sending Shofar an e-mail asking the Great Man to reply to the comments on his “Friend” letter.

    Remember this oke preaches about Jesus, makes his money out of him and Jesus was able to answer anyone who asked him anything in a public forum.

    Point being he can’t face himself…

    But who knows? Maybe he can explain himself without bouncers.

    Come on Fred … let’s hear you answer the things I’ve said to you – “Friend”

  • 297 Al // Aug 19, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    And not only me, let’s add

    Siebe, Chris, Guys … okes who were there in the very, very beginning – your toehold on campus, your “evangelists” — you must remember the people who helped you build Shofar Fred? “C” was an “Elder” whom Lucille cursed but she did the same to Zennie, Janine, Merrilyn and the schoolkids in my SCF youth group and girls who’ve written to me after reading my book. Both of you have extorted and extorted kids and drained them of as much as you can- Exactly like Jesus said about hypocrites and snakes. Speak up, we would ALL love to hear what you have to say for yourself.

    Two witnesses have spoken.

    And most of all God would love to hear too. Preach His gospel to us.
    Amen.

  • 298 Al // Aug 25, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Hi G

    I’ve turned up the heat. This letter below was sent to Die Matie and posted on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stellenboschuniversity?v=app_2373072738#!/topic.php?uid=87257252420&topic=13994

    An Open Letter to the Dean of Student Affairs, and the SRC of The University of Stellenbosch.

    Dear Sir and Honourable Council

    This letter Sir, while addressed to you and to the SRC – is also being addressed to the greater SUN faculty and student corpus, hence it being posted openly.

    The entire subject matter of this document concerns the SOLE registered SUN Christian Student Organisation that requires students wishing to join the Organisation to first separately finance, waive refund and then complete certain compulsory entrance courses presented by its own counter-Campus within a Campus curriculum. Upon successful completion of these entry courses, the students of this SUN Campus within a Campus are then also required to sign various documents in which they as applicant members relinquish all and any control over the business affairs of this “Student Organisation”, by granting the leadership of the Organisation complete autocratic authority over them personally, including transfer of future intellectual property rights for certain courses. Control and property, which once relinquished, contractually passes to the founders, a lone couple neither of which was by own admission: a student at the time of application to register as a Student Organisation, nor alumni of the University of Stellenbosch, and furthermore – neither of which had a degree either in Theology or Natural Sciences from any recognised university anywhere. Lastly, and once again by their own admission – they were not supported, sanctioned or ordained to do so by any recognised Christian congregation gathering in Stellenbosch or any other place at that time.

    The founding students whom the couple befriended, those who invited other students to join and who applied to register this Student Organisation – all left it, or were later expelled, some out of hand and without the knowledge or the agreement of fellow student members for disagreeing with the founders on core religious issues, leaving the founders with autonomous control, which was never again relinquished to a SUN student and left the door open to begin their business.

    Notwithstanding, and continuously utilising SUN resources – this SUN Campus within a Campus now offers both a Music and a Theology school with graduation ceremonies and the presentation of graduation “certificates”. It also has a long fifteen+ year history of members estranging themselves from family and friends and being accused of sowing religious discord with other student Christian organisations, most especially students attending the N.G. Kerk, accusing yet other students uninterested in joining the Organisation of being “demon possessed” and vehemently rebutting science, observation, logic and reason to the point of absconding classes by walking out of Natural Science lectures and one member apparently spitting at a popular environmentalist TV presenter and invited SUN guest-speaker – for admitting to being atheist. The Organisation also embraces the founder’s cyclic self-declared “counter-Satanism” mission statement, one which, in application, has led to numerous media articles and most recently:

    Erupted in the violation of the civil rights of three students found guilty of a drunken student prank that took place during one of the Organisation’s meetings.

    The primary core point of this letter.

    I am of course speaking about the Christian organisation known as Shofar Christian Church and more specifically an open public chain-mail and press release. A letter which has been circulating the Internet for close to two years now, has been under heated debate with members of Shofar and was penned by Mr. May – the Director of Shofar Publishing and head of this Student Christian Organisation: a week and a half AFTER the arrest and criminal prosecution of the perpetrators of the student prank…

    This is that letter, quoted in full:

    “OCTOBER 29 :2008
    Dear Friend
    I’ve just been through the most disgusting display of desecration and blasphemy ever. I’m forwarding detail of it in the prepared statement below. We’ve held back with it to give the university authorities time to react, but a week and a half later it’s clear that they don’t feel the need to. Which is why I’m writing to you.
    PRESS STATEMENT BY SHOFAR CHURCH
    On Sunday 19 October, between 19h00 and 20h00, during the second evening service of Shofar church in Stellenbosch, six stark naked male students rushed into the building bent on disrupting the service.
    While four of the men were successfully warded off, two managed to make their way into the auditorium where they attacked shocked church goers with pepper spray. One of them mounted the platform where he disrupted the Face to Face music group who led the time of worship. In the ensuing emergency traumatised church goers, now afflicted with asphyxiation and burning eyes, were evacuated. Several of the elderly and children had to be carried out.
    All attempts to subdue and remove the assailants from the scene were met with violent resistance. The response of the police and ADT security service, however, was commendably swift. As a result three of the attackers were arrested while the others managed to escape in a vehicle of which the registration plates were removed. By all accounts the attack appeared to be well planned.
    After serving this community for the past sixteen years, we wish to believe this to be an isolated incident. However, we do have a concern for the questions raised by it i.r.o. a perceived climate of intolerance and criminal impunity which is allowed to flourish. For this reason Shofar sent an urgent request to the Dean of Student Affairs at Stellenbosch University to issue an official statement in support of religious freedom, respect for all religious persuasions, and the denunciation of violence and victimisation. Thus far no official response to this request has been forthcoming. The church as chief organiser of the Angus Buchan event at Newlands in September managed to raise a 1000 strong volunteer corps comprising mainly Matie students.
    Many students at the university are living lives of exemplary witness for Jesus Christ. And it is this very encouraging trend among students here that makes this incident all the more deplorable. As a church community we are sorely grieved by the blatantly blasphemous attempt to insult and to injure. It certainly points to an alarming degree of moral declension within certain academic circles.
    For me personally, this is that one step too far. I and the intercessors sense the hand of God in this. The Holy Spirit wants to alert us to the need to focus our prayers on a stronghold of wickedness in this town that must be broken down in the spirit – NOW! The intercessors at both meetings in the week had visions of the Free Masonry obelisk crumbling under the power of God. The attack left me feeling sexually violated. Of the intercessors had the same sense. The act of horror was aimed at the violation of the bride of Christ. It certainly has the marks of an occultic ritual.
    I was interceding in the foyer at the time. I ordinarily do it backstage when I’m not ministering, and not usually during the time of worship. But on this particular night the worship was so special. The Holy Spirit was present so palpably that I felt led to pray in the foyer instead. That’s when the attack happened.
    The other reason I’m convinced of it being a deliberate, demonically inspired attack was because I received clear warning in this regard by the Lord the previous weekend. I was on my way to Namibia when I felt strongly to alert the pastors and elders of a pending attack – in the evening service – by satanists. That was the previous weekend. For that reason we were mobilised and ready. So while I’m open to have been wrong about the timing, I’m still convinced that it is of spiritual significance in that it is a plan hatched and executed by people who are enemies of the cross of Christ. I too, like the intercessors, feel that the act is somehow symbolically representative of the act of rape – in keeping with the phallic obelisk of Freemasonry. Thence the naked intrusion by 6 naked men at a most intimate moment of worship.
    Consequently it is understandable and expected that the whole incident and its media coverage, the lack of action against the offenders, and the complete lack of outrage on the part of the university or the criminal justice authorities, is to be expected. The offenders even staged a mock appearance at an NG church as a decoy strategy. However, I fail to see how one sexton (Afr. = koster) will stop six grown, determined men armed with pepper spray! It clearly is a ruse.
    On the day after the incident, I received this word from Jeremiah 1:17-19 NIV: “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land. They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.
    That’s why I’m asking you to pass this mail to as many people as you can. I believe God wants to mobilize many people in the Body of Christ to stand together in prayer to see a dark and ancient stronghold break over this town. That’s why He has allowed this outrage so as to stir us to prayer and action.
    Thank you so much for your concern and support. I feel we should resist the spirit of lawlessness operating here on another level. As Christian citizens we’re also expected to be custodians of morality, to maintain civilized values.
    Yours in Him
    Fred May”

    Next, Sir and Honourable Council, I would like to draw your attention to this briefly edited article, penned almost a year prior to the student prank by a well known Weekend Argus reporter:

    (Shofar Christian Church) Religious sect ‘brainwashing’ Maties http://www.iol.co.za

    Melanie Peters
    November 04 2007 at 03:09PM

    A religious sect registered as an official University of Stellenbosch society is fighting for the hearts and minds of impressionable students.
    Academics have spoken out against the sect, known as the Shofar Christian Church, and have said they believe “some brainwashing” is involved, prompting students to walk out of lectures in protest.
    […]
    Concerns about whether the church is a “fringe cult” have been raised by some Stellenbosch University lecturers, parents and students. Some members of the broader Stellenbosch community are also worried.
    The university initiated an inquiry into the organisation after student newspaper Die Matie ran an article.
    The church is the subject of a heated debate on various Internet websites and blogs. Even Facebook.com has two groups set up, one called “Shofar is evil and must be stopped”, and another called “Shofar is a cult”.
    Allegations against the church include getting students to pay 10 percent of their bursaries, scholarships or earnings to the church; church members becoming slowly isolated from their friends and families; and members only being allowed to date within the church.
    There have also been reports of one or two members having breakdowns because of what the critics call the preaching of “unwarranted demonic fear of brimstone, fire and hell”.
    The church was started by Pastor Fred May and his wife, Lucille, who settled in Stellenbosch in 1989. The church’s website says the ministry started after “the Lord placed a burden” on May to intercede for Stellenbosch, especially when he saw “occult practitioners had become bold enough to gather in public seances and do door-to-door visits”.
    May started to gather a small group of converts who joined him in “spiritual warfare and intercession”.
    “The Holy Spirit directed them through prophecy to University of Stellenbosch. God opened a door for this fledgling ministry to register as a student society and start ministering to the students in all earnest. God, in His wisdom, chose to reach the community of Stellenbosch, which was greatly influenced by dead religion and racism, through a life-giving church that was born out of Pastor Fred and Lucille’s cross-cultural marriage.
    Despite initial misgivings, the community — which to a large extent is the cradle of traditional religion and apartheid, has embraced Shofar Christian Church.”
    The reference to the Mays’ “cross-cultural” marriage relates to May being coloured and his wife white.
    According to the church website, it has branches in Ceres, Paarl, Malmesbury, Cape Town, Johannesburg and even London.
    Dr Juri van den Heever, of the Department of Zoology at the university, who teaches evolution, has not won any kudos with Shofar. Church members have staged walk-outs during his lectures.
    “Their reactions have been entirely fundamentalist. They have misread and been misinformed about the Bible. It is not a literal handbook but a moral one,” said Van den Heever
    He believes parents should be concerned about the church because it was “pretty close to a cult”.
    “I believe there is some brainwashing going on. May teaches the Bible as a literal truth and that the universe is only 6,000-years-old. He comes from lala land. If he wants to stay there that is fine but he has involved a whole lot of impressionable students.
    “The problem arises when we are attacked for doing our jobs. This is an academic institution where students are encouraged to question and do research, pursue scientific thinking.”
    Author and former head of the journalism department, George Claassen, who is the director of the organisation Sceptic South Africa, posted two articles about his concerns on his website, one which included 15 questions for Shofar.
    He says he has had a response on close to 2,000 people for and against the church.
    Claassen said: “Something immoral, unscientific is taking place on the campus — it is called Shofar — it influences students to be uncritical, to believe in superstition and to carry that superstition into lecture halls, despite the findings of science.
    “That so many Stellenbosch students leave their baloney detectors outside the classroom — is no good advertisement for what should be one of Africa’s leading universities.”
    The church denies that members are forced to make financial donations and date only within the church.
    Church spokesman Morne Bosch said the perception that they wanted to disrupt academic life was nonsense.
    “We have a firm stance on contentious issues and stand for some truths that we will always be criticised for. We are not a cult but a church which is a member of the International Federation of Christian Churches.”
    University spokesperseon Martine Viljoen said the church was a registered student organisation approved by the Student Representative Council.
    “We took note of the concerns raised in the Die Matie article and entered into a constructive discussion with the church about their role on campus and what we as an institution expect.”
    […]
    melanie.peters@inl.co.za

    Sir, Honourable Council Members:

    (The Bill of Rights)

    “15. Freedom of religion, belief and opinion
    1. Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion.
    2. Religious observances may be conducted at state or state-aided institutions, provided that
    a. those observances follow rules made by the appropriate public authorities;
    b. they are conducted on an equitable basis; and
    c. attendance at them is free and voluntary.”

    As a father, author, long time resident of Stellenbosch and an ill-acquaintance of both Mr. And Mrs. May – I feel incumbent to raise this written violation of The Bill of Rights as an issue, since if I likened this incident to the Reitz Four – the Reitz Four violated the civil and human rights of a group of people and were prosecuted and sentenced, yet great care was taken to protect theirs.

    Something that has not happened in this case. In fact this poisonous mail just keeps spreading.

    It is my opinion that if Mr. May cannot provide proof or a sane burden of evidence, hard evidence: that: (a.) proves that the students involved in the prank were “Satanists” and (b.) “Deliberately Demonically Inspired” – then he must either print a detailed retraction of these inflammatory and false statements, or, failing to do so: face a faculty and SRC hearing to determine his legitimacy and right to manage this SUN Campus within a Campus.

    Secondly, The Bill of Rights clearly states: “…attendance at them is free”
    Besides charging to join Shofar through “Foundation” courses – Joy! Magazine published an article on Shofar and printed an insert wherein Mr. May quotes “Mal 3:8” as his justification in exacting cash “tithes” from members, including single-mothers. Allow me to quote it:

    “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, In what way have we robbed You? In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with the curse; for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation.”

    Mr. May preaches this often, just before cash is collected from members in meetings. His not so subtle implication being that if the members do not give money to “God” – He will curse them.

    It is criminal fraud for a number of Biblical reasons, all of which can be found in “Deu 14:22-”. This is not a religious issue or a moot debate, it is one of Biblical Law. This is the Law of Tithes and Offerings:

    “You shall truly tithe all the increase of the grain, that the field produces year by year.
    And you shall eat before The Lord your God, in the place which He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks; that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always. But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the Lord your God chooses to put his name is too far from you, when the Lord your God has blessed you, then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand and go to the place the Lord your God chooses. And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drinks, for whatever your heart desires, you shall eat there before the Lord your God and you shall rejoice, you and your household. […] And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you shall do.”

    1. Christians are supposed to live by grace, not The Law.
    2. A “tithe” is only something edible.
    3. Mr. May is not a Levite or a priest.

    I could continue and reprint letters written to me about the extremes of this financial abuse, where students have starved themselves to give Shofar cash, however – I think I can adequately rest my case on both issues.

    I have no personal stake in this, other than pleading for clemency for the students involved in the prank from the Senior State Prosecutor after Die Burger called me for an interview back when it occurred.

    Yours truly,
    Al Lovejoy

  • 299 Hugo // Aug 25, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Hoi Al,

    A quick friendly reminder from me: you do have your priorities and you probably don’t want to get yourself pulled back into this thing too deeply. (At least not to the point where it gets in the way of your higher priorities.) Right?

    Some fights you pick in life are worthwhile, other fights are a waste of time and energy. You know that well, of course. This is just a friendly reminder fwiw. Keep on discerning…

    Peace bru 😉
    Hugo

  • 300 Andre // Sep 9, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Hi everyone! I wanted to google the church to download a sermon. I saw so many negative comments. And I must tell you, so many of them are hear-say.

    I have been involved with this church since 2005, and my experience is totally different from yours.

    Never have anybody told me to give 10% of anything and that I must this or that. The Holy spirit convicted me in my heart through scripture to start giving 10% of my salary. Nobody checks it up. My name doesn’t appear anywhere and it is not enforced. You do give something if you want, and not because people say so, because everything I have, even my job is thanks to Jesus.

    It’s a heart condition. You can give R2 as well, as long as ic comes from your heart.

    Then about authority and leadership. Nobody bosses over anyone , but I mean even in the work I do I have superiors and leaders I have to respect. It doesn’t say you have to agree with everything, but how you react again, says a lot about where your heart is at.
    The scripture makes it clear that we need to submit under authority, because God puts everyone in Leadership, even the President. So we need to respect him also for the office he holds.
    Same thing applies in a spiritual sense as well. Bless all you guys! I just wanted to share something as well. Have an awesome week

  • 301 Kenneth Oberlander // Sep 9, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Hi there Andre.

    I posted some questions above for another poster, but I’d like it if you can answer them for me.

    1) What is the attitude of Shofar to other religions? Are they demonised? Looked down upon? Respected?

    2) What is the attitude of Shofar to the non-religious? Are they demonised? Looked down upon? Respected?

    3) What is the attitude of Shofar when Shofar itself is criticised? Do you circle the wagons, so to speak? Or do you consider whether the criticism is relevant?

    4) What is the attitude of Shofar to science? To the findings of science?

  • 302 Al // Sep 9, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Hi Andre

    I don’t know you, therefore I owe you the benefit of personal respect, and ergo, please try and understand that the following questions come to you without an ounce of sarcasm, or malice of forethought, albeit with the real conviction that you might, as yet – have never really asked yourself these questions thoughtfully and honestly. Including the truly difficult ones Kenneth has just asked above.

    Please also understand, I exercise the right to dismiss any testimony of the Holy Spirit out of hand, until – Tested … like the Apostle John demands. You should be able to agree with me on this. The Lord Jesus Christ warns: Not everyone who comes to me in that day saying “Lord, Lord …” So as the Apostle Peter urges, always be ready … in season and out of season – to give testimony of your conviction…

    I quote: “The Holy spirit convicted me in my heart through scripture to start giving 10% of my salary.”

    1. Please quote those relevant Scripture/s that led to this monthly financial transaction.
    2. Please quantify: Who do you give this money to? In other words – whose signatory bank account does it get deposited into after leaving your hands?
    3. Quote me a single Scripture in which Jesus accepted/s money from anyone.

    Al

    P.S. Hugo, the open letter above is a cc of a signed, hand delivered document penned to the Dean of Student Affairs and the SRC … and no, my higher priorities still seem to be sweet and intact. Still a smitten daddy, still cracking engineering nuts all day, still wanting to expose and protect.

  • 303 Hugo // Sep 10, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Hi Andre!

    The thinktoomuch.net pounce… 😉 No shortage of comments/questions. Apologies that I’m unable to avoid writing a third. I’m curious about the meta level – does this overwhelm? Were you keen on conversation in the first place, or just passing through to give another opinion? And how does this nearly-immediate triple-response influence your thoughts on whether to engage in conversation? 😉

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. I think much of what I write about is very much a subjective thing, also influenced by one’s approach and frame of mind when getting involved with Shofar. Thus necessarily not everyone shares my experiences. I remain curious as to the nature of your involvement with Shofar. If you’re interested in clearing up some of my curiosities, see the questions below. I personally think the ttm-pounce is rather overwhelming, the conversations potentially draining, so I’m very supportive of people carefully picking which conversations they get involved in. (I suggest stating what or who you’d like to have a discussion with, and what or who not, and hope everyone can support your decision — mostly in order to make it easier and less overwhelming to have at least some conversation. 😉 )

    So, that’s that. My curiosity, for what it’s worth, is:

    Have you done the foundations courses yet? (If so, how many? I could only do the first two, and this post marked the end of my experiences of the foundations courses, as I was unable to sign the contract and thereby not permitted to continue with F3.) And are you involved in a cell group? Which community? Stellenbosch?

    Peace,
    Hugo

  • 304 Kenneth Oberlander // Sep 10, 2010 at 11:55 am

    *blinks*

    OK, Andre. Sorry for adding to the mass pile-up of questions. They’re not meant to be intimidating, I promise. Just things that interest me. Ignore or answer as you wish.

  • 305 Hugo // Sep 10, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    I received some replies from Andre via email, which I will now copy into comments here (doing so with his permission) as though I’m him…

  • 306 Andre // Sep 10, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Hi Kenneth!

    Thanks for the email. Some very valid questions I would say.
    I can only answer them obviously out of my own experience and I cannot speak for the church itself, because it is made up out of individuals like myself.

    To your first question:

    1) What is the attitude of Shofar to other religions? Are they demonised? Looked down upon? Respected?

    I really love people. doesn’t matter what religion etc. To value them for someone made just like myself.
    I mean we are all still people and we do not always agree with everybody’s opinions etc, but I still respect other people for who they are.
    I believe that I am just a person like yourself and my identity is not connected to my church, but my identity really is in Christ.
    I mean is that I know Him (Jesus) and I have a relationship with Him.
    I sometimes ask questions about stuff, and He answers them accurately through His word and sometimes speaking into my thoughts as well.

    Because of this I have an excitement to share with other people and yes other religions how my life changed and just how AWESOME God is.

    I can not speak for everyone, but most people who have had a similar life-changing experience and a relationship with Jesus shares it with others.
    Its like when you first met a very special person and you just want to tell other people all about it.
    I believe Christians in Shofar feel the same about others in the world and would love to see their hurts getting healed and getting real purpose in life and hereafter.

    So I would say, the answer is really to love others

  • 307 Andre // Sep 10, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Sorry Kenneth! The mail became a bit too long so I decided to answer the first question and then the others.

    2) What is the attitude of Shofar to the non-religious? Are they demonised? Looked down upon? Respected?

    I can really speak only for myself. But again, I really love others who don’t feel like I do.

    What sometimes happen is like myself, when I started to experience Jesus I just wanted to tell everyone about how awesome He is.

    I for instance treated my parents wrong when their opinions were different from mine and I just wanted to tell them that there is so much more in Jesus,but I did it in a TOTAL UNLOVING WAY, and the Holy Spirit (God’s Spirit living in me) just showed me my wrong attitude towards them and I had to go back afterwards and repent to God and to them for the unloving manner in which I treated them.

    This happens with a lot of Christians when they just get saved. Obviously as you grow in maturity in your relationship with Him He changes your heart. Like myself , you have to forgive others that hurt you and ask the ones who hurt you also to forgive you. Otherwise one just gets bitter on the inside in the end. It really wears one down.

    I would just like to also say to you Kenneth that on behalf of other Christians including those in Shofar that I REALLY AM SORRY FOR ANY HURT that other Christians caused you by the way in which they might have treated you.If applicable.

    3) What is the attitude of Shofar when Shofar itself is criticised? Do you circle the wagons, so to speak? Or do you consider whether the criticism is relevant?

    This question obviously I cannot answer on behalf of the church. I do not know what it is about but yes I mean if there are criticism one always look at the facts and give a reason why you answered in a certain manner.

    4) What is the attitude of Shofar to science? To the findings of science?

    This again is my personal opinion, I do not speak for Shofar, In my personal opinion, I think science is really wonderful. It gives us lots of answers on phenomena through research practical testing etc.
    As long as you can look at all the facts concerning Science is great.

    Unfortunately there will always be things that I cannot figure out with science, like for instance, how do I explain to someone from a science perspective that I actually have a relationship with Jesus and that He speaks to me and gives me answers on things in my personal life etc. This is difficult because it is not something that you can proof with testing, research etc. but what I do know is that I really know Him and love Him so much!

    I hope these answers could be of some help to you.
    Like I earlier said, these are my opinions and experience as a Christian.

    Thanks for the way in which you treated and respected ne as a person in your mail. I really appreciate it! C U kenneth!
    You are always welcome to contact me it you want to know more or just chat or have a coffee or whatever. Bless you man!
    Regards, Andre’

  • 308 Andre // Sep 10, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Hi AL!

    Thanks for your post!

    It is always good to ask questions and to find the answers as there are so many opinions on everything flying around.

    This is the application in my life and I do not mind you asking the questions.

    Thanks for giving me an opportunity to post them.

    Have an awesome weekend!

    Regards

    Andre’

    1. Please quote those relevant Scripture/s that led to this monthly financial transaction.

    I started getting a few of the same type of scriptures in a short span of time. Sometimes really randomly just opening my bible.
    I knew that God was trying to teach me a principle.
    Here are three on tithing.

    Malachi 3v6- 18 from the Good news bible

    …I am the Lord, and I do not change. and so you……(I skipped the centre part) …Turn back to me and I will turn to you. But you ask, what must we do to turn back to you? I ask you, is it right for a person to cheat God? Of course not, yet you are cheating me. How? you ask. In the matter of tihes and offerings. A curse is on all of you because the whole nation is cheating me. Bring the full amount of your tithes to the temple, so that there will be plenty of food there.

    Put me to the test and you will see that I will open the windows of heaven and pour out on you in abundance all kinds of good things…

    Mark 12 v 41

    As Jesus sat near the temple treasury, he watched the people as they dropped in their money. Many rich men dropped in a lot of money; then a poor widow came along and dropped in two little copper coins, worth about a penny. He called His disciples together and said to them, “I tell you that this poor widow put more in the offering box than all the others. For the others put in what they had to spare out of their riches; but she, poor as she is, gave all she had to live on.

    Mark 12 v 17

    …Pay the emperor what belongs to the emperor, and pay God what belongs to God.

    2. Please quantify: Who do you give this money to? In other words – whose signatory bank account does it get deposited into after leaving your hands?
    Mark 12 v 41

    ….As Jesus sat near the temple treasury, he watched the people as they dropped in their money.

    In my church in Paarl’s account.

    Malachi 3v6- 18 from the Good news bible

    …I am the Lord, and I do not change. and so you……(I skipped the centre part) …Turn back to me and I will turn to you. But you ask, what must we do to turn back to you? I ask you, is it right for a person to cheat God? Of course not, yet you are cheating me. How? you ask. In the matter of tihes and offerings. A curse is on all of you because the whole nation is cheating me. Bring the full amount of your tithes to the temple, so that there will be plenty of food there.

    Put me to the test and you will see that I will open the windows of heaven and pour out on you in abundance all kinds of good things…

    3. Quote me a single Scripture in which Jesus accepted/s money from anyone.
    THIS IS GOD SPEAKING

    Malachi 3v6- 18 from the Good news bible

    I am the Lord, and I do not change. and so you……(I skipped the centre part) …Turn back to me and I will turn to you. But you ask, what must we do to turn back to you? I ask you, is it right for a person to cheat God? Of course not, yet you are cheating me. How? you ask. In the matter of tihes and offerings. A curse is on all of you because the whole nation is cheating me. Bring the full amount of your tithes to the temple, so that there will be plenty of food there.

    Mark 12 v 17 – JESUS SPEAKING

    …Pay the emperor what belongs to the emperor, and pay God what belongs to God.

    You must have a real great weekend and I trust that it will help in the search for truth.

    Regards
    Andre’

  • 309 Andre // Sep 10, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    Hi Hugo!

    I first had to figure out that Meta(brain stuff)! hehe! Thanks for the tips. It was really by chance that I came apon the site. I wanted to just share my experience, though subjective as you say-which is correct.

    I am involved with the church in Paarl and soon Wellington. I have been serving with shofar since they planted a church in Paarl round about 2005 I think.I have done the foundaions 1 to 4. I am going to do 5 next week.

    When I first joined the church I felt that it is a lot of stuff to do origonally, but it really blessed me so much. I did most of the Foundations in Stellenbosch at the time.

    It really helped in a spiritual sense, but I must say it taught me more principles that I can apply in my life.

    I am in a small group as well yes.

    I enjoy the church here in Paarl because its more personal and smaller which is very nice. You can connect and get to know new people frequently.

    Hey man, have you considered other churches or denominations as well?
    I believe there is a specific church where they are missing out if you are not there. It could be shofar or another church.
    Because you have got something specific that only you can bring to the people there.

    Bless you man! Hope to hear from you soon!

    Regards Hugo! Have a good weekend!

  • 310 g // Sep 11, 2010 at 12:44 am

    andre,
    just a warning i’m a atheist leaning towards anti-theism , so take what i say with a pinch of salt. (i’m just saying this because you’re new and as far as i understand some shofarians have been known to see that stuff as ‘evil’ / possesed by some evil or something literal like that. not sure about your personal beliefs but be free to correct me. )

    Never have anybody told me to give 10% of anything and that I must this or that. The Holy spirit convicted me in my heart through scripture to start giving 10% of my salary. Nobody checks it up. My name doesn’t appear anywhere and it is not enforced. as you say , scripture gave you the divine inspiration. no commandments from sermons? No general attitude in the community that you “should” do that or attitude about not doing it? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if someone made that kind of decision that that someone were aware of other people doing it and that once you were doing it one probably would mentioned that you were doing it and that now if you should stop doing it you’d probably feel a bit of shame in stopping. you’d probably feel as if you’d loose face from not doing it. that is kind of strong social pressure to do it and to not stop. However, i have heard first hand accounts of some of the consequences of fanaticism surrounding the tithing going on there. people who really shouldn’t be doing it and being worse off because of it.

    Then about authority and leadership. Nobody bosses over anyone , but I mean even in the work I do I have superiors and leaders I have to respect. It doesn’t say you have to agree with everything, but how you react again, says a lot about where your heart is at.The scripture makes it clear that we need to submit under authority, because God puts everyone in Leadership, even the President. So we need to respect him also for the office he holds. excuse me? it sounds very much like you’re talking about limitless submission to authority. That is truly a horrifying thought. to respect those monsters of institutions like the apartheid ng kerk and government because you owe it to god. think of all that social progress such as women being allowed to vote or the end of slavery which all were taught good and right by church and state. What about torture? All thanks to “we the people” standing up. No real Christmas miracles here either, long arduous battles with people loosing meaningful things. heroes in the truest sense. people of many cultures and religious orientation. viva la revolution.

    Same thing applies in a spiritual sense as well. Bless all you guys! I just wanted to share something as well. Have an awesome week yes, same to you, blessed tidings.

  • 311 Al // Sep 11, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Hi Andre,

    Firstly, thank you for the response. Once again, this is meant politely and respectfully but keep in mind, that unlike the Mays, whom you ultimately “submit” to via your “pastors” and their promogulated Shofar “doctrines” and acquired I.F.C.C. “Statement of Faith” – I do actually have two diplomas in Theology from an accredited American university. I also have a diploma in IT from another accredited American tertiary educational institution both of which have become obsolete to me. I am a published author with a title shelved in the Library of Congress, Washington D.C., as well as the libraries of numerous universities worldwide … but, bear with me for a moment – ultimately those things are irrelevant because in reality I’m just a loving father and an engineer who constantly aspires to build more and better. I am not lost, bound in sin … never actually was – and I have absolutely no need of salvation whatsoever (please, not that you said or even suggested this!!!), ergo I’m not bitter or hurt or any other such irrelevant thing and neither is Kenneth for asking questions. I simply feel it necessary to establish these bona fides up front and set a theological base line so that you consider reading carefully and thinking twice before replying – like I recommended you might do when I first asked you those three questions. And … to end this preamble – I will never present you with any other Christian theology, within this context or any other doctrinal discussion – except the teachings and actions of the person you say you know as Jesus Christ, yet, always from the whole context of the entire Bible.

    It is not my position to harm your experience of faith in any way but to caution you that all three of your answers have absolutely no Biblical foundation at all. And, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Remember, the Bible doesn’t say stones when it means bread – not even when Jesus was being tempted in the desert. Fathers, even evil ones – do not give their children a serpent when asked for a fish.

    You quoted: “A curse is on all of you because the whole nation is cheating me. Bring the full amount of your tithes to the temple, so that there will be plenty of food there.”

    You must realise that a true biblical scholar cannot turn the word “food” into “10% of my monthly salary”, no matter how hard I try (okay, little bit of sarcasm there ;-))

    So, lets bring the minor prophet Malachi into perspective and Biblical context. He was the last prophet to speak to Israel through Old Testament Scripture (O.T. Apocrypha notwithstanding) until, as the Apostle John and writer of Hebrews declare – The Word was made Flesh and spoke to man personally.

    The Law of Tithes and offerings Malachi was referring to is clearly set out in Deut 14:22-29 by the prophet Moses. Tithes and Offerings were never and never ever would have anything to do with money, with the only exception to the rule clearly set out in The Law … and it never changed from being a Holy feast – not even after The Word made Flesh declared He would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days and shared this sacred and Holy Act as the breaking of His Body and partaking of the cup His Blood, now in the dispensation of the New Testament – celebrated by the saints as The Lord’s Supper.

    Still food and not 10% of any earnings in any currency.

    Moving on …

    You quote: “As Jesus sat near the temple treasury, he watched the people as they dropped in their money. Many rich men dropped in a lot of money; then a poor widow came along and dropped in two little copper coins, worth about a penny. He called His disciples together and said to them, “I tell you that this poor widow put more in the offering box than all the others. For the others put in what they had to spare out of their riches; but she, poor as she is, gave all she had to live on.”

    I think you have missed the point to this teaching completely and that might be simply be because of that same lack of knowledge that caused Jesus to weep. The temple Jesus was sitting in, was Herod’s Temple. Solomon’s Temple had suffered much damage and Herod the Tetrarch rebuilt it at an enormous cost, which the Priests were bound to recover from the people through “gifts” in the “offering box” and the “half-shekel” or “Temple Tax” because God, at that time, apparently still lived in it in the “Holy of Holies”.

    Let’s have a deeper look at “Temple Tax” since you brought Herod’s financial recovery systems into this conversation:

    Matt 17:24 NJKV “When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, ‘Does your teacher not pay the temple tax?’ He said ‘Yes’”, which simply means – No. But Peter knew he could not speak on behalf of Jesus without clearing it with him first so:

    “And when he had come into the house Jesus anticipated him, saying ‘What do you think Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?’. Peter said to him, ‘From strangers’. Jesus said to him, ‘Then the sons are free…’”. After telling him that he sent Peter out to catch a fish with a coin in its mouth and only give them the coin. Jesus could also be sarcastic.

    You say you pray. Might I suggest you follow Jesus into Matt 18 from there and pray there for a season? Then come back to Herod’s Temple with us in Matt 21.

    “Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And then he said to them, ‘It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it into a den of thieves’”

    Do you truly think Jesus would have taken those two copper coins from that widow? Did he want any money from her?

    Moving on again …

    I quote (with my own insert): “ … Pay [Octavian / Augustus Caesar first Imperator of Rome and son of the God Gaius Julius Caesar through the office of Tiberius] the emperor what belongs to the emperor, and pay God what belongs to God.”

    The coin Jesus tossed back at the priests really belonged to the emperor 100% – Jesus had no part of money and never has, even though he was and is still being sold for it.

    The idea that Jesus wants money from anyone is cheap and ugly and the bank accounts of those who collect money in his name full of greed and parasitic filth.

    I think you have been severely misled, something you seem to have realised and attempted to correct with your parents. Don’t stop there.

    Al

  • 312 Al // Sep 13, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    For Andre

    “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself take up his cross and follow Me. For whosoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with all His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works … take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. For the Son of Man came to save that which was lost … false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand … for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me … take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones … Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name?’ And I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you’ … Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my father who is in Heaven … therefore, I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven Men, but blasphemy against the Spirit will never be forgiven … for the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, for He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor, He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted. To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed … Let these words sink down into your ears … Whoever receives this little child in my name, receives Me … whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water … because it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should perish … take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones … I am the bread of life … inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these little ones, you did not do it to Me … with fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you … this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me, this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you … I am among you as the One who serves … pray that you may not enter temptation … as is written: ‘This people honours Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me. Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’ … Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod … My house shall be called a house of prayer but you have made it into a den of thieves … do not do according to their works; for they say and do not do … all their works they do, they do to be seen by men … which indeed appear beautiful outwardly … inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence … hypocrisy and lawlessness … take heed that no one deceives you … take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones … I am the bread of life … take heed, watch and pray.”

    Al

  • 313 Al // Sep 21, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Hi again Andre,

    I see that you have become silent – maybe that is because of the last message I posted on behalf of a friend of mine who wanted to add something to this discussion. Hopefully you read it and tried to hear him too … and twice so … this – his second post, wherein the resurrected Jesus personally reads those same carefully selected portions of Malachi 3. The choice verses which you say God led you to, but in reality Shofar and the entire I.F.C.C. leadership preach and use to attach a cash price to their version of the gospel and in essence, ultimately steal the Lord’s Supper from the greatest in His kingdom – by glibly and lawlessly turning these Scriptures into cash that gets deposited in these “leader’s” “ministry” bank accounts:

    “I am the Alpha and Omega and I will come near you for judgement; I will be a swift witness against sorcerers, adulterers, perjurers, against those who exploit wage earners and single-mothers and the fatherless, and against those who turn away the alien – because they do not fear Me says the Beginning and the End. For I am the Lord, I do not change … If anyone loves Me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him … Yet, from the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances … Where is the guest room where I may eat with My disciples? … Behold, I … Who was, and is, and is to come – stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and him with Me … [but] Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me! In what way have we robbed You? … You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me … Bring My body which is given for you … and this cup of the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you … into your midst, that there may be life in My Body … And, try me now on this, says the Lamb of God … [because] You have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, repent and DO the first works … I am the Good Shepherd … do you love me? Feed my lambs … Do you love me? … Let the greatest among you be as a slave … Do you love me? … Feed my sheep … Do you love me?

    Al

    P.S. Hugo, if Andre has left the conversation – do pass these last two posts I quoted here on to him by e-mail if you feel you may … (sans my commentary in this particular one). They seemed very relevant to all of Christianity and to me when I read them and ultimately more so in one other statement I haven’t copied here … bit too hectic

  • 314 Andre // Sep 22, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Hi Al ! Thanks for the comments! I did read them all. No problem. My spesific answers, like I previously said are only my relvelation of what God has dealt with in my life. I am not trying to convince anybody of my revelation, I just answered the questions from my personal revelation and my relationship with Jesus.

    Thanks for your posts,
    Have a good week
    Andre’

  • 315 Hugo // Sep 22, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Found some time for me to chip in again. In defence of giving a tenth… I assume this is common ground, that we can all agree on:

    There’s nothing wrong with coming to a decision to “give” a tenth of your income.

    In fact, it would be great of more people did that. I see Bono campaigning to urge people to give more. I see secular people like Dale McGowan create organisations that could encourage secular people to try to be more charitable as well (since they do generally fall behind on this, while it’s a good thing to do).

    Why “a tenth”? Hmm, why not? It’ s a decent guideline at least, even if it isn’t law. Having some number or guideline could even help you be more selfish: I recall a blogger (youth minister and college prof) explaining how he doesn’t feel bad about taking nice vacations, etc, since he has given a tenth of his income and that leaves him satisfied with his financial contribution. Thus leaving him comfortable spending on himself (and family? significant other?) as well.

    We’re all agreed on this, right? Then the other thing we could try to agree on is that which is the controversial part. I think the issue Al has above is about (a) pastors making their congregation feel obligated to give, especially if it were, say, manipulatively done with veiled threats of some variation of hell 😉 , and (b) whether the final destination of that charitable giving is at its most effective. That’s the line of questioning/concern, right?

    Thus on (a) that just leaves the question of to be about whether there was manipulation involved or not, and for (b) a question of what one should do, what lengths one should go to, to ensure it’s efficiently used. In an ideal world, of course, one would want to be able to trust one’s church to spend the collected money wisely and efficiently.

    We’re all agreed on this? Right? If so, cool. That’s about as much as I’m interested in discussing today / this week. I’ll probably get back to questions about manipulation and about efficient use of charity money on some other posts, some other day. (And I recognise Al’s comments above do attempt to tackle that question.)

  • 316 Al // Oct 6, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Eeni-meeni-mynee-mo catch a Hugo by his toe, if he hollers…

    Whom do we answer first … ?

    Pop Quiz (for Hugo only):

    1. What do Jesus and Bono have in common if by some means we can get Bono’s money out of the way, and including the small pertinent fact that Bono, in spite of persistent media rumours that he is actually also David Beckham’s dad … Has, as yet – apparently still not died for anyone?

    2. Explain at great length what capitalist philanthropy and the recorded socialist philology of the person (we cannot seem to agree was/is/… NOT a “Jesus Christ” wanting to be paid in cash) – have to do with one another – and, as:

    A.) An applied “Christian” dynamix within the real social institution experienced by any bitterly poor pre-pubescent child in South Africa, considering that for whatever reason more money and human effort is expended on these mites by foreign non-“Christian” N.G.O.’s?

    B.) How does this bias relate to the fact that Rhema International and the I.F.C.C. leadership’s “evangelical” annual revenue from Lawlessly garnered Old Testament “tithes and offerings” outstrip Bono’s lifetime earnings many many times over … any fiscal year?

    [You may in either answer use the historically Buddhist precedent]

    3.) Write a small treatise on why South Africa is the most financially significant “Christian” country in all of Africa, and yet, remains one of the most spiritually bankrupt and basely evil in regard to its own children in this entire world, both in malfeasance and apathetic neglect. In your answer you must employ the following fixed-reference and explain using a Ghandian base-line spiritual thermometer pre-gauged by the inhuman neglect of these poor kids and treating them worse than the most foul and repulsive of all animals.

    [Since you suggested this thread, a blank paper will be treated as an incorrect answer and rewarded a GG in Woodwork.]

    Actually, ag’nee, en weereens nee Hugo – We are not all agreed on this … ek stem nie saam nie en Jesus ook nie – en Hy, boonop uit sy eie mond uit, en duidelik in rooi en wit geskryf op sy eie bladsye – en nogwat — lank, lank lank voor Bono klaar ge-U2 het, of, ekke nou Ook hom “quote” en my ou meëningtjies daarby invoeg en hierby laat uitspreek. Ja…

    Maar, kom ons hoor wat sê Bono weer vir oulaas:

    Suit and tie comes up to me
    His face red like a rose on a thorn bush
    Like all the colours of a royal flush
    And he’s peelin’ off those dollar bills
    (Slappin’ ’em down)
    One hundred, two hundred.

    Across the mud huts as children sleep

    Watch this space

  • 317 Hugo // Oct 6, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Sorry Al, I seem to catch that there’s a particular message your comment is attempting to communicate (apart from the medium which is the direct questions you wrote), but don’t catch what it is exactly. And I lack the time/inclination/energy right now to decipher it. Short&sweet, concise&direct might work better for me this month if you mean for me to actually get that message.

    This is as far as I got, tell me if I’ve got it wrong: you don’t agree with me. But I don’t know what you’re not agreeing with. My initial statement:

    There’s nothing wrong with coming to a decision to “give” a tenth of your income.

    So maybe you disagree with that. Maybe you think people deciding to do that aren’t giving enough? Or shouldn’t give so much… can’t be that. I’m approaching the point where I’m considering regular charity contributions. (At last.) Ten percent actually feels steep to me at this point, but I’m working on it. (Finding ways to make that feel good and worthwhile on a visceral level.)

    Alternatively you disagree with what I think our main disagreements are about. That I labelled (a) and (b). Could be you didn’t like the way I presented my thoughts (that’s a possible interpretation of the weird way in which you presented your thoughts). I’m tempted to give a multiple choice in an attempt to get a simpler answer from you so I can get some idea of what you’re thinking, but … you might not answer anyway, and pulling up a good multiple choice takes time and effort. Both of which I don’t actually have right now. I’m on vacation in an effort to spend time with family, and instead of doing the real work I still need to do before we hit the road tomorrow, I’m commenting here. Doh!

    ..

    In any case, I corrected the blockquote in your first, and removed your second. Basically it should be:

    <blockquote>block quoted text goes here </blockquote>

    The instructions are certainly pretty confusing, and pretty much impossible to follow for people that don’t already know html (merely stating what markup is permitted, not how to use it). Bleh.

  • 318 Al // Oct 7, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    For Andre again.

    Answer these questions …

    Scenario 1:
    a.) [The Law of Tithes and Offerings] And you shall EAT before The Lord your God, in the place which He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks … And the stranger and the fatherless and the WIDOW who are within your gates, MAY COME AND EAT and be satisfied, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you shall do.

    b.) As Jesus sat near the temple treasury, he watched the people as they dropped in their money. Many rich men dropped in a lot of money; then a poor WIDOW came along and dropped in two little copper coins, worth about a penny. He called His disciples together and said to them, “I tell you that this poor widow put more in the offering box than all the others. For the others put in what they had to spare out of their riches; but she, poor as she is, gave all she had to live on.

    Q: Which widow went home poorer and hungrier – your god’s Shofar cash driven revelation to you or the prophet Moses’ embedded promise of the coming of the Lamb of God and his ultimate authority as the Word of God – when Jesus whipped, beat, smashed down and threw out those who polluted the Temple with money and the gods and idols of money?

    [You must remember in your answer Andre: Moses gave this commandment in obedience to God long, long before the temple and its Treasury were ever built, filled, squandered and eventually destroyed. Remember God, does not change – you quoted this yourself.]

    Scenario 2:

    Do you believe that you are equal with all other believers in the sight of your god?

    Come towards an imaginary room with me. Nothing is inside this room except Jesus and the sound of my voice. Jesus watches and I am speaking…

    Now come inside the room. You are lost, have nothing and nothing to give and see Jesus and he forgives you and tells you he loves you.

    You run out and beg TEN men to come to the room with you. You tell them you are a pastor and you can help them all meet with this same Jesus regularly. The TEN men willingly come back to the room with you and sing they are so happy. Each has 10 coins in his pocket from working all week and after listening to you tell them for an hour how wonderful the Jesus is you met in this room – each one gives YOU 1 coin as a “tithe or offering” to Jesus.

    Q: a.) How many coins do YOU have in your pocket pastor?
    b.) How many coins do each of the TEN men have left?
    c.) Why did Jesus leave the room?

    Scenario 3:

    Come towards an imaginary room with me again. Nothing is inside this room except Jesus and the sound of my voice. Jesus watches and I am speaking…

    Now come inside the room. You are lost, have nothing and nothing to give and see Jesus and he forgives you and tells you he loves you.

    You run out the room and go and work hard all week for TEN coins. At the end of the week you collect TEN bitterly poor children and invite them to come back to room with you. On the way you buy some loaves and some small fishes for one coin. Inside the room, you greet Jesus, thank him – then break up the loaves and fishes and feed the children while they meet and talk to Jesus themselves.

    Q: a.) Why has Jesus not left the room?
    b.) How much money is in your pocket now pastor?
    c.) How many baskets of leftovers did you collect afterwards?

    Andre, I dislike dishonesty intensely and you have not been very honest. You came here to defend something you were taught like a Pavlovian dog, exactly like Gerhard so rightly suggested – yet you cannot even be honest about that even when confronted and dare to dress it up as something you call a revelation of some god who wants your bit of cash when nothing is doctrine beyond the Word of God – Jesus. You are not interested in him because you refuse to listen to anything except the I.F.C.C. Shofar god in your head. Your choice. However, don’t pretend truth or ever try and collage the bible to suit your cult amongst its real students and frankly Jesus does not want your money, so:

    Go buy your mom a bunch of flowers and kiss her and hug her and thank her for the thousands of times she cleaned up your shit, it sounds like you are a stubborn, inattentive and ungrateful one – to say the least. Then give those two quotations I posted above to your dad, and only Jesus words – not mine, and thank your dad for living up to it and being obedient to his commandments and loving you – the Greatest in his kingdom.

    You don’t love Jesus, if you did you would respect his Word and be obedient to it. Like the countless thousands of you – YOU are not even interested in listening – but that is your problem.

    Like I said to another Shofar girl – Hy kon self voor jou gestaan en dit duidelik vir jou se en jy sal steeds nie vir Hom hoor nie.

  • 319 Kenneth Oberlander // Oct 7, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Hi Andre. Sorry about the lateness of my replies.

    I can really speak only for myself.

    Understood. But you’re closer to the answers to my questions than I am (being part of this church as you are), so I feel your insights would be valuable.

    But again, I really love others who don’t feel like I do.

    Hmmm…why, if I may ask? I’m not condoning hating people, just asking what are the reasons behind your appreciation of diversity.

    I would just like to also say to you Kenneth that on behalf of other Christians including those in Shofar that I REALLY AM SORRY FOR ANY HURT that other Christians caused you by the way in which they might have treated you.If applicable.

    *Blink*.

    Thanks for the sentiment, but this falls in the Not Applicable box! Christians haven’t hurt me specifically. Not any more than any other religious or irreligious group has. You don’t need to take responsibility for whatever (minor) hurt has been caused me by anyone else.

    This question obviously I cannot answer on behalf of the church. I do not know what it is about but yes I mean if there are criticism one always look at the facts and give a reason why you answered in a certain manner.

    OK. Thanks for this answer.

    This again is my personal opinion, I do not speak for Shofar, In my personal opinion, I think science is really wonderful. It gives us lots of answers on phenomena through research practical testing etc.
    As long as you can look at all the facts concerning Science is great.

    OK. Perhaps I should re-phrase this question then. How do you resolve discrepancies between your church’s teachings and the findings of science?

    Unfortunately there will always be things that I cannot figure out with science, like for instance, how do I explain to someone from a science perspective that I actually have a relationship with Jesus and that He speaks to me and gives me answers on things in my personal life etc. This is difficult because it is not something that you can proof with testing, research etc. but what I do know is that I really know Him and love Him so much!

    What do you think someone from a science perspective would say to you in such a case? Do you think they have a point?

    I hope these answers could be of some help to you.

    Thank you, yes, it is nice to have an opinion from someone ‘in the circle’, so to speak. I have a vested if indirect interest, as a teacher and science advocate, in some of what I have heard Shofar preaches about my field (evolutionary biology). It would be nice to know whether what I hear is true or not.

    Thanks for the way in which you treated and respected ne as a person in your mail. I really appreciate it! C U kenneth!

    No worries. Thank you for your polite replies.

    You are always welcome to contact me it you want to know more or just chat or have a coffee or whatever. Bless you man!
    Regards, Andre’

    I can’t in good conscience reciprocate with a “Bless you” (being an atheist and all!), but good luck in your endeavours. Again, please answer or don’t as you see fit.

  • 320 stuiwer // Jan 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    So many words, so many posts….

    I really appreciate everyone’s input/opinion/conviction/honesty/revelation… Viva la freedom of speech.

    Aside for the fact that my head is aching after only reading 15% of abovementioned… here’s my contribution/observation:

    We are all fallen.
    We are all hurt.
    We are all recklessly disconnected from what God intended us to be and somehow voicing our opinion temporarily eases the pain.

    Yet, in Jesus Christ, somehow, there’s restoration. There is unity.
    There is the Promise of His Return to fetch His Bride – the Global Church. One body. Spotless.

    I doubt the use of endless disputes about who is wrong and who is right. Surely, even the ignorant will at some stage, sooner or later be waken up, be it by God himself. I dare say it, because He loves us.

    I can not speak on behalf of God, though. But I am his daughter. And I know from experience that personal faith, however timid and wavering it may be, be it tried and tested, failing or prevailing.. in the end it endures. Not because of myself, but because of Him.
    For God alone sees our hearts, knows our motives and remains just and faithful to Who He is.

    And in my short span of nearly 24 years upon this earth, I have come to realize that His Message, His Way have been around long before my birth and it will outlast my current life. I’m but a speck of dust in the desert.

    All I can do is seek His face, know His Presence and receive His love.
    My prayer for all of us is that together we will all learn to live a responsive life of freedom, love and joy – for His sake.

    Shofar isn’t perfect, no church is. But glory to the God who will unite His Church in such an awe-inspiring, supernatural and glorious way – that all our thoughts and ideas and arguments will swiftly fade away.

    We are all part of one body, we should be interdependant. But thank God for His grace, otherwise there wouldn’t have been much left of me by now.

    Shalom

    PS.
    Books worth reading:

    Velvet Elvis – Rob Bell
    Jesus wants to save Christians – Rob Bell

    Blue like Jazz – Donald Miller
    A Million Miles in a Thousand Years – Donald Miller

    Stuff Christians Like – Johnathan Acuff (StuffChristiansLike.net)

  • 321 Hugo // Jan 15, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Hey Stuiwer! Curious about your book recommendations – are these recommendations being passed around in Shofar now / yet? (There was a time when Rob Bell wasn’t much appreciated by Shofar, if I dare generalise like that.)

  • 322 stuiwer // Jan 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    No, I’ve stumbled across these books by myself and recommended them to most of my friends; from various churches and even unbelievers.

    It did challenge my ideas about church in a good way, plus lead to some good laughs. I think we too easily lose ourselves within the domain of intellect and somehow lose our sense of humour in the process.

    Having said that, things at Shofar have been changing A LOT over the past year or so. The leadership have been very open about mistakes made in the past and they have repented towards those who were hurt and offended through their actions. The legalistic approach and structures have made way for a much more gracious and loving manner. These changes that have taken place eversince your initial post is a very encouraging and significant thing to notice. And I know it won’t stop now.

    Praise God for growth and change.

  • 323 Hugo // Jan 15, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    If that’s the case, that’s good to hear. I hope others also experience this improvement. And I can’t help but wonder if they’ve considered changing their membership contract? 😉

  • 324 Clems // Nov 23, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I am now totally confused after reading the above. I went on the Shofar website to get directions and services times for Sundays thinking I would like to attend a praise and worhsip service. But now I am not so sure that I do want to do that???

  • 325 Bendel // Nov 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Clems, you should go see for yourself. go with an open heart and a carefull/clear mind. People have different opinions about things. Form your own.

  • 326 Clems // Nov 23, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Bendel, You are quite right and I think that I will do that. Thank you for your quick reply.

  • 327 faithgashirayi // May 2, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    There is no greater love that God Himself came through a woman to be in the likeness of us and still could not circum to the standards of this world but remained true to His call. He lived day in day out like us yet without sin. let us not loose sight of the blood that was spilled at Calvary. Just please for you own sake keep your eyes on Jesus, there is freedom.

    The suffering we have now does not compare to the glory to come, we tithe and bring our offering in obedience to God and not to man and in honour to His finished work on the cross so please walk in Christ and He will bring to completion the good works he began in you.

    Jesus loves you and died with you in mind when He went to the cross.

    In Christ

  • 328 thinker // May 6, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Hi faithgashirayi! Are you interested in having a conversation, or did you simply want to leave us some wisdom while passing by?

  • 329 dagelf // Sep 29, 2012 at 3:55 am

    Fred May preaches all these amazing truths – incites people to action.

    Then in the same breath he expresses his opinions and preferences as if it were fact, no doubt hopelessly misinterpreted by his audience, usually echoing their sentiment, but in fact approving of it regardless of whether it’s right or wrong. He can literally lead them to believe most anything that he believes.

    I believe that it’s the small things that count and turn out to be most important.

    Which is why I find it admirable that he does not hesitate to speak up about the things that the doesn’t understand and that doesn’t make sense to him. But I don’t approve of the time and place and manner that he does it.

    I find it disheartening how he can be so oblivious to the truths he himself is preaching.

    I don’t think he intends to harm or mislead.

    I just think he’s oblivious to the implications of some of his persuasions.

    They have an event taking place down the road from me; the attendance probably rakes in roughly R1m in entrance fees for use as they see fit. Nothing wrong with that – it’s just that much of it will no doubt be used to spread their influence – which is good to a large extent.

    But I think it really important that they realize their potential to do better than they are, they are so successful, have such speed, such a gift and opportunity to exceed their own mandate and expectations: to decrease, rather than increase the confusion in the world.

    I attended his sermon last night, admittedly somewhat reluctantly, not wanting to have to bear the sight of someone of his stature ridiculing things that he does not understand.

    At first I was pleasantly surprised to hear his positive message; and his assertion that science can not answer any of the really interesting questions; which is true. But science does not claim to, neither is it a religion, neither does it dictate morals or the existence or nonexistence of God. It simply states that it aims to list provable things and that provable things are only held to be valid until proven false. Nothing more, nothing less, it’s pure common sense and even the workings of his religious institution can be illustrated to be founded on those principles.

    I’m not going to pick apart all he so passionately and furiously preached; much if it was indeed awesome and true.

    I just think it warrants mentioning one or two things.

    I got disheartened as he started setting one of the usual stereotypical Shofar stages: Today Shofar vs. his misconception of “Science,” he manifested like this: his lay interpretation of Entropy as “Chaos” or “Murphy’s Law” against the “Glory of God”. “Entropy” supposedly a destructive force which can only be countered by faith; Animating this imaginary battle furiously, spicing it with a soup of as many bible verses, truths and opinions and he could muster.

    He explains that “a half truth is a lie”. That we’re can’t be complacent or in a comfort zone of our church – that we should put ourselves in a Warzone. My interpretation: He is preaching half truths. I have put myself in a warzone to come and endure this, and to lift my opinion.

    He explains that he “doesn’t get it” how people can one day be part of a “charismatic church” and the next day discover something that leads them to leave. This makes perfect sense, they see through the thin veil of his half truths – had he only tweaked his opinion out of the way, and paved the way for preaching a whole truth, they would not “leave” because there would be no disagreement.

    He rightly proclaimed that “the world has brainwashed us into believing that if we can’t understand something, it doesn’t exist” – does he mean like in his imaginary battle with science, which he doesn’t understand, and thus tries to ridicule, trying to push it out of existence?

    In the the same breath he proclaims that they, Shofar, have made a “science” out of marketing and sensationalizing Christianity – and that they’re spreading a lie: that it’s not as simple, there’s a big disclaimer: You have to surrender your whole life, wholeheartedly. This I cannot fault. You have to trade in your while Mazda, and God will give you a Porche, you can not keep even a memento. (I think a memento is an appropriate word here: “Something to serve as a reminder or a warning”.)

    He sympathizes with the ladies, repeatedly; he loves using the metaphor of birth, and telling stories illustrating his respect for what they have to endure.

    He is quite correct when he says that “Christ holds it all together”. But how does he think this happens? Is Christ not allowed to use a tool that we can come to learn about and try to understand? Or must we just blindly relinquish control and the final say to Pastor May and his church, pay them for their knowledge? Their opinions?

    What most offended me is his use of, what really is transparent and fake empathy toward street children, contrasting this with an initiative supported by the Stellenbosch Municipality to place artworks in town, ranting about how that money could be better spent feeding those on the street.

    Pastor May, have you listened to the street children? Do you know them as people? Why they are there? What their stories are? Do you claim to have the solution to their problems – and if you do, can you explain why they are still there? How much of your conference takings are going toward a proven solution to their problems?

    Do you know why I bother writing this? Because I see potential in you. I see how your message, just slightly tweaked more towards the truth, can indeed reach its target. Hit its mark. Not be a half truth.

    Writing this is my only means of sharing with you my conviction. A truth that I have been raised with in my heart, the child of many generations of ministers. A child who have, like many, rebelled against that which I did not understand; A child blessed enough to have had a revelation, to have seen how it all fits together, in a way more beautiful, perfect or unimaginable that I could have dreamt.

    I believe that you can share this dream. A dream without dissidence.

    A dream without what you, today, called Entropy – something which you are guilty of sowing; something of which, in my personal opinion, the scientific community may have the terminology of backwards; regardless, my opinion here is irrelevant.

    What I know to be true is, however, relevant: We all pursue the same goals, through different means; carry the same message through different words; or ultimately we should.

    But getting the little things right, is important, because if you have that right, you have rediscovered the language of the message that has stood the test of time: the message which you conveyed the gist of: that God is almighty and that we are all saved. But we need to know how it works and we need to understand how; We need to understand what it means and how it fits in with everything else, not only intuitively but intellectually.

    You need to understand why girls in the church start crying when you shout at them. You need to understand how you can use the knowledge that people have dedicated their lives to, for good, to spread God’s message.

    You need to understand the effects of your words on your congregation.

    You need to understand that poking fun at other congregations and institutions spreads the wrong attitude and the wrong message and that it is unwarranted.

    You need to understand why God has chosen you, how he has lead you, and how his words apply to you, that you are not exempt from the things you preach – and that, like science’s ultimate realization, that everything can only be held to be valid until proven false, you too may be wrong about that which you are most certain of and that denying that you may be wrong, is in fact the original sin: that your will is greater than the will of God.

  • 330 dagelf // Oct 27, 2012 at 9:17 am

    A follow up to my post above.

    Fred May actually read it. I know this because I put myself in the ‘warzone’ again on the Sunday of the ‘conference’.

    I was humbled, and much of my fears about Shofar disappeared. The man on the stage was not the same man as the Friday, something in him changed over that weekend. And something in me. And they accepted that they have made huge mistakes… but the message they had was so powerful, it touched everyone.

    For the first time I could accept and appreciate how they’re using commercial (and rock concert) tools at their disposal to spread a message. I thought: What if. What if the first ‘rock concert’ I went to, was one where the bands sang about the Bible? And alcohol was replaced by debate? … It felt like the world is waking up to a message… I was overcome with more than mere emotion.

    And I thought about your post… and I thought, if they’re listening to even me – an outsider, a nobody to them… not even saying good things about them… where does that put your claim?

    These guys’ heart are in the right place. They don’t offend me as much anymore, they are seekers like every Christian should be… I’m not expecting them to be my cup of tea… but I have realized that they can be.

    Anyways, even the NG kerk has that clause about: onderwerp aan kerklike opsig en tug. Never agreed with it either… But I’m sure they have a long track record of its application for good…?

    Regardless… as you point out, the Word makes it totally redundant. I see it simply as their acknowledgement of the world… their reflection of things worldly. I’m sure the truth will prevail… and set us all free.

  • 331 Maxwell // Nov 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Please use English in such blogs NOT AFRIKAANS so that we can all understand what you’re talking about please people be gentle and kind to us.

  • 332 dagelf // Nov 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Dear Maxwell

    All caps comes across as quite offensive. Lucky for you, it’s Google to the rescue: http://translate.google.com/

    Have you ever tried that?

  • 333 kagiso chitonho // Oct 17, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    to all the christians in disagreement with shofar memebership contract

    IF YOU DISAGREE WITH THEM YOU DISAGREE WITH GOD because nothing i have found there is not found in the b=Bible. you are a church leader and are going to be responsable for helping people know who God is- what makes you think we want a drug user as a leader? how can you lead a church if you yourself have no direction in your own life? thats why they offer you councelling.

    God is a God of order but even Jesus submitted to Gods will. ALL CHRISTIANS SUBMIT TO GOD’S WILL and any other person who disagrees is luke-warm or not a believer at all. i shouldnt have to tell you that this is right or wrong, any spirit filled christian will have the knowledge and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to testify if this is God’s will, and wilol give you peace about it- and the only thing here i fail to find peace about, is the claim that youa re CHRISTIAN yet dont understand the will of God wen it is repeated to you by somebody else. you need to go back to God, ad fix your relationship becuase he really does love you, and where you are is dangerous ground.

  • 334 Bendul // Oct 17, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Nothing like a well structured argument…

    SUBMIT TO THE POWER OF LOGIC!

  • 335 Hugo // Oct 17, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Hi kagiso!

    Thanks for stopping by and writing a comment. Would you be interested in some discussion on such matters, or were you just passing by?

    We would need to think what’s most valuable and productive to discuss. It’s probably not worthwhile to tackle this assertion directly:

    any spirit filled christian will have the knowledge and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to testify if this is God’s will

    My concern about this particular point is with regards to turning this around: “if you don’t agree with what Shofar’s membership contract, you are not a spirit filled christian”. It’s tautologically true if you define spirit filled Christian in terms of “agrees with Shofar”. And if we work with that definition, people shouldn’t care about being a “spirit filled Christian” either, since it’s simply descriptive as to whether they agree or disagree with Shofar.

    So of more interest to discuss might be what makes it important, in your opinion, to be aligned with Shofar’s views, and how aligned you think one has to be? Do you consider Shofar’s stances mostly infallible, for example – I’m thinking of a Shofar friend that spent a little bit of time in a different “revivalist type”[1] congregation while he was in another town, and came back to Shofar when he returned to Stellenbosch. For an example of perspectives changing: he returned with a different attitude towards masturbation than he originally had as Shofarian.

    [1] (for lack of better words at my fingertips)

    This could be a good starting point for a discussion regarding “Shofar orthodoxy”. Hope you’re interested in a discussion, I probably wrote too much right now. The first relevant question is simply: would you be interested in some discussion on such matters, or were you just passing by? If just passing by, I tip my hat at you and greet you with “shalom”, if it’s appropriate enough! 😉

    Thanks!
    Hugo

  • 336 kagiso // Oct 19, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    listen shofar is not a perfect church, like all other churches, because as a christian, only Jesus is your perfection. if you look back at my statement, i was very careful to place my words where i wanted them to be. that last paragraph was not talking about shofar’s contract, it was talking about the Holy Spirit giving you discernment to “IDENTIFY” what the will of God is. it is about God’s will, and how me choose to ffufill it.

    i mean they are some things that i don’t necessarily like about shofar, we could pick at flaws every day of the week. but i know that Jesus placed me in that church wen i was going church hopping. i submitted to Him and his will, and then he led me to shofar. people are different, i mean shofar is a charismatic church, young people making a lot of noise- so you’d find that God places people in roman catholic(like my grandmother) because she is just that type of person. he understands our differences. but to question the structure of the church and how it conforms to the Bible is not between you and the church, its between you and God, and your ability to actually “submit” to his will, so you can recognize what is his and what is not.

    thats hw i pick out the flaws of a church, because i am so intuned with God’s will. but the reason i continue to go to shofar is not cause it does right, but because the leader submits to God’s will, and many times i can testify that the message they deliver on sunday is the very one God hs been talking t me about the whole week. the technical things about church are always going to be flawed in life- but does it feed your spirit? are there works covered by grace? and does God’s spirit rest there every sunday wen you want an encounter? my answer for shofar…yes. and many times i have interpreted tongues were God encourages the church. please note, church is not the building- it is the body of christ- so all the peole that attend shofar, not the actual ministry its under.

    as for your friend and his masturbation…. wen you are under grace, sin has no hold on you. how can Jesus be your savior if you dont think you need saving? i can tell you, God loves your friend, but he does not love his sin. God loves people but condemns the sin, thats why a freaking child molester or a murderer can still receive salvation and make it to heaven- because unlike humans, to him everybody has a chance. But God is also a holy God. if he can see Himself masturbating before the throne room of God on judgement day and be absolutely sure to still make it to heaven, then he should go for it. but for me and my experiences with lust- it took me a while to admit that this was a problem. the Bible speaks about the problem. God himself testifies to the problem, and Jesus freed me from that problem. but how can he be your savior, if you dont think you need saving?

    back to your question- yes please, i would love to be part of more discussions 😀 they sound interesting. please be warned in advance, i have a pastorial spirit, so the way i type, especially in length, is the actual way i speak :p glory to God i guess 😀

  • 337 kagiso // Oct 19, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    by the way…

    soemthings the bible says vaguely- not to make you unsure of things, but to plant that desire to actually go to God and ask Him. why do that on purpose? because God loves it when he’s people come to him, and associate with him, even if you’re atheist. there is just something delightful about that to Him. its the same thing as, why do you pray if God already knows what you want and need? prayer is actually talking to God in lamentation- either for yourself, or a situation…He knows it- but there is jst something he loves about his children always running to Him. same way i suppose your parents felt when you relied on them for everything wen you were a kid. they delighted in the growth experience with you.

    i used to smoke. i never knew it was wrong because the only thing that the bible said about it was “your body is the temple of God” me trying to ustify myself said”well, they were burnt offerings in God’s temple in the past…surely its the same thing”…so i continued smoking. and though he NEVER ONCE CONDEMNED ME or threatened to send me to hell for it, i myself, would never want to be caught by y church mates for smoking. not cause o was afraid of judgement, but just. i dont know why. fustrated with the hiding i finally stopped asking people and went to the big guy himself…

    “God is smoking wrong? if you tell me to quite God i will quite. i just want to hear you say it and i will.” many signs cmae after that, including landing on the “temple of God” scriptures, but i ignored it, thought it was just coincidence.

    one day we were worshipping on the rooi plain and this prophet guy who i ddnt even knw prayed with us. he came to me affterwards, and very firmly said “the Lord said YOU MUST STOP SMOKING, your body is the temple of the Lord.” i freaked. i was also embarrassed. but i got my answer, and it came with such finality. since that day, he gave me both the answer and the strength and dead desire, to stop smoking.

    but i can tell you, if any other christian told me smoking was wrong- i would have thought they were judging me. my friend after we spoke, told me one thing that i saw was true. she said “Kg, do you know that nothing i can ever say will cause a person to believe in God. even you know that before you were saved, and you saw christains coming your way you took a “short left!” but its hearing the truth from the only truth there is, that caused you to know that Jesus is alive and real.”

    so whether your friend listens to people that say masturbation is right or wrong, he will never be fully satisfied. but he needs to step up, and be courageous enough to ask his King what is truth(deep down inside, me and him both know the reason we take so long to ask God directly, is cause we kind of already know what he is going to say) because nothing i have said, even my lil story, can ever give him finality on the topic.

  • 338 Hugo // Oct 22, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Hi again Kagiso! 😉

    Crazy busy time this week, so I’m not going to be very quick in replying.

    I’ll also try to not write too much at a time. Most importantly, I want to be sure what we’re trying to discuss, where we’re trying to go, what we’re trying to achieve. My first priority is to seek to understand how you think about things – this is something I find very interesting: to understand the perspectives of people that view the world differently to me. It also means probing the boundaries of that perspective, since that’s where one learns the most, I think?

    I first want to understand your idea of a “pastoral spirit”,

    please be warned in advance, i have a pastorial spirit, so the way i type, especially in length, is the actual way i speak :p

    When I think of a “pastor”, I think of two specific pastors I’ve had in my life, and I think of what I’d ideally want in a pastor. Or if I were a pastor, how I’d like to behave / communicate / relate to people. In your example, I’d like to know what it is that you feel I should be “warned” about? 😀

    Second topic, which is a bit of an odd one, but hey, I brought it up. So I guess now’s not the worst time to keep on exploring this topic to see if any interesting discussion comes from it: your perspective on masturbation. You clearly consider it to be wrong, and you frame it in the context of lust. So let’s start exploring in the context of a marriage: do you consider masturbation to be wrong for a married person as well? (Considering thoughts could be solely focused on the married person’s spouse?)

    Perhaps two topics are good enough for now. The third thing I am curious about is your relationship with your dad. I realise this in particular is the kind of topic that some people wouldn’t want to discuss, especially not out in the open? Either way, I do hope you have a good relationship – it is so sad when familial relationships break down…

    Please do tell me if any particular topic is no longer of interest to you, or gets irritating, then we can drop it.

  • 339 estau // Feb 2, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Hi almal

    Ek is so geskok met die shofar kerk in durbanville en hoe n pastoor en die kantoor bestuurder hul personeel behandel.
    Volgens my is daai nie n kerk nie…..dis maar net n besigheid om geld te maak…..en die gemeenskap se tiendes wat hul betaal word nie eens gebruik om mense te help wat regtig in nood is nie.
    Dit word eerder gebruik om die beste rekenaars te koop vir die kantore en sodat die pastoor sy vriende uit kan vat op etes

    My vrou het tans daar gewerk as die ontvangs dame. Die hele gemeenskap plus die ouderlinge is mal oor haar,sy doen haar werk regtig goed en daar is geen probleem met haar werk gewees nie. Die office manager is die enigste ene wat n probleem gehad het,toe steek hy die hoof pastoor aan en vertel leuens oor my vrou om mense op te maak teen haar………en nou word sy uit geboelie uit haar werk en die kerk uit……..hulle weier om haar te fire……hul dwing haar nou om te bedank…….is dit reg?…..is dit hoe n kerk en n pastoor moet wees?

    Die hoof pastoor is blind en wil niks verkeerd hoor of sien wat sy kantoor bestuurder doen die………ek weet nie eintlik hoekom daar ene is nie wat hul doen nooit hul werk nie…….al sy werk was altyd af gepak op my vrou

    Bottom line is…….daar gaan dinge aan in daai kerk wat die gemeenskap nie van weet nie en wat almal stil hou. Ek sal nooit iemand voorstel om na shofar durbanville toe te gaan nie.

  • 340 Bolla // Feb 3, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    And they call themselves a church?? My goodness!

  • 341 Hugo // Feb 3, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    I’m not comfortable with hearing only one side of a story like that. I’m afraid I can’t really trust it, not just because it’s from an anonymous source, but also because it’s very difficult for one person to ever represent the full picture.

    I bet the majority of organisations have some kind of story that could be framed in a bad light, given only one perspective, while the full picture would lead to a lot more compassion for and understanding of any particular situation.

  • 342 charlene // Feb 4, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Ek is daai persoon…

    Ek wil begin om te se dat Shofar glad nie n slegte kerk is nie, inteendeel, ek het die wonderlikste mense en vriende daar ontmoet.
    Die probleem is ook nie die gemeente nie, die probleem le by net 2 mense wat nie na jou kant luister nie en jou oordeel.
    En oor ek nie in die kerk getrou het en oor ek party Sondae saam met my man in die NG kerk was, word dit gese ek is nie meer lid van die kerk, maar tog dien ek daar.
    Ek verkies om nie by n lelike ding betrokke te raak nie, my man het bloot vir my opgekom.
    Ek bedank vandag oor ek nie n keuse het want ek word 3 mnde se salaris aangebied en word vir weke al nie eers gegroet deur die kantoor bestuurder nie. en ek wil ook net se dat ek my lyne gevolg het toe ek gaan kla het.
    Ek stap vandag weg nie met n swart hart nie, maar met die wete in my dat die Here my gaan bless oor die manier wat ek hier moet weg. ek hoef nie eers my kennis maand in te werk….
    Ek en ander weet ek was n goeie werker en van die mense het actually gesien hoe ek al behandel was deur die spesifieke persoon, maar nee, ek gaan nie haat nie.
    Ek vertrou die Here om my te genees van hierdie vernederende behandeling.
    Ek sal steeds se dis n goeie kerk, en die leiers is regtig mense van God.
    So Hugo, daar het jou nou my kant. Ek is uit die kerk en uit my werk, en 2 mense smile vandag breed daaroor.
    En ek? Ek is fine, ek dra nie haat in my rond. Nie eers oor leuens nie. Ek is nie vals nie en die mense wat my goed ken weet ek is n sterk mens en sal hierdeur kom. En Hugo…ek admire al jou baie tyd wat jy so spandeer hier op die blad. Raak jy nie al moeg hiervan?

  • 343 charlene // Feb 4, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Ek wil ook net comment en se dat amper al die leiers saam met my bid en vertrou vir ander werk. Dis wat Christene doen, hulle dra mekaar se laste, en dit sal jy altyd by Shofar kry. Die ouderlinge en Selleiers is fantastiese mense en opregte Christene.

  • 344 Hugo // Feb 5, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Dankie vir jou storie, charlene. Ek kan empatie hê vir wat jy vertel. Jou kant van die storie is jou “realiteit”, jou ervaring.

    Die “ander kant” van die storie is die kant van die “2 mense wat nie na jou kant luister nie en jou oordeel”, so ek voel terwyl mens moet nie ‘n opinie vorm oor daardie twee mense op grond van hierdie verhaal nie, mens steeds meelewing kan hê vir wat jy deur gaan en deurgegaan het. Sterkte.

    Ek is wel nog oor een ding nuuskierig: kan jy, of estau, verduidelik wie “Bolla” is?

    Omtrent tyd: dit was maar baie stil op my blog die afgelope jare. Ek kry maar min tyd vir skryf. Maar ek is nie klaar geskryf nie, ek hou aan droom van meer tyd maak / vind vir heelwat meer skryf. Ek het wel moeg geraak van sekere soort gesprekke, wat my laat besef het dat ek eintlik tegniese oplossings nodig het vir sulke dinge, en daarvoor het ek ook te min tyd (om die tegniese oplossings te implementeer), wat ook veroorsaak dat ek meer traag is om verder te skryf. Dis maar jammer, maar so gaan die lewe.

  • 345 charlene // Feb 5, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Hi Hugo….ek wonder? Is dit jou skuilnaam?
    Wel Estau is my man en ek en hy voel baie offended deur Shofar! Ek voel soos n hond weggejaag met n bos blomme in my hand. Ek is geniune baie seergemaak. Ek was vertel die Here het vir hulle gewys ek is die een wat daar aangestel moet word, paar maande later word dit vir my gese dis tyd vir die volgende seisoen…ag weet jy hierdie ontstel my so en toe ek Pastoor Fred laat weet wat aangaan kry ek dit….no comment! Dit maak NOG seerder!!
    Ek het niks verder hieroor te se nie. Ek is n Chrtisten en sal staan daarbyB ek het die Here werklik baie lief en daar is nie net een Shofar kerk nie, maar vir eers bly ek weg van elke liewe een van hul takke af, ek voel glad nie welkom meer nie. Maar ek se weer, dis n baie goeie kerk!!! Daar word regtig mooi gekyk na die lidmate en die preke wat jy hoor is volgens my regtig genuine!
    Hugo…vir eers moet jy my verskoon omtrent my storie, ek recover van hierdie verndering. Eks nie kwaad nie en ek haat nie, net diep seergemaak…

  • 346 Hugo // Feb 6, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    estau, wie is Bolla?

  • 347 Kagiso Chitonho // Feb 7, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    This is such a useless arguement. We all know tht the Bible says the church are the people, not the building, the contracts or the organisation. As far as I cn see we are badmouthing God’s bride, not shofar ministries. Nd I dnt thnk God appreciates the fact tht we say we are hs childen, nd tht we love nd accept everyone yet we are so quick to judge wen smethng goes wrng. Contracts r technical thngs, wht matters is “does tht leader hve a heart after God” nomatter wht denomination u r, even as an individual, U ARE NOT PERFECT. U HVE UR SINS which r betweenn u nd God in private, nd God nt once remnds u of ur mistakes, bt He shows u ur destiny, so then y shud u do anythng less than that for another person or even the group of people we cal the church. U are the church. U the individual. Nd kf u dnt feel cmfrtable in the family of shofar thn ask God o find u a church better suited fr u, bt do not badmouth God’s bride. He who started a good work in ALL OF US, will make sure He finishes it…so stop lookimg at faults, nd gve glory to God fr the fact tht we hve more nd more people going to church in thw first place and encountering God’s presence. We are callwd to preach the gospel, bt so far all I cn see is us fallingminto the devils traps of division. Church, we r nt perfect, our perfection is in heaven. Until then, WE ALL NEED GOD’s GRACE, so get of the high horse.

  • 348 Hugo // Feb 7, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Partly this post explained why I couldn’t sign the Shofar membership thing, i.e. could not become a Shofar member, and thus couldn’t go see what their Foundations 3, 4 and 5 was about.

    Other than that, you’ll have to tell me if there’s a specific topic you’d like to chat about. (And if so, please consider writing out words fully, as it’s more pleasureable for me to read. 😉 ) Right now I don’t personally have any conversations in mind on this topic.

    If you were just stopping by, thanks & Shalom. 😉

  • 349 charlene // Feb 9, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Hugo…weet nie.
    Kagiso…ek verstaan heeltemal wat jy se, maar moet asb nie praat van goed wat jy niks van weet nie, ek kan oor ek weet.
    En nee as jy mooi lees sal jy sien ek het nerens gese die kerk is sleg! Ek het gese hoe ek die laaste weke daar behandel was, is sleg. En die boodskap het by my uitgekom dat Pastoor Fred toe my kant gehoor het en baie jammer daaroor is…so dit beteken baie vir my! Ek voel nou gerus want hy weet nou.
    Wat gebeur het, het gebeur, en dit kan nie teruggeneem word nie. Maar ek voel we’ll dat dit heeltemal op die verkeerde manier gebeur het, want in enige werk as daar issues kom dan sit jy mense om een tafel en jy sorteer dit so uit, nie agteraf nie. Elkeen moet n regverdige kansie kry, jy vra nie net mense om te loop uit hul werk of uit die kerk uit. Jy kry eers elkeen se volle kant en werk dan daarvandaan, mens maak ook eers seker van al die feite voor jy na leuens luister en dan oordeel. Kagiso ek wil vandag vir jou se, jy ken my nie, maar ja jys reg, ons almal is vol sonde, jy ingesluit, ek ook. Al wat ek se is, ek en my man is seergemaak oor hoe dinge gebeur het en ongelukkig kan en mag ek nie al die detail hierop noem nie, maar die Here is besig met die genesing, so ja die kerk is nie to blame, al die ander takke werk en funksioneer soos dit moet, dis net by Durbanville waar daar issues was oor daar 6 verskillende dienste daarvandaan afgehardloop word so dis hectic baie werk! En juis oor dit n kerk is, is daar juis baie aanvalle wat kom na veral die personeel se kant oor ons in die voorste lyn van die kerk werk…die duiwel love sulke mense en val eerste hul gesinne en kollega verhoudinge aan juis oor die enemy nie die kerk wil sien gebeur nie. Ek bly steeds n Christen maak nie saak as ek nie meer daar werk nie. Jy kan my enige tyd kom judge, maar slegs as jy my ken en as jy weet presies waar deur ek gegaan het.
    En Hugo ek wil by jou gou aansluit oor die kontrak ens….baie kere verstaan mens nie so lekker nie…dis soos my een vriendin wat kos nodig gehad het, toe se die kerk hul kan gee maar dan moet sy n member word…ek het gedink sjoe, maar dis wreed! Want sys werkloos en het n kind….toe hoor ek dis oor daar n pad met haar geloop moet word en dat sy so n beter netwerk van ondersteuning kan kry. So wat ek vir jou probeer se is dat ons verstaan nie altyd als omtrent n kerk of n kursus nie, daar is sekere konsepte en verduidelikikngs waar deur n mens eers moet werk voor jy na die volgende een kan beweeg…dis complicated en maak seker nie vir jou sin nie, maar glo my dis hoe die dinge werk, maar by enige plek.
    Die kerk is steeds God s’n en dit bly n goeie kerk, die aanvalle daar is net partkere baie oorweldigend en dan maak mense verkeerde besluite ens, maar waar my probleem le is, is as jy weet jy was verkeerd, erken dit en gaan stel dit reg, dis wat God verwag van n Christen.

  • 350 kagiso // Feb 13, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    @charlene… i really dont understand afrikaans. so my response was based on all the ENGLISH COMMENTS that i had read. but because i saw my name in ur comment, i was curious, and used google translate. its like walking into the middle of a conversation…i dont know the story you are talking about, because like i said, i paid no attention to the afrikaans comments, so basically when i made my comment, it had nothing to do with ur reply, or ur story, because i couldnt understand ur reply or story.

    but since i used google translate for your last comment ONLY, i can comment on a few things u said.

    the fear of God is the greatest thing a man can live with. so when a man makes a mistake and refuses to correct it, that is pride right? they refuse to be humble? we are human and we are flawed, but what does Christ tell us to do to those the ill treat us? does he not say pray for them? bless them? and doesnt Ephesians says let only what is helpful come out of your mouth? YES THE DEVIL WILL ATATCK YOU,

    i have been attacked through people at the church many times. girls giving looks, badmouthing, christians acting like worldy people, but what did Jesus say? is not our battle against spirit and not against flesh and bones? if those people that attacked u really knew God, then they wouldnt have done it, and God has taught me to rather keep my mouth closed and complain to Him in private, than slander people in other peoples eyes. think about it this way. people will read ur comment about the church refusing to give food ur hungry church, then non-believers, even believers will go and judge that church based on that one issue. the devil plays on that. scripture says all He needs is a foothold, and he is in!

    i recently went through a situation where me and my friend where both in the wrong. i apologised to her with all my heart on every single issue that she brought up about the fight, and she simply gave me the ” im sorry if i hurt u in any way”… i mean like of course u hurt my feelings thats why i was mad. u know what happened. the devil kept on reminding me about the issue and it got me so angry and fustrated, and even thought the girl was not my friend i felt that everyone should know that she is such a self-righteous person (this is me thinking back then).

    i think i cried to God for two weeks, asking Him “hw can i pour my whole heart out for the sake of her feelings and she wont do the same for me? i want an apology from her. a real one like the one i gave her” everytime i cried, it was cause the devil kept reminding me of it. i was furious. the apology never came. but one night at church they were preaching about how to be a good friend. and everything that i had done to be a good friend, but to her seemed like me “picking at her flaws” was actually commened, because it was the truth. i let her know when she dd things wrong nd she felt like i was being holier than thou rather than just being a christian when the truth is if im doing something wrong, PLEASE TELL ME. better wounds from a friend than kisses from an enemy right? that night, when i was listening to the sermon, God gave me closure.

    my friend never apologised, BUT GOD GAVE ME CLOSURE and now i dont even care about that issue. listen when someone offends you or hurts you, it is up to God to give u that closure. He made me apologise to my friend because my friend NEEDED that apology to teach her something, but i got closure from God because this was the way God wanted to teach me about something. so if uve been offended by something or someone, let it be between u and God alone. bite your tongue, because in it is the key to life and death.

    God saw what you guys went through, God sees what marriages and church people go through, but you must not hold it against them, rather let Spirit fight with spirit. it took me two weeks of going back to God and crying before i felt a difference. and in marriage its harder, because thats the single strongest form of unity on earth, so of course the devil will attack that. everyone is under attack. but humans cannot give you peace. scripture says whatever they take away God will replace with a double portion. devil took away ur job? God’s got a better one! its just how it is. living in a broken world things are supposed to be bad, the world is broken! the good things in life coems from God, so when ur forced to leave ur job, it was inevitable, this world hates what is good. b ut because God loves you,a nd you welcomed Him into ur world, He will make a way.

    God never reminds us of our mistakes, so we shouldnt do the same with other people. im sorry for what you went through, based on ur last comment alone, but seek closure from God; men are flawed. i still havent apologised to the kids i used to bully because i dont even remeber some of them, but im asking God to make it up to them on my behalf. i got bullied afterwards, not as payback from God, but He allowed it because it was meant to teach me humility. so somewhere inbetween what you went through with your husband is the most beneficial lesson that will surpass the test of time. stop looking back at the blows of the past, thats the devil. when God heals, He always uses the future. and He affirms u. “you are strong. you are my daughter. you are my queen. ur marriage belongs to me”

    so i am not judging anything. if i am then point me to exactly what it is so i can correct myself, but im looking at things in terms of how God helps me see. i do want to apologise though because my bluntness may come of as me saying it without love, but im saying it out of love. the emotional- psychoogical things are between u and God, and thats God’s problem because u are God’s child, but i honestly feel like the TECHNICAL THINGS like posting about things that still hurt u on a page against the church that hurt u in the first place, is something you can control. imagine if no christians commented on this, and we let atheists dwell in their own words. their words are powerless, they mean nothing. we however have the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT 😀 we must speak life to others, even to those that hurt us because that is exactly what God does with us. let go of the pain. pray for them. and forgive them,because God has forgiven you.

    thats why i say this arguement is useless. if we were like the character of Jesus, no christians would have commented in the first place. our comments wouldnt be as long, and all of us would be posting prayers and parables rather than opinions, dont you agree? so we are no better. therefore speak with the same light u want God to speak over you. if God feels the need for justice He will avenge you and ur husband, but i feel like ur heart should be moved from that. your friend may have not been fed by the church then, but she is fed by God now- what really matters is that your friend is fed by the grace of God, not where the food came from.

    so as christians, lets speak light and truth. rather than the history, because history is meaningless in the kingdom of God, all of us are a testimony of that. <3

    much love Xx

  • 351 kagiso // Feb 13, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    and hugo….i tried my best to type the words in full. sorry 🙂

  • 352 Hugo // Feb 14, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Thanks! I sent you an email.

  • 353 Patrick Moffat // Feb 21, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Wow guys what allot has happened in your lives over the past 6 years. Jesus told the Pharisees if anyone is without sin, have a go, throw the first stone. And so I read with interest the stones that keep coming. Has anyone started an Orphanage? Has anyone been active at helping a tik addict lately?
    Has anyone noticed how EASY it is to join Shofar lately?
    Has anyone noticed how far ahead they are on Missions?
    Has your local church planted a church in Delft?
    Talk is cheap and slander is FREE. Everyone of us has OFFENDED someone in our lives and according to John Bevere BAIT OF SATAN we close the door of Blessing on ourselves by not letting go of BEING OFFENDED.
    The Bible does not give us the right to Blog and tweet it says when your brother OFFENDS you go and sort out your Boet.
    That’s not difficult.
    Mug and Bean is a great place to meet and chat. Then walk away knowing you have been obedient to the word of God.
    All church leaders OFFEND if they don’t they are not like Jesus Read Joh 6:66 to 70. I am so glad a church leader offended me. Yes it hurt! Yes I could have MURDERED him! Yes Hatred overwhelmed me. But the Best thing ever happened I ran away from my Self delight and Self Aggrandisement and found a haven at SHOFAR. I am so glad they are not PERFECT because then broken me would never fit… So what will the next 6 years of comment look like. Oh by the way I do not Pastor a Shofar church I am at this Huge Chuch on the N1 that understands the Frustrations you are regurgitating. Been there got the cap the cozzy the goggles and the flippers… Swem Boetie Swem.
    Hierdie Doop Bad is DIEP!
    Patrick a saint.

  • 354 kagiso // Feb 22, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Patrick, beautifully said <3 <3 <3

  • 355 Patrick Moffat // Mar 13, 2014 at 10:17 am

    What a way to Go!
    So Pain Killers is the answer to Life.
    So glad it isn’t Church bashing.
    Jesus Loves His Church
    Jesus grows His Church.
    So… Its time to take a pill and put this one to Bed.
    Patrick

  • 356 JSG93 // Jun 4, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    In the end, in my opinion, the one who voices out his opinion from a distance is not only a part of the problem as well, but also waisting precious time (6years) that sleeves could have been rolled up, hands gotten dirty and a sweat broken out to actively make a difference, and love with the same merciful love we are loved. For when we love others we see God’s face.

    Rather help and correct our brothers that are seeking after gods heart and and will, than to diagnose or “categorize” them on a blog.

    I just feel too much is being spent on the “problem” and that is not going to result in a solution?

    Patrick, amen bra-talk is cheep, slander is free.

    Im not aiming to condemn anyone, i didn’t even read all the comments-but lets rather actively work towards a solution with the love, grace and the Word (Rhema and logos) that has been given to us by God, who after all is OUR Father.

    Where in this together. We all need Jesus. Amen.

  • 357 Hugo // Jun 11, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Hi all.

    This blog is suffering from spam comments lately: the akismet spam filter is letting too many spam comments through. (Looks like it caught more than 1600 spam comments in the past 2 weeks though. 😉 Spam comes in huge quantities.)

    Whenever a comment has no indication of specific relevance to the post in question, I assume it is spam, so far this has been fool-proof.

    I delete spam as soon as I get the chance, but people still get emailed if they’re subscribed to the comments in question. So how should I fight this spam? I have some options. Perhaps I’ll make a full-blown post about it soon.

    (a) Close comments on old posts. But this limits the possibility of discussions.
    (b) Moderate every user’s first comment. Comments by returning commenters will be immediately published. It will just slow down that initial contact / initial conversation.
    (c) Something more drastic.

    I have now enabled (b), seems like the most practical short-term solution. New passers-by will have their comments delayed by moderation, but if you’ve had a previously approved comment, you can comment without hindrance.

  • 358 Watchman // Aug 13, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Dear Hugo,

    You’ll be glad you didn’t sign the terms and conditions of membership at Shofar, because it doesn’t end there. Once you did you would have to complete a list of requirements (ie. doing all Foundations or now Encounters) to receive your “prized” membership certificate, which reads as follows:

    “This certifies that _______ (fill in a name) has fulfilled all the REQUIREMENTS for FULL membership of Shofar Christian Church and is hereby awarded this Certificate of Membership.”

    I know of secret organizations that operate on the same basis. Once you’ve completed a set of requirements you are ordained into the group as competent. Should you ever question authority you are labelled as unsubmissive and incompetent so you either keep quiet and never ask questions or get kicked out.

    I would like to know where this practice of signing declarations and making spiritual contracts are in the Bible?

  • 359 Hugo // Aug 13, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Hi Watchman!

    Actually I was specifically interested in checking out Foundations 3 to 5 (mentioned in February in this comment thread), but would have to sign to do so. (Since I felt I couldn’t sign, I couldn’t attend Foundations 3 to 5.) Pity. 🙂

    I guess it is an effective way to avoid showing course content to people that aren’t sufficiently committed to the organisation/institution.

  • 360 Watchman // Aug 14, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Dear Hugo,

    Could I please send you a document that I would love your opinion on in an e-mail?

    If so, please send me your e-mail address.

    Kind regards,
    Watchman

  • 361 Dave Spelman // Aug 25, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    6 years on from the original posting, I have just spent a weekend with Pastor Fred May, and have to ask Hugo – did you ever meet this man – did you ever listen to him – did you ever hear his heart for you, and his people, and for everyone. Because if you did, you would know that Pastor Fred is simply telling it like scripture writes it, and demonstrates it, and the you have absolutely nothing to fear

  • 362 Hugo // Aug 25, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    Hi Dave! Thanks for stopping by.

    I’ve heard Fred on several occasions. This post wasn’t really about Pastor Fred though.

  • 363 dagelf // Aug 26, 2014 at 12:19 am

    Just don’t blindly accept everything he says; see if you can challenge him with questions that will allow you both to grow…

    In line with the original posting, we had an interesting evening sermon at Groote Kerk the other night. Our favourite pastor there has been through a divorce, a trying time which I think is evident lead him closer to God – but after his sermon, a more conventional dominee had to talk to us, we though that he was being fired (like often happens) – thankfully not. But it was still, I suppose, comforting in a way to see that the greater church structures care to show their support, and are compelled by the church’s regulations to investigate and report back.

    Anyways, just an example of that “kerklike opsig en tug” – but I suppose implemented properly and to a good purpose; even though I was really sceptical, and almost immediately angry that the bigger structures of the church could doubt someone so clearly heavenly inspired, that they would put their nose where my instincts lead me to feel it doesn’t belong. But we’re all fallible, I guess.

    The general feeling in some other churches, I guess, is that there is no general synod or bigger body, or due process, to help out the leaders of smaller churches – and if those smaller churches’ leaders fall away (often even before then) – those whole congregations could lose their way.

    Regardless, church isn’t about ego, and all churches and religions that are on the right path, are one, just in their own languages. God is a metaphor for many things, and religious writings are ultimately about how to live happily and in harmony, even though much of it is mistranslated – if not just misinterpreted, and it sometimes take a lot of divine inspiration to read through the mistranslation and see the burning fire of timeless truth that inspired it.

    Charismatic churches, however against the grain of my upbringing, have to a large extent opened my mind, and allowed me to feel what was only cold knowledge before. Perhaps “attaining nirvana” and “being blessed by the holy spirit” are metaphors for the same type of experience?

  • 364 Watchman // Aug 28, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    http://www.lucillemay.net/2014/08/covenant.html

    Briljant gestel!! Presies hoe ek voel!!

  • 365 Selwyn // Dec 8, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Ok so I have attended the Shofar church in Franschoek I think twice and I was pretty comfortable with it. Years back in about 2000 I attended the Durbanville Fellowship led by Pastor Deon de Klerk. It was there I got to hear about Fred and Shofar. Heard good things and how some tried to label it a cult and that they brainwash people blah blah blah. You will always get some ID10T who will lambast any church! Also went to the Shofar mens camp in 2014 and it was great as was the messages………BUT now December 2014 and we having a braai at a campsite and I ask a couple of brothers if we going to the camp come 2015. My wife quickly whispers to me to be careful and first do some research???? What, why??? Then she explains that her good friend knows Lucille May very well and that she fled the country as Fred May has started beating up his wife and that he has had an affair/affairs?? I tried Googling Lucille May and came across her or a blog. Although nowhere does she indicate anything I notice one of the comments on her blog reads, “please come back as we miss you”! Now I was shocked and could not believe this but why would my wifes Christian friend lie about this? So if anybody could shed light on this it should be exposed just as it was eventually with Paul Daniel who he and many elders hid it from their OWN members for years. HE MUST NOT GET AWAY WITH THIS JUST BECAUSE HE IS THE FOUNDER PASTOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 366 Dave // Dec 9, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    That is serious 3rd hand rumour put into print, Selwyn !!!

  • 367 Selwyn // Dec 9, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    And which is more serious, what is put to print or what he allegedly done! Do we not have the right to know if we are contemplating membership?

  • 368 Hugo // Dec 9, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    I was wondering what the libel/defamation laws are in South Africa. Wikipedia has this section, which is an interesting read:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_African_law_of_delict#Defamation

    I have heard that they split up, and that it’s weird, and he’s “pursuing her” or something. I have no idea what this means though, I have no evidence. Hearsay is dangerous, and can very easily get out of hand, especially when people are negatively primed about a specific person. (E.g. some years ago horrible libel spread among some Shofar members, about a pastor at a “competing” church.)

    This is the kind of thing you could be sued about, I believe. But nevermind the law, general benefit of doubt and scepticism in the absence of evidence, and general good moral standards, I’d be very, very cautious about spreading rumours and hearsay and gossip.

    Consider the huge/signifciant claims you’ve made: “fled the country”, “beating up”, “affair/affairs” – I haven’t heard about any of that. These are the kinds of rumours that could easily be falsely created and then spread in the right environment, given only facts of “separated/splitting-up”. So: beware of gossip, beware of defamation, try to not spread rumours without fact-checking or good evidence. Thanks.

  • 369 Hugo // Dec 9, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    To answer this more directly:

    why would my wifes Christian friend lie about this?

    It need not be an explicit lie: hearsay spreads and evolves, and with juicy hearsay spreading better, evolution of gossip encourages development of juicy lies without any individual being malicious. It merely needs a gossip network with insufficient accuracy that stories can develop.

    In the light of the previous example, which I had considered writing about years ago: “why would “good Christian” Shofar members say that another pastor stole from his church?” When this is an absolute lie? It spreads easily when people trust each other so much (“they wouldn’t lie!”), providing opportunity for gossip to spread wide as it evolves away from factual origins to embellished lies, without any individual actually sitting down and making up the lie. These rumours developed from something as simple as a pastor leaving a larger church to start a new smaller community from scratch elsewhere. In a different context Christians might have celebrated it as “church planting”, in an antagonistic/hostile environment people inadvertently speculate about nasty reasons why this might have happened, and some nasty speculation gets mistaken for “well, I heard a good Christian say this, it must be true”…

    The problem lies in both speculation and in distribution of gossip not based on solid facts and evidence. Christians are most certainly not immune to propagating lies, even while they may hold a fundamental belief that lying is bad. Thus, I reiterate: do not be a gossip, particularly in the absence of proof/evidence. Spreading gossip is not the same thing as informing the public with journalistic integrity.

  • 370 Watchman // Dec 10, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    I completely agree. Let’s not spread gossip.

    I personally know Lucille and unfortunately many of the “gossip” are in fact facts.

    She is very open and transparent about the whole situation. Ask her directly for the facts and there will be no more “gossip”. I agree the truth has been kept hidden for too long resulting in this whole situation running like a wild fire.

    lucillemay@gmail.com

  • 371 Hugo // Dec 10, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    My next concern would be revealing people’s email addresses against their will, but I checked, generally not a problem, it’s published – see this for example: http://www.lucillemay.net/2014/08/the-highway.html

    I myself am quite curious to hear more, but I often wonder “who am I to contact “, when it’s mostly pure curiosity speaking, and my desire for understanding diversity of views. A good response for me is “mind my own business”.

    In terms of finding the facts: it’s also one thing to learn what they are, it’s another to publish them… I’ll think this over a while longer, determining what I’d like to ask and what I’d do with what I learn, before I bother anyone.

Leave a Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>