The Character Question

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The Character Question

Post  Live and Learn on 12/03/10, 08:53 pm

I thought I should address a flaw in the SCC philosophy that is crippling the teens and rendering most adult members impotent as well. The exaltation of character combined with their definition of character creates a criteria that no one - not even Jesus - can live up to. This allows pastor Johnson to make promises of ministry opportunities "as soon as you are ready" knowing full well that their criteria for character can never be met.

Here is what the teens (and adults) are taught:
- Character is everything. Alll awards, either directly or indirectly, are based on character (including things such as basketball MVP).
- Teens should be completely transparent with their teen leader (Garrett/Avril Johnson or someone who reports directly to Garrett and Avril).
- A teen (or adult) is ready for leadership after they have sufficiently submitted themselves to the leaders' discipling and the leaders deem them to "have character."

The obvious question then becomes: what is character? The official SCC/CCA definition of character: "Character is the unconscious doing of right."

By this definition, if a teen (or adult) is tempted to do something wrong - even if they choose to do the right thing - they do not have character. This causes youth who have suffered from the pressure of the appearance of perfection forced on them since birth to have their already poor self-image shattered even more. The guilt and sin-consciousness of these poor kids is sickening. They are constantly pestered to be completely open and transparent with their leaders knowing full well that when they share anything they struggle with (even if they resist temptation and do not sin), it is held against them and will also be shared with all other teen staff and church elders/pastor. They will be further degraded and angered as they watch the hypocritical perfect kids get all the awards. These forthright kids will be branded with the label of "no character." This label will follow them until they are twentyish and leave SCC...this, of course, proves that the leaders were right about them all along (in the minds of the leaders). At this point the leaders will likely see fit to share the things that the rebelious youth struggled with 'since they were in the Academy," and they blame it largely on the parents who "would not get on board." It never seems to dawn on them that sometimes compassion, mercy and encouragement may be more effective than "tough love" and that they may be responsible for the creation/worsening of the problem,

In an effort to avoid this labeling, many teens will not open themselves up to the teen leaders and just tell them what they know they want to hear. They are forced into becoming hypocrites. So, they feel guilty about disobeying their leaders by not being transparent and they feel shame for becoming a hypocrite themself. Again, their self-image is shattered. When they turn 20 and leave, things usually come out that they struggled with as a teen and leadership will say, "He had a whole secret life that we could not help him with because he was lying to us all along." This is often blamed on the parents.

It is a high pressure no-win situation for the teens. Jesus himself was tempted. But, because He had to consciously do what was right, He would not have been worthy of a character award at CCA. The teens (and members) are held to a higher standard than Jesus could attain on earth.

This is part of the reason you will not hear the leaders admit to weakness/temptations (and certainly never sin); this would be admitting to lack of character and therefore, disqualify themselves. Conversely, all of the good members who aspire to ministry have dutifully confided in leadership over the years, and have inadverdently proven that, unfortunately, "you still have things to work on." [in other words, you don't have character because you still have to consciously not sin sometimes]. If you are still at SCC frustratingly waiting for your ministry opportunity "when you are ready," take heart, Jesus isn't ready yet either.

Live and Learn

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A Radical Thought

Post  setfree on 13/03/10, 01:16 pm

I totally agree. They try to break down and control peoples lives by looking for and exposing sin. Here is a radical thought; Sin is not the issue with God. Christ is the issue with God. Either you is, or either you aint, in Christ.

setfree

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The character issue

Post  Sharrod on 28/03/10, 08:52 pm

You said a lot there 'Live and learn'. You have obviously spent some quality time with this thought. It makes sense, the unconscious doing of right, being an impossible feat for those of us who are human. In Romans 7, Paul talked of a war going on inside him, where he does what he hates to do, and that what he wants to do, that he doesn't do. It throws the scc/cca version of character, out the window.

When we left scc, my brother and I talked about the academy. The way the kids would strive to achieve awards from their leaders. Really, it didn't matter what you did, or how good you were, the highly sought after award (the pastors' award), unless you were in a family, tight with leadership, or you were the pastors' kid, or an elders' kid, ya weren't getting it. How unfair this is to those poor kids who were not that fortunate. The kids know this award is there. They all see it handed out year after year. They run down to the front of the church praising God, hoping to catch the eyes of their leaders'. It's sad that with this, they are subtly, subjected to a 'man pleasing' spirit, that is sooo prevalent at scc. While I know not all those who run to the front (adults included) do it to please the leaders, lets face it, the pressure is there. Focus is taken away from the heart, and placed on an outward show. People, not just kids are deceived into believing, that by somehow pleasing there self proclaimed man of god, they are pleasing the one true God. The idea of somehow qualifying to be counted worthy of the ministry, now is such a joke. My family and I attend Elim Tabernacle in Saskatoon. I know it's been said that we no longer even serve God anymore, that we are fugitives, and we go to a church that harbors fugitives. Really, there, we are in the ministry. Pastor Marvin preached a message last year that revolutionized our thinking. He said that, although he is the senior Pastor of this vibrant and growing church, his ministry was to help us fulfill our ministry. Hmmm, that shook what we were taught at scc. At scc, we were taught that we were 'baptized' into Keith Johnson's ministry, as the Israelites were baptized into Moses' ministry. We amened, and thought, bless the leader. Is that not an anti Christ spirit? 1John 4:1 tells us not to believe every spirit, but to test the spirits. At scc, you would be considered a rebel to question leadership. At Elim, once you have given your life to Christ, you just signed up for the ministry. Your life now has become a ministry. The focus at scc is to shout, run, dance, clap, give and submit and on and on with the outward appearance. Whether they admit it, or not, they are subject to the man pleasing spirit. It is cultivated by the leadership gazing across the congregation, checking to see if people are entering in or what? I see it a lot clearer now that we are out now. I never heard about the man pleasing spirit there, until I left and spoke with a fellow believer who also had gone to scc, for many years. Him and his family, we were encouraged to stay away from. Why?

The longer you are there, the less and less, you look like Jesus. You may please the leaders' with your church attendance, (which they are keeping track of), but your heart will inevitably be getting further from the Lord. You will continually be struggling with what you are reading in His Word, and what you are hearing from the pulpit. The two often don't jive. Who is the author of confusion? I am going to end with this.... Did the leaders' represent Jesus well? Do they help you fulfill your ministry? Or are you just expected to bless that ministry, and somehow you are contributing to the Kingdom?

In the words of William Wallace, FREEDOM!!!!

Sharrod

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Ah the fruits of meditation

Post  I think, therefore I left on 29/03/10, 05:34 am

As a teen growing up at SCC, I myself got caught up in the exact same confusion! But being near in age to the pastor's son Brien, it was eventually obvious that even their screwed up definition of character was not even being applied when it came time for Brien to qualify for the pastor's trophy. That's when I KNEW FOR SURE that these so called "character awards" were not even based on the "unconscious doing of right", but rather external factors UNRELATED to character and for very "church-political" reasons...

It brings me a great sense of relief that someone else took time to look at what I had to endure! You were right about everything I experienced when I was at the MOST insecure time in my life! It felt like there was a black cloud over my head. No matter how hard I tried, it felt like I was always looked at with gloomy predictions by leaders. There was no faith that I could be an asset to God, like those born into a better church-position than me, and this was evident to me by some of the ABSURD accusations made by my counsilor. Outright assuming I was having sex just because I stayed out 15 min passed my curfew!! We're talking NO FAITH in me whatsoever! (and no, I was not doing it and NOT EVEN CLOSE!)
On about 3 occasions, I was questioned by my counsilor about random nonsense while a leader (or 2) took VERY diligent notes on everything I was saying, hoping to "catch me in a lie". It was EXACTLY like I was a suspect in a homicide!!! The random nonsence I was questioned on was sometimes about the mention of a "worldly phrase" that some kid was overheard saying at CCA. Things completely unrelated to me that I had never even heard before!... Then, I was asked about who I THOUGHT would probably be saying these "worldly phrases" after I told them I never even heard the phrase before... What kind of life is that??? It is NOT NORMAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It really takes time to heal from the feeling that you are less than your classmates when you trusted your leaders WERE the voice of God, like they claimed.... But thank God, He wants each person to follow HIM, not rely on a 3rd party to make decisions FOR you.

I really feel stupid for even allowing things so far off from the Bible to affect me like they did, but God saved me with the tools of critical thinking and meditation. Never turn your brain off and just say yes to everything without a thought. God does NOT want that. He tells us to meditate daily for a many reasons... One being, to protect us!

I think, therefore I left

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