My life there and afterwards

The Community of Jesus has a Marching Band. We started out marching in parades on the street, 4th of July and such, and grew into a Field Show Band, like you see at football game half-time. Once we became a Field Band, we would go on tour every year, to perform at different venues.

During the Band tour in June of 2005, I kept a journal. One of the themes of the Band show was Love, and the next paragraph is my journal entry about that concept.

“LOVE: outgoing warmth. Requiring truth of others. Giving acceptance and understanding. Being available to others, and open. Being willing to work, put out effort for another. Directed towards God, it is obedience. Taking seriously what He has said, and giving thought, attention and effort to live it. ‘If you love me, obey my commandments’. Owning Truth and being Glad of it. Expressing the Joy of Truth.”

These thoughts of mine show that I am idealistic. If I and others had not been thwarted in expressing these ideas, we may have been able to build a truly Christian community. But in practice we followed the original teaching which was; “the truth about myself is that I am completely bad and don’t deserve anything good.” Because of my high idealism, I really tried to be loving and understanding of others. When the Band leader, for instance, and the other appointed leaders in Band, would yell at us about how selfish and uncaring we were, instead of waking up and seeing the difference in how they treated us and how we were trying to treat each other, and because of the teaching that we deserved to be yelled at, I accepted the castigations as proof that I was not reaching the goal. After cringing through the attacks, I would try all the harder to live a loving and sacrificial life.

Requiring truth of others is a dangerous concept. At CJ it meant that we had free license to be hard on each other in order to force the “truth” out. There was no sense of boundaries or of an individual’s right to choose what they shared about their inner self. This is the premise that the damaging light groups were based on. Light groups only stopped in name. Their practice continued throughout the years and was integrated into our way of life. Requiring truth of others meant brow-beating them until they confessed. Sometimes the confessions were truth and sometimes they were not, but in either case it was a situation of force, not love or caring help.

This style of life was still going on up to when I left, and I wish there was some way to expose it and bring an end to it. The leaders need to be held accountable for their brain-washing techniques, and the victims need help to wake up to how far from the teachings of Jesus CJ has strayed.

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