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Humble or Stupid? 
24th-Jul-2006 12:35 am
I just read Chicago UBF Sudnay message. In part one of this message, the author talks in great detail about "humblemess". In the related Bible passage, Jesus told his disciples that they should become as humble as a little child. When Jesus said this, did he mean that all his disciples should become "stupid" in order to become "humble"? Somehow that is my impression about the Chicago UBF message.

The biblical meaning of being "humble" is not equal to being "stupid". Jesus said to his disciples in Matthew 10:16, "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." A shrewd person with no innocence is a snake. An innocent person who is not shrewd is a duh. A spiritually "humble" person is not a "stupid" person. I think a spiritually "humble" person is shrewd and innocent, which is really difficult to achieve.

But the Chicago UBF Sunday message teaches us that we should be as "humble" as George Foreman who obeyed "HIS COACH"! A great story is being used as a good example to advertise UBF propaganda here. How is a victory won? OBEY YOUR COACH! Or is it: OBEY JOHN JUN! Well, it used to be: OBEY SAMUEL LEE! (By the way, I am not saying a boxer should not obey his coach here.) I think this is stupid, using George Foreman's story to advertise UBF propaganda and connecting it with "humbleness". Gimme a break!
Comments 
24th-Jul-2006 12:02 pm (UTC) - UBF humbleness ~ obedience to your human "life coach"
It's the same George Foreman "Hit the nose! Hit the hose!" story that's been used over and over since Sam Lee wrote in into the "message" years ago. Rather than doing some thinking and coming up with something new, Ron Ward is "humbly" recyling Sam Lee's material.

Of course, UBF would tie being humble with obeying a human authority (one's shepherd, one's "life coach"), but miss the point when Jesus' call to humility should apply to their baseless boasting, elitism and exaltation of leaders. What blind guides! They've caused so many young people to stumble, including too many young Christians who had the misfortune of being recruited into UBF.
24th-Jul-2006 01:49 pm (UTC) - Re: UBF humbleness ~ obedience to your human "life coach"
UBF would tie being humble with obeying a human authority (one's shepherd, one's "life coach"),

As Dr. Moreau correctly points out in his message, it is a great sin to disagree with your professor in Korean culture. Probably not only in Korean culture but also in Chinese and Japanese culture too. Not only disagreeing with your professor but also disagreeing with your parents is also a great sin in Korean culture. Disagreeing with anyone older than you is also a sin. Disagreeing with a government official is a sin. Someone who disagrees with his teacher, his parents, and his senior is considered "proud" or in Korean 건방지다.

In Korean culture, disagreeing with your senior is translated into violation of "spritual order". But in the Bible, disagreeing with your senior or with anyone is not a sufficient condition to accuse someone for not being "humble". In Galatians 2:11-14, Paul opposed Peter to his face to disagree with him. In Korean culture and in UBF culture, Paul is acting so 건방지다. But in biblical context, he was acting rightly and humbly.

King David, a man after God's own heart, spared Saul's life in several occasions where he was literally given chances to kill him and justify his action. But when he spared Saul's life each time, he confronted Saul and told clearly to Saul that he was doing something terribly wrong to him. David disagreed with Saul each time. But in the Bible, he was not considered being "proud".

In Acts 5:27-32, Peter did not agree with the Sanhedrin but said to them, "We must obey God rather than men!". In Korea and in UBF, Peter was so "proud". But in the Bible, Peter was acting humbly.

So should we never disagree with our coach, teacher, parents or anyone so that we may not offend their feeling? The Bible clearly tells us that we should not willfully offend other's feeling. But we also learn in the Bible that we cannot conclude that a person is not "humble" just because he disagrees with us.

The Chicago UBF message does not clearly separate Korean culture from biblical teaching. In cross-cultural settings, any Christian must take extra care to know what a certain culture teaches from what the Bible teaches. The Chicago UBF message is failing in this effort. So the Chicago UBF Sunday message is not biblical.
24th-Jul-2006 03:07 pm (UTC) - Re: UBF humbleness != biblical humbleness
...it is a great sin to disagree with your professor in Korean culture. Probably not only in Korean culture but also in Chinese and Japanese culture too. Not only disagreeing with your professor but also disagreeing with your parents is also a great sin in Korean culture. Disagreeing with anyone older than you is also a sin. Disagreeing with a government official is a sin. Someone who disagrees with his teacher, his parents, and his senior is considered "proud" or in Korean t)Àä.


So, Jesus' humbleness, i.e., biblical humbleness, is the opposite of what UBF headquarters would decree it to be.

Yes, a boxer is supposed to listen to his trainers during a fight. I want my son to pay attention to his little league coaches, so he can get better at baseball. An army can't function if orders aren't obeyed. This kind of humbleness is expected and is a normal part of life.

But Jesus' humbleness is unexpected humbleness, a concept that is closely related to grace, another foreign concept in UBF. The autocratic king repents when his sin is pointed out. The so-called "shepherd" actually listens to the legitimate concerns of his so-called "sheep" instead of just blowing them off with "If you don't like it, then leave." Those are just two examples.
25th-Jul-2006 12:25 am (UTC) - What If The Coach Is Wrong?

But Jesus' humbleness is unexpected humbleness, a concept that is closely related to grace, another foreign concept in UBF. The autocratic king repents when his sin is pointed out. The so-called "shepherd" actually listens to the legitimate concerns of his so-called "sheep" instead of just blowing them off with "If you don't like it, then leave." Those are just two examples.

This is an excellent point! Jesus teaches us to go beyond what worldly people or pagans do. To use Jesus' vernacular, even the pagans can receive rebukes and obey their superiors, but Christians should accept rebukes from those they perceive as ranked below them.
25th-Jul-2006 04:22 am (UTC) - Re: UBF humbleness != biblical humbleness
So, Jesus' humbleness, i.e., biblical humbleness, is the opposite of what UBF headquarters would decree it to be.

I think your are right. If one gives more serious thoughts on the passage, Matthew 18:1-9, he will find that "humbleness" in the passage is exact opposite of "humbleness" in Chicago UBF message.

First, I want to point out again that the Chicago UBF message completely ignores the immediate context of the passage and jumps right into application. It seems to me that this kind of Bible study is very popular in UBF. In inductive Bible study, you are supposed to observe, interpret and apply. But the UBF messages skip observation and interpretation. They go directly to application. Since the application is not based on observation and interpretation, the application is necessarily unbiblical.

We observe again in the immediate context of the passage that Jesus is teaching his 12 disciples here (Of course we can later on extend his teaching to any Christian in general. But let's not do that right now.) I think that we need to consider the spiritual condition of the 12 disciples at this point. We know that there had been power struggle going on among them for a while. To them Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." This is really surprising. Maybe the 12 disciples thought that they already reserved spots in the kingdom of heaven because they "sacrificed" so much for Jesus "giving up" their good careers and "leaving their families" behind. They also might have thought they deserved it because they "worked" very hard day and night. Well, Jesus said "work" has nothing to do with entering the kindom of heaven.

Maybe each one of the 12 disciples were bragging about how much they sacrificed to serve rebelious sheep! By doing so, each one was claiming that he was the greatest! They might have been fighting against each other trying to claim more authority and power. Peter might have shouted to John, "How dare you don't obey me, you ingrate? I have sacrificed the most."

To them Jesus said that they would not enter the kingdom of God that way. Jesus taught them they should be as humble as a little child who had nothing to brag about. I think that Jesus might have been sick and tired of 12 disciples' bragging all the time about their "sacrifices" and "hard working" to send out 100,000 missionaries and to feed 120 sheep. But Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." I am not sure if this is a good news or a bad news: We will not see those proud UBF shepherds in the kingdom of heaven!

Then Jesus told them that the 12 disciples should "humble" themselves and "welcome" a little child in his name. So in this context, Jesus is not talking about "humbleness" that a little child should humble himself and obey Peter and John. Instead, Jesus is actually saying that Peter and John should humble themselves to serve the little child!!! But if you read the Chicago UBF message very carefully, the author is trying to say that sheep must humble themselves to obey shepherds!!

The 12 disciples seem to have been interested only in their authority and poilitical power. They were only minding about exerting their authority over others and expanding their political influence. They were only business-minded. Jesus warned them that they got it all wrong. If they didn't change but continued in that way, they would not enter the kingdom of heaven even though they were THE 12 disciples. Jesus is warning Christians and especially Christian leaders here that they should humble themselves to serve Jesus' sheep as if they were serving Jesus. But the Chicago UBF message teaches the opposite. The Chicago UBF message preaches that little children or sheep must humble themselves and obey their shepherds as George Foreman obeyed his coach!!

Well, what can we say? So much for an EXCELLENT message by a WELL-TRAINED messenger. But you can well guess that when the Chicago UBF people start to share their testimonies this week, their one word will be: OBEY YOUR COACH!!
24th-Jul-2006 04:08 pm (UTC) - Re: UBF humbleness ~ obedience to your human "life coach"
This week our pastor gave a very strong message about conformism. He asked why Baptists are always like Baptists, and Pentecostals like Pentecostals etc. They dress similarly, they speak similarly, they believe similar things. The question is: Have these like-minded people found each other and formed a church together? No, we all know it is different. They became like that after they joined the church. The problem is that Christians tend to be conformists. This again has to do with the problem you mention, that many believe it is sinful or unspiritual to disagree. In reality, the unspiritual thing is when people don't care to develop opinions and beliefs on their own, but simply adopt what others do, without reflection.

I think this is a problem everywhere, but it is particularly visible in Far Eastern cultures, because of the reasons you explained.

But conformism exists also in other cultures. Why? It is so much easier to live as a conformist. In some cultures, people are also used of being conformists. For instance, our church consists of many people from the former Soviet Union. In that culture, it was not allowed to have any other opinion than that of the Communist party. If you disagreed or loudly thought different you could get serious problems and go to jail. Therefore, people got used to be conformists and hypocrites. If such people become believers, and enter a church, they will keep this habit of being conformists. If everybody says speaking in tongues is important, they will also speak in tongues. If everybody says watching TV is a sin, they will also stop watching TV (or only secretly). If they say women need to wear a headscarf, they will do it. They will speak in the same way as the others in their church. Etc.

Many churches are not aware of this problem of raising conformists. But some groups like UBF even do it deliberately. In UBF, you can only survive if you are a conformist. You learn it very quickly.

The ironical thing is that UBF claims all the other people live easy-going life-styles. But I believe the most easy-going life-style is that of a conformist. UBF members are mostly those who love the easy-going life-style of being a conformist.

As Kurt Tucholsky said, "Nichts ist schwieriger und nichts erfordert mehr Charakter als sich im offenen Gegensatz zu seiner Zeit zu befinden und laut zu sagen NEIN." ("Nothing is more difficult and nothing requires more character than to be in open opposition to one's time and to say loudly: NO!") (Replace "one's time" with "one's social environment", i.e. UBF if you are in that group).
24th-Jul-2006 04:19 pm (UTC) - Re: UBF humbleness ~ obedience to your human "life coach"
Side note: UBFers may object "But we are in opposition with our time", i.e. humanism, secularism, even with former friends and parents. Right, but these people aren't your friends any more if you are in UBF. Your new friends are the people in the group. You get your sense of well-being when *they*, your shepherds, leaders, co-cult-members appretiate you. Whenever you do something in opposition to your former environment, you will get special appretiation in UBF to compensate that. As an example, a cult counselor told me how one member of Cologne UBF decided to not visit her parents any more (she used to visit them by train every week) and demonstratively turned over her train ticket to the leader at the sogam sharing session, getting the applause of everybody. Yes, she went into opposition towards her parents, but that was more than compensated by the big appreciation of the UBF group. The question is: Are you ready to stand up for the truth if *nobody* will appretiate it?
25th-Jul-2006 12:32 am (UTC) - Re: UBF humbleness ~ obedience to your human "life coach"
So should we never disagree with our coach, teacher, parents or anyone so that we may not offend their feeling? The Bible clearly tells us that we should not willfully offend other's feeling. But we also learn in the Bible that we cannot conclude that a person is not "humble" just because he disagrees with us.

UBF only wants their members to apply the Foreman example to their UBF shepherd. I remember a track athlete whose coach scheduled practices on Sunday afternoons. The coach wanted everyone at practice to show team unity. He was told by his shepherd to disobey his coach and come to the Sunday worship service. Then, there are the countless accounts of parents who wanted their sheep to stay away from UBF. UBF shepherds tell sheep to disobey their parents and come to the worship service. In UBF, there is no other authority accept the shepherd, chapter director, and other UBF leaders.
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