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My choice of 3 top UBF reforms absolutely necessary--yours? 
6th-Jan-2010 12:09 am
1. Leadership accountability

       * Among other things, there is no open community forum anywhere within UBF for discussing the many cases of
          those who left UBF either bitterly, out of fear, or out of Christian conscience
       * Cases of non-Christian, non-Biblical behavior among UBF members have no open community forum anywhere
          within UBF to discuss
      * Top leadership "Board of Elders," un-elected, has unquestioned authority to do almost anything without feedback
          from the general UBF community
2. Dependency on Samuel Lee

       * for Bible interpretation--impossible for one man to have all the answers
       * for American culture interpretation--Samuel Lee had a limited, even distorted view of American culture. Some
          primary examples:
                 - individualism (Lee's tended not to include the positive aspects of self-reliance)
                 - freedom (Lee's tended not to include the different forms: freedom of thought, of conscience, of will, of print, of
                    worship for example)
                 - music (Lee tended not to understand American music culture at all)
       * for Western family values (Lee tended not to understand this at all from Western point of view)
       * in short, Lee had very little understanding of American culture from the Western point of view, neglecting the deep
          Western European heritage and stereotyping it according to Korean and Asian viewpoints, and yet he acted with
          absolute authority to interpret American culture. This is a serious flaw in alleged missionary work in non-native
          cultures, which Lee claimed he was doing in America. Many current UBF members continue aping his narrow and
          distorted interpretations of Western/American culture to this day, and show reluctance if not resistance to
          understanding American culture as it is now and originated historically. "The Light and the Glory" founding fathers
          is not enough.

3. Financial disclosure: no regular, open community forum to discuss and vote upon

Your top 3? Thanks...wcanfi
9th-Jan-2010 06:04 am (UTC) - "President for Life", patriarchal leadership structure
I guess this is related to Point 1. I think about the non-tiny chapters of UBF around the country and world, such as in Bonn, Toledo, LA, DC, Mexico, etc., and the same guy has been the "chapter director" there for literally decades, recycling the same ideas, the same Bible passages, the same messages, the same stagnant crap, year after year. And this is because these chapter directors aren't pastors, who are subject to review and accountable to elders (who have the power to hire or fire them). These chapter directors are looked at more like fathers ("spiritual fathers"), and the communities that grow around them tend toward the inbred, dysfunctional communities that one associates with cults.
11th-Jan-2010 05:02 am (UTC) - Dysfunctional leadership structure and other results of flawed teaching
They've got their own vocabulary to back up and perpetuate their patriarchies, such as "father of faith", "Abraham of faith", "Ancestor of faith", ... I think they also push portions of the Bible that do the same, emphasizing the "greatness" and "vision" that people should have. As Nick T. has written before, it's hard to find a church or organization that pushes people to become "Abraham" as much as UBF does. It's hard to find a church or organization that makes Isaac and Rebekah the near-absolute model of biblical marriage, as UBF does. It's hard to find a church that abuses John 4 by applying it to ALL women, as UBF does. I've heard people claim that UBF's practices are "weird", but that their teaching is sound. No, it's the teaching, stupid. It all starts with flawed teaching. The flawed teaching needs to be reformed.
21st-Jan-2010 02:38 pm (UTC) - Re: Dysfunctional leadership structure and other results of flawed teaching
Another problem with UBF theology is the blending of Arminian and Reformed doctrines. By doing so, they get the best of both worlds; saving "decisions of faith" and believing as a matter of human "will and not feeling," yet they get to keep the Bible-based rigor of reformed theology. You cannot be both arminian and reformed. But UBF is really it's own hybrid and mishmash of one man's re-interpreted, personal theology, in truth.
13th-Jan-2010 04:06 pm (UTC) - That is
that is, really I did not know how to say that, thank you
26th-Mar-2011 07:50 pm (UTC) - Aspect of accountability not mentioned
I understand your desire for current UBF members to have a place where they can freely voice their concerns about people who leave UBF and about "cases of non-Christian, non-Biblical behavior among UBF members". However, I feel you have neglected another offense for which UBF leadership should be held accountable, one I'm not sure has been discussed in much detail.

I'm speaking of the practice of making select members divulge every single detail of their past lives, no matter how sordid or humiliating, ostensibly so God's grace and mercy can be revealed through the person's life testimony.

I experienced this indignity firsthand in 1984 when I was chosen to present my life testimony at the Lake Geneva conference. I was instructed to write everything I could remember from my life before UBF; my first draft was 50 pages long and I was told that I didn't write nearly enough. My 'shepherd' instructed me to write more and to leave nothing out. The final version ended up being over 120 handwritten, single-spaced pages long and I relived all the bullying, abuse, and trauma I had done my best to put behind me and move on from.

The testimony I read at Lake Geneva was less than 15 pages long and did a good job of revealing how my life had changed since I began studying the Bible. Although my audience didn't have to hear all the grim details of my life, I had still had to experience it all over again. Unfortunately, the abuse didn't end here.

All during the remaining years I was in UBF, I had the impression that the leaders of my chapter always viewed me through the lens of my life testimony and the negative details of my past life. No matter how I grew or what I accomplished, it seemed that the leaders felt I would always be the smoking, cussing, drinking, rebellious 18-year-old who had been fished off a local college campus in the summer of 1982. Even when I responded to the challenge to find and keep a full-time job for one year by keeping the same job for 3 years, this accomplishment was unacknowledged; never mind the fact that I attended college full-time at the same time and graduated with a 3.2 GPA. The fact that I graduated from college when I had never thought it possible was barely recognized.

The underlying reason for life testimonies is not to reveal God's grace in someone's life. Rather, they are used to expose everything in an individual's life so UBF leadership can hold their past transgressions over their heads and convince them that they will never be able to outlive their past. Please include this atrocity in your list of offenses for which UBF leaders must be held accountable.
11th-Oct-2011 07:02 pm (UTC) - Re: Aspect of accountability not mentioned
My three reform issues for UBF were not meant to be exhaustive; that's why I appended the question "What's Yours?" I was interested in as many ideas as others might have. You made a good additional point about the personal testimonies, and I fully agree. People are "pushed to repent" to the point of airing all kinds of dirty laundry, and this information is often used to control members. I think it fits into my point 1--lack of leadership accountability, by which I meant that there is simply no way to disagree with UBF leadership if you're in it, either publicly or privately. If you did, you brought the system down on you to suppress you as a "complainer" or being all kinds of other "sinner" to quiet you. This should not be. A healthy fellowship should allow for free and open discourse. But then, when you depend on only one man's interpretation of the Bible, free and open discourse poses a threat to the system. It need not be, but UBF thinks so. But back to your point: The extreme public "repentance" that UBF pushes you into in those "testimonies," ultimately in order to control you is truly ridiculous, I agree.
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