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Miserable in Salvation 
19th-Dec-2005 08:27 pm
Christmas is considered a time to be joyful and thankful because of Jesus coming into this world. One famous him starts "Joyful, Joyful, we adore thee." Because Christ saved us from our sins, we can live a joyous life on earth.

Therefore, it is most reprehensible that UBF always fostered an environment of misery. There was no time to be joyful for anything. We constantly had to think about how we were not obedient enough, thankful enough, feeding enough sheep, fishing enough, losing enough weight, or coming to prayer meetings early enough. In UBF, the hymn should have been, "Miserable, Miserable, we adore thee." The message was that we must be miserable all the time. Even if we "feed 12 sheep" and came to every meeting, the leaders would stomp on any evidence of joy with rebukes and training. Personally, I always had to repent for being overweight and not having enough sheep.

I have learned since leaving UBF that Jesus did not come down from his throne in Heaven to die on the cross for my sins and give me eternal life in Heaven so that I could spend the rest of my human life feeling miserable about my shortcomings. Jesus did not allow himself to be nailed to the cross so that I could go through life thinking that I am a fat, insensitive jerk. Christ brought victory over all of my shortcomings. Christ put them on the cross and covered them with his blood. Christ calls me to remember how great he is rather than how terrible I am. Then, I am filled with joy in my salvation.
20th-Dec-2005 04:04 am (UTC)
I remember Sam Lee's words of "comfort" to those he made miserable during every UBF X-Mas: "Pretend to be happy!" Bring people to the point of nervous breakdowns with unrelenting pressure to meet a numbers goal and with unrelenting pressure to break their bank accounts to offer a "respectable" sum at your X-Mas show, and the best you can offer is "Pretend to be happy!?"

The joy at Christmas comes when we know the wonder of pure grace, that FREE gift given to us by God in the person of Jesus. We didn't deserve Jesus, and all we can do is receive Him and treasure Him. The joy will be replaced by misery when we encounter what Phil Yancey calls "ungrace," the man-made laws and legalism that rob grace of any meaning and wonder in UBF. All I have to do is remember the 20 foot wide X-Mas "registration battle" chart (among other charts) plastered against a UBF headquarters wall to know what Yancey means by "ungrace." I thank God again that I'm free of that.
28th-Dec-2006 02:50 am (UTC)
All I have to do is remember the 20 foot wide X-Mas "registration battle" chart (among other charts) plastered against a UBF headquarters wall to know what Yancey means by "ungrace." I thank God again that I'm free of that.

Christmas 2006 update: Chicago UBF still has that huge X-Mas "registration battle" chart. It must be one of their sacred cows, one of the "spiritual legacies" of Sam Lee.
20th-Dec-2005 10:48 am (UTC)
You're right that the keynote of UBF life is being miserable, because it is easier to manipulate people in such a state. If the members feel guilty and bad, you can do anything with them. Nevertheless, sometimes the UBF members are also praised and love bombed. That's also much easier if they have been in a state of misery before. If you finally found "your" sheep who obeys you, or if you have lost weight and are rewarded with a UBF marriage partner, or if you are told to deliver a message at a conference. All of these things make UBF members happy and proud. Some are more successful in UBF, they are not constantly miserable. These are the potential leaders who then will learn to make others feel miserable. Also, joy in UBF usually does not last long. If you are too happy, they will give you a pasting pretty soon so you will feel bad again. So I would describe UBF life rather as a permanent constrast bath of feeling miserable and feeling "high." (Depending on how "succesful" you are, feeling high will be very seldom though. There are members who are controlled by exploiting their desire for recognition, others who are controlled by exploiting their feelings of guilt). They play with your emotions. It was always about "Are you in good standing with your shepherd and leader?" (then everything is ok) or not (then you will have a big problem and feel miserable). It was always how *they* think of you, not how *God* thinks of you. It's good that God is so different. That's a message of great joy that makes us really joyful at Christmas and any time.
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