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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: seekingsusan ()
Date: January 11, 2011 09:14AM

Guys,

It seems to me this is just turning into "preaching to the choir" - pointless "radio chatter" to little avail ( I include myself in this ).

Unless new posters come out here, on either side, this is all going to go nowhere.

Might I suggest that those stiill in contact with Struthers "dissenters" , try to gently persuade them to come aboard - anonymously or not.

If you want to get a response from leadership, you could always email the leaders a link. Or even send a printed letter with the forum contents and a
URL to here.

Seems to me all the _questions_ have been outlined pretty well with no further clarification needed. What remains is either for them to answer, or for more members or ex members with some actual experiences to share to post here. I think the sharing of actual real recollections and stories relevant to possible cult-like behaviour is what is needed now.

Finally I DO have one question for people here who were in Struthers within the last 10 yrs recently - namely - Is there a particular type of mindset or personality type that Struthers appeals to ?.

What kind of personality type would best describe the leaders ? Are they "of a feather" ? And did the SM Church change in "culture" significantly after Miss Taylor and Hugh Black passed away ?.

Oh dear, I appear to have broken my attempt at enfircing "radio silence" here !. never mind...

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: January 12, 2011 07:14PM

Quote
seekingsusan
Guys,

It seems to me this is just turning into "preaching to the choir" - pointless "radio chatter" to little avail ( I include myself in this ).


Well, I guess that is that. It was good while it lasted.

I have been looking for an opportunity to talk about how I feel for something like 20 years. Apart from one other ex-member of Struthers, whom I only managed to meet occasionally, I have had no forum to share my thoughts.

I have been finding it really helpful to have a forum to share some of my experiences and to clarify whether anything I went through has been experienced by others. A number of the comments have "struck a chord" and have encouraged me to think it might not be all me that is at fault, but that others recognise the same issues.

It looks like that is not going to be allowed to continue however. An earlier contribution I made was criticised, and now I am being told that the questions have all been determined and I should to submit to radio silence. I have to say I find this quite disappointing after waiting so long to find a place I could share my feelings.

I guess I was being a bit selfish about this, but I really wasn't thinking about "what is needed now", I was just sharing my experience. Sorry if that is not what this forum is for.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: seekingsusan ()
Date: January 12, 2011 10:07PM

ThePetitor,

Please accept my apologies, I may have been a little harsh and out of order with my earlier posts. As you suggest yourself, I guess i was attempting to think pragmatically but not really meaning to get at you specifically . It is certainly not my place to -nor, unlike Struthers, would i want to - suppress the very sort of thing that Struthers is accused of suppressing, namely open and free discussion/debate.

Maybe my sense of anger and suspicions about S.M. got subliminally misdirected. To my mind a lot of what goes on in S.M also has subliminal and psychologically manipulative undertones that really get my blood boiling, particularly when it comes to the young. Maybe you’ve been a victim of some of that, both from then and me :),

take care,

Susan

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: January 12, 2011 10:10PM

ThePetitor:

Nothing wrong with you sharing your experiences.

That's what this message board is for.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: January 13, 2011 12:16AM

seekingsusan

Thanks for your rapid and helpful response. Apology accepted.

I did not really take it that it was all directed at me, but I did want to convey my genuine personal reaction to the comments rather than debate what should and should not be allowed or encouraged.

I suspect that others may also have felt they were being constrained by the criticism of the discussion.

As you point out in your latest post, it is important not to suppress debate. While your comments may not have been enough to suppress debate in other forums, it seems to me that is a particularly sensitive area where ex-members of Struthers (myself included) are concerned, as they have had less opportunity to exercise this sort of freedom.

I am not sure if you have been involved in Struthers yourself but, if you have, you will understand why this is particularly important. The issues that arise in Struthers are not the same as in other pentecostal or charismatic churches, but are very much about “holiness” which in Struthers terms increasingly seems to mean (a) leaders who cannot be anything other than perfect, no matter how little they try to help others and (b) followers who cannot by anything other than failures, no matter how hard they try to do what they are told is right.

On another note, does anyone know if there is any truth in the rumour that anon201062 has been banned form contributing to the forum?

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: CrazyMixedUpKid ()
Date: January 17, 2011 10:42PM

First, thanks to ThePetitor for including my earlier email in this forum on 14 December 2010.

I find myself in a different position from the other contributors here, who all seem to have made up their mind either to agree or disagree with what goes on in Struthers.

I wish I could do either of these. I have been left in limbo for nearly 30 years as the leader of the Falkirk church and at least one other person I was close to refuse to talk to me.

I do not want to look back at all the detail now, but my summary at the time indicated that about a dozen “new phases” were imposed – either one person would speak to me or another would, but only in a certain place or only under certain conditions; or one time they would only speak direct and another it was only through an intermediary.

All I have asked for over 25 years is for someone to sit down with me as an equal and talk to me, to explain why certain decisions were made, what I had done wrong, what I was meant to do, and try to respond to some of the question I have about standards. Is that really too much to ask? What happened to one of Mr Black’s favourite quotes, “If I believed what you say you believe, and all England was covered in broken glass, I would crawl all over it on my hands and knees to save one soul”. I am not asking anyone to crawl over broken glass (although I would do this if the situation were reversed). All I am asking for is an adult conversation, without any pre-conditions being imposed.

This may all seem pointless and futile to most readers, but I remain in a position that the leaders have told me that they know more about me than I do, but they refuse to talk to me.

So, if anyone form Struthers is reading this, I have some simple questions:
1. Do you as leaders know more about others than they themselves do?
2. If so, could you please talk to me?
3. If not, why tell people you do?

As a more general question to others, does anyone else out there feel they have “unfinished business” with Struthers, or am I the only one?

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: CovLass ()
Date: January 20, 2011 05:57AM

Just to add a little to the earlier points made by Susan and The petitor. I can see both points. The last thing I want to do is go over and over the same old ground if theres no purpose or point to it. However I too waited for years to find a place where I could express how I felt and see if others had had the same or similar experiences and it was a relief to find I was not the only one.

The large part of me wanting to share my experiences is to help those wh are still struggling. People who have either left Struthers or who are still in it trying to decide what to do or pluck up the courage to leave. m sure we would all like to feel that our experiences are not totally wasted if we can help another. It is a shame that anon has stopped responding and we havent had any feedback form the Struthers leaders. Im guessing thats not ever going to happen in here or perhaps anywhere else.

CrazyMixedUpKid

Thanks for responding to this forum. I dont know you but really feel for you. I know its horrible to feel trapped with no way out. I have no idea what your personal experience was and what lead to the leaders treating you like they did. From what Ive experienced and what Ive heard from others it was probably nothing that you did or didnt do. Like the leaders have often said they only nurture and encourage those who they say they feel 'drawn to' So basically if your face didnt fit from the start then chances are you would never have fit in. Im no expert but I saw most people would just accept this as the leaders knowing best. It appears you wanted to know why and this lead to you asking questions - something which seems to be really frowned upon.

In regard to the leaders saying they know more about a person than the person knows about themselves, in my experience at least this was rubbish. I dont know if you read my earlier posts but I was basicaly told they 'discerned' lesbian tendancies in me. Even when I categoricaly stated that I have not, do not and never will have such tendancies the said leader still stuck to her guns. To me this isnt dicernment but pure arrogance.

Only God knows the depths of our heart. Sometimes I will put on a 'face' that I want people to see. Maybe Im upset but dont want to talk about it so I put a smile on my face. I have certain friends who know me really well and will see through this mask, God certainly can, but my friend and even God only see what I also see but am trying to disguise. Maybe tis isnt coming across too well but what Im trying to say is that God is not going to reveal stuff to another person that he isnt going to reveal to you when it concerns your own life. Yes sometimes trusted friends tell you a 'few home truths' as the saying goes. When they do it hits home hard, but its not a complete blinding revelation that you never knew.

In my mind, someone saying God has revealed stuffto them about you, yet they wont come and speak out what it is is utter clap trap and a form of psychological control. It creates fear and vulnerability and vulnerable, fearful people are easily controled by the one who exerts that fear. Just look at the crime of blackmail. Person 1 says to person 2 I know something about you that could finish your career/marriage/etc Person 2 will often pay large sums of money and do anything in order to stop that information getting out through person 1.

I think that what is going on in Struthers is emotional blackmail. The leader says - "I know something about you that is really bad - but Im not going to tell you unless you do this that and the other - and even then I wont tell you until I think you're ready" Whats worse they often threaten to expose 'it' to the whole of the congregation and yet you still have no idea of what 'it' is.

At the end of the day the apostle Paul said "if I speak in the toungues of men and angel but have not love I am like a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal - in other words, just a lot of pointless noise. The more I hear the more I see that there is very very little, if any love eminating from Struthers Church leader - enough said.

Hope this helps a little. Id love to chat so more. Apologies for the long post again.

God bless

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: CrazyMixedUpKid ()
Date: January 21, 2011 06:01PM

Dear CovLass,

Thanks for your encouraging comments, and indeed to everyone (especially anon) for being so willing to be honest and share their experiences. I have found all of the discussions really interesting and refreshing. I am very happy to continue to chat to anyone directly (the forum includes the ability to send personal mail) but I think it is unlikely I will contribute much more publicly.

The rules of the forum do not allow personal details to be broadcast, but I would also love to talk to any current or ex-member of Struthers who is happy to sit down over coffee for a chat about any aspect of life whatsoever. Unlike the Struthers Leaders, I do not set rules about where you would have to sit, what the conversation will be about or who has to be present before the conversation can begin.

Sorry if my lack of ongoing contribution is not helpful to others. I guess I could get involved in the debate but, for me, that might just give a whole range of excuses on their side. Things along the lines of, "well, we were going to speak to you, but then you posted a message about xxx and we thought...".

I do not want any of that. I want to keep it totally straight forward. I think I want to keep my message to anyone in Struthers very clear and simple - "please talk to me, or at least tell me why you won't".

This is about a principle, and I though that abiding by principles was central to Struthers beliefs. You see, I am not saying, "please talk to me because I deserve it", "please talk to me because it will help me", "please talk to me because it will help others", or "please talk to me because it will make you a more honest and effective person". All of these may be true, but that is not the issue. What I am saying is, "Please talk to me because it is the right thing to do."

To make it less personal, I could probably be satisfied with a comprehensive answer to the question, "Under what circumstances is it right for a pastor to refuse to talk to a member of his or her congregation?"

CovLass, you have hit the nail on the head when you talk about love. "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another." Well, seems to me it is a bit difficult to show love if you refuse to talk to someone but, hey, I am open to hear the Struthers take on that. It would be better than silence.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: January 21, 2011 07:05PM

Hi CovLass and others

Yes, seems to me that there is a lot of pressure in this model. I remember doing a course in negotiation some years ago, and a lot of it boiled down to saying,"IF you do this, then I MIGHT do that" and refusing to let the opponent (oops sorry, colleagues!) do the same to you. Seems to me that Struthers leaders have been on that course. Not sure it is what Jesus taught his disciples though!

When I read some of the earlier comments, it makes me wonder if the Struthers model is actually quite close to the Spanish Inquisition mode. Their idea was that it was good to torture people because it might lead them to repentance. What is a few days of torture compared to an eternity in hell? Seems to me this is a very arrogant position to take at the very least.

It also begs the question of whether the end justifies the means. It seems to me that one of the key messages Christ had was that the end did not justify the means, that there was NEVER a time that you could say, "I know this is wrong, but I will do it because it will lead to better things." No, the message is just the opposite, "I will do this because it is right, irrespective of the consequences."

The more I look at it, the more I see it is all just smoke and mirrors. There is actually no substance behind the Struthers movement at all. Apart from a single statement with about 5 bullet points, they have no beliefs they can actually explain, no principles, no agreed practice, no process. I do not think that they actually even believe their core bullet points any more, as they are not involved in any effective outreach, instead spending time running coffee shops and a school. From what I see in practice, their core beliefs appear closer to:

1) we believe in the authority of the leaders, with this taking precedence over all other sources of authority including scripture
2) we believe it is wrong to criticise or question leaders and that doing so is the ultimate sin, risking eternal damnation not just for the individual, but for others in society who would find God as long as the leaders were never criticised
3) we believe it is a waste of time to talk to people about our beliefs, and that our time is best spent running various activities like coffee shops and schools

Don't want to make this post even longer, but I would like to follow up on the "love" one as well. Seems to me that is the key to a lot of this. The only people the leaders love is themselves.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Archbishop Laud ()
Date: January 25, 2011 03:08AM

Could not resist temptation to join in the fun!

Let me say up front that SMC is not a cult. A cult is a religious group that denies the deity of Christ, or is in some other way unorthodox on core Gospel truths. SMC stands for real Christianity, no question.

SMC also has many strengths, including passion for the Gospel, prophetic vision (albeit often with human opinions mixed in) and deep (but usually far too long!) worship meetings.

However, it also has, in my view--a view gained from inside the tent over many years--some pretty serious weaknesses. Many of these have been identified in previous posts. I would personally highlight the following, in no particular order:

* micromanagement of people's lives
* insularity
* excessive number of meetings and conferences
* dogmatic and often inconsistent dictats on grey-area issues
* stuck in a timewarp
* anti-intellectualism, bordering on a blasphemous belittling of God's gift of rationality
* unhealthy level of reverence for leaders
* cliques galore, masquerading as spiritually-advanced groupings
* head-in-sand avoidance of social and political issues
* inverted sexism
* wrong attitude to other churches and parachurch organisations
* inability to acknowledge errors of judgement, wrong emphases, failed predictions
* uncharitable freezing-out of dissenters

I could go on. But that is enough for now. Boy, that felt cathartic! I honestly hope someone will find it helpful.
Bye.

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