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Author Topic: GCI to a 14-year old  (Read 6457 times)
Adam Hirschhorn
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« on: March 16, 2007, 03:39:46 pm »

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As an adult, it is amazing how small and flawed people like Lopez, McCotter, and Short seem now compared to how large and "holy" they loomed in my 14 year old mind.


Wow. I just have to say wow because I can’t conceive what the whole GC experience means to a 14 year old. I know today Short is still revered. In the video they put out for the Bootcamp retreat, one kid called the speakers “the great men of God and all the GC celebrities”. There. Celebrities. Nope, nothing in this movement that would suggest the use of charisma. LOL
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Adam Hirschhorn
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2007, 03:40:22 pm »

... I’d be interested in hearing what that was like.
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observer
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2007, 03:41:01 pm »

Adam said: I just have to say wow because I can’t conceive what the whole GC experience means to a 14 year old.
__

The answer is complex. I grew up witnessing the church go from “blitz” style radical to more mainstream evangelical, complete with consumerist-market sensitive appeal. GC was not and is not a single-dimensioned entity. To understand it, one must consider its roots in the Plymouth Brethren tradition and parachurch style shepherding. The oldschool church was, it seemed, pretty tied to the separation-from-the-world tendencies of early-mid century American fundamentalism and the brethren assemblies–an impulse further driven by the counter-culture critique of the mainstream. It also seemed to have that baby-boomer “we know better than our parents” attitude about it.

Anyways, I think the “early” cultism was a somewhat uncool kind, complete with hardcore kid-spanking, creationism, women in headcovers, no-birth-control, homeschooling, right-wing politics and an aversion to rock music. A lot of the early members sold on these things seem to not necessarily have remained members as the group went more mainstream and plugged in their electric guitars.

The latter cult/TACO, which had already had emerged by 1991 when I left as a young adult, was cooler and more mainstream, but still problematic:
After all the half-baked know-it-all news publications were cancelled, McCotter history and hardly mentioned, and the “discipline” purgings had taken place, there was a more “culturally relevant” church. But also one led by the same people who come to power under McCotter’s intense, super-confident, ethically suspect, theologically untrained leadership. When I left there was a proof-text driven vagueness and vacuousness about everything. The dynamics of attaining leadership seemed hidden. There remained a demand for purity that, in this instantiation, meant being “less legalistic” than before, not a bad idea, but it nonetheless violated my sense of respect for boundaries, and I felt that there was a demand for perfection I couldn’t live up to. I felt horribly empty and lonely and was glad to get on with my adult life charting an independent path. Being involved was just too big of a burden for me. The popular GC mantra “he who separates himself seeks his own desire” strikes me as used, by this group, largely for its own abusive agenda against freedom of thought and individuality.

But then, I must say that I believe fundamentalism in general is abusive and cultic. So I can’t be too hard on GC per se. Authentic christian love, to me, is so much bigger than the religion fundamentalists try to box God in.

Adam, I would be glad to talk to you more sometime. I grew up with GC and still know of its doings since it is the church of my parents. Although an amazing number of home-schooled GC kids I know of moved on to troubled lives and dumped church, I guess it’s ’cause they had yet to invent a bootcamp to straighten them out. I just love all the military lingo GC’s leaders use. So Christ like.

Go to subreasonings.livejournal.com Adam and post a response to a recent blog and I will be glad to contact you.

I will say to you in closing that I feel very happy with my adult life as a husband and father and intellectually oriented liberal Christian, and I do find much to admire about the sense of purpose and community in my church I grew up in. I just think they are simplistic and wrong about a lot of things.
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Adam Hirschhorn
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2007, 11:11:48 am »

Yes the military lingo is no coincidence. I seem to remember it was pointed out that McCotter had some admiration for Goebbels, the Nazi party propagandist. I’ll have to search Decomm for that reference. If it’s not “The Blitz” it’s “Invasion ‘85″ or “Bootcamp” and I’m guessing the next big plant will be “Sleeper Cells for Christ” LOL



The room in house I ran away from where all the guys who went to Leadership Training slept was known as “The Barracks” and had not one but two bunkbeds.
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exshep
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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2007, 11:12:00 am »

Funny you mention it, the brother’s house in Athens (1982) looked like a barracks or a bunk room in a gospel mission. It was decrepit. Still the prize went to the pentecostal bible school with six students to a room.
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Had friend in Columbus church 80's and 90s. Member left in 1993  Involved GC in Texas  2005-2007.  Empathy to both  with  positive and negative aspects.
Adam Hirschhorn
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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2007, 11:12:11 am »

Holy sardines, batman.
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