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Author Topic: Who is Jim McCotter?  (Read 13523 times)
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« on: September 26, 2010, 09:51:03 pm »

Okay, here's what baffles me. I have been reading everything that you thoughtful people have posted on these boards, and mulling it over, and then reading it again.... And I still can't make any sense of Jim.

 Undecided

In my own experience with the GC movement, which was back in one of its earlier incarnations as ISU Bible Studies, Jim McCotter was one of the few elders that I felt genuinely comfortable with. He was a rare breath of fresh air. Sure, it was annoying how other saints adored him, and went around quoting every word he spoke as if it were manna from heaven; but Jim himself just seemed to be in his own happy world.

How did I fail to see that he was the driving force behind the whole movement, including all of its deepest, most inherent flaws?

Does anybody really understand this person? Has he ever explained his true motives to anyone?
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MarthaH
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2010, 12:03:16 am »

It has been helpful to read these forums. I am glad to know that I am not alone in what I experienced in many ways. I am very sorry to hear of so many people who are still hurting. For me, I will try to move on and pray that God delivers people who are struggling. When the time is right, I may add my voice again.

Just a few kind suggestions. I think when someone from the outside comes looking for information as I once did, it becomes somewhat confusing when they read the attacks on people's character and when conversations delve into the realms of assumption. Assuming motives is a dangerous thing. A lot of people read the attacks on others and then conclude (and in my opinion, falsely conclude) that because the person sharing on this forum is still angry, what they have shared must be inaccurate. I will summarize what I feel is the logic behind so many of the problems which I have observed.

First, I think that many of the people leading Great Commission have good intentions. That being said, Barack Obama has good intentions (and if you don't like that analogy, George W. Bush had good intentions). The problem is that people with good intentions can be seriously in error and that these intentions really don't line up with scripture.

I remember a meeting from long ago when the story was conveyed about how Bill Bright (then president of Campus Crusade) challenged Jim McCotter, Herschel Martindale and Dennis Clark at a conference saying, "If every Christian were doing what you are doing, will this world be reached with the gospel in our generation". This statement is what fueled these men to become radical and is what is at the foundation of what this Great Commission movement is based upon. This is what fueled them to do "the Blitz". The problem is that this is so focused on human strength and leads to works and can shame people into doing evangelism. There are so many things wrong with this premise, including the fact that WE don't make Christians, but God alone does.

Think about it a little more. If a person is going to heaven or hell and YOU actually had the power to sway that decision, shouldn't YOU commit everything you have to convince and persuade people to give their life to Christ first, and then to the greater cause committed to telling others? If this is what you believe to the truth, and you believe that the local church banded together is THE vehicle to accomplish this, it is only logical that you would commit to it and give everything you have to push this organization forward by teaching others to do so. So I have some peace believing that Jim very well may have thought he was doing what was right in the sight of God, as well as Dennis and Herschel and any other GC leader for that matter. In fact, I would say that there is a lot of consistency in their lives with what they believe.

The problem really comes down to a core belief that credits human ability way too much. This is where all of the emerging church and being relevant and seeker sensitive stuff and committing to one church for life comes from. So many are initially drawn in because they see people who seem like they can relate to them. The problem is that after they get in, their pains are often pushed aside because there is a bigger need than being healed from their hurts...there are people to rescue from hell! Again, the intentions are good, but the theology is wrong. I think that this movement will continue to struggle with these things as a whole no matter how well intentioned they are because the problem is at the source of, "Ask not what God is doing, but what you can do for God!"

Thank you again for this forum. It gave me my voice back! Please take these last thoughts of mine with grace:

1. As much as it may strike a nerve with some of you on this forum, there are some churches that are very healthy in this movement. Because of the greater association, however, I do not feel they will ever be able to be all they could be and they will constantly have to guard against the false teachings that creep in.

2. If you are someone who is questioning the church you are in, ask others who left why they left. My experience is that people in problematic GCAC churches want you only to talk with elders and pastors or others in leadership. Ask other leaders who have moved on why they left and don't be afraid to tell them some of your concerns. Finding out that I wasn't crazy and alone in feeling what I was feeling was what helped me to leave. Also, trust your initial intuition that tells you something is not right. I say, "initial intuition" because after time, you still see things, but you become calloused to so much of it (kind of like the frog who boils to death because the temperature was turned up so gradually that he didn't notice it). Again, talking with others who left is not necessarily gossip or slander and being able to hear both sides of the issue is a sign of maturity. Take John Hopler's advice when he quotes Proverbs 18:17 : “The first to plead his case seems just, until another comes and examines him.”

3. If Mr. Hopler ever reads this, I would say to you that many of the people on this forum have claimed that they have experienced emotional trauma, which is why we prefer to be somewhat anonymous. In your FAQ section, you mentioned our anonymity to minimize the accusations being brought forward against your organization. If this were just people who had their feelings hurt and are choosing to hold on to anger and bitterness (which indeed may be the case for some), then you have a point. However, what if the person were so damaged by your organization that they feared the personal attacks and damage to their reputation by coming forward? Imagine if a child were to go to a place where they could finally express the abuse they have experienced only to have their abuser brought before them to deny any wrong-doing? Wouldn't that be cruel? Most of those who remain anonymous feel a tremendous amount of pain caused by your organization. To leave it was traumatic enough. To have to face those who have caused us such pain, knowing that things will not change is to relive that pain.
To this, I am sure that you would promise to listen and to humble yourself and change your ways if need be. However, my experience has already been repented of by you as it lines up so much with what you already repented of when you all wrote your weakness paper almost 20 years ago. This is why I do not think things will ever change Cry

May God give grace and peace. Thank you for letting me share some of my thoughts. If I can be of any help to anyone wanting more information on these churches, do not hesitate to contact me.
M.H.
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newcreature
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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2010, 07:48:32 am »

Very well said, Martha. Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful post.
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Linda
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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2010, 08:49:50 am »

Martha, Thanks for posting. I will re-read this post again more thoroughly when I have more time, but I was wondering what you mean by this.
Quote from: Martha
I think when someone from the outside comes looking for information as I once did, it becomes somewhat confusing when they read the attacks on people's character and when conversations delve into the realms of assumption.
Would you be able to give me some examples of "attacks on people's character" that have taken place here? And, what assumptions? I'm not trying to argue, I just don't know what you mean.

Or, are you saying that when someone publicly disagrees with a theological (or political point) someone else holds that you are attacking the character of the person?


« Last Edit: September 27, 2010, 09:20:09 am by Linda » Logged

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MarthaH
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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2010, 10:32:05 am »

Sorry, I was up very late last night when I posted. Yes, I will try to clarify.

What I meant to communicate is that people posting should keep in mind how people who are in the movement and being influenced by the movement and how they will perceive what it posted. Some of the posts I have read come across at times (to me) as people making ad hominem arguments. Granted, some of them may be warranted and this is a forum where anything can be discussed. I was simply trying to remind those who wish to help others looking for information that what they post will be read under the GC filters and to abide as much as possible to the civility of the forum.

I will not go into details here, but a few of the posts have made me feel that people were having a good laugh at another's expense. Some of the threads give an appearance of people trying to find fault with GC under every nook and cranny. That is what it often looks like to the outside reader. Again, I don't want to make assumptions about what is being posted...that would seem somewhat hypocritical Roll Eyes I just want to encourage people to continue to be thoughtful while posting and to take the high road as much as possible. Granted, sometimes you just need to call a spade a spade and a wolf a wolf.

I'd be more than happy to correspond with you more on this if you wish. I had a parent come to me with questions about information which they received from this page once. They had also talked to the pastor of the church their child attended. The pastor came across as calm, understanding and gave all the "right answers". When they talked to me, their perception was that some of the posts here seemed bitter and angry. We still reasoned through a lot of the concerns and I believe that the parent and the child took my advice as I helped them find a healthy fellowship in town. Also, I pray for a lot of people who are questioning things to see clearly how they are being manipulated in the GC church I was involved with. When I do get to talk with a young person, their faulty reasoning is that if the truth is communicated and is somewhat devoid of love, it is no longer truth. Of course that is false. I tell them plainly that just because someone communicates something and they are angry doesn't make what they communicate any less true.

So, for what it's worth, I'm just trying to encourage people who post to continue to take the high ground. I hope this helps clarify things, Linda. Thanks for asking. I'm kinda new at these things and never thought I'd be posting anything here  Tongue

Part of my own testimony, if I may add, is that my biggest fear in leaving was that I would lose relationships with people. Unfortunately, that has happened. It hurts when people whom I have served with for years can walk by and not say hello, or when they assume something is wrong with you. They don't say it like that, but you can hear it in their voice and see it in their eyes when they ask, "how are you doing?" One of the subtle things that I look back at now as a form of control was how people would talk about this website and a few others. It would come across in the most subtle way that people who left were bitter and unforgiving people. This is how they would defend against arguments posted on sites such as this. It did make it difficult to process the things which were being shared. What was also implied is that if you left, you would become like that and if you dared express your experiences, you are unforgiving and unloving. John Hopler in effect, said just that in his recently published paper.

When all is said and done, I guess we can't control how people perceive what we say. I really didn't intend for what I wrote to be taken in a negative tone towards anyone posting on this page. Again, my hope is that people who are coming to this site would begin to see that if they are experiencing things that many of us have also shared on this page, they would realize that it is wrong and that it is not right! For every one person who posts, I would also dare to say that there are 50 others who have experienced something similar (who knows, perhaps even 100). The more civil we can be, despite our hurts, the more inviting we can be for others to share their stories and the more stories are shared, the more healing can take place. And I pray...I PRAY, more people will see these posts and the Lord would deliver people.

Thank you for letting me post my thoughts. It helps me to heal and to process so many things which I have been taught over the years.
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Linda
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« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2010, 12:13:59 pm »

Quote from: MarthaH
Some of the posts I have read come across at times (to me) as people making ad hominem arguments. Granted, some of them may be warranted and this is a forum where anything can be discussed.
You make several great points here. Ad hominem is never a good thing to do. It detracts from legitimate points that others are trying to make. Also, most of us posting have never met each other and comments are open to everyone as you mentioned. By that I mean, we are not a "team" working together. We are just individuals from all over the country who found each other online and realized we had some common ground and experiences.

Perhaps a good rule of thumb is that if the comment challenges something a pastor said/or taught, it is not ad hominem. Challenging teaching is a legitimate challenge and helpful to those who want to understand what GC believes and how it differs from other "evangelical, Protestant" churches. If the comment judges motive or ridicules a person for the way they look, that would be an attack on them personally which is not only wrong, but truly not helpful.

I am so sorry for the way your friendships changed after you left. I think that is something all of us can relate to a bit. It is truly sad. Leaving is very hard.

Quote from: MarthaH
One of the subtle things that I look back at now as a form of control was how people would talk about this website and a few others. It would come across in the most subtle way that people who left were bitter and unforgiving people. This is how they would defend against arguments posted on sites such as this. It did make it difficult to process the things which were being shared. What was also implied is that if you left, you would become like that and if you dared express your experiences, you are unforgiving and unloving. John Hopler in effect, said just that in his recently published paper.
I know. I doubt that Mr. Hopler realized the unfair, negative, characterizations and assumptions he made in that paper. I would like to think that he didn't comprehend what he was doing. Interestingly enough, I think anyone outside the movement who reads it will pick up on it immediately. It is full of assumptions and character attacks. It definitely will not work in his favor to outsiders reading it.

It would have been so much more helpful if Mr. Hopler would have answered the concerns directly. If we are misunderstanding what GC teaches, all he would have to do is point out why he believes what he believes. He doesn't have to attack our character and assume that we are all bad people who are taking personal conflicts public in an unbiblical manner.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2010, 12:52:37 pm by Linda » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2010, 02:49:43 pm »

I think when someone from the outside comes looking for information as I once did, it becomes somewhat confusing when they read the attacks on people's character and when conversations delve into the realms of assumption. Assuming motives is a dangerous thing. A lot of people read the attacks on others and then conclude (and in my opinion, falsely conclude) that because the person sharing on this forum is still angry, what they have shared must be inaccurate.

Martha, it would seem that you must have posted this in response to my question about Jim McCotter, if only because it follows immediately after my post. However, I haven't been able to find any other connection.  I did not attack anyone's character; nor did I express any anger.

The fact of the matter is, I hadn't even thought about Jim for quite a number of years. But I'm puzzled. He's an enigma. He started a religious movement, ran it in a very hands-on sort of fashion, and then left it to go destroy newspapers and build airplanes. What a biographer's dream!

But I'm not Jim's biographer. It's my own life that I'm reflecting upon, trying to learn something from the past. I want to figure out what was going on, because while I was caught up in the middle of it, there was so much that I missed -- sometimes because I didn't ask the right questions, and sometimes because I didn't get truthful answers.

It's nice that you're concerned about "someone from the outside" who may come here looking for information. But that's exactly what I'm doing, too: I'm asking for information. Who is Jim McCotter?
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And even though it all went wrong,
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.
  --  Leonard Cohen
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2010, 02:56:47 pm »

ISU Alumna, I had missed your original post, for some reason. I do agree with you.

Quote from: ISU Alumna
The fact of the matter is, I hadn't even thought about Jim for quite a number of years. But I'm puzzled. He's an enigma. He started a religious movement, ran it in a very hands-on sort of fashion, and then left it to go destroy newspapers and build airplanes. What a biographer's dream!

But I'm not Jim's biographer. It's my own life that I'm reflecting upon, trying to learn something from the past. I want to figure out what was going on, because while I was caught up in the middle of it, there was so much that I missed -- sometimes because I didn't ask the right questions, and sometimes because I didn't get truthful answers.
This is very perceptive on so many levels.

I have often said I would like to one day meet the man or maybe I should say watch him in action from afar. Not sure I really want to meet him. Smiley There must be something very charismatic about the man that people found captivating. Even when he left, no one ever really questioned it. Enigma. Great description.
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« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2010, 09:00:45 pm »

Martha, it would seem that you must have posted this in response to my question about Jim McCotter, if only because it follows immediately after my post. However, I haven't been able to find any other connection.  I did not attack anyone's character; nor did I express any anger.
Hi ISU Alumna,

I can't speak for Martha, and I hope her follow-up post answered your concerns. I actually thought she may have been referring to me when I read the post... lol.

I am relatively new also, and recently I came out of my shell after reading so many tales of GCx abuse and misuse. I mentioned in another thread how I found myself getting angry all over again after reading Larry's treatise: M2Z. I actually called Larry and his calming influence was a welcome answer to prayer. I went back after that and amended some of my more sarcastic and somewhat angry posts. I didn't edit them all, so perhaps Martha was keenly aware of my critical spirit in a few of my posts.

After reading Martha's two posts, it caused me to reflect on my own similar experiences with GCx, and it also reminded me of my own initial reaction when I first posted on this site this summer.  I was aghast and saddened that GCx was still causing such havoc in other Christians' lives, and then I thought, "Why can't these people just forgive and forget? I have." Much to my surprise, I hadn't.

God is helping me sort through things in my past and present that I never really addressed before. From her posts, it sounds like Martha is sorting through things too. Her last sentence pretty much summarizes my sentiments at this stage in my life:

"Thank you for letting me post my thoughts. It helps me to heal and to process so many things which I have been taught over the years."
« Last Edit: September 27, 2010, 09:04:01 pm by newcreature » Logged
EverAStudent
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« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2010, 05:52:28 am »

1) Bitterness and holding grudges (dwelling on wrongs committed against us) is improper and must not be tolerated.
2) Forgiveness is applied following repentance, when the other person does not repent, neither is there forgiveness  nor reconciliation.
   God does not apply forgiveness to us until we repent--that is conditional forgiveness.  If forgiveness were unconditional, no one would need to repent, ever.
   (see this blog on "conditional forgiveness":  http://thefaithfulword.org/forgiveness.html  or
    http://thefaithfulword.org/2008octoberblogarchives.html#23  or
    http://thefaithfulword.org/2008januaryblogarchives.html#9 )
3) Retelling stories of wrongs done and of sins committed for the purpose of warning others is the very content of much of Scripture.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2010, 12:51:06 pm by EverAStudent » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2010, 08:07:52 am »

EAS, I agree with you regarding bitterness and holding grudges. When I realized I was doing that in my own heart, it was very depressing. But I was encouraged when I remembered that God who began a good work in me will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. I am a work in progress.

Now for a clarification: By expressing my initial thought ("Why can't these people just forgive and forget? I have") I wasn't trying to imply that my thought was correct. Just the opposite. I shared it with the intention of saying that it took some time for God to open my eyes to the fact that I was still holding on to some bitterness.

By no means did I mean to impugn or diminish this forum by expressing my faulty thinking from five months ago. I hope that at least some of my contributions to this forum bear that out.

I agree with your third point: this board is a very good source of warning. The faulty assumption I initially made five months ago was due to extrapolating a few unkind posts from one person who has likewise expressed difficulties in "letting go." At the time, I noticed "the speck in my brother's eye," but I didn't realize I had a similar speck in my own eye (although it became quite apparent when the Lord got out His tweezers). As a result, I made that broad generalization (to myself), and it has since vaporized back into the mist from whence it came.

At the same time, my post was meant to be supportive of Martha and some of her initial feelings. I definitely made a few posts which I later had to edit or apologitically amend. Perhaps she read some of those, or some of the unkind posts that I read when I initially discovered this forum.

I hope that provides some clarification. If not, please let me know.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2010, 08:31:15 am by newcreature » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2010, 09:27:38 pm »

I think Martha's two posts should be made "sticky posts" at the top of one of these forums.  *Very* well said.

On the original subject -- Jim was very charismatic. I think he had an honest gift of making others feel at ease, when he himself was at ease. An old roommate called him "down home"; I think that described it well. 

That was just one facet of his personality, though.  Larry Pile describes other facets in M2Z.  From a bit of a distance, I got to "watch him work" and saw charm, drivenness, micromanagement, warmth, stubbornness, and being convinced of the rightness of his own plans.  From the outside, looking in from a distance, it seems like he sometimes confused his own inner voice with God's.

I have heard that some former GC leaders, who worked closely with Jim, read these forums from time to time.  I would really value their thoughts and observations.
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« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2011, 09:42:51 pm »

it seems like he sometimes confused his own inner voice with God's

Wow. That's it, in a nutshell.

Salman Rushdie wrote an entire novel describing just the same problem.

It's quite a warning to us all.

 Sad
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« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2011, 10:03:40 pm »

Salman Rushdie wrote an entire novel describing just the same problem.

I think it was called The Slick 50 Verses.
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2021, 12:46:12 pm »


Who is Jim McCotter?

Charming or Abusing


Most on this site have encountered McCotter’s darker side either first or second hand because they were victims of long-standing and widespread spiritual abuse he perpetrated. Others not associated with the church organization he founded have written here or elsewhere to report the serious harm he has brought to business ventures and the employees working for him. Both desire to warn the unknowing of the danger to their faith or well-being if they are considering or already involved with him.


“Retelling stories of wrongs done and of sins committed for the purpose of warning others is the very content of much of Scripture.”
-EverAStudent


Then, there are some who come here to defend McCotter because they have encountered someone who seems rather “charming”. Unfortunately the latter sometimes feel strongly that what his victims share can’t possibly be true; so they have lashed out calling us lying, slandering, and even bitter people. Or they have been falsely told what we saw and heard didn’t happen.

This dichotomy of experiences of a single person may seem unimaginable to some; especially when one side is harmful. But, gaslighting can often be an explanation for such opposing behaviors. It may frequently involve a public and private persona. It seems when the audience watching is needed or there is something to be gained by their approval, the behavior will be full of charm and even servitude.  But when they have already been won over or they no longer are of use to the “charmer”, they suffer under the berating abuse and control of him.

Thus, the 2 personas are actually one person. Some of us have seen both sides of McCotter. Unfortunately,  the “charm” he presents gaslights his abusive behaviors others have become victim to. This type of untrustworthy and abusive character has no biblical right to teach, lead or shepherd God’s people.


This video (below) explains more clearly the dynamics at work here:

‘Something you probably didn’t know was Gaslighting’ by Dr. Ramani
https://youtu.be/lLsH2NJD1Vo



« Last Edit: June 16, 2021, 04:49:04 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2021, 01:44:54 pm »

Thanks for the video link, Janet.

It's very hard to make sense of people who can switch so readily between charm and abuse. It's likewise frustrating to deal with argumentative people who habitually contradict their own arguments, or who accuse their opponents of doing something wrong and then turn around and do that very same wrong thing themselves.

Fortunately, there's one idea that has helped me make sense of people like that: to the abuser, nothing he said or did in the past matters; all that matters is dominating the situation in the here and now. If that requires charm, he'll offer charm; if it requires a show of anger, he'll offer anger; if he needs to argue that black is black, that's what he'll say, but if he needs for black to suddenly become white, then so be it. Consistency and integrity are not the goal. The goal is staying in control. Understanding this about abusive personality types has saved me a lot of frustration.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2021, 01:48:13 pm by Huldah » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2021, 01:31:07 pm »

Hi!  For anyone who would like to actually SEE and HEAR Jim McCotter address all these accusations, Jim is willing to take LIVE questions on his weekday podcasts every Friday.  It's time to actually "put your money where your mouth is".  Tomorrow and every Friday at 4pm, you can log onto the podcast on facebook or on his youtube channel...

He's ready and willing to finally address any and all accusations and questions!  You ready to ask?  You can just comment your question, or actually come on live with Jim!  Either way, it's time for the whole truth to come out!

Facebook @jimmccotterlive
youtube search for Jim McCotter Live channel or follow these links

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_-a-MOV_qjSKEpLcx9pR3g

https://www.facebook.com/JimMcCotterLIVE
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« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2022, 08:42:52 pm »

You warn about something that's a danger.... How would you feel if there was a forum warning people about the danger of the Spanish Flu?
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« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2022, 09:46:50 pm »

The above post seems to fall under the category of SPAM, distracting from the content of the thread.


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For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
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« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2022, 03:12:44 pm »

The above post seems to fall under the category of SPAM, distracting from the content of the thread.




Actually, it's right on topic, but one reader is seeing and not not seeing, is hearing and not hearing, is reading and not reading.
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