Sunday, January 30, 2005

IBLP Leaders Caught Wasting Time
OAK BROOK, Illinois - The IBLP Personnel Department is concerned that several training center directors may be spending time on The Crossings, a popular online ATI student community, while on the clock.

The Personnel Department began looking into the situation after receiving several anonymous complaints that certain members in leadership spent all their time spying on students who served at training center locations. The complaints alleged that these leaders policed Crossings profiles and forum discussions in order to discover ungodly words, actions, and attitudes.

"We're concerned that these directors may be defrauding IBLP and God," said a Personnel manager. "Visiting this website is not a legitimate training center director activity and should be restricted to one's own free time. If our directors want to participate in an online community designed for teens and twentysomethings, that's fine, but IBLP is not willing to pay for it."

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Dear Miss Modesty...

DEAR MISS MODESTY, I'm a young ATI lady who has dressed modestly all my life. (1 Pet.3: 3-4) None of my blouses reveal my collarbone, all of my skirts have kick pleats, I own no colored stockings, and I've never worn red fingernail polish. I know this is the way to be a virtuous woman (Prov.31:10), so please don't think I'm asking if I can wear jeans or sleeveless shirts or other things that the sensual girls (Isaiah 3:16-23) in my church wear.

But I do have a fashion question. Recently I've been wanting to try something new. I'm tired of looking exactly like all the other Godly girls in my church. Even when we dress casually, we all show up in straight denim skirts and polo shirts, all in colors in our exact "season" so they highlight our countenances (Genesis 12:7). It is a great witness, but it's a little monotonous.

My question is, can I experiment with other fashions within the bounds of modesty?

Sincerely, Trying to Live Circumspectly (Eph. 5:15)

DEAR TRYING, Our culture today delights in tearing down traditions and scorning those who do not go along with their "progress." For this reason, they will reap condemnation (Deut. 27:17). I discern that you are being influenced by this worldly philosophy. The very idea of "experimenting" has its roots in the drug culture of the '60s, when rebellious sons and daughters defiled themselves with drugs and immoral activities which promised the man escape from the "monotony" of a disciplined life.

God's Word clearly indicates that we are not to follow in the footsteps of the rebellious (Ps. 1).Therefore, I would caution you against "experimenting" with other fashions. Even if they are "within the bounds of modesty," it would be difficult for you to find another style which emphasizes virtue as much as that worn by Godly ATI girls of today.

Why should you attempt to alter what your authorities have approved? This desire possibly indicates double-mindedness (Jas. 1:6-8). I encourage you to go to your authorities and find out if God really is leading you in this direction (Prov. 3:5-6). May you continue to live a life of virtue and victory!

Sincerely, Miss Modesty

-Submitted by Mairzy

Friday, January 28, 2005

16 Young Ladies...
...all committed to courtship.

Family Confused over College
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - Harry Conners, 56, ATI father of 11, recently called IBLP headquarters with several disturbing questions about Verity College. Specifically, he wanted to know why the college was founded in apparent contradiction to IBLP's teachings on not submitting to the worldly culture of attending college. He was initially informed that Verity allowed ATI students to study many different subjects at once.

The young lady he spoke with pointed out Verity's wonderful opportunities: "It's like attending Sound Foundations, lectures on chalk drawing, studying midwifery, and taking Oak Brook's paralegal course all at one time!" She went on to tell Mr. Conners that study at Verity would place his children in prime position to be chosen for important jobs such as drawing for Mr. Gothard at Basic Seminars ("they get excellent drawing instruction") and kitchen management at a training center ("the math courses are very helpful in cooking for large crowds").

Mr. Conners was not satisfied with this explanation, however, and wrote to the ATI Board asking if they had any insights into the change of mind by Mr. Gothard and IBLP.

A board member called him and speaking on condition of anonymity told him that starting Verity was a strategy to boost dwindling ATI enrollment. "Many of our young people are very servant-minded and are busy working for us well into their 30's," he said. "Unfortunately, they are often not marrying in time to produce very many godly offspring. And this is causing a shortfall of expected enrollment at ATI."

Mr. Conners asked what this had to do with starting a college. "Well, college is a good place to meet one's prospective spouse," said the board member. "Where did you meet your wife Mr. Conners?" Mr. Conners had to admit that he met his wife Zelda at Bible school. The board member lowered his voice significantly: "I'm not supposed to say this, but Mr. Gothard has observed that the older ATI students tend to start looking outside of ATI circles for prospective marriage partners. Indeed, some of their parents worried that their children may not marry, have actually encouraged them to date. This grieves him immensely. Often these poor marriage partner choices lead to ATI children being led away from the truth and not raising their children in the program. We think Verity is a good solution to this problem."

Mr. and Mrs. Conners eventually recognized the wisdom of the Institute and are enrolling their two oldest daughters Rebekah Joy, 32, and Hannah Grace, 29, in Verity. Both girls have excelled at homemaking instruction and music but are looking forward to studying art and religion. Mr. Conners hopes they'll bring a friend home on a weekend to introduce to his son, David, 30, who cannot be spared from working in the family's landscaping business.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

X-ATI Students "Move On"
Responding to well-meaning and oft-repeated advice from ATI-supporters, dozens of ex-ATI students recently resolved to "get over it" and "move on" with their lives.

"It really doesn't matter that your spirits were crushed attempting to conform to a man-made system of spirituality," said one Gothard supporter, "or that your perspective of God suffered nearly-irreversible damage. What's important is that you break free from the chains of bitterness in your lives. I have an excellent diagram about that."

John, an x-er who was in ATI for 12 years, acknowledged how helpful this advice was for him. "Somehow, being told to 'move on' gave me an instant sense of freedom. I have new vision for life, knowing that ATI people still care about my well-being."

"Here I was sitting at home, just being bitter," said Megan, another x-er. "Imagine my excitement when I discovered that I could go on with life!"

These students, previously crippled by rage and judgmentalism, took the challenge and began to rebuild their lives. They joined healthy churches, sought gainful employment, moved into hip, downtown apartments. Several married and began raising families. Dozens are now leading useful and productive lives.

"Thank God those ATI folks were there to speak truth to us and rescue us from wasted potential," said John.

Monday, January 24, 2005

How I Conquered My Bondage to Music
During my teenage years, I listened to a type of music that created in me a spirit of pride and judgement. God delivered me and now I live in freedom, but I still suffer the consequences of those years spent in bondage.

It started so innocently. I didn't grow up listening to "that kind" of music. My family didn't like it, and we never had it in the house. When I became a teenager, however, I made some new friends. They all listened to this music, and encouraged me to. Even respected leaders in my life told me I should get into this music, that it would be good for me.

Having a desire to please man, I began to listen to it. The more I listened, the more I liked it. I bought the CDs and listened even while falling asleep at night. At the same time, I looked down on those who didn't listen to my music. I thought I was smarter, even "cooler" because I knew so much more about it than they did. I did not realize I was a slave to the music and the sin it produced in my life.

At last God brought conviction to my heart, and I put away all those CDs for a time. I listened to other music, which encouraged and blessed me and turned my focus back to God. I repented of my pride and judgement,and tore down those strongholds in my soul.

Now I can't hear any of my "old" music without those feelings of pride returning. I struggle with the guilt left from those days. But I live in freedom again -- a freedom I remember every time I put in my new CDs and listen to Phil Collins, JoDee Messina, or Steve Green.

Glory be to God, I no longer am in bondage to Bach, Beethoven, and Hymns Triumphant.

-Submitted by Mairzy

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Discovering the power of forgiveness

In the recent past, IBLP president and founder Bill Gothard called upon Godly Lawyers to initiate a class action lawsuit on behalf of the children of divorced parents against their parents for the emotional and spiritual damage inflicted through the divorce. [Ed. note: one of those rare instances of truth on this site.]

While X-ATI Guy conducts himself with utmost care and respect, may we point out the universal, non-optional principles this lawsuit would violate?

Authority. Each of us is placed under God-ordained authority for the purpose of receiving God's direction and building character. God gives grace to those who respond properly to their authorities, and it is unwise for children to question the decisions of their parents. Children who reject parental direction by suing their parents for marital dissolution are not free to grow in God's grace.

Suffering. Life always brings suffering through the actions of others. Proverbs advises that faithful are the wounds of those who are close to us. Those who sue parents for the hurts they cause have rejected God's sovereignty, instead falling prey to a victim mentality. Not only does Jesus command us to forgive our enemies in the Sermon on the Mount, but God also instructs us to give thanks in all things. It is impossible to rejoice in suffering when involved in fractious litigation.

Responsibility. The principle of responsibility teaches us to take responsibility for our own thoughts, words, actions and attitudes. Children of divorced parents should acknowledge that they may have had some fault in the breakup of their parents. This knowledge will help them to avoid taking up offenses.

Overcoming bitterness. Lawsuits indicate a root of bitterness by the litigant. The key to overcoming bitterness is to forgive your offender and release them to God's punishment, which is rarely distributed through the civil court system.

Additional thoughts:

In The Rewards of Being Reviled, Bill Gothard teaches us that we should not speak evil of those in leadership over us. Lawsuits often involve speaking evil of the opposing party in open court. Rather than documenting our offenses in the public record, we should seek private reconciliation.

In The Power of Spoken Blessings, Bill Gothard also teaches that we can grant freedom from years of hurts through spoken blessings, which are rarely communicated in class action lawsuits.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Wisdom Booklet offends parents
Mr. and Mrs. Jones, ATI parents, have written to ATI Headquarters expressing concern at the inappropriate and offensive content of a Wisdom Booklet their family recently encountered. The family was progressing through the study of the Sermon on the Mount and was scheduled to study the Wisdom Booklet dealing with Matthew 5:27-28. Upon reviewing the Wisdom Booklet in their parent planning session, however, Mr. and Mrs. Jones realized that the subject matter was entirely inappropriate for family discussion. "We understand that Jesus had to talk about adultery," said Mr. Jones in his letter to ATI, "but frankly we were surprised that ATI would use the Wisdom Booklets to talk about the sex act in such a detailed fashion. Sharing this detailed information before a child is committed to a life partner is simply not healthy."

The Jones parents expressed concern over the Power Through Precision section, which defined phrases such as "sexual intercourse" and specific features of the human anatomy. Authority Through Accuracy was even worse, clarifying the distinctions between "adultery," "fornication," and "unnatural acts."

Mrs. Jones pointed out that they joined ATI in order to protect their children. "We knew our children would be exposed to lewd, defrauding concepts if they attended public school or youth group. Imagine our surprise when the attack came directly from ATI!"

After examining the content of the obscene Wisdom Booklet, Mr. and Mrs. Jones decided to skip it and go to the next one. They placed all copies of the offensive booklet in a safe location where the children would be sure not to stumble across the information. "We felt a little guilty, actually," said Mr. Jones. "It was like we had concealed copies of pornographic magazines. We finally had to cleanse our home of this dangerous influence."

The Jones children were slightly mystified upon noticing that they had skipped a Wisdom Booklet. "Then we noticed we had skipped over two verses in the Sermon on the Mount," said one child. "Mother said we didn't have to memorize these verses, so it was fine with us."

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Bible Guide to Wife-Finding
As we all know, Scripture provides precise steps of action for any decision we make in life. Armed only with a Bible and a Strongs concordance, we can unlock the secrets of Scripture and develop helpful training courses for our weaker brothers and sisters. An alert X-er reader recently sent us one such course.

Top 10 Biblical Ways to Acquire a Wife

10. Find a prostitute and marry her. (Hosea 1:1-3)

9. Purchase a piece of property, and get a woman as part of the deal. (Ruth 4:5-10)

8. Find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails, and give her new clothes. Then she's yours. (Deuteronomy 21:11-13)

7. Go to a party and hide. When the women come out to dance, grab one and carry her off to be your wife. (Judges 21:19-25)

6. Cut 200 foreskins off of your future father-in-law's enemies and get his daughter for a wife. (I Samuel 18:27)

5. Become the emperor of a huge nation and hold a beauty contest. (Esther 2:3-4)

4. Find a man with seven daughters, and impress him by watering his flock. (Exodus 2:16-21)

3. When you see someone you like, go home and tell your parents, "I have seen a woman; now get her for me." If your parents question your decision, simply say, "Get her for me. She's the one for me." (Judges 14:1-3) [X-er note: This is not an effective method in ATI circles.]

2. Agree to work seven years in exchange for a woman's hand in marriage. Get tricked into marrying the wrong woman. Then work another seven years for the woman you wanted to marry in the first place. That's right. Fourteen years of toil for a woman. (Genesis 29:15-30) [X-er note: Now that's the ATI way!]

1. Have God create a wife for you while you sleep. Note: this will cost you a rib. (Genesis 2:19-24)
Personally, I like number 5. Maybe at the next Miss Character USA? Other ATI-friendly relational advice can be found here and here.

(Hat tip: MG)

What's in an ATI Word?
What's in an ATI word? is our feature that unpacks and clarifies those difficult terms we heard so often.

"Mighty in Spirit"
A state of being, (my'-te n spir'-ut)

A legalistic affliction characterized by rising early, frequent rhemas, memorization, meditation, and periodic fasting. Those suffering from this malady may exhibit side effects known as "character qualities." Professionals recommend the curative properties of Galatians 3:1-3, Galatians 5:3-6, and Philippians 3:3.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Contacts Make Rebel-Spotting Difficult
IBLP officials are concerned that designer contact lenses allow rebels to live in sin by artificially brightening their eyes. "For years we've identified the mighty in spirit by their bright eyes," said one training center director, "but these new contacts make rebel-spotting very difficult."

Dorian Black, a prominent IBLP staffer, has worn bright-eyed contacts throughout his time with the Institute. "It's nice, because I can acutally sin once in a while without fear of reprisal," he said. "Now that they're catching on, I probably won't last for long."




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