Tuesday, July 26, 2005
No stumbling in heaven
OAK BROOK, Illinois - Capitalizing on an "exciting new option for Christians with a higher calling," the Institute in Basic Life Principles has begun selling reservations to Heaven's Weaker Brother section, where sensitive Christians will be spared the drinking, loud music, dancing, or other charismatic expressions of praise at Heaven's wedding feast.
Weaker Brother admissions are costly, admitted Bill Gothard, founder and president of IBLP, but he pointed out the parable of the treasure hidden in a field. "This man sold all he had for joy over the treasure."
Gothard is scheduling a meeting of ATI families in the Weaker Brother section. "Just imagine the heavenly choice of mighty young men and women singing 'It Will be Worth It All,'" he said.
IBLP families immediately responded with joy. "This is just what we need," said one ATI mother. "I was so concerned about the peer pressure my children would face from carnal Christians in heaven."
Bill Gothard agreed. "Godly families that have raised a higher standard should not be forced to compromise their beliefs in order to reside in heaven," he said.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Miss Modesty: an assortment
Dear Miss Modesty,
At church, I've had some people tell me that there are some things wrong with ATI. One girl even showed me some Scripture passages. (I had trouble paying attention through the whole thing because it was really long. I appreciate the way Mr. Gothard just uses one or two verses to back up his points.) How do I deal with these attacks?
When several different people repeat the same doubts about ATI ,and when they bring out Scripture to support their arguments, you can be sure that it is time for your family to find a new church. If there is no acceptable church in your area, then I recommend you find new friends who will edify you in the faith, not tear it down.
-- Miss Modesty
Dear Miss Modesty,
I find that many of the contemporary praise songs really minister to me. Our church has only a piano, so there is no backbeat. Is it okay to like these songs?
There are many songs which may be played without a backbeat, and have a form of godliness about their lyrics. But remember that these "borderline" songs breach the wall which protects churches from the spiraling pit of "Christian" rock. So even if they are not evil in and of themselves, it is best to avoid them because of where they could lead.
-- Miss Modesty
Dear Miss Modesty,
I understand that being under authority is the most important way a Christian can live. But I'm puzzled as to who Mr. Gothard's authorities are. He personally encouraged my dad to stay in our church and be under the authority of our pastor, even though our pastor's preaching isn't very solid. Does Mr. Gothard have a local church and pastor in authority over him?
Your letter reveals a lack of self-control, that you cannot restrain your curiosity about others' private affairs. It also reveals a lack of discretion, that you would ask impertinent questions about your authorities. I am skeptical that your parents are aware that you wrote this letter.
-- Miss Modesty
Monday, July 18, 2005
IBLP Beauty Products
Eye Bright for young ladies.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Dear Miss Modesty
Dear Miss Modesty,
I've seen your past letters and am very impressed with your ability to discern the heart of a problem even when hearing only one side of the story, in very few words, from someone you've never met. I hope you can help me.
For the past five months, I've been courted by a young man of excellent and Godly character. I'll call him "Joel." My parents approve of him highly. Since Joel lives across the country, we haven't been in one another's company very much, but when he visits, we discuss our weaknesses and expectations. I've grown to enjoy his letters to me, which we read as a family after supper.
A week ago, Joel and my dad discerned that the time had come to initiate the steps toward marriage. He proposed to me on my birthday, surrounded by my family, and I accepted his offer with gratitude. But one thing went wrong, and that's why I'm writing to you.
When I said "surrounded by my family," I unfortunately cannot include my father. Being an ER doctor, my father was called to the hospital only ten minutes before Joel planned to propose. Because Joel was already wrapped up in the big box that my brothers delivered to my feet, he decided to go ahead with the proposal without my father there.
This decision was a wrong choice, it turns out. My father was very displeased to find us engaged. Joel explained that he assumed he had my father's blessing already. But my father says that I am still under his authority, and that the engagement is not valid since he was not present. My mother pointed out that our selfishness robbed my father of the great blessing of seeing his daughter become engaged. Right now, Joel is still in town but can't come to see me unless he admits that we are not engaged; and possibly allowing bitterness to take root, Joel hasn't submitted yet.
So now I'm confused. I don't know if I'm engaged or not, so I don't know whether I'm able to fall in love with Joel yet. Please help me!
From your letter, I am tempted to think that your father may have overstated his case. Many Godly marriages began between the couple in private, and are perfectly valid. However, it is not your place -- or Joel's -- to correct your father. Leave that to God!
You did not mention whether you attempted an appeal to your father. If your appeal is rejected, you can accept it joyfully as an important lesson about submission before you get married. Another blessing you gain is the opportunity to suggest a creative alternative. Have you considered re-gathering the family, possibly after your father's favorite dinner, and letting Joel re-propose?
If Joel refuses to accept this solution, perhaps God is indicating that Joel is not His best for you, but merely a decoy of Satan's to bring you to ruin. By staying under your parents' authority, you can be protected from this possible danger. Until then, by no means should you commit "emotional adultery" and give your heart to this young man.
-- Miss Modesty
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Why not just use eBay?
More valuable than the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich: Mr. Gothard's car.
There appears to be some rust damage at the bottom of the driver-side door, but otherwise in good condition. Send your bids (but please no critical comments) to Ken Pierpont.
UPDATE: Ken Pierpont does not appreciate the free advertising we've provided, and blocked the picture of the Gothard Mobile. We anticipated this and uploaded a copy.
Monday, July 04, 2005
Pray for ATI
Let us all cry out for the ATI students who have fallen prey to the Stronghold of Education. Does no one listen to Inge Cannon anymore? We all know that college degrees are worthless.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
OAK BROOK, Illinois - IBLP recently announced a merger between the ATI homeschooling program and McDonalds. "It was simply the next step of integrating the Character First! training in the workplace. We are taking it to a whole new level," said IBLP and ATI founder Bill Gothard.
Noting the similarities between the Wisdom Booklets and the ever popular McD's menu, Mr. Gothard recently shared marvelous insights he gained while doing a McNugget-and-BBQ-sauce-only fast. "I was ordering breakfast when I noticed that there are exactly 49 items on the menu. I was so excited I forgot to get my soda!" He and his staff worked late for three days and found that each item corresponds with a character quality and a Command Of Christ. They are sending out the first two in the monthly Basic Care bulletins and the rest will be available in book form by the next Training Conference at Big Sandy. ATI families are encouraged to eat only McDonalds food and to share it at their local church potlucks.
Critics noted concern about the empty calories and possible health problems from eating so much junk, authorities responded that the menu includes balanced meals for all ages and the food is made under strict health department rules and FDA approval. "These are proven life-changing foods that have proven effective for feeding Russian orphans and LITs and have found their way into schools and workplaces all over the world," stated an IBLP McCharacter publication. "The seven basic Value Meals can fill anyone's hunger if eaten on a regular basis."
Ivan Benhad, a new ATI father from California noted; "We met this family in our local church whose children had such bright countenances that we couldn't help notice the ketchup on their faces and we found out they were in this program based on universal, non-optional principles. My wife encouraged me to apply, and after she prayed about it we told the children that there were going to be some major changes in our home. We threw out the TV and the fridge."
We contacted local McDonalds and asked about any immediate changes we should look for other than the obvious new color schemes. An employee in St. Louis, Missouri informed a journalist that Happy Meals will now contain figures of animals that show character. He admitted to marketing concerns, however: "They won't be as popular as Spider-Man if you ask me."
An inside source from an unnamed TC in Indianapolis spoke on condition of anonymity."This news has been met with mixed feelings. First of all, it has been a major shock because we hear of opportunities like this at least twice a month and this has been the first success since the Character Inn. Most of the staff have been glad to resolve the stronghold that nutrition had on their lives and change their diet to the powerful flavor found in cheeseburgers. Personally, I don't care. At least McDonalds employees earn minimum wage."
Friday, July 01, 2005
The universal principle of spiritual damage
Contrary to the first basic principle of design, we are not entirely unique. True, my gifts and talents are different from yours, your personality is different from his, and his reactions are different from hers. But in one area we're all alike: everybody, but everybody, has suffered spiritual damage.
Those of us leaving the ATI system find healing by (ATI buzzwords here) identifying and rejecting wrong ideas. What we forget, in our zeal to throw off shackles and reach for God, is that if ATI weren't in the picture, we'd still be throwing off shackles. If our parents hadn't found ATI, we'd have come out of church with wrong ideas about God. If not from the church, then society. If not from society, then from our own fallen minds. Spiritual damage is not the exclusive merchandise of IBLP/ATI. It's simply the human condition.
Some of us did indeed incur damage from the Institute. Others found that the teachings covered over and festered existing wounds. Hold Bill Gothard and IBLP responsible for the teachings and attitudes that clouded your view of God. But focus foremost on our real enemies: Satan and sin.
These twin enemies wreak devastation in every soul, regardless of system or religion or personal experience. We Xers don't wear a badge because we were hurt and are now speaking out against it. Our badge is our testimony to Christ's power, as He took our sin-battered souls and lifted us up to Him. That message is what makes us unique. Use it with power.