After reading some of the comments on this site I do agree that the interactions that take place are perfect material for a psychologist to analyze. Sometimes we are talking through or above or below each other, and there is a lot of miscommunication. Our illocutionaries and perlocutionaries don’t always add up. It made me think of the great need we have for intercultural studies and so I wanted to share a short paper I wrote about it recently. The class was called Theology and Practice of Intercultural Ministry.
Because I have found myself in the unofficial, unsanctioned exit counselor role for ubf, people from ubf have contacted me for help at the rate of once per month. From January 2014 until now, exactly 17 people have reached out to me for some sort of assistance in processing their ubf lifestyle. One of the most comon themes is that ubf shepherds tell them that leaving ubf will bring about God’s curse, or at least will mean not having God’s blessing. The teaching is that if you stay you will be blessed, if you leave you lose that blessing. This is such a traumatic issue to deal with that many have been distraught. One young woman who contacted me last year was so depressed over this issue that she had thoughts of suicide and was seeking professional psychology help. She is much better now thanks to the mercy of many people. So today I want to share how blessed my life is after leaving ubf. I share these things not to brag, but to demonstrate my life as living proof that leaving ubf does not equate to losing God’s blessing. If anything, the norm I have seen from those who reach out to me is that after an initial period of turmoil, their lives become notably more blessed.
Memorial Day in the United States is a day of remembering the men and women who gave their lives defending freedom. It is a day of somber remembrance and gratitude. For me, Memorial Day has come to have new meaning. After leaving ubf, I remembered former members discussing the suicides of ubf members. I decided to do my own research, especially about the suicide at Chicago ubf in 2005. I found L-Train reports and discovered that indeed, the former members were correct. There was a suicide in 2005. So I decided to dedicate Memorial Day with an additional meaning–a day of remembering those who chose suicide in the midst of their problems and the burdens placed on them by the ubf lifestyle.
I hope to participate in the upcoming ubfriends book club. But in the meantime, maybe we can also have a movie club. The movie Tangled was the most significant movie that helped me make sense of my shepherd/sheep relationship at ubf. Here are my thoughts on the movie that visualizes one part of my life extremely well.
Hey ubfriends community, how’s about we form a good ol’ book club on this site? After seeing some of the theology-related comments and perusing some of the old articles, I realize that this could be a great place to hold discussions on a book. The first step would be to agree on a book to read and choose a start and finish date. Then, we could each take turns writing an article on a given chapter of the book and have the whole community dialogue in the discussion section. We could even do a final video chat to close out the discussion. These are just my ideas, but if you’re interested, let’s work out the details in the comment section below.
Someone astutely pointed out here in the latest blitzkrieg of comments that one key issue between many of those who criticize ubf and many of those who promote ubf is the view of the gospel. Over the years, ubfriends has discussed the gospel quite a lot, and yet such articles about the gospel tend to generate very few comments. Should we not have a clear understanding of the gospel if we claim to be a Christian? I say yes.
Once you join UBF bible study, two words will forever be seared into your mind: shepherd and sheep. Everything at UBF depends on this fundamental relationship. The UBF Heritage Slogans, known as the “spiritual legacy” of the UBF founders Samuel Lee and Sarah Barry, depends on the shepherd-sheep relationship in order to propagate the UBF ideology to successive generations. If you had the chance, what would you say to all UBF sheep right now? Here is what I would say.
It is no secret that this website has become a place where people who have had bad experiences in University Bible Fellowship gather to share their stories. But this website is open to all, and anyone is free to write or comment. Those who want to defend UBF are welcome to share their thoughts as well, and even though the exchanges can sometimes look ugly, there are times when grace and compassion and love and mutual understanding can break through.