A while back, on a Saturday night, I went to Xenos Christian Fellowship in Columbus for their Saturday evening service, what they call “CT” (“Central Teaching”). Goofy name, to be sure, and they have NO MUSIC, which bums me, but what a COOL church, in this respect: these people really do life together. Xenos is a collection of house churches/small groups, and these people are extremely well-discipled (check out their website, xenos.org) and at the same time involved in each other’s lives. I found myself thinking that I wish I had learned of Xenos 20 years ago, before I headed into ministry, because these people are doing church RIGHT, in many respects. After CT, every week (I think), they have a big deck party with hamburgers and sand volleyball and stuff. They enjoy each other’s company, and build friendships. I hung out and was deeply
impressed. There is a lot of other stuff I liked about it, but I’d encourage you to go to the website and look at some stuff there.

165 responses

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  1. Sunshine says:

    I agree! I was an athiest (ew, sp?) for the first 27 years of my life. Last fall I was invited to a home church from one of my friends of 7-8 years. Several other long-time friends had been going for sometime as well. I really enjoyed myself and went to a CT with them shortly after.

    I’ve been going to this church consistantly for a year. My friendships of 5-15 years with my friends who go as well have never been deeper. I’ve developed new, good friends, something I have not done since college.

    Xenos is merely where we go to get a nice big teaching for the week, we really don’t even think of it like church. Just a place to meet and learn a lot about God’s word. And we do not just meet for church and home church 2x/week, I talk to at least one of my friends from the group daily, and we email all of the time.

    It’s the best!

    P.S. Did I mention that I accept Christ last year? Oh, yeah, that’s a little bonus too – accepted Christ, eternal life with God, my brothers and sisters.

  2. lindsay 349 says:

    I was raised in a Lutheran Christian church and have always considered myself a strong christian. I started going to Xenos my freshman year of highschool (about 6 years ago) with some good friends. At first I loved it. It was exciting, new, and like the others posted here, it was a great time to learn about God and eachother. That was all great until some other things started happening gradually.

    For some reason they began introducing the idea that dating is not a good thing for growth in God. I was told not to sit next to or talk to my boyfriend at the time while at any Xenos functions.

    Next, I confided in one “leader” as they call them, that my father was an alcoholic. They told me I should cut off all communication with them.

    They began to introduce more and more activities throughout the week to keep us busy. Homechurch(tuesdays), thursday night prayer group, CT (Sunday nights), something else on Monday nights that I don’t quite remember. Who has time for school or family when they have Xenos? That’s the idea I guess. If I wasn’t there for some reason on a Tuesday night, for example, I was cornered and questioned by a “leader” about it. The times spent at these meetings slowly got further and further away from the central and pure messages of God’s word, and closer and closer to the ideals that Xenos created. On there website they have a disclaimer stating that they are not a cult. In my opinion, if the church website has to make a disclaimer saying they are not a cult – then something is wrong here. You tell me.

    I was suddenly trapped in, sucked in, and slowly watching all of my friends disappearing into this so-called “church.”

    I finally got out. One night I made the decision to get out, to not have contact with any “leaders” and to not let myself feel guilty about anything. The important thing was my relationship with God – not with Xenos.

    A couple of my friends have since left,one of which chose to leave after the church did not agree in her choice of a boyfriend and some other things along with that and told her she would either have to sign a contract saying she would change her ways and read it aloud before the whole church or be kicked out. Unfortunately though, the majority are still trapped in living in Ministry Houses together. I don’t know if they’ll ever get out to tell you the truth, and that scares me.

    I’m not trying to bash the church. The ideas that they present at first are great, really appealing and they are very welcoming. Sometimes though, we have to be aware of what lies beneath. Many parents, etc. worry that this church may be a cult and Xenos “leaders” are quick to dismiss these accusations with humor and sarcasm….the fact is though, that sometimes humor and sarcasm are a good way to deal with uncomfortable accusations, and may not always be an honest response.

    Just be safe out there when looking for a church. I would not recommend Xenos. Every church has faults, yes, but a church should not be controlling. Keep your eyes open and your hearts focused on God.

    love,
    me

  3. William Tan says:

    The above comment is very sound and balanced. We must give our whole heart and love for our Lord Jesus Christ. To have an intimate relationship with Him who died for us is the most important thing in the whole world. Read John chapters 14 -16 and find out that Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us and speak to us about the decisions of our lives. The church is very important but the church or its leaders must not be overly controlling to the extent that they become like “god” over the members’ life. There are decisions that we must pray and seek God for guidance, the function of the leaders is to give godly and wise advice and also to pray with the members- in order to arrive at the decisions. (William Tan)

  4. Carol says:

    It’s odd that you would say your friend was threatened with being kicked out because of her choice of boyfriend, because the church website specifically states that “ungodly dating” is not something you can be kicked out for, and the elders have to approve kicking someone out. (http://www.xenos.org/classes/leadership/appdis.html and http://www.xenos.org/aboutxenos/faq/discipline.htm) Are you sure that was the whole story? If the leaders really were acting that way (if true, it seems pretty extreme), I hope before you decided to leave you let someone know. I know most people in Xenos are not like that and higher leaders would sure want to know so they could stop the person from treating others that way.

  5. Lesley says:

    Lindsay, you have made many subtle yet serious claims against Xenos.
    “For some reason they began introducing the idea that dating is not a good thing for growth in God.” If an individual told you that dating is always disadvantageous, that couldn’t reflect the church’s view. The lead pastors actually wrote a book on how to date successfully, about which a Tyndale House editor said: “[H]onestly, I have never come across a book on dating and marriage preparation that is so thorough, so biblical, and so compassionately presented.”
    “Who has time for school or family when they have Xenos? That’s the idea I guess.” I think that’s not a good (or fair) guess. You imply that the church’s meetings are not truly intended for the prayer, ministry, Bible study, or fellowship that they facilitate, but that they aim to distract people from school and family.
    “The times spent at these meetings slowly got further and further away from the central and pure messages of God’s word, and closer and closer to the ideals that Xenos created.” I share your wariness of human-made ideals, so can you share examples of these? The church is known for trying to avoid human-made traditions and values.
    You seem to suggest that the church is cult-like, yourself proving the church’s need to respond to such an accusation. If the church lacked integrity or really was a cult, I would not expect it to have such a thoughtful and biblical response to suspicious people. http://www.xenos.org/aboutxenos/faq/cult.htm You also suggest that Xenos is not a real church (“so-called church”). I would be interested to know your definitions of “church” and “cult.”

  6. lindsay 349 says:

    Wow. I didn’t think everyone would react so much to my post. Funny how everyone reacted to something AGAINST Xenos for once. I was just telling my story. everything that i wrote is completely true. i’m not going to sit here and defend myself, but I will answer your questions. Yes I have made serious claims, claims that I stand by 100%. I guarantee you this, I am NOT the only one who feels this way. Carol, you said this to me, “I know most people in Xenos are not like that and higher leaders would sure want to know so they could stop the person from treating others that way.” I have news for you, it was a group decision made by the leaders. I know what I am talking about, I don’t appreciate being made to sound like I am blowing things out of proportion.
    Carol- You questioned my friend being kicked out because of her choice of boyfriend? Would you like to talk to her about it? She would be more than willing, I’m sure.

    Maybe I am calling this church a cult. Lets see if that is a valid claim…

    Lesley, you asked me to define a cult and a church? Ok, here you go.

    Church- place where christians gather to celebrate, praise, worship and learn about God.The visible church consists of all the people that claim to be Christians and go to church. The invisible church is the actual body of Christians; those who are truly saved. The true church of God is not an organization on earth consisting of people and buildings, but is really a supernatural entity comprised of those who are saved by Jesus.

    Now let me go straight to what makes a cult a cult as this seems to be the what is at question here.

    Cult-
    A totalitarian control over the lifestyle and time of its members – to dictate exactly what its followers should read, how and with whom they should spend their time, and even what they should do in off hours. This totalitarian control is necessary for the leaders to indoctrinate the followers in everything they do, and is also an attempt to separate them from anything not associated with the cult. This is why cults often live together in groups.

    A charismatic, self-appointed leader with complete authority – Cult members are taught not to question the teachings, practices, or ideas of the leader. Many cult leaders truly are charismatic people, and are able to influence people to believe them. It is common that a cult member is not told everything up front when joining the group, but that they are taught increasingly controlling ideas and teachings as they go. In the case of some of the more well-publicized cults that have come and gone, it is also common that the leader’s ideas and demands evolve over time, becoming increasingly controlling and restrictive.

    A focus on withholding truth from non-members – Many cults teach their followers to be completely open and truthful within the group, while at the same time they are encouraged to be secretive and evasive when questioned by people outside of the group. This is another form of mind control-instilling guilt in the members if they hold anything back within the group. The members are taught that outsiders wouldn’t understand or that they would only make fun of the ideas and practices and requirements for living within the group. Only specially-commissioned members are appointed to recruit members from outside. New members are usually encouraged to keep silent or even lie, especially to their families and close friends.
    http://la.essortment.com/whatisdefiniti_rjli.htm

    You asked for my definitions. There they are. Let me tell you that in my personal experience, and in many others that I know, the explanation of a cult certainly applies to Xenos. I am not offended by your questions, rather, I am perfecly willing to discuss my issues with Xenos. Any more questions/things you can’t quite grasp? Let me know.

    Alright I’m done for now. Like I said though, I am more than willing to discuss this further. I’m actually very interested to hear what you have to say in response to this.

  7. Matrix says:

    Lindsey,

    Find it funny how you got such fast and direct responses to your post? Only fair to share with you that you got Dennis` attention and he directed the majority of the Xenos College Ministry to your original post…

    From: “McCallumD”
    Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2006
    Subject: [collegeministry] implausible message

    “so check out this blog from some chick who used to be in the HS group. It’s sickening to think this kind of thing is on the web. I love the way she has the leaders deciding who she can sit by and date. but we should all think about this and be careful to avoid all controlling behavior.

    See the mostly positive blog at http://www.byron-harvey.com/2004/03/20/xenos-christian-fellowship/

    Bravo Lindsey,
    I commend you for speaking your mind and saying how you truly feel. Your not the only one who has had to deal with Xenos` social engineering. I know for a fact you are not fudging the truth about how you were asked to interact or rather not interact with your boyfriend at meetings. Eventually in Xenos, requests such as this become geared tward who your closest friends “should” be. It leads to being pressured to move away from established relationships to invest more time into your Cell group, making them your closest friends. Until you eventually grow and split your Homechurch into two, then wash, rinse, repeat this structured social engineering, in the name of accomplishing “God`s Will” and growing “His Church”, with complete disregard to the relationships that are severed and lost in the wake of this cycle….

    Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2006
    Subject: Re: [collegeministry] implausible message

    “I know when I first started to come around about a 1 1/2 years ago, I thought there were way too many meetings. That’s because I really wasn’t prepared to sacrifice ‘my’ time to truly walk with God. Even now I still feel somewhat overwhelmed by the time commitments, but really, what else would I rather be doing with my time? I know me and a large amount of other college students can do the college thing, maintain good grades, and do this ‘Xenos Church’ thing. But yeah, I agree with Luke, I’m glad she’s not trying to bash us.”

    I feel for the young man who made the above post. Xenos has made him feel that thier structure is the only path to really walking with God and that he was the selfish one, for not at first being completely committed to the overabundance of schedule consuming meetings per week. Funny that the majority of college aged Xeniods will speak in private about feeling overwhelmed and burned out, but not publically, because “how can doing God`s work be tiring?”

    Contrary to what the average Xeniods response will be to this admittedly blunt post, due to time and space at this particular moment, I do not hold an anti-Xenos view. I`m just pointing out quickly that pigeon holing many unique individuals into a narrow structure, may not be the most effective way to healthfully get the Lord`s work done.

    Lindsey, you and your friends, are invited to email me directly at matrix740@gmail.com for I am currently working on a biblically based report to be publically presented to the Xenos brothers and sisters, with the intent of helping them in love to see a broader perspective.

  8. dave says:

    I think the UNFORTUNATE part about Xenos is that it is lay led. What I mean by that is the people in the church who don’t have any formal Xian leadership training are the ones who lead in the home-churches. What is unfortunate here is that, just as we are all messed up, these lay leaders all make mistakes…and as lindsey knows well, some times the mistake is that lay leaders will get really controlling; to the point it is un-biblical.

    I think, lindsey, that you need to go back to the leaders who did this, or to the “higher” leaders in the high school group or the church. You have an opportunity to really serve, not just in helping lead the leaders at fault here, but also in serving the rest of the community in Xenos by ing a healthy response to something you don’t agree with!! I think that this action of going back to work out your quarrel relationally is going to help out yourself and the church. I would remind you of Ephesians 4:1-3; “diligently preserve the unity” of christian brothers and sisters.

    I would also point out that the FORTUNATE part about Xenos is that, despite this lack of control exerted by the formally trained leaders, the church seems to be growing in a healthy way!! People are really knowing God through this church.

    Lastly, I think that it is a good, critical mind that could analyze a situation and deem Xenos worthy of being “cult-like”. I would encourage anyone posting things like this here to do 2 things. First, browse around the xenos website and see what they are actually doing (or if you could risk it, go to a meeting yourself). Secondly, check out a few passages from the bible and reconsider why it is that people in Xenos are giving an “unusual amount of time” to things of God…Mark 8:34,35; Mark 10:21-23, 28-30; Matt 10:37-39; Matt 19:28,29

    these are just a few and everyone would be doing well to ask themselves…”WAS JESUS A CULT LEADER?”

  9. Louise says:

    Wow…what an…interesting read. I’m actually good friends with Lindsay, and after hearing about all of this from her, and reading through the posts, I couldn’t help but throw in my two cents. Well, here goes nothing.

    I started going to Xenos in the 6th grade (Almost 8 years ago) And it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I absolutely adored it, and continued to love it al throughout middle school. Through it I grew an unreal zeal for the lord. It was phenomenal..And I made some of the best friends that I kept all throughout high school..well, most of it, anyways.

    Throughout those middle school days my parents were insanely wary about xenos, and in all honesty, I can’t blame them. We were 11 and 12 year old girls going out till 11 o’clock on friday nights with people that they did not even know. Frankly I’m amazed my parents let me go, but they knew I was responsible and just told me to keep my gaurd up. Good thing I had them around to ground me.

    Because, when I moved up to the high school ministry things got distinctly different.

    The focus appeared to move away from God and his love every meeting towards me being pulled aside and asked what sexual sins my friends in relationships were getting into.

    I was appalled. I told the ‘leaders’ that I did not know what ‘sin’ they were getting into, that it was none of business and frankly far less than none of theirs.

    Friends of mine were pulled aside by college leaders and asked ‘do you put your hands down her pants’ in reference to sexual sin. I was disgusted and sickened.

    I left the ministry in the 10th grade, for reasons unrelated to this issue, which in retrospect is strange….At the time I found it unsettling, yes, but not a reason to leave.

    I left because I felt at odds with the messages that Xenos was sending out. I was discouraged from exploring other religions and learning about the fundamental principles they followed. I have always been the type of person who will logically discuss/search out answers before coming to a single conclusion and it bothered the heck out of me that Xenos felt I should quell this urge. Now that I’m older and wiser and have taken courses on Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and other religions and studied many things on myself I have to the conclusion that I believe in the God that believes in me…In other words, I am of the belief that they’re is a higher power but he does not discriminate. He loves us all, anyone who chooses to believe there is more to this place than, well, this place.

    I have expressed this thought to many xenos followers and they tell me I’m wrong…well, maybe I am, but I do NOT agree with the dogma and indoctrinations that Xenos has set up.

    I have watched too many of my friend be pulled aside and told that, simply because they are in a relationship of longer than three months, thye must be involved in sin and therefore need to cut off their relationship. Told to cut off contact with family members and friends who are not christian…My own beliefs, political, spiritual, and otherwise were apparently wrong and they did not fail to let me know this. I was furious. My beliefs are my beliefs, and xenos did not try and nurture this or any of the individuality my friends and I had…they want to almost mold every one in to the perfect little xenos boys and girls…My friends and I used to joke that the leaders and ‘good christians’ in Xenos all seemed like clones…at the time it was funny, now, it’s scary.

    I can’t speak at all about college ministry having never been, and I never intend upon going either. But I can say that the friends I have who do go, only interact with people within the church. It all seems weird to me.

    In my experience Xenos did not reach out to or love many of it’s followers, instead it alienated,and, indeed ostracized both myself and many of my good friends. Leaving my best friends and I in the last few months of high school with an irrepairable schism, that still exists today.

    All I can say is, be careful with this church and don’t compromise yourself or your beliefs to fit their perfect mold..I’m glad I never did.

    love and peacecakes,
    louise

  10. Ames says:

    Lindsey,
    First of all I am sorry you had such a bad experience in the Xenos high school ministry. It sounds like the situations you described were handled very poorly, and it is unfortunate that you have based your view of the church on those. I would challenge you to think about each situation more, and decide what the particular college leader involved should have done. I would also challege you to really examine what was really going on in these situations; was it really just becuase your friend had a boyfriend that she was asked to leave?
    Second, when asked about your definitions of cult and church, you posted something straight off a website. I wonder what your, personal, thoughtout, definitions of these two groups is? And consequently, how Xenos fits in to either one.
    Third, you, yourself, are the one to decide what meetings you come to, and how much time you want to devote to the fellowship. You are not (and should not be) forced to come to every meeting.
    I honestly think it is terrible that you have had these experiences, and my heart goes out to you. It is unfortunate that you got this view of the church, and do not see the really amazing things God is doing here. I am glad to hear you are still actively following God, and I hope that you will continue to grow and reach others for His kingdom. However, finally, I would challenge you to think about His grace. You did have a bad experience with some Christians, but are they above giving grace to? The God of the universe has forgiven them (not to mention you), so are you able to forgive them? Just because someone is a leader (formally trained or not) doesn’t mean that they do not mess up, or that they do not need God’s grace as well. Because, it is clearly obvious, that we all mess up, and we all need (and can have!) God unending grace and love.

    Ames

  11. lindsay 349 says:

    Believe me Ames, I have thought about each situation and everything that went on in Xenos a great deal. And quite frankly, as the young person that I was, I don’t think that it was my responsibility to question what the college leader should have done it that case. They were the adults in the situation, therefor, they should have known what to do. And it wasn’t just the college leaders mind you.

    About my friend being asked to leave, yes it was because of her boyfriend. I am sick of being questioned on the entirety and the reality of the situations I have been describing.

    I looked through websites of cult and church definitions until I found ones that define them in the way that I would. What is wrong with that? I then used these to compare to Xenos. I thought that it was quite clear how Xenos fit into these definitions from my previous posts. Maybe you didn’t quite catch that. I’m not sure what the issue is here.

    And finally….Why am I being told the same things and preached to over and over as if I didn’t know these things in the first place?

    You said,
    “Third, you, yourself, are the one to decide what meetings you come to, and how much time you want to devote to the fellowship. You are not (and should not be) forced to come to every meeting.”

    Thank you very much but I think that I know that I can decide when I will come to meetings and such. And how dare you say that I was not forced to come to every meeting. You were not there, you have no idea what the situation was.

    I never said that Xenos didn’t preach good ideals at first. Yes their website is very appealing, but I have FIRST-HAND experience. All I was trying to accomplish by my first post was to share my experience in a place where other people were doing the same. I happened to have a bad experience, as many people have. I also know that many people have had wonderful experiences and thats great. I didn’t expect to trigger such a reaction from everyone. But honestly, I’m really glad it did. It shows that people are out there paying attention. I’m glad that it got Dennis’ attention. (although I definately did not appreciate Dennis referring to me as “some chick.” But that is a whole different issue.)

    I am tired of being underminded and treated as if I am simply trying to stir up controversy by some of the people who have responded to me here. While at the same time, I thank William Tan for seeing my post as it was meant to be seen. I also think that since this simple post has escalated into something much more than first intended, that we should find another way to discuss these issues….as there are clearly some major ones at hand. The blog is getting a little out of hand so please let me know how I can contact you if you want to discuss things further. I mean no ill will. I think there is a lot of good that could eventually come from all of this. While this whole thing has become bigger than I originally thought it would…
    thank you, I guess, for taking the time to care about what I originally wrote.

  12. Dennis says:

    Well, since my email is being published here, I guess I’ll chime in. I’m the lead pastor here, and also lead the college ministry.
    I posted Lindsey’s story to the college group as a warning to avoid controlling behavior. I don’t know who Lindsey or her friend are, but I definitely don’t want to see controlling behavior exhibited by leaders in our church.
    We normally only ask people to leave if they are involved in ual immorality, which is mandated by scripture in 1 Cor. 5, and is in line with the practice of most evangelical churches. I also know of cases where couples have been asked not to sit in meetings when they are groping each other in a way that is distracting and inappropriate for a Bible study. Whether this was the case here, I don’t know.

    But I certainly reject the suggestion that Xenos is a cult, or that we would ever try to get people not to talk to their parents or non Christian friends. We urge people to be engaged with their culture and their families in love. Xenos is a widely recognized mainline evangelical church. Major Christian leaders like D.A. Carson, Larry Crabb, and Os Guinness wouldn’t be coming to speak at our summer institutes if they thought we were a cult. Our books have been published by some of the biggest mainline Christian publishers like Tyndale House, Navpress, Bethany House (Baker) and Kregel. I don’t think these reputable publishers would be putting out writings by cult leaders.
    We don’t have complete control over what happens in each of our over 250 home churches, but we try to make sure biblical standards are followed at all times. Our leaders do undergo training, amounting to two years of classwork, including specific instructions on avoiding abuse of authority. You can read our training materials for yourself on this at http://www.xenos.org/classes/leadership/leadershipandauth.html
    All our other training materials are also online at http://www.xenos.org/classes/index.htm
    We also practice open accounting and offer public access to our books to any who inquire. That is also not typical of cults.
    I’m sorry Lindsey and Louise had bad experiences here, but thousands of others have had positive life changing experiences here, including deliverance from drugs and other destructive habits, formation of lasting friendships, and of course, personal relationships with God.

  13. Byron says:

    Hi, Dennis,

    Just a quick word to thank you for posting, as well as the others; I’m pretty much staying out of this one, having launched it with my initial post in which, of course, I expressed my appreciation for your ministry. Suffice it to say that I had no clue that there’d really be much response to the post—and certainly not that there’d be this type of discussion! As long as the discussion can take place in reasonably cordial terms, I’m content to let it continue. I appreciate so much of what I see coming from Xenos (I still don’t get the ‘no music’ thing!), and while no enterprise on this earth will approach perfection—and of course I’m sorry about the experience of these ladies—I think that you’re on the right track there; keep up the good work!

  14. Happy To Be So says:

    I was in the college Ministry.

    Now, I would not classify Xenos as a cult per se, but in the college group at least, I saw quite a few cultlike elements in the social structure that the church structure fed. Let me take you on a journey. I will probably tip my identity in sharing this, but I am not too concerned with that.

    I moved to Columbus Ohio in the fall of 1996. I was lonely, immature, and depressed, although at the time I would not have said it as such. It was not long till an acquaintance of mine told me about this meeting in one of the dorm study rooms where a bunch of Christians were having a discussion group. At first, I was against it, but he enticed me with the prospect of attractive young females. Being a young man of 18, I went of course.

    Over the next few weeks, I became a regular attendee, debating points of the Christian faith, and giving the arguments that were presented to me more creedance than they were worth, for at the time I was not trained to spot logical fallacies. To an impressionable mind, they made extraordinary claims, claims of God’s perfect love, perfect justice and whatnot. Growing up in a blue collar catholic family, I ate this stuff up.

    Meanwhile, my class attendance started slipping. I had a lot of evening classes, but was encouraged to attend first CT, and then a homechurch, both while skipping out on classes. My grades plummeted.

    Now I do realize I had a choice here, I could have stuck to my studies, and surely my life would have been easier for it, but I was confused, empty, a lost soul, and one of the promises Xenos made to me about God is that with the spirit, you are no longer empty.

    I accepted Christ on easter of 1997. A week later I was kicked out of school for failing to meet the conditions of my academic probation.

    Now, I am grateful for what came next. Xenos took me in, provided a couch to sleep on till I got a job and an apartment, and when my sublet was up, moved me into a ministry house. By this time, I was attending a homechurch, CT, a cell group, along with myriad prayer meetings.

    I was on a spiritual high at the time. I was learning all I could about God, about Christianity, and looking back was starting to be groomed for leadership. My house and homechurch leaders started referring to “when I would be a leader”.

    Meanwhile, I was still as depressed and as empty as ever. When I talked about this with other xenoids, I was told to keep to the path, God would sort it out.

    I also started seeing things that sat very uneasily with me. All other Christian sects were bashed to one form or another, but particularly Catholics, Jehova Witnesses, and to a lesser extant, Mormons. I won’t even go into the venom reserved for non-Christian religions.

    I started missing meetings due to work, or just being too depressed to leave the house. One hear or there did not merit comment, but if you missed more than three in a month, leaders started coming to you to voice thier concerns for your spiritual walk.

    Finally, a few weeks before Christmas of 1998, things came to a head. I had been neglecting some of my house chores for a few weeks (as had other members of the house, but I was singled out it seems) and was put on probabtion. No missed chores for a month or I was outs. Three days before the month was up, I had been out late with friends seeing a movie, and forgot to do some cleaning. I did it first thing in the morning, but the house leaders decided to make me leave. At first, they wanted me out immediately. I managed to get a whole week out of them.

    Needless to say, a week later I was homeless. I was crushed. Everything I had built my adult life around was suddenly gone. I had no friends outside of the church, as outside friends were not forbidden, but they were not encouraged unless they were outreach. My only support network was two hours away, so I went home to my parents.

    The next year and a half were hard. I was removed from any support network, and was slowly slipping into darkness. Only a handful of people kept up with me, I would thank them, but all but one have left that group.

    I moved back to Columbus in mid 2000, a mental wreck. Like an abused spouse, I went back to the only thing I knew, Xenos. I puttered on for about 7 or 8 months, never regaining the acceptance I had enjoyed previously. I was a fringe member, and outsider. Being on the edge I saw the truly bad aspects of that group. The cliquishness, the social control wielded over members, the selective enforcement of morality and the unhealthy focus on “Sexual Sin”.

    My end with the group came with a woman. We started dating, and she was not Christian. I tried to bring her around at first, but she was offended at the groups attitudes towards other religions. We ended up having sex. Knowing I was violating Xonos’ rules, I removed myself from the group. However, that was not enough. Even though I had left of my own accord, they still instituted their church discipline against me, and the few friends I still had in the group were forbidden from speaking to me “For my own good”.

    It was the best thing that ever happened to me.

    Since then, I broke away from the false promises of my faith, and found my own way. I conquered my depression, have built true, lasting friendships, and have finally gotten my life back on track, all the things Xenos tells you are not possible without God, with the undertone that to be right with God you must be right with Xenos. Looking back, I see the broken people they pulled into their group, and some have gon on to lead rich, fulfilling lives, I can honestly say as of my last check, there were not that many in the college group that were.

    I have overcome any resentment I had towards that group, a process that took many years. Through it I have become a better person, and in a way, am glad they treated me the way they did. I would not be the person I am today without Xenos.

    I just hope for all those that go to them listening to false promises of fulfillment and meaning in their life, that they find what they are looking for.

    I invite any and all comments to this on my own blog at gothic_oreo.livejournal.com. I will make a public post with anonymous comments aloud specifically for that purpous.

  15. Happy To Be So says:

    that link at the end should be http://gothic-oreo.livejournal.com

  16. drew says:

    “Major Christian leaders like D.A. Carson, Larry Crabb, and Os Guinness wouldn’t be coming to speak at our summer institutes if they thought we were a cult. Our books have been published by some of the biggest mainline Christian publishers like Tyndale House, Navpress, Bethany House (Baker) and Kregel. I don’t think these reputable publishers would be putting out writings by cult leaders.”

    Well gee!, that sums it up for me…
    Xenos couldn’t possibly be a cult if they are in line with all of these heavyweights. So cult like behavior can be swept under the rug if you get published or pay some hack speakers to come to your church? Why didn’t I think of that?

    “I’m sorry Lindsey and Louise had bad experiences here, but thousands of others have had positive life changing experiences here, including deliverance from drugs and other destructive habits, formation of lasting friendships, and of course, personal relationships with God.”

    This is a stock answer. I love how people in Xenos are always “feeling for someone” or they are “sorry”, yet they feel justified by everything that they do or say. Never mind that he referred to her as “some chick” in an earlier post, and his email stinks of someone who is extremely inconvenienced.

  17. Byron says:

    Well, to dismiss D.A. Carson, Larry Crabb, and Os Guinness as “hack speakers” says a bit more about you, Drew, than it does about Xenos. Whatever these men may be, they certainly aren’t that, but rather some of the finest, deepest, and most committed evangelicals I know of. Perhaps their involvement with Xenos doesn’t end the debate, but these are neither men easily fooled nor able to be bought off…

  18. Louise says:

    While I appreciate the level of theological clout these speakers hold, and while they may see Xenos as a fine institution, they aren’t a part of it…They aren’t members of the church and dont really see it’s inner workings…we’ve all admitted to the amazingly powerful sway Xenos has at first.

    It comes off as an amazing place. It’s once you become a member you get sucked into these home churches, cell groups, prayer groups, ministry houses etc, that your life slowly becomes consumed by the church and not much else.

    Happy To Be So’s comment terrifies me, because I can see some of the girls whom I loved with all of my heart during high school ending up with that as their story.

    I’m just so thankful that its not going to happen to me.

    All in all, I think that this is the scariest thing about Xenos Christian Fellowship…it seems perfect at first…then it all just seems to happen so fast, and before you know it, you’re just so consumed by the fellowship that you don’t really notice that it’s taking over your life.

    I think the best thing about this forum is seeing that it wasnt just lindsay, and a few of our other friends who saw it as weird…

  19. drew says:

    “Well, to dismiss D.A. Carson, Larry Crabb, and Os Guinness as “hack speakers” says a bit more about you, Drew, than it does about Xenos. Whatever these men may be, they certainly aren’t that, but rather some of the finest, deepest, and most committed evangelicals I know of. Perhaps their involvement with Xenos doesn’t end the debate, but these are neither men easily fooled nor able to be bought off…”

    The rationale for why Xenos isn’t a cult from an “elder” seems to be these people came to speak at Xenos. I’m not impressed or convinced. Did you address that in your post, no.

  20. Byron says:

    Or, yes.

    “Perhaps their involvement with Xenos doesn’t end the debate…” I just wanted to get it on the record that these men are extremely highly-respected folk, more so than making a statement relative to Xenos.

  21. drew says:

    Saying, “Perhaps their involvement with Xenos doesn’t end the debate” is hardly addressing the issue. Again, my post has nothing to do with any debate about Xenos. My post has everything to do with the poor attitude of one of the leaders of Xenos who opened himself up for such criticism by making the comments in the first place. If you are more disturbed because I “dismissed” some people as hacks over a church leader dismissing someone as “some chick” then I can see why my post in this forum is pointless and I’m sorry for you. Having never attended Xenos because of all of the above, I am looking in from the outside. However, I would never attend Xenos because of what I have read from both posts by Dennis, which leads me to believe in the validity of what people are saying about the fellowship.

  22. Byron says:

    Drew, you’re right about the rather indelicate wording of “some chick” used apparently by Dennis; that’s a point well-taken.

  23. pedro says:

    Drew,

    You seem to have pretty high standards of behavior for people. As a Christian, I have learned that putting such high expectations on humans can be pretty disappointing. Church elders are human just like you and me. If a slur like that has impacted you so, you must be really disappointed with humanity as a whole.

  24. Lindsay 349 says:

    A few nights ago (well a few days before I made my first post here) I went to visit one of my friend’s moms unannounced. You see, until the church more and more absorbed this friend’s life, I saw her family almost every day. She was a second mother to be and I loved, and still love her so much. She came to the door and was so excited to see me and welcomed me with hugs (and of course some kind of baked good, lol) and it was all we could do to stop from crying because it had been so long with so many emotions built up over the years. We talked for the longest time about what had been going on in life and also about her daughter, who is now living in a ministry house. She shared her concerns about the situations, as did I. We then moved on to other things and then it was time to go. As I stepped out the front door, she held me tight and said,
    “Don’t worry, we’ll get *—* back. We’ll get her back.”

    And that is what finally prompted me to write my initial post.

    I’m so relieved that some attention is finally being brought to these issues and I’m really looking forward to some kind of result from all of this. Xenos has the potential to be an amazing place for young people (as I sincerely want to believe it was initially intended) to come to Christ and to be able to learn from His word and to learn how to live out their own lives in a God-pleasing and meaningful way.

    Scripture say’s,
    “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105.

    It is such a simple verse, and I think that is a very important thing to remember here….His word is what brightens the path upon which we walk in life. By the knowledge of his word and the workings of the Holy Spirit within us, we have the ability to see things in life that may otherwise lay in darkness. We are educated by his word and because of this, we can live our lives without fear. Most importantly, we can live our lives.

    One of the issues that I see with Xenos is the facade of free will. I’m not saying that they do not promote free will, but to exercise free will, one must have an independent mind. God gave us the tools to live in Him; he gave us the free will to apply them to situations in our lives. It is how we learn, and most importantly, how we grow.

    It is so important as a Christian to grow. It is important as a Christian to walk and to share his word and it is also important to question everything.

    I think it is incredibly healthy for all of this to be taking place and I am so deeply grateful that so much has come from a simple, well I guess not so simple, post. This has opened up doors for an opportunity for all of us to evaluate who we are in Christ, what our mission is in him and in this world, and I hope, I sincerely hope and pray that if anything, this has caused some of those affiliated with Xenos to pay attention to the way they are orchestrating their church.

    I do not believe, though, that this has solved one single thing. While it has been an amazing relief to voice concerns that I was once afraid to share, It has merely broken ground for what I hope will be a great renovation of some of the things in question with Xenos.

    But again, this is only my hope. As I said before, I don’t believe that there can be any further positive happenings from this list of posts, though that is just my opinion. I hope that we can work together through some other medium to discuss what is going on here, as clearly, many are very concerned here. That is all up to Xenos though. It is their church and how dare I expect them to change based upon my wishes alone? I think that something truly great/beneficial to everyone here could come of this…and in all fairness that is the only thing I can expect.

  25. drew says:

    Drew,

    You seem to have pretty high standards of behavior for people. As a Christian, I have learned that putting such high expectations on humans can be pretty disappointing. Church elders are human just like you and me. If a slur like that has impacted you so, you must be really disappointed with humanity as a whole.

    If a church elder participates in asking someone to leave because of “ual immorality” then they have to be held to a higher standard. He is in a position of power and authority. If Dennis insists that Xenos is not a cult and offers nothing substantial to back it up other then publishing, accounting and the current speakers at his church, why should he get a free pass? If he is representing Xenos, why should I take him seriously? What about anything that he has said would make anyone want to go to Xenos? I thought that when he chimed in with an email that he would have something positive to add in defense of Xenos? Instead he came off pompous and arrogant. Seems to me that there is a high level of hypocrisy. My standards aren’t so high of people in general. We are all inherently flawed. However, this does not negate the responsibility of someone who is a church leader to act somewhat responsibly.

  26. pedro says:

    If Dennis insists that Xenos is not a cult and offers nothing substantial to back it up other then publishing, accounting and the current speakers at his church, why should he get a free pass?

    I’m not sure why he would need to say more. You seem to be the only one not convinced. Thousands of people that attend think it is not. One young High School girl throws out a comment and you imply he needs to go above and beyond to prove it. What is this free pass you speak of? A free pass from your opinion? I’m sure he’s more interested in doing God’s work than with what Drew thinks of him. Maybe Xenos’ll just go with the majority on this one. How about you prove it IS a cult? Oh, that’s right, you’ve never been.

  27. Louise says:

    Lindsay, nor I, are ‘young high school girls’…And even if we were, how would that discredit our words, thoughts, opinions, or EXPERIENCES. We were the ones placed in positions that compromised and undermined our beliefs, principles and relationships. Lindsay moreso than I.

    And to say that Xenos should side with the majority, as in it’s members–who are, for sincere lack of a better word, ‘brainwashed’ (this isn’t what I mean…but the fellowship offered by xenos is such a powerful drug that many people dont realize that anything is wrong with it…I don’t think it honestly brainwashes anyone)into thinking that it’s perfect. So it’s hardly a valid point of contention.

    And it is obviously not only Lindsay or I who feel this way. And even so…if only one or two people have felt alienated or worse yet, a complete loss of faith in my case ( for many years after xenos I felt there was no God, b/c of my experiences there) isn’t that a sign that it’s maybe a time for a reformation of sorts?

    I have heard many leaders in the past express major concern that another major schism is imminent, similar to the one that occured about a decade ago….Isn’t that another sign that Xenos may need to work on a few things?

    I have to say I hope it does, cause I agree with Lindsay wholeheartedly that Xenos couls be an amazing place with amazing potential for spiritual outreach and growth. But if a place doesnt evolve, change, learn from past mistakes at the most inward levels, it will fall apart from within. I just hope that this whole thing can maybe cause some members of Xenos to wonder how it can grow and change for the better

  28. pedro says:

    OK, so you can replace “young high school girl” with “TWO young high school girls”. I know that sounds smart, but it is pretty far fetched to believe that thousands of people from young to old feel one way and a couple of young women another, and the latter have it figured out. (Oh, and Drew who doesn’t count because he bases all opinions on a blog, having never seen for himself). Maybe it is true that thousands are wrong and you two are right, but come on.

  29. Louise says:

    Pedro, did you read my comment, and please don’t try to undermine me by callin a young high school girl again.

    The point that I am trying to make here is that if even just a handful of people are being put in these situations by their CHURCH, no less, then something needs to fixed and fast.

    I’m sure that many people have fantastic experiences at Xenos. Conversely many do not. In consequence something should be done to remedy the problem.

    I don’t think this issue should just be under-rug-swept. I feel like thiscould be a great opportunity for growth, as I said before. Something great could come out of this. And I really hope it does. If people are willing to put forth the time and effort needed to hopefully rectify and even improve the church. It could be an unreal program for it.

    I am a firm believer that if something is not growing, then it is dying. And stagnations is a terrible and dangerous thing.

  30. Matrix says:

    By biblical standards of living and teaching I applaude Xenos. What as a Xenoid I see as the CULT issue is the social engineering.

    Louise made the correct point that when you first attend, it all seems great. Alot of it, stays great. In some regard: some of the best bible studies you will find in central Ohio, People do have real deep relationships with one another, there is a focus on really living your life as God intends for his people. I will even answer Byron on the music factor: Non-believers don`t like Christian music, and even some believers, myself included, aren`t really musically inclined when it comes to worship. Matter of personal preference I guess.

    I will also make this a public apology for the Xenos emails I used in my previous post as it was a bit out of order. However, the intent was to make a point: Dennis has historically been known to just discount negative feedback that he recieves from former attendents. At times even referencing emails he recieves in teachings, telling the flock how the information is “obviously false” or “misguided”. I profess that I bit my tongue at times because I have seen plenty of examples of the things he recieves in emails and reads on boards such as this, really happening, as he turns a blind eye and a deaf ear, all the while trying to convince the rest of us to do the same.

    I mince no words when I tell you the Xenos lifestyle is very time consuming. It leaves little time for real evangelism, on the one on one level, meeting people where there at, apart from bringing them to the outreach friendly meetings of Homechurch or Central Teaching. The regular routine is Mon) Home Church, your core coed group that you are encouraged to have the closest friendships with. Tue) “Date night” when we are encouraged to go out with someone of the opposite sex in a serving manner, that is also encouraged be types we don`t find romantically attractive. Wed) Class night, we are all very strongly encouraged to take a series of classes that will have us prepared for teaching roles and leadership/administration roles in the fellowship Thurs.) Central Teaching, our large bible study where several Home Churches come together. Fri) Cell Group, same sex bible study were you are encouraged to make these your “closest relationships” no matter what the differences in your personalities or views. Home Church related social activities are strongly encouraged on Saturday. If you live in a Ministry House you usually have a house meeting with all room mates on Sunday. If your a student, throw all your studying in for school, Xenos classes, and personal bible. Maybe you will find time for a hobbie or any unchurch related activities, if you don`t sleep.

    I know it was stated in a earlier post that “you choose the number of meetings you attend.” True, no one is going to put a gun to your head and force you by threat of death to attend all of the scheduled meetings. However, if for example you decide to skip HC or CT on a regular basis to pursue ANY non church related interests (investing in your family, taking non Xenos evening classes, investing into unbelieving friends that refuse to come to meetings, ect.), you will quickly be approuched by peers, leaders, or both, and pursuaded to not skip for the sake of your “spiritual growth”. If you are a regular established member and you do not submit, you will be BROWN BEAT, until you do submit or go insane from the topic always being brought up to you.

    Xenos preaches to be in the world, but not of it, which is SO CORRECT. Yet close relationships with anyone who does not attend Xenos are STRONGLY DISCOURAGED. Members are discouraged from being involved in helping family members in times of trouble if it takes away from meeting attendance and Xenos events. True committed friendships with non-christians that do not attend Xenos meetings are STRONGLY DISCOURAGED. Sometimes this is the only way we can present Gods love and truth to people. Because of the strong discouragement, many Xeniods drop friendships with folks who don`t come to Xenos functions within two months or so. Yep, that really shows them God`s UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. We are pretty much trained to stay in our bubble and keep our hands busy, so as not to fall to the temptations of the world. Funny how values and spiritual discipline only work within a communities protective bubble. The Apostle Paul surely reflects this way of living in the majority of the New Testiment, doesn`t he? That Jesus guy, always hanging out with criminals and prostitutes, what the hell was he thinking?!?!

    All Xenoids are called to be leaders. Everyone is groomed and pushed to teach regardless of personal desire or ability. I encourage you all to read 1 Corinthians, the entirity of chapter 12 to be specific. I read another earlier post where the young lady said that Xenos leaders are pretty much clones of one ideal, and yes, this is not an exageration at all. No wonder the more “supernatural” of the giftings don`t manifest in Xenoids, we are too busy being focused on one way of being. I have even witnessed people gifted with prophesy (literally second sight) pushed to pray to God to take the Satanic attack from them. (But I degress, as alot of Christians today don`t seem to grasp that just like in the first century God still bistows “supernatural gifts”. Why I feel I can share my own with few.)

    Control is exerted even over the dating relationships of adults. Opinions, everyone has them, nothing wrong with that, but this stuff gets extreme. Most, granted not all, Xenoids get engaged within 6 months to a year of thier relationship beginning. Most will not date someone beyond three months unless all possible issues point to being ready to walk the isle, right then. Fear of sexual sin is the main reason. Too bad one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit isn`t self control…..it is? Somebody tell Xenos that. It is hard enough working out the details of a deep, Godly, romantic relationship with one person, without constantly being barraged with other peoples opinions of that person. Granted this is useful when sin issues are cropping up or when the relationship is truely unhealthy, but practically all dating relationships, even the obviously healthy ones, have people constantly putting thier negative two cents in.

    I put this so bluntly because I want Xenoids to get a broader perspective than they hold on to. I want them to grow stronger and succeed. I want people who are experiencing these problems to not be afraid to speak up and address them. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I am your brother, your sister, your mom, your dad, your best friend, that guy picking his nose at CT, I AM YOU.

    With Peace and Security,
    Matrix

    matrix740@gmail.com

  31. drew says:

    “OK, so you can replace “young high school girl” with “TWO young high school girls”. I know that sounds smart, but it is pretty far fetched to believe that thousands of people from young to old feel one way and a couple of young women another, and the latter have it figured out. (Oh, and Drew who doesn’t count because he bases all opinions on a blog, having never seen for himself). Maybe it is true that thousands are wrong and you two are right, but come on.”

    My “opinion” is derived from one of the Xenos leaders own words. He is the face of the fellowship like it or not, and you are strengthening my case.

  32. Byron says:

    A SUGGESTION I MEAN TO BE CONSTRUCTIVE: For whatever reason, a blog post I made nearly two-and-a-half years ago has suddenly caught fire, once Lindsay saw it and responded, even catching Dennis McCallum up in it. IT’S ON THE RADAR SCREEN, in other words, and while the tone here has gotten a tad edgy at times, it’s been mostly constructive, and I appreciate that. But here’s the challenge: there are 3-4 of you guys who have been vitally involved with Xenos, and they know you’re out there, so why not band together and draft a joint email to Dennis and the leadership, identifying, using the same tone you generally have (constructive and balanced) the issues with the college ministry that you think are out-of-balance. Engage in direct dialogue with the leadership there. See what kind of response you get; see if you can be a force for good and for change, wherever change might be needed.

    Xenos is an elephant, size-wise, and one of my favorite children’s stories is the “Five Blind Men from Hindustan”, who each seize a fraction of the elephant and extrapolate the totality of an elephant from the fraction they’ve seized. I don’t in the least think Xenos is a “cult”, of course, but that doesn’t mean that segments of the elephant might not have gotten too close to cult-like control (I don’t make that charge; just hypothesizing based upon comments). OK…then use your words to exhort, now, and edify, and do so directly to the folks involved.

    We’re all in process, folks, including the folks at Xenos; let’s do what we can to stimulate one another to love and good works. Whaddya say?

  33. Lindsay 349 says:

    Matrix, please e-mail me and maybe you and I and/or Louise and whomever else could discuss what is going on here and put something a little more constructive together here. I really, really appreciate your posts and would love to talk about things with you.

    As Byron said, “why not band together and draft a joint email to Dennis and the leadership, identifying, using the same tone you generally have (constructive and balanced) the issues with the college ministry that you think are out-of-balance. Engage in direct dialogue with the leadership there. See what kind of response you get; see if you can be a force for good and for change, wherever change might be needed. ”

    I agree completely. E-mail me if you can.

    i welcome anyone else who wants to e-mail me/be a part of organizing…whatever we end up organizing.

  34. Lindsay 349 says:

    Matrix, please e-mail me and maybe you and I and/or Louise and whomever else could discuss what is going on here and put something a little more constructive together here. I really, really appreciate your posts and would love to talk about things with you.

    As Byron said, “why not band together and draft a joint email to Dennis and the leadership, identifying, using the same tone you generally have (constructive and balanced) the issues with the college ministry that you think are out-of-balance. Engage in direct dialogue with the leadership there. See what kind of response you get; see if you can be a force for good and for change, wherever change might be needed. ”

    I agree completely. E-mail me if you can.

    i welcome anyone else who wants to e-mail me/be a part of organizing…whatever we end up organizing.

    lindsay349@hotmail.com

  35. Dennis says:

    Okay, I want to share a perspective on the rap that Xenos takes too much time. For most of us, hanging around with people in the fellowship is also hanging around with our friends. It’s what we WANT to do. I can think of no better activity for an evening than hanging around with some great friends, especially if we’re going to fellowship with God.

    Now for people who don’t have a good relationship with God, a life of commitment and self sacrifice can seem pretty weird, even cultlike. But a life consumed with self-gratification or making money makes perfect sense. We’re not a Sunday-go-to-meeting style church. We’re a community where people want to be engaged with each other deeply, and that means inveting time into relationships. You can’t have close community handed in through the window like a McDonald’s sack. Anything of value takes investment.

    As far as someone’s concern that Xenos leaves no time for evangelism or for friendships with non Christians or family, I wonder why Xenos sees more non Christians coming to Christ than 95% of the churches in our area? Why are 60% of the people in Xenos formerly non Christians? Is this because we have nothing to do with the world outside the church?

    I also am skeptical about the claim that people ride you if you don’t want to be more involved. Sure they may ask where you were, but what’s wrong with that. There are hundreds of people who come to one meeting a week or even less and have been that way for years, and nobody’s saying anything about it.

    The one dude says he was living in a ministry house. That’s a different matter. Ministry houses are for people who are into commitment, and that’s spelled out clearly before someone moves into one. You can see our ministry house covenant at http://www.xenos.org/classes/papers/minhse.htm
    But joining a ministry house is a special commitment made by people who chose to, not for members in general. I see nothing wrong with having a high commitment option available within a church for those who want it.

    At risk of being guilty of “dismissing” protest (wow, I guess that’s pretty unfalsifyable isn’t it? I either agree that we’re full of crap or I’m a dismisser! Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.) I think I’ll continue to believe that living in a high-commitment community of people who love God and love each other is cool as anything. If people want a church that won’t cost much and won’t intrude in other interests or time commitments, there are hundreds of them available in town, and you should go there. I’m not interested losing our cutting edge radical commitment to God and to community.

  36. Lindsay 349 says:

    Dennis, are you willing to discuss any issues w/xenos on a deeper, more constructive level or not? That is what I need to know here because I don’t want to waste my time if you have no interest in it. Your last post here gives the the impression (and I could be entirely wrong, so forgive me if I am) that you have no interest in considering the ideas/experiences that people have/are having here.

  37. Matrix says:

    Dennis,

    Glad that your paying attention to some concerns. Now, I`m praying for you to really consider how these issues effect people as individuals.

    Here is a commen summery of how a new attendant views Xenos upon arrival.

    1) THE LOVE BOMB: You are surrounded by many new faces who want to invest in you and learn about you. People begin to earn your trust and befriend you. This is good, but, if you go on with life as you were living it and decide not to commit to attending Xenos, rarely will these friends see keeping a real relationship with you as being worth thier time. This paints a picture to the wandering Christian and more so to the unbeliever that they are viewed as a project and not as a valuable person. Close friendships with non-christians that do not have interest in attending Xenos meetings are STRONGLY DISCOURAGED because the time spent with those friends could be used to reach someone who will accept Christ more readily. Sometimes this is the only way we can present Gods love and truth to people. I know some folks here have examples of friends that have become aware of Gods unconditional love and have accepted his truths only because of extended and close friendship with a believer. Because of the strong discouragement, many Xeniods drop friendships with folks who don`t come to Xenos functions within two months or so. Yep, that really shows them God`s UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. We need to have consideration, not to put time limits on the unbelieving and if we commit to close friendship, to see it through, NO MATTER WHAT THE VISIBLE RESULTS. (Matthew 11:19, John 15:13)

    2) THE LOST ONE ACCEPTS JESUS` SACRIFICE: The new believer is now encouraged to attend both HC and CT meetings to learn how to walk in the Christian life. Once they do this, and at this point it only makes sense, they are invited to Cell in order to have a more focused study and discussion in a small group of the same sex, to facilitate openess about personal issues and struggles. Very soon after after this, the new person will be invited to move into a Ministry House.

    I wish it was as simple as the question just being asked and the house covenent that Dennis refers to in his last post being presented, to be considered and a personal choice made. But in reality, this is always also accompanied by all of this persons new friends saying things such as “this is the best way for you to grow”, “this is what God wants for you”, “this will prepare you for a future marriage”, “your selling yourself short if you don`t”. This barage is presented to a young (in experience) believer, who knows not much more what it takes to walk with God and grow than what is being presented by these peers. No one will present this as not a fit for everyone. Everyone who addresses the new one about this step makes it seem as it is just the right thing to do.

    3)MINISTRY HOUSE LIFE: Now, this offer is rarely turned down, as the new comer has been sufficiently addressed by all those they trust. As Dennis pointed out, now you are locked into the commitment of attenteding HC, CT, and Cell every week, unless rare situation calls for missing. This now also adds a house meeting to the weekly schedule. This can be a great experience and Dennis is right, it is for those who want to be very committed. The problem is, few are experienced enough to realise how much of a commitment they are agreeing to. Most don`t know yet how to seek God actively in prayer, search themselves, and wait for a clear answer to see if this is the best way for thier life. It may or may not be, but most commit from simply being convinced by peers that it is the thing to do.

    Mark my words, and if any other Xenoid who is reading this is honost and observant, they will agree. The above steps usually move fairly fast. Houses continuosly create very detailed plans on how to recruit and convince the new folk to move in, while preplanning and projecting how to split thier houses and form two from them. Wash, rinse, repeat. This is a VERY DRIVING MOTIVATION for them. Often it seems that they will sacrifice quality in the growth of thier members spiritual lives for quantity of members in Ministry Houses and quantity or total Houses. My concern is for them not to give up on this general model of growth, but to slow it down and get thier members grounded and grown enough to efficiently handle the new growth process with success.

    4) NOW THAT YOU ARE A FULLY COMMITTED MEMBER: The member is now very strongly encouraged to take a series of classes that will have them prepared for teaching roles and leadership/administration roles in the fellowship. These are great classes. Once again, there is nothing wrong with making a suggestion to someone and letting them make a decision. Unfortunately your peers will push and continuosly bring this up with you until you register and commit. IT IS THE BROWN BEATING THAT MAKES THIS A SOCIAL ENGINEERING MACHINE.

    “I also am skeptical about the claim that people ride you if you don’t want to be more involved. Sure they may ask where you were, but what’s wrong with that. There are hundreds of people who come to one meeting a week or even less and have been that way for years, and nobody’s saying anything about it.” -Dennis

    That would be normal in most fellowships Dennis. Too bad it isn`t true in your College Ministry.

    “I know it was stated in a earlier post that “you choose the number of meetings you attend.” True, no one is going to put a gun to your head and force you by threat of death to attend all of the scheduled meetings. However, if for example you decide to skip HC or CT on a regular basis to pursue ANY non church related interests (investing in your family, taking non Xenos evening classes, investing into unbelieving friends that refuse to come to meetings, ect.), you will quickly be approuched by peers, leaders, or both, and pursuaded to not skip for the sake of your “spiritual growth”. If you are a regular established member and you do not submit, you will be BROWN BEAT, until you do submit or go insane from the topic always being brought up to you.” -Matrix

    I stand on this statement. Years of experience with various HCs assure me I am VERY CORRECT. Did I say in this remark that it was only the standard heald to those who live in Ministry Houses? No I did not. Yes, on paper your statemant that that is the case appears true. However, in reality, my statement is true of the College Ministry as a whole. Any honost and observant member knows this to be the truth. Nothing wrong with being skeptical of my view brother. Take the time to investigate it, pray over it, get evidence of the truth for yourself one way or the other. I agree with you that there is nothing wrong with asking were someone was, or what is going on in thier life. However the problem is when the answer does not involve a sin issue or does involve real family needs, because blood family comes before church, when they are believers that need our support and help, or when we are working to reach those of them still lost. I also have had personal burden when time is needed to spent with friends under the same conditions that can not, or do not want to attend Xenos functions. When an answer is given that falls into conditions such as these, the issue should rest, and if continued any further, ahould be directed tward how the Body can aid the situation. NOT IN FINDING EVERY ARGUMENT TO CONVINCE THE MEMBER WHY THEY NEED TO MAKE THE MEETINGS THERE FIRST PRIORITY.
    Maybe your statement is true of other Ministries within Xenos, but of College Ministry, my statemant is true.

    “Okay, I want to share a perspective on the rap that Xenos takes too much time. For most of us, hanging around with people in the fellowship is also hanging around with our friends. It’s what we WANT to do. I can think of no better activity for an evening than hanging around with some great friends, especially if we’re going to fellowship with God.” -Dennis

    “Because of the strong discouragement, many Xeniods drop friendships with folks who don`t come to Xenos functions within two months or so. Yep, that really shows them God`s UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. We are pretty much trained to stay in our bubble and keep our hands busy, so as not to fall to the temptations of the world. Funny how values and spiritual discipline only work within a communities protective bubble. The Apostle Paul surely reflects this way of living in the majority of the New Testiment, doesn`t he? That Jesus guy, always hanging out with criminals and prostitutes, what the hell was he thinking?!?!”
    -Matrix

    I stand on this view as well. Your statement only stregthens mine. You need to consider how you are hearding these young people to give up on and not to invest in relationships outside of Xenos. You are correct that you need to invest into the Body as well. I`m just presenting a more balanced view. The World is not the dark and scary place members begin to refer to it as, There is alot to be learned by forming close relationships with some folks who don`t automatically accept spiritual truth. You get a balanced perspective of society and they get God`s love in return. That kind of investment does save hard to touch souls.

    Dennis and all other Xenos members who find my statements offensive,

    I know alot of you are thinking about the cliche Xenos phrase, “How can so many people think your wrong, but you still feel that you are right?” Simple, the scriptures are full of single men and small minority groups of men that followed God`s conviction on thier hearts to deliver powerful changing messages to the majority. I feel that the effort put into this debate is totally worth it because even if none of you totally agree, or agree at all with anything I have to say, I have still planted seeds of a broader perspective that the Spirit of The Almighty will work in your hearts to either confirm or deny. I was moved to act when I saw a young woman state her opinion of her personal experience, in a pretty even handed way. In response our head Rev. and Elder tried to made a pretty arrogant statement about her opinion and sugar coat it with “I posted Lindsey’s story to the college group as a warning to avoid controlling behavior. I don’t know who Lindsey or her friend are, but I definitely don’t want to see controlling behavior exhibited by leaders in our church.” Dennis, the topic “Implausible Message” and the statement…

    “It’s sickening to think this kind of thing is on the web. I love the way she has the leaders deciding who she can sit by and date. but we should all think about this and be careful to avoid all controlling behavior.”

    First half, looks to me like you were more concerned with any negative opinions being published about Xenos in the public media. Your statment seems to show that you discredit her statements and sarcastically. Then you throw a simple request out at the end to avoid being controlling.

    Then soon after, two Xenoid women popped over to start systematically picking her post apart. That shows alot of love and compassion for someone who has had a rough experience in your fellowship! Not one single Xenoid`s first idea was to address her and get her entire story, research if thier was validity, and if so, reconcile. Dave, I do applaude you for being even handed in your post and not accusitory. However, several of you have referanced the Xenos website as a defense. This does not hold alot of credibility in this day and age because anyone can create a website and define thier belief in print. Doesn`t always mean that the printed standerd is followed without wavering. Actions always speak louder than words in the end. I acted on conviction to speak my mind and heart in defense of someone who only needed someone to withhold judgement for once and listen, for that I have no shame.

    With Peace and Security,
    Matrix
    matrix740@gmail.com

  38. Dennis says:

    To Lindsey: Sure, what would you like to talk about? Feel free to email me privately or here.

  39. Dennis says:

    To Matrix:
    First, people shouldn’t be calling on members to drop friendships with non Christians. The only cases I’ve seen where something similar to this has happened is when someone comes home drunk or stoned every time they hang out with their old crowd. Believers might point out that you should think about not hanging out with them until you get stronger in the Lord. I’ve seen that. I don’t think I’ve ever seen what you’re talking about, where it’s viewed as bad to have friends outside the fellowship. That would fly right in the face of frequent public calls that we should make and nurture friendships with nonChristians.

    You said “Because of the strong discouragement, many Xeniods drop friendships with folks who don`t come to Xenos functions.” That might happen sometimes like it did with some of my friends. When I became a Christian they constantly gave me crap about it, made fun of it, and worked double time to get me to get high with them. They also forbade me to talk about God around them. I decided they weren’t really my friends, and I was too weak to continue hanging around watching them party. I don’t feel guilty about that at all. And later, a couple of those guys realized my life was better off than theirs, and they looked me up and ended up finding God.

    I had another friend who wasn’t a party guy, but he always wanted me to drop what I was doing and go to his thing, but he made it clear that he would never consider checking out my thing. I got tired of the one-way rule and told him, “you know where I am.” I didn’t feel like compromising my own progress for the sake of someone who wasn’t open-minded at all. I don’t feel bad about that one either. What kind of friendship is it when one person dictates, “we’re only going to do things of interest to me, never the things of interest to you.”? So, yeah, I imagine some of this happens, just like people are constantly making new friends and losing old ones in any setting. If you always kept the same friends for life, how would you ever make new friends? I felt like this dude and I were headed different directions, and it was increasingly boring to me to sit around and talk about the trivial stuff he wanted to talk about. So I let him know I was setting a direction and he was welcome to come along, or find something else to do. Nothing wrong with that.

    I still think the heart of the issue is whether the body of Christ should be a place where people live a high commitment lifestyle, or whether church should be a footnote to your week (oh, and I went to church too). What do you do with the New Testament picture that shows believers at that time saying “And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had” Acts 2:44 (NLT) and also 46 “46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart” That’s not a very good description of the modern church. But it’s a great description of people who are really excited about what God is doing and about building each other up. See also Heb. 10:25 where it says forsaking gatherings of the body is bad. what comes accross in your posts is that you are scandalized by the idea of a high-commitment community, and you envision one where nobody asks you your business, nobody interfers with your plans, nobody criticizes you, and in a word, it’s just real disengaged, real privatized, no expectations, like the rest of modern culture. No thanks. Not for me. I believe I need to be called out at times when I’m losing focus, or being lazy, or not coming through with my contribution.

    On ministry houses, you say, “This can be a great experience and Dennis is right, it is for those who want to be very committed. The problem is, few are experienced enough to realise how much of a commitment they are agreeing to.” And then, if a brother realizes he doesn’t want that level of commitment, he moves out of the house–something you’re free to do at any time. You’re making it sound like you’re trapped once you move into a ministry house like you joined a monastery or something. This happens all the time. People realize they aren’t into this level of commitment and they annouce they’re moving out. that’s that.

    You add, “Houses continuosly create very detailed plans on how to recruit and convince the new folk to move in, while preplanning and projecting how to split thier houses and form two from them.” You make this sound all conspiritorial with the “detailed plans” language. but what’s the real truth. People in houses try to recruit their friends to move in (provided they have become Christians and understand the commitments in the covenant) and plant new houses. So what? Most churches try to “recruit” people. We believe people need to know about God and need to learn how to walk with him. Reaching out to people who need God actually a good thing. But you’re making it sound scandalous and devious. “Social engineering” is a real rhetorical spin-job on something that is actually nothing more sinister than trying to multiply home churches–a practice straight out of the New Testament. And I’m not into even considering going away from that to some other alternative.

    By the way, what is your alternative? Just sit with the same people, and leave it at that? How do you think a growing church should handle its growth, if planting new houses and home churches is “social engineering”?

    Brother, I don’t know if you had some people pressuring you wrongfully or not. It can happen, and even when well-intentioned, that’s wrong. But your characterization as a whole is just a super-negative interpretation of something I feel is beautiful–a bunch of people who love each other and are trying to grow spiritually and reach out to the rest of the world too. I bet there are hundreds here who will never accept your picture of this self-serving social engineering cult that seals people off from the world. That picture is just BS.

    A final point: you said “Xenos website …does not hold alot of credibility in this day and age because anyone can create a website and define thier belief in print.” But you miss the point that these are the actual outlines that are taught in our classes and and constitute our policy. The ministry house covenant is actually used as you see it to explain house commitment, and the other outlines are directly from classes and anyone who has taken one will tell you those are the handouts as you see them. So again, your picture, that we’re this group that puts up phony position papers to cover our “real” agenda is just a paranoid spin that is totally false. Why does this self-serving entity drop a couple million dollars every year serving the poor? Who is the hidden sinister one who is benefitting from all this control? Me? My life is wide open. I live a quiet life of moderate income, drive an old car, and live with my family and friends–they all know what I’m up to all the way. My house cost 114K and people hang out there all the time. Leaders of groups like you’re describing are millionaires. Your story just doesn’t add up.

    You sound like you’re really bitter about your experiences here, and that’s affecting your perception. You should rethink you’re whole view.

  40. Al says:

    It’s been very very very interesting reading these responses. I too used to go to Xenos, and chose not to stick with it for many of the reasons stated above and then some.

    I have one friend who still goes to Xenos meetings and lives in a college ministry house, to make a long story short I never see her. The only time she’ll hang out with me is if I come to a Xenos gathering. She never sees her family anymore, and every time I see her she wants to probe my spiritual life, not in a way that feels helpful or Godly, but rather offensive and intrusive. It’s great to talk about God, but I get vibes from her that she’s always judging me; she defiantly has the mind set that, “Xenos is the only real way to be a Christian,” and it’s like I can’t possibly fellowship with her because I don’t know the deep and Godly ways of Xenos fellowship and am therefore unworthy.

    I believe that Xenos has good intentions, but…I think that the way that the college ministry is set up, it makes it easy for members to get sucked into Xenos, to the point that they no longer have a life outside of Xenos, when in reality I believe that the intent of Xenos is to provide individuals with the tools they need to no longer have a life outside of God. I believe, however, that God and Xenos become so directly related with each other that it may be hard for members to find one without the other. Perhaps it becomes difficult to see God without Xenos teachings, prayer groups, and fellowship. This causes individuals to make the personal decision to hold onto Xenos so tightly that they begin to drift away from their families and friends outside of the church. The close knit accountability may actually teach members to depend on one another to a point that they don’t fully lean on God. –this is how I feel when I’m with my friend from Xenos, that because I’m not of Xenos, in her mind I’m not of God either…somewhere along the way she isn’t able to separate the two…perhaps this is where people gather that some Xenoids appear “brainwashed,” or eerily dedicated to their fellowship with Xenos members.

  41. Darwin says:

    Xenos IS a cult. Read Steve Hassan’s =Combating Cult Mind-Control= or Margaret Thaler Singer’s =Cults in Our Midst=, and you will see what I mean. Parents of cult members are Satanized. Techniques such as love bombing, guilting, and loaded language are used. (See Lifton’s Eight Criteria of Mind Control, all of which are in use by this cult.) Xenos members associate only with other Xenos members. They try to recruit everyone they meet, and if a person is unrecruitable, they are shunned. Underage minor children are no exception; in fact, they are the rule. Behavior modification is a science and Xenos uses it in a pattern of conversion “by any means necessary.” It is neither “Christian” nor ethical, but rather is hardcore evangelical fundamentalism, with an underlying motivation of control for the sake of control and control for the sake of money. There is absolutely nothing “Christian” about it; it is all about manipulation and control and empire-building. The “prayer group” is the place where potential converts are discussed, the weak spots identified, and a proposed plan of manipulation decided upon. It seems to me that there is something wrong with an organization that is tax-exempt by the government using mind-control on taxpaying citizens. Shouldn’t we have the inalienable right of not being subjected to mind control by a government-supported entity?

  42. Byron says:

    Darwin,

    Whatever Xenos might be, it is categorically not a cult, and it’s interesting that even its critics who’ve posted here have, for the most part, had many good things to say along with some selected criticisms. Xenos is made up of people, and wherever you have people, you have sin and imperfection, and so to suggest that there’s never been anything that it “out of bounds” take place at Xenos would be ludicrous; fair enough. That said, Xenos is a place that is attempting to be true to first-century New Testament Christian faith. For a good idea of what that looked like, read the end of Acts 2. There’s no doubt whatever, when you read the list of what was happening there, that many would call the early church a “cult”. I mean, every day those folks were “in church”; they got together all the time, shared properly communally (voluntarily, of course; they were not socialists), propagated the gospel of Christ aggressively to those who were not yet converts. To the outside world, the term “cult” would almost certainly have been what it looked like. If faithfulness to the New Testament pattern of the church earns a church the title “cult”, then I’d say, “wear that badge with honor!”

    I think that it might have been Vance Havner (or it wasn’t!) who said words to the effect that the typical Christian experience is so sub-normal that when a person (church) begins to act normally, most folks will call it “abnormal”. Xenos exists as an answer to the low-commitment, low-expectation “Christianity” that is epidemic in our society. Can anyone really make an argument that the high-commitment, high-expectation climate of first century Christianity bears much resemblance to a “Christianity” that makes church members out of people who sporadically flatten their fannies on a pew for an hour on Sunday morning when the notion strikes them? Sad thing is, in altogether too many cases, this is seen as the norm; that’s why Christian faith is in such a sad state today in our country. If Xenos occasionally “goes overboard” (defined as “sometimes a member/leader might go a little too far”, or “sometimes a person is perceived to be ‘shunning’ an individual”—which I guarantee 100% is NOT endorsed by Xenos leadership, over and out), then that’s a shame, and should be corrected lovingly. But if you want to argue that because of some possible excesses here or there, the whole outfit is a cult (whereas contemporary American evangelical faith is acceptable), sorry, but NO SALE.

    Finally, “tax exempt” doesn’t equal “government-supported” except under the most twisted of interpretations, and nobody is subjecting anybody to “mind control” as you claim, with the suggestion that “taxpaying citizens” are, without their consent, being subjected to it. C’mon, Darwin, perhaps you don’t like this entity named Xenos; fair enough. But you overmake your case by about double when you get silly like you did in the last couple of sentences…

  43. Darwin says:

    From OSU’s Lantern (just substitute the name “Xenos”:
    Faculty battle high-pressure cults with new brochure
    Jesus Chavez III
    Issue date: 10/12/05 Section: Campus
    PrintEmail Article Tools

  44. Dennis says:

    This article is talking about the International Church of Christ, which IS a cult. What a good illustration of Darwin’s fallacy. Compare the activities of this dangerous group to Xenos and you’ll see night and day. They are all about control, even controling members schedules, who they can date, their finances, won’t allow members to go to bars, movies, concerts, or other churches…they even dictate what clothes they can wear. They keep changing their name, as the article points out to escape public scrutiny, and evade their own bad reputation. They have no transparency or accountability like Xenos does. Nobody knows what they do with their money or who is in charge. Everything is secret. Every evangelical organization has identified them as a cultish organization.
    To suggest Xenos is like this would only be scoffed at by people who actually know the church.

  45. Emily says:

    I know the church and it is a cult. I went there for 4 years. Thank GOD I left. Darwin is right. If you had a mind to think for yourself, you’d see you’re a puppet too.

  46. Byron says:

    And a pleasant good evening to you too, Miss Emily…though I find it disappointing that you feel the need to resort to insults in order to attempt to make your point. Then again, since you offer nothing helpful or informative in the way of arguing for or against the assertion, perhaps that’s the only hand you’ve got, I don’t know. So a brief word to you: first, you’re certainly welcome to join in the discussion here! Second, though, what we try to do here is to discuss issues substantively instead of make silly ad hominem attacks against each other, feeling that resorting to such is not only sub-Christian, but that they weaken one’s credibility. If you’d like to add something of substance to the discussion, like Ross Perot, we’re all ears! If, however, you just like to flame, then perhaps there are about a million other sites that would be better suited to that.

    Thanks!

  47. Darwin says:

    Tee hee. Methinks the Bible huckster doth protest too much. Whatsa matter? Did she scare you? For the benefit of those readers who might be unduly impressed by the fact that you used a big word, and are therefore ready to lie down in front of you and submit, let me explain that an “ad hominem” argument is one that attacks the person presenting the argument rather than the argument itself. What “Miss” Emily was saying is that Xenos members are not thinking for themselves because they have been subjected to mind control, social engineering, and behavior modification (in other words, they’re all brainwashed). Rather than respond to her charge, first you denigrated her as “Miss” Emily (the same way that another women who challenged Xenos in a former post was denigrated as “some chick”), as though Emily’s assertion is not valid because of the fact that she is female, and then you called her “sub-Christian,” as though that assertion should negate everything she said. Perhaps you have a direct line to God and you can go tell him that “Miss” Emily is being bad (i.e. challenging YOU) and then he’ll send a thunder bolt. Or perhaps “Miss” Emily is an 86-year-old married grandmother with three degrees in behavior modification. It seems to me that your denigration of “Miss” Emily to a sub-male and sub-Christian status is more “ad hominem” than her assertion that Xenos members are mind-controlled. The “substantive issue” is that Xenos uses mind control, behavior modification, and social engineering on children, and they have a tax-exempt status while they are doing it. And when these sub-Christian practices are challenged, the challenger is referred to as “sub-Christian.”

  48. Byron says:

    The “Bible huckster”? Interesting, and quite the shame, Darwin, because I’d have lifted you up as an example of the kind of person that “gets” what we’re trying to do here—have a substantive discussion of the issues, which is exactly what your first post entailed, and even though I wholeheartedly disagree with it, I respect those who take the time to actually make their case. A shame that you feel the need to make like Emily…

    “Scare me”? Please…

    “Ad hominem” is a term that I assume most of my readers understand, not one I use to impress anyone, honestly, and certainly not to make anyone “submit”, whatever you mean by that.

    As to Emily’s remarks and my comments, I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of Xenos; I’ve been inside their building twice. She suggested that I was “brainwashed”, as you call it (though likely she’d make the same assertion regarding Xenos members). I suppose, then, that a person outside of Xenos who finds your (and her) assertions to be overkill is automatically a “puppet” or “brainwashed”. If you’re omniscient, then that works quite well, but until you get there, you’re gratuitously tossing out a pejorative that does neither of you any credit, particularly Emily who made no attempt at a rational argument, unlike you.

    Sorry that you find “Miss Emily” to be so “sub-Christian” because it “denigrates” her as unworthy because she is “female”. That’s a very interesting spin, Darwin, but since you seem to agree with her that the only explanation for my disagreement with Emily must be that I’m brainwashed, that any right-thinking person would agree with you, then you must be all-knowing and thus able to get inside my brain as to why I used the term, “Miss Emily”. I find it, rather than demeaning, to be a gentle (Southern) term of endearment—perhaps with a tinge of sarcasm given her comments, sure—but demeaning and dismissive because she’s a female? Like I said…INTERESTING spin, there.

    Next, I most assuredly did NOT call her “sub-Christian”; you should read more carefully. I called the use of ad hominem ATTACKS “sub-Christian”. I have utterly zero knowledge of the dear lady’s (oops, that terms is probably demeaning too, right?) stance before God, and wouldn’t presume to comment upon it. What I can do is to say that there are words/behaviors that are out of bounds, and simple ad hominem attacks qualify, and are sub-Christian. Period. That effectively negates the rest of your comments, since they’re based on the false premise that I called HER “sub-Christian”.

    It is a fair question, I suppose, to debate whether or not your charges against Xenos are true. I see little evidence thereof; you suggest otherwise. Fair enough; good people can differ on that question, I suppose. But you’re not going to hear me calling you names because of it, and if my words DID indeed come off as condescending toward Emily, I didn’t mean them that way. Keep on making your arguments if you choose; they’re welcome here (and I’m not afraid of them, any more than I’m afraid of Emily’s non-arguments).

  49. Al says:

    Hey now, i think that darwin has made a point that should be looked at. though i’m not certain of the motives of the speakers, i can say that ‘miss’ in front of a womans name is often seen as belittling if the context of what is being said after the ‘miss’ is at all confrontational… and ‘some chick’ is somewhat belittling as well. i know that i’m splitting hairs here, but considering that much attention has already been placed on it i might add that the words that people use in a more heated than usual conversation set the tone for every person who is listening to it. such words most likely/will be percieved as degrading and offencive. So as an outsider i feel that its important to just make that point known.

    Finally, i believe that though it is easy to take offence to the critisisms of xenos if you’re a member of it, its important (like any member of any chirch) to take into account that such things may occur and vary among different home churches/cell groups. sometimes an outsider’s opinion is more credible than those among the heap because it is an opinion that comes from the outside of the shuffel..and should therefore be taken into consideration.

    often times issues are overlooked in the midst of things. if people are having or have had bad experiences with xenos, i think that instead of arguing it and defending it in such a heated way there should be prayer and contimplation on the issues, perhaps there is truth in these accounts. and as painful as it is to not be perfect in the eyes of the flesh, xenos, like any other christian institution, has flaws.

    i believe firmly that how the members of xenos react to such charges against them will prove whether or not these claims are true or false. at this point i don’t at all like the tone of this conversation on all accounts. certainly it must be hard to swallow the idea that people claim that you are a member of a cult if you in your heart believe that it is not…but people should also not have to defend their bad experiences with xenos if they also believe in their hearts that such things as shunning and mind control have taken place (which they very may well have taken place, all organized religions struggle with this at one point or another).

    sadly i don’t expect anyone to respond to my writing because it isn’t offensive (or at least its not intended to be) but i hope that i am wrong and that peaceful disagreements are still valued here. if anyone wishes that instead of arguing we can mend conflicts, then by all means i’m in.

  50. Byron says:

    Fair enough, Al; suffice it to say that it wasn’t my intent to be offensive (even though I will point out that it clearly WAS Emily’s intent—read her words).

    My comment 8398 is effectively in total agreement with what you’re saying, Al, and I do hope that the principals might have taken it to heart and engaged in a constructive dialogue.

    Thanks.

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