Taken from a post to the Usenet Newsgroup
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Fredrick McConnell) Newsgroups: alt.religion.christian.boston-church Subject: Three Months Later Date: 6 Feb 1997 17:42:33 -0500 Organization: The George Washington University Message-ID: <email@example.com>
I just want to give to you all my impressions based on 3 months of abstinence from the ICC, except for some contact with a close friend who is still a member, to hear what's going on.
I left, not wanting to know or relate with God. I had been so frustrated by my life, by decisions I had made by which I had allowed myself to cut myself off from society, and by leadership issues. I was immersed in church activities, was a prime player in music in the church in Washington, and ran all their audio. I was really lonely, though I was surrounded by many. I was confused, though told I had the Truth®....
I told myself when I left that if I ever wanted to be a Christian again, the people I would do it among would be in the International Church of Pancakes (whoops, I mean Christ - that's what my dad called them while I was involved). But I told myself I needed the break, to experience the "sin of the world" I had never allowed myself, even pre-ICC, to experience. I wanted to be able to look into a woman's eyes and feel close to her without needing extensive counseling first on how to be a friend, and perhaps even hold her hand, touch her face, hold her close, all because it was right and mutually decided by the two of us. I wanted to be able to speak my mind, to not be afraid of being blasted for saying what was going on in my mind, in my heart. I wanted to be able to create art I had been holding back for four years. In the ICC, I became an emotionless jerk. And it showed in my music - everything is very precise and technical. No emotion. I left needing to find that emotion. I left believing that it wasn't OK to admit to loneliness within the ICC, for fear that I would be further ostracised. I was like nobody. Had no common interests, other than the Scriptures. The "sharp" people were always telling me to cut my hair and buy more expensive glasses and better suits. And I bought it. When I decided to grow my hair and up my earring count to 5, though, I decided sharpness wasn't me. Sharpness could be attained in other ways. And if people couldn't relate to my more laid back nature, fuck 'em (pardon the profanity please if it offends you - it's the only word strong enough to depict in this prose exactly how I feel, so please accept that)
For a time after leaving I was in love with a beautiful, rational, mature woman. All my life, I have never drawn close to anybody unless I could trust what I saw in their eyes. I would never get close to a woman if I didn't see myself reflected in her heart, because of the purity of her eyes. I never saw any woman in the ICC with purity in her eyes. It was all corrupted by the mentality. I've never trusted Elena McKean's eyes - and all ICC women have eyes like hers. It's sad to me. But true.
The woman and I have since ceased our romantic involvement, yet the friendship continues. Gee, I guess I can have a relationship outside the church which isn't based solely on sex - and ours wasn't based on sex at all (we never once got physical), but on a mutual trust based on the sincerity of our hearts. Something which supposedly doesn't exist outside the ICC (oh, it might exist, but I've never seen it).
Let me ask a question, then, before I continue: If such a mutual trust does not exist outside the ICC, why is the divorce rate outside not 100%? Propagandist bull.
Since the new year began, I've been drunk three times. Not particularly fond of the experience, but it didn't leave me short anything. I'm not going to rush to alcohol, in fact I've had less to drink since leaving than while I was in the ICC. Growing up I wasn't a party animal - which would explain my low tolerance - it didn't take me a lot to get drunk those three times.
If all the religions in the world that claim to be the only way to God are the only way to God, then Humanity is screwed.
After three months of the above, and keeping in touch with my friend, I have seen the following things. I left because a music ministry leader would not allow me to do what I could do to contribute, but rather pigeonholed me by using only 10% of my ability, because I wouldn't make my musical style strictly and totally gospel music. Sorry, I am a rocker - I've written a gospel song. It didn't move me. Rock and roll, with loud guitars and heavy backbeat, moves me. And people must just deal with that. I was told numerous times that I needed to let myself be used by God, but those who could use me never bothered to really find out what I had to offer. And the one who knew what I had to offer was afraid that I would get in the way of his job. A little selfish ambition there, no? :)
For two years, this same man was looked to by the leadership to continually drum up newer and better musical presentations. Can I ask a question: Why then did he always rehearse a group of 50 people maybe twice, and usually only intensively the day before a performance? Why were there never months of preparation being made for a successful performance?
My involvement in music, and my dedication to its excellent creation, led me to discover the true nature of the ICC. It is an organization based solely on instant results. If you convert 12 people in a year you are doing great - but who cares if 8 fall away? Yet if you make one person a true disciple in a year and keep him faithful (or her.... :) ), and they remain for a lifetime, haven't you borne far greater fruit than the other person who converts 12? Not in the eyes of the ICC. the excuse I was always given for not having a consistent rehearsal schedule was "We can't get around all the sector and house and bible talk meetings". And pulling all the musicians together into their own ministry was never an option. When a music ministry of sorts began here in DC, I was expected to do it around my schedule in the College ministry, and had to kick and scream and threaten to fall away even if I didn't get put where I would have my needs met. No one cared about keeping me - they just wanted me to do what I was needed to do right at the minute it was needed. Never ever is there any thought for the long term. That is why there is a 3:2 baptism/fallaway ratio. That's why pillar churches have stopped growing. If people are always under the gun to have instant results, they are going to be unhappy because of the pressure and have fewer results of poorer quality. Yet, if people are happy in the Lord, they will do better...WHY THE HELL DOESN'T THE ICC SEE THAT? I continually cried for a solid foundation to be built for music, but no one ever gave the go-ahead for anything to be implemented. "Oh, it will take too long." My friend who remains in the church was asked to help teach the singers parts on the music for a Sunday worship. When she told the music leader what it would take to do that, he said "No, don't - it will take too long."
And, as always, a third-rate job was done in the area of music.
Another close friend of mine was always expected to sing, oftentimes without a microphone. The ministry staff, when they wanted something to fire up the troops, would expect him to sing. I would ask him how he felt, how his voice was holding up, and in a big ol' froggy tone would tell me he was hurting. But, because the leaders wanted something here and now, he would always go sing. Thankfully, he was pulled out of that sector before any real damage was done.
Well, that's it for me. I really don't want to start any sort of thread. I didn't want to bore you - if you got this far then I'm really amazed. I hope you don't mind this being so long - I just wanted to let you know some things I have learned about life and the ICC, which have told me I am NEVER, EVER, EVER going back. Not until they start building on foundations of Gold, instead of foundations of straw. The two-faced nature of the organization is staggering - give us instant results now, but you won't get rewards right away until we have more than our share of ours. Bullshit.
Thank you so much for your time and attention. I love all of you on this board - you have been an unquenchable support to me, more than you can even know. Just to know that I could talk to someone and get help has been great....again, pardon my use of profanity. But the strength of some arguments can only be expressed with certain vernacular....at least in my opinion.
-- Fred McConnell - QMS Court Choirmeister @@@@@ 2020 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, #119 @@:-) <- The Brian May Smiley Washington, DC 20006 @@@@@ http://gwis2.circ.gwu.edu/~fredmc Yeah, the guitarist for Queen! **Too much love will kill you, every time** --Brian May
©1997 by Fred McConnell. All rights reserved.
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