Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Two Sides of Jesus People

Chicago Public Radio station WBEZ recently aired an interview with a current and former member of Jesus People USA, the Christian intentional community located in the 900 block of West Wilson in Uptown.

Read or listen to the story here. These are a few fascinating quotes from the story:

Like other households, everyone in JPUSA shares the same bank account. If a member needs something, like new clothes, they have to go to the money office to request it. Everyone leads simple lives because they believe anything extra should go to the poor.

Former JPUSA member, Luke, talks about how he was punished: They would take you into a room and they would tell you what your offense was. Then the they would ask you to take down your pants and they would beat you with a dowel rod. They they would pray with you about your problem and send you off.

Makes you wonder what other Christian activities are going on over at the Friendly Towers.

193 comments:

  1. Wow - these are the same Jesus guys that risked their tax exempt status to window display the election posters of the their glamorous overlord? I guess in Jesus People - when the question is asked 'havent the poor suffered enough?' the answer is,
    much like with Helen's org,
    "nope, havent suffered enough, here's punishment with a dowel rod."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Maybe it's just us, but the Chicago Public Radio site is a bit slow...be patient for it to load. It's a great story. It's also great to see some coverage of this organization.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nothing refreshes you more, on a hot Ghana morning, than a nice cold glass of cherry kool-aid.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow. They're f-ing crazy.

    But this confirms the fact that Shillers supporters are literally communists.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Whip me, beat me, call me Spud.

    Or in their case:

    Whip me, beat me, call me Saved!

    Reminds me of a line from "Elmer Gantry":

    Lulu Bains: Oh, he gave me special instructions back of the pulpit Christmas Eve. He got to howlin' "Repent! Repent!" and I got to moanin' "Save me! Save me!" and the first thing I know he rammed the fear of God into me so fast I never heard my old man's footsteps!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yo: Ghana is in West Africa. I take it you are (with a slovenly regard for accuracy) referring to the Jonestown mass suicide, which happened in 1978 the small South American country, Guyana.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonestown

    Yeesh!

    Confidential (sort of) to Uptown Dad, another spelling (NOT!) champ: Opus Dei

    ReplyDelete
  7. Pants down. Dowel rod. How come I knew the Irish Pirate would get excited.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks BillyJoe what we ever do without you adding nothing to the conversation but grammar and insults. What is it like to go through the day with no original thoughts just links to web pages?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Uptown Dad: I think many others would agree that there is a difference--particularly geographic--between Guyana and Ghana.

    As for your truly poor spelling, my guess is that over the years you've devoted more time to getting your information from TV, rather than reading books or writing essays. That's usually the case with otherwise professional people who simply "kant spel."

    Or perhaps you attended one of those evil government funded public schools? I remember you waxing rhapsodic about privately funded initiatives--certainly your poor spelling isn't the result of being educated via the unbridled "free market."

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, "billyjoe'stwinbrother". What you have done is so mean and wrong but I HAVE been laughing for about 5 minutes straight. Hmmm...I am so conflicted!!!

    I can't forgive BillyJoe's past as a race-baiting troll but when he stays on message I feel as if we often share a common underlying perspective. I am so conflicted.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Saskia: You never before seen that pic of "my brother"? It's only been popping up (in different contexts) via e-mails and the Internet for the past several years.

    If this so-called "insult" to me had any originality, I might be impressed.

    On a side note, please get over your cliche hangup about me being a racist, as Im no more of a "racist" than anyone else on this site, including you. In fact, Im probably less racist than most people posting here. I'm certainly not "conflicted."

    ReplyDelete
  12. Craig,

    it's good to know that the Jesus People USA folks are filling each other with the spirit.

    .......and May God Bless the American Republic.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey Saskia glad to have you back!

    Welcome to UU Billyjoes brother. I hope your not racist like your brother. Oh, add to that his homophobic slur towards YO the other day (called him a queen)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Uptown Dad: Turn off your TV!

    "You're" not racist, not "Your" not racist.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "Shannon Heffernan stayed in their Uptown co-op, Friendly Towers, for four days ... "

    yeesh

    4 days for 6 minutes of audio

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sticks and stones

    May break my bones,

    But whips and chains

    Excite me!

    Where can I sign up?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Given the animosity, "billyjoestwinbrother" struck me as funny but so did your snarky "cleaning up the place to eat corn dogs" comment a few weeks back. Thus, I am conflicted.

    But while I may be conflicted I'm not beholden to any cliches when it comes to you. I was referring to your first appearance here as a race-baiter, which was then followed up by some Joe Moore and Helen Shiller love, then thinly-veiled insults against gays and finally passive-aggressive attacks on conservatives. It took me a while to figure out what your deal was but I have decided that you do care about racism. Further, your more coherent comments indicate that you fall somewhere on the "left" side of the sandbox. As someone who sits there myself, I welcome you more than others may. As I see it, you may actually be nearer to me than Uptown Dad although you are probably much closer to Uptown's sell-out pseudo-lefty cabal than anyone else. One whiff of those guys makes me scramble over to the right to see if Uptown Dad and I can hammer out a "lefty-libertarian" platform for Uptown's future!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks Uptown Dad. I was away for work and I tried to go cold turkey on Uptown Update. Clearly, it didn't work. Any chance someone will open up a clinic for me and my problem here in Uptown?

    ReplyDelete
  19. I get it, Saskia:

    Don't be racist.
    Don't insult gays.
    Don't defend Joe and Helen.
    Don't offend former Bush supporters seeking refuge (and absolution) in the 2008 Libertarian Party.

    But based on your (and others) reaction to my "brother's" picture, I guess overweight people are still fair game for ridicule.

    ReplyDelete
  20. hey "friend of dorothy" if you can't find the whips and chains, ping me, I'll hook you up!

    jimo

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'll vouch for billyjoe not being a racist.

    A nit picky know-it-all with an undeserved yet wholly self-induced air of superiority ....?

    Sure 'nuff.

    Dude, seriously. Lighten up.

    You've got an occasionally interesting point to bring to the discussion (a nice contrast to your wild-ass and illogical assumptions).

    No need to dip it in bile before you present it.

    And, if you feel the need to correct people, be equally free to own up to the vast array of brain farts you've floated in here, as well.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Almost right.

    *Don't be a racist.
    *Don't insult gays.
    *Joe and Helen only rarely deserve defense, but are often slighted kudos. (i.e. Joe's vote on the Children's Museum and Helen's recent comments in the Sun-Times about expediters.)
    *Feel free to critique and challenge libertarians, republicans, democrats, independents pinko-commie nutcases, etc., etc. Otherwise, the comment section of Uptown Update wouldn't be any fun. However, there is a way to make a fair point without being truly offensive.
    *Overweight people are not fair game for ridicule. I suggest that "billyjoestwinbrother" replace the picture with one of an underwear model surfing the net. Dark hair...six pack...calvins....Who is with me?? :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. why are we wasting space talking about billyjoe? c'mon guys, there are much better things to talk about. like whips and chains....just kidding...

    and i'm sorry, until this country really starts talking about race and stops tap dancing around the real issues and worrying about being politically correct...it's a waste of time...

    ReplyDelete
  24. I have a friend who was raised there. She was raped by an adult member. When she informed the leaders, they told her she was a liar and did nothing. She saw the man who raped her every day for the next ten years. I know a child who also lived there who was raped by her father. The leaders never told the police. I know how they lied to the fire marshalls about the fire trap they call home. I know how they lied to the board of Education about their school. I know where the money goes. Thing is. So do several hundred other people. Too bad NPR just wants to talk about spankings.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Ok folks, let's keep the conversation on topic.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I wasn't referring to "metaphor" either.

    ReplyDelete
  27. metaphor,

    do you think that the city is concerned about sparking a debate on the separation of church v. state?

    If what you're saying (and other reports/rumors that have been flying around for decades) is(are) true, a full investigation should be conducted, immediately.

    Fire code violations
    Tax fraud
    Rape
    Torture

    Those things lead to questions which require answers, dontcha' think?

    ReplyDelete
  28. You are absolutely right, Jimo. That is why it really makes me angry when people who should know better go around fomenting hatred for political purposes or to make themselves feel better. The issue of race in this country is incredibly complex and difficult and we have gotten to the point where we have even lost any useful vocabulary to speak about things. For this bad outcome I blame not only bigots but people who militantly tried to provoke others into exposing their supposed underlying racism with race-baiting.

    But we are getting waaaaay off topic here. Jesus People. I am glad that they let someone from WBEZ live with them for 4 days. That is remarkable.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Peppering blog comments with grammatical corrections is a waste of time. There must be a better way for a person to blow off steam. If you are constantly picking fights using blog comments I think it is probably time to confront your boss/significant other/parent/neighbor/landlord/sibling/offspring/dog/pen pal/roommate/chimney sweep/prison warden and try to remedy whatever aspect of that relationship is making you so angry.

    ReplyDelete
  30. If it isn't clear to everyone that JPUSA is a cult at this point... Why can't the media get around the story that one Alderman is partially propped up by a cult? I guess JPUSA will have to do something really crazy before Dateline comes calling...

    ReplyDelete
  31. "I am glad that they let someone from WBEZ live with them for 4 days. That is remarkable."

    This is the better story. How did WBEZ get a reporter inside JPUSA for four days? It's not the fact that one person could stay there, but JPUSA and WBEZ and another silent partner(PR firm) brought them together.

    I don't have any information to support this, but is anyone buying the generic story that a WBEZ reporter called up JPUSA or went over there and asked to live there for four days?

    No wonder the theatres are all closed. The real performances are on every corner of Uptown.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I changed my picture so not to offend. I couldn't find one of me, so I had to use my brothers. Sorry BJ.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Still laughing! :)

    Re: "the soul..." your comment is interesting. I am usually impressed by WBEZ's reporting so I just assumed that the story was initiated by the reporter. Why not pose the question on their monitored comment section or by sending in a comment to the station? WBEZ is likely to answer your question in a fair and honest way.

    ReplyDelete
  34. "billyjoe said..."

    billyjoe, I picture you up in a small dark room, in your summer dress, rubbing yourself down with fine West African oils - hot with anticipation for the chance to spell check or troll the day away on your most hated blogs.
    Do us a favor and post your picture so we can all see what a real firebrand looks like. (firebrand, sp?)

    ReplyDelete
  35. "WBEZ is likely to answer your question in a fair and honest way."

    It's one of those questions that is difficult to ask. My expectations are asking the reporter to disclose their sources. It's unlikely they will even answer the question.

    I could phrase the question in different terms to draw out an answer that's useful, but a good reporter knows how to answer questions in ways that don't reveal any of the background that sparks the story and the report that puts its out.

    A good media critic could get these details.

    ReplyDelete
  36. It is funny how something like spankings at JPUSA keep getting brought up....Lets see was that the early 70's and was done for a very short time. A lot of mainline churches were doing that at the time of a movement called "The Shepherding Movement"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shepherding_Movement which was abandoned very shortly by JPUSA and other churches. Jesus People got it from those ministers of that movement and quickly abandoned it. Just like the many other mainstream churches that were doing it. Why bring it up. Jpusa has changed a ton since then.
    And JPUSA are of all different political beliefs, Republican, Democrat and Independent.
    Marty 20 year Member.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Marty:

    What's it like to be living in a cult?

    ReplyDelete
  38. When westerners would visit the Soviet Union during the days of the cold war, they would almost always come back with glowing reports about “How wonderful socialism is”. Alexander Solzhenitsyn commented upon this phenomenon in one of his books. I believe it was “The Cancer Ward”. He used an example of a man going down to hell for a visit. It makes for interesting reading. The point is. Visiting JPUSA for a couple of days or even a couple of months will not give you an understanding of the place. It is a VERY closed society. Unless you are indoctrinated, you simply will not see. The process often takes years. It’s unfortunate to say, but one only understands JPUSA is after one is ground up in its machinery. Just visiting will only confuse things. A visitor goes home after a time. A member has to face each day trying to navigate the system. Visitors to the USSR never had to buy food from the black market to survive. A visitor to JPUSA doesn’t have to endure the warped control system in order to survive. A system that becomes so complicated and vicious, Kafka would have throw up his hands in despair.

    ReplyDelete
  39. "I picture you up in a small dark room, in your summer dress, rubbing yourself down with fine West African oils - hot with anticipation for the chance to spell check or troll the day away on your most hated blogs."

    Scott Treacher: They call this "projecting."

    ReplyDelete
  40. Why is it surprising that someone stayed at JPUSA for a few days? That happens everyday of the week, and people and groups commonly stop in for a tour of the place.


    Why not stop in for yourself and catch a concert or get a tour? Can't handle the truth? Maybe you just want to keep believing your fairy tale and hold on to your assumptions.

    Warped control system, ha! You obviously haven't worked the jobs I have!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Well,

    Jesus did say to turn the other "cheek". So who am I to judge JPUSA and their activities.

    Personally, I find the idea of spankings without money being exchanged as abhorrent, but that's just me.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Your (self-appointed)leaders also told my friend who was raped it was a "fairy tale".

    ReplyDelete
  43. I've been to the Friendly Towers and have had conversations with JPUSA members/leaders. All very well meaning people. But JPUSA is an intentional community and therefore struggles with how to be more open to the wider community. All other accusations aside, the fact that it is a closed (but powerful) organization probably accounts for much of the skepticism. Non-JPUSA Uptowners don't want to live in a theocracy. The real challenge for JPUSA moving forward will be how to extend Christ's love to all people who live in this community.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Spoken like a true Libertarian, Irishpirate. But what do you make of their various poorly-run fire-trap homeless shelters that scourge central Uptown? Or their block voting for Helen Shiller? Other than just giving me the heeby jeebies, JPUSA has a big impact on Uptown.

    I support having beds available for the homeless, but JPUSA's ramshackle operation seems to be more for their own personal martyr complex than any meaningful way to actually help people. They should just support other operations that actually know what they're doing.

    ReplyDelete
  45. How long ago did this happen, Metaphor? I will grant that groups like this do change. It is nearly impossible to keep a community static. So, I am just wondering if this may have happened before people were really talking about sexual assault and before people in general had good ways to approach the problem in "a family."? I am not trying to be confrontational and am the last person to belittle a victim's experience. But, maybe they (as an organization) were ill-equipped to deal with such a problem but have since developed proper ways to deal with abuse amongst their ranks?

    ReplyDelete
  46. Ill- equipped? How does one not know that raping a child is a crime?
    How does one begin to justify placing the blame upon the victim, because the perpetrator was a close friend of the ruling family?
    Is rape a new concept? How about Incest? Adultery? Stealing?
    The family who runs the place has a LONG history of blaming the victim.
    Changes? What changes?
    Tell me this, Are the members allowed to vote for the “Counsel” who governs them?
    Haven’t they appointed themselves leaders for life? Mr. Cameron openly states that he was “called by God”.
    How many –new members have been raised to status of “elder” since the community began? I remember when there were 11. Now there are only 8.
    Wonder why?
    It’s called fascism.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Ok. I hope someone somewhere spoke up because if a perp will do it once and get away with it, there is no reason to believe that he will stop. I am sorry about your friend.

    ReplyDelete
  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  49. "When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time!

    But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He's all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can't handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!"


    The Late Great George Carlin (1937-2008)
    We miss you George!

    ReplyDelete
  50. And JPUSA are of all different political beliefs, Republican, Democrat and Independent.
    Marty 20 year Member.
    -Marty Phillips

    If this is true, then not all the beliefs of JPUSA residents were respected when Ald. Shiller's election posters were placed on one of the buildings owned by JPUSA and left there for many years.

    ReplyDelete
  51. JPUSA paints the slogan “Social Justice” on its walls.
    But the painting had first to be approved by the “Counsel”.

    Truth is- ALL decisions are made by the “Counsel”.
    By ALL I mean just that. The “Counsel” determines who you are allowed to talk to, to date, to visit, to marry.
    But it doesn’t stop there. Permission to have children must be first obtained by the “Counsel”.
    Instructions on the frequency of sexual relations given by the “Counsel” must be obeyed. The position one takes during intercourse can only be one that is “Counsel” approved.

    Believe me, I could go on.

    But here’s the kicker:

    You know all those ratty clothed members that are always preaching social justice, love, truth and fairness. The ones that are now telling you how to vote….

    Guess what? They are not even allowed to vote for their own leaders!

    As i've stated before, the Counsel is self-elected (This is to say each voted for the other)
    This group of 8 is largely related through blood or marriage. They are also self-appointed for life.

    How’s that for “social justice”?

    Over the years, hundreds of long time members have left in disgust over the Orwellian dictatatorship of the counsel.

    Members with a vested interest have tried time and time again to convince the “Counsel” to allow the common member a have say in something, anything. The result is always the same: NO.

    Once an individual begins to understand and speak out about the hypocrisy of the system, they are for the most part ex-communicated to such a degree that they have no choice but to leave.

    The counsel may have lost these members, but they have learned to replace them with short-term members who just want to feel spiritually superior for a summer or two.

    True, there are one or two older members, but they were pretty much brain-dead from the beginning. Never smart enough to be a threat to the system of government.

    I hope that this helps you to understand the people you are dealing with.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Arai School painted that. I do not think Jpusa had anything to do with the art. WE are for social Justice, Yes but I am pretty sure the middle school next door did it.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Metaphor (and others),

    When you said farewell to foundry I really hope it was farewell and that you have not let your (or others) bad experiences at JPUSA color the rest of your life and that you’ve gone on to great things.

    I’ll not argue about the interpretation or perspective of your comments from their context in history, but I will say that those types of things certainly don’t happen now.

    Yes, there is still basically the same 8 or 9 ‘pastors’, but they certainly do not wield any sort of absolute authority and most of the daily operational decisions are made by other individuals and/or committees. Certainly individuals are free to make their own decisions about what they do within the community. Of course there are only limited viable options, if someone is not happy about those options no one is forced to stay. People do what they do because they choose to, not because they are forced to.

    FWIW, members of JPUSA do not vote as a ‘block’. Many who are legally able to vote choose not to, and those that do vote certainly do not all vote for the same candidates. So the net votes for a particular candidate, like Ald. Schiller for instance, might be 100 or so votes. Significant perhaps, but not enough to ‘prop up’ a candidate who doesn’t have support through out Uptown.

    If folks have issues with Jesus People USA, I’d certainly rather deal with
    Contemporary issues rather then hashing up things that are 20 or 30 years old and don’t really apply to the daily functioning of the ‘intentional community’ now.

    brian grover

    ReplyDelete
  54. First, I do not understand me not making Decisions?? When I left JPUSA for 3 1/2 years in 2001 and lived in Michigan I had way more people telling me what to do. My job required me to do almost anything for little pay. I hardly seen my wife, working so much. I Make way more of my own decisions now then I ever have. I always went to a Pastor in the past wether at JPUSA or my Church in Michigan. No difference there. I have a lot more freedom here to live how I please. No One made me vote for Schiller. No One at JPUSA knows what members vote for what. I am Independent and usually vote republican but not always. As far as the signs that is Jon Trotts office most folks at JPUSA could care less if those signs are up or down. Jon's Passion is politics. That is not all of JPUSA. We are an individual melting pot of Christians. Some growing up in Christian Youth groups some coming out of drug addiction and other things. some are from families that were missionaries. You can not throw us all together. That not correct. I do not seee much of a difference living here than attending a Christian college I went to earlier in my life. You do have rules Just like at the college, Yes. It is a Christian Church after all and chaos always takes over without some kind of rules Just like a city or college campus. I pay Taxes, I have a bank account. I work. I have never felt I could not voice my own opinion.
    We are always doing improvements in my building for fire codes and the marshals are always impressed at how much we have done. WE have had problems in the past but the last 5 Years they have been impressed. Come visit us at church anytime with folks from Moody Church wuho visit often or all of the churches from across the country who volunteer almost every week. You cajn also visit any number of our Denominational brothers and sister at ant Evangelical Covenat Church who we are under (North Park Seminary) ECC is a Swedish Offshoot of the Lutheran Church. http://www.covchurch.org/

    ReplyDelete
  55. Sorry for the mis-spellings above, I was typing fast :)

    ReplyDelete
  56. Otto, I hope that you are kidding...I really hope that you are kidding about it not being the responsibility of the community to do something about something as vile and disgusting as rape. Just saying it's the victim's problem and not yours doesn't cut it with something as psychologically damaging as rape, especially child rape. You really think that a child will immediately think to call the police to say this horrible and humiliating thing happened to them?!

    I have no idea if rape has happened at JPUSA and I am not accusing them of it. However, the kind of attitude that you espouse, Otto, disgusts me to the core.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Simple question Brian:

    Are you allowed to vote for who sits on the counsel?

    If not, your freedom is an illusion.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Are you allowed to vote who your boss is at work??, Are you allowed to pick your own landlord? if you do not like your boss or Landlord you quit or move. If we voted I would keep the same people, Besides no one here wants that job anyhow. The 9 pastors are changinganyway. We have replaced some already. One left to move somewhere els and one died and were replaced. so yes changes happen. This is unique because it is Home, Church and Work. Please take all that in account.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Metaphor, I think you could put "Helen Shiller" in most of the sentences in your post and you might get a reasonable description of Uptown's political life! People who have decided to live in a community where church-is-work-is- home-is-church are probably more comfortable letting another "good" person (aka Shiller) have unchecked control over the dominion. It seems to me that it is an extension of the theocracy and that worries those of us who value both democracy and political dissent.

    So although many of us do care if JPUSA members are suffering under totalitarian control, it is the role that JPUSA plays in the wider community that draws the most suspicion. Brian says that they deliver about 100 votes for Shiller? C'mon now, we should just tell it like it is. Shiller has been an unwavering supporter of JPUSA's ministries and she not only supports the rights of the poor but she goes out of her way to slap middle class people in the face. As a known quantity, she is the obvious candidate for people who believe that what we do to the least of us we do to Jesus himself. Therefore she gets not only the JPUSA membership vote but whatever votes they can get out of the population they have helped in some way. I am sure the reasoning goes like this:

    1) JPUSA helped me/someone I know. 2) JPUSA says Helen Shiller helps them.
    3) JPUSA and others I trust have shown me who else JPUSA and Helen Shiller are helping.
    4) Lots of people around here need help and I am thankful for what I have received.
    5) I am going to vote for the person who will keep helping rather than the other person who won't help or will even do something worse!

    I don't blame anyone for coming the the conclusion in #5 but to say that JPUSA doesn't play a role in helping them get to the "self-evident" conclusion is ridiculous. The class politics and suspicions that JPUSA plays a role in maintaining certainly play a role too.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Metaphor (and everyone),

    From a political stand point, Jesus People does not function as voting democracy but more of an anarchist commune where decisions are reached by consensus of the membership rather then by a vote.

    I understand that this is an unnerving concept for people who have grown up under voting democracies, especially when there are few examples of functioning anarchist communities and most attempts at true communism (or even socialism) have been usurped by fascism.

    I’m fairly sure you would argue that the pastors within Jesus People are like the Bolsheviks within Russia warping Marx’s communism into Stalin’s soviet fascism.
    But this not the case.

    My freedom is not an illusion because my individual conscience and self interest is not constrained by any human authority. No one has ever attempted to dictate my decisions while I have lived at Jesus People.

    You make a lot of heavy accusations ‘Metaphor,. Nothing of that sort has ever happened to me while at Jesus People. I was never told when or how many children to have, nor did I feel any compulsion to seek any sort of permission or advice in that decision. Certainly no one has ever tried to influence how my wife and I choose to express our love to each other in the privacy of our own room. I could go on as well. Each point you have brought up as being under the compulsory control of the council has never worked out that way in my experience.

    I am a part of the intentional community of Jesus People USA because I choose to be a part of what JPUSA is doing.
    There have certainly been times when I’ve been involved in very vigorous dialogue with various members (pastoral and otherwise) about the general direction and decisions of the group.
    Sometimes the course I saw as best was taken and sometimes a different course was chosen, but I have always felt my ideas and opinions were fairly considered.

    ReplyDelete
  61. saskia,

    i think your analysis is accurate.

    However, the accusation is that JPUSA somehow props up Schiller when she does not have the support of the community as a whole. that is the accusation i have issue with.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Imnotelmo, I am curious. The situation that you describe is actually a pure democracy and not a representational one, which is what we participate in when we go to the polls to vote on election day. If JPUSA is an anarchist commune(a commune without governing authority or established order, I presume), then how do the council of elders fit into this?

    ReplyDelete
  63. The reason JPUSA’s rulers went with Shiller was simple:
    Orbach made the comment “I have JPUSA in my pocket”
    JPUSA’s rulers were miffed about someone claiming to have more control than they did.
    How dare Jerry Orbach try to muscle in on their turf!

    JPUSA may only deliver a few hundred votes but that is not to say that they don’t -render unto Shiller- a fair number of bodies to help the cause. I was once made to go door to door for Orbach when he was in favor. (You guessed it. I was once a member of the take my brain club).

    It seems like a lifetime ago. I rarely think of it unless the place makes the news, such as a story on NPR on in the Trib. At that point, I feel it my duty as a thinking individual to speak out against an organization I view as entirely evil.

    I am familiar with the two in the fish bowl who have posted here. I’ve heard all their silliness before. Ignorance is one thing, but willful ignorance is another. They remind me of the prisoners claimed to the floor of the cave in Plato’s parable.

    I’m just glad to see that JPUSA’s neighbors are growing wise to them. Hopefully one day they will be shut down and their rulers jailed.

    As to: decisions are reached by consensus of the membership rather then by a vote.

    I agree, it is a consensus. The Consensus of the counsel. They decide what you want.

    Don’t forget to Sieg Heil when they walk past you.

    I’m still waiting for someone to tell me that they voted for any of them.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Metaphor, can you describe the relationship between JPUSA, an old-timey machine politician and the extended community at that time? Was JPUSA just not that active in local politics? I have always thought of the JPUSA membership as a collective of various strains of 60s/70s radicalism + newer approaches to religion/spirituality. That always fit better with Shiller's style than a more mainstream Chicago democratic machine politician. Can you give me some context? Thanks.

    PS-I don't understand why a JPUSA member would be voting republican for national offices.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Cebolinha,

    I don’t know that JPUSA would fit nicely into any political definition.

    Its close to an anarchist commune in that there really isn’t an established order, but there are people whom are required to be responsible for some aspects of decision making, especially when interfacing with the larger representational capitalist democracy we are a part of, particularly when dealing with the paper work intensive bureaucracy of Chicago.

    The ‘council’ (not usually referred to as elders) tends to deal with issues that apply to JPUSA as a whole, the overall direction or ‘big picture’. The daily functional and operational decisions are made by individuals or committees closer to the task at hand. Issues or decisions that are seen as making a significant change in the course of JPUSA are discussed
    In communal meetings. This can be frustrating at times since it takes a while to reach any sort of decision and often it seems that the left hand doesn’t know what right hand is doing. Though I think we all prefer to have the emphasis on relationship and communication rather then efficiency and effectiveness. That is the ‘nutshell’ version at least.

    By the way, I completely agree with your comments on abuse. I think Otto came of rather calloused sounding and I don’t think that is really how he is.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Saskia,

    There is a lot of political diversity within JPUSA. The short answer is that some members vote primarily on ‘family values’ issues. Some rank other issues as more important or try to discern the issues that are at the root of the ‘family values’ hot button topics.

    By the way, Metaphor, if someone asked me to canvas for a politician I didn’t agree with I would simply tell them ‘no’. Did you really feel you were not at liberty to refuse?

    ReplyDelete
  67. I will cut to the chase!

    Bottom line is:
    a) they are cult
    b) the people in the cult are brainwashed and have no say because they are controlled by the leaders

    Hopefully they will be shut down because they are cult. They are not church only a cult hiding behind saying they are non-profit and a church.

    I wonder how many of them are sucking my Federal Tax dollars for food stamps, medical care etc.

    ReplyDelete
  68. sorry, my internet persona is much more into brevity than my in person one.

    ReplyDelete
  69. these discussions would be much better at a coffee house where we could see each other as people instead of names on a screen. Some of the commenters here seem to forget that there are actual humans involved.

    ReplyDelete
  70. http://www.exjpusahelp.com

    has LOTS of information on JPUSA (Just People Undergoing Spiritual Abuse)from CULT experts such as Ron Enroth and Rick Ross, former members, and the staff of Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center, a cult recovery facility that has helped numerous ex-JPUSA's move on.

    If one goes to the Uptown Update Forum (see the link on this site's homepage, in the column of links starting on the top right hand side of the page), there are two topics I have posted: One is about the exjpusahelp site and the other is a link to an ex-Children of God (the infamous child-sex cult) site in which a former member mentions JPUSA's history of child molestation. I know of one individual personally who consulted a lawyer a few years ago about their molestation, was told they could get $1million+, but, they backed down because they didn't want to rehash everything in court. Understandable of course, but maddening, due to the fact that JPUSA dodged yet another bullit

    There are two main defenders of JPUSA:

    Eric Pement, a former 25 year member of JPUSA who is now the vice-president of Evangelical Ministries to New Religions, a counter-cult group. In true JPUSA fashion, Pement has been able to cozy up to legitimate groups that expose cults, and, especially due to the fact that Pement is (ironically) an expert on cults, he has been able to deflect away attention from JPUSA, and/or he has been able to explain things away. Even though his own wife, Barbara (their marriage was arranged by the JPUSA leadership) spent two weeks at Wellspring a few years ago, Eric STILL denies that JPUSA is a cult! Denial on steroids.

    The other, and most infamous and despised defender of JPUSA is Jon Trott. While not a leader at JPUSA, Trott is the CULT's own in-house attack dog. (He may be posting here anonymously already.)
    He can be reached at 773-561-2450, ext.4249.

    It's been refreshing to see former JPUSA's here spill their guts about what has gone on inside this CULT.

    GODSPEED to their efforts to expose this CULT and GODSPEED to the bringing to justice of the leadership of JPUSA.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Mark, is there any chance that the serious JPUSA abuses existed in the past and are not ongoing? As an outsider, I am really trying to be openminded because I want to believe that communities such as this can be successful. When I read what everyone has to say I mainly note evidence of problems that happened years ago. I note ideas/practices that were tried but abandoned and former relationships (i.e. children of god) that were abandoned as well. This makes sense to me because I see JPUSA folks as being prone to trying out new things in the realm of communal living & spirituality. However, the group's longevity signifies that they have to be abandoning things that may not work and that members would object to.

    Please understand that I really do appreciate hearing from people who want to speak up about this group. And, I am not trying to challenge what you have to say. But what do you have to say about what is currently going on at JPUSA? Not to deny the experiences of older ex-members, but what do the most recent ex-members have to say?

    ReplyDelete
  72. saskia-

    Glad you asked, as I was just looking up a link to post here that may provide you with come answers.

    http://www.jpusainfo.yuku.com is a site that was started up 7+ years ago by an anonymous ex-JPUSA. ( It was assigned a moderator a few days ago, so things may be changing there.)

    If you go to the "Theology" section and look for the posts by "Neo", you will be able to read info he/she has shared about the current state of JPUSA.

    (The jpusainfo.yuku site - formerly an ezboard site - had a block placed on it years ago by the leadership, so there is no longer a lot of activity on it. That is just one example of the leadership's practice of information control, an earmark of a cult.

    Although I've been asked not to forward on the e-mail, I was told recently by someone about what still continues to go on there.
    It's not good. The leadership is very good at hiding the abuse that goes on there, and with individuals like "otto" (is that you, Jon Trott?) revealing just how warped/twisted/criminal a JPUSA members thinking can become, it's not hard to understand how they are able to keep a lid on things.

    JPUSA is led by a small handful of individuals who have the same vocabulary as Christians, but a TOTALLY different dictionary. Same words, different meanings.

    ReplyDelete
  73. A question that comes to mind is:

    If one is happy with the concept of ruling by an un-voted consensus, why don’t you apply that same logic to your Alderman?

    Let the neighborhood decide by an un-voted consensus.
    Let Chicago decide who is mayor by the same method.
    Why stop there? Let the nation decide by an un-voted consensus on who is to by president.

    Maybe the “counsel” should determine the consensus.

    Speaking of which, where are they? Aren’t you tired of carrying their water?

    On another note:

    If memory serves me, it was an individual named Ray Langer who was pilloried by JPUSA in the 80’s for gentrifying Uptown.

    However, JPUSA saw no problem with selling its 3 properties on Malden, the 1 on Wilson and the one on Paulina for a huge profit.

    Apparently the sin of Mr. Langer was that he was only a businessman, not a superior spiritual being such as exist to JPUSA.

    I well remember the day when the Counsel came down from on high and declared: “We have decided that we will sell our buildings (in which the workers spent ten years renovating) and we will be moving to another building on Chelsea”. (For you to fix up as well).

    I remember a large portion of us asking “who is we?” No of us were consulted. None of us had a say.

    Why do you think nearly 30% of the members left within a year?

    Can you say: “who is John Galt?”

    ReplyDelete
  74. saskia-

    Because of the switch-over from ezboard to yuku, the original home page of the ex-jpusa site I posted about above was left off.

    It's at http://www.angelfire.com/zine/jpusainfo/

    Click on the "OPEN LETTER" link , written and updated 4-6 years ago, for an extremely long list of grievances and recommendations that many ex-JPUSA's sent to the leadership. It's perhaps the most revealing look yet about what goes on at JPUSA.

    P.S. - Something to remember when dealing with the leadership of any cult -with apologies to the author of "Love Story"- "Being a cult leader means never having to say you're sorry."

    ReplyDelete
  75. Mark,

    otto is my birth name. I don't think John would ever be to brief in his online responses, quite the opposite I think.

    Can you find any current problems at JPUSA to gripe about? Where does your vendetta against John stem from? How long did you live there and when? I assume you have much personal experience since you share so much information, you must have been a long time member.

    ReplyDelete
  76. If Mark Allen Scheiderer lived here, it was not very long. If it is the Mark I remember. I know Otto Lives here...

    ReplyDelete
  77. Otto/Trott-

    "Current problems?", you ask? Check out the links I just posted.

    "Vendetta against John"( I assume you meant JON Trott), you ask?
    How is one statement posted today at 1:03 p.m ( ...is that you, Jon Trott...) a "vendetta".

    How does the length of time I spent there invalidate all of the testimonies of people who have left JPUSA during the past THIRTY YEARS?!?!?!?! Why do the complaints against Jpusa NEVER stop?!?!?!?!

    Your mind set is EXACTLY like Trott's. You don't see the community as responsible in dealing with rape cases, and instead place the responsiblity on the victim and the police. You want to take the discussion to a coffee house so that the entire world can't read about J-PUKE-A on the net.

    Like Trott, you don't deal with the issues discussed. You resort to invective and ad hominem attacks.

    What someone needs to do is contact law enforcement, and have a profiler look at your posts! You've got skeletons in your closet!

    What brought Warren Jeffs - leader of the FLDS polygamist sect in Utah/Arizona/Texas - to justice was ex-members working along side of law enforcement and concerned local citizens. It was a multi-pronged attack. THAT IS WHAT WILL BRING THE JPUSA LEADERSHIP DOWN!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  78. Meaning no offense to JPUSA folks, but I've read comments about "wanting JPUSA shut down" and must beg this question: while claiming you don't want to spend tax dollars on JPUSA residents, why in the world would you want to guarantee you'd have to spend even more money on those forced to rely on assistance/the government because they don't even have JPUSA to help them? After being there, many would not have the ability to function in "the real world." Whatever its flaws--and I note many of the issues are long dead ones; stretching, much?--JPUSA is at least offering more support to many than the government usually does. I'd rather see a former-cult continue on their improvements than people winding up on the streets by being "turned out."

    ReplyDelete
  79. Imnotelmo, thank you for the response. Your description clarifies things a bit, although it still seems quite structured to me if you have a council at the top and series of committees. Nothing wrong with that, mind you, but not really anarchic.

    I earlier said thanks to Otto when I should have thanked you instead for the response. A big error on my part, since Otto seems content to let his earlier remarks stand...

    ReplyDelete
  80. This is my final thought to everyone. With wild accusations and people saying some things that are hurtful to some or speculations on a place that some of you never visited and some of you did. Some in a distant past that is no longer the current Jesus People. The history of JPUSA is one born of the 70’s of people from drugs or broken homes. Jesus People was started by young people whom many had problems because we are all human with or without Christ. There will always be problems in JPUSA because 1. It has people in it. 2. Christians are not perfect, we are just as messed up as Non-Christians sometimes and this is why we are so desperate to follow Christ who was perfect (not all JPUSA’s may be Christians). JPUSA will not and can not save us from our humanity. We are individuals in a communal Church. JPUSA had problems in our young past that we have worked on. Like any Church we are not perfect. That Said, JPUSA has always allowed me to be who I am.
    In our Jobs and life at JPUSA or in another state working or living some other “system” I have always had people to be accountable to at work or church. Some I give an account to some account to me. If I were a Foreman or Manager at my job I have to delegate some authority be it hopefully a kind way of communicating. We all live in those areas wither you are Married or hold a job or are part of any community in life Christian or not. I would live the same as I do know Living here or moving back to Michigan. I prefer here.
    JPUSA is no better than anyone else we are humans struggling like everyone else we just try to live and lean on Jesus in our Dailey lives because we are desperate to lean on Jesus for help. Not a certain Church or community. As far as Shiller goes if she were not re-elected I would be the first to not really care all that much because I do not rely on my Alderman or my Mayor I rely on Christ and Him alone. I have been a Christian long enough to see God move in the face of anything and if there is no more JPUSA and no more Helen there will always be the one that I am desperate to know because my own human frailty and downfalls and that is Jesus Christ. So keep your politically arguments and your Cult talk and your past allegations, You can even keep Jpusa. That is not who I rely on. I rely on Christ. All of you are just as important to Him as I am or anyone else writing here. In that way we are all the same messed up humans looking desperately for salvation. Marty

    ReplyDelete
  81. Thanks, Mark, for directing me to the open letter. As I see it, is is a well-written, loving and coherent critique. I have a much better understanding of the current issues that are not related to (as Marty indicates) mistakes in the church's earlier years.

    It is so clear that some very fine people have passed through the doors of JPUSA over the years. For the health of that community and for how it affects the larger one, I hope that the group might begin to engage in an extended period of self-reflection. Is there any way that the larger community could help in that? Also, has the number of people leaving kept apace?

    ReplyDelete
  82. Otto/Trott-

    Correction to my above post: I also made a comment about Trott at 12:29 today. Two comments are hardly a "vendetta". You're trying to deflect attention away from JPUSA and onto me. A typical cult defender tactic.

    Marty Phillips-

    Please keep posting! It's giving everyone insight into the JPUSA mindset.

    Tell you friends and other JPUSAites about this blog. Invite the leadership. Let's hear from them.

    ReplyDelete
  83. saskia-

    I believe it was in the "Open Letter" that mention is made of the fact that the JPUSA leadership simply crossed out portions of the Evangelical Covenant Church's ( the denomination the JPUSA leadership affiliated with a few years ago to give the appearence of accountability ) guidelines that they didn't wish to implement. They have the "appearence" of accountability,legitimacy, and democracy, but no actual equality is present. JPUSA is simply the feifdom of the leadership.

    The leadership will NEVER change and will NEVER be open to dialogue that results in change. They were approached about 5 years ago by some counter-cult experts who asked for the names and contact info of those who left JPUSA with positive testimonies. They ( the counter-cult experts whom I know personally) are STILL waiting for a reply.
    Why doesn't the leadership start up an open discussion board where pro-JPUSA's or anyone else can post? Because they know that if word got around about it, it would be FLOODED with stories of abuse!

    I was told last week that for every person there(approx. 300) there are about 20 that have left since JPUSA's inception, most with negative experiences. That would be roughly 6000 former vs. 300 current.

    Crimes still occur, but the silencing mechanisms have been maintained and improved.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Mark,

    Google has gobs of posts from you listed elsewhere, how can you blatantly ignore those? Not very honest of you sir. Show some integrity if you have any.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Ok Lets just say I know OTTO and I know Jon and They are 2 Seperate people. Otto does pics for weddings and does the youth groups and coordinating around the house. Jon works at the shelter. I am not trying to do the JPUSA mindset but a Christian Mindset. That we are all sinners saved by grace alone. Blessings, Marty

    ReplyDelete
  86. I'm with Marty. I don't know any of these cats but coming from someone who has a tendency to be longwinded myself I know that it is hard to turn it off!!! Trott is longwinded. Otto is not. Not that I really care if Otto were Trott anyway but--hey--why not concede the issue just to be friendly! :)

    Also, I am pleased to see that some JPUSA people have made it to Uptown Update and I look forward to their comments on other non-JPUSA threads. Maybe some folks might be interested in engaging in a productive dialog about things related to the management of their various ministries around Uptown and such.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Mark,
    According to your profile you were part of this group? http://www.eth-s.com/
    did you even live at JPUSA? how many groups were you in??

    ReplyDelete
  88. Otto-
    I don't understand the point you are trying to make above, and , in light of your comment at 10:53 p.m, on July 9, I don't care if I ever understand the point you are trying to make.

    Marty-
    You can say what you will about me, and ask me all the personal questions you want. I see no need to answer them, since I'm not the topic of discussion here, JPUSA is. It amazes me that others at other sites ignore what I say, ignore the info on the links that I provide and simply retaliate with personal attacks.
    You are doing what cult defenders have a habit of doing: deflecting attention off the testimonies of those who have been hurt by the cult, "shooting the messenger", etc. You are nothing more that someone who is putting their hands over their ears and shouting "NaNaNaNaNa! I can't hear you!"

    ReplyDelete
  89. http://www.meadowhaven.org is the site of Meadowhaven, the world's only long term cult recovery facility located in Massachusetts, U.S.A.
    Their phone number is 508-947-9571 and they accept collect calls.
    According to their site,"No one will ever be denied participation due to their lack of financial resources."
    They offer a wholistic approach to cult recovery, do NOT demand that people leaving any cult become Christians, and are busier than ever helping people.

    ReplyDelete
  90. if things were really as horrifically awful as some folks are alleging (which often seems to be cut and paste from other anti-JPUSA postings) i think JPUSA would have suffered viable legal action long ago.

    whatever one may think about certain people within JPUSA controlling others, they certainly would hold no sway over law enforcement or courts.

    JPUSA is not a closed system, we are part of the Evangelical Covenant Church and interface with many individuals and organizations (Christian and 'secular'). If JPUSA is really as horrendous as some folks accuse isn't it reasonable to assume that some of these other organizations or the governing body of the Evangelical Covenant Church would have taken action on some of these issues?

    the accusations often seem crazy and conspiratorial to me.

    that's not to say that individuals within JPUSA or the organization as a whole have never made mistakes. we try to learn and grow from those mistakes, and yes that involves a lot of self reflection.
    i, for one, would be more then happy to have a rational dialogue with anyone that we live and work around. i wouldn't assume to speak for others, but i know i'm not alone in that sentiment.

    i probably won't comment more in this thread, i'd rather spend the time with my kids.

    brian

    ReplyDelete
  91. I agree with Brian. I left Jpusa and had no beef and came back. Moody as well as Uptown Baptist and others work with us all the time. Our doors are always open come on by. see ya. Blessings, Marty

    ReplyDelete
  92. Brian and Marty,
    I'm not sure what lessons you learned, but the one in need of learning something is Jon Trott. He's done more to damage JPUSA's reputation than anyone. Of course, it didn't help any that you crammed so many homeless shelters on the 4600 block of Clifton and did a miserable job of managing them. When anyone questioned it, they were quickly accused of hating poor people, which I found to be a clever way of avoiding any accountability.

    Inviting people over (please don't offer kool-aide) is not going to cut it on reviving your reputation. The way JPUSA flaunted their distain for the law by illegally posting up Shiller's campaign poster shows another example of the true nature that we have all come to see for too long in this neighborhood.

    I suppose you're trying to show us Jesus, but I would have a hard time seeing that with some of the tactics pulled by some of your followers.

    ReplyDelete
  93. yes, the buildings on Clifton need a lot of work and organizational improvements. Those things are slowly happening. i think a lot of the extreme reaction came from the perception that folks simply wanted the programs shutdown rather then ways to improve how things were being done.

    i can't really speak for Jon, but my guess is that he felt the way he was posting the signs was akin to someone putting one up in their private residence.

    My main point was that with the volume of people that visit JPUSA each year and all the other organizations that we interface with
    that if things were so horrific as some people accuse that someone would have taken notice long ago and viable legal action would have resulted.

    i think all of the residents of Uptown would like to see it cleaner and nicer. see the old buildings fixed up and more and better services brought to the community.
    we differ on what we feel is the best way to do that. Also, we at JPUSA, feel it's important to not forget those with less income and resources. we'd prefer trying to better their situations and prospects rather then just pushing people out of the neighborhood.

    i think we need a lot more dialogue because i think there are many issues where we can all come together to get good things done for Uptown, we just keep focusing on the areas where we don't see eye to eye.

    ReplyDelete
  94. Also, we at JPUSA, feel it's important to not forget those with less income and resources. we'd prefer trying to better their situations and prospects rather then just pushing people out of the neighborhood.

    And I guess we don't care, right? If you really cared, I mean if you really truly cared, why would you put so many shelters on one street? It's evident to the rest of the community that JPUSA has no clue when enough is enough when it comes to how many homeless shelters you can place in one neighborhood. Screw research on what works best. You are going to put more shelter beds in no matter what effect it has on the rest of the community. Ignore the crime on your block. As a matter of fact, deny it and tell people they are racists when they complain.

    On top of that, you did not follow the guidelines required by the city to allow Sylvia Center to operate. You thumbed your nose at those requirements and blanketed it with "but we care about the homeless!"

    You have more than just damage control to contend with. You have a whole heap of denial.

    ReplyDelete
  95. And by the way, Jon knows better about the Shiller signs. Quit making excuses for him. He thinks he's above the law, but his "little funny" placed JPUSA at risk for losing their tax exemption.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Also, we at JPUSA, feel it's important to not forget those with less income and resources. we'd prefer trying to better their situations and prospects rather then just pushing people out of the neighborhood.

    Notice the little subtle passive-aggressive jab when you mention "pushing people out of the neighborhood". Are you saying we residents are pushing them? Did you also forget to mention that most of your referrals are people living outside of Uptown?

    Dialogue? You're not ready for it. You're still pushing your propaganda.

    ReplyDelete
  97. It is time to get real, people. Everybody knows that the resources are here because of Uptown's post WWII decline which made this one neighborhood THE place to start various "people's movements," not because this neighborhood continues to have the most needy people. It has remained an epicenter for social programs because while things did take off here, the movements never gained more ground nationally. In fact, everything went in the opposite direction. Other areas of Chicago (and the region) are still bereft of homeless shelters, food programs/pantries, affordable housing advocates, work rehabilitation programs, ex-offender programs, drug rehab programs and half-way houses. Federal funding has been cut. Besides funding, you’ve got NIMBY wherever you go. The result has been a tacit agreement that services should stay here even though it would make better sense to work toward more even development across the city and region. This tacit agreement works for those with democratic machine clout (look-y how they are profiting off the south loop and "reclaiming" areas around ethnic neighborhoods like Bridgeport) and it works for those with progressive clout because it bolsters their power base and because agglomerated services are easier to manage fiscally and organizationally.

    So let's stop with the BS about "pushing people out of Uptown." The people who are really being "pushed out" (if you can say they are being “pushed”) are working class recent immigrants, young people with low incomes and middle class/lower middle class people who want better schools for their kids. But I've said it before and I will say it again---Uptown is not an island. It may have had a period of time when political forces allowed it to act as if it was, but now that time is coming to an end. Housing is more expensive here because it is so everywhere.

    As I see it, the reason for all the continued tension isn’t “good” vs. “evil” (how simplistic can you get folks???) but something more basic. Local property owners (who are here for community, history, price and location) have little incentive to perpetuate the tacit agreement that those with clout have forged. There is nothing in it for them. There are no better city services, no influx of resources that would benefit everyone, no higher property values, no drop in crime and no better schools, etc. This idiotic class warfare propaganda is needlessly polarizing the community but it is also preventing “the powers” from seeing opportunities to “buy off” middle class property owners with things that are important to them. Doing that would probably go a long way to eroding the growing and angry base of voters who may be losing their capacity to keep an open mind and open heart to the sorts of people who have long found a home in Uptown.

    ReplyDelete
  98. holy moley! holy moley,

    no i'm not implying any hate towards the poor or malicious intention on your end. the poor are often forgotten or their concerns not really considered. their needs are often just overlooked. we at JPUSA just want to make sure we don't forget them.

    yes, not all the folks at our various programs originated in Uptown. care for the poor is a city wide issue.

    yes, our buildings on Clifton are in need of a lot of repair and the design and space allocation needs a lot of work.

    But if those of us in Uptown spend our energies and resources squabbling with each other we won't get anywhere.

    no one wants to see the neighborhood get trashed, everyone would like to see things a bit nicer.

    At some point one has to deal with the issue of people in poverty and
    adequate housing. At some point some one has to deal with the root causes. just moving the poor around without offering the possibility of empowerment and betterment is not solving the problem, it's just moving it out of view.

    But yes, all of us (poor, affluent and otherwise) live here in Uptown
    and JPUSA, in our desire to help those less fortunate, has often been insensitive to being respectful to our other neighbors as well.

    i think that can change.

    i really do think we can all find a way to work together to ensure that Uptown is a great neighborhood to live in. But we need to be able to talk with each other first.

    ReplyDelete
  99. saskia,

    i pretty much agree with your last post.

    ReplyDelete
  100. It is nice to hear from you, imnotelmo.

    ReplyDelete
  101. A funny story comes to mind regarding JPUSA’s affiliation with the Swedish Covenant church.

    A long time member (Who has since left) used to help out at the Swedish Convent church during the time of the merger.

    An older woman was reading her Swedish Bible. The member asked if she would like an English translation. The Woman replied: “If the Swedish Bible was good enough for Jesus. It’s good enough for me”.

    This illustration goes a long way into explaining why JPUSA, an organization that prides itself on being at the “cutting edge” of Christianity, would choose to merge with an out-dated obsolete church.

    It should be pretty obvious that JPUSA’s rulers chose the Swedish Covenant because they were clueless, powerless but at the same time had a nice history and a good solid name.

    I’ll give JPUSA’s rulers credit for one thing: They sure know how to cover their own ends.

    Regarding Brian’s statement:
    -if things were so horrific as some people accuse that someone would have taken notice long ago and viable legal action would have resulted.

    Maybe reversing the question would provide a clearer perspective:
    How would an individual who was raised within JPUSA hope to win a case against it? JPUSA is a multi-million dollar organization, complete with its own legal department and a spin machine that runs full tilt 24/7.

    Perhaps JPUSA having a strong tie to an Alderman would make such an attempt more difficult.

    The main factor is that when most people leave, they spend several years just trying to forget about it, to stop bleeding internally.

    It’s a difficult thing to swallow: realizing that you’ve been betrayed by something you believed in so passionately. The more you invest, the easier you are to control. The more you invest, the harder it is to leave.

    Both sides of JPUSA (In and Out) have long since stopped caring about each others opinions.

    My intent in contributing is just to help inform the readers of this blog (the Neighborhood) regarding things that they may find of interest. Things not spoken about during the WBEZ story.

    I sit back comfortably in the knowledge that JPUSA’s doings will one day be brought to light. I sympathize with its neighbors because I know fully who they are dealing with.

    I also know that time is on my side. I’ve heard all the justifications and explanations many-many times over the years. Eventually the owners of those voices will sadly pack up and leave, as have countless other voices. (myself included).

    ReplyDelete
  102. What did you say to people who questioned JPUSA when you were a member, metaphor? Did your family or friends or someone outside the group give you reason to come to JPUSA's defense? If so, what did you say?

    ReplyDelete
  103. metaphor,

    many people have come through JPUSA.

    some had good experiences, some had bad, i imagine some were fairly indifferent.

    many of the folks who visited JPUSA short term or lived there longer and decided to move onto other things have no problems or animosity towards JPUSA.

    i'm not trying to devalue your experience or perspective. just saying that it is not universal.

    FWIW, i don't post here as an agent of some spin machine. my
    activity here is my own personal choice to try and foster some healthy dialogue with my neighbors.

    ReplyDelete
  104. Healthy dialog is good. Bravo to that sentiment and perhaps to a shift in Uptown's winds.

    On another note, this has been fascinating to me. I'm going to hit the library and check some of the books that were involved in the controversy and such.

    ReplyDelete
  105. But if those of us in Uptown spend our energies and resources squabbling with each other we won't get anywhere.

    Actually, our efforts to address these problems in the past with JPUSA have been useless. Your community thumbed its nose at us and accused us of hating poor people and "pushing" them out of the neighborhood. You caused the polarization that exists here, along with your alderman.

    You have some repair work to do because Helen won't be in power much longer and no one who comes in after her will tolerate the games your community has been playing. If you are sensing any anger, it been anger from many of us that has been built up for many years. Quite frankly, I don't know how you're going to repair your reputation now. I can say this though, it will take more than some praying.

    ReplyDelete
  106. Saskia

    I just wanted to say your post regarding Pushing people of Uptown was great.

    I really made me think because it strikes me as the nuts and bolts of the entire matter.

    I think this many also answer your question regarding what I said and did while I was a member for almost ten years.

    It seems to me that the true disconnect (I think the term fits) between JPUSA and it’s neighbors is the result of HOW you think rather than WHAT you think.

    Back when I was a member in the 80’s, JPUSA had a lot of long time members and a sizable skilled labor force. At that time, JPUSA made most of its money through general contracting. I worked (or rather was forced to work) as an electrician.

    Sometimes these houses were quite large and were spent months working on them. During those times, we were able to get to know the owners on a semi-formal basis.

    It was an odd experience. I almost always liked the people we worked for, but I just couldn’t understand them. What I mean is; there I was, a twenty something guy living in a commune for Jesus, because I wanted to be part of something larger than myself. I wanted my life to have meaning.

    For the life of me, I just couldn’t understand why someone would want to have a life that involved having a nice car, a good job and a decent house in a good neighborhood. It just seemed empty to me.

    I can’t say that I thought myself better than the people I worked for. I just couldn’t understand the mindset.

    My departure from JPUSA was difficult. Don’t get me wrong, there was no love lost between us, I would’ve have had to lobotomize myself to not see what was going on.

    Even though I left JPUSA because I knew that the place was horribly corrupt and certainly no place to raise my child, I still felt that a life spent in trying to live like everybody else was hollow.

    I can’t say when it was, but one day I realized that how I looked at those people whom I worked for was in error.

    You see, I thought that the people I worked for never thought about the big questions. JPUSA taught through comments of it's leaders and by its actions that those people only gave lip service to helping others and caring about the less fortunate.
    That’s not to say that it didn’t bother them, just not enough to really do something -like give up everything and live in a commune.-

    I know. Crazy.

    But that’s really the underlying essence of how JPUSA’s leaders look at everyone else. That’s why they justify what they do: Because YOU are too shallow to care.
    Laws, ethics and other concerns can be ignored, skirted, bent and broken because they are in Mr. Cameron’s words: are “Called by God” That’s why it doesn’t matter how many homeless shelters they stick in your neighborhood causing crime and bringing down property values. Their commune will always beat your capitalism because it’s a higher call.

    The almighty Community comes before the welfare of its neighbors and even its own members. (Unless of course that member is of the ruling family)

    That’s why crimes like rape and incest and fraud are covered up. Because the knowledge of the crimes might sully the name of JPUSA and its leaders, and JPUSA most go on. God told it's leaders so.

    ReplyDelete
  107. Your post made me think too, metaphor. Thanks. When you say "the true disconnect between JPUSA and it’s neighbors is the result of HOW you think" I think you are on to something. There is just something unique about a group of people who are willing to submit their individuality to a more immediately tangible sociality than people who are living a mainstream lifestyle. But as you point out, however, the mainstream people are equally able to be thoughtful about spiritual matters, social justice, crass materialism or what have you. There are many different ways to live a life. For far too long people who haven't been "on message" and unflinching in their support for the "good" leader(s) have been (as some in that camp have said) "rightly shut out." Rather than shutting people out for their supposed moral inferiority and insensitivity, it is high time that people stop paying lip service to our diverse socioeconomic community and start figuring out how to actually create one. I am not sure if the faster turnover at JPUSA helps or hurts moving in this direction?

    ReplyDelete
  108. i don't know of anyone within JPUSA that believes that people outside of JPUSA are to shallow to care.

    nor do i know of anyone who feels that we are somehow better then anyone else because we choose to live communally.

    ReplyDelete
  109. though i do agree with metaphor that there is a difference in perspective that can make clear communication challenging.

    FWIW i do know metaphor to be a thoughtful and witty person as well as a great upright bass player and lyricist.

    i just believe it is possible for someone to have a positive experience at JPUSA and he does not

    ReplyDelete
  110. Brian

    What kind of a person would I be if I remained at JPUSA after witnessing what myself and HUNDREDS of others have witnessed?

    What sort of monster would I become if I chose to ignore and negate account after account after account from former members after I left?

    How can I not look at those former members and not say: My God! I lived with you, but I never knew you! I only saw the person JPUSA painted you to be.

    How can I sweep away the horizon and say: It was just a bad experience?

    How many lives have to be destroyed until you start to guess that maybe- just maybe, your perception has been lost to any reality except JPUSA?

    ReplyDelete
  111. At 8:31 a.m. today "Imnotelmo" (Brian) said,"...if things were so horrific as some people accuse that someone would have taken notice long ago and viable legal action would have resulted."

    That may now be possible because of what happened recently with the FLDS/Warren Jeffs issues down in Utah/Arizona. (An excellent account of this is recorded in the just published book "When Men Become Gods".) Jeffs ruled this cult for years and was seemingly invincible, getting away with crime after crime, and able to dodge the laws of the U.S. and evade capture. Justice eventually won out and now he's in Supermax prison AND has a long, long list of other crimes that he must stand trial for.

    With enough ex-JPUSA's coming forward and contacting the proper ravenously-hungry-shark/lawyer, the JPUSA leadership can be brought to justice. Like ALL cult leaders, time is their enemy. Their arrogance will lead to carelessness, resulting in their demise.

    Metaphor-
    I don't know if you're posting under a different name on the Chicago Public Radio site, but those folks need to find out about this site. Unfortunately, you can't post html's there.

    ReplyDelete
  112. metaphor,

    i don't doubt your conviction.

    and i'm glad you are willing to take a stand for what you believe.

    but i also can not discount the accounts of people who have had good experiences at JPUSA (whether they were here for a short visit or long) and whose live have been effected in positive ways because of their interaction with JPUSA.

    it's not so black and white.

    from the stories i had heard of the early days, had i come to Jesus People in the 70s rather then the mid 80s i probably would not have stayed.

    by the time i joined change was happening and has continued to happen and i think the trajectory has been in a good direction.

    true, it's only been in more recent times (last 15 or so years) that Jesus People as a group has developed a reliably workable means for people transitioning in and out of community. before then some folks did fine and some had a lot of trouble, now days i think it's pretty smooth for about everyone. and some of those more rocky transitions were not always handle in the best way. But JPUSA as a group really does do its best to learn from those experiences.

    If it means anything perspective wise my last 23 years have not been solely at JPUSA.

    i really do honestly and truly hope for the best for you, metaphor. i'm glad to have known you and i hope our paths may cross again on happier terms (Tuvan throatsinging may play well with jazzy upright).

    i am also hopeful for more cooperative and congenial relations between all the people of Uptown,
    and i acknowledge that there is much that JPUSA needs to do in that effort.

    ReplyDelete
  113. Mark,

    we aren't hiding anything.

    the only reason i wouldn't welcome a court action, as it would hopefully
    get down to facts rather then accusation, is that it would draw our resources away from those we are trying to work with.

    ReplyDelete
  114. It was St. Vincent DePaul who once stated, "It's not enough to do good. One must do good well."

    JPUSA, you need to be committed to doing good well. Uptown is getting tired of low standards. Good intentions don't cut it anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  115. i agree with DePaul.

    do you have practical and viable suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
  116. I am a former JPUSA member who lived and served there for quite a few years.

    Unlike "Metaphor" and Mark Scheiderer who just created their user names on blogger in July to post here (go ahead, click), I have a blog connected to my name where you can see my picture, read some personal information about me, and check out the links and things I find interesting.

    Oh, and unlike Mark who never lived at JPUSA, I was an active member. Marty can vouch for that. So can the pictures that I'll be putting up in the next few days of me and many beloved friends that I had the pleasure of hanging out with a few days ago and who are still active members.

    Oh! And I also volunteered to be interviewed for the radio broadcast, but Shannon was looking for a "scandolous" former JPUSA's story and my positive didn't fit the bill. Talk about unbiased journalism. *rolls eyes*

    Mark can also be found on other sites meant to be for folks who have been or are members of JPUSA. He has a clear obsession with JPUSA that (in my opinion)stems from his own unresolved issues with an actual cult that he was a part of.

    Fortunately, there are many good doctors and medicines that can help him.

    ReplyDelete
  117. Just another one of many ad hominem attacks by another JPUSA member.

    ReplyDelete
  118. Holey Moley-

    You are correct, sir!(or Ms./Miss/Mrs. as the case may be!)

    I had some misgivings about posting about this blog on the http://www.jpusainfo.yuku.com site since I knew there was the possibility of Joyce and other Jpusa-defenders/abuse-and-crime-deniers showing up here. There are also a few open minded individuals on the board who would be civil if they posted here, so it was worth a shot. The more ex-Jpusa's there are that know about the various spleen-ventilation sites on the net, the better.

    Joyce and a few others at other sites have repeatedly resorted to ad hominem attacks on myself, just as imnotelmo and otto did. It's amazing. It's almost like they're following a script or something. Jon Trott and the leadertwits at JPUSA did the same thing to Ron Enroth when he wrote about J-PUKE-A in his book "Recovering From Churches That Abuse" ( available in it's entirety at http://www.exjpusahelp.com )

    You basically have to learn to put up with anything you say or do being subject to accusation. ( I once posted ONE time on Joyce's blog and to her PM box on jpusainfo.yuku and she quickly posted on the jpusainfo.yuku site that I had "flooded" her inbox.)
    I think it has to do with intolerance or denial or something. Who knows? She'll probably gripe about me again on jpusainfo.yuku or try to get me kicked off.

    I actually spent a few days at JPUSA, but, since I post negative things about JPUSA - i.e. THE TRUTH - I'm persona non grata at jpusainfo.yuku. Yet, there is a person that posts there who spent one week at JPUSA, who posts positive things about JPUSA, so he's totally welcome. Basically, Joyce and a very, very, very small number of people feel I don't have the "qualifications" to post the TRUTH about JPUSA.

    The thing you have to understand about jpusainfo.yuku is that it was started up around 7 years ago by an anonymous ex-JPUSA who wanted people to have a place to tell their stories. I discovered it a few months after start up. For the first few years it was very busy and the OVERWHELMING consensus was that JPUSA damaged people. There were maybe 3-4 positive current and former JPUSA's who posted positive opinions about the place. The site eventually died down, and now it has about a half-dozen infrequent posters, about half of which are pro-JPUSA.

    There is one other "anti-JPUSA" person on the site - besides myself - who posts about the latest goings on at JPUSA. They go by the username of "Neo" and can be found on one thread in the "Theology" section of the site.

    One other thing: Shannon Heffernan contacted me about 4 weeks ago and asked me if I knew of any ex-JPUSA's who were either PRO or CON. She was NOT, NOT, NOT just looking for " a "scandolous" former JPUSA's story." I gave her the link to jpusainfo.yuku and one other person's e-mail - who Shannon wasn't able to make contact with. She made every effort to find BOTH sides of the story, told me that she had a few positive ones - those inside of course - and needed a negative one. She found Luke. I told her that many ex-JPUSA's with negative stories to tell, i.e. THE MAJORITY OF EX-JPUSA's , either wanted to move on or were too raw and hurt to talk.

    I don't know if anyone else here has said it, but I will: I thought Shannon's short piece on JPUSA was great. She let Luke share about the abuses , and the non-sense coming out of the mouths of those still at JPUSA spoke for itself - THE PLACE IS A CULT!

    There is one thing the net needs: A site that allows NO dialogue , and only has the stories of those who have been hurt by JPUSA. That's it. Just testimonies.

    ReplyDelete
  119. Question: If the Swedish Covenant Church is such an "obsolete," "clueless" and "powerless" church, how come their enclave on Foster Ave. between California and Kimball (hospital and college) has grown in size and prestige over the last decade?

    And BTW, for what it's worth, there are residents of Friendly Towers who receive visits and communion from personnel from St. Mary's (Catholic) Church.

    ReplyDelete
  120. I don't see them as obsolete myself, just clueless.

    ReplyDelete
  121. Gayle: There may be a "Swedish Covenant Church" somewhere, but the church JPUSA is affiliated with is called the Evangelical Covenant Church.

    It runs Swedish Covenant Hospital, North Park University, Covenant Village and other ministries. Its roots are in the Swedish Lutheran movement.

    You might consider getting the name of the church right before rushing to its defense.

    I was a lifelong "Covvie" until the church affiliated with JPUSA. I still have the greatest respect for its theology and members. The leadership's judgment? Not so much.

    ReplyDelete
  122. Who cares enough already.

    Religion is just a book of fiction anyway and what week people resort to because they need to believe in something and are afraid of the unknown.

    ReplyDelete
  123. "b," who cares? Well, enough people for 125 posts under this topic.

    "Enough already"? Sorry, you don't get to moderate. If you're sick of reading about the topic because it doesn't interest you, there are lots more here. Maybe you'll find a couple of interest.

    ReplyDelete
  124. For many years, JPUSA was able to sell the bs that anyone who disagreed with their way of helping the homeless was a racist NIMBY white condo-owning yuppie. Once they could no longer dupe the press and many of the residents of this, they suddenly became more interested in the way they were being perceived. Maybe it's starting to dawn on them that Helen won't be around forever to rescue them when they get into trouble.

    Now if Helen got arrested and sent to jail, it would be the final proof for me to believe that God really does exist.

    ReplyDelete
  125. In response to Marty Phillips on his comment about the spankings on July 9th: It is important to look at the spankings. Even though they were done in the '70's and only for a short time. The reason they stopped doing the spankings was because it got out that they were doing the spankings and it even got in the news. It was negative and they had to stop before they got too much negative publicity. They didn't stop because "they had matured". They stopped because they were scared. I know this because I was living there at the time and I had been spanked several times. This is how they operate. They would have kept doing the spankings if it never got out that they were doing them. They have to make sure that they don't get negative publicity and they will even compromise what they believe to keep from getting or maintaining negative publicity. It is important to remember their indiscretion from the '70's because it falls right in line with the general attitude they maintain today.

    ReplyDelete
  126. Thats odd Because when I talk to members that were here then They say it was abandoned because the movement was not agreed upon, This was taught from an "Outside" source from that movement and was abandoned. which makes since because "The Shepherding Movement" in the Churches in Michigan abandoned it for that reason when I lived there, the movement was frowned upon. People here that I asked about it : Stu Heiss (who live in the suburbs now but visits), Wally Bytnar, Richard Murphy (who left to work for Moody and moved back)and many others.
    I am amazed no one has talked about the many members that left and have moved back. The many members that visit often. The Kolesars are visiting again this week from the UP of Michigan. Paul Warner stopped by the other day. 100's That have left still support and regularly visit JPUSA or have moved back. Why is this always ignored?

    Things have changed so much in the last 10 years here it is not even the same place really. To get a council member to really give an opinion on what you should do is like pulling teeth anymore. They may say this is my opinion but The council tells no one how to live and they don't want too.
    But what I write falls on Deaf ears so it is useless here.
    The truth is it is pretty boring here sometimes, so someone has to sensationalize everything. We work and come home and eat and then hang out with our friends. Most of our days are filled with that. The council live in the same building I do and live the same way I do. But like I said you will believe what you want. Thats O.K. I am happy and have a wonderful wife (and no we were not arranged and no one ever has been at JPUSA.) and a great life. Marty came to Jpusa:1987-2001 Left JPUSA:2001-2004
    moved Back: 2004-2008

    ReplyDelete
  127. Actually, I believe what I see. What I see are some poorly run shelters experiencing many 911 calls.

    What I see is Cornerstone having no sense that placing as many homeless shelters as it has in one small area is causing some problems, and they defend it by telling lies to make people think all the homeless are from Uptown.

    What I see is people like Jon Trott spreading lies and polarization when people speak up about some of the problems at Cornerstone. When we speak up, we get ostracized for not volunteering and helping Cornerstone or we get blamed for "pushing" out the poor people in the neighborhood.

    What I see is JPUSA pushing for Wilson Yard housing that defies what the rest of the country is doing for subsidized housing and testifying that people who oppose it are NIMBY Yuppies, creating further division in the community.

    What I see is no one coming from Cornerstone to help make the neighborhood safer.

    What I see is no one from there helping out with the Clean & Green that happens every year.

    What I see are people who have no clue that they are pushing people away from Jesus rather than toward him.

    What I see are hypocrites who preach love but are actually divisive in the community and play victim when people call them on it.

    Given the many problems with JPUSA and their absolute refusal to break through their denial, I would not be upset in the slightest if they move to some rural area and start a communal farm somewhere.

    ReplyDelete
  128. well Thats not true. I know Ted and I both volunteer at Magic Hedge Bird Sanctuary every year at Montrose Beach. and Tom Cameron a council member here put the Idea forth to power wash all the sidewalks in the area so you can blame him for that, and we put a new roof on the shelter. I know many of us who volunteer for a number of things in the neighborhood.
    so you are Ill informed. Marty

    ReplyDelete
  129. Well, while you're caring birds, you seem to be completely oblivious to the crime in and around your shelter, yet you remain clueless why people aren't jumping at down about the wonderful things JPUSA does.

    Denial is not a river in Egypt.

    ReplyDelete
  130. Well when You Volunteer and do something for the neighborhood let me know and I will help, what are some projects you have helped with? maybe I can come over and volunteer. You seem to be helping somewhere I mean you are not just complaining are you?? you do help in Uptown. When can I help with Clean & Green? Let me know when I can Join you on your many volunteer missions. Feel free to come by Saturday's with David Painter to help beautify our Beach. Marty

    ReplyDelete
  131. That's precisely the problem. There are so many problems regarding safety in the neighborhood and you don't know what they are.

    Start with going to the CAPS meetings. I do. Go to Clean & Green. I do. Join your block club. I did. Go to Public Loitering events. I do. Pick up garbage in the neighborhood. I do.

    A huge one though would be working on all the crimes that occur in and around Cornerstone that spills on over to the Wilson L. Discourage the loitering and panhandling, maybe even put up signs at Sylvia Center that discourage panhandling and loitering.

    ReplyDelete
  132. What is your name so when I volunteer at these events we can talk.
    Many Jpusa's are involved and do most of those things. I really want to do the Clean & Green. Blessings, Marty

    ReplyDelete
  133. Marty-

    You really need to listen to Stu. You're NOT going to get an objective answer out of any current JPUSA or any former pro-JPSUA on the subject of spankings.

    Stu-

    Would you consider posting your memories of JPUSA on http://www.jpusainfo.yuku.com ?

    Mark

    ReplyDelete
  134. As an outsider, I think it is a great idea for people to post their stories on the yuku site about what their JPUSA experience meant for them. It seems pretty clear to me that peoples' experiences have varied according to when people were there, what rules were in effect at what time and what people were hoping to gain from the experience. I hope many people take you up on your suggestion, mark.

    ReplyDelete
  135. Marty, many people at JPUSA don't do those things I described. It's a sin to lie, Marty.

    ReplyDelete
  136. In response to Marty Phillips about spankings on July 14: You know what I think is odd. You mention Richard Murphy who I thought had left the group for good. Now I hear he's back. I actually loved this man. Not in a gay way, but when I didn't fear him and we talked as friends, he was a funny guy and I liked being around him. I have fond memories of him taking me to Dunkin' Donuts so he could enjoy a good cup of coffee. He'd buy us both a cup of coffee and a donut. He didn't want to talk. He just wanted to enjoy his coffee and think. As talkative as I am, I stayed quiet and left him to his thoughts. I understood him some. He liked taking me to his Dunkin' Donuts jaunts because I always gave him what he wanted, the silence to think. Back in the days of the spankings, he was the most sadistic spanker. He always went for the tender place where the butt meets the thigh. If he had spanked the butt or the thigh it wouldn't have been so bad. But he went for the spot he knew would hurt the most. What was the purpose of that? Did he think more pain would bring about more humiliation or perhaps more repentance? Was he just simply more sadistic? The process for the spankings was to come and admit your sin to the elders, deacons or whomever you had to admit stuff to. If it was a spanking offense, they would spank you. After a while, you begin to not admit your sin to anyone but Jesus. See, Jesus doesn't spank you. He forgives you.

    ReplyDelete
  137. Another comment I want to make about the spankings is how I found out about the real reason they stopped the spankings. I had a source for information that I probably should not have heard. One of the elders has a wife that can't stay quiet about anything even if it were necessary to save her life. For some reason, she was confidant to tell me about some of those things. Probably because I was one of the older members of JPUSA having joined them shortly after their move to Faith Tabernacle in 1973. One of the things she told me was the fact that the counsel decided to stop the spankings because the subject was getting out and getting hot. She told me that they believed it was still a good thing but had to stop because they didn't want the authorities to come down on the ministry. Still today I see what they do. I'm on the web every day. Now and then, I check out JPUSA on the web mostly to see who died. I'm not being funny here. I was sad to hear that Denny Cadieux had died and that Lou had died before him. Although, I expected Denny to be dead when I Googled him. He was older than most of us. The counsel of JPUSA maintain the attitude of squelching bad publicity. There was that guy that wrote that book, Churches That Abuse. I read somewhere on the web that the counsel of JPUSA tried to get him to retract his comments on the group. My comment on that is, Man, have they got balls! Sorry to be graphic but they should own what they do. If they are truly called of God, then their works will justify them. To try to squelch bad publicity is cowardly. If you fear bad publicity, you must be doing something wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  138. In response to Mark S. on the subject of posting my memories on the yuku site: I suppose I'll go to the site and sign up. I have to say that I left JPUSA 27 years ago as of August 1st of this year. I now live in a very quiet small town in the midwest. It's a place with no crime to speak of. There was the incident of the BB gun shootings downtown where some teenagers shot out some windows of some of the stores on a Sunday evening when no one was there. In my town, we leave our doors unlocked. Our friends, when they come to say hi, open our front door and yell in, "Anybody home?". You can leave your car unlocked and know that your car stereo and gps and cell phone or whatever other toys you have will still be there. Your bike can stay in the driveway for days and it will still be there. I moved to this town to help me forget the bad stuff and experience all new good stuff. Some of the stuff I can't forget is the way I was treated at Jesus People. It is often the source of my nightmares. Them and my mother, but that's a different Oprah show. I'm best when I'm asked questions. I have a whole lot of stories both good and bad. The bad seem to outweigh the good. Anyway, as you can see, I'm long winded. I'll join the yuku site this morning. Anything you want to know, just ask. I've been using a false name here. Not for any bad reason. Just because it came up because of my Google nick so I went with it. My name here is an inside joke that only Italian speaking Italians would understand. But as I say, ask me anything on the site and I'll tell you all I can remember and I'll only tell the truth. BTW, my name is Luke.

    ReplyDelete
  139. Like I said out one ear and out the other. No matter what I say, you will not listen anyhow. If I brought proof of Jpusa's going to these meetings and volunteering you would say they are forged. If I brought all kinds of proof of what happened in the past, You could care less so why am I talking to you? you just reply that I am a liar etc. Why should I listen to you. The people I know and Trust have been my close friends and neighbors for over 20 years. There have been mis-Communications but I have not been lied to or harmed in anyway. Only encouraged and lifted up. I tried to reason with you but you have an agenda and it will not change. If you want to talk further please email me at martyphillips@gmail.com Thanks, Blessings, Marty

    ReplyDelete
  140. You can't bring proof of something that never happens. I go to CAPS meetings and no rep from JPUSA attends. I go to Clean & Green and no rep from JPUSA attends.

    Reps from JPUSA attended the CAPS rally (I mean the Shiller rally) in January 2007 right before the election to support Shiller's illusion that she's concerned about crime, but I have never heard any JPUSA speak up about gangs and the concerns over drug sales. Your community is not known for that. If they were, many of us would know them by name.

    I don't believe what I hear from JPUSA anymore. I now only believe what I see. That's the way JPUSA has taught me to believe. Your only hope is to address the crime coming in and around Cornerstone's shelter on Clifton, and you can't even do that. Instead, your staff tell the community that they aren't responsible for the crime around Cornerstone. Oddly enough, for Cornerstone to get their zoning variance, they were required to monitor the crime in and around that area. They won't.

    Do everyone a favor now and move to some rural farm.

    ReplyDelete
  141. MARTY, YOU'RE PARTIALLY RIGHT. I don't really want to grind my ax here. You're chatting about something I don't know anything about and therefore going in one ear and out the other is true. I shouldn't waste my life reading about your bull caca in Chicago. Go ahead and waste your life on this. I have better things to do.

    ReplyDelete
  142. This may help shed light on why dialouge with JPUSA members always ends at an impasse.

    From JPUSA's own website:

    A true community becomes more and more open; a sect seems open, but over time in fact becomes more and more closed. A sect is made up of people who believe that only they are right. They are incapable of listening; they are enclosed and fanatical; they find no truth outside themselves. Their members have lost their capacity for individual reflection; only they are elect, saved and perfect; everyone else is wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  143. Stu/Luke-

    Are you the one that Shannon Heffernan interviewed for the radio piece?

    The book by Ron Enroth you mentioned is titled "Recovering From Churches That Abuse". When his previous book, "Churches That Abuse" came out, it made the rounds inside JPUSA. About 40 of them contacted Ron and he did around 70 hours of interviews. When "Recovering..." was being printed by Zondervan, someone inside Zondervan contacted JPUSA and spilled the beans. That's when the JPUSA leadership confronted Enroth. It didn't stop the publishing of the book though.
    You can read the entire text of both books by clicking on the links at http://www.exjpusahelp.com

    Mark

    ReplyDelete
  144. Hi. I'm Jon Trott, not Otto. I've never been Otto, and he's (to my knowledge) never been me. Though if I go much farther, I'm going to wax overly philosophical about how "I" know whether or not "I" even exist, much less Otto exists. (Descartes vs. Derrida, anyone?) But the whole thing being framed as a modernist postulation -- "The Two Sides of Jesus People" -- is so predictable and sad. There are thousands of sides to Jesus People, just as there are thousands of sides (facets if you will) to each person at Jesus People, or on this board.

    Anyway, a few and not necessarily connected thoughts:

    I wasn't going to do this. Mainly because I sense that this site has me definitely as one of the guys wearing a black hat, and after all, who likes getting yelled at along the lines of some of the more shrill posters here? Once language becomes demeaning on a certain level, it seems apparent that any response at all will only lead to even worse language and even more bizarre, false accusations (the old example of entrapment-type questions, "So when did you stop beating your wife?" comes to mind). That's how it often feels reading posts that are talking about both JPUSA as a whole and even me in particular I'm mentioned here often, though few folks if any who post here have ever said one word to me in person.

    So, I'll risk it anyway, though pretty much promise not to answer wild and rude responses. I hope no one finds this one rude or wild, as many of you are my neighbors, and a few of you apparently want to be my enemy (I wish you didn't).

    Re rape. I'm a feminist, or (as a guy) "pro-feminist" if you prefer. I've read Brownmiller and Millet and Dworkin and some of the "third wave" feminists as well (though am less versed in them). Currently I'm working through a two-book set called "Searching the Scriptures" by feminist theologians, whom I agree with some and disagree with some... so far. My blogging on feminism (and a fair bit about rape as well) can be found (older stuff) at http://aremenreallyhuman.blogspot.com and (newer stuff, intermixed w/ other personal and political stuff) at http://bluechristian.blogspot.com. To see some of my sermons and other junk go to http://bluechristian.com ).

    As far as incest, rape, and other sexual violence and/or abuse, there is no large group of human beings within which such abuse has not occurred. Historically, rape has been a method of male control over women, and there is very little disagreement regarding that fact among thinking people. But even among groups and individuals committed to breaking those old patriarchal paradigms, individual acts of sexual violence do occur. Thankfully, these issues emerge rarely at JPUSA, and we educate our children and adults regarding the "rightness" of exposing any violation of their persons that way. JPUSA has to my knowledge *always* gone to the authorities on that -- both because it is right and because it is the law. If we had not, I would not be at JPUSA but picketing out front. In a world where women and children are increasingly the targets of abusers, anything short of a total response is a failure.

    Regarding being accused of such viciously violent behavior, I hope people realize how hard it is to deal with charges so outrageous. If someone publicly accused any poster on this board of raping their sister or daughter (or son for that matter), how would you defend yourself? Truth is, the accusation itself is a permanent mark you will never be rid of, despite your complete innocence. Sadly, the individual making almost all of the most fantastic accusations here (as well as all over the internet) is an individual who never lived with us nor has any real knowledge of our lives together.

    The reality of communal life is incredibly complex. I've been so fascinated by it as a participant that I've dipped into various sociological streams to try and get even more understanding. Invariably, the crux of the matter comes with the real, but not necessarily destructive, tension between the individual and the "us" -- the community as a whole.

    How does one negotiate the rights of the individual along with the rights of the community? Can I tell someone "God said" and expect that by saying that the other person MUST do whatever it is I wanted them to do? I'd say that is a bad idea, what I call "playing the ace," and it is very dangerous for a community of people and/or its leaders to say to someone "God told me to tell you..." x y or z. Likewise, however, it is dangerous for an individual to say to the community "God told me..."

    In both cases, the ace got played. No one can say anything more, the conversation has been closed. If, as does happen, I or someone else is highly convinced that the Word of God says x y or z, and I am expressing that to an individual, I these days express it like this:

    "As far as I am able to tell, the Word says..." x y or z. But by throwing in the term "as far as I am able to tell," I offer my humanity and ability to misinterpret the Word as a reality. It is no longer an "ace" to lose to, but rather an invitation to dialogue or (yes, at times) to argue and struggle together.

    Most of our community does, for instance, vote Democratic, moreso locally than nationally (often due to the troublesome issue of abortion). But in recent years, many of us have watched with alarm the growth of the Christian Right and its horrific impact on Evangelicalism and even Christianity itself. I suspect our precinct will be very heavily in favor of Obama, not due to some pastoral oversite committee but rather because those who live in community are the OPPOSITE of what they've been painted. You have to be an individualist, an adventurer, a strong-willed person, to choose a lifestyle which comes into such conflict with the American "norm." (To quote Bruce Cockburn, "The trouble with normal is it always gets worse.")

    Haters of Helen will unfortunately always hate JPUSA... but they should at least get their facts straight. Helen Shiller gained JPUSA's support when it became apparent she was on the side of those Christ is talking about in Matthew 25 and elsewhere: "As you have done it unto the least of one of these, you have done it to me." We act, however, not as people wanting a Theocracy (repudiating that idea of the Christian Right has been a years-long obsession of mine -- I consider the concept nearly satanic, if I can speak so rudely). Rather, we are acting as Christians who are also Americans, part of a pluralistic whole. We believe the candidate who supports the needs of all, yet does not forget or marginalize the poor of our local area as well as nationally, is the candidate to support. We would not say, however, "Helen Shiller is God's candidate" any more than we would say "Barack Obama is God's candidate." We figure only God knows what -- if any -- candidate is or is not his choice. Our choice at present and in the past starting in 1987 tends to be Helen Shiller. She's been consistently a good alderperson for all Uptowners (in our opinion -- arguments will occur and that is understood!). And yes, she's supported our shelter even as she urged us on to make things better, which of course we want to do as much as finances allow... http://ccolife.org if you want to help (wink, wink!).

    What else? Hmm... I don't know. This is way over length anyway. Just one thought. Instead of jacking up the rhetoric on here, wouldn't it be interesting to have some sort of meeting where all of us agreed beforehand it was a meeting NOT to yell at each other or get into a debate, but rather just to be around each other? I don't know many of you face to face. I'd be willing to come to a block party or whatever, along with my wife (though you'd really have to not yell at her... she's a gentle spirit).

    Uptown's got an intense and often confrontational history, one I've been part of since 1978 when JPUSA moved into Uptown proper. Maybe we can move past this polarity thing and into a different space where even if we don't always agree we can at least treat one another more gently, more humanely. JPUSA's only people. We value our neighbors, and hope maybe some of you can learn to value us as you get to know us better.

    Blessings,
    Jon Trott

    ReplyDelete
  145. Jon, Uptown's got an intense and often confrontational history due in large part to the antics you have personally pulled. Quite frankly, I don't know what trick you can possibly pull out of your hat to salvage any positive feelings for JPUSA. With the years of you leading the charge against people you branded as evil Yuppie godless condo-owning NIMBYs in Uptown, you have some work cut out to repair trust around here.

    It's not my responsibility to help repair any damage to the community that you've caused. You are on your own. Just expect very little trust, if any along the way. Really, a fresh start somewhere else might be the only answer.

    ReplyDelete
  146. On July 10 at 12:29 p.m. Otto suggested that people meet at a coffee house to discuss things. Trott just mentioned a meeting/block party to talk about things.
    WHY? What's wrong with a "place" like this to discuss things where anyone in the World can join in? Oh, I get it. If you're having people vent their spleen about your little cult, it's best if the ENTIRE WORLD CAN'T VIEW IT!!!!
    In other words: Two cockroaches are asking for the lights to be turned off!
    IMB(bombastic)O, it's time to turn up the lights even brighter and the heat even hotter!
    I just knew that lapdog/puppet/Council-gopher Trott would eventually show up to try to do a little - futile - spin. He did the same thing on an ex-Children of God site when an (anonymous) ex-JPUSA mentioned that her son was sexually molested at JPUSA and that JPUSA has a long history of child molestation. (Just go to the Uptown Update Forums to access the link I provided on this issue.)
    Begone Trott! Begone!
    Tuck your tail between your legs like Eric Pement does (whenever he's confronted at various websites with the fact that his own wife Barbara spent 2 weeks at Wellspring to get over the abuse she suffered at JPUSA) and trott on out of here!

    Worst wishes,

    Mark Scheiderer

    ReplyDelete
  147. Mark, I only learned today that you had not lived in JPUSA at all. Why are you so gung ho to destroy it? You couldn't have had a clue what it was like to live there. I'm not defending them so much as I'm trying to figure you out. I lived there. I understood the fear I had to live under. Aside of how I was treated by the authority, it wasn't so bad. Honestly, while I was living there, there was no rape or child molestation as far as I knew. I live there form 10-73 to 8-81. There was one incident where we woke up one morning to the sound of a couple fighting. It was so loud that we thought they were fooling around like they wanted us to hear them. It didn't make sense to me that a Christian couple would make a joke like that. Shortly after, the couple were asked to leave the ministry. Shortly after that, John Herrin Sr. had a Jimmy Swaggart moment in front of everybody. Shortly after that, John Herrin Sr. was gone. From what I heard, John Herrin Sr. had seduced the female of the couple that left. I never knew if they simply had a mutually agreed upon affair or if he basically told her that he was in power and she must do this. Other than this situation where I'm not convinced it was a rape, there was no rape or child molestation the whole time I was there and none that I heard of after I left.

    BTW, yes, I am Luke that Shannon interviewed. I didn't mean for the interview to be about the spankings. I let her ask the questions and it sort of went in that direction. The spankings went on for a short time. The spankings was a very small part of my grief suffered there.

    Mark, I'm going to ask you to take it a little easier on these subjects. Getting all up in Jon Trotts face was un-called for. He came on talked civil. Most of what he said went over my head because I'm not really involved anymore. The things that JPUSA does don't effect me anymore. They could blow up uptown and my tomatoes will still grow in my garden. Mark, I'm now trying to figure you out.

    ReplyDelete
  148. Jon Trott is reaping what he sowed a long time ago. He's not an innocent little lamb.

    ReplyDelete
  149. Just a short word on the Evangelical Covenant Church, in response to some very negative comments made about them here. I think anyone who does look into the ECC will find one of the more full-bodied, active, and egalitarian groups of Christians on record.

    For me, the fact the ECC has long championed women's equality in both the pulpit and other Church and social roles is a tremendous plus. They are experiencing tremendous growth in Africa and elsewhere -- hardly the bailiwick of Swedes. Their North Park University is a stellar school, rated as one of the top schools in the nation more than once.

    I realize the discerning readers here may already realize comments made about the ECC were over the top. But for those who want to know more, their website at http://www.covchurch.org/home offers all you should need to begin.

    Blessings,
    Jon Trott

    ReplyDelete
  150. Most of John's fishbowl logic is unintelligible. However, since I lived there for ten years and can still speak a bit of the language, I’ll translate a small portion.

    As far as incest, rape, and other sexual violence and/or abuse, there is no large group of human beings within which such abuse has not occurred.

    Translation: Everybody does it.

    Historically, rape has been a method of male control over women, and there is very little disagreement regarding that fact among thinking people. But even among groups and individuals committed to breaking those old patriarchal paradigms, individual acts of sexual violence do occur.

    Translation: Babble- babble –Pedantic verbiage- babble….Everybody does it.

    Thankfully, these issues emerge rarely at JPUSA, and we educate our children and adults regarding the "rightness" of exposing any violation of their persons that way.

    Translation: We educate our children to understand that they can have only been raped if the counsel (ruling family) chooses to acknowledge it.

    JPUSA has to my knowledge *always* gone to the authorities on that -- both because it is right and because it is the law.

    Translation: If we don’t acknowledge it, it never happened. Therefore we bear no responsibility to act further.

    If we had not, I would not be at JPUSA but picketing out front.

    Translation: Trust me, I’m John Trott. Having lived in a commune for 30 years insures my ability to see all, know all and justify all.

    In a world where women and children are increasingly the targets of abusers, anything short of a total response is a failure.

    Translation: Our “Total response” is; refusal to believe the victims.

    Regarding being accused of such viciously violent behavior, I hope people realize how hard it is to deal with charges so outrageous. If someone publicly accused any poster on this board of raping their sister or daughter (or son for that matter), how would you defend yourself? Truth is, the accusation itself is a permanent mark you will never be rid of, despite your complete innocence.

    Translation: See, we are the victims here.

    -No John, you have it wrong, the permanent mark is upon the ones who have had crimes committed against them. The mark becomes blacker with each denial, each justification, each refusal to see beyond the make-believe world you reside in.-

    Sadly, the individual making almost all of the most fantastic accusations here (as well as all over the internet) is an individual who never lived with us nor has any real knowledge of our lives together.

    Translation: I will continue to willingly ignore the outcry of hundreds of people I once called friend, family and fellow member.
    I will instead focus on the fact that there is a person (not me) posting here named Mark.

    ReplyDelete
  151. Stu-

    A week ago I said I wasn't going to talk about "me", but, since you were in the interview, I'll share a little bit:

    I got saved at a Rez Band concert in Michigan on Dec.13,1980. ( I had heard the Gospel before that night, so Kaiser's message at the end of the concert was not new to me.) There was absolutely NO follow-up ministry. I visited JPUSA for a few days on spring-break, 1981, one night going out with others to street-witness to the crowd going to see Rush, while others went to witness in front of the Grateful Dead concert venue. There was no discipling/follow up ministry while I was there.

    I got involved with a cult less than a year later. http://www.eth-s.com is my report.
    I had a friend whose wife left him and ran off to JPUSA. The friend tried to reconcile with her but the leadership wouldn't let her speak to him. I've talked to other ex-JPUSA's, counter-cult experts ( Ron Enroth is just one ) and read info about JPUSA by ex-members at various sites on the net as well as in "Recovering From Churches That Abuse".

    My overall opinion of JPUSA: The leadership is EXTREMELY good at silencing people, explaining things away and putting on a good image - although the image maintainance is pretty much impossible these days - and they have a history of trying, and later abandoning, one wacky thing after the other. The leadership is just a bunch of rebellious individuals who were never properly discipled themselves, have made up their own unorthodox version of "Christianity" and basically look down on REAL Christians.

    So why do I have such righteous anger against JPUSA (i.e. the leadership and Trott)? Same reason an individual who was sexually molested despises all molestors.
    Sorry if you don't like that, but it's a free country.

    ReplyDelete
  152. This discussion has been fascinating. It really has helped me to understand aspects of Helen Shiller's Uptown. After all of these posts and after skimming Enroth's book, I can't help but remark how many people have come to JPUSA wounded and searching for something deep and meaningful in their lives. That some people have been able to take away goodness and to try to do good is...well...good. On the other hand, I am really concerned that the leaders of this organization are self-taught at everything and seem to resist criticism from both the inside and outside. Almost every critique that I see put before them is totally predictable for an organization of this nature. Given the predictability of the problems, then, it is alarming to me to see how strongly the battle continues. Both the book and the suggested recommendations to the counsel were reasonable and clearly came from people who aren't against God, the poor, Christianity or even intentional communities. Why so much animosity if the goal is to create an excellent and sustainable commune?

    Here is one of the best quotes from an ex-member which practically paraphrases some things I have written about JPUSA:

    JP doesn't set out to hurt people, but they operate in such a way that if you get in the way, you are run over. There is no room for deviation in the machine. If you do not agree one hundred percent with their agenda, you are out.

    ReplyDelete
  153. Well, Mark, I understand why you might despise cults.

    Had I not been asked to leave Jesus People, I might have still been there. In the few days before I left, (I had asked if I could stay for the weddings that weekend), I spent time with counsel members who I had feared yet there no longer was fear. We talked and laughed as friends because they had in a sense given up authority over me. Before being asked to leave this final time, I had been told that the counsel had talked about my being asked to leave several times before and I always talked them out of it. When I was approached this one last time, I felt I couldn't fight it anymore so I conceded. The reason I fought to stay in there was because as miserable as I was in the group, it had become my family. Being asked to leave was like being asked to leave my family. They told me they were going to send me to a community church in Florida so I started looking on my move as a new adventure. Well, Saturday arrived and the weddings were beautiful. Now it was time to get on the plane. I asked for some pocket money and some money to get some extra baggage on the plane. I had asked for about 16 dollars. I asked the money office for the money and they told me they were too broke. So I talked to Neil Taylor about it and he told me that maybe I should cut down on what I was taking so it wouldn't cost extra. I reminded him that I wasn't just going for a vacation. I was being asked to actually move down there. I was taking 2 boxes extra full of things I need, want and my memories. I had lived there 8 years and I tend to be a pack rat. After 8 years, 2 suitcases and 2 medium sized boxes was not too much to ask for. Neil Taylor, who by the way originally prayed with me to ask Jesus into my heart, told me that if he and Peggy were being asked to move, he would pack a suitcase and leave everything else behind. I thought to myself, bull puckies, there's no way. If Neil and Peggy were leaving the ministry, mom and pop Taylor would hire them a freight truck. And if they didn't, the Carvers, (Peggy's parents), certainly would. The Carvers would probably send a limo as well. So I told Neil that I didn't believe him. He told me that all his stuff didn't mean nothing to him. So I asked him how much $16 meant to him. So he said there was nothing he could do. I went to talk to Stu Heiss who was the head of my "family". I even started to cry. I had become so sad and couldn't understand why they would do this to me after all these years. Stu told me he would talk to someone and see what he could do. Later he told me that Vic Williams was going to give me some money. Vic gave me $20. After all that, I was so ready to go and I didn't want to say goodbye to anyone. I didn't understand it at the time but I know now why Neil didn't let me have any money.

    I arrived in Florida that evening. I was greeted by two men from the church there, one being a guy named Jeff who I had known before. He and his wife tried to join Jesus people before and I never knew why they didn't and why they were in the community church in Florida. I don't remember if I ever asked him.

    Neil and Peggy later went on a vacation to Florida to visit his family. On the way back, they went to St. Petersburg to visit some members of our church and to see how I was getting along with the church. My "family" there was going over to visit the Taylors who were staying with another one of our families. I was asked to join them and I refused to see the Taylors. I don't know what conversations they had about me. The two Florida families told me that they didn't talk about me at all.

    The community church in Florida owned 2 salad and sandwich restaurants. I worked for the church at one of the restaurants as a dishwasher. When they trained new people, they always assigned them to work with the dishwasher. The morning after Neil's visit, lo and behold, Neil was assigned to work with me as if he was a new trainee. It was an ambush so that Neil would see me. I tried not to talk to him except to tell him what to do. So Neil couldn't help himself, he wanted to talk about why I was angry with him. So I asked him how he dared to check up on me here when he didn't even care enough to give me $16 when I needed it the most. Why does he care about me all of a sudden? I don't exactly remember what his lame excuse was because I don't have the time or the energy needed to remember anything that's lame. He told me he was sorry that he "couldn't" give me the $16. I told him that he should be sorry that he "didn't" give me the $16. I told him that I know he didn't really want to be there doing dishes on his vacation and that he should go back to Peggy. I told him I didn't need any help doing the dishes. I had had plenty of practice at Jesus People.

    After I spent a few years in the community church in Florida, they broke up and the members went to other churches. To continue to stay in Florida, I have to find work outside the church. I bounced around from job to job having really no work experience at age 28. I decided to go back to Chicago to live with my mom and dad. My dad died shortly after I moved back in with them. My mom, as twisted as she was became my support system while I stumbled through jobs in Chicago. Having not established health insurance at any job, I found myself going to Cook County Hospital Clinic for my medical needs. After experiencing excessive urination for quite a while, a friend of mine told me that he thought I had diabetes. This was about 11 years after I had left Jesus People. So one day I went to CCH Clinic to check it out. I had to follow a crowd of people through two doors going to a waiting room. On the way to those doors, out of those doors comes Dawn Herrin. I saw her and I really didn't want to talk to her. All my years at JPUSA, Dawn always seemed to lose her manners around me. But I put on a brave face and got myself ready to at least say hello. Then she spotted me and quickly turned her head. There was no mistaking that she recognized me. Our eyes met and there was for a brief moment a look of surprise on her face until she turned her head. It made me a little sad when I realized she wanted to pretend like she didn't see me. I walked past her in silence.

    Remember when I said that I knew now why Neil didn't let me have the $16? The puzzle came all together with this Dawn incident. I realized that when the leadership of JPUSA is done with you, they are really done with you. That lame attempt on Neil's part to show some concern for me in Florida was mostly for show. Neil and Dawn were really very done with me. Vic gave me the $20 because Stu Heiss ask him for the money, but I'm pretty sure Vic was done with me too. I think for Vic, it was worth $20 to finally be done with me. Throughout the years, Vic and Kathy never really spent any time talking to me and I remember feeling like I was wasting their time when I did talk to them.

    At least this is how I remember things.

    ReplyDelete
  154. Stu-

    Thanks for being understanding about my despisement of cults.

    I read your entire post. WOW! The leaderships' attitude towards you when they wanted you gone speaks volumes!

    Trott(or anybody else on the inside) -

    Could you please tell me if David James, who runs the Seniors Program , is behaving himself?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    ReplyDelete
  155. Trott just posted his rambling, illogical thoughts on the Chicago Public Radio site, for what it's (not) worth.

    ReplyDelete
  156. Mark,

    I responded to Jon on the Chicago Public Radio site.

    ReplyDelete
  157. Stu-

    Isn't it absolutely maddening how Trott and the rest of the JPUSA defenders will use any trick in the book to try to appear civil, gain your confidence, calm you down, etc., in hopes you'll be pacified and remain silent?

    KEEP VENTING! Other ex-JPUSA's need to know about these two sites. One of them contacted me yesterday with a LONNNNNNNNNNNG list of "dirt" on the place. That's why I posted a question about David James a few posts above. Contact me at marksheiderer@hotmail.com if you wish.

    ReplyDelete
  158. Well, Mark, in his last post, Jon showed me his human side which I knew was there. After all, Jon and I go way back. Our time there did overlap and we had good times in spite of the leadership. Jon is not simply a machine. Jon just doesn't really know what went on before he came around. He can only go by what he has been told. I can't speak for what's gone on since I've left. I'm spending an awful lot of time on this too. I'm glad they know now that I'm not dead. Close, but not yet dead. They don't know anything about me and it hurts to find out they're circulating a rumor that I had died. I didn't die. I simply left Chicago 14 years ago. I haven't been back. I wouldn't have been brought into this if I didn't do the interview. I had already signed up for the EZboard back about 2 or 3 years ago. I stumbled onto the site when I Googled Dawn Herrin to see if she had died yet. I found out Denny and Lou Cadieux were dead and I was sad for them, but expected it. Had Shannon not seen me on the board, I would have not done the interview. I'm not really in a position to care what happening with them now. I'm in a good place and I'm retired. I'm at a nice altitude so if the ice shelf of Greenland should happen to fall, I'll still be above water. Poor Florida. I'm pretty ill with diabetes. I think I'm going to die before global warming gets us, so I'm fine with that too. I'll stick around these boards and blogs a little bit longer, but when the nightmares start again, I'm gone. I'm already having Jesus People dreams again. First nightmare and I'm outa here.

    ReplyDelete
  159. One of the things that new escapees are saying in e-mails to me is that an elderly male in the Seniors Program was sodomized last year.

    Trott: your thoughts/spin please?

    Anathema to JPUSA,

    Mark

    ReplyDelete
  160. I grew up at Jpusa,and I was wondering why everyone on here is anonymous. If you believe something, you should be proud to say who you are. My name is Tabitha... and I moved out of jpusa when I was 18. There is bad and good everywhere. "Metaphor" I'm wondering if you would let yourself be known.
    But about UPTOWN which is what this site is supposed to be about...do any of you have a heart? Do you hate poor people? It SEEMS that way.What about being compassionate for people that have it worse off. Have any of you experienced being in a single parent family.. with no money and not very good education... no options other than what is right in front of you?. We are all products of our environment so lets improve Uptown's environment by reaching out to one another. WE ARE ALL THE SAME... but some of us are more privileged then others so we should be more generous.

    ReplyDelete
  161. Tabitha-

    You're simply repeating the JPUSA party lines.
    Does bad stuff happen everywhere? YES!!! But if any church in this country had the history of crimes, abuse, financial dishonesty, etc. that JPUSA does, it would draw the same (deserved) fire as JPUSA and/or be investigated by city/state/federal government.

    JPUSA IS NOT NORMAL CHRISTIANITY.

    Quit accusing those who tell the truth about JPUSA - whether they be anonymous or named, former members, neighbors or critics - as being uncompassionate.

    At the end of 2 Corinthians 11, Paul talks about "another Spirit, another Gospel and another Jesus." JPUSA HAS ALL THREE!

    Mark Scheiderer

    P.S.- Is Carol Elaine(Trott)your mother or step-mother? Did John Trott put you up to this?

    ReplyDelete
  162. Tabitha-

    Nevermind about answering the P.S. questions above. I just clicked on "Carol Elaine"s info and read that you are Jon Trott's daughter.

    May God help you. May God help you.

    Mark Scheiderer

    ReplyDelete
  163. Tabitha-

    You need to click on all the links at http://www.exjpusahelp.com and read them in their entirety.

    Former JPUSA members, cult experts and some of the staff of Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center - a cult recovery facility; Eric Pement's wife Barbara spent two weeks there - all provide info and comments.

    May God open you eyes.

    Mark Scheiderer

    ReplyDelete
  164. Marty Phillips defends JPUSA yet such a controversy from his wife's family over his involvement with JPUSA.

    http://www.rickross.com
    /reference/jesuspeople/
    JPUSA_letter1.html

    and

    http://www.rickross.com
    /reference/jesuspeople/
    JPUSA_letter2.html

    ReplyDelete
  165. Marty Phillips wrote:

    It is funny how something like spankings at JPUSA keep getting brought up....

    What is even funnier is that when you meet ex-JPUSA's for the first time, they bring up the spankings, and it was without even being questioned on the topic. It shows how damaging these actions were against members who were living in fear and deception to the point where they allowed themselves to be spanked.

    ReplyDelete
  166. Marty Phillips said,

    Are you allowed to vote who your boss is at work??, Are you allowed to pick your own landlord?

    Actually, the answer is yes!

    People can choose their job
    and thus who their boss is.

    People can choose where they live
    and thus who their landlord is.

    They can also choose who they marry.

    They can also choose how to handle their own finances.

    They can call the police when violently attacked by supposedly
    solidly grounded members.(At JPUSA calling the police on a member that
    beats you would be seen as taboo
    and grounds for banishment.)

    They can report someone to the police who steals
    their personal belongings.

    At JPUSA personal belongings are often stolen, not just misplaced,
    computers are "broken into" and on
    and on....

    Usually the explanation is that it was someone who was just visiting
    JPUSA with a youth group or a new
    member who left who did the stealing.

    ReplyDelete
  167. It is scarry and painful to see
    the harm that has come to people
    through JPUSA.

    The authoritarian leadership.

    The total control of member's
    finances with no specific accountability to JPUSA members and
    to the members and to Evangelical
    Covenant Church.

    The lack of medical care for members and medical bills that
    have gone unpaid for years.

    The lack of retirement available
    to members who want to stay at
    JPUSA but do not know how they
    will survive having not paid
    into social security.

    The denial by short and long term
    members who cannot see any of
    the harm they have caused people
    and instead transfer blame to
    Xmembers.

    Most people that have left are
    accused as having issues or sin
    in their life while members of the
    community are seen to be the
    outstanding members of an exclusive group.

    The elitist view of members that
    they are like the early church
    in that all things are in common.
    (Actually all things are not in common) also some members even believe that they are the new early church.

    The idea that Christians outside of JPUSA are worldly cause they live in the world. The idea that "it is amazing that anyone can possibly be doing good with the Lord" who doesn't live at JPUSA.

    The idea that the Shepherding/Discipleship movment has left JPUSA. JPUSA fully uses the elements of the movment and there is fear and denial among members that anything is wrong but something is wrong and is hard for one to put her finger on it.

    This is the scarriest part of JPUSA. That what a person feels to be wrong, the control, the expectations, the need to prove that one is a Christian, the lack of security that comes from true salvation and always having to be achieving a perfectionist ideal. These components of the system cannot clearly be identified but are somehow made invisible by lame explanations and diversions to questions, this is the scariest part of JPUSA.

    ReplyDelete
  168. Good job bringing up old news, I dont think there has been spankings at jpusa for like around 20 years. And also there was no rape at jpusa or child molestation.

    ReplyDelete
  169. Kira-

    Are you Rebecca Parker's niece?

    Mark

    ReplyDelete
  170. www.exjpusahelp.com has plenty of info on Jpusa AND helpful info for those who want to get out and get help.

    ReplyDelete
  171. Mark-
    I know alot more about jpusa then that pathetic site could tell me, so could you stop posting that link.

    ReplyDelete
  172. Kira, here's a quote from someone we both love: "And the truth shall set you free."

    ReplyDelete
  173. Hello --

    I am a writer from Germany who lived at JPUSA for ten days this June. I came there to write a magazine article and interviewed many, many people. Founding members, long-time members, guests etc.. I also met the journalist who did the report for Public Radio that some in this blog refer to.

    While I am sure there are many conflicts at JPUSA (just as there are many conflicts anywhere people live together) none of the allegations that have been voiced here as to the place being "authoritarian, cultish" etc. I found to be true.

    Quite the opposite: the leadership and regular members that I talked to were unusually open about their commune and its finances, and they were unusually open about themselves and their personal lives.

    I would say that while it is definetely uncommon how these people live there is nothing there to be afraid of.


    Rudolf v. Waldenfels

    ReplyDelete
  174. You were there 10 days as a reporter from another country and you expected to get the low down. Go back to reporting school.

    I knew something was up when the entire building voted for Helen Shiller as alderman. I could understand a majority. I don't understand 100%. You can't tell me they are all independent thinkers living in that building.

    ReplyDelete
  175. RV-

    No offence, but 10 days at JPUSA is NOT going to give a reporter a balanced perspective on JPUSA because: They know you are a reporter and they are going to be on their best behavior when you are around.

    Go to http://www.exjpusahelp.com , click on the link to Rick Ross's site and read the Chicago Tribune article on JPUSA from a few years ago. Read the rest of the info at Ross's site that is from former members, cult experts as well as the staff of Wellspring, a cult recovery center.

    Click on the second link at exjpusahelp.com which goes to "Recovering From Churches That Abuse", and has a lot of info on JPUSA.

    JPUSA: Just People Undergoing Spiritual Abuse!

    Mark

    ReplyDelete
  176. Mark -- the material you suggest is not new to me. I read it all several months ago, including Enroth's chapter on JPUSA. It simply does not hold up to general reporting standards (this includes the Chicago Tribune article), or, in Enroth's case, to sociological standards.

    Now, as I said: I am absolutely convinced that there have been and are conflicts at JPUSA, injustices etc.. But name me one place on earth where this isn't the case.

    As to JPUSA presenting me a white-washed image of themselves while I was there: the place is full of rebellious, individualistic people. Many of them stay for just a few weeks. It is hIghly unlikely that the leadership could establish some kind of totalitarian rule with them.

    I suggest to anyone wary of JPUSA: go and spend some time there. The place is very open.

    I realize that living the way they do is not everybody's cup of tea; but to accuse them of being a cult etc. is simply being unfair.

    R. v. Waldenfels

    ReplyDelete
  177. RV-

    You are obviously clueless about what cults are.

    Mark

    ReplyDelete
  178. Mark --

    your reaction to my post is, quite frankly, the reason why I usually stay away from forums etc..

    Instead of attempting to refute me with facts you get personal.

    This is not the way to lead a fruitful discussion.

    Rudolf v. Waldenfels

    ReplyDelete
  179. RV, all I can say is that there's a reason why JPUSA has alienated so many people in the neighborhood. You can place the blame on the residents not liking their lifestyle if you want, but that's not the reason. The "us versus them" approach to reporting is tired and old and I see it as lazy reporting.

    I believe it's critical to get input from the area residents about JPUSA because when you do, you get a glimpse of the real issues inside the organization itself. You had 10 days with them. We have them as permanent neighbors.

    ReplyDelete
  180. RV-

    On 12/4 at 10:55 p.m. you stated that the material I suggested you read ( at exjpusahelp.com ) did not hold up to "general reporting standards" (Chicago Tribune article included) or "sociological standards"(in the case of Ron Enroth's reporting.)

    That's a load of garbage and you know it. This type of "reasoning" on your part is EXACTLY the same as JPUSA's when Enroth and the Tribune's work came out. They questioned the integrity/methods of the people doing the reporting.
    Ron Enroth has been a sociology professor at Westmont college for over 25 years and is one of the most respected cult experts on the planet! I've talked to him a lot over the years and will also say that he is the genuine article when it comes to Christian compassion for those who are in cults or who have left cults.

    Are you really a German reporter, or are you a JPUSA prank, or are you a JPUSA endorser who is simply trying to explain away all of the crimes and misdomeanors (sp?) that have gone on there since it's inception?

    Mark

    ReplyDelete
  181. Mark --

    rather than entering a serious discussion with me about this topic you have called my post "garbage".

    This is overstepping a line.

    I will not participate in this exchange any longer.

    R. v. Waldenfels

    ReplyDelete
  182. But Just Wondering,

    RV has actually TALKED with people at JPUSA, can look in their eyes, and see if the glazy eyed look of a cult follower, or someone with an alternate lifestyle.

    i am not saying JPUSA is perect at all, but is everyone in your camp as holy as you?


    It's easy to hate someone, or a group of people, by not actually nteracting with individuals of that group.

    And Mark,

    You seem to be exhibiting cult behavior yourself -- downgrading someone who has an opposing view, making them feel worthless because they are "wrong".


    So Mark, what
    's our real story --- were you abued by a cult when you were younger?

    ReplyDelete
  183. JP, you have already jumped to many conclusions, which is a consistent pattern for you. I never said I was perfect. I never said I hated anyone. I never said I never spoke to any JPUSA members.I did say they have a bad reputation among many residents here.

    One thing you do have in common with JPUSA and Helen is that all of you get off on making everything a class war. I don't know if JPUSA can repair their damage. I do know that it's too late for you and Helen.

    As for you questioning Mark's earnestness in exposing JPUSA, aren't you calling the kettle black here with your constant tirades about condo residents here? Perhaps Mark really believes that the truth can make one free.

    ReplyDelete
  184. JP -- Do you have any idea "what camp" Just Wondering is in? Why does he or she have to be any "camp" at all?

    See, you can't even have a one-on-one discussion without dividing and sorting folks.

    It's pretty amusing that you still keep thinking you have a pulse on what's going on in Uptown. What "camp" does that put YOU in? ;-)

    I have no opinion on whether JPUSA is a cult. Doesn't matter to me. I even have some friends who live there. What I DO know, from living here for over 20 years, is that JPUSA's reaction to change in the neighborhood is to circle the wagons and scream "haters!" at their neighbors. (Talk about dividing into camps!)

    By contrast, especially since Michael Allen got there, Uptown Baptist has involved itself with the neighborhood. Its beliefs are, to my outsider's eyes, as conservative as JPUSA's, but the church has reached out to the neighborhood outside its doors. I've stood at positive loitering with them, I've seen their Boy Scouts present a plaque to the commander, I see that they asked UU to let UU's readers about their Angel Food Ministries food deal for the holidays.

    I've lived here long enough to see many such "important people in the community" get replaced for their inability to go with the changes that have come to the neighborhood. I am confident that Ald. Shiller is next, should she choose to run again, which is very doubtful, according to those in the know.

    JPUSA needs to learn that shunning and dissing its neighbors will lead to its demise. Business as usual in Uptown is over. Funny... I didn't see any posters on its HQ front door last election! Maybe it's learning. Time will tell whether or not Chelsea Towers will be the next new condo conversion.

    ReplyDelete
  185. RV-

    You're either extremely thin-skinned or my previous post hit too close to the bone.

    How about some comments on "Child Molestation at JPUSA", a thread I started on the Uptown Update Forums?

    Mark

    P.S. - You bore me "JP Paulus".

    ReplyDelete
  186. "Why is Jesus People in Uptown?"

    Jesus People is extremely negative about people who do not live in their intentional community. Those inside the commune consider themselves elite Christians that are right with God while those outside of the commune are seen as those who are lost in society. How about Christians who do not live at JPUSA? They are considered as not as up to par as JPUSA's. Quit your job, drop out of society and join the commune. Give your material things away or especially to JPUSA and come submit yourself to direct authority of leaders who run the commune arbitrarily with no financial records provided to members. Experience sarcasm, rudeness, cruelty and every wind of false teaching available in the church today. Rats, mice, bedbugs and lice are waiting for you at the JPUSA assylum. Members that have lived at JPUSA for years are mostly never heard from again. Learn how to live an uncivilized life with other uncivilized and immature world renown Christians. Let JPUSA reveal to you your massive insecurities and how JPUSA can make you secure and safe if you stay there. If you leave you are demonized and considered of Satan. What about older members. One older member said she (a woman of color) did not really like living at JPUSA cause of all the white people but she likes the idea of community living and the community has raised her fatherless children. Why are members afraid to say no to the coordinators? Why are members afraid to talk about how they feel when their work, living space, spouse, relationships, finances are all controlled by the commune? Its a great place to be if you are otherwise homeless but if you can live in real life as a Christian why let elitist Christians steal your personal belongings, kill your dreams and spirit and destroy your relationships with those outside of the commune?

    Jesus People is in Uptown to kill, steal, and destroy

    ReplyDelete
  187. For some more info on Jesus People USA see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_People_USA

    ReplyDelete
  188. Things look pretty bad at JPUSA.

    You have two members who were forced to get psychiatric treatment recently kicked out.

    You have two branches of the Lakefront Roofing Supply company
    completely shut down because of no business.

    You have people in McDonough County where the festival was held giving the boot to the entire festival - there will be no more Cornerstone Festivals in the future.

    People who want to leave are being held at JPUSA through suggestion that they won't make it in real life.

    One member says that the building he lives in should be condemned because of the bedbug problem in it.

    JPUSA ministry has lost funding for food because it used to lie by saying it was a shelter when it wasn't a shelter and now the lie has caught up with them.

    Members are followed, watched and considered untrustworthy and say that they are under constant scrutiny and have unrealistically high expectations to perform.

    A member stalker followed a woman for years and now follows another woman. Wating, watching, sneaking around, he follows her schedule and trys to pursue a relationship that he has been prevented from starting by the leaders.

    More long time members leave the ministry and the state.

    A single woman who had sex with a single brother has been allowed to stay in the commune. The brother was expelled.

    Teen members have been going out and having sex outside the ministry.

    It keeps getting worse and worse.
    I can't take it.

    I'm out of here.

    ReplyDelete