What if UBF Had Used The NASB?

bibleWorld1Think fast: what is the #1 most popular Bible verse in UBF? I think that those who have studied the Bible in UBF, who have attended UBF wedding ceremonies, read UBF mission reports, or just read the ubf.org website might answer: Genesis 12:1-3. The study of this passage has a prominent part in the Bible studies in UBF. The famous Genesis group Bible studies of Sarah Barry perhaps kick-started the early portions of the UBF ministry in Korea.

I was taught this passage from the NIV, which reads:

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

2“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.
(emphasis mine)

In the Bible study, I was encouraged to respond to God’s call like Abraham did, to leave my connections to my pre-UBF life and go to “…the place [God] will show [me],” which meant UBF ministry and campus mission. If I obeyed, I was told “…all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” When I married, Dr. John Jun delivered our wedding address from Genesis 12:3, exhorting us to be a family of blessing who not merely enjoys God’s blessing but becomes a blessing to others. I was encouraged, “Become a source of blessing to other people like Abraham.” Of course, the best method of being a blessing—we were taught—is to go to the university campus and invite students to 1:1 Bible study, shepherding as many of them as possible so that they too may “become a blessing” by doing the same. The best method of being a blessing certainly did NOT involve much consideration for my own family.

But how correct is our interpretation of Gen 12:3? Did the Bible translation affect the way this verse was interpreted? Consider the way the NASB translates verse 3:

And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
(emphasis mine)

Notice that the word translated “people” in the NIV is translated “families” in the NASB. It is also translated “families” in the ESV, NLT, NRSV, and KJV. In fact, among the popular English translations, only the NIV uses the generic word “people” instead the more-specific word “families”. The Hebrew word is mishpachah. It occurs 301 times in the Old Testament, 177 times indicating family or families, 100 times indicating clan, and only 4 times indicating an unspecific group of people. While I don’t pretend to be an expert on Biblical Hebrew or exegesis, isn’t it interesting that the NIV, which is the main-stay English translation of UBF in North America, does not use the word families? Is it merely a coincidence that this arguably most-popular text in UBF avoids the word “family,” preferring to use “people”? Considering the accounts of Chris, big bear, myself, and others of how families in UBF have sometimes been neglected, abused, and disregarded, it begs the questions:

  • Does our choice of Bible translation affect the way we interpret certain passages?
  • Could the choice of Bible translation contribute to the pressure felt by many present and former UBFers to “…sacrifice family on the altar of UBF campus mission”?



  1. Very interesting. Thanks, Josh. Love your post.

    Unlike others who felt pressure to sacrifice their family for mission, I think I have always regarded my own family/kids as crucial and non-negotiable.

    Even when some UBF leaders thought they should have “more authority” than I over my kids, I was crystal clear that I am the father, not you, not their Bible teacher(s) and not their UBF chapter director.

    My sentiment was always that if you want to “train my kids” understand that I am still their dad, not you. This did not sit well with some UBF leader(s) who regarded me as “over-protective” of my kids.

    • Ben, that’s great to hear. I want us to keep in mind there are two kinds of families that ubf chapter directors typcially despise: 1) the parents/siblings of a bible students and 2) the children/spouse of a shepherd.

      Now if you ask a chapter director directly, they will deny everything. But every ubfer knows what I’m talking about. Perhaps the word “despise” is a bit too much. But we all know that ubf not only implies, but demands and requires you to place ubf mission above your parental family and your own family after marriage.

      I was praised and flattered so much because I chose not to be with my dying father, quoting Luke 9:60 like some arrogant holy soldier in one Friday testimony.

      Now I see that I was a fool. And like you Ben, I will fight tooth and nail if any ubfer tries to even talk to my children. Like you, my kids just have say who their dad is, and ubfers will back off, or at least they had better.

    • @Brian: Despises may not be the best word, but not entirely inaccurate. When my parents initially disagreed that my wife and I decided to marry by faith, someone angrily said, “Your parents are so unthankful. THEY SHOULD COME AND BOW DOWN BEFORE ME IN THANKSGIVING THAT I HELPED THEIR SON GET MARRIED.”

  2. Great observation, joshua! And this fits in nicely with the conversations we’ve had here recently.

    This highlight an other glaring hole in my theology that I was taught by ubf. The teaching is that families are sinful distractions to mission, a danger to devotion, something God requires us to sacrifice, and a hindrance to God’s blessings.

    This is utter fallacy no matter what version of the bible you use.

    Clearly I was led to make mission (specificly the ubf mission) as my idol. So it is true that we should not make family an idol, but also neither should we make mission an idol. This is not the gospel that Jesus proclaimed, the gospel that overcomes restlessness or gives effervescent peace and joy and living hope.

    At best, working so hard for a specific context of mission at the expense of family life yields a sense of accomplishment. But this is not the gospel. Some of this bad theology has been corrected in my mind by studying the gospel word “rest”, as I share on my other blog “odnim slovom”. I really think that discussions about the gospel are most helpful for ubfers. Why don’t they want to talk about the gospel? Do they think they already know the gospel fully? Or maybe they think it is a waste of time or just not related the massive ministry problems?

  3. NIV Jeremiah 7 – 22 For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, 23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.

    NRSV Jeremiah(NASB is similar) 7 – 22 For in the day that I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to them or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. 23 But this command I gave them, “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk only in the way that I command you, so that it may be well with you.”

    I recently came across this one and yes, it definitely changed the way I read the passage. In the NIV says “I did not just command them…”, the NRSV says “I did not command them…” The NRSV and the NASB repeatedly use the phrase “Obey my voice”, and the phrase “walk only in the way that I command you” but the NIV seems to emphasize obedience to the written code by saying “walk in obedience to all I have commanded you”. The tense is different and the tone changes a lot with use of the word “voice”.

    In my recent studies of the Exodus narrative onward, it seems to me that God was much more interested in living intimate relationship with the Israelites from the start than I had realized. Maybe I’m reading too much into but I was definitely impacted by noticing this. Made me think of Teviah in the Fiddler on the Roof and all his intimate conversations with God, and the way the Israelites have studied the Torah as a kind of open ended conversation with God and each other.

  4. Sibboleth

    I like the NET’s rendering :

    1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go out from your country, your relatives, and your father’s household to the land that I will show you.

    2 Then I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you,
    and I will make your name great, so that you will exemplify divine blessing.

    3 I will bless those who bless you, but the one who treats you lightly I must curse, and all the families of the earth will bless one another by your name.”

    Even the NIV’s footnotes for verses 2 and 3 add some flex in how “being a blessing” can be read. But, hey UBFers, let’s sing it again for the millionth time, “ALL HAIL THE POWER OF…!”

  5. Joe Schafer

    Joshua, thanks for this article.

    My comment is not specifically about Genesis 12. It’s about what happens when you question the prevailing UBF interpretation of any Bible passage.

    A couple of years ago, I led a group study on Acts chapter 1 for some students at a UBF conference.

    I told them that for over two decades, I had heard Acts 1:8 called “The world mission command,” and I had always assumed that it was a commandment for us to go and preach the gospel to all nations. Then I realized that the verse is not actually a command. Rather, it is a promise. The only command that Jesus gives to his disciples in that passage is to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit (verse 4). Then I said that, in my opinion, Jesus was not ordering the disciples to go and do anything just yet. He was telling them that, whatever they did in his name, they would need to be empowered and directed by the Holy Spirit.

    After that Bible study, a missionary pulled me aside and said, “You should never say that UBF is wrong!”

    Ironically, I had never directly mentioned UBF. I was only talking about some popular misconceptions and misunderstandings about that passage.

    But the missionary was upset that I had “planted doubt” in these students, making them suspect that UBF’s interpretation of Bible passages might not always be 100% correct.

    She then cancelled the Bible study that I was supposed to lead on the next passage (Acts chapter 2) the following day.

    • @Joe: Thanks for the anecdote. I think that many of us have had similar experiences. Inflexibility in Biblical interpretation made message preparation (and message training) very difficult sometimes. While I relished the opportunity to listen to God’s word, I always had in the back of my mind, “Will my director be pleased with this message?” and not “Will God be pleased?” Such inflexibility also discouraged me against trying to find God’s revelation in Scripture, as Bible study was so often geared towards reinforcing UBF’s heritage and prescribing obedience to UBF activities.

    • “She then cancelled the Bible study that I was supposed to lead on the next passage (Acts chapter 2) the following day.”

      This is yet another good example of the wolf-like nature hidden behind the cute smiles of ubf missionaries. If you are loyal to the heritage they sincerely want to bless you. If you are not loyal to the heritage they sincerely want to dismiss you, silence you or damage your reputation in some way.

      This is a major red flag that I missed. I remember as a single college student that two of my friends, on two different occasions, who suddenly disappeared one day. When I kept asking where they went, I found out they both had literally left in the middle of the night. One was living in his shepherd’s house, so he decided to pack his backpack and crawl out the window. The other packed his bags and left at night from the “brother’s house”.

      Officially we were told these two friends of mine (David and Albert) were bitter, poisonous and wounded. At the time I just felt sorry that they couldn’t measure up to the “marine level” of Christianity like I was doing.

  6. big bear

    Joshua..great point

  7. Thanks everyone for your comments. We all know that Genesis 12:1-3 comprises the Abrahamic covenant, or at least a portion of it, which is fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah. Now I understand this passage like this: Jesus is the one who is a blessing to all peoples (families or clans, it doesn’t matter), for it is only Jesus Christ who is able to bring me out from the curse of sin and the judgment of God’s law and make me a free son of God. So whichever Bible translation I use, I should always look for Christ. For each verse, the “best” version is the one which reveals Christ the clearest.

    The more I tried to be a blessing to my Bible students by serving them and helping them and intruding into their lives, the more burdensome I was to them. Now that I have purposely stopped trying to be a blessing through my efforts-driven acts of shepherding, I find myself coming into contact with others and being mutually blessed through the encounter. Christ alive in me as I am in him works so that I can bless others. The harder I try by my own efforts to be a blessing to others, the more inevitably I become an onerous burden in their lives.

  8. The discussion about translation and interpretation is a long needed study. I remember several years ago there was a brother in my home chapter. He always brought his KJV Bible and every time it was a communal gathering at the church or conference he was always handed the NIV with hostility and disagreement. It would be interesting to review the meaning in Korean language for those verses.

    A few years ago I could give many examples, but these days I am forgetting things. Stress. All I can personally say, is many times in many places I objected to understanding and interpretation of Bible passages and verses, but could never speak up. In fact, where many churches discuss scripture to get a better understanding, we are trained not to. When we receive a Bible study we are always asked, “Do you have any questions?” But I feel that this has always been in appearance. When I did have a question it was not well answered. Instead a point was restated and that did not clear up my confusion. I will return to this after I have had time to refresh.

    • gc, it was the same in Germany. The Luther 1984 revision was the only tanslation used in UBF, even though there are many other good translations in German, both modern and old. I don’t think they do it because the translation is particularly suited for UBF, but because of the general attitude to have everything normed and under control and always do everything in the same way. Also, they like having everyone read in unison from the Bible, something that I never saw in any other church. I think this is another subtle element to get people accustomed to uniformity. Perfection is for them when everybody does exactly the same. When everybody wears the same clothes, has the same hair style, prays in the same way using the same verbiage, and uses the same Bible translation. My chapter director even wanted to have us Sunday service at 3pm and sing “to God be the glory” at the beginning because he said “isn’t it a great vision to have all UBF chapters around the world stand up and sing this song at the same time” (the reality of time zones didn’t matter to him – it was the imagination that mattered). For UBF, uniformity is one of the highest ideals, and that’s the main reason why they always use the same translation. We were told to pray against “ungodly individualism” every morning on our knees. It was considered one of the top prayer topics in our chapter.

    • “My chapter director even wanted to have us Sunday service at 3pm and sing “to God be the glory” at the beginning because he said “isn’t it a great vision to have all UBF chapters around the world stand up and sing this song at the same time” (the reality of time zones didn’t matter to him – it was the imagination that mattered).”

      LOL Chris, I heard the same thing said in America many times, except we were singing “All Hail…”

      And it took many years, probably over 10 years, with many meetings, many arguments and much consternation for our Sunday service to switch from 3:00 pm to 11:30 am. The arguments for 3:00 were like “Samuel Lee determined this is the best time” and “We must be in step with ubf all around the world” and even my favorite: “3:00 pm is the most holy time of the day. We must challenge the ciesta attitude in America.”

      And yes, time zones don’t matter to chapter directors. Nor does geography. During one announcements our director declared: “We must help James Kim’s family in Houston! They are so cold so we need to get their coats from their house and ship them to Houston.” It was indeed winter, at least in Ohio. But I guess the hot weather in Texas even during winter didn’t matter– The Kim family needed to have coats!

      I was so naive I just accepted this.

    • What can I say gc? I read comments by Chris (Germany), Vitaly (Russia), Joshua (Canada), Joe and bigbear(America), AbNail (India)…and I have many memories of exactly the same kind of incidents…shouting training, early morning training, fishing training, eating training, hospitality training, driving training, sitting in chairs training, singing training… and so many problems: family problem, marriage problem, children problem, job problem, tax problem, no-sheep problem, school problem, exam problem on and on and on and on… but only one solution! do ubf stuff.

      So I just say yes! ditto! +1! and the classic Russian phrase: “oy!”

      “He always brought his KJV Bible”

      Bad idea! NEVER bring any translation to ubf except NIV. On second thought, what if everyone in ubf DID start to bring KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV, etc bibles? I would just love to see the reaction if The Message was read by a presider on Sunday!

    • Thank God ubf dropped the “demonology” speech…when I first came to bible study, everything was the demon’s fault… fat demon, lazy demon, couch-potato demon, rock music demon, marriage demon, family-centered demon…

    • Yeah Brian, I also know from the various examples. Actually, what I was aiming for with my comment was more about scripture and interpretation. You already know me without the mask and what is more or less happening with me now. I have difficulties remembering everything because of daily life now. Oh, and I might add that “peoples” as “families” from Joshua’s point in the Korean Bible also reads as “peoples in your land…”

      As for the demon this and demon that I too got to hear a lot of that. Keep in mind my home chapter. But what replaced the demon this and that was secular humanism, secular humanism, SECULAR HUMANISM. (We get the point already!!)

    • gc, LOL! We had the same “demons” in the chapter. About demon this and demon that, I have a funny story. We had a copy machine in the center and a missionary fixed a paper on the wall above the copy machine. It read, “Бес бумаги”. If it were “Без бумаги” then it would mean just “No paper”. But “Бес бумаги” means “The demon of paper”. It looked as if the copy machine was the demon of paper. Russians laughed a lot (the paper on the wall was there for many weeks but nobody dared to say to the missionaries they made a mistake).

    • Another funny story. A missionary delivered a message about the Jesus’ death. He used Russian exclamation “Вот это да!” Intonation is very important in pronouncing this phrase. For Russians it is natural and nobody would imagine the phrase can be said with a different intonation. the phrase means just “Wow!” But the missionary said it so that it meant, “Here you can see “yes”!” Absolute nonsense!

    • Vitaly, lol for sure!! As for the copy machine it is a slip, but an understandable one…’Office Space’ anyone?
      In terms of Russian intonation, I can only imagine throat clearing and pauses causing distortion in certain meanings. That being said, if I tried Korean, I would face some laughter too!

    • Vitaly, “the phrase means just “Wow!”” Nice. No wonder Russians laughed at my Russian :)

    • gc, all I have to say is “PC Load letter?”

    • “That being said, if I tried Korean, I would face some laughter too!”

      Sure! But the stories become not so funny when Korean missionaries “train” Russians to say something in Korean style. That becomes ugly and unnatural. And what kind of message can it be if a Russian says something absolutly unnatural to Russian listeners?! I said it before that even when I went fishing some campus student asked me, “Are you a foreigner?” because I developed an accent.

      After our leaving ubf a former “sheep” of my wife joined our Bible study. She spoke many “common sense” things but we enjoyed her pure Russian a lot.

    • Hey Vitaly! Add me on fb or just ask Brian, you will see why I take a line of diplomacy. That being said, I think the most “torturous advice” (how’s that Brian) I had was for dramatic recitation and also message delivery.

    • I know the feeling Vitaly. I still almost cry when I hear our pastors speaking normal American. After 2 years I am starting to learn to be myself and return to my American identity. [Maybe that is why I’m so “bitter”, “wounded”, “self-righteous” and “proud” lol]

      In regard to training gc, yes I was trained to be a ubf-style messenger [which is not really a Korean style but uniquely ubf-style, I think even Koreans dislike this training]. But I failed at such training. I failed to be a “good messenger” in ubf for 24 years. Most years I was chosen to be a messenger, as if it was some sport to see who could finally break me and mold me into a ubf-style speaker. But it never happened. I lived with this dark cloud of failure year after year.

      Now I realize how stupid such “training” is. Why mold people into one lame speaking style? Now that I am discovering my self, I can speak loudly, quietly, boldly, dynamically and for hours upon hours! I am free to speak my mind and speak as myself! And it is SO liberating!

  9. big bear

    Joe…this is the exact thing that is wrong with UBF they are never wrong only every church that has existed for many years before them is wrong…they have the truth. I bought into this because my Bible knowledge was very poor…but the longer you are in UBF you begin to see how they interpret things just to justify their system and their wacky theology…my wife and kids started to discover this when they got older and they left UBF first..I did not want to be wrong..after all I invested 29 years in UBF…I admit I have been wrong and that my UBF pride and arrogance and loyalty to UBF blinded me to the abuse of family and even sheep for the system…I even boldly told a Bible student that the ministry was over my wife and kids…this was how distorted I became and this is what I was taught from the day I came to UBF from Cinti co-workers…the sad thing is that I thought that UBF was the best church in the world after all they taught me the Bible and how to be a modern day pharisee and that nobody should question how things are done in UBF….I was warned by many Pastor friends that UBF had wrong theology but I was happy to be saved and in Christ…I still feel the Bible study is good but it is all the other things that are thrown with in to support the UBF system….often my chapter director would rebuke me for sharing a message on Sunday that did not agree with his interpretation of the Bible…he would cross out things in my message that I truly learned from God and say like, “it does not sound good or you are reading to much of other church leaders writing” It was like I had to preach his message or not preach at all…this is crazy…but I bought into it…I kind of became a clone of UBF…boy, I am so happy to be free from all this mess and live again…the abuse was unreal…

  10. “It’s about what happens when you question the prevailing UBF interpretation of any Bible passage”.

    I fully agree. Joshua, I think that it would be very difficult to find a Bible passage with good and true ubf interpretation.

    “family” in ubf however I think is close to “sin” and “idol”. John 4 has a dialogue of Jesus and the woman. Jesus said, “Go, call thy husband, and come hither”. ubf teaches that her main sin problem was her “family problem” and “the women’s cursed desire”. And this ubf interpretation goes a long way to teach ubfers that when you care about your family you sin and worship an idol.

    I would suggest a small remake of the dialogue in John 4 for ubf sisters.

    Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.

    The ubf woman answered and said, I have no husband.

    Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:

    For thou hast lived as if you hast had five husbands (“five crosses” of ubf activities) in ubf; and ubf whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

    • +1 Vitaly. Don’t forget the cross of folding chairs. I actually heard a Canadian shepherd declare that his folding chair was his cross, and it was his holy duty to sit on that chair for every ubf meeting “absolutely”.

    • @ Brian, he should be happy it was not a wooden chair…

  11. big bear

    vitaly..could not agree more on your comments…wife and children are considered idols…why then get married and have kids? My ex told me this many times…why do you need us? She was right…UBF was over everything…what a mess..

  12. hey gc, maybe you could find out something for me… why does ubf use a Koean word for “advisor” that translates as “torture” on their website? Wouldn’t you want to use a different word maybe?

    Here is the link to “the ubf department of torture”

    I did some research and found this is really the “department of advisement” or something similar. But I’ve been curious as to why this old word would be used when it is not used (supposedly) by Koreans today.

    • And yes I mention this because not only do we have a bible translation issue in ubf, we have a language translation issue. Ever wonder what missionaries are talking about when you hear your name mixed in with Korean language? This bothered me a lot when they would talk about me when I was right there.

    • Brian, I asked a friend about this. It’s true that the word for ‘torture’ is the same as for ‘advisor’ but the root comes from Chinese. Apparently, there are two separate words in Chinese but they are in fact pronounced the same way. So, you need to find the Chinese root words.

    • Ok thanks. So my research tells me this is an adviser in the legal sense, which might explain some of the root origins :)

      Any way, does this mean these are the official ubf lawyers? Of course some of our Korean ubf friends could just tell us plainly and outright what the department of torture really is. Is this the legal team?

    • Joe Schafer

      This was my proposal for a Peer Interest Group at the last ISBC.

      OK, it wasn’t. But I had fun writing it.

      Title: “Spare Not The Rod: Raising Disciples of Jesus Through Corporal Discipline”

      Corporal discipline takes many forms. Beatings, Skokie training, boxing matches to choose conference messengers. All these things come from the Bible. God gave Israelites 40 years of Skokie training to bring them into promised land. Proverbs says that if we spare the rod, next generation becomes spoiled and useless. Apostle Paul loved boxing and beat his body many times. And when Israelite shepherds gave up marriage by faith and were cooked by foxy women, prophet Nehemiah trained them with beating and beard-pulling. Unfortunately this most effective part of ubf legacy is not being passed on to next generation and we must emphasize it along with the other core values. At this Peer Interest Group (PIG) session, we will hear beautiful heart-moving testimonies of how God used physical trainings to raise high-level spiritual marines in Korea, Germany and North America. Exemplary chapter directors will also share the secret of how to overcome satan’s attacks that may come from goodminded schoolteachers who notice bruises and liberal reporters who put slanderous writings in newspaper and internet.

    • Darren Gruett

      Joe, I must be really dense, because I never made the connection between “Skokie training” and the Israelites wandering in the desert.

    • Joe Schafer

      I’m glad you didn’t make the connection, because they’re not connected. When Samuel Lee thought you were proud or rebellious, he would tell someone to drop you off in Skokie and make you walk back. That was “Skokie training.” It has nothing to do with the Israelites in the desert. But if you read the Bible through ubf-tinted glasses, you can come up with all kinds of creative ways to say that ubf’s discipleship practices are straight from the Bible.

    • Joe Schafer

      Once upon a time (maybe 15 years ago), when someone objected to ubf’s practices of corporal punishment, I defended it by referring to Nehemiah 13:25:

      “I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair.”

      I say this with shame and regret. I played so many mental games to justify things that were unjustifiable.

    • That’s why you must absolutely marry by faith like Isaac and Rebekah in Genesis 24, and absolutely obey and never question God’s servants the way Peter “blindly” obeyed Jesus by casting the nets out into deep water in Luke 5, and absolutely never miss church on Sun or any Bible conferences because the Israelites had to keep the Sabbath day holy as well as all the various Feasts throughout the year as commanded in Leviticus, and leave your human family for your spiritual family as Abraham left in Genesis 12 and the disciples left their families to follow Jesus, and………

    • … and you may be reckless and do illegal things since the four friends of a paralytic also destroyed the roof of a house and the disciples stole a donkey because their master needed it … and you may lie according to the example of Rahab … and you may be rude to people and ignore human rights because Jesus also directly pointed out the sin to the woman at the well …

      These were all justifications I heared in UBF in real life.

  13. Brian, it’s probably the “Sea Org” of UBF ;)

    Btw, this page also says that James Kim is the official man for “communication and information”. Others probably don’t dare to write here becaus they don’t have an official blessing and mandate to do so. (With Wesley being a notable exception.)

    • Chris, I’m just glad that there is no Tom Cruise in ubf anymore. Perhaps we just have Baghdad James?

      That is another huge red flag. If you are always waiting for approval to say or do something, aren’t you really in a cult?

  14. Another translation story and note for ubf directors: Don’t use the “n” word when referring our African brothers and sisters. One director shared a prayer topic for “n”‘s in a Friday meeting. We all looked at each other in shock. Someone interrupted his announcements and explained how “n” is a derogatory term. The director then proceeded to continue using the “n” word in his remaining announcements, explaining why he was justified in using the “n” word because “n” just means “black” and people don’t have any problem with it.

    So I am not against Koreans and will gladly be a good host, but what is not acceptable is the ubf directorship insisting they are justified to continue in their misunderstanding and refusal to be corrected.

    As my dad used to say, making a mistake is not the problem. Refusing to correct your mistake is the problem.

    • “As my dad used to say, making a mistake is not the problem. Refusing to correct your mistake is the problem.”

      Exactly. Or as Einstein put it: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

    • Back in 2011 I blogged about the Sisyphus syndrome.

      At that time, I felt that the single most important psychological theme in UBF that needs to be examined is the Sisyphus Syndrome.

      Simply put, this syndrome is the condition of people who do the same thing over and over again, legalistically and proudly claiming they are right. They see their failure, but refuse to make any adjustments, corrections or changes to have a different outcome. When things fall apart, they simply start all over again, doing the same things. This futile repetition is symbolized in Greek mythology in a king named Sisyphus, who was made to push a boulder up a hill, only to find that it keeps rolling back down the hill.

    • Mark Mederich


  15. liveforchrist

    This is a very interesting article. I do not agree with this UBF mission statement of UBF. Putting your family over mission is ridiculous and it causes a big void between the relationship of parents and children. Sadly, it has greatly affected me. Sometimes I do not see my father as a father but as a UBF director.