UBF and Dialogue: What Joe, Charles and Pope Francis Say

Admin Note: Having a genuine meaningful dialogue in UBF is a very important issue that absolutely needs to be seriously addressed and practiced. I say this based on comments expressed by Joe and Charles on Facebook and UBFriends here and here. Joe and Charles make life easy for me because they state things with much clarity and with far less words than my rambunctious repetitive rowdy rambling ruminating grandstanding pontificating verbosity! Here’s what Joe posted:

JoeSchafer“In my experience, leaders have refused to participate in discussions where they cannot control the rules of engagement, the range of allowable topics, or manage the ultimate outcome. They are willing to meet with you one on one, but I have found that counterproductive because in private they say things to pacify you but nothing comes of it, and when you leave the room they change their tune entirely. There needs to be witnesses present and some kind of accountability. Basically, I’ve found that they refuse to participate in discussions where they might lose face. Dialogue requires letting go of control and being willing to lose face, if necessary, for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of love. It feels scary and dangerous. I understand their predicament. But it is a risk that they must take.”

For the sake of love. I understand that UBF leaders will find the above paragraph very hard to read, because it is an indictment on them. But honestly, good leaders listen to anything “thrown at them,” if they truly want to be a “world class leader” like Jesus, who did have everything thrown at him!

Please listen. A leader who only wants to teach others, lord over others and control them, but not seriously dialogue with them or listen to them makes a poor leader. A Christian leader is ultimately never one who is appointed (by God or by people), but one who has earned the right to lead others through Christ-like love. I will state categorically that a leader who does not genuinely dialogue with or listen to his or her people will eventually lose them to someone who would listen to them. Isn’t this why so many people, including so many 2nd gen children of hardcore senior leaders, are continuing to leave UBF?

Here’s Charles’ comment:

“…it became too painful to stay in UBF, and much of my time in UBF was painful. It was painful to see a so-called church systematically abuse people in the name of shepherding, praise those who did so, and then vilify and ignore those who either left or spoke against the issues. It was painful to see the whole congregation be asked to pray for such and such UBF chapter to have a big conference with many attendees while knowing that that very chapter has hurt people. To see this done, with business as usual continuing, was painful and anger inducing. And then it happened to me too.

After leaving, I experienced the very things mentioned (on UBFriends). I realized how isolated my life had become. The feelings of deception, of embarrassment in becoming a self-absorbed fool for so long, of disappointment and betrayal, were all painful. But in the end I’m glad to have left and stood by my convictions with the support of my wife because despite the pains, it sure feels great to feel like I’m becoming human again. It has been simultaneously painful and difficult, and still exciting and wonderful.”

Eerie and chilling words. The chilling phrase in Charles’ words after being in UBF for 14 years is this: “And then it happened to me too.” What happened to Charles? In his words it was to be vilified and ignored when he tried to raise concerns and speak to senior leaders about them. He wanted a genuine heart to heart dialogue. But after being shut down multiple times all he could say is, “And then it happened to me too.” (This I believe is also what countless others have felt from the UBF hierarchy.) Gosh, these words are eerie and chilling!

Can we please have a dialogue? Joe’s contention in his words are that “leaders have refused to participate in discussions where they cannot control the rules of engagement, the range of allowable topics, or manage the ultimate outcome.” In brief, the UBF hierarchy does not really want to listen or have a dialogue, for what they want is primarily for you to listen to them telling you what to do. Will such a practice ever lead to a happy marriage if one spouse only wants the other spouse to listen to them and obey them? Will this lead to a happy father son dialogue and conversation?

Let me conclude with a few excellent words by Pope Francis about what prevents dialogue and about how to have a genuine dialogue with another:

“…we succumb to attitudes that do not permit us to dialogue: domination, not knowing how to listen, annoyance in our speech, preconceived judgments and so many others. Dialogue is born from a respectful attitude toward the other person, from a conviction that the other person has something good to say. It supposes that we can make room in our heart for their point of view, their opinion and their proposals. Dialogue entails a warm reception and not a preemptive condemnation. To dialogue, one must know how to lower the defenses, to open the doors of one’s home, and to offer warmth.” Pope Francis, On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family and the Church in the 21st Century.

According to Pope Frances this is what a good UBF leader should do:

  1. Don’t make preconceived judgments and preemptive condemnations against those who disagree with you and challenge your decisions.
  2. Listen from your heart and listen empathetically to those hurt by UBF.
  3. Respect those who critique UBF.
  4. Believe that those who critique UBF have something good to say.
  5. Make room in your heart for those who bring up issues that you don’t like to hear.
  6. Have a warm reception in your heart toward those who leave UBF, just as you will have a warm reception to your children if they leave UBF.

Can we have a genuine heart to heart dialogue in UBF?

33 comments

  1. I just thought of this. A reason why it is hard, if not impossible, for some UBF leaders to listen and have a (two-way) dialogue is because they are convinced in their own mind that they are right and what they are doing is right. Therefore, anything that anyone else says to the contrary, they will simply not listen and regard as a total waste of their time.

    • Joe Schafer

      Ben, I hope that isn’t true. If it is true, then they have ceased to be relational beings in the image of God and have become robots programmed to obey, obey, obey and march onward, doing the same thing over and over until they break down and die. Is that the model of Christian discipleship that ubf wants to uphold? Sometimes I wonder. If that is what they want to be, they should stop using the word love, because love requires mutuality. If they think this is a model of discipleship that will inspire and attract young people, then, well, um, I have no words for that, only a silent groan of sorrow

  2. Jennifer Lemmon

    Ben, thank you for your persistence on this topic of dialogue.

    I hate to be a pessimist but I personally believe that this dialogue cannot and will not happen unless we can shed the excuse, “we are all sinners” which can at times be an excuse for sin against our brothers and sisters, and see each other in light of Christ.

    We must, paraphrasing Pope Frances’ words above, be willing to acknowledge that people have something good to say. That is, we must entrust the work of Christ in each others’ lives, humble ourselves to be willing to acknowledge that we may be wrong, and above all, love.

    • Joe Schafer

      Jennifer, thanks for making a great point.

      Yes, ubf leaders, please stop using that phrase, “We are all sinners,” because I know what you mean by that.

      If you meant, “Okay, I will put aside pretense, stop hiding behind my senior position and meet you at the foot of the cross as a true equal, listening carefully to what you say because in the shadow of the cross my sins may be exposed and then washed clean,” then of course, yes, that would be a beautiful thing.

      But usually your meaning is this.

      “You think that I am doing something wrong. Well, who gave you the right to think that? Are you God? Are you perfect? Do you know how much I have sacrificed for you unthankful people? This conversation has now ended. Go in peace, keep calm, and fuggedaboudit. P.S. Don’t forget to submit your annual chapter report and prayer topics as we march on to make America a kingdom of priests and holy nation!”

      Yes, I know this is sarcastic. Call me a sarcastic sinner. But I hope you can get past my sarcasm to see the point, which is that the phrase “We are all sinners” is usually nothing more than a conversation stopper.

      Please indulge me while I vent just a little more, then I will stop. I’m doing this not because I think my feelings at the moment are objective or pure or Christlike. The Psalmists often use language that is too negative, too sarcastic, too despairing, and too angry to be a model for good Christian behavior. But the Psalmists are very honest, and through their honest emotional expressions tainted by sin the voice of God may still be heard. So now I will channel my inner Psalmist.

      Thus far, I have ignored the calls from headquarters to submit my annual chapter report for Penn State UBF. I apologize. My report can be viewed here.

  3. Mark Mederich

    only one thing matters: RIGHT; we can dispute what right is but we must strive to IMMEDIATELY do what we sincerely believe is right & let the Holy Spirit guide us from there

  4. Love this article and loved reading the 100+ comments on Facebook :)

    If anyone wants to make use of a private forum for dialogue, in addition to public dialogues, we have one here:

    subfix | friends, hope and healing

  5. “We are all sinners”

    Here is the translation of what this means in ubf-speak, fresh from the current Wikipedia vandalism by some ubf members:

    “These accusations are of the past, and no longer relevant.”

    “These facts are no longer relevant, as UBF has changed many of its ways.”

    “The negative allegations are of large irrelevance today in many parts of ubf.”

    “The former editor is not acquainted with current situation of ubf and reforms that occur.”

    “Largely irrelevant information presently.”

    Check out the hilarious and arrogant ubf defender actions on Wikipedia

    One Wiki-admin said it best when he/she saw this foolish behavior: “What the hell?”

    Apparently all this dialogue is hitting some nerves in ubf-fantasy-land… :)

  6. Thanks, Jennifer. When I’ve brought up some issue that the hierarchy doesn’t like, it’s just a matter of time before someone says, “we’re all sinners.” Interestingly, no one ever mentions “we’re all sinners” when the discussion is about “taking down UBFriends.” :-)

  7. Jennifer Lemmon

    Joe, I agree with the two points you raise in how the phrase, “we all are sinners” is used here. Meeting at the foot of the cross as sinners we find true peace and reconciliation. I am very thankful that our two families have been able to do this time and again the past few years and have grown in true friendship.
    Leaders, more than anyone I would argue, need to take on this attitude. However, we sadly have found that UBF leadership cannot/will not.

    I was saddened and also angered by several comments made on the FB thread yesterday based on the pain of leaving UBF. https://www.facebook.com/ben.toh.9/posts/10153139652119490?comment_id=10153144189369490¬if_t=feed_comment#sthash.9BZiXehj.dpuf

    Those who commented that UBF leaders are sinners too and that we should, “move on, people” sent an anger in me that I wanted to slap someone silly (Figuratively speaking, of course). No one knows the pain that I have felt and endured since leaving UBF. Even my husband said to me last night that he is just now beginning to understand the pain I am feeling since leaving. We have sacrificed similarly, but differently all at the same time. I wonder, can a Korean second gen or a missionary really understand the loss I feel/have felt. Second gens are born into UBF, I chose. I CHOSE based on the belief that the people that were preaching to me were trustworthy and God’s servants. However, knowing what I know about all the abusive practices of UBF, the cases of domestic and child abuse that has taken place only to be swept under the rug, and the arrogance of UBF leaders to turn their backs on those who are suffering has broken my trust. I chose this life out of trust in God but also trust in my leaders who I believed that God ordained. And they failed me. They failed me when they put their own interests above others. And I had to ask the question then, “Did God fail me? Has the last 20 years of my life been nothing but a joke?” This has been my rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions as I try to “move on”.

    I want to propose thought as to how people use this popular phrase, “we all are sinners”. “We all are sinners” is used as an excuse to remain in an abusive relationship out of fear of what we might lose. I used this excuse for many years trying to justify why I remained in UBF even though my conscience screamed to get out. It is an excuse not to face truth. In other words, this phrase has become the very cloak that shields us from the True Light, Jesus, the author and healer of our lives.

  8. Thanks so much, Jennifer, for sharing your “rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions.” It touched my heart. I feel your exasperation, wondering what happened over the last 20 years. May God grant you grace, peace and wisdom, as you continue in your journey of faith.

  9. forestsfailyou
    forestsfailyou

    I am currently not on facebook for Lent, but I have discovered that most if not all the things said here are true.

    When something negative is brought up what is said is that “That was a long time ago.” Or “That was in the past.” When this article and some of the issues raised my former roommate that when he had first found this website and questioned the leader about issues that were raised he was assured this was “all in the past UBF”. Now after a year and a half I can say that many of the issues here are still present, but in varying degree depending on the person and the chapter. For example, when I first decided I wanted to maybe go abroad as a missionary my mother was violently against the idea. When I told the leadership here I was told not to mention it again and leave it alone, and she would come around. And that is the attitude taken with problems around here. Don’t do anything, just wait around. This was part of the reason it was so shocking that I went and got introduced. I had told everyone A LOT that I didn’t want to be introduced. But the attitude was the same “Wait around and he will change his mind.” And when events became out of their hands they had no options to do anything.

    Implicit in this “Wait around and he will change.” is that a person’s idea is wrong, and they just need to be give “God’s direction” to see the true way. It is offensive.

    Furthermore when issues are brought up I see a very clear emphasis on saying one thing and doing another. And by “doing” I mean “not doing”. I had lots of people agree that the ideas of my roommate were wrong, but he was never instructed, rebuked, or even consulted. This either means that I was lied to, or that I was believed but the truth was compromised for some reason, mostly likely as a result of the political issue of opposing GD’s future son in law.

    So these dialog issues are very present in 2015. Some of the other more specific issues you read about online- forced abortion, beatings, arranged marriages where people meet their partner on the day of the wedding, extreme dead dog training, etc. That stuff may be in decline, but the system and breakdown in dialog that led to it is still alive and well. We shouldn’t be surprised by this though. It takes religious groups a very very long time to change anything. I would say some of the issues in UBF have changed more quickly that some of the issues in the catholic church for instance, not to minimize or marginalize any exubf members experiences. I just mean to say that the struggle to fix issues in UBF will take a very very long time. Any small victory is a major one.

    Currently I am trying to move from a paradigm of knowing all the church members well, not just my pastor. So I can share things and have dialog with everyone. This is in contrast to the “just share with you shepherd”. I think if dialog occurred with the body of the church, and not just one person we might have less issues, at the very least they would probably be different issues.

    • forestsfailyou
      forestsfailyou

      **moving to a paradigm

    • +1. I think getting to know the members for the sake of dialogue is key. Even though I’ve distanced myself from the quintessential activities and events of the ministry I am still attempting to build relationships in a way that is not forced or tied to doing things together in the ministry. I suspect and hope that if more participate in this, the minstry members will see the value of relationship building and be transformed in an organic/natural way.

  10. “I had lots of people agree that the ideas of my roommate were wrong, but he was never instructed, rebuked, or even consulted. This either means that I was lied to, or that I was believed but the truth was compromised for some reason…” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/02/24/ubf-and-dialogue-what-joe-charles-and-pope-francis-say/#comment-16680

    I may be wrong, but imo, he was not confronted because he was doing the primary thing that matters in some ubf chapters: he is committed to staying in ubf and “following the rules.” As long as he is doing that and “keeping spiritual order,” then he’s “fine” and will be left alone.

    But if you keep missing church or meetings or conferences, or raise an issue, any issue, YOU become the problem, and then anything goes… But a “committed” UBFer with wrong ideas is just fine. So no, I don’t believe they lied to you.

    I hope I didn’t come across too cynically or sarcastically. Maybe it’s just later in the day and I’m tired from a long day.

  11. “Did God fail me? Has the last 20 years of my life been nothing but a joke?” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/02/24/ubf-and-dialogue-what-joe-charles-and-pope-francis-say/#sthash.cFyfzDeO.dpuf

    Jennifer I echo your question. Recently, in small group at my school I realized there were lenses/strongholds I have been viewing my life, God and the Bible through. One of the lenses was that “I am an obstacle to God’s work.” This is something a previous shepherd had said often to me. If anything in the ministry was not going well it was my fault. I was the problem that needed to be fixed.It was was very harmful emotionally and spiritually. Now, I’m trying to unlearn those self-deprecating thoughts and it’s uncomfortable because I am not used to not thinking that way. But is teaching me a lot now, that I didn’t know.

    Recently, I was at a seminar and we were practicing the presence of God and remembering moments when we knew God was with us. I have many of those awe-inspiring happy moments, but I also have memories from times of spiritual abuse and I wonder where was God then? I am praying that God would teach me that he was with me there also.

    • Joe Schafer

      Yes, MJ, thanks for sharing. Yesterday I had lots of fun with Ben, talking about minions and so on. Lots of “inside baseball” and silly humor. I need to do that from time to time, because it helps to keep me sane. But your comment here, and the earlier comments by Jennifer Lemmon, are insightful and deserve careful consideration by ubf leaders and by readers of UBFriends, and I feel bad that no one else has chimed in.

      Ben and Brian, I’m going to remove yesterday’s OCD chitchats from the comment thread so that they don’t distract readers from the important contributions by Jennifer, MJ and HappyKitty.

    • Charles Wilson
      Charles Wilson

      I read Jennifer and MJ’s comments yesterday and wanted to reply, but couldn’t put my thoughts into words properly. I think the issue of trust brought up is a major consideration in having serious dialogue and understanding, and one that I have been emphasizing in private discussions for quite some time now. It deserves a proper article here. Not only do many, like Jennifer, begin the relationship with UBF with that certain degree of trust, but teachings in UBF reinforce the idea that to trust leaders and obey them equates to trusting in God so that the two become very difficult to separate. Now, when leaders fail or betray us, God himself is also tied in the feelings of betrayal and failure and we’re left with many questions. Speaking out against abuses and wrong teachings is more than just pointing out “weaknesses” or failings to hit the high marks in Scripture teachings and commands, but there is a deep cut in the heart and mind of a person because this trust that was there was real and made sense of what was going on at the time–that very trust being broken reeks of deception and abuse that goes beyond just breaking rules or making mistakes, whether intentional or not. Understanding the nature of the relationships between people in UBF (and those who left) is critical for dialogue and understanding. To me, this is also why comments that say to just “move on” or “focus on Jesus” can be offensive. They lack the understanding of the context of the relationships and the feelings and thoughts of others. Personally, I do want to move on and focus on Jesus. But move on to what? I even questioned at one point if the God I learned of in UBF is the same God of the Bible (I don’t think so now). I want to focus on Jesus. But Jesus said that his command is to love one another. How can I love fellow brothers and sisters in Christ by ignoring how they are abusing and being abused under the excuse of “moving on”? I can’t reconcile these emotions and thoughts so simply.

    • Charles Wilson
      Charles Wilson

      Here are two examples from recent private discussions:

      1. Someone asked me if, basically, if he was at fault on his part for being “naive” having trusted and followed leaders because he found in Scripture it says to do so (Hebrews 13:17). I think it can be dangerous to push this kind of perspective because it can lead to victim blaming (this is in light of systematic teaches and practices that encourage abuse) and takes the focus away from basic respect and accountability due from and of leaders.

      2. An older missionary could not understand my push to let go and let “native leaders” take care of matters. He said that he is waiting for God’s direction to do so. However, this waiting comes at the expense of ignoring the very people he had been charged to take care of. My emphasis to him was to understand the nature of the present relationship. Missionaries told students that God sent them to them to raise disciples and leaders. Students believed it. But when they are not allowed to lead in their own right and only see old missionaries continuing to run everything, it’s not about people lusting for power or authority, but of people being deceived. Why must the old missionary now wait for God to tell him again to let go and let locals lead? Why the disconnect in what God has said? But students also are taught that this is from God. So which is it? How very confusing and oppressive.

    • “If anything in the ministry was not going well it was my fault.” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/02/24/ubf-and-dialogue-what-joe-charles-and-pope-francis-say/#comment-16721

      Yes, we all have to deal with the effects of guilt-tripping.

      Here are two verses that liberated my mind from the guilt ubf shepherds burdened me with. In their mind, the ubf shepherd’s job is to convict other “sheep” of guilt for their sin. Then they spew words of flattery and have a hard time speaking an honest word.

      I ask, whose job is it to convict? The bible is rather clear:

      1. It is the Lord who convicts: “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.” –Jude 1:14-16 ESV

      2. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts:

      “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” –John 16:7-10 ESV

  12. Thanks for sharing MJ. Honestly, this is totally reprehensible and disgusting!: “I am an obstacle to God’s work.” This is something a previous shepherd had said often to me. If anything in the ministry was not going well it was my fault. I was the problem that needed to be fixed. – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/02/24/ubf-and-dialogue-what-joe-charles-and-pope-francis-say/#comment-16721

    Yes, knowing that the God who was with you in the best of times is the same God who is also with you in the worst of times.

    Personally, I’ve experienced the closeness and presence of God in the “worst” of times. But I am definitely not seeking for or asking God to give me more “worst times”!

  13. Charles Wilson
    Charles Wilson

    And I had to ask the question then, “Did God fail me? Has the last 20 years of my life been nothing but a joke?” This has been my rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions as I try to “move on”. – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/02/24/ubf-and-dialogue-what-joe-charles-and-pope-francis-say/#comment-16737

    This is a question my wife and I discuss often. At times I wish that the last 15 years didn’t happen. Having to start over, including in my relationship with and understanding of the person of God, of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, is not easy to deal with. Though, more and more it is becoming exciting for other reasons, as I learn newly of God.

    Learning to separating God and what people do has been helpful to me. My own understanding at this point is simply that there are people who do what is not good. But what they do does not change God and what he has done and is doing in and through Jesus. Talking about and understanding what has happened in the past and my relationships with the ministry, off and on this website too, has been very helpful. Reading new materials from other Christians and ministries has been helpful. Reading through Kings, Chronicles and Jeremiah (and some minor prophets, like Amos and Hosea) in view of the sufferings, death, and resurrection of Jesus and the response of the apostles to the persecution in the book of Acts helped to shape this. God didn’t fail the people with bad kings who did bad things. But still there were bad kings who failed the people, some even in the name of God.

  14. Jennifer Lemmon

    Thank you, MJ, for sharing your heart here on this post. And Charles, thank you for sharing as well. I have related to your struggle and the journey through it in more ways than one, and so I am thankful.

    This has been the blessing of UBFriends.org: knowing that you are not alone in your struggles and in the sharing of those struggles, you can grow together in faith and in love. Yes, I believe that even in all the “complaining fellowship” we can grow in love.

    “Learning to separating God and what people do has been helpful to me. My own understanding at this point is simply that there are people who do what is not good. But what they do does not change God and what he has done and is doing in and through Jesus.”

    Charles, I agree with Brian when he said that this is a sign of a healthy mind and also a maturing mind. I would say that in my naivete, I believed that God was working in each one of us as the body of Christ to carry out His will on earth. Therefore, each one in the body would be doing his/her best to live in the presence of God and do what was right. I would have told you that I wasn’t necessarily pouring my trust in them, but I was trusting the work of God in them.

    Several years ago when it became very apparent that North American UBF ministry was not doing well, Joe Schafer was willing to raise some questions to a number of UBF members who answered honestly and sincerely. Being one of those people who contributed to this questionnaire, it felt good to share my struggles and concerns openly. Joe was able to present these questions and the answers to UBF senior staff not to “cause trouble” but to truthfully examine the state of our ministry and its members. The response was one that I would never have expected from the body of Christ. This report was met with doubt, scorn even, because it was just bringing up faults in the ministry which could NEVER be discussed. And Joe was quoted Phil 2 and told to “put the interests of others above his own interests.” JOE WAS SPEAKING FOR ME and for a number of other UBF members in North America. The Body of Christ let me down.

    Since then, many reports of abuse have come out in the UBF ministry, numerous families have left, and yet, they press on as if nothing is wrong. This is how I KNOW that in my thinking, separating God from UBF ministry is the right thing.

    For awhile now I have rested in the words, “Be still and know that I am God.” When I fall into feelings of fear or doubt, God reminds me of His presence and love. The best word that I can use to describe my life right now is in “exile”. Yes, alone, but not alone because God is present and He is faithful.

    • Charles Wilson
      Charles Wilson

      I remember how JL awkwardly referred to Joe in his message on Phil 2 at a staff conference around that time, which also made it into the report. http://www.ubf.org/world-mission-news/north-america/2011-usacanada-staff-conf-report

      Self-proclaimed “Bible teachers” and “shepherds” approach people and some of them agree to meet with them. They say that God sent them to you and made them your leader. The complexity of such a relationship needs to be seriously considered in discussions, especially since the teachings of the Bible teachers so often intertwine trusting God with trusting them. Yet when a person speaks up/out they are accused of ultimately trusting in people rather than God and by this “reason” write off concerns. It then becomes all too convenient to justify recruiting and controlling people and later disregarding them.

    • Charles Wilson
      Charles Wilson

      The best word that I can use to describe my life right now is in “exile”. Yes, alone, but not alone because God is present and He is faithful. – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/02/24/ubf-and-dialogue-what-joe-charles-and-pope-francis-say/#comment-16764

      Yes, he is present and faithful. My feeling now is rather that I’m leaving a small camp and entering into the greater body of Christ. It brings joys of freedom and excitement.

    • It’s “cute” that the 2011 report says, “P. Jacob has also been able to cowork with many different kinds of people, especially Dr. Joseph Schafer, who is like him in many ways but also different from him in many ways. The spiritual influence of this message brought a sense of unity to the hearts of many.”

    • Joe Schafer

      Ben, you have a strange and broad definition of cute.

      Yes, JL is excellent at coworking with all different kinds of people, as long as there are no disagreements. If there are, he will avoid dealing with them until the relationship gets so strained that someone has to leave. His own chapter split a couple of years later. Of course, they called it “pioneering.” But it was a split. Now there are two UBF chapters, located only a few blocks apart, both trying to “pioneer” the University of Maryland.

  15. Thanks Jennifer, MJ, Charles for sharing. Your stories are real and heart felt. I’m so happy to be a part of the UBFriends community because you share your “testimonies” and “sogams,” which I was told means “from the center of the heart.”

    I believe that your stories are being heard. Though you may have experienced some people turning a deaf ear to you, I believe that more and more people are hearing you loud and clear. I also believe that like the Israelites crying out to God in Egypt, your voices are also reaching the very heights of heaven.

    Thanks so much!