Let 100 Flowers Blossom

sThis week I had the privilege to listen to Guy Kawasaki speak. It is refreshing to learn from an actual world-class leader. Guy is “one of the Apple employees originally responsible for marketing the Macintosh in 1984. He popularized the word evangelist in marketing the Macintosh and the concepts of evangelism marketing and technology evangelism.” One of his excellent points is this: Let 100 flowers blossom.

What Guy taught us is that we should not be afraid of seeing our work be used in ways we never intended. He said you should be so lucky if someone buys your product and uses it for all the unintended reasons. His example is of course the Mac. He and Jobs and the Mac team intended the Mac to be a spreadsheet processor. But nobody used it for that. Instead, they used it for desktop publishing and artwork. He mentioned that a business might be tempted to get upset because they lost control over their product. Instead, Guy urges us to accept such things and embrace the success. Like Jobs, Guy says “Go dent the universe!” He teaches us to let the flowers blossom where they blossom, and let your creations grow and take on their own life. In the Christian sense, the message is this: You are not in control of your ministry, the Holy Spirit is.

How the purpose of ubfriends changed

Guy’s advice helps me embrace what ubfriends has become, instead of trying to control it. When I helped start ubfriends with Joe and a couple others, we were both pro-UBF and had a very specific idea about what we wanted to accomplish. We thought UBF could be reformed. For example consider this quote from our About page:

This website is not intended to promote or denigrate UBF or any organization. Our purpose is to serve people by giving them an independent forum to learn, to think, and to express themselves in a healthy and friendly manner. We hope that this website will foster multi-way conversations among friends, open new channels of communication and friendships among people of different ages and backgrounds, overcoming prejudice and stereotypes, help members of UBF develop stronger connections to the broader Christian community, and help us to see multiple sides of difficult issues and truly learn from one another, even when we do not agree.

We had hoped to discuss Christian theology and bring real change and reform to the UBF group.

That all changed because what has been revealed is that the foundations of the group are in shambles. Like an old house that cannot be repaired and must be torn down, we uncovered the failed theology called UBFism that cannot be repaired. UBFism is hindering all of us from seeing the all-surpassing gospel Jesus preached.

Over time, many different kinds of flowers blossomed here on this website.

Why must UBF be redeemed and not reformed?

Many hundreds of people over many decades from many cultures, including Korea, have attempted to reform UBF. It has not worked. The business model is fundamentally flawed, as Joe pointed out recently. Furthermore, UBFism is a theology that needs to be deconstructed and exposed as harmful.

This week I have extra time to ponder all these things. It has been an eye-opening week too, as I have had more people reach out to me and share confirmations of abuses. Some UBF leaders should be in jail for not reporting such abuse. This denial of abuse is the main reason I say UBF cannot just be changed or reformed, but must be stopped so that redemption can begin.

Here are the topics numerous people were talking about on social media this week:

– An older Korean missionary has routinely slept with his daughter.
– An American shepherd regularly molested children at CBF.
– A student regularly molested children and then was appointed to lead children’s singing.
– An American shepherd was made to live in a one room apartment with only a small window in order to kill off his worldly desires.
– An American shepherd was sick and kept at home with an IV instead of going to the emergency room.
– A Korean missionary died at a UBF center and they prayed instead of calling 911.
– Some 2nd gens are locked in their rooms after they partied too much and got drunk.

When will it stop? Will you speak up? 

Here are some examples of what I am trying to say, from our previous articles. In order to see many flowers grow and blossom, UBFism must be stopped and deconstructed:

Here is my bluntly worded article:

Here is Joe’s nicely worded article with John Amstrong’s input:

Here is Ben’s good article, in Ben Toh’s ubf-friendly style:

So people can pick which “tone” they like, but in regard to this topic Ben, Joe and I are on the same page, even though we arrive from different viewpoints.




  1. Hi Brian, in your link of ubf abuses, you state: “In addition to extreme pressure to tithe weekly, there are UBF members who have taken out high dollar loans to make special offerings.”

    I think it should be “tithe monthly” rather than weekly.

    • Thanks Ben, I updated the page. In Toledo ubf we were pressured to calculate what the tithe would be for each paycheck and divide it up into a weekly sum. That way, regardless of if you got paid monthly or bi-weekly or whatever, you always had an offering to give. To not give offering was akin to spiritual death.

      The nominal shepherds gave a 10% tithe. The great shepherds with great shepherd-heart faith gave the double-tithe (20%). This one-fifth amount was from an OT passage and deemed more spiritual and exemplary.

  2. Guy Kawaski sounds amazing. I’m going to watch his Ted talk. I agree with this article. Once you create art it is not yours any more. Other people take it and run with it. I like how you said that Guy’s advice helps you “embrace what ubfriends has become instead of trying to control it.” It’s ironic how things rarely pan out the way we want. Ubfriends is different for each person. Each person has a different motive as to why they post/comment and as we learned from “honest rhee” you don’t really know what that motive is unless they explicitly explain it (and even then it might not be honest.) Some share for healing, some seek empathy, some seek vindication, some seek justice, some seek entertainment. I personally like ubfriends because its not black and white. This is something I find so rarely in Christian circles, but without it I feel like I’m suffocating in propositional debates over minutiae of systematic theology. Here I feel like questions that would be forbidden on other Christian forums, can be asked. Also I like to hear what you and Ben and Joe have to say, even though I dont agree with everything and that’s ok, hence ubfriends.

    • Yea, news flash: we don’t all agree here!

      While there may be some general consensus on some topics, we disagree on many things. But that’s ok. We have to live with people who disagree with each other.

      The Confucian ideal of a harmonious society simply will never exist on this earth.

      One thing that makes this website community work is that no one is controlling the narrative. Some speak louder than others but anyone could speak up.

      Case in point: I published Mr Rhee’s article when I thought he was a real person. I thought: finally we can examine and react to the real thoughts of a Korean ubf missionary. And he even promised to answer questions! But alas Mr Rhee is fake. I wish he were real.

      Speaking of Mr Rhee, he sent in another article. Does anyone want to see it?

  3. “Some share for healing, some seek empathy, some seek vindication, some seek justice, some seek entertainment.” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/09/16/let-100-flowers-blossom/#comment-19454

    Perhaps, in many instances, it is simply to be heard, which perhaps may not happen in some churches and/or ubf chapters, which in my opinion, is rather sad and unfortunate.

    The refusal to hear what one has to say comes perhaps from the need to control the chapter, control people, and control the narrative, which ultimately is a sad misrepresentation of our God who wants to hear us with all of our sins and warts and all (Isaiah 1:18).