Note from RA: During this holiday week, I’ll be re-posting some blog classics. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!
An anonymous commenter recently asked:
Does the Honor Academy give the impression that in order to grow closer to God, one must suffer physically?
I would answer emphatically, YES. But it goes far beyond just the forced exercise. In fact, by using this philosophy, the leadership at the Honor Academy had discovered what is possibly the greatest technique to control people’s behavior.
This is the scam: Interns are taught that whatever difficult challenge or struggle they face should be met with the attitude that they are being “stretched” or “taken out of your comfort zone” for the Lord. Leadership regularly instructs you to ignore physical pain, emotional cues and feelings (like anger) – otherwise you are being lazy, rebellious, etc. And you are therefore inferior as a Christian.
Obviously, God gave us those feelings for a reason – to let us know when something is wrong. We are not meant to ignore them.
This technique is incredibly effective because it preys on people’s zeal for God and desire to be closer to Him, and their fear of falling short spiritually.
By using this philosophy that all suffering is purposeful and should be accepted, they can instruct you to do whatever they want without regard to personal health or sanity. Your body is telling you that you are exercising too much? Beat your body and make it your slave. You are required to work 60 hours overtime during summer mission (yes, overtime) – no complaining allowed! You are sleep deprived, physically exhausted, and lacking in nutrition – count it all joy!
Do you see how within this paradigm they can get you to do whatever they want? Not because it is good or healthy for you. Not because they are looking out for your best interests. But because it serves THEIR interests.
This also frees them from having to right any wrongs or fix any problems. In this way of thinking, there are no problems – only opportunities for you to suffer for Jesus. And if you can’t suffer, then you aren’t a very good Christian.
This incredibly irresponsible way of leading young impressionable interns (as well as teenagers on the mission field) has led to countless physical injuries, illnesses, mental health issues and even at least one near death experience that I know of.
To Dave, Ron and other TM Staff: Quit telling people they are inferior believers if they can’t “suffer” in the irrational ways that you deem necessary. This is spiritual malpractice and its killing people emotionally and spiritually.