Letters from the week of December 7, 2000


Letters from the week of December 7, 2000

Campus Crusade
Thou shalt not think: Many thanks to Deb Hipp for a well-researched, well-written article on the International Churches of Christ ("The Church of the Poison Mind," November 23). An especially large thank-you to those ex-members who courageously shared the stories of their journey to, in, and past the ICC movement.

I spent most of my 20s involved with this movement. I was involved with the campus ministry that was attached at that time to a mainstream Church of Christ in Lawrence. Although I can relate to many of the experiences and sentiments shared, I know that my experiences pale compared to those who have been involved in "The Church" in more recent years. As more power and authority was centralized in one congregation and one individual, Kip McKean, so too was more mind and life control exerted over the lives of members under the guise of discipleship.

The most frightening thing about the ICC is the subtlety of its control over members. Members experience classic mind-control tactics and lots of what I call "crazymaking." As a result, every individual thought or question is labeled as rebellion. Soon, people don't know how to think for themselves. The process back is a long one, because it's a complete reconstruction of who one is and what one believes. Most people I know who left The Church, especially those who led Bible talks or served in other leadership roles, did not leave because they consciously believed The Church to be wrong. Rather, they left believing they would go to hell. However, they were no longer able to live with the disintegrated psyche and that still-small internal voice saying "No!"

As I have written about my experience over the years, I have called it the Huck Finn choice. When Huck decided to free Jim the slave, he knew absolutely that he was sinning against God by doing so. Yet, to continue to be Huck, he had no choice. As he freed Jim, he proclaimed, "All right then, I'll go to hell!" I can still remember the day I stood on a street corner and said those very words, and the strange freedom that resulted. There is life after the ICC, as well as a greater appreciation for the gift of who you are.
Laura Howard

Kingdom come: I was a member of the International Church of Christ several years ago. Like most new converts, I was really excited about the energy these people exhibited toward the work for Christ. But I, too, started to feel smothered by the demands of the disciples to share all my thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions with them or else I was "being selfish!" It didn't take me long to realize this was something I did not want to be involved in. I remembered that God is in control of my life, not individuals, and that Christ is the only mediator between God and man. Why did I need to confess my sins and shortcomings to a person? They could not forgive me. If that were the case, then Christ's death would be in vain!

To those out there who have been approached by these people, be very careful. Make sure this is what you want to involve yourself in. In the end, you will answer to God for your efforts and your life, not them. Also, by giving your life to him and asking him to forgive you, you have already entered into the kingdom ... no church membership needed!
Brenda Johnson
Kansas City, Missouri

Liberation theology: Thank you for an accurate portrayal of the mind games that the ICC plays and how it targets college students. I agreed to do the interview not because I still hurt over the ICC but in the hopes of helping at least one person avoid the mind games that I went through.

I would like to add that anyone is vulnerable to the ICC's spiel if approached at the right time in their life: a transitional time, when they feel lonely, nervous, in a new town, on their own for the first time -- in short, a lot of freshmen. Although you wouldn't guess it from the pictures of me, I am generally a very outgoing and cheerful person. Life goes on and, unfortunately, so does the ICC in its quest to "save" the world.

I would recommend that anyone looking for additional factual information about the ICC visit www.reveal.org for information or contacts in your area if you have a loved one or are yourself involved in the ICC. What you find there could save you a lot of heartache.
Kim Krecek

Spread It Around
Waste not: Thank you for reporting the terrible injustices suffered by Jim Bynum regarding the Kansas City sludge disposal site next to his property (Joe Miller's "Field of Bad Dreams," November 16). The Environmental Protection Agency and state "environmental officials" around the country have been covering up the great harm being done to human health and the environment from the land-spreading of sewage sludge.

In the past four years I have gathered much information on illnesses suffered by people unfortunate enough to be exposed to sewage sludge, from the sickness and death of family pets and farm animals to the pollution of drinking water wells and contamination of land and surface waters. The EPA's Toxics Release Inventory reveals that huge quantities of hazardous industrial wastes are still being discharged to public sewers, with the resultant pathogenic, toxic sewage sludge being spread on the land of rural America.

Kansas City claims it only "injects" sludge. I have seen a picture of the spraying of sludge (which disperses airborne viruses and bacteria far and wide). This is typical of the government's corrupt and deceitful policy, which must be stopped.
Helane Shields
Alton, New Hampshire

On biosolid ground: The strangest thing has happened. Within days of reading Joe Miller's article, I ate some gumbo and then came down with a mysterious illness. I've had headaches and bad gas ever since. My doctor cannot determine the cause, but I am "dead certain" that it is his article that made me sick. In addition, I saw an alien in my front yard last night. If I could just convince a "journalist" to print my unsubstantiated accusations, I might be able to profit from it.

Clever how Miller held my attention to the very last paragraph where he at last revealed the truth. Mr. Bynum wants the city to buy his worthless property for $10,000 an acre. Are we really expected to believe that he had an offer for $650,000 for property that is valued at $47,000? Sounds to me like the city is willing to pay more than fair market value. Apparently Pitch Weekly would like to help Mr. Bynum with this attempt at extortion by printing this garbage.

Reading more carefully, I was able to find the important information. Municipal biosolids (sludge, if you prefer) application programs are not haphazard. They are regulated, monitored, and backed with science to ensure public health and safety. Sorry, there is no dramatic and scandalous cover-up as you would have us believe.

I am one of those people Miller insultingly referred to as a "water quality professional." And I, like Mr. Bob Williamson and thousands of other engineers, scientists, operators, and mechanics, take my responsibility to protect the environment and to protect public health and safety very seriously. If you are interested, you can find facts and information about wastewater treatment and biosolids technology at the Water Environment Federation Web site, www.wef.org.
Lori Mundhenke
Kansas City, Missouri

My Favorite Martin
Bird brain: I really enjoyed reading Joe Miller's "The Birds" (October 26), which was about the Roanoke apartment complex and the problems its residents were having with starlings. I wish more people would realize that starlings are a nuisance and that people in higher places should do something about this scourge before we lose all of our native songbirds. Of course, you would probably have animal activists opposed to that, but would they rather see our native songbirds become extinct because of the undesirable starling imports' killing off all the songbirds? Starlings, along with English sparrows, compete with and kill our native songbirds.

Starlings and English (house) sparrows don't belong here, and I feel, along with many others who frequent the Purple Martin Conservation Association Web site, www.purplemartin.org, that they should be eliminated if a person is to have any success with purple martins. The purple martin is a native songbird that suffers greatly because of having to compete with starlings and house sparrows for nest sites.

Mankind upsets the balance of things when he (or she) transplants things, whether it be animals or plants, out of their natural environs. Now we've created a REALLY big problem here in the case of the European starling. I applaud Joe Miller for writing such an article that brought out the truth about the starling and wasn't afraid to mention the fact that they should be destroyed. That's the fate of any that happen to find their way here to our place.
Cathy Brouse
Middleburg, Pennsylvania

Fry Me a River
Taco hell: Regarding the Pitch's selection of California Taqueria as having the best tacos in town ("Best of Kansas City," October 19): fried tacos? Now, I have never been called old-fashioned, but some things are better left alone. And I think I know what I am talking about, having gone to Abuelita's house on many occasions to eat tacos. NEVER were they fried! That's not a taco! That's an egg roll!

So all you fans of in-a-tub, wake up! You want fake-Mex, fine, but don't mess with a real taco, por favor. A taco is made with a soft tortilla, preferably corn. So call this wannabe something else. I've seen a taco, and you, my friend, are no taco!
Gabriel Fonseca
Aurora, Illinois

Stage Right
Radio raves: Thank you for Steve Walker's review of The 1940's Radio Hour ("Radio Days," November 16) and for the kind words he said about my efforts in the part of Clifton, the grumpy emcee. I thought the review was excellent in that it zeroed in on the written show's weaknesses and strengths.

I think Michael Vodde will be very pleased about Walker's comparison of the preshow chaos to a Robert Altman film, which he worked very hard to achieve.

That's Lea Lavish's hair, by the way, bleached blond -- and not a wig. God gave that girl about everything there was to give -- talent, hair, body, iridescent skin, etc. -- and she is so very sweet and nice.
Thanks again.
Duke Howze
Kansas City, Missouri


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