Sunday, March 27, 2005

Jews for Jesus and Spirituality

I remember my very first day with Jews for Jesus. I was sitting inside their biggest money-making machine's vehicle (the Liberated Wailing Wall bus). I had arrived the day before and was told that this first full day would be my beginning to learn my part for the skit "tradition."

I was up before eveyone else, because I'd had lots of great sleep for months (while this group of people had been sleep deprived for months). I was reading my Bible, enjoying time with God.

I had been given a copy of the Liberated Wailing Wall training manual the day before which made it clear that Bible study time for ministry preparation counted on our Time Logs -- I thought I was in a very God-centered organization ! (for those who may not have experienced "time logs" they are how Jews for Jesus makes sure their missionaries do what they tell them to do. Everything in your "ministry" life has to be recorded -- how many Jewish people you meet with can never be more than 50 minutes, how many donor postcards you were required to write had to be recorded along with how many you actually wrote, etc. You even had to write down your "good and bad" thing that happened in the week, which usually came back to bit you and was used against you at some point).

Back to the story:
I was told I would also be doing my personal testimony at the evening service, so I was in prayer, reading my Bible, thinking about what to say, and keeping a record of the time I was spending, because the Manual said that is what I had to do.

The leader of the group that year woke up and came to see who was awake an hour early. He saw me, saw what I was doing and said, "Put your Bible away! Put your Time Log away! You can't count your Bible reading time unless it is schedule or unless I say so!"

I realized at that moment that something was wrong, but I thought it was my "leader." Then I met more "leaders" in Jews for Jesus, all the way to the top of the organization, all of whom were more controling as you went up the ladder.

In other words, that first day's experience was "typical"! It was NOT an exception to the rule.


Anonymous said...

Me too! I was never allowed to do anything spiritual unless it was written in the schedule.

When I was in missionary training we were all required to spend 15 minutes reading the Bible together and asking specific scripted questions of each other. If we missed doing it, we had to do an extra 2 hours standing in a subway handing out tracks, or there were financial penalties, or we had to write and extra 10 donor thank you postcards before that day was done.

And the time didn't even count as work time! Not the original 15 minutes of mandated sprituality or the extra penalties for missing the 15 minutes!

And we were already working 70-80 hours each week!

Anonymous said...

David Brickner, are you listening??? If this report about strictly scripted and scheduled spiritual life isn't cultic, and if this isn't a clear indication that management as control trumped spirituality in JFJ, then what is? David, if you or your staff members are reading this, and I am SURE that some are, then you MUST publicly and unamiguously repudiate these practices, or suffer the consequences: being regarded by all sane and fair-minded readers as a spiritually befeft organization. Appalling, I say! And I cannot be alone in this.

Anonymous said...

I too, experienced the same.

In my first week at the New York branch of the Jews for Jesus cult... I had my bible out and was avidly reading. I figured that my great use of time searching the scriptures for God’s help in His work would be favorable in the eyes of the leadership.

I was so wrong. I was told that my searching of the scriptures apart from the JFJ “training” was unacceptable.

The betterment of my own spiritual walk would have benefited the work, sadly, the "culture of suspicion" in the cult that people were not working but slacking precludes any real expression of faith.

Anonymous said...

Just before I went on JFJ staff, the Branch helped me unload my U-Haul truck. I was so thankful, that I got everyone to hold hands in a circle on the street and I led a prayer with the group thanking God for bringing me to work with them and for the opportunity to work with Jews for Jesus.

I didn't know it then, but behind my back, they had made fun of me for leading that prayer. I was told so the next week.

Prayers, I was told, should be planned out and only done a certain way. For example, I think I thanked Jesus too much in my prayer.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure who had it better. When I was on staff "in the OLD days" there were no such rules about bible reading. It was assumed that this was done on our "own" time.

Perhaps I complained too much that we were not allowed any time to do such things as bible reading. Now I see the results of my "suggestions."

I'm so sorry, I did not intend these kinds of results.

Anonymous said...

MANY MANY former Liberated Wailing Wall members who have communicated about their negative experiences in this group (call by Brickner and Rosen a "microcosm of the larger organization of Jews for Jesus), refer to the Liberated Wailing Wall as "The Jews for Jesus Prostitute" and themselves as having been "prostitutes" for Jews for Jesus, because of the sleeples and completely spiritually void schedule with one week off in 18 months and one day off a week.

Anonymous said...

When asked why the Liberated Wailing Wall (LWW) gets so little time off, Brickner's pat response was always, "It costs too much money to keep the team on the road to give them more than one day off per week."

It is also well known in Jews for Jesus that the LWW makes very little front end money by singing in churches. Most of the income comes in the form of "residual giving." Which means people continue to give for years after an initial concert.

The risidual income amount is in the millions of dollars per year.

That is why the LWW is called "the Prostitute of Jews for Jesus."

Jews for Jesus leadership doesn't care how spiritually bankrupt the LWW team members become during their 18 months of Prostitution. They only care about the names, addresses and phone numbers they collect for continues fund raising.

Do the research yourself. Go interview a few different Music professionals or semi-professional bands, booking agents, or managers. Ask them what, in their professional experience is the longest a music group should be on a tour.

Those I've spoken to about LWW's 18-month tours are disgusted by the unprofessional prostitution of poor young people who don't know they are being used and abused by Jews for Jesus.