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Old 8th June 2013, 01:10 AM
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Strato Strato is offline
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Default Ya Had To Be There...not...

Hi, my understanding friends,

Indulge me, it's probably like I need closure, or to make confession, some kinda catharsis, supplicating for absolution from normal, wised-up atheist humans who are such a minority.

It is with mortification, I confess I was amongst this circus for about three years...

[video redacted]

The leader, [name redacted] started this thing which snowballed into three hundred-odd alternative types committed to, 'burning out for' Jesus, as an outreach from Frank Houston's Assemblies Of God (AOG) in Darlinghurst, then Waterloo, Sydney, now Brian Houston's 'Hillsong Family Church' which he has taken to the world, a megachurch. It's about the music and the mania, and the belonging...

We had our meetings at the Burringbar hall, then at Brunswick Heads (God's own country, folks, God, I do still miss that part of the world, Mt Warning, the Pinnacle, back of Kyogle etc., northern-coast NSW). The Truevine praise leader, Jamie (last name withheld, for litigious, libel reasons, bring it on, read Hunter S. Thompson) was totally up himself, and I heard is still a pastor to this very day. He never let me in the band, which to listen to was bloody woeful, like my very idea of personally customized eternal torment in Hell. I freshly sublimated this suppression of me and my musicality, as a burnt offering to the Lord. Baptism in fire. After I got 'saved' (you belong, now), Jamie had said to me, sitting in the back of his full car, on the way to Nimbin to witness to the hippies, "so you play guitar? The Lord's said you have to lay it down at his feet for six months, and if He (Jamie) wants you to use it for his Glory, he'll call you to it, and give it back!" Psychological case study. I've never thought anyone could be threatened by me, or jealous. Watching Jamie getting off on the glory himself, every hour-long-plus praise session, up on the stage with all those horny, celibate sisters down below going, "Jamie...ohh, no...Jesus!!!...," I praised away, as you do...

Every day for a year I printed long thematic theological studies compiled by [name redacted], our Christ-like Dear Leader (the pseudo-hip nutcase in these videos), whilst listening to 'teaching tapes,' being copied into box-sets from the 'Christian Gospel Cassette Lending Library' by another Trueviner, Phil, in the same room of the Mustard Seed Restaurant, where [name redacted] also had his room/office though he never came out. He was wastingly skinny with long hair, brushed, an uncropped beard, like a clone of Jesus with his holistic hugs, "God bless you!" He said he had been a Buddhist, before he found Jesus. That same detachment. I don't know, impermanence, be here now, let it be. The building was ever on the brink of sliding into the swamp, at the bottom of the Burringbar range, a sweeping bend, where one strong Christian brother was killed, walking down the highway from the Mustard Seed. John Briffa. Engaged.


I heard about 70 of these 90 minute cassettes, as I printed away, for free. So I know, man. I'd heard [name redacted ran off with a new member's partner, [name redacted] had had, as was mandatory in Truevine, separated, as they weren't married, though they had two kids. I saw this young father walking way down the beach, he eventually passed me crying, a man with a beard, just crying. I couldn't help, back then. [name redacted], I heard, took her, his adulating second-generation Indian beloved away to America and so as happens with cults, many Trueviners then came badly adrift. Drugs etc. I'd already boldly split (with [name redacted]' blessing) to Lismore to study music at the CAE (now Armidale Uni Lismore campus). That was very difficult for me as I had been this crazy intensive Christian for three years in Truevine. But I did well as I am musical.

One Trueviner trusting in the Lord flushed his insulin down the dunny and so, died. Another lad in the house I shared in Lismore attached to the Lismore Christian Life Centre (AOG), ditched his lithium trusting Jesus and went into complete shutdown, as he was severely bipolar, a great guitarist, dynamic on electric. Tragic to witness. I couldn't help. Many of them are still Christians. Talk about cognitive dissonance...

At the moment, I'm reading George Orwell, 'Down And Out In Paris And London,' he has me laughing out loud, which I never do. Orwell was the conscience of the 20th century.
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Last edited by two dogs; 30th June 2015 at 08:11 AM. Reason: Personally identifying information redacted
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Old 8th June 2013, 10:37 AM
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Bolero Bolero is offline
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Very interesting Strato. I do often wonder what these megachurch-type things look like from the inside.




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Old 8th June 2013, 11:42 AM
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Default Re: Ya Had To Be There...not...

very intersting read, Strato. thanks for that.

I have heard there are rather large similarities between these megachurches and some of those "self empowering" (think unleash the power/Tony Robbins) events, but that is probably more inclined for a separate thread.
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Old 8th June 2013, 02:49 PM
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Strato Strato is offline
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Default Re: Ya Had To Be There...not...

Psychology would provide the explanation of why this style of Christianity is so attractive. Prominent in the Hillsong success formula is 'praise,' hyped up audience responsive positivity. It's a show. Praise follows its formula, starting with clapping and dancing, the Pentecostal two-step. White Christians can't seem to clap on the back-beat. Then it segues into 'worship,' with ambient pentatonics from the musos, on the big stage, under the lights, who have to avoid flashy playing, while the leader/pastor, works the audience into 'communion with the Spirit.'

Speaking and singing in tongues, glossolalia, now and 'words of knowledge,' from those with the hide to pronounce their (I guess, often rehearsed) line of jive, as from God. People are exhorted, eyes closed, mainly, to consecrate all to Jesus, mind, back complaints, you name it. Then you have to sit through an hour-long 'message,' interspersed with bleats of 'amen!' Then the call to come forward for the conversion rite, or healing, getting 'slain in the Spirit.' In an indigenous congretation I attended up in Northern NSW, they didn't have 'catchers.' They went over backwards, bang on the wooden floor.

It's formulaic. Many homo sapiens it seems, love to be conned. Copycat behaviour, monkey see, monkey do. You can bet there is a lot of 'counseling' going on, with the 'elders,' and their busy official 'counselors,' who did a year course at some Christian 'college.' It's like getting a degree off the back of a cornflakes box. Things of course aren't as rosy as it's presented to be, within the 'faith' farce. Hillsong, it's snowballing. Operations in America look like malls with escalators to huge auditoriums, meetings going 24/7. They tithe. I never went to Hillsong, Sydney. The Second-Coming is a big theme.

Truevine, late 70's and into the 80's was a 'community,' winding up with over 300 mainly young ex-alternative type 'disciples' scattered between New Brighton, Brunswick Heads and Murwillumbah, and a little into the hinterland. Some scandalous hanky-panky went on. Singles were separated into discipleship houses, with an appointed leader. New Age and vegetarianism and free-love was heresy. I think the Jesus-Freak movement rode on the back of the hippie phenomenon, historically.


These have been long posts. Cheers.
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Old 3rd January 2017, 05:25 PM
abc123 abc123 is offline
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Default Re: Ya Had To Be There...not...

Hi Strato, my family was actually involved in the true vine church and actually a part of the exact story you are talking about (it is a small world, you mention them in your story). the outcome led me to be a militant atheist as some of the things that went on behind the scene at true vine were horrific. as a new member here i cannot contact you but if you could please contact me ASAP i would really appreciate it as i have some questions for you and perhaps some surpising information.
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Old 13th January 2017, 06:40 PM
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DanDare DanDare is offline
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Default Re: Ya Had To Be There...not...

abc123, as a first post that is a bit billigerant and intrusive.

How about ask the questions here and tell us all the surprising news rather than ask Strato to create an open private channel to you?
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