TheCall and Acquire the Fire (Ron Luce) are geared towards the youth, they want young people and have no problem using any methods they can to lure them away from your congregation. Everything in these meetings is focused on the youth and youth culture, from the music, the verbiage, the graphics and dress style. These people are not stupid who run these meetings. They know that after just 24 uninterrupted hours they can make sure your child will never be satisfied with your hum-drum worship service. Can your organist compete with a host of professionally trained musicians using the latest instruments and technology? Do they dance, clap, wave banners at your church? Why not mom and dad? What about having “power encounters” where lives are magically transformed by a touch from the anointed, do you hold these services? Why these young people are about something, they have a big vision (to take over the world), they have a mandate from God and He has promised to give them all the power they need to bring it to pass! Where is your power pastor? See what I mean, and do not think this does not happen. Churches have been split by people who attended these type of meetings and tried the experience back to their local church (as they were charged to do at the meeting) ending in disruption and loss.
…with Luce, I could see how easy it was for teenagers to equate spiritual maturity with always being “on fire” for God and to believe God’s love for us was based on our performance. Therefore, when the passion faded (usually about 24 hours after an Acquire the Fire conference), they would come to see themselves in some sort of spiritual backslide, never living up to the Ron Luce Jesus who seemed to be like a coach on the side of the track with a stopwatch, yelling “Faster!!! Faster!!!” at us until we finally gave up.
The plan was to feature different things in the horse world for me “extremes” two topics in and I’ve blown that. Oops.
These are pictures from ESOAL- the Emotional Stretching Opportunity of a Lifetime - an event sponsored by Teen Mania and the Honor Academy, run by a Christian cult.
1. Enrolling as an ‘intern’ in the academy costs around $8,000
2. ESOAL and other sponsored events include activities like eating worms and other ‘vomit inducing foods’ and then rolling down a large hill covered in vomit repetitiously, sleep deprivation, waking participants up from sleeping on cement only to force them to jump into a cold pool, bullying participants into frightening tasks like wearing a hat with roaches on it while climbing into a dark hole, name calling, forcing participants to live in filth, forcing participants to march public roads in the pouring rain wearing camo panchos and carrying crosses… and it goes on, and on and on.
3. Paying ‘interns’ work in the call center up to 10 hours a day and are coerced into volunteering more time. These call centers are in place to gather donations and more ‘interns’ and they are not paid for their work. Really it’s pretty brilliant economic principal but is it chrisitian?
4. You don’t talk about fight club, but it’s not fight club it’s christian camp. Also, according to graduates they either suppress the abuse or are ashamed/embarrassed by it.
So… what is this? Is this supposed to bring you closer to god? I have heard it compared to the Navy Seals Hell Week but these are teenagers we are talking about…
Another cool program the Honor Academy offers is a “mission simulation” involving two groups, one as missionaries, the other acting as an “unreached people” in what’s described as a “refuge camp” in the backwoods of east Texas. Cool. I want to know what “unreached” people the play-act.
Teen Mania Ministries criticizes and mocks American corporations using extravagant, glamorous advertising to sell to teenagers (From opening video of “Acquire the Fire” 2005-2006 season). However, TMM uses the same advertising techniques to sell their crap to teenagers (From 2006 TMM website).
Fire Extinguisher Services
“If a fire ignites, the customer may not be able to handle the fire and a dangerous situation could erupt.”
(via Acquire Fire Protection)
(No connection to Teen Mania; just some irony.)
“What Luce preaches, with his emphasis on conflict, anger, and contempt, is a far cry from most of Christendom,” says Jeff Sharlet, a research scholar for New York University’s Center for Religion and Media and a harsh critic of Luce and his doctrine. […] Geoffrey Pollick, a religious historian, believes that “the movement thrives on its ability to see itself as threatened by an impinging secular America, thus needing to bolster its membership in support of saving the nation for Christ.”
You actually can find lots of pictures of the wall and gates around the Honor Academy compound if you look really hard, but none of them are from Teen Mania.
Yet another picture of the guard house and walls around the Honor Academy compound. Unofficial, since Teen Mania won’t let you see it on their own websites.