#43 May 11, 2013
Luke 24:13-to when you want to stop reading
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each ohter, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;but they were kept from recognizing him.
#44 May 11, 2013
Where is the 72 hour retreat? Or the Emmaus Community? Or the gifts and letters? Or the 15 talks? Or the candlelight initiation? Or the insistence the disciples have no contact outside of the retreat? Or any of the other manipulation a which happen at Emmaus?
Not in the Bible!
#45 May 12, 2013
No sir your right but you also said the Emmaus WAS NOT IN THE BIBLE if I saw that correctly. Did Jesus ever go to be alone with no outside distractions? Yes he did. The weekend is to solely focus on Jesus. No outside distractions, no clocks to worry with what time this or that is happening, and if there's an emergency or something that happens that you need to be aware of, rest assured your sponsor WILL let you know. Its not a cult. The Emmaus community is Jesus in skin. And if you want to ridicule and run down the Emmaus thats fine. We will have to answer to the Lord our decisions in this life. As for me, I want to be a part of the Emmaus community where Jesus' love is present and growing!!! I have attended churches where you are made to feel if you don't dress a certain way you can't come there. Or if you don't hang with the right people, your not wanted there. My Jesus does not care what I wear, who I hang with, or anything else except that I am willing to follow him. Jesus didn't hang out with the religious elite. He came for more. That is Emmaus sir!!!! And I'm sure you will have a come back for me and thats fine. Love!!
#46 May 12, 2013
Well "sir", you need to reread what I said "sir". THE UPPER ROOM'S WALK TO EMMAUS IS NOT IN THE BIBLE!!!!!
I have read the Emmaus passage in the Bible many times and nowhere does it show anything like what goes on in the Emmaus Community. And also, it only happened to two, that's just two disciples.
I never said Emmaus was a cult, I said it uses cult methods, which, if you bothered to investigate, you would see that it does indeed. Where in the Bible are these methods used? Jesus DID NOT GO TO A RETREAT WHERE HE WAS WAITED ON AND GIVEN GIFTS AND LETTERS NOR DID HE JOIN THE EMMAUS COMMUNITY WHICH YOU CLAIM IS JESUS IN THE SKIN!
Such arrogance is another cult method. I would NEVER claim any such thing for any church or group. CHRISTIANS ARE CHRIST'S BODY NOT HIS SKIN!
Emmaus have made themselves to be the "elite" by being an exclusive community where others are excluded. That is not Jesus, nor is it love.
You "sir" need to investigate the methods of Emmaus where you will find unequivocally they are recognised and successful cult methods.
#47 May 12, 2013
Sir, you are not excluded. You are free to attend a walk. If you are so grounded in the Word it should not sway you then if it is cultish.
Christians, hmmmm. Yes they are the body of christ and lets see if I'm the body of christ, am I not being Jesus in skin?
#48 May 13, 2013
Well let's see. In order to be part of the Emmaus Community, I must attend an Emmaus or equivalent weekend. I chose not to so I am excluded. In the Bible, neither Jesus nor any of His disciples attended one either so they would also be excluded.
To be a member of my church, you need only be saved. There is no other reqirement. It is the same to be a member of Christ's body. Emmaus wants more. You must attend an intensive 72 hour manipulative program without outside contact.
You have claimed Emmaus is Jesus in the skin. That is claiming Emmaus is Jesus Himself. That is blasphemy. To be part of Christ's body is a spiritual metaphor for those who are saved. It does not mean we can claim to be Jesus in the skin which is the same as claiming to be Jesus in the flesh. Do you not see the difference? We are not Jesus in the flesh because He is physically resurected and is in the flesh on His own accord.
There is no point in designing something, giving it a Biblical name and claiming it's in the Bible. That is like holding up an apple and claiming it's an orange. The name does not change the reality.
In Luke, the disciples were on their way to Emmaus. It was their destination, not a 72 hour retreat program. It was God who kept the identity of Jesus hidden until He broke bread, not the Emmaus Community. There was no candlelight, dying moments, gifts, letters, singing de colores, or closing ceremony. The disciples were free to leave at any time. There was no insistence on sytaying for 72 hours. There was no Emmaus board overseeing the progress of events.
A friend of mine attended an Emmaus weekend but became disillusioned with it. My friend wanted to sit out some of it and told the table leader. It became a major problem and my friend eventually left under a cloud of disagreement. That is not love. It is manipulation.
I am greatly encouraged by the Biblical account of the disciples walking to Emmaus. It teaches that Jesus takes the time to be with us personally wherever we are and wherever we go. He is with us always. He does not require us to be on retreat. Emmaus requires manipulation.
I have said the Emmaus Community uses cult methods. I stand over that 100%. It is undeniable and the evidence is there to see. Cult information groups give lists of cult methods and the methods that Emmaus uses are all on these lists. No Christian community should use these methods regardless of intent or reason. They give peolple a false sense of love.
#49 May 26, 2013
You are allowed to debate all you want. That is the purpose of table discussions. To give opinions about a program you haven't even attended is not only arrogant, but it seems to be a little self-serving. I had a wonderful experience with Emmaus and at no time did I feel controlled or manipulated. The death and resurrection of Christ was very prevalent throughout the weekend. Please don't judge it until you have attended a weekend. Oh, you already have.
#50 May 26, 2013
Where are you getting your standards for "cult methods"? Sounds to me one of us humans defined Cult methods. Maybe you? I agree Emmaus is not Jesus in the skin. However,Jesus usually shows up in a BIG way. I invite you to be a part of our community. You can come to our weekly meetings, monthly community meetings, and our walk closings. And if it is really important to you, I'll take you to a candlelight service. Your statement about no Christian community should use these methods makes it sound as if you have received this information directly from God. You might, just might, be wrong. Do some Emmaus communities take the secrecy thing to far? Probably, but I think it may be so each pilgrim can experience the walk in their own way, not what someone else wants them to get out of it. Our community sometimes strays from the Emmaus "book", because the bottom line is God is in control, not us. Upper room has actually given their 'blessing' to stray as long as it is about God and not about us. Unfortunately, there are many things about our churches and the many different types of spiritual retreats that us mere humans have messed up. Is Emmaus perfect? No. Are our churches perfect? No. Thank God for GRACE. The fact is, we don't know the answers. All we can do is to have faith That Christ will lead us in the right direction when we stray. You don't have all the answers either. To speak with the definitive authority you've chosen to use could be dangerous.
#51 May 27, 2013
Am I not allowed to judge a program without going? So how do I know Jehovah's Witness is a cult? Join it? Those who are in it refuse to accept it is a cult. Sound familiar?
Emmaus clearly states "Emmaus is not for theological debate" ("What is Emmaus?" booklet). So where are you getting that you are allowed to debate? Discuss, yes, but not debate.
Self serving? What do I have to gain by saying what I say? I have no alternative but the Bible and God's free gift of salvation.
All you can point to is your experience. I examine the methods which were used to manipulate that experience.
#52 May 27, 2013
I am not speaking with definitive authority. I am pointing out that Emmaus uses cult methods and that can be easily checked. The standards I use (which you obviously have not checked) come from cult information groups who clearly list the methods which cults use to manipulate people. These include time control, information control, contact control, intensive schedule, isolation from normal community, love bombing, no debating, sin confession, loaded language, emotional experiences. Emmaus uses all of these and more. They are also extensively used by cults and their purpose is to manipulate people into excessive loyalty to the group. Sound familiar?
I have about as much intention, need or want in joining an Emmaus Community as I have in joining the Mormons - NIL! I am already a member of the Body of Christ and that is all I need or want. Your program tries to make out I lack a special blessing which Emmaus can provide. I don't see that in the Bible.
If Emmaus truly handed over the Emmaus program to God, there would be no Emmaus Community. It is supplanting the Body of Christ as the world wide Christian community. I belong to His body because I am saved, not because I went on a retreat or program. I belong to a local church community because I am saved, not because I went on a retreat or program. The Emmaus Community requires atendance at their weekend and completion of the program before you can join.
Lastly, in the Bible, when the two disciples recognised Jesus at Emmaus, they immediately left and went back to Jerusalem and told everything that had happened to them. They did not encourage the others to return to the road to Emmaus in order to experience what they had experienced. They did not hold back so as not to spoil the surprise. Rather, while they shared, Jesus appered to the others. So if you really want to bless people, tell them your testimony and Jesus will do the rest. There is no need for a program. Your loyalty to it does no good.
#54 Jul 10, 2013
- The little 'lovies'(gifts) left on your pillow every day
- Letters of love from friends and family
- The skits were hilarious
- The kitchen crew sang, danced, acted crazy - it was really REALLY fun! Never laughed so hard in all my life!
- In the dark about the retreat location
- Couldn't make or receive phone calls (this is designed so you don't 'worry' but for me, it only made me more anxious as I had little ones at home)
- Couldn't skip any table talks
- Slept very little as large groups of women stay in the same room on bunk beds (plus you're up early and to bed late)
- Ate a high carb diet
- Meetings are very long (ALL day and into the evening)
- Participation is mandatory -(I HATE public speaking, but there was no choice but to stand behind a microphone when it our our groups time to speak)
- Every move is monitored including trips to the bathroom. If you need to go to your room for a sweater or something, someone literally follows you and watches you
- Table leader deception: Pilgrims are led to believe that the table leader is just another pilgrim. At the end, it's revealed that this person was planted in the group.
- Had to turn over medication (Leaders are privy to what you're taking and when you take it. They hand you your pill at the allotted time)
- Zero down time. There's no time to process the information given during meetings that last for hours.
- We weren't allowed to go outside (except once, I think)
Of course, anyone can refuse to do what they don't want to do. But from my experience, the 1 or 2 people who did express their desire to not participate were made an example. "Rebellion is as the sin of witch craft" you are reminded How ever subtly. I felt a bit bullied by the set up itself and I certainly didn't feel free to swim against the current of the weekend. The climate was such that I would have done just about anything to just get through it.
Never did I feel that the leadership was ill-intended not at all. I believe they wanted for the retreat experience to be extraordinary for everyone and hoped that it would indeed lead to a rich experience in Christ. But there most certainly was an attitude of elitism among the leadership. An arrogance, if you will.
But I contend that you could use this same model for a Muslim retreat, a Mormon retreat, a Jehovah's Witness retreat (or whatever) and the result would be the same: A religious high or a terrible low depending on how the restrictions and events hit you. You're sleep deprived, revved up through worship, carbed up, loved up and emotionally spun up.
I concluded after my walk to Emmaus that I would never EVER recommend the retreat to anyone. Not because I think the people are evil. I don't think that. But because the model for the retreat is (IMO), absolutely inappropriate, infringing on the rights of the pilgrims who attend . Even if said pilgrims willingly subject themselves to it, they certainly can't comfortably change their minds if it gets to be too much. Well wait. They CAN. But it will be most unpleasant if they do. I saw what a big deal they made of it when one pilgrim wanted to go home. I felt so sorry for her it was a huge brouhaha. And I really don't know why. Why couldn't she just go home?
#55 Jul 11, 2013
I've never been on an Emmaus Walk but my husband did. He seemed more at peace with himself afterward and was able to let go of some things that were burdening him. But he has trusted in the Lord all of his life. He did become closer to the other men on the walk for a time period. Many other women in the church went but I couldn't get off work to go for the required 3 days, and I have a young daughter I couldn't leave. Because I didn't go, I was ostracized by the women who did. They had a meeting outside the church and only women who'd gone on the walk could attend. I was pressured in many ways and by many women to "go on a walk," but the opportunity never presented itself. I was praying if it was God's will, I would go. More and more men and women and even teen-agers went on the walks. The church became one big recruitment spot for the walk. Those who didn't participate were ostracized whether it was intentional or not. I have walked with the Lord since I was 16. And, I've always known a discerning spirit guides my life. When I went to my husband's final ceremony I did not have a sense of peace. I was consumed by a sense of ick. I don't know any other way to describe it. The spirit inside me, enlivened and quickened by the Holy Spirit, was not happy there. There was a dark undertone that I really cannot put into words. I had just gone through an emotional turmoil of my own a year earlier and was walking closer and communing with the Lord more than I ever had in my life. I had just been through my own personal walk with the Lord and I didn't have to be cloistered in a spot with others. I was in God's will at that time in my life and I did not find peace on my visit to the Emmaus Walk. Sometimes man can take what the Lord has designed for good and corrupt it. I pray this hasn't happened here. Don't just take my word for it. Research it yourself.
#56 Jul 11, 2013
Several posters wrote that the purpose of the secrecy is to protect the surprises of the weekend. I'd like to offer my perspective.
A LITTLE STORY:
On day 2 I was cold. I wanted to dash to the sleeping quarters for my sweater but was stopped by our table servant & asked where I was going. When I told her, she offered to get my sweater for me.
I wanted to get my sweater myself because A) I couldn't make up my mind between a sweater or a sweat shirt and B) I didn't want someone going thru my stuff. I politely turned her down.
She gave me a severe, disapproving look. It was so alarming, I thought I'd done something really wrong. She insisted that she would get my sweater in a tone that came off as scolding ... enough that the table went silent.
HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON FOR A MOMENT SO I CAN FRAME THIS STARTING AT THE BEGINNING:
- I was pressured into going on the WTE leaving me feeling manipulated
- Prior to the retreat, my questions were routinely dodged leaving me frustrated
- Emmaus leaders giggled amongst themselves like my questions were stupid leaving me feeling foolish
- My sponsor would not disclose the retreat location leaving me disoriented
- Upon arrival, 75+ strangers were in the throes of worship setting the leadership & past pilgrims apart as elitists
- There was no intro/briefing for what lay ahead leaving me anxious
- We were told to hug our spouse good bye, trust the process & trust God leaving me feeling guilty for feeling vulnerable
- I was asked to turn over my watch, phone & meds leaving me feeling naked & ashamed
This was the foundation laid for my WTE experience. Let's face it, depending on your life experience and personality, you may not be cut out for surprises & powerlessness.
BACK TO THE STORY:
I made another attempt to get my sweater, explaining that I would be back in JUST 2 minutes. By then, every table leader was giving me a sour stare.
At that point, the table servant went over to one of the higher-up leaders, whispered in her ear & returned stating that I could not leave unaccompanied. She was so harsh, grave and militant, I was nearly in tears feeling humiliated and angry as everyone looked on. It turned in to such a production.
And the reason for this exercise of power? Little Hershey's Kiss surprises on our pillows!
HERE'S MY CONCLUSION:
#1. A Hershey's Kiss secret surprise is not worth such disrespectful behavior toward a fellow human being. Keeping it a secret did more harm than good. What was the worst thing that could have happened if I'd gone to the room alone? Eek! I'd have seen the surprise!
My knowing a few things ahead of time would NOT have ruined anything for me. But the disrespect of the table servant and the veil of secrecy sure did.
#2. Secrecy in almost any setting comes off as deception. It fosters mistrust & anger.
The real irony to me is that, for all the damage that secrecy does, it's all done to hide Emmaus LOVE-bombs, which are supposedly expressions of Christ's LOVE by the Emmaus community toward the pilgrims. LOVE.
But Emmaus love-bombing is,(IMO) by its very nature, disingenuous!
The reality is that if you do not continue your involvement in the Emmaus community after your walk is over, the Emmaus community is done with you. And as some other posters have experienced, they aren't just done They often shun.
You can put that to the test. Just back out of the community for awhile and see what happens. I'll bet ya a Hershey's Kiss that they'll drop you like the foil wrapper that Kiss came in.
I mean no disrespect at all to those who had a great WTE experience and who defend the veil of secrecy. I realize that not all table servants are Emmaus Nazi's. In fact, I'm sure very few are. At least I hope that's the case. I'm just hoping that through my story, you can at least see another equally valid perspective.
#57 Jul 17, 2013
I have been on an Emmaus walk.There was no disorientation, the food was good, the people fascinating with no pressure what so ever. You get from it what you put into it.
Probably not for the timid, the insane, the bigoted, the suspicious, the under educated and the intolerant.
I came I took part, i was not presented anything different from the faith I have known for 60 plus years.
You cult folks should try joining the Klan, now thats a cult.
#58 Jul 18, 2013
Well let's get this straight. According to you, people who have experienced problems or who have problems with the Emmaus Walk are probably "timid, insane, bigoted, suspicious, undereducated, or intolerant". Do I have that right?
Sounds cult-like to me!
The problem is if somebody voices difficulties with it, they are immediately branded with labels such as the ones you cite. There is no acceptance from the Emmaus Community that their beloved program is deeply flawed.
The methods used are clearly cult methods and they can be EASILY checked against information provided by cult information groups. Try it instead of dismissing genuine grievences with contempt.
Oh yes, Emmaus is fantastic - provided you accept it, go along with it and don't rock the boat. But try to voice a problem with it and you get the other side.
On the teaching, how can sin be the obstacle to grace when the purpose for grace is to overcome sin?
Saying sin is the obstacle to grace is like saying friction is the obstacle to oil!
#59 Jul 18, 2013
Your post has single-handedly done more to prove the Cult point than any other post on here.
To say that a WTE is "Probably not for the timid, the insane, the bigoted, the suspicious, the under educated and the intolerant" is so packed with irony on so many levels, it simply stuns me! It's irony stacked on the back of irony!!! And the "Klan" comment? Just ... wow. Consider my mind blown.
#60 Aug 19, 2013
Let's talk about cult tactics, outside the realm of Emmaus. Without Emmaus in mind, think about primary cult tactics, the ones that spring to mind immediately when you think 'cult'. I think of two things -#1 with a bullet, MONEY and or SEX. They want you to financially or sexually commit till it hurts, whether it's selling your house, willing your assets, sleeping with David Kouresh or, say, tithing 10% of your income.#2 - our way or the highway. believe what we believe or you're out. In extreme cases, you're going to hell for eternity just for not believing. Oh, wait, I just described Christianity. So, if small tactics like taking away a watch and a cell phone raise your eyebrow (I've gone on longer golf trips without my cell phone and watch), then just claiming to be a Christian must really create some conflict within you.
Really, to imply (and you do imply) something as small as not talking about a candlelight ceremony makes you a cult or may lead you become one is like saying because trees and frogs are green they're both plants or may be soon.
I've been involved in Emmaus for over 5 years and not once have I been approached for anything more than a fiver in the collection plate at the monthly gathering. We debate constantly the validity of some of the "tactics". We never, NEVER take anything away from pilgrims, though we will ask- nothing cultish, I've been asked to to leave my cell phone off in any number of non-cultish places. We have no problems letting joggers do their morning jog around the neighborhood, everyone knows where the walk is, and if you want to take your own car and leave, fine. Of course we'll try to talk you out of it, duh, but no one will grab your keys or tell you you'll go to hell fr leaving. Yes, we like to keep the surprises as surprises, but anyone with google can find out anything they want to know. I did, and I wish I hadn't. Regardless, I came out a better man.
I won't pretend there aren't over-zealous participants who take the secrecy thing a bit far. And those who are not strong in their faith may not do well with Emmaus, anymore than someone whose only sport is weekend golf will do well in an open iron man competition; we do our best to weed those guys out, but it's really not as obvious as a guy with a 50 pound gut. On the whole, the good done far outweighs the bad - as long as humans are involved there will be some screw-ups. But it's no reason to go on the attack. Given the persistence and vehemence in which the "I'm just sayin' it shares elements with a cult" posts are made, it would be a hard sell to convince me there's not an axe or two to grind here beyond casual concern.
#61 Aug 19, 2013
Emmaus is simply a study of the bible and fellowship with Christians. I've went several times and it is a blessing.
Calling it a cult is a lie. Been there and done it. I enjoyed every minute of listening to speakers about God's word and living a Christian life.
Anyone says otherwise has not been there. And I love my Baptist church also. God bless.
#62 Aug 20, 2013
To "I worked on a walk".
You are missing the point of what defines a cult. If you look up cult information websites where people deal with the realities of how cults manipulate people, you will see how easy it is to manipulate. It happens easily and quickly without the person being aware that they are being manipulated.
The common methods used include an intensive program where the participant is not given knowledge of any aspect of the event, time control where the participant is not informed of the time or how long each aspect takes, information control where the participant is only given information within the group, a cloistered environment for a period of 3-4 days where the participant is not given access to contact outside of the environment, emotional experiences where the participant is led into emotionally charged atmospheres, love bombing where the participant is shown "love and attention" whether he/she wants it or not, no debating allowed where the participant is only allowed to discuss within the confines of the teaching of the group.
I have described some of the methods used by cults listed specifcally by cult help groups as being dangerous. It also describes accurately the methods used by Emmaus. That alone should give rise to concern.
This weekend has NO Bilical mandate nor do the methods used. God does not want us to hide His love from people until the appointed weekend. He meets where we are at and His love is not limited to such ridiulous and dangerous methods as used by Emmaus.
#63 Aug 20, 2013
First of all, I don't know how you can claim anyone who says the did not enjoy Emmaus hasn't been there!
You are a Baptist, and the Baptist church believes baptism and communion are ordinaces and not sacraments. Yet Emmaus teaches that they are sacraments, i.e. a means of conveying grace. That flies in the face of the Baptist church's stance. I reccomend you read a blog by a Baptist pastor titled "Should Baptists participate in an Emmaus Walk?" Google it and read where he brings up this very issue as an attendee of an Emmaus Walk.
I have a number of friends who participated in an Emmaus Walk and have had bad experiences. They felt disrespected and manipulated. They are not lying and have indeed attented it.
You are however correct in saying that it is wrong to call Emmaus a cult. But it most certainly is a program which uses a large number of cult methods and that is a big no-no when it comes to spreading the Gospel.
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