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341 - 360 of 914 Comments Last updated Saturday Aug 23
Wait what

Dublin, OH

#353 Feb 1, 2013
The bottom line is Xenos is a controversial church based on personal experiences of folks and there is no getting around that. Accept it. Personally, the more anyone starts to protest about something, the more I become suspicious.
Scott Risley

Columbus, OH

#354 Feb 1, 2013
OK. At this point we're 341 posts deep. I've asked repeatedly for examples in order to investigate these vague, unverifiable claims. I haven't gotten any.

I'm going to unsubscribe from this thread. If someone wants to talk further about this you can contact me privately at the address I gave in my first post:( http://www.topix.com/forum/columbus/TL0CG034B... )
jrock

Columbus, OH

#355 Feb 2, 2013
This is my last comment and then I'm leaving this thread.

Emily has first-hand experience so what she says has validity, though we all see things through our own lens. Anybody else who has actually been to Xenos at least can share their own, albeit biased, experience. Nothing stated here classified Xenos as a cult. Even Emily and others who have visited have stated that they do not believe that it's a cult.

Those of you third-parties who have never been to Xenos are merely forming your opinions based on second and third-hand testimony. That makes what you say and what you believe somewhat invalid. Stop relying on what others say. If you think it's a cult, go check it out and then tell us what you think. Then what you say will actually have some weight.

Those of you who are truly searching for the truth will find it, somewhere.
Emily Fravel

Springboro, OH

#356 Feb 2, 2013
I feel like Scott came in and made this him and our personal conflict. While I'd never trust him, most of my conflicts weren't with him directly. He did on more than one occasion tell me that something that bothered me was my fault.

It was a pervasive culture that followed me through my 10 years at Xenos. My husband doesn't share my opinions in all areas because he didn't always have the same interactions that I did and he is quiet, introverted and doesn't rock the boat. If you google "Xenos cult" you will find that even Dennis McCallum, the Senior Pastor talks about people who have expressed hurt are talked to much the way Scott has talked here. There's little weight or credence to the stories of the naysayers. They're very good and diminishing the complaints of others.

Now, Scott says that he doesn't remember doing these things or me ever going to him in private about them. Ask yourselves, if every time that you talked to someone in a position of authority with in a group, they turned e problem back on you, would you continue seeking out those people to resolve conflict? Not likely.
Biblical mandates (of lack of a better word) lose their credence when one is abusing power or one is untrustworthy. I learned once in my second home church that there was no benefit to seeking out those that hurt me to resolve conflict, because the conflict would not actually be resolved. It would be another lecture on my many short comings.

I don't pretend for a second that I have no short comings, either. I'm plenty blunt about my own flaws. I talk too much (as Scott mentioned in my very own wedding) am too loud, can be aggressive and have a rather quick temper. By the time I left Xenos, any sense of self-worth was gone and I had to totally rebuild. Over the years, I heard what a selfish friend I was, an irresponsible and lax parent I was and how self centered I was. I received many lectures on believing that being Catholic didn't mean a lack of a relationship with Christ, lectures on being FOR gay rights, for not wanting to mix political discussions with Bible studies and was called names for voting for Obama.

There are in fact some very wonderful people in Xenos. There are also some great flaws with the structure of the church and how things like what I went through are handled. Spiritual abuse is a much more common problem than most people understand. It's important to equip ourselves so we know what to look for to protect ourselves and our loved ones. It's also important to research spiritual abuse to be sure that we're not participants in such activities.

I met my husband at Xenos. In the end, he left for me and our family. We have a much stronger and healthier marriage because of it. I'm tired of running into Xenoids and getting the pity tone that we're "not walking" with Christ right now. I avoid most of the in the grocery or other public places when I see them. They know nothing about me now.

One thing that I've been glad to unlearn since leaving Xenos is that I am worthy of the love of others just by being a person. Not because I'm a super special Christian or because I am in fellowship. I have been shown so much love through people who don't necessarily believe but know how to love. I've also learned how to show love much better outside of Xenos than I ever did in. My sense of self worth is much stronger as is my sense of who God really is.

I promised myself that I would never treat people the way that I was treated at Xenos. I hope that I can keep this promise to myself and I try very hard to.
Michael Thomas

Grove City, OH

#357 Feb 2, 2013
^

That's incredibly awesome to hear and I am happy for you. I guarantee the guys at Xenos know what to say and how to deflect. I'm kind of shocked they're against posting on this thread. Any publicity is good publicity. The more their churches name gets spread via Internet, the more likely people are to go to it.
anonymous

Delaware, OH

#358 Feb 2, 2013
A good book on this subject is The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by Johnson and VanVonderon. Peace, love, truth and blessings to all through Christ.
Left Xenos

Hilliard, OH

#359 Feb 2, 2013
You're not alone Emily. Not sure why you left, but I did as well. I too am more out there than my husband and it was my decision to leave.(We were always told not to marry because he wasn't leader enough. Well, eight years later we are happily married. Unlike some of the people who told us not to marry.) I know how you feel when you're told things never happened or you interpreted it wrong or what not. I know what it feels like to be told you have to prove your case.(As if the people who wronged me and are still in Xenos would admit to it or my word would be taken ove theirs. Yeah, right. I'm the fallen who left. They're the spiritual who still walk. At least according to Xenos.) all I can say is keep the faith. Thank God he isn't Xenos. I have felt true joy on knowing Him since I left. Am I bitter? A bit. But that too fades.
Emily Fravel wrote:
I feel like Scott came in and made this him and our personal conflict. While I'd never trust him, most of my conflicts weren't with him directly. He did on more than one occasion tell me that something that bothered me was my fault.
It was a pervasive culture that followed me through my 10 years at Xenos. My husband doesn't share my opinions in all areas because he didn't always have the same interactions that I did and he is quiet, introverted and doesn't rock the boat. If you google "Xenos cult" you will find that even Dennis McCallum, the Senior Pastor talks about people who have expressed hurt are talked to much the way Scott has talked here. There's little weight or credence to the stories of the naysayers. They're very good and diminishing the complaints of others.
Now, Scott says that he doesn't remember doing these things or me ever going to him in private about them. Ask yourselves, if every time that you talked to someone in a position of authority with in a group, they turned e problem back on you, would you continue seeking out those people to resolve conflict? Not likely.
Biblical mandates (of lack of a better word) lose their credence when one is abusing power or one is untrustworthy. I learned once in my second home church that there was no benefit to seeking out those that hurt me to resolve conflict, because the conflict would not actually be resolved. It would be another lecture on my many short comings.
I don't pretend for a second that I have no short comings, either. I'm plenty blunt about my own flaws. I talk too much (as Scott mentioned in my very own wedding) am too loud, can be aggressive and have a rather quick temper. By the time I left Xenos, any sense of self-worth was gone and I had to totally rebuild. Over the years, I heard what a selfish friend I was, an irresponsible and lax parent I was and how self centered I was. I received many lectures on believing that being Catholic didn't mean a lack of a relationship with Christ, lectures on being FOR gay rights, for not wanting to mix political discussions with Bible studies and was called names for voting for Obama.
There are in fact some very wonderful people in Xenos. There are also some great flaws with the structure of the church and how things like what I went through are handled. Spiritual abuse is a much more common problem than most people understand. It's important to equip ourselves so we know what to look for to protect ourselves and our loved ones. It's also important to research spiritual abuse to be sure that we're not participants in such activities.
I met my husband at Xenos. In the end, he left for me and our family. We have a much stronger and healthier marriage because of it. I'm tired of running into Xenoids and getting the pity tone that we're "not walking" with Christ right now. I avoid most of the in the y hard to.
Left Xenos

Hilliard, OH

#360 Feb 2, 2013
Yeah, you don't have to date people in Xenos. That's the party line. But there is pressure brought to those who don't. It's not outright stated of course, but the pressure is enough. I have witnessed it. But I suppose my word is nothing without a signed affidavit of everyone involved, including the Xenos leaders who would never admit to it.
jrock wrote:
<quoted text>
I already answered part of this. Xenos "members" are not required to only date others in Xenos. Also, there is no official "membership" in Xenos. What Xenos encourages, and what the Bible encourages, is dating somebody who is "equally yoked" to you. Which means, if you have decided to make a commitment to follow God and your partner has no interest, or even discourages you from following God that may not be looked at as a healthy relationship. Again, that's God's rule, not a "Xenos rule."
Left Xenos

Hilliard, OH

#361 Feb 2, 2013
That's how they recruit and appeal to young people. It's really cool when you're new to the church. I didn't start noticing issues until I was more involved and therefore more "committed"
FKA Reader wrote:
<quoted text>
My issue really isn't even about drinking. It has to do with an overemphasis on recruiting young people through lots of largely recreational activities with a belief that something will sort of rub off.
Frankly, I don't have any idea if this is a weakness of Xenos or not, only that the advertised New Year's Eve kegger raised a red flag for me. I have experienced churches where it is very much a reality that bringing in pledges tends to take a higher precedence than examining the word and acting in consistence with it.
Left Xenos

Hilliard, OH

#362 Feb 2, 2013
Of course. But that probably has more to do with legal implications than anything.
Scott Risley wrote:
We had someone at the door carding people and two people manning the keg to make sure no underage drinking happened.
Also, just because someone requested a song doesn't mean that we played it.
<quoted text>
Anti

Columbus, OH

#363 Feb 3, 2013
All religion is a cult, you morons! Religion is a form of control. Think about it. "You better be good or something bad will happen to you when you die!!" A long time ago people had to figure out a way so that the "wild animal" human race would not just kill each other off. Well here comes religion and God to save the day.

Fun fact:
The bible was writen and created by man 40 years after "Jesus" was dead. What was the average life expectancy back then?? Was anyone even alive during the same time period "Jesus" was alive, then survived 40 more years and then decided to write a book about it?

Face it people there is no God! You are a bunch of sheeple just waiting for the next instruction to be given to you.

“Don't trust the internet!”

Since: Jan 12

Location hidden

#364 Feb 3, 2013
Anti wrote:
All religion is a cult, you morons! Religion is a form of control. Think about it. "You better be good or something bad will happen to you when you die!!" A long time ago people had to figure out a way so that the "wild animal" human race would not just kill each other off. Well here comes religion and God to save the day.
Fun fact:
The bible was writen and created by man 40 years after "Jesus" was dead. What was the average life expectancy back then?? Was anyone even alive during the same time period "Jesus" was alive, then survived 40 more years and then decided to write a book about it?
Face it people there is no God! You are a bunch of sheeple just waiting for the next instruction to be given to you.
I would suggest that perhaps the worst aberration of Christianity is the notion that it is about following the rules in order to avoid horrendous punishment following death. Probably second to that is the notion that Christianity is about having a secret Santa to whom one can go endlessly asking favors and fix-its.
Anonymus

Grove City, OH

#365 Feb 5, 2013
A member of theirs threatened me

“Don't trust the internet!”

Since: Jan 12

Location hidden

#366 Feb 5, 2013
Anonymus wrote:
A member of theirs threatened me
If that is the case, just know that this is not what Christianity is about. Visit some other churches. Talk to some people. God's love is not meant to hurt.
Emily Fravel

Springboro, OH

#367 Feb 6, 2013
FKA, it's not that easy depending on how long "Anonymous" was in Xenos (or in any other spiritually abusive environment).

My husband and I don't attend church right now (as much a scheduling thing as anything else) but I have several Christian friends that I fellowship with on OUR terms. We don't need Dennis or Scott to tell us how to do it.

I do find it interesting that Gary rarely, if ever, gets in these sort of debates. Maybe he should reign in his co-pastors and elders.

What's scary to me is that Xenos will need a new generation of Senior Pastor's one day. Men like Scott will gladly step up to the plate and nothing will really change.

The idea that my husband "disagrees" (what he actually said is that we had different experiences, but that he stands behind me and my opinion fully) so my story carries less weight should be a red flag.

We've taken the notion of the husband as leader out of our marriage. I slowly but clearly washed much of my husband's stress and anguish wash away. It was truly a beautiful sight to see. I got the fun loving guy of our dating days back, my sons got a fun and funny father back. We both got a marriage back where we can nurture it and grow without consulting a book, other church members or anyone but who we truly trust.

I went from feeling like a total screw up all of the time, to a friend that can be counted on. I'm the "go to" for advice and have my own go to friends for the same. Someone hurts, we do what we can to heal. Someone needs, we give. Someone is lonely, we call. It's amazing how simple it is without a "biblical" guide or some meeting (where in cases it was decided in Xenos that there wasn't time or the person didn't deserve help).

It's amazing how Christ like my friendships are without a "Christian" influence.
jjj

Mansfield, OH

#368 Feb 6, 2013
My daughter has been lost to me for years, and I have been trying to find another parent that has had the same experience and for former members. I wanted to know if I was the only one that feels that somehow Xenos poisons these people againest their families. My daughter hasn't spoke to me for 3 years and her husband was mean and disrespectful to us from the beginning. I hope to hear from some parents and maybe an ex member so that I know it isn't me, that they are turning these kids away from their parents.
wmessenger wrote:
<quoted text>
There is no legal recourse. What is your harm? Don't allow your daughter to go there again.

“So long to you, Righties”

Since: Jan 12

keep suckin' and whiffin'!

#369 Feb 6, 2013
I knew some people who were Xenos members back in the '90s. Generally nice people, but they changed weirdly after becoming members. The church members were only interested in you, normally, if you were a 'Bible-believing Christian,' which I've found is typical of that type.

I remember being a birthday party for one of them once and a Church member coming up and asking me about my faith almost immediately. When I said I wasn't a Church member and in fact not a Christian at all, he made excuses to be elsewhere and no one else from the Church talked to me that night. I left as soon as I'd thanked the ones holding the party, and didn't go to any more such events.

Born-againies are very, very interested in you until you make it clear you're not of their faith. Then they drop you like a hot potato. As I said, it's typical of the type and why I don't normally associate with them.

“So long to you, Righties”

Since: Jan 12

keep suckin' and whiffin'!

#370 Feb 6, 2013
FKA Reader wrote:
<quoted text>
I would suggest that perhaps the worst aberration of Christianity is the notion that it is about following the rules in order to avoid horrendous punishment following death. Probably second to that is the notion that Christianity is about having a secret Santa to whom one can go endlessly asking favors and fix-its.
Completely agree. When I was a Christian, I was being told that I had to accept Jesus, etc. in this life or else, that after death it'd be too late, that God/Jesus would judge me and send my soul to Hell for making the wrong choice, etc. despite the number of competing religions and philosophies here on Earth.

I find that a noxious belief. IF there were a loving God judging people after they died, wouldn't he take their whole life into account and then ask them whether or not they now believed in Him and wanted to be with Him? It's impossible to believe that a Supreme Being would be less just than human beings are.

“Don't trust the internet!”

Since: Jan 12

Location hidden

#371 Feb 6, 2013
tha Professor wrote:
<quoted text>
Completely agree. When I was a Christian, I was being told that I had to accept Jesus, etc. in this life or else, that after death it'd be too late, that God/Jesus would judge me and send my soul to Hell for making the wrong choice, etc. despite the number of competing religions and philosophies here on Earth.
I find that a noxious belief. IF there were a loving God judging people after they died, wouldn't he take their whole life into account and then ask them whether or not they now believed in Him and wanted to be with Him? It's impossible to believe that a Supreme Being would be less just than human beings are.
Well, the thing is, that God's judgment isn't based on what a person has done or not done. It's sort of a given that all sin and fall short--to put it Biblically. It's a matter of being willing to accept God's love and forgiveness. And, yes, it counts the same whether it is from birth or on a deathbed.

What I was disagreeing with is the notion that there are specific good actions that we are to do (or more often, specific bad things that we are not to do) and the reason given is in order to earn the streets of gold as opposed to the pits of fire. Most folks who go there seem to me to be more concerned with the things that OTHER people are doing than their own deeds. But in any case, the Bible is pretty clear that it is not by our actions that we are saved. Salvation is a gift and all we have to do is agree to accept it.
grateful

Columbus, OH

#372 Feb 6, 2013
jjj wrote:
My daughter has been lost to me for years, and I have been trying to find another parent that has had the same experience and for former members. I wanted to know if I was the only one that feels that somehow Xenos poisons these people againest their families. My daughter hasn't spoke to me for 3 years and her husband was mean and disrespectful to us from the beginning. I hope to hear from some parents and maybe an ex member so that I know it isn't me, that they are turning these kids away from their parents.<quoted text>
Yes I too have lost daughter. My pain is so deep its hard to bare.

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