Sunday, May 02, 2010

This is what they do with used fitness centers in my area...

A Bally's fitness center closed way back in September of last year.  That was a net benefit for me, as I convinced my wife to let me join the Lacamas Swim and Sport club, which has much better facilities than Bally's had anyway. I'm told it's owned by triathletes, so they kind of serious and non-corporate about how they do things.

But my wife was hoping the Bally's center would revert to another owner who would re-open it.  Well, they did, kind of.  They are becoming apparently "Kessid Church" and "Kessid Center," a part of Kessid Church.

"Kessid Church" had been meeting here, which looks a lot like their "vision" (a scheme is not a vision, as Leonard Cohen sang) of what "Kessid Church" or, uh "Kessid Center" should be.

What's truly fascinating to me is not that Yet Again Some Other Fundamentalist Cult has tried to open shop in my neighborhood (we Pacific Northwestern folk are among the most "unchurched" folk in the country, don't you know), but that unlike most cults, they absolutely refuse to disclose what they believe or practice, other than a couple of generalities:

At our core we hold two important ideals: Intimacy with God, and being “less than.” Our Kessid logo is symbolic of both these principles. The red line represents intimacy with God. Through His blood, we can receive pure forgiveness. The acceptance of Christ’s forgiveness allows us to become a part of His family. This is our direct line between God and us. It connects us to Him in a bond that can’t ever be broken. When we allow Christ to examine our souls we are revealed for what we really are, and both our beauty and brokenness are exposed. “True intimacy is not without Judgment, yet, it is just the opposite. It’s about being completely known scars and all, without loosing even one strand of beautiful” -Anonymous. Here we are forgiven and released!

Most importantly, we believe that intimacy with God comes before all forms of ministry. If we can always strive for intimacy with God, the outpouring will be Holy Spirit led and feed ministry of all kinds. The < in the “K” represents the “less than” sign. In everything we do we want to do it with a humble and quiet spirit. It’s about being content to let others discover the layers of our talents without having to boast about them. It’s a lack of arrogance, not a lack of aggressiveness in the pursuit of achievement.” – Bruna Martinuzzi. Kessid wants to be a church who does ministry without applause. This means we can do amazing things through Christ for our church and community without having to tell people how great we are.

Oh, I left out one other bit before that:

We want to infect the community and existing organizations that help serve our area, with our time, talent, and resources. 

I'm fascinated by this.  These guys clearly have your typical fundamentalist background, but they feel compelled to soft - pedal it.  They are, I think, outstanding communicators given their age - they're true believers you can be sure of that.  Luckily they have a contact page!

So, uh, I plan on writing them with a few questions...

  • Why do you feel that you can't list your beliefs or Church lineage structure or heritage with any greater degree of specificity than you do on your website? Is your acceptance of that heritage so weak you are afraid people won't like it?
  • You say  that you would like the Kessid Center to be open to the community and promote healthy living and lifestyle for all ages.  Would that mean you would be OK with Zen Buddhists visiting your facility? Practicing Zen Buddhism there? 'Cause we Zen Buddhists try to take our Zen Buddhist practice wherever we go.
  • Seriously, though, you folks seem committed, and that might be a good thing, provided you're not fans of the Republican Party, or other right wing groups.  How do we live together? I personally have no illusions that I can dissuade you from your belief system, though I would love to tell you what my practice is and how it helps beings.  But with the world the way it is today, maybe your behavior is indicative of how we should proceed.  You folks are Christians.  I'm a Zen Buddhist.  Many others are atheists, agnostics, and other paths.  Isn't the stated path relatively unimportant? Shouldn't it be? Most likely we're all alone here, and no one's going to rescue us.  How can we survive when we all think everyone else's belief system is bullshit?  Shouldn't in such a case we merely proceed to get along forgetting such ideologies and "-isms?"
I'll be posting their response here.


Anonymous said...

Are your questions examples of right speech or do they reify your anger?

Mumon said...

How might asking how we can live together not be right speech? How would any of what I've written be taking "anger" as a concrete entity?

Mumon said...

One other thing or two:

Perhaps you take umbrage at my use of the word "cult." Please look it up.

But anyone who's followed this blog knows that if there is one thing that gives this blog fodder it's spiritual hucksterism, and if the lack of disclosure of beliefs and practices and heritage doesn't set of some kind of warning detector with you, I'm not sure what would, but that bit there clearly is a failure of one of my main religious/spiritual "kicking the tires" tests.

David said...

Hmmm, I didn't pick up on a lot of anger in this post. At the same time, I visited their web site and didn't see anything that struck me as fundamentalist.

They are a little vague, but that might just be bad communication skills. If you read the pastor's bio it does give you an idea of his background.

What do Christians practice? Do they have a practice? Don't they just believe? I don't know. I've been out of that for decades.

You're there, so you certainly know more about it that I, but I am wondering what about this group makes you describe them as fundamentalist and cultish?

Mumon said...

Hi David,

I too, after going through stuff there got a bit of their background as well, and it ain't mainline Protestant to be sure. In my neighborhood every single school, from grade school to high school has some kind of fundamentalist church group using it on Sundays, and sometimes they have more than one group.

One of the things these folks have typically done is to downplay their beliefs, usually you can dig it up on their websites, but you have to look for it. I was just surprised that theirs was scrubbed virtually clean of the stuff like the bible is inerrant, etc. etc.

Typically when one of these groups moves into my neighborhood they send a barrage of fliers on every house in the neighborhood, which is just dandy if you happen to be a burglar and you see these and some pizza joint fliers attached to the front door of a vacant house. The fliers typically have the tone that the reader has never heard of their kind of Christianity. This goes on about 3 or 4 times per year, with special leafleting around holidays of course.

So maybe I'm predisposed to this kind of thing, but basically these guys are trained to do this "church planting" thing, and one of the features of this church planting thing is the reluctance to state the nasty bits up front.

Mumon said...


One other thing: I would typically use the word "cult" here as meaning that it is a breakaway sect, and I would describe pretty much everything since the Methodists that way; that's just my generic model. So Baptists (Southern, Northern, whatever) I wouldn't designate as a cult, but the Mormons, well...they're pretty much on the cult side, especially given their disfellowship propensities. Jehovah's Witnesses are in the same boat.

The Assemblies of God date from the 1920s; they would typically describe my path as a cult, (if they're being polite - if not they'd use words like "demonic"), so I can't but see why they'd take umbrage at my use of the term to describe them. The "Foursquare Church" has also been around since the 1920s, and if you read their history, well, uh...what other term would work?

So given this group, and their reluctance to associate with a tradition, I would use the term based on the above scheme.

David said...

Mumon – thanks explaining. I’m pretty dumb about how they do things in Christianity. I’ve always sort of had the impression that it wasn’t really necessary to associate with a tradition. That’s it kind of wide open. In fact, sometimes I wish I was a Christian. I think there is a large group of people who would respond to an alternative to the fundamentalist movement, because one thing I’ve noticed over the years is that while many don’t want to have anything to do with organized religion, they don’t really want to let go of God. I think I could come up with a cool angle. Maybe become rich and famous.

Mumon said...


Most Christians, in fact, would make the divisions in Christianity that I do (except for Pentacostals).

Everyone has some kind of tradition, and the idea that some Christians promote that their style of Christianity is "just like that of the apostles" makes as much or as little sense as when the Catholic or Episcopal Churches make the same claim.

Then why my emphasis about heritage? Because you know from where they're coming. Furthermore, by having some entity that gives a stamp of approval on things, you wind up with less of the really Crazy Jim Jones Kool Aid Adi Da Weird Sex stuff. The Catholic Church I'd say is the exception that proves the rule.

Anonymous said...

As a Christian I can Assure you that even Jesus Christ was against organzied "religion". Christianity is about loving God, loving others and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the rest of the world. Mumon you seem to be very leary of any group that doesn't fit into your fundamentalist "box". How is promoting Gods genuine love corrupting Vancouver and the greater Clark County area? If anything Christianity is bringing back moralistic ideals to an already declining society. I welcome you with open arms brother, you don't have to like me or my beliefs but know that regardless how angry you are right now, God still loves you! :)