We are sorry to see the Akron Beacon-Journal (ABJ) grow so entangled in such a pointless investigation of this Christian ministry.
On the hand we’re pleased that after three months and scores of interviews, the ABJ reporter was unable to find even one specific problem with Xenos Christian Fellowship. On the other hand, it is a shame the ABJ was put through so much effort.
The truth is, this is a charitable organization which has only helped the community in Northeast Ohio. We help the disadvantaged and poor. We help young people mature and become responsible and sacrificial family members. Our volunteers work hard and sacrifice so much, they deserve to be recognized by the press for their contributions. Instead, their volunteer labors are unfairly criticized, not in a way that helps them improve.
We would like to respectfully raise two reasons why our ministry is merely getting attacked, not criticized in a useful manner:
- The few people who called us a cult never once raised a problem to anyone in this ministry before taking their complaints to the highest authorities in the most public forums–where nobody can dialog or rectify any problems.
- All their complaints were either proven false (like the macabre cemetery rituals), or the accusations were unverifiable and vague.
This began in December, 2007 when a mother grew angry with her son and notified us she was going to destroy our ministry. We were surprised, and immediately offered to do anything we could to help reconcile her with her son. Riverwood Chapel also offered to help them reconcile.
But rather than respond these our earnest offers to help, she began making alarming charges using public forums in an effort to destroy our ministry as promised. She was determined to limit her adult son’s right to choose his own faith. A long list of government officials were badgered by a series of inflammatory letters, and even though they didn’t want to, they eventually had to investigate us because of the persistence.
But all the investigations found we were innocent. Not one concrete problem was identified. Even those who accuse us are unable to establish any specific wrongdoings by Xenos.
There is no way to resolve these kind of accusations:
- If Xenos is a “cult”, what can we do to change?
- If Xenos is “brainwashing” kids, what can we do to stop it?
- If Xenos is “driving people away from God” as the ABJ quotes, what can we do to change it?
Why involve so many public officials and organizations? Can these organizations do anything about such vague things as “cult” or “brainwashing”?
Why involve the press? Is terminating our ministry the only option available?
The real threat is to the relationship between mother and son, and it may grow irrevocably alienated through these efforts. It surely must be clear by now the effort to discredit this ministry won’t work, because Xenos is an honorable ministry–and the proof is the inability of anyone to establish any truthful or concrete issues.
Using inflammatory language is not as effective as it once once. It was a tactic used successfully by racists against Jews or blacks in the past. Nazis called Jews “monsters” and scared the populace towards Jews. These tactics create alarm and fear while eliminating reasonable dialog–which is precisely what the Nazis wanted to avoid.
But in an open society with the Internet and a free press, the vocabulary of bigotry is not as effective. Since there are no real issues here, since the falsehoods were debunked, the only way to attack this ministry is with inflammatory words and names like “cult”.
Is there any opportunity for a reasonable dialog? Is there any way to set aside inflammatory language, and simply discuss real problems?
The pressing need is to reconcile relationships.
What is happening at Xenos is so very exciting: a growing number of people are responding to the great news that Jesus Christ died for our sins. People from a strict or controlling orientation are naturally repulsed by the freedom and grace of the Gospel, and this is a problem we have encountered before in our ministry.
Our beliefs and teachings are readily available all over the Web. We would like to ask:
- Are any of our teachings not grounded fully in the Bible?
- Was there anything we did at our meetings that deserve such harsh public criticism?
We would like to know some answers, and make amends for whatever wrong we’ve done. But it’s impossible to make amends for cult-like behavior if we don’t know what that behavior is!
Our meetings are open to anyone, and meeting times and places publically posted. The ABJ reporter attended our meetings and enjoyed them.
At 6pm this Saturday, February 14th, before the Valentines Day celebrations begin, we will be meeting at the Quirk Community Center in Cuyahoga Falls. We welcome anyone with doubts about this ministry to attend and see for themselves what a casual, fun time we have at Xenos.
We teach the opposite of what cults teach: we teach about freedom through the love of Christ.