Year of Sundays

Year of Sundays


Visit City Bible Church, Led by Pastor Frank Bossypants

posted by Joel Gunz

The twin domes of CBC's Rocky Butte campus rise up like a pair of breasts.

By Joel Gunz

Woweeeeee! At City Bible Church (total membership, 6,000), they sure have fun. They clap. They sing songs. Oh, and they love to play Repeat After Me. As in:

CBC Lead Pastor Frank Damazio: “Jesus says, ‘Love God.’ C’mon, everybody say ‘Love God!’”

Gathered throng: “Love God!”

Pastor Frank: “And then he says ‘Love yourself!’ Say it with me.”

Gathered throng: “Love yourself!”

Pastor Frank: “Because if you love yourself you begin to love others. Everyone say ‘Love others!’”

Gathered throng: “Love others!”

And so it went. Earlier, the church was promoting a local project to clean the grounds of its expansive 36-acre campus—an enormous undertaking that would be much more affordable with volunteer help. (Said Pastor Marc Estes: “Say it with me: ‘Serve somewhere!’” Gathered throng: “Serve somewhere!”)

As the author or co-author of such leadership and business books as Effective Keys to Successful Leadership, Empowering the Giving of Your Church, Biblical Principles for Building a Successful Church and Biblical Principles for Releasing Financial Provision, it’s a safe bet that Pastor Frank has carefully planned every moment at CBC with a view to enriching and “growing” the church.

During the fleecing ceremony, er, “offering,” Estes pressed his audience to dig deep, praying, “All right, God, bless those who give.” Turning to the audience, he added, “Activate your faith by giving. Give me an Amen!”

Gathered throngs: “Amen!

City Bible Church has a command for everything. Come on, everyone, find your butt with both hands!

Just kidding. They didn’t really say that. Probably because butts are a body part best left unmentioned, lest it lead to manual contact with other nearby organs. More on that in a moment.

All that command and response left me with a feeling that I’d been plopped into a kind of religious square dance; no sooner had the show started and I was ready to do-si-do right out of the church. But not before I got to absorb the full impact of their series of slick TV commercials projected on arena-worthy TV monitors that promoted their summer camps ($150-$250, depending on age), grounds cleaning workday (no charge) and other free and for-cost church programs. Apparently, Jesus watches a lot of E! News and reads Dwell magazine, because the City Biblistas have a snazzy video or graphic for everything.

As a matter of fact, everything about the church is slick, including its Indie Christian Rock band.

At CBC, all sex outside of marriage is condemned as categorically “soul-destroying” (Pastor Frank’s words, not mine). After you get married, however, through some unspecified miracle, boinking your partner gets an automatic upgrade to “wholesome” and “fulfilling”—rendering Christian sex as scintillating as a loaf of bread. What kind of bedroom activities are Pastor Frank and his wife engaging in that the best he can say about them is that they’re “proper?” I can’t answer that, but I do have a suspicion about the CBC rock band: they get their rocks off to the beat of Jesus.

Who's her fluffer?

Watching the Wailing Pastorettes give it up for God would have been kind of exciting, actually, but then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Amanda singing along to the lyrics of Christerotica:

Draw me to You, and set my heart on fire
I want to Know, You’re my one desire

I give you my worship
All of my Passion
I give you my whole heart
All my devotion…

You captivate me
You’re the lover of my soul

Here I will bow down
Say that I need You
Here I will worship
Say that I love you

Oh how I love you
Oh how I love you
Oh how I love you
Oh how I love you

I want to know You
Let Your Spirit overwhelm me
Let Your Presence overtake my heart

I’d been dreading the day when one of us got “saved” or something. So when I saw Amanda, her head thrown back in pop Gospel ecstasy, singing about a BDSM fantasy with Jesus, I sighed.

And then Pastor Frank’s sermon commenced, via video feed from another one of the church’s four locations. Watch it here. Although about 1,000 people were present at our Rocky Butte location, it seemed not one of them was qualified to speak. The sermon was part of series he’d been teaching on Intentional Relationships. This segment bore the Stryper-esque title “Relationships that Believe the Scriptures Rule.” It was about how to find a compatible marriage mate using only your cerebral cortex, a bullet list and the watchful eye of Pastor Frank. (“Everyone say the word relationship!” “Relationship!”) If all goes well—that is, you’ve followed Pastor Frank’s “Eight Non-Negotiables in a Potential Intentional Relationship”TM—on your wedding night you’ll have an intimate knowledge of your partner’s credit rating, but you’ll be in for a complete surprise as to whether or not your sex life will be characterized by bouts of tears of frustration.

As Pastor Frank went on to tell us how to be in a relationship, it soon became clear that the the command-and-response tactic is more than just a shout out. It’s part of a larger agenda to assert church authority. In the City Bible Church cosmology, the Holy Trinity occupies the top of the pyramid, with City Bible Church following a close second. For example, Pastor Frank recommended that this conversation take place on a first date:

Girl: “Do you have credit card debt?”

Potential Boyfriend: Why?”

Girl: “Pastor Frank told me to ask you.”

That’s the level of autonomy that CBC deals in. Yep, they’re a bossy bunch and don’t miss an opportunity remind you who’s in charge. They’re also sure to point out who the real enemy is. Speaking like an angry den mother on the last day of Scout Camp, he shouted at the audience for almost a full hour:

“The culture you live in DISRESPECTS God, DISRESPECTS the Bible, DISRESPECTS the Holy Spirit, DISRESPECTS purity, DISRESPECTS the home, DISRESPECTS parenting, DISRESPECTS… uh…” His voice trailed off as he ran out of ideas. But he got a second wind: “We live in a culture that has become autonomous in its own philosophy of how to live. And the GOD piece, the CHURCH piece, the BIBLE piece is not a dominate thought out there! SOMETIMES you wonder if it’s a dominate thought even in HERE!” (Gee, that last bit sure was worth going to church to hear.)

Ah, yes, modern American culture. Hated by Muslim extremists, despised by fundamentalist Christians, but approved by Satan.

He couldn’t stop himself, barking out a blanket condemnation of the world we live in. “You’re around a CULTURE that is … forming VALUES and forming YOU with their EDUCATION and their MEDIA and their NEWSPAPER and EVERYTHING ALL AROUND YOU from SIGNAGE to what you LISTEN to, to the MUSIC, to the MOVIES, to your education, to your HIGH SCHOOL, to your college and when you put it a-a-a-a-a-all together, that’s a culture that’s forming YOU!”

The way City Bible Church sees it, the only safe place in the world is inside their fold, because the enemy is out there. Boo! Be careful!

I have a problem with that on a lot of levels. First of all, such exclusive authoritarianism consolidates a lot of power in the hands of a small coterie of imperfect people who themselves operate under the thumb of a guy who can’t even trust them to preach in their own building. It also insults the intelligence of church members, teaching them that they are too dumb to figure out life on their own and that if they want to have a shot at happiness, they’d better do exactly what CBC church tells them. Finally, by characterizing society outside of their 36-acre campus and three other locations as sinful and predatory, they disrespect the billions of people in this world who mean at least as well as Frank Damazio and Marc Estes do.

Still, I don’t have a problem with most of the basic principles of Pastor Frank’s sermon. After all, if you’re looking to get married, it’s probably a good idea to get to find out if he or she knows how to use a dishwasher. The profound flaw in the teaching is the assumption that people who are thinking about getting married would need his how-to’s at all. If you’re so inexperienced in life that you’d be unwise to enter a relationship without Pastor Frank’s bullet list in your back pocket, that alone might be a hint that you aren’t quite ready to commit.

Pastor Frank continued: “Premarital sexual sins of any kind are prohibited. Offensive to God, harmful to your soul, prohibited.”

Premarital sexual sins of any kind? Really? How about a little thing Amanda and I call the Kalifornia Kangaroo? Or the Turkish Sno-Cone? And it’s all offensive to God? You mean to tell me, Frank, that every time Amanda gives me a Sloppy Joel, God gets mad? That truly is a frightening thought. With a fragile ego like that at the helm of the universe, we’re all screwed.

He continued talking about the, uh, ‘giving of yourself as if you were married.’ “That’s a problem. It’s a deep hurt, it’s a deep scar. Sa-a-a-a-a-ve yourself for your marriage.”

Earth to Frank: hewing to your fundamentalist interpretation of Bible morality is no guarantee of happiness, either. As a member of a fundamentalist religion myself for many years, I knew lots of couples who stuck to all eight of your PowerPoint prerequisites and were dying in loveless marriages anyway.

One of the many problems with fundamentalist Christianity is that it places so much emphasis on sexual “chastity” that people get married when they are too young. In their early 20s, hormones raging, they get married just so they can have guilt-free sex. That’s a lousy reason to tie the knot. Fundamentalism ignores the fact that, in order to reach maturity, you have to get out and live life. True, your heart might get broken. It probably will. But there will be good times, too, and along the way comes growth, perspective and the self-knowledge needed to make a wise choice in a marriage mate—if that’s what you find you really want. You can only get experience in life by living life. There are no magic short cuts. Not even in the Bible.

As a Jehovah’s Witness, I would often hear people say: “Experience is a terrible teacher. You get the test first and the lesson afterward.” (Pastor Frank, if you’re reading this, feel free to use that line.) The fear-mongering message is that if you don’t do things the Bible’s way you’re doomed to failure. That mentality leads to passive obedience (which has its place at times) but it doesn’t lead to maturity. Sure, it’s a Biblical approach to life, but it doesn’t guarantee happiness. The circular reasoning goes something like this: “If you want to be happy, study the Bible. Because it’s the infallible word of God, you should do exactly what it says, because that is the only path to happiness.” The Fundamentalist Position is great—for some people. (Although Amanda and I haven’t tried it—yet.) Unfortunately, others have hurt themselves and those around them by doggedly trying to adhere to Bible morality, only to find that it doesn’t work for them. At least, that’s what my gay ex-Christian friends tell me. Any religion that insists that you live according to the terms of its moral code first and the terms of real life second devalues the human spirit. It’s not a life-affirming religious tradition, to say nothing of any transcendent spiritual value it may promise.

As an atheist, I don’t believe in a personal God. But I am a parent. And, much as I want to shield my kids from harm, I don’t want them to grow up dependent on my wisdom. I want them to stand on their own two feet as autonomous individuals. To get there, they will have to endure a few scrapes and bruises. One of the best bits of wisdom I’ve ever heard came, not from the Bible, but from an alcoholic war reporter: “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.”

That was Hemingway. As it happens, Amanda and I are re-reading his novels together and I’m happy to report that it’s been making our relationship more… how should I say?… intentional. Opting out of the ancient rules and irrelevant prescriptions of the Good Book, we’re satisfied with books that are good.

——-

Have you been to City Bible Church? Drop me a line in the comments section and tell me if you agree with my review or if you think I’m going to hell for it.




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Allison

posted August 1, 2011 at 7:46 pm


First of all, I want to thank you and Amanda for taking the bold steps of venturing to different churches and reviewing them on your blog.

I went to CBC for an Easter service with my ex and his mom in 2010. I left feeling super uncomfortable, and was shocked that such a sweet woman (my ex’s mom) could so easily abandon her own ideas and listen to the BS I heard in the service.

It’s sad that the whole point of that church is to make $$, and scare people into submission.

I will never go back to that place again.



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Anonymous (for personal reasons)

posted July 21, 2011 at 8:59 pm


I can’t possibly agree more with your review. My ex and his family are members there and to be quite honest, I have never felt so out of place. I was in the audience one unfortunate Sunday morning when Frank seriously gave a 50 minute lecture (I’d hardly call it a sermon) on tithing. The main message: Give us your money or Jesus won’t save you. Or your family. Even the kids. Because money will buy your ticket to heaven.
I was appalled. The church there was also very active in registering voters strictly for the purpose of having them vote against the gay marriage initiative here in Oregon. To the disturbing point of handing out “one man, one woman” stickers to *children*. A disturbing place with a very certainly un-Christian message.



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Joel Gunz

posted June 17, 2011 at 7:45 pm


maybe you’re right. I’d ask him but since he took his personal facebook profile down and now only goes by his PR-savvy Facebook fan page, I guess I won’t have the opportunity.



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Joel Gunz

posted June 17, 2011 at 7:44 pm


heh heh heh heh HTF indeed!



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Karen Mayfield

posted June 17, 2011 at 7:35 pm


Just discovered your blog and I love it. I think you’re giving Pastor Frank a little too much credit for attempting organized thought. His sole (pun intended) goal seems to be to raise money. The rest is just window dressing, and I betcha that’s how he sees it, too.



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Sarah

posted June 17, 2011 at 2:17 am


I love to ride my bike down the CBC (Rocky Butte) hill, 27 mph easy, which I have earned by riding UP. One time, though, my peaceful/easy feeling was interrupted by a carload of teenagers, leaving the church, hollering at me: JESUS LOVES YOU! Huh? Like HTF do you know?



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Jennifer

posted June 17, 2011 at 1:54 am


Damn good reading and spot on on the fundamental Christian viewpoint, though I can’t comment on this particular religious community.
Say “Amen!”



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Amanda P. Westmont

posted June 17, 2011 at 1:50 am


I can imagine Frank doing lots of things. Only none of them involve women.



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Johnpaul

posted June 17, 2011 at 1:15 am


Sharon in shorter skirts?



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SRY

posted June 16, 2011 at 11:11 pm


I’m remembering my Sunday Mornings as a teenager, sitting in the blue chair watching the pastor or his wife….

Funny thing, all I ever did it seemed was think of sex. Whenever they skirted the idea, I imagined her in shorter skirts. Or him with an orgasm face. And sometimes, it was impossible to imagine it; so I had to imagine harder, stranger positions and them with more adventerous personalities.

Just in case the rest of you are wondering–sex is mentioned, but masturbation never is. Neither is oral sex of dry humping. As if never mentioning it means it never existed.



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Dale

posted June 16, 2011 at 2:44 pm


Joel, nicely done. If you and Amanda were there “worshipping” on Sunday 6-12, there’s a very good chance I ran right by WHILE YOU WERE DOING SO. And then back by again the other way. I know, right!? That explains the pair of odd chills that fell over the service momentarily, or so I assume about what I assume.

Speaking of assumptions, you’ve validated several of mine about this place, including the main one: that, as these things go, it’s just steps away from a Full-On Cult. I had drawn this inference from the substance of bumper stickers I’d observed on the parked cars as I ran by on previous weekends. What a fun bunch!

Anyhoo, it was nice almost seeing you, and keep up the good work. By which I mean the “worshipping” and the commentary, but also the Turkish Sno-Cones.

-Dale



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Kelly

posted June 16, 2011 at 11:19 am


Stumbled on to your blog via The Oregonian. I stand somewhere between where you appear to be and where I see the church today. As a long-time pastor and now professor (music), I have found my soul to have been extricated from the impositions you so clearly outline. The question I can’t answer right now: “Is the church doing more damage than good?” If so, I’d sure like to be a part of solving the problem and bring hope back to its people.



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Justin Morton

posted June 15, 2011 at 8:00 pm


Hey guys, “Hell” is no laughing matter. Please read: “23 minutes in Hell” by Bill Wiese. You don’t even have to attend a church to go to heaven, but you do need to ask Jesus into your heart.

Unless of course, the Mormon religion is correct. Then, you’re going to hell too.

If I’m going to join a religion just to keep from going to hell, then I’m becoming Muslim. There’s over one billion Muslims on this planet, and I’m a big believer in safety in numbers.



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Anonymous (I have a real name, just rather not)

posted June 15, 2011 at 7:48 pm


This place literally destroyed my marriage… grr! LOL…

Ex grew up there, was hot, with the “in” group. Yeah, Frank, Marc, Walter, they all loved her. I messed up, and bam, it was THEIR authority that I was no match for. Well, live and learn I guess.
I recommend that no one date someone who subscribes to the level of control that CITY BIBLE TEMPLE (yeah, that’s it’s old name, back when it was a good place) requires. Anyway, that’s my rant…

Thanks for the great read, glad you made it out alive!



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kapk

posted June 15, 2011 at 7:16 pm


Hey guys, “Hell” is no laughing matter. Please read: “23 minutes in Hell” by Bill Wiese. You don’t even have to attend a church to go to heaven, but you do need to ask Jesus into your heart. Your posts have really made me think about how we portray ourselves to others and for that I am grateful.



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Joel Gunz

posted June 14, 2011 at 7:17 pm


LOL! If you don’t know, I’m not sure I should say. Check Urban Dictionary. ;)



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Johnpaul

posted June 14, 2011 at 7:05 pm


What’s a fluffer?



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Joel Gunz

posted June 14, 2011 at 2:35 pm


Ah, Anne-Marie – I’d heard a little about this story. You might have even mentioned CBC to me, but just now am connecting the dots. So glad your foster daughters were lucky enough to land in with you — they couldn’t have done better!



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DorianTB

posted June 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm


Joel, Amanda, once again you’ve hit the nail on the proverbial head, this time in regard to the City Bible Church. You’re absolutely right that people have get out in the world and LIVE their lives in order to grow emotionally and become well-rounded, confident people. Life will always have its ups and downs, but hiding behind a church or any other institution or individual instead of growing up and learning about life by living it, warts and all, is always better in the long run. Great post!



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Your Name

posted June 14, 2011 at 12:27 pm


Thank you so much for this, Joel and Amanda – just love these articles.
Wow, I want to tell so many stories . . . I had a kind of accidental relationship with this church – foster parenting a couple of kids who went to CBC and the school there. Needless to say the school’s admin never made me feel welcome. They would not be described as “inclusive”. Granted, they knew I was not of their ilk. Also needless to say that looking back the whole thing was a tad surreal . . . Did you see them talking in tongues when you visited?
I remember the not so subtle ostracizing of a gay parent who did not come out until he was in his 40′s and left the church.
I remember the nastiest pro-life demonstration there with giant posters of grotesquely mangled dead fetuses for all to see – the school at the time was full of kindergartners and elementary aged students. Inappropriate to say the least no matter where you land on that issue.
It seems many who remain in the church from childhood – marry very young – and have children soon after. I found some of the parents I came in contact with at the time to be as controlling, isolating and brainwashing as the church leaders.
The girls never looked back but had some long term residual issues to work through. I have no doubt that some of those issues are connected to their experience at CBC.



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Justin Morton

posted June 14, 2011 at 12:26 pm


Any religion that insists that you live according to the terms of its moral code first and the terms of real life second devalues the human spirit. It’s not a life-affirming religious tradition, to say nothing of any transcendent spiritual value it may promise.

True story. Any church that continues to exclude gay people will not last, thrive or prosper. They will dwindle and die. And to that end, good riddance.

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.”

If you like Hemingway, you and Amanda should watch the new Woody Allen film “Midnight in Paris”. He makes a marvelous appearance.



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Joel Gunz

posted June 14, 2011 at 11:04 am


Hey Johnpaul – we knew a little bit. one of Amanda’s friends, had a few choice things to say. But, I tried to go in with an open mind. sadly, I’ve seen all the bullshit before, but I think it’s safe to say that, so far on our journey, CBC is the worst of the worst. (See also Imago Dei and Beaverton Foursquare.)

In my observation, not all churches are about power and control. It appears that smaller churches, that prominently feature one “head pastor” are at the risk of succumbing to power/control issues. Although things may be different at the Vatican, the local Catholic and Episcopalian churches we’ve attended are relaxed about their authority. it’s there if you want it, but not as an article of faith.



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Johnpaul

posted June 14, 2011 at 10:12 am


First of all, such exclusive authoritarianism consolidates a lot of power in the hands of a small coterie of imperfect people who themselves operate under the thumb of a guy who can’t even trust them to preach in their own building.

I think is my favorite line in the whole review…which is spot on.

I’m curious how much you knew about CBC before attending Sunday. Amanda mentioned that she has friends that went and still go there. Does that help shape your opinion or is it really that obvious?

My experience there taught me that CBC was after 2 things:

Power and Control

All their issues with money, bad doctrine, image, etc. all stem from their desire to Control people and gain more Power. Maybe that’s what all organized religion is really about and they are just more obvious about it…I don’t know.

Anyway, thanks for another entertaining review.



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Jayjacque

posted June 13, 2011 at 11:44 pm


Good observations for such an atheist! Go figure, eh? I went there once upon a time for 8 years. Looking back, I call it hard time now. It was a prison. So glad to be freeeeeeeeeeee. And glad to see any and all who call it for what it is. That’s the only way it will get exposed in order to warn others.



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Sharlee

posted June 13, 2011 at 11:20 pm


In all seriousness, there were some profound observations you were able to make, Joel. I think, maybe because of your religious background experience, you knew what to look for or maybe more knew what was happening when it started happening. It was interesting for those outsider observations to be made. Kinda like an expert on cults coming in and saying, “Yep, you got yerselves a cult!” I was watching a vid the other day and the characteristics of a cult. Many of the things you point out in your article were on there. The yelling, the isolating from the rest of society, the stunted growth and gross dependency that accomplishes, the unified chanting. A lot of clear brainwashing tactics are being used. It’s pretty freaky.



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Lindsey

posted June 13, 2011 at 11:00 pm


“The culture you live in DISRESPECTS God, DISRESPECTS the Bible, DISRESPECTS the Holy Spirit, DISRESPECTS purity, DISRESPECTS the home, DISRESPECTS parenting, DISRESPECTS… uh…”

I went to this church from 15 to 24 and during that time I did not have ANY friends or even acquaintances outside of the church. If people tried to befriend me, I resisted them because I was afraid of them. In fact, my first non-Christian friend was a girl I went to college with who essentially had to MAKE me be her friend. I thought the world was bad and scary and I even thought that people in “the world” wouldn’t like me.

It was actually CBCs proactive stance against gay marriage that started me on the path away from the church (and that was at a time when I still thought being gay was a sin). Did you know that Tim Nashif, a political consultant who has been leading the fight against gay marriage in Oregon for quite a while, is a member (and is probably in some sort of leadership position) at CBC? He always seems to show up in protest (with Frank & Co. in tow) whenever anyone is issuing gay marriage licenses. CBC spends SO much time, energy (& probably money) on fighting gay marriage & little to no time, energy or money on reaching out to abused, bullied, lonely, frightened, gay teenagers. (If anyone knows any different, I would be happy to hear it).

My time at CBC was not traumatic and I was not hurt the way that others have been, but your & Amanda’s reviews are spot on. I have so many little stories & anecdotes that I could share that would support your observations but it would fill many pages so I won’t do that here :)

As an ex-fundamentalist Christian (now agnostic) who is madly in love with her atheist boyfriend of 5 years, I really appreciate what you guys are doing!

Fun Fact: former speaker of the house Karen Minnis & her husband are also members of CBC.



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Joel Gunz

posted June 13, 2011 at 8:16 pm


Hey Connie – I know! For a minute there, I was afraid Amanda was going to ditch me for him! ;)



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Living Life

posted June 13, 2011 at 8:10 pm


Joel.. I had to do a second look at your profile photo here to make sure it was Marc Estes reincarnate.. OH MY..

I have always thought the repeat after me to be so … childish… STUPID. I have never participated.

Thanks for going there, since none of the rest of us do, and giving us an unbiased “outsider” review!!

You rock.



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Joel Gunz

posted June 13, 2011 at 7:55 pm


Hey Sharlee – when we get there, let’s par-tayyy!!



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Sharlee

posted June 13, 2011 at 7:46 pm


Grew up there, agree with your review and you are going to hell for it. See ya there!



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Joel Gunz

posted June 13, 2011 at 7:41 pm


Detox, you wrote:

“Loved that you said the CBC leadership sees their church as the only safe place in the world. This type of church uses fear as a way to keep their flock cloistered within the 4 walls. After you figure out you are a prisoner, it turns out to be the most dangerous place for your soul.”

Very well put! Thanks for your comments and passion for freedom and truth!



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Detox Church Group

posted June 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm


Yay, glad to read your take on the CBC Sunday. Thought the weirdness may have rendered you temporarily speechless!

Amanda did mention she knew the words to one of the songs! Not to worry, most of the choruses we of christian persuasion sing in church are ‘crafted’ from a (worn-out) template enabling quick retention; especially after you sing it 10 times straight without pause, you’ll never get it out of your mind! Not that some of the songs aren’t worship worthy, it’s just that I’ve always hated repeating them into oblivion. (However, The Bridge obviously deviates from the prototype – what was that, someting about the garbage disposal of my heart? At least they are venturing outside the box!)

Just have to say that I’ve always hated the annoying command and response ritual so I’m glad you brought it up. That tactic was beat to death in my former church too and most of the time I just refused to do the parrot thing. You nailed it saying that they use it to assert church authority, although I’d narrow it down further to ‘pastoral authority’. It’s condescending and makes you feel like a grade schooler. As a rule, bossy types generate a negative reaction in those of us who LIKE to use our own brains.

Loved that you said the CBC leadership sees their church as the only safe place in the world. This type of church uses fear as a way to keep their flock cloistered within the 4 walls. After you figure out you are a prisoner, it turns out to be the most dangerous place for your soul.



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Amanda (NSQ)

posted June 13, 2011 at 3:22 pm


I really felt very, very sad to read this. Hearing about it, now having gotten free of it, I would tend to feel the same way – except that I’ve found a good church, in which I can grow and relearn. For sooooo many, there isn’t such a thing available or nearby.

I’m curious though,… what Scripture does Frank use as backup for his echoes from the audience? What Scripture does he use for backing up his blanket statements? And if he is so easily getting a strong response to his “copy after me”, how long before everyone walks right off the cliff and drinks the kool-aid without questioning a single thing?

Or, just as bad… how long before someone sees the problem and refuses to drink, but doesn’t STOP everyone else from drinking it? When will the voices here, represented by lives abruptly halted by the sudden realization that CBC is full of a pack of lies and severely damaging manipulation, be heard?



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posted 6:54:51pm Feb. 06, 2012 | read full post »

Full-On Faith
It's been almost a year since the inspiration for this blog began with a trip to the First A.M.E. Zion Church in North Portland. It was a predominantly black church in a predominantly black neighborhood and what I wrote about it ended up being our most controversial post to date. To this day, it's a

posted 7:25:08pm Jan. 26, 2012 | read full post »

Happy Anniversary from Emmanuel Temple Church
One year ago, Amanda and I embarked on our Year of Sundays tour of the Portland church scene. To celebrate, we decided to head back to my roots in North Portland and visit a full gospel church, just like we did in our first week of blogging. That's how we landed at Emmanuel Temple Church. Can I have

posted 12:40:57am Jan. 23, 2012 | read full post »




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