Teens Encounter Christ (TEC)
A few friends came back to highschool this week after going to TEC. (TEC excuses them from Monday). (Teens Encounter Christ). Wearing their new TEC necklaces and shirts and stuff.
I used to be a VERY active member after i made a TEC. I worked on the TEC team 3 times out of the next 4 TEC's. I stopped about a year ago.
Rather than a debate on whether God is real or not, I'd like to instead bring up some ethical questions about the methods of TEC.
I understand that many Christians are against TEC. Some call it a cult, but none i know do anything about it.
TEC is a weekend + monday retreat.
Before you make a TEC, all you know about it is.
It is a Christian retreat.
No cell phones allowed.
You will be there for 3 days.
You are allowed to leave at any time, you just have to contact parents.
There are secrets that they wont tell you about.
Every month or so a few people come back to High School, in love with God.
Lets say you went to TEC (where i live) this is how it would happen.
*SPOILER ALERT for any theist planning on going to TEC*
There is a TEC team, the members who you interact with
There is a "Wheat" team, the members who you don't meet.
TEC is very stress relieving, there arent any clocks, plenty of time to sleep, awesome food, and a team dedicated to work behind the scenes to do all the work for you. Cleaning up and stuff.
That team working behind the scenes is either working, or praying for you. The TEC team tells you this, there are also hundreds of sacrifices the wheat team made in the past week was written on the wall. "I gave up video games" was written from me when i was on wheat team, wow was that a sacrifice .
The first day is learning about the bible and breaks for food and fun in the gym. To not stress you out from all the talks ("meditations". There is a lot of group activities, and individual conversation. Most people are thinking about leaving at this point, but very few do. Some who call parents then have there parents not allow them to.
You are allowed to leave, but damn do they say anything they can to stop you. "God wants you here" and stuff like that. Nothing physical though, and i'm glad about that.
Day 2.. I don't remember too well but things start getting emotional. You start to get pressured into getting out of your comfort zone and talking. There are more talks about Gods love and less specifics. The people with this connection seem really happy, and they usually are really happy. You probably begin to get very curious, maybe a bit of envy for this connection. The TEC team hugs eachother a lot, and it is encouraged while on the team on this day. The afternoon gets interesting when the wheat team starts to become the stars of the show. They, dressed in all black perform a few skits.
voiceless they perform the "turn around skit"
(This isn't exactly the way we did it but we don't video tape it)
((I was a way better devil than that guy when i did it >:D ))
and something similar to the passion except with a song playing.
two very emotional skits of course.
Here is when it gets interesting. If you are considering Christianity at this point this probably struck you emotionally, and the TEC team goes hug crazy after this. Crying and hugging, lots of tissues used. If you don't get into it you feel incredibly pressured into getting into it while being surrounded by this. You follow the TEC team from here to wherever they lead you, singing "this little light of mine."
Then the secret happens.
Are you hearing that? No, its just your imagination. As it grows stronger you are certain you hear a crowd of people singing in synchronization with you "This little light of mine." You enter the dark gymnasium and there, hundreds of lights, no hundreds of people, members from TEC are there holding candles high, singing with you, all eyes on your small group. There is a path between the people (your family members were contacted and asked to stand near the front of this path.) Schoolmates, friends, Adults, strangers, family members, all came here for YOU. Your emotions are probably going crazy, you've probably never felt anything like this before. You meet in the center of the crowd and finish the song.
Lights on, funny skits, some time to talk, and hugging, hugging, hugging.
Then it pretty much turns into a good time. Funny skits performed by the TEC team, good food. (TEC merchandise is being sold in the gym)
Then there is an incredibly emotional talk, from a member of the TEC team. Every time i've heard one (5 times) they have a sad backstory and how their connection to God fixed everything.
Then all the people leave. You get in your little group again and go towards the church. You go to the crucifix on the altar and raise your hands, close your eyes and sing "Jesus, Jesus, can i tell you how i feel, you have given me your spirit, I love you so." (repeat) like 20 times. Most people start realizing that these crazy new emotions your feeling is God's spirit, and most people at this point "love God" oh and they are still mostly crying from happiness. There is a short section where all the people who got one of you to come to TEC stand up and everyone claps for them. I was really proud when I was called one TEC.
This part is crazy... you didn't notice the crowd came in and filled up the church until they started singing. You open your eyes and turn around and the church is packed with all the people that were in the gym. You go through a "hug" line that is S shaped so it can fit in the church, and you hug everyone, yes... everyone. Of course your not forced to, but at this point youd be the only one not doing it. Everyone in the line has something to say though, some inspiring one liner. You've probably hugged like 100 times in the last hour. A quick church service and then you go back to the main building. The crowd leaves for real this time.
Suprise #3, the wheat team have decorated that room you werent allowed to go into. It looks beatiful, there are decorated tables and a lot of food. There is usually dry ice making a cloudy floor. A picture of Jesus at the head of the tables. It is very surreal. Oh and the food is delicious.
(the cutest girls usually serve the guys at guys TEC's. The cutest guys usually serve the girls at the girls TEC's)
Then after that, suprise #4
The wheat team comes in with their decorated bags, one has your name on it. There is a letter in there hand-written from everyone on the 2 teams. And the bags were in the gymnasium with the crowd of people for an hour before you came in, most of the letters came from there.
The letters are personal if the people know you, or they are something inspirational with something like "welcome to the family." oh and they say they love you as often as they hug you.
(Not that these hugs and love are fake. I really cared about the candidates when I was on the teams.)
Day 3... a.k.a. "Go" day
Awesome breakfast followed by a quick mass.
You then get a crucifix necklace that says "Christ is counting on you" on the back
You then start hearing about it being almost over. There is a lot of encouragement to be open about your new faith and to join the family and every month show up sunday night.
Soon you leave, around noon on monday. The process is incredibly effective, because almost everyone who goes, is "on fire" for God for at least a month.
The TEC process creates a very stress relieving environment, there is a lot of emotional events. It is very surreal, and you have no contact with the normal world. Only a christian influence for an entire weekend is a very effective way at conversion.
Is that fair?
My response, no. There is no way Atheists could get away with a 3 day retreat with no outside influence. School definitely wouldnt excuse the absense.
Is that brain-washing?
Possibly, there are much more severe cases, but it defenitely has some elements of brain-washing.
Do you Christians approve of this method?
Discuss, I am interested in what people think about TEC.