Teens Encounter Christ (TEC)

Adroit
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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*
...lol

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 Eye-wink.

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&quotEye-wink. 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"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vujvHTf-LF0
(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.)

Sleep time.

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.


iwbiek
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ClockCat wrote: Sorry.

ClockCat wrote:

 Sorry. Country music is boring.

 

willie plays EVERYTHING, including some styles he basically invented.  even miles davis was a willie fan.  just because sam goody files it under "country" doesn't make it so.

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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:o

iwbiek wrote:

ClockCat wrote:

 Sorry. Country music is boring.

 

willie plays EVERYTHING, including some styles he basically invented.  even miles davis was a willie fan.  just because sam goody files it under "country" doesn't make it so.

What is sam goody? edit: okay I looked this up and found out it was some entertainment store that got turned into FYE. I can't remember looking for music in an FYE ever though. When I was like 8 I think I bought some CDs somewhere. I don't think I ever bought physical disks though after that...if I like a band and want something physical I'd get merchandise. Like a poster, or a shirt, or a cock ring..or something.

  

I looked up miles davis. He is some jazz player?

 

I don't follow. It looks like he died before Zelda: Link to the past came out though. Man that was a good game.

Theism is why we can't have nice things.


iwbiek
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ClockCat wrote:iwbiek

ClockCat wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

ClockCat wrote:

 Sorry. Country music is boring.

 

willie plays EVERYTHING, including some styles he basically invented.  even miles davis was a willie fan.  just because sam goody files it under "country" doesn't make it so.

What is sam goody? edit: okay I looked this up and found out it was some entertainment store that got turned into FYE. I can't remember looking for music in an FYE ever though. When I was like 8 I think I bought some CDs somewhere. I don't think I ever bought physical disks though after that...if I like a band and want something physical I'd get merchandise. Like a poster, or a shirt, or a cock ring..or something.

  

I looked up miles davis. He is some jazz player?

 

I don't follow. It looks like he died before Zelda: Link to the past came out though. Man that was a good game.

mm-hm

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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:3

 


Eamon Kelly (not verified)
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Interestingly enough, I

Interestingly enough, I attended a TEC.  After reading through what happened at yours, I think mine wasn't as intense.  It also may be that I was sort of disinterested in the whole thing... it's hard to explain, but I'll try.  I considered myself catholic at the time, but now that I am fully atheistic, I can see that in my youth I never actually was catholic or religious to any degree, and honestly don't think I had any faith whatsoever.  This made my TEC experience interesting, to say the least.  I don't remember a whole lot (it was fun) but I do know that TEC had no effect on my religious views.  I don't know if this was because I tend to be quiet and unemotional, or if it is because my thought processes have always been grounded in logic.  I do remember a whole lot of times where I was just sitting there not sure what to do, when we were praying or during mass.  This may have been intentional, aka I was supposed to think about things myself.  I don't recall anyone pushing any belief system on me, and nor do I remember there being a whole lot of peer pressure.  It was almost like the goal of the retreat was to let you relax in a comforting environment and figure things out for yourself.  This is where TEC failed me (in their eyes) in that apparently I have an immunity to experiencing faith. 

 

In my opinion, if someone attended the TEC I went to and did not have religious beliefs beforehand, they wouldn't have come out any different than when they started.  So to argue it is a bad way to do things might vary from TEC to TEC, and certainly from individual from individual.  Also, to be completely honest, there is no pressure to attend one in the first place, so going is a voluntary action.


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To the OP: That is fucked

To the OP:

 

That is fucked up.

 

I went to Lutherhaven, youthquake, that kind of stuff...but I never had anything so focused and intense.  Although I agree with others, I don't think I was ever as emotionally vulnerable to this stuff as some were.  I remember loving the food at Lutherhaven but hating the team building, and all I really remember at youthquake was some music and watching skinimax at night with by buddies in the hotel.

But again, neither of those came close to the level of focus and coordination that the TEC story showed.  Even as a believer though, I never bought the Kool-aid.  I'm glad I never had to go to something like TEC.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


iwbiek
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Gallowsbait wrote:Willie

Gallowsbait wrote:

Willie Nelson tops everything.  He wrote a song about my home town Nacogdoches.  :D  I think that was WN, anyway...  Google time!

 

*edit

Wow it turns out he named a whole album after it.  Laughing out loud http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nacogdoches_(album)

i gotta check that one out.  willie makes like 3 new albums a year so it's hard to keep up, especially now that i live in europe.  you should check out his reggae album "countryman"--you know, the one with the big marijuana leaf right on the cover (unless you're in wal-mart, then it's a palm tree).

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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 ...Willie fucking

 ...Willie fucking Nelson???

 

 

I love you guys. 


iwbiek
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Kevin R Brown

Kevin R Brown wrote:

 ...Willie fucking Nelson???

 

 

I love you guys. 

goddamn right.  an innovative musical genius.  where the fuck you been anyhow?

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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 Pissed off and in my

 Pissed off and in my parent's garage. Sticking out tongue

 

Now I'm less pissed off and back in the basement, as well as doped-up on a truckload of Advil while I ride out H1N1 infection, so I figured I'd stop by and start throwing punches again.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


Emily (not verified)
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 I was invited to TEC

 I was invited to TEC several times in High School.  I am a 26 year old female Catholic who follows the Church in every aspect today and in high school.  When invited to TEC, I asked, "What do you do at it?"  I was told, by numerous people, "That is a secret."  I always replied, "As a rule, I don't attend things not knowing what I am to do."  I never attended a TEC.  I stand by that today.  I do think the retreat was full of truth, love, and good intentions.  I don't think it was brainwashing, just a little silly.  Why all the feel-goods?  God is not a feeling.  Feelings fade, Truth never does.  

Many of my friends who are great people attended these.  They were good Catholics before, and good after.  Some feel it was meaningful.  I am not a fan of touchy-feelie retreats, I have attended a great deal of those, the non-secret ones.  

Many Fraternities, Sororities,  and other organizations have "secrets".  I think it is a childish, elitist practice that should be removed.  Organizations and retreats should have goals visible from the beginning, and nothing kept from non members.  For example, I helped host a retreat who invited all to come, spend a few nights, make Catholic friends, hear talks about the Church, share struggles and successes in faith.  It came with the hugs and group hugs that some people were compelled to do, and we wrote letters to our team members to tell them that we were praying for them and what we liked about them.....just nice letters.  It was similar to what you have described here, minus the ceremony singing and what-not.  AND minus the secrecy.  Truth should be out in the open.

Truth, Faith, and God don't have anything to do with 'feelings' or 'secrets'.  In fact, they exist whether you feel them or not....whether others do or not.  Christ in the Eucharist is more powerful than a group of hugging people.  I doubt St. Thomas Aquinas would approve of such childish practices, despite his obvious approval of the Church.


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Emily wrote: I was invited

Emily wrote:

 I was invited to TEC several times in High School.  I am a 26 year old female Catholic who follows the Church in every aspect today and in high school.  When invited to TEC, I asked, "What do you do at it?"  I was told, by numerous people, "That is a secret."  I always replied, "As a rule, I don't attend things not knowing what I am to do."  I never attended a TEC.  I stand by that today.  I do think the retreat was full of truth, love, and good intentions.  I don't think it was brainwashing, just a little silly.  Why all the feel-goods?  God is not a feeling.  Feelings fade, Truth never does.  

Many of my friends who are great people attended these.  They were good Catholics before, and good after.  Some feel it was meaningful.  I am not a fan of touchy-feelie retreats, I have attended a great deal of those, the non-secret ones.  

Many Fraternities, Sororities,  and other organizations have "secrets".  I think it is a childish, elitist practice that should be removed.  Organizations and retreats should have goals visible from the beginning, and nothing kept from non members.  For example, I helped host a retreat who invited all to come, spend a few nights, make Catholic friends, hear talks about the Church, share struggles and successes in faith.  It came with the hugs and group hugs that some people were compelled to do, and we wrote letters to our team members to tell them that we were praying for them and what we liked about them.....just nice letters.  It was similar to what you have described here, minus the ceremony singing and what-not.  AND minus the secrecy.  Truth should be out in the open.

Truth, Faith, and God don't have anything to do with 'feelings' or 'secrets'.  In fact, they exist whether you feel them or not....whether others do or not.  Christ in the Eucharist is more powerful than a group of hugging people.  I doubt St. Thomas Aquinas would approve of such childish practices, despite his obvious approval of the Church.

So if belief and faith isn't about feeling, and it isn't about empirical evidence, so what precisely is it about?  What do you base your faith on?

You should register!

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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To the OP: Are you

To the OP:

 

Are you generally put in same sex groups on these 'retreats' or are guys and girls allowed to socialize. If so, then wouldn't it be safe to assume that praising god isnt the only thing going on there?

 

S.

 


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Emily wrote:Why all the

Emily wrote:

Why all the feel-goods?

It is called 'love bombing.' It is a cult recruitment tactic.


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 Where did u go to TEC?? i

 Where did u go to TEC?? i went to TEC and i love it...its not brainwashing..it just gives me a better view on life. 


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 I LOVE TEC.... TEC

 I LOVE TEC.... TEC definitely didnt brain wash me...i just had a better view on life...i will always be part of the TEC family...its not a cult..everyone have a choice to be there or not. LET GO AND LET GOD EVERYONE :D 


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All religions are cults.

All religions are cults. Period.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Atheistextremist
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Sorry Anna

ANNNNA wrote:

 I LOVE TEC.... TEC definitely didnt brain wash me...i just had a better view on life...i will always be part of the TEC family...its not a cult..everyone have a choice to be there or not. LET GO AND LET GOD EVERYONE :D 

 

But TEC apparently did brainwash you. Still, you're right. You do have a choice to believe this stuff if it floats your boat. Lose the hate crimes and threats inculcated into your doctrine and you'll make me as happy as you are. 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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 @ Atheistextremist  (not

 @ Atheistextremist  (not sure how this replying thing works, so I figured I'd make sure you knew I was talking to you.)

I'm pretty sure I actually know this person, and she's tried to get me and everyone else she knows to go to this mysterious place without telling us anything that's going to happen while we're there.  I believe the excuse is "If you don't know what to expect, you won't fight it."  Or something along those lines.  I had a pretty close friend go to TEC and when he got back he decided that he was an alcoholic and a drug addict and that he needed to start going to AA and change his life around.  We live in a town of less than 350 and went to high school and college together and we would often meet up on the weekends.  After he went to TEC, I've literally seen him maybe three times at the gas station in town.  I've been wary of TEC ever since I was asked to go the first time and couldn't get a straight answer out of what exactly happens there.  I'm honestly scared that the people I know who attended TEC are someday going to "drink the Kool-Aid" because some nutcase tells them that it's "what God wants."

 

I'm sure that Anna doesn't realize how ridiculous she sounds, spouting things off about not being brain washed, just being part of a "family,"  but I guess we'll have to forgive her for being a little confused.

 

And I'm not sure who said it above, but I really got a kick out of what Jormungander said up near the top of the comments, "Remember folks: hot women never, ever walk up to you and ask you to hang out. If that happens to you, she is trying to scam you."


Adroit
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 Sorry to necro an old

 Sorry to necro an old thread but I wanted to make some changes and say a few things.

Someone I knew from these days found the thread and saw my picture, they weren't nearly as happy as I was to hear about this. Smiling

Apparently it's got some "google juice" with things such as "tec cult" or "tec brainwashing" "teens encounter christ fear" and probably other tec skeptic searches.

I wanted to change my picture, make some edits, and just mention that its been a long time since my religious years and I couldn't be happier about it.

 

Edit: Well darn, I can't edit that old of a post. (I am a little embarrassed that it is so poorly written)

To people considering going to TEC: Know what you are getting yourself into, and if you still want to go the experience might answer a lot of questions. 

To people involved with TEC or defending it: Perhaps you should rethink TEC. Teens are impressionable and often vulnerable emotionally. I don't really know any of my friends who carry the TEC cross and anyone who I have talked to has wanted to forget about it. I'm sure there are exceptions however.