About me

I'm just a believer that is recovering from my experience at Teen Mania's Honor Academy and I would like to share my journey of healing with you.

March 5, 2010

The Honor Ring

This is the "Week of the Ring" at Teen Mania's Honor Academy. The culmination of this week is a banquet where each intern will recieve an honor ring. According to wikipedia:

Interns receive a ring to symbolize commitment to a lifelong pursuit of God. This ring is called the Honor Ring. The inscription on the ring is Hebrew for "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine." This refers to the Academy's passionate pursuit of a relationship with Jesus Christ. From 2005-2007 they used a unique ring that bears the Honor Academy crest and says "Semper Honorablus," but went back to the Hebrew ring with the 2008 class.
The Hebrew people also had something to "symbolize commitment to a lifelong pursuit of God." They were proud of it and even after Christ came, many thought it gave them a special status as "elite" Christians.

It was called circumcision.

And strangely, Paul got really mad about it. He seemed to think it was not at all a symbol of the Gospel, but actually an entirely different Gospel. In fact, he uses some of the strongest langauge in the New Testament and wishes anyone who preaches this Gospel would be eternally condemned. (Galatians 1)

The issue was that when Gentiles became believers, some Jewish folks insisted that they also become circumcised in order to fully become Christian. The Jews felt that this OT law was still binding, but Paul demolishes that idea in the book of Galatians by contrasting law vs. grace, the Old Covenant vs. the New Covenant. Our relationship with God through Jesus is enough and we can do nothing, wear nothing, say nothing to make it any more real or true.

Now, I know what you might be thinking. Teen Mania leadership never actually says you have to wear an honor ring in order to be saved. This might be true. And yet, I have some serious questions about how the honor ring reflects or distorts the true Gospel.

The ring is inscribed with the Scripture, "I am my beloved's and He is mine." What kind of message are you sending when you put yourself in the place of authority to both bestow and take away the symbol of that truth?
Is an intern no longer beloved of God if their honor ring has been taken away?

Has an intern lost their righteousness if they have sinned or done something "dis-honorable?"

Are they no longer a member of God's family?
I would hope that Teen Mania leaders would say that the absence of a ring does not indicate that an intern has lost their standing with Christ or been kicked out of the God's family. And yet, what they say in words, they contradict with their actions.

If the ring has no bearing on your status as a Christian, then why even go through the process of making you earn something that symbolizes your relationship with God (which you already had before you became an intern)? When an intern does something "dis-honorable" why do you take away the symbol of their relationship with Christ? The clear message you are sending is that a person's relationship with God and their righteousness continually fluctuates based upon what they do. This could not be further from the truth.

The idea that you can achieve a special status of Christianity or that "honor" is something that you attain by working hard and having enough discipline is just....well...its a disgusting pile of dog shit that will pollute your life. (Phil. 3:8)

Your good works, your righteousness, your honor are all about as beautiful and awesome as a dirty, used tampon. (Isaiah 64:6)

If the Bible refers to our accomplishments as the modern day equivalent of shit and menstrual pads - then why are we so intent with having the best shit and the best dirty pads??? Those aren't exactly things to aspire to.

What is the Gospel?

God loves us. God forgives us. God embraces us.

God gives us His righteousness and the ability to love and reflect Him based on His grace in our lives.

So let's quit acting like we are better than other people. Let's quit acting like we have honor and we have character based on what we have done. Let's embrace the real Gospel of freedom and grace based on a foundation of faith in what somebody else has done.

And remember, no human in the entire world has the right or ability to give or take away your relationship with God.


Gal. 3:2-3

Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law (aka being honorable) or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?

v.5 - Does God give you His Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law (aka live honorably) or because you believe what you heard?

46 comments:

i haven't worn my honor ring in years. it ceased meaning anything when i realized that i didn't WANT teen mania's approval...that that pat on the head i strived so hard to get...didn't count for beans.

actually, i don't even know where it is.

but...the last few months have been key for me...i somehow made it to almost 30 years old without really understanding grace. without GETTING that there really isn't anything *i* can do. it is HIS kindness that draws me to repentance.

gc1998 - I hear that! Even after a few years of really being exposed to the message of God's grace I feel like I am still only in the very beginning stages of that freedom.

gc - I too had that "grace" experience a few yrs back....and it's pretty AMAZING to realize that the way God sees us is a LOT different than the way people do....because He accepts us for who we are...unlike people who can tend to judge us based on what we are not....GRACE is the only way to go!

Nice use of language in this post, RA! :)

On an irrelevant note, I can kind of see how I might have felt the same way as the Jews if I had the tip of my penis cut off so that I could be saved and then Jesus started handing out salvation free of snips. . . ;) Yeah. . . I can see why the Jews might have felt ticked off about that one.

I have definitely learned something new today.

But yes, this is such a revelatory post! I had heard before that Paul used some pretty graphic language in his letters, but I doubted because that just didn't seem "Christian" to me.

Good to know that Paul didn't have to be statesmenlike to be used by the Lord.

Z - I don't think that's irrelevant at all - its a great point! And I think the same could be send about our time at the HA - finding out that 5:30am corporates, finish-finishing ESOAL, denying ourselves sleep, etc doesn't make God like us more??

Its just like the parable Jesus told about the workers in the field. You start at 8am and get paid the same as the guy that started work an hour before quitting time. Its not fair! Its grace!

I think the idea of Ebenezers is something we're missing in at least Western Christianity: setting up a physical reminder of something God has done in your life.

So when I started reading your post, I thought: I don't really have a problem with people wearing a ring to remember what God has done. But it sounds like that's not the whole story. Is it true that the ring can be taken away?

If so, then it's not a reminder of what God has done, but an endorsement from the organization that is there to symbolize if they see you as righteous or not, which is to say if God sees you as righteous or not.

I choose my own Ebenezers, and I think its worthwhile - the benefit being, when you screw up, and make mistakes, you can point back to this physical sign and remind yourself - it's God who does the good stuff, not me or any other human or human institution.

i lost mine in a casino a few years after the internship. true story. it literally slipped off my finger, and i looked EVERYWHERE for it. never found it. and that was kind of the beginning of de-programming for me. it still makes me laugh a little...

Jon - Yep, you've got it. I love the idea of Ebenezers but that is not at all what an honor ring is. Although, I think you've suggested what could be a healthier, more Scriptural direction for the honor ring program to take in the future...

Anonymous - that's hilarious. I recall my first time ever gambling legally.......I was on a mission trip in Russia and I was playing a slot machine. I was a TL and had just turned 21. My PD encouraged me to do it, so I went for it. I was 6 months out of the internship at the time.....I think that's when my de-programming began.

So did the new Christians have to mail in their foreskin to the synagogue when they were less than honorable?

George - Hahahaha that's funny!

I will start out by saying I still wear my Honor Ring. I believe 100% in what it stands for. I desire and aspire to make honorable decisions. Period.

I was an intern in 2001, a Graduate intern in 2002, and a certified indentured slave in 2002-2003(Staff Associate). I left Teen Mania March 20th, 2003 - ironically the day the war in Iraq started. To date I wonder about the significance of the two dates.

I love your blog. It is almost the seven year anniversary of when I left Teen Mania and for years I've struggled with dealing with my positive feelings and severely negative feelings. Aside from casual banter with other alumni about things that have bothered me, I've never thought such a blog or place could exist. Don't you dare attempt to be honest or actually discuss anything on the real alumni site - God forbid - or your posts are deleted,or frozen, or you go against all of the so-called censor policies on the home page.

My younger sister was an intern in 2007-2008. The funny thing is - and I guess I don't understand how it happened, but I guess I suggested she go! Well - even God used my what I thought mistake for his glory and she will wed her Honor Academy boyfriend on the 7 year anniversary of my departure. Don't worry - they didn't start dating until they were proclaimed graduates.

I still scratch my head at some of the things that go on at TM, and I still have at least a friend or two that still work there. I admire their commitment, but I have way too many issues with how things happen - especially things that happned my "Staff Associate" year - and a good friend of mine has some great material. Yet of course no one want's to be publically bitter and innapprpriate - so I'm very excited to see that you have a posting about someone on the board of directors who wants to hear from people like us. I hope they truly do. I would hate to see Teen Mania go extinct, but I wouldn't mind a regime change - so to speak. I think that place truly needs fresh ideas and perspective. You gotta hand it to Ron Luce though - he came up with the perfect Christian business plan. Get almost your entire work force to pay "the company" to work for you. :-) Truly brilliant. So glad this blog exists. :-)

Hi Eric! Welcome to our little community. I clicked over to your blog and read about how you saw the Luce's in Turkey...how crazy and random is that?! Glad you are here.

I just discovered your blog. Your experiences sound very similar to the experiences many of us had with the Assemblies of George Geftakys. Some of those experiences (sleep deprivation, crazy schedules and crazy diets) were definitely designed to alter our minds. Some of us have documented our experiences on blogs and websites like www.geftakysassembly.com, http://thinsoc.blogspot.com, and http://megsmusings.wordpress.com. It's a crying shame that there are so many authoritarian nutcases in the evangelical world nowadays. This really tarnishes the witness of the Church.

RA, You make a great argument for not taking away a ring that has been earned. I do think that the tie-in with circumcision (therefore salvation) is a big stretch, but gives biblical context for discussion. However, there is another point to consider; The ring has absolutely nothing to do with salvation, or as a sign of grace (biblical signs: baptism, the cross, testimony). I believe that it is intended to symbolize an achievement and continuing commitment to a fraternity. Since the conditions of wearing one are clearly stated up front, then it seems that those that offer it have the right to recall it. A valid question raised by this post and following comments goes to the issue of whether sufficient understanding of the role and process of Grace is imbedded in the Honor Academy teachings and practices. Grace does not exclude the importance of actions, but, in fact, grants the proper context for all of our human efforts. Effortless holiness is impossible, yet all of our efforts are useless apart from Grace.

Another important point in the comments is the issue of the importance of symbolism. Certain biblical acts rise to the level of sacramental acts (outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace). Argument can be made as to whether actual grace is given by the sacramental act (Water Baptism, Lord’s Table in most churches, additional ones in the Roman or Orthodox Traditions) or if it simply symbolizes a grace that is otherwise given. But in either case, symbolism has definitive value. While any extra-biblical symbolism must be recognized as such, I would caution anyone from rejecting the symbolic value of things such as the Honor Ring simply because of disagreement with some of the HA practices or perceived doctrinal weaknesses. I offer a poem: “He drew a circle that shut me out Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But love and I had the wit to win; We drew a circle that took him in.” (From the poem " Outwitted "— Edwin Markham)

I actually JUST found my honor ring the other day. I never wore it after I left the H.A.
But I always kept it around, just cause. I think I'm just gonna mail it back to campus. (Mr. Hasz, if you read this... It's on it's way. ;)
I just don't want it anymore. And technically, it is theirs I guess.

What I remember about the ring was -
#1- we didn't get our rings until we had been there 8 months cause they kept getting delayed in order, or we didn't have the money or something like that. So the August's got their rings right after we did (which, if you read my story - 'Erin part 1' you'll see... I didn't really like Aug. lol.) and that just made me not care about the honor ring. It was just another thing in my flesh I felt 'jipped' in.
#2-It is pretty taboo to be an intern and NOT wear your honor ring. Not sure why that is...
#3- As far as I remember, Mr. Hasz said that the honor ring was property of T.M. and if we did anything 'un honorable' Mr. Hasz had the right to ask for it back until we are deemed 'honorable' again and he has a cubby full of rings from interns/alumni that he is, just plain giddy - waiting to give back to them when they earn it.
#4- It was a symbol of 'the line' and if you wore 'the ring' you had a responsibility to all other alumni who wore the ring as well, if need be, to help them stay honorable. Mr. Hasz used an example that if he found out about an alumnist planning on getting a divorce he would call up another alumnist who 'wore the ring' and was in the same area and ask the alumnist to go over and do whatever it took to keep the other alumni and his wife together.
Mr. Hasz did say that it was only if you wore the ring that made you qualify for that. He would say, "You wear the ring right? Well get over there and do it!"
#5- Things that could qualify you to loose the ring, included, backsliding into drugs and alcohol, divorce, having sex out of marriage, not if it was a one time sin (if I'm remembering correctly. I haven't heard the speech in a while.) but if it was a continual sin, because you could 'earn' the ring back. And I think the way you earned it back was by completing a growth plan or having another alumnist to confirm you were indeed, out of the sin.
#6- I believe the theme is, "The Ring (the ring), The line (the line), The ring, the line, always honorable, (*raise your right fist) FOR LIFE!"

Over all, it seems like you can wear the ring for a lot of reasons.
Show your devotion to T.M.
To remind yourself to make honorable discussions and not try to impress T.M.
To remind yourself of the importance of God's commandments in your life.
It can TOTALLY be a strong hold, tormenting you of how 'un-honorable' you are and striving to be better.
I guess it would be your heart. It seems like, if it really brings you peace and joy inside, wear it, if it torments you (like it has so many) take it off and throw it away. It's like THE BEST feeling ever. :)

Dr. Williams,

You said:

"I believe that it is intended to symbolize an achievement and continuing commitment to a fraternity."

This is not at all what is presented to the interns. I think Natalie covered it well in her comment above. The ring is very much a sign of your "honor" and TM gets to decide when you do or do not have "honor." Also, any "fraternity" or group that is more selective than Jesus, and would reject members that Jesus accepts, is by its very definition not like Jesus. This, I think, would be cause for concern.

Also, you said:

"Since the conditions of wearing one are clearly stated up front, then it seems that those that offer it have the right to recall it."

I think we are looking at this the wrong way...It is not a matter of whether TM has the right to give and take away a ring. Its about whether its Godly, healthy and what Jesus would do. Just because they have the "right" to do it, doesn't make it right. I am saying that the entire honor ring system as it now stands is flawed at best, and abusive at worst.

I could say more, but it probably warrants its own post.

I'm not saying that everyone who wears the ring is automatically a legalist. I am saying that the way the ring is presented (as worn by only a special elite brand of Christian) is dangerous and can often lead to both pride and despair in its wearers.

I'm surprised the comment thread has gone this long without anybody saying it, so I guess I have to:

"One ring to rule them all, one ring to bind them..."

Dr. Williams,

I forgot to comment on this:

"He drew a circle that shut me out Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But love and I had the wit to win; We drew a circle that took him in.”

I can't think of a more poetic description of the Honor Academy and how Dave Hasz regularly treats interns. Rejection and performance rule the day - not love.

eric p.--

oh, believe me. that point has been brought up again and again on campus, because we're all a part of the "fellowship of the ring." no joke.

and yet somehow we all just kind of laughed it off.

Hmm... Now, correct me if I'm wrong here [/sarcasm mode] but wasn't the whole point of the Fellowship to get rid of the ring without using it because the inscription proved it was dangerous and evil? The parallels are intriguing.

"...And in the darkness bind them."

I wonder if we should add an item to the generally recognized characteristics of spiritual abuse: "Pronounced lack of a sense of irony." That may be worthy of more consideration than it's received.

actually, the phrase paul used about those who preached circumcision was that he wished they would castrate themselves--also pretty damn strong language.

also, amen to this post. too many christians discard the message of grace in the bible, and yet, it is the loudest message in the new testament

My honor ring was never something I took to believe was a commitment between me and TM. It has always reminded me of the very vers that is on it - I wear it every day as a reminder of the things the Lord has done in my life and the life I want to live for Him, with Him. Comparing this commitment to one of circumcision is rediculous. I wear mine as a reminder of my "marriage" to the Lord, and last time I checked, we are still doing wedding ceremonies and vows.... I think this post is rediculous and that if the motive of the ring was to symbolize a commitment to a place or person on this earth, the point was missed from the beginning.

Anon - Based on the varied responses I've seen here and on the HA facebook page, it seems there is no clear consensus on what the ring actually does stand for....

Although it does seem quite clear what SOME made it stand for... and it wasn't their commitment to the Lord... at least that's not what they are saying on here. (I realize I can't judge the heart)

is this for real! people, people.
i wear my honor ring. it's a reminder of a time in my life, with many events/ideas i roll my eyes or chuckle at, a time i've grown from and grown out of.
you're taking this all too seriously. which is just as bad as what you accuse the 'man' for. chill.
move on in that grace you claim to have found.

and 'comments spouting the TM party line will be deleted"! that will help your cause, because there's nothing more credible than hiding and censoring. you're in too deep in your agenda, fellow believer.

Well considering the "cause" is a place for others in their healing process to find a compassionate community of friends having had similar experiences as they have...yeah...that does "help the cause" very much, thank you.

As with my previous comment on a more recent post, I don't claim my opinions to be the norm for every alumnus or person that has experienced the HA, and this is merely my opinion. I have the Hebrew Honor Ring, and I wear it on my right ring finger. I wear it not as a status symbol or a way to say "Hey, I'm an elite Christian, I'm better than you!" but as a way to remind me of the commitment I've made. I understand that G-d is more than the Honor Ring I have (if someone is reading too much into it, the capitalization of the words means nothing).

I disagree with one of your points very early on- you seem to give the impression that recipients of the ring believe that our salvation depends on it, or that it's the next step to a 'better' salvation. I understand that the Jewish Christians of old had a nasty tendency to tell others that they needed ot be circumsised to truly have salvation. I don't know a single intern that adheres to the belief that the honor ring is the next step in salvation (nor that it is required to be a 'true Christian'), just as I don't think I know a single person that believes baptism is necessary to be saved. It's foolish, silly, and very unbiblical, to say the least (better arguments could be made [and probably have been] for circumcision and baptism).

I totally agree with one of your paragraphs, though (The issue was that...), and I don't believe that anything more is needed than the grace of Christ Jesus, and I don't believe that my ring somehow makes that deeper, better, more complete in any way than what Christ did for me on the cross.

Answering your questions:

Is an intern no longer beloved of God if their honor ring has been taken away?

This at least stands for me, and many of my fellow alumni most likely would hold this to be true as well- not for a second. My ring is a reminder of G-d's love for me and my desire to do my best in following Him, in living a life worthy of the Gospel message- my ring is NOT the contract, the covenant, the cross, the salvation. If I lose my ring, if Dave Hasz, an alumnus, Ron Luce, Paul or Jesus takes it away or asks me to give it up, that means nothing to the status of my salvation. If I'm of the elect, if I'm in the flock of the Good Shepherd, good luck removing my salvation. My ring is a ring, that's it.

Has an intern lost their righteousness if they have sinned or done something "dis-honorable?"

That's more of a theological question on whether or not we can lose our salvation. G-d knows the condition of our hearts, and we constantly screw up. I never got the impression that interns and alumni, staff and GIs are perfect, sinless Christ expys on the earth. I don't know any alumni that thinks we're perfect or sinless, or holds themself to be. I am without sin in the eyes of Christ. I may love TMM, but if they took my ring away or say I've done dishonorable things, that doesn't change my status with G-d. TMM ain't G-d, and I'm pretty sure of that distinction.

Are they no longer a member of God's family?

Junk no. Even if we become estranged from one another in the Line (which I'll talk about soon enough, so hold your horses), that doesn't mean we're not in G-d's family. Got dismissed? Left of your own accord? As above, TMM ain't G-d or Jesus, but I do believe the ministry is a part of the body of Christ (or para-church, as is more appropriate). They may be the hand that says they don't need the foot, or the eye that says they don't need the ear, but those parts are not the ones that decide that. G-d is. G-d decides, not us, not TMM, not Dave or Ron.

I don't think that, if they ask me to turn in my ring, they're telling me that I've somehow lost my salvation. Again, that's not for them to say, nor do I think it would be knowledge they are privy to. The ring, at least to me, does not symbolize my relationship with G-d, it symbolizes the commitment I made to myself to do my best to pursue the Lord in a life that reflects Him. Again, there's nothing I can do to add to my salvation by that, but maybe He will be better reflected to others by that lifestyle. Also, the ring makes a nifty conversation-starter.

As for the ring being a symbol of some special status in Christianity... erm... I don't hold to that either. The purpose of the ring, the purpose of the Line seems to be more of fellowship amongst Christians that have been interns and are alumni. It's not me saying "Hey, I went through the HA, you didn't. You're scum, don't talk to me." We're not Pharisees if we wear the ring. If I see someone that wears the honor ring, it says to me that we share a similar experience, that we might know some of the same people, and that they're (very likely) a believer- I've got a person I can talk to, a friend. It says that I'm not alone. Sometimes we forget that. It doesn't say to me for a moment that I am privy to secrets and knowledge that others don't have, don't get- I'm not a gnostic. It simply says that this is a person that's holding themselves to a different level of accountability than others tend to, like vegetarians and vegans (just maybe a bit more spiritually- again, that's not to say we think ourselves to be superior. What would I get for being a vegetarian? More vegetables. Spiritually? Nothing. I may gain nothing more in heaven for my lifestyle, but living my life for the Lord, that sounds pretty stellar to me).

Hi. New to the blog. 98-99 August here.

When we were presented with our rings, it was my understanding that the ring represented our achievement at Teen Mania; to wit, completing a year at the honor academy.
In some ways, it's sort of like a diploma or a degree. If you don't finish all your prescribed classes at school, you don't get a diploma. If you got your degree, but your school found out you had plagiarized all your papers your senior year, the degree would be revoked. It is an honor to be able to say you were able to follow the rules and complete the assignments in the designated way to earn it. Depending on the school, some people may agree that it's legit, while other schools may cause some eye rolling and muttering.

It's not a perfect simile; if you went to public school, your diploma does not imply to anyone anything about your spiritual life the way a TM ring does; the ring implies that at least at some point in your life you went to HA trying to get closer to God.

I guess that's the crux of it. I got the impression that HAVING the ring indicated that I successfully followed the rules, jumped through the hoops, and thus earned the ring. It says I am my Beloved's and He is mine, as a reminder - but no one ever, EVER, EEVVEERR implied in my presence that that would change (my salvation or being beloved of God) if I lost the ring.

I *would* expect to have other interns think badly of me [or at least look down on me] if I had my ring recalled - that I was unable to adhere to the standard set forth by the people who were drawing up the "wear the ring" requirements, while they WERE able. So you're correct in your frustration, to that extent, although I think caring about "not being able to adhere to the standards of those who gave me this ring" is a person-by-person issue. I would suspect that at this point you would not be too broken up about that! Even now, today, I don't think I would be, either.

However, I personally was never made to understand that their set of ring-earning requirements was equal to my salvation.

Hi Josh,

Thanks for your comments. I want you to know that I really appreciate your respectful tone and what I gather is a real desire for dialogue.

Its funny how many different opinions there are about what the ring represents...many more than I initially realized. Perhaps that is based on the year you were there, or your personality, I am not really sure....

This post was prompted by a couple of things. First, conversations with interns who have been dismissed - many felt like they were treated like trash being kicked to the curb. Often, their salvation was questioned. In general, the were not treated kindly - and the stripping of the honor ring is part of this problem, as well as a symptom of it.

Secondly, I've spoken with other interns who feel guilty for even thinking about taking off the ring. Sometimes their first thought is, "Would Dave approve of this?" Why should anyone feel guilty for choosing not to wear a piece of jewelry? This is a strong indicator of legalism to me.

Of course, you can find fault with individuals bound my legalism - but there are SO many at the HA that I don't think these incidents are isolated, but rather part of a pattern.

And finally, Josh, I do agree with your answers to the questions I've raised. My main point in raising them was to say to interns walking in condemnation, "Of course this ring has nothing to do with your salvation!"

You make an astute point about Ron or Dave not being equal to God. Unfortunately, because of the degree of control they exercise in intern's lives that line is often blurred or non-existent.

Last Anon - that too, was my impression of the ring - kind of like a diploma. In recent years, that seems to have changed.

Oh, and last anon - You said, "I would suspect that at this point you would not be too broken up about that!"

You are right, it wouldn't bother me now. But it would have DEVASTATED me back then - and that's really who this post was geared towards.

RA, anytime. What I believe your trying to do is make sure that no one has the same sort of experiences that you have had, and that they realize that there is comfort in G-d as compared to the legalism and negative things that they might experience in life. My experiences at the HA were very different than yours, it seems, but I don't think for a moment that they're fake or that you're being overly bitter about it. One of my friends and sisters there had a difficult time, and somehow, many of us in her family core didn't even notice. If we had known, I don't know what we would have done differently, but I hope it would have been.

I think that my perception on the ring could be a whole number of things. I'm generally pretty laid-back as it is, so that probably contributes rather heavily to it.

On dismissal- having never experienced it, and not really having many friends who did, I can't honestly contribute to the degree that I'd like to. Most the stories I've heard are second-hand, or the intern felt they'd deserved the dismissal, but they never really spoke negatively of the leadership there. I know that some people seem to have it in mind that the internship is the only way, or (as discussed above) the next step in being a 'true' Christian. I was a member of the mobilization team, and my experiences there, though sometimes difficult, taught me a lot about that mindset- TMM isn't for everyone, and sometimes G-d calls us to other places. It's unfortunate that sometimes the process of dismissal seems so harsh. If there are former interns who find themselves questioning their salvation if dismissed or they have their ring taken back, then I think the process should be reevaluated. It's terrible that the thought even arises, and maybe an aspect of dismissal should be the Honor council and the leadership team telling them that this doesn't change their standing with G-d in any way- just their standing as an intern.

I've never been one to be concise... But thank you, too, RA. I'm starting to understand why you do this, and though I think TMM is great ('awsum?' I'm more a fan of proper English, thank you, even if I am rather terrible at its application sometimes), I do think that some people who have bad experiences there have a definite point.

this is so not terribly pertinent, but josh...could you explain why you write G-d instead of God? i don't think i've ever seen anyone do that.

Yes! I'm curious too! :)
I keep meaning to ask in my comments.

I can answer this. Usually in the messianic community when they write God, they will leave out the "o", hence, "G-d". It's more of a Jewish thing, but more believers are starting to use it too.

Reason being, "Since Jews are forbidden from destroying, erasing or dishonoring the name of G-d, they refrain from writing it out in full.
Once the name of G-d is written out in full, one may nor erase it nor bring the paper it's written on into unclean places (like a restroom).
Since G-d is not the the "correct" way of spelling it, there is no problem erasing it or throwing it on the floor."

Also back to the ring - I'm sure I've commented before that Teen Mania now does tend to refer to those who wear the ring as "The Fellowship of the Ring". It started out as a joke, but I believe is now actually being used! During my intern year at the January ring banquet, we had to watch a slide show or short movie or something that was called "The Fellowship of the Ring".

Eric - The travelling filmmaker one - Myself and Nunquam were both in the same year as your sister then!

Ex-Intern pretty much nails it, and probably better than I would have been able to. I picked it up from reading an interview and blog from a favorite artist (Aaron Weiss of mewithoutYou), and I liked the idea. Some people say it's kind of stupid, since that's hardly G-d's name, but if we call Him such, isn't it? I don't think that we should try to pretend that the power of G-d can be contained in such a small word (or any word, really).

Hahaha. It makes sense to call it 'The Fellowship,' yeah. I don't recall anything like that around my year, though. I just hope that some people don't think we're being purposefully exclusive to everyone. Yeah, the ring is a fellowship among believers, but that hardly makes us anything different, and certainly not superior to others because of it.

Oh yeah! Go me!

AHEM

Pride...

haha! :P

I accidentally lef my ring in a dirty truck stop batroom the day after graduation on my way home.
I didn't notice until I drove up my drive way when I got home. I felt like I lost a limb. I got over pretty quickly. I've done pretty well w/o it. :)

I still wear my ring, because I like it, and my finger is addicted to it (literally). It holds no symbolism for me, and when people ask me what it says, I tell them, and then say that I just like the design (which is true).

My finger (right ring finger) feels bare without it since I have worn it for nearly 10 years now.

Just to throw in my 2 cents on this, I still have my ring, but don't wear it. When we ordered our rings, I had it sized to my left ring finger, embracing the marriage to God symbolism fully. By the time the ring ceremony happened, I had lost so much weight, I had to wear it on my middle finger. (Which, if I had known anything about weight loss at the time, should have raised a few alarm bells in my head.) One day during my second semester, I was taking out the trash in the Cafe and my ring almost fell into the bin under the new liner. I wore it on my thumb from then on. Having always been on the heavy side, I was actually pretty proud of the sure sign that I had lost weight. I suppose that too should have set off alarm bells. Now, I've gained the weight back, and it only fits on my ring finger, but it doesn't seem right to wear it there any longer.

My ring is on my keychain. I have never worn it. But. I was told that of I knew of any alumni not living an honorable life, I could turn them into the leadership and the leadership would in sense reach out to the struggling alumni and help them, but in the process take their honor ring until they decide to love an honorable life again.

I should probably turn myself in because they would most likely find my life lacking of Gods presence because on my fasting day I popped a jolly rancher in my mouth.

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