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I have been a TFI member for 40 years, 20 of which I spend in eastern mission fields. I’ve been married twice and fathered 11. I have had my share of joys and sorrows, made my share of mistakes, cried my share of tears, but overall I lived a charmed life, one which I would never trade for another. I lived with a God that was as real as the air I breathe and as close as the same. I lived as if nothing was impossible, and it literally wasn’t. I’ve walked on water for forty years and I cannot but thank God and TFI for it.

Time passes and perspective change. When I first met Jesus it was like like being reborn, it felt fuzzy inside and everything was a wonder. Then there was growth and hard times came along. I was sorely tested and had to go through some pretty tight spots. Those spiritual heights of the initial days were gone and I discovered a different side to faith, not that of signs and feelings, but that of believing without training wheels. A better path did open up, one less susceptible to the elements, one that brought me farther and higher, even when things weren’t perfect. Slowly I learned to separate the divine factor from the human. I learned to make allowance for my mistakes and those of others. I was forced to grow, to see things more maturely. The loving people who had given me so much when I first believed, inevitably disappointed me, as I also disappointed others. I discovered that love is a gift we get because of His nature, not ours, and that our judgement is the only limit.

Now I am nearly 60 years old. I lived through the Children of God, The Family of Love, The Family and The Family International. I’ve mostly been a missionary and travelled much, so my friends are everywhere. Through them I’ve come to understand that everyone sees TFI from a different perspective, determined by their personal experiences. I look back and I see that David also had his personal perspective which, of course, had a great bearing on us all. For sure God was the main factor in our origins, but there was also the human element of how David chose to run things, maintain them, expand and correct problems, while also causing some. Time enabled us to see where God did used him, as well as where his human flaws came through, when he took too much upon himself, when he kept on talking, even if God was silent. It couldn’t have been any different, for so it is with every man, even the ones we call “of God”.

It is all so normal, especially from a perspective of faith. God does raise up prophets, calls people out to effect change, to bring about new things, to declare a new message, to be a voice for him at a specific time, for a specific purpose, but none can claim infallibility. Men of force are also men of fault! They will achieve great things and fail as greatly. Others will pick up the pieces and try to avoid the same mistakes, but will inevitably make a different set of them. All who are called to lead are endowed with some success, revelation, anointing and a spiritual charisma, which will attract them honour and admiration. That is what inevitably corrupts them, causing them to take too much upon themselves and add too much of theirs to the divine factor. History is full of such samples. Actually, there are only such cases, because this is our human condition. So then? Now that we see it plainly, have matured and are no longer children, what do we do?

Well, things have changed, there is diversity, inclusiveness and it matters not if TFI is 10 or 100% of our life. We are all welcomed, in whichever capacity we choose and TFI is a new reality, much more user-friendly than it was. Everyone is sorting out things in their lives, their past experiences, their faith, the way they understood things before and checking how they measure today. There are things being discarded, while others are preserved, but they are not the same for everyone. This blog is my process of sorting things out; there is nothing final in it, only conjectures, suppositions, deductions, and a bit of what theologians call the “via negativa”, the process of coming to the truth by discovering what isn’t.

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2 Comments
  1. Hi there, GBY! I just recently discovered your blog and haven’t read too much yet. But I do enjoy your style of writing, like your “Whatchamacallit?”. I started to read now “The Mission and the Message” but half way through my concentration faded and I just glanced it through the rest.
    I think I can feel what you are going through as most of us do the same, I would say. What gives me hope and a reason to continue to spread the Love of Jesus is for one thing that we are to be faithful unto death. But there is one Bible verse that has become a light I’m hanging unto now Mt. 25:5 While the bridegroom tarried or delayed,… Our revolution has always been fixed on the fact that Jesus will come back before it will happen that we go the way of all new movements. This delaying of Jesus is what caused me to lose my balance for a time and whirled me around, and I did not understand the world anymore. Till that verse spoke to me and told me, that everything will still turn out right. We just need to see to it, that we keep our lamps full of oil.
    I’m even convinced that we will still rise like the phoenix from the ashes of our seeming defeat and fulfill everything the Lord has told us years ago even if it does not seems to us now, and our Titanic seems to have sunk for good.
    In all this years the Lord never made it easy for us to believe and hanging on in trust. This is the ultimate test I feel, but he will see to it, that we can also make it. Doesn’t he know everything beforehand? And therefor knew from the beginning that we will end in the way we now did? Does it not belong to his ultimate plan? I just have to believe it this way, if not I do sink in despair.
    Much love and keep going being faithful spreading the message of love!

    • Daniele Bendandi permalink

      Dear Helen, thanks for your note. As you continue to read, perhaps in small doses, you’ll see how I worked my way through some of the same questions. Whatchamacallit is kind of a nutshell conclusion, while lengthier parts are more thorough, step by step analysis of our beliefs, history, theology, etc. I apologize for the heavier format but, as I explained in the introduction to “Freedom of the Spirit” https://happilyheretical.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/freedom-of-the-spirit-5/ it was my way of working though things and coming to a conclusion. Perhaps you’ll find what I wrote abut David helpful https://happilyheretical.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/david/ or about the end-times, a little shorter and simpler http://somenewsviews.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/can-anyone-get-it-right/ It is from another blog where I share news and views from various sources. My articles are the ones not signed, under the heading “my opinion”.

      In any case, the time for an organized movement may be over but true faith remains. We must simply hang on to what has proven true and let go of the rest. I consider myself blessed to have been part of TFI, a reality that still exist in a network of people and friends who have shared values and experience. It was a work in progress and, for me, it’s continuing. Actually I feel myself growing in ways I could not before and in areas I was missing out. All things work together for good. I also believe in that Phoenix metaphor but its fulfilment may not be a revival of the past but something completely “other”. Thanks for writing.

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