My name is John King. The first time I got access to an internet connection, I thought to myself, now what in all the world would I like to get information about? I was at the library and I had one hour of computer time allotted to me. I spent the first forty-five minutes trying to understand how the thing worked. I found myself in a program called dog pile, which was presumably referring to dog crap and I wanted to get out of it and find something like ya hoo or net scape. I was not gonna
use a program called dog crap. Being very pig-headed like I am, I was reluctant to ask for help from the librarian. Especially since I am a computer wiz who can do incredibly complex things in dos, using cryptic commands like format a:/s and xcopy and such. But when it came to the internet I was a mere babe. So anyway I got help and the librarian told me I had to use
the dog pile which was actually a whole lot or browsers all in one and really quite good and she showed me where to type in my search at the blank space, and naturally I typed in C.O.B.U.. I thought the old place might still be in existence and they might still be pumping out their old stuff, and I was morbidly curious. I waited for something to download, the librarian had explained how I should watch the little star come across the sky in the little net scape icon and when it stopped moving I could commence to strike the keys again. Believe me, at this point I was ready to strike something! What came through though was several subjects from ex cobuers. So I click on one of them and it starts out something like this;" Hello, my name is such and such and I would like to tell you my experiences from when I was in this organization. It all started in a little town called Allentown
way back in " And then there was no more. Just that little tidbit. I went to the next entry and it was the same thing. Just enough to make my mouth water and them it ended. An empty promise. They were all like that. I didn't know and it never occurred to me that you have to click on the text to get the whole story downloaded to you. And my time was up on the computer so I walked away with out actually getting any information from the world wide information superhighway.
That was a couple years ago and I am still ignorant about the internet but about six months ago we got e-mail through Juno which is free. We still don't have the internet because I'm afraid my children would sneak downstairs at night and look at dirty pictures or my wife might strike up a relationship with some personality in another state. Anyway lately my wife, Ellen,
starts getting emails from you guys and more emails and then huge amounts of emails and she prints out a whole stack of them. So one day I take the whole pile of them to work with me and start reading them at lunch time.
So I'm wading through all this gibberish like "X-Mail-Priority:Normal, Outlook-MineOLE, QUAL.Comm.x0r254 ex ect, ect, ad infinum ad nauseum." Finally I get to a sentence in my own language which I can understand and I see the old familiar expression "five-fifteen" which as you know is not the time of day, and all these feelings well up inside of me at this word: "five-fifteen". If some one could hook up a thought reading machine to our heads and read the responses from our minds when we hear "five-fifteen"what pictures they would get! Mostly from me I feel this horrible dread come over me at the very words "five-fifteen". And me standing before Harry Winebalm in the inner rooms with "insert secretary's name here" looking
on in mild disgust at my pitiful plight.
Anyway, as I'm reading this actual e-mail I usually can't tell who wrote it unless they say "hi I'm so and so" because that information is hard to figure out from all the little meaning less jargon that comes along with the actual letter. So I'm reading along wondering who is the person writing this and I come to something like " I still like the smell of wet grass after the rain" and I say Oh, this is a female writing this. Only women talk like that. I hope I'm not getting in trouble here. But I think its good to identify yourselves right at the get go inside the actual text, because it helps to relate to the person.
So I'm reading all these letters and responses and counter responses and I'm usually getting the responses before the actually original letters that provoked the answers and I'm finally putting it all together with some pieces missing but getting the general picture.I mostly like hearing about experiences from when we were in cobu, and about what has happened to you since, but I get upset and all worked up about all the controversies that take place. Also I am filled with a desire to jump into all them and add my two cents worth and straighten everybody out about a few things. For the most part I will try to refrain from doing
this however. I would think that most of you would hardly remember me even though I was there for at least ten years. I'll tell you why that is. The way I am now is that I think that I am known by the people who I run into and remembered because I am somebody worth meeting. l am who I am, and I have something to offer, I see myself as an interesting person, actually I
think a lot of myself and always have, and in fact have a very fat head which my wife can attest to. But back there in cobu I tried to remain invisible. Many of us brothers cultivated the ancient Zen art of Invisibility. We would slip and slither in and out of the buildings, through the hallways into the very wood work like shadows in the night. Our faces blank and expressionless, like children when they are afraid to get caught, trying not to give away any information as to what was going on in our heads that could be used against us in a court of inquiry.
But inevitability even the best of us would get caught, and if the situation were right, like in a crowd at a meeting of some sort, we would get what was coming to us, nailed to the wall, finally pinned down, where we could do nothing but squirm. Our minds would fail us completely in such a situation. All our hiding skills would fail us at these times, although some adapts had went further in the study of the defensive arts and were able to become too slippery to hold onto or even give of offensive airs so as to cause their captors to allow them to escape. Some could even change colors and become the predators instead of the victims in these situations. What a horror to be caught. These were the most vivid and painful memories form cobu. To be trapped like a rat. I remember once in some hotel in New Jersey near Johnson and Johnson Co.. I had been part of some program where a decrepit older brother, would be given one more chance at redeeming himself, by letting him join with a younger brother
from Brooklyn house, along four or five others including an older sister and go to some far away neighborhood and do art shows and witness and try to get people to come to a meeting in hakinsack. Sound like a plan Huh. So I'm applying for this position and i go see Jacky Dalton and she is suspicious of my intentions, so she says go talk to the older brothers first
I remember she has this big German Shepherd living there at the time which has absolutely nothing to do with the story. So a day latter or so I'm at this brothers meeting in five-fifteen and I'm waiting for an opportune moment to bring up this issue. And frankly I'm not expecting a good response because I had no reason to expect one. I wasn't particular close to Jesus that week, Not feeling particular spiritual , hadn't done anything commendable lately, so I'm expecting to get a minor trouncing. Jim Greiner was presiding. So toward the end of the meeting, were all sitting in that long skinny room on old couches and stuffed chairs and crates and we've gone through a whole lot of business and the meetings almost over and some one says anything else? I feebly ask what the brothers think of my proposition and they are considering it together and waiting to see what kind of response the big cheese will give and to my surprise Jimmy says I think we can get behind you on this John, and all of a sudden there's
this unanimous response that the brothers trust me and there with me to succeed in this and I have there blessing. I was elated and lifted up.
I go back to Jackie and the deal is on. I team up with Donald and we hit it off famously. It turns out He gets beat up quite often by some of the lamb sisters and he enjoys having someone to sympathize with. So we trudge out to New Jersey somewhere on Saturdays, me and Ellen dragging along the little ones with us and we work at it zealously for about a month and
a half. Not too many people were convinced to come to the hackensack lamb meeting though. But I thought it was going fine, we were talking to a lot of people and making contacts and so on, and I had a sense that we were doing the Lords work, and in fact we were. So now I'm back to the meeting with the older bro and sis. at hotel near Johnson and Johnson and it comes time to give our reports on how the "weekend fellowships" were coming. So at my turn I get up and give my report and it becomes apparent that I'm a slackard somehow. Inside I am aghast. I had really worked hard at this thing. Maybe there was some inside
information that I had spent too much time talking with Donald or something. There were only older brothers and sisters there and there was no one who would defend me. So I stood there in silent humiliation. I didn't know what to say and no words were coming to my mind. Then to make matters worse my wife who is sitting down beside me begins to weep at my shame. In my own mind I knew that the whole thing was a farce but her weeping was to me like her agreeing with everyone that Yes here indeed was a pitiful specimen of manhood. As I stood there I remember thinking , this is not the first time I have been
in this exact situation including the weeping. But this time I felt that I was not really guilty. I had really tried hard. I think that was what really touched the whole thing off, that I said I had tried really hard. I don't think Stuart even showed up at this meeting but he was present in spirit. I had been in the fellowship for 8 years or so at this point and I had thought I was hardened
enough to this sort of thing to not be really effected by it so much but it still hurt. So that's one of my most painful memories.
On this forgiveness thing, I believe that we all need to
forgive every body even if they are not sorry. And I hardly ever think
about Stuart so I guess I don't have any deep seated resentments against
him and I don't think I am allowing a root of bitterness to grow up inside
myself. When I go up to the altar in church and I "doing business with
Jesus" up there and I'm asking Him to show me what He wants me to deal
with at this time He hasn't brought up anything about Stuart or those experiences
although He has in the past. But from the point of view of my flesh, when
I think of Stuart sometimes I feel sorry for him and sometimes I think
I'd like to get him in a back room somewhere and punch him in the head
a few times, Just for old times sake so to speak.
There, I got it of my chest. I have gone through the motions of
praying for Stuart a number of times but I never have gotten any real burden for his salvation or anything. I have been burdened for those still in his clutches. At one time I remember we used to try to remember all there names so we could call them out of there in the heavenlies. I'm getting a burden for them right now. I don't even know who they are except I keep seeing Chuck
Marburger. Oh lord Please bring him out of there if he's still in there. wherever he is Lord restore him to the joy of Your salvation,. I love you all and I look forward to seeing you at the reunion if we can make it. I have five kids from Elijah at 19 to little Johnny at 8 months. and of course my beloved wife of 20 years Ellen. Joseph is 17 Andy 13 and my only daughter Hannah 8. I hope I haven't offended anyone, please don't take anything I say to seriously.....
.love From John,
Sunday, Mar, 21
Watertown New York
Re: John King's story - I have not read a story like that in a long
Mike is a close runner up...it was one of those fireside chat stories, where
you feel like you are there (hey, I was! - duh) and it was so funny at some
points being inside John's head that I laughed myself to tears - my children
are in other rooms wondering why I am sitting alone laughing my head off.
John, kudos for confirming some of the crazy stuff that goes on in our
collective head...anyone of my vintage remember the skit about "niagara falls
- slowly I turn, step by step, inch by inch" Every time the guy heard the
word "niagara falls" he flipped out. John articulated to a "t" what "515" can
do if you have been there.
When I was little my father and mother played "the horses" and as soon
dad walked in the door every night, he asked "what was the number"? For a few
years post-515 every number that came up in my life was 515. It was a curse.
It followed me around. It was so spooky. I still get the creeps when the
weirdest stuff happens at 515.
Thanks John for writing.
Hi John...if you're worried about your kids seeing the seedier side
internet, there is a provider (Integrity.com) that screens all that stuff.
Also AOL has parental controls. As for your wife......I suspect you have
nothing to worry about.
I am one of those who wrote about 515 and being thrown out. Remember me?
I'm Maureen (my last name used to be Cianciarulo). I forget if I made that
comment about the smell of grass after the rain, but even if someone else made
it, it describes how I feel.
From: John Thomas,
Great read!!! LOL in that one brother.