Kings of Leon put out a new record a few months back and one of the songs on it got a lot of airplay on the radio. I had heard of Kings of Leon, but I wasn’t familiar with any of their music. For the last few years (since I split the UPC) I have been trying to catch myself up on all of the good music happening in the world (there is a lot of it!) and Kings of Leon was one of the bands I needed to know more about. Supersoaker starts coming on the radio, and as I typically do, when I find something that interests me, I read a bunch of stuff about them and learned enough that I could say “I know who Kings of Leon are!” I mentioned KOL to my brother-in-law, who in turn mentioned Talihina Sky. He told me a little about the history of KOL, and that they were raised UPC. My interest peaked, and I decided that I needed to watch this movie. When My brother came to visit for Christmas, we watched it.
Awesome movie, but I felt sad at the end; Sad for the guys in the band- So it turns out that they were raised in the UPC, believing a lot of the same theology as I was raised on. Their dad was a traveling minister, an evangelist, who carted the family around the southern US preaching for churches. It turns out that he was a closet alcoholic and eventually divorced the guys’ mom. This prompted them to quit the church, get a record deal, form a band, learn to play (in that rough order) and then become world famous stadium rock gods. Cool story, but they didn’t seem happy. What I got from the film is that they were out of the UPC/ oneness movement, but they all acknowledged that they still held on to those beliefs, and considered themselves sinners. If I remember correctly, one of them made a statement something like, “we’re all probably going to hell.”
The problem, as I see it, is that they rejected the toxic teachings of the UPC, but they didn’t have a justification for rejecting them other than “we don’t like it.” I think in order to completely divorce one’s self of toxic a theology/ mindset such as that of oneness, one has to have a rational justification based on information and knowledge, rather than just knowing there is something wrong, but not knowing what that is, then quitting over it.
Thinking back on my own experience, I knew (somewhere in the back of my mind) for a while that there was something wrong with the theology and mindset of the oneness movement, but I couldn’t identify what that was. For me, that alone wasn’t enough to justify quitting. I didn’t want Talihina Syndrome (yeah, I just coined that term!) like the guys in KOL. I read theology. I read the bible. I read anything I could get my hands on to learn as much as I could about the whole situation before I made a decision to quit oneness. When I left, I knew why I was leaving! I didn’t know everything (still don’t), but I had enough of a knowledge base and understanding that I could not only quit physically, but mentally as well. And that, I think, is what the guys in KOL have not done. They are still checked in mentally. And that might be even more toxic than just giving in to oneness.