Cynthia Kisser Interview #3; Jesus People, USA

This video contains a rehashing of the last bit of 16401 as well as interviews of members of Jesus People, USA.

0:00Copy video clip URL Cynthia Kisser talks about a bill being passed in Illinois. This is a repeat of the end of the previous video.

3:02Copy video clip URL Video cuts out and then starts up again inside the headquarters of the Jesus People USA. Audio of Mayor Harold Washington can be heard in the background while they record a man who is drawing. In a new shot, they begin interviewing the man who was drawing, Dick Randall, who is the artistic director of their magazine Cornerstone. He says he’s been with JPUSA for 10 years and working with the magazine nearly as long. It is noted that he didn’t even do art before working for Cornerstone. They talk about the potential for Christian publications to tend towards the conservative art styles but “there is nothing anywhere which says that a Christian can’t be up to date.” Randall says that they use modern art and music to reach a modern audience to show that Christianity is up to date.

9:02Copy video clip URL Switch to shot of another man at JPUSA. He is introduced as Erik Mendt, a part of the editorial and writing staff of Cornerstone magazine. He is said to specialize in cults, sects, comparative religious groups, and various spiritual issues. He defends JPUSA as not a cult. He then outlines their definition of a cult. “We define cults in two ways: one is by what they say, the other is by what they do. If a group adheres to the truth as it is in Jesus Christ… if a group confesses Christ as Lord… that group would have truth and would not be presenting falsehood. Cults present a false Messiah… a false salvation. That’s what they say… There’s also what they do which is contrary to Christian teaching or contrary to just morality and ethics and good behavior… and I think that any form of manipulation… is an aspect of behavior that is cultic… so I determine cults if they fall into one or both of those categories. And so I don’t think we fall into either of those categories…” He also clarifies that “For our purposes a cult is a group which claims to be Christian. A good Buddhist would not tell you he’s a Christian.” The video cuts out for a long time which happens quite a few times throughout the video.

13:39Copy video clip URL Phil Ranstrom, the interviewer, reads an article which implicates JPUSA as a cult. Erik stays calm and contradicts the article. He talks about his background with cults and religion. “I don’t think it’s wrong for a Christian to live in a collective environment like we do, as long as the environment is Christian. Certainly, it is unusual for a person not to have his own job with his own bank account, [but] we’ve chosen to pool our resources… I think if it’s chosen freely, [then] I don’t think there can be much to criticize at this point.” He stresses that they work with other churches and institutions, so they are not isolated and insular like cults are.

18:30Copy video clip URL He says that we was raised in a cult, specifying it as a sect of Mormonism. He became a Christian at the age of 18 and has been interested in cults because of his background.

21:09Copy video clip URL Switch to shot of Peter and Allison (Ellison?), two people who may be in JPUSA. The video ends shortly after.

21:32Copy video clip URL Video ends.



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