Thinking Out Loud

September 16, 2009

What is a “Friend?” — Crossroads / 100 Huntley Street Saga Continues

Over ninety days since this blog decided to go public with information concerning the absence of the regular hosts from Canada’s daily Christian television program; 100 Huntley Street viewers were informed on Monday of the greater details regarding what has taken place.

I have abstained from following the story in greater detail — despite the blog traffic it brought — because I felt it was being better covered at the blog Bene Diction Blogs On.    Though it concerns me that despite direct correspondence off the blog, I still have no idea who Bene Diction is, I refer you to the latest updates on the story here and here or you can simply view for yourself (high speed internet needed) by going to the Crossroads site and watching Monday’s (September 14) program, advancing to the last seven or eight minutes of the program.  Be sure to select the Monday program.

driver2I think, at this point, the story is sufficiently ‘out there’ that there’s nothing left do at this point than wait for the outcome both involving Ronald and Reynold Mainse, and involving Gordon Driver.   However, I want to look a little closer at the statement made by Ron Mainse, “A couple of years ago, I was presented with an investment opportunity by someone I considered to be a close friend.”

An ‘acquaintance,’ obviously.  A ‘neighbor,’ to be sure.  A ‘recent friend,’ is allowable.  A ‘person we knew years ago who reappeared,’ definitely.   But ‘close friend,’ implies a long term connection which would, if entirely true, justify the deception.

ronald mainsePersonally, I doubt if Driver had any contact with the Mainse brothers during those thirty-plus years he was in California.   The original reports said they ‘discovered’ that each other was living in the same neighborhood, something a true friend would already know.

Of course, it simplifies the story, because the fact remains that Driver is “a charmer” who could talk anybody into just about anything.   So perhaps I should give Ron Mainse back some points for trying to put it more concisely.

But the fact remains that ‘close friend’ really puts some spin on this.   We tend to use this word too freely; talking about “our good friend” so-and-so, when in fact they are an online contact we’ve never met in person.

Facebook has confused the whole ‘friend’ issue, also; but in the interest of space I’ll let you consider that for yourself.

The point is that here we have a case of someone who wormed their way into the lives of some people who normally have some built in defenses against “the public,” and who no doubt did indeed reach their ‘inner sanctum.’    Think Bill Murray in the movie What About Bob. The Bob character is clearly just a patient of the psychologist in the story, but to his family, Bob has become family.

Many have the ability, after only a few minutes, to seem like someone you’ve known all your life; while other people you have known all your life can still remain distant.  Also, many people who are in the spotlight — possibly including your pastor — have so many defenses protecting their personal life from their parishioners that many are just dying for someone with whom they can share their lives more deeply.   Who better than a neighbor whose children attend the same schools as your own?

Still, I have people I consider friends, but that doesn’t mean I would trust them with financial matters, or even share personal financial information with them.

And finally of course, there is the obvious:  Friends don’t expose friends to extreme risk and vulnerability.

So Ron Mainse, why not just state it more simply, as in, “We got charmed and conned?”    Let’s not cheapen the word ‘friend’ in the process.

Photos – upper: Gordon Driver; lower: Ronald Mainse

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July 2, 2009

Random Items

First of all, today is the day the story went national.   The CTV Television Network, The CBC TV and Radio Network and The Toronto Star finally picked up the story of the removal from television of Ronald and Reynold Mainse, formerly hosts of Canada’s national Christian television program, 100 Huntley Street. There’s also a report today from CanadianChristianity.com.  This is all a full month after you read it here and here (sort of) and everywhere here in the blogosphere.    Today’s publishing flurry seems to have been precipitated by a news release from Crossroads Christian Communications, Inc. itself.    Why bother now?

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Meanwhile, I was just wrapping up yesterday’s post when I decided to pose a small-print, trivia question concerning Jehovah’s Witnesses in the U.S.    Do they stand for the national anthem?   Some here in Canada don’t.   I couldn’t picture anyone getting away with that in the U.S.    A couple of people wrote in right away to explain the JW position.   This link takes you directly to the post with the comments, and you’re still free to jump in.    Should any Christian — in the broadest sense of the word — pledge allegiance to a political entity such as a state, republic, or any other kind of country?    Leave your comments on that post from yesterday (July 1).

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When I was baptized — along with 107 other people at The Peoples’ Church in Toronto, Canada’s one and only megachurch at the time — my ‘testimony verse’ was Proverbs 3: 5, 6.   Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding.   Acknowledge Him in all your ways and he will direct your paths.    At least that’s what it was then.   We’ve since learned that ‘he will make your paths straight’ might be a more accurate translation.   Some would interpret this as, ‘he will make your paths smooth.’    But ‘smooth’ is just not reality for some people.   The last few days for me have been anything but smooth.    I really think I need to quit my job.   I’ve typed my letter of resignation, but there’s nobody to give it to, since I own the company.

We all want to increase our blog readership, but please note that posting comments to a half-dozen items in one day won’t work here.    In most cases, the system will limit you to three comments per update period.    If the comments aren’t really productive to the discussion, it’s assumed your really only promoting your own blog.   For the rest of you regulars, it’s blog community as usual.

June 16, 2009

100 Huntley Street Saga’s Strange Irony

He loved sound.   Mixing consoles.   Quality microphones.  Special effects.   Large reel-to-reel tape recorders.   First class speakers.  Working with both experienced and up-and-coming musicians.    In studio and on location recording.   Editing.   Post production.   Etc.

The love of audio became a business that quickly grew into the need to rent space, print letterhead and business cards, and try to develop a means to provide services to anyone needing them, but especially the Christian community based in Toronto, Ontario.

Nice story, eh?   I wrote that.   The irony is that although the scope of their respective businesses differed greatly, in the earliest stages, this story applies equally not only to Gord Driver, alleged perpetrator of the Ponzi scheme now clouding the ministry of Reynold Mainse, Ron Mainse, 100 Huntley Street, and Crossroads Christian Communications; but also applies to Doug McKenzie, current CEO of Crossroads Christian Communications.

Doug McKenzieThey were both audiophiles and sound engineers at heart.    Doug’s business, Master’s Workshop, eventually became Magnetic North, one of the top studios for film sound production in Toronto, a.k.a. “Hollywood North.”   Doug’s ministry in the early days was focused on a band called Simeon.  Gord’s love of sound took him into a variety of spinoffs, including radio and concert promotion, a California Christian record company, and later developing computer images for film studios in Hollywood South.   Gord’s ministry in the early days was a media organization known as Center Sound Productions, and later, Sounds of Triumph.

Driver1But there’s more.   Gord and Doug both knew each other — well — in those early days of ‘Jesus Music,’ circa 1976-79.   Their paths crossed on frequent occasions.    Did Gord look Doug up when he returned to Ontario?   Was Doug offered a chance to invest in Axcess Automation?     We don’t know.   Driver’s comment in the Hamilton Spectator about Crossroads founder David Mainse, “…he was like a father to me;” could well come out of his mouth in reference to McKenzie.  They knew each other well.

In any event, the story drags on, but the blogosphere is the place to be to follow all the action.    One blog, Bene Diction Blogs On, has been relentless in its coverage of this.   Once again, social media trumps conventional media.   Rather than list all the links, I’m suggesting that you bookmark the site and check back often.    As I type this, the blog is featuring a timeline of the entire story, complete with links to relevant documents.   Too bad bloggers don’t get paid to do all this.  (If you have kept up to speed, here’s a direct link to that one.)

That blog is the news source of record on this story right now.    We’ll crosspost things where they are deserving of greater attention.    And right now, with a total media void everywhere else, this story is deserving of much greater attention.

Upper Photo:  Doug McKenzie, CEO, Crossroads Christian Communications.  The picture is from the website for VisionLedd, an organization headed by Jim Cantelon, who is currently acting cohost of 100 Huntley Street.

Lower Photo:  Gordon Driver — photo submitted by reader

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