On this page we share the views of a few who lived in Cobu for many years and give their comments on the practice that Stewart Traill created in Cobu and named "The Trip Apartment."
The first is written by a brother who actually experienced the exclusion of this residence and the stigmas that were associated with being part of this group.
The second part is written by a brother who was close to several of the brothers who lived in "The Trip Apartment" and viewed it as a visitor.
The last part is written by a sister who took offense at the completely condemning and offensive teaching that this exclusion signified, and although doesn't touch on the damage that this type of branding lends to those who were subjected to it, she does sight the scriptures that were completely ignored and the lack of bible understanding it took to participate in this harsh and judgmental life-style.
Any scripture references are in blue and the RSV (Revised Standard Version of the Bible) was used.
A good friend recently recalled his first acquaintance with me, which revealed to me something of my attitude and standing in the church of my youth. After introducing myself to him, I told him--almost cheerfully--that I was on my way to the "Trip Apartment," as if this was the beginning of a new adventure for me, leaving him wondering what kind of greeting that was, and if there could be anything good about such a place.
Details are obscure, and memories are highly subjective after thirty years, but perhaps I can shed some light on this dark place and period of my life, and on what I then thought was the lower levels of Christian fellowship.
I was a welcome member of this notorious club for at least two stints in two locations. I think there was only one apartment each time, but there may have been more. I remember a general amnesty being called while I was at the first one, on Tenth Ave, in what I knew as Hell's Kitchen, or the neighborhood of West Side Story. Amnesty, meaning, that the stigma of being an ostracized member of the church was removed, and we were free to move about and live among the fellowship. But somehow it was resumed, or another scheme contrived, and I moved into the building we called 450, if I wasn't living there already.
The first one was a dive, the worst place I ever lived, excepting perhaps the Spring St. loft, where I stayed with dozens of others when I first came to New York, and attended meetings with those from the other lofts. It was probably chosen for that reason, all run down and no place you'd want to hang out. But it was our practice to go out street preaching every night anyway, and we often just used our residences as crash pads. 450 West 46th St was more normal, where we could "hide" if we didn't want to go witnessing, or just rest instead of attending a long boring meeting. Hey, we were outcasts, so I don't think we were missed, although we might dutifully exhort each other to do the right thing. It was around the corner from 515, the hub of what was first hopefully known as the New York Training Center. But don't ask for any diplomas, because nobody ever graduated from this seminary. If they had, it would not be worth the paper it was printed on.
The trip apartment was where I thought I belonged, never gaining approval from Stewart or from those who at times did meet his approval, what little he occasionally measured out. I was content to be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord, a guard at the meeting loft, that is; or with what little fellowship I might have had before getting blown away at the meetings which were designed to keep us in a constant state of oppression. I was always near the bottom of the pecking order, often relieved to pass by unnoticed, in a "home" where you were continually scrutinized and reproved for the smallest offenses. I never, for instance, rose above lower brown status in the boxes we sat in at the meeting loft on 51 St. That was only one step from Black, the color of sin itself.
This kind of "division" was of course meant to solidify control of an already hapless flock of the master shepherd's followers; to emasculate further any maverick with the nerve to push his own agenda and shun the lockstep dance demanded by this modern-day Pied Piper. Those who were "way out there", who couldn't be trusted even to be around sisters, had to bear the cruelty and stigma of being a Trip, a term once playfully used to describe someone just doing their own thing, but now given sinister meaning--and power to curse. No more smiling on someone's quirks or idiosyncrasies. Severe humiliation awaited any who would not submit to Stewart's brainwashing techniques. All had to conform to becoming, as another friend of mine calls them, Cobots.
As with most of the experiments or schemes of the master manipulator, there were no written rules, no formal charges against the inmates, and, therefore, no concrete plan to absolve oneself of notoriety and shame. All it took to be blacklisted was a word from the unjust judge, or perhaps from a trusted sister, that a brother was in the dark, or acting strange, and therefore a potential threat to a sister or to the sheep in general. How it actually got started I may never have known. Stewart would get an idea, in this case probably to corral the unruly, and perhaps put pressure on some to shape up or ship out. He'd ask for input for the idea, get support for it, and commend the supporters, who would commence to implement the plan. Follow-up would come if and when he got around to it. He was seen as such a busy man, you know, whose time was so valuable.
I can remember only once when he favored us with a personal visit, pretending to care how things were going in the dregs of his vineyard. I for one was awed by his presence, but was too scared to say anything real and honest. All I remember is him praising his latest Lamb Lesson, to which we readily agreed. The professed shepherd of our souls could hardly say a word of encouragement and genuine concern to lift our burdens. Yet with a word, he could consign us to physical isolation, even as he had for years controlled us spiritually.
This was at the latter house of detention, where I lived with those who became my best friends, until I became disillusioned with living like we did, and moved out of the fellowship.
The one prohibition I recall was not being able to escort sisters, or to be alone with one, even for the hallowed, noble mission of "witnessing". Of course rules could be broken if you were seen as zealously looking to Jesus: in other words, pushy and self-confident. And with a shortage of brothers to help out, some sisters were willing to take the chance of being frowned upon, especially if they didn't understand why a brother was so untrustworthy.
The trip apartment was another one of Stewart Traill's deliberate schemes of division and mischief. This was a place where mostly brothers were put to keep them away from the other brothers and sisters. I believe there was also a trip apartment for sisters as well. This was really a place where the "deviants" were sent. I don't know how or why this place started, but it was a place that you didn't want to be assigned to. Stewart Traill and COBU are in love with giving each other labels. Your label followed you wherever you went. Once a trip always a trip.
When you were given a label, you were pigeon-holed forever with that stigma. If you were labeled Faithful you were always looked upon as faithful, no matter what you did. If you were tagged a trip, if you were tagged gold or whatever your label, it stayed with you even when you left the house of pain and suffering. Whatever you were in that place, humanly, you would always be associated with it - forever.
I remember that there was a meeting where we discussed the trip apartment, and who should be placed into it. Sisters were just standing up naming people, who would wind up being sent there. Sometimes the sisters would say, "Yes, I see this brother as a trip;" and they were automatically sent there. Some of them put themselves into the trip apartment by standing up and confessing weird sins of fantasy. One thing that you need to know is that none of the brothers of high standing would ever be put in the trip apartment. We should have never had a trip apartment because there was never any definitive rules that govern who should be in the trip apartment and how you got out of it. The trip tag followed you where ever you went.
So how did one get out of the trip apartment? What caused one to get into the trip apartment? So many people that I knew personally were in the Trip Apartment. How many brothers who confessed their sins that they did were put in the trip apartment? The trip apartment was one step before getting kicked out of the fellowship. I remember when at a Diplomat Hotel meeting where Stew kicked out several trips from the church. I guess he had no use for them. They were not good contributors of money, and Stew could not control them.
the trip apartment was a place, well once you entered in, you never were able to leave. You were not allowed to be with the sisters. You were not allowed to escort them to and from their jobs. You were not allowed to associate with them or talk to them or go witnessing with them. You were always labeled a trip,.You were always going to be a trip, no matter what. You were always looked upon as a trip. It was like being put in a leper colony. The lonely island of isolationism. Lets keep the weirdos from among us. We might be contaminated if they touch us. As I said earlier there are no rules for entering in and there was no way of getting out. The leper colony was another one of Mr Traill's social statements of misguided deliberate acts of malice and mischief. Being in this prison was like being under house arrest. Many of the trips became easy targets for constant abuse form Stewart and his henchmen. Traill in truth did not care about those in the trip bin.
The leper colony was a failure. It was a horrible idea in the first place. It should have never been done. Yet it was done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It never made any sense. The point of the matter is this, if they are not giving his church money, you just chuck them out. Stew did not want dead weight. He did not want anyone taking advantage of Jesus and the fellowship. If you don't watch your Pís and Qís you wind up in the sin colony.
None of the brothers of prominence were ever put in the trip house. How many brothers of prominence went out and slept with harlots? Got drunk? How many did all kinds of wild things, and then were given or maintained their leadership role? That is part of the double standard of COBU.
There was a standard for the celebrities and a standard for the peons. The peons could do the slightest thing and they would be in jail forever. The celebrities would do all kinds of gross sin, and there was never any punishment for them. In hindsight these practices said more about Stewart Traill than it did about the ones who did the wrong. The soul that sins it shell die. The Lord will by no means clear the guilty.
In the letter of James he talks about partiality. ST and his false church walked and practiced partiality. What is it? What does the bible say about the subject?
Jas 2:1 My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.
Jas 2:2 For if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in,
Jas 2:3 and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "Have a seat here, please," while you say to the poor man, "Stand there," or, "Sit at my feet,"
Jas 2:4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
Jas 2:9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
Here is how the dictionary defines the term.
[Def. partiality - 1. The state of being partial: favoring one side above the other; biased.
synonyms: biased, prejudiced, partisan, one-sided, slanted, skewed, colored, unbalanced
2. Favorable prejudice or bias.
3. A special fondness; a predilection: he had a partiality for attractive, young girls.
What is partiality? Partiality is inconsistency. Partiality is where there is no singleness, there is no mutual law. There is no equity. There is no justice, but everybody is all over the place, including Stewart Traill. Unfortunately, there is a lot of Willy nilly [without order, plan or direction, careless] going on. God is not Willy nilly. Jesus was not Willy nilly. They are consistent. They are filled with equity. They are concerned enough to make a plan for our welfare. They are filled with equality. They are filled with justice. They hate falsehood. They hate lying. They hate harsh judgment.
The trip apartment was harsh cruel and finally, it was over kill. The Lord is not into overkill. He gives you a chance to correct your wrongs. The trip apartment was one of Stewart Traill's gross iniquities. It was another one of his failed spiritual policies. It had nothing to do with Christianity. It had nothing to do with faith. This had nothing to do with equity. This had nothing to do with Jesus. It had nothing to do with the bible. This was nothing more than a flash grab bag move for Mr Traill to show that he was a man of honor when it turns out he was a man of stupidity and folly. He was and is filled with selfishness, greed and evil. Nobody in the church ever said that this was wrong and ungodly. No one there questioned Stewart not-so-wonderful Traill about this trip apartment nonsense. Jesus would never set up a trip apartment to punish those who were trying to be a Christian, to make some sort of social statement.
The way that Stewart Traill encouraged the attitude of not extending forgiveness, primarily shown by housing some in a "trip apartment" which made others fear to make any confessions, was a cruelty.
Just having a "trip apartment" was a testimony that there was no forgiveness in Cobu, which was counter-scripture and cruel.
Stewart Traill's insistence on making separations among us, was harsh and had nothing to do with the counsels found in the bible.
The "Trip Apartment" was an apartment where those who lived-in fellowship, but were considered to have "broken-fellowship" lived. Some of the brothers who lived in "the trip apartment" had a history of making regular "confessions" of sin. Some of these "confessions" may have been "provoked" or even instances of "false guilt" or even confessions of sins someone "felt tempted to do" but wanted to be "in the light" about.
Lk 17:4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, and says, 'I repent,' you must forgive him."
Mat 18:22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.
This Bible teaching on "forgiveness" states that if a person seeks you out up to 490 times (or 7 X 70) in one day, you must extend forgiveness.
Therefore, housing several people in an apartment that's labeled a "trip apartment" does not lend to granting forgiveness. Excluding these brothers from the general population or shunning them conflicts with the teaching of forgiveness, as given by our Lord Jesus Christ.
The interesting thing that was noted was that the atmosphere in "the trip apartment" was much more comfortable than in the other areas of the fellowship.
This may have been because those who lived there were already considered "out of fellowship" so the scrutiny placed on everyone else wasn't "expected" in "the trip apartment." Another possible reason that those there felt more comfortable may have been that they were more honest and they may have even felt more relieved for the confessions they made.
Yet, no matter how comfortable those who lived there may have felt, having a "trip apartment" or a place to physically exclude contributing members of a Christian community, especially those whose consciences were so sensitive that they did as the scripture recommends and "confessed their sins" and were then punished for it and excluded, is in direct conflict with the teachings of forgiveness and Christian living.
Jas 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.
In the Cobu society those who made attempts to listen to their conscience and actually do as the scripture counseled and "confessed their sins" were shunned and put out of the mainstream of the fellowship.
In the Cobu society those who "confessed their sins" were excluded and looked down upon.
In the Cobu society those who "confessed their sins" were not trusted by anyone.
In the Cobu society those who "confessed their sins" were seen as "too perverted" for the regular population.
In the Cobu society those who "confessed their sins" were ostracized.
In the Cobu society those who "confessed their sins" were not forgiven.
In the Cobu society those who "confessed their sins" were taught that God was not forgiving.
In the Cobu society those who "confessed their sins" were snubbed by those who did their sins in secret.
In the Cobu society those who did not "confess their sins" were looked up to.
In the Cobu society those who did not "confess their sins" were looked at as "holy" or "righteous."
In the Cobu society those who did not "confess their sins" were those who lorded things over on others.
In the Cobu society those who did not "confess their sins" which, if you didn't want to be locked out of sight and out of mind, you took pains to keep your "anti-Cobu" issues to yourself.
In the Cobu society those who did not "confess their sins" were living according to the Cobu rules of etiquette and not according to the counsel of the word of God.
In the Cobu society there may have been a lot of "confessing" of errors against the latest "Cobu-sanctioned" expectations: like, "I was so bad, I didn't do my zeal-pill today" but there was no confessions of "actual sin and temptation" and therefore the relief of forgiveness and redemption ~ because those who actually did admit to the weaknesses of their flesh were put out of circulation, never to be forgiven, never to be welcomed, never to be treated with dignity.
In the Cobu society those who did not "confess their sins" were encouraged to continue boldly walking around with their nose in the air, following Stewart Traill's pompous example of acting as though they didn't sin at all, although as the scripture counsels:
Rom 3:23 ...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Jas 4:17 Whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
1Jn 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1Jn 2:1 My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;
1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1Jn 3:3 And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
In the Cobu society the actual counsel of the bible was exchanged for the counsel of Stewart Traill.
In the Cobu society the actual counsel of the bible was disregarded.
In the Cobu society the actual insights of the apostles was never experienced.
In the Cobu society the pseudo-Christianity based on unrealistic quotas and the almighty dollar were exchanged and had more weight than the blessings of forgiveness and having a truthful prayer life or truthful relationships.
Jas 3:14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.
Jas 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
In the Cobu society Stewart Traill was only interested in lining his pockets, everything else took a back-seat to his end game.
In the Cobu society everyone was into hiding, because that was the only way to exist without being over scrutinized to the point of being made to shut up, or actually being shut out.
Lk 6:22 "Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man!
Lk 6:23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
In summation, we find that the teaching that having "a trip apartment" for the sake of excluding those who didn't comply with the "rules of the group" but instead took pains to do as the scripture counseled. And because of the stand they took to have a clear conscience they were shunned, looked down on, and excluded because of false, impulsive and manipulative testimonies that were contrived by those who were shortsighted as to the many repercussions that these practices not only extended to those who were put into this hopeless and unforgiving environment ~ but also prevented the ability to live in a faith based, Christian community.
We hope that our website is able to conquer any residual thought that Cobu was a godly place,
so that the God of Truth and His Christ may free you from the grip of these beliefs and once again fill you with the true blessings that only come from above.