Jun 09 2008

Bill Belichick and Other Lessons in Silliness

I originally posted this on SGMsurvivors.com some months ago:  http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=124

However, this is classic CJ Mahaney and SGM thinking and practice, so it bears repeating and repeating and repeating. >snicker<

Bill Belichick is not humble. Or so seems to be Vicar Charles Joseph’s assessment.

Heheh… this is rich. I’ve made it a point to ignore SGM doings for a long time. I probably shouldn’t have because now I realize how many choice moments of laughter I’ve missed.  This one article is so full of hilarity that I could write for a week with the jokes. http://www.sovereigngraceministries.com/Blog/post/Reflections-on-Super-Bowl-XLII.aspx

Before I digress into peals of mirth, let me focus my comments: CJ’s Belichick article is classic SGM non sequitur… sequitur.

Notice Vicar Charles Joseph’s comments: “Would he be humble and gracious in defeat? Sadly, he didn’t appear to be. Before the game officially ended, he had already left the field. Sure, he did make his way across the field to congratulate Tom Coughlin, but then he left the field and the game was not over! He should have returned to the field to take his place as coach for the final play of the game. He should have humbly returned to the sideline and set an example as the leader of this team.”

Did you see what he did? Think a minute. Do you see it? No?

Uhhhh…someone show me where the Bible says: “Thou shalt stay on the field till the time be ended, and suffer thine losses on the sidelines to display thine humility!”

I’m a little fuzzy.

I’ve read the book a few times but that reference is not leaping to mind.

Hehehe… hahahaha…. Whoooo whoooo! This is quintessential CJ Mahaney. He fabricates an occasion to define humility in all its glorious outward expression and then renders criticism for failing to live up to HIS manufactured definition.

Hahaha… I love this. He makes it way too easy to poke fun at his self-appointed pastor-ness.

For those SGM Kool-Aid drinkers who want to argue that Bill Belichick WASN”T humble … I say: “So what? Who are you to care?”

But if that doesn’t bring an end to your nosy self, let me point out the glaringly, bluntly obvious.

No one knows WHY Bill left the field. Maybe he had gas. Maybe he had a sudden urge to eat M&M’s. Maybe he heard his distant cousin was on a scuba trip in the Cayman’s and needed help getting home. Maybe he felt led of God to pray for an injured player in the locker room. Maybe he is a real prick and a very bad loser and needs CJ to point out what his mother missed.  Maybe Security came to him before the end of the game and said, “Mr. Belichick, it would be best to get you off the field before the end of the game… for safety.”

In case you missed the point … uh… you don’t know why he left the field.

That’s right… you don’t know.

Therefore how can you possibly assess a character failing?


You can’t. The only way to decide that “He should have humbly returned to the sideline …” demonstrated a lack of humility is to decide beforehand what actions illustrate humility. You have to cut from whole cloth a Method of expression and Manner of conduct, apply some lofty bible/spiritual aspirations to give it moral authority, and then critique people based on the clothing you stitched together.

This is precisely where people get caught in the SGM trap. Instead of looking Vicar Charles Joseph in the face and calling him on his silliness, they bow, nod, and pretend that he has said something so very profound. They accept his manufactured definitions and seek to emulate what they’ve been told.

Come on folks, grow a spine. He is NOT the poster Child for Christian humility.

For those of you embroiled in SGM pastoral conflict, notice that herein is the lever of their greatest abuse. They obligate you to their very specific Method and Manner: they tell you how to act and express yourself. And the moment you let them define the rules, the SGM select reserves the right to change the definitions and the actions. Which is why, in a conflict with these men, you end up running in circles. But when you fail to emulate their proscribed method and manner, when you fail to bow and genuflect and pay homage to their trustworthy pastor-ness, they judge you for lack of humility and label you proud.

Think back over your encounters that led to conflict. I will bet you a quarter that the clash revolved around a moment when you didn’t pay homage to the ascribed method and manner. Which you found utterly confusing because you thought you said and did everything right, and then, mystery of mysteries, the more you tried to emulate what you were told, the more the criticism persisted.

Remember what I said? The moment you concede their premise, their arbitrarily crafted definition of Godly Character, you are lost. SGM leaders take ONE acceptance as validation for the length of their non sequitur sequitur. If they can persuade you that ONE of their proscriptions is innately godly, they assume that you should find all of their proscriptions equally godly.

PDI/CLC/SGM’s spiritual elitism is infectious, so easy to want to be a part of. The standards of character and conduct sound so virtuous, and noble, and holy, and right. It seems so appropriate to want these men to say, “We commend you.” It is a heady tonic.

Resist the pressure to accept their judgments just because they will accuse you of pride and arrogance.  Refuse to let intellectual disagreement be reduced to a failing of character.

Letting them define any and every action they choose as a moral failing, like CJ did with Bill Belichick, is a miscarriage of justice and judgment.

You will be able to freely walk away from an SGM conflict when you refuse to let them criticize your every action and attitude based on proscribed yardsticks. Pay attention to their assumptions. Pay attention to their prefabricated Method and Manner and refuse to be seduced into accepting them at face value. Vicar Charles Joseph has no power to define humility by the magic wand of his considered judgments, whether you stay on the sideline to the last tick of the clock, or not.

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    1. 1
      Muddy Waters

      I just can’t believe how you hit the nail directly on the head in this post. What I used to love the most at my old SGM church was the applicable illustrations about real people. Mostly they used stories about themselves, like how sinful they were the week before and then proceeded to wrap it up in a repentent bow for us to learn from. We would nod, agree to change ourselves and I would leave wondering how I could ever measure up and be that humble. Then one day I finally saw the real light, not the manufactured kind and the show was over for me. I stopped trying to live up to their standards, their rules, their idea of what it was to be “saved and in true fellowship with a body of believers”. I realized I didn’t have any friends outside of this church and neither did anyone else. Yes, I was a sinner but I didn’t have to focus every minute on it to appreciate what took place on the cross.
      CJ once said “even on our best day, we are shot full of sin” and while that is true, I felt so beat up about it all the time, I couldn’t enjoy what was really important and I ended up sinning more overall since I was miserable.
      Thanks for the website.

    2. 2
      John Immel

      Muddy, thanks for the comments… and welcome. I hope to hear more from you.

      Like you, I was attracted to many of the facets of then PDI/CLC. It is easy to want to be apart of what they do. They do the industry of Christianity very well. And they did it well before they became preoccupied with their own personal brand of Reformed theology. They made the details of the Christian life very relevant.

      I am sure that is why soooo many people give them the benefit of the doubt for a long time, usually way past what is right or healthy.

      The issue, of course, is their determination to define EVERYONE in light of their very narrow interpretation of historical Protestant Christianity, as Vicar Charles’s Joseph abundantly illustrates in his preoccupation with football Bill. His comments are stunningly presumptuous. And couched in the Sovereign Grace humble speak, they are just profoundly sanctimonious.

      What I want to point out though, is that so many of the mandates Sovereign Grace Ministries places on people follow this precise example. They manufacture a standard, and then judge people by their own rules. Is it any wonder you found yourself struggling to measure up?

      LOL… is wasn’t a fair standard. And more importantly, it wasn’t specifically a God standard, which of course you recognize since you saw the light. Ain’t it grand to be unplugged from the Matrix? Ahahahahahaha….

      And the fact that so few members of Sovereign Grace Ministries has virtually NO friends outside the very sterile walls is very, very, very telling.

      CJ once said, “even on our best day, we are shot full of sin” … you know… I’m about 87% sure that isn’t original. I think that is a take off of Jonathan Edwards or maybe it is John Owen’s … my scholarship is a little rusty at the moment, but that isn’t original.

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