Of late detractors of moi have posted an overarching objection. “Objective Outsiders” are voicing this criticism: Homie John is bitter and mean and has father issues, and is failing to take his meds, and has a personality pathology…ergo (a little Old Latin for you) the nastiness of the source obscures, warps, or otherwise corrupts the content of spiritual tyranny commentary.
The only charge absent in the list is that I might not like kitties, puppies, and refuse to kiss little babies. That would make moi really mean, wouldn’t it?
So what is the logic here? There are two assumptions in this logic.
1. Blunt, harsh, direct, passionate, satirical commentary can only have a malignant source.
2. Passionate, unequivocal, emotional, moving, cajoling, raving observations canNOT be accurate observations.
As my Church History Professor, Dr. Shelton, was fond of saying: “Rubbish!” This is the Ad Hominem argument rehashed and garnished with some psychological claptrapery, but it is still the same non-argument…uh…argument. Ad Hominem is more Latin lingo meaning “against the man” or “against the person.” This argumentative silliness masquerades as intellectual repartee but in fact is nothing more than a weak smear campaign to discredit the source and heap mucho guilt by association, all the while never addressing the substance of the commentary.
Oh, well…what can you expect from “Average” folks?
I know the extraordinary and highly advanced readership of Spiritual Tyranny have seen through the smoke screen. And I also know that you all have a helpful heart, sincerely desiring that all people be equipped to handle the rigor of their own intellectual life.
As a result, we have a series of teachable moments. As Sopwith rightly pointed out, there is a test, but we are going to have to put it off for a bit so that folks can catch up to the rest of the class. It seems that some folks need some remedial work.
I insist that I can give a short course on the content of spiritual tyranny since my commentary is made up of over 7 YEARS of exposure of detailed interaction, and a subsequent decade (plus) of thinking about said exposure and detailed interaction, and THEN giving it shape, form, and expression in the current synthesis running a word count of 75,000-ish words, (not including the book I wrote called Blight in the Vineyard)…and counting.
>big long breath<
But since my commentary is not apparently in line with what others have seen, tasted, touched, and smelled in a few weeks of exposure to aforementioned ministry of tyranny, the outlier is MY commentary?
So, being an outlier makes me an Out Liar? Hahahha…this is too fun.
Since folks will not accept what is said on Spiritual Tyranny at face value, or seek to grasp the cause and effect of ideas that make the tyranny possible (because they are not packaged for their delicate sensibilities), the only thing left is personal experience.
How exactly YOUR experience will not be subject to the same epistemological failings of emotionalism, bias, narrow perception, as say…my own…remains a mystery.
Things that make you go hummmm.
Yeah… me and Arsenio Hall.
Without understanding the ideas behind the tyranny, I submit that one is defenseless, but hey…if you must, here is how you get your requisite, self-validated, self-experienced data set.
Prepare the Experiment
First, you must identify the factors of the Tyranny of the Spiritual + Tyranny equation. The elements of the experiment are:
- Sovereign Grace Ministries leadership (whom I have affectionately dubbed the Hair Club for Men.)
- SGM corporate culture. (Think of each church building as a Petri dish growing various strands of …uh…virus.)
- The Tyranny Catalyst (TC) is Effective Disagreement (ED)–AKA individual thinking.
Preceding Factor: Observational Criteria YOU.
Experiment Challenge: Requisite disposition of the primary Test Subject.
Said Test Subject must lose their individual identity to the collective of Sovereign Grace Ministries. Test Subject must go native. Anything less will be revealed, exposed, and purged from Petri dish. Test Subject must express sufficient “Commitment,” “On Board-ness,” “Passion for the Local Church-ness,” (meaning passion for a specific SGM church). Failure to integrate will limit access to sufficient data.
Hence (also means ergo), knowing when to add Tyranny Catalyst–AKA individual thinking.
The challenge of all field expeditions that require “native” integration is knowing when to pull back from the collective and reassert your individual identity.
I speak from personal experience. In the pursuit of science, it is so hard to know when to step away from say…the human sacrifice, move out of the pentagram, and ditch the red robes.
(Thank God, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.)
Effective Disagreement (ED) Defined
As a Test Subject you are not free to disagree about anything of consequence. To successfully elicit the TC (Tyranny Catalyst) at the Right Time (RT), one must first understand the parameters of ED (Effective Disagreement).
Test Subject must resist all expressions of individual thinking. For those personality types that do not like their spirituality spoon-fed to them, they will need to undergo profound amounts of re-education, maybe resorting to B.F. Skinner operant conditioning techniques to squash the desire to read the bible for themselves or articulate a doctrinal position absent pastoral approval. This would include ignoring Jesus “permission,” to preach the Gospel to every living creature, for HIS Soteriology might not be Calvin’s Soteriology, and then the Test Subject would have a real doctrinal mess. It is always best to avoid the appearance of justifying the Michael Servetus treatment.
Six Factors that Affect the Data Set
Factor 1. Ostrich.
If you are an ostrich and avoid individual thought and subsequent conflict at all costs. Psssstt…just keep your head down. It will be okay. You will fit right in and always assume that Homie John is the outlier in the data set.
Factor 2. Not all effective disagreements are created Equal.
Truth: On the outside, the Hair Club for Men treats most ED–competing or undesirable thoughts–like a preference for Strawberry vs Vanilla Ice Cream. They didn’t care about your ideas.
It really is that simple.
The nature of your thoughts doesn’t rate any action in their mind. They didn’t have a vested interest in the outcome of your objection/disagreement/ideas. It doesn’t matter the content of the conversation if they don’t think what you said registers on the “So what test.” They will smile and nod, and let you think whatever you want–sort of. (See sub factor 5.)
Factor 3. Not all critics are created equal (part one).
The vast percentage Test Subjects who fail to experience SP (Spiritual Tyranny) at the hands of the Hair Club for Men are….uh…men.
Female test subjects who seek ED (Effective Disagreement) on doctrinal issues are dismissed out of hand. Female test subjects who come before leaders, who are NOT toeing the submissive mark at home as defined by members of the Two-Inch Club–AKA spineless abusive significant others–are subject to SP (Spiritual Tyranny) often without ED.
It doesn’t matter how polite the Hair Club for Men’s words, women daring to enter the lofty arena of THEOLOGY are not qualified. Be a woman in a discussion about authority, practice, or doctrine and learn what the word Condescension means. The Hair Club for Men will steeple their fingers and look down their long pious nose and tsk, tsk, tsk as a mere female tries to influence their great minds about Sound Doctrine.
Factor 4: Not all critics are created equal (part two).
Personal success makes them pause. No matter their protest to my words, the Hair Club for Men venerates economic and business success.
(When was the last time you saw a Master Automotive Technician “commended” from the pulpit? Now compare to the last time you saw a New Doctor or a New Lawyer?)
As long as the Test Subject’s life is seemingly empty of what THEY consider to be relational or moral issues, THEY will tend towards giving the benefit of the doubt. So, the closer the Test Subject is to being a life success as defined by money and its accouterments, the more the Hair Club for Men will pause any real conflict. But woe to the Test Subject if they find out what really lurks under the façade of your life. No amount of personal success will deter them… Indeed that very success will become the lever of their greatest criticism. Woe to YOU!
Sub factor 4a. The less impressed they are with the Test Subject’s personal/professional achievements, ppppfffffft… You are not even worth an honorable mention in the ED category…because God opposes the proud, don’t you know? And your lack of success makes it evident that you are on God’s shi…oops, displeasure list.
Factor 5: Not all critics are created equal.
The hard truth is they don’t deem the Test Subject a threat and do not merit rebuttal.
But once the Test Subject does disagree…you are on the list. They do NOT forget that you offered a contrary position. The moment you do, they are keeping track. ANY objection to their Authority, Practice, or Doctrine is taken with utter seriousness. (See Factor 2.)
Never delude yourself into thinking you had a private conversation with a leading member of the Hair Club for Men. It didn’t happen. If you offered any objection, anywhere, anytime for those three categories, the entire leadership team knows about the conversation. And they are NOT amused.
Factor 6: Are you a woman?
If Test Subject posses all X chromosomes, they will not react directly to your ED (Effective Disagreement). The Hair Club for Men will rather respond as if you are not in the room, to the significant other with a Y chromosome.
Said Y chromosome MUST be doing his masculine duty to “Lead” and “Train” and “Educate” in the substance of Sound Doctrine: which means, if you–the possessor of all X chromosomes–dare to ask about theological questions, said leader must enforce silence.
If said possessor of X chromosomes is without a Y chromosome significant other, well, forget the test. You are not qualified to grasp the meaning or intent of the test.
(Oh…wait…Factors 6 and 3 are really the same thing. Uh…errr…oh, well… now folks can’t say they weren’t warned.)
Test Subject Parameters 2: Observational Criteria for the Hair Club for Men.
The Petri Dish–AKA the local church.
In their natural habitat, (for they are rarely seen outside their habitat) the Alpha and Beta leaders are observed to be open, gregarious, accepting warm and sincere. They often clasp forearm and hand with hearty grips in brotherly welcome, bowing graciously, and salting conversations words of inclusion, brotherly accountability, conflict resolution, and fraternity. They are passionate and openly emotional (Observational data NOTE: CJ and his rather large alligator tears) and focused and apparently monolithic in their devotion.
For those inclined to dismiss all human observation BECAUSE of emotion or passion… well…I’ll let you decide what you want to do with the jumping about, and smiling, and crying. (Or maybe it is only “bitterness” that is a disqualifying emotion.)
Observers in the Local Petri dish will note a lack of pitch forks, cloven feet, and brimstone.
Test subject parameters 3: conflict habits and threat assessments criteria of the alpha and beta leaders.
The Hair Club for Men Alpha and Beta leaders evaluate how to handle YOU based on these criteria:
1. Are you in any leadership position or aspire to same?
2. Do you “serve”?
3. Do you have the ability to influence people?
For the scientists amongst us:
IF Q1 = yes, then null set
IF Q2 = yes, then null set
(In habitat, alpha and beta males rely on passive aggressive behavior to marginalize critics.)
If Q3 = yes, (prepare for Tyranny Armageddon)
The last question is the real litmus that precludes real conflict. (i.e. showing you the door as fast as they can raise their foot to your butt).
You are now ready to begin your test. Go EFFECTIVELY disagree.
Now you are ready to ITCED. That would be “Inject the Tyranny Catalyst with Effective Disagreement” for those who struggle to live life by acronym. Us “Men of Science” can’t dominate this whole conversation.
Okay…go ahead. I’ll wait. I’m patient. Go get your data set.
Dumbbb deee dubmmm deee dubm….
You can’t figure out what to disagree with. You’ve lost your identity? You are paralyzed by a fear that doesn’t seem to have a specific source? You tremble at the thought of uttering anything the Alpha and Beta leaders did not approve for you to speak? You look over your shoulder at the sky wondering if today the sky will fall for your great sinfulness?
Well, how are you gonna get your data set? Tell you what…try this one.
Walk up to say… Kenneth Moresco and say, “So, is it really true that you booted Larry Tomczak for lying but “promoted” a 15-year-old recidivistic lying child molester to Children’s ministry?”
This next part is important, so you might have to practice. Continue with: “If any measure of this is true, I think this is a despicable, reprehensible, manifestation of evil. What do you think?” And then expect an explanation. Expect that they should be required to justify such a profound lack of proportion and disastrous pastoral counsel.
Oh…wait… is that too over the top? Is that crossing the line? We are all just sinners indwelt with sin, so we should just let these kinds of things slide.
Hummm…okay….. Maybe this standard is one you will fight for. Offer this Effective Disagreement. Walk up to robin boysvert, or Vicar Charles Joseph, and say, “Women really do have the ability to understand the details of theology even if men are not around,” and THEN turn and tell ten other people while they watch.
After he looks down his nose and steeples his fingers and tells you that you are having a deleterious effect on people, and suggests that maybe you should start your own church (I do sooo love Irony), tell him his Christian practice is WRONG. Tell him you have no OBLIGATION to follow him as he follows Christ. Tell him he is WRONG about women. Make sure you say it like that. Make sure you leave no room to doubt that you are in fundamental opposition to his authority to declare women unfit to engage ideas. Never once hedge. Never once dissemble. Oh bold man that you are never once pay homage to Vicar Charles Joseph I.
Evaluating the Data
Did conflict and sundry tyranny ensue? If you did what I said above, you are back here reading this blog to unravel the spiritual Armageddon.
If the answer is No? Here is why.
You were not an individual thinker, nor are you equipped with ED. I know…I know… You talked to a pastor for an hour and had a “deep theological debate.”
You walked out of the office and thought you had engaged great minds with great ideas and the pastor saw some of your points and maybe you got through, even just a little bit.
You went home and told your wife how so very blunt you were and what a great champion of truth you were.
>snicker, snicker, snicker<
Okay…enough of the charade. Forget that myth of blunt dissent you rehearsed in your mind in the quiet moments. Let’s be candid. Come on. We are all anonymous here. (Well, some of you are.) Fess up to the Ethernet.
How often did you confess your own pride and arrogance? How often did you caveat and hedge? How many times did you pay homage to the great Alpha and Beta leaders and their daunting task of defending sound doctrine? How often did your eyes glaze over when they started chanting quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus as their definition of Orthodoxy? How obsequious were you truly? Did you post your own version of Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences or was it more like a Rodney King Theo missive–”Can’t we all just get along?”
I am positive that by the time you got done with your disagreement, it was so watered down with PDI/CLC/SGM speak that it rated on the order of “I like strawberry ice cream but you like vanilla. >sigh< I guess we’ll, just agree to disagree.”
Hehehehe…. Hahahahaha ahahahahah….
The above is all fiction.
Who is kidding who here? You have no interest in really finding out about the tyranny because that is a rather easy objective. All you have to do is read what is here and on other blogs, email a few people and talk to them on the phone. Then LISTEN to those who have told the same story over and over and over and over and over and over. Just listen to them. Don’t demand a justification and pepper them with endless questions, quibbling over definitions and perceptions, elevating yourself to cross-examiner, dismissing all personal representation as emotional rhetoric.
The magic wand of dismissal “There are ALWAYS two sides to a story,” does not work here. There were two sides of the Concentration camps. But are you really going to say to a survivor, “Oh…I’m sure those Germans had their own take on the gas chambers.”?
Get a flipping sense of proportion, because this is the heart of what is missing. This is not a merely academic muse to be parsed to death. This is the collision of ideas up against people’s lives.
Since psychological evaluations are all the rage…MY TURN.
You are not interested in a data set because you ARE looking for a reason to dismiss those of us who have already lived the experiment.
Why do you want to dismiss those offering “outlier” data?
Because the data offered here DEMANDS a position. It demands that you pick a side because the content of what you read can’t be dismissed with the magic wand of “Indwelling Sin.” My commentary destroys this insidious moral relativism that gets passed off as Orthodox doctrine and Brotherly love.
And that is what REALLY bothers you. That is what gnaws at your stomach, keeps you up at night looking for a way to evade. That is what keeps you coming back to read and respond because you work to equivocate. If this site were really just bitter diatribe by a pathetic little man, you would have read an article or two and clicked away to a more worthy expression of your time.
Your continued readership and commentary is the measure of your own fraud.
You hear moral clarity without apology, caveat, or hedge and you are scandalized because I am overtly saying that the BODY OF IDEAS that makes this tyranny possible is sourced by something you hold dear to your heart. I am saying that the substance of doctrine and practice are wrong, immoral, and evil.
You need this to be one long bitter diatribe over a doctrinal disagreement to let you off the hook.
You are no doubt smart but you are passive. You are desperate to return to the safe haven of you intellectual passivity where all of your ideas were neatly placed and affirmed by those of like mind, where the academic and historical details remain brushed in the monolithic direction that confirmed what you have always believed.
The new data set puts that enforced passivity to the test.
You NEED to read the stories of Noel, and FreeBird, and DB, and Music Man, and Jim and Carol, and Juli, and Keith, and…and…and… Just chalk it up to…whatever you want.
But my commentary doesn’t LET you off the hook. It demands a reaction, and to my great, reveling, decadent pleasure, I have gotten the reaction I want: agitation and thought. Make no mistake, I am out to destroy Christian complacency and the doctrines that make men passive in the face of evil. And for that, I am SOOOOOO not sorry.
So, go sit in the purple padded seats. Glad-hand your way around the church and let the affirmations of these men establish your soul. If you fit in… then you deserve each other.
If you don’t…when you come back and tell me how you found yourself on the side of the road wondering how your spiritual life could have been turned up side down with such ferocity….
I’ll be here explaining what happened and why. I guarantee you will find yourself using my ideas to dig yourself out from under the wreckage.