I actually haven’t deviated from my stated intent to file three posts following specific themes. It just turns out I get to make one of the same points using a different object lesson. This should be the last lesson from this source.
Be arrogant if you must. Be ignorant if you must. But don’t be arrogant and ignorant. This is a John Immel original aphorism. I accept royalties.
In some Christian circles, the accusation of arrogance is worse than the charge of misogyny in a National Organization of Women Conference. This stems from the fact that in these circles, Pride and Arrogance tend to be synonymous, and Pride becomes a catch-all spiritual failing: tossed within an utterly erroneous notion that humility is manifest in self-deprecation, self-doubt, and self-destruction. Whatever… This all ends up being “Method and Manner” fraud.
Arrogance is nothing more than the assumption of superiority and anyone who has worked to achieve any level of expertise or mastery, by definition, has earned that assumption. This does not preclude weakness, or inabilities, or failures. Indeed, someone who sets out to be a true master of any discipline works relentlessly to be aware of their weakness so they can remedy and overcome. The road to mastery is nothing more than an iterative process of increasing self-awareness.
Self-AWARENESS is an encompassing state: a macro vantage point over the sum of self; the ability to place all of one’s abilities, skills, talents, expertise, greatness, weaknesses, ignorance, lacks, intemperance, and ignobility in context to reality.
By way of contrast, self-ABSORPTION is a prohibitive state: a micro vantage point with no sense of the sum of self–a willful ignorance of self in context to reality.
My aphorism is designed to identify this state of self-absorption. Being arrogant and ignorant is the worst of all worlds. If one does not know what they don’t know because they are unwilling to ask (or more insidious, willing to HEAR), they can never, ever, find an effective solution to any life problem. This kind of SELF is narrow in perception, and indulgent in action.
We all know people like this. To some degree, we were all like this: think teenager. Think adolescence. Most parents know to bite their tongue and wait out the stupidity, praying to God that eventually self-awareness will spring eternal. If not, maybe God will let us eat our young.
We tolerate such self-absorption out of teenagers, sort of.
- Their willful ignorance: the belief that they know everything while making no effort to know anything.
- Their belligerent evasion: purposely hiding behind hostility and indignation when confronted with error.
- Their argumentative legalism: playing the strict literalist game when linguistic games suit, and flat ignoring the violation of basic principles and common communication intent.
- Their lip service to forgiveness: the demand for moral absolution while demonstrating no willingness to change conduct or attitude.
- Their conduct blank check: the fundamental expectation that others must pay for their moods, intemperance, laziness, inability, and lifestyle.
- Their relational presumption: the belief that they can act however they want because Mom and Dad are obligated to suck up their intemperance.
- Their moral equivalency: “Well, yes, I’m sorry but you did THIS. So you are no better than me.”
- Their petulant emotionalism: the endless manipulation of feelings-criticisms are catastrophic hailstorms of excrement and compliments are disproportionate sonnets of love, beauty, and butterflies.
We grant grace to all of these self-absorbed failings because we understand it to be a developmental stage–a finite period of time where young psyches work to get that macro vantage point on self. We wait for the emerging self-awareness because we believe the developmental cost will be far exceeded by the relational value a healthy, productive, valuable adult can contribute. In this environment with this expected outcome, love, and forgiveness, and grace, and mercy spring from a deep, deep well.
It is from this expected outcome, this deep, deep well, that God approaches us.
Inasmuch as we see people seeking the path to self-awareness, we are willing to embrace them on the path. But our energy shrinks to a dull ebb when we realize that arrogance and ignorance are combining to create the perfect storm of self-absorption and the inevitable self-indulgent outcomes.
Injustice grows exponentially when the self-absorbed, self-indulgent soul can demand moral absolution in the name of Christianity. When “Forgive Me” is uttered in belligerent command and moral absolution is the required response, mercy and grace have lost their meaning. When any person can write a moral blank check with the expectation that someone else MUST cash it, values, and justice, and proportion, and boundaries have been reduced to ash.
This is exactly how Christian Forgiveness is currently being taught: that the magic words of “forgive me” are sufficient to the cause. And if that doesn’t get the immediate moral absolution, the next bit of sanctimony is the moral relativism of “We are all just dirty rotten sinners.” The overt proposition is “You are not any better than me, so someday you will need someone to wink and nod at your bad stuff too.”
Any unwillingness, any hesitancy to immediately declare all actions pardoned, any intemperate outburst exonerated, and all intimacy restored is met with sanctimony: “How un-Christian,” or “How unloving,” or “How hardhearted.” The result: people are browbeaten into accepting circumstance and relationships that are vicious, unhealthy and destructive.
As a brief aside, it is this doctrinal insanity that keeps women in marriages where their husbands are self-absorbed, violent scum who repeatedly commit adultery: who alternately terrorize their families or abandon them with impunity. He stands in a pastor’s office and speaks the magic words, “forgive me.” With this enchantment, the woman is placed in an impossible position.
No matter how many adjectives we try to apply to this woman’s plight–loving, long-suffering, merciful, gracious et al–to make ourselves feel better in the face of profound injustice, she is further victimized by the self-absorbed, self-indulgent, useless piece of humanity, and then incarcerated by doctrines that are dehumanizing, unjust, and destructive.
It is true that God granted divorce because of the “hardness of people’s hearts,” but we have misunderstood who’s hardheartedness is the culprit. Divorce for “biblical” reasons is an act of self-preservation and self-defense against the violence of hardhearted action. (Make no mistake, adultery is personal violence of the most brutal soul-wrenching kind.) If the hardheartedness manifests in the person seeking divorce because of adultery, abuse, abandonment, why grant divorce at all?
Did I go to far afield with my last two paragraphs? Maybe, and then again, maybe not. The underlying theme of this post is what relational boundaries are people required to keep in the face of self-absorbed, self-indulgent, arrogant, AND ignorant conduct?
It is to this I will now turn my attention.
For those of you just tuning in…I’m not going to detail the sum of Paul Balluff and his wife, Me Love You long Time, interaction. You can find the bulk of their comments on Who’s Your Daddy, Reform or Not to Reform (in the last hundred comments), and Paul Balluff Lessons.
On May 25th, Paul Balluff found a pingback on the post Arena of Ideas. Here is what he said.
Paul B on May 25th, 2009 7:00 pm
Hey – I thought this using of other’s names was a ONE time thing, John?
Paul Balluff Lessons | spiritualtyranny.com on May 8th, 2009 3:28 pm
[...] adding their 38 cents worth. They don’t agree. They say so. No biggie. This is the Arena of Ideas where it is more rough-and-tumble than other living rooms. Someone might hand me my ass in my [...]
How, pray tell do you have the gall to add my name to such a vile statement and call yourself a Christian. Oh, my mistake, maybe you aren’t.
Leave the profanity to your members and keep my name off these–if you want to toss out a pithy statement, please refrain from attaching my name to it.
For those of you who don’t know, a “pingback” is a blogging thingy that lets blog owners know when someone has referenced a post. Any time a hyperlink is posted, it “pings back” to the original. I do a lot of internal linking because so many of my thoughts are interconnected. Hence, the pingback from the post Paul Balluff Lessons to the post Arena of Ideas.
Anyway, onward…I of course was mystified by Paul’s reaction and comments because everything in the pingback was in the original post and presumably Paul had already read said post with said profane reference. A post with his name on it????
Ah, yes…silly me presuming that Paul actually read the post. He has repeatedly said that he makes no effort to follow the details of the conversation. Here is what he said when called to account by Juli.
Paul on May 26th, 2009 9:52 am
To Juli- I do not live on this or the other sites dedicated to those with a gripe to pick over life in or out of SGM. Therefore, I missed the Arena of Ideas and in a quick scan, thought that the above saying was attributed to me. I am man enough to say that I jumped to a conclusion that it was something that I had supposedly said – I was wrong. I hope you are woman enough to see how impolite you were in your response. (“you won’t get your ass kicked…”)
On a side note to all on these blogs- Had a good three-hour talk with Jim (SGMRefuge) last night. We left on excellent terms. As I hope can be said here.
John – same apology to you here -my bad
There is soooooo much here.
Your bad? Your bad what? Your relational incompetence? Your intellectual ineptitude? Your blogging presumption? Your utter lack of self-awareness? Your admitted willful ignorance? Your horrific doctrinal deficiency? Your nonexistent critical thinking skills? Your endless intemperance? Your ridiculous attempt at apology? Your feeble attempts at manipulation? Your pathetic sexist appeal?
Which bad thing are we talking about, Paul? The list is growing and growing and growing.
Frankly, I’ve seen teenagers with more self-awareness, and if not self -awareness, enough embarrassment at their own ill conduct that speaks to some self-consciousness.
Let’s see…am I saved? Hmm…well, if I’m not, maybe that explains a lot. But here is the thing. I’m not sure I see how that works out better for you?
If I am not saved, does that mean I get a moral and ethical pass? Does it increase YOUR obligation to overlook my conduct? So, as an unbeliever, does that mean I get to shoot you in the head and it’s just all good: leave your wife to forgive and forget? My conduct can’t be helped after all: I’m just an unsaved sinner? Right? It is by the Grace of God that such things don’t happen more often? Right?
Paul, you won’t follow this to save your life. You have shown no ability to follow a progression of thought, so I am confident this will sail right over your head. So, I am going to say it for those pastors sent to keep up with subversive material.
You guys suck at teaching your own body of doctrine. How is it that you can have a true SGM believer that can utter such inane doctrinal words? Come ON guys…my salvation demonstrated in using the word ASS? And not even jackass or stupid-ass or ridicule-ass.
How is it you have been so incompetent at teaching the doctrine of election? How is it you still have pew-sitters who CANNOT, for one second, remain consistent in their intellectual grasp of “Sound Doctrine”? How can comments, like Paul’s, be a criticism? If I am not saved, if I am not a Christian, there is not ONE thing I can do about it. So, my reprobate conduct is part and parcel of God’s Sovereign will.
He can parrot the SGM doctrine of pervasive depravity pretty good. He has absorbed the corresponding moral relativism that you all use to absolve yourselves of any and all relational failures…so how is it your pew-sitters fail to get the REST of the doctrine? From the way you advertise your doctrinal purity and monolithic presentation, this should be unacceptable. These pew-sitters should be getting demerits or something because they are NOT paying attention.
See, here is the insanity embedded in this whole dynamic. When it is something I’ve done, you get to rail about the quality of my salvation. Paul, when it is your manifest relational incompetence, you get to put on a Roseanne Roseannadanna act: “Oops…Never mind.”
Hommie John don’t play that game.
I can tolerate a lot. I have been more than generous with this platform. I have let you rail at liberty against the people and the content of this blog. I’ve let you and your wife accuse me of all manner of nefarious motives and actions. I have even let you justify yourself in an argument with Jim and Carol at www.sgmrefuge.com. That would be like me going to Dale O’Shields’ church and co-opting his mic to justify myself to SGM.
In all of this I have been (mostly) magnanimous.
I gave you ample time to explain the content of your lesson. I realize now you have none.
I even had flashes of letting you hang around for the comedic entertainment: as Jim is fond of saying: “That is almost funny.”
But what I cannot and will not tolerate is you presuming to give etiquette lessons to Juli. The irony in your thinking to define “impolite” is rich. And the further irony in your determination to make self-awareness a measure of your “man hood” makes me howl with laughter.
But comedic relief withstanding, that is the last straw. That is the single greatest manifestation of arrogance and ignorance that I can imagine.
You are not welcome here, Paul. There is no reprieve. I have no interest in further interaction. You are tedious, and have shown yourself willfully ignorant, arrogant, and thus irrelevant. Go co-op another blog to justify yourself if you must. But you have posted your last here.
The price of admission to this blog is both cheap and expensive. The price is self-awareness. You have no coin of the realm.
To all, If a comment sneaks through, ignore it till I get it deleted.