Dec 27 2011

Rumpelstiltskin and the Gingerbread Man

by John Immel

“Run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me! I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there were two bloggers taking on abuses in twenty-first century American Christianity.

Rumpelstiltskin was clever, adorably blunt and talked about Metaphysics and Epistemology. The Gingerbread Man was sweet and cuddly, serving milk and cookies to his readers while grumbling about blogging for the greater good.

Rumpelstiltskin talked about Ethical and Political theory. The Gingerbread Man gave people a safe place to tell their stories of being under the thumb of giants up the SGM beanstalk chanting, “Fee-fi-fo-fum! We smell the blood of an Arminian.”

Rumpelstiltskin combated the roots of the Giants’ power and the absurdity of reform. The Gingerbread Man railed against the “unbiblical” nature of Sovereign Grace Ministries’ polity. 

For many days Rumpelstiltskin’s blog was listed on the Gingerbread Man’s blog.  And then one day, it was not. The Gingerbread Man did not say why, and Rumpelstiltskin did not ask. Since he can spin his own straw into gold, it did not matter. Many days passed and the blogs continued, until one day the Gingerbread Man was asked. 

Hi Gingerbread Man, If  Rumpelstiltskin is your friend, then why did you take SpiritualTyranny.com out of your blogroll list?    

And the Gingerbread Man answered: 

Berlin, There was a time that I think Rumpelstiltskin was taking a strong doctrinal stance that I disagree with. When I asked for a clarification and asked a simple question “who owns man?” he would not give me an answer. I don’t know if Rumpelstiltskin believes that man owns himself, or is owned by God. Simple question/simple answer.

It’s not Rumpelstiltskin’s fault that his IQ is at least 20 points higher than mine, nor it his fault that I’m uneducated. I was feeling that he was leading to a conclusion that man owns himself, which is an unbiblical belief. Again, this is not an accusation, because I don’t know what he believes. He can clear this up if he likes, or he can continue to talk over my head.

Having said all of that, I have a lot of friends who I disagree with. I honestly like Rumpelstiltskin a lot.

I’m so glad you asked on this public forum  :-) 

Rumpelstiltskin having heard some variation of this underlying objection for many years sat on a tuffet with little Miss Muffet. He did not like curds and whey, so he talked while she ate. “Why are the clever the villains? Those brothers really were Grimm when they made me the antagonist. They don’t even know me, and I have to justify myself when it was that stupid farmer who lied to the king?”

“Did I lie?” asked Rumpelstiltskin, as Miss Muffet took another bite.  “No. Did I put my daughter in a bad spot with the king? No. And that simpleton the King who had to threaten to get the girl to do what he wanted. Isn’t that just like all men in “authority” bullying and threatening? And as an authority, shouldn’t he have known the truth from a lie? Well, that just goes to show that just because you have the zeal and concern to rule doesn’t mean you’re worth goose dropping, golden or not.”

Miss Muffet nodded. 

“And that girl,” continued Rumpelstiltskin, “is the one who spread the tradition handed down from her father. She could have told the truth. But no, she perpetuated the lie to save her own skin. And she was the monster that was willing to sell her child for a cushy spot in the castle. What mother does tha—

Rumpelstiltskin paused, “Uh, Miss Muffet, I don’t mean to frighten you, but uh.  You have a guest that has sat down beside your—”

Miss Muffet’s eyes went round.

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    1. 1


      Thank-you for documenting SGM’s maze of abuse and control and for showing how SGM’s uses the bible to do it and to give it much respectability and legitimacy. 

      Thank-you also for showing how other American religious leaders have encouraged this outragious behavior…

      May the word go forth…

      Let us free Dorthy (Jesus’ bride) from the Wicked One!

      There’s no plaze likez …



      Sopy ;~)

    2. 2

      Youz right John…

      Itz a long way To the bottom if you want to SGM…

      datz how it goes, right?

      Itz sure a long way To the bottom if you want to SGM…

      hum hum hum…

      “Whooo ownz man?”  SGM offcourse… (sure seems like it, don’t it!)


      (dat answers dat dar question, huh?)


      Sopy ;~)

      Muppets (adapted)

    3. 3

      I love and respect the “Gingerbread Man” enormously; his providing a forum for the stories of rampant abuse and incompetency in SGM is a service that may have literally saved people’s lives.  I thank God for him.
      Having said that, I really enjoyed the post. What struck me most was the way you stated that there is a randomness as to what doctrines are deemed simple and what are deemed complex.  I find this to be true of my experience not just in SGM but with most Christian groups with which I’ve been involved.  It is rather arbitrary, isn’t it?  I also agree that “Does God own you?” absolutely begs for a premise…that is, what is the underlying intent of the question.  I think only a foolish man would attempt to answer that question without solid understanding of what the inquisitor was getting at. 
      I was thinking on the drive home today; I believe that the only way we can truly fulfill our roles as those wholly owned by God (I say that in the sense that God is entitled to the fruits of His labor…he created us, literally, therefore, we are his property), is to rigorously defend our utter and categorical stewardship of ourselves…our faculties, our bodies, our reason, etc., etc…unless directly commanded by God (as in the case of scriptural commands “don’t murder, don’t have sex with a parent” or divine revelation; think, er, one of the random prophets…I like Nehemiah).  Otherwise, we enslave ourselves to kings, tyrants, etc.,etc., whatever man-guy. Now, my question for you: what do you think of the term “stewardship”, as opposed to “ownership”?  Does that question make sense? 

    4. 4
      John Immel


      I could not agree more with your first paragraph. I have been privileged to have lengthy phone conversations with the “Gingerbread Man:” I have heard many details, and background stories.  (Though I don’t believe he has betrayed any confidence)  He is doing yeoman’s work, and I expect that you are exactly right. He has saved people’s lives. He has done what I never could. I do not have his skill set, and probably more important the inclination.  For this he has my endless admiration. 

      I had two reasons for writing this as I did.  I wanted to give deference to the work being done and the respect that that work deserves.  Plus I wanted to press this specific conversation towards the more theoretical. As far as I am concerned this can remain theoretical.

      I have quite a few NON SGM people who read my blog, and they tend to shrug at the names.  They don’t know the players and that tends to distract when I discuss specific people. 

      I submit that people need to see the potent force that the Leaven of the Pharisees represents. Unfortunately other than what I have dug out about Jesus warning, I’ve never heard anyone teach on this subject. The “unbiblical” judgment being offered is a rather steep considering the obvious inconsistency, particularly (as you have notice), because it ends up being based on such arbitrary interpretive standards.

      I have more to say about your second paragraph I think you have come very close to an important distinction.  I’ll trot my take of it past you here in a bit. 

    5. 5

      Very entertaining, as always. Not a very flattering (or accurate) depiction of how the gingerbread man thinks, but I’ll get over it….
      …there it went, I’m over it.
      Thanks for answering the question, John.

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