Last night on Wartburg Watch I received a very nice comment from self-admitted Calvinist, JeffS. JeffS and I have gone a few rounds over there, and our dialogue is part of the reason for the new and improved “moderated Argo” over there. Apparently, I have a problem with “tone”. And while I do not want to concede that my tone is “wrong”–for I maintain complete adherence to my last post on the matter–I did want to acknowledge that sometimes, in the interest of love, we make attempts to differentiate between the ideas we hate and the people–the human beings–we love. And that might mean that you swallow your pride and you work with the system. If the system has corners you do not agree to…well, you either modify your ways so that you can continue existing in it as best your can; or you jump off. If you don’t own the system (like I don’t own Wartburg Watch), then you don’t make the rules. It is as simple as that.
At any rate, my reply is still sitting in the corner with a dunce cap on, so it hasn’t appeared yet. I’m sure it will in time, but just in case I never find my way out of blog jail I wanted to post it here so that JeffS doesn’t think I’m ignoring him. I am not, and I appreciate his heart and his words. I want him to know this as soon as possible.
I hope we are cool. I am glad you are still posting. And I know an earlier comment I made may have come off as judging your motives, which was not my intent. I reacted a little strongly to reading your statement that you didn’t care about TWW. I hope you can forgive any insult I might have given there.
I do believe you have good motives, even if we are completely opposed in what we think is good and right in terms of theology and philosophy. I do think you and I agree on what is good and right in action, though, and that is something (even the most important thing, in my view).
Totally cool. Thank you so much for your time and the dialogue.
And…yeah. I’m not really proud of that comment.
I’m walking a weird line here. It’s a bit surreal. A good learning experience. I mean…I’m not quite acknowledging that I was “wrong” in my “tone” per se; but I DO NOT ever want to get in a place where HUMAN BEINGS are sensing some kind of…hmmm, attack or assault or something. And I think that that means, though I might have my opinions as to the “wrongness” or “rightness” of my communication style, as A Mom put it, sometimes you just have to…well, deny yourself and keep trying.
I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant. I just mean I don’t ever want…uh…hmmm…technical “correctness”, or MY assumptions as to whether or not I did anything “wrong” to be the plumb line for loving others. Or empathizing with them. I want the affirmation of THEIR human worth to be the plumb line for empathy. In other words, the plumb line for love should be love.
But again, that doesn’t mean I will ever let up on the doctrine, LOL. (And I suspect you won’t either!! ) Because I really feel that the plumb line for love in many doctrines is the doctrine. And what is wrong with that to me is self-evident. But that’s just me.
But the fact that someONE disagrees with me will not affect my love for THEM.
And that is where this whole communication thing takes us…what is the best way to communicate love for PEOPLE, while trying to communicate my disdain for their doctrinal assumptions which I strongly believe ultimately drives the abuse we see in so many churches, and which I have witness firsthand in SGM (and to communicate that this does not mean I assume that THEY are an abuser by default or something creepy like that…because that’s a TERRIBLE thing to suggest…and I think people think I’m suggesting this, and I can see why).
I understand that sometimes, I am not successful in making that distinction. And I feel terrible about that, because that? Is not my message.
And A Mom is right: it is at THAT place where you must make a conscious effort to defer to their needs. And that means, yep…toning it down so that you don’t subvert your own message by risking hurting someone on some emotional level.
It’s a tough line, but we’ll get there I think.
I hope that makes sense.
Still, the Double Standard, and the Disturbing New Trend:
Now, like I said, I’m still working out the whole “communication” thing. I am NOT…repeat NOT conceding Dee’s point, that you can separate delivery and message. I’m not conceding that I was wrong to point out the double standard, because I think it is clear by even a cursory reading of the comments thread. My ideas are called “silly”, I am “haranguing”, I am “forcing”, I am “equating trinitarians with suicide bombers”, I am “becoming unhinged”, I am accused of “telling others what to think”; accused of calling people “stupid”, and that my statements are “somewhat nonsensical”. Still…no peep from the moderators. Oh…sorry, there was some action taken. The action was to dump all MY comments immediately into moderation.
Which is fine, as I said. If I want to comment, I have to be a big boy about not making the rules. And I have to work on my tone. I’m okay with that because HUMAN BEINGS are worth the work.
And here is a huge BUT here. Recently (like, yesterday), Dee posted THIS very telling comment. To say the least, it will certainly make it much harder, if not downright impossible (for not only reasons of logic but for reasons of conscience) for me to continue commenting there. Dee wrote this:
“Last night I did not approve two comments which accused Calvinist theology of causing the sexual abuse we have been reading about.”
And then, she explains her follow up to those comments, which resulted in her ultimately deciding to “give up”:
“When I asked one of those people if they believed that Arminian theology can also causes abuse, I was told that classic Arminianism is Calvinism so that theology leads to child sexual abuse as well. I gave up.”
Now, this, to me, is nothing more than acknowledging that it cannot–not at all–be the IDEAS which drive abuse, because if two or more ideas lead to abuse, somehow the ideas cancel each other out and we are left with what…behavior? Just bad people not doing the bad ideas “nicely”? That good people, like Wade Burleson, doing the bad ideas right somehow proves that the ideas are not bad. That two or more bad ideas means that bad ideas cannot exist, because if that were true then there would only be one bad idea and the rest would be good? As if pointing to one bad doctrine as providing the mandate for abuse can be disproved by pointing to another bad doctrine? That two wrongs make a right?
That’s like saying:
“The Nazis had some bad ideas”
“But what about Marxism…didn’t that lead to millions of deaths under Stalin?”
“Yes…because they share the same presuppositions about the state owning man.”
“What? How can this be? How can two different governments share the same destructive assumptions? That’s impossible. I can’t argue with you. I give up.”
Honestly, I must say I’m struggling to understand just what Dee is saying here.
But what I do understand is that when you decide that criticism of ideas is off the table, it is a short walk to the end of the plank, or the firing squad, or the burning stake, or the gas chamber.
This is nothing more than conceding the Primacy of Consciousness premise. The belief that at their root, ideas are only “good”; and that destructive human behavior is NEVER and can NEVER BE the result of the ideas they filter all of their reality through. The “logic” goes: ALL ideas are good, ergo, if abuse occurs in the name of them, it is merely because humanity does not possess the capacity to employ them effectively, because humans are unable by default to ever do GOOD. They are too “depraved” (or selfish, or evil, or lost, or stupid, or capitalist, or racist, or unenlightened, or bad at math…whatever the primary consciousness happens to be). And this of course is a tacit acceptance of the “authority” of the “gnostics”. Those special people divinely gifted to rule over the rest of us slobs.
And this is why I submit that regardless of what they say, that people who will NOT confront ideas are really still utterly committed to the belief that man, fundamentally, IS the problem. And thus the implicit notion is that it is therefore okay for “special” people to compel (force) them into right actions and thinking.
If Calvinism cannot be called out for the destructive and abusive conclusions it INEXORABLY leads to (and I will debate anyone, anywhere, anytime on this), then what is being said is HUMAN BEINGS are the problem. The VICTIM has no real recourse and the perpetrator can never be held accountable and the “authority” cannot be culpable for pushing the doctrinal assumptions which drove the abuse in the first place because the doctrine cannot be blamed, because the paradigm is: doctrine wholly GOOD, and human beings wholly EVIL. And a wholly evil human can NEVER be expected to actually employ or behave in accordance with that which is completely beyond him.
So, the VICTIM was merely the unfortunate target of a poor, depraved sinner, being taught his ideas by another poor depraved sinner. And who then can really blame the poor sinner? For but for the grace of God go all of us, right? So, let’s just get better gnostic in there who do a better job of getting these idiots to DO the doctrine right.
And maybe we do. Maybe we get lucky and get a Wade Burleson in there. And maybe things are fine for a while because he isn’t “on fire” for the “truth” like SGM is. He, because he may have some sense of human decency and love, refuses to take the doctrinal assumptions to their logical conclusions.
But sooner or later, Wade retires. And maybe the next guy is okay. And the next. But then…we get a guy who thinks, wait a minute. I’M in charge here, and MY responsibility isn’t for the depraved masses, it is to GOD. And God SAYS x, y, z…and “sound doctrine” is everything. And “who are YOU o man, to argue with God, and His divinely called Authority in the Stead? Who are YOU to judge your COVERING?!! And to the rapped three year old I say, FIRST take the log out of your OWN eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your rapist’s eye!!”
And all this from a little telling comment:
“I have removed two comments that blame Calvinism for abuse.”
Oh yes. For who are we to argue with God’s “infallible Word”. Who are we to argue with ideas whose corpulence we are too busying crawling in the dirt like worms to grasp?