“I think part of the reason it hasn’t done so, apart from our own watchful openness, is that Deb/Dee delete comments meant to be disruptive. How many on this thread alone? Thanks, you two!
There will always be a few who arrive in a group wanting it to fail and they need to be disarmed of those intentions, (while also being aware that mere bias is not a reason to disarm). It’s a tough row to hoe, steep learning curve, but there’s no other way to create a nurturing successful group.”
That was a comment left yesterday over at www.warburgwatch.com.
I won’t mention who the commenter was…doesn’t matter. The point is that this kind of attitude is why discernment blogs are doomed to fail in the long run. In the short run, there is an uptick in self-esteem…the abused have a voice, ostensibly, and they have a “community” of fellow Christians who pat them on the shoulder and tell them they are going to be just fine…God still loves them, sit down with us, and maybe we’ll organize a little get together in person sometime in the future and all of us can come together and have a great little gathering where we’ll exchange recipes and stories and put names with faces. Never happens by the way. It would ruin the the experience, trust me. Faces to names reminds you that human beings are really at stake here, and human beings aren’t the point, they are the problem. Someone will be too fat, or too thin, or won’t look right, or won’t have the right demeanor, or will be too abrasive, or have the wrong haircut, or be too rich or too poor…they won’t meet that idol of our external standards. Yep, the people will fuck up the good vibes, because there will be some who just won’t conform in person they way we think they do online. The presence of actual people will be too “disruptive”. And that’s why it never happens. Too much baggage…too many opinions, and no moderation. Also, remember, Church people need a leader, of course, because as the commenter above said, they love nurturing above all else. They are kind of like dogs and cats that way. It’s why no one wants to talk about doctrine.
So, as I was saying…these people feel free for the first time in a long time; and this freedom high can last for a while, and it is intoxicating, and beautiful. Hell, I was right there, man, for well over a year. I mean, they’ve just gone from a destructive relationship with tyranny to–again ostensibly–a place where they are free to be themselves, to speak their minds, to rail against abuse and shake a righteous fist or two, and rightfully so, at the despots running a large portion of American churches. Moderators like Dee and Deb, and many others after their same kind, pat them on the shoulder and assure them that they are not crazy.
The only problem is…well, think of it this way: if a crazy person tells you you’re not crazy then you probably shouldn’t take much comfort in that.
Because here is the problem: ideas. Sooner or later people like me and others after MY kind come along and begin to question the point of such a place. I mean, I was in like Flynn over there at Wartburg Watch for a good while…I even defended Dee and Deb to some of my blogging friends who warned me that they had precious little to contribute to the fight against tyranny; and they certainly weren’t the least bit interested in looking at doctrine.
No, no, I said. Dee and Deb. They are good people. They are nice people.
But I was wrong.
Doctrine. Yes, that’s another problem.
So I came along and after a while my high was wearing off, and I was getting a little too comfortable. And this was making me decidedly uncomfortable. I noticed that we on the blog were becoming…well, just like the commenter above said, too obsessed with being nurtured and shielded by “meanies” who actually wanted Warburg Watch to, you know, generate a philosophy which was able to rationally answer the evil spewing forth like vomit from Reformed churches like SGM. And I saw that this wasn’t happening, and more, was NEVER going to happen because that was never the point of Wartburg. Dee and Deb either will not or cannot intellectually confront tyrannical ideas. That for me was a big problem.
We the commenters were becoming like animals…seeking comfort; to be taken care of, but not particularly seeing any actual VALUE in other human beings, and refusing to define human life as GOOD. Why? Because confronting doctrine was NOT nurturing. It was judging and being mean. And lo and behold, we could never at Wartburg actually define the thing we had been talking about forever: love. And that scared the shit out of me. Human life was not defined as an object of LOVE, a STANDARD of GOOD. There was and is a constant resistance, I submit, to defining just how we know love is love, without ultimately appealing to the “mysteries of God.” And when I tried to define it, I was accused of trying to “explain God”. Well, if God is love, shouldn’t love be explained, since love is the whole point of living, then?
But they consistently resisted, and still resist defining a standard of love. They are unable or unwilling to define just how they understand that love is love; by what yardstick are our actions measured? Dee and Deb and even Wade do not define love, because love is a philosophical/epistemological/doctrinal topic. It isn’t emotions; it isn’t saccharine camaraderie; it is something which must be reasoned. And this scares the shit out of people because once love is a matter of doctrine then all of that discernment blog high, all of that camaraderie goes away. Because in reality…all of it, must be in service to that which is gauged to be the standard of TRUTH. And inevitably this standard, by the very doctrine which essentially ALL of these people concede and refuse to renounce, is outside of human beings. Which means that all of that “nurturing”, all of that “freedom” doesn’t mean a hill of beans. Sooner or later, the same demands which abused many of the commenters in the past will be made of them once again: sacrifice yourself to the doctrine. Accept the suffering and abuse as divine payment for your existence. When push comes to shove, be willing to die, not for LOVE, because that is never defined, and not for God, for God does not need your death or your life, but for someone’s idea. An idea which you cannot possibly disagree with because YOU and YOUR LIFE are wholly irrelevant to its truth.
It is only true in spite of you, never because of you.
So, for a while, yes, take comfort in the nurturing; take comfort under the watchful eyes of Dee and Deb who are ready to pounce with a vengeance on anyone who comes along and says, “The vibe is nice here, but when are we going to discuss WHY abuse happens; and why are we okay with it?”
The “when” is never. Because what you see on Wartburg Watch is the END of itself. The lovefest is the whole point. And notice that abuse still keeps happening. Every day, new stories here, there and everywhere. Nothing changes, nothing gets stopped, many words are written, things “publicized”, but there is no real challenge…because the Wartburg lovefest is the end of itself, I submit; there is no loftier objective. And this is true with not just their site, but most discernment blogs out there. Because when ideas are off the table as topics of discussion in the interest of actually seeing abuse stop, then all you can reasonably expect is to have a place where mean people like me who are not content to concede the same doctrine he conceded before when he was in the tyrannical shit but only this time in a place that is more “comfortable” and “nurturing”, are removed unceremoniously from the blog as a “disruption”. When all I want is for someone to stand up and say God likes people, and he thinks they have worth; and thus, loving human life is a TRUTH which is as GOOD as loving God. And the fact that those who even suggest that a Reformed pastor cannot be in a position to really confront abuse because of their doctrine are booted from “nurturing” blogs should speak volumes as to their priorities.
Because they are really okay with the abuse. Mark my words. Now, I’m not suggesting they are okay with it on some kind of intentional, conscious level, or that they are abusers. What I am saying is that they are on the moral hook for defending their decision to support doctrine that hates humanity…and if they don’t think it does, then they are on the hook for arguing just how someone can be pervasively depraved and yet loved by God; I’m waiting for an answer that is not a contradiction in terms. It never happens, because you must have the courage to confront orthodoxy, and courage is something they do not possess. Courage offends people, and so it must be evil.
And what I am saying is that since they have decided that the doctrine (ideas, assumptions) to which theses churches concede to is fine, and doctrinal assumptions which place man in a perpetual state of moral depravity and inadequate epistemology can somehow in no way drive abusive behavior, then they have, ipso facto, deprived themselves of even a single rational argument as to WHY there shouldn’t be abuse in the church. The doctrine that they defend by their silence (and by the rank silencing of those who would wish to discuss doctrine–in the interests of dismantling abuse the only way that actually works, by destroying the false biblical assumptions which laud it), demands the destruction of human beings. The scary truth is that human suffering is precisely how we can viscerally know that the doctrine is “sound”. In other words, suffering and trauma are how we know that God hates evil; because according to Reformed doctrine humanity’s very existence is the root of all evil. If suffering ceases, if abuse becomes a byword, and removing abuse and suffering becomes a full-on objective of our religion, then it must be conceded that human life is GOOD. And that is something you will never hear any good Calvinist declare with metaphysical certainty.
Remember, when one has no rational standard for love, then it becomes impossible for one to really define it. And that is precisely what is happening at Wartburg Watch. “No disruption” and “nurturing” have been substituted for real love…for a deep abiding affection for, and a deep desire to affirm and promote human life as the reason we were created and saved in the first place. Comfort replaces love. The intoxicating high of the “discernment community” has replaced a true heart for healing the abused.
And this is not “drama”, Julie Anne. This is serious, serious business. And the fact that people continue to pretend to care while affirming doctrine that declares people worthless at their metaphysical root is some serious hypocrisy.
The “church” may not be overcome in the end, but I fear that it will be no thanks to the church.