Lydia, this is for you. 🙂 I refer specifically to your comments in the last thread. What struck me is how you said the discernment blogs helped you stay sane as you were going through a journey of faith and a breaking of doctrinal ties with your old ways of thinking.
Do I have that right?
By the way, if I am off base in any of this please call me out. This is just what I have been thinking…if it doesn’t speak to you or your situation at all, then I would like to know.
But, you see, to me, I don’t understand how discernment blogs can keep anyone sane, really, because when you parse down their thinking just like we parse down the thinking of institutionalized tyranny like SGM and the SBC, they all still concede the exact same premise: the doctrine is fine, and no real evil is being perpetrated. This makes all the “abuse” and the “abused” they dramatically wax on about on the blogs just as meaningless as it is in churches these people go to (or went to). I would think the very fact that so many of these people on the blogs (I submit) still go to the same church is evidence that they don’t really think there is anything wrong with what goes on there. Further evidence is the bald-faced Calvinist masquerading as the benefactor of all the abused on a certain discernment blog with a resident “E-Pastor”. You say cognitive dissonance? I give you that circus.
My enlightenment about the discernment blogs mirrors my enlightenment about Sovereign Grace Ministries, of which I was a swaggering, neanderthal dickhead for, for over fifteen years. After observing and thinking, I saw the exact same kind of tyranny on the blogs, just in a different form. But regardless of the form, it was always in service to the “doctrine”. In SGM, the doctrine was whatever CJ said it was. And you know what? On these blogs, it’s STILL whatever CJ says it is.
What I mean is that in neither place is the Reformed/neo-Calvinist doctrine considered a problem. This implies that these blogs do not believe IDEAS really drive actions, which means that actions of people are driven by something OUTSIDE of themselves. Which means that people can’t help being the depraved despots they are, and abuse cannot really be rationally defined as abuse because abuse necessitates an efficacious human apprehension of an epistemological dichotomy of “good and bad”, which of course is impossible if we concede that ALL that happens is God’s pre-ordained Will. And this precludes the ability of “victims” on these blogs to claim that they are, in fact, “victims”, or for critics of Calvinism to be anything other than hypocrites.
I will say it again. Unless the assumptions reconcile, the outcomes are always the same: subjugation of man in service to some external absolute; to some “idea” that only certain “priests” are privy to. As I said before, the “discernment” blogs, when you get down to it, are really only places which serve up seasoning for people’s hypocritical “righteous” indignation. They hate those who abuse them, and yet they AFFIRM the doctrine (assumptions) which their tormenters appeal to as the authority for their despotism–their mandate from God, Himself, to do such things-as absolutely GOOD. Which makes them twice the hypocrite as CJ and Piper, in my opinion. The moderator on one blog criticizes Piper, yet lauds her E-Pastor, when there is virtually NO doctrinal difference between these two men. She does an article on “sin and suffering” and goes in logical circles, arriving nowhere, just like every single Calvinist I’ve ever met. Even the person running the vitriolic anti-Calvinism site I referred to in my last article (and I don’t mind the vitriolic part…at all), when you examine his ideas, is still, I submit, a Protestant purest. Just today he declared on his blog that people who are saved are saved before they are born; and almost immediately prior to this he said that “he doesn’t know where he stands on the whole “election” thing”.
Huh? Those two statements are completely contradictory. He JUST SAID that the saved are saved before they are born. If this isn’t election then what is? But it is okay with this person because he declares that this is NOT what the Calvinists believe. They don’t believe in “election” as he defines it (and he is wrong; they sure as hell do believe in election, unless he wants to say that SGM and CJ Mahaney isn’t Calvinist). So, effectively, what he is doing here is assuming the right to perpetuate an irrational, utterly impossible and inevitably destructive idea simply because it isn’t Calvinist as he would define it.
Sigh. And this is considered a “good effort”, even among some of the people I respect most, if not THE most.
See? Who cares what we call the false idea? Calvinist. Biblicist. Catholic. Shrug. It is still destructive. But people don’t care about individual human life, they only really care about proclaiming that THEY have the monopoly on divine “truth”, whether reasonable or not. And that blogger’s definition of election explicitly means that you are saved before you exist. But how in the world can this be a rational basis for ANY faith? If salvation occurs not only in spite of man, but with man literally out of the picture, as in, categorically non-existent, then how can he reject ANY crazy idea, even a Calvinist one, without being a hypocrite? If God determines all there is, which is what his definition of election demands, how can he criticize Calvinists? They are no less determined by God to do what they do than he is.
If I may be so bold…
You went to the discernment blogs, not to save your sanity, I submit, but to convince yourself of something you ALREADY knew was true: that you have every right to be YOU; which means you get a say in what goes on in your own life. The discernment blogs showed you that there are Christians who engage their brains; that you weren’t alone in this. But the issue really wasn’t your sanity…you already knew you were right because you already knew that what you were hearing wasn’t reasonable. Ergo, you couldn’t be the insane one. But knowing you were right terrified you, because if you were the only one then you were on the outs…you were alone, and that has epic psychological ramifications. You were scared of being alone, not of being insane because you couldn’t accept the metaphysical rape pouring forth from the plexiglass podium.
In other words, you weren’t afraid that you were insane. You were afraid that you were, somehow, the ONLY one who WAS sane. And that was something that, in the Calvinist theology you had conceded for so long, couldn’t possibly be true.
But you knew it was. Hence the personal dilemma which sent you on your journey.
And once you found relief in knowing that you weren’t the only one thinking, via the discernment blogs, and that you weren’t alone, you quickly realized that it isn’t thinking which is the problem. It is WHAT people think that is the problem.
And the thinking of the “discernment” blogs bears no functional difference to what you learned in church. And that? Is not sane.