Part Two of: Collectivist Philosophy Masquerading as the Christian Orthodox Ideal

Yesterday I mentioned the primer, “Community: Your Pathway to Progress” and I gave you a small preamble (thanks, John Immel) to my examination and criticism of this gem of Christianity-as-channeling-Karl Marx, which essentially preaches the gospel of collectivism both forthrightly and with child-like giddiness.  Today I will begin my formal critique of said primer, offering my thoughts as to the underlying metaphysical and epistemological contradictions, deceptions, and outright lies which form the offensive thrust of the nefarious objective:  to control individuals for the purpose of acquiring power.  Which is really nothing more than the right to destroy anyone and anything in the interest of pursuing an entirely false, irrational, and impossible standard of “truth” and “morality”.  A utopia which, being wholly without reason and demanding the wholesale removal of LIFE in order to be realized, is actually nothing at all.

However, before I do that I would like to comment on a little remark by someone down in North Carolina this week as we were discussing the collectivist particulars of a certain paragraph in “Community”.  She said, “I don’t care about that.”  And went on to explain that if she finds the doctrine at her church odious or irrational she simply ignores it, and goes about the business of church presumably as if nothing disagreeable were really taught from the pulpit at all.

My opinion is that this is a very dangerous approach to church at worst, and renders the “church-going experience” utterly irrelevant at best.  If you find yourself in disagreement with the doctrinal ideology of the church “body”, why on earth remain?  You are setting yourself up for inevitable failure in more ways than one by tacitly affirming the beliefs by your participation and yet functionally rejecting them.  Believe me, the “church” makes it a point to discover those who approach the doctrine this way.  They do not consider such members friends, nor people to be trusted with any modicum of responsibility.  They may suffer your presence while the tithing remains consistent and/or you aren’t causing any problems (that is, challenging their “authority”), but you will never experience the kind of spiritual growth, friendship, and support one would presume is the only real benefit of such a collaboration.

But even if they don’t find out…and even if you don’t care that they will never consider you a fit nor moral servant of Christ, and one whose salvation is likely dubious at best, you will still do more damage to your life and your family than benefit.

You may acquire some friends, even some who are doctrinally like-minded as you and reject the theological interpretations of the “elders”, and you may experience some tangible benefits such as a place to harbor your kids for an hour and a half every week or some valuable home-schooling connections or a golfing buddy or two.  But these benefits will only come at the cost of how you define reality.  That is, they will occur only in spite of who you really are.  And that is no kind of life.  I submit that there can be no true friendships, no truly edifying experiences or tangible benefits which come from mixing mutually exclusive assumptions about the worth of your life.  Your social life and your spiritual live with be a farce…a mere illusion of what you really think is going on.  Attending a church wherein the leadership presumes that you are not really yourself, and therefore have no value as an individual human being, and thus have no right by metaphysical definition to your own body or property can only end one way, sooner or later:  disaster.

And the irony is that the person of which I speak once attended Sovereign Grace Ministries for many years, and left only relatively recently amongst the morbid and fetid chaos, hypocrisy, and abuse.  And having been a fifteen-year member of Sovereign Grace Ministries myself I can say this:  Doing what this person is doing…the willingness to sweep the doctrinal disagreements under the rug did absolutely nothing to benefit that institution, its pastors, or laity.  It merely prolonged the suffering and human destruction, and promoted the full-on illusion for years and years past the point where it stopped being fun.

In short, if the church you are attending does not have a working definition of YOU, it means that they cannot possibly have a working definition of God.  So what exactly are you expecting to get out of it?  If you say relationships, I say they are based on lie.  If you say tangible benefits, I say they cost your soul.  You must continue to deceive both yourself and all with whom you share the sanctuary every Sunday morning, not to mention your children, who are presented, at best, with the strange and irrational and confusing dichotomy of a mommy and daddy who tell them not to believe the doctrines they are taught, and yet continue to willfully place them in classrooms with teachers who possess many kinds of authority, spiritual and educational and corporeal, who teach those very doctrines as being from God.  Think twice about “not caring” about the forcing of collectivist ideology down the throats of unsuspecting Christians, as rankly observed in this little primer I have next to me in this chair.  It will inevitably return to reap anguish upon your head, just as it has in the past.

Even now I could say to this person that we will never be close friends.  Because I utterly reject the metaphysical premises you either explicitly or implicitly concede by assuming that the church you are attending is just a fine place to hear about God and Man.  It isn’t a matter of getting along.  It is a matter of being able to define just who it is that we are supposed to be getting along with, and in the interest of just what we are supposed to define as God.  I cannot get along with someone who does not concede that they actually matter.  Because that person cannot by logical extension assume that I matter.  And if neither of us matter according to this person’s metaphysical assumptions, then there is no point in being friends because there is no friendship, period.  For friendship is moot.  Friendship based on absolute existential meaninglessness is not a friendship by definition.  And this is why, as much as it pains me to say it, I simply cannot stand being around Christians anymore…well, certain kinds of Christians.  Those who have to pray every meal and those who never miss church and those who have daily “devotionals” and those who evangelize their faith to the checkout girl or the waiter and have fish on their cars.  I just can’t do it anymore, because those are the people who always tow the reformed doctrinal line.  And my root metaphysic according to these church-going Christians is that I am a piece of shit.  And I refuse to associate myself with people who think that my absolute essence as a human being is shit.  And who think that they are shit, too.  We are all a big collective of shit going to hell “but for the grace of God” and the kindly ecclesiastical taskmasters He gives us to prod our blind asses along the narrow road.

Over. It.

 

*

“This study has been designed as an introduction to community.  As such, the focus of the first part of the study will be on getting to know everyone in the group.  Then you’ll spend some time discussing the importance of community itself.” (p.9)

So goes the first paragraph.  Sounds nice, right?  Benign.  Gentle.  Innocuous at worst.  Sure, everyone gets to know each other.  That’s nice.  Everyone matters.  Everyone is special.  Everyone is important.

Uh…but wait.  Are they?  This paragraph…indeed, the entire primer never mentions anything about the importance of the individual to the group.  Never mentions the fact that “group” is really nothing but a concept; a figment of man’s impressive imagination, but not actually existing…and thus, requiring the life of the single human being in order to possess any relevancy at all as a concept.

According to this introductory paragraph, the only thing with any explicit or implicit importance is “the community itself.”  In this short blurb the individual–the only thing which actually exists at all in this entire opening salvo–has been subordinated to the community, which exists as a SELF of its own.  You see, YOU are only important within the context of the group; and by this they mean…well, what kind of important do they mean?

Right.  Spiritually important.  Which means important to whom?  To God.  Which means that spiritually important is the only relevant kind of important.  And since this is a direct function of the group, God can only see the group, never YOU, individually.  For God is a rational God, you understand.  He wastes no time on the pointless–on the functionally non-existent–when He has the group by which is Will and Desire is rendered upon the Earth.

This is merely the initial introduction…the tip of the spear of the group metaphysic I mentioned in part one of this article.  You do not exist.  Only the group exists. You alone are nothing.  Thus, you must sacrifice (murder, destroy, erase, consider infinite nothingness) your SELF and relinquish the sum and substance of your body, mind, and possessions to the collective, which, as I explained in part one, is really the relinquishing of all these things to they who claim the right to rule the group by divine mandate, as the chosen representatives of the Primary Consciousness.  For you protestant Christians, particularly my reformed friends, this means that your pastor or pastors are God as far as you are concerned.  They are the bridge between your metaphysical depravity and God’s metaphysical perfection, which would normally be mutually exclusive.  Without them declaring the standard of truth which is also the moral ideal, to which ALL humanity must integrate itself (the root premise of the group metaphysic), you would be lost forever.  Adrift in a sea of absolute evil.

Still not convinced, huh?  Still think I’m taking this way too seriously?  Still think I should approach this primer like the person in North Carolina and simply care less?  Take a break?  Get a job?  Got too much time on my hands?  It’s all just a mystery anyway so let go and let God; for to be concerned with such things is for the lofty professor, and patriarchs of philosophy’s past who argued over such things and yet never arrived at anything other than paradox, and the ivory tower intellectual who gets paid to write about things that have so little relevance to rote humans living out their boring little lives…articles by the score which almost never see the light of day by any but a very few and very strange people with serious affect problems and no social acumen?  Still think this is little more than hyperbole?

We shall see.

Stay tuned for part three.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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47 thoughts on “Part Two of: Collectivist Philosophy Masquerading as the Christian Orthodox Ideal

  1. “… You must continue to deceive both yourself and all with whom you share the sanctuary every Sunday morning, not to mention your children, who are presented, at best, with the strange and irrational and confusing dichotomy of a mommy and daddy who tell them not to believe the doctrines they are taught, and yet continue to willfully place them in classrooms with teachers who possess many kinds of authority, spiritual and educational and corporeal, who teach those very doctrines as being from God.”

    Very well said.

    And Christian parents wonder why their children grow up and become such hellions. How can children help but learn the lesson that ideas, and truth and virtue are things of social convenience to be embraced or ignored as the collective dictates. Is it any wonder that children succumb to “peer” pressure when their parents can’t represent their own ideas in public, when their own parents treat reality with such contempt?

  2. “This study has been designed as an introduction to community(communism?). As such, the focus of the first part of the study will be on getting to know everyone in the group. Then you’ll spend some time discussing the importance of community(communism?) itself.” (p.9) lol 🙂 thats how i read it 🙂

  3. “And went on to explain that if she finds the doctrine at her church odious or irrational she simply ignores it, and goes about the business of church presumably as if nothing disagreeable were really taught from the pulpit at all.
    My opinion is that this is a very dangerous approach to church at worst, and renders the “church-going experience” utterly irrelevant at best.  If you find yourself in disagreement with the doctrinal ideology of the church “body”, why on earth remain?” Argo

    I think it’s dangerous, period. Full stop. I want to talk about why I think this is dangerous at best.

    To disagree in church/Bible study/small group, by sitting in silence & ignoring, daydreaming or whatever IS IN REALITY TO AGREE. If there is no expressed disagreement, then there is no disagreement, only agreement, as I see it.

    Silent behavior in the face of wrong is dangerous to our children, friends, ourselves. Silence is a green light, a stamp of approval, a yes.

    This perpetuates suffering. Many who go to church seek answers & direction to problems, bad situations, etc. Bad advice without open objection too it leaves them with the wrong impression & wrong action items to carry out. Disastrous.
    Speak up (which may bring on persecution) or walk away. But don’t silently disagree. That’s an oxymoron. It is not good for yourself to remain silent when remaining silent hurts others.

  4. “And that is no kind of life. I submit that there can be no true friendships, no truly edifying experiences or tangible benefits which come from mixing mutually exclusive assumptions about the worth of your life. Your social life and your spiritual live with be a farce…a mere illusion of what you really think is going on.”

    That describes the whole mega church industrial complex.

  5. “Still think I’m taking this way too seriously? Still think I should approach this primer like the person in North Carolina and simply care less? Take a break? Get a job? Got too much time on my hands? It’s all just a mystery anyway so let go and let God; for to be concerned with such things is for the lofty professor, and patriarchs of philosophy’s past…”

    How dare you type such things. 🙂 Thanks for this blog, Argo. About all I can put together at the moment. Just, thanks.

  6. A Mom,

    You are quite right. It is at the very least a tacit admission that the doctrine you “disagree” with is equally as efficacious in leading and disciplining men and women in God’s TRUTH. Which is totally impossible.

    And what it really boils down to is that it doesn’t matter WHAT anyone really believes. And where does this inevitably conclude? Individual human beings are irrelevant. And where does that conclude?

    Death.

    Very dangerous way to “do church”.

  7. Lydia,

    Indeed. The whole thing is a charade. A false front. And what is behind it then? What drives the need and will and desire to abdicate one’s life and family and will and belief’s for the sake of group acceptance, as John astutely pointed out?

    The underlying assumption that YOU as an individual have no worth and no real power to act on your own merits because you accept that no good can come from YOUR autonomous existence.

  8. “And what is behind it then? What drives the need and will and desire to abdicate one’s life and family and will and belief’s for the sake of group acceptance, as John astutely pointed out? ”

    Insecurity? Collectivist thinking?

    I am watching my former church go through this right now. I am astounde at the folks who disagree but abandon that disagreement for “unity”. They just voted in a 31 year old YRR pastor at 90,000 a year who is going to be a “preacher” not a pastor. And this even though there was major shock he was the candidate put forth. He was the youth pastor who was totally incompetent and benign and never really taught much except quoting Piper. But he talks a great game. Says Gospel every 5 min along with a move of the Holy Spirit every week. Some fell for it and pushed him. Others did not want to appear too “mean” so they backed off their reservations.

    Group think, manipulation, talk not deeds, etc. Sounds like our current presidential voters. It is the same stuff.

  9. A Mom,

    Haven’t been since Memorial Day, lol. Schedule and stuff. Haven’t been to church once except last Sunday down in NC with our (my wife’s) friends.

    It’s been positively liberating.

  10. uh…. sex, drugs and rock and roll used to be– hands down the most effective — church deterrents…. Don’t those work any more?

    )snicker(

  11. I guess, on a more serious note…

    Are we talking kids like 13 to16? As a parent, my inclination would be not to take them. Mostly kids wont keep after something that requires them to work to attain it. Particularly if the social pay off is negligible. And teen age social commitment is so fickle I can’t imagine church involvement wouldn’t whither with even the most basic obstacle.

    Most teen agers do what they do because it is socially affirming. And mega churches have gotten pretty good at making youth church be like a constant free party so, it is easy to be involved. But take away the party and most kids won’t persist.

    A couple caveats:
    If the kids are home schooled then the real motive for going to “church” is typically as a social outlet. Church is the only place they have access to other kids.

    If they are not homeschooled and still want to go to church then I’m a little puzzled, because the average middle and high school has lots of things to be socially involved so there would be another outlet to direct them towards.

    And if they are going to church because they are genuinely interested in the ideas/preaching then I would say that I’m inclined to deal with kids much the same way I deal with adults. Kids can smell bullshit from miles away, and most adults tend to treat teens with a healthy dose of bullshit, so I typically just tell them straight what I think and why I think it. They usually appreciate that and gravitate towards it.

    I don’t make it complicated but I do expect them to engage their brain. As a rule, over time the will see the issues that I’ve raised. Usually they arrive at their own conclusion which is what you are after anyway… you want them engaged … you want them working through the implications of their own ideas.

    Adults get their practice of evading reality as teenagers, so they are very good at it by the time they are 25. So when I deal with teens I just refuse to let teenagers evade reality. I just constantly put the causality of ideas and actions in front of them. As long as teens are left to confront reality and given the intellectual tools to arrive at good ideas they will, in time arrive at the right answers.

  12. “uh…. sex, drugs and rock and roll used to be– hands down the most effective — church deterrents” John Immel

    Ha! That’s funny for moms… after the initial jolt of it. You really are the ultimate peanut gallery, aren’t you!

  13. “Only the unsaved and hopelessly immoral cuss, you know.” Argo

    Wow. You might have a long wait in line at the sooty gates below. Lol

  14. “Hey, here is a new problem. How do you convince your teens to not attend church?” Lydia

    Do you know why they want to attend? What the pull is?

    I hear you. Argo was grieved with the decision a few months ago, mostly having to do with his younger ones it seemed. I’ve experienced the same thing. It can feel like a difficult no-win decision. But….

    In the end, though, I think it’s the friendships, interaction, etc. that is hard to walk away from. It is sad for me to think about some friendships that didn’t continue. Some friendships will continue. I have friends (parent-to-parent & kid-to-kid friendships) from 8 years ago who I met in church that are still good friends (Aunt prayed for child at dedication & strangely I was drawn to them lol). And they are experiencing the same dilemma RIGHT now themselves (go figure). One of the last straws was a father-daughter dinner & the only thing amiss at the dinner was the youth pastor’s (“nice” guy) prayer for daughters to meet husbands to lead & protect them like their fathers. No big deal? It was disturbing to the Dad, who I hardly interact with (meaning no influence from me). He HIMSELF wants his daughters to be independent, responsible & think for themselves.

    Sorry, I digressed.

    Anyway, children of all ages will get their socialization on, their empathy on, their good actions on, their following Jesus on without church. There’s plenty of volunteering to do, fun to be had, friendships to make, lessons to learn, knowledge to be gained – outside of church. And with good, great, decent people. It’s good for kids to live in “the real world”. They will eventually have to navigate “it” on their own anyway.

    I had to decide scary isn’t outside of the church, it’s inside church. And if there’s someone, an activity, class, etc. that you don’t like, there is no obligation or awkwardness – like there can be within a church.

    It may feel like pulling a splinter out at first. A necessary ouch. But you’re better for it. Kids are resilient. Adults are, too. Just my thoughts to take or leave.

  15. “A couple caveats:
    If the kids are home schooled then the real motive for going to “church” is typically as a social outlet. Church is the only place they have access to other kids.” John Immel

    Yes! Socialization is the motive, but not just for homeschooled kids. I’d say for most kids, homeschooled or not. And I think for many adults as well…

    No, church is not the only place homeschoolers can meet up & make friendships with other kids. Friendships have been made through baseball, playground, friends of friends, park programs, camp, neighborhood, gymnastics, parties, etc.

    There really are a lot of opportunities to spend time with others & make friends.

    I also think it’s important for kids/teens/adults to interact with seniors & people of other races, faiths, abilities, etc.

  16. “So when I deal with teens I just refuse to let teenagers evade reality. I just constantly put the causality of ideas and actions in front of them. As long as teens are left to confront reality and given the intellectual tools to arrive at good ideas they will, in time arrive at the right answers.” John Immel

    Is this your plan B when your plan A of introducing them to sex, drugs & rock n roll doesn’t work? 😉

  17. “I just constantly put the causality of ideas and actions in front of them. As long as teens are left to confront reality and given the intellectual tools to arrive at good ideas they will, in time arrive at the right answers.”

    That is exactly what I am doing!

    But loved your whole answer. There is no way to escape all the collectivist thinking out there so I find it useful in instruction to discuss in depth. I try to make it a sort of game. “what strange stuff did we hear today” sort of thing.

  18. A mom, my situation is a bit different. My daughter sees the futility of “youth group” and is not that interested. in fact, her main friends from that group are two autistic girls no one else will talk to and she likes a lot.

    The big thing is her tradition of being a bible drill coach for the younger kids and her assistant basketball coach job with younger kids. She does not want to lose that. She worked hard to be trusted with those positions. She wants to be an elementary school teacher and loves working with little kids. Church can be a great outlet for that but it takes time to build trust.

    But it is no longer our church. It was taken over by the YRR and group think ensued using “unity” language. We have not stayed for a sermon in 6 months except once to vote no for the YRR pastor and our discussion afterwards was: Could you spot the cultish and Calvin language? She spotted it but much more. LIke Argo’s commentary there were things people in the pews were led to do to get them doing what the leader said. it was so cultish I was amazed. There are some hold outs who are furious but we all know how that works.

    It is really hard for one her age (13) to accept that something that she felt was hers, too, is no longer. it literally turned totally different over a 6 month period. I was amazed at how fast it happened. People became like zombies.

    I honestly think they won’t be so welcoming in the future with her because some are aware her mom has a problem with the whole thing. We talk about it daily. I am preparing her to see adults as idiots. Adults who do groupthink. Adults who buy into false unity. hard lessons for one that age. She LOVED church. Not the youth group but the children and the seniors. Most of them are dying off anyway. But she made a very funny comment the other day. “Some of the old ladies like the new guy because he is handsome and outgoing”. I think she nailed it.

  19. A mom, I enrolled her in a certified child sitting class and she loved it. She is in demand as a baby sitter and she is setting it up as a real business. I am a big believer in training and getting the tools you need for excellence in whatever you are doing.

    That is helping a lot. We also visited another church on Sunday of a pastor we really like as a person. There were 30 peeps there. no big egos. they served real wine during communion and I wish you could have seen her face. She spent the rests of the service eating all my Altoids to get rid of the taste. :o)

    Our next stop is a church that has a woman preacher. yes, I want her to see that. I am with you on getting around a lot of different situations. That is what my mom did for me and it makes a huge difference.

    I am approaching it as an adventure. We are not about making any big decisions. Membership is something I am not interested in anymore.

  20. Lydia,

    Yea this is a tough lesson to understand. I feel your daughters pain. She worked hard to achieve and then when she thought she had done the work proscribed she was effectively betrayed.

    This lesson is a hard one to learn but here is the important part.

    I would point out that church is really adult High School. It is profoundly cliquish. And those people in charge of the popular kids (pastors) are not really looking for qualification. Indeed, genuine achievement, genuine qualification is a direct threat to all church structure. Any structure based on authority is in trouble when someone with ability shows up because it is impossible to hide incompetence.

    So just like High School pastors are looking for affirmation to their authority. And since American pastors—at least for the moment—can’t use force to compel social compliance, they must find people that affirm their right to dictate social standards to the clique. They seek out the people that supply the greatest affirmation are the important ones. They like to pretend that “ability” and “achievement” are what they look for, but this is all fraud. Any achievement they identify is only valuable in as much as they can take credit for the achievement. But what they are really looking for compliance.

    The real lesson to learn is that the nature of achievement is highly individualistic. “Positions” are elusive but abilities are the substance of personal development. People may be able to deny a position but they will never be able to take away all the skills and abilities she has developed to date. This is the value of the free market. Her abilities will eventually make a way for her to exploit those abilities. This is a fantastic thing.

    Just remind her that church is not the only place for her to exploit her skills. It might be the most readily available for where she is in life, but it is not the only place. If she keeps developing she will find a way to use those skills and abilities. But that place is NOT church. She will always be subject to the same frustration because unless she is willing to sell her soul for the clique she will never be part of the popular crowd.

  21. “I would point out that church is really adult High School.”

    I love this! So true.

    ” It is profoundly cliquish. And those people in charge of the popular kids (pastors) are not really looking for qualification. Indeed, genuine achievement, genuine qualification is a direct threat to all church structure. Any structure based on authority is in trouble when someone with ability shows up because it is impossible to hide incompetence. ”

    That last sentence is playing out all over the place, not just church. I saw the trajectory in business, too. Especially with so much government interaction in the business world the rules are changing. Competence is not always rewarded. Move on, right?

    “The real lesson to learn is that the nature of achievement is highly individualistic. “Positions” are elusive but abilities are the substance of personal development. People may be able to deny a position but they will never be able to take away all the skills and abilities she has developed to date. This is the value of the free market. Her abilities will eventually make a way for her to exploit those abilities. This is a fantastic thing. ”

    We talk about this one a lot. She is very people oriented and gets her energy from being around people. Fine. Then use that as a marketable skill. Not as something that holds you back because you need them. Those people won’t buy you a car or put you through college. She started earning real money as a babysitter and that is pleasing her to no end because she loves kids. She collects books and things to do with them so she t akes it very seriously.

    And the best part? She is doing this all outside of church.

    Thanks John.

  22. Well, then it sounds like she is doing fantastic. It is just a hard lesson at first, but I notice that once this lesson is learned, people are much better off emotionally and interpersonally. Mostly because individual achievement is the foundation of self worth. And once a person has self worth it really can’t be taken from them. And this is of course the hardest lesson of all during adolescence: genuine grounded, repeatable, achievable self worth. The faster one learns this the better they are as adults. What parent can ask for more?

    So, good for her. I’m sure she will be fine.

  23. Lydia,

    Thank you for explaining. It sounds like your daughter is mature & wise & empathetic – kind of like her own Mom. And Grandmother.

    It’s good to see what your daughter values & wants & how she interacts. She seems keen to understanding others. And you mention daily discussions of what actions mean, outcomes of beliefs/ideas/actions. That’s huge. It matters.

    I see her sadness/disappointment with institutional church. That’s painful & there’s no magic wand for it. 😦 It seems she is mature to see both the benefits from interactions & downsides of certain beliefs & what they can lead to. That is good & wise.

    I liked in particular what you said:

    “I am a big believer in training and getting the tools you need for excellence in whatever you are doing.”

    Lydia, She seems to know what she wants. She is using her mind. I cheer your daughter on.

  24. Thanks A mom. The church for a short time of her childhood was a great place for her. Now it is a very big disappointment in her teens. I want to use it as a distinct lesson.

    We have to get over trying to reform the idiocy of an institution that only cares to grow and maintain itself as an institution with a plastic fish on it. It is a waste of time.

  25. “It is just a hard lesson at first, but I notice that once this lesson is learned, people are much better off emotionally and interpersonally. Mostly because individual achievement is the foundation of self worth. And once a person has self worth it really can’t be taken from them. And this is of course the hardest lesson of all during adolescence: genuine grounded, repeatable, achievable self worth. The faster one learns this the better they are as adults. What parent can ask for more?”

    Rinse and repeat over and over. Achievement is the foundation of self worth. I, for one, believe we were created for work, ideas, achievement.

  26. Lydia,

    What I really want to get across to you is that I am glad she is learning the realities of institutional church while you walk along with her to help her process through it & to support, encourage & love her. It is not her or her ideas that are wrong. That is the lesson.

    I wept as I read about Braxton Caner and what I believe to be flat-out bullying of a teen by pastors, church leaders, etc. It is horrid & evil.

    I am outraged. They have not an ounce of decency. They have no common sense. They do not care to be good. They are dangerous.

    This reminds me of Wade Burleson’s post & statement, “When love trumps theology”. For crying out loud, if theology isn’t in line with love THEN dump the theology, for heaven’s sake. If a theology, or any idea or belief, is at odds with human decency, then it is WRONG. You don’t keep a theology & back pocket it to save for later in order to do right now. You throw it away if it goes against right action. Period. Full stop.

    I don’t care how many Bible verses someone pulls out to back evil/wrong/uncaring action. Their interpretation is flat out wrong.

    If someone is parsing out Bible verses in order to determine what is right & wrong, then they admit by their clueless action they are totally depraved.

    This is sick. People need to come to their senses.

  27. A Mom, inwardly cheering like a maniac at your latest comment. I will probably get up and dance in a minute. Do you mind if I save your words for later, to remind myself of your insight, and that there is still sense and sanity in the world? I do that kind of thing.

    This is why I love coming here to this blog. Not that I will always agree with or even completely understand everything I see posted here. But, today (oops, yesterday), all day long, I struggled through what seems like a dark and murky sea, underwater. I cried buckets. My mind and heart are tortured. And then I stop by here, almost the only blog I can safely visit without being triggered in some way, and all I can do is sigh and wonder who shined down the light. Because once again I am reminded that there are others who are also disturbed, objecting, of a similar mind. I feel so much lighter!

  28. Oasis….

    I would like to point out that the pain you feel in your mind and heart is a signal that something is wrong. Pain is designed to tell us that there is something amiss. Pain in the mind is the result of conflicting values. Practically this means that somewhere inside your thinking are mutually exclusive ideas and one is fighting for ascendancy. You find no rest in the fight because the ideas are irreconcilable. The crying and the emotional anguish is the psychological manifestation of the conflicting values.

    Since I have seen you comment on blogs that deal with SGM I am assuming that you have been sitting under the Reformed doctrinal teaching.

    So I will point out that the vile nature of Reformed theology tells people that such conflict is normal– essential really–to human “spiritual” existence: that God is somehow glorified in such human torment. This is a lie. Man is a philosophical creature, meaning he must integrate his ideas into a harmonious whole to successfully live. Man cannot live under the destructive force of colliding ideas. It is not possible. But Reformed Theology is specifically designed to drive men/women to a place of philosophical despair.

    (I talk about this at length here http://paulspassingthoughts.com/2014/08/11/when-depression-wins/)

    From your comments here (and the ones I’ve seen in other places) I suspect that your pain is directly rooted in being unable to reconcile the ideas with your life: a life that is a joy to live.

    So here is what I want to point out:
    Your pain is a symptom that something is WRONG.
    You are RIGHT to fix the problem (to end the pain).
    You are RIGHT to abandon destructive ideas (reject Reformed Doctrine in its entirety).
    You are RIGHT to want to live.

    It takes a lot of effort to unravel the theological madness. It takes effort. It takes rational independence. But it can be done.

    Keep reading . . . keep thinking . . . keep working and keep achieving. It does get better.

    John

  29. John, thank you! I was actually reading that same link last night, and followed the link in that thread to your blog, and almost left a comment on each. Great stuff, and you also made me laugh.

    I really, really appreciate your encouragement. It’s a little bit complicated, but yes, burned very badly by false teaching. I unapologetically reject and despise Calvinism, and KNOW from experience that it leads to despair and does not reconcile with our loving God, with goodness, with truth, with life… But being surrounded by fiery darts/triggers, it seems there’s a war going on in my mind, as if a demon is whispering intolerable lies to me, and for some reason, my strength is weak.

    Your comment is beyond helpful to me.

  30. Seriously. You have no idea how helpful it is. Please know that. The things you pointed out, and the way you worded everything you said, has helped me think more clearly and remember important truths. THANK YOU.

  31. Oasis,

    Never give up fighting for you, your worth, what is right. You have every right to stand tall, believe in yourself, & believe in what you know to be true. It’s worth it. You are worth it. That is accomplishment.

    Remember, you can walk away from reading anything that brings you down. But you may be tougher than you think! 😉 I’ve seen you catch bad thinking/ideas. And when I read your responses, I cheer YOU on!

    You inspire me. Virtual high fives. You go, girl!!!

  32. “A Mom,
    That comment was for you, you know. 🙂
    Having fun at the expense of others!! It’s a gas!! LOLOL”

    Yes, I know. You know I don’t believe cussing sends someone to hell. And I’m okay with a laugh on me. So I went there with ya for fun to show I have no hard feelings. You may be surprised who all is in that potty-mouth line!

    Since you brought it up… I still think cussing can ironically steal focus/thunder from an idea. Like too much makeup does to a pretty girl… a little here & there for desired effect is fine, but cake it on like icing & it overwhelms & distracts from natural beauty. Does a girl have the right to cake it on? Sure & I’d defend her right to do so, but it may not be effective nor get her what she’s after….

  33. A Mom, thank you, thank you! Yes, I can walk away, and there are other boundaries to draw in my personal life. Not playin’ games at all anymore, enough is enough. Seems it will take every ounce of strength I have to fight…so, with that in mind, I’ll use every last one. High fives back! 🙂

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