“But if the only people in your circle are those who [sic] the wind blows your way, you run the risk of being pushed in directions you really don’t want to go.”
(Community: Your pathway to progress, North Point Ministries, 2008, p. 17)
To begin, this question is deceptive because according to the group metaphysic to which the author(s) of this manifesto subscribe, there is no “risk”, there is only certainty. Meaning, since your existence is only legitimate, efficacious, and actual as a direct function of the collective, you will pursue life and act in accordance with the dictates of the group. There is no “risk” because there is no individual will. Once you are in a group of “those the wind blows your way”, there is no maybe about it. You will exist as a function of that group and do what that group does. Period. And you will then summarily become guilty of metaphysical insufficiency and moral depravity because this group of barbarian nomads is decidedly not the group which the author(s) of this primer declares is the only right group. The assumption behind this question is that those people “blown your way” are indubitably an evil influence. The only “good” collective is the church collective…specifically, the protestant reformed church collective.
In other words, you are either a member of the group they are espousing, or you are a member of an apostate group by default and bound for hell. Never mind that YOU, in this metaphysic, do not exist at all and therefore it is impossible to argue that YOU will be eternally punished (for as the group rises, so the group falls…there is no individual suffering because there is no individual). But remember, all the inconsistencies are forever punted into the cosmic abyss of God’s mystery. All logical contradictions are only contradictions because you have not been given the grace to perceive God’s “real” truth, because you are epistemologically incapable of perception because you, individually, are totally depraved as a function of your root metaphysic. So, in other words, shut the fuck up, do what your told, and leave the hard questions and paradoxes for the group leadership to understand, which has all divine authority over you, because they alone are standing in the stead of God. Which literally means that they are God to you; there is no difference as far as you are concerned.
Nervous yet? Sure you are…as you should be.
And finally, and most obviously, the idea that “the wind” indifferently blows people your way is a rank rejection of the reformed view of God’s sovereignty. According to their determinist philosophy, not only does nothing happen which God does not ordain, but nothing happens which God does not specifically ordain for a specific purpose, which may or may not remain a mystery (well, at least in whole, for it is always a mystery in part) to those who are merely the vehicles (extensions) of His divine Will. This means that it is then, by philosophical definition, impossible for you to randomly fall into some group by happenstance, blind fate, or even free choice (which you already know they categorically deny…even though they lie, or are ignorant, and say they don’t). And again, this idea that things happen just because they happen even though God is “in control of all things” (and how often we are treated to that little gem of irrational thinking) is merely another paradox punted into oblivion, left to the pastors to apprehend for you. You just gotta believe. The acceptance of things as true which cannot possibly be true in any measure of human reality is a badge of holy faith, sure to bring the blessings of God immeasurably to all those who believe.
But of course since the root of reality is found in assertions which are mutually exclusive it makes it extremely dubious that you can or will possess the epistemological sufficiency to apprehend said blessings when they occur…but that’s not really your concern, either. Your job again is simply to believe, by hook or crook, no matter what the consequence, and to never assume that you should ever know why you believe nor think that you should, nor have any right (because you are totally depraved) to, observe some kind of logical, and pleasant, outcomes of your faith. For if the outcomes were logical then the belief would be logical, which means it would not be contradictory, which means it wouldn’t require much faith (again, these are the doctrinal assumptions of reformed “scholars”). In other words, irrational faith will lead not to a logical outcome, but an irrational one, by definition. And so any blessing derived from your faith will not be rationally observed. Thus, you need to have that same blind faith to accept that the consequences will make sense, and be blessings to you, even though you cannot understand these blessings for the same reason you cannot understand the contradictions which form the root of what you are supposed to believe by faith. And the reason is simply because you can’t understand. Ever. Because it is your very SELF which is depraved, wicked, flawed, and insufficient, and thus is categorically and perpetually exclusive of the morality and truth of God, by nature.
So the natural outcome of the reformed epistemology is belief for the sake of belief, and nothing more. Thus, the ability to concede rationally and efficaciously impossible ideas is the pinnacle of collectivist enlightenment.
“Simply put, your progress spiritually hinges on your willingness to enter into structured relationships with other believers…
…God works through relationships and that’s what this group is all about. It’s about being part of a community. It’s about doing life with a consistent group of people for the sake of spiritual progress.”
(Community: Your pathway to progress, North Point Ministries, 2008, p. 18)
Since “spiritual progress” (whatever the fuck that means) is the only relevant progress, according to the “orthodox” Christian dualistic metaphysic, your worth, existentially speaking (meaning, as a function of your very being), is a direct function of not only relationships with other believers, but “structured relationships”. Of course, this naturally begs the question: Just what does “structured” mean in this context? Because this word simply appears out of the blue, never mentioned in the preceding pages, and is given no attention once it is submitted. The reader thus is left with the conspicuous absence of any meaningful definition of “structured”. Nevertheless, I do not mind hazarding a guess…and truly even more than a guess, I would bet money, and I mean real money, that “structured” means “authority. Which means a hierarchy of rulers, culminating in the Senior Pastor who possesses the full mandate of heaven to compel your behavior. “Structured relationships” then is merely a euphemism…a Christian collectivist code for the massively unbiblical and downright villainous reformed doctrines of Authority and Submission.
1. Tell the group about one or two of your friends. Why did you choose them? What was the basis for your connection?”
(p. 19 of preceding citation)
My criticism of this section of the primer will not deal directly with it as it is stated. Rather, I wish to discuss briefly the underlying authoritarian premise behind relationships amongst people in collectivist organizations, most conspicuously observed in the modern American neo-Calvinist movement:
That’s the rule which is the foundation of your relationship with the group and everyone in it. But why is your life to be an open book to the group which claims proprietorship over it?
By now the answer should be obvious. Your life is not your own, of course. It belongs to the collective. It IS the collective. Any attempt to harbor a life of your own is likened to sinful deception and will get you labeled a subversive, and your personal life will be targeted mercilessly, and you will be hounded for information; and if you are not forthcoming and obedient, you will be summarily dismissed, ostracized, or worse, depending on how much destruction they think they can get away with.
As a member of the group in good standing you are obligated to disclose the deepest and most intimate aspects of your existence to people whom you may have only recently met. How often have you been in a new church “home ” or “care” group and scarcely three or four meetings go by before the moderator begins to speak about the importance of “accountability”?
Incidentally, accountability is merely the protestant form of Confession. But at any rate, ideally your accountability “partner” will be a member of the same care or home group, but must at least be a member of the same church. By no means shall they be someone who attends a different “local” church; or worse, one who does not regularly attend church at all. The purpose of keeping accountability “in house” ensures that your “areas of sin” or “struggles” are owned exclusively by the leadership of the church, tucked away for a rainy day, so to speak, brought up in case of church disciplinary actions or for convenient manipulation. A great example of this is the outright blackmail of former Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) pastor, Larry Tomzcak, by SGM president C.J. Mahaney, whereby Mahaney threatened to go public with some very personal and intimate information concerning Tomzcak’s son. The vicious evil of this kind of rank criminal behavior by church leadership, that is, the using confidential information to manipulate the behavior of church members and/or subordinate employees, should cause us all to shudder in fear and set our jaws in anger.
The moral is: think long and hard before agreeing to “be held accountable”. You better believe that if you ever dare to threaten the reigning status, power, and wealth of the ecclesiastical authority you motherfucking will be.
But the point of a question like the one excerpted above is to surreptitiously teach you that there should be no pretense of self-ownership; which means that there shall be no pretense of any personal (read individual) context. Once the group is made aware of the intimate details of your life, the group is at liberty to compel your responses in any and all contexts whereby those details have occurred (e.g. work life, family life, personal thoughts, dreams, desires, lusts, emotional struggles, even hobbies, likes, or sundry interests). And remember–and this cannot be stated often enough–the point of suggesting you cough up the secret details of your life is for leverage, period. There is no other rational reason…and there is certainly no Biblical reason for any of the people in these churches to know your personal business, period. Full stop. They are entitled to know nothing beyond what you freely choose to share; they haven’t the authority to demand to know what you fucking had for breakfast let alone your deepest emotional struggles. And further, might I add that if the group is the only legitimate manifestation of your existence because it is the only means by which God has given to pursue your “spiritual progress” (again, whatever the fuck that means), and your spiritual progress is the only progress which matters, then your personal life, including your emotional struggles, is irrelevant.
Lay that shit on them the next time they ask you how your “quiet times” are going. Or…you could say, “They are still very quiet, thanks, and I would prefer to keep them that way.” And conclude it by muttering (audibly, though) something to the effect of “nosy git”.
And sure, you may lose your accountability partner, but on the upside you’ll finally get a bunch of pretentious tools to mind their own damn business for a change.