“Let’s face it; we’re all prone to wander.” (P. 32, “Community: Your pathway to progress; North Point Ministries, 2008)
Well…no. This is simply not true. Useless conjecture; but even worse, it is patently deceptive.
We are not ALL prone to wander. I could rattle off a half dozen people off the top of my head who I know are not “prone to wander”…whatever that means; I’m guessing here, because they haven’t defined it.
Ah…now that’s telling isn’t it?
Tell you what. Hold that thought for a sec.
Furthermore, how in the hell is it possible to empirically verify such an assertion? Did the authors interview every human being on earth both alive and dead to determine if they ever wandered? And who decides what it means to “wander”? And by what criteria and what consensus do they decide? And did the subjects they interviewed concede the definition? And if they did not concede the definition, were they then excluded from the survey? And if they were not excluded, by what rationale did the researchers decide it was legitimate and consistent with objective research protocol to disregard the opinions of the subjects with respect to the proper definition of terms? And further, if they WERE excluded, does not that invalidate the initial claim–that “We are ALL prone to wander”–because, if some people are excluded from the survey, is not the hypothesis automatically disqualified on the basis that not ALL people were interviewed?
Also, what makes them the experts on what constitutes “wandering”? I mean, we can probably agree that, say, farming, homesteading, sharecropping, and squatting are pretty obviously not “wandering”. But what about hunter-gatherer societies? Are they considered wandering? What about military families who move a lot? Or traveling salesmen, or musicians, or acting troupes, or circuses? Do they suffer from the blight of wandering as defined by North Point Ministries? Should we demand they stop being so damn irresponsible and grow roots and put them down? Or…um…is “wandering” merely a figurative term?
Hm…yes. I think we may be on to something.
You see, once we understand that “wandering” is a euphemism for “sin”, and that only the “orthodox” ecclesiastical authority is allowed to define “sin”, this obviously absurd and impossible-to-substantiate claim (“we are all prone to wander”) is quickly revealed as an important and foundational part of the American Church’s very profitable deception.
Now, I’m sure it has, at this point, not escaped your attention that the author does not define “wander”. And that, incidentally, is a glaring omission common in reformed literature, since the days of Calvin and Luther…at least. You see, “sin” is never specifically defined in writings dealing with doctrine; and that’s because sin as a concept must have a fluid definition in order for it to be profitable as a tool of manipulation. In other words, “sin” is whatever the ecclesiastical authority–(defined as those “standing in the stead of God” to shepherd (compel by violence, threats, or both) your spiritual “walk” (trail of tears))…yes, “sin” is whatever the ecclesiastical authority says it is at any given moment, in any given circumstance. This way they can control the moral narrative of your life, and by this control the practical fruits of your labor; your existence. Which is the whole point. The treasure is not in heaven as they have told you, but rather it is the fruit of your labor, and it is meant to flow upward, to the top of the hierarchical pyramid…and this is collectivism 101. The government (the moral and intellectual supreme authority) of the church, just as it is in Marxist autocracies, is the only agency which really matters. Said in an ironic way, you exist to NOT exist…that is, you exist to be sacrificed categorically to those who are “called” to ‘lead” you–where “lead” is a euphemism for “possess”.
You see, according to the metaphysic of reformed doctrine, there is no “you” distinct or autonomous from your “sin” (the reformed human metaphysic being, succinctly stated: man IS Evil; or man IS Sin). Thus, in the process of purging you from your “sin nature”, YOU, the self-aware agent, must also be purged (and your awareness is an illusion at best; however, a self-indulgent lie and proof of your categorical apostasy probably better describes how individual consciousness is perceived by the eldership). This purging is most effectively accomplished by destroying your cognitive ability to anchor yourself to a rationally consistent conceptual paradigm. And this is done by constantly manipulating the meaning of terms so that you remain in a perpetual state of confusion with regards to apprehending reality; that is, through manipulating concepts by implicitly teaching the constant vacillation of the meaning of words, the ecclesiastical leadership keeps you permanently dependent upon them for your sanity. A denial of their “authority” is a denial of reality and condemns you to a state of madness from which there can be no salvation. Of any kind. Because “salvation” (or “Christ”, or “God”, or “YOU”) cannot have any meaning at all apart from their AUTHORITY. That is, without them interpreting your life FOR you, you cannot tell which way is up or down. You are as likely to wind up in hell as in heaven, and it doesn’t matter anyway because there is no functional difference. It’s all misery because it is all undecipherable, disconnected images combined with sounds and utterances that have no reference in objective reality. Truly it is psychological abuse and manipulation of the worst kind. And psychological abuse is the worst kind of hell, because it lives INSIDE you. There is no escape. And this is why the American Spiritual Industrial Complex is so insanely profitable. The threat of hell is, or can be, in a sense, and ironically, the worst kind of hell. And make no mistake, it is FEAR which drives the payroll. It is the insertion of a living and active hell into the minds of men which makes men dependent on any half-witted knob who merely claims, with absolutely no appeal to reason whatsoever and none asked for, to have the “words of eternal life”.
Now, a rational definition of “sin” is pretty much that of which any sane person will assume; a definition, incidentally (for all your biblicists), one could easily garner by an honest, unfiltered, and unmolested examination of Scripture: don’t do things that violate the the sanctity (the right to individual self-ownership) of your neighbor. Don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t covet, don’t blaspheme…pretty straightforward moral standards not unlike those found in a rather significant, but oft ignored (because it’s far too easy, you see), moral code known as the Ten Commandments. But since ALL of Scripture is merely a function of the Reformed “gospel narrative”, the ability to grasp the true meaning of these moral imperatives eludes you, because you, unlike your Pastor, have not been given the divine enlightenment necessary to determine for yourself what “not-coveting” or “not lying” or “not stealing” really looks like (remember, they must provide the definitions for you, moment by moment by moment, in perpetuity…for this is the only reference for “reality”…for conceptual meaning). Thus, your pastoral “authority” is forced to interpret the “narrative of reality” for you, because you, having not been called to stand-in-the-stead as they have, and thus having NOT been divinely bequeathed enlightenment (for according to reformed epistemology, truth is not learned but is bestowed) you cannot possibly understand the Ten Commandments because you cannot possibly understand what sin really is because your absolute sin-nature has precluded you from any reference of a rationally consistent reality by which you could interpret “sin” in the first place. Simply put: since your consciousness is an illusion, you cannot define anything you claim to see. Thus, they must define everything for you, according to their pastoral “enlightenment”, and this “enlightenment” is the utterly irrational metaphysical construct of a “gospel-centered” interpretation of ALL reality; which is ironic because such an interpretive lens makes defining “reality” in any rational sense impossible.
It is by no accident that the interpretation of reality always begins and ends with discussions, though no consistent definitions, of “sin”; that is, sin is always a function of the present context; it is always in the NOW, which is why even after salvation we are all still “functional” sinners (active reprobates by nature); sin is NEVER relegated to the past; there is no cure for sin because there is no cure for YOU; your existence IS, and IS NOW, and thus sin is always “with you” because sin IS you.
This is done to serve the narrative that your sin is perpetual, of course; that there is absolutely no moment of your life which is untainted or untouched by your debauched nature. If they can convince you that you are always doing wrong simply by breathing, they can convince you that doing right is quite impossible, but only if it is outside of their “covering” of course. Naturally then, and quite logically, being humanity’s “covering” is a highly lucrative position. And this is why there are so many churches, and so many wealthy churches, with so many very wealthy “shepherds”.
So now you understand why there is no consistent definition of sin, as you might see in the Ten Commandments where morality is referenced to the autonomy and right-to-life and right-to-self-ownership of the self-aware agent (God and Man). “Sin” is only ever remotely defined with any specificity when the ecclesiasty perceives a threat–real or imagined–to their authority; their ex post facto ownership of your mind, body, and property. “How dare you question our beliefs?” They say. “How dare you question our vision and how dare you impose the temerity of your blindness upon us? Your gossip and your lies and your recalcitrance trail behind you like a cloud of darkness, infecting and corrupting all the wonderful things God is doing in our church family. You are probably not even saved. In fact, no…you are not saved. I declare it. And I will rattle my keys under your nose in mockery of your apostasy.” Yes, this is the only time sin is given anything even approximating an objective definition.
And if this sounds too profound to be true…if you are curling your lips and upturning your nose at the absurdity of my assertions, well…then whatever “God-appointed” authority to which you’ve been lending your ear is admittedly doing his or her job with exceeding facility. You are supposed to think people like me merely polemic. You are supposed to recoil in fear and wince horror at such suggestions. You are supposed to blow raspberries at anyone who would dare question the motives of those who have everything to gain from exploiting your love and, even worse, your fears, and who make it a blatant point to reject reason and to offer no further apologetic for their doctrines than “who can ever really understand His ways? [shrug]”. You are supposed to instinctively reject any possible connection between the doctrines they teach and the destructive outcomes so frequently observed in the American Church (child sexual abuse, financial scandals, sexual harassment and exploitation of women, embarrassing and psyche-demolishing church-splits, heartless and vindictive attitudes towards non-believers, open and unrepentant hypocrisy amongst the leadership, rejections of Christ en masse by former believers…to name just a few).
They’ve been perfecting their approach for thousands of years. Your knee-jerk rejection to the idea that you could possibly be exploited by these people for their own selfish benefit, either willfully or out of ignorance, is proof that practice has indeed made perfect. I mean, let’s face it: you won’t be convinced to jump in front of a train unless someone spends a lot of time practicing the approach necessary to convince you that your life is ultimately beside the point; that the train cannot go where it must go with you in the way…and that being in the way means existing at all. That is, and ironically, unless you jump directly in front of the speeding train, you cannot help but to hinder its divine mission, which, you have been convinced, is somehow worse for you than rejecting the very life you believe God created and gave you in the first place!
Yes, and thus, like the proverbial frog slowly boiling to death, you sit in the sanctuary and stare at the plexiglass podium and nod at your reformed pastor’s message dutifully, unaware of the grave reality of your condition. And upon hearing my message you psychologically assume the fetal position, terrified at my hyperbole and paranoia.
You see, for me to declare to some people that their lives matter and that human life matters has become a yarn of madness to them, and sends them into fits of moral indignation, a sputtering of denial, and compels them to cry aloud “God-hater!” and “Heretic!”.
And when they’ve finished, I confidently proclaim my case rested.