Tag Archives: total depravity

Where “Begging” Means Threats and “Imploring” Means Force: Collectivism masquerading as the Christian Orthodox Ideal, Part 15

I quote the following from  pages 32, 33  of  the booklet “Community: Your pathway to progress”, published by North Point Ministries, 2008:

“Let’s face it; we’re all prone to wander.  Commitment and conviction just aren’t enough to keep us from drifting.  If they were, we would be far skinnier and richer…Two out of three functioning legs on our proverbial spiritual stools just aren’t enough to support the weight of our lives.  We need the third leg of connection if we’re to remain upright.

‘See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:12-13)’

We are corporately commanded to encourage one another.  The Greek word that’s translated into English as “encourage” is not the equivalent of a slap on the back…Rather, it’s an urgent appeal, an exhortation–a begging even.  The author implores us to join with a group of people willing to do whatever it takes to keep each other faithful.  It assumes a connection where accountability is welcomed and reciprocated.”

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Aaaaaaand…we’re back.  Welcome, my friends, to another episode of “How Many Presumptions, Contradictions, Deceptions, and Spurious Explications Can We Pass Off as Sound Doctrine”, brought to you by our esteemed mystic sponsor, straight from the hot and sunny nether coast of Hell itself, North Point Ministries.

*[Applause]*

Back to our show.

First things first. Let’s get the ostensible contradiction out of the way, and then we’ll deal with the larger issue.

Notice this portion of the quote:

“It [encouragement] is not the equivalent of a slap on the back…Rather, it’s an urgent appeal, an exhortation–a begging even.”

Now notice how the author(s) italicize the word “begging” for emphasis…that is not something I added.

Now, here’s the next part of the quote I would like to bring to your attention:

“The author [of Hebrews] implores us to join with a group of people willing to do whatever it takes to keep each other faithful.  It assumes a connection where accountability is welcomed and reciprocated.”

Let me give you a few minutes to use your impressive powers of observation and reason (and I’m not being sarcastic here…I understand well the rational faculties of my readers) to note the ostensible contradiction; and then to discern why contradiction is not really the problem, it is how they render the verse with respect to the Reformed epistemology of:

Encouragement = Accountability = Authority = Force (“whatever it takes”) = Obedience = “Real” Faith = “Salvation” = Encouragement = Accountability…and the cycle simply repeats itself (this is known in today’s counter-movement, The Truth About New Calvinism, fronted by the ineffable Paul Dohse from paulspassingthoughts.com, as the heretical, yet never expressly named, doctrine of “progressive justification”).

Okay…I’ll assume you’ve completed your examination, and commence to explicate what you’ve very likely apprehended already, but perhaps not in so many words.

The first issue this article will explore is, again, the ostensible contradiction.  If the “sinner” is in a collective of people who all, including the hypothetical “sinner” in question, welcome and reciprocate “accountability”, then why does the “sinner” need to be begged and implored to keep himself from sin’s allure VIA collective accountability within his community group?  Refraining from sin is a function of collective accountability, which, North Point Ministries says, is a function of small groups full of people who “welcome” and “reciprocate” such accountability.  So why all the begging?

As I understand it, to “welcome” and “reciprocate” something specifically indicates a prominent willingness to engage in that thing.

For example, you don’t, by definition, need to beg me to go to the coffee shop with you if I’ve already welcomed your invitation.  In the same way, if I then reciprocate the invitation, you don’t need to iterate or reiterate the practical, absolute, and/or relative benefits of coffee shop patronage.  This is what we colloquially call “preaching to the choir”.  I’ve already conceded the the value of coffee shopping with you, and welcomed and reciprocated the idea.  So why beg and implore? To beg someone who’s already said yes is actually counterproductive to the issue.  If you beg and plead in the face of rank acquiescence then you certainly show yourself a madman…one of which should be avoided at all costs, up to and including a restraining order.  Which means that your encouragement to a given end is beside the point.  You are insane and so must be, by logical extension, your ideas and avocations and group affiliations.  You don’t need to beg for something you already possess, is my point.  For all you Reformed Christians, you should save your begging for Judgement Day, because on that day, since your salvation is completely arbitrary, you might need it.

Then again, I suppose by the fact that Reformed “salvation” is by God’s arbitrary whim, and has nothing whatsoever to do with you, because you are evil personified according to your very own metaphysic of Total Depravity, you probably won’t.

At any rate, notice that the contradiction is, again, purely ostensible.  It’s not really what the author(s) are saying here.  And this is why we must be so very careful not to get involved with this movement (Reformed theology, especially new Calvinism). Because, for all of their sophism and the buckets upon buckets of cognitive dissonance, they are very good at presenting their appeals to their absolute authority and divine right to coerce you into their will by FORCE and VIOLENCE and INTIMIDATION as something to which you must personally agree and something which somehow involves your voluntary participation and permission and valued contribution.  They have had years to perfect their surreptitious approach, and they wield their subliminally seductive style as masterfully as a snake wields its technique of hiding perfectly still, with prodigious patience, until its prey is within striking distance and is utterly, utterly helpless.

You see, North Point Ministries is not actually engaging in contradiction here.  They are not suggesting that you be begged and implored to walk the straight and narrow path of righteousness and holiness.  They are begging and imploring you to affiliate with a North Point Ministries “community” group (also known variously as “care”, “small”, or “home” groups depending on which neo-Calvinist church you attend)…and in that group is where you will find a group of consciously or subconsciously indoctrinated thugs who intend to “do whatever it takes” to keep each other “faithful”.

And this phrase “whatever it takes” should naturally terrify us.  A cursory glance at the internet reveals just what “whatever” includes.  Specifically, I invite you to read John Immel’s article on spiritualtyranny.com which examines the history of former Sovereign Grace Ministries pastor, Larry Tomczak, and the terrifying horror show of his split from his employer.  A Hollywood script-writer could scarcely envision a more sinister and dystopian plot…one which involved, among other things, the abject crime of blackmail, whereupon Tomczak’s very child was used as leverage.  Indeed, Wes Craven, God rest his soul, would have been hard pressed to conjure up a greater form of evil in his prodigious imagination.

And these are the men who are going to beg you to do anything?  As if! You will all obey or you will, sooner or later, suffer the consequences of your temerity.  And so will your family and anyone who dares call you “friend”.

This is not to exonerate Tomczak, mind you.  As far as I’m aware he is a fully unrepentant Calvinist in his own right, who appealed to the very same right of pastoral authority as those who sought his excruciating demise until that authority was turned upon him.  And much like the serial killer who ironically begs for his life before being forced, bawling and blubbering and dripping with snot and spit, into the electric chair, Tomczak begged for absolution from his own Calvinist ideas without ever substantially rejecting them, and which demanded his treatment at the hands of SGM, and demanded that he affirm their actions as just.  The irony is just so glorious, and yet so overlooked by these people.

The point I am making is that when these mystic tyrants declare that they will do “whatever it takes”, they mean “whatever it takes”; and we would do well to remember this.  When you get down to the root of it, belonging to a church in America today is almost certainly not about salvation…or love, or peace, or prayer, or charity, or compassion, or encouragement, or acceptance, or benevolence, or counsel.  It is about Authority, and Authority is Force, and Force is always and fundamentally DEstructive.  It is NEVER CONstructive.  I promise you this:  should you involve yourself in the Reformed movement, with its appeals to the metaphysic of man’s Total and Pervasive Depravity, you will be removed from yourself, one way or another.  The point of the ministry is not to exonerate you before God, but to set you before Him–which means THEM, as they are “standing in His stead”, eradicating the difference from your point of view–for the purpose of abject, summary, and categorical destruction; and this after they have taken from you as much free labor and mammon as they can possibly get into their grubby little hands.

So…once you have been love-bombed into the church, and then “begged” and “implored” (which…hilarious choice of words because, as a church member, you have no real choice in the matter; you WILL join the community group or you WILL be ostracized, at best, and quite possibly thought of and pitied as an unsaved, devil-worshiping apostate)…yes, once you are in the church and then “begged” into your quaint little harem of “community”, the question which remains is: Why is it that you feel so obligated to “welcome” and “reciprocate” the “accountability” (sin-sniffing/relentless skepticism) within that “community”?

The answer by now should be self-evident.

Fear.

The fear of violence.  The fear of intimidation.  The fear of ostracism.  The fear of excommunication.  The fear of their Authority to pronounce you hell-bound for all eternity, whilst God and His proxies rejoice and eat s’mores over the perpetual combustion chamber which is your ass.

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“…it’s an urgent appeal, and exhortation–a begging even.”

Now, this is where the suspension of disbelief is absolutely necessary.  For if we concede the metaphysic of man’s Total Depravity, we must concede the fact that man is entirely insufficient to existence.  He can DO no good because he can KNOW no good.  And he cannot KNOW good because he cannot DO good.  Knowing and doing—-assumptions and actions, are corollaries.  If man can know good then he must be able to observe the outcomes of good assumptions, for assumptions do not exist in a vacuum of themselves.  And the only way good assumptions can, in fact, be understood as good is to observe them efficacious to a good end.  And to observe good outcomes man must concede that they are good with respect to his own inexorable existential frame of reference: himSELF.  Which means that the outcomes of those good assumptions are such that man must directly and materially (meaning, in his body) benefit from those assumptions.  Which means at the very least man must be able to actively engage in said outcomes, even if he is not the direct cause.

In order for you to receive a good gift, for example, you must be able to enjoy it.  And enjoying something requires a material, behavioral interaction with it.  The emotional satisfaction one gets from a gift is only possibly if that gift can be physically engaged in some form or another.  And if this is true, and it is, then man’s body cannot be totally depraved because it is precisely man’s body which is the means by which man manifests practically and relevantly the good things he is given.  All of this is merely to say that there is no such thing as a man who can KNOW good but can never actually, practically, DO good.  For even simply enjoying a gift of God must involve not just the mind, but the body. That is, recognizing the goodness of a gift is only possible if man can physically receive it; and to willingly receive a good gift is, in fact, to DO a good thing. That good thing is: acknowledging the goodness of the gift and to physically accept it, or to emotionally or intellectually accept it (as in receiving the “good news”) and then apply its implications practically, which requires the action of the body…or doing, in the very physical and material sense.  I have said it before and I will say it again:  There can be no assumption without a corresponding behavioral action.  If there is absolutely no corresponding action, then the assumption is not, in fact, assumed.  This is axiomatic (and complex…and warrants several articles, if not more, in its own right).

But if we concede that man is totally depraved, then neither acknowledging nor doing anything good is possible.  Since man is governed entirely by his sinful nature (his depraved metaphysic), he possesses no capacity to choose between a good thing or a bad thing, be it an actual object or a message, and then to act upon that choice because he is entirely a product of his depravity.  Moral choice is precluded in such a case.  Man IS his evil.  There is NO distinction between man and depravity.  And since what IS depraved MUST always choose depravity, there is no such thing as choice at all.  If you must always choose coffee over tea, because your cognition (“consciousness”) is a product not of your capacity to be self-aware and to rightly evaluate your environment with respect to the absolute reference of your own SELF-context, then the very notion of “choice” becomes ineffectual.  It becomes moot.  A total contradiction; practically and relevantly impossible.

And since this is the case when we concede Total Depravity, what is the point in begging?  What is the point in imploring?  You cannot implore the rock not to fall any more than you can implore the wave not to crash.  You cannot beg the ice cream not to melt in the summer heat any more than you can beg the cream not to ice in the sub-zero temperatures of a winter’s day.  You cannot beg the flame not to devour the match or the shark not to devour the wounded sea lion. They do not respond to begging or exhortation because they are not capable of choosing.  It is in their nature to do the very thing you implore them not to do; in which case there is no such relevant thing, to their absolute frame of reference, their nature, as begging.

The only effective action is FORCE.

We must force the flame not to devour the match by snuffing it out.  We must force the shark not to devour the sea lion by either killing it, making a pretense of killing it and thus appealing to its survival instinct, or placing a barrier between it and the sea lion.  We force the ice cream not to melt by sticking it in the freezer.  We force the rock not to fall by moving it, or by stretching a steel net across it.

In the same way, the ecclesiastical leadership at North Point Ministries absolutely know that begging and imploring are useless tactics against the unwashed, depraved masses.

And even more, we must understand that in the context of the Reformed doctrine held by North Point Ministries, begging and imploring are not reasoningThey, themselves, become a very means of force.  A cajoling by deception; a manipulation of man’s instinctual and base emotions.  It has absolutely nothing to do with appealing to man’s capacity to recognize good options from bad ones, and rationally so, in order that they may display a Christ-like charity which values the individual human being, and his exultation over his slavery to death and misery.

On the contrary, it is merely another manifestation of their assumption that you don’t really get to choose.  That your “salvation” must happen in spite of you and your time and your money.  You belong to them; and if they could use abject state violence and/or threats of violence to force you into the pews on Sunday, just as the Puritans did, they would.  And trust me, they are seeking state power like the dog which has gotten a taste for avian blood seeks the chicken coop where that blood was first taken.

And then, once they’ve manipulated you into the the small groups by their “begging”–by their ostentatious, obsequious, overtures of “love” and “understanding” and “compassion”…the small groups where accountability is “willingly” “welcomed” and “reciprocated”–they will do WHATEVER it takes.  And, trust me, that will by no means be limited to “begging” or “imploring”.

The pretense will eventually vanish; and behind the fog you will find not begging, but threats and fear; and ultimately, the greatest panacea to their constant striving for absolute authority:

Pain.

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Liberty is Impossible Because of Man’s Total Depravity

The presumption is that man is fundamentally depraved and thus inadequate to his own existence. In other words, man, if left to himself, will by nature seek to torment, exploit, and murder his fellow man and himself.  Of course, what is never explained is how those in government get a metaphysical pass on their own absolute depravity. But we are not supposed to ask these kinds of questions.

In short, it always boils down to metaphyics; the question “What is man?” forms the basis of every political, religious, and moral discussion the world over.  These discussions are fundamentally philosophical, and the fundamental of philosophy is metaphysics.

And this is why ostensibly rational human beings can ask the ironical questions “Liberty is good, yes, but what of the inevitably destructive consequences of too much Liberty; TOO much freedom? Liberty, but at what cost to humanity?” And they ask these questions whilst completely oblivious to the irony.

The assumption that man is metaphysically flawed and therefore inadequate to his own existence makes liberty for man categorically impossible.

And so, since the assumption is that man is fundamentally depraved by nature, it is avered that the only way man can truly exist is in a collective. Thus, we get the collectivist metaphysic so prevalent in the world and is, I submit, at the very heart of all governments and all religious institutions–which are simply governments themselves. Man can only be “himself” in any relevant or efficacious way by identifying with this group or that.

This is why there is such a push to nationalism and militarism and symbolism in almost all countries, even as groups within those SAME countries are pitted against each other; and this in order to maintain and promote the de facto premise that groups by their very nature must assert their moral mandate to engage in belligerency against ALL those on the “outside”–a mandate which is merely a function of the group’s rote existence.

The individual we are taught must be sacrificed to the group, not only for the good of the many, but–and this is the truly insidious part–for the good of HIMSELF. Which is a rank contradiction that is also never addressed; because there is no answer for this evil idea.

Your Absolute Dependence Upon Pastoral “Authority” for an Efficacious Rendering of Reality (i.e. Your Sanity): Part FOURTEEN of “Collectivism Masquerading as the Christian Orthodox Ideal”

“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.

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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”.

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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.