Tag Archives: enabling

Mars Hill without the intellectual pretense

This overnight radio show drove home how really unintellectual this country has become. This is especially ironic and tragic when you consider how much money is spent on “education”. People really aren’t educated today, they’re trained, indoctrinated and made competent, but assuredly not educated.

In respect to that we have the great enabler, the media, this particular show is such a graphic example. Call in with the most ludicrous subject, conspiracy theory, any kind of theory, so long as it’s not about Jesus, and he will tell anyone who calls that they are right about anything they submit. His attitude seems to be “they said it so it must be true, again so long as it’s not Jesus”. No matter how impossible it is to reconcile with reality or with anything else that’s been proposed on the show, that night or any other night in the years this show has been on. It’s on seven nights a week 365 days a year.

The regular host, at least, rarely questions anyone and when he does it’s in the sense of “well ok, if you say so”. So many of the callers are almost obviously delusional, even over the phone/over the radio it’s pretty apparent. The paranoid and obviously delusional, and others suffering from an apparent mental disorder call into this show and just throw it right out there and no one questions them in the least. There is a constant stream of guests who go on, often for hours, spouting their latest theories, conspiracies and/or coverups. They label something a coverup, no matter how obvious or implausible and the host will give you a microphone and an audience.

Isnt this really how society is today? Anything/everything is possible, label anything/anyone you want with some kind of conspiracy, some kind of a conspirator and this host will let you rant on so long as it’s politically correct (although he will let some right wing fanatics and/or religious nut ramble on just to show they’re obviously somehow paranoid or delusional). The rest he just let’s go on their merry way, pats them on their head, tells them how obviously right they are, while making no effort to try and reconcile this ones story with the one from the day before. There must be UFOs, they must be a part of a government plot or coverup.

One could certainly make the case that this is a modern day “Mars Hill”, but while the people there were some kind of intellectuals, there is no pretense of any kind of intellectual at all in contemporary society. Frankly I submit if anything it’s anti-intellectual. We will tell you what the truth is (or that there really isn’t any truth) and you just need to fall in line. You get all these people who tell you they don’t need an education, because they know all they need to know. I’ve learned all I need, when they can’t demonstrate that they’ve done anything to learn anything. I’ve seen more than a few of these types. ┬áNo education to speak of, no real life experience, no personal study, it’s obvious that anything they know is very superficial. But that doesn’t stop them. They have somehow absorbed the information, some form of osmosis, and everyone should follow them and believe everything they say.

You certainly see this in big-box churches. No real background, but let’s put on a good show, say the right words (although they fill those words with ideas that don’t at all match their biblical use or any other genuine Christian doctrine).

There is ridiculous anti-intellectualism in this country. All you need is a superficial, if any, understanding on a subject and you can just pontificate away and expect everyone to unquestionably accept and act on what you say. Ya, that’s how Jim Jones, Charlie Manson, Joseph Smith, on and on, with no real understanding of reality, just blah-blah-blah, now go do it.

We also have the uncritical, anti-intellectual like this radio host perpetuating this. The creed being, just be an enabler, don’t challenge, don’t question, don’t rebuke. Nah, I just want to be liked, be successful, make money, and then? Well we will deal with that then, but hey I’ve been a good person.

That is why we want people to grow in their faith, to be good disciples and disciplers. That is why we cannot tolerate those churches that just make Christianity a form of entertainment. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life”. We have to live that, lead that, teach that and not give in to the silly babbling. We cannot concede souls to those who have no scruples except to make money and try to distract people from the truth in Christ. Satan really doesn’t care what you believe so long as it’s not Jesus.

Stupid behavior of others does affect other people

I will qualify this by saying that in terms of substance abuse that I have frankly just never got it. Don’t understand why anyone would, so yea I’m lacking in empathy.
Having said that, for someone to use that as an excuse is for that person to continue to live in their own little world of denial, just another excuse which some many abusers are so good at. So grow up and get a grip.
The usual abusers excuse is “what I do doesn’t hurt anyone else”. Wow! If you believe that I have a bridge you might like to buy.
There has been a reality series on television that has really driven this home for me. One particular episode is a father with three sons where the oldest son is abusing OxyContin and he is enabling that son with money and excuses and the father has his own gambling addiction. He has two younger sons and they are victims of all this. They are living in a hotel and will probably be on the street shortly and they often don’t get anywhere near enough to eat. They are early adolescence. Lack of food at this stage of development will affect them through their whole life, because of someone else’s abuse and neglect.
The father had a good job but was finally fired for embezzling. He probably should be in jail for that which would impact his sons.
To say that the bad habits of the two older ones doesn’t affect others is to live in your own little world of denial and we’re not even talking about how it affects extended family members.
The answer? Legalizing marijuana? So now we condone bad behavior and create even more problems? We see that legalized gambling has created a whole set of social problems. People going into debt, health issues, living on the street because of wasting money on government gambling. Both government regulated gambling and drugs are more expensive than what’s on the street. Those who don’t have money are just wasting more?
The family who usually gets sucked into giving them money and just enabling the problem. Who suffer financial loss, anxiety and often abuse for enabling?
I submit that putting any kind of abuser in jail helps everyone. Get treatments? Sure but make it legal? That’s just dumb. The public is safer by putting abusers away. Family doesn’t have to suffer by losing money, not being taken care of, going through all the drama and violence that abusers put families through. They’re in jail they’re relatively safe. They’re being treated, fed, sheltered and others can get on with their lives without having to spend the time and energy on substance abusers.
Legalizing drugs, gambling is not an answers it exacerbates the problem for everyone. Government has a stake in it and won’t give it up because it’s getting revenue from this and in the meantime everyone else suffers.
Anyone who believes in “victimless” crimes is ridiculously naive. The amount of damage caused by “victimless” crimes rips through our society.
Do we extend compassion to people who suffer like this? Sure but once they are in a place where they have to confront their issue, stop living in their denial. As Christians we should do what we can to get those on the street to deal with those problems. But as a pastor I have people who need attention for real issues and not just problems they created themselves or government enabled them to do. Do I focus on the person who has wrecked their life through their ignorance and selfishness? Or the person who is trying and is in need of strengthening? Yet government, society keeps enabling people and then dumping the problems that enabling causes on someone else, often the church. The church barely has enough resources to deal with what it’s supposed to do in Jesus. As a pastor I’m not really in a position to undo the problems government has created.
We pray we encourage, but at some point we need to help those who are dealing with reality and have to cut the cord with those who want to drag me down, their family down and anyone else who gets dragged in. Just so they can have another drink, another joint, place another bet?

Be a man and not a one-way creep

I will admit, I’m not a really empathetic person, you may think that’s not where a pastor wants to be, but more and more I’m learning that too many people would rather bring you down to where they are, then to try to start rising up from their pit. I’m simply not going to let people drag me down, God’s got a lot for me and I have to remain faithful to Him. God wants to raise me up, He wants to raise all who are Christians up. He wants them to all be faithful disciples. The original disciples were very ordinary men, God took them, gave them the Holy Spirit and these men went to various points of the world to bring Christ to the nations, The Great Commandment.

For those people who want to strive, who want to keep pushing, who want to move in faith to Christ, I am with them. For others, I try to set a strong example, I try to model strength, perseverance, creativity, desire to learn, curiosity. Too many people want you to be an enabler, simply support them in their habit, their sin, their little comfy place, well frankly I’m not the right guy.

Too much of secular counseling, psychology, as it were, is simply enabling, not pushing someone to where they need to be. The Holy Spirit is always pushing us, always encouraging us to grow and mature as disciples. This lead up is in regards to an article in “Black Belt Magazine” (Aug/Sep 2014 pp 32-33). Point taken to Keith Vargo, the author. In this particular issue he has made me much more empathetic. For the “there’s no difference between men and women” troglodytes, yea the narrow minded groovy/hippy types of the 1960s, the ones who never let the facts get in the way of their opinion, please, for once, try to keep an open mind.

Mr Vargo is talking about women involved in martial arts, but is certainly across the board. “Women are most often assaulted by men. Worse still, it’s usually by men they know… the fear of rape and abuse changes how women see us.”

Yea, ok, right. I have no doubt that women need to be more cautious. Mr Vargo points out that men generally think of people as well as themselves, as trustworthy, we would be more concerned with danger from strangers then someone we know. Ya, point taken. I was the oldest of five boys, we moved to Brockton, Ma. when I was ten years old. Brockton is an old mill city, very much on the decline when we moved there. Rocky Marciano grew up there. Rocky is the only undefeated heavy weight champion in the history of professional boxing. He was killed in a plane crash the summer we moved there. I, kinda, grew up with Marvin Hagler, knew him just a little. Marvin was the middle weight boxing champion of the world. There were others guys who were not quite so good, but believe me, I knew plenty of guys who could fight, often finding out the hard way. Brockton was not a gentle place for me growing up. For those little girls who look like males (and I really hate that neutral term, but I hesitate to call such whimps “men”), and who are only tough with a gun in their hand, who are scared to death of anything and everything and try to look tough, you need to straighten up and start acting like men. Quit the nonsense you’re involved with, grow up, get your life together, find a woman you can serve and protect and start acting like a man.

As a kid, it was pretty routine for me to fight my way to and from home. I was active in athletics, mostly swimming, football, basketball, other stuff here and there. Not good at that, or much else. In a way I think God used this to make me really reliant on Him. [Note- I was not a Christian at the time, or maybe just vaguely so] No talent, having to regularly confront physical abuse, no one to rely on to help, having to stand up on my own. God provided for me, taught me to be physical, gave me a good strong body, through football, basketball, the military, taught me to not only be strong, but stay strong. Learned self-defense as a civilian police officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, so yea OK, guess I’ve been pretty well indoctrinated and if there’s a lack of empathy, well maybe that’s not a bad thing.

But in terms of Mr Vargo’s comments on women, yea, I get it: “…It doesn’t matter that the majority of men will never beat their spouse or rape anyone Somewhere among all the decent men in a woman’s life, there’s a man with bad intentions. He could be a family member, a friend, a co-worker or even a guy at the dojo. Because women can’t know for sure who the bad guys are, it’s reasonable for them to be cautious anytime they get attention they didn’t invite.”

As men become more about themselves, no longer provider or protector, but just whining and demanding, obviously women become even more vulnerable. Heck, don’t want to judge there now do you? As men are just more wheedlers or demanders, as Vargos points out: “What happened to them [women] didn’t start with the overt aggression you learn to handle in self-defense class. It started out with persistent interest and slowly edged into coercion…”

So yea it is time for me to man up, that doesn’t mean try and saddle me with every fuss, but in terms of protecting from the fear of and actual physical violence? Yes! For being more empathetic and ready to listen yea. That means guys, knock it off! Quit being creeps, find that women, help her to feel safe, loved, provide for her, have children who will see what a really great man you are and maybe we might start to turn around this crummy one-way, secular, whimpy, society and oh yeah, get yourself and them to church, mine! Ladies, I am your big brother in Jesus and you should expect that from every man around you and not tolerate anything less. Any “man” who thinks he’s got it altogether and doesn’t need that Jesus stuff, lose him and find a man you can rely on as a husband and a brother in Jesus and then treat them as the men they deserve to be treated as too. This way you both grow in each other, keep bringing each other up and reaching for the Lord. Yea, now that’s the way to go.

It’s time for the liberal “Christian” church to give it up

My life in the church has been rather odd. Yet, I’m not terribly unusual for my generation. To wit, as a baby I was “dedicated” in the American Baptist church (go figure a church that calls itself “baptist”, but is kind of fussy about a group that sees baptism as really only kind of an initiation thing). I was married by a Congregational pastor (kind of interesting also, why is a Christian clergyman marrying someone who isn’t a baptized Christian?) I was, finally, baptized by a United Methodist minister and four years ago ordained by a Lutheran minister. I was not churched as a child and it was only a “there are no atheists in a foxhole experience”, that God used to lead me to be baptized in my mid-twenties.

I tell you this so that you will see that I’ve been there, done that and have a few t-shirts. Notice that the churches I’ve come from, have been or morphed into Christian churches very much on the fringe/far end of the liberal Christian churches. I really got a stomach full in the United Methodist Church. Toward the end of my stay in the UMC, I had an experience that really illustrated what that church was about. It was at the New England Annual Conference, and well ya, you can imagine, liberal New England. There were various persons being recognized for achievement for the past year.

One woman had started a clinic on Cape Cod (yea, tres chic in both senses), to of course treat the trendy/chic diseases of the time. (Yea, I know I feel stupid even characterizing it that way, but to liberals there’s chic and then just mundane). Well (I was going to say praise the Lord), but there wasn’t any of that going on, It was effusive applause simply all about the woman and her efforts and how oh so trendy. Next was a man (middle aged, white, yea already a few strikes against him) and also evangelical. He was recognized for planting a church in New Hampshire and when he spoke he praised the Lord and was very effusive in how Christ was being lifted up by the church he planted. His reception was, at best, luke warm. Clearly he did not fit the profile that found approval in the flat-line, uhmm, I mean main-line, church of 20th to 21st century America.

I knew many orthodox, evangelical Christians in the UMC. Their feeling, for the most part, was that they stayed in the UMC in order to be a faithful remnant, a faithful witness to Christ in a church that was heterodox and even heretical.

Now that I’m in a Church that is orthodox, Christ centered, Scripture centered church, I look back on those who are still in liberal churches and while I pray that the reasons they stay are the right ones, I do question the motivation. Do you stay in a church because that’s where family is/has been, where you’ve ministered for years? Or do you say no, I’m not going to support this by my presence anymore and pick up and leave. Maybe it’s time for the faithful remnant to stop supporting these churches with their presence, their time, talent and treasure. Let’s be frank, faithful Christians are maintaining, if not enabling churches that are Christian in name alone. As I witnessed, they make no pretense to honor Christ, or they so seriously distort Scripture that the reality is simply not recognizable.

I submit that if all the orthodox Christians still in liberal churches would just pick up and leave, these old/liberal/irrelevant churches would implode into their thoroughly rotted structures. I have to ask, would that really be bad? No! It’s way past time to eliminate the tiny little groups who have been supported by orthodox Christians who continue to distort, if not outright lie about the message of Christ. How many have they led to destruction because of their spiritual poison must be immense and as orthodox Christian we really need to ask ourselves if we should be enabling ministries that endanger the spiritual health of millions. Again, No!