I’m Not in Love and Proud of It

I think I should go ahead and tell you; I’m not in love with your mom. Actually I never have been. It’s high time you know the truth.

In my insatiable curiosity, I chanced upon this piece of “theologically correctness” about a week ago. I shall not reveal this paragon of dour and clueless. The prurient know exactly how to sate their mongering curiosity.

There has been need to rebuff the temptation to deliver sizzling riposte. But disdain and disgust eases into pity, first for the exquisitely gorgeous looking wife, then for the kiddies, and finally for him. Well begrudgingly the latter. Excruciatingly embarrassing memories, you know,  the ones which spawn eternal self-loathing, have habit of humbling pompous scorn.

Continue reading “I’m Not in Love and Proud of It”

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Reclaiming Complementarianism – Part 1

Scriptures and even existential realities advocate and prohibit a limited set of particular functions between the sexes. However, this hardly constitutes a framework of rigid gender roles. Alternative rational paradigms can justify the existence of these exclusionary functions. But before visiting the biblical counsel, which is understandably most psychologically problematic for women (Eph 5:23), it behooves to frame an alternative paradigm of complementarianism.

Rather than conceiving of man/husband and woman/wife in terms of gender roles, it would prove more apt and productive to conceive each sex as having intrinsically dominant propensities. These should not be thought of in terms of being rigidly defined or unchangeable. For each category of attributes, individual members will vary within a range for each sex (and even overlap with the range of the other sex). These differentiating propensities better endow one spouse or the other to certain functions within the marriage. However, since Scriptures is circumspect concerning the allocation of these abilities, a flexible casting of functions proves more profitable.

These propensities are not socially constructed, although they may be confirmed and re-enforced by socialization. Evidence from science, history, psychology, and sociology can be enlisted to validate this contention, although full discourse would be too long-winded for the purposes of a blog. But to give a couple of examples:

Gender Differences in Navigation Continue reading “Reclaiming Complementarianism – Part 1”

The Defrocking (Firing) of Darrin Patrick – Part 3

 

The Defrocking of Darrin Patrick – Part 1

 The Defrocking of Darrin Patrick – Part 2

The Defrocking Darrin Patrick – Church Discipline

The more that I have learnt of Darrin Patrick’s person and ministry since April 13, 2016, the more that I have come to like the man. This does not make me his fanboy. He is not that pretty. However, I am a man with an acute sense of justice, and fierce Scythian loyalty to protect those who I deem to be one of “my own,” even to the point of savaging the reputations and livelihoods of those who would so dare hurt those I love.

Aspersions of sinful leadership and deceit in Darrin’s life are continuing to be promulgated by The Journey cabal and their allies. But the facts that are publicly available betray this narrative. There is total disconnect. And it is only because of the sheeple propensity of those within the Reformed/New Calvinist congregations, which allows this narrative to persist. But to trust the word of mere men, Evangelical mini-popes, over the plain rendering of Scriptures or the objective realities of the situation is to give evidence of a perilous salvific status. For such sheeples have made these elders, who proclaim to be the trumpets and anvils of God, to be the ultimate authority, even over the God of Scriptures.

From my vantage point, deep injustice has been done to Darrin Patrick. A predominantly conservative–minded faction among the eldership resent their more sociopolitical moderate colleague who has pursued the lost beyond the gated culture communities of white sepulchered Christendom. They have exploited the passages concerning the qualifications of elders, while blatantly violating other explicit scriptural passages that insist that the facts of Patrick’s supposed moral failings be laid out before the congregation for them to decide (Matt 18:15–7). In this, I see a successful bid by Satan, exploiting the envy of these moralistic and Pharisaic wolves that currently lead The Journey, to discredit and destroy one who has hitherto been able to successfully assault the gates of Hell. The facts of that reality, even these wolves have been disinclined to discredit. This is a better narrative, which fits the factual circumstances, and in light of scriptural and Christian history, than the narrative that seems to be in the process of morphing as we speak.

For according to the latest rumors that have been fed to Christianity Today and Barnabas Piper, the son of John Piper, “sexual behaviour was not the issue at hand, but the issue at hand was basically pride.”[1] Last week, innuendos of sexual impropriety and lack of self-control was the mainstay of The Journey’s assault on Darrin’s honor and reputation. But apparently this first lob of flak was too incredible, even for the credulity of those on their pews, to stick. So the current narrative is one of “Darrin Patrick . . .  was fired for violating his duties as a pastor and one of the major behavioural issues that his church board or elder board cited as the reason for their firing was a history of building identity through ministry and media platforms.”

Determination of pride is a very difficult and elusive judgment call, usually requiring “by their fruits, you will know them” forms of palpable and measureable evidence (Matt 7:16, 20). Even New Calvinist leadership will counsel that one may refute perceived erroneous doctrines with gusto, but be very careful, and having plenty of evidence, in the aspersion of bad motives and attitudes. But as exemplified in Darrin Patrick’s response to a critique of one his books from John MacArthur, extant evidence on social media betrays this elusive pride that these church elder board members have apparent deep insight into, (even as their lead pastor, a psycho-socially oblivious Jeremy Bedenbaugh, publicly dishonored his wife).[2] But if one takes the time to listen to Darrin Patrick’s talks, the vanity of pride is not among the top five impressions one receives, unless one has a prejudice, agenda, or anvil to grind.

But let us take up the issue of “a history of building identity through ministry and media platforms.” If this be true of Darrin Patrick, who I have never heard of prior to last week, what can it be said of Barnabas Piper’s father, John Piper, who I have heard of, who was quick to make his presence known in the Oklahoma tornado? If this be true of Darrin Patrick, what is one to say about all those other books by New Calvinist pastors and theologians with pages of endorsements from their peers (John 12:43). I actually find it difficult to believe that they have been read by their endorsers. For what busy bee minister would have the time to read all the books that they have endorsed?

Is writing a book contrary to the declared will of God? If not so, then the public should be aware of the current state of the publishing industry. An author is required by the publisher of his book to establish a media platform. I know this, because in order to have an academic book published with Wipf & Stock, which was already accepted (“Faith from First to Last”), this has been a requirement laid upon me. But because I am just a non-credentialed grunt on the pew, in a Laodicean locality with a dearth of spiritual vitality to support my ventures, and without the network of endorsers, that book will have to be withdrawn from them.

The publishing market is so savagely competitive, especially with Amazon, traditional publishers no longer perform the promotional stuff that they once used to. Therefore, Barnabas Piper, who has published a book and should know better, but has the promotional advantage of nepotistic connections, is being deceitfully disingenuous.

♦                    ♦                    ♦

I am tiring of this travesty of justice. If The Journey will not self-correct or prove the facts of their aspersions concerning Darrin Patrick; and if Act 29 leader, Matt Chandler, or all the other New Calvinist leadership do not correct this situation; then just as the elders of The Journey have arrogated unto themselves to be the trumpets and anvils of God, so shall I do likewise. And just as my Father saw fit to hiss for the Assyrians and Babylonians to discipline “physical Israel”; in imitation of Him (Eph 5:1), perhaps I should hiss for the Assyrian and Babylonian presses to discipline “spiritual Israel.”

[1] Morgan Lee, “Darrin Patrick, Pastors, and Pride with Barnabas Piper,” Quick to Listen (Christianity Today), April 21, 2016, https://soundcloud.com/christianitytoday/barnabas-piper, Min 2:30.

[2] “When I make my vows to my wife in my marriage ceremony, I said, you know, richer or poorer, sickness or in health. And I will love you until all eternity. No. What do we say? I will love you until death do us part. There will be an ending of marriage.” From Jeremy Bedenbaugh, Singleness (sermon), St. Louis, MO: Tower Grove Church, October 18, 2015, http://thejourney.org/media/local-church-sermons-2015-16/singleness, 3:50 – 4:06.

Reclaiming Complementarianism: Introduction

An escalating tempest steadily foments in gender relations. And that which is made publicly manifest through media outlets are but tips of this flaming dry iceberg. For if it can be said, at an individual level, that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt 12:34); it can be likewise posited that that which is publicly well-known throughout society is that which escapes from out of the hidden subterranean bowels of society through the media mouthpieces and gatekeepers.

This tumult permeates Christian subculture in the forms of Evangelical “egalitarianism” versus Danvers “complementarianism;” neither of which, I contend, are biblical nor good. Both positions, regardless of their veracity, display a not-so-obscure correspondence with the natural vested interests of each gender. Both positions come short of the ideal relational structure (a.k.a. glory of God), which will lend, in of themselves, to deleterious outcomes.

Herein, “in of themselves” is an important operative phrase. For in the complexity of existence; the goodwill, virtue, and wisdom of the participants in a marital relationship can partially mitigate, ameliorate, and even overcome the inherent flaws of any social construct. Contrariwise, even if the proper social structures are put in place and accepted by both parties, lack of goodwill, virtue, and wisdom in those participants will undermine the state of marital relations; all the while, its participants blaming the structure for their own moral shortcomings.

To illustrate, without getting sidetracked onto another social issue, we currently dwell within a society with excessive levels of socioeconomic disparity. This, in turn, impedes the ability for those on the bottom rungs to latch onto the ever distant and elusive Brigadoon of socioeconomic security and prosperity. However, there will always be those rarities, with extreme levels of talent, and/or ingratiating shrewdness, and even lottery luck, who are able to traverse that great socioeconomic gulf. These exemplars will be publicly paraded (i.e. Marco Rubio) by the powers-that-be as examples of the virtues of the present socioeconomic system.

Likewise, while Rachel Held Evans may profess that there are very few hiccups in her egalitarian marriage, (the lesser angels of my cynical nature awaiting the day they file for divorce); anecdotal exceptions are no proof positive in a sea of contrary results. There was wreckage which yet floated aloft the ocean surface after the Titanic sunk.

The psycho-social logic and dynamics of the (Evangelical) egalitarian model will tend to spawn a battle of wills, war of attrition between spouses; lending towards a marital dispiriting, dissipation, and divorce. On the other hand, Danvers Complementarianism, which I suggest is merely a kinder Christian version of a Roman hierarchical patriarchy, will practicably leave the wife too beholden and vulnerable to the goodwill, virtue, and wisdom of the husband; without sufficient and effectual voice; and mildly suffocating under a, hopefully benevolent, suzerain lord. Nevertheless, extraordinary virtue and gentleness of the husband may overcome these otherwise intrinsic structural deficiencies.

On the political continuum between lawless anarchy and oppressive tyranny, Evangelical Egalitarianism pushes towards the former; Danvers Complementarianism the latter. And the inherent flaws of each position tend to make their victims, converts of the other position, in endless feedback cycle.

How Not to Sell Monogamy

In the first chapter of Christopher Hitchens “God Is Not Great”, he recounts a Sunday School marm, if I remember correctly, who irritates his budding intellect with the lamest reasons for seeking God amongst other rational fallacies.

In this spirit, I present Dr. Patrick Fagan’s take, a Family Research Council Senior Fellow, on the best reason for monogamous sexuality.

“Those who are monogamous have the best sex they’ll ever know, because they don’t know anything else.”1

With reasoning like this, I just know that the reassertion of traditional marriage as the social norm is just around the corner!

How about instead, we suggest the following:

There is a autobahn between the human heart and libido. And the most intense sexual experience will be consequence of very tight consensual human connectedness between the two persons, along with a healthy, uninhibited and comprehensive perspective and understanding of Eros, (Eros that extends beyond bodily functions – the physiological as metaphoric of the psychological unity).

Prior sexual experiences of every kind retain baggage that intrudes on present sexual relationships, whether the participants are aware or honest to recognize them.  Narcissism, selfishness, incapacity for love (as seeking the best interests of the other), lack of ethics, lack of recognition, acceptance and embracing of the masculinity/femininity and gender difference of the other, etc; all these act as impediments to the attaining of that deep emotional tie that contributes to and continually nourishes the best sex a person might have.

NOTES

  1. Lydia DePillis, Porn is everywhere. But that’s not what’s killing marriage, The Washington Post, July 19, 2013, Accessedhttps://socialreader.com/me/content/LkLbG?chid=130991&_p=trending&utm_source=wp&utm_medium=Widgets&utm_campaign=wpsrTrendingExternal-1-opt on July 20, 2013.

The Age of the Selfie

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.1

I have long held a theory about Christian Regeneration/Conversion, which basically states that it gives a person the ability too see what is right in front of their noses. Some credit for this conclusion must go to George Orwell who wrote “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

And thus, when I heard about the lengths by which some persons sought to get on reality television, so that they could escape their anonymity; or Twitter and its use by our current age to publish every mundane motion of their bathroom endeavours to the globe, I knew that the age of narcissism had descended upon us.  

However, it seems that God has sought to rub the obvious in our faces with the Selfie; the taking of an inordinate number of self-portraits from one’s iPAD etc and posting them on the Internet.

THE ULTIMATE FACE OF THE SELFIE

Continue reading “The Age of the Selfie”

John Piper and His Silly Tweets

I refuse to get a Twitter account. First; I find it difficult to even flatulate in less than 140 characters. And having been cursed by attending two of High School teacher John Strebig’s English classes, my stomach churns if I dare proffer opinions without substantiation. Finally, as consequence of a spiritual odyssey, which required the dotting of every i and crossing of every t, in order to navigate to safe harbours; I am inclined to want to stomp on the snake of every objection until the guts of each argument has been thoroughly expelled. Consequently, I am verbose. Why write an eight line poem, or even a two page executive summary when a twenty page dissertation will do?

However, Pastor John Piper provides the best reason to stay clear of Twitter when pontificating great nostrums of wisdom.

To quote from the Desiring God site:

Monday night, in the wake of the devastating tornado in Oklahoma, John Piper posted two tweets at 11:00pm (CST).

·  @JohnPiper: “Your sons and daughters were eating and a great wind struck the house, and it fell upon them, and they are dead.” Job 1:19

·  @JohnPiper: “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.” Job 1:20

These tweets were taken down two days later with explanations you can look up for yourself.
My concern with tweeting has always been that with the limited ability to fully explain oneself in 140 characters, one is prone to make utterances that will be misconstrued; innocently or malevolently. However, it appears that Mr. Piper cannot restrain himself from framing every disastrous event into some moral or spiritual point. There might be some moral or spiritual point. However, although I am a continualist; I am pretty certain that I am not privy to every thought of the Sovereign God.

When that idiot from Virginia Beach ranted about the Haitian pact with devil after the Port-Au-Prince earthquake, in which that buffoon even got the details of the timeline wrong; this quickly came to mind.

There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said to them, Suppose you that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, No: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think you that they were sinners above all men that dwelled in Jerusalem? I tell you, No: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.(Luke 13:1-5)

Because of the genesis of sin in the cosmos, a tempest of disastrous consequences has ensued. And like Jonathan Edwards expressed in his infamous sermon; our human condition is consequently as one exposed to sudden destruction and dangling over the pit of hell. We are kept from immediate justice but by the forbearance and long-suffering of God.

However, unless one prophecies ahead of a disaster, the credibility of mapping a particular event as a particular punishment for a particular sin or sinner strains credulity. Post facto predictions are an oxymoron.

Evil occurs even to the ‘righteous’ for reasons too varied to explicate in a Tweet. Therefore, if a theologian feels a narcissistic compulsion to make a point in the aftermath of a disaster, take many a cold shower. Such pontifications are grating to the hurting recipients. As it is the ‘victim’, who is primarily hurting, his/her first priority is not likely to be to care how a theologian is particularly feeling.

Having been one who has suffered immensely over my life, this I can advise to those who seek to give counsel in times of grief.

a)  Do not offer solicit counsel until it is asked for.

b)  If it is asked for, solicit it in private.

c)  If you solicit counsel, deposit your doctrinal headgear at the coat check and speak from the heart.

d)  Better yet, sit in the ashes with the person who is suffering and SHUT THE HELL UP.