I was told recently by my wife, current and previous, as well as others that I scowl. It is a fact that I am well aware of and a face I seem to make more often the older I get. As a young lieutenant, a colonel that wanted to be helpful once told me after a meeting in which I disagreed strongly with some folks that outranked me too much for me to be heard that I had to learn to control my expressions. I never tried, I used it as a tool of communication at times I was unable to speak. I scowl, more now than then.
I have my reasons, I write about them here. My wife Bri tells me she thinks that 50% of what I write is correct and the other half is me being a curmudgeon. By that, she means I make polemic statements and often do not support them with facts. I believe a large portion of the curmudgeonness is a result of believing I know things that should be obvious and require no justification. Things based upon common-sense, first principles and universal truths. I am wrong about a lot of things but not things based upon those principles. So I often scowl.
Resolutions are overdone, but this year I am going to make one and stick to it. Before I resign myself to being Clint Eastwood in Grand Torino, or Andy Rooney or Robert D. Raiford I am going to take some time to figure out some things. There is a lot I just do not know, and even more, I do not understand. I am going to spend my time between January and May being introspective, inquisitive and a little stoic. A little critical thinking, some self-improvement and a journey of inquiry await me.
What makes me scowl?
I have great suspicions about the megachurch, corporate Christianity movement. I believe it has in some cases and will in many others lead to heresy, cult-like behavior, and false Christianity. It was easy to see years ago with a place like NewSpring, it is harder with less well-known operations. But all within the seeker-sensitive megachurch movement share the same sorts of heterodoxical shepherding mentality, follow the fuhrer principle, stress service and community over justification by faith (deeds over creeds, works over faith) and are built upon cults of personalities; almost all are dominionist. The entire movement derives from the ideas of Peter Drucker and anti-rationalism. I dare say there is not a single mega-church ‘pastor’ that has not attended a Druckerite leadership conference. Drucker was a guy that thought that fascism went wrong because it abandoned the spiritual and he thought he could reshape the world through communities and saw churches as a place to begin. A fascist apologist as a trainer of ‘pastors’, extraordinary – but true. It is dangerous. This trend is changing America and Christianity, and not for the better. Heresy and wrong Christian behavior is a lot like pornography, you know it for what it is when you see it but it is sometimes hard to describe.
When I see churches that preach shallow doctrine (and sometimes false doctrine), create new loci in the form of a focus on community and service that receives much greater importance than things actually taught in the Bible it worries me. When a church teaches that its community is more important than the individual and their relationship to God and to their natural family I see something that looks a lot like fascism and not just a little cult-like, not to mention being very unBiblical. A church that isolates, controls and manipulates the minions, uses small groups (‘cells’ taken from the communist playbook) to effect control, all the while holding the senior pastor distant and accountable only to his most loyal dufus henchmen is not a Christian church, it is a proto-fascist cult in the making.
Don’t believe me? Take a listen, read and research the points made in this presentation, Resistance is Futile: You Will Be Assimilated Into the Community. It will give a whole new meaning to those terms mega-churches throw into almost every other sentence (intentional, relational, attractional, and authentic). By the way, good luck finding those terms in a concordance of the Bible. The PowerPoint is here to follow along.
Even entire once-solid denominations like the SBC are falling for error. If the cultural war is lost in the US, as I firmly believe, and religious belief is at an all-time low it is doubly troubling that the fastest growing “Christian” churches are moving toward not being Christian at all and are rather becoming communities led by false teachers that fancy themselves to be rockstars. These communities downplay the role of the individual as being nothing more than a servant to the community. When one combines this trend with the ideology of the radical progressive movement it is easy to see how some form of authoritarianism or totalitarianism will find its way into the public square in the near future.
This has all happened before. Dangerous secular ideology, inflamed with wild passions on one side and buttressed by compliant false Christianity on the other. The Barman Declaration was resistance to this sort of communitarianism and “leader” driven church nonsense in 1934 Germany.
Yes, I scowl at the purveyors of these false teachings, these wannabe rock stars with their head mics and ridiculous hipster personas. They represent something that is alien to Western culture, Christianity and common-sense. They ceased being laughable losers long ago and now represent an existential threat to Christianity in the US and the West.
I do not understand why the entire new generation of young men is so feckless and effeminate. I recently spent some time with youngsters that I can only term as weak dweebs, there were only two potential men in the group. Why is this? Have men of my age always looked at young men and shook their heads? I suspect so, but something seems different now. Am I just wrong? I do not know. I need to think about this more. I am reminded of what I read in history books about Korean soldiers during the 1950s and how tough they were. When I was last in Korea young men dressed in pink and carried Hello Kitty purses. Is that where we are headed?
I am convinced, beyond any point of correction that politically the US is finished as we knew it, the old republic is long gone, the empire failed, classical liberalism failed, and the political process is broken beyond repair, dire times are ahead. I know enough about history to see the similarities between this and other great changes and falls. Am I wrong? If I am right, is just saying it enough? Does it need to be explained better for more people to see it? Should I just have fun, fiddle on the roof and not care? I don’t know yet.
Yes, I have scowled a lot, sometimes when others wish I would not… I Scowl at:
- Junior camp directors, I scowl.
- Folks that have no shame and no honor, yep, I scowl.
- Young men that do not act or think like men, I scowl.
- Someone that does something so crude, banal, rude or stupid I have only the option to say words, cane them or scowl, I usually begin with the scowl to let them know where I stand. It seems the most polite and least violent of those options.
I am going to write a lot less, read more, pray more, think and question a lot over these next few months. I need to understand why I believe and feel as I do. I need to wrap my head around where the world is going. If I come out on the other end believing as I do now, I will scowl more freely.
Happy New Year y’all. See you in a few months.