Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Rogue "pastoral" Team: Act Three

Start from Act One
Incongruous Circumspection was threatened by Mark and Annah's Henchman! 
Aww...the Henchman Apologizes...Sort of 
Mark Reid Tries to Preach Out of a Jam

In Act Two, we left off right after Mark made it clear to Zach that he (Mark) didn’t want to fight anymore.  It was pretty obvious that he was telling Zach that he needed to pony up and do exactly as he was told, without question, anytime Mark or Annah gave him an order.

Now, we get to see Zach “respond".

Zach:  I know what you're getting at. It's what was explained over the phone – pretty much the same thing.  I understand what you're saying about how I respond to you.

A valiant effort on Zach’s part to get a word in.  But it was not meant to be.  Mark is not finished yet, as I alluded to in Act Two.

Mark continues:  Yeah.  Because when I went away from there (referring to the phone conversation the previous week), I thought, “Well, I got to argue back and forth, but I don't think I made my point at all.”

Mark doesn’t realize that when two people get together to discuss a disagreement, it is completely healthy to have a back-and-forth…unless you add in an artificial hierarchy.  Even in business, if the CEO’s vision is unquestioned, the company will ultimately suffer.

Why is that, you may ask?  Isn’t the CEO the boss?  Isn’t your boss, if not the CEO, in charge?  Doesn’t the buck stop there?  I would agree with you in the final decision, but if the person in charge decides that nobody else’s creative ideas, disagreements, and visions deserve the light of day, the company will either be highly successful with the boss’s vision (then die when the boss dies), or crash and burn.  I would argue that the crash and burn scenario would be the norm.

For a more thorough and microscopic view of this subject, read Patrick Lencioni’s, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”.

Let’s move on.  Mark is about to use the business scenario to prove the exact opposite.

...If somebody is working for me, and I tell him to go set up a hewid(sp?) on a hewid stand over there (pointing), I don't want to argue with him if he should set up a hewid or a deckwid(sp?) - if he should do it over there, or over there; I just want to say, "Set up a hewid on a hewid stand over there."  If I say the [vocal] parts are too complicated, or Annah says the parts are too complicated, you'd say, "Okay. I'll try to simplify it."

For all you musician’s out there, give me a clue.  What the heck is a hewid or a deckwid?  I think the guy is just trying to show off in front of a formally trained musician (or even a musician with no formal training, but does a darn good job).

Regardless, we see Mark’s point here.  He doesn’t want to be argued with – EVER!  Mark is in charge.  He wants his god club to function one way and only one way.  Any deviations must be crushed.

...Does that mean that you're not the leader of the worship team? No. But you're not the leader of the church.  And you made allusion to, "This is my team." No, it's not your team. This is God's church. This is not my church, but I've got the responsibility for the whole thing. You have leadership over our team.
But we have ways that we want to see this thing go. It's not your team. You're not a separate entity.  You're not a subcontractor at FCC – you haven't brought your team in here.  We've asked you to shepherd and lead the team that is here at FCC.

That was the most confusing piece of crap to ever escape the mouth of a man in charge that I’ve ever heard.  What a prude.  Let me translate:

“Zach, you’re nothing.  But you are something.  You are a leader of your team.  But you’re not in charge of your team, even though you are.  I am in charge, even though God is in charge, but this is my church, even though its God’s church.”  Confused yet?  I am.  I think Mark is too.  He’s trying his darndest to portray himself as the humble leader he pretends to be.  But he isn’t doing a very good job of it.  If he believes that he is saying something coherent here, he definitely needs his mind checked, or, at minimum, a lobotomy.

...And sometimes we bring in hired guns to help us (refering to interning musicians from NCU [North Central University] who are asked to join our team for a time), and they fall under your authority too….

Hold on Mark!!!!  So, if a hired gun comes in to Freedom Christian Center, they fall under Zach’s authority.  But, when you were going through your flip-flop list of who Zach isn’t and who Zach is, and who you are and aren’t, but are, you made allusion to the fact that, if Zach was a sub-contractor, he wouldn’t be under your authority.  At least it sure seemed that way because you were trying to prove that Zach HAD to follow your directions without question because he wasn’t “brought in.”  I tink I taw a howe in yow ahgwument.
…But when we speak into what we want for the worship team, you can give us an alternative idea, but I don't want to feel like I'm fighting.

Right!  That’s quite funny, actually.  To all my 10 readers, I’m sure you aren’t buying that Zach can express an alternative idea.  After all, that’s what this meeting is all about.  Zach expressed an alternative idea and he needs to be reprimanded for his rebellion.

Also, there goes that “I don’t want to fight…”  bullcrap again.  We all know what that means.  I explained it in Act Two.

Annah:  …

That’s it for Mark.  Oh, he gets a word or two in once in a while, but the true cult leader of this god club has now begun her confusing drivel.  At times, I won’t be able to contain my scorn for this woman.  She’s a choice piece of humanity that deserves the Lenin brain treatment.

I’ll try to assist the reader in the attempt to follow her thought patterns, but you will soon see that it is nearly impossible.  But, why make you wait?  Let’s get on wif it!

… Oh, and you're not fighting with us. Like, you can say, "Well would
this work, or would this work?"…

Sheesh!  Right off the bat, I have to deal with baloney sausage.  Annah is feigning niceties here.  She is saying that Zach isn’t fighting when Mark said unequivocally that he was.  But then, she goes on to tell him the right way to disagree – by asking for their approval for everything that would deviate from their façade.  But, this is child’s play compared to what is coming.

…And I think part of it, Zach, that God is trying to work in this like a Joseph thing, that's why I asked you to listen to Joseph, those CD's on Joseph – a lot of teaching on humility; a lot of teaching on submission, and God put him through the wringer. He was a ruler, and he became a ruler, and he took a 17-year-old journey – and part of it was God was trying to take off all of the things of insubordination through this whole thing….

Hold on for a few minutes while I settle my nerves down.  I need to go puke up a lung…………………………………………………………………………………………….

Thanks for hanging on.  I now need to deal with another lie from the pit of hell.  This whole idea that every story in the Bible can be twisted around to prove some sort of stupid ideology on authority, submission, Christian hierarchical systems, patriarchy, women’s subordination, etc, etc, makes me sick.  These people have no shame.  They read the Bible eisegetically, rather than exegetically and then push their bullcrap on others, berating them for not living up to the standards that they themselves created, guilting them into believing that it is actually God that despises them.  Pathetic.  Cowardice.  No better than Jim Jones, Stalin, or Glenn Beck. 

Let’s finish out Act Three by doing a quick study on Joseph.  Was the story teaching us about submitting to authority?  Was Joseph prideful (insubordinate) and so God sent him “through the wringer” to humble him and then, and only then, could his prophetic dreams be fulfilled?  Would Joseph have lived a life of peace and happiness if he had only learned from birth that he needed to submit to authority?

Let’s start in Genesis 37:2.

Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father's wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. 4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.

There is a somewhat innocuous phrase in Verse 2 – “And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father”.  Was this rebellion?  Was this wrong?  After all, why would Joseph bring a bad report to his father about his brothers?  Were they being naughty?  Were they lazy?  What was the bad report? 

The fact is, we don’t know.  And to say otherwise would be putting oneself above the author of this text.  Frankly, whoever wrote this story didn’t care to give us the details of the bad report. 

If we move on to the next few verses, we see that Joseph was loved by his father.  Jacob (Israel) was practicing favoritism.  In our heightened understanding of sociology today, we can make an argument that this is not a good thing to do.  We can even see that premise from this text.  The favoritism caused the rest of Joseph’s kin to become jealous.

Again, was Joseph wrong in giving a bad report?  Maybe Jacob asked him to go check on his brothers and report back to him (in fact, he did just that in Verse 14).  Joseph just told it like it was.

I am hitting this hard because this is where the theology of Joseph needing humility starts.  People use this part of the story to start making the case that Joseph was a silver spoon child who needed some Dale Carnegie training.  I submit that Joseph was doing his job, as a son and a brother, and the rest of the people around him fell apart.  God picked up the pieces of THEIR errors and completed His plan in Joseph’s life.  Nothing more, nothing less.

The author of the story doesn’t stop there.  He tells of the dreams that Joseph had.  And, like any seventeen year old that had a cool dream, Joseph told his brothers.  Sure, maybe he was a bit naïve.  But, is that sin?  Is naivety not humility?  Naivety is reduced by learning. 

And learn Joseph did.  He learned that people are idiots.  He learned that, if you told someone the truth and they didn’t like it, they messed your life up.  He learned that if you took the messed up life and didn’t stomp around, flaunting your victim status, you could actually work it in your favor.  He learned that trusting in God was a heck of a lot better than trusting in the good of people.  He learned that leadership meant humility and servanthood, even if you had the chance to even a score.  He learned that reconciliation after the other party’s repentance and utter ruin was much better than sticking it to them, when you had the chance AND the power to do so.  In short, the life of Joseph was a great teaching tool for people like Mark and Annah Reid.

People like Mark and Annah Reid make the point that Joseph was sold by his brothers because of his pride.  What???!!!!  I’m not seeing that here. Verse 18  - 20:

18 They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him.19 They said to one another, "Here comes this dreamer.20 Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits. Then we will say that a fierce animal has devoured him, and we will see what will become of his dreams."

If it wasn’t for Reuben convincing his brothers not to kill him, the brothers would have done it.  We all know he was sold.  Was that due to his insubordination?  For people who mash the Bible over their subordinates heads and claim literalities, let’s be literal – Joseph’s brothers were jealous and thus did a very evil thing.  That’s all there is to it.  But, their evil deed turned into good.  It worked right into God’s ultimate plan for Joseph’s life.  Sort of like the evil deed that the Jews and Romans did in crucifying Jesus Christ, an innocent man, and yet, I’m fairly certain we can make the case that it was for the good of mankind.

His brothers were evil.  Pure evil.  They faked Joseph’s death by wiping animal blood on Joseph’s coat, having previously ripped it to make their case.  Then, they lied to their father and let him mourn.  Then they tried to comfort their father when he admitted his life was over due to losing his son.  And Joseph was sold because of his pride?  What a crock of cow dung! 

So, Joseph (let’s call him Joey) became a slave of Potiphar (we’ll call him Potty), some higher up dude in Egypt.  Potty was Joey’s master.  Joey was Potty’s slave.  In those days, as I mentioned in My Open Response to Spencer, the Master/Slave dynamic was by definition hierarchical.  As a slave, you did what the master said.  As a master, you did whatever you wanted with the slave, including beating or killing him.  I see no comparable relationship in our modern society and, as a member of society; I would fight to get anyone who tries to force that on human beings, to get their head examined or incarcerated in a drug-induced coma.

Let’s look at Genesis 39:1 – 6:

1 Now Joey had been brought down to Egypt, and Potty, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there.2 The Lord was with Joey, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master.3 His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands.4 So Joey found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had.5 From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joey's sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field. 6 So he left all that he had in Joey's charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate. 

Now how about that!  Joey succeeded in Potty’s house because he was in submission to Potty’s authority.  Right?  Um… yeah….no.

Why was Joey successful?  Because the Lord wanted him to be.  It’s that simple.  Potty saw that everything Joey did succeeded so he elevated his status.  Potty didn’t elevate Joey’s status because Joey did everything Potty told him to – without question.  But, the real point of this passage is even better:  Joey was not the focus of Potty.  Potty saw that Joey was successful BECAUSE THE LORD WAS WITH HIM AND THAT THE LORD CAUSED ALL THAT HE DID TO SUCCEED! 

You see?  The focus of Potty, Joey’s master, was not on Joey’s submission that begat excellence and success, but rather, it was focused on the one who caused Joey to be successful – GOD!  And God blessed Joey, not because Joey did everything right in God’s eyes, but because Joey happened to be the plain that God wanted to rain on at that time.

This happened again and again in Joey’s life.  He would be blessed by God, those around him would get jealous or horny.  Joey’s life was smashed.  Then God caused him to succeed.  Joey would be elevated.

Anyone who uses this story to prove Joey’s success based on his learned humility and applied submission needs to re-read it.  I challenge ANYONE to prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that Joey’s success came from either of those.  I also challenge the challenger to prove that Joey was insubordinate.  I also challenge the challenger to then explain why others in the Bible ended up being successful even though they were complete screw-ups.  David and Bathsheba anyone?


And that is where we’ll stop for Act Three.  In Act Four, Annah hits Zach below the belt.  She uses information that Zach shared with her about his physically, mentally, and spiritually abusive mother to try and drag Zach back to her way of thinking.

I apologize for not getting to a juicier moment, but the above material was too important to pass up.   This whole idea about the Bible preaching authority on every page needs to be murdered.  It needs to be hacked to pieces, deep fat fried, and fed to feral cats on the death row line, due to rabies.   After all, people’s lives are at stake.

1 comment:

  1. I am a formally trained musician with a degree in classical composition (focus in sacred music) with over 15 years experience in a fairly wide variety of denominations ,and several published arrangements and a CD to my name.

    I have absolutely no idea what the heck a hewid is.

    A deckwid took me a few moments, but I eventually found a reasonable-sounding definition on Google after it established I wasn't searching for "duckweed." It says-- I solemnly swear with a perfectly straight face that I am not making this up-- "The deckwid (or boot wid) is de cover over de trunk/boot of motor vehicwes dat awwows access to de main storage or wuggage compartment."

    And knowing is half the battle.

    (The rest of this might be fodder for some of my future blogging on the theology of worship...)