- TABLE OF CONTENTS
- WAR ROOM -
STUDY - MORAL
ISSUES - KING
JAMES BIBLE - CULTS
Rings at the Church House
Are YOU clambering up the rings of some local church? Are you craving being asked by the pastor, that glorious jack boot from glory land, "Say, Charlie, we need you in the planning meeting Thursday night. Can you be there?" Get you grip, and fill it with important stuff. A grip looks really great in a church board meeting-- like you have spiritual gold stashed away in there.
A pastor friend of mine candidated in a church in Michigan. He went to meet with the church board. A deacon, who was not head of the board, came in and sat down and flipped open the flaps of his grip. The grip was full to the top with John MacArthur tapes. That deacon also dominated the meeting rather than defer to the the head deacon. My friend at once decided he would not go near that church. It was not that he had a problem with John MacArthur. Rather; my friend wanted nothing to do with a church board where John MacArthur was clearly the measure of all things, not the Bible. Burn your grip sir, both the virtual one, and the one in your troubled heart.
Rings on the missionfield
Brother Vermeulen, a missionary in The Netherlands once said, "Missionaries are like manure. Pile them up and they stink. Spread them around, and they make the Church grow."
Having grown up, and later served, on the missionfield, I can assure you that the lust to climb by missionaries is as wicked, if not more so, as any area I have seen in Christendom. They have field councils to climb up, and they have social sets to climb. This is rampant in larger missions, and it is the worst on huge mission stations where many ministries are in progress.
Rather than go into detail and air a lot of dirty laundry here, I have chosen to deal with the missionfield in the last section where I suggest how to escape from the Inner Ring on the missionfield.
My Dad hated the climbing mentality when my parents were missionaries in Tanzania and Kenya long ago. Because my Dad avoided the Inner Ring, he had a very unusual and personal relationship with people who hated it like he did, but they were too timid to take a stand. They often came to our home when I was a kid, and they were looking for fellowship that had no political overtones. I loved my Dad for that because he was nearly hated by the elite on the "Field Council" and among the aspirants of fame. Also, African leaders became very close to my parents and would flee big political meetings to hide out in my parents' home.
Johnny enters Kindergarten, and he learns real soon that he needs to find his place in the order of the peck. If he learns well and can perform in front of other kids, he is exalted by the teacher, and he is loved and hated by his fellow students. Some love him because he has joined the ring of performers, and others hate him because he makes them look bad. This is made even worse if the idiot teacher holds up Johnny as an example. Sadly, Johnny may be hooded on the hubris and never will get over it all the rest of his life.
Thirteen years later Johnny goes off to college. He soon learns, as in Kindergarten, that he is drawn into the first ring of the social set by the instructor if he performs well. If he has trouble getting his pace, learning to take notes a mile a minute, and he finds that his High School failed gloriously in teaching him to do research and write rational compositions, he soon pays the price. He may be trying hard, but the instructor, more often than not, pegs him as a non-performer. Done that, been there.
I once wrote an English Composition paper on the South African Apartheid issue. I will not tell you what my argument was, but in the paper I talked about conditions in the Orange Free State. The teacher had long before pegged me as a loser. Well, I really tried on that paper because I wanted to redeem my image and maybe at least get to spend a few minutes on the first ring. The paper came back with a big SP beside "Free" in Orange Free State, and he wrote in huge letters, "TREE". That cured me of ring climbing for good. I realized, possibly for the first time, that my teacher was an idiot, and I would never please him. I coasted and got a pass and walked away. For more, see ORANGE FREE STATE.
What went wrong? I instinctively somehow sensed that the instructor was cold and stiff, and it was because he had an inferiority complex. I could not put into words my observations of him, but life in a boarding school in Africa had been a great incubator for learning survival skills, and I determined to avoid the man but not despise him. Maybe it was my instructor's first year, maybe he was on ring number one and had never been invited upward. Whatever, I was not mature enough to feel for him, and I saw him as weak and defensive. He had no emotional feeling for any students that I could see, so I sure was not about to try to break in on his fragile world. As I think back on that dry deadly semester, I now feel sorry for the man. I suspect he made it up the rings to somewhere near the top, but I also suspect he ended his life empty. Lord, help us to learn how to interrupt these wicked patterns in people we must deal with and give them something to live for.
Then there is the maverick instructor.
He is the one who does not climb in the college social set. Ring climbing is a dead bore to him. He avoids meetings, refuses to serve on committees, and learns to take a big bite of cake at social gatherings when some power person approaches him. He is immersed in finding good things to add to his classes, and when he sees a student struggling he sees himself. He deals with that struggling student as a person, not as a candidate for the ring climb. There have been many such students, among them Winston Churchill and Thomas Edison. The curious thing is this-- instructors who are mavericks, many years later in retirement, enjoy regular visits from those students they poured their life into.
If you are a student reading here, cheer up. Forget the ring climbing. After you leave the university you will never miss the climbers. Very few of them distinguish themselves by producing. They jump from ring to ring all their life, and after they die people do not miss them. They are not in the Bill Gates and Steve Jobs set who went maverick and invented new things.
The most deadly aspect of ring climbing in the academic world is that it utterly destroys creative thinking and originality. In order to be invited upward ring by ring, an academic must never take a line of thought contrary to the line of the slugs up yonder. Mavericks do exist in this world, but all of their career they must be fending off suggestions and even threats of total expulsion. This ends up giving us a narrow world or learning, and many large companies now prefer to train their people rather than insist on degrees.
Here is the philosophy of an alleged winner. It works, and it is wicked. Jesus made the absolutely worst friends he could have to climb into the throne of Messiah-- fishermen, tax collectors, zealots, and he knowingly chose a man who would betray. Jesus never sat at the feet of Gamaliel as Paul did, and he made NO effort to impress the Pharisees, Sanhedrin, and the High Priest. Jesus was a loser by the following model. Jonathan Rosenberg craves loyalty, and that is the obsession of all climbers-- to have a following to come along after him and raise him to fame and fortune. Is there nothing else to life?
Democracy breeds a ring world
[ To be finished later ]