Saturday, October 11, 2008

Real World Distractions, CBMW, True Woman and Womanhood, the FIC , Neoconfederates....

I've had a host of personal matters that require my attention, though I have been keeping up on some of these things outside of the real world (things in cyberworld). I also had to put aside this Family Integrated Church business for a bit, though I have a host of things to write about. Here are some things to ruminate upon.

Plans for upcoming posts include my thoughts about the "True Woman 08" Conference held outside of Chicago this weekend, conceived and birthed by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It was attended by 6000 women and watched by many churches and individuals (including me) via live feed. At the end of the conference, women were asked to sign a "True Woman Manifesto."

I have much to say on this subject but will summarize by noting that the general message was not overt, a friend of mine who attended said it was like CBMW "primed the pump" for something stronger yet to come. Was it a benign rededication of women to the Lord or was it a subtle attempt to enlist women in CBMW's culture war? Today we wave a white hankie, but tomorrow what will be asked of those who signed the document, drawing on the human trait of consistency? One of the statements includes joining the "counter-culture movement," reminiscent of the culture wars (within the Church) that Russell Moore promotes.

I found Nancy's presentations excellent, but I was not impressed with John Piper (who I was waiting to hear cry out about the sensationalized"Scream of the Damned" again, all with Piper's similar emotional schtick). [An early version of this post said "salacious Scream..." in error which it was not. I meant "sensationalized." My apologies. ] I did thouroughly enjoy the powerful testimonies that were featured and Joni E. Tada was profound as usual.

I found Mary Kassian ascerbic -- like someone just begging for a fight. (But I'm sure she finds me to be the same...) I think feminists need to see us model the love of Jesus and brutal honesty with them, not come at them with both barrels blazing with hypocritical animosity. As someone said to me, Kassian's message and appearance there were like the pictures you show a child, asking them to pick out what does not belong in the scene. She was like an army boot sitting amongst tea cups, something I find quite odd about the choice to include her. Again, I wonder "What was DeMoss thinking?" Her message sounds incongruent with that of the CBMW favored speaker bureau, but DeMoss did organize the event, did she not? But that's a subject for another post...

I would like to write about how conferences inspire us and work against our critical thinking processes. From the subtlties of compliance with seemingly insignificant behavioral expectations to fatigue, such experiences faciliate ideological conversion. Though God uses the events in our lives (stress, fatigue, circumstances, social influence, rituals) to minister to us and drive or draw us to Him, these techniques can also be used against us without our even considering that our critical thinking might be challenged.

I'm not saying that any of these experiences were orchestrated with a specific intent at a conference like "True Woman 08," but I would like to explore the factors that one encounters at such gatherings. When those who have been exploited in dysfunctional relationships ask why their manipulative loved ones do such terrible things, the answer is always "Because they work." These conferences are amazingly effective tools for conversion, and not all such gatherings are always used for good. I would like to address this topic.

I've acquired several new books on the subject of both the neoconfederates and the Family Integrated Church. I've yet to delve into them. I find both subjects deeply disturbing, particularly the FIC which intermingles very good aspects of Christianity with very bad aspects of the Traditions of Men. Reading these materials requires discipline, because it is quite easy for me to be prejudiced against them, so a fair evaluation becomes very draining and requires much time in prayer for me. After discerning the truth about all-or-nothing/black-and-white approach that the FIC uses to paint false dichotomies, I then have to take my emotions about it to the Cross. It is not small thing for me to love my brethren, look at them objectively and through merciful love, while also feeling the anger and scourge over their distortions and condemnation without sinning. This has been much more difficult than I anticipated.