Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What Mama Says Goes

Ok, I'm a mom.  I've been a mom for 25+ years.  Not only am I a mom of seven children who came from my womb, I also claim to be mom to another "kid" who looks nothing like the rest of my family, but whom I still treat as my own as he, too, gets words of reprimand.    Additionally, I have affectionately been called "choir mom" to literally hundreds of high school students as I volunteer at the local heathen "government" aka public high school and serve as their accompanist.  That no-pay job compensates me far more than money could ever dream of.  Read:  I love it.

In the capacity of mom and/or choir mom, I get special privileges.  I get to correct minor infractions:  potty mouth, rude behavior, chewing food with mouth open, farting/burping in public, etc.  In the public school environment where I tinkle the ivory, I am also known to threaten to confiscate cell phones, put a stop to those raging hormonal teenagers making out in the hallway or corners of practice rooms, "help" those who wear their ever-so-loose jeans so low that they expose their colorful plaid boxers, and even remind high schoolers to wait their turn before talking.  Yes, this is all in a day's work.

Certain behaviors, however, tend to get under my skin and irritate me.  Reading over documents for the court case has caused my dander to rise.  I wonder if others might be affected the same way as me.  I'm going to ask you to briefly click on two links.  I don't want you to read the content, just click on it, take a quick look and then close the window.  I want to know if you get the same impression as me when glancing at it.  Are you ready?

Here goes:


Ok, so what was your first impression when you saw those words?  Do any emotions come to mind?  Anger?  Rage?  Was their shouting?    How funny is that?!  That's what I thought, too!  Great minds think alike!

Those links are actually reviews that Pastor Chuck O'Neal wrote on the Google review site for Beaverton Grace Bible Church.  It's plain as day that he's not really reviewing the church, but reviewing me, but I digress.  We all know there are internet rules.  All caps means, "shouting".  If these are indeed reviews of Beaverton Grace Bible Church and Chuck is addressing them to prospective church attenders, "To Whom it May Concern",  please tell me, is it polite to shout to those precious souls?  I think not.  Do you think that would encourage someone to come to the church or hinder them from coming?

Proverbs 15:1 
A soft answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.

Perhaps a refresher course in internet "netiquette" is in order.

This post is dedicated to my sweet mom, Anne (with an E) who taught me how to be polite and taught me how to write.  I love you, Mom :)


  1. Intimidation is one of the main tools used by the leadership of this church. Over the years I watched them intimidate and oust single mothers, widows, the mentally ill and families of disabled children. It doesn't surprise that after these "successes" they turned their rage to more powerful and spiritually strong individuals (like you!).

    1. I'm very sad to read about those who were ousted and then were most likely shunned as well. Where are those people now? Are they in a healthy church? I sure hope so. Perhaps they were better off since they were ousted, but who knows the damage that they incurred because of it.

      I don't know of anyone who left on good terms unless they moved out of the area for a job, etc. If they weren't shunned, they were looked down upon for one reason or another because who in their right mind would leave a "perfect" church?

    2. "single mothers, widows, the mentally ill and families of disabled children."

      What a sad list of people to try to purge from a church, whether intentionally or subconsciously. Makes me wonder...is it out of distain for, or fear of, imperfection?


  2. Authoritarianism in the Church

    Sins of the Shepherds
    Today's authoritarian shepherds seem to fall prey to one or more of the following sins as they exercise their ministry.
    1. Idolatry: the sinful desires of some men to always be in control, especially the control of the lives of God's sheep. Such sin is but a thinly veiled attempt to play God. And make no mistake, such men become as God to their flock. It is hardly surprising that pastors with such a sinful proclivity will eventually attain near papal infallibility in their churches. Paul's command to Titus in 2:15 ("rebuke with all authority . . . do not let anyone despise you") is their key verse in practice if not by precept. Usually the idolatrous sin of control is accompanied by a wrathful, berating, anxiety-producing spirit as the authoritarian leader will tolerate no loose atoms in their personal universe of control (cf. Ezek. 34:4c; Matt. 20:25; 1 Pet. 5:3). Such self-deified pastors produce congregations which are more afraid of displeasing the pastors than they are of displeasing their Lord and Savior. Men who must be "God" to their people ironically lose the authority of God's Holy Spirit by their sin and God-given authority is replaced by fleshly control maintained by manipulation, intimidation, verbal coercion and ecclesiastical pulling of rank (e.g. "Now, I'm your elder and you had better be . . . or else . . . . "). The Apostle John's description of Diotrephes seems to fall under such a category of sin (3 John 9-10).

    4. Lack of love for the sheep: shepherds in ancient Palestine walked ahead of their sheep, leading them on and calling them by name to follow them to green pastures and cool waters. The sheep followed because they had come to know the shepherd's faithful care and loving concern for their own well-being. It was the shepherd who slept in the doorway of the sheepfold to guard the flock at night. It was the shepherd who fought the bear, the lion and other predators. It was the shepherd who protected the flock from the thief. It was the shepherd who left the 99 to go looking for the lost sheep. It was the shepherd who gently led the nursing ewes and their young.

    Such imagery surely depicts a sacrificial love for the sheep on the part of the shepherd. But times have changed for many shepherds in the West. "Sheep ranchers" now employ barking dogs and shepherds in helicopters to drive the frightened, harassed and bewildered sheep ahead of them. The sheep in such contemporary operations are motivated out of fear of the snarling bite of the shepherds' seemly omnipresent dogs and the incessant bellowing of the shepherd himself over the loud-speaker in his helicopter overhead.

    Sadly, in too many congregations today, sheep are driven by a man more like a callous meat packer than a loving shepherd. Many modern shepherds don't even like sheep; its just their business. In fact, men are encouraged not to get too close to the sheep or emotionally involved in their lives and problems. So many pastors don't actually like (let alone love) their people. They promote witnessing and world evangelization, they just don't like to be around individual sinners. One need only read of our Lord's loving compassion for the sheep-like sinners of His earthly ministry (Matt. 9:36, 14:14; Mark 1:40-41, 10:21) and recognize how far removed that is from many pastoral examples today. Sacrificial shepherd-love which lays down its life for the sheep has been replaced by loveless sheep management by uncaring sheep ranchers.

    I highly recommend this entire article!


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