Friday, June 25, 2010

Apologies of the Patriarchs (Minutiae - Part 2)

(click here for Minutiae Part 1)

The patriarchal apology is a strange animal, straight out of bizarro world. Most of us issue an apology to express remorse and the desire to make reparation. Patrios issue apologies strategically, hoping to create the illusion of virtue and humility while, in reality, shifting the moral responsibility for the next step of the process back to you. Patrio apologies are mind games. Escapes. Something that, no matter what happens next, and no matter how meaningless the apology, they can point back at it in innocence and say, "Hey, I apologized, didn't I?" They treat apologies the same way they treat grace (for themselves)...a "get out of responsibility for doing destructive and hurtful things free" card. Your apology to them for anything (whether you really need to apologize or not), however, is never enough, seeing as how you've hurt them sooooo terribly deeply. It may take them years to recover from you not doing that one itsy-bitsy thing they wanted you to do in which you failed to be "submissive".

My former future father-in-law said some terrible, traumatic things to my ex. He once told her that if she moved forward with the plans for our ceremony apart from his direction and discretion, he'd have no part in it and she'd lose her family. He once made clear to her his plans to start a letter writing campaign to influential people in the music business to create professional problems for me (I'm serious - he just told her outright). He once told her to be prepared to fight, and warned her that he wasn't gonna play fair (that's like saying "let it be known that I'm gonna manipulate you and use others to manipulate you").  He said other things that were just as traumatic for her, and likely more traumatic.

It was well after he, his father, and some fellow patriocentrics undermined our relationship that I could ever confront him about these things. He said (in a voice as close to "Canteen Boy" from Saturday Night Live as I can type), "You're making a big deal out of nothing. I apologized to her just a few minutes after saying those things." Ugghh. Sheesh. Insert another random, generic expression of exasperation *here*.

My neighbors are wonderful people. Beautiful family with two kids still at home. You know, I could go over  to their house, kick the door in, and say, "You people have five minutes to clear out of here! When I come back in five minutes, I'll destroy all men, women, and children I find here, and then I'll burn the place down!" Even if I had almost an immediate change of heart, and wanted to go back before the 5 minutes were up and apologize sincerely, I think the damage has been done, and the relationship has entered, at the very least, a period of extended dysfunction. But hey, I said I'm sorry, right?

I've received no apologies for the things listed above, and many more just like them, that were done to me. No remorse for the broken covenant, the attempts to undermine my career, the attempts to undermine my ministry, or even the massive financial wallop their deviance brought upon me. Do you want to guess what I've received an apology for?...A couple of meaningless, superficial insults that have been hurled at me, probably the single offense I care the least about.

I would describe their apology to me like this...

While I'm away, a thief breaks out a small back window of my home, gets inside, ransacks the place, knocking pictures off the wall, turns the furniture upside down, ripping the stuffing out of the cushions, pulling out all of the desk and dresser drawers and spraying the floor with their content, taking an axe to the drywall, ripping out ceiling tiles to get into the attic, and once he's gathered up everything of physical and material value, he loads it up in the back of his truck and starts to drive away as I return home. Seeing me, he sticks his head out the window and says, "Yeah, this is all of your good stuff here. I'm taking it. You're just gonna have to close this chapter of your life and deal with it. Turn the page, dude. Turn the page. There's a HUGE mess inside. That's your problem to deal with. Turn the page. What?! Did you just call me a thief?! How dare you?! Where is Jesus in you calling me that?! You're unforgiving and bitter!!!...Oh yeah, umm, I'm very, very, very sorry about that window I busted out in back...God bless you! I wish you well in your future endeavors!" And he drives away, with all my stuff in his truck, and with a piece of mistletoe taped to his backside.

The aim is for the illusion of virtue despite the vile offense committed. The character of Christ would be an obstacle in the way of this illusion.

I fear that the men I've dealt with over the last three years - my former future father-in-law, my former future grandfather-in-law, and their Patriocentric buddies who've helped them - wouldn't recognize Jesus if He were carrying out His earthly ministry today like He did 2000 years ago. I mean, Jesus says all the wrong things, hangs around with a rough crowd, hookers and stuff, and He even stops at that juke-joint between here and Wal-Mart, you know the one, "The Appearance of Evil", and has an occasional glass of wine (gasp!). These men would probably treat Him with the same disdain the Pharisees did, and I'm fairly convinced that they would have Him crucified. 

But not for their sins.


  1. Thumbsup. I am a reasonably new Christian and attend a small, local emerging church. The christian right first attracted my attention a year or so ago once I started examining cultic groups to make sense of my own spiritual history. This blog - and a few others have been a breath of fresh air amongst the hyper-right wing, super religious, bible thumping, homeschooling, women-must-be-in-submission-to-men lot. It is good to be reminded that christianity is about christ, no more, no less.


  2. Anonymous...Thank you for the encouraging words and for taking the time to stop by this page. Be blessed.

  3. i just sent this blog post to a counselor i've begun to meet with to try to explain that when my dad "apologizes" which he's done only a few times in my life, that it isn't usually a real apology.

  4. I hope it proves helpful, kalipay.

  5. This guy is crazy! I have seen similar, though. And somehow, I really don't understand how, they believe they are totally right to act that way. Thankfully, I haven't personally experienced this level of treachery.

  6. aaaargh! I used to get to mad at my dad for his lame apologies! I used to call them his "I'm sorry but..." apologies because they always ALWAYS started out with that phrase and continued with an explanation of how whatever he did that bothered me was really my fault.

    When I was about 13, I finally told him not to bother with apologies anymore because I wasn't going to forgive him if that was the best he could do. Fortunately for me, he just quit talking to me altogether shortly after that for a number of years.

    (I've spent this weekend reading your blog and I'm so glad you are here announcing that the fundy emperors are wearing no clothes. Christianity needs people like you.)