I want to dig a little deeper into an issue I explored in Buzzverses and Word Games.
The "buzz" is a powerful thing to a vulnerable heart and mind. When they get out of line, just buzz 'em, and once again you'll have a dutiful little subordinate, albeit a damaged one. For subordinates who desire to live for Christ, whether in a larger group setting like a church or in family/cultic family settings, each buzz can, and usually does, leave them with less of an identity, less of a true view of scripture (if it's used for the buzz), less of an understanding of the nature of God.
The buzz does, however, keep the mind malleable, and to those who lord over others, it's the perfect mind control tool. Craft the buzz words, phrases, and verses carefully enough, with precise repitition, and you'll get the desired response every time. That response becomes ingrained into the buzzee - the natural reaction to the buzz. Seemless, stealth mind control and thought reform.
I have an uncle who was in the Merchant Marines in WWII. While he doesn't mean it in an indicting manner, he's described Jump School as "a big brainwashing session." From the time he arrived, everything was aimed at getting his mind suitable for the moment he'd be in the plane and the light would turn green. All he heard, over and over, was that when that light turned green, he was to jump without hesitation, because to fail to do so would be failure as a man, would be failing his buddies jumping before and after him, would be letting down his country, and he'd be lower than a dog. He'd be shamelessly booted out of the Merchant Marines, probably limited to some honorless form or branch of service where his cowardice and failure would be evident to all.
When the big day of his first jump arrived, he stood in the plane cold, numb from the waste down, in utter fear of jumping, more afraid of it than he'd ever been of anything, heart racing, then the green light came on - and he jumped without hesitation. His mind had been effectively buzzed and conditioned, and the green light provoked the desired response. His mind lost his own identity and took on the identity given to him by his instructors.
As my relationship with my ex-fiancee progressed, and I began to see more and more how her father and mother had used scripture and religious terminology/phrases to achieve this same kind of mind control on her and her sisters, ranging in age from 19 to 26 at the time - grown women. It would make me furious each time I witnessed it. Proof-texts of verses like 1st Corinthians 6:20, "...for you were bought at a price..." were used to throw a wet blanket of guilt over them all when they had nothing to feel guilty about. Pleasing the Lord became an impossible standard.
The buzz that troubled me the most, though, was in situations where the family members would be going their separate ways at the same place, such as when they would all enter the same Wal-Mart or grocery store. Before they could spread out, her father would turn to them all and say, "Remember, you represent the King. Act accordingly and don't behave in any manner that's unbecoming your position." You could see the constraint and needless guilt wash over their faces. The visit to Wal-Mart became another potential failure in their long list of failures. It made me want to use my head as a wrecking ball on the nearest wall, or, that is, at least the part of me that didn't want to wop him upside his head and tell him to stop doing something so stupid and cruel to his grown daughters.
To many people, this probably seems like a harmless thing to say. My question is, if he's done the job he should as a father and pointed them to the Lord all of their lives, why does he constantly have to remind them that they're under a heavenly microscope?...creating the impression that every time they fail the Lord He either sits above them anxiously desiring to give them a spiritual whuppin', or, He is so disappointed and heart-broken that He backslides and writes a country song based on their personal treachery. For a young woman who is vulnerable, indoctrinated to be co-dependent, socially naive, way behind emotionally, and yearns for acceptance and unconditional love, that's a heavy load to bear. Every natural desire and impulse becomes a potential means for disappointing the Lord, every moment of happiness gets measured meticulously to see if it's sinful and rebellious. I mean, the God who promised to never leave or forsake them could potentially leave and forsake them if they don't measure up!
How can they possibly come to understand love?
Constraint rather than liberty - "...Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." What their father was doing to them was very clearly not something inspired by the Lord. The Lord gives and desires liberation from our old, sinful nature and the associated guilt. Their father desired to control their behavior, even in absentia, by bringing them back to their sin nature while disguising it under the cloak of their spiritual royalty and his own duty as a "godly" patriarch. The Lord offers liberty. Dad offered constraint. Their identity in the Lord payed the price for the continuance and reaffirmation of their identity in dad.
Constraint rather than freedom. One of the best passages on spiritual freedom in Christ is John 8:31-32...
"...If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Some translations use the word "set" instead of "make". This is one instance where I believe the KJV translation to be the more accurate one. The Greek word is "eleutheroo" which means liberated, freeborn. That denotes a creative, or re-creative, process from the ground up. To "set" something is to merely change it's location. Any human can "set" something. To "make" something is a creative process, which requires a Creator...something only the Lord can do in the heart of humanity. An example...
If you went to a prison, found the meanest, coldest, most hardened thief, and you "set" him free...you'd better guard your wallet. On the other hand, if while in prison this same hard-hearted thief is remade, his heart softened, his spiritual wiring redone, he's "made" free, freeborn and liberated, he has a good chance at being a productive member of society again. True freedom is found in his re-creation, not in his location.
Constraint rather than abundance of life - "...I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly."
If you plant a seed in a jar, no matter how much you nurture it, water it, feed it, care for it, no matter how many holes you poke in the top of the jar or how often you sit it on the window seal to get some sun, the plant that results from the seed has been defined by you from the second you planted it in the jar. It will never, ever exceed the shape of the jar. Even the most powerful light in our solar system, the sun, can't alter the parameters set by your jar. It can shine through the jar and offer nourishing warmth and light, but the jar prevents the seedling from growing toward the sun, which is it's natural inclination, by erecting a barrier that says "That's far enough. I can't control growth beyond this point."
Constraint. Whereas, Christ offers liberty, freedom, abundance of life, and identity, allowing one to realize that being "bought at a price" isn't a buzz, but an identity in liberating love.