Interesting responses to my last few posts. Guess I should give you guys a heads-up - some of the things I'd like to write about in the near future might make me radioactive to those who don't already find me radioactive. Even in those, there'll be recurring issues and themes touched on, as they always have been, and probably ever will be, at least as long as I'm publishing this blog.
With that in mind, I'm a little baffled by the response to some of the recent stuff, particularly the Tebow-mania stuff. Yes, I've written a good bit about Tebow-mania in the last couple of months, but no more than I've written about other issues repeatedly since beginning this blog. For instance, look at how often I reference Jim Jones, the People's Temple, and Jonestown. There's a reason for that. I've even referenced Jones/PT/Jonestown within the Tebow-mania posts. There's a reason for that. I think and operate in "patterns". Connections. "If A=B here, it likely, on a level playing field, is the same over here, too". I look for patterns in everything, and for outliers which might influence them. It's entirely the way I approached music, for instance. Common threads. Perhaps I'm guilty of projecting my own tendencies. We all do to some degree. I see a common thread between the Jim Jones/PT/Jonestown scenario and Tebow-mania. I see it clearly. Maybe I'm off-base. If I'm not off-base, perhaps I owe people an apology for not making it clearer, because I don't know if people are understanding what I've been getting at - or if they just don't want to consider it at all.
People think I'm trying to be mean to Tebow. I'm not. While I'd like to make a few suggestions to him about a few things, have some suspicions about his belief system that I'm not entirely comfortable with, et cetera, I don't wish the guy any ill will. I hope he lives a long, productive, happy life. I see him as little more than an indoctrinated mouthpiece for the movements influencing him (which include most of the movements in my blog description). He's just a kid doing what he's been indoctrinated to do. I'm not trying to be any more "mean" toward Tebow than I am toward Jim Jones. Wouldn't make any difference where Jones is concerned. He's dead. I doubt he'd be offended. Tebow, himself, has been a sidenote in the things I've written about Tebow-mania. Some attention has to be paid to his background and behaviors for context if for no other reason, but the meat of the posts have been about fundamentalist fear and propaganda, the evangelical response, thought reform, emotionalism, and the complete lack of discernment in the Christian community. It's a shame that's being missed by so many - and if I'm at fault for as much, then I apologize. Frankly, I don't think I'm at fault. I think what's happening in this instance is symptomatic of what's happening throughout Tebow-mania.
As long as I'm talking about someone that those who read here don't like, I'm being discerning. But when it's someone we want to believe plays for our team, I'm being judgmental. The word "judgmental" has lost it's meaning in the Christian community. Once upon a time it was only applied to people who made rash and hasty, unfounded, harsh, usually ill-informed, conclusive judgments about people or issues (and realistically, no matter what mask we want to wear, we ALL do this at times). These days, if you examine the evidence, attempt to use discernment, and you come to conclusions others don't agree with - you're judgmental. This has dumbed down Christianity to the point that Lloyd Christmas might even mock us.
In our own bibles, the writer of Hebrews expressed his frustration at the lack of discernment in the people he was writing to, at how he constantly had to take them through elemental principles of the faith, at how they seemed to refuse to grow to any ability to discern good from bad, right from wrong, on their own. To do those things requires judgment. Paul instructed the Thessalonians to "Test all things, and hold fast to what is good". In other words, "discern". That requires judgment. To live the faith requires love. To grow in the faith requires discernment.
I don't consider myself important. I'm just a guy writing a blog. My voice is no more important than any other voice that speaks for justice and discernment within the Christian community. If there's any piece I've ever written here that I considered important toward the overall message of this blog, it's this one. I wanted people to know what thought reform and brainwashing looked like, and I wanted the term "the Kool-aid" placed in proper perspective. It's become something that's said almost flippantly.
Jim Jones conditioned, desensitized and brainwashed his people so thoroughly that up became down, wrong became right, black became white, they stood for things they should've stood against. Their bizarre inability to reason, to see things which were clear to everyone else, their emotionalism when challenged, well, those things are the evidence of brainwashing. Once they were conditioned to turn things completely inside-out from the way they should be, it was nothing for Jones to get them to drink grape Flavor-aid laced with poison. Nothing at all. 5 people got out, and according to eyewitnesses, only ONE person truly resisted. Over 900 men, women, and children died - willingly, even if not happily.
Do I think something like that is gonna happen in the evangelical community, or because of Tebow-mania? No. Not at all. But if you'll examine the evidence, educate yourself on thought reform, its tactics, and its symptoms, it isn't because it couldn't happen.
Remember, Jones had his people accepting quite obviously wrong things as right and good and just. In a post about P/QF I wrote probably in 2010 (don't have time to look it up), I ended it by asking this question (paraphrased)...
"If a movement has already convinced fathers to replace Jesus Christ as the mediator and high priest between their families and God...is it really all that far to the Kool-aid?"
A quite obviously wrong thing accepted as right and good and just. Few of you would argue with me that P/QF brainwashes its people, would you? So, with that in mind, let me just very overtly pose the question I've been trying to pose through my other writings on Tebow-mania...
"If the Christian community is enthusiastically supporting and celebrating Tim Tebow in doing something Jesus very explicitly said to NOT do...is it really all that far to the Kool-aid?"
Something very obviously wrong being accepted, even celebrated, as right and good and just. If we'll accept and celebrate this, what else will we accept and celebrate?
For Christians, it's no longer about Christ. It's the Christian culture that's important. It's winning the cultural war that's important. Just like Jonestown, where Jesus left the Jim Jones-crafted culture, and the people never even noticed, because the culture had become their Jesus.
It's like I told someone recently, "You know who are the easiest people to brainwash? People who don't think they can be brainwashed."