Thursday, 3 March 2016

Fear and Crusades

Recently, I left this comment on Jory Micah's blog post regarding Mark Driscoll's unhealthy teaching on submission:
"The whole ‘biblical submission’ teaching is absolutely toxic! Despite the fact that it is a residue of the shepherding movement (whose leaders have long since repented of their teaching) men are still peddling versions of this crap because it panders to their egos and means they get to be ‘over’ others. It damages lives and is the antithesis of Jesus’s teachings. 
In my own experience, when I complained about the abusive and bullying behaviour of my male co-leader, that behaviour was not even questioned and I was made out to be the problem. I was given the choice to submit to his “godly leadership” or resign! And just like MD, this man now runs his own church, and I fear for those ‘under’ him!"
A short time later an anonymous reader replied with this:

Bad grammar aside, this is exactly the sort of behaviour I was subjected to at my ex-church! Threats and intimidation to keep me in line - to control my behaviour!

Now I seriously question the intent behind using fear as a motivation for anything, let alone to preserve your 'salvation'. Can you imagine a god who says in effect, "Behave acceptably or I'll throw you out of the club!" It's worth based on compliance - on conforming to a set of prescribed behaviours! 

That just doesn't sound like the one who was happy to hang out with the social rejects of his day; to openly display how much he valued them. And it sure doesn't sound like the one who spoke out against the self-righteous religious leaders' and their willingness to unnecessarily burden those supposed to be in their care.

The interesting thing I've found is that since leaving the religious institution, I'm no longer driven by fear. I no longer fear making mistakes; I no longer fear getting it 'wrong'; I no longer fear failing to have the 'right' doctrine; I no longer fear not measuring up to the expectations of others.

Instead, I have found a beautiful confidence in the capacity of God. His capacity to love me, to redeem me, to be enough for me. Confidence that I am fully acceptable to him, period!

The other thing I question is the concept of "crusading for truth". It's not about loving others, it's about "crusading". It's about insisting on your truth trumping that of others. Just the use of the word 'crusade' speaks volumes to me about the mindset behind the words. It speaks of a militant and aggressive approach - an 'us' versus 'them' attitude.

Somehow, that doesn't sit well with the life of the one who chose to die rather than use power and might to prove his point.

I don't know about you, but I am completely over the use of fear and crusades to push religion. I'm ready to try the suggestion Jesus made: to simply love God and love others... 


  1. The mindset that "truth" can be upheld while not honoring the dignity of the people that you are proclaiming it to us way too prevalent.

    What does it say, no greater love is there than to slay your brother (or sister) in the name of serving God?

    Wait, I don't think that's right...

    1. Absolutely! It seems that some people believe that attending a religious service (or better yet, running one!) absolves you from actually following the teaching and example of Jesus. Go figure!