One evening not too long ago I had a conversation with some friends from a previous church. Hyper-authoritarian pastors might call it gossip; I call it “getting to the bottom” of things. We all shared one common experience. When we approached one of the pastors with a specific concern or a question, we received the following response: “You are the only one who has ever spoken to me about this.”
As the conversation progressed, we realized that several people had actually expressed identical concerns to the same pastor. All of them had received the same knee-jerk response which was: “Only you have complained”. As one might imagine, these friends began asking other folks at the church about this matter, and they soon discovered that a significant number of members had complained about the same matter, only to receive the exact same response — "You are the only one who has ever brought this up."
Why hadn’t the pastor been truthful? Why did he lie? It is very intimidating to most people to hear they are the “only ones” to express a concern. We are communal beings and want to be “good” Christians. We begin to self-doubt, thinking perhaps we are mistaken or misinformed. Those who actually care enough to bring a concern to the pastor usually care deeply for their church and truly want to help. Because of their dedication, these sincere church members are also less likely to discuss the issue extensively with others because they believe it is wrong.
By utilizing this scheme, manipulative shepherds have their sheep right where they want them. These trusting souls who are self-doubting and altruistic keep their awkward encounter to themselves. These so-called shepherds use unbiblical, de-motivational management techniques to limit the input from the priesthood of the believers. They don’t have time to show concern for their flock. Instead, they have more important matters to attend to, like speaking at conferences, writing and selling books, and forming coalitions to institute the “new Calvinism” beliefs throughout the land. Such organizations include The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, The Gospel Coalition and the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, Inc., which will be discussed at a later date.
Today's post is dedicated to all the good-hearted believers who want to do the right thing in their churches. Rest assured, you are not alone! I, too, have been there. Oh, and by the way, do not let these modern day Pharisees point their fingers at you and claim that you are so infected by sin that you cannot know what is good and right. The same Holy Spirit that directs your pastors' lives indwells you if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.
May God, the Creator of good humor, give you peace and a hearty laugh today as you witness other people thinking that only they are the odd men out.
This one will make you glad you are a Christian! (YouTube videos to follow- sorry)