Sunday, February 25, 2007

How to Survive Discipline -- Decide on a goal (part 2)

Right now you are probably very upset. You've been accused of wrong doing and the people doing it are planning on escalating to elders (or you've already been talked to by the elders). This is going to really unpleasant for you. The first thing to figure out is to calmly and rationally decide what are your goals.

Start with why you joined a right wing church, the kind of church that practices discipline in the first place. Was it because you grew up there? Was it because you really do believe in what they believe? Was it because the preacher is talented? Do you still believe what they believe?

To be a bit more religious for a second, Augustine talks about two types of sins those of the animal self (like lust) and those of the demonic self (like pride). By and large the sins that people get into serious trouble for and won't repent are lifestyle sins (those of the animal self). Utilizing weaknesses in church structure so as to circumvent their processes falls under the 2nd category. Make sure you are going to be able to sleep after you do it.

What do you want to have happen at the end of this? Would be OK with getting out without getting excommunicated? Do you want to go on doing what you are doing while remaining a member in good standing? Do you want to transfer to another type of church all together? Does you church practice shunning and could that cost you your family, job and/or close friends? Maybe you are gay and you know there is no way you can change that.

Do you not care about the church related issues at all, but are more concerned with other issues. Like rumors of this sin getting out could cost you your marriage, your job, your freedome, you love of your children, or respect you've spent a lifetime earning? That is operating in survival mode and right now the church is just a threat to your well being.

Think carefully what your goals are. This series is going to focus on how to abuse the process to achieve those goals. You need to be clear in your own mind what you are trying to accomplish or you'll get lost in your own web of deceit.

You'll always need to have a clear "why" you aren't going with the process (unless you choose submission which is part 3).
  1. You don't agree with the church's teachings
  2. Don't really want to be part of the church anymore, anyway and this is just the catalyst
  3. The pastor / elders that is you would like counseling on helping this problem but not by them.
    1. They are basically evil or controlling and you don't trust them
    2. They tend to use counseling opportunities to server their own interests
    3. Their methods will make the consequence too great. For example Marc Driscoll has a policy of reporting sexual issues to spouses and criminal issues to the police. Someone who believes that Christian counseling must be concerned with "justice" you could view as simply unsafe as a counselor.
Once you are clear your mind about the "why you are doing this" and the "what you want to accomplish" then start examining the various techniques.

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