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#369455 - 09/05/11 12:03 AM writing to a friend
Becoming Other Offline

Registered: 07/26/11
Posts: 154
Loc: follow early Alice Miller, Del...
BO to Forum, writing to a friend

Trying to write to someone I know and basically think highly of. Problem is that she is immersed in Evangelical Christianity. She also believes all of their premises, 1. It is not religion because it is just the Bible. 2. Religion and Politics are two entirely separate things. 3. Her church is not Protestant because it does not protest against the Catholic church.

Very difficult to talk with such a person. There is very little in America which has effected politics more than religion.

For this woman, Jesus saved she and members of her family from the more serious depths of alcoholism, "If not for Jesus I'd still be crashing cars."

The husband has serious alcoholism related health problems and probably won't live much longer. The brother died living on the street, addicted to drugs and alcohol. And there all sorts of other family problems, "Jesus giving me trials."

I don't want to be disrespectful to this woman, or to senselessly anger her. But when you are dealing with people's denial systems its really hard to avoid. More and more I see that there is a relationship between Evangelical Christianity and Intoxication.

"these people are not drunk"

#369515 - 09/05/11 08:24 PM Re: writing to a friend [Re: Becoming Other]
Becoming Other Offline

Registered: 07/26/11
Posts: 154
Loc: follow early Alice Miller, Del...
More and more I am coming to see the close relationship which has always existed between alcohol and Christianity. When a group gives the appearance of intoxication, they are doing it for a reason, power is being wielded.

Yes my friend is a nice person. I agree that based on her beliefs she should be someone to write off. But on the other hand if I want to be involved in community affairs, these are the sorts of people I have to deal with. Once you get away from the strictly cash and carry and the real estate industry influence, then you have the religious groups. This woman is far from the worst. Actually the mega church she belongs to is not the most extreme.

I know a man. Let me call him B. B. lives in a beat up old motor home with disability money payments.

The nature of his disability is in my opinion marginal. I don't begrudge him his payments as I support the development of a complete welfare state. I just think he needs to be honest.

He is a potentially bright man, its just that the socio-cultural environment he comes from does not support education of any type. So he never developed much of a career. Had these things been different his disability would not be enough to hurt him. But he sees nothing wrong, nothing to redress or remedy in his background.

He had been a long term drug user and has a felony conviction. He doesn't see anything in his drug use, except the hand of Satan and his own weakness. The idea that there is repressed pain underneath substance addictions is irrelevant to him.

Despite having a felony conviction, he believes our justice system to be fair and has opposed efforts to promote another local person who is serving a life term over something bogus.

He is opposed to President Obama and talk of a new stimulus plan to create jobs. Rather, he wants a Capital Gains Tax cut to keep employers here and he supports the Republicans.

All of this despite the fact that he hasn't held anything like a regular job in decades. Before he had the motor home and his disability money, he lived in a shack on a river way.

He gets his disability money, food stamps, and medicare. But he supports a political party which wants to take all this way.

That America's deindustrialization and the loss of unionized employement has something to do with the present state of affairs is meaningless to this man.

What he does do is promote the Born Again Christian Movement and oppposition to Satan. Most of his talk is filled with such things, when he is not saying things to support the Republicans. He also insists that Religion and Politics are completely separate.

He says that when he was a drug dealer that he had the best drugs around. Well, now is still a sort of a power broker in the role he serves in various churches and their ministries.

This is the social environment in which I live!

I want to fight back!


#369691 - 09/07/11 06:57 PM Re: writing to a friend [Re: Becoming Other]
Becoming Other Offline

Registered: 07/26/11
Posts: 154
Loc: follow early Alice Miller, Del...
I watch people, I learn. I watch drunks hanging out in a park. I listen to stories of AA members. I listen to people make the profession, "I am a Christian." I listen online to the sermons coming from the Word-Faith Pentecostal mega churches. They are all the same people!

Probably Jesus was a drunk.

For some people there is no reason not to drink if that makes one part of the group and it helps to avoid having to be in one's own skin and face one's own pain.

Likewise for some people there is also no reason not to make professions of belief, promoting a literal theism, if that makes one part of the group and helps them avoid having to live in their own skin and face their own pain.

Same thing goes for the Recovery Movement and Psycho Therapy. The common element is always, No Redress. With redress you have to face the pain, and it is immense. Redress means engagement with the harm perpetrated and the people who did it. But so long as you can have some doctrine of Live and Let Live, you don't have to face it.

The reason children continue to be abused is denial. The reason nothing is done about it is denial. Psycho Therapy, the Recovery Movement, and the Born Again Christian Movment are the primary sources of this denial. Born Again Christianity is also probably the largest single reason the United States doesn't have universal health care, as well as being the largest threat against our democracy.


#369798 - 09/09/11 02:48 AM Re: writing to a friend [Re: Becoming Other]
Becoming Other Offline

Registered: 07/26/11
Posts: 154
Loc: follow early Alice Miller, Del...

Thank you for reading my posts with interest. That's good to know.

Though I can't stop you from doing so, and though I am not going to try, it still sounds like you are arguing for Live and Let Live. You ask me, "what if that is alright for other people?" What this means is am I willing to approach them with Live and Let Live? Do I live by bourgiose propriety, temple of the will, or other sorts of Sacred Cow doctrines? The answer is NO!

Yes, certainly most of us do end up letting most slights roll off. Most of us do have to accept that most things which we feel were done wrong to us, we just have to let be.

Where I take exception to all of this is when Live and Let Live becomes a prescibed ideology. As I have noticed, in areas like Religion and the Recovery Movement, and amoungst people who use intoxicating substances to tune out, Live and Let Live is a prescribed ideology. It is also usually so for those who have been the most seriously abused as children.

Why? Because the pain is so so great that it is hard to live in one's skin.

I am not a supporter of religion either. But in the country I live in it is everywhere. Most community oriented groups are religious. Today it just so happened that I was interacting with one, and a man who always does so was preaching. The main message was as it always is, "Jesus died for you sins, so get down on your knees you worthless slime."

This time someone else started counter attacking, accusing the preacher of spreading falsehood and hate. Later on the preacher spoke of alcoholism and I asked him, "Do you know that Evangelical Christianity is a lot like alcoholism?"

Things were getting nasty today. I told someone that Born Again Christianity is the reason we don't have universal health care.

Yes, I could flip all of these people off. But then again, thats kind of like Live and Let Live too. In the end nothing changes.

So I asked the preacher for his influences. First he said he had none, just the Bible. So I challenged that and it went on and on and finally he recited a list. They are all people from England in the 1800's. I have just looked them up and I am going to read. Of course most of them are people who preach that the big end is coming, etc.

It makes no difference what they say, or whether this preacher is saying the same or not. Rather what is important is to surface that there are different views. There are churches that say different things. And I see things differently than this preacher.

We all have the right to our shared religious traditions and our shared>

#369851 - 09/09/11 09:57 PM Re: writing to a friend [Re: Becoming Other]
Becoming Other Offline

Registered: 07/26/11
Posts: 154
Loc: follow early Alice Miller, Del...
I want to follow up a little more. I spoke of a preacher yesterday and a clever young man who started taking him on. He accused the preacher of being an "Aggressive Christian". Well I love it any time someone can turn the word Christian into something dirty. I just laughed and then asked, "Is that like an aggressive panhandler?" He said, "Yes, except the panhandler is straight up, he just needs the money. The Aggressive Christian is saying things to you while he's got a knife ready." And he made a belly stabbing gesture.

The man was so angry that he compared the preacher to Satanists, and then left shortly after. The preacher just go louder and more rigid. I would not have called the preacher a Satanist because that too is reinforcing yet another of the Christianists dichotomies. I want to attack them directly. The Biblical Prophets attack by showing how people don't live up to their own values. Sometimes that is good. But here I don't want to do that. I want to attack Christianism without in anyway legitimating any aspect of it.

Maybe I should try to follow those like the late Rap Artist Tupack Shakur, How Do You Want It? .... "comin' up as a nigger in the cash game ... " ( sorry, its not the X-rated version )

Or like Akon from Senegal who says that what we all need is, "Money, Power, and Respect".

I said about the Pentecostal Alcoholic that I want to answer her. She has embraced a moderate strain of mega churches. I know, that's rather like talking about a moderate member of the Ku Klux Klan. But she and lots of other people see nothing wrong with such churches. So I want to answer her thoughtfully. If I make broad sweeping condemnations then I am being "intolerant and judgemental". I once got an indignant response back from a Born Again, "As a Christian I am prohibited from judging."

So to some extent you have to learn to beat these people at their own game. Although when one really does want to sever contact, its great if they can be provoked to anger. Better still if they can be provoked to violence.

Live and Let Live is not acceptable. It is necessary to retake social space and drive the Christianists out of it. We have to fight them street by street and house by house. And no, this is not like the hatred many of them display for gays. Its different because gays are not a totalizing force which wants to destroy democracy and replace it with theocracy and demand that everyone make verbal prostrations to their idol.

So on the one hand I want to offer methadone in the form of a nationally recognized liberal Protestant church. But one problem is that I don't really want to endorse that either. I can't even say that it is 100.00% different from what this Pentecostal woman has embraced. So I am having to study it all closely.

And then I want to make cogent criticism of her moderate form of mega-church.

So I am reviewing both. These days most everything is online. I will probably have to write my text over again. This is taking time.

The current form of Pentecostalism is Word-Faith. But as it has developed, it is pure motivationalism, though wrapped in Biblical language. So for anyone who has had their understanding of the Bible and their own spirituality shaped by an orthodox understanding of>

#369994 - 09/13/11 02:38 AM Re: writing to a friend [Re: Becoming Other]
Becoming Other Offline

Registered: 07/26/11
Posts: 154
Loc: follow early Alice Miller, Del...
Becoming Other to Forum, "Everybody Needs Recovery"

I am flabbergasted, as I am also infuriated. Some have asked me to explain exactly what I mean by "Recovery Movement". My answers have not been satisfactory. The Recovery Movement is everywhere and in everything. It comes from 12 step and psycho therapy. Its Motivationalism. And its also from religion.

Charles Bufe said that he felt the 12 step groups would decline as churches would become more accommodating of things like alcoholism. This seems to be so. But I think he meant mainline religion, not the non-denomicantional evangelicals, and certainly not mega churches. If he'd seen that coming, he'd of been alarmed.

Its only because Northern Abolitionists abandoned personal salvation and then agitated and agitated until there were organizational splits, that slavery ever ended in this country.

It was a revival of social conservatism and the use of wedge issues which gained Richard Nixon the Presidency in 1968 and 1972 and prolonged the war in Vietnam. The continuing role of the Evangelicals has heavily influenced our national politics so that we now have massive federal debt, a gutted progressive income tax structure, defunded public schools and higher education, and we still don't have universal health care.

There had maybe been a little bit of organized opposition back in the early 80's, when Pat Robertson and Jim and Tammy Bakker where on television. But in the years since there is nothing, only appeasement. Most people see it all as one big sacred cow and so it's not allowed to criticize it.

I want to write back to my pentecostal recovering alcoholic friend, and I will explain all of this. I want her to understand my objection and also that things don't have to be this way.

But I know that most people are taken in by these Mega Church Pastors. Mainline Protestant Churches dropped down to 40 persons per Sunday in the 1970's. Many have never come back and never will. What has taken their place are these Mega Churches. Clearly to get so many people, the Mega Churches must be doing something different.

To me, it just proves that if you know how to do it, you can get people to go for anything. If only the time and energy put into these sorts of churches could go elsewhere.

So I need now to figure how I am going to write to my friend.

There needs to be some protection for prison inmates here. Otherwise they will feel that they have to go along with it to get favorable treatment by parole boards and from outside activist groups.


This guy's book has sold 10's of millions of copies, and it keeps on going. Notice how many times he uses the royal WE.


audio only

"Bible Believing"
"Bible Based"
"God Glorifying"
"Prayer Powered"
"Mission Minded"
"Decade of Destiny"
"Christ Centered"

"What is a Saddleback?"

"What does it mean to be Saddleback Church? I want to explain this to you today. .... S-A-D-D-L-E B-A-CK .... The S in Saddle back stands for second chance grace place. We are a Second Chance grace place. This is a church where people get the opportunity to start over. No matter how they've done wrong, this is a place to get a fresh start, its a place to begin again. Its a place to start over, its a place to be born again. The are the second chance grace place. God has shown us mercy, so we show other people mercy. God's forgiven us for all of our screw ups, so we should forgive others. God cut us some slack, so we cut other people slack here. God has been gracious to us, and so we believe in being gracious to everybody else. This is a place for a second chance, a fresh start.
Saddleback started a ministry over 20 years ago called Celebrate Recovery. Its now used in tens of thousands of churches. Its the official program in practically every state prison system.
Recovery is not simply a ministry of Saddleback, its one of our key values. Its a value in this church that everybody needs a second chance. Everybody needs Recovery. We believe there are really only two kinds of people in the world. There are those who's lives are broken and know they need recovery, and there are those who's lives are broken and deny they need recovery. ... But everybody needs it. ... Because sin has broken everything so everything needs recovery.


I can't take listening to much of this guy. Just transcribing this was really hard. This guy is the epitome of why I find it necessary to maintain a Privacy Firewall around all the affairs of my life, because I reject the Recovery Model and everything else related to it. So I am always at risk, that is until I can stike back.

Since the Evangelicals are never a real denomination, they have to recruit their people anew each generation. I also think this probably does relate to an increased amount of severe alcoholism and drug abuse. I really do believe that many in their congregations are people who have had severe problems.

I have never had the slightest bit of attraction to drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or evangelical Christianity. Always, I have been completely opposed to all, and have tended to see them all as entailing a similar sort of surrender to conformity.


Redress for Wrongs, not Recovery and Religion. Tangible Results, not Therapeutic Release, there is no such thing as Healing without first restoring Honor. wars are won through Strategic Engagements with the enemy, not by Seeking Enlightenment. Victory, not continuing Victimization.

#370225 - 09/16/11 03:02 AM Re: writing to a friend [Re: Becoming Other]
Becoming Other Offline

Registered: 07/26/11
Posts: 154
Loc: follow early Alice Miller, Del...
Here I am writing back to a friend who is involved in a group which promotes both progressive politics and Evangelical Christianity. He and I both know each other's views well. A message that I am putting out now is, "Born Again Christianity is the single largest reason why the United States still does not have Universal Health Care." The meaning is that anyone who says, "I am a Christian" is part of the problem and not part of the solution.

My friend is responding to that. His position is that the real problem is Capitalism and how the church lets itself be coopted by that. He also, maybe without really intending to, further advances the Evangelical position that there is a church and some who are inside it and some who are outside it.

So I respond to him, showing the full history of how Evangelical Christianity has worked from the Second Great Awakening, to the Abolitionist Movement, to the Scopes Trial and up to the present. I delineate just how the Born Again Movement was promoted specifically to co opt and oppose the Bohemian themed New Left which arouse out of the Anti-War Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women's Movement, the Gay Rights Movement, and the Sexual Revolution.

I go on to claim that anytime one is supporting conservative middle class values, one is supporting Capitalism.

I go on to explain that the real problem is this idea that there are some who are Christian and some who are not.

I explain that Recovery and Motivationalism are the new mega church means of presenting Sin and Salvation, the same sort of religion which supported slavery. The mega churches must be doing something different, as mainline Protestantism has nearly cratered. Their numbers are so few that they've had to abandon the traditional Protestant set of views in favor of Borg's New Paradigm. Meanwhile the mega churches continue to grow. When their pastors speak, nearly ever sentence contains the Royal We.

I also introduce the idea that Born Again Christianity works in a manner similar to addiction to drugs or alcohol.

I respond to his claim that there is a church and some in it and some out of it by challenging the Biblical interpretation upon which it is based. I explain that the Bible arose out of a contemplative tradition. Those who preach otherwise, Protestants, are full of it.

I go on to explain that I will not legitimate the Born Again Movement by calling it a church. Their claim that there are some in and some out I find patently offensive. I don't grant it any protection under any doctrine of religious tolerance, Sacred Cowism, or Live and Let Live.

I mean what I say about church services based on some version of the Divine Office,>

#370292 - 09/16/11 09:25 PM Re: writing to a friend [Re: Becoming Other]
Becoming Other Offline

Registered: 07/26/11
Posts: 154
Loc: follow early Alice Miller, Del...
A follow up comment to someone in England.

London England is known as one of the places in the world which has the largest number of people who identify themselves as secular, instead of religious. So I am sure that this does tone down the more negative elements of religion.

But I also know that Margaret Thatcher had appointed as Arch Bishop of Canterbury someone from the fundamentalist wing of the Anglican Church, the most conservative of its three wings.

I don't know this for a fact, but I suspect that Born Again Christianity was a factor in the Tony Blair government, moving the Labor Party much further to the right than it historically had been, supporting an ethos of upward social mobility, and also thus contributing to England's role in the Iraq War. I believe this likely, though I don't know it for a fact because I don't follow the UK that closely.

In the US the Born Again Movement is everywhere. The most central thing about it is the making of the profession, "I am a Christian".

In large measure I agree with most of what you have said. But the Born Again Movement is something very very different. They have been able to create this perception of a persecuted church and a mandate to oppose that which is secular. It is a type of religion which was driven under rocks with the 1925 Scopes Trial. But in the 1970's it resurfaced. In the 1980's Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition was extremely effective in packing local school boards. In a large portion of the country the elected office holders will make the I am a Christian profession. It is a positivistic doctrine. The central idea is a dividing line, and most important to that is the profession.

It is especially targeted at those who have been hard living, those who have had a history with drugs or alcohol. This is a large portion of the population, maybe 25%?

The United States is the only industrialized nation which lacks universal health care access. We also have the weakest of social safety nets, along with an exponentially expanding federal debt and a continuing grossly boated dependency on fossil fuel consumption. In many places access to abortion is almost non-existent. We spend more on defense than the entire rest of the world combined. Looks like we are also the only industrialized nation which still allows children to be disinherited. We also still use the death penalty. Over 1/6th of the population lives below the poverty line. We have no state funded child care, but in many places they are imposing cut offs on what welfare we have.

As far as Recovery, the central idea is that the victim is to blame. The one who has suffered has to examine their own life and reform. So it is the old sin and salvation model again. What this does is enable continued violations and block efforts at redress and reform. Its also psychological abuse.

Alcoholics don't drink and addicts don't use for no reason. They are covering repressed pains of abuse and marginalization. The Born Again Movement substitutes one addiction for another and promotes a politics of the status quo. So nothing changes as all efforts are soaked up in Christianist insanity. Anyone who tries to fight back has to first fight against psychotherapy, recovery, and religion.

Redress for Wrongs, not Recovery and Religion. Tangible Results, not Therapeutic Release. there is no such thing as Healing without first restoring Honor. wars are won by Strategically Engaging with the enemy, not by Seeking Enlightenment. Victory, not continuing Victimization.



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