Emergent Misers: The Church and Zero Sum Economics
Any lawn or garden lacking pre-emergent herbicides can quickly fall victim to weeds that compete for vital nutrients, water, carbon dioxide, sunshine, and soil to produce healthy reproducing lawn, turf, and crops.
“Investopedia defines a “zero sum game” as “a situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so the net change in wealth or benefit is zero.”
Star Parker of CURE, August 18,2014 Townhall.com
“If a political leader wielding power sees the world as a zero sum game – gains to one must mean a loss to another – it is likely that this leader will promote policies that will limit growth, wealth creation and innovative problem solving.
What a zero sum worldview will produce more of is political, class, and ethnic resentment and strife.”
This “zero sum game” is not a new mentality, just new packaging:
Same enemy, converging strategies and more easily deceived pawns.
Let’s face it; most of us, as fragile limited humans, are pawns. There are very few rooks, knights or bishops, and certainly, even fewer worthy queens and kings. Being more prone to naive trusting passivity, the majority would rather let someone else solve their problems, assure their comfort, course, stability and wants; Wants that are increasingly perceived, and ever expanding, as “Universal Rights.”
Assuming a “zero sum game,” or fixed mindset as opposed to a growth mindset, the local, national and global stage is set for envy, conflict, “poverty”, guilt, coercion, corruption, a cauldron of emergent frustrations– and Balkanization. (A term our family is personally well acquainted with having fled from the Balkans.)
If one is easily rooked into a limited resource mindset, a manipulative “sustainability” mantra, or an agenda of standardizing comparisons aimed at leveling social equality—then, the created crisis is ripe for emergent charismatic leaders. Social, psychological, political, economic, and yes, even spiritual leaders; the charismatic, energizing, engaging kings and queens, who offer manuals of “new” solutions to perceived global problems of the century and of the perceived pawns.
The liberal theology, social gospel of the 20th century has emerged, yet again, under the name of The Emergent Church, sprouting weeds in the 21st century.
“Doing good for the sake of doing good.”
If your pastoral staff and small group leaders have been quoting, touting and training from the book clubs of: Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, John Ortberg, Beth Moore, David Platt, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Joel Osteen, Tony Compolo, Eugene Peterson, Mother Theresa, and a host of Emergent leaders, speakers, and game changers, then—“heads up”.
Check your church library, video diet, dramas, and curriculums. Note that these repackaged emergences of ideologies are often presented along with increasing sensory driven worship, a promotion of humanitarian missions, global save the world efforts, mystic prayer contemplatives, and peace corps like public relations.
The emergent churches are identified as much for these pied pipers as well as for what is conspicuously absent: omission of the specific needs for The Savior…like explicit sins, and with Whom and Only through Whom this “peace” agreement is to be negotiated ie. Fallen sinful man and Perfect God. If you recognize some of these patterns, you too, may be a pawn in the Emergent Church game. **
Since specific identification of Sin makes folks feel uncomfortable, adversely affects budgets, and is not politically correct; Repentance is a rare word. Sanctification, consecration, propitiation, and righteousness….oooh “What are those?”
In these often Mega size, or will become larger, smorgasbord-like churches the road is wide, tolerant, gender neutral, “men” led, and the Biblical literacy, nearly non-existent. Visual media, you tubes, and experiential sensations abound while the Bible translations of choice are usually the Zondervan NIV or some other new dynamic revised, sanitized, altered, and non-offensive, gender-neutral “translation”.
(Recall Zondervan is owned by Harper Collins, owned by News Corp., owned by Fox owner Rupert Murdoch, one of the Mega moguls of the Media Monopoly. This is a big issue, because recall that whoever controls the media and the education controls the nation. This handful of global media corporations owns nearly 90% of both media and education publications, entertainment, informational texts, newspapers, news stations, radio, curriculum textbooks and all book genre publications.)
Following the leads of John Dewey, Peter Drucker, and perhaps even Sal Alinsky, where Absolutes and Truth are things of the past, and the Old Testament and end times prophecy are often viewed as extinct relics in a post modern era– the ideology can be summarized as:
“ The Past is trash, the Future utopia is ours for equalizing, and the Present– “here and now,” is compelling an urgent responsibility to advocate for social action, and the eradication of poverty via redistribution of said limited resources; Thereby assuring sustainability.”
Not sure what exactly they believe they are sustaining…and neither are they, as history continues to repeat these shortsighted, deceptive, pantheistic, yet benevolent sounding chants.
In many of these emergent GMO’s (God Modifying Organisms) Jesus has been fashioned to be a wimpy, impotent, whisper of a “Man without a Chest.” Not The Conquering King…but merely a suffering servant of redistribution, helplessly awaiting followers to fix the world by humanitarian social action.
In the midst of this deceptive ideology, — of which Jesus forewarned prior to even answering the question of His return and the end of the age; an end replete with wars, rumors of wars, nation rising against nation, kingdom against kingdom, famines, plagues, earthquakes, (all of which we’ve had this week), is the warning:
“And answering Jesus said to them, See (that) not any misleads you.”
Jesus in Matthew 24:4 literal translation
Lacking the PreEmergent herbicides, also known as The Scriptures, (both Old and New Testaments), The Holy Spirit, and intergenerational mentoring, these churches are easily deceived. They appear to have forsaken their First Love and overlooked,
The Truth that God is the One Who provides, multiplies, and sustains us All.
Sorry folks! The earth was here before men were even created…and it will continue as long as He wills it to be so. God doesn’t need us for “planet sustainability”, removal of poverty, or to save souls. He does not need our feeble efforts to redistribute goods in a limited resource game of humanitarian benevolence. In fact, He would often rather we get out of the way and not remove the “need” that He has placed in the lives of folks to draw them to Himself. No middlemen required. Oh yes, He lets us help, if we, and our pride, stay out of the way. But,
He is in no way “dependent” on us to accomplish His purposes.
We are to be conformed to the image of Christ…and that takes some serious time in His Presence and His Word, to even catch a glimpse of what that might entail. He’s not a tame lion, and this is hardly a formula or something one can market as a “Holy Spirit” App or Six Sigma model.
Yes, we are to give and serve, as prompted by The Holy Spirit, but this is to be done in private, individual, non-photo op lives; not via Mega Churches, government contracting faith based initiatives, non-profits linked with government funding favors and run like Mega corporations with staffs equally as large posting donation amounts, and showering folks with accolades of manipulating obligation.
These “non-profits” have employees who also receive salaries for redistributing other folks’ resources. This is a simple operant conditioning system using behavioral science, social emotional and sensory manipulations, appealing to the need and search for significance. Often supplanting the need for relationship, with you know Who.
This is Econ 101. Create a product. Create a Need for that product. Create proselytes. Keep folks dependent= keep yourself employed. Paying someone to redistribute moneys to other people…sounds like built in job security and lots of profits for stockholders.
Product, Services and Profits, in themselves are vital to any free economy; we just need to be sure that folks are not being fleeced by a band of false prophets creating their own “need” and marketed by the Mega “mediamites.”
This is big business. These are the Emergent Church Reapers: The publishers, the Media Corps, the distributors, the speakers, the manual writers, the event planners, the publicists, “non-profits”, entertainers, and venues, the bookstores, the technology vendors, the music vendors, the trinket vendors, etc. those who conduct the seminars, pump the pastors, publish the books, distribute the books, videos, cd’s, promote and orchestrate the emergent pyramid organization.
Gee, this hardly sounds like a private matter, not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing. –nor doing the main thing that Jesus commissioned us to do. Know Him, His Word….disciple…baptize….teach.
The Sadducees and Pharisees, having added all their emergent commentaries, legalism, photo-op rituals, and interpretations to The Law and The Prophets, (The Old Testament Scriptures) missed these truths, the signs of the times, and even missed The Messiah….at least His first coming.
“And answering, Jesus said to them,
You err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.”
Jesus in Matthew 22:29
Many emergents err not knowing the Scripture or the power of God. Trusting in charismatic leaders, human effort, human wisdom, human media marketing, and business models—they forget that with God all things are possible. Christ never says that He came to bring Peace among the nations, the removal of global conflict, nor the removal of poverty. Many emergents have busied and burdened their proselytes with revised mandates that echo the United Nations, the Humanist Manifestos, the Peace Corps and social justice community organizers.
The Laodicean Emergents have debased the Gospel to a labor of works, rather than a labor of love; emergents have abandoned a Love for The Word, Living and Indwelling, from Whom all true mercy flows, Whose yoke is easy– and for a true love for the captives for whom He came to set free from shackles of sin and dependency on emergent middlemen.
Unfortunately, this emergence has infiltrated cultures, here and abroad, sewing weeds, rather than heirloom Seeds of reproducing faith in distinctly unique cultures.
“But why do you look on the chip that (is) in the eye of your brother, but do not see the beam in your own eye?”
Or how will you say to your brother, Allow me to cast out the chip from your eye;
And behold, the beam (is) in your eye!
Hypocrite, first cast the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly…”
The weeds have nearly taken over the gardens, communities, media, churches, and homes of our own nation, as morality plummets to hedonism in America. Those in other nations that are earnestly seeking to know God and assist their countrymen to do so, express their grave concerns over the fall of America, stating with fervency and anguish:
“Keep your missionaries, You need them far worse than we do!”
“So many people have come to fix us.
We’ve been fixed so many times that we’re a real mess now.
Oh Lord, –please don’t bring another person to fix us.”
Victim cultures of America’s Emergent “Missions”
Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ecuador, Haiti, etc.
As the saying goes. “What goes around– comes around.” Works for viruses, weeds and other airborne transmissions, and transformational movements.
Americans had best return to Standing their own ground, tending their own gardens, reclaiming their foundational faith, as massive waves of illegal, yet sanctioned, immigrants flood our nation; some intent on planting their own weeds and transforming our culture as we have done in our misguided emergence humanitarian attempts.
Some immigrants come truly seeking to learn the values, virtues, principles, truths and the God in Whom America trusts, was built and blessed and the true costs of Liberty.
(Do we even recognize those values, beliefs, truths and principles ourselves?)
We are all guilty of a lack of sober diligence to our duties as citizens of a free nation and as a people of faith in and dependence on God. Our gardens are a mess.
The blame for the emergent movement falls squarely on all our shoulders.
When: parents outsourced parenting, outsourced educating their children, outsourced intergenerational transmission of spiritual formation, grandparents headed to the beach, and technology, media and government education began to master and manipulate men…. individuals, families, churches, communities, and the nation headed down a vertical cliff.
Today, pastors are overwhelmed trying to fix marriages, families, faith, futures, and fund more programs– in culture choosing to be: too busy to study God’s Word, too busy to pray, too busy to communicate eye-to-eye, too busy to know their neighbors, and too media manipulated to stop the addictive patterns. Thus enters the emergent books– the video series, the emergent purpose driven movement and manuals of fix it formulas.
These band-aid books and tapes are passed out like pharmaceutical samples left by the latest drug rep in a doctor’s clinic. (Likely, the same rep that brought the staff lunch that week.) And like all drugs…they have reams of side effects.
Weeds are hard to detect when they first sprout…but overnight a garden, a church or a country, can be full of thistles, which are prickly to pull and multiply exponentially if not removed at the root or with repeated doses of potent herbicide.
But it can, and is being done. Thus enters the Post Emergent Church era.
There are individuals, the pre and post emergents, the guardians of orthodoxy, mingled with anchoring grace and truth that are recognizing the last 50 years of misguided emergent messes. These folks are humbly, tactfully and Scripturally returning to the Biblical examples of individuals privately doing their giving, mentoring, fasting and praying. These folks are self-funding and are partnering locally and globally with individual Christians, and families to point us all back to a dependence on and a relationship with God: The Omnipotent, Omniscient, Gracious, Loving, Merciful and Saving God.
And His Name is Jesus. Yeshua. Je’sus….
Faith is not a formula. It is a relationship and wisely so. The “needs” and realities of this fallen world are a mess. Human wisdom, human logic, human philosophers, and human reason alone or in combinations are incapable of fixing it. Thus the whole point of God’s creation of mankind—Relationship with Him, The Vine.
“I am the Vine; you are the branches.
He that remains in Me, and I in him, this one bears much fruit.
For apart from Me, you are not able to do anything.”
Jesus in John 15:5
If you are a leader, of any size flock, be considerate of not pushing, manipulating, or shaming your flock into a yoke for which they are not fashioned, but shepherd them to abide in Christ, His Word and to know the power of God. He will take care of the planting, the prompting, the yoke fashioning, and the harvesting.
“And to the angel of the church of Laodicea, write:
These things says the Amen, the faithful and true Witness,
The Head of the creation of God:
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I would rather that you were cold or hot.
So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to vomit you our of My mouth.
…as many as I love, I rebuke and I chasten.
Be zealous, then, and repent.”
Some balance from a seasoned wise mentor pastor and friend:
“I can look at the NIV quite objectively, even with these disclosures about Murdoch, Fox, Warren, Catholic mysticism, etc. Some alarms and battle cries may demand a response – others may not. I have always been slow to press the panic button, or to react too spontaneously to this sort of thing. My frame of reference regarding Bibles can be described as sort of a continuum with the NASV on one end and the Message on the other. (There are many others, but few that I have any dealings with, not to mention dozens of other English translations that would fit somewhere on this continuum.) The NASV represents the most literal and the Message the least. My references line up like this, from more to less literal: NASV, ESV, KJV, NKJV, NIV, NLT, The Message. I use the NIV and NLT for an occasional “alternate reading” of a passage for clarification.”
**Behavioral Sciences methods of operant conditioning and psychosocial counseling abound. Not all “counselors” possessing these tools are “Dr. Dobsons.” And not all are intentionally manipulative. Most are just caught in the waves, overwhelmed and trying to stay afloat in a culture heading over the rapids. They themselves become instruments of transformational change unaware of what lies below the cascading falls or the frenzied rush of the stampeding herd.