Wednesday, 1 July 2020

The Clear Light of Day — Part Sixteen

Still no word from either publisher. So, here's your next bit of the story. x


Kortney Garrison said...

In this episode, you mention the bands of fundamentalism. I was raised under very strict fundamentalism and have moved on from it. But I wonder if there aren't some lasting effects. I wonder if my neck might not be floppy, so to speak, and I've just come to expect that.

Do you have any more to say on the ways that fundamentalism distorts the message of Jesus? Or resources I might seek out?

Pen Wilcock said...

Personally (and I may be wrong), I think two things help.

The first is to look for configuration in circles rather than top down. You can find a full explanation about that in my book "Equality is Biblical". In my view, authoritarian structures are inherently toxic, because the exclusions, disconnections and strongholds they create offer mechanisms familiar to abusive people, who work them with ease. It's useless trying to shepherd the flock by punitive policing and hunting down abusive people when the system itself is creating them. What strengthens souls is being heard, accepted and understood, and this implies inclusion, respect and equality. Jesus pursued this strongly, advocating and acting for those excluded from strongholds of power to build an inclusive kindred. Dominance is central to authoritarianism and is everywhere in fundamentalism. Yesterday I began to watch a live-streamed act of worship broadcast by a fundamentalist Christian group. It began with a children's story on Jonah, read by to the children by one of the men. He stressed to them the importance of obedience. Then their pastor stepped in to bring a children's message. He said, "Jonah tried to run away from God, but you can't run away from God. Wherever you are, God will get you." At that point I turned off the video and unfollowed the group. "Love casts out fear," says Jesus. Look for what casts out fear (being heard, accepted, welcomed, understood) and reject what creates fear (coercion, authoritarianism, punishment, the God who will get you).

The second thing is to take off the labels and see how it looks to you then. "By their fruit you shall know them", says Jesus. Know the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control) and look for that, not the label. Labels are identification groups like Evangelical, Catholic, Baptist, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Quaker, Democrat, Republican, Gay, Straight, Feminist, White, Black, etc. Ignore them. Look for the fruit of the Spirit and add your energy to that, regardless of what label it flows under. Jesus said "I do nothing except what I see the Father do". Whatever it says on the tin, if it hasn't got the fruit of the Spirit then it's not what the Father is doing.

I hope that helps! xx