Posts Tagged 'abusive churches'

On Scatology and Compost

No, not eschatology, though many folks consider than an equally excremental topic. Rather, yesterday’s post Organic Church: Full of Crap? elicited a lot of lively feedback (thanks all!). One friend in particular emailed me off-blog  and wondered if perhaps I was carrying the metaphor of church history/our personal experiences-as-compost a bit too far; couldn’t saying that the ‘crap’ is valuable justify abuse, manipulation, or normalizing sub-standard experiences? It’s a good question. Here’s what I replied:

Great question. And if I was brutally honest about my own ‘organic church experience’ over its 10-year period, on a scale from Euphoric to $#!tty, I’d probably say it’s somewhere in the middle – and that I’d rather not spiritualize my experience of the latter.

Far be it from me to make the compost metaphor whitewash the $#!t and justify manipulation and groupthink. Rather, I think that this image of spiritual life can stand – on a personal/local level as well as a macro/historical level – as an ecosystem metaphor for even the best of times and the healthiest of institutions/movements. ‘Cause when you think about it, most people don’t pile steaming excrement on their home compost heaps. That’s just fertilizer – and that’s helpful too, but somewhat different. No, the compost heap in my parents’ backyard garden gets a regular supply of egg shells, carrot peelings, old lettuce, and other bits of organic matter that were (and are, strictly speaking) life-giving – just not at that moment for my parents. They were yesterday’s meals – yesterday’s manna, if you will. By sewing into the compost heap, they hope to reap some life-giving food down the line a bit. Even a psychologically-healthy, well-adjusted group will have old manna to put on the compost heap for tomorrow’s nourishment.

You’re right, too, that we don’t worship the decay – the compost heap isn’t = the life of the Spirit. Rather, it’s the fertile ground where the Spirit can do her work.

Wanna Become A Mind-Controlling Cult Leader?

Who doesn’t? Ten years ago – in 1999 – I thought that civilization was going to collapse on January 1, 2000. Not for any divinely-mandated apocalyptic reasons, mind you; it was all about the ‘computer bug.’ Computers would think it was 1900 due to only having two digit-spaces for the year, and all heckfire would break loose. It was a great time in those days; folks from my church were stockpiling food & weapons. At school, my friend nicknamed me ‘Y2K’ and filmed a mock video of me recruiting for an apocalyptic Y2K cult on campus – that is, before I took a year off following the Fall 1998 semester to prepare for The Collapse. The name ‘Y2K’ stuck…I wonder why? I need to digitize that video sometime. Anyway, among this particular cadre of friends the reputation of “Mike the Cult Leader” has playfully stuck around (or maybe not-so-playfully in the case of my dear old friend Billy, who’s convinced that I’m spiritually & politically off the rails, and bound for cultic greatness), and so I tend to notice it when videos like this make the rounds (thanks, Brittian!)

“Don’t you want devoted followers who’ll leave their families for you, give their money, their body, and their mind to you, consider you God and kill for you? If yes…watch this preparatory video.”

Ahh…gotta love it. Say, I wonder if Pastor Mark or Pastor Perry have seen this?


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  • Friend of Emergent Village

    My Writings: Varied and Sundry Pieces Online

    Illumination and Darkness: An Anne Rice Feature from Burnside Writer's Collective
    Shadows & Light: An Anne Rice Interview in MP3 format from Relevant Magazine
    God's Ultimate Passion: A Trinity of Frank Viola interview on Next Wave: Part I, Part II, Part III
    Review: Furious Pursuit by Tim King, from The Ooze
    Church Planting Chat from Next-Wave
    Review: Untold Story of the New Testament Church by Frank Viola, from Next-Wave

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