BlogEthics: Malicious Independence

   Malicious independence leads not to growth or harmony but more to actuated self-absorption. Para-church "educational" agencies eschew the oversight of a denomination/convention in their direction appeal to public opinion as particularized as that public opinion may be in fact.

    Bloggers sometimes show a streak of malicious independence. Follow me here.

   In 1979, a previously (mostly) peaceful amalgam of baptist Christians in the Southwestern/Southern portion of the United States (primarily, though their cooperation pushed their boundaries to the uttermost parts of the earth) fell into a contentious period. A group within the larger group appealed to the baser emotions of their fellows,soaked in traditional language and spun through the cycles of malicious independence from previously held cooperative efforts. Everything got dirty. Nothing came out in the wash. 

    Nearly three decades later the decline in influence of the triumphant group is now statistically undeniable. Everything cooperative suffered first. Malicious independence brought down everything around it, as it does, as it will.

   Concerned former cooperators looked for ways to cooperate with like minded persons, as in the past. Some sought to bypass administrators of the triumphant party to directly support missions personnel. When they were locked out of this process completely some formed another device to salvage what they could of what they had lost. Their new names called up echoes from their feelings of perceived loss.

   Meanwhile, individuals in the new elite began to call for "putting the past behind and moving forward to the future." Unstated were the means by which the future would rehabilitate the forsaken past. Atrocity piled on atrocity. The victim wore the tag of criminal often, as the victorious always write history.

   The reactive pioneers purified their movement, stepped forward and had much to celebrate. Within a generation, they cooperated well enough to replicate much of the previous cooperative efforts and reached around the world. The early founders stepped off the scene, unfortunately leaving the scene to job seekers and the doctrinaire ideologues.

   Remember this oft-stated truth: Controversy, even conflict, will exhaust your friends, while it energizes your foes. There is something to be said for the art of compromise, where it is possible.

   Within a generation, the victims began to act like their tormentors. The politics of exclusion did as they are designed to do; they excluded people. Lots of people.

   For nearly twenty years, the cooperative group gave no one any morally justifiable reason to mount a revolution. Much of the work done, though on a smaller scale, was accomplished transparently and with apparent goodness as its core value. A person could attend a meeting again, without the feeling of a need for a scouring shower later.

   Things changed, and not just the technology of our delivery systems. Competence is a part of character, as well as intentions. The bloggers emerged from a group of insiders who, like the once isolated cooperators themselves, asked questions and were soundly rebuffed.

   Did you ever play touch football with guys? Someone touches a bit too hard. The touchee touches back on the next play. Violence escalates. Others draw close to the fray.

      Happily, the bloggers who first questioned politely, discovered a new weapon in the arsenal of democracy. Along with previous generations, the pamphleteers of post-modernism blew the whistle on incompetent management, shady dealings and cronyism. The light shone in darkness.

   Sadly, there was a lot to see once the light shone. More sadly, conventional prophets argued, quite correctly, the result of exposure would be seriously demoralizing. Sadder still, the most dehabilitating effect of demoralization would prove to be malicious independence, replete with floral protestations of love and devotion.

   Rather than maturely submit egotism to the greater good, lack of trust pushed many beyond the pale. The influence of the bloggers grew, though not always their (our) moral impulses. Anger begets more anger.

   What to do? The bloggers, and others, must forego malicious independence without the forfeiture of truth telling. When no vital right is endangered, perhaps scrutiny could give way to reasonable discretion.






9 thoughts on “BlogEthics: Malicious Independence”

  1. I don’t know big guy.
    The malicious independence is rampant. At times, it runs in me as well. After all the mess they’ve put us thru, I’ve as much patience for a Fundamentalist as my mother did with my own back talk.
    I know that some see Currie as an MI, but I have to agree with him. If a Fundamentalist feels marginalized, then “there is a convention made just for you.” I’m tired of their mess. There are enough problems in church life without the spirit of Fundamentalism splitting the congregation.
    It seems that right now, they are positioning themselves as victims. I see trolls in the comments on other sites, and I have to remind myself not to feed them. Hopefully, they will figure out what is what before their churches and denomination goes the way of the dinosaur.
    Tim Dahl

  2. Well, I was blogging on bloggers, who are viewed as maliciously independent. In fact, some of us are MI.
    However, I am going to take issue with the “if you need a fundie organization” there is one for you. Those are some pretty broad parameters, aren’t they? What about the guy who wants to stay but needs something other than what is being offered over here?
    Still, I think I get your point.

  3. RobeFRe and B Frank

    Oh geez
    is that a ‘you gotta be my kinda guy here, or else’ kinda guy?
    I mean what is the difference in a fundamentalist literalist (who always has perfect sight?)and a fundamentalist moderatist (who is never over zealous?) if they both serve to marginalize people, by trivializing real concerns and fragmenting heretofore (more fore now than here) Christ united peoples…to stay on the wrong track of your post about bloggers, Rick.

  4. If someone wants to stay, but wants something else to be offered; I would ask what they need to be offered? As long as it isn’t, “we need to kick them’dere liberal out,” then I would try my best to get what they legitimately need. However, we both know that the Fundamentalists that we are talking about are not in the majority of the people in the pew. More times than not, they are pastors.
    Along other lines, a Fundamentalist isn’t necessarily a literalist. A Fundamentalist isn’t necessarily a Conservative. As was pointed out, there is a portion of zealousness involved in Fundamentalism, but again not necessarily. The Fundamentalist, the Pattersonites and Preslerians, are the my way or the high way guys. The BGCT has never been that. People/Churches have always been able to send their money where they want to. They have always been free to partner with whomever they want. There has never been any limitation.
    When I hear guys/gals whine long enough about things that aren’t even true; then my inner MI comes out.
    Asking for future BGCT presidents to affirm their love of the BGCT just makes sense. If someone is presented for president that is part of a dually aligned church (BGCT/SBTC), then I would have some deep reservations about that person. I might have to ask about their giving. Is their CP giving intentionally BGCT/SBC? Or is their giving in line with their church where it is split BGCT/SBTC/SBC? If so, then they are showing me how much they really don’t care about the state convention.
    The Fundamentalists that I’m worried about are those with malicious intent towards the BGCT. These are the people that only use initials, or sign anonymously, trolling the comments of blogs. These people spread lies about non-SBC seminaries; and write from a point of victimization.
    *I get to burp my baby now. More important things to attend to!!!*
    Be Well,
    Tim Dahl

  5. I am persoanlly involved in a church where it seems that the moderate is paranoid of the fundie and so is actively structuring the church to insult the sensitivity of the fundie(perhaps just karma) and reject out of hand any initiative of a suspected fundie because he is thought to be fundie.
    As I have always said, I am suspect from both sides and thus insulted twice as often as most who consistantly fall on one side or the other. If I sound like a victim it is because I believe the Silent middle(majority) dwarfs the other two, and has to voice an opinion occasionally to try and get the two ends to the point of agreement. Being silent can keep us from activity by reason that the leadership is not silent that is how they were assigned leadership by stating a stand. That leadership then assumes apparent infallibility, and is not able to hear what most can, will, and feel led to do. Sometimes because the fact that they are leaders mean they won’t listen, they are too busy talking vision and goals.
    I read and study the KJV because it feels more complete than any other if not more beautiful, while beauty is found in the NIV it must be amplified to cover all the bases the KJV covers. Believe me I was one of the earliest readers(and defenders) and am today a reader of the Amplified NIV.
    Now, I truly love the HCSB.
    But far be it from me to tell someone the detrails of their salvation without first hearing it from them. Although confessed faith in Jesus(God’s Gift) is significant.
    If unfair politics is the issue, then we should just check it in. Which in much of the Baptist world is just what is happening. I do not see much numerical growth in any of our Org’s so I am hoping that more and more of those of us who are left will see that it is necessary to carry the banner of the big tent in order to not only attract the novice but include him as well.
    I would that we were all of one LORD.

  6. RobertFnRevier,
    I wish there was no such thing as unfair politics. I can be wrong, but I think politics is how we live together as a group. In ever group, from convention to families, there is a type of politics involved in the functioning of that particular group. When things get unfair, it hurts everyone. But, we are all human. We all fear, we all have agendas (that we think are best for the group), and some people have learned how to work the politic-system better than others. Those that know the system will probably always get better results.
    I agree that most seem to be exiting the institutional boats of denominations, conventions, fellowships, etc. Perhaps the BGCT will have to go through such a radical transformation, that it will look very little like the old BGCT. What if it needs to get significantly smaller, to be able to respond in fluidity to the ever changing landscape? What if some of the Institutions of the BGCT have to no longer be funded, but still choose to be a part? That is hard to think about. I would hate for my alma mater to no longer be funded; but it may be time. All so that we can focus, focus, focus as a state convention.
    Here’s a somewhat scary thought… What if the future in cooperative ministry is best served by the local associations? What if they are best situated for the post-denominational age?
    Just a thought.
    Tim Dahl

  7. As long as dedication to God, transparency to the volunteer and service to those in need exists in some fashion within the unit of action then that may be the way we go.
    Recently our church has involved itself in an El Paso Area mission series. Even though many churches in our association were working with the anglo part of the EP association and crossing the border we attended a canceled for lack of interest missions opportunity gathering for the EP Hispanic Association churches there and fell quite miraculously in with Buckners River Ministry to the Colonias. It has been exciting and fun to watch our congregation grow in their faith and spirit. We would not have done this though quite like we have without an independence and skepticism of the efficacy of the local co-op in our town. It(the coordinating unit) may get even smaller than we now imagine before the ties begin to regrow and blossom as they once did.
    I am thinking a lot of prayer and intentional humility may be at hand if we really want to maintain the ties that hsve bound us together.
    Or if the ever present middle grounders begin to grow, then maybe all will be moot and life is bliss again.
    Would that replace current arena of debate over the differences that separate us in the back of the church and outside the doors to the Ed Building instead of in the convention floor where the things that unite us should be edified and mission opportunities discussed.
    I like the TBM DR because it is generally all business when the time comes to work, and while there can be lively debates between side by side SBT and BGCT volunteers, the look of relief on the faces and spontaeous prayers of thanks from the hearts of the people we are serving keep us mindful of God’s great love and myserious planning.

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