Cooperation and competition are compatible concepts in non-adversarial systems. Companionship is Christ-like, even in the presence of controversy.
In 1979, a portion of American Christian life, the SBC, began to suffer deformity. Willing cooperation gave way to active competition, with the stress on conflict and contradiction. The Bible was transformed into a "Sacred Monster," unassailable because of its power but dangerous to all. As with any one issue advocacy group, the neo-con revolution started from the grass roots. Their reactionary fears drove them to excess. No act was too revolting. Only secular law held their Inquisition in check.
The neo-cons thought they were going to take control of a baptist Christian university in Texas, against which they made "liberal" accusations. Instead, the political apparatus of the unsuspecting national body, combined with the incredible smugness of the ruling elite, enabled the neo-cons to triumph beyond their wildest dreams.
Most suddenly triumphant nihilists across history go through periods of adjustment to governance. Successful movements learn tolerance even if they force assimilation on their conquered subjects. The neo-cons never learned tolerance. In fact, they grew less tolerant as they became more aware of just what they had won. The neo-cons moved to soldify their holdings and codify their religion in fits and starts, as though fearful to tell the cringing masses just what they believed.
In fact, the word inerrancy, as related to Scripture, appeared in none of their official printed documents. This would not do for many in their ranks, who thought they had fought for just that standard.
The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message creedal statement was the result of years of trying to solidify and codify. The most disturbing thing about the 2000 BF&M was not the sudden promotion of the written word over the living word, the mild doctrinal pronouncement that women should graciously submit to their men nor even the improvement in language over the 1963 compromise statement. If you are anticipating me, the most disturbing thing about the 2000 BF&M was not even its adoption as the doctrinal minimum for cooperation with the SBC agencies.
No, the most disturbing element is the little, tacitly understood clause that reads, "…and whatever additional statements may be produced in the future." This is a group that may not know where it is going but you, by gosh, are going to go along with whatever the ruling body decides, or not at all.
So the kindest voice from that side of the aisle sounds like a feckless thug. Think Tony Soprano with a Bible.
Quite naturally, some of us who were not so interested in power but who were in no way willing to accept blood letting felt repulsed by the methodology of the neo-con revolution. The American Revolution of the eighteenth century fell short of producing liberty and justice for all but was infinitely superior to its bloody French counterpart. We likened the neo-con "resurgence" tactics to the Jacobin Star Chamber and its partner, the gullotine.
Just as naturally, the neo-con revolutionaries, once in the palace, did not deign to sully their victory with lesser men. Negotiation was not necessary when dictatorship was possible. Those who did not wish to work within the new reality were collateral damage. They could go play in some other fields.
The mass of Traditionalists continued to funnel their money/students/influence as always, for good, spiritual reasons. Moderns, barred from cooperation by conscience, formed other, redundant channels to continue business as ever. Post-moderns (and their successors) learned Southern and Southwestern American baptist Christianity, for all its past good works, was only a small part of global Christendom and moved on to a global technocracy, reliant on Christian values, independent of the Bible as "Sacred Monster" and intent on 21st century living in a 1st Christian century model.
None of the three generational groups has yet decided on the lean staff, meritocratic, neo-evangelical cooperative method. Among the Traditionalists and Moderns, who will be on the scene for some time, executive posts are still handed out as life-time achievement awards. Safe candidates, chosen from among our "friends" hint at change but not too much change, promise reliance on our historic principles but not too much reliance and sigh in world-weary melancholy about those who just "cannot seem to see our heart."
The Post-Moderns (and their successors) relativize truth in order to engage in conversation with nonobservant generational partners. Their non-directional reasoning, heavily dependent on narrative, seduces men to godly love, in part in reaction to the muddled mess of Christianity as "Sacred Monster" previously mentioned in the memoir.
What if the Post-Moderns are just wary of the Church/Bible/Religion/God as the "Sacred Monster?"
What if every thinking, feeling, acting person is just sick of the "Sacred Monster?"