Tuesday 12 October 2010

Playing the devil card

It's not only Anglicans who are weird it seems.

Have a look at the cultic language in this little pastoral epistle, and have a guess at its provenance.

Leadership is being challenged - - - egad not leadership! Persecution is ahead! Satan is behind it all. Fast and pray!

The author, David Wells, is "pastor" at St Mark's Community Church in the little township (blink and you'll miss it) of Te Kowhai in the rural heartland of the North Waikato, not too far from the city of my birth. You'll understand then that I was mildly intrigued.

Even more so when I read Alistair McBride's name in this press report from the local paper. McBride, who 'oversees' St Marks, is a fine bloke who I've met before and even shared some committee work with in times long past (the focus was education, not religion.) He is also the minister at the church my sister attends, and describes himself as a "Presbyterian minister, baby-boomer, socialist leaning bridge playing whisky drinking fencer." Alistair is anything but a fundamentalist.

And the "crisis" that sparked off Mr Wells' purple prose? A couple who wanted their marriage ceremony performed by the previous minister who had served St Marks for a quarter century. Oh the carnal wickedness of such a desire! Satan was surely working overtime on that one.

Wells is not listed on the register of Presbyterian clergy, and the lack of a 'rev' in front of his name indicates he may be an overly enthusiastic amateur, or even worse, a Methodist. But, dear lord, even so is that any excuse?

Leadership is a trip-wire word here. Hear a preacher - any preacher - use it to boost their authority and sound the alarms, then run like the blazes, for nothing good will come of it.

Apparently even in a "quaint" little community church affiliated with mainline denominations.

(Heads up to "he who recently emerged from muddy waters" - who drew my attention to the press report.)


  1. "Leadership is a trip-wire word here. Hear a preacher - any preacher - use it to boost their authority and sound the alarms, then run like the blazes, for nothing good will come of it."

    Amen! The Quakers may think their lack of same is a double-edged sword (Sometimes it can be -- ever seen the movie Brazil??), but that's also the one thing that makes them the least dangerous religion extant in the world today, IMO.

    (Although sometimes I wish the modern Friends were as eager to pull some of the stunts the early Friends did....Marching into steeple-houses and telling off people like Wells, and his ilk, and urging the sheep in the pews to mutiny, for their own good. Why can't the modern Quakers do that with the Catholics and the Protestants these days??)

  2. Har har...that reminds me of a certain Apostle who restores all things Church of God redrawing his church boundries without telling anyone, including the neighboring minister or the members involved, so that he could increase his own attendance. He was then able to order, on the absolute authority of God that they comply.

    The Apostle was also known to stop games he was losing at times and change the rules a bit so he could win. You can't make this stuff up.

    Of course, he's not about the numbers as he made clear...

    After reading the letter, I am amazed at the similar wording of so many other letters and sermons given by my own unbalanced and at times looney former minister "friends" and administrators whenever ego was threatened.

    That letter was written by the poor man's painbody which was suffering a rejection that only Satan could be blamed for. If one could ever come to admit there is no Satan and the concept springs from our need for duality and blame shifting, what a different world it would be.

    Well, I'm sorry, there was a lightbringer and son of the morning star...the planet Venus, but that's another theo-origin for another time.

  3. I don't think the idea of the "priesthood of all believers" and "leadership" have ever really sat well together.

    Honestly I've often wondered if those who harp on "leadership" as a position of authority over their churches rather than servant to their congregants didn't go in for the position to obtain a power they might not otherwise be able to have in secular society.

    As information proliferates and people feel more free to vote with their pockets and feet, I don't doubt that such challenges will become common place. Not a bad thing in my opinion.

  4. I have always found the term "diabolical mimicry" a great one for the recognition that others have come up with similar "truth" that one thought the deity only revealed to them.

    I suppose in this case, Satan was simply mimicking a real God ordained wedding thru the alledged real former minister.

    Actually I have seen and heard of this same offense amongst the ministry in my own experience. Even the words of the rant are the same.

    Humans are nuts.

  5. Religious Authority is the last refuge of a Scoundrel.