For the next several days I will be working on a new book project. During that time I will be posting some excerpts from the previous books. We begin with a chapter from “Bring’em Back Alive – A Healing Plan for Those Wounded by the Church. This chapter is called “Your Bleating Heart Will Tell On You” and it deals with the uncomfortable truth that sometimes we choose to remain in victimhood.
(Yesterday I mentioned a letter from a reader who was not a big fan of mine and my fellow Christians. Here is that letter)
I cannot grant the courtesy of credit since the reviewer identified themselves only as a “reader from Wayland, Ma”. I will reproduce the comments along with a sampling of some typical reactions I have to criticism when I shift into victim mode.
“Burchett (as is the case with virtually all his co-religionists) (What the heck is a co-religionist?) misses the point: it is the belief system that fosters these abuses. A good example of the simplistic nature (Simplistic? You don’t have to agree but I’m not STUPID!) of Burchett’s arguments is to be found in his brief treatment of the concept of eternal damnation. He asserts that it isn’t a concept that even requires justification; it is God’s universe, we are his creations, and it is his prerogative to do with us as he will. (Guilty. Though I didn’t say it nearly that nonchalantly) It isn’t Christians who are arrogant, it’s the secular humanists and believers of other faith traditions who are actually the arrogant one, as they seek to question God’s authority! Extremely childish. (Childish???? How dare you call me childish! At least my words were not written from the safe haven of anonymity)
Burchett mentions that he and his wife have (if I recall correctly) two sons, (No moron, three sons) at least one of whom is studying to be a minister (Wrong again Sherlock Holmes. They are studying higher education administration, sports management and, at the point of this writing, business). I often wonder how conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists who have “unsaved” children envision the Day of Judgment (if they are even capable of that kind of projection). (So you think we just believe these things to be mean and that we don’t even think about the ramifications?) Do they imagine that, as their child is being dragged of (sic), kicking and screaming to an eternity in hell, that they will turn to God, and say, “Well, this is unpleasant, but as you are perfectly just, it isn’t my place to question your will?” (No, nothing could be further from how I view my God and His judgment) This is the implicit outcome of Burchett’s thought processes, (Thanks for interpreting my thoughts for me) but I’m sure that he doesn’t see it. (Bingo, I’m too stupid to really understand what I think) It is a belief system so appalling that it should be beneath the dignity of a human being to indulge in it, (Are you serious? And your hatred toward faith is not appalling) and Burchett brings nothing new to the argument.(Okay, you may have finally made a point) He is incapable of seeing that it is the belief system itself that is abusive.(I have recently learned to dress myself and no longer need Velcro closures on my shoes) If you aren’t an evangelical or fundamentalist, and have more than a few brain cells to rub together, don’t waste your time.(First of all, it was written for evangelicals. This book was not an apologetic and if you had a few brain cells to rub together you would have realized that).
My goodness that looks ugly in print. But that is a natural response to being (in my mind) attacked. Poor little me! Every year during the Easter season I review the agony that Jesus endured for me. The shame, the mockery and the suffering of the cross touch me deeply. Then I turn around and get all bent out of shape because some stranger called me stupid! I have so many people I know that I can turn to for that. So I dragged my wounded little heart to my lovely bride Joni. I read the mean comments to her and I waited for her to validate my anger. I waited for her to tell me I was smart and that person was stupid. I waited for her to tell me that I was not simplistic or childish. I waited for her to pat me on the back and tell me I was complicated and mature and not bad looking for a middle-aged guy. And I waited. And waited.
She absorbed the whole critique and then responded. “You really need to pray for that person. They are obviously under a lot of spiritual conviction to be that angry.” THAT WAS NOT WHAT I WANTED TO HEAR! But it was what I needed to hear. Whenever I inflate with pride God uses Joni as His little hatpin. I was deflated because my woundedness had not been validated.
….to be continued