Kingdom Leadership After Lakeland Part 3-Addendum #1: Notes, Quotes, and Questions on Reconstructing Authority

Before transitioning into Part 4 on the reconstructive side of post-hyper-revivalism, I wanted to share some other resources as tools for those who choose the route of do-it-yourself reflection. I always appreciate quotes and questions for their value as a jolt of provocation. (You remember the old pre-fructose-era Jolt Cola slogan, don’t you? All the sugar and twice the caffeine!) Granted, many of these quotes and questions are quite stark. However, candor need not lead to rancor; hopefully, it leads to light. My purpose is not to label specific people, but to highlight behaviors that we are ALL susceptible to. ALL of us can fall prey to shadows, but the searchlights of real biblical discernment can lead us beyond destructive and deconstructive cycles, and into positive reconstruction.

I suppose I could lay out a detailed and comprehensive prescription of what we should do, but I continually reminded that we generally only “own” what we discover on our own. Hope you find some discoveries herein …! So, here are some potentially jolting notes, quotes, and questions worth interacting with, in light of recent events re: Lakeland, authority, and authoritarianism. These are important to consider now, as I believe we can expect similar kinds of “leadership system meltdowns” to happen in the modernist wing of each and every theological stream coming out of Christendom. (More on that thought in Part 5.)

Huge Big Picture Issues:How can we prepare ourselves for a future with less toxicity, more sustainability, and reliable authority instead of authoritarianism?

AUTHORITARIAN TACTICS

George Orwell (pen-name for Eric Arthur Blair) is best known for the books Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm. He was an ardent opponent of totalitarianism, having observed (and fought against) the consequences of injustice from fascism, nazism, and communism – as well as the worst sides of capitalism and industrialism. Orwell knew of what he wrote. Some of his word-inventions and catch-phrases have seeped into our dictionary, such as doublethink, newspeak, and “Big Brother is watching.” Unfortunately, all my Orwell books are hiding in a box and apparently are hesitant to give a shout out so I can pull ’em out. Thankfully, we have the alternative of wikipedia as an outsource to suss out! So, here follow quotes from them. (P.S. I would highly recommend checking out at least their entries on George Orwell, Doublethink, Two + two = five, Newspeak, and List of Newspeak words for more quotes and intriguing commentary.) (P.P.S. Plus the book Why Orwell Matters by Christopher Hitchens looks awfully interesting …)

The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them….To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth. (Nineteen Eighty-Four, referenced in Doublethink)

His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully-constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them; to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy; to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved using doublethink. (Nineteen Eighty-Four, referenced in Doublethink)

In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable-what then? (Nineteen Eighty-Four, referenced in Two + two = five.)

[Blackwhite] has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that white is black, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink. (Nineteen Eighty-Four, referenced in List of Newspeak words)

Nazi theory indeed specifically denies that such a thing as “the truth” exists. […] The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, “It never happened”-well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five-well, two and two are five. This prospect frightens me much more than bombs […] (Essay, Looking Back on the Spanish War, referenced in Two + two = five.)

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.  (BrainyQuote, George Orwell)

Making Detailed Connections:Many points in the history of the Lakeland Outpouring demonstrate issues of “doublethink” and “newspeak” by both leaders and followers in this revivalist movement. Using the above series of quotes from George Orwell, where do you see specific points where clusters of people fell prey to these problems in Lakeland?

Micro-Big Picture Application Questions:What specific aspects in the Charismatic/Pentecostal psyche do you think create a unique susceptibility to doublethink and newspeak – both in perpetrating them and in being influenced by them? What aspects in their theologies do you think create susceptibility? What kinds of distinctive kinds of doublethink/newspeak are they most susceptible to?

Now consider the same set of questions, only this time, for any/all of the following – especially your own current or previous stream(s) in Christianity. Add to the questions this one: If Charismatics/Pentecostals might be most vulnerable to toxic overfocus in revivalist and supernaturalist settings, what kinds of settings or events or situations create vulnerabilities for these other streams?

  • Anabaptists
  • Anglicans
  • Baptists
  • Conservatives
  • Emergents
  • Evangelicals
  • Fundamentalists
  • Liberals
  • Mainline Protestants
  • Missionals
  • Moderates
  • Orthodoxers
  • Progressives
  • Reformeds
  • Roman Catholics
  • Any other major stream that I have overlooked …

Even Bigger Big Picture Implications: George Orwell was a self-acknowledged atheist. What do you think the meaning of the moment might be when an atheist seems to have more relevant things to say to us than many of the insiders in our own community? What does it mean when we in the Church cannot seem to overrule those who attempt to rule over us as overlords, in disobedience to the words of Christ Himself?(See Mark 10:35-45 for a middle-ministry period caution from Christ and Luke 22:24-30 for a Last Supper reiteration of these commands.)

1984 MACINTOSH AD: PROLOGUE TO COMPUTING’S FUTURE

The bleak bureaucratic life in Nineteen Eighty-Four inspired Ridley Scott’s mold-shattering advertisement introducing the Macintosh personal computer. Thirty seconds long, it was shown only once during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII in 1984. It stunned both news pundits and everyday people, and received multiple airings on news programs in the days that followed as people marveled at this provocative bit of media. Here is the full original text of Big Brother’s speech in that ad. (The two writers were Steve Hayden and Lee Clow.) The beginning portion [[in double brackets]] was edited out for the final version of the ad, but adds to the chilling context.

[[My friends, each of you is a single cell in the great body of the State. And today, that great body has purged itself of parasites. We have triumphed over the unprincipled dissemination of facts. The thugs and wreckers have been cast out. And the poisonous weeds of disinformation have been consigned to the dustbin of history. Let each and every cell rejoice! For]] today we celebrate the first, glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directive! We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology, where each worker may bloom secure from the pests of contradictory and confusing truths. Our Unification of Thought is a more powerful weapon than any fleet or army on Earth! We are one people. With one will. One resolve. One cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death. And we will bury them with their own confusion! We shall prevail!

And check out this link toview the Macintosh ad video of “1984.”

Questions: Is it time to change our “platform”? What is a platform? What parts of the Charismatic/Pentecostal platform need changing? How do we/they change it? And how do we all support those who choose to engage in preparing the transition process?

APPLE’S “THINK DIFFERENT” CAMPAIGN

Here is a YouTube link to the 60-second “Think Different” ad campaign from Apple, and the ad text is below.

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square hole, the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them, because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Application Questions: Let’s say that the 1984 Macintosh ad represents “deconstruction.” It provokes people to face up to the past and present, and how those would quench the possibilities for their futures (plural). Let’s say that the Apple “Think Different” campaign more represents “reconstruction.” It picks up with the concept of possibilities and pushes us toward creating something constructive for the future, something in which we can engage a sanctified imagination to envision and develop. If you feel you are in a post-Lakeland mode that is ready to reconstruct, what do you think would be some positive, constructive future possibilities for those who consider themselves at least post-Lakeland, if not post-Charismatic/Pentecostal? What do you sense our post-Lakeland, post-Charismatics/Pentecostals siblings have to contribute to the overall health of our Family?

Next post planned for this series: Notes, Quotes, and Questions on Reconstructing “Spiritual Parenting.” After that, launching into Part 4 on reconstructing leadership.

Series Links ~ Kingdom Leadership After Lakeland

  1. Part 1: Discernment and the Costly Descent into Darkness
  2. Part 2: Considering Various Sources …
  3. Part 3: Seven Critical Lapses in Leadership and an Appeal to Own Our Responsibilities
  4. Part 3 – Addendum #1: Notes, Quotes, and Questions on Reconstructing Authority
  5. Part 3 – Addendum #2: Reconstructing Ministry Systems-Six Trends Toward Systems Solutions
  6. Part 3 – Addendum #3: Reconstructing Ministry Systems-When Churches are Like Leaky Ships, How Do We Fix the Boat?
  7. Part 3 – Addendum #4: Reconstructing Ministry Systems-How Do We Fix a Leaky Boat, and Who Can Best Lead in Doing So?
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