FAQs – How do “interlocking directories” fit into toxic organizational systems?

The following is a comment I made on Tony Jones on Mark Driscoll: Which came first, the thug or the theology?

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In my previous comment, I used the term *interlocking directory* for a professional network involving “Commenders” whose recommendations and actions prop up others who may be spiritually abusive. So, I thought I’d add some more description about the term and what exactly that network is.

Below is part of a comment I put on a Wartburg Watch post in April 2014 about what could be called the “Patriarchy Oligarchy,” a cluster of close relationships that supports the patriarchy movement. At the end of it, I mention the patriarchy movement potentially experiencing a melt-down (which I think we’ve continued to see happening). I hadn’t read this comment in a while, but when i did today, it brought to mind Acts 5, and what the teacher Gamaliel said concerning the earliest Christian movement, “Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39, NIV, Biblegateway). Not justifying any potentially bad behavior, but just think that Gamaliel’s sentiment is relevant on this thread. The presence of anger doesn’t mean it’s automatically unjust or unrighteous … and if people go over the line with their anger, they’re responsible for that but it doesn’t mean it’s all irresponsible.

Anyway, here’s the excerpt from that comment.

Over 40 years ago, an investigative reporter in my then home town did an amazing piece of work on the power brokers of our little area of the world. She research[ed] and verified how a very small number of families created an “interlocking directory” of relationships through owning major businesses, holding significant or controlling interests in multiple forms of media (both print and broadcast), serving on major philanthropical foundations and/or non-profit boards, and involving themselves in the shaping of local politics. In effect, this group formed an oligarchy — a gridlock of elites who wielded their clout throughout the region.

When the report was released through an independent media source, it created quite the stir. Those named did what they could to minimize the appearance of their influence or the depth of their interconnections, but the documentation said what it said nevertheless. And if you simply sketched out a mind-map showing the various realms of influence and the relationships among the people most intimately involved, the clusters that appeared in this connect-the-dots exercise would be hard to deny.

And all these years later, I’ve not forgotten that tenacious and courageous reporter’s term of “interlock[ing] directory.” I believe that is what we are uncovering as we see the inner workings of this “authoritarian christian industrial complex” of key individuals, families, churches, ministries, agencies, publishers, conferences, seminaries, denominations, movements. The press (including “citizen journalists” and survivor blog writers) have been pulling at the loose threads here and there, and it looks like the entire muffler may unravel as different people and organizations attempt to deny the interconnections, or minimize underlying doctrines that have given shape to their whole gridlock of power. (Such as, “We believe in different gender roles for men and women, but we aren’t *that* kind of patriarchy!”)

It now seems a rather large bunch of loose threads are sticking out, having primed themselves for counter-authoritarian picking and pulling. Mark Driscoll and his elders. Sovereign Grace Ministries. Bill Gothard and IBLP. Doug Phillips; Vision Forum, Inc.; and Vision Forum Ministries. And with them, out pop those knitted-in key representatives of this interlocking authoritarian directory of patriarchy, quiverfull and homeschool movement, etc.


Perhaps the “Patriarchy Oligarchy” will experience a much warranted melt-down as it gets more exposed to the light …

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