Just so Mr. Reynolds knows, I still remember about his post…
And the prize.
Just so Mr. Reynolds knows, I still remember about his post…
And the prize.
trigger warning: links leading to articles on child abuse/sexual abuse/sexual harassment
‘southern church member’ trigger warning: sarcasm, bitterness
John Mark Reynolds of Eidos, over at Patheos, is giving out a prize. For being a Canaanite. I am trying to win it. He is explaining what I have to do to win.
The Canaanite will show the “shallowness” or “hypocrisy” of the movement the parents helped build, though the Canaanite misunderstands the nature of the term.
Notice how this starts? The movement their parents are/were involved in?
Hold that thought.
Just so we’re on the same page, here is a dictionary definition of Hypocrisy.
noun \hi-ˈpä-krə-sē also hī-\
Canaanites expose hypocrisy? Awesome! From the definition it sounds like exposing “hypocrisy” would be a good thing, wouldn’t it? It’s as if they are actually carrying forward the banner of their parent’s movement! After all- what sincere believer in ANY cause would want that cause hijacked by opportunistic bottom feeders?
Here’s JM’s next sentence.
The Canaanite parent is generally trying to live up to standards and failing in some area: this is called being a hypocrite even if the parent acknowledges the failure! This parents is imperfect, not a hypocrite. [sic]
JM has played a little game with us. He’s trying to pull the wool over our eyes.
Or possibly his reading comprehension is so bad that not even HE realizes that he’s done this wrong.
Its a toss up.
He says a Canaanite is defined by a struggle against the hypocrisy of the movement. It’s a movement their parents helped build, granted, but unless their parents ARE the movement (standing in relation to it as, say, Bill Gothard does to ATI), in that first sentence JM is implying that their struggle is not with their parents.
Given the above definition, this must mean that the movement itself enforces rules that it doesn’t follow. JM doesn’t specify what he means by the movement- is that sort of- the unofficial group gestalt? the official collective agreements of the movement? the sum total of the members, the majority of the members, the leadership and founders of the movement…? So further than ‘the movement’ his meaning is ambiguous.
His example is of one individual (a child) finding fault with another individual (their parent) who has openly attempted to reach a goal, failed, and openly admitted their failure.
Which, as he rightly points out, is not the definition of hypocrisy.
But is also not what he defined Canaanites as doing.
Oh, but wait! He senses that there is something wrong with this! He gives us another example to clarify his vague ambiguous blatant contradiction in terms.
Example of a ‘Canaanite’ in action?
…we discover that church members (especially Southern Church members!) struggle with sin (especially sex sins!). This insight, discovering sinners in the Church, is akin to finding sick people in the hospital, but somehow shocks the finders every time.
So now we’re back to exposing… not our parents… but church members…? but that isn’t a movement like he said at the beginning still… so.. are these LAY members? Or are they the LEADERSHIP… who founded and spearheaded the movement? JM, what are you talking about…?
Well, JM seems either unwilling or unable to give a coherent answer. So I will give an example of the “hypocrisy” that Canaanites are trying to expose.
Without even understanding the term! Gosh!
Bill Gothard is not a parent.
And that’s probably a good thing.
It appears that Bill Gothard built a community according to certain rules. Structured the community such that no one could question him. Then systematically, habitually, sexually harassed/molested minors under his authority.
This is not akin to finding sick people in a hospital. Its akin going to a hospital, checking yourself in, then finding out that the Doctors and Nurses are the Living Dead.
The closer you follow their directions, the closer their teeth get to your brain.
Emotionally complicated by the fact that you didn’t even take yourself to the hospital. Your parents did. And abandoned you there.
What part of this isn’t hypocrisy?
I think that I qualify for this second trait of Canaanites.
I never suffered abuse like the girls and women in these stories did. But JM is careful to point out that, for the Canaanite Prize-
Of course, I am not talking about people who experienced horrific or abusive situations: these stories need to be told on the right and the left.
Which is why we can be sure that JM himself is telling, on the right and the left, the stories about the abuses suffered by Bill Gothard’s followers. Right?
Because JM is a SINCERE Christian who would NEVER put up with abuse inside an organization referring to itself as Christian- any more than Jesus put up with money-lenders inside the Temple!
Mark 11:15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
My parents weren’t really into Bill Gothard- not like some people- but they had a couple ATI books on their shelves and phrases like ‘umbrella of protection’ floated around within easy reach of their sense of justification. I’m not really criticizing them for that, as they had eight children on a single, low income and didn’t really have time to research. Not when the apocalypse was coming and warranted so much attention, anyway.
But I have serious complaints against one of the organizations they associated with.
And come on! I mean, just look at my example of hypocrisy in the church! I think a teacher (someone who is supposed to help people grow) who routinely molests children (threatening, if not destroying their ability to grow) is a hypocrite!
I must not even understand the meaning of the word. Right, JM?
Last time JM explained to us, with a story, what the Canaanite Prize is.
It’s when he blames other people for things they had nothing to do with!
It’s when some one disagrees with his general position and he doesn’t like it and pretends that he is able to read so that he can say that the Bible says something on the subject!
It’s when… young people…. leave… his subculture… publicly?
So far all of these definitions seem to describe what he called the Canaanite Prize, and I myself am a little confused, but I haven’t forgotten about the copy of the Divine Comedy he promised to the winner.
I want it. I want it real bad.
So. If I am to have any hope of winning this prize, I had better figure out more specifically what qualifying characteristics a winner must have. And we’re in luck! After butchering the story of Noah and Ham, he spends the entire rest of his article listing off characteristics of the ‘Canaanite.’ Its a little difficult to follow him here, because apparently having all of the sentences in a paragraph relate to the same topic isn’t part of his religion, BUT I count somewhere between 11 and 14 characteristics.
Roughly halfway through the list, JM explains how many characteristics of a ‘Canaanite’ he is describing in the article.
Shall we begin?
1) We are speaking of ‘first world problems.’ Kids not allowed to listen to Michael Jackson… Dungeons and Dragons… R-rated movies… evolution…
He seems to be using the phrase ‘first world problem’ symbolically, to refer to the fact that, while they were not denied food- a third world problem and presumably a legitimate complaint- they were subject to strict information control in their families of origin.
How does this work? Everything from popular music to textbooks is carefully censored and edited to give the young baptists/fundamentalists-to-be the impression that there IS NO WORLD outside the confines of their parents’ whims and opinions, and if anything DOES exist, it is frightening, dangerous, and pitiably stupid.
If you attempt to leave- YOU WILL FALL OFF THE EDGE OF THE EARTH.
-Micheal Jackson’s music? Forbidden! It contains references to sex and sexuality! A single exposure to it will corrupt your mind, force you to commit adultery RIGHT THEN AND THERE and render you permanently DEFILED in the eyes of God and Man.
(And even worse… there’s… DANCING. 0_o)
-Fantasy games like Dungeons and Dragons? FORBIDDEN!!! There might be DEMONS living in the cards! They might EAT YOUR SOULS. Not even JESUS- not even the HOLY GHOST (Under Who’s Hovering Wings The Visible Universe Was Birthed Out of Water) and Their Indwelling Presences In Your Heart are powerful enough to protect you from a life of slavery to DEMONS if you play with fantasy card games! Or even TOUCH the cards! Or even LOOK at them!
Let us all kneel and pray to be saved from Dungeons and Dragons, RIGHT NOW, children.
-Basic scientific facts about the world we live in, such as evolution? NEVER!! That might provoke the thought that anything other that a mindlessly literal interpretation of the Bible is possible.
And if any other way of reading the Bible is allowed, it would probably turn out to be WRONG to communally execute gay people by throwing rocks at them until their heads crack open!! OH NOES!!!
To be perfectly honest, censorship of this sort is not a problem normally encountered by denizens of the first world.
Its normally found in places like North Korea.
Or M. Knight Shyamalan’s The Village.
The North Koreans have it easy though. They aren’t living scattered across the face of America, surrounded by living visible contradictions to what they say. JM’s subculture is. And they still attempt to pull it off.
For what its worth- Steven Alan Hassan (who can both count and write an outline) of The BITE Model of Cult Mind Control lists information control as one of the 4 pillars upon which cults’ control of their members rests.
You can read all about this here.
It has to do with a thing called plausibility structure. What any given person instinctively responds to as plausible or implausible depends on the sum total of the information they have access to.
Aka- is it possible that demons will eat my soul if I touch a playing piece from a nerd game?
To a person raised on Frank Peretti and the Bible and denied any other information about the universe, it will seem possible that this will happen.
To a person with a basic education… it will seem a lot less likely.
Control the information a person has access to, and you can control the shape of the universe they believe they are moving it.
Control the shape of the universe they believe they are moving in- and you can control where and when they move.
God. What whiners these Canaanites are. Wanting access to information we don’t authorize. Sheesh.
JM ends this paragraph by mocking the sense of dislocation felt by those brought up in such an environment upon leaving.
They tell the tales of the childhoods of millions of young people to secular folk in the same breathless manner that the National Geographic used to write of African tribal culture. ”You cannot believe what these people do and believe!”
Well, yes. Considering that the childhoods of these millions of young people were spent with a set of rules conceived of in the Bronze Age as the only safe or worthy topic of thought, this isn’t surprising.
Most African tribes moved on to the use of iron.
Now. Here’s the important part of this. Do I, personally, qualify?!?
Yes! I do! My parents home schooled me to protect me from evil science classes. Any radio stations other than the two Christian ones were forbidden. Internet access (when we finally got it) was located in a main traffic pattern in a house inhabited by 10 people. And we lived out in the middle of the country, far from any other people/kids who might let slip non-approved information. And were mostly not allowed to go out of the line of sight from the house. Even when we were adults. In case a stranger happened to drive past and rape us with his car.
There was one deviation from JM’s description though. We were allowed to watch R-rated movies. If the R-rating was for violence anyway. An R for anything else was Verboten like everything else, but violence? Murder? People being hacked to pieces or blown up or impaled?
That was A-Okay.
Tune in next time- for the laughable pathetic Canaanite trait of wanting to expose hypocrisy!!
trigger warnings: genocide, sexual abuse, emotional abuse
John Mark Reynolds. Ah, John Mark.
I try to avoid stereotypes, but it feels oddly right and hilarious that John Mark Reynolds is a Baptist. And not just any Baptist. He’s the Provost of Houston Baptist University.
He’s the King of Baptists.
The King of Baptists is offering a prize. I want to win it.
Do you hear me, John Mark Reynolds? Are you listening? Are you going to give me your prize?
The winner is to be sent a copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Perhaps his copy will be more expensive than mine. Perhaps the ice and flames of the Inferno will crackle more as Dante walks past.
I want it so much.
I wonder what the qualifications are. Let’s see.
He opens by referencing a story, from which he takes the title of the prize. It’s probably important to understand the story. Right?
He begins with Noah. You know. Noah. Who, as the story is told, was one of the few survivors of God’s most spectacular genocidal outbreaks- the destruction of an entire inhabited planet.
God should consider a role as a science fiction villain. He could use method acting. He wouldn’t even have to take on a different personality than the one he has now.
God’s reasons for doing this are somewhat murky. As the story is told, humans had become terribly violent, and therefore deserved to be destroyed… but then God is rather violent as well. He had specifically created humans in his image- what did he expect?
Perhaps he didn’t like to be reminded of what he looked like.
Another, more obscure, reason has to do with ‘The Sons of God’. That title, along with a reference to mortality/immortality has been interpreted as meaning Angels. Some people try to make this less horrifying by saying that ‘the Sons of God’ were Noah’s direct line of ancestors, but the sad fact is that ‘the Sons of God’ were looking over the population of human women and ‘marrying whichever of them they chose’.
Did you catch that? Not whichever of them accepted an offer of marriage or (if you’re going to be all patriarchal about it) was offered to them in marriage- but just- whoever they had the hots for. Whoever they chose.
Whoever they took.
Noah’s direct line of ancestors was an extreme minority among the people of the world. It’s not likely that they had that kind of power, especially if the evil, wicked world was so violent and all, and they were God’s little lambs.
God was understandably offended by this Angel/human interaction. He decided, after playing omniscient voyeur for close to a thousand years before doing anything about it, that drastic measure were called for.
Those filthy humans had to be punished.
I mean- that a person has been raped or been habitually non-consensually used for sexual pleasure- by one of your subordinates- in a situation where the subordinate had near total power over them- and YOU had near total power over your subordinate- and you knew what was happening the whole time-
It is an EXCELLENT reason to punish that person- right?
(In case Mr. Reynolds is reading- that last sentence is what’s referred to as ‘sarcasm’.)
Oh, but ‘for whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes’- God wiped out the entire human race. Except for Noah and his family. God decided to keep them alive.
Have you ever heard of PTSD? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
NIMH defines it this way.
PTSD develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. The person who develops PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful event that happened to loved ones or strangers.
PTSD was first brought to public attention in relation to war veterans, but it can result from a variety of traumatic incidents, such as mugging, rape, torture, being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes.
The Lone Survivor Foundation, geared towards helping veterans of war, among whom the disorder was first identified, has this to say.
… PTSD leaves SM/Vets with painful symptoms such as flashbacks, avoidance, isolation, and hyper-arousal reactions including anger outbursts, tension and hyper-vigilance. These emotional and behavioral changes can have devastating effects on someone’s interpersonal life, but also their family and work life as well. If left untreated, PTSD can spiral into other problems such as panic disorder, substance abuse, depression, and suicidal feelings.
According to the Bible, after witnessing the extermination of his entire race, Noah took up gardening as a hobby. He took up the growing of grapes. And the collecting of grape juice. And…
Genesis 9:20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded[a] to plant a vineyard. 21 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent.
Funny. That almost sounds like- AT LEAST- substance abuse and depression. I could be wrong.
Mr. Reynolds has something to say about this incident.
He is famous for his ark and the grace he found in the eyes of the Lord, but his struggle with drunken behavior is less well known. A man who saw the world before the Flood destroyed it evidently could not face life in the wreckage…
Aww! Mr Reynolds is almost being sympathetic isn’t he?
…and so he drank, as foolish men do, to dull the pain.
Because if your entire universe consists of God and the world as you know it, and then God destroys the world as you know it, specifically keeping you alive- to watch?!? Why? God! I wasn’t different- all humans have fallen short of your glory- Why did I have to live? Why couldn’t you have just killed me too? Please! If we’re so worthless in your eyes- if we have failed so badly- Maker- please- just let me die…
And then God dumps you in the rubble and leaves, you have so many other resources to fall back on that getting drunk is just foolish, isn’t it?
Mr. Reynolds is a Provost. At a University. He clearly understands all this better than poor Noah did. Or at least has stronger character.
And then, along comes Noah’s son, Ham.
Ham had also witnessed the extermination of his entire race.
In adults, PTSD causes emotional disturbance, angry outbursts, and can devastate interpersonal relationships. Ham was probably an adult when the flood took place, but NIMH also points out that…
Older children and teens… may also develop disruptive, disrespectful, or destructive behaviors. Older children and teens may feel guilty for not preventing injury or deaths. They may also have thoughts of revenge. For more information, see the NIMH booklets on helping children cope with violence and disasters.
Noah, apparently, didn’t have access to the NIHM booklets on helping children cope with violence and disasters.
The Bible says that-
Genesis 9:22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside.
The Bible contrasts the two brothers with Ham by saying that they walked into the tent backwards, and put a garment over their father, covering his nakedness. They had to- to prove they hadn’t done what Ham had done. It seems that Ham didn’t just walk in and glance over at the naked, drunken Noah. He looked at his father.
Found favor in his eyes, did you? Were you putting out too? Were you his little pet? What kind of equipment do you have, daddy, that He liked you so much?
Noah, who’s mental health could not possibly have benefited from being looked at, woke up and heard what had happened. Heard what Ham had told his brothers outside the tent.
And had they lived in a house, before?
Noah flew into a fit of rage. Cursed…! Cursed…! Hands shaking, he pointed at Ham, Cursed be… Canaan!
The family knew what he meant. The fruit of Ham’s loins, his son. The power of generation his eyes had fondled and mocked in his father. The sensuality that had just been too much for the Angels to resist, that had been the reason for the more or less enslavement and then the destruction of the human race. Cursed be Canaan. Cursed. Forever.
Here’s what Mr. Reynolds has to say about this.
Noah was not pleased and so cursed the offspring of this undutiful son proving he was an undutiful father and grandfather: the prototype for the angry drunk as ruler.
Again, Mr. Reynolds has so much better moral fiber than that undutiful Noah. He’s in a position to judge. Aren’t you glad he established that? Noah was an angry drunk and the family tyrant as well. Tsk tsk.
Now comes the awkward part- the part where Mr. Reynolds explains what this story has to do with his award.
This is a little sad. If you’ve made it this far, you have endured my storytelling. I’m sure some people will find it biased. I don’t argue with them, one way or the other. But, sadly, I have all the major points of the story here, more or less in order, however I may have slanted them.
We’ve come to the part of the story that reflects highly on the institution at which Mr. Reynolds holds a post.
We’ve come to the part of the story where Mr. Reynolds can’t read.
Ever since Canaan was cursed, he has had eager followers: those young adults, and not so young adults, eager to expose their parent’s nakedness for profit.
Explain to me. ANYONE. Where profit was involved in ANY OF THIS? Explain to me where the actual person of Canaan had ANYTHING TO DO with his grandfather’s nakedness? Explain to me how, although Mr. Reynolds, so wise and noble, HIMSELF called NOAH, THE ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD TO FIND FAVOR IN THE EYES OF GOD ALMIGHTY, UNDUTIFUL and an angry DRUNK, for attributing Ham’s sin to Canaan, he himself has has no problem making the exact same attribution?
How he dares casually heap scorn on Noah, and then causally heap scorn on Ham/Canaan for casually heaping scorn on Noah?
Alright. No. I suppose some questions are better not answered. Let it suffice to say that, no matter what bias you tell the story with,
1) Canaan did not expose his parent
2) Canaan did not expose Noah
3) Canaan was not eager to expose Noah (or either of his parents)
4) Canaan did not do any of the things that he did not do for the motive of monetary gain
5) Canaan was completely uninvolved in this story, except as a kind of revenge on Ham
6) Canaan can’t have followers of any age because Canaan didn’t actually do anything.
Except, of course, being punished for someone else’s crime.
This is the name of the award Mr. Reynolds says he’s going to hand out. The Canaan Award.
Fitting isn’t it?
And we’ve only just begun.
Here is his full article. If anyone can answer my questions- please do.
Child and adult psychotherapist specializing in EMDR and body-centered trauma therapies. Boulder, Colorado
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