• Here’s how you spot the next suicide bomber
    Here’s how you spot the next suicide bomber
    Comments Off on Here’s how you spot the next suicide bomber


    Even if blowing oneself up were instantaneous and the individual didn’t feel physical pain, adds Caouette, there is still great psychological duress. ‘This is not mentioned in our paper, but suicide bombers usually go through a long preparation to make them ready to become suicide bombers.’ They have to say goodbye to or cut off contact with their families, who might not approve of their actions. ‘In the end,’ she said, ‘martyrdom can take many forms of self-sacrifice, whether feeling pain or losing one’s life.’

    Read more
  • The purity culture gets married — kinda…
    The purity culture gets married — kinda…
    4 Comments on The purity culture gets married — kinda…


    We weren’t haunted by the ghosts of prior sexual experiences or battling with regrets. We desired to be together free and unashamed, but we were plagued by our inability to stop feeling guilty about fulfilling sexual desires we had trained ourselves to view as wrong and dangerous. While we intellectually believed that sex was a good thing that was intended for enjoyment in marriage, we had spent years conditioning ourselves to respond to sexual feelings with fear, guilt and shame.

    Read more
  • Inside the mind of a terrorist.
    Comments Off on Inside the mind of a terrorist.


    In some four decades of work as a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist with deeply destructive, violent clients, I have observed that fanatical acts are usually perpetrated by people who believe that at their core they are unworthy and evil. Aspects of themselves that they have regarded as virtuous are split off from their own personalities and projected onto a leader and a strident religious cause. The self-denigrating fanatic, devoid of any constructive sense of self other than his identi?cation with an omniscient and omnipotent leader, experiences his totally worthless self as having to be disregarded or sacri?ced, so that the “good” self— now identi?ed with the leader and the cause—can survive and reign as Absolute Truth, the ful?llment of God’s commandments. In paradise, he is told, his self-sacri?ce will be abundantly rewarded.

    By means of tactics such “loading the language,” asserts Robert Lifton, the cult leader and his lieutenants begin to exclude or blind the critical faculties of the left hemisphere. Speaking in metaphors and cliches that appeal to the typically unsophisticated, underdeveloped right hemisphere of most individuals, these cult leaders gradually take over the thought processes of their flock.

    Some cult leaders have relied on techniques such as psychedelic and mood-altering drugs, nutritionally de?cient diets, sleep derivation, and the monotonous repetition of religious rhetoric or slogans to control their followers in mind, body, and spirit. Taken together, these practices induce a state of psychological confusion and thus dependency on the leader and his doctrines. The follower is caught up in seemingly contradictory worlds of both overstimulation (the seemingly unending repetition of ritual and dogma) and understimulation (such as intellectual and physical deprivation).

    When a religious movement becomes a social cause, it is often because mainstream religious groups and other segments of the social order have failed to meet the sociopolitical as well as spiritual needs of a segment of the population. When this occurs, the appearance of an inspired and inspiring charismatic leader is required. Otherwise, the nascent movement comes to a halt or expires.

    Fanatical violence is an attempt to seek social justice (this is an explanation, not a justi?cation), but crucial to the enactment of his violence is the condoning of the destructive person’s deadly actions by his fanatic leader and his group.

    It is doubtful if anyone commits murder without some belief—perhaps only momentary—that it is justi?ed. The violent fanatic’s sense of entitlement in violating society’s deep taboos against murder is buttressed by his leader’s and his group’s interpretation of the social contract.

    On a deeper level, a fanatically violent person is deeply frightened, experiencing himself as in danger. Like the child that each of us once was, he still demands automatic justice, a spontaneous assuagement of all his painful feelings of mistreatment. His desperate reasoning holds that those denied their humanity by the social order can only be healed of their shame and self-contempt by the exercise of force. His own inner-loathing is speaking.

    There is no more unbearable virulence visited on any of us than unremitting, unrelieved self-contempt that brooks no examination. To survive this contempt, the individual must somehow cast it off. He soon discovers that regarding others as sinners and vermin temporarily relieves his self-loathing, and he gradually learns to convert his unexamined and unchallenged self-contempt into contempt for the world outside his band of true believers. This is the long, dismal history of fanaticism.

    Terrorists are collectors of injustice. They are extremely sensitive to slights and humiliations inflicted on themselves or on members of social groups to which they belong or with which they identify themselves. As one observer remarks: “The terrorist seems to be hypersensitive to the sufferings and injustices of the world at large, but totally insensitive to immediate, palpable suffering directly around him, especially if he has produced it himself.” This may be due to the terrorist’s propensity to dehumanize his victims by regarding them as objects or impersonal concepts. Indeed, the dehumanization of the enemy is a critical component within the belief system of terrorists in general.

    In the end, however, the threat we face is not from a weapon but from a cluster of beliefs, motivations, and cultural forces that have molded a human mind.

    The terrorist perceives himself part of an elite engaged in a heroic struggle to right the injustices of a cruel world. “The struggle in which they are engaged is an obligation, a duty, not a voluntary choice, because they are the enlightened in a mass of unenlightened,”says Cindy Combs in Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century. Going beyond these characteristics, some observers have speculated that many terrorists may be stress seekers with a need to interrupt the monotony of their daily lives by the pursuit of adventure and excitement.

    Rushworth M. Kidder, a prominent researcher on terrorism, has identi?ed seven characteristics observed in interviewing well-known terrorists around the world:

    – oversimpli?cation of issues

    – frustration about an inability to change society

    – a sense of self-righteousness

    – a utopian belief in the world

    – a feeling of social isolation

    – a need to assert his own existence

    – a cold-blooded willingness to kill.

    according to Abdul Aziz Rantisi, cofounder and political leader of the terrorist group Hamas, which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel, instead of using the term “suicide bomber,” we should speak of a “self chosen martyr.” Certainly, the writings found in the luggage of Mohamed Atta, one of the key organizers of the suicidal terrorists who carried out and died in the September 11 attacks, contain several references to martyrdom, sacrifice, and serving as a witness.

    Since no compromise, no coexistence, between these two world views is possible, the resort to violence, including its most extreme forms, comes to seem perfectly acceptable.

    This religious justi?cation for acts of violence stems from a literal interpretation of a passage in the Koran that promises the most coveted spots in Paradise to those martyrs who die in the course of a jihad (in this context, meaning a holy war, carried out in the interest of religion or partisan identity). So powerful are these distortions of istishad and jihad to the highly suggestible, that they become the justi?cation for the killing of innocent civilians, even children.

    The above is a compilation of quotes from a much larger document (Above linked) which is itself a collection of essays from a variety of different authors. It’s an attempt to compile a summary of what these thinkers have come to understand about the roots of terrorist acts.

    It’s a disturbing but worth while read…

    The above is written about terrorism — but what’s most disturbing about it is how easily we could substitute another theme into the same text for our tactics differ so little from it…

    Our North American militaries use chants, pain and deprivation to mold soldiers. (Barely a day goes by without another report of injustice from the similarly trained police services of our worlds.)

    Our fundamentalist churches oversimplify nearly everything, convince people they are evil, subsequently confer upon their most zealous members a covering sense of self-righteousness, socially isolate them and create a frustration about an inability to change society mixed with a utopian belief in how the world would be if it ran by their rules. They fan the flames of injustice, swamp minds with fear and create alternative group identities based on shame and disinformation.

    Our media’s talking heads constantly beat the drums of war and violence and repeatedly justify even us actually torturing others while setting up our leaders as heroes to worship.

    Because, hey, we’re justified in OUR fight against injustice — right?

    Maybe the terrorist acts we are seeing are really the breaking edge of a wave? Maybe they are just the result of an increasingly radicalized world, coalescing around varied but equally increasing themes of injustice that has seized onto whatever ideology happens to be available to justify their violence and allow them to fight back?

    Maybe there is a greater, world wide problem of growing injustice that our financial markets, our predatory foreign policy, our shameless exploitation of those with no voice and our callous disregard for human life has created?

    Our solution, of course, is to meet their violence with a nearly identical violence and culture of such — instead of asking why the world isn’t getting to be a better place to be and what we have to answer for in such.

    This guy closes it best:

    Centuries after they lived, such enlightened paradigmatic ?gures as Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, Mohammed, Moses, and Socrates still profoundly influence the lives of others in positive ways. Many other charismatic leaders, however, have been enraged, deluded men and women who have wreaked havoc in the lives of their followers.

    each of the ancient prophets that I named earlier presented himself as an ordinary man patiently demonstrating by personal example how to live the examined life. They also created a climate in which their disciples could question and reach their own conclusions about how to live. For example, while Jesus believed in the paramount value of life in the hereafter, he apparently did not minimize the importance of the present world nor ask his followers to sacri?ce their mortal existence.

    Above all, the true prophets did not teach their disciples to hate or flee those who opposed them; they all proclaimed that human love is universal and unlimited. They did not need the dubious validation of collecting followers who would embrace their beliefs; nor did they demand that others die for them. Socrates resolutely chose his own death, and Jesus braved alone fear and doubt on the cross.

    The true prophet, by not presenting himself as omniscient or omnipotent, allows his followers to transform themselves by choosing their own ordeals, not trials that he imposes on them. In short, he asks his followers to courageously examine their lives. Courage, in this sense, means to know our limitations, to accept ourselves as less than perfect, to live to the best of our ability, and to come together with others to heal the wounds of loneliness, shame, and self-hatred. This is the stuff of love and virtue. This is the stuff from which we can build a more compassionate and just world.

    How little that last bit defines any part of our world — including us…

    Any sort of honest assessment of the problem of terrorism has to start with the realization that we have met the enemy — and it looks a whole lot like us.

    Read more
  • Is denial coming back into fashion?
    Is denial coming back into fashion?
    Comments Off on Is denial coming back into fashion?

    The Week

    Good news! The conventional wisdom about divorce is a myth. Half of all marriages are not actually ending in divorce. Not by a long shot and not for a long time, according to a smart but frustrating report by Claire Cain Miller for The New York Times’s data-driven division, The Upshot.

    The piece breathes a sigh of relief. Finally, the bad trends are abating, maybe even reversing for good after a difficult period of adjustment to the sexual revolution, which taught us once and for all that marriage is for love. This happy state of affairs stems almost entirely from the great rectitude and pragmatism of liberal cultural values to boot. We’re richer, more liberal, and, well, just better. We love each other more than our grandparents did. Data says so.


    It turns out that this bit of good news from the Times’ hard-nosed ledger sniffers turns out to be a Styles section trend piece in disguise. Let’s start with the big sale of the article, the assertion that “marriages in this country are stronger today than they have been in a long time.” But that’s actually a rather limited observation. Yes, the marriages that do happen do not break up as quickly or as often as marriages from 30 years ago. But the truth is that family instability continues to worsen in the United States. As David Frum pointed out, a declining divorce rate is perfectly consistent with an ever-falling rate of marriage and a rising rate of out-of-wedlock childbirth

    It’s been an interesting few months of near Pollyanna level optimism about marriage. At first, I just ignored it — which wasn’t hard considering the ideological leanings of an economist turned, “Expert,” on psychology by the name of Shaunti Feldhahn (above link) or the strange conspiracy theories held by some of the sources — or dismissed it as the latest expert seeking to prove his/her steel by discrediting the already long-discredited idea that 50% of all first marriages end in divorce.

    But, the number of people now buying into what is nothing more then another salvo in a culture war is beginning to be frightening.

    The political right has always promoted marriage as the cure-all to what ails our society. If we can just strengthen the nuclear family, all will be well. If we can claim that we are successfully fixing marriages, then the healing of our nations is sure to follow and, in the interim, we can continue our fantasy-driven policies. (While we sell the entire country to big business, leave millions more beneath the poverty line, destroy public health/education, gamble away the savings of an entire generation and cripple civil rights in the name of terrorism…)

    Yep, more marriages will fix that…

    The simple fact of the matter is that marriages and families thrive in a greater social context of safety and goodness. When such is missing, at best, marriages sometimes help some to survive — but not thrive.

    It’s stunningly mercenary to look at a society where rising inequality prevents many from getting married, where increasingly marriage is reserved for the wealthy, where the incredibly unstable institution of cohabitation has become a short term substitute for marriage, where out of wedlock births have climbed by 15% and more children than ever before are growing up without both parents present and call that, “Good news,” because it fits your right of center agenda.

    What’s even more disturbing is that the level of ignorance about how to have a decent relationship/marriage has never been higher. The VERY last thing we need is for believers in this propaganda play to place even less emphasis on preparing the precious few who are still committed to forming a real and permanent marriage.

    Really, this final quote says it all:

    The Upshot also gives fulsome credit to progressive advancements of cohabitation and later-marriage for the slight drop in divorce among the (shrinking) married population. But these are more common on lower economic rungs where divorce hasn’t declined as much, or where marriage doesn’t even occur. Cohabitation is said to be helping marriages at the top by allowing bad relationships to disintegrate before divorce is necessary. But looked at from a wide-angle perspective, cohabitation looks like a substitute for marriage for many others.

    And what The Upshot doesn’t consider is whether inequality itself is helping the marriages of the upwardly mobile. The data shows that people who already succeed in many aspects of their life are making successes of their marriages. Far from a progressive dream, we may be returning to the two worlds of the aristocracy. A married upper class and an unmarried peasantry are exactly what you see when you look at the British Isles in the early 20th century. Those living in converted Abbeys could keep their marriages together, but 65 percent of Ireland’s population was unmarried at the same time, the highest portion in the Western world of that era. There’s just more incentive to hold together the “estate of marriage” when the married couple has property that might qualify as an estate.

    It’s a downer, I know. But far from a trendline of unqualified marital bliss, the prospects for marriage look bleak. And the improved prospects for a certain class of married person may not be caused by liberal values at all but maybe a side effect of concentrated inequality.

    The real trend is that marriage is for richer, not poorer. And our only proximate hope is that the rest of America will try to imitate the slightly better marriage patterns of the rich and famous.

    Enough already…

    Denial is never a good start for fixing anything and the state of relationships in North America most definitely needs to be fixed because, regardless of their marital status, the escalating disintegration of family units is still NOT, “Good news.”

    Read more
  • The frightening power of the parenthood religion
    The frightening power of the parenthood religion
    Comments Off on The frightening power of the parenthood religion


    Sometime between when we were children and when we had children of our own, parenthood became a religion in America. As with many religions, complete unthinking devotion is required from its practitioners. Nothing in life is allowed to be more important than our children, and we must never speak a disloyal word about our relationships with our offspring. Children always come first. We accept this premise so reflexively today that we forget that it was not always so.

    To understand the frightening power of the parenthood religion, one need look no further than the 2005 essay in The New York Times by Ayelet Waldman, where the author explained that she loved her husband more than her four children. On “Oprah Where Are They Now,” the author recently reaffirmed the sentiments reflected in her New York Times article, and she added that her outlook has had a positive impact on her children by giving them a sense of security in their parents’ relationship. Following the publication of her essay, Waldman was not only shouted down by America for being a bad mother; strangers threatened her physically and told her that they would report her to child protective services. This is not how a civil society conducts open-minded discourse. This is how a religion persecutes a heretic.

    There are doubtless benefits that come from elevating parenthood to the status of a religion, but there are obvious pitfalls as well. Parents who do not feel free to express their feelings honestly are less likely to resolve problems at home. Children who are raised to believe that they are the center of the universe have a tough time when their special status erodes as they approach adulthood. Most troubling of all, couples who live entirely child-centric lives can lose touch with one another to the point where they have nothing left to say to one another when the kids leave home.

    In the 21st century, most Americans marry for love. We choose partners who we hope will be our soulmates for life. When children come along, we believe that we can press pause on the soulmate narrative, because parenthood has become our new priority and religion. We raise our children as best we can, and we know that we have succeeded if they leave us, going out into the world to find partners and have children of their own. Once our gods have left us, we try to pick up the pieces of our long neglected marriages and find a new purpose. Is it surprising that divorce rates are rising fastest for new empty nesters? Perhaps it is time that we gave the parenthood religion a second thought.

    This article ought to be required reading for every new parent. The pressure most parents experience to adhere to an utter child-centric life is nearly overwhelming and so few can stand against it.

    Yet, one of the most precious gifts any parent can give their child is the gift of closing the master bedroom door for a good long while. How? The formula is really simple:

    “Now Junior, Mommy and Daddy are having our time now. You go and watch the movie, leave us alone and don’t bang on the door. When we are done, you can have your two gummy worms. But, you know, if you bang on the door, you lose one gummy worm, if you do it again, you lose both of them and if you keep banging on the door, you are going to be put in your room.”

    Yep, that’s the bribery all of the high end parenting manuals tell you is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thing that makes you an awful parent and will scar your children for life.

    And, it saves the marriages said children depend on for their emotional survival.

    Oh, and it works…

    Read more
  • Why young couples are NOT getting married…
    Why young couples are NOT getting married…
    Comments Off on Why young couples are NOT getting married…


    The Pew data also puts into greater relief (for like the millionth time) the long-popular (and long-wrong) conservative idea that marriage is a “cure” for poverty. People aren’t poor because they’re not married, they’re not getting married, in many cases, because they’re economically vulnerable. And gutting the already thoroughly gutted social welfare system only makes things worse. As Stephanie Coontz, a historian of marriage who teaches at Evergreen College, has already pointed out, shrinking the social welfare system and pushing marriage might make Rick Santorum feel pretty good, but it doesn’t do much to help people get out of poverty:

    From the 1950s to the mid-1970s, the United States greatly increased government support systems for workers, expanding Social Security, enlarging the safety net and investing in school construction and infrastructure that created jobs for blue-collar workers while improving housing and educational access for the middle class.

    The result? More Americans were able to work their way into economic security and to invest in education and training that enabled their children to do even better. Over that period, the poverty rate was halved, falling from 22% to 11%.

    It is not the expansion but the erosion of government support and job creation over the past three decades, in combination with the decline of labour unions and employers’ benefits, that largely accounts for the setbacks American families are experiencing and for the decline in social mobility since the 1980s.

    So maybe these shifting trends around marriage are creating some space to talk seriously about what marriage does and doesn’t do in the United States. What it does and doesn’t mean. And, perhaps, it’s an opportunity to get clear about the systems we want in a place that allows people to provide care, job security, financial stability and basic things like food and housing for themselves and the people they love, whether or not they say, “I do.”

    The above-linked article, as well as the parent NYT article are very worth the read. (If nothing else, just for the perverse irony that those who rant the loudest about how marriage will fix North America’s sagging social fabric have also done the most to bleed the system of the financial opportunities and stability people need to get married…)

    But, more then that, it suggests a solution: That if those fundamentalist Churches really want to promote marriage, then adopting the virtual employment agency and social safety net strategy that the Mormon faith has as its core might do a lot more then carrying picket signs and repeatedly voting to favour the already-wealthy while dismantling the social safety net…

    Read more
  • How far will we go to control others?
    How far will we go to control others?
    Comments Off on How far will we go to control others?

    Mysterious Universe

    Perhaps the greatest mystery of the tunnels was to be found deep in the lower levels, where temperatures reached 120 degrees Fahrenheit and the air was so choked with noxious, sulphurous fumes as to be nearly un-breathable. It was here in these hellish conditions that Paget and company found a sharp bend at the end of a particularly steep passage that seemed somehow designed to prevent anyone who approached from seeing what was to be found at the end until they turned the corner. When Paget and Jones rounded that sharp bend, they were confronted with an underground stream of boiling water that they would later call The River Styx. Projecting into this superheated stream was a landing, the purpose of which could not be discerned. On the other side of the stream, another passage ascended up into an antechamber that Paget called “The Hidden Sanctuary,” and continued on until a hidden staircase led up to the surface and exited at the ruins of water tanks that had once fed the Roman spas.

    In the end, Paget and his team would spend nearly a decade clearing and exploring this vast tunnel system. During this time, Paget and Jones studied the mysteries they had uncovered and became convinced that the tunnel system and its boiling river were meant to be a representation of the entrance to the Greek underworld of Hades itself. After years of searching and obsessing, Paget had finally found his legendary cave of the Sybil, or at least the cave he believed the legend was based on.

    To support his theory, Paget pointed to the Aeniad and argued that Aeneas’ and Sybil’s trip to the underworld bore a striking resemblance to the layout of the Great Antrum. Paget believed the course that the tunnel system took closely followed Aeneas’ journey and indeed faithfully mimicked similar trips to Hades throughout Greek legend. The estimated date of the complex, around 550 B.C., is also consistent with the time the Sybil was said to have existed. Paget and Jones surmised that the intricate tunnels of the complex were meant to recreate a similar journey through the underworld and that the boiling river represented the River Styx, at which it was speculated a boatman would have once waited at the landing to take visitors across, just as in Greek legend. It was theorized that this impressively realistic depiction of Hell would be enough for the priests of the temple to convince anyone foolhardy enough to venture through its tunnels that the underworld was very real. In short, this vast, elaborate tunnel system was thought to be more or less very convincing deception to convert followers and may have even showcased a person playing the role of the Cumæan sibyl.

    The above linked is a rather long article — and the rest of the illustrations and photos are alone worth the read.

    But, as contrived as it all now looks, it strikes me…

    Isn’t this a lot of what we tolerate in our governments and do when we play church?

    Here is an ancient religion and culture. That culture probably invested millions of man-hours into the process of carving out or at least expanding an existing set of tunnels. Man hours dedicated to nothing more than the creation of a fiction whereby people could be kept in constant fear.

    Oh, the priests obviously knew they were just facing boiling water and sulphur fumes and that their system of control stood on absolutely nothing. But, they went ahead and created a fiction such that the iron grip of control their class held over the population could be, at least in one area, substantiated as legitimate.

    Sorta what happens when the government trots out some hapless fanatical looser who just roasted his own testicles in an attempt to blow up a plane and justifies stripping the civil liberties of most of the developed world in the name of terrorism.

    Sorta what happens when a reverend, in an equal attempt to control, threatens the judgment of God.

    The politician is one thing — it’s just what the species does until properly disciplined.

    The Reverend is quite another…

    On the one side stands religion and political power-wielding FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Despair).

    On the other side stands the person of Christ (whom the Reverend claims to represent) who fundamentally came to end ALL religion and spent his entire life telling the truth about the machinations of his people’s religious ruling class.

    But, we’re far quicker to discipline the politicians…

    Read more
  • Fear not?
    Fear not?
    Comments Off on Fear not?


    Research suggests that conservatives are, on average, more susceptible to fear than those who identify themselves as liberals. Looking at MRIs of a large sample of young adults last year, researchers at University College London discovered that “greater conservatism was associated with increased volume of the right amygdala”. The amygdala is an ancient brain structure that’s activated during states of fear and anxiety. (The researchers also found that “greater liberalism was associated with increased gray matter volume in the anterior cingulate cortex” – a region in the brain that is believed to help people manage complexity.)

    Mooney concludes that this “new research suggests [that] conservatism is largely a defensive ideology — and therefore, much more appealing to people who go through life sensitive and highly attuned to aversive or threatening aspects of their environments.”

    But those cognitive biases are only part of the story of how a political movement in the wealthiest, most secure nation in the world has come to view their surroundings with such dread. The other half of the equation is a conservative media establishment that feeds members of the movement an almost endless stream of truly terrifying scenarios.

    Those of us in the “reality-based community” may look at these specters haunting the right with exasperation or amusement, but just consider for a moment how bleak the world looks to those who buy into these ideas.

    Perhaps the most frightening part of all of this for the true believers is that even though these things aren’t just fringe ideas circulating in forwarded emails – they’re discussed by influential politicians and on leading cable news outlets – the bulk of the media and most elected officials refuse to investigate what’s happening to this country.

    That one ideological camp is so consumed with fear also has a lot to do with why conservatives and liberals share so little common ground. Progressives tend to greet these narratives with facts and reason, but as Chris Mooney notes, when your amygdala is activated, it takes over and utterly dominates the brain structures dedicated to reason. Then the “fight-or-flight” response takes precedence over critical thinking.

    So much of the conversation between the liberal and conservative sides seem to ignore this one key element — how deep a role fear plays in almost all of conservative thought and how it can be used to justify nearly anything.

    Yet, in almost all societies, it is also the conservative side which claims the highest percentage of its membership from deeply religious (Often Christian) circles.

    The same people who, if they really believe what Christ had to say for Himself, should be living lives without fear.


    (Though, yes, much more research is needed here — correlation quite obviously does not prove causation…)

    Read more
  • What if we treated physically sick or hungry people like we handle mental illness?
    What if we treated physically sick or hungry people like we handle mental illness?
    Comments Off on What if we treated physically sick or hungry people like we handle mental illness?


    The sad reality of the above is that it barely tells half of the story.

    All you have to do is walk into the hallowed halls of religion to see all of the above – plus:

    You should pray more.
    If only you had more faith.
    God must be punishing you.
    Are you sure you don’t have unconfessed sin in your life?
    Just claim your healing in Christ!
    Have you fasted and prayed?

    And, the above also gets inflicted on physical illness, relational struggle or personal brokenness/addiction with equally reckless abandon.

    At least on the secular side, we have comic strip artists and the crude, sexist and utterly profane rantings of people like Dave Chappelle to take potshots at this order of positive-thinking nonsense.

    But, in the church? We’re too busy being self-righteously angry at people who would dare to speak like (or even post a link to) Chappelle while forever being accepting and tolerant of the little old ladies of the church who spout so much worse…

    Read more
  • Cracks in the Biblical patriarchy movement
    Cracks in the Biblical patriarchy movement
    Comments Off on Cracks in the Biblical patriarchy movement

    Daily Beast

    The scandal around Phillips is just the latest in a long line of ugly shocks to the far Christian right that threatens to destabilize and possibly capsize the community. As The Wire reported in early March, Bill Gothard, the leader of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, resigned his position in the wake of a series of accusations of alleged sexual abuse from dozens of women in the organization. IBLP, like Vision Forum Ministries, is a major clearinghouse for adherents to Biblical patriarchy, teaching members to shun contraception, embrace extreme forms of female submission, and, of course, use homeschooling to shelter young people from the outside world. Unsurprisingly, IBLP is also associated with the Duggar family, who participated in the organization’s many training seminars on embracing Biblical patriarchy and who called Gothard their “number one recommended resource” for family advice. He has exerted political influence in other ways, as well, befriending Sarah Palin and bringing her in for his International Association of Character Cities conference.

    Similarly, both Bob Jones University and Patrick Henry College—schools that were established in no small part to give these homeschooled and sheltered kids from far Christian right backgrounds a place to go to college—have been at the center of accusations of indifference and even of allegedly covering up reported sexual abuse on campus. BJU received a lot of heat when they fired an outside firm that had been brought on to investigate accusations of sexual abuse, only to rehire them when it looked like they were punishing the firm for being too thorough in exposing the problem. Patrick Henry College was the recent target of an exposé in The New Republic that explored how young women who brought sexual abuse complaints to the school were frequently drummed out of the college or made to felt that they had somehow brought the abuse on themselves.

    The “pitch” of Biblical patriarchy, as epitomized by Michelle Duggar, is that women will be coddled and worshipped in exchange for giving up their ambitions and the autonomy to practice an extreme form of female submission. The unpleasant truth is that a culture that teaches that women are put on earth for no other purpose but to serve men is not going to breed respect for women. Instead, these incidents show a world where men believe they can do whatever they want to women without repercussions. Is it any surprise that a subculture that promises absolute control over women will attract men who want to dominate and hurt women?

    19 kids and counting appears to ultimately have been a calculated gamble. A gamble that a fresh and appealing face could be put on a brand of fundamentalism so absurdist and destructive it makes the totalitarianism of Islam actually look sorta normal. A gamble that warm fuzzies and the illusion of a wonderful family could be used to sell a system of control — at least to the rest of Christendom — before reality caught up with that system.

    And, it almost worked. But, what they didn’t factor in was that PR campaigns do generate interest — from people with research skills capable of connecting one silenced victim with another and getting them all un-silenced. What they didn’t factor in is that there are so many cracks in the facade that only hiddenness has protected it from collapse for decades.

    At this point, pretty much everything but the PR campaign has been exposed as being shot full of those cracks — and it likely will not last much longer either…

    But, sadly, the damage is already done. So much of general society now thinks this fringe set of insanity defines Christianity…

    Leonard Cohen’s comment on cracks pretty much stands as prophetic here…


    The birds they sang
    at the break of day

    Start again
    I heard them say

    Don’t dwell on what
    has passed away
    or what is yet to be.
    Ah the wars they will
    be fought again
    The holy dove
    She will be caught again
    bought and sold
    and bought again
    the dove is never free.

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in.

    We asked for signs
    the signs were sent:
    the birth betrayed
    the marriage spent
    Yeah the widowhood
    of every government —

    signs for all to see.

    I can’t run no more
    with that lawless crowd
    while the killers in high places
    say their prayers out loud.
    But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
    a thundercloud
    and they’re going to hear from me.

    Ring the bells that still can ring …

    You can add up the parts
    but you won’t have the sum
    You can strike up the march,
    there is no drum
    Every heart, every heart
    to love will come
    but like a refugee.

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in.

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in.
    That’s how the light gets in.
    That’s how the light gets in.

    Read more
Can't find what you're looking for? Search Here!

Contact us

403 819 3545 (Text message capable)

info@henze-associates.com (iMessage capable)

403 819 3545, (Toll Free) 1 877 922 3143

Please email or text for information or bookings.

Back to Top