Two Perspectives

Ed Young defends his position on the video clip that is now posted at Out of Ur.

“See the laymen believe these people, because laymen, they’re always going to believe the victim. They’re not going to believe the pastor. We’re all about the victim.”

Too bad that he invalidates and dismisses the views of entire groups of people who are apparently so dumb (baa, baa) they would follow a pirate. I also found it interesting that he chose the word victim to describe those who leave.

When he asked, “In what areas is there a vacuum?” my immediate thought was that there is an obvious vacuum in equipping and releasing.

His perspective on lack of loyalty, lack of commitment, and level of betrayal indicate a presumption of ownership, territory, and entitlement that he seems completely blind to and unaware of as a part of the problem.

As usual Brant has a way of cutting through the BS to offer another perspective. He includes a link at the end to Pirate Pastor Ed’s church describing how you can share your loot in their capital campaign.

Just remember…

“Remember, Town and Country offerings are given above and beyond your tithe, which is at least 10% of your gross income.”

I don’t make this stuff up.
This is unapologetically church as usual in the world of church success.

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20 thoughts on “Two Perspectives

  1. …reading this was very sobering in a nauseating sorta way…

    Wow…

    What a commentary on our Amercian cultural expression of Christ-insanity…

    Is this for real? I am wondering if he & Joel Osteen will develop more high-tech methods of sheep identification. Like a barcode tattooed on the forehead of every member that signs their name in blood on the official registry…

  2. Hmm…

    ““See the laymen believe these people, because laymen, they’re always going to believe the victim. They’re not going to believe the pastor. We’re all about the victim.””

    This quote…. this is actually the opposite of what I have experienced in the church I left. The ‘pastor’ was very possessive and territorial with ‘his’ ‘sheep.’ But when I left, it seems the ‘sheep’ keep following him, having been taught the dangers of listening to those disloyal, unfaithful one who leave…. And in the face of blatant abuse, they believe him over the ‘victim.’

  3. I have been in awkward situations before when cold-call visits to small congregations with my young family in tow…

    It’s amazing just how ‘welcoming’ such visits elicit…

    I had the uneasy feeling everyone in the room was staring at my ass…

    You know, my wallet. And the drooling & rumbling stomaches during the service very distracting…

    Once a member of such a small congregation it became apparent that money was a constant concern. Since I was on the ‘deacon/elder board’ that also had financial oversight of the church it was strange dealing with every nickel-and-dime budgetary item discussed. And of course having to send out giving statements to those that did give made it known who was a faithful tither & who wasn’t…

    The regular givers were depended upon in a manner not unlike counting the proverbial chicken before it hatched. The pastors (husband+wife team) ‘expected’ that support. And it was reinforced through the standard Malachi curse teaching every so often just to keep the sheep, well, on their hooves… :)

    Once we left that situation & for a season camped out at a large independent conservative evangelical type IC, we simply gave to the Deacon’s fund when we wanted to. I wrote a letter to the church’s senior accounting person about how I totally disagreed with the Malachi curse sermon preached one Sunday. Yup, they did it there at this big mega-church in our town. One of the biggest churches. It did get me a meeting with him. And I discussed my perspectives & he was understanding. He soon resigned his ‘voluntary’ post. Not that my meeting was the cause, but I think he may have determined the ‘business’ aspect of church was truly a business & not so much about the kingdom…

    You can’t serve both God & money. It is oh so obvious when one actually is privy to the budgets of whatever church organization associated with. Eye opening to be sure…

  4. Can you imagine Walmart accusing mom and pop of stealing their business? (Sorry Grace I seem to be stuck on Walmart these days). I mean how many small churches did Ed Young shut down building his tower of Babel? It would be very interesting to get a count of his membership and see how many are really new converts vs. from other churches migrators.

    Anyway – this whole mindset is what I left behind – I couldn’t handle it any more. How many people expect their kids to support them for the rest of their lives? Isn’t there a time when the kid goes out and does it on their own? I mean – I’m sure hoping anyway.

  5. I’m thinking – should we? or maybe, how do we go about passing around the plate?

    Where we are – we just have a box on a table at the end of the place we meet, we don’t advertise it (never have) – it’s just there, an old shoe box, with a slot cut in the top and a white sticky tag that says offering. It’s disbursed as the Elders see fit.

  6. Haveing watched the video here’s what his words and body language convey to me:

    Arrogance,

    Hypocrisy,

    Manipulative attempt to shame people and create feelings of guilt,

    Not really interested in a conversation on the topic, just wanting people who had experienced others pirating them to confirm him in his position. All others are not welcome to respond,

    Is captured by a corporate, organizational, institutional mentality, not a relational one.

    Interprets pirating as a personal attack.

    How sad, for him, and those who follow him.

  7. When I first read Brant’s entry and the comments, I laughed because there was a some sarcastic humor in the post and comments about this sad display. Then I watched the video under his post “The People who don’t exist” and I felt a terrible sadness. I told my wife, “God help us, US Christians spend millions on Christian entertainment facilities when there are children who would just be happy to have a mosquito net.”

  8. I don’t really understand his comment about “the victim” since plays the victim quite well in the video, talking about how much betrayal he’s had to endure.

    I have found a certain type of manipulation quite common in immature/territorial leadership. It’s a tactic of accusing others (those the person is in conflict with) of the very thing the one is perpetrating. It’s a kind of turning-the-tables that is very difficult to answer. It’s slippery, and pretty yucky.

  9. traveller, when i went to the video, i shuddered at the sight of the very first frame. something felt so wrong. thank you for articulating it in your comment.

  10. joseph,
    Being involved behind the scenes at church is like seeing the wizard behind the curtain. It is quite revealing and not usually in a good way.

    peggy,
    So who would the Beast be?

    lyn,
    It is sad that some pastors feel completely entitled to this degree of control and ownership over “their flock.”

    katherine and kimberly,
    I’ve seen that happen too. However, when a group does leave, if the real issues aren’t addressed, there has to be a handy explanation to deflect the responsibility.

    jerry,
    The empire-building model is what I’ve been pushing against in all of the posts this week. It is so frustrating to me that the vast majority of leaders and christians embrace and accept this rather than seeing the need for a dispersing, multiplying mentality toward church growth. Of course it is difficult to amass power, celebrity, and wealth if you do it that way.

    mark,
    Just my opinion, but I believe we should return the responsibility for giving to individual believers, encouraging them to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in responding to the needs around them. That may or may not include contributing to the operational expenses of the organization. I don’t expect that everyone (or anyone) will agree with my opinion on this.

    traveller and davida,
    There was a lot of “senior leader” posturing going on in the video. I find “let me tell you how to think” speeches pretty distasteful.

    LOL shaun and tom.

  11. What’s interesting about the bigger churches is they often feel no qualms about pirating leaders from other churches. Willowcreek does this a lot. The pastor who started my home church growing up was intensely recruited by Willowcreek, and ended up being drawn in by their enticements, leaving a community 2000 miles away suddenly having to deal with a leadership crisis. The church down the street, also a startup, lost its pastor in the same way.

    Leaders demand loyalty, but in my experiences they show very little loyalty. They choose to go elsewhere they theologize it and term it a new “Call”.

    So many of these bigger churches don’t do the work of raising up key leaders within, but are always on the prowl for the brightest stars, and make sure these folks move away from the folks who did have loyalty towards them.

    It’s a lot like sports superstars. They want the fans to be endlessly loyal, but if the city across the country offers more money, the superstar will be gone in a second.

  12. Grace~
    I absolutely agree. I recently had the strength to watch one of my former church’s TV programs… and got the privilege of hearing the pastor call me (well, all those who have left ) ‘unfaithful in the time of testing.’ Grrr!

  13. dualravens,

    Your comment is good. I had not thought of it exactly that way before. But this is also true of other institutions/organizations. By definition they seek the loyalty of their stakeholders but generally give little, if any, in return. Businesses are the same way. They want money from investors, skills from employees, purchases from the public, etc. But most of the time they are only willing to give back the minimum to keep the investor, employee, consumers. Sometimes not even the minimum.

    It seems to me that church as institution will always fall short of being the church because institutions by definition cannot be sufficiently relational to be the church. Even for those who try it is a constant conflict, war, struggle and the institution wins more often than not.

  14. Traveller,
    I can see where you are coming from here.
    It’s the corporate mindset that prevails in institutions. The “Goal” is not being the church, it’s self-preservation. The institution is supposed to be there for the benefit of the “Church” but it ends up being more important than the people who are the church or the people who would be the church.
    I think that the reason it is such a struggle for those who try is because ( just like in business) it is a battle against the bottom line. The minimum investment for the maximum return. So we cut some corners save the company some money & allow for a larger bonus for upper and middle management.
    It will always be a struggle I think, as long as people are involved.

  15. patrick,
    So true. In most cases, leaders don’t consider that loyalty (or submission) should be mutual. It is viewed as a one way relationship to the benefit of the leader.

    katherine,
    We were ‘unwilling to embrace the process of reform.’ (All 200+ of us who left).

    traveller,
    In that context, people are viewed as potential assets or liabilities to the organization which damages the relational nature of what the church should be.

    shaun,
    It will be a problem as long as the needs of the organization take priority over the needs of individuals. In most cases, it is obvious that people are expected to serve the organization rather than vice versa.

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