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"Relentless pursuit"
By Mike Doughney


Time: Wed, 15-Sep-1999 23:00:01 GMT     
IP: 207.239.111.82

Following up to Nick by putting the most
important point first:

:You see, Christianity is actually about
:inclusion, not exclusion.  I can't control the
:rantings of people that stray from the written
:Christian principles of love and inclusion and I
:really wish you would stop lumping all people or
:even most people of Christian faith under that
:umbrella.

Let me make sure I've got this straight.  You
identify yourself as a Promise Keeper, right,
Nick?

The particular source of those "rantings" that
you don't want to be "lumped" together with has
been endorsed by some people that I'm sure you'd
be familiar with, since they're frequent Promise
Keeper speakers.  First among these would be
Jack Hayford, who's called this person, if I
recall correctly, a "brilliant strategist" and
has appeared at his events, both in front of
youth and pastors.  Then there's John Maxwell,
who also played a similar key role.  Randy
Phillips has endorsed his ministry as something
Promise Keepers should definately be sending
their kids to.  E.V.  Hill has appeared too.
Jerry Falwell. No doubt there are others that
don't jump immediately to mind (Myles Munroe),
along with a bunch of artists like the Newsboys
and Audio Adrenaline that play key roles in this
operation.

The man who you say has been "ranting" has
appeared not just as a guest, but as a stand-in
host of Pat Robertson's 700 Club program.  He
was on that program just last Tuesday (9/7) as a
guest to announce his big event next April for
80,000+ people, at which Pat Robertson himself
and Reggie White will be the featured speakers.

Nick, I can't make this stuff up.  Neither am I
"lumping" him together with others, since the
people that work with him are a matter of public
record, are happily and freely associated with
him and I've got the videotape to prove it.
It's not like I'm trying to lump an enormous
chunk of mainstream Christianity together with
some fringe lunatic; this is a guy with a 400
acre campus in Texas and his operation grosses
14 million a year.  I suspect that Robertson has
contributed extensive financial and
organizational support to him. Again, the size
and wealth of his operation are all public
record.

You don't like being "lumped together" with him
and what he's said (and believe me, there's
lots more that you'd probably be as offended by
as I am), I suggest that you ask Promise Keeper
leadership why they think Ron Luce and Teen
Mania Ministries are something that they should
be endorsing, supporting and participating in.
There is no question in my mind (nor in theirs)
that they are under the same "umbrella."  (Your
observation is dead-on that Luce, across the
board, is about exclusion, btw; even to exclude
Christians that don't match his extremist
definition, who aren't 100% with his program.)

: Just because our viewpoints are SUPPORTED by
:traditional Christian views does not make them
:SOLELY Christian-based views.  It is as absurd
:as saying that we shouldn't condemn murder
:because the is a Christian principle.  I know
:you don't say that.  I just wish you could apply
:that logic to the rest of your arguments.  I
:don't disagree with your view simply because it
:isn't Chrisitan.  I just disagree with your
:view.  If my Chrisitan beliefs support my views
:than it just gives me more comfort.

I'm not sure what point it is that you're trying
to make, but I'll try to address it this way
with one example.  The aformentioned Ron Luce is
instructing tens of thousands that "relentless
pursuit" of people, unceasing until the target
converts, is imperative (if anything it's the
central point of what he's been doing lately.)
There is nothing solely Christian about that;
neither is there anything critical solely of
Christians to say that that tactic is uncivil,
divisive and a problem.  It's a problem if any
group ignores people's basic rights to
self-determination and religious freedom to
associate with Christianity, some other religion
or no religion at all, in the same way that a
Communist regime's attempt to impose some other
belief system in similar terms is a problem.
(Did I mention that Luce has used Communist
revolutionaries as a sermon illustration, as a
good example?  There's also
http://www.shadedred.com/. Again, Nick, I
couldn't make this stuff up.)

Now back to the top...

:The central messages of BARF are really simple:

:"Societal norms must change to accomodate my
:wants and desires".

No, if anything we are unashamedly supporting
the status quo and working to improve what we've
got.  If anything, I consider myself to be a
conservative, in the sense that if you propose
change, you'd better be willing to explain to me
why the change you propose is a good thing and
not just rely on some assumption that "change
itself is a good thing."

Now as for what people like Ron Luce really
want, it is at its core what you're falsely
accusing me of - change to accomodate his
desires. Namely he wants his followers to go out
and explicitly be self-described
"worldchangers," to cause change in a direction
that I think is neither beneficial nor even
possible. Ranting against MTV in front of 80,000
kids, most of whom are probably watching MTV on
the sly when their accountability friends aren't
around seems pretty pointless, unless you want
to cause guilt and frustration which are Luce's
tools.  You shouldn't assume that I am a mirror
image of yourself or of Christian leadership,
since I don't care to build a movement nor do I
advocate the change of "societal norms" that you
claim I do.  Life is relatively good; why change
it without an achievable goal in mind, or with a
method that is only an ineffective panacea for
most people?

:"We base our viewpoints about Christianity on
:the words of a chosen few.  We choose these
:people based solely on their rhetoric rather
:than their adherence to written and accepted
:Christian principles".

Uh, no.  I am choosing these people based upon
how well tied-in they seem to be with the web of
high-profile leaders that you find lining the
shelves of your local Christian bookstore; based
on who seems to have large wealthy operations
who have many people involved, are influential
and who are all over the Christian media (radio
and TV).  I find influential pastors like Jack
Hayford to be of interest, since he's running a
church of 10,000 on pricy real estate and they
line bookstore shelves with his books (and even
a CD-rom.)  On the other hand, someone like Flip
Benham running Operation Rescue is of interest,
not because he has a huge following, but his
rhetoric is often identical to that of people
like Hayford, or Steve Hill, or Bill Bright, or
Rod Parsley, or a whole list of leaders; and
Benham is out on the street making trouble,
getting sued, and landing in jail.  They are
connected by a rhetorical thread between theory
and practice.

:"My views are paramount to the views of society
:as a whole".

Hardly.  I'm just a writer who co-authors a web
page, and even my own wife disagrees with me
half the time.  :-)

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