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93 Responses

  1. Sarah says:

    Sigh.

    We do tend to try to normalize, don’t we. I love this description of Trey, and you need to keep it for him. My middle boy is somewhat like this…he is my emotional one, my creative and yet at times so very strong. Other times he has to step outside to cry because he couldn’t finish his work as quickly as his brothers.

    He feels strongly and cares deeply, and although I never want that to change I am well aware that it will be difficult to care deeply all his life. It will mean carrying pain of others and being misunderstood…

    I do, however, love where we are in our fellowship. It is the closest we have been to a truly diverse community. Our pastor is conservative, and although he does not speak about politics I would guess he is conservative in his politics. He does not have any tattoos. He dresses, well, plainly.

    We have two main men who teach when he cannot…one is a college professor who is also fairly conservative, but plays in a Beatles cover band that is rather awesome. The other is very liberal, outspoken and a musician and in the industry. They are quite opposite, and it is good for us to hear them sometimes. Plus they are leaders in homegroups and part of the diversity.

    We have young people (college) with piercing and dyed hair and tattoos. We have others who go to Vanderbilt and are yuppie as they come.

    We have a solid group of white hairs in the congregation. Canes and walkers.

    And an abundance of couples with babies.

    Far from perfect…but I love that there is such a mix and I know my middle boy can find a place where he feels at home in this mix. There are times I am challenged by the diversity, and that is good. I wish we were better at walking in a way that truly allows our personalities and our strengths to shine….maybe in that place we would also have confidence to allow our weaknesses to show as well.

  2. Learner says:

    This resonates with me in a big way.

    I’ve been a part of a few tribes…I tried to fit in, and by doing so I lost a bit of my real self.

    You can only lose so many bits of yourself before you become someone completely different than who you really are, a shell of yourself, a fake.

    It seems a bit of a catch 22…damned if you do….

    If you belong to a tribe, even in the good ones, it’s a bit of guilt by association.

    If you don’t belong to a tribe you become a lone ranger with no outside accountability.

  3. Michael says:

    Sarah,

    So well said and a needed balance to my perspective.
    Our kids are going to to receive some scars as they go though the world…my hope is that we instill such love for God and man in them that it sustains them on the journey.
    I know your kids will have that…and a great heritage to draw on as well.

  4. Michael says:

    Learner,

    I spent most of my life looking for a tribe to belong to…I’m finally content to just visit them and go home by myself.

  5. Bob Sweat says:

    What a great analogy!

  6. Ixtlan says:

    I remember the shock I had to get over when I realized that the people I wanted to belong with had almost as many issues as myself. It took some time, but I finally realized the need of attachment and identity was robbing me of my identity in Christ. Michael described it well for me; visit the tribes and then come home by myself. For me, this helps me reconcile the important ideal of the the body if Christ in scripture. We are not called to be hermits. But the freedom to detach some is necessary to remind that my life is hidden in Christ, not the collective, as important as they are. And it also frees me from the temptation to play the political games rather than fulfill my calling within the Body.

  7. Bob Sweat says:

    I’m not very happy in the tribe that I’m in right now. Maybe that’s because I’ve never been through the initiation process.

  8. Jim says:

    Tribes are overrated. True community starts with the premise that we are all different. I’m on the fringes of a number of tribes, but outside of the small tribe I built (my family), I can’t find one that will be content to agree on just one thing, and build around that.

  9. Michael says:

    Ixtlan,

    Really well said…I “resonate” completely with that comment. 🙂

  10. I find that most free spirits or perhaps the tribeless tend to try to force people into their own form of triblessness – usually through shame for belonging to a tribe.

  11. Michael says:

    Bob,

    “Maybe that’s because I’ve never been through the initiation process.”
    Oh yes, you have been! 🙂
    It just didn’t work real well…

  12. Summer says:

    Wow, I think this was beautiful.

  13. Babylon's Dread says:

    Some of us are neither fish nor fowl

  14. Michael says:

    Thank you, Summer!

  15. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I actually think tribes are good and necessary…I just don’t fit in with one yet.

  16. Michael says:

    BD,

    Does that mean we’re all beef? 🙂

  17. Nonnie says:

    When I became a Christian (as an adult), I only knew of one “tribe,”…CC. Then I moved to a foreign land and worked alongside missionaries from around the world and from many different “tribes” and I learned that the body of Christ is diverse, ugly and beautiful, all at once. There are people from every denomination and non-denominations that love Jesus, honour His holy word and whose hearts are set on bring others to Christ. I realised that my tribe was way too small for God’s family. My life is richer for it. I still love my “tribe” but I love so many others in other tribes, as well, and I seem to find myself at home wherever I hang my hat. 😉

  18. Paige says:

    Good, deep words, Michael….like a strong cup of coffee…… uplifting and energizing.

    If you speak of your darling T, you already know that you have a very special young person to share life with.

    Yes, indeed, ‘tribes’ come and go and sometimes toss us out…. but there is One “who sticks closer than a brother”… and that is really, the only Hope in this brief life.

  19. Summer says:

    “If you want to drink alcohol, go to the church down the street, where they don’t take Jesus seriously like we do”. That’s what one of my former tribe leader’s said when he found out some in his church liked to drink occasionally. It’s not easy getting that stuff out of your head after listening to it for 30 years, ya know!

    And…in answer to everyone’s question, which tribe was it? Guess. 🙂

    One of my realizations after 30 years was that there are people who love Jesus in other tribes. I’m so happy about this. I’m so free.

  20. covered says:

    Good word Summer. I’m still trying to guess which tribe you were referring to 🙂 Like you, it’s good to be free from those who try to control.

  21. Michael says:

    Thank you, Paige!
    Yes, he’s special…exhausting and defiant at times, but worth it all.

  22. Michael,
    “I actually think tribes are good and necessary…I just don’t fit in with one yet.”

    I think non tribes are a tribe of their own. Look at the Hippies, the ultimate non conformists who forced you to conform to their non conformism.

  23. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Most of the “tribe less” I know aren”t trying to force anyone to do anything.
    They would love to belong, to be a part of something bigger than themselves..but can’t and won’t make the compromises necessary to do so.

  24. Catherine says:

    One of the best written pieces ever. So many who read here have had that spoken about or to them….different. Your little guy is different and I am thankful that he has you as a father who will appreciate that difference and give him a healthy perspective on how to view the world through this difference. Sometimes it can be a source of blessing, but it will be mixed with a sadness too. When we finally get home, we will be face to face with the One who encompasses our tribe, we will be home and find relief from the loneliness and sadness that this life brings, the darkness will pass away. We shall see Him as He is, for we will be like Him. I think the prophets of old had this difference, this mark of God on their character that set them apart. They cared too deeply, felt so strongly, that they could only shout out the message that God gave them. I look forward to seeing what your son will grow up to be–a blessing to many.

  25. How can a “non-confirmist” force anyone into their non-confirmity?

    I fully concur with what Michael says…
    “Most of the “tribe less” I know aren”t trying to force anyone to do anything.
    They would love to belong, to be a part of something bigger than themselves..but can’t and won’t make the compromises necessary to do so.”

  26. “Tribe of Nomads” comes to mind

  27. dusty says:

    another book in the works big brother? That was way cool. 😎

  28. Michael says:

    Thank you, Catherine…I appreciate the kind words.

  29. Michael says:

    dusty,

    Two books in the works…lots of works to go though. 🙂

  30. dusty says:

    ( |o )====::: “tribe of Nomads” sounds about right, i think.

  31. dusty says:

    oooooohhhhhh cant wait….. 😉

    you will never give those tired hands and wrists rest will you? Nor the rest of your body come to think of it. I still pray for your health…but i don’t think He is listening.

  32. dusty says:

    (((hugs))) ( |o )====:::

  33. Michael says:

    dusty,

    I’m still here…so maybe that’s the answer. 😉
    Love you my friend.
    Off to get Trey…

  34. dusty says:

    hadn’t thought of it that way.

    ((hugs)) love you to big brother. ((hugs)) for Trey too

  35. (((hugs))) 2 dusty

    =)

  36. Xenia says:

    I always fit well in tribes that appreciate eccentrics. These tribes are pretty common, if you don’t mind hanging out with oddballs.

  37. Dude says:

    Xenia
    Odd balls……..eccentrics,were of the same tribe.

  38. I know two men of God that had a dad who was the head of a movement that is spoken about every now and then here so to speak. I went to high school with one of them. That one told me that in reality his dad was legalistic and had a temper and not the person at all that i was seeing in the pulpit. He then made the statement, “That is how i know that the Holy Spirit is real, because that man in the pulpit is not my dad.” We both were only freshmen in High school at the time. His dad has moved on to be with the Lord recently…

    God takes that which is and makes it as if it is something else, something as though it were. To identify with someone else is not the best route but it is the natural one, God plucks us out of the tribal syndrome and makes us as if we were.

    That is why it is so dumb to assess our selves or judge ourselves. God extracts out of us what He wants others to perceive even though we know we are not that man or woman. a brand plucked from the fire.

    The loners among us are the deepest in my opinion. Those who prefer to hang by themselves. The introvert. The old saying, “Still waters run deep” holds true.

    Anyone who knows some of us here would have to agree.

    God takes that which is not and makes it as if it were. He takes the unqualified and makes them capable. He doesn’t call the capable or the qualified so that He might glorify His name through them that he chooses, the unqualified and the incapable.

    That is why when we examine closely some of those He has chosen, we see that they are so miserably unqualified and totally incapable.

    We tend to want to fit in and be acceptable to others. When we are young we dress the same as our age group and learn the vernacular slang of our tribe. But once the hound of heaven closes in and overtakes us we have no choice then to leave the tribe and start to swim upstream against the familiar flow of the tribes. Lets face it dead fish float down stream, but it takes sustained effort to swim up stream against the all too familiar tribal morays.

    I have gained a respect and a love for some of the posters here, Michael included. For I know that each and everyone of us is totally unqualified or incapable. But yet we still stand and serve.

    We are the ultimate tribe, the Body of Christ. Who can come against that? Who can cast aspersions on that? Try as they may we are unmovable having been built upon the rock that can’t be moved…

    Picture that steady stream of people coming out of every tribe and tongue to enter into the Body of Christ for all eternity. The only tribe worth belonging to. The only tribe that is sustained through out eternity.

    We can pick up ‘Christian-speak’ we can be of this stream or that one. Calvinist or the other. But one thing that all of us are is Christian! A holy tribe read and known of all men. a building not made with hands, built one stone upon another.

    Lord we do glorify thy name in all the earth. We give you all our praise! we worship You alone. For You have redeemed us out of every tribe,tongue and nation, a people that You have formed who will declare Your praise.

    Blessed be thy name in all the earth…

  39. Did not show up so here is the link:

  40. “That is how i know that the Holy Spirit is real, because that man in the pulpit is not my dad.”

    This is far from a testimony of the reality of The Holy Spirit.

    This is the tragic reality of what a “stage presence” VS “moment by moment reality” creates in the lives of the ones who simply want a dad.

    The reality of The Holy Spirit is His abiding presence with each of us who are lonely nomads who cannot escape Him.

    This is our tribe.

  41. Nonnie says:

    DS51: Your film clip makes “being put out to pasture” look pretty good! 😀

  42. David sloane says:

    #42,
    For my friend it spoke to him that his Dad that he knew well got transformed into a person flowing in the fruits of the Holy Spirit when ever he was in the pulpit. The testimony of the presence of the Holy Spirit. That is why the Bible tells us to not walk after the flesh but to walk in the Spirit and we then would not satisfy the lust of the flesh. To be in the Spirit is to have the fruits of the Spirit in evidence. A tree is known by it’s fruit.

    So the reality is it is not far from a testimony of the Holy Spirit as you have claimed. We can either be in the Spirit or out of the Spirit and in the flesh. We are therefore admonished to walk in the Spirit.

    Galatians 5:16
    This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
    Galatians 5:15-17 (in Context) Galatians 5 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations

  43. David sloane says:

    Nonnie,

    I just had to share that cow tribe. They are so happy and alive together. There is a part two on YouTube.

  44. Mo' Coward says:

    David,
    Thank you so much for your perspectives #39 and #44. I really needed to hear that right now. And thanks to Michael of coarse. There’s an old comedy line that’s not funny at all because it’s true. I wouldn’t join a group that allows people like me in it. I feel like Danny DeVito in Twins.

  45. #44

    Sorry, I can’t use verses out of context to create an alternate reality of flesh VS spirit. This isn’t consistent with the abiding life that Jesus said he came to bring.

    Jesus called us to be singular, consistent, the same in behavior amidst mundane reality as well as when were in front of a crowd as a presenter or performer, or pastor/preacher/teacher.

    There is no mythical “anointing” that falls on a person that suddenly makes them different. This weird worldview crept into the Calvary Chapel environment due to ChuckSr’s loosey-goosey use of the term “anointed” when he used it to describe something as a superlative. It remains a term which has no actual meaning in the Gospel context. All believers are anointed, and empowered to live life in the fullest, which leaves us with no excuse for being one thing in the pulpit and another thing when with your kids.

  46. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    David sloane: The man you described appears to be of 2 very different personas, not having the Holy Spirit, but rather that who could better be classified as having what is recognized as being a Narcissist Personality Disordered individual. The stark difference in personalities between his behavior within his own family and his treatment towards them vs. his public appearance is the key, here. People who truely have the Holy Spirit would be more fluid in their personality, and healthier I might add. These guys are quite adepth at gathering others around them to use and to project an image that is quite charismatic and godly. They groom others to create a platform, if you will to get others to protect that image while being quite the monster at home and behind the curtain where no one would dare expose them.

  47. This “in the spirit” “in the flesh” speak is so crazy and sloppy. Jesus said let your yes be yes and your no be no. He didn’t separate behavior into fleshly and spiritual. That left-over from pentecostal culture is one of the least helpful ways of communicating preference. In the case of what we’re talking about, a certain pastor being behaviorally different when in the pulpit vs how he lived his personal life as impacted by his son, using sloppy terminology to describe a crafted stage presence and calling that the anointing of God is contributing to the problem of being faithful to what the actual life of a believer is really about, choices, and choosing to emulate the character of Jesus.

  48. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    As for this son of this man and other family members, it screws with their sense of reality, creating what is called: cognitive dissonance. In order to survive and not feel crazy, they learn to justify this abuser’s behavior using in this case a plausible explanation to adjust to the crazy making that goes on in the home. At the same time feeling as if they are not or never will be “good” enough to warrant the approval of such a “god” annointed man. Yep, in total agreement with g-man this time. This “man” in the pulpit was never called to be a pastor, just knew how to work it while keeping those “closest” to him at bay. Too bad, so many are easily attracted to such a person, but then again understand the whats, when, whys, and how such a person operates. Unfortunately, they can fool the most discerning and wisest of us all. Hope this family is able to heal from the years of trauma inflicted upon them and understand that what they suffered had nothing to do with them personally, and everything to do with a man caught up in his own wicked schemes and divices, perpetuating it throughout and onto those that he groomed along the way.

  49. Michael says:

    If only it were so simple…
    In the church I was tossed out of, the pastor was in grave sin.
    He also had a drug history and sometimes he literally had flashbacks in the pulpit and would be completely lost, unable to do anything but laugh at his own predicament.
    Yet, the man had the gift of evangelism…and I lost count of how many times he would utterly botch a message but the power of God would fall and people would receive Christ.
    If you want to see the pure power of the Holy Spirit watch a drug addled sinner give an altar call and people respond.
    God has always used sinners to do His work because that’s all He has to work with.

  50. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    He used a JackAss, of course he uses the ungodly and godly to bring people to Him. This does not excuse this man’s behavior towards his family, nor does it indicate that he was meant to be a pastor. Only that in light of the Holy Spirit, it was time for this or that person to hear God calling them to repentance. IMO FWIW 🙂

  51. Michael says:

    I excuse nothing about his conduct at all.
    However, if he wasn’t called to be a pastor no one ever was…I saw more supernatural acts of God through him than I’ve seen before or since.
    He built a church in the dead center of the most demonic city I know of…the place was actually the basis of the Peretti novels on spiritual warfare.
    It thrived, people came to faith in droves, demons were cast out, and the Gospel went in.
    He fell…badly, tragically, and finally.
    There, but for the grace of God…goes this jackass.

  52. ( |o )====::: says:

    I do not agree with the statement “This “man” in the pulpit was never called to be a pastor”

    If it’s the same person we’re hinting at, well, I found him to be an excellent “teacher” of his views. As a “pastor”, I’ve known many other men and women who were & are pastoral, regardless of their self-identification or appointment to the role.

    Apart from all this, my point is that ones persona is to be consistent, especially toward those from whom you have nothing to gain, and that would be consistently gracious

  53. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    If this person was a NPD, there is no possible way he was called by God to be a pastor—period. Per the description of the huge gap or difference in the personas—-you simply cannot turn it on and off and claim the working of the Holy Spirit. More like a master manipulator with great business sense and God’s word. But even with this, God can, does, has, and will use those who are walking and those who are not with Him to call people to Him. Remember, His word does not go void. It’s not the messenger, it’s the Holy Spirit. And numbers don’t mean a darn thing, nor does casting demons out, etc. Remember, it is written:

    16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

    17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

    18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

    19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

    20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

    21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

    22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

    23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    You simply cannot behave yourself as a self-centered, raging controlling tyrant at home with your wife and children while putting on an entire different persona to play to the crowds. And then claim a filling of the Holy Spirit upon or within you, then take credit and brag about all the people who came to know Christ because of how He worked in you. If He was really working in this person, this person would be likewise and in particular of such persona in his own home. Not total opposites, that is the key and the real evidence of the type of fruit he is sowing and reaping. My understanding, if we are talking about the person that I think we are, he was also quite the control freak behind closed doors, at times spewing his rage upon others and only stepping in when things threatened the business, but mostly an emotionally unavailable spouse and parent—that is, and bearing little empathy towards those harmed, that is unless it was one of the groomed ones.

  54. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    “He used a JackAss,” meaning when God spoke through the JackAss to Balaam. Like a self-ordained pastor, God will work what He will work, but none of it is to this man’s credit. People can be quite gifted, but unless they are using that gift to honor God, it is done in vainglorying, but still won’t stop the Holy Spirit from doing what He wants to do.

    Many people are what is called charismatic, speak well, and are able to have presence about them that will garner the attention and the following. This however, is not a gift. It is call manipulation and exploitation and just plain wicked by God. People think they are able to identify narcissists. There are many different hues and types of this personalitay disorder. Unless, you are being victimized by them, up front, most will simply write this off with a general statement, “he’s a sinner too and beside look at all the good he has done and how God has used him. After all, I’m a sinner too, so who am I to judge.” NPD plays off of this, good people, fallen people, and their gullibile and vulnerable hearts, teach it, and then laugh behind your backs, all the way to the bank, while at the same time consider himself to being chosen and especially annointed by God. Yeah, they are trapped in their own image.

  55. PP Vet says:

    One of the Vet children texted me yesterday: “Dad, I’m glad you decided to be a good man instead of a great man.”

  56. your friend Gary says:

    Uriah,
    You make a very strong argument and your struggle backs it up, but how do you (not you personally) how do you explain God using these people? Is it just a coincidence that people are touched by God through these people? Perhaps it is coincidence. I did not come to the Lord at CC but I did hear the gospel there before I came to the Lord. God did use that experience to prep me. Maybe God isn’t there at all. Maybe it’s just an emotional experience. What about the average person who does inadvertently “turn it on and off”? That is, aren’t there thousands of pastors who are not NPD, who are good communicators of the gospel yet their private lives are not as exemplary as you would expect?

    Why can’t someone secretly film these people in their private lives and expose them?

    The bible says before the end comes there will be a great falling away. Maybe this is one way it will happen. My views are shortsighted and my opinions are shallow but I do wonder about these things.

  57. #46
    What a blessing that you got something from what I had typed. The perfection modeled by others usually doesn’t hold up when those close to these people are interviewed. God calls the lame the halt and the blind. We are a rag tag band of followers of Christ.

    We don’t try to live perfect lives to earn salvation, we do the best we can so that others may be drawn to Christ through us. So that others may see good fruit from our tree.

    Our good living is our way of thanking Christ for what He has done for us.

    Don’t be dismayed by the suggestion that we are to be perfect. God gave man kind the law through Moses so that man could see the impossibility of trying to live a flawless life on our own efforts. We sin through commission and omission often.

    If we could live a sinless perfect life then we would never have been in need of a Savior. Nothing we do gets us into heaven, other than the acceptance of the vicarious death of Christ on the cross for sinners sake. That gets us into heaven. When did the thief on the cross have the time to live a perfect enough lift to earn the comment from Christ:

    Luke 23:43
    And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

    The Pharisees and the Sadducees would never had allowed the man into paradise because he had not jumped through their theological hoops and such.

    The gospel message is so simple that even a young child understands it. Paul and Silas were not into the theological hoops and such:

    Acts 16:29-31

    King James Version (KJV)

    29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

    30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

    31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

    Here it is from Jesus own mouth:

    John 3
    14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

    15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

    So simple, just believe in Him.

    Don’t ever stop believing in Him. While the Pharisees and the Sadducees would put many obstacles in your path to salvation, Christ simply requires us to believe in Him…

    Thanks again for responding. While there are sometimes bitter people who reveal their hand now and then. And others who can come forth with so much complexity that one can get so frustrated with ones own lack of comprehension at what they are presenting. It is always refreshing to hear from a sincere believer in Christ like you.

    Thank you.

  58. Michael says:

    uriah,

    There are two different people in view in this discussion…one obviously being Chuck Smith, the other the pastor I was under for a season.
    The pastor I was under was as utterly dependent on the Holy Spirit for “results” as any pastor I’ve ever known…and God used him greatly despite his failures.
    Those failures affected those closest greatly, but God’s work cannot be denied.
    When A.W. Tozer died, his wife thought that was the real beginning of her life…her marriage was miserable.
    George Whitefields wife felt the same way when he died.
    Anyone will a passing knowledge of church history could go on with this list for quite some time.
    To posit that NPD is at so prevalent among the clergy is simplistic and irresponsible…what we need to be looking at is the entire culture of American evangelicalism which now demands things that are antithetical to biblical qualifications.
    When people demand celebrity traits in the ministry, that’s what they’ll get.
    When they decide to appreciate true pastors, they’ll get some of those too.

  59. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Michael, again in total agreement with you. At the same time, knowing full well what is NPD and what is not.

    Paul tells us what these guys are like and he told us to be on the watch for them. What becomes confusing is when a rogue pastor will share these verses with us, it throws a person off because it can cause us to believe that this person quoting these things must be among the good guys. We look at what they want us to see, and not ask the questions that needs to be ask, partly because of being made felt as though if we did, we lose the fellowship and approval of that pastor, when in truth, we never had it in the first place.

    When we read the scriptures, I’ve cited along with Jude (for starters), we can put together a composite of what would fall within the sphere of narcissism ( which is just a mirror image of what Satan whole personality is about). Now true, any person who becomes prideful for a season can appear to be of such character. However, it is not true narcissism when they drop the “look at me” type of trap and get real with themselves. In other words, it is not pervasive, nor ingrained in them. It is simply just becoming too full of oneself for a comparable amount of time. An NPD is much more subtle, and the most telling part about this, if one is able to look at the persons life in public and at home is the glaring difference between two. Of course, you would nearly have to be a fly on the wall to discover this, as the NPD has usually broken their family members down enough to “put on” appearances, when people are looking. It is when these victims step forth either by confiding in a friend or someone they believe can help them stop the abuse and to protect the body of Christ that a hint is provided to others that this person is not who they were led to believe that they were. In truth, they are: Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde.

    As for Tozer, Whitefield, and others like them, I cannot comment. I am not aware of what their wives may have reported or shared. Along with this, these guys were in the picture during a time when females were still trying to get the vote out, I believe. Again, it’s difficult for me to comment and I believe anyone else to comment since we do not have any narratives that would give us enough information, for instance like we have on one of the AA founders, Bill Wilson—who was full blown Narcissist and quite the philanderer while using the god of his 12 step meetings to lead others out of thier addiction. Did people get sober and were any of them saved. Sure they were, but not because of these founders. In spite these founders, their lives were changed. Although in numbers, we know there were few who actually maintain their sobriety-today, it’s about 5 per cent who are successful.

    The reason I mentioned Bill Wilson, knowing he was not pastor, is to try to draw a glaring example of how people can be quite charismatic and they can be used of the Lord, although they may not be of Him to hear the gospel message. When discerning these type of men, we cannot permit ourselves to weigh their character by what God has produced as a result of their own desire to use God for their own gain.

    What we must do is look at the church as a whole and see the fruits it is bearing and then trace back to the pastor who founded and promoted such teachings that caused such harm. To ignore this is irresponsible. To gloss over the underlying symptoms of a corrupted and abusive person is most telling in understanding how these abuses continue to be perpetrated.

    NPD is prevalent more so in some pastoral circles than in others. And when we understand what it is, we will be better equipped to identify it and to be far more careful in who we follow after and give our tithes, our offerings, and our stamp of approval to lead us in the way of the Lord.

    This in no way is intimating that pastor need to be perfect, sinless, or without some degree of personality that is able to reach people while also caring for them. It is, however, saying that even among the wolves, people are saved and until we stop protecting them by ignoring the obvious our churches will look more like the world than that which is of the Lord, Jesus. There will be as Jesus has told us: persecution from within the church—not just false teachings. This persecution will be intiated by those who calls themselves pastors and leaders, and those that follow after them will just all in line by continuing their handiwork, thus many fatalities will be the fruit. The fruit which these types of leaders will used to keep these silenced are those tactics that seeks to silence and to discredit those who would exposed them.

    As Jesus has told us that “many are called, but few are chosen.” I believe this can also be applied to those who are called pastors. In reading Revelations regarding the 7 churches, again I believe it is not just speaking to churches as a whole, but also individually, and particularly those who puts themselves behind the pulpit.

    A lot of men and women have found themselves after coming to the Lord, or at least believing they are saved to be in a state of mind that oftentimes display itself as being a bit manic. In christianeze, we sometimes call it, “full of zeal, but without power.” In evangelicalism, this can be misleading, as we are far to quick to permit that person to become a leader in ministry. What more, not realizing that the dross has not been contained from the former life (if the former life is former) and those ways of obtaining are or may still be, being used for purposes other than what God has ordained. Celebrity Pastors, in deed, but in truth, hmmmm.

  60. Michael says:

    uriah,

    While I’m sure there are some men with NPD in the ministry, I simply reject the notion out of hand that this is a primary issue.
    The problem is sin, not personality disorders.

  61. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Michael, true the bottom line is sin. However, in terms of identifying such person, there are character traits that can be clustered together that can be idenitified as being a person who personality has become so disordered that they will conduct themselees within the church accordingly. These characteristics can be found in the Bible. Like the use of the word: trinity, that cannot be found in the Bible, we can still draw upon scripture to know that God is one, in three persons.

    Likewise, the NPD can be identified. For this type: Sin is trivialize by them. For in many ways, they see themselves as being “special” and not accountable to anyone —- not even God. Although, they would deny this with their very best of what would be seen as having a sincere heart.

    But like you suggested, it is sin. And the fruit of that SIN is a conglomeration of a personality type that presents themselves as I have shared.

    By the way these types know the difference between right and wrong, but they has lost the ability to see beyond their own noses and what would benefit them without having to suffer the consequences of the choices they make regarding what they say and do that causes harm and abuse towards others. Instead, they scapegoat their wrong doings upon others while projecting their bad characteristics upon those they can while interjecting the good qualities of others upon themselves. They call good evil and evil good—–

    Again, it is just not one sin, but a layering of a person whose mind has become so distorted that is fully capable of appearing more normal that those who are normal, yet while using the same words, will mean something entirely different. Always, but always preying and obtaining, gathering to their own glorification.

    The problem lie within what is known as a personality disorder and is created as a result those choices made that fed into such a way of thinking and believing about one self and the world about them.

    To simply say, it is sin that drives this person does not protect others from the harm and destruction they cause. Paul, and others in the Bible have portrayed and detailed such characteristics of such. Today, we identify it as NPD.

    Until this person is exposed, held to a strict account, and comes to term with the layers of defenses they have used, while also learning to be empathic towards others, then making amends towards those they have villified, scapegoated, abused in any form, or corrupted, it is highly unlikely they will ever turn or repent. It only takes one to turn the whole world upside down. Put one in a system that is founded upon such a structure that enables such behavior, and voila, you will attract others as well. It’s the nature of the beast, Michael and it is ever so insidious. There are 6 types of NPD’s and some overlapped to being a sociopath or psychopath. Psychopaths are far more sophisticated than sociopaths. Yes, it’s evil, but ever so grievious when you know that if they would just repent, they could be set free and people would stopped being misled and harmed.

    But then again, I think we have become a people who have whittle down “sin” as being somethings that just isn’t that big of a deal, if we just “believe.” Thus becoming innoculated against being concerned towards the corruption and abuses being perpetrated from within.

    In turn, we no longer know who is and who is not called by the Lord and really, do we really care? After all, I’m just a sinner too, so who am I to say——just sayin.

  62. Steve Wright says:

    Uriah, is it not true that much anger is aimed at pastors who refuse to acknowledge psychiatric problems and just lump it all in as sin and telling the person to get right with Jesus. Yet you are doing something similar – while granting the illness, still saying the illness equates to sin.

    So you’re saying these pastors have a legitimate psychiatric disorder, one that seems to have genetic characteristics rooted at birth, one that needs treatment and therapy – and then in this last post you’re talking about sin again in order to agree with Michael.

    Seems to me if someone has NPD then the answer can’t be repentance – how does a sick person repent…..but rather a psychiatric treatment plan that certainly would allow any such person to have their job back once completed, if they even would be forced to step down from that job at all during the treatment – since that is sort of a cruel thing to do to people who are ill and not in sin.

    I also read this online about NPD.

    Like most personality disorders, narcissistic personality disorder typically will decrease in intensity with age, with many people experiencing few of the most extreme symptoms by the time they are in the 40s or 50s.

    Does that sound indicative of the pastors you might be thinking of. Do they get better the older they get (and thus longer they stay in ministry)

    Sometimes sin is just sin. Pride, self, lust, greed.

  63. Steve Wright says:

    I guess to illustrate my point I can just imagine some power-hungry, ego-driven pastor who gets caught in some sin going up the next Sunday and saying he has been diagnosed with NPD – he is ill and needs your prayers and sympathy and will be getting treatment during the week and yet, don’t worry, he will still be there next Sunday – just bear with him if he loses it again..after all, he is sick, not in need of repentance.

    I’m trying to imagine how that would fly at this blog if offered by one of those in the hall of shame around here.

  64. Michael says:

    uriah,

    I reject this on so may levels that it is almost too much to detail.
    What you are positing is something I’ve fought since I started this blog…and will fight with my last breath here.
    There is a huge difference between genuine mental illness and sin and conflating them has led to the abuse of mentally ill people in the church for years.
    To claim that the sins listed in the word of God as “sin” are somehow equivalent to modern diagnoses of mental illness is erroneous, dangerous, and flat out wrong.
    Mental illness may manifest itself in sinful behaviors but the root is illness, not willful sin.
    Most of what we see in fallen leaders are the simple, yet horribly destructive sins of the flesh…not minor or trivial issues at all, but not symptoms of mental illness.
    To claim that sinful behavior is mental illness instead of sin does not “protect” anybody…it simply confuses the issue and creates huge problems in actually coping with the issues and even bigger problems for the truly mentally ill.

  65. Michael says:

    uriah,

    To posit that someone with a true personality disorder need simply to repent to begin to become healthy is a travesty…a very dangerous and truly harmful statement according to every health care professional I know.
    I know more of those folks than I ever wanted to…

  66. Steve Wright says:

    Well done, Michael.

  67. Michael says:

    I’ve dealt with rogue pastors for ten years as a blogger and mentally ill people for far longer.
    My heart goes out to the mentally ill…some of whom are very, very, close to me.
    To equate the willful sins of selfish and greedy men who have succumbed to the sins of the flesh to my loved ones who struggle and strive to get from one day to the next is so, so, wrong on so many levels that it boggles the mind.

    Further, you expect people in the pews to make clinical diagnoses that are as far beyond their ability to do so as reading the Bible in the original languages is for the vast majority.

    Anyone can see sin and call for repentance…calling for laymen to see something as complicated (and controversial) as personality disorders is ridiculous.

  68. #22
    Right on bro! Very astute of you.

    We hippies thought that we were so original and Kewl. And if you were not like us you didn’t have your (Blank) together. We actually believed this.

    What deception. The kids of today with their tattoos and piercings are no different then we hippies were.

    I have come to realize that all of us are followers of what~ever when left to ourselves.

    The consensus orthodoxy is a powerful drawing force in and of it’s self.

    I recall when I first taught this to my son. We were in Laguna Beach California on a summer day. The street light showed a red hand meaning do not cross the street yet. The tourist crowd around us saw that there were no more cars coming so they enmass crossed the street against the red-hand of the crossing light.

    My son automatically went with the crowd. I remained behind waiting for the green hand indicating it was now time to cross the street. We came to the next corner and the same scenario played out. Then by the third corner after it played out again my son turns to me and says, “Dad you are embarrassing me, why will you not cross with us?”

    At this point I shared with him all about consensus orthodoxy and how it may not always be the right thing. Dead fish float down stream and living fish fight the current to go upstream.

    We may take a break every now and then in our own weakness but we always come struggling back against the tide of this world. Why? Because there is no other way.

    Matthew 7:14
    Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    We are the few…are we not?

  69. Michael says:

    Steve,

    We’ve been blessed in our church to have wonderful mental health professionals “on call” almost since we started.
    They have been willing to do consultations and treatment on a sliding scale down to zero for anyone in the congregation or their families if needed.
    Because they are also Christians, they will refer back to me matters that are more properly addressed spiritually or even through church discipline.
    This is a subject near and dear to my heart.
    You are correct…personality disorders usually have a genetic origin and you note that sometimes the “cure’ is time…we’ve seen this in real life here.
    Now, there is those that the Bible says sin so repeatedly and flagrantly that God gives them over to seared consciences and depraved minds…but that is not a clinical disorder but one of the soul.
    Should one of my long time ministry nemesis claim to be mentally ill and seek treatment…that would be another story entirely.

  70. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Michael @ 67
    “To posit that someone with a true personality disorder need simply to repent to begin to become healthy is a travesty…a very dangerous and truly harmful statement according to every health care professional I know.”

    Two considerations:

    1. Biblically speaking, we know that a person’s heart can be changed if they truely repent.

    2. The clinical community is split on whether or not a NPD can be treated. For those who say that they cannot, yet when cases are presented that they have, then these will say they were not true NPD’s. Yet there are those who would differ with this opinion and say that the reason they cannot be treated, thus affecting a change in them is due to not providing the treatment that would be most effective helping this person. Most clinicians are not trained, nor have put in the time in the trenches to know if this is true or not. What more, the type of therapy attempted overall is that which is used for others in the general population of mental health related issues. This has proven to be ineffective—therefore, it would stand to reason that another therapeutic approach needs to be designed and implemented.

    Historically speaking, at one time it was thought that people in prision could not be rehabilitated. Research upon research paper was published proving this—I know due to the dissertation I wrote that included some of these things ( 4 years study and about 500 pages). However, what also came to the forefront after years of these research papers being publish was the biases reported and integrated within these papers. The first bias had to do with the criminal justice impeding treatment being applied, and then the therapeutic clinicians bias in believing that treatment was unsuccessful due to the population being treated non compliance and resistance towards such treatment.

    What they failed to factor in was that 1)the competing elements between guards and treatment specialist were at odds with each other, thus blaming the treatment population who could not voice their own opinions, and 2. treatment specialist failed to factor in the treatment biases they had expecting the treatment population to respond to thier treatment. 3) No one ask the subjects themselves what they thought was needed to make the efforts to rehabilitate them more effective.

    So when speaking to any clinician, most of the time you will find that they are only reporting what they have read, not what they have done themselves in the field of treating NPD. So, in turn we treat them as throw away and untreatable.

    The truth is, I believe is that many will not ever be treated due to how clever they can be in avoiding this, but also due to the belief already stated in the above. Not all NPD can be treated. At the same time, more and more is being discovered in developing a different approach to treatment for this population.

    So, Biblically and therapeutically, it is reasonable to say that a person can change if he or she is held to an account and adopts a new way of thinking and behaving. With the NPD, this level accountability would take a team to enable this person to call them on their stuff while staying in close contact with one another so that the NPD could not control the communication, design their own treatment, pick those who they are to be held accountable to, nor pit them against one another.

    LOL-one is enough to ever know, even at long distance. Even for a clinicain, they have to have others in the wings to keep a grip and not be taken into the web of deception the NPD weaves.

    I also hold to that once the NPD has crossed a line which the Bible in Romans described as being a reprobate—there is no turning back, even if they wanted to—-

  71. Michael says:

    uriah,

    There is NO biblical warrant to say that true mental illness can be cured by repentance.
    NONE!

    That is one of the most dangerous and harmful lies that the evangelical subculture has propagated and it has harmed countless victims of mental illness.

    My God…I take medications for a number of illnesses…all of which are organic, none of which can be cured by repentance or prayed away in any manner.

  72. Michael says:

    I repent of being born with asthma…I repent of the injuries to my back…what horrible nonsense.

  73. Michael says:

    Our clinician has never thrown away anyone…and has treated personality disorders of people very close to me.
    It takes medication, therapy and lots of love and patience…and time.

  74. Steve Wright says:

    1. Biblically speaking, we know that a person’s heart can be changed if they truely repent.
    ———————————————–
    Repent by definition means ‘change of mind’ – how can you demand that of a mentally ill person?

  75. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Michael, again I totally agree with you except to say that you misunderstood me or perhaps I did not explain this is a better way that would cause you to understand that:

    “I reject this on so may levels that it is almost too much to detail.
    What you are positing is something I’ve fought since I started this blog…and will fight with my last breath here.

    There is a huge difference between genuine mental illness and sin and conflating them has led to the abuse of mentally ill people in the church for years.

    To claim that the sins listed in the word of God as “sin” are somehow equivalent to modern diagnoses of mental illness is erroneous, dangerous, and flat out wrong.

    Mental illness may manifest itself in sinful behaviors but the root is illness, not willful sin. Most of what we see in fallen leaders are the simple, yet horribly destructive sins of the flesh…not minor or trivial issues at all, but not symptoms of mental illness.

    To claim that sinful behavior is mental illness instead of sin does not “protect” anybody…it simply confuses the issue and creates huge problems in actually coping with the issues and even bigger problems for the truly mentally ill.

    This is a huge misunderstanding of many who understand mental illness in the way that they do. Once a person becomes mentally ill, it affects their brain in such a way that renders them to think and to behave in a manner that their brain being affected as it has and is considered to be defected, diseased, or sick, if you will. With appropriate treatment, many types of mental illnesses can be completely either totally healed or at least managed.

    Next, not all mental illnesses are due to some external environmental causes. At the same time, some are due to a person’s choices made, such as using mind and mood altering drugs or other addictive subtances, such as sex, food, and objects, places, and things. Some are due to the constant and unrelenting trauma experienced being in a dysfunctional system, such as long term war or a family unit, or some other institution.

    Next, people who hurt, hurt others. They will strike back in ways to work out the oughts they have who have caused them harm, but not directly. They will act out these things with those who are in their present lives and were not there during the original injuries.

    Next, to have a mental illness is not sin, nor should it be treated as such, however, to not do what one can to avoid doing harm, when able to do so is sin. Most people who suffer from some sort of mental illness still know the difference between right and wrong. Many will use this as an excuse to act out and not be held responsible for their actions. Instead, they will use every excuse and justification to do things that clearly is not good for them and others around them. Such as self medicating using alcohol and other mind and mood altering drugs which does affect their ability to make good decisions and to be empathic towards others.

    As for an NPD, they are classified as mentally ill due to the way they treat others and their lack of visible empathy they have towards other. Yet at the same time, they can and should be held responsible for any crime that is prosecutable in a court of law, and I might add by those in the church, or wherever they may be congregating that gives them a place to do harm to others.

    Are NPD’s mentally ill and if so why are they able to be held to trial? Because they are not insane, and they know when they have done wrong–just as much as they know they are playing the system—they just don’tunderstand why they do what they do, because they believe, like any addict that what they do is perfectly normal, as long as they don’t get caught and as long as they can play the game. Or at least get you to play the game with them.

    Is this sin—you betcha it is.

    There are some mentally ill people who require more supervision and guidance in making good decisions to keep them and others out of harms way, however, overall–most adults who have mental health issues should be expected to take responsibility for their choices. Do we give them grace–to a point, but we never give them a pass when they know the difference between right and wrong and choose to do wrong just because they are mentally ill.

    NPD are classified as being mentally ill—Satan, himself would be classified as being mentally ill. More down to earth, what’s his name–the guy that was with Tex Watson, and the three girls who got these to kill Sharon Tate. He would be classified as being seriously mentally ill, just as any serial killer would be. Ted Bundy was declared mentally with a diagnosis of being a NPD/Sociopath.

    The key here is: they were not insane–meaning they knew the difference, but did what they did anyways.

    Being mentally ill does not exempt a person from their ability to sin, however, a person mental illness can and does affect the type, the degree, and the severity of such sin or wrong doing.

    Knowing this has alot to with programs now in place for instant concerning addicts who commit crimes against others. It’s a 2-fold treatment plan that joins the criminal justice system with that of the treatment community and often uses the spiritual community as well. If the addict refuses to complete the program (although, addiction is consider a mental illness and a disease of the mind), they will be violated by their probation or parole officer to serve out the time they had been given in lieu of treatment.

    So, yes I agree that mentally ill person should not be stigmatized by the church by making a blanket statement that is is sin that led to their mental illness. At the same time, we also must understand that in many cases it is due to the sins of others, and ourselves that can set us up to becoming mentally ill, as well. In either case, it does not let us off the hook of ignoring sin in the camp and understanding how such a person as an NPD can and does use the church and the things of God to act out what is clearly sin in God’s eyes, but is identified in the clinical community as being quite destructive and viewed as being mentally ill among those with a far healthier worldview towards themselves and others.

  76. Michael says:

    uriah,

    Where do I begin with this bizarre stuff?

    First, your insistence that abuses in the church and specifically by clergy is somehow tied to rampant NPD is simply unprovable, untenable, and utterly inconsistent with the percentage of people with the disorder in the population.

    As a highly respected doctor commented to me offline, there is a huge difference between having narcissistic traits and having a clinical personality disorder and it is bad science and worse theology to conflate the two.

    The vast majority of abuse in the church is because of sin, not mental illness.
    Sin that could be repented of, not illnesses that would require treatment and therapy.

    “Satan, himself would be classified as being mentally ill.”

    You can’t be serious.
    Satan is evil, not ill.
    There is a huge difference.

    Rejecting your thesis does not mean that we are ignoring sin in the camp or it’s causes or results.

    it means we take seriously the issues of sin and seek repentance from those who perpetrate abuse as we seek to restore those who have been hurt back to wholeness.

  77. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Steve Wright:

    Your understanding of a mentally ill person is a bit naive. A mentally ill person is capable of marrying, having children, paying their bills, loving others, and being quite productive as a member of society. They are also capable of sinning against God, others, and themselves. They are not as hopleless and helpless as some would want others to believe.

    There are different levels and types of mental illnesses. Most people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness are considered to be high functioning and able to discern between right and wrong, and make their own decisions concerning their daily living and personal affairs.

    Not only can their brain be healed thus enabling them to make better decisions, either through providing medication to balance out the chemical imbalance that may be going on, it can be healed through changing one’s environment, practicing alternative behaviors and using cognitive behavioral tools among many others things. What happens is that those areas of the brain that have not been developed due to trauma or poor developmental exercises that uses the frontal lobes areas of the brain are then in layman’s terms exercise and which in turn develops a change in the wiring and enables the person to think better and to make better choices using far more options that they were able to do before implementing these types of treatment. For instance, a person who is depressed will be given medication, along with changing their environment that would include nurtrition, recreation, a support group, and some sort of spiritual methods that enable the person to learn to be quiet and to comfortable without having to create some type of havoc or excitement around them. At the same time, they would work with a therapist to begin developing a rapport and a relationship with this person to enable them to feel safe and to enable both to examine issues that have created difficulities in their other relationships and the world that they live. As the onion is peeled, back and the brain is functioning better, this person is freed up to go to places they may have been fearful of doing prior to the craziness they felt and acting out as a result of the mental illness that they were suffering.

    Steve, many people who have been mentally ill hae come out on the other side as a result of going through treatment which include the use of medication and other therapeutic tools while also receie some form of psychotherapy. Not only are the thoughts and behavior changed, the heart is able to be healed and changed as well.

    The stigma pertaining to mental illness is not that mental illness cannot be treated—-it is the belief that it cannot be changed, modified, and healed, along with thinking that those who are mentally ill are not responsible for the sins that they do commit when they know perfectly well the difference between right and wrong.

  78. uriahisalieandwell says:

    Michael, it would seem that we are at odds with what I am attempting to get across concerning those people who would be diagnosed as NPD’s. As for you stating that I am meaning that 1) that the vast majority of abuse are committed by those who are mentally ill, and that 2) I am saying that every rogue pastor is an NPD, well is simply not accurate at all.

    As for the percentage of NPD’s in the population, the truth is no one knows how many there are for sure, simply because most do not end up in treatment. As for the “highly respected” doctor, who commented to you offline, regarding the difference between narcissistic traits vs. full blown personality disorder of NPD, I am not clear on what the point is. Of course there is a difference, that is being that one is a pervasive and engrained way of looking at the world and the other is more given to one’s circumstances and the issue at hand. However, both know the difference between right and wrong and both are capable of sinning and doing it quite maliciously, intentionally, and without a hint of remorse or empathy towards the target or victim (s) they prey upon. The person with narcissistic traits does not, like the NPD make a habit of preying upon others, they are more just being a bit self-centered than anything. But the NPD, clearly does it for power, control, attention, and other things that they know is wrong, but does it anyway.

    Yes, Satan is evil and yes, if he was just walking around as a human being doing what he does, he would be diagnosed as such, if you could catch him and hold him to an account that is. But then again, doubtful that you or anyone else could, so he would not be numbered among that percentage that is given out to say how many are walking around in the midst of our population. All one need to do is look at the evils committed by these throughout history and see how it’s not getting any better, that is, unless one holds a Pollyanna point of view of the world, which I think you are more realistic than this.

    I agree that most sin committed is purely as a result of one’s desire to walk in disobedience and to have what they want, when they want, and how they want, and yesterday is not too soon, and damn the torpedoes and the impact that their selfish ungodly choices and desires may have upon another.

    It appears that I hit a hot button with you, Michael. One that appears to have caused you to think I was saying something about the mentally ill, that I was not, nor would I. At the same time, I think it is important to understand that in the clinical community we do not look at people in terms of being sinful, so in terms of diagnosis, a NPD would be classified as being mentally ill and the term “evil” is simply something that is seldom used or heard within this profession.

    Nevertheless, NPD’s can be quite evil—intentionally and irrevocably. They know the difference between right and wrong are pathological liars, and will sacrifice anyone that gets in their way. Narcissist will and can be diagnosed as just a NPD by one clinician, then as a psychopath/sociopath (unstable or stable Anti-Social Personality Disorder by other clinicians who are just as qualified to assess them. The point is, they can be and are just as evil as any sinner can be and being classified as being mentally ill does not let them off the hook or not responsible for the harm and destruction that they perpetrate against others.

    Why, because they are evil—not insane.

    Scott Peck, a noted Christian Psychologist have written a couple of books on this as well. For those who deals with these up close and personal, there is not mistake who they are, what they do, and what the mental health criterias are to be diagnosed as such. Make no mistake this does not negate the fact that they are responsible for what they do when they seek to exploit, seduce, and abuse another. In the church, they know they know the definition of sin—-but in their minds, so what.

    I am troubled over you summing up what I have shared as being “bizarre.” But then again, given that you have also somehow taken what I said out of contexts and made it appeared that I said things that I did not, I can understand why you would think that it was “bizarre.”

    Hopefully, my reponses will clear some things up and help you and Steve to understand that what I was saying about the NPD and those that are mentally ill is not in whole what you were thinking that I was saying. Along with this, hopefully, it will also help each of you to know that generally speaking, most are quite able to make decisions and be held to an account for their choices and behaviors. And when they do hurt others, it is in the eyes of the Lord, as much a sin, as if anyone else had done them who also knew that to do them was not right to do, but did it anyways.

    So I guess you can

  79. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Steve, you posed the question:

    “Repent by definition means ‘change of mind’ – how can you demand that of a mentally ill person?”

    Let me ask a different question: In the clinical community and in the legal system, what is the purpose of treatment and the law that convicts people who knows the difference between right and wrong but choose to cause harm and destruction any ways?

    You see, the mentally ill is not helpless and hopeless, nor are they ignorrant of right and wrong. We know this in the clinical community, as much as we know this in the criminal justice system. As a pastor, please know that we also are aware of what drivews the mental illness and what feeds into it as well as what enables it to heal or progress.

    They are as capable of repenting as anyone else when they take ownership of doing such wrong or harm against another and when they choose to do differently.

    I am not speaking of those who are severely mentally ill or incapacitated. That is a whole other topic altogether.

  80. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Here’s a few other thoughts:

    The consequences of sin cn lead to mental illness, such as depression, Personality Disorders and addiction.

    However, mental illness is not alway caused by sin.

    Mental illness can be caused by the sins of others, such as depression and PTSD, learning and developmental disorders.

    A mentally ill person in general know the difference between right and wrong. They are able to sin and will choose to do so.

    They are able to take responsiblity for this, thus they are also able to repent.

    Doesn’t mean they are not mentally ill or that they are not sinners. Just means that they have to do things in a different way in order have a life that enables them to be independent and not constantly suffering the fallout of being mentally ill.

    To say that me being a hypoglycemic exempts me from being a sinner and unable to repent when I have caused harm to another is a misnomer. Being a sinner and being a hypoglycemic are two entirely different state of minds. One, if my glucose falls too low will cause me to suffer many different symptoms that can be quite short with others. Nevetheless, because I did not attend to keeping my glucose at a stable level, I still put myself in a position to hurt or injure my fellow person. Sure, there is some grace here to be granted to me. At the same time, I need to take care of myself so that I don’t go into these modes by doing things like self medicating or wanting to be like everyone else by having a drink or two or three. Have I sinned against this person—not intentionally. What about when my glucose level is behaving itself and I still say or do something to hurt or injure a fellow person. Because I am hypoglycemic, does that excuse me to do this? Well, it all depends. Did I do it purposedly to hurt or did I do it to speak truth the person without being sarcastic and abusive towards them. Or was it just a case of being in the flesh, and spouting off anything because I didn’t like what they said. In other words, I became defensive and perhaps, a bit prideful, or not wanting to admit that what they were saying if I would to admit they would true, I would then have to change or stand guilty as charged. Perhaps, I don’t want to face myaelf or the consequences of my actions against another. Doesn’t change the fact that I am hypoglycemic. Just bears witness to the fact I am as capable of sinning for the same reasons as anyone else. One thing for sure, the more I can avoid having to change the deeper I go into sin and the more that my character is changed. Doesn’t fix the hypoglycemia, as a matter of fact, physiologically and mentally speaking, the stress will take a toll on other systems in my body, unless I can just turn it off and not think feel any guilt or remorse for having done so. Like or not, consciously I become more and more unaware of what is ailing me, but my body and brain is will suffer the consequences of my doing this to myself. Other see it long before I get a clue to start connecting the dots.

    So sometimes, people come along in my life and once in awhile I might get a whiff of truth that tells me that what is happening to my body and my brain has to do with how I am treating others and myself. I have a choice to either ignore it or to take a look at it and to do what is necessary to get better and to heal, mind, body, and soul.

    But to say all mental illness is a result of my sins—or that having a medical condition can set me up to sin. I guess it would be better to define sin and understand how it is developed in the mind and thoughts prior to them being seen in our choices and behaviors. It is a matter of the heart, you know. And sin never happens in a vacuum, nor is it ever just one, but rather it keeps company with others to reinforce, enable, protect, nurture and to form that which takes over the entire mind, body, and soul. Even those who are or are not stuggling with mental or medical issues.

  81. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Michael, this will be my final comment on the subject of NPD.

    In reviewing my comments I noticed that I had focused upon NPD’s. Somewhere along the line in your comments, it appears that you then translated what I as saying to apply to all people who suffered has been diagnosed having some type of mental health condition.

    I attempted to disengage from the generalization that you claim I was making towards all people being mentally ill. Then you took it to another level, being quite defensive, by then seeking to discredit me by saying that what I shared was a bit bizarre, then pulled out some reference you made towards an online email involving an unnamed, but “respectable” clinician, I guess to shore up the idea that what you claim that I stated was bizarre.

    Now I don’t know what your mental health diagnosis is, nor is it the issue of this topic, that is unless you yourself have been diagnosed as a PD. But I do know what I have shared and I do know it is as sound as you will find in the clinical community.

    As for NPD being genetically inherited–there is not one shred of evidence to this effect–only hypothesis based on tomogrphy pictures taken of the brain of adults who were diagnosed as such. Not one picture of a child in the womb or newly born have been produced, nor is there evidence in the DNA that shows that even if there was gene with such a personality structure waiting as some clinicain will describe: “for the switch to be turn on.” They say this when the questions arises about the lack of pictures of the brain in the womb and newborns, by the way. Yes, I have sat in many symposiums and conferences on NPD’s as well as read through reams of research and conferenced as well.

    As for being trapped by genetics, not so. There is evidence that this can be changed based upon ones environment. It goes something like this. What was once thought to be preprogrammed and a done deal if one DNA composit possessed a gene such as NPD or even alcoholism is now proven to be determine by one’s environment instead. As for inheriting such things, it is inherited through the process of learning, modeling, and repetitive experiences. What more within the DNA construct there is an outer layer called the epigenetics. It is like the myelin sheath that protect the nerves that runs through the spinal cord. This epigenetic has now been determine to be the over riding factor and vehicle that determines if any genes will be changed, modified, or realize, if indeed they ever existed at all. What more, it is the epicgenectic process that enables a person through their environment to overcome such adverse character traits.

    You stated and Steve applauded you.

    “You are correct…personality disorders usually have a genetic origin and you note that sometimes the “cure’ is time…we’ve seen this in real life here.

    Now, there is those that the Bible says sin so repeatedly and flagrantly that God gives them over to seared consciences and depraved minds…but that is not a clinical disorder but one of the soul”.

    You are gross error, spiritually and psychologically speaking. Throughout the Bible we see people living a lifestyle of sin and also seet take on characteristics of varying types of mental disorders. At the same time, we see people being mentally ill, and having medical disorders through no fault of their own.

    In our own lives, I trust we can each attest to our our observations of watching people make choices that leads to mental and medical conditions which pans out in mental illness, addictions, medical conditions.

    I think you jumpd the gun of this Michael by going to the defense and then taking my comments and making a broad brush over all mental illnesses. Thus coming up with this summary of my comments being: “Bizarre.”

    At the same time, what I am hearing from you and Steve that mentally ill period cannot repent because their hearts and brain cannot be changed? Now that sounds bizarre to me. For those that do not no the difference between right and wrong—I would agree, and I believe God would want us to be quite patience and long suffering with them if they should injure us, while taking measures to protect ourselves the community at large.

    But for those that do know the difference, we must stop equating sin with being mentally ill and treat them respectively in terms in knowing what is deliberate sin and what is the mental illness may be causing them to say and do that they (underline this) have no control over.

    The bottom line that there are NPD’s in the pulpit and among leaders in many fields, not just in church. They have alot of power and control over the lives of others and they do cause tremendous harm and destruction while other sit back and think exactly what the NPD wants them to think and believe, even to the point of calling those they victimize crazy in order to cover up and bury them, if they think believe they will be exposed and the held to an account.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1392256/

    One final statement: not all personality disorders are classified withint the Cluster B category, but all cluster B Personality Disordered People are narcissists at the core of what drives them. They can be quite dangerous without laying a finger on a person leaving a path of destruction and victims behind them as they move on seeking more “narcissitic supply” to feed their appetite for adoration, attention, power, and control.

    There is definitely much controversy in the clinical community over their treatability and whether, or not they are just plain evil or mentally ill or a combination of both or even the idea that the clinical community does not want to admit that evil truely does exist in the form that appear to others as being so normal, and leave many wondering how they could have been so easily taken in and led to believe what nice person they were. Even then, it difficult to admit to oneself that they went along enabling this person thinking the NPD was the victim when in fact, the NPD had created one smokescreen after another with their help in playing out these schemes.

    No, the NPD know exactly who their preys are and will spend alot of time making sure no one is the wiser while destroying anything that gets their way. If he is in the pulpit or some other leadership role, which he will be no matter where he creates a life for himself, you can be certain he is either in the process of dumping a victim, starting to hunt a new victim and beginning to seduce yet another one, all at the same time.

    As for Personality Disorder outside of Cluster B, that is a whole other topic that does not even touch the hem of those who are cluster B.

  82. Silly conversation. So let me just state that far more abuse of women in the church comes from the leaders of women’s ministries than would ever come from male pastors. Sheer numbers will bear this out.

    Women’s ministry leaders in these independent churches is brutal – women are ridiculed, shunned, verbally abused and in many cases just plain old made to feel like crap for not conforming.

    So, are we going to apply this NPD talk to the lady leaders also?

  83. Steve Wright says:

    Your understanding of a mentally ill person is a bit naive.
    ———————————————–
    Of course. Insults in return for disagreement.

    Actually, sounds like I at least might have greater respect for mental illness than you do. You’ve written some very strange stuff here – and rather harmful as well.

    And just because I in turn do not choose to write a pseudo-encyclopedia in return, you’d be surprised what 20+ years of marriage to a highly credentialed psychiatric RN can teach her pastor-husband about the subject

  84. Catherine says:

    I have to agree with MLD’s # 84–been the object of that kind of thing–it ain’t pretty…or godly..

  85. Xenia says:

    I have to agree w/ MLD and Catherine, and I am coming from the perspective of a WM leader. Oh, the things I said and did….. Lord, have mercy on me.

  86. Xenia says:

    former WM leader, that is.

  87. Catherine says:

    As a former WM leader, I too, echo your sentiment..Lord have mercy..

  88. Michael says:

    uriah,

    I have not been diagnosed with any mental illness.
    I work very closely with folks who have been and with those who provide care for them.
    One of my closest friends has the same credentials you do and as I said, we have a team of people who are professionals in this area.
    They all to a person reject most of what you are saying…and find it not only erroneous, but potentially harmful.
    There are no doubt people with personality disorders in pulpits and elsewhere…expecting lay people to recognize and somehow address that reality is …odd, to be generous.

  89. Xenia & Catherine,
    Agreeing with me is not a safe place to stand here at the PP 😉

  90. Catherine says:

    Don’t worry MLD, We’re big girls, we can take the heat!

  91. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Steve,

    No offense was met when I stated you seem a bit naive on the subject. I did not say you were an idiot–we all know better than that—just naive, perhaps, intentionally.

    Michael, all clinician have some training on the population, but not all has an expertise or a firm grasp to be able to identify them, otherr than by textbook description. En vivo, it’s quite another thing. They are particularly found in leadership roles, the pulpit being among the top positions listed.

    Sorry, you take issue with what I have shared. But then again, this is part of the reason that people, in general has such a tough time grasping the way they work and how they do what they do.

    Take care all. In Him—-in al that He is.

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