Saturday, April 16, 2016

the trouble with discipleship

At our church we have 'discipleship' groups...that's like a married couple meeting every week for 'marriage time'. What I mean is everything in church life is inevitably about discipleship; the variable is that it could be good, bad, or in the middle.

I ran into Frank Viola's book on discipleship: Discipleship in crisis -- 9 reasons why discipleship is not working. (I love the way we must have explanatory sub-titles these days; I could imagine Plato releasing The Republic: how philosphers should rule the world).

I sent the book to a friend at church and read it myself. I should have read first, then sent nowhere. Viola is heavily culture bound: bound by a culture in a part of the US I hope that I never visit! The book poses questions that are answered in linked MP3 files, talks Viola has given.

After a few minutes into the first talk I had to abandon it; I was getting the rant! I expected a well structured, logical and finely argued disquisition, but instead I got the rant. The Rant is something that cult leaders do because they have no logic. It is closely related to the Finney harrange, that was de rigueur in the 1960s and 70s in Australia...probably in the US too, given its Finney herritage. The basic tactic was to harrangue people into the Kingdom. It basically (a) didn't work and (b) repelled people. Many of my fellow harrangued from my youth have eschewed faith communities in their adulthood.

The Rant is similar to The  Harrange in its emotiveness, legalism (laying 'shoulds' on the audience), and affective manipulation. In fact, the latter is the essence of The Rant. Avoid it.

Compare The Rant to this talk by Boring (an unfortunate name for a Christian teacher). His style treats his hearers like adult fellow Christians and presumes spirituality.

As I've posted before, last years Revive conference was destroyed for me by The Harrangue. Viola's work has been destroyed by The Rant.

While I'm on Revive, at Revive 16, The Rant is on the cards with a famous Baptist Social Christian being on the platform.

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