Thursday, April 10, 2008

Angry, Purpose Resistant Leaders From Hell

(Note) Some recent criticism of this post has prompted me to examine it for content and intent. And, after some introspection, I have made some alterations for the purpose of clarity. Those changes have been made in this purple font color.

The criticism was centered around the last paragraph where I wrote, "...I am an angry leader from hell." The criticism failed to understand the figurative nature of the statement in its context. That phrase was attributed by Dan Southerland to all who oppose church paradigm shifts on principle.

However, after examining it myself and subjecting it to some other critics whom I trust, I understand how easily the point could be obscured by the poor construction of the sentence. I also understand how, by the harshness of the language, some, who will not or cannot derive meaning from this in its context, might have concluded that I am a very angry, raging lunatic.

The alterations to the last paragraph have been added in this purple font color.

I wrote in another post about Rick Warren’s systematic method for dealing with resisters. At some point difficult people must be marginalized and, if necessary, vilified.

In his book, Faith Undone, Roger Oakland illustrates how Rick Warren marginalizes those who won’t go along with his program. According to Rick Warren, "...some members who are resistant to change need to either leave or die." In an article he wrote, he told pastors and church leaders to be patient because “even Moses had to wander around in the desert for 40 years until God killed off a million people before he let them go into the Promised Land.”

Dan Southerland is a pastor at Saddleback Church, the author of, Transitioning: Leading Your Church Through Change, and the director of Church Transitions, Inc. He teaches pastors and church leaders how to foist their changes on their unsuspecting members by stealth. This is how he vilifies resisters in a chapter he wrote titled, “Dealing With Opposition:”

“We have …two major sources of criticism during our transitions. The first is Christians from traditional backgrounds. Not all of our traditional...Christians have been critical – just the ornery ones. Our second source of criticism is traditional church pastors – just the meaner ones.”

[It is interesting to note here, that both Rick Warren and Dan Southerland address their instructions to both pastors and church leaders. The implication is that the transition plans may be implemented by leadership that may not include the pastors. Sometimes those traditional pastors are not favorable to the change and, when that happens, they too must be marginalized, vilified, or expelled.]

Then Southerland gets very personal about guys like me. He says that some of us are going to get very angry. He likens us to “leaders from Hell.” He writes:

“If you have read Nehemiah recently, you will remember that Sanballat is Nehemiah’s greatest critic and number one enemy. Let me put it plainer than that. Sanballat is a leader from Hell…We all have some Sanballats in our churches. THIS IS THE GUY WHO OPPOSES WHATEVER YOU PROPOSE.”

Well, just in case anyone was wondering, at least now I have been clearly "outed." According to Southerland, I too must be an "angry leader from Hell." And if that is what he thinks of Christians who oppose his stealth transition plans, then that is just one more "badge of honor" for me to pin on my sash.

Just call me!

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