Donald Trump, Andy Stanley, and Size Matters

"Size Matters" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
“Size Matters” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

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Presidential candidates boasting about penis size.

Pastors boasting about church size.

Same thing.

I do appreciate that Stanley issued an apology. A real one. Nevertheless, many of us suspect that this kind of slip up betrays a deeper bias. I mean, he admittedly unveiled his church growth vision and strategy, suggesting this wasn’t an occasional mistake but an intentional leak of industry secrets.

The Lasting Supper isn’t huuuuuge. But we’re satisfied and happy. Check us out HERE!


10 Replies to “Donald Trump, Andy Stanley, and Size Matters”

  1. That’s interesting. According to the statement then, I and anyone like me is selfish. It got 700 or so likes on Twitter before the apology so this is a cultural issue as well as an issue with an individual.

    We touched on it here in a dialogue about the difference between Kingdom of heaven thinking and empire building. With me having an ego, and living in an individualistic culture with many privelidges in comparison to the rest of the world, I am faced with choices about whether to make it about the kingdom of heaven or the empire of Adam.

    I guess if I am to surrender my ego to a higher principle, then when I am here it is about Haywardism out of respect for this being your home David. If I am among secularists it being about respecting that culture, among the religious, their’s etc.

    On the issue of Trump. Over here there has been reports about Americans moving to Canada as a result of the possibility of him becoming president.

    Is there any truth to the rumour about Canadians building a wall to keep Americans out? 😉

  2. I know it was the goal at the last church I was in. They were looking for a pastor who could “grow” the church. They desperately wanted to get back to and beyond the numbers they used to have before a bad church split.

  3. Jesus is rumored to have said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another… and the proof of that love will be numerical growth. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if love one another so much that your church has two Sunday morning services, and is on radio and TV.”

    If the US church institution measured its success by how well they love their enemies as they would wish to be loved… without all the smoke and mirrors, and the redefining of ‘love’ into ‘please discipline them as I would wish to be disciplined’… then, I might have greater respect for the institution.

  4. Caryn,

    You make an important point about “the institution”.

    When the church has become the same thing as the state, it’s compromised the commandment to love one another.

    What the US church has in common with the church in 1930’s Germany is as David has rightly said, the same thing between political and religious. The theologian Miroslav Volf says that frequently the church merely reflects the same sickness as the surrounding culture.

    So nazi flags appeared alongside the cross. Prosperity, winning appears alongside the gospel, American freedom appears alongside freedom in Christ until the latter is consumed by the former.

    There’s a reason why Jesus is recorded as calling the religious hypocrites of his day whitewashed tombs, clean on the outside and dead on the inside.

    He was bad ass!

  5. The winner writes the history, so I must say something about the Nazification of the State church. Many pastors battled heroically to provide pastoral care, guidance and instruction under Hitler, which was a near impossible task given all the repression and intimidation. Of course, the first thing the tyrant does is to make the church heel. If it won’t there will be those who go to concentration camp and those who fly the Nazi flag. Which will it be for you? First thing: get loyal people into top positions, Subversion 101. Also, services and confirmation classes were scheduled during Hitler youth meetings, and such, so that it had to be one or the other. If you were a faithful church member you got sent to the front first, even if your family was large and you had a farm to manage (those people were otherwise not first to be made to go.)

    In the “Fabricated Luther” we have many points made about how the English viewed Germans as hopelessly militaristic and failed to support the dissenting church. There are all kinds of narratives, but German church apologists will point out this international failure of support of those who were dissenters…

    From Wikipedia.

    The Confessing Church, under the leadership of Niemöller, addressed a polite, but firm, memorandum to Hitler in May 1936. The memorandum:

    protested the regime’s anti-Christian tendencies
    denounced the regime’s antisemitism
    demanded that the regime terminate its interference with the internal affairs of the Protestant church
    This was essentially the straw on the back of the proverbial camel. The regime responded by:

    arresting several hundred dissenting pastors
    murdering Dr. Friedrich Weißler, office manager and legal advisor of the “second preliminary church executive” of the Confessing Church, in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp
    confiscating the funds of the Confessing Church
    forbidding the Confessing Church from taking up collections of offertories
    Eventually, the Nazi tactics of repression were too much for Zoellner to bear and he resigned on 12 February 1937, after the Gestapo had denied him the right to visit some imprisoned pastors. The Minister of Church Affairs spoke to the churchmen the next day in a shocking presentation that clearly disclosed the regime’s hostility to the church:

    Positive Christianity is National Socialism … [and] National Socialism is the doing of God’s will…. Dr. Zoellner … has tried to tell me that Christianity consists in faith in Christ as the Son of God. That makes me laugh … Christianity is not dependent upon the Apostle’s Creed …. [but] is represented by the Party …. the German people are now called … by the Führer to a real Christianity …. The Führer is the herald of a new revelation.

    End of Wikipedia

    I do cringe everytime I read “institutional” church. What is not “institutional”? The moment something is not totally individual or brand-new, it is in a sense “institutional”. All those revolting against what has traditionally been institutional, should think more than once about what they propose to institute is truly better. That is really where it is at. Hitler was against Judaism and Christianity. Was it a good thing that he wanted to change it or kill it?

    And if we think Nazism was kinder to LGTB individuals than the institution of church, you can forget that, too:
    Between 1933 and 1945, an estimated 100,000 men were arrested as homosexuals, of whom some 50,000 were officially sentenced.[1] Most of these men served time in regular prisons, and an estimated 5,000 to 15,000 of those sentenced were incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps.[1] It is unclear how many of the 5,000 to 15,000 eventually perished in the camps, but leading scholar Rüdiger Lautmann believes that the death rate of homosexuals in concentration camps may have been as high as 60%. Homosexuals in the camps were treated in an unusually cruel manner by their captors.

    If we can get all this round somehow to “mine is bigger than yours”, how can we do this? Power, ambition, strength, domination… is the goal for some. In church the goal should be to serve in word and deed; the rest should take care of itself. In that, it has often relied on the state and its power for help. And sometimes the state has to defend it, too…

    Sorry, this all a bit disjointed.

  6. Yes Birgitte, you are right to point out the difference between “confessional” and “positive” Christianity in Nazi Germany. There was a minority that were “confessional”.

    That’s interesting with what you say about “institutional”. It is true that after a revolution another institution is formed. One might suggest that being “spiritual but not religious” is a form of institution or if not that, of conformity. Without systems, without structure we have something not akin to anarchy, the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest. ( Not that this can’t happen in “institutions” too).

    “the goal should be to serve in word and deed”

    Agreed, for governments as well as churches. We hold to everyone being born with dignity and equality.

  7. Even among “liberals” or whatever labels one may wish to employ (deploy) there is a lot of conformity, and thought-control.

    On the BBC news service last night there was a story about a writer, a journalist, who lives in Morocco and critiques Islam, a dangerous thing to do. He had commented about the Cologne “raping” on New Year’s Eve and said that Islam is a sexual misery and that this is a good part of the problem. From there he lost his last supporters in the New York Times and places. The man criticizing Islam is now an “Islamophobe”, called such by western liberals commenting from their “safe cafe’s”. Ayan Hirsi Ali, is an “Islamophobe”, though she is from Somalia and knows what she is talking about, many others have Fatwas on them and continue to comment from hiding. They are also Islamophobes to some who will not face reality.

    If what women go through and if what is taught from the Koran is not sexual misery in plenty of respects, I don’t know what one should call it. Just YouTube the matter and see what eye-witnesses have to say, or those who have gone through traditional social arrangements in some lands. Those, we should stand by not chastise.

    This is to some degree analogous. There is an institutionalized liberalism that allows only certain opinions and shuts the doors to many others. Some are so liberal they cannot bear a dissident discussing the problems in his or her own land and circumstances. This just cries to heaven.

    Who is the bigger prophet, the bigger liberal, the bigger author, the bigger denier of facts and realities, the bigger softie, the bigger humanitarian? Everything is about being bigger or better than someone else.

    Because things can’t be discussed in the liberal main stream media, we have the rise of the National Parties and the Donald and so on. If the average citizen could see the intelligentsia discussing things fairly and thoroughly, they would not feel they had to take things into their own hands, politically speaking.

  8. Brigitte,

    Yes you are right about the rise of right wing extremism with the liberal spirit of the age only allowing some opinions and shutting down others.

    Let’s take the reaction to patriarchy with feminism for example. The principle it is great with it being about equality. The reality is that there is no parity within it. History teaches a common them with those that have been oppressed coming to power and then becoming oppressors. The pigs in Orwell’s Animal Farm.

    There are many good things about feminism. Equal pat for women, equal opportunities for women etc in a world which by and large remains to be patriarchal. At the same time when a culture has got to the point where a woman who is a prominent feminist thinker can’t say she thinks there have been too much triumphalism about women and power in the 20th century and connected issues without being accused of misogyny, inciting violence and being face with an angry mob then something has gone amiss.

    If one, as a man critiques feminism, then one automatically is treated as a misogynistic piece of ****, It’s not dissimilar to the upsurge of right wing movements when some men form an online community going their own way of avoiding relationships with women and perceiving that as freedom.

    Evangelism/feminism, conservative/liberal, American/British, all human identities have strengths and weaknesses. It’s the triumphant tribalism instead of the embracing of diversity that causes a lot of bother.

    What would it be like to see a republican and a democrat working together with common aims with a government policy, mutually thriving in their relationship with each other. What would it be like for an evangelical and a feminist coming together on issues of equality and justice? What would it be like in a world where men and women can live together not just with an absence of sexism but of mutual edification?

    “You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one.” John Lennon

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