Sunday, October 29, 2006

Don't Drink the Kool-Aid

"Nobody joins a cult. Nobody joins something they think is going to hurt them. You join a Religious organization, you join a political movement, and you join with people you really like." This was a quote from the new movie Jonestown - The life and death of Peoples Temple.

Each time I have revisited this topic over the past 30 years, I have been touched in a different and deeper way. Initially, I was most touched by the loss of so many people, especially the children. Later on, I was amazed at Jim Jones, and how he could be so deceived and diluted, and to believe the things that he did.

This week, I heard the quote above, and was struck with something completely different. I have been thinking about the people again, but this time, about how they were deceived. They didn't start out wanting to be deceived or to join a cult. They joined a religious organization. It was a political movement to break free from government control and the American religious system. They were attracted to and surrounded by caring, loving people. Their leader seemed to make so much sense, and provided clear leadership and purpose - at first. But in the end, it all led to death.

There is a song by Jim Cole which says, "Complacency's a poison, taken one drop at a time. It fools our minds to thinking that everything's just fine..." - for so long, we were involved in the American religious community, and I can see from that experience how easy it is to yield undue control to the "authority" of the leadership. When religious leadership steps out of the servant role and into the controlling role, they have placed themselves between the believer and God, sometimes even acting AS God. This can be a dangerous place of control and undue influence.

Christ came as the ONE mediator between God and man. Any time a person steps into that mediator role, whether clergy or layman, it is to usurp God's place and authority.

u·surp Pronunciation (y-sûrp, -zûrp)
v. u·surped, u·surp·ing, u·surps
1. To seize and hold (the power or rights of another, for example) by force and without legal authority.
2. To take over or occupy without right: usurp a neighbor's land.
To seize another's place, authority, or possession wrongfully.

The one good thing that has come out of our past is that we have been awakened to an awareness of this type of control and abuse that some may attempt to use to control and bewitch believers. This type of control serves its own purposes and agendas, rather than God's, and it attempts to conform others to its own image, rather than assisting them in developing into the fullness of the measure and stature of Christ.



Stephen said...

Hey Jeff. Nice site. Honest... open... no pretense... just what I'd expect from you!

Thanks for your friendship! I'm amazed that someone who hurts so bad can give so much!

We'll be praying things go well on your trip. Surely God has good things in store...

Margy said...

And who would want to drink koolaid when God has provided so much the refreshing waters of His living water, often dispensed by fellow brothers and sisters in Christ like you and Kim! Thanks for the fellowship tonight...we are certainly the richer for it.

GoteeMan said...

Stephen -
Thanks for stopping by. It was great to talk to you last night. I am so thankful for your friendship and the blessing that you and your family have been to our lives.

Love you, bro....

GoteeMan said...

Margy -
Thanks for responding, and thanks for all you and Dave have sacrificed to help us, encourage us, and bless us. We are very thankful for your friendship and fellowship. We are richer as well, and we really have learned who our friends our through our journey.