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Discernment Gone WILD!!!

Scott on January 26, 2007 at 6:50 pm

subtitle: Discernment Is as Discernment Does

(**NOTE** – Less than 18 hours after Ingrid published the original article and less than 10 hours after I put up this post, Ingrid took down the original piece. Though I’m sure that her post will live on in the world wide web of yesteryear (the internet archives), I am glad that I was able to capture at least portions of her complaint and save people a trip over to the Way Back Machine. What is disturbing about this, though, is Ingrid’s recent tendency to put things up and then pull them down again (this is her 2nd or 3rd time in as many months). And in the case of Slice of Laodicea, she just pulled the whole site down. It seems strangely dishonest and/or disingenuous (or to use a more organic phrase…it shows a tremendous lack of transparency). Though I understand the desire to take something down that may have been ill conceived or that may be embarrassing on some level, to do so demonstrates a lack of understanding of the Internet and of the blogosphere in particular. It also demonstrates a lack of respect for those who read what you have published, as though you expect them to just ignore something that you put up for consumption for almost an entire day, but then thought better of it. You can’t “unsay” something during a conversation, so why should you feel the freedom to “unsay” something in the blog world? I guess this would fit with Ingrid’s apparent paradigm of not wanting to engage in true conversation but to instead just stick with the stone throwing.

I can’t help but wonder if she took down her original post because if she left it up she would have to acknowledge the ironic inconsistency that is apparent when one compares her own complaints about some discernment methodologies when they are used against her, and her willingness to use the VERY SAME METHODOLOGIES against other organizations. The land of Accountability can be an uncomfortable place to be if you don’t want to be held accountable.

The site CRN.Info and Analysis has since gone to the Way Back Machine and pulled the original article and put it up in its entirety.)

I now return you to the regularly scheduled post on this topic…

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There has been a strange turn of events over at Christian Research Network (formerly Slice) Ingrid and the gang are getting a taste of their own medicine and methods. In her post “When Discernment Ministry Turns On Itself,” Ingrid makes it known that she and others who contribute to her Christian Research Network have been under fire from other “discernment” ministries, in particular from people like Paul Proctor and Bud Press. These men believe that Ingrid, Ken Silva and others are tainted goods. Apparently these men are of the opinion that the Slice gang have sold out and have joined the hordes that are leading the church down the path of destruction.

Who are Proctor and Press? It appears as though they believe they are part of a small group of discerning true believers who are called to denounce apostasy within the church while holding sway over their own fiefdoms of rabid remnant radicals.

Sound familiar?

I wonder why.

The discerning remnant over at Christian Research Network/Apprising Ministries enjoy quoting Matthew 7:1-2 on occasion:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Usually they use this when offering a knee-jerk reaction to someone’s critical evaluation of their work and/or ministry and/or articles of “discernment.” Obviously Ingrid is getting a different perspective on this passage. I guess you could say that the shoe of discernment is on the other foot.

As I have read people’s comments on various sites over the last year, I have been amazed at the number of people predicting the time when these types of discernment watchdoggies would begin to tear into one another like junkyard dogs turning on each other in fits of fury.

To be honest, now that it has finally happened I can’t help but feel sorry for Ingrid. I have always conceded that she does what she does out of an honest desire to serve the Kingdom. I may not agree with much of what she says, but in the end we are both on the side of the Gospel (though I don’t believe that she sees it that way). That being said, I also can’t help but drink in the irony of reading Ingrid’s words as she reacts to the judgments to which she is apparently being subjected. Her words are thick with indignation as she describes the offending judgments and her response to them.

Ingrid says:

“There is a campaign of destruction underway in the church. There are lies being passed off as truth; there is slander and gossip and the carnage that is being caused is causing long-term harm to the cause of the Gospel of Christ I’m talking about the seamy underbelly of what goes on in the name of “discernment ministry.”

My thoughts:
I agree with you wholeheartedly, Ingrid. Destruction…lies…slander… gossip…harm…carnage. However, in practical terms, by looking at the behavior that is exhibited by you and your gang it appears as though what you are REALLY saying is that what these men are doing to you is wrong, but at the same time it is OK for Ken Silva to openly “bend the truth” (lie) by intentionally misquoting people in his “missives,” and it is OK for the Slice crowd to commit spiritual slander/gossip by using labels like “spiritual pedophiles” and “purveyors of deceit,” and it is OK to question the very salvation of various leaders AND their followers.

What an interesting perspective!

Ingrid says:

“Because Paul Proctor, Deborah Dombrowski and Bud Press don’t agree with Brannon I am tainted goods to be avoided at all costs.”

My thoughts:
Yes, Ingrid. Guilt by association is offensive and wrong. But again, in practical terms, by looking at the behavior that is exhibited by you and your gang it appears as though what you are REALLY saying is that what these men are doing to you is wrong, but because John and I along with others at various sites agree with some of what Rob Bell, or Rick Warren, or Bill Hybles have to say, WE are tainted goods to be denounced as being in league with the devil, dwellers in darkness, heretical and/or apostate, spiritual pedophiles, etc (all of which are adjective that have been thrown out at us over the last year).

The saying, “What comes around goes around” comes to mind!

Ingrid says:

“What is most disturbing in this case is the gossip and false information that has been carried by these “discernment” folks.”

My thoughts:
Welcome to the club, Ingrid! It IS TOTALLY WRONG for these people to promote false information and gossip about you and your people. But again you need to deal with the practical terms of what your BEHAVIOR demonstrates. According to your behavior, while it is wrong for THESE men to spread false and/or misleading information, it is RIGHT for you and your group of discerners to disseminate false information, half-truths, and misleading characterizations about any number of people with whom you and Ken and others disagree or of whom you disapprove.

A double standard, no?!?

Ingrid says:

“This is the closest thing to a nasty personal vendetta, couched in pious language, I have seen recently.”


My thoughts:

Ingrid, you need to get out and read more. If this whole situation is “the closest thing to a nasty personal vendetta, couched in pious language” that you have seen, perhaps you need to read some of the articles that are put up on your site. Have you actually READ the “stuff” that passes for “discernment” that is presented by Ken Silva? Have you actually READ any of the comments left by Chris P. in reaction to someone who has challenged him on a particular point? Have you re-read any of your own posts after they have been up for a day or two? There was some pretty nasty, personal stuff couched in pious language on the Slice site.

Ingrid says:

“Paul Proctor and Bud Press are not in a position of authority to demand that Tim Wildmon carry out his organization’s work according to Bud and Paul’s own standards. We answer to the Lord for our own ministries, not Bud and Paul. “

My thoughts:
Let me get this straight, Ingrid. Proctor, Press and their gang aren’t in any place to demand any changes in someone’s organization and/or beliefs and/or methods; but YOU, Ingrid, ARE in the place of having the right to do just that?!? You pronounce judgments, not just against leaders within the Church but also against churches that you have never attended and pastors that you have never met all out of the belief in YOUR OWN AUTHORITY to assess godliness, evaluate motivations, and demand change.

How IS that shoe fitting on the other foot? A little tight?

Ingrid says:

“Is Christianity just a matter of holding right positions, or should it impact how we relate to each other as believers? Are the commands of Scripture telling us to be tender-hearted and forgiving of one another less important than the verses about heresy and false teaching? Is gossip and slander okay if it is conducted by those knee deep in research on contemplative spirituality? If some New Agers have more personal peace and treat people more kindly than born-again Christians, doesn’t it say something about the content of our hearts? We can rant and rave about contemplative spirituality, meditation, breath prayers and yoga until we’re blue in the face, but if we can’t reconcile with fellow believers who believe the same things and would prefer to publicly find fault and attack them because they don’t do everything the way we do, we have nothing to share with the world. We become frauds.”

My thoughts:
Ingrid, I couldn’t have said it better myself. You have just filed a most eloquent indictment against the rabid, overly-excessive, myopic brand of watchdog-discernment that is practiced regularly by a plethora of ministries including Slice of Laodicea, Christian Research Network, Apprising Ministries, Christian Research Service, Lighthouse Trails Research Project, etc.

Here’s a thought: Perhaps if you showed signs of tender-heartedness, forgiveness, peace, kindliness, etc to others, then you would receive such expressions back. However, since the writings that are placed on CRN and other sites give the appearance that you condone gossip and slander, rabid ranting and raving without restraint, demagoguery and hyperbole, fault-finding without evidence or support, misrepresentation of the truth, etc…how can you expect to receive it if you aren’t willing to give it?

Unfortunately, Ingrid, what comes around goes around.

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