Sunday, April 7, 2013


One of the most awesome and yet fearsome elements in the universe is a black hole. In the anatomy of a black hole, there is something called the event horizon. This is located at the front of a black hole and it is where both time and space begin to become distorted as the matter is sucked down toward the point of singularity (the black hole itself).  In a metaphorical sense, some religious groups become black holes and the ‘birth’ of this kind of black hole is the death of light. In a sense, once this point is reached, there is little chance of it returning to any form of what it once was. What causes this transformation? It is the lack of fuel for the star to continue to be what it is: a source of light and heat all the while the inner mass it has achieved becomes the dominant force and causes the black hole to turn on its own self. This is due its mass and eventually becomes crushing to the matter of which it is comprised. Being one familiar with such social phenomenon as a dysfunctional religious group, I believe it can be likened to the ‘birth’ of a black hole. Its main motivation becomes the acquisition of mass. This can be seen in all aspects of the many activities of the group:

A key characteristic of a black hole is that it is invisible to the naked eye. You simply cannot see it at all. Once entered there is a section called the ergosphere where matter becomes trapped and gravitates in a circular fashion around the mouth of the black hole. What do you see in a DRG’s ergosphere? Something unusual: everyone is going in the same direction at varying speeds. On the outside rim, the movement is slow but as the matter moves towards the event horizon, it speeds up rapidly. In the beginning, what is seen is harmony and everyone with the same goal pulling together to achieve something. This allows the entrant to see on the surface, all appears to be good and wholesome. Yet notice the movement is ever towards the center. As the entrant embraces the group, there is usually some form of teaching: a book, a course or seminar that presents the groups position on various topics that further enmesh the entrant. Experiences also may occur that further moves the person nearer to the center (where the power is). All the while, there is little resistance as the entrant goes along. After all, why should they resist? There is nothing but harmony and the encouraging words and actions of those who are alongside or perhaps just ahead. The entrant begins to see those who are where they are and the ‘more spiritual’ that are beginning to move faster along.  What is manifested as matter begins to move toward the event horizon, the pull becomes more intense and the speed steadily increases. For the entrant this force is the move toward commitment and submission to those that lead. All around them are people caught in the same vortex and being pulled along. In a relative sense nothing really has changed but one thing is for sure, probability of exit begins to vaporize. If resistance is attempted, the gravity and the inertia they have set in motion will cause extreme stress. What is the gravity in this situation? It is the choices the entrant has made gradually. Many of the things dear to the entrant at this point are leveraged against them and hold them hostage. If the leadership gets wind the entrant has issues, there is interaction with them to move them along, this can be pleasant or not depending on the personality and comportment of the representative. However, there is the herd ( I like to call it) mentality that by its very nature moves the entrant along and the person begins to dismiss ideas of exit. The scriptures are used at times like this to cap the motive of the person to bolt from the herd. Such examples of this can be:                  

1>     The Issue: submission to leadership and their commitment to it-while it is very honorable to be committed this at times can be leveraged negatively against the entrant. There is little doubt that that the commitment was made publicly. This type of commitment is the appropriate way but it is by its nature easily leveraged against the entrant.  

The Antidote: But step back for a moment: Ask yourself to what you committed to first: the leadership or the Lord as you believe that HE brought you to the place of commitment and so you did with an open and willing heart. But the question now looms: do you now stand by the belief that He brought you to such a place? If so, then by all means stay and go through what you must. You cannot rule out that there are things in you r life the leadership of where you are can help you through them but hear what I am saying: If there are issues that you now have with the leadership that may have not been known at the time of commitment, then what was asked of you was not done in full knowledge. This is not like a marriage or a family situation: if the groups foundational tenets no longer reflect the scriptures as you have come to know them, and more importantly, as the Holy Spirit over time has revealed to you ,on what at this juncture is your relationship to the group  ( and by de facto the leadership) based upon? So what are you to do now?  The question is can you continue to follow teachings and doctrines that conflict with what you have been shown to be true. I know the struggle you had or are having:  Did you not struggle and wrestle with the idea that you could be wrong and them right? Chances are you did more than struggle but travail…in some cases for years.  What is this effort to be labeled: integrity. You had integrity because of the commitment that you made and you were willing to submit to all you had been taught and even bear through the pain the rest of your life…had the Lord not been gracious. The bottom line is you gave everything you had but it was not enough.  So what is the root of your commitment? It is not to the leadership of perhaps where you are or were but to Jesus Himself. If He has by His Spirit brought you at odds with the leadership of where you are, then it is only the peaceable thing to do is to leave. It is not about being 'right' as much as it is about being obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Oh, I know that they may tell you the same thing and you are resisting, what they don’t know is that you actually sided with them when you struggled through what the Holy Spirit was trying to show you and where He was leading you. Yet…Thank God the Father…He was relentless with you and eventually you gave up your positions due to your own spiritual pride regarding the commitment you made.  I have used this example before: Historically Martin Luther was a catholic priest and because of his search through the scriptures for answers to his own personal dilemma, he was revealed a great truth. Yet this truth conflicted with the teachings of the leadership of his church…leadership that he had taken vows before God to honor and to submit.  What was he forced to do? He dissented. Not because he wanted to , He saw no other choice but to do so. And so it is with you….and me. In the name of Jesus, be free from that bondage!

2>     The Issue: the state of the entrant in terms of their lack of spirituality for not seeing clearly the full revelation they have been given. In essence what is being said is that because of their  advanced maturity and your lack of it, you cannot see the full truth and so not only must be led by example but under their tutelage Gal 4:1-2. 

The Antidote: So the argument goes…but read a little closer…v3-4...’when we  were children,[we] were in bondage under the elements of the world 4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son…’ You can read the rest. So the idea here regarding submission to be instructed is somewhat out of context. The teaching applies here not to the child of God but the Lost. While I am not one to say one does not need any instruction or accountability, I am convinced that the balance of this teaching is to balance the role of teacher and leader in the context of the scriptures. Ultimately, who taught you? Them or the Holy Spirit (ergo the inner conflict: you were given teaching that conflicted with the teachings of the Holy Spirit- thus your dilemma).

3>     The Issue: The person being a spiritual leader to their family and providing a good example of them of how to serve God. If you do not stand as an example for how to live, then you will stand in disgrace and an example for them how not to live.

The Antidote:  It must be realized that your own flesh and blood is being used as a tool to manipulate you. Out of fear one can be paralyzed by the ‘what ifs’ . Now let me ask you a question plainly: Is God the author of fear?  In 1 John, God is defined as love (God is love). Let’s play a word game. Let’s substitute the word ‘God’ for ‘love’ because in the scripture of 1 John 4,they are defined as interchangeable. So the game:

‘There is no fear, in love [God]; but [a] perfect love [God] casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love [God]’  1 Jn 4:18.

Insightful isn’t it. Now the bare truth: What do your leaders cause you to do most? Fear.  How much time and effort has been stolen from you by fear?


Conclusion: In the end, the entrant/member is left little to stand on and yet the feeling something is not right remains.  So they live in the limbo of indecision being held hostage by erroneous teaching (because it conflicts with what God has revealed to you is a balanced look), feelings of inferiority (you are not mature enough to know the true direction God is taking you) or spiritual pride (being a ‘good’ example of the teachings you have even taught your own family perhaps in the fear that by changing you will lose whatever respect and homage that your family may have towards you). 

Do you stay over fear of losing your family? Usually dysfunctional groups ‘recommend’ the family of a dissenting member or ex-member to ‘cut off’ their own flesh and blood.  That is a stark reality you will face. But let me tell you something: you have already lost them. Why and how? They already look to the leadership for how they are to treat members who dissent ( in their jargon – the rebellious).  This is the sad truth: God ordained relationships that are to last them through life (even the world knows that), are already severed even when you are in the midst of being in right standing. They have already stolen your family. What it will take to unleash them is the same thing it is taking you…the Holy Spirit. You cannot save them without the leading of the Holy Spirit first. The good news is you can pray and fight and stand for what is right…although there is a tremendous price you will pay. The real question then arises: Who are or were you really serving? It is or was not God.


So all the above has described the ergosphere of the dysfunctional religious group. The draw and pull is immense and ultimately once in it, the path is clear: entry into the event horizon.  The matter that is drawn into the event horizon experiences one key event: distortion. A complete distortion of time and space. Ultimately, any reality that we could know is bent on its ear and completely distorted.  Past, present and future have no meaning and there is no more reference to any other reality than the distortion.  Yet the matter is drawn inexorably towards the point of singularity: the black hole, the imploded star that once was light and now is the star eater where even light cannot escape.
 There are three theories that are proposed for the matter that enters into the black hole’s point of singularity and I believe they stand as good examples of the products that a dysfunction religious group produces:

1>     The matter that enters into the event horizon and almost immediately drawn to the point of singularity is so distorted it ceases all integrity of itself. It is literally dis-integrated. It no longer exists. Many people that enter a DRG and are either expelled or leave it, never gain a sense of self again and become completely shipwrecked. While the DRG’s leaders point to them as a example to those that remain of what will happen to them if they leave. The truth is they stumbled and were crushed by the DRG. I seem to remember the Lord Himself saying it would be better for one who has caused the stumbling to have a millstone attached around the neck and for them to be thrown into the sea.

2>     The matter integrates completely with the point of singularity. To some this is what they always wanted: to be someone else and now they are. All identity is gone and there is no more volition or will than to please the ones in charge. And we wonder how several hundred in Jonestown drank the Kool-aid.

3>     The matter passes through the midst of the point of singularity and is warped through time and space to somewhere else in the universe in a visual and marvelous emitting of power and light. It maintains its integrity and ‘passes through’ the experience to be transported somewhere else.


You must know the time to leave a DRG is in the beginning when it is easier and costs less. But Friend, it is never an option to stay because if you do, you will pass through the event horizon and the outcome is one of three. So which one do you want to be?  Which one do you purpose to be? A casualty, a slave or a son?

The answer is how much you trust Jesus, you know, the One who really called you. The One that bought you with a price only HE could pay. The One who is STILL leading you …even through the event horizon