R. Scott Clark, one of the Westminster (West) Seminary crowd, the ones who worship MLK Jr. every January, decided to slap at me on Twitter because I dared raise my eyebrows at the murderous, well-paid meter maids who shot down one of the Oregon protestors. His opening salvo arrived following my invitation for pastors to offer their thoughts on my Tweet. He apparently didn’t like my statement that it would be a bad idea for a copgoon (that’s “hero” to R. Scott Clark and the pulpit posse) to point a gun at me. And what did Mr. Clark say to me?
“Romans 13. It’s the Word of God.”
You see, Twitter, with it’s restricted character count, is perfect for pastors. They’re quite accustomed to making terse statements and having them accepted as sacrosanct by adoring, unquestioning tithers. Kinda shocking for them when someone calls bullshit on their pronouncements. And that’s pretty much what I did to Clark on Twitter, and what I’m doing here.
I hate to bore you with recapping the Twitter exchange, but you see, after only a few back-and-forths, Clark cut and ran…and blocked me. Common tactic among the stalwart defenders of the faith one encounters these days. And because he blocked me, the exchange is unavailable on Twitter now. It’s like trying to get Hillary Clinton to answer questions about emails and suicides. “SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, I’M NOT LISTENING TO YOU!” So a little background…
After Clark hit me with the predictable and tiresome Romans 13, I asked him if exousiais (governing authorities, higher powers) definitely means “the police,” and he replied that yes, the police are always de facto the ministers of God.
I responded, “If you really believe that, I’m not surprised that the organized church is hemorrhaging members.” Since by that time I had looked at his Twitter profile and his blog and noticed that he was a tithe-feeder, I asked him where he gets the authority to perform wedding ceremonies. Know what he offered as an answer?
I asked him to cite scripture to support this, and he came up with Hebrews 10, that chestnut with which pastors bludgeon their congregations to ensure that the pews are filled anytime the mortgaged doors are open. Readers who can comprehend beyond the fourth-grade level can easily see that the passage in Hebrews has nothing to do with what I asked him. So he’s either dishonest or should be checked for a brain tumor, because that section does not in any fashion address pastoral authority or wedding ceremonies. He insisted that he did, he did, he did TOO answer my question. And then he pulled out his big guns.
He told me that my hashtag (#LeaveTheChurch) is ungodly, and he commanded me to repent. Oh, yes, he sure did.
So I replied, “You should repent of your hireling habit of robbing working men of a tithe. Your very life is ungodly. Repent,” and I marveled that Clark wonders why working men sneer at the typical pastor’s claims to be a shepherd. His reply?
“Believers do not sneer. Only cynics, skeptics, and Anabaptists. Hebrews 10:25 says that believers must not forsake assembling.”
Well, Mr. Clark, I can’t address what “believers” do. The devils are believers, and I’m not particularly interested in what they do (when they’re not running the Federal Reserve), but you might want to tell that to Calvin and Luther and lots of the Reformers. A more sneery crowd I can’t imagine. More importantly, any honorable man knows that God’s children sneer regularly and rightfully. We sneer at all kinds of things. You pastor boys are someday going to learn that your opinions are not holy writ, no matter how the poor, enslaved pewsitters grovel before you. Enjoy it while you can, because Dylan was right. The times, they are a-changin’. And by the way…you like to go after the Anabaptists, don’t you? Well, the Anabaptists are infamous for their “Show me the Scripture!” routine when discussing pretty much anything. You’re just like them. You act just like them. And then you refuse to play by your own rules. Stings, doesn’t it?
The last thing Clark tweeted before he grabbed his purse and ran was “Ok, looked at your blog. This is your obsession. Bye.”
Looks like we got ourselves one of them there Dee-fenders of the Faith, boys.
Clark mentioned my “obsession.” One definition of “obsession” is an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind. Ok, guilty, Mr. Clark. Just as your church members have been trained to have nitpicky theological minutiae strapped to their minds like phylacteries, I have been trained by long experience in the trenches of the organized church to be preoccupied by the tyranny that effete, nonproductive fops in the pulpit exercise over their credulous flocks. So yeah, I’ll accept that label.
Now….that’s the end of the Twitter stuff. Time to talk about this obsession of mine, the organized church and it’s many, many evils.
The thing with Clark and tens of thousands like him (some of whom who actually haven’t shaved their heads) is that pastors are actually paid to disagree with me. A person cannot entertain an idea when their very livelihood depends on their disagreeing with that idea. Clark is a paid pulpiteer. He makes his living from the sweat and effort of better men, men like some of you reading these words, men who are out there in the world every stinking day, earning a living. If he for an instant suspected that I have a valid point, he would have to repudiate much of what he’s earned his 401k doing. And he’s not gonna have any of that, right?
Clark and his sacerdotal circle-jerkers want their flocks to believe that he’s indispensable, that the poor, wretched churchychristians need the likes of him to tell them what the Scripture says. And this is an absolute contradiction of what Scripture teaches. 1 John 2:26-27 declares, “I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.”
So which is it, pastors? Do your church members need you to teach them? Do they not have His annointing? I’ll get a cup of tea and wait for you to explain it away. Try not to sneer as you do so, mkay?
Clark and his crew like to trot out the book of Hebrews. I wonder if they’ve paid attention to what that author had to say about the New Covenant — you know, the covenant under which God’s children are now living? Look at chapter eight, verse 11:
“And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.”
So why’re you doing all this “teaching” and “preaching,” pastors? New covenant not in effect? Got an escape clause? Hmm…I’ll bet one of your seminary classmates wrote a paper that proves that this verse doesn’t mean what it clearly means. You don’t even understand the implications of what you’re doing. You’re usurping the role of God’s spirit…that’s what you’re doing. You’re presuming to teach when He has clearly said, “No need for a teacher.” You’re presuming to declare “None of you in the pews actually has an anointing from the Father, and you need me as an intercessor.”
I hear intercessors make goooooood money these days, baby.
And at this point, let me clarify something. I have no interest in the endless online debates in which churchychristians like to engage. What I AM interested in is the fact that paid pastors are parasites. Every single one of them that I’ve ever personally known is a hireling in the biblical sense of that term, and almost every single one of them that I’ve known is a dissembling, pretentious, effeminate joyboy who lives in mortal fear that he might have to do some honest work someday, and in equal fear that he might not be obeyed and looked at as a Wise Counselor and Authority Figure.
These boys have a ready audience, too, because the churches are overflowing with males who have surrendered their spiritual virility to some pulpiteer because they need the attaboys and the pats on the head and the squinchy-eyed, imploring smiles. These churchmen need an Authority Figure, and the parasitical pastors have them marked. Let us prey.
Churches. Assemblies. Sheesh. My Twitter buddy Joshua noted that when pastors pull out the Hebrews 10 verse, they don’t talk about how “that verse mentions group exhortation rather than a sermon where one authority figure does the exhorting.” So very, very true! There’s not a single example in the New Testament of a pastor standing before a mute audience and declaiming to them without an exchange, a back & forth…at least not in the sense that pastors claim.
I’m not going to go all exegetical on yo asses in this post, but in a future post, I will certainly address how Clark and the majority of other pastorparasites mishandle Scripture for their own dubious reason$. What I will say for now is that when you appeal to a single verse (and admit it…that’s all you’ve got) for your “you must go to a church building to be in God’s good graces” ace in the hole, and when that very scripture continues to be hotly debated in terms of historical application, you’re standing on very, very thin ice.
In short, these guys have for centuries conned poor people into believing that the tithe-payers are incapable of reading and understanding the Scripture for themselves, and that they need some seminary-educated mercenary, parachuted into their congregations from elsewhere, to interpret and apply that Scripture. And those poor people, God bless ’em, are willing to pay these guys exorbitant salaries to sit on their prissy asses and read books and write sermon notes, while the people paying their salaries are sweating in offices and assembly lines. Entire books and countless PhD dissertations have been written in refutation of the continuation of the tithe, but Clark and his BFF’s cling to dat easy money, man. Hell, I could more effortlessly make a case for polygamy than you can for the paid pastorate in the 21st century, Mr. Softhands. But if I or anyone else tried, you’d block us or unfriend us or bring us up on charges. If we were under your authority. Which I sure as hell ain’t.
And that’s what really chaps the ass of any paid pastor: If you ain’t got your name on his church roll, he can’t touch you.
If these pukes really wanted to follow Paul’s example (ever notice how they always say “the apostle Paul,” as if the Scriptures are teeming with so many Pauls, one must be careful to differentiate?), they would get real jobs and support themselves. Re-read carefully what Paul himself said about this. He supported himself with his own hands. He only took money to support fledgling congregations. And that was in the first freaking century, folks. If these dabblers wanted to take up an offering for some struggling congregation while working their own jobs and earning their own keep so as not to be a burden to anyone, I might be willing to cut them some slack. But they cling to their gravy train and their retirement packages and their book allowances. They get no fucking slack from me.
Let’s get back to Clark, that shaven-headed man of divine letters. One of my homeless friends told me that “ad hominem” means “against the man,” and I figure it’s just about time we had us a good ol’ ad hominem hoedown. Why the shaved head, Clark?
Time was, the only white men with shaved heads were towel boys in some San Francisco bathhouse.
It’s a pretty off-putting image. Reminiscent of Paid Pastor Tim Keller, the cucklimentarian guru who won’t, won’t, won’t, WON’T call faggotry a sin. Not accusing you of being part of the Bobbing Head Brigade, mind you, but it’s a bad look, unless you’re undergoing chemo. For a brain tumor. Which might make you misapply Scripture. How many shaved heads in your congregation, Clark?
Clark. Clark. No, not just Clark, but R. Scott Clark. Hm. Why the initial-then-middle-name-then-last-name schtick? Does it sound more impressive when you make a phone call? Look better on a church sign? It’s just kinda….I don’t know….funny. Not funny ha-ha. Tell me…did your parents call you “R?”
Clark’s father: “R, are you going to clean the garage?”
Clark: “Why are you laughing, dad?”
Nah, that couldn’t be it. Perhaps you’re trying to emulate some notable figure from history or culture. C. Montgomery Burns, perhaps? Or F. Murray Abraham? Or E. Annie Proulx (she wrote Brokeback Mountain, oops!)? Or J. Edgar Hoover (oops again!)? How about L. Ron Hubbard? I know! M. Night Shyamalan (so diverse!)! T. Rowe Price?
No….I’ve got it.
J. Gresham Machen.
Huh? Hmm? Ahhhh….
So Clark wants me to repent for my ungodly hashtag. (It was difficult to even write that sentence without giggling, but whatever…). I pretty much twitterlaughed in his face at this “command,” and that’s when he bade me “bye.”
See, if my hashtag was “#LeaveTheCatholicChurch,” Clark would be cool with that. Bash the Catholics (or Anabaptists, right?), and no problem. Wait a minute….I’ve got it. Clark sees himself as a Defender of the Faith! That’s gotta be it, right? Well, other than education and vocation, how am I different from Martin Luther, who flayed the organized church nine ways to Sunday? Sorry….nine ways to the Lord’s Day. If you’d lived in Luther’s day, you’d likely be out gathering faggots for his roasting.
Sorry….I keep using those unfortunate words.
You Reformed boys are “Always Reforming,” right? Snort. Nothing of the sort. You’re Reformed, as in past tense. No reforming expected nor encouraged here, gents. You want to stone and persecute, like the Pharisees. The big defenders of the faith will Twitterblock and cut off discussion after a mere handful of desultory interactions.
Some defending. Some faith.
“Ungodly hashtag.” Can you imagine someone being brought up on charges in a Presbyterian court for this kind of bullshit? Actually, I can. I’d be staring at a row of gleaming pates above a row of irenic eyes, and I’d get my membership salad tossed right then and there, and later, they’d encourage the congregation to pray for Poor Excommunicated Me, but not one of those
cemetery seminary boys would ever pray for me. They would hope all kinds of shit for me, though.
You think I’m being ungodly, Clark? Just wait until I think I’m being ungodly. Then there won’t be a doubt in your tithe-sucking mind.
So that’s Round One. Got more to say, in my own time.
Oh, and R. Scott? You closed our Twitter date with “Bye.” As in, what? “Be with ye?” Who were you wishing would be with me? You left God out of it, and that’s a repentable offense, mister. Didn’t they teach you better out there in the sunny climes of Escondido?