Having hung around Churches most of my life, on reflection you spot this frequently. In my own ministry I never really consciously resorted to this. Though I'm sure most pastors wouldn't consciously do it either. Maybe all pastors are guilty to differing degrees? I am sure though, it isn't right.
Here is a part of his post::
- We use ideas of unity and oneness to get everyone to conform. Unity brings God’s blessing. You wouldn’t want to stand in the way of that would you?
- We somehow hold up an ideal of the Christian life so that everyone knows what to aim for, but also so everyone can see if someone else is failing and “help” them
- We use “spiritual” religious language to describe what’s “in” and what’s “out”. The spiritual language makes it sound like God’s saying it.
- We talk about having a positive attitude versus a “negative spirit”. We prime people not to listen to anyone who is “negative” i.e. anyone who disagrees with leadership. Sprinkle a dose of stuff about a root of bitterness here too.
- We teach about the importance of leadership and following leadership and vision and following vision – incessantly
- We teach about rebellion, having “another kind” of spirit, about the perils of “division” and “divisive” people.
- We teach about servanthood (man I’ve seen some abuses of this one) and show people that Jesus was a servant, therefore they must serve….us… I mean the church
- We drop huge hints from the pulpit and get people to draw the conclusions they want us to draw and we might even use jokes or joke about real issues or problems in order to make the group laugh at them, so the people with the real problems or issues won’t be able to raise them for fear of not being taken seriously.
- We tend to isolate people who disagree. We talk about them in a negative light. We warn people not to listen to them. We take them off rosters and we make them unwelcome. We might even covertly preach AT them in sermons (they know who they are). Basically we want to freeze them out.
- We can make a big deal and reward people who are getting it right. We can applaud them and lionize them.
- The most extreme case of manipulation is reserved for the most insecure pastors and that is where they warn “Don’t touch the Lord’s anointed”