Wednesday, March 31, 2010

To Confront or Not to Confront?

Switching gears from previous posts for a second, I wanted to take a moment to look at the question of whether or not it is worth trying to "do something about" or "confronting" Teen Mania.

The people who say "no" have a few good arguments. First, some people say that all sorts of good things are going on at Acquire the Fire conferences, and that teens really are finding God there. I would say that both of those things are true. But, there's also a few other considerations to keep in mind. First, if a teen does "find God" at an Acquire the Fire convention, but finds the messed-up, fundamentalist version of God that will end up taking them years to recover from, is that really a "good thing?" Second, if we believe that God is almighty and really does work in mysterious ways, does He really need Acquire the Fire to save that teenager? Isn't it more likely that he would find some other, less damaging way to bring that teen to Him?

The second argument for not trying to do anything is that outside opposition only strengthens Teen Mania. That they can use lofty rhetoric and militaristic language to demonize "outsiders" who are attacking and further reinforce commitment to the organization and its goals. I would agree that is also a correct statement, to an extent. But there is only so much outside pressure that a single organization can withstand. If enough people start to hear the truth about the organization, less people will give money and less parents will be inclined to send their teens on missions trips. If parents & teens hear the truth about Teen Mania and churches stop taking their youth groups to Acquire the Fire and BattleCry, Teen Mania has less recruits for their internship program which is the lifeblood of their ministry.

The worst thing any oppressed or abused person can do is to stay silent. It is only by speaking out, or doing something, that things can really start to change from the status-quo. In the words of famous holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, "We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." I think that is definitely true in cases of spiritual abuse, like what is happening in the world of Teen Mania ministries. If you think that what is going on is really wrong on some level and that people are being hurt by Teen Mania, then you should absolutely speak up and try to do something about it, in whatever form that happens to take for you individually. In the next post, we'll look at different levels of involvement that you might want to have in "standing up" to Teen Mania.

1 comment:

  1. Teen Mania sounds like they have a lot of problems, but beyond that it sounds like you are letting someone or something else rule your life. Come on man, it's time to move on, live your life and stop living like a victim. Sounds like you are out to hurt them, which in reality will hurt you more than them. God will hold each accountable according to their deeds, and that includes you as much as it included TM.