CTNAHM: Those Radical Visionary Independent Baptists!

A Guest Post by Aletha

Originally posted on Yllom Mormon

Created To Need A Help Meet, pp. 73—75

Last post we talked about the strengths of the Visionary Man. Visionary Men are the movers and shakers, and they “save us from mediocrity”.  Today we get to discuss their weaknesses.

A Visionary’s Weakness

All three types have their strengths and weaknesses.  A strength in one area implies a weakness in the others. And the strength itself can be a weakness when it assumes a disproportional role. An undisciplined visionary can become so focused on a peripheral issue that he lacks practicality and accomplishes nothing toward his goal.  Only humility and wisdom can check the excesses of a strength. A man may have a strength that serves him well as a single man on a mission, but finds that it is destructive in a marriage if it is not modulated by wisdom.

Right off the bat, Michael makes a decent point. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and even strengths can become a problem when they are left unchecked. I think it’s worth noting that Michael says “only humility and wisdom can check the excesses”, because he’s mentioned his lack of humility quite often so far in this book.  But perhaps this section of the book doesn’t apply to him.

My other issue is how is a man going to realize he needs wisdom and to talk him down from an idea, if his wife isn’t supposed to challenge or contradict?  My in-law’s marriage is kind of like this. He comes up with a scheme, and she plays passive-aggressive games until she gets what she wants.  Or they don’t work, and she gets mad.  I suppose the Pearl’s would view this as a good marriage, because the woman isn’t challenging, and the couple doesn’t fight.

Rarely, if ever, do we see a man that is a balance of all three types.  A realistic goal is for one to temper his strengths while strengthening his weaknesses.  The Visionary who lacks humility is especially obnoxious, for he gets pushy with his agenda to change something. If he is a religious person, he will paint issues with a moral imperative—contending that “It is the right thing to do.”

Do the Pearl’s even edit their books? I kid you not, this is the 5th time in the last two chapters that Michael has reminded us that few men balance all three types.  Once again, I don’t know his demographic very well, but it seems a bit…spoon feeding.

I will admit, though, that a good goal for anyone is to temper your strength while strengthening your weakness. That’s great advice, and I wish Michael would just stop with that, or maybe give examples of how to figure out your strengths/weaknesses.  But no. We get to talk about humility again.

Which brings me to another musing.  All this humility talk reminds me of my Mormon days, and how people would basically brag about how humble they are (or aren’t, depending on the person).  Apparently Christianity expects people to be what I’ve termed “boastfully humble”.  Perhaps it’s kind of like the teenage girl who says she’s fat just to get other people to tell her she’s beautiful.

If he is a leftist-leaning liberal, he will likewise represent his agenda as a moral necessity, seeking to change laws, willing to take away the freedom of others just to force his worldview on society.

Because leftists are the only one that want to take away the freedoms of others, Michael?  Training your children via “switching” to squash down their curiosity, questions, and emotions isn’t taking away freedom?  Maintaining women should stay home, even if they’re unsatisfied isn’t taking away freedom?  Starting a type of commune where you are preacher and your ideas are law isn’t forcing your worldview on society?  Nice try.

If he is a Christian, he can get very pushy in his interpretations of things like dress, music, which version is the Bible, eschatology, or any number of doctrines.  Not all pushing or contending is bad, but most Visionaries end up with more vision than wise discretion. They don’t know when to lay it down-how to do all things with moderation.  Because of their tenacious, narrow focus they sometimes end up accomplishing what everyone agreed was impossible, but too often they are just impossible.

I’m not going to link to the articles on Michael’s website, because they infuriate me.  But if you’re curious, head over and see what Michael the Visionary really does think on all these subjects. I can’t decide if he’s saying “These are my weaknesses as a Visionary”, or saying “These things are OK for me, but not for you.”  It’s kind of a tough call.

To complicate matters, Visionaries are prone to be spiritual minded. They are the ones who are ready to proclaim themselves prophets and demand the church follow them out of Egypt.  Like Satan’s first temptation in the Garden of Eden, Visionaries can be guilty of adding to what God said by their zealous interpretations.  They become obnoxious proponents of some obscure doctrine.

Really, Michael? You don’t say. Oh, if only I knew where to find an example of this type of Visionary…one who thinks he’s a prophet, and has zealous interpretations of the Bible.  One who writes a book based on one verse about “training children”, perhaps.  Hmmm. He must be around somewhere. Maybe if we look really hard, we’ll find one.

Will Mr. Guilty Please Stand Up

Most Fundamental Independent Baptists are Visionaries.  For that reason they get more evangelism done than all the other churches put together. They will knock on your door while everybody else is “concerned for you”.  But they have the most obnoxious pastors this side of Balaam and his ass.  The wives of Independent Baptists have to be tougher than John the Baptist when King Herod dropped by for his outdoor evangelistic meeting, for they are surrounded by Visionaries who pump each other up and say “Amen” even when watching a football game.

As a former Mormon, I’m calling bananas that Fundamental Independent Baptists get more evangelism done.  How many FIBs have can you recognize on sight? What about the numerous spoofs or even the musical of Mormon missionaries?

For the rest of the paragraph, though, I have no clue where Michael went.  FIBs have obnoxious pastors?  I think every denomination has a few.  I don’t understand what else he’s trying to say though. FIB wives have to be strong because their husbands are uber-religious?  Or they have to be strong because their husbands try to outdo each other spiritually? I’ve got nothing.

A few Visionaries get so busy judging the other guy for something like not going out on the street to preach that they fail to notice they are not even providing for their families.  Simply stated, all Mr. Visionaries need to consider Matthew 7:3-5 “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in they brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye…”

Here again, I can’t tell if Michael is condemning himself, or is so deluded he doesn’t see himself in what he writes.

If Visionaries are not wise, they might criticize good Steady Men who are doing what God called them to do. They might speak disparagingly of their Mr. Command preacher who is honoring God but just not zealous about something they deem paramount. Moderation is something every Visionary needs to practice.  If you will allow your help meet to speak her mind she can be a moderating influence on your tendency to volatile action, enabling you to see the bigger picture.  If you are wise you will trust your judgements less and consider hers more.

Yes, unwise Visionaries may not understand other types of men. Can’t that be applied to everyone, everywhere? We rarely understand those who are different than us. And honestly, a lot of the time, have little desire to try. I really liked this article from Cracked.com. It talks about 5 beliefs that are holding humanity back, and I think it applies in this situation.

I’m really happy Michael advocates letting wives speak their minds.  But it seems they only get that chance within the parameters of big crazy actions.  I think, in general, listening to the opinions of others can help stave off a lot of consequences later.

From what I have said it may seem that Mr. Visionary is a radical danger to the world. Not so. Visionary types are critical members of society. They are the vision and catalyst for positive growth. I am confident that without Visionaries, the Americas would still be undiscovered, walking would be our only means of transportation, and our caves would lack paintings. I know, for I am about one part Visionary for every two parts Command Man, and, contrary to the media, I can assure you I am as normal as cherry blossoms and watermelon. It is the Visionary in me that drives me to write this book and the Command Man that makes me believe I should take a lead on important issues.

It seems to me that Visionaries are more a radical danger to their families than the world. If most of them get caught up in grandiose schemes, their families would suffer more than than people not connected to them.  Also, Michael, the Americas were populated when they were “discovered”, so clearly some other peoples found them first. Just because WASPs take the credit for discovering America doesn’t make it true.

Ugh. Here we go again. Another little love snippet from Michael to himself. “See how great I am? Leader and Prophet.  Normal as watermelon. This is why you should listen to me.”  Just ugh ugh ugh.

We got into it a bit this post, but next time, we’ll get more in depth with how the help meet of a visionary should act. I don’t know about you, but I’m curious how well it will agree with what Debi says.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.


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