CTNAHM: God the Father—In Human Form

A Guest Post by Aletha

Originally posted on Yllom Mormon

Created To Need A Help Meet, pp. 109—111

Howdy! Today we are talking about the Command Man. If you recall, the Command Man typifies God the Father. Michael himself is a Command Man, so I’m really curious to see how he spins this one. Off we go!

Visionary, Steady, Command

God the Father is King, ruler of the universe, commander of heaven’s forces, the fullness of life of the godhead. He is dominant, sovereign, omnipotent God. Since God created man in his image, after his plural likeness, some men more naturally express the image of the Father. Those men that bear the image of the father are the dominant leaders among us. They have a way of rising to the top and organizing other men into a functioning group. For obvious reasons, we hesitate to call them kings, just as we hesitate to call the Visionaries among us prophets, or the Steadies priests. Since there are benevolent kings and tyrannical dictators in this group, we chose to call them by the more generic name of Command Man. As we said before, that fits the good, the bad, and the ugly nature alike.

This is what comes to my head when I think about God. The Old Testament smiter, the one who tells Abraham to kill his son, holds grudges to the 4th generation, and can’t handle losing a popularity contest to an idol. It is nice, though, that Michael includes tyrannical leaders under the Command umbrella; although I’m worried about what Michael considers tyranny. Guess we’ll find out.

These Command Men are readily recognizable. They have what is called “gravitas” or “presence”. When they walk into the room and speak, everyone stops to listen. When they make a suggestion it sounds like a command. [Lengthy re-rehasing of differences between types.] The history of war and the rise and fall of empires is the bloody trail of the Command Man, the king seeking a kingdom. Ship captains, presidents, kings, and czars are the roles filled by Command Men.

Interesting. Apparently I’m part Command (wo)Man. Though I don’t think “types” count for women. But I do have the characteristics listed.

One other thing that confuses me. Aren’t kings and czars inherited titles? If so, is it fair to assume that just because somebody is a King, that they are a Command Man? In fact, didn’t Michael make a case for King David (of the Bathsheba debacle) being a Visionary? Yes, he makes exception for those being 2 types, but it’s still a valid point.

To these men we owe our countries, our liberties, and our local organizations. They were the Hitlers, the Moseses, and the Maccabees. Patton and Rommel were quintessential Command Men, as was Stalin. The moral extremes expressed in the many Command Men reveals that the image of God is marred in all of us, some more than others.

Call me crazy,  but Moses was a Prophet, right? Isn’t “prophet” under Visionary territory? I might be missing something here, but I thought that Visionaries came up with the ideas for revolutions, but couldn’t get the job done. So Mr. Command just took over. So wouldn’t it be more logical to say “While Visionaries invented the gun, and supplied the bullets, Mr. Command took the shots.” And instead of making the case that Command Men take after God, Michael seems to be saying Command men are jerks. Or perhaps that might be the same thing.

Since our world needs only a few leaders, God seems to have limited the number of Command Men. There seem to be many Steady men for every Command Man. They are marked by a lack of interest in small talk or insignificant, petty complaints. They are not as quick to blame others for their plights but ready to dismiss the inept. In the arena of conflicting ideas, Command Men are often able to see the full picture and encapsulate it to the satisfaction of both sides.

You know, if Command Man means to be arrogant and step on other’s ideas…I mean see the full picture…then I’m kind of glad there aren’t more of them. Though if Michael is trying to tell us leader=command, then he’s wrong about the amount. Everything needs leaders. Schools need principles or deans. Hospitals and non-profits need Presidents. Towns need mayors, companies need CEOs. Heck. McDonald’s needs managers. It seems to me that there are plenty of areas for Commands to lead. Just because somebody isn’t starting wars or running a ministry, does not mean they don’t lead.

People like clarity. For the average Joe, the Command Man seems wiser than normal. In a way, he is. The Command Man doesn’t focus on minor points or the emotional side of an issue. His objectivity springs from his nature as an overseer. He considers the issues in light of all concerned.

Alright. So, first, the Command men sees the full picture. But he doesn’t focus on minor details or emotional sides. I guess he looks at the Mona Lisa and sees a lady; not the brushstrokes, not the half-grin, not the pretty background. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Yet I’m trying to figure out how a good leader can fail to deal with emotional aspects.

Take King Solomon. (He’s a king, so he’s a Command Man, right Michael?) His most famous moment was with the two mothers claiming ownership of a live baby. Solomon’s way to solve the problem was to cut the baby in half. He clearly counted on the emotions of the real mother to end the tug-of-war with the infant.  I feel like I need to stress that emotions are OK. Having emotions, acting on emotions, and dealing with emotions are natural and normal.  Ignoring emotions does not make one manly, tough, or unbiased.

That is the nature of a commander. In war, it will not do to have a Steady Man in charge. He would sacrifice the mission and even the war to save his men. His compassion rules above his head. Nor would it do to have a Visionary in charge. If he felt like it was a “good day to die” and he could “stick it to the enemy”, he would risk sacrificing everyone just to make a magnificent and glorious statement. But the Command Man considers the overall picture and weighs the cost against achieving the objective.

I will be the first to admit I don’t know much about war, about military, or military politics. But I have heard stories and read about Commanders, Captains, Chaplains, and others who risked their lives (and the mission) to save their men. Isn’t that one of the reasons the military hands out medals? The more I read, the more it sounds like Michael’s idea of a Command Man is a robot: no emotion, just logic and algorithms. Which doesn’t sound like anyone I’d like to be under, especially if they are in charge of my life!

LUKE 14:31-32

31 Or what king, going to make war against another king sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?

2 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.

Sure. These verses talk about a king. A king who is a strategist or makes peace overtures if he doesn’t feel like he can win. I just don’t see Michael being OK with anything other than complete dominance. That is why these verses that he selected are a mystery to me. If you read his child-training manual, he talks about “breaking the wills” of the children. Doesn’t sound peaceful to me.

And when the rank and file face the guns, it’s the Steady Men who stand shoulder to shoulder and go into harm’s way to protect their families and their nation. Visionaries start wars. Command Men lead them, and the Steady Men fight them. Remember, there are Command Men on both sides of any war. The Japanese fleet that bombed Pearl Harbor was led by Command Men. There is no virtue in our image itself, but in the use we make of it.

Four paragraphs ago, Command men were the start of wars. Now it’s Visionaries. That’s annoying. Also, I highly doubt every single soldier in every military branch everywhere is a Steady Man. The way Michael makes it sounds, if war was a high school, the Visionaries would explode the toilets in the football player’s locker room. The Command man would order retaliation, and the Steadies would start a food fight with Steadies from the other side. If so, neither the Visionaries nor the Command Men ever have to face consequences for their actions, because that’s what Mr. Steady-Cannon-fodder is for. Which sounds wrong somehow.

Command Men disproportionately fill the pulpits due to their tendency to push their way to the front, and because of the inclination of the public to mistake a commanding personality for spiritual power and authority.

Alright. Let’s go back up to Michael’s list of Command men. Hitler, Stalin, Moses, Maccabees (Jewish rebel army), and Patton and Rommel (WW2 Generals).  How many of these would you say are revered for spiritual power and authority? 1? Maybe 2? Just because somebody is a bully (pushing their way to the front) does not make them more spiritual, or more authoritative. It makes them a bully. Michael seems to think that whomever can use the most force to get his way gets a prize. It doesn’t always work like that, obviously.

If the truth be told, it is rare to find a Command Man qualified to be a pastor, because he does not focus on the individual. The Steady/Priest Man is best equipped by nature to fill the Biblical role of pastor. The Visionaries will do well leading revival services or camp meetings, and they make great evangelists, but as pastors they are too radical to hold a congregation together. They change direction and try new ideas too often. Although they are effective at stirring the congregation out of its indifference or lethargy, you don’t want to give them the reins altogether or they will run the horse til he drops.

So if Mr. Command is given authority because of his commanding personality, he is supposed to decline it for the betterment of his congregation, because he can’t deal with them as individuals? Does giving up power (and spiritual authority IS power) seem like something a Command man would do?

I’m confused about this next part. I had to look up the difference between a pastor and an evangelist. To put a Mormon spin on things (because that’s how my head still works), the evangelists are the missionaries doing the converting legwork, and the pastor/bishop deals with the nurturing once the converts are in. If Visionaries are evangelists, and Steadies are pastors, where does that leave Command Men?

The Steady/Priestly Man will “weep with those that weep and rejoice with those that rejoice”—the perfect trait for a pastor. But Steady Men are not usually chosen to be pastors because they do not seek the position and they are not as dynamic as the other two types.

Let me get this straight. Steady men are perfect for the job of pastor because they have empathy and can view the trees from the forest. Yet nobody wants them, because they’re boring and unassertive. So instead of giving advice to Steadies on how to be more assertive, Michael just assumes Command Men will take over ministries, and things will be alright.

Either I’m completely misinterpreting this section, or Michael is making a case for the most logical, unemotional, unemphatic, and pushy men to be leaders of churches. Does this sound like a horrid idea to anyone else?

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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