Sharlet’s writing is so good that a quick read is almost impossible.
Skim this book, and you’ll miss gems like this one on page 180:
“…manifest destiny, the original westward thrust that erased a
continent of Native souls, burns history like coal and knows no sin but
that of its enemies.” He obviously finds a lot to critique about The
Family, but does so indirectly, offering instead a narrative which
allows the reader to draw their own conclusions. In so doing, he
captures this subtle subculture perfectly: offering a thin veneer of
overly-individuated Christianity that asks nothing of its adherents
other than to keep up appearances. In this brand of Jesus-followership,
Jesus is depicted as the King of Kings: the most powerful of the
world’s most powerful leaders. And rather than lay down their power,
followers are encouraged to simply be humble about their wealth and
power– to confess that they themselves are nothing, and that their
wealth and power come from God. So, if you are powerful, tweak your
power toward that which is Godly. And, the reasoning goes, what is more
Godly than Godly power? Such circularity would be humorous if it wasn’t
so self-justifying, unnerving, and dangerous.
Do yourself a favor and read the last paragraph of Mike’s post. As always, he asks exactly the right questions.