Everyone Needs an Editor or Explainer?

Everyone Needs an Editor or Explainer? May 11, 2019

This week I am still working my way through the Pearl No Greater Joy magazine May/June issue. As I  have noted before this issue is a bit different. For one thing Michael Pearl is answering scads of those Pearl letters. This one I’m quoting from today is Michael speaking of prayer, trying to explain the Holy Spirit’s role in being an editor, or explainer, or intermediary between us and God.

One of the Pearls fans, or perhaps the Pearls, asked if God does  not hear or answer prayers that aren’t prayed right. They were hung up on the whole “Thy will be done” thing.

Reminds me of a sermon I once heard from a British pastor who was absolutely hysterically funny. He’d written a book on prayer and it was not just funny but unflinchingly honest about how hard it can be to pray for more than a few moments. He told a story of praying “Help, help, God are you there? Amen.”

The book called ‘How Not to Pray’ and is sadly out of print now. So if you see at a second hand book store a pink book with a goofy looking troll doll on the front by that name it’s that book. Worth a good read no matter what you think about praying.

Back to Michael. This is another case where Michael gives something less than his usual nasty toxic advice. Michael goes so far as to say that this is the role of the Holy Spirit, to approach God with the deepest groanings. He even goes as far as to say if you cannot express what’s in your heart all you need to do is groan in God’s general direction with your need, even if you don’t know what that is, and God will answer.

Wow, no pray this prayer exactly as I do or God will not listen. No formula, no exact words. Why is Michael’s theology starting to sounds so, dare I say the word, liberal?

For years now much of the Pearls advice has centered around blaming someone else for not taking the stringent steps they have laid out for absolutely everything. This issue marks a decided shift in the Pearls. I have to wonder why.

It’s like this week when Doug Wilson wrote about the death of Rachel Held Evans and expressed sorry for her family and was much less loathsomely toxic as usual. I guess a stopped clock is right at least twice a day.

But here’s the part of Michael’s explanation that I must comment on, that make me laugh, and explains a lot:

Here is an example of this principle. I have a secretary who helps me answer letters. If I’m answering a letter, I will dictate to her what I want to say. If it’s a particularly unpleasant situation, I might say, “Tell them to take that and stuff it,” or “I don’t give a flip about that.”
When she writes to the person, she will say something like, “Mr. Pearl says that, at the present time, he is not interested in continuing this dialogue.”

I’ll sign that letter, but that’s not exactly the way my original comment was stated. What she is doing is making my letter diplomatic and saving face for me, perhaps even making it legal. Her job is to take my letters and make them presentable.

The Holy Spirit does the same thing for us. When we pray, the Holy Spirit takes what we say, dresses it up, corrects the grammar, modifies the approach, takes what is in our heart, puts it into a package, and delivers it to the Father, and it’s a beautiful prayer.

So where can I get one of these making my writing more presentable people?

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

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About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 32 years. You can read more about the author here.
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  • bekabot

    IMO, everybody does need a editor or an explainer or a PR agent (all different aspects of the same job). It’s nice to know that God is in the same boat.

    (Counts as indirect evidence, also, that God has a wife.)

  • Saraquill

    I was at a lecture regarding romance on the autism spectrum. The speaker stated one of the pros of a neurotypical partner is them serving as an interpreter.

  • bekabot

    I think ‘amanuensis’ is the fourteen-dollar term.

  • Friend

    He signs letters that come from him and name him in the third person? Sounds like he needs an editor.

    When she writes to the person, she will say something like, “Mr. Pearl says that, at the present time, he is not interested in continuing this dialogue.”

    I’ll sign that letter, but that’s not exactly the way my original comment was stated.

  • Friend

    Everybody needs a detached, knowledgeable person to do a reality check, too. Way back in the 1980s, the Laura Ashley fashion house had to pull a whole line of finished products after a junior assistant belatedly pointed out a swastika in the geometric fabric motif.

    Of course, there are more recent examples of designers getting it badly wrong, but this one predates the popular accusations that people are just being snowflakes.

  • persephone

    BTW, amazon.co.uk has How Not to Pray, and some of the sellers will ship to the U.S. I have no idea how much the shipping is, though.

  • persephone

    Sounds like Debi is writing this again. I’m wondering if the grunting towards God prayer thing is because Mikey is having speech difficulties.

  • Jim Jones

    > So where can I get one of these making my writing more presentable people?

    Sounds like an opportunity for an app!

  • therealcie

    Didn’t one of the characters in Monty Python and the Holy Grail say he farted in the enemy’s general direction, his intent being to show disdain for said enemy? It seems to me that groaning at God could be perceived similarly. It doesn’t seem a very polite thing to do. Nor even particularly wise, if God is the vengeful sort of deity that Michael Pearl and his ilk purport belief in.

  • Jennifer

    They have given some different advice lately, all right. In the article where he advised the mom worried about porn not to be confrontational and try to keep a positive outlook, I did NOT agree with some of his words, but was struck by other parts of the letter for a different reason. I did agree with his suggestion to make it clear she was monitoring what everyone in the house used and to educate the husband calmly if he was resistant, but the “try to keep a happy face” advice I disliked jumped out at me when I read the full context. Michael Pearl wasn’t just telling a woman to look happy, he was saying that if you come across too harshly to your family, you could lose the relationships and you can’t afford to do that. He was showing concern about appearing too harsh to your kids (not just hubby) at the risk of damaging the relationship! That’s not the regular Mike way of thinking, and that coupled with his claim that he wouldn’t call himself and Debi disciplinarians made me wonder if this stroke has caused him to reconsider some things.

    Also, you know the lollipop article? After the initial ugly comparison, it interested me that he gave some very un-Quiverfull advice. The guy had asked about going to the girl’s father, and Mike said if she was in college, she already made her own decisions and they didn’t need to even approach the father until THEY decided they wanted to get married! He also said if she wanted a Dad-supervised courtship, the guy would have to respect her wishes and decide if it was worth the emotional toil of “courting Dad”. If anyone reads that article at all, I hope it’s the Botkins or anyone still living that kind of lifestyle.

    A lot of people have drifted from the strictest Quiverfull teachings since the Vision Forum fell and more than one patrio teacher got taken down by scandals. Even though the Pearls didn’t follow some of the same patterns as others in those think-tanks, they’ve had plenty of other toxic ideas that harm women and children. I’m hoping, little by little, they might be glacier drifting as well.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    We’re trying to get the last few loads of our personal items through Customs here and I hope my copy is in with the books. Bought mine in Canada, and never did see it for sale in any Christian bookstores in the States.

  • Lisa Cybergirl

    So where can I get one of these making my writing more presentable people?

    Actually, I do that for a living. I’m desperately seeking a job right now, but I suspect you do not offer insurance benefits.

  • Friend

    Well, he is quoting Romans 8:26: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words.” (That’s the Berean Study Bible; my preferred NRSV says “sighs” instead of “groans.”)

    In complete seriousness, I have prayed in that way during grave illness, when in pain and sometimes medicated or sleepless. If God is all-knowing, then human language ought to be optional in prayer.

  • Mimc

    Remember the stopped kids pajamas with the sheriff’s star? Lol that did not go over well.