Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Prayer Breakfast - Language Deconstruction



Wednesday Prayer Breakfast-An Exercise in Deconstruction of Language

Be sure to read the previous two posts before reading this one.

Setting: It is the Wednesday morning prayer breakfast meeting at seven. This week it is only the three, Lacey, Melvin and Jake, in attendance.

In the Dialog, I’m going to first list the surface discussion, and then after each statement, I will describe the “Deconstructed” meaning. I will use Freud’s “id” to identify the raw feelings that we, Christians, often bury. I won’t bother to mention the id with each statement. The id will not be in quotes because it is unspoken thoughts.
They sit at the table, greeting each other and Lacey speaks first.

Lacey: “Well, I’ll open in prayer and we can get started. Any new prayer request this week?”

They sit in silence for a moment, interesting that both Jake and Melvin seem to be in a sour mood.

Jake: "Yeah Lacey. Let’s pray for our church. It’s really been on my mind this week. I’ve been thinking . . . and praying . . . about our leadership and pastor Dan. I think what prompt it was you mentioning last week that they may be changing the doctrinal statement for the church to include that Genesis is true. I mean, it is a sad commentary on our society that we even need to do that. For two thousand years believers have trusted the word of God, but now,” smiling and shaking his head, “we have to put it in writing. I mean my Bible says the earth was created in six days, six thousand years ago and I don’t doubt God or His word, ever.”

Jake’s id: God is lucky to have me on his team. I may be the best Christian man in Small-town. I’m a real leader. I’m the head of several organizations. I really want to be God’s man in every situation. Here, I can quickly control things, putting me on the higher moral ground, especially over the only other man at this breakfast . . . Melvin. The things I’m saying will really make him feel bad, see me as the spiritual superiority and I will remain in control.

Melvin: (appearing a little blushed face), “Now wait a minute Jake. Just because I said that I would not be willing to sign the new doctrinal statement doesn’t mean that I don’t think Genesis is true.”

Melvin’s id: Jake really pisses me off. He knows he’s talking about me. I don’t know why he always ends up on top, as some giant spiritual authority. I’m totally crap. I always come across as crap. But I really don’t believe that the earth is only six thousand years old and I ‘m not going to pretend that I do.

Jake: (with raised eyebrows and smile) “Slow down there Mel . . . I wasn’t talking about you. I’d forgotten that you had even said that last week. I’m sorry if you thought I was talking about you. But if you are so sensitive about this, maybe it’s the Holy Spirit talking to you.”

Jake’s id: That big baby. I’ve got him just where I want him. I’m going to totally crush him this morning and he will never look down on me again. I am the only real man of God this town knows. I’ve won father of the year. I’ve been the president of the Christian Businessmen’s club twice. Everyone in this town respects me and I’m not going to let this nobody get away with not showing me total respect.

Lacey’s Id: Men are such pigs! I don’t know why they have to get into this discussion and spoil a, otherwise, beautiful morning. Yet, I’m the pastor, the facilitator here so I’ve got to maintain control. If Pastor Dan finds out that I’m letting things get out of control, he will be disappointed in me. It will give the crotchety old men on the board more reasons to believe that I, as a woman, have no right to be leading men.

I also want to impress Jake. I want him to see me as a smart woman who is confident. His tanned face with the touch of gray above his ears makes him look like a movie star, or a knight in shinning armor. I would love to crawl up into his strong arms an let him protect me, like the dad I never know. But on the other hand, I would love to be laying naked in his arms on some deserted beach where no one in this church, especially his wife Christy could find us. I want his strong arms around me to hold me. But, I have to stop these thoughts. These are terrible. I don’t know why I have such evil thoughts. I mean, Christy is one of my best friends and here I am . . . wanting to make love to her dear husband. It’s just not fair.

Melvin: "Maybe it is the Holy Spirit speaking to me. But I have strong feelings about the fact that a six thousand year old earth just doesn’t make sense scientifically. So I could not sign that document in good faith."

Lacey: "Well, why don’t I open us up and prayer and we move on today’s devotional."

Jake: "Lacey, as a youth pastor, you must know how important this issue is. I mean, if we compromise with humanists then how will our kids be faithful walking with Christ."

Jake’s Id: I dare her still my thunder. I’m in control here and I’m not finished with this guy. Either he’s going to agree that I’m right, or he’s going to pay. I mean, I want everyone on my side and I must prove myself the spiritual leader to Lacey to Melvin . . . and God already knows I the real spiritual leader at this church.

Melvin’s Id: I’m really starting to look bad, like I’m a humanist or something. I’ve got to explain myself better or Jake’s not going to respect me at all nor Lacey.

Melvin: "Jake, I’m not a humanist. But I have studied enough science to know that there are some real problems when you try to prove that the earth is that young."

Jake: (smiling and rolling his eyes) "Melvin, brother, the science departments in every university is ruled by humanists. They brainwash every science student and I’m afraid you’ve been brainwashed. (reaching into his briefcase) Here’s a booklet that I brought you. The title of it is The Myths of Evolution. There’s a whole chapter talking about how carbon dating is totally wrong. These people can't believe in a God that does miracles. I'm a miracle believer. Hey, when Christy has breast cancer. I prayerd, and God did a miracle and the cancer was gone and no doctor or scientist could explain that away.."

Jake's Id: Well, Christy really had just a lump in her breast. But it could have been cancer if I had not prayed. But, it's really important that I summarize the story as a miracle because Melvin, in his humanistic slant, would not see God's hand in it if I told him it was just a lump whose biopsey turned out to be negative. We were worried that it would be cancer and I have a feeling in my spirit that it was cancer until I prayed.

Melvin’s id: I’m as mad as hell. Now that idiot is calling me brainwashed. He doesn’t know anything about science and here he is lecturing me! But now I am really looking bad and I’ve got to redeem this situation but how do talk science to a lamebrain superman? I don't remember hearing anything about Christy having breast cancer.

Melvin: (trying to smile and not show any anger) "Jake, how did we get onto evolution? I hadn’t said anything about evolution. Also, this information put out by Christians that carbon dating is all wrong or that the moon should have had 15 feet of dust on it, none of that is true. Carbon dating is very reliable . . . but it is not used to determine the age of rocks, only carbon-based, organic material and it only goes back a few thousand years. Christians should not be putting out such false information."

Jake: (smiling and looking over at Lacey, who seems distressed that she’s lost control of the discussion, winks at her), “See how important this is? I mean, Melvin has been very active in this church and he has very unbiblical views. You can tell who's side he is on.”

Melvin’s id: That son of a bitch! I hate his guts. Talking to him is like talking to a moron. But now he has the upper hand and he is the great Christian and that I’m the unspiritual one. I need to just cut my losses and move on. I really don't know what's the matter with me. Everytime I get into one of these situations, I come out smelling like crap.

Melvin: “Lacey, you’re right. Let’s move on to today’s devotional before we run out of time.”

Lacey’s id: I feel hopeless. Who cares about old earth or young earth. Women don’t argue about this stuff. Men are such ego freaks. I’ve got to talk to Pastor Dan about getting me out of this prayer breakfast commitment. I just want to work with kids! But if I don’t do every thing that Dan ask me to do, he will eventually let me go. I know he really wants a man as youth pastor, who can also take the pulpit when he’s out of town. I know he regrets hiring me. If I loose this job, I may never find a youth pastor job in this area and really want to stay here. I don't know how I would support mysefl. Oh God, give me some direction here. I must snap out of it and take control or I’m out of here.

Lacey: "That’s a good idea Melvin. Let’s move on."

Jake’s id: Now how did this happen? Now I have the lower hand. I’ve got to end this on a positive note. I got to keep up my image so what can I say? I just can't let this go here.

Jake: "Hey guys, it’s seven forty five and I have a really important meeting at eight. I’ll be meeting with someone from the governor’s office about some exciting new opportunities here in Small-town. Being the president of the Downtown Business Association gives me the real opportunity to rub shoulders with the real shakers and movers. God has really opened doors for me to minister to people all the way up to the governor. I feel really humbled to be used by God like this. He is so faithful to me. (Pretending to wipe a tear from his eye), I guess that’s why I feel so strong about defending God." (Lacey reaches over and pats his hand . . . and he grasp it holding on to it for a minute. Then he turns the other direction and puts a hand on Melvin’s shoulder).

"Mel, I really love you man and I want to help you. You know I’ve been discipling men for several years. You may know I was the regional director of Promise Keepers and had excellent disciplemaker training with them. One of my guys, Terry, the State Bank branch manager, is ready to fly on his own now. Man, he’s a great guy and I just thank God for giving me the opportunity to turn his life around. Anyway, I have an opening now to start discipling another guy. I was thinking that maybe you would be interested in that. We could meet weekly. I could help de-program some of the humanistic stuff you’ve been exposed to and help you really love Jesus like you’ve never known how.”

Melvin’s id: This is a total disaster. How in the hell does this guy think he needs to “disciple me.” I mean I was memorizing the Bible when he was sowing his wild oats on campus, sleeping with every girl he met and boozing it up every night. Who gives him the right to think he is so superior. But now I’m stuck. I will really look unspiritual if I refuse his offer, but on the other hand, I will feel totally humiliated having him meeting with me each week.

Melvin: "Let me think about it. I mean I’m really busy right now and I want to make sure that I would give this discipling the time it needs."

Jake: "Okay. But I can’t wait too long because there’s a number of guys who are chomping at the bit for this opportunity and will need to let them know. Hey brother, I wouldn’t mind coming over to your house either in the evenings or on Saturday if that would fit into your schedule better."

Jake’s id: Wow, I came out smelling like a rose in this discussion. I’ve got the superior hand on Melvin and he will never question me again. I hate it when anyone questions me. It is so insulting. If they really knew who I was and the things I had accomplished, they would never argue with me. If Melvin had argued that the earth was only six thousand years old, I would taken the other side and made him look like a fool.

I would really like to be at Melvin’s house each week. Is wife, Karen, is a doll. I don’t know what she ever saw in this shrimp of a man. I’ve seen her looking at me. She knows that I’m the real man that she doesn’t have. I remember that time I was Mel’s house and she came out of the bathroom in her bra, not knowing I was sitting there. Wow, that’s an image I’ll hold on to forever . . . hopefully it will happen again.

END:

I'm going to post a post-deconstruction discussion abou this in the next few days. Some people would read this dialog and be offended. They would think that Christians don't really think this way. But, I suggest that if you really peel back the layers of the onion, you might be surprised how deeply fallen we (including me) really are. So stay tuned. Sorry about any typos but again I had to type in a rush.

1 comment:

bryan said...

Sounds like Melvin needs to learn to manipulate language better so he can get the response he wants. Often communicating (or perhaps pseudo-communicating) is more of a game than anything, and if you try to play but aren't good at it, you end up looking bad.

One could say that Jake is more talented in the skill of Rhetoric.