Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Andy Overturner demonstrates that leaving the JA is leaving God

It is hard to credit the naivety of the man, that Andy Overturner was willing to demonstrate on the Sheffield Forum just the sort of language that the JA use when speaking of people who have left the fellowship. I have to admit to having been absolutely delighted because he was so open about it, and even justified it by referring to the fact that Jesus used such language:

"Can't you see your actions validate you being described as a 'snake in the grass', pouncing (perhaps unwittingly, by mere instinct) on vulnerable prey? (Yes, you, not us!)Jesus talked about His opponents as being snakes. And also as wolves, looking for a stray sheep to devour. You have been an opponent of our cause, seeking to keep folk away from us. Shouldn't we warn people to be careful? In words that Jesus has taught us?"

The context of all this, as you can see for yourself on the link, was me describing how unpleasant the JA became towards me because, when someone in the JA had asked me if he could stay with me if he left the JA and I had put him up. They had ignored the fact that I had not led the man away but simply done the decent thing when he had asked, rather desperately, for help.

I had told him that the best bet would be not to run away but go and tell his house leader why he wanted to leave, explain his reasons and try to keep lines of communication friendly...and that if he phoned me, I would then come and collect him. I had gone and seen the House leader, then, myself and said that I had hoped that we would remain friends, accepting that the man had acted on his own volition, not mine.

I think what is so wonderful about Andy's comments is that it demonstrates the fact that he thinks that I could have controlled this man's actions; by implication it shows that he believes that it should be possible for people to be controlled this way and that I should not have helped him leave.

It also demonstrates the fact that leaving the JA is automatically associated in the minds of the JA with leaving God. Why, otherwise, would my helping this man be described as a thief stealing an unguarded sheep?...or as a wolf devouring a vulnerable, stray sheep?...or me as a snake pouncing on vulnerable prey?....all terms which Jesus apparently used of his opponents.

The funny thing is that if I had claimed that they use such language, they'd have denied it. Here we have Andy proudly justifying such behaviour as perfectly reasonable.

When the man asked me to take him in, because he knew he would be leaving the JA penniless, Andy says that I "would have done better to stay out of it altogether". Hard to see how any decent person could have done nothing and left this poor chap with people who imagine they have the right to exert such controls over him.