Just today my mom called me and told me a man that we’d known from the Catholic Church we used to attend died suddenly this week of a massive heart attack…at the age of only 58. He, along with his wife, made up the perfect picture of Catholic couples. They were so Catholic, it wasn’t funny. They home-schooled all their children. They’d stand outside the Planned Parenthood that didn’t even perform abortions (it was just a healthcare clinic) to say the Rosary with a banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe around their necks. They were open advocates against birth control, for no good reason except the church prohibited it. They bought a special satellite dish so they could watch EWTN before it was available on cable in our viewing area. One of their sons became a priest. They were so Catholic, in fact, they were more Catholic than they felt the local parish priest was and instigated trouble within the local church.
The thing most people didn’t know about them is that, in keeping with their Catholic understandings, they were also completely miserable. It wasn’t a secret that he was tired of having so many children, her tireless crusades and protests about this, that, and something else, hated the home-schooling, and hated that so many people were forever in and out of their house. They had numerous marital and family issues that were constantly glossed over with Catholic rhetoric. It grieves me to know how truly unhappy they were, and how unhappy he was, and how he never found himself in a place where he could hear from God. Now their situation has no option to ever be made right – not with one another and not within the family – because he is gone. They had so many years to start hearing from God, so many instances where God spoke to them, through them, within them, and through other people – but they kept playing the indoctrination tape instead. I know God reached out, because I was there on more than one occasion when He did. Whenever they would think about personal matters – be it birth control or child-rearing – they’d always play a tape full of Catholic rhetoric, close on hand, so they wouldn’t have to consider what they heard, felt, or thought might actually be God. What God said meant they might have to step out of where they were and look at some things. It doesn’t matter that what they were told was supposed to be for their own good, and clearly wasn’t; all that mattered was they’d play the indoctrination tape again, hit rewind several times, and start again from the beginning. And, now he is gone, and it’s too late to rewind, and what was…is what is.
They were indoctrinated. Picture indoctrination as a saturation by which something is so permeated, it is in every pore, every area, dripping off, immersed, and drenched. That is how indoctrination works: it permeates every area of a person’s life and thinking, creating disorder and dysfunction. The dangerous part of indoctrination is that it is done in the Name of God.
Indoctrination is a process by which we believe God is speaking to us when He really isn’t. It takes numerous forms. My example of the above is a very obvious example of indoctrination. Anyone very familiar with Roman Catholicism knows the church is a myriad, a labyrinth of complex and confusing doctrines of men passed off as those of God. An example would be that the family above considers their son’s ordination valid because it is Catholic, but would never, ever accept my ordination as both a minister and an apostle as valid – even though it is ordered by God. If we were to compare the two, mine, within their thinking, would not even be given the most basic right to validity. That’s indoctrination: it is working God against those who seek to be His people. Instead of looking at things through face value and truly accepting God’s call and voice for what it is, we turn it into something difficult, complex, and hard to understand.
Indoctrination is not exclusive of the Catholic Church. There are plenty of us who walk around thoroughly saturated with a concept of the Word and what God says through the Word that is based on the traditions of men, rather than the traditions of God. Anytime God tries to speak to us in a situation that is less than ideal – and He starts speaking things to us that we don’t want to hear – we start running the indoctrination tape, rebuking this, that, and something else – because that’s what’s comfortable and familiar to us. It’s what we know, it’s what we think is God, and it’s what we want God to say to us. We don’t want to hear God tell us to stop waiting on fairy tales and fables, and step up and accept what is – and make change for Him. This applies to marital situations (“God hates divorce.” – Oh really – Not if you’re married to Ba’al, He doesn’t!), to ministry situations (“God hates a church hopper.” – Not if you keep encountering error everywhere you go!), to callings (“God doesn’t ordain women or call them to ministry.” – Uh no, stop perverting the Word to fit your tradition!), to issues that affect us in the most inward of places, to people just being nosy and telling us God says one thing – when we know He is telling us something else. Indoctrination damages lives, relationships, hopes, dreams, and futures, for no other reason that people don’t genuinely learn to sit back and hear His voice when things come up. If you can’t get something, someone, somewhere, or some concept out of your mind, it isn’t necessarily the devil! Maybe you need to consider that your current something, someone, somewhere, or concept isn’t within God’s will for your life and it’s time to regroup, reexamine, and seek God for what you SHOULD be doing, seeking, and surrounding yourself with. Instead of letting the indoctrination tape tell you what you want God to say, maybe it’s time to listen to what God is really saying and shut out the noise.
The Word tells us, “Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:6-11, KJV) There is both power and wisdom in these words. The first thing we must recognize is this is a statement in clear opposition to indoctrination. If we are thinking wrong, we need to get in alignment with God so we can hear Him. Wrong thinking is not all this nonsense we hear on television about being negative and never accepting the truth about ourselves or our situations: it is the opposite. We need to gain enough sense and discernment to stop hearing what we’ve heard all our lives as God’s word and start hearing God’s Word to us. God may very well ask us to do something that is totally against what may seem to be justifiable within indoctrinated circles and may push us into a place where everyone thinks we are wrong about something. Why? Because God’s ways are higher (more exalted, more purposed) than ours, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. For thousands of years, human beings have sat down here on earth and tried to fill in the gaps for God, explain God’s ways, and stick their own words in God’s mouth. If we are ever going to overcome this kind of living and walk in victory, we need to start anew, with new thinking, new eyes on His word, and new understandings about everything that pertain to God. Stop thinking you know God so well that you already know what He has to say. Living with indoctrination is disordered. It is disordered because the basic tenet of order needed to hear God speak unto us is distorted, period. If we want to reach the point where God’s Word does not return void, we need to hear and know it is His voice, His word, and that it is purposed so that we can walk it out and watch God bring it to pass. Too many of us are walking out our own plans and the plans of human beings, things spoken over us in vain, that will never accomplish anything because GOD didn’t speak them! God doesn’t finish anything He doesn’t start – and indoctrination is something God did not start!
None of us like to admit we’ve been indoctrinated…but I see it every day. Some days I identify so strongly with the prophets of old and the words they were called to deliver, knowing they came to speak against an indoctrinated disorder, and also knowing what they said would not be heeded. It’s like trying to stop a moving train while standing in front of it, as you know the destruction that awaits for the disobedient. As someone who played the tapes for years and still has moments when I have to catch myself, I know the caution we must exercise, the discernment we must measure, whenever we believe we are hearing from God or are speaking words from God to someone else. God is not going to say what we automatically assume He will say just because we’ve heard it ten thousand times before. God’s people are different; they hear different; they know different; and they understand different. So, once again, God is calling us to be different – a different people, known as peculiar, rare and special, and discerning unto His voice.
As I sit here and write this, I wonder what I would say if I ever saw the wife of the man who just died again. It’s been years since I’ve seen either one of them, and the last time I saw her marked a very difficult and dark period in my life as I worked to transition out of indoctrination and she worked to keep me in it. I am seeing more and more that we can mislead people and be totally lost in Jesus’ Name because we don’t understand the power in His Name and misuse it and the Word as we run along a course of indoctrination just as much as we can be lost in anything else. We must caution the presumption in speaking for God out of turn, as it says in Deuteronomy 1:43: “So I spake unto you; and ye would not hear, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD, and went presumptuously…” (KJV) Even in these times of chaos, disorder, and misleading, God still gives us a sense of order, and yes, He is still speaking. He still throws the pebbles before He drops the boulder. All I can say to every one of you is watch…listen…wait…and stop pretending God isn’t telling you what He is. God does not change, but He still brings us to a place where we change; the unchangeable works to change us, so we can reach a place of contemplation, obedience, and oneness with Him. I don’t know how long you have, or I have; or any of us has. But I do know we all have today and right now to get it right with Him, and stop playing the game of indoctrination before we don’t have a chance to go back and change.
“Against the grain should be a way of life…what’s worth the prize is always worth the fight. Every second counts ’cause there’s no second tries…so live it like you’ll never live it twice. Don’t take the free ride in your own life.” – Nickelback, “If Today Was Your Last Day”
(c) 2012 Lee Ann B. Marino. All rights reserved.