Mono-Thinking: Welcome To The Jungle

This note has its inspiration in a few recent events, which I will be explaining herein.  I’m sure those of you who don’t know me really well wonder where I am going with it.  The title: Mono-thinking – also rates explanation, which I will do momentarily.  The second part of it, “Welcome to the Jungle,” probably needs the most obvious explanation.  It started out as a joke, but…yeah…when I think of the church today, when I think of things going on in the church today,  I start humming Guns ‘N Roses “Welcome to the Jungle,” every single time.  Someone would ask why, but really…think about where we are today.  The church operates in as many different directions as people have opinions for, people are rude and out of line, they base their sole work on their opinions, and they have turned God into a big version of themselves.  The song in many ways properly describes the church as we’ve come to associate and understand it – money-driven, self-centered, competitive, egotistical, insistent, rude, inconsiderate, seeking stardom, and the worst part for us – it’s all done in the Name of Jesus.    

Welcome to the jungle, it gets worse here everyday…sigh.

The reason things continue to get worse and worse is due to people’s thinking.  I am not talking about negative thinking, or all the nonsense we hear about thoughts today (talk about something that’s gone way beyond reason).  I am talking about a phenomenon we are going to define as “mono-thinking.”  Mono-thinking is equivalent to a “monotone” in sound.  When something is in “monotone,” it is one note, repeated over and over, to the point of a continuous hum.  There is no influx, no change in tone, and no variation of notes or sounds – something is simply kept consistent at one precise and purposed tone, over and over again.  When someone talks with a “monotone,” they are considered to be without expression and are usually spoken of in the category of “boring.”  “Mono-thinking” is the same concept – people sing one note, one tune, speak one thing – it is themselves – and it’s boring.  When you point this out in some way, people accuse you of being hateful, evil, spiteful, mean, or inconsiderate.  They turn their selfishness on you and make it sound like you are the selfish one who never thinks of anyone else.  Differences of opinion are not respected, nor tolerated.  People are childish and immature in the way they express themselves, and things are constantly made to be personal, when they are not.  Mono-thinking has one singular line, and that is the self – the individuals’ own wants, interests, thoughts, and consideration.  When you do not give them what you want, you enter right smack dab into the jungle debate – tangled, complicated, and nasty – when such is truly not even called for.

Examples: This week I got a phone call from a man who was clearly older, living in Middle Tennessee.  I know that because I looked up his area code and phone exchange.  I am not mentioning where he lives in a derogatory context, but simply because history has shown the churches that often emerged in that part of Tennessee were known for extreme autonomy and independent spirit – and that is relevant to what happened in the discussion.  The historical churches that emerged in that part of the United States were highly unresponsive to outside influences and have traditionally taken issue with outside authority.  This man was no different. He reflected the same values and traditions of the churches where he lives.  It was his belief that because he was now having issues with his denomination, someone should just hand him a minister’s license and require nothing of him.  When I made it clear that was not going to happen, he started on his “I’d have to be ordained by a man” routine.  He made it clear he was not going to do any training, receive education, or do anything outside of his “mono-thinking.” And, because his thinking, as far as he understands it, is “right” and “Biblical,” he was not going to accept anything outside of that understanding.  

Another example: I have been added to several group inboxed messages by several people over the past few months.  Let it be known, these are not people I know.  They have never taken the time to speak to me directly or have a conversation with me.  I have politely removed myself from them, often without a word.  I have posted statuses asking not to be added to both FB groups and FB group inboxes, often to rave reviews and multiple likes.  People keep doing it.  It doesn’t matter how much I seem to ask that people don’t do it, they do it, anyway.  Let’s just be real, here for a minute: adding random people to these endless conversations is just rude.  It is assuming that someone is interested in your endless conversations about what kind of closets you like and what you got for Christmas, what you don’t like, what your pastor thinks, and what pictures you want to share.  Last night, I was woken up by my phone at around 5 AM to discover over 50 different messages – I had been added to one of these discussions, yet again.  I spent the entire night sick with stomach upset starting at around 6 PM, I tried to do some Bible study anyway, and was up and down all night due to not feeling good after I finished.  I didn’t make it to sleep until after 3 AM, and I remember that because I looked at the clock.  So imagine my lack of happiness to discover I have been added to yet another one of these discussions!  I was still not going to say anything, I set the replies to “MUTE” (which we all know is a phone command for FB) and I receive a reply back from a woman in the conversation that states, “Mute yourself!”  Excuse me? Then I was told to “just turn down my phone, so you’re an apostle, you should be able to figure it out.”  You know what – That was just over the line.  I explained “MUTE” is a phone command, there was no reason to be so rude – so excuse you.”  There was still more of a reply. I was accused of being touchy and it was only 2:25 AM there.  So I got myself on Facebook and I posted clearly in the message – this was out of line, there was no need for it – and quite honestly I don’t care it is only 2:25 AM there, I did not care to be a part of this conversation.  I left it and put up – another – status (which clarified why I leave my phone on 24/7 – in case a need arises, not a stupid discussion) about being added to stuff that we don’t need to be added to – and I got quite a few rather virulent responses, including told I was “full of hate,” that “I was all about myself,” that I was an “apostolic drama queen,” that I don’t think about “maybe people are lonely on here” and “you call yourself a leader?” Other people who commented were also attacked.  Once again, we have an example of “mono-thinking.”  The people who added me to said inbox – who have, mind you, done this before – were only thinking of themselves.  They did not like the fact that I wanted to leave the discussion and then that I made it really clear I don’t want to be added to another one.  We had people behave childishly, name-calling, posting profanity – once again, they have to be “right,” they have to get in their own “opinions,” and everyone has to want something else.  Mono-thinking.  They don’t consider maybe someone has something else to do, or has a need, or wants to sleep, or maybe that people just want some courtesy and online that can be extended by not adding everyone to everything.  No, they thought about themselves and their needs.

I don’t want to be added to any more things without permission!  That doesn’t make me not a Christian, it doesn’t make me hateful, it doesn’t make me evil, it makes me a human being who is entitled to run my FB page as I see fit, and govern it accordingly.  But somehow – in mono-thinking – it becomes personal.  Those who know me know I don’t even hit up people in chat unless I have a reason to.  I do not want to disturb others.  They may not just be on here for a social call because they are bored, they might actually have something relevant to do.  Now why in the world can’t other people think like this? Because they are too busy thinking about themselves.

In the scenarios above, we find the heart of an issue that I’ve been thinking about for a few days as a result of a discussion I had here, on FB, with someone.  We keep getting away from the rules when it comes to Christianity.  The man from Tennessee doesn’t want to follow the rules.  The individuals who disliked my status and my desire to leave the discussion in the first place didn’t think twice about throwing around the fact that I am an apostle in a derogatory manner, but when I spoke of what happened from a leader’s perspective, I was suddenly saying I was “better” than them.  No such statement was made, or thought, or even entertained.  They don’t want to follow the rules.  They don’t want to recognize that, as Christians, we are called to honor leadership.  We can’t just keep taking on the parts of Jesus and the faith that we think we like and disregarding the rest.  But see, here’s where we’ve made our own jungle – we’re babying people too much.  We’ve dumbed down Christianity so much we forget to remind other people that this life is really not all about them.  It’s not just “you and Jesus,” there is an entire church of people to think about and consider besides you and what you need or want.  God has placed us within His Body and with that Body comes a social component, or a need to be socialized, within Kingdom understanding.  Every time we start entertaining people who want to believe in Jesus but don’t want to give offerings, don’t want to acknowledge or follow leadership, don’t want to study the Word, don’t want to do this, don’t want to do that – we expand the jungle because we give people the impression that that’s ok, no problem, you’ll still go to heaven.  Being a Christian is about more than just going to heaven when we die, it’s also about how we live, here and now.  It’s about acting right and behaving right and stop taking this “a-la carte” approach to Christianity.  If you don’t want ALL of it, then you don’t want it.  I understand that we all have issues and that some things take longer for us to accept than others, but really, people, some of what I am seeing is just ridiculous.  It’s not people in process, it’s mono-thinking – that Christianity is all about them, and that’s where they are staying, and they aren’t moving or budging one inch because they think they are correct.

It’s never acceptable to go around disrespecting people, throwing offices up in their faces, announcing your disrespect for women in ministry, acting ugly, or making a big scene online because you didn’t get your way.  It’s time for us to stop clawing, scratching, and bellyaching because we aren’t getting what we want.  Some of the things it is over is just absurd.  Then those little absurdities turn into even bigger things, until we are full-fledged.  Before you know it, we are so self-absorbed with our “mono-thinking,” we keep getting lost about our true purpose.  People, have some respect for each other.  Stop disrespecting other people, including and especially leaders.  Stop looking for opportunities to be messy.  Stop only thinking about yourselves, and start thinking about other people and how what you do affects them.

And in the meantime, I think I’ll go and hum “Welcome to the Jungle” as I look over people’s mess on Facebook.  

(c) 2013 Lee Ann B. Marino.  All rights reserved.         

Welcome to the jungle, we got fun ‘n’ games
We got everything you want, honey we know the names
We are the people that you find, whatever you may need
If you got the money, honey we got your disease

In the jungle, welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your kn-kn-knees, knees
I wanna watch you bleed

Welcome to the jungle we take it day by day
If you want it you’re gonna bleed but it’s the price you pay
And you’re a very sexy girl whose very hard to please
You can taste the bright lights but you won’t get them for free

In the jungle, welcome to the jungle
Feel my, my, my, my serpentine
I, I wanna hear you scream

Welcome to the jungle it gets worse here everyday
You learn to live like an animal in the jungle where we play
If you got a hunger for what you see, you’ll take it eventually
You can have anything you want but you better not take it from me

In the jungle, welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your kn-kn-knees, knees
I’m gonna watch you bleed

And when you’re high you never
Ever want to come down
So down, so down, so down, yeah

You know where you are, you’re in the jungle baby
You’re gonna die
In the jungle, welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your kn-kn-knees, knees

In the jungle welcome to the jungle
Feel my, my, my, my serpentine
Jungle, welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your kn-kn-knees, knees

Down in the jungle, welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your
It’s gonna bring you down, huh


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