A Critique of the Seneca Griggs Blog ‘Wartburg Whiners’ (Part 1)
I am mystified at Seneca Griggs’ on-going obsession with, and hatred and venom at, TWW (The Wartburg Watch) blog.
Judging from Griggs’ Archives section, his blog was started in 2014, and he continues to post there as of 2017.
I have had my differences with TWW myself. I don’t see eye to eye with the blog owners or all of the regular commentators there on every topic.
I’ve written before that, to my displeasure, the general flavor at that blog, and at ones like it, leans liberal, left wing, at least in the comment section. (You can read my thoughts about that here if you’d like.)
But how is it that anyone can so vehemently resent and object to a blog by people that are seeking to protect the vulnerable, the hurting, and the wounded, or to call churches to start preventing child molesters from victimizing church children?
Why is a group of people, (some Christian, some not), who are concerned with aiding victims and seeing justice done, being characterized by Griggs as being “Whiners”?
Is it really charitable to call a group of people who want to help the marginalized and the abused, “whiners”? Or could Griggs simply not come up with a snazzier name for his blog, and that was all he could think up?
Not only do many of the participants at TWW blog speak up on behalf of the victims, but many of them have also been hurt by pastors, churches, some Christian doctrines, or by other Christians.
I guess Grigg’s blog title of “Whiners” would include me as well, since I was a regular participant there for a few years, and I still drop by on occasion. Thanks so much, Griggs, for casting me as nothing but a “whiner.”
Do you know how Jesus referred to the same types of people who Griggs is calling “Whiners” on his Whiners blog?
Jesus called them, or compared them to people or things such as, Prodigal Sons, Lost Coins, or, he said he would leave the 99 sheep to go in search of the One Lost Lamb.
And Jesus said whenever he or the Father found that one lost sheep or lost coin, there was much rejoicing (not criticism, mocking, or snarking) in Heaven over them.
Jesus got it. Jesus understood.
Jesus did not mock or insult people who had been hurt or overlooked by the “church” of their day (the Temple) or who had been hurt by legalistic doctrine or by their clergy and religious leaders (e.g. the Pharisees).
Jesus reserved the strongest criticisms and rebukes not for the every-day sinners he ran into – the adulterers, tax collectors, prostitutes, and those who had been hurt by their clergy and so on – but those like Griggs, who claimed they knew God the best, had perfect, conservative doctrine, and who claimed to speak for God.
When I was a child and a teen and read the Bible, I had a hard time comprehending why it was Jesus “went easier” on the sinners (the adulterers, etc) but really ripped the heads off the religious leaders. Now that I’m an adult, though, I get it. Life experience will do that for you.
Griggs would be the religious guy in the parable Jesus told (see link) who would enter the Temple and say to God,
“‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people— robbers, evildoers, adulterers— or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'”
In that story, Jesus acknowledges that it was not the religious guy who walked away forgiven and affirmed by God, but the so-called sinful, yucky tax collector who showed humility before God, who the religious guy had found repugnant.
Griggs be like,
“‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people— liberals, social justice warriors, democrats, Hillary Clinton voters, TWW blog posters, Deb and Dee of TWW, or even like those awful feminists. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get, and I regularly write blog posts mocking other people who disagree with complementarianism, or who have been hurt by churches. Amen.'”
Griggs even name-dropped me in one of his Feb 2017 posts – basically, and in a round about way, to make light of me saying that I feel marginalized by churches for being a single.
It’s as though in the Griggs universe, churches are not at fault for ignoring or otherwise treating singles like crap, but we singles are to blame for noticing we’re getting the shaft from churches, and we’re to blame for pointing this fact out publicly, and we singles are to blame for not being willing to put up with it any longer and walking out of church.
Reminds me of how my verbally abusive sister became even more irate with me about three years ago when I finally began standing up to her verbal tirades for the first time ever: rather than apologize to me for her behavior, she acted as though I was at fault for no longer tolerating her abuse. I was obligated to be her door-mat, you see.
I guess to Griggs, I am obligated to be a door-mat or second class citizen of Baptist or Protestant churches and continue tolerating the mistreatment, no matter what.
No thank you – for the first time in my life, I have a wisp of self esteem, and I realize I no longer have to tolerate poor behavior off anyone, not my sister, not from a church.
There are negative consequences to your negative behavior towards me: if you mistreat me, I may either verbally bite your head off, slap you silly, or simply stay away from you.
I am not going to reward any church for treating me, or single adults, like garbage, for being single (or for any other reason).
If you’re the sort of church that wants to harp on marriage and the nuclear family week in and week out, okay, be my guest, but observe as I, a never married woman, never, ever step foot in your church ever again.
Enjoy your “Focused on the Nuclear Family” church without yours truly in the pew there!
It’s this very sort of dismissive attitude put on display by Griggs at his blog, where he mentioned me and my singleness in passing (an attitude which is mirrored by many other Christians I’ve seen), which is playing a role in driving me to agnosticism, and which caused me to quit going to any church at all.
See what you’re accomplishing there, Griggs – driving me further away from church and from the Christian faith (of course, there are other reasons I now have reservations about Christianity and church, not just this one subject).
Congrats, I guess. Is that your goal, to further turn me off from churches and Christianity?
Do you have a friend named “Screwtape,” per chance? Are you Wormwood blogging under the name Griggs? (See: The Screwtape Letters)
Instead of mocking me or criticizing me for feeling ignored or insulted by most churches (which are indeed entirely TOO marriage and nuclear family focused, which is not biblical of them) for being an unmarried adult….
And instead of insisting I run out and start a church by myself (Say what? And, you don’t want women in leadership positions, so how is that consistent with your sexist views, or am I allowed in Griggs complementarian theology to lead a group of all-women?), Griggs, you should be on my side in asking things such as,
“How can churches make singles feel more welcome? How can churches meet the needs of singles? What messages are churches sending, or habits are they engaging in, that are alienating to singles over the age of 30, and how do we rectify this and make sure it does not happen again?”
There have been entire books, or chapters in books, and studies and surveys in the last ten years saying that more and more women are leaving church, but so too are unmarried adults over the age of 30 (because churches are either ignoring these groups, excluding them, or being condescending or treating them unfairly).
Some links to other sites about all that:
…Women have traditionally been the backbone of churches. Their participation, attendance, volunteerism and giving, among many others things, have fueled the majority of the work of most congregations.
However, this monumental effort may be running out of steam.
The rates of women among the unchurched and among atheists are rising.
Indifference Toward Single Adults (Do Singles Really Fit?)
A larger piece may be that the church sees any conflict between the married church and single adults as a non-issue and singles perceive that the church appears largely indifferent to their unique needs as singles.
In spiritual lives, this indifference may have eternal consequences.
Elie Wiesel, a holocaust survivor, is quoted in a speech to President Ronald Reagan:
I have learned the danger of indifference, the crime of indifference. For the opposite of love, I have learned is not hate, but indifference.
Jews were killed by the enemy but betrayed by their so-called allies, who found political reasons to justify their indifference or passivity.
What have I learned? When there is obvious injustice and principles are violated – when human lives and dignity are at stake – when your allies find reasons to justify their silence or indifference, neutrality is a sin (Dupont 38).
The startling scarcity of ministry resources for singles may demonstrate the indifference of American churches toward singles.
And from CBS News, published in 2014:
You, Griggs, should be more concerned with what is driving these groups away and how it can be rectified, rather than offering flippant or snide commentary, or writing off their concerns as though they are nothing, or they are being too picky, too demanding, or too whatever.
If you want more people attending church, or want single adults to attend a church, you need to start looking at how or why churches are such turn-offs to singles and how to correct it.
Mocking me over any of this is doing nothing to fix the church’s problems attracting or keeping singles.
Stop complaining about the critical comments others make about pastors or churches (complaints which are borne of their personal experiences, they aren’t just making stuff up) and start trying to help them and fix the problems.
Insulting people and calling them “whiners” is only going to add to the exodus of people fleeing the church.
You, your blog, your attitude, etc, are some of the very reasons why Christianity looks fake, unloving, and impractical to me.
Why would I want to waste my time in the presence of people such as a snide, judgmental, unloving Griggs once or twice a week in a Sunday service?
Watching Walking Dead re-runs on Sundays would be more profitable and far more enjoyable (unless we’re talking Season 7 repeats, yikes. Here’s to hoping Season 8 is better.)
I come from a family largely of sarcastic, snarky types – I got that all the time from my family of origin.
What makes you, Griggs, think I want that from you, or to show up to a church with clones of other snarky types like you in it, who will just shame, lecture, or scold me if I raise my concerns or hurts (about singleness, or about anything else)?
And so, I sit at home.
(I may in the future write a blog post here on how Baptist, conservative, Protestant, and evangelical churches mistreat or harass adult singles, by the way.)
This post will be continued in a Part 2. If I keep rambling on, this may even require a Part 3, 4, 5….
‘Submit to Your Husbands’: Women Told To Endure Domestic Violence In The Name of God (via ABC Aussie news)