The Different Drum:
Community-Making and Peace
by Scott Peck
( New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987)
To show the similarities between Peck's vision and the aims of the Church Growth Movement (CGM) we added the bracketed comments below.
"In and through community lies the salvation of the world."[Introduction]
"Community is and must be inclusive. The great enemy of community is exclusivity. Groups that exclude others because they are poor or doubters or divorced or sinners ... are not communities; they are cliques -- actually defensive bastions against community." 61
[Believing in absolute truth and moral values will cause social division and hinder the quest for Communitarian communities built on the Hegelian/Marxist dialectic process. That's why the world hates Biblical Christianity -- and why the CGM must avoid "offensive" Bible verses and repackage the Scriptures.]
"In my first experience of community at Friends Seminary, the boundaries between grades, between students and teachers, between young an old, were all 'soft.' There were no outgroups.... no pressure to conform."61
Commitment (Saddleback Church demands signed contracts)
"The process of community-building begins with a commitment -- a commitment of the members not to drop out, a commitment to hang in there through thick and thin, through the pain of chaos and emptiness. Such commitment has not generally been required by the Church. Now the time has come to require. For without that commitment community is impossible." 300
"...the members of a group in some way must commit themselves to one another if they are to become or stay a community. Exclusivity, the great enemy to community, appears in two forms; excluding the other and excluding yourself. ...
"A friend correctly defined community as "group that has learned to transcend its individual differences." But this learning takes time, the time that can be bought only through commitment."62
[The differences needed for social transformation through the dialectic process are not racial or national differences, but moral and spiritual differences. Again, the aim is transformation: shifting minds from the traditional, factual way of thinking to dialectic thinking with its new sets of values.]
Small groups -- the dialectic or consensus process
"This same transcendence can routinely occur within a community-building group over the course of eight hours. In each case alienation is transformed into appreciation and reconciliation.....
"Decisions in genuine community are arrived at through consensus, in a process that is not unlike a community of jurors."63
The dialectic process means synthesizing opposites
"Incorporating the dark and the light, the sacred and the profane, the sorrow and the joy, the glory and the mud, its conclusions are well rounded.... Be fully aware of human variety, and you will recognize the interdependence of humanity."65
[They redefine the Biblical meaning of "humble," since the Biblical God has no part in this process]
"The community-building process requires self-examination from the beginning. ..."Are we still on target? Are we a healthy group?...[Continual assessments as in OBE, TQM, Purpose-Driven Church, etc.]
"What a genuine community does do... is recognize its ill health when it occurs and quickly take appropriate action to heal itself. Indeed, the longer they exist the more efficient healthy communities become in this recover process."66 [See "The UN Plan for Your Mental Health"]
"We think of confession as an act that should be carried out in secret, in the darkness of the confessional.... Yet the reality is that every human being is broken and vulnerable. ....
"Vulnerability is a two way street. Community requires the ability to expose our wounds and weaknesses to our fellow creatures."69-70
[Confession and "authenticity" is key to group bonding and accountability. See Brainwashing and The 21st Century Church]
Social experimentation & human guinea pigs
"It may seem odd to refer to community as a laboratory.... A laboratory can better be described, however, as a place designed to be safe for experiments. ... So it is in community: it is a safe place to experiment with new types of behavior....
"An experiment is designed to give us new experience from which we can extract new wisdom. So it is that in experimenting with personally disarming themselves, the members of a true community experientially discover the rules of peacemaking and learn its virtues. It is a personal experience so powerful that it can become the driving force behind the quest for peace on a global scale.70
The spirit of community
"When I am the designated leader I have found that once a group becomes a community, my nominal job is over. I can sit back and relax and be one among many, for another of the essential characteristics of community is a total decentralization of authority. Remember that it is anti-totalitarian. Its decisions are reached by consensus. Communities have sometimes been referred to a leaderless groups. It is more accurate, however, to say that a community is a group of all leaders."72
[This process was the heart of Marxist manipulation. The facilitator/leader may relax once his group is on track, but every member is held accountable to the guidelines and to the pre-planned outcome (or purpose). The leader must continually assess the members and lead them onward to the next point in the dialectical progression. Every "soviet" (facilitated group) in the Soviet Union was held accountable to leaders at the next level up in the vast soviet hierarchy -- and each member was watched and tracked -- all his life.]
"Community is a spirit-- but not in the way that the familiar phrase 'community spirit' is usually understood. ... The members of a group who have achieved genuine community do take pleasure -- even delight -- in themselves as a collective."73
"The 'atmosphere' of love and peace is so palpable that almost every community member experiences it as a spirit. Hence, even the agnostic and atheist members will generally report a community-building workshop as a spiritual experience...74
"Thus for those of a Christian orientation the work of community building is seen as preparation for the descent of the Holy Spirit. The spirit of community is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. This does not mean that community is solely a Christian phenomenon. I have seen community develop among Christians and Jews, Christians and atheists, Jews and Muslims, Muslims and Hindus."75
"My own frame of reference is Christian, and for me, therefore, the spirit of community, which is the spirit of peace and love, is also the spirit of Jesus."75-76
[While the process is essentially the same whether operating in the secular community or in today's churches, it will be labeled according to the needs of the community. Thus churches would refer the Holy Spirit, while atheists would simply call it "spiritual." Christianity must be redefined in order to fit into this manipulative process which bans the Biblical absolutes that hinder the planned transformation and the emphasis on "continual change."]
Four stages of spiritual "progress"
"There is a pattern of progression through identifiable stages in human spiritual life.... let me list my own understanding of these stages and the names I have chosen to give them:"
"Most all young children and perhaps one in five adults fall into Stage 1. It is essentially a stage of undeveloped spirituality....188 Some occasionally convert to Stage II. ... Such conversions are usually sudden and dramatic, and I believe, God-given." 189
Stage II.... is the stage of the majority of churchgoers and believers....They are in fact sometimes so attached to the canons and the liturgy that they become very upset if changes are made in the words or the music or in the traditional order of things."190
[While pointing to liturgical churches, Peck seems to include all Bible-believing churches under this umbrella]
"Stage III: "...they begin to say to themselves, 'Who needs this fuddy-duddy old Church with its silly superstitions? At this point they begin to convert to Stage III -- skeptic, individual....
"...'nonbelievers," people in Stage III are generally more spiritually developed than many content to remain in Stage II...." 191
Advanced Stage III men and women are active truth seekers...." 192
Stage IV: "...is the mystic communal stage of spiritual development.... Mystics acknowledge the enormity of the unknown, but rather than being frightened by it, they seek to penetrate ever deeper into it.... 192
"They love mystery, in dramatic contrast to those in Stage II, who need simple clear-cut dogmatic structures. ... among human beings they are the ones most aware that the whole world is a community and realize that what divides us into warring camps is precisely the lack of this awareness." 193
Diversity needed for dialogue (the process of community-building)
" A group of only ' Stage IV people or only Stage III people or only Stage II people is, of course, not so much a community as a clique. A true community will likely include people of all stages."194
"...the four stages of spiritual development also represent a paradigm for healthy psychological development."197
"In community the members have learned how to behave in a Stage IV manner in relation to one another. Among themselves they all practice the kind of emptiness, acceptance, and inclusiveness that have characterized the behavior of mystics throughout the ages. They retain their basic identity as Stage 1, 2, 3 or 4 individuals." 201-202
"...as they begin to reach for Stage 4, they also begin to reach toward the notion of world community...." 202
"Aldous Huxley labeled mysticism 'the perennial philosophy' because the mystical way of thinking and being has existed in all cultures and all times since the dawn of recorded history." 202-203
Redefining "integrity" and vilifying resisters
"Community is integrative. It includes people of different sexes, ages, religions, cultures, viewpoints, life styles, and stages of development by integrating them into a whole that is greater—better—than the sum of its parts.... Community does not solve the problem of pluralism by obliterating diversity. Instead it seeks out diversity, welcomes other points of view, embraces opposites.... It is 'wholistic.' It integrates us human beings into a functioning mystical body." 234
"The word “integrity” comes from the verb 'to integrate.'.... Just as it characterizes the highest mystical, wholistic form of individual functioning, so the integrity of community characterizes the highest form of group functioning. Conversely, the lowest—the most evil and destructive—forms of both individual and group behavior are characterized by their lack of integrity." 234
[Integrity is redefined as "integration." It now makes sense that traditional church members who take a stand on Biblical truth would be considered "resisters" who must be disciplined and told to either "repent" or leave the church. and forced out of the church."]
"Community continually urges both itself and its individual members painfully yet joyously, into ever deeper levels of integrity."235 [Continual change - the process never ends.]
"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil" (John 5:20)
[Notice how the next statements turns Christianity upside down:
"What are the criteria for discerning religious integrity? Truth in religion is characterized by inclusivity and paradox. Falsity in religion can be detected by its one-sidedness and failure to integrate the whole." 240
"False thinking or doctrinal expressions in the name of faith is labeled heresy." 240
"The violation of the third commandment—'Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain'—we call blasphemy. It is even less understood than idolatry, and doubly wicked.... Most people think of it as swearing or the use of bawdy language.... 246
"... in my imagination, He [God] is quite tolerant of us even when we are cursing Him or blaming Him for our misfortunes..... I suspect God is big enough not to be terribly bothered if we damn Him now and then (and swearing is seldom that significant)." 248
"Any form of behavior that stems from a lack of integration... is blasphemy." 249
"...we must face the possibility that as the forces of integrity increase, the forces of anti-integrity will fight back with increased viciousness."252
"The entire Christian Church—virtually every denomination—is almost explosively awakening to its ethical responsibilities for peacemaking." 252
"Important as community is in these spheres...it is even more urgent in our quest for global peace." 260
Reconciliation, Community, Communication
"The overall purpose of human communication is—or should be—reconciliation." 257
"The essence of what occurs in a community- building workshop, for instance, is that the participants learn these rules.... Peacemaking and reconciliation—community-making—is not just a global matter; it is a matter of concern within any business, any church, any neighborhood, any family....
"...authorities are largely in agreement that healthy families actually encourage children to “talk back” to parents in certain ways." 258
"...the whole thrust of modern psychology is to move the family more in the direction of community." 259
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