When I was young my father ran a fleet service out of his service station. It was basically a tow-truck business minus the tow-truck. Stranded motorists would call and he would go help them on the spot. If he couldn’t fix the problem there he could arrange for a tow truck to bring it back to his mechanic’s bay. Most of the issues were very basic; he would go out and change a flat tire, jump start a dead battery, or unlock a car with the keys locked inside. To unlock cars he carried a tool called a slim jim much like is pictured to the left. It is essentially a kind of lock pick for cars. I bring this up because to a police officer some of the things he carried could look suspiciously like a burglary kit. The same tool which can help a stranded motorist is also used by car thieves.
However, owning or even carrying a slim jim didn’t turn my father into a car thief. They are just a tool; how the user utilizes the tool determines whether it is a positive or a negative. Likewise when most people think of game they think of pickup artists. There is some reason for this since from what I can tell pickup artists are generally the best teachers of game out there. If you really want to understand the intricate details of game, they are probably your best bet. But this doesn’t mean that learning or using game will make you a pickup artist. Athol Kay uses game to improve his marriage and teaches other men how to do the same. This post is about how a pastor might benefit from understanding game. Some of the links for more explanation of the theory go to pickup oriented sites, so bear that in mind when deciding on whether or not to follow them (especially Roissy/Heartiste). Also, please note that I don’t claim to be a game expert. While I understand the basics, the truly elegant implementation ideas are more likely to come from those commenters who have more experience with game.
In the discussion following my post on Focus on the Family lionizing unwed mothers, the question was raised why 90%+ of churches today have replaced biblical teaching with feminist thought. The generally accepted answer was that since women are the primary attendees and are seen as the primary source of church revenue, churches have done this out of fear of hurting their business model. As Brendan pointed out on a separate thread, the right answer is for churches not to be afraid of teaching the Bible as it actually is, and they should be willing to accept a smaller but sincere congregation. If pastors had enough conviction in their faith and were willing to stand up to women in the congregation, this would not be an issue. However, as we have seen such pastors are vanishingly rare.
But how could game help a pastor teach the Bible as it is without cowering in fear of the majority of the congregation? Commenter Deti described the basic problem perfectly, which we can use as an example. Here is what happens when a pastor teaches that wives are to submit to their husbands, or holds women accountable to their marriage vows (emphasis mine):
Pastors have to walk tightropes with their congregations. I’ve seen this happen so many times: some pastor says something which calls out women in general, or which criticizes women in general. And predictably, the women are up in arms. Letters are written. Names are called. Threats and recriminations are exchanged, privately and publicly. Meetings are held. Women show up to weep, wail, complain and gnash their teeth at the pastor, his supporters, his detractors, the church’s men. The pastor and the men are called sexist, incompetent, pigs, uncaring, unfeeling, heartless, and “incapable of showing Jesus’ love and understanding” to the less fortunate of the flock. Women threaten to leave the church. Men (prompted by their harridan wives) also meekly say they’ll leave if things don’t improve right away. Families get in the pastor’s face, demanding things change or by golly, they’ll stop writing those tithe checks. And inevitably a few families leave.
Most pastors will see this as a test of their leadership; are they able to hold the congregation together during times of strife. Being afraid in general to displease women, they then tend to find a way of compromising. Maybe we can say all of the right words on marriage but not actually hold women accountable. Maybe we can find a way to pretend we still believe in the doctrine but explain it away as something no longer applicable in modern times. This is of course exactly what is happening.
A pastor who knew game however would understand that this isn’t a test of his leadership, it is a challenge of his authority. It is testing to see if he is fit to be a pastor and lead the congregation. This is what is called in game a “fitness test”, or in more coarse parlance a “shit test”. This is a test to see if the man will bend as a leader (he “passes” by not doing so). It is a test of his strength. Will he leave his frame (this is the Bible and it is the Word of God) to placate their emotions? Or will he maintain his authority as the pastor of the congregation. Roissy’s 15th commandment applies perfectly here:
Maintain your state control
You are an oak tree. You will not be manipulated by crying, yelling, lying, head games, sexual withdrawal, jealousy ploys, pity plays, shit tests, hot/cold/hot/cold, disappearing acts, or guilt trips. She will rain and thunder all around you and you will shelter her until her storm passes. She will not drag you into her chaos or uproot you. When you have mastery over yourself, you will have mastery over her.
The truly counterintuitive part of fitness tests is the woman wants you to remain in control despite her often desperate efforts to knock you out of the frame of leader. She needs to know you are strong and in charge. She can’t find this out by asking you; every leader will claim they are as solid as a rock. She needs to test you to see if you are the real deal, or just another faker in a robe (in the case of a pastor). When you pass, she is actually very pleased that you did so. This is why all husbands have experienced that madening moment when they gave into their wife’s emotional demand in an effort to make her happy, only to have her become even more furious with him than before. Moreover, she typically is unaware she is actually doing this. Roissy discusses this in the context of a man meeting a woman in a nightclub:
Remember, the worst/best shit tests are those that FOOL THE GIRL herself. If she doesn’t even know what she’s doing, how will *you* know when she’s weighing your stones? The “hold my drink” shit test frequently falls into this category of “subliminal but deadly”. She may honestly need you to hold her drink. But you still shouldn’t do it.
I like this example because on the surface it seems incredibly petty. Why not help the woman out? The problem for the man in the nightclub/drink scenario is he would be following her lead during a time in the relationship when he has yet to establish himself as the leader. This is especially problematic because feminism teaches women to always try to be in control to show they are the equal of men. Later in the relationship this small issue might be of little importance, but at this stage it is critical that he not follow her lead. The fitness test example Deti provided is of course much more serious, but the basic response required is no different; the pastor must not relinquish his authority. He must maintain the frame of leadership, bringing the weeping women into his frame instead of joining theirs. If he does this without losing his frame as a confident leader, he will find the majority of the women in the congregation will be surprisingly pleased with him.
However, this is where it gets counterintuitive again. If he is being strong in an effort to please the women, it is unlikely to work because they will sense this. He needs to truly be unafraid of their reaction to be able to pass the fitness test. Roissy explains in his 16th commandment:
Never be afraid to lose her
You must not fear. Fear is the love-killer. Fear is the ego-triumph that brings abject loneliness. You will face your fear. You will permit it to pass over and through you. And when your ego-fear is gone you will turn and face your lover, and only your heart will remain. You will walk away from her when she has violated your integrity, and you will let her walk when her heart is closed to you. She who can destroy you, controls you. Don’t give her that power over yourself. Love yourself before you love her.
Note that when applied to the Word of God and women in the congregation, this is the same exact advice that Brendan offered. The pastor shouldn’t fear teaching the Word because it might offend those he is teaching. Only a craven weakling would fear teaching the Word of God because some women might cry and complain. These women are actually doing the congregation a great service. They are testing for a fake, a pastor who has no business being up there. Unfortunately 99% of the pastors today are failing this test and cowering to the women.
Think about it; how craven do you have to be to be a pastor and yet afraid to teach the Word of God for fear of offending someone? Every pastor who fails this test is obviously unfit to lead.
Note: In part two of this series I will offer a hypothetical method a pastor might use to regain frame in the situation Deti described. Those with game experience are free to suggest how they would respond if they were the pastor in that situation, and I may use one or more of the commenter’s suggestions in part two.
Slim Jim image from Pro-Lock