Monday, January 9, 2012

Why Does RW Davis Hit People?

  You have probably witnessed it many times. The victim rarely sees it coming. He is standing in the church vestibule engaged in conversation with a handful of brethren, when suddenly he receives that signature “look” from one of the fellows; that look that silently warns “watch out, Pastor’s behind you”, but it’s too late. The stinging impact comes quickly as the target’s head tucks forward amid laughter from his friends. Wearing a smile, he turns to greet RW Davis with a cheerful “Hello, Pastor”.
  Circling within the group, Davis eyes each potential mark as a predator surveys its prey. The “boys” are giggling and grinning, as a second gets it in the solar plexus, trying hard not to double over in pain, trying harder to keep smiling. “What are you laughin’ at?” he jokingly demands of a third. “Nothing, sir!” he answers with an attempt at a straight face. Davis seizes him by the brachial nerve that runs just above the elbow inside the upper arm. The young man stiffens, turning several shades of red in the next ten to twenty seconds as Davis casually talks to the group, never releasing his arm. He turns now and punches another hard in the shoulder, knocking him backward, eliciting another laugh. Finally he departs, and the group is left to return to the conversation, each one grateful that “Pastor” has paid attention to him. “If he’s hitting you” they say, “then at least you know he hasn’t forgotten about you.”
  I told myself for many years that this was indeed the case. Like an abused wife, I thought that Davis’ physical beatings were akin to “love taps”, and that I ought to be grateful for the attention–any attention–from the “man of God”. I was sufficiently convinced of Davis’ status as God’s Man For Our Time to regard his poundings as grandfatherly renderings of affection. In retrospect, and in light of NTCC’s overall abusive character, I must now question my own view. Successfully rationalizing my own situation, I did not feel personally abused; yet I saw the abuse handed out to others. I wonder why this is excused and explained away in the context of a Christian church. I wonder why so many Davis loyalists become more and more childlike with the passing of time. I am forced to ask the penetrating question: Why does RW Davis do this to people?
  If RW Davis is truly a great prophet and spokesman for God, why is it that so few of his contemporaries joined him in his push to start a new organization and Bible school during the formative years of NTCC? We are given to understand that many of them were able to see through his spiritual veneer to the ambitious man beneath. It is reported that he made efforts to place himself at the forefront, to “have the supremacy” over others, through clever maneuvering and posturing. We are not privileged with detailed information concerning financial and legal maneuvers, but it comes to our attention that his posturing involved a pattern of behavior that was obvious to the more seasoned members of Davis’ would-be entourage.
  Davis developed the habit of treating his equals as subordinates, making it clear that he was to be the chief of the tribe. He called other men “son”, as in “Come here son, I want to talk to you.” His fictional status as “God’s man” seems to have fooled a very few in the beginning, such as Jim Johnson and Joe Olson, who were only boys at the time and looked to Davis as a father. To this day, their primary duty is to promote Davis as God’s Man On Earth For Our Time. Such an individual forms a life-long habit of keeping everyone around him in a subordinated position by any means necessary. 
  Davis is surrounded on all sides by a loyal mob of obsequiously obedient lackeys who have long since surrendered all pretense of individuality in exchange for whatever crumbs Davis might condescend to mete out to them. Lacking a proper perspective on the world around them, they live for the next opportunity to rebuke a fellow human being with “Don’t you say that about MY PASTOR!” He is clearly their vicar, as well as the bane of their lives in that they live in fear of his disfavor. They fear the moment may come when Davis demotes them for some perceived offense or failure. They know that they are subject to public humiliation for any or no reason. They know that there is no defending oneself even if Davis accuses them unjustly. The philosophy is often expressed among them that “If Pastor blames me for something I didn’t do, I should be thankful, because there are plenty of things I have done about which Pastor never said anything.” The implication is not that Davis does not know everything, but rather that he does indeed know everything by way of the “Holy Ghost” yet mercifully chooses not to take action in select cases.
  Add to this tension the dreadful environment of physical danger in which grown men flinch in the presence of one who thinks he has the right to strike them. Davis may lash out “playfully” at any moment and inflict pain upon an individual whose responsibility is to accept without question the fact that he had it coming. Clearly the motive behind this is nothing more or less than chest-thumping assertion and dominance of the immediate environment. But what is the eventual result of this sort of treatment?
  The psychology of the Dominant Male is one about which volumes are written. For example, it is no secret that many cult leaders are attractive to the women with whom they come in contact, and that they frequently take advantage of a woman’s being drawn to a powerful man. The combination of bold assertion of power over other men, plus the tearing down of the dignity and status of other men, weakens the bond of respect and admiration between those men and their spouses while simultaneously drawing the women toward the focus of power, which is none other than the cult leader himself. We are not attempting to perpetuate rumors of Davis’ misbehavior long ago, only to point out a common pattern of those who strive to manipulate others into submission. The cult leader can tolerate no division of loyalty or admiration, and those who garner respect from the vassals on their own account must be either neutered or embarrassed.
  The modus operandus of RW Davis–even today–is to strengthen the tie of dependency and obedience to the leadership (himself), while severing the horizontal ties of loyalty among his followers. This means that friends will shun friends who are disloyal to Davis, spouses will view departure from the cult as grounds for divorce, and even children are encouraged to disown their parents (and parents their children) in favor of the cult leader. Davis uses fear and intimidation combined with a reckless disregard for the dignity of the men who call him “Pastor”, abusing them verbally and physically in the presence, not only of the larger group, but also of their wives and children. This is easily disguised as mere manly horseplay. “Manly” fathers often trounce their sons playfully, punching them harmlessly on the arm and wrestling in a good-natured fashion. Friends do the same to one another. Yet RW Davis is neither the father nor the social equal of the men on whom he inflicts this “affection”. He has no fear that anyone around him will dare to touch The Lord’s Annointed. He also sprinkles in ocassional expressions of “real” playfulness and even loving gestures, which balances his approach and leaves everyone guessing as to his thoughts and motives. Nobody can predict his next move. It is the very nature of control.
  This behavior is an apt metaphor. It reflects and summarizes RW Davis’ entire approach to what he calls “The Ministry”. Push, and people have to move. If they don’t, you don’t need them. If they push back, they will be dealt with. His ministry is nothing more than a clenched fist poised to enforce his will and opinions. Yes, they do write books about this stuff, but the truly skillful practitioners do not need to be told how. They simply have an impulse to control, and acting always upon that impulse they learn quickly by experimentation the best ways to manipulate people. They are the case studies that the authors observe when gathering material.
  If you doubt or scoff at what we are saying here, perhaps you would like to tour the inside of a child’s mind for a few moments to see what this atmosphere creates in the eyes of the most keenly observant among us: your kids and mine. The following essay is compiled from the words of my daughters…
  “Sometimes I would see Pastor coming and thought maybe I should stand in front of my dad–that way he wouldn’t hit him. But then I thought he might bonk me on the head, which he had done a few times (and one time it hurt all night afterward). I would wince sometimes when I saw him do it to people, because it looked like it really hurt. I just thought he was mean. A lot of kids think the same thing, and we were all sort of afraid of him. When we were all playing and Pastor would come driving up, we quickly found something to do that looked less, well…rambunctious. We weren’t doing anything wrong…we just tried to avoid getting his attention if we were playing because he always had something to say about it, and we were afraid our parents would get in trouble. And when we went to church, we never knew if we were going to get hit on the top of the head, or if our dad was going to get punched, and it was just uncomfortable because here was this room full of adults ready to flinch when he walked past them. When Pastor would hit daddy, I knew he wasn’t trying to hurt him, but I thought it was demeaning. There was something about it that took away his dignity a little bit. I just thought, ‘ Why does he have to do that?’ He does whatever he wants to do to people knowing that they won’t hit him back. I sometimes wondered, ‘Why doesn’t anybody hit him back?’ I always thought it was pretty obvious that he goes around hitting people because he knows they aren’t supposed to touch him at all.”
  These children are not lying. They are not making this up. And do you know something else? They have friends among the other children whose parents were subjected to the same treatment, some of whom remain loyal to NTCC. Many children are afraid to speak their minds to their own parents but feel very comfortable addressing their misgivings to other children whom they trust. If you are reading these words and are currently an NTCC member or minister, be aware: there exists an underground tremor among your own children and their friends at church. They feel the same way that our children do. They have said so. They largely agree with these feelings and observations. They see RW Davis as a fearful figure, someone to stear clear of. They hope that they themselves will not be singled out for abuse or ridicule. The environment is stressful for them, and they hate it. As your children, they would do anything to please you. They know that this church and your ministry are important to you, and so they go along seemingly happy and content. And yet…
  And yet.

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