September 29, 2020

Talk Hard II: Defending Dissent

The Original Talk Hard: Defending the Role of the Critic in Christianity. Lots I would change in that essay, but it still holds up 6 years or so later.

Recently, I received an email from someone who has been a longtime reader of this blog, giving his reasons for being a regular reader and generous supporter.

This particular reader appreciated the writing I’ve done on the subjects of mental illness, psychiatric medication and emotional health. As this person is a professional in those fields and far beyond me in understanding, I was understandably happy to read that email.

I have received many thousands of emails in the last 8 years of Internet Monk. A sizable portion express appreciation for something that deserves a moment’s consideration: that this blog is one of the few places some folks have found where certain points of view can be discussed with relative civility.

I won’t attempt a listing, but any regular readers will know that I’ve made it part of the mission of this blog to be present an alternative view of any number of issues within evangelicalism in particular. I do so with provocative writing if possible, and with active moderation of the discussion. I’ve done this without expectation of finding there would be thousands of people reading and thinking: “O I’m not the only person who feels this way.” In fact, I’ve expected considerably more hostility and objection than I’ve received.

Recently, the IM comment threads have started routinely going over 100 comments. Interpret that as you will. In all the time I’ve done this blog, I have temporarily banned around 20 people, and absolutely banned 2.

Yesterday, a commenter aired the usual complaints at me:

I don’t affirm inerrancy.
I’m critical of “my brethren.”
I give “Papists and liberals” plenty of space.
I limit conversation.

Of course, as most readers know, I fully affirm the truthfulness of the Bible in the language of the Second London Confession and the Westminster Confession. Ask any of the dozens of advocates of gay marriage and gay ordination how I’m doing on taking the Bible seriously. What I’m not doing is allowing the word “inerrancy” to become a code word for a set of positions I don’t believe the Bible teaches. I’m not turning a blind eye to the hypocrisy that the “inerrancy” stampede has foisted on my denomination. Give me a confession made before the word “inerrancy” was invented, and I’m perfectly content.

There are thousands of people who don’t buy the kind of flat, literalistic inerrancy that is being sold among conservative evangelicals today, and, sorry to disappoint the gallery, but we don’t have to. Being a Baptist doesn’t force me to buy the search for the ark, young earth creationism, Hamm/Hovind, complementarianism, homeschooling, conspiracy theories, Dobson’s view of politics, bad Christian art, arrogant leaders, bad scholarship or the SBC’s view of itself as compared to other denominations.

Yes, I am critical of some of my brethren. I’ve never lived a day in Protestantism that there wasn’t a critical conversation going on. If the memo has gone out that we’ve stop asking questions and contending for answers, I didn’t get it. My blog is one tiny voice in the midst of a massive evangelical self-promotion machine. When I first called for the outing of Osteen as a motivational speaker, what had you heard from anyone in the evangelical establishment about him? (Oh, that’s different. Of course it is.)

The animosity some have towards this writer and this space comes simply because I have staked out a different position than they’ve been led to believe is the only allowable, God-endorsed, position allowed by the Christian worldview. Their orthodoxy, and the God who sponsors it, requires that dissent be quenched as an act of faithfulness. When I express dissent and protect its expression by others, I’m certain to be told by some amateur fundamentalist Freudian there’s something psychologically wrong with me. (Friend, if you believe you are the ultimate measure of mental health, please go on a world tour so the rest of us can see what it looks like. But just between you and me, I wouldn’t quit my day job on that one.)

The commenting voices at this site give witness to another view. There are Protestants who aren’t Catholics and don’t hate Catholics. There are Catholics willing to talk with Protestants as fellow Christians. There are Orthodox and mainliners seeking to relate to evangelicalism. There are Lutherans insisting we all know nothing about law and gospel. (That’s a joke.) There are Baptists who question the “What we need is more evangelism!” mantra. There are evangelicals who have nuanced views on the issue of abortion, women’s ordination, the nature of homosexuality and the Christian view of mental illness. There are people who give “Papists” and “liberals” space to talk just like the other kids in the class. There are many of us lost in the evangelical wilderness trying to find a drink of water and some food.

I don’t endorse all these views or their opposites. There are a number of issues where I’m not sure what I think, but I am determined to not be railroaded into being told that I must endorse or bow down to positions that I do not hold, am not required to hold and are not my conviction. I’m just as determined to tell my audience that other views exist as held by REAL PEOPLE.

If you look out in the back yard of the last twenty years of battles in the Southern Baptist Convention, there’s a baby in the bathwater. That baby’s older name was “soul competency.” More recently, he went by the name “priesthood of the believer,” but I like the previous name much better. In the “battle for the Bible” in the SBC, the moderate/liberals took those terms and used/abused them, causing conservatives to spend most of two decades bad-mouthing “soul competency” and “priesthood of the believer” as anathema to Bible-believing Christianity. Some of that response was necessary, but some of it has been singularly unfortunate and overblown.

In truth, Baptists have historically stood with the individual in his right to have his/her own convictions in regard to what scripture or a person’s own religion teaches. We sided with that principle when it caused us to defend Muslims and atheists. We sided with that conviction as a proper summary of Luther’s contention that his conscience about the Bible was adequate defense as to why he stood against the Pope. We defended that principle as essential to the classic definition separation of church and state endorsed religion. We understood that, without embracing all the tenets of anarchic individualism, it was right to protect and hear the minority. We rejected, historically, the tyranny of a class of theological enforcers and their political ambitions. We defended confessionalism, but we did not mindlessly defend all levels of uniformity. We realized, after painful lessons in the civil rights era and beyond, that the majority and their Bibles can be completely wrong.

Today, we live in an evangelicalism that is enamored with numbers and success. And of course, those vast numbers are told they must think, write, worship, vote, educate, live, preach and teach identically to one another because they possess the truth. (Or someone at the home office does…somewhere.) This is the sadness of being ranted at about the “sin” of refusing to use the proscribed word to describe inspiration or of daring to differ with some well-funded, fat cat majority with a mailing list. I may be wrong, but this web site is exercising something Baptist Christians used to care deeply about: DISSENT.

But in today’s atmosphere of sheeple following the media and denominational shepherds, we place no value on dissent. It’s far more impressive to rant about my failure to appreciate the fact that anyone who waves a Bible around should be free from having anyone actually differ with them. It’s now good, conservative sport to tell a dissenting fellow Christian that, as I heard today, my faith is about to collapse and/or I’m going Catholic. All this- ALL- because you have steadfastly decided other views are not worthy of your RESPECTFUL appreciation.

The reason I am unafraid to side with the dissenters and those asking questions that aren’t allowed is that history is moving to our side. The manipulators of orthodoxy are in trouble. They’ve taken our confidence and put the screws to us for the sake of their own power. The celebrity-driven churches are, for the most part, going to be exposed as having no clothes. The laboratories that produce these evangelical clones are shutting down as the experiments seem to have gone horribly wrong. The deluded majority can act as if they have squashed everyone’s arguments and rendered all competing opinions foolish, but in fact, quite the opposite is happening. A lot of people are dissenting, even in an atmosphere of intimidation and spiritual abuse. Write all the books and blogs you want. Have a conference and get 3000 men to wring their hands with you. You aren’t gong to stop the collapse of the kind of authoritarian fundamentalism that wants to keep all of evangelicalism in a stranglehold. It’s over.

Occasionally, I write with the express purpose of sounding a wake up call. I’m provocative and my audience appreciates that in my writing. I am not sounding so much of a call to arms as a literal wake up alarm to the sluggish and the sleepy. We are standing on the brink of momentous changes in the evangelical world. Many Christians brought up in a fundamentalism with all of the answers have discovered things are much different than they would have anticipated. They are exploring this new world, even as the old one is still shifting beneath their feet. Part of that experience is being told you shouldn’t speak or write what you feel. The better part of the experience is ignoring that, and speaking exactly what you’re thinking, feeling and discovering. “Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say,” as Will Shakespeare put it.

In the meantime, I consider IM a public service to people who need to get out of the way before a chunk of crumbling evangelicalism falls on their head. If the house isn’t falling where you are, that’s wonderful. Make whatever you want out of the reports from my part of the house. That’s your privilege as a reader.

Comments

  1. HUG,

    You were asking about complementarianism. I believe that it is the idea that women, coming after Adam and from his side, are always supposed to be submisssive and subordinate to men.

    In the good sense, it can be talking about the differences between men and women, and how they work together strengthening the other’s weaknesses.

    In the extreme negative sense, it can lead to women always being under a man’s control and even to the idea that Christ is eternally subordinate to God the Father.

    (and if my understanding is incorrect, I hope that someone explains it better. Thank you)

  2. Anna — This is an example of the story completely overshadowing reality. As I mentioned in an earlier thread, every man since Adam was born from a woman and actually was female in the womb until gender differentiation began.

    Being that no one — not even the first person to write down the story of the forming of the first couple — has ever witnessed such a thing as a man coming from a pile of dirt and a woman being formed out of the first man’s side (even Adam didn’t see that happen) and every one has experienced the female origins of every human — and nearly every other living creature — male psycho/spiritual dominance is a little out of kilter, I think.

    Just a dissenting opinion. 🙂

  3. I think dissent is always strongest against the denomination one has grown up in. Having been raised as a Roman Catholic, however I converted in my twenties, I am very critical against Roman Catholicism, and I have been anathematized as a result. I usually save all my sharpest sarcasm for my dissent and criticism of that denomination. Obviously, any Roman Catholic who reads my sarcastic criticism can easily be offended.

    I believe it is this type of offense that some readers have recently felt from IMonk’s criticism of the SBC. They are SBC and they get very offended and defensive. They wonder why the sarcasm written by other posters towards other denominations is modified. I believe they interpret that as favoritism of one denomination over another.

    So, you see, it is just a misunderstanding of the human condition. We rant against the thing we were brought up in and those who belong to that community take offense. Dissent is still a good thing though. In fact, I would say it is the dissenters of those reared within a denomination who should be listened to most intently. Experience is a great educator and therefore, dissenters are the ones we can learn the most from.

  4. Surfnetter,

    I think Anna was defining the requested term, not defending it.

  5. Michael,

    Yes, your writing is often provocative.

    Provocation can elicit emotional, seemingly irrational responses in the reader, uncovering deeply-held beliefs and prejudices, so I don’t think it’s surprising that some of your readers don’t “get it”.

    I have noticed a pattern in your blog comment sections wherein someone responds in some negative, perhaps personal way to what you’ve said, to which your response will generally be along the lines of “I never said” or “When did I ever say?”. Perception has a powerful influence on what people think you are trying to say. Maybe you didn’t say it, but they heard it.

    Over time, as I’ve read more and more of your blog entries and the corresponding comment sections, I found myself less and less inclined to disagree with you. Maybe I’m too afraid of a public rebuke from you, because based on the huge number of “Amen brother” comments, I could definitely find myself outnumbered in the discussion. I wonder if I’m alone in this, or if this pattern is suppressing a form of dissent in the very place you are trying to foster it?

    Yes, no doubt you receive untold numbers of private / anonymous emails and letters admonishing you for your supposed heretical views, but I don’t respect that approach. I don’t see heavy criticism employed that often in the public forum, and almost never without a response.

    It’s your blog, and you have every right to moderate it and maintain what you define as a civil discussion, but you do open the blog to the comments of others.

    I left the SBC last year over just exactly the kind of crushing conformity message you allude to here, but dissent to me is more than like-minded people dog-piling the easy targets of the evangelical freak show (even if it’s delivered under the guise of “humor”). And yes, I’ve got the fleas to show how often I’ve participated in the piling-on.

    I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with any of your views, really, and much of the time I agree wholeheartedly. I only wish I could feel freer to express myself here without the need for a long-winded, carefully worded, defensive, explanatory thesis. When I express a strong belief in the contrarian view, I have by default said the other person’s point of view is wrong, and therefore, I have insinuated that they themselves are somehow wrong-minded (not my goal). This is a tough thing for me to work out.

    Me? I’m a confirmed cynic, and I’m told by those close to me that I can be mean, so I have to guard how I say things because my mouth has gotten me in trouble more than once…and it has probably said too much for now.

  6. Either way, Michael B.

    I certainly didn’t think she was defending it. This is a thread about Christian dissent, and I am offering some based on the topic raised in that post.

    Much of the nature of my own personal areas of dissent in the Spiritual realm is based on what is easily observed by the unindoctrinated as opposed to what scholars and theologians tell us we should or must believe. That post is an example.

  7. Dolan McKnight says

    I grew up in a wonderful SBC church in the fifties and sixties whose leadership was as caring and righteous to a fault. Yet when I went to college, I discovered the liberal side of Christianity that my church never talked about. I was concerned that they had been hiding Schweitzer, Barth, Bultmann, et al from me and I almost lost my faith. One summer I began to do some reading at Southwestern Seminary and realized that the liberal positions could be addressed and one could be both conservative theologically and open minded. Of course, N. T. Wright is an example for me today, as well as other pastors, who seem to have gravitated from the SBC to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

    I finally left an SBC church six years ago, partially because I was sick of the Convention infighting and smearing of reputations, and joined a conservative Methodist church. There, I am free to be credobaptist among a sea of paedobaptists and no one cares. I can debate the meaning of the resurrection with one with a less literal viewpoint and we can remain friends. It used to be that way in the SBC, but they seemed to have lost tolerance starting in 1979.

  8. Ed:

    If you refrain from making me the central issue, and speak respectfully and on topic, you won’t be moderated at all.

    I appreciate your point, but the “fear of being moderated” simply isn’t a reason not to comment. I probably moderate less than 1% of comments.

    Your comment that I will make it clear what I actually said and actually mean is really puzzling. Given a choice of what someone heard and what I actually said/meant, which should I defend?

    For example, a guy asked me how dumb I thought James Price was? I said I never called him dumb. “Dumb” has a meaning. I know the meaning. I didn’t say it or mean it. I said what I said and good grief, that’s provocative enough. I’m more than willing to discuss what I’ve said, but I won’t discuss the exaggerated and reworded versions of what I meant.

    I’m in class with non-Christians 5 hours a day, 4 of those teaching Bible. I’m pretty experienced at creating a teaching environment. But when a student wants to tell me that my mention of African American culture actually meant that I was a racist who wants him back in the cotton field, he’s not going to get very far.

    I may be defensive on what I write because I take some care with what I write. There are manipulative commenters who do nothing but go from blog to blog stirring the pot. If I’m going to have comments, then I’m going to be accurate. I have a lot of positions that others don’t share. I’m not trying to avoid the provocative nature of what I say. But I will deal with what I said and what I meant and not with what some critic wants to stuff into my mouth, mind or onto the page.

    ms

  9. Michael, what would you change about the first one? It’s one of my favorites of your essays from the old site.

  10. HUG, I have a vague memory that I asked you before about your science fiction writing. Remember that I want to read some of your writings.

    iMonk, well you manage to attract quite a variety of people. So, if you are wack then so must we be. Hmm, of course, there is at least one Archpriest, maybe two, who think that about me.

    As with most things there is a balance between too much dissent and too much sheepleness. It is a hard to find balance. And, if I had the answer to that balance, I would cheerfully write it down here.

  11. As to the subject of dissent…….isn’t that what false teachers are known for in the bible……to cause divisions and to bring people after themselves ? I am all for dissent for the sake of the gospel or for the sake of Truth but I think we should becareful that we don’t fall into dissenting for dissenting’s sake or worse dissenting out of a rebellious heart or dissenting to be noticed and wanting attention. And also, Paul makes clear that in the last days that some will fall away from the faith. Jesus makes clear that the gate is narrow and the way is hard. I think people these days have fallen for the postmodern idea and desire to be ‘ oh so different ‘ from such and such or so and so. I think that is what might be driving some to think and react the way they are. If that is correct they are wasting their time trying to be ‘oh so different or unique ‘. Fundies are reacting and non-Fundies are also reacting.
    As to authoritarian fundamentalism I would agree with you about it’s harm and that there is a better way. I think we’re living in hard times spiritually speaking. It’s become harder to listen to Truth.

  12. whoa – Comparing what Paul was dealing with and what exists now in Christendom is like comparing apples with a produce market.

  13. Not too long ago I saw EWTN Fr. Peyton’s Family Theater Production’s portrayal of the Day of Pentecost. Raymond Burr played St. Peter, and other recognizable character actors from the 1950’s played other apostles.

    There they were in costume — full beards and all — in the upper room faithfully pronouncing their parts from the Gospels and the Book of Acts: “The Lord told us to wait here for the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter. He will lead us into all Truth.”

    Cut to Fr. Peyton, narrating from the Scripture.

    Back to the Upper Room. There they all stood in exactly the same poses. St. Peter (Burr) in the same attitude and tone of voice saying something like, “The Spirit did come, just as Our Lord said he would. ” Another apostles adds, “Yes and I saw it come down as tongues of fire. And We all spoke in other languages. And you Peter preached to the Jews and converted thousands.”

    Then Peter speaks to each Apostle by name, prophesying what part of the world each will preach in. And that was it. The Great Day of Pentecost treated as if the postman had just delivered the morning mail.

    This was a very popular Catholic media ministry of its day. But for those of us who have experienced the Baptism in the Spirit, this is an obvious example of uniformed but well meaning people putting the words of Scripture into the context of their own limited experience. When that is codified into dogma that is enforced as what must be adhered to, then the choice will always come for those who have the Truth revealed to them as to whether to follow God or the Church, in my opinion.

  14. Hmmm, allways englihtening to read your blog. I am always intrigued by our differences in perception. Some of it relating to our different theological heritages but some of it grounded in our geographical distance…the difference between Southern California and the Bible belt. For instance you point out the evil that resulted from SBC adoption of inerancy- I find that facinating. I am so greatful that the LCMS teaches biblical inerrancy since I can look at the theological state of other Lutheran church bodies that don’t. There may be a price to be paid by Baptists in embracing inerrancy but there is a price to be paid by Lutherans in rejectin this doctrine. Odd the same doctrine would work so differently in our different theological traditions.

  15. Surfnetter:
    I’m not sure what is so upsetting about that production you mentioned. The tradition of certain apostles being sent to certain lands, Mark to Egypt, Thomas to India, etc… is not Catholic dogma by any means. It seems like a very humble, unassuming production. I don’t see why this play caused you to have to pit God against His Church…

    I see things like this at RCIA a lot. Sometimes even set to interpretative dance. It’s cheesy and painful to watch, but it hardly seems cause for an existential crisis. Some people really like stuff like that. I usually just close my eyes and recite the Dies Irae until it’s over. 🙂 Am I missing something?

  16. Curtis — The key to what I’m referring to is in the reality of the Baptism in the Spirit.

    A couple of months ago I acted as confirmation sponsor for my niece. Th RCC tells the kids that this is their day of Pentecost — and reads from the Book of Acts. But even after the Charismatic Renewal has been officially accepted as an important move of the Spirit, this experience was for me and I’m sure for almost all candidates and sponsors the most useless and tedious exercise in a place of worship I have spent in all my years as a Christian. The elderly nun organizing the event treated us not just like cattle, but retarded cattle. And then the Bishop comes out for the homily and tells them that this is the most important day of their spiritual lives and that God is about to enter them in a very special way to guide them, just as he did the Apostles. My niece, the rest of the young adolescent candidates (many of which were thinking of themselves as vampires, due to the popular “Twilight” series) and the adult sponsors were bored to distraction.

    This had as much resemblance to the actual Day of Pentecost and the experience in the Early Church as a New York rush hour subway does to Times Square at midnight on New Years Eve.

  17. That Other Jean says

    Curtis,

    I’m not Surfnetter, but I get what he’s talking about. The Holy Ghost visiting the Apostles would have been an shaken-to-their-foundations, life-changing, well-nigh-unbelievable experience. Sure, they’d been with Jesus, who may have been God incarnate–healed the sick, cast out demons, stuff like that–but who came across as a man. This was tongues of FIRE–clearly not-man–giving their marching orders. They would have been excited, freaked out, CHANGED, comparing notes on what they’d seen and felt and heard–understanding, finally, that they’d heard God. They wouldn’t be calmly standing around discussing their experiences.

    The movie portrays the bare facts, but shows no understanding of what actually happened to the Apostles on that day. I think Surfnetter is saying that what the Church teaches, if this is an example, misses the mark, because it doesn’t understand the direct experience of God. When those who have experienced God directly through Baptism in the Spirit come into conflict with the doctrines taught by their church, he is suggesting that believers will need to make a choice between following the teachings of the church or their personal experience of God.

  18. That Other Jean says

    Oops. I see Surfnetter beat me to it. Sorry about that.

  19. Thanks Jean — now there’s an example of a move of the Spirit right there.

    I think we compliment each other rather well … 🙂

  20. The more that you people hate and fight each other, the less energy you’ll have to wage the battle against non-christians.

    Onward, christian soldiers, onward!

    By the way, I would STILL rather burn in hell for all eternity than worship your god.

  21. “you have heard it said…but i tell you…”

  22. Yes, I’ve heard more of your Christian hate speech than I’ll ever need to hear.

  23. That Other Jean says

    Goliath,

    Maybe you’ve heard a lot of Christian hate speech, but you’ve picked the wrong forum to complain about it. IMonk runs a pretty tight ship here, and doesn’t put up with non-Christian bashing. This is a bunch of people, mostly conservative Christians, trying to find their way out of the mess they have been led into by various Christian excesses/heresies/misinterpretations. They’re looking for a different take on Christianity, but not of the bashing-the-heathens variety. While they’re more than happy to teach you about their take on God, nobody here would compel you to worship Him. Peace.

  24. “While [the Christians here are] more than happy to teach you about their take on God, nobody here would compel you to worship Him.”

    Then they have no interest in the grand commission, and hence they are not bible-believing Christians, unlike, say, Fred Phelps.

  25. That Other Jean says

    If your example of a Bible-believing Christian is Fred Phelps, there isn’t much else to say. I hope you find other, less hate-filled Christian models. Peace.

  26. Phelps is just as good of an example of a Christian as any other because one Christian is just as much of a Christian as any other Christian. When are you people going to learn that?

  27. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Goliath:

    You mean there is NO variation among individuals in any given group? I was unaware humans (and other primates) were a hive-mind species…

  28. No, that’s not what I said at all. Stop reading what you want to see and read what is there.

  29. Hey man, we don’t always agree, but this post is spot on.

  30. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Not too long ago I saw EWTN Fr. Peyton’s Family Theater Production’s portrayal of the Day of Pentecost. Raymond Burr played St. Peter, and other recognizable character actors from the 1950’s played other apostles.

    There they were in costume — full beards and all — in the upper room faithfully pronouncing their parts from the Gospels and the Book of Acts: “The Lord told us to wait here for the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter. He will lead us into all Truth.”

    Cut to Fr. Peyton, narrating from the Scripture.

    Back to the Upper Room. There they all stood in exactly the same poses. St. Peter (Burr) in the same attitude and tone of voice saying something like, “The Spirit did come, just as Our Lord said he would. ” Another apostles adds, “Yes and I saw it come down as tongues of fire. And We all spoke in other languages. And you Peter preached to the Jews and converted thousands.”

    Then Peter speaks to each Apostle by name, prophesying what part of the world each will preach in. And that was it. The Great Day of Pentecost treated as if the postman had just delivered the morning mail. — Surfnetter

    Surf, that’s just PAINFUL. “Tell, don’t show” just like all those scenes in Left Behind. When I was on a road trip last year, I was in a motel with EWTN and checked it out. Some sort of movie about the life of St Ignatius Loyola. It was AWFUL — St Ignatius, Basque nobleman, professional soldier, swashbuckler, and founder of those “Vatican Green Berets”, the Jesuits — turned into a Pious Plaster Saint from some Victorian holy card. Looks like Evangelicals & Baptists don’t have a monopoly on really AWFUL dramatic productions. We Papists flake out, too.

    For the best Upper Room scene in film, check out the first post-Resurrection appearance in that old TV miniseries A.D.. Jesus is dead, Judas is dead, Peter’s in full depresso mode as he and the others hide out. So he decides to start eating, passing a loaf of bread around to the others. Close-up on the bread as it passes around, counting off. And then the last apostle there passes it to another hand — one with a nail-scar. “Come on, Peter, I know you’re stronger than that. After all I taught you?”

    Pan up. It’s Jesus, sitting there like nothing’s out of the ordinary, with a “Hi there; remember me?” look.

    Apostles freak out. Bad. “Hee… Wah… Gik… Na… Hoo… Ha…”

    Jesus calms them down, shows “Yes, it’s Me,” teaches them a bit, then passes the loaf around again.

    Again we follow the breadloaf around from hand to hand, counting off until the last one hands it back to Jesus — and nobody’s there.

    Great Scene.

    Jesus has this posture like he just sneaked in and wanted to see how long before they notice him sitting there, the disciples react like you’d expect real people to (total freakout), and both appearance and disappearance are like actual accounts of paranormal appearances/disappearances — you never see the appearance or disappearance, the apparition is just THERE like you didn’t notice it coming.