Jim Jones, Leadership, Fathers and The "Jim Jones Syndrome"
2020 was an unpredictable year to say the least. Many were scared, worried, grieving, anxious, and just down right frustrated how things went. This is a wake up call for men, especially fathers. I submit to you that there has been a massive negation of too many leaky faucets in our lives. These are two quotes I'd like to share to capture my tone:
"Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship." - Benjamin Franklin
"One leak will sink a ship: and one sin will destroy a sinner." - John Bunyan
Maybe where we are today is not solely because of people rejecting God and His ways... no, no, no, maybe it's because of people's inconsistency with God and His ways. Also to add, there has been a significant crack in a God ordained institution and if the damage is not repaired we could be partakers of a collapse... More on that later.
Let's rewind the clocks back to the 1970's a time in America where racial tension was unquestionably high, soldiers fighting the Vietnam war, and presidential scandals. In the midst of this was a movement birthed out of Indiana from the workings of a man named Jim Jones. He was charismatic preacher who started the church called The People's Temple of Disciples of Christ. He would preach from the Bible, perform "healings" of the sick and lame, and had people live a life dedicated to the cause of The Temple. Their community provided their own healthcare, schooling, houses for the elderly and much more. Members would sell their homes and give the money to the church. This mirrored the biblical text from the book of Acts "And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need." They had a positive community and people were cared for. As stated earlier this all took place in a time period where the country was segregated. He pioneered integration and racial equality. Jim Jones was the first white man to adopt a black child into his family in the state of Indiana. He adopted multiple children from different ethnicities. These are just a few bullet points of Jim Jones and The People's Temple and I want to settle here for a moment. As noble and honorable as his endeavors were, Jim Jones had another side to him. His son Stephen Jones, says this about his father in this interview below:
"...My father preached tolerance, he preached a lot of truths but he didn't live em but he preached em." - Stephen Jones
Jim Jones Syndrome
This sums up what I like call the "Jim Jones Syndrome". Jim Jones Syndrome is as follows: When a person seeks to bring about positive change to the society around them but at the same time devalue or sometimes even destroy the society nearest to them (their family). What you may not know about Jim Jones is his involvement in extra marital affairs, drug abuse, and manipulation of people in The Peoples Temple. On the outside he appeared to be a lover and champion for equality, but on the inside it was a different story. All this took a toll on his family, as you can hear in the interview above. I coined the phrase after Jim Jones but it didn't begin with him. This dates back ages. You can run down a list of people, wide known figures in leadership whereas they seem to breakdown the walls for freedom but at the same time fail to defend the walls of their own homes. It's a sad truth. JJS is not exclusive to just popular figures in history, look at your own homes. The way I see it, we have tons of Jim Jones's now. What do I mean by that? Well... Jim Jones rose to fame by building a platform for himself. He held services, preached sermons, did outreach, traveled across the U.S., held meetings, glad-handed people, and also received awards for his work. He was a big deal in California before Jonestown. He put the work in and I'm sure it took a lot out of him physically. He had a platform that was real. Real people were invested in his message and did whatever they could to follow. This all came with time.
Like I mentioned earlier, now there are more Jim Jones's. More people have "platforms" brought to you by social media. Now individuals have digital followers that can echo their message accurately. So here is the question, if there are more Jim Jones's how many families will be destroyed in the process?
It's become common place to have social media platforms and to preach to followers a message but how many online "leaders" are skipping their family to do it? If Jim Jones was doing this without social media and internet help, how devastating is it now with technological aides at our fingertips.
So here is the question, if there are more Jim Jones's how many families will be destroyed in the process?
Antidote for Jim Jones Syndrome
Fathers must not succumb to this syndrome. Just because the bar has lowered severely doesn't mean we have to take the bait. Be consistent on and offline. Social media has become a place to build a platform to glorify yourself. Online you only show your audience a filtered persona of who you are. Like Jim Jones did to the masses. Similar to his case sadly, the family suffers. Your relationship with your spouse is hanging on by a thread, you don't even sleep in the same bed but you will post dolled up pictures of you two with an endearing caption. Being a consistent father in Christ will cure this syndrome. Too many men have preached one thing and lived another and like clockwork the family is devastated by it. It's not a good idea to be inconsistent. The deception of the syndrome is to lie to yourself and make excuses for your inconsistency; or even blame an enemy. Jim Jones did this too. The antidote is this, REPENT. Turn back to the God of the Bible. The ultimate source of life. Deliverance is key. Fathers walk with The Lord and walk circumspectly. Be exact. On point. CONSISTENT in all manner of life. Your children need to see it. We do not need another contradictory father.
In closing I want to say this: Fathers, the Jim Jones Syndrome is real. Teaching and not demonstrating your doctrine by your actions sends a mixed message, especially to your children. Beware of it.