Someone has asked, "What is the cage stage?" I have mentioned it a couple of times in various posts, most recently in my series Why I No Longer Celebrate Christmas. In my haste, I failed to adequately define this peculiar term for my readers, so I offer my sincere apologies and the following definition:
cage state | noun | demonstrating wild and possibly deranged excitement over the seventeenth century pronouncements of the Synod of the Canons of Dordt in the Netherlands. These pronouncements are often referred to as the five points of Calvinism and, once a person becomes convinced that these five points are true, he or she enters the dreaded "cage stage." The novice Calvinist is considered "armed and dangerous" during this period, which has been known to extend to six months, but in more serious cases can last up to ten years or longer.
Symptoms include: high fever that results in delirious incoherence of thought and speech; vomiting spasms brought on when anyone mentions "free will" or "asking Jesus into their heart" or the dreaded philosophy of Jacob Arminius; restlessness, especially during church services, when the sufferer goes more than an hour without hearing the TULIP's five bells ringing in their ears; and diahrrea of the mouth, where uncontrollable spasms of verbal nonsense put everyone within earshot at risk.
The recommended treatment is complete isolation, restriction of movement and speech, until the symptoms pass. Unfortunately, this treatment is rarely sought by the afflicted person, so family and friends are often left to suffer silently. The only person who can reach the cage stage victim is a more experienced Calvinist, because the victim's state of mind does not permit trust in any others. Please DO NOT attempt intervention without consulting an expert.
I trust this tongue-in-cheek definition will be helpful, leading to the early detection, treatment, and cure of this serious illness. As for myself, I do believe that there is life after Calvinism. It might be encouraging to hear from those who have recovered from the cage stage or those who have been able to help others through this personal crisis.
Note: After writing this post, I discovered an excellent article by beowulf, along with links on his site to ten other related articles (below) by various bloggers:
- Why Calvinists Have a Poor Reputation
- Baby Calvinists Should Be Shackled!
- Quick-and-Dirty Calvinism
- Reformed Theology vs. the Reformed Attitude
- A Farewell to Calvinism
- You Might still be in the Caged Calvinist Stage If….
- Top Ten Signs You’re a Calvinist– Who’s Still in the “Cage Stage”
- Loving Calvinists: An Oxymoron?
- Is Arminianism a False Gospel?
- Are All Arminians Unsaved?