Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Reflector of His Bountifulness

Give thanks unto the Lord for he has dealt bountifully with me.  

 It was our first visit to Nemacolin and we had won a 2 night stay in this beautiful hotel and spa. 

In Nemacolin's grand foyer, filled with marble, pillars and chandeliers, sat the emblem of Nemacolin -  a huge brass song bird.  The bird has his beak raised and seems to be singing his heart out.  He is fat, showing the abundance and provision of his surroundings.  As I stood in this foyer in wonder at the splendor of my surroundings and pondering why this bird stirred something inside of my heart the verse from Psalms 13:6 jumped into my heart and seared itself on my mind. 

This bird looked like he was singing to his maker and at that instant I knew how he felt.  I could never look at this likeness without thinking of this verse.  As I pondered the whole thing, I realized that the word "bountiful" was how God had revealed himself, personally, to me.

Marshall bought me a silver necklace to wear that I am rarely without and a small replica of the actual brass statue that sits on my hearth reminding me to "sing" to my Father at every instance I recognize His bounty. Some days it is really easy, other dreary, cold sad days it has been a bit harder to do but just one look at that bird and I am instantly transported back to a time where God showed me something of Himself and spoke to my heart and my heart only.

As I have talked to people I find that often I can see how God has chosen to reveal something of Himself to them. It can be all sorts of various ways - forgiveness, coming to their rescue,  joy, comfort, being a teacher, friend, giver of peace and so on and so on.  It is as if he has facets of Himself that he gives each of us a picture to show us who He is and more importantly, who He is to us individually.

Then, just this past Friday, I was minding my own business, simply going about my morning and making my mid-morning second cup of coffee.  I was not thinking about God, Scripture or anything "spiritual."  I was simply making coffee getting ready for the next part of my morning. 

I heard this in my mind/spirit..."I showed you Myself in bountifulness because I want you to BE bountiful towards others."

I almost jumped as the thought was so strong and from out of nowhere.  And then my mind began to race. 

I had seen, just the other day on Facebook someone ask about the big "D" word.  You see destiny was a big buzz word in my past Christian life.  You were to Find your Destiny, Walk out your Destiny, and Fulfill your Destiny in Christ. 

The thought went like this.  We were created by God with a plan that he had in mind for us.  Therefore this plan was of extreme importance and it was EVERYTHING to try to find it and not screw it up.  It involved living as sinless as possible (sin could keep you from your Destiny), living in the "right" place, going to the "right" church, being aligned with the "right" people and of course marrying the "right" person.  How many of us worried that we would mess one or all of these up and never find our "DESTINY?!?"  OMG!  The pressure was immense. 

But Friday as I stood there with this thought on my heart - that in how the Father had revealed Himself to me was one of the ways he wanted me to reflect him to others - I realized that I may, just maybe, have a piece of this Destiny puzzle.  Maybe it is far easier than we have ever imagined.  Maybe it is far easier to find your "Destiny" than we have often taught or believed.  Maybe we are just to simply reflect the Father's glory as He shows us Himself.
Can you see how every piece of the 'church' could then show the world just how wonderful our God truly is.  We would have reflectors of peace, of forgiveness, of truth, of grace.  And guess what!?!  It is not hard to just show people what you have been shown.  It is easy.  It is simple. 

Then to wrap this whole thought up let me add one last piece of this ongoing story.  I was in our shed today getting it tidied up for Christian and Bethy to store some stuff in it while they are in State College.  I was sorting out some of Mom and Dad's stuff that we still have lingering.  I pulled out a framed picture of a verse written out with her name "Doris" at the top.  I had never seen this picture before.  It said,
~ bountiful ~
Give thanks unto the Lord,
because he hath dealt
bountifully with me."
Psalm 13:6

That's when I knew this was really important that I get what God was saying to me.  This verse was generational!!  My parents had always given thanks for what God had given them and taught us to never fear that he would not provide.  They had taught us girls to do the same.  And, if you stood still long enough in their home they gave of their "bounty" and weren't satisfied until you took it.  They were not rich by today's standards but even at the end of Mom's life I stood in her room and marveled with Ruthie at how blessed she was even in the last days of her life.

So, why do I write this out?  First of all because I want to put it down so I remember it.  Secondly, I want my kids and their kids to know something.  I want them to understand that your Destiny will be fulfilled as you reflect how the Father has revealed himself to you.  It is not hard.  It is not complicated.  It does not require you to be perfect or sinless or always 'right.'  Some days it might require sacrifice or pain.  I'm not saying it will always be fun.  But I think the whole thing will not be complicated.  Remember the idea of the "yoke being easy?"  Maybe this is the answer!

I can't wait for the rest of the story. 

A Bountiful Reflector

Friday, March 29, 2013

Facebook Friends Awareness Week

If your Facebook page shows none of the above signs in place of your friend's pictures, you might want to rethink that whole "reaching the lost" strategy of yours.

We say we want to be out in the world but sadly many of us only have friends and acquaintances that are just like us.  We surround ourselves with ourselves.

By the way, I'm not saying if you have the picture above advocating marriage equality that you are not a believer.  I'm just saying that it is probable that we are insulating ourselves a bit too much inside what is comfortable if no one on our list of friends is throwing this up this week.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Teaching Through a Glass Darkly

Today on Facebook, Stephen Crosby said this:
One of the problems in "ministry" as one gets older, is that you have to come to grips with the fact that, unfortunately, people actually believe the stuff you taught them when you were crazy!! You can't be upset for people for still hanging on to garbage you taught them, after you have "moved on!" Someone once said: "I used to "kill" people over things I don't even believe in any more!" Ah . . . God, you truly put your treasure in "clay pots" . . . crazy clay pots at that.  

It not only drives me crazy for what I have taught in the past, it drives me crazy when I broach any spiritual subject (to even comment on it) in the present. 

Even Paul said that we see through a glass darkly - that now he knows in part but then (life after?) he shall know fully as he is known.

The Message says this:  "We don't yet see things clearly.  We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.  But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright?  We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!  But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.  And the best of the three is love.

How do teachers do it?  How do we teach through this dark glass, this fog, this mist?  How do you know that what you believe and impart to your students, family and friends is true?

If Paul himself admitted that he didn't see everything clearly and clung to Faith, Hope and Love...I think that is a good example for me.  

If my life centers on NOT what I know, but on my behavior that exemplifies Faith, Hope and Love, and if I encourage anyone who happens to be following me to center on these things too, then there may be a place for me as a teacher.  If it is dependent on what I KNOW about God, or Scripture...then I'm sunk.  All I can do is tell you what I THINK I CAN SEE.

It is also what I look for in a teacher.  I want someone who tells me that he "thinks it might mean ...."  I don't want a teacher that makes it seem like he has figured it all out.  And if I don't see faith, hope and love as a central part of his behavior, you won't find me listening at all.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Who are you reading?

My blog roll is not as large as it used to be. (I need to go though those at the side of my page and clean up my old blog roll)   Many of you who wrote then, quit like me.  Life happened to some and they quit.  I grew tired of the tone of some and stopped reading.  Some took off into other directions and I am so glad for them.

But others sprang up and took their place.  I love the voices that I read.  I seem to be able to feel connected with people as I read what they write.  I love the inner thoughts spilled out onto this interweb thingy.

One of those authors is Addie Zierman.  For most of her posts she takes a phrase most often used in evangelical Christianity and writes about it in the most open and usually profound way.   Her post today (God-Shaped Hole)  was brilliant and makes me wonder if I should just stand aside and let those of us with a real ability say it better.

 But really, if you don't already have her in your reader  then please put her there and go back to read her old stuff too.   Like this amazing piece - An Open Letter to the Church - How to love the Cynics or this one from a few days ago - you worship people might like this - Audience of One.

Other authors I am appreciating:
For a true take on the Grace Message:  Escape to Reality
For brutal honesty:  Jamie the Very Worst Missionary
And a true Elder of the Church:  Sword of the Kingdom

What/who are you reading now?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Why Don't You Write Anymore?

A close friend asked me (again) the other day if I was going to write on my blog ever again.  I dodged the question and did not respond with anything of value to his question.  But I have thought on it a lot in the past few days.

Just this morning I read a post from a dear girl who is at a training camp on the other side of the world.  I think it is a YWAM training.  She was eloquently describing what she was learning and a bit about the teaching that she is participating in.

She described that she is in her 7th week at this camp.  Last week was on the Father's heart.  This week is on Lordship.  I found myself wondering how those teachers had the nerve and confidence to stand up in front of these young adults and help to shape their view of the Father.

And it finally struck me what my problem is with blogging my heart and thoughts now days.

I'm afraid I will be wrong.

See, for so long I was wrong about so much.  I was wrong about church life and practice.  I was wrong about not only my view of God but what I taught others.  I was wrong in part with how I raised my children.  I was wrong in how I manipulated each and every relationship I touched.

Previously, much of this blog was about deconstruction.  It was about pointing out where I and others were wrong.  It was about putting a stop to the abuse that I had participated in.  But very little of what I remember writing was about what I believe now.

See here is the problem.  For everything I believe there is someone to say that I am not seeing the whole picture.  For everything I think there is another way to think about it.  For every way to look at something there is another way to see it.  For every way that I look at scripture there is another theologian who disagrees.

Heck, I am afraid to say that broccoli is good for you because of the studies that I'm sure are out there that say it will kill you in some horrible way.  How then can I say that God is like this, or Jesus meant that or here is what I think Scripture says on this or I think you should raise your kids like this.

I find myself wondering how can I speak into a world that is so filled with everyone who knows for sure that they are right. (And they just might be)

And so my fear silences me.

But here is one thing about me that I know.  I HATE fear.  I loath it.  Whenever I see it I want it dead.  Whenever I sense fear in me I want to  conquer it.   It will not rule me.

Therefore I am going to write a bit here again.  Maybe I'll write about something I am learning.  Maybe I'll pass along something I'm reading.  But I'm not going to let myself be silenced out of fear that I am not completely, 100 percent right.

You are welcome to follow along again.  Or not.  I'm going to write for me.

 Conversations, as always are welcome.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Another Resource - The Heresy of Mind Control (and a dare!)

Sometimes it is just easier to hear the truth from a totally unbiased source. It can be very hard to listen to people's stories and not wonder if their memory is truly good, if they are exaggerating the truth in any way or if they might be outright lying. I understand this.
One of the most helpful things for me in this whole process was to read from those who were not talking about my particular group or even denomination. It was in looking at what they were saying and seeing the stark reality of how closely our group paralleled an abusive environment that I was able to understand that what we were doing was harmful.
I found another resource this week that again will cause you to re-evaluate all that we did and participated in while at this Church.
Stephen Martin, a counselor from Wellspring in Ohio (a group that helps people coming out of controlling groups and/or cults) has written a clear, concise book about how mind control works in a group.
He says in the introduction, "Suppose you move to a different area, and are keeping your eyes open for a good group to belong to (a social club, a church, a synagogue, or service organization). You visit one such group where the people are very friendly, loving, and give you individual attention. The group has a variety of programs: a rehabilitation program for drug addicts, services and nursing homes for the elderly, help for the poor, and free clinics. The leader inspires the disillusioned, the disenchanted, and those who have been rejected elsewhere. He is well-known and respected in the area, and the mayor gave him a position as Director of the City Housing Authority. Would you join this group?" - You just joined Jim Jone's group! He goes on to explain his book this way, "Are there any warning signs that a group and its leader are dangerous? That’s largely what this book is about. "
Now I'm NOT saying that this Church will start passing out the Kool-aid next Sunday. I am saying that if you will read this it will become clear to you why the abuse keeps happening and why story after story continues to churn out of this group of people's lives being destroyed and their faith shaken.
It is NOT WRONG to read and consider an opposing viewpoint. If you went to a dealership and wanted to buy a particular model of car and the salesman, after explaining all the wonderful features of the car urged you to NOT go and read Consumer Report's review on this car nor hear anyone's concerns on the web about this car, you would be the FIRST to go and look that up. Information, even from those who are in disagreement, is not "Poison" to read. If you cannot look at the opposing viewpoint and refute it within your own heart and mind then you truly are not "free" as you claim.
The free download of this book can be found here:
For those leaders at this Church that read here I simply dare you to read this and have a discussion with me.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Story of a Flock - A Parable

My story begins as we begin to see a small flock off in the distance. It is a small flock of sheep. As we get closer we can see that this flock is like most other flocks we have seen. Sheep, green pasture, a small fence for protection at night and a shepherd sitting by the small gate who carries a staff for protection and a harp to sing to his sheep. The scene is simple and pristine in its beauty.

As we move even closer we find that this flock is newly formed. The Great Shepherd had called out to various sheep and they had come together for protection, fellowship and feeding and to just be together with the Shepherd. As we start to move among them we notice that the Great Shepherd had been very specific in his calling because from a distance all the sheep looked the same but up close you began to see how each sheep differed in its personality and calling.

There were sheep that loved to study the Shepherd and explain to the other sheep all that was being learned. There were sheep that understood the shepherd’s harp – its purpose and design. They could play various instruments and sing and when they did the whole flock stood awed at the sound and would even join in to sing songs of the Shepherd with them. There were sheep that wanted to do nothing but mingle amongst the other sheep to look for those who had hurt themselves. These sheep understood the art of binding the wounds and healing the hurts. They could find pastures during the day to make sure the sheep were getting the needed nourishment and clear healing water. Other sheep did nothing but gaze out at the range and look for sheep who had never heard of a Shepherd. Once spotted, they would rush out to tell of the wonders of their Shepherd. And yes, there were a few sheep that could seemingly see the gifts given to each sheep and help to set the flock up to where all the sheep could function in their gifts and be used to the best of the flock. Even though these sheep had this gift they always remembered that they were also just sheep and that it was the Shepherd that truly was in charge of the flock.

The Shepherd saw that this was good. He would regularly mingle amongst the sheep and it was not long before you realized that this Shepherd had a relationship with each of the sheep. He would speak softly to each one. His words, when overheard, were words of encouragement, direction, explanation, and sometimes even correction but were always given with so much grace and peace that the whole flock trusted this Shepherd.

No, this flock was not perfect. Sometimes the sheep would fight. There were even bites given and received and the ones who carried the bandages and salve would be called upon to help to heal the hurts. Some of the sheep did not understand the gifts given to other sheep and felt that the work that they deemed most important was being overlooked. Sometimes the sheep that had the gift of organization would become a bit overbearing and sometimes forgot that ultimately it was up to the Shepherd to lead the sheep. But for all the messiness in the flock it was still a place of joy and peace.

I, as the author of this piece, am going to transport you to 15 years into the future and describe what happened to this flock.

As we draw close to the flock we see again that there are just sheep in the space where we left them but it does not take long to start to see significant differences. What you will now see will break your heart.

The first thing that catches your eye is the fence. What used to be a simple fence around a lush field of grass and a spring with a simple gate for coming and going is now a fence of a fortress around a dried patch of dirt and a tiny polluted spring in the corner. The fence is massive and it is evident that great time has been spent constructing it. There are watchtowers at each corner as if someone is expecting an imminent attack upon the flock. At the gate no longer sits the Shepherd but there are sheep placed there as guards in full battle gear.

As you draw closer you began to notice a difference in how the sheep are standing. There are rows and rows of sheep. They are not grazing contentedly as we last saw. There is no sign of the Shepherd walking among them like before. They eat in rows, they do their duties in rows and even though there seems to be smiles on each face there is no feeling of joy left in the flock.

It is then that one of the most alarming things becomes apparent. A few of the sheep no longer walk on all fours. There are about 10 of them that have somehow decided to walk upright on two feet. It is soon evident that these sheep are the ones in charge. Out of the 10 or so sheep that walk uprightly you see that a few of these sheep are wearing beautiful woolen clothing, carry a staff and wear a crown on their heads. All sheep stop when the crowned ones speak. The crowned ones give an order and the other upright sheep make sure that the common sheep understand the order and heed it. Then you understand the rows of sheep all facing the same direction. It is at the command of the crowned ones and the work of the other upright ones that the sheep are kept in this rigid order.

As you mingle among the common sheep you are startled at how shorn they are. Their wool has been shorn far too often to give them any protection from the weather and the elements. They seem to shiver at the slightest wind. Your heart breaks for them as you see the sheep line up for yet another shearing over in the corner of the pen. When you ask them why they are giving their wool away so often at their own expense they will tell you that in giving their wool away they will be blessed and not fall under a curse of the Great Shepherd. Their shivering they are glad to bear.

At this revelation you are simply shocked. Why would the Great Shepherd want your wool in such an extreme measure, you ask. Don’t they see that the wool they are giving are only going towards the reinforcement and building of the walls around their flock and to outfit the crowned and upright ones in wonderful, rich, woolen clothing? And who ever told them that the Great Shepherd would curse them? Don’t they remember how he walked among them in such a loving way? How he made sure that they were fed and warm and loved? Where was the Great Shepherd anyway? Had anyone seen him recently? Yes, they assure you. The crowned one meets with him every morning. He gets his orders from the Great Shepherd and then they all follow those orders. They grow tired of my questions and start accusing me of being a questioner and bringing division. Most start to ignore me.

I decide to go and speak to the upright ones and ask why the shearing is taking place and why the sheep are left cold and shivering in the elements. They are also shorn but carry with them blankets of thin wool that help to ward off the cold. When you inquire of them you are met with instant glares of anger and derision. They point to the head crowned one and tell you that he is the one that sets the pace for the shearing. This crowned one is not to be questioned as his tall stature allows him to hear the Great Shepherd far more easily than the common sheep. The days of the Great Shepherd speaking to each of the sheep individually is now been replaced with this crowned one hearing instead for the sheep. After all, they say, the Great Shepherd has set the flock in order in this day and age and this is how it is to be done.

Your attention is now turned to the crowned one. His clothes are the finest and his feet are shod in the finest sheepskin. His wool has been shorn too but not as short. Even if it were short the fine woolen clothing would keep him warm. There is an air of authority that surrounds him but also fear. As he walks among the sheep you see them cower before him. Some come and bow at his feet and give him gifts of their wool. Others offer to carry his staff hoping that they too will be called upon to be one of the upright ones. Some garner his smile while others seem to garner his anger. As you listen in to what is being said by the crowned one to the common sheep that day you are left in disbelief. This day he is walking among the sheep and telling them what will happen if they leave the walls he has built up around them. He warns them of certain disasters that will befall them should they leave his protection. “The Great Shepherd is only here in this pen,” he tells them. “If you leave you will leave the protection of the Great Shepherd. Your children will wander off cliffs, your wives will leave you for other sheep, your wool will never grow back and you will never hear the voice of the Great Shepherd again.”

As you sit there in anger, wondering what exactly you should do or say you see a small sheep come up from the ranks of those who are called upon to sing songs of the Shepherd. She speaks up and tells the crowned one that the things he is telling the sheep are simply not true. She knows the Great Shepherd and He has never said such things. Her voice trembles as she gently rebukes the crowned one. As she gathers even more courage she further confronts him on the schedule of shearing and points out that the sheep are cold and being left to shiver in the elements.

You would have thought that this little sheep had grabbed a club and had commenced beating the crowned head of the upright sheep with what happened next. Suddenly from out of nowhere the upright ones come and stand in between the crowned one and the newly exposed questioner. They begin to yell and scream at her for daring to question the crowned one. She begins to quake in fear of their attack on her. She is accused of pride, arrogance, disloyalty, and every other sin they can think of. No one – not one - ever answers the question she brought to the crowned one. But now all attention is turned on her and how very ugly and deficient she is in the flock.

When she does not back down but demands that her questions get answered she is dragged to the gates and thrown out. Along the way her skin is accidently pierced by the sword that one of the guards is carrying as he stands in front of the gate. Her head is banged against the planking as she is discarded outside. And her front leg is sprained as she lands on the unforgiving ground outside the gate.

Now left broken and bleeding she is sure that the other sheep inside will come out and help her. They do love her she tells herself. They will come. She begins to call to them. No one moves. Then at last with great excitement she senses some movement but her hopes are dashed she begins to see the sheep go back into the rows facing the crowned one. She overhears him explaining why she had to be cast out. She listens as he details her “sins.” Her heart breaks as he tells the other sheep that she really never loved her friends. She understands that no one will come to bind up her wounds and so she starts off alone down an unknown path.

She misses the walls that were told to offer her protection. She misses the warmth of belonging to a flock. She longs to sing her songs with others instead of alone. There is too much freedom in being out here by herself. What if she goes the wrong way and falls off a cliff, what if she encounters a snake in the lush grass, what if they say is true and the Good Shepherd never shows up? What is she supposed to do now?

Suddenly around the next corner she finds a cleft in the mountain with a miraculous bit of grass and a small spring and decides to stay at least till her wounds start to heal and she can again walk on her leg or the grass is gone and the spring dries up. Sure enough with just enough to get by she stays hidden here for a few months and begins to grow strong. The grass and spring miraculously never run out and her woolen coat grows thick and she is no longer cold. The nourishment of the grass and spring causes her to become healthy. She begins to venture out, facing her fears that she cannot travel the fields alone. She realizes that there is an inner voice that she had not heard in a long time that warns her of the cliffs or the snakes that lurk therein. She begins to venture further only to find streams of clear water and fields of luscious grass. Joy begins to return to her step and she finds herself singing new songs about the Great Shepherd to herself.

And then one day she sees a man in the distance. He carries a staff and walks on two feet. Instantly she is afraid and wants to run the other direction to safety but falters. She does not hear the inner voice warning her and there is a smell that reaches her nostrils that she remembers with delight. This is not an upright one or a crowned one. This is the GREAT SHEPHERD!

She takes a tentative step towards him and the love in his eyes almost makes her drop to her knees with relief. She knows this man. This man is good. As they meet, the Great Shepherd gently reaches for her and cradles her in his arms. For long moments she just lays there unaware of time and space.

As she finally rouses herself in his embrace she asks him why it took so long to come to her. He assures her that he had been with her all along. It was him that gave her the wisdom to see that things were not right in the pen. It was Him that gave her the courage to ask the hard questions. It was Him that was hurled out the gate with her. She remembered and began to understand that she was never alone.

Suddenly she looked up at Him and laughed, “It was YOU!” “You led me to the cleft in the rock! You gave me the bit of miraculous grass and the delicious clear spring! You prepared that place for me to heal and grow strong and have my wool grow back! You led me there didn’t you?”

Gently with a whisp of a smile that lit up not only his edges of his mouth but his eyes he said, “Well my valiant one, you almost have it right but I did not prepare the cleft in the rock, I wasthe cleft. I did not lead you to the grass and the spring; I was the grass and the spring. I did not prepare a place for you; I am that place for you.

The Great Shepherd then turned to her, set her on her own four legs and said, “Now I have a job I want you to help me with. Will you go back to the pen with me and stand outside the gate and continue to speak to your friends about the truth you now are sure of? Will you be there when they leave or are thrown out to bind up their wounds and tell them of my love for them? Will you explain that the crowned ones have misrepresented me and I am not a Shepherd like they pretend to be? Will you help lead those who are hurt to me so that their fleece can grow warm again and they can hear my voice clearly for themselves again?”

The sheep lifted her head and looked deep into the eyes of love and said a simple “Yes, I would love nothing better."

The story ends, at least for the time being, as you see them walk together down the road towards the old sheep pen. In the distance you hear the bleating of sheep who are wounded and bleeding without a Shepherd.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Spiritual Abuse Parallels

From Ron Bracken of the Centre Daily Times in State College:

"To answer that you have to understand the culture that has prevailed for at least as long as Paterno was in charge of the football program. It was, right up until he was removed from his position Wednesday night, a climate of Kremlin-like secrecy, of tightly-controlled access, of rule by dynamic terror. It was understood that if you wanted to be around his program in a professional aspect, you did so at his pleasure and by his rules."

Do you see the parallels?

Climate of secrecy
Tightly controlled access
Rule by dynamic terror
If you want to be a part in any aspect it is at their pleasure and by their rules.

Whether a university, church or even a family, abuse is bound to happen when these things are present. Just change the names and you have it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Log In My Own Eye

I have no idea where to begin.

For those of you out of the area you may have heard about the scandal that has rocked Penn State this week. There are men that are very high up in the authority structures of Penn State that have hidden the ugliness of child sexual abuse of one of their own peers/coaches/leaders from the public for years. The sheer scope of this horrendous crime has no words in my vocabulary to describe the ache of my heart as I read the accounts.
But somewhere in the past few days I began to see trigger words that made me wonder even about my own heart. I’m not going to rehash the Penn State story so you may have to read a bit on it to understand what I am saying, but my first thought was this: In being a leader so long at our church am I ultimately no different than the men who failed to report the crimes at Penn State? Now there were no crimes of a sexual nature that I ever witnessed nor do I even want to insinuate that there were. Nor am I saying that anything I have ever witnessed even starts to approach the gravity of child abuse.
So I’m off the hook right? Well... wait – not so fast.
I watched as people were thrown out and left by the wayside with no friends, no support system and spiritually bleeding and never did anything about it.
I believed the system was right or at least “making a difference” in people’s lives. I decided to look at the positive things and not the negative because “Not everything was bad.”
I believed I had no right to correct the leaders. Other leaders needed to do the correcting right?
I didn’t want to chance the fact that what I was seeing might be a skewed viewpoint and therefore not correct. (What if I am wrong?!)
I did not want to jeopardize my position within the system.
And ultimately, in my heart, I knew what happened when you questioned the leaders or the system.
I basically shut up for the support of the system and in that – am I any different? Does any of that sound familiar to the Penn State scandal? Do you see the analogy I’m drawing?
Funny, the people over at our blog decided a few weeks ago that the real truth needed to come out about the church we were involved in. We spoke up. Ultimately we decided that it might be ok to hurt the system if it will help those who are being chewed up by the same.
Ultimately, I am asking those who may be tempted to throw stones at Penn State right now to first look into our own hearts and ask forgiveness for staying quiet on things in our own lives that we should have spoken out against.
Is there something that you need to speak up about? Is there a story that you need to tell? Is there a system or person you need to confront? Let’s learn something this week in looking at Penn State. Let’s not let the log in our own eye obstruct our vision any more.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Have Moved On!

One of the things I think I have feared the most is both the idea that somehow I might be bitter and with that bitterness that I will not "move on."

I think you might have heard the same thing in your own lives. If you talk about the things that have happened one of the first things said to you by well meaning friends is this idea that they fear we might become bitter and that we "won't let this all go" and "move on."

So I fear that since I am still writing about it and explaining what happened to us that the verdict will be - "see, you haven't moved on."

Well today I have had a revelation of my own heart that has helped me and I hope will help those who lovingly worry about me.

I have moved on!

I have moved on to help others either heal from their own experiences and/or help them out of their present situation by seeing someone else's story or hearing the truth about the spiritual abuse that they are experiencing.

And you know what? I think I 'moved on' very early in this blog - almost from the very beginning. If you read "The Reason for the Blog" on the sidebar of this site you will read that my desire back then was that it would help someone else. Yes, I realize that I also needed healing and a place to vent a bit but honestly the minute I was "out" of the situation I began to want to desperately help others like I had been helped.

So for those who might be worried about me not moving past this issue in my life, please be assured, I have. Yes, there are still stories to be told and even some repentance that I will still need to deal with in my own life. But my point is NOT to rehash this or to have some sort of vengeance on those still in the system.

I've moved from a house called Hurting to a brand new address called Helping.

For anyone who wants to visit me there, please write, call or come and sit on my deck and hopefully we can sort out together what Father's heart is for all of this. You may not move on yourself to "help." But your moving on can be to something that God has called you to do and be involved with.

For me, today, I'm sure for the first time of my "calling."

(Big sigh)