[Jeremiah 2:13 It’s one thing to be a broken cistern but it’s a whole other matter to be on a faulty, fractured and fracturing foundation]..
(My apologies I forgot this insert….To better understand the “grade 4 level English”, a term I welcome and embrace, consider reading around the brackets first then the bracketed section after if you care to. My attempt with their use is/ was to bring more clarity to a particular situation or point out the irony of a matter. Hope that helps…BTW I’m pleased to have graduated from a “grade 3 level of English” to now a grade 4 level from the same individual. There seems to be redemptive hope for me. Anonymous comrade- your assistance with grammar is seriously welcome considering your experience within “The Ministry of Truth”, since it seems you agree with much of what’s being stated about Crossway Church and its dispersed old guard, but think that it may have a greater appeal with improved grammar. A greater appeal of which really isn’t my goal or interest at all, but rather awareness and freedom to think or live outside the box of what is functionally “religious obligation”, sanctioned disguised “religious bigotry” and often religious manipulation, however your assistance and experience are welcome.)
So much here contained in those titles above as preached, it’s difficult to know where to begin…..
This bandaid church (Feb 2017 now in the midst of a “spirit led” “merge”, consider looking at the financials of both organizations as well as how this plays out for power, control and the mental/ psychological health & wellness of individuals, families and children over the next few years), as with many in desperate need of proper foundational repair and an acknowledgement that the vocational business of church (the sausage factory in many cases) and the peaceful yet genuinely compelling saving power of the uncompromising, unfettered and unbought gospel of Jesus Christ do not happily coexist and was never meant to (tax receipt or not). Just read the stories of Jesus’ many encounters, or the mass exodus out its doors, and rightfully so, will continue rendering it obsolete and comprising of relics not for lack of relevancy alone but utter blind hypocrisy (historically likely regarding themselves as rather the “persecuted” remnant of God, doing church right in their own eyes) while the real church thrives enduring growing actual persecution outside it’s confines and is grown and deepened through genuine unsolicited, unbought, uncompromising connections with each other, the Person of Christ and the souls around us full of dignity and value irrelevant of the state of fallenness the sterile organized church is so fearful of embracing (while ironically severely and mortally as well as morally broken and bankrupt itself) lest it contaminate our pious worship, idolatrous doctrines and leadership enamoured or leader beguiled “fellowships” and international jet-setting “conference” “work”- vacations. And without a complete and deep internal reform – which also ironically is the heart of Christianity – including questions of conflicting funding and appropriate recusations this form of leadership all too often can only replicate itself, malignantly reproducing it’s yet inexplicable regime and model of damage control and people management while preaching “the gospel” to diminishing numbers.
(unrelated) BTW is the access to express concern over matters no longer in direct relation to whether one is “tithing” or “giving faithfully” as it once was…. or is that still the “functional” practice? You know, the pay to play model that at least one of these men/ former Crossway Church directors (they know who they are) had already been caught doing. A noted “overseer” cult like practice that was offensive to discover was taking place indicating that at least during the “church plant” aka split or hostile takeover the practice of enlightening ones self and noting who is “giving” was without doubt at play. Ironically not considering their own corrupt actions while freely partaking in salaries paid for by those who “give” and/ or “didn’t give” – eventually – as they felt led based on what they could smell in the air and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Has anything really changed? More to explain if I can find the time.
Piety: a belief or point of view that is accepted with UNTHINKING conventional reverence.
OK, so the continual aggressive bullying brow beating control present and read between the lines of the lobotomizing doctrine of utter depravity and the ongoing cultish debilitating emphasis on SIN, SIN, and more SIN with so called “sound doctrine” and a perversion of “grace” to make the lobotomy unnoticeably palatable (simply listen to his sermons) continues at the costly expense of 1. The dignity of a free genuine connection and relationship with the father through jesus christ (lower case emphasis considering if He’s actually even present amongst such perversions of scripture), 2. The dignity of a free unhindered environment and culture that fosters the freedom of critical thought -often strategically maligned as “gossip”, “slander” – and important speech and dialogue with honest transparent disclosure, and 3. The dignity of a free authentic psychologically acknowledged heartfelt relationship with one another….and outsiders without degradingly considering them as “the lost” and potential converts, future disciples and projects for Christ (with how some of you have conducted yourselves and continue for years the only honest question is who is more critically “lost” those with faith in the real world or the sequestered, cloistered, and systematically indoctrinated?) .
BTW some of these places eventually for survival purposes begin instituting or promoting in earnest membership programs that, though unspoken, create an environment of “committed followers” who not only believe in the vision (and possibly love and covet their growing capacity and leadership influence) but also “buy” into “the vision” genuinely hoping to sell the “joy” and excitement of Jesus that will convince others to eventually do the same because without funding and your financial and “covenant” “membership responsibility” to “give to God” this “nonprofit” business (sausage making) model of a gospel ironically originally freely given to all who trust in Him as a source of life by Christ Himself, is simply dead in the water, often where it should be so care for souls can really be fulfilled by those whose interests are not in line with the survival of such a toxic unhealthy environment. So watch and beware of the membership programs and the language of “commitment” therein. Because in some cases where accountability is much like a kangaroo court within a Banana Republic you may very well be flushing the sweat of your brow, meant for your own family, down a toilet rubber stamped as “giving to God”. When there’s no biblical support for such convenient misinterpretation or misrepresentation that only reveals a complete lack of trust in His faithfulness. In fact it reveals, based on the need for such teaching that people can’t be trusted to do what’s right with God’s resources meant for “the church” (me your “pastor”) . When in reality people will only truly support what is truly proven, trusted and meaningful (rightfully so, because of appropriate internal checks and boundaries) to them then followed by when they are freely ready or able or willing without compulsion- subtle or overt- to “give to God”, a serious misnomer statement. Unless cleverly trained, indoctrinated or “taught” (as in the Orwellian thought police or ‘crimestop’ “persuasion”) to bypass such critical internal filters, discernment and boundaries- the spirit of Christ/ gut intuition-, by preaching or teaching that such reservations may be “worldy thinking” or “leaning on your own understanding” or “investing in this world rather than in the kingdom of God” and thus symptomatic of your lack of trusting God for your finances, hoping you (the hearer) now are subtley compelled through a commitment to “sound doctrine” to hand it over without question or critical inquiry. Such teaching is periodically hammered in and one is labelled as making “uncharitable judgements” or “serious charges” in questioning these or any indoctrinations. And yes, they actually will confront you at an ‘opportuned’ time when you’re seen speaking with others or certain groups (as though they hadn’t ironically masterminded and transgressed such boundaries by a thousandfold deviantly to accomplish a well orchestrated takeover of one of their own, SMH) they may be having ‘challenges’ with while Big Brother is watching on your “The City” account often used by insular organized church communities – a system of in house “social media” communication supposedly designed within and by the now defunct 14,000 “strong” Mars Hill kingdom of Mark Driscoll’s sovereign reign- and if you’re not within the parameters of the groupspeak language on your The City account, you also will be confronted at an opportuned time by the Orwellian telescreen “watchers” or their grown children or “business partners”. And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Without doubt I and many believe grace and forgiveness are the true foundation of the Christian faith however the typical and completely illogical use of Old Testament culture and the subsequent grace extended in those examples to justify corrupt current day activity (especially in “churches”) or benign descriptives of being “wronged” and nearly demanding forgiveness and insisting on grace is utterly unconscionable when Jesus Himself addressed the seriousness of issues beginning at the heart level having not committed anything outwardly. Yet the mantra of convenient “grace and forgiveness” sees no end from the pulpits of such men, along with the barrage of pulpit disguised contempt intimidating listeners into thinking that many or specific Christians are filled with “bitterness” while touted “exemplary” self ascribed testimonials are given from the same pulpit of how “I with the help of the Holy Spirit was able to exercise submissive control when everything within was raging at “this person” whom has caused great slanderous damage to me”, paraphrased, expediently overlooking all that they were party to for years. It’s as though if God forgave such deviant acts of significant Old Testament characters, then of course on lighter matters (according to my assessment for you as your pastor) grading on a sliding or meandering scale of truth and/ or justice then how much more should you all forgive with whatever “hurt” you experience within the “church”. Anything should go and all things should be forgiven today especially within the confines of the “grace filled church” of Jesus Christ. Grace and forgiveness is rightfully preached but often at great lengths during and coincidentally “aaaafter we do and accomplishment what we need to accomplish that may appear graceless and unforgiving but it’s actually for your best interest, trust us…. as “servant leaders” we know what’s best”. Yet the question remains, by what or whose authority are these exclusive sectarian behaviours and abuses of position and so called “calling” sanctioned other than by many of us who once or still dawn transparent blinders participating in wilful blindness for reasons that are often well hidden.
Such continued unbalanced so called “spiritual” SIN focused emphasis brought this to mind, something I heard recently:
“To a Pharisee, ‘TRUTH is more important than love.’
To the spiritually healthy, ‘LOVE is the most important part of truth.’ “- original source unclear
John 5: 39,40
“39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
Here’s a sampling of an utterly honest disclosure of a former “vocational pastor” about the awakening of the church (you and I, 2 or 3) found within the heart where Jesus resides.
Having recently had an extensive discussion with an individual with years of nonprofit organizational experience and business practice as well as the mental health issues surrounding many such politically driven environments I can’t help but present this very vivid example of the clear abuse of power that came to light yesterday that well demonstrates the culture that has all to often permeated the organized church for years if not decades unchecked and ignored. Often leaving “well enough alone” under the guise of extending grace, forgiveness and mercy- very true virtues but an afront when “preached” or hijacked by the direct and convenient beneficiaries of such ageless truths. The parallels or similarities go as follows with clear clarifications made.
Dear “church”… (and some of those that lead and surround them)
Please listen very carefully to this incredibly brave, strategically brilliant and very articulate victim impact statement of the effects of the actions of Jian Ghomeshi (the apologizer) upon Ms Kathryn Borel as she testifies without fear the details of her experience for which he has now undeniably “apologized” for, thereby in affect taking responsibility for its occurrence at very least unlike what many experience in “the church” for reasons of fear of acknowledged culpability. And we all know and believe the apologizer that it only really happened this one time right? (her statements are found in the video on the link below)
Kathryn Borel- Public on camera statements and appropriate warnings and calling out to account.
I will begin with clearly acknowledging that although the acts of serious sexual assault are not what I believe took place within my experience and that of many others in our church history to my knowledge and awareness, however I will make it clear that without doubt the nature in which the apologizer handled himself and the dismissive way in which he and his employer minimized serious matters is no different in how some church cultures and their “leadership” conduct themselves when serious issues of conduct or abuse of authority are brought up. Often times manipulative shaming, threats of public humiliation and damage control ensues. “Expository preaching” irrelevant of text morphs and begins to be twisted and directive or targeted and often laced with “godly” anger in what is often perceived as an attempt to raise the bar and awareness of righteousness and groupthink in all, while affectively attempting to embarrass, humiliate, intimidate or silence the outliers or potential outliers, after all when such “spirited” anger fuelled “passionate”, “gifted” preaching takes place who would dare come forward rather than just quietly leave? So they hope and sadly in far too many instances manage to accomplish.
Now with regard to church affairs, they often seem to revolve around abuses of power and challenges to fiscal activities and its associated confrontations or coverups although in some cases they do involve actual affairs and or sexual abuses as we know all to well. And as I’ve stated often when ones reputation is at risk in being called out within an organization that merits itself and financial compensations on morally right conduct and behaviour and “right thinking”, their limited (“gifting” “giftedness”, or Bible College based educated) livelihoods become at risk and with such conflicting interests serious and demeaning, demoralizing psychological abuses take place much like from the apologizer and well hidden from the usual spotlight and critical eye that exist in the “real world”. Yet unlike the apologizer, because of the ” ‘protections’ of the separation of church and state and the freedom of religion or worship” both legally and in the (advantaged) siege pschye of some church leadership cultures along with the idea that much of the legal and journalistic world pays little to no attention to the “issues” within the church for much the same reasons around behind the scenes hypocrisy and Banana Republic style politics and oversight, the media stays clear and many (not all) “churches” therefore runs amuck and roughshod over its dissenting membership like you or anyone disloyal enough to dare look for answers to difficult and puzzling questions. Yet there seems to be no limit at times to what can or is done with impunity to people who jeopardize their entitled careers, knowingly stopping short of being criminal in behaviour, actions and business practice (at least ensuring it’s well hidden). Lest they subject themselves to the actual real world judicial process where they know that no amount of spirited tearful appeals and preaching to grace and forgiveness or misaligning and misrepresenting such positions in making convenient parallels with David’s heinous yet forgiven acts against Bathsheba in a completely different era, world, culture and dispensation nor angry diatribes on “gossip and slander” would assuage nor trick or derail such processes as it does within its own walls.
But without fail the ad nauseum true yet manipulative anthem of many a church leaderships language, preaching and groupspeak of “grace and forgiveness” towards such behaviour comes with full force after all “we have been forgiven of so much- to their credit that is all too accurate coming from leaders- thereby we must forgive and extend grace” often pridefuly, foolishly, and with moxie brazenly citing themselves as an example. Twisting scripture and storylines to the point of being a mangled wreck of twisted metal that once housed solid truths, facts and accounts of culpable events such that accountability is no longer possible, rendering truth unrecognizable lying near dead on the street called ethics. Much like the apologizers twisted antics and “apology” who now walks away with having ducked under the radar with regard to many other victims, granted justice and “revenge is the Lord’s” but unapologetic perpetrators showing no remorse of abusive conduct have lost the privilege of daring to teach others to hold that view regarding injustices that inevitably end up protecting themselves and their actions as well. Yet amidst all that within “the church” we transfer our membership or attendance within christendom from church to church, or create destructive “church plant” schemes exchanging hypocritical pleasantries thinking nothing of why this so regularly takes place in a faith community where relationship with Christ and one another is apparently the “main thing”. While paying no attention to Matt 18:17 and 1 Timothy 5:20 (a reference in addressing corrupt leadership I have yet to witness in its “application”- Christian groupspeak terminology- after years of “church life” yet in that same period having witnessed 2 congregational member excommunications, 2 public church “disciplines” and a host of intimidation and humiliation experiences and testimonials experienced in many churches- placating and unable to face such phariseeical leadership head on not only for their own good but the benefit of others into the future. Yet those steps of exposure and warning outlined in scripture Ms Kathryn Borel bravely and with brilliant forethought wasted no time in putting into practice whether she knew it or not. Yet I suppose the apologizer could cry foul because she lacks “grace and forgiveness”, a response that would be utterly absurd yet a well accepted response within toxic church cultures regarding many clearly irrefutable unconscionable tactics and practices.
Many (….. not all but many) organized churches desperately try to be real and relevant yet continue to live in a world that is unreal, unaccountable, irreparably indifferent, shamefully political at heart, “unbiblical”, often and most of all a place full of one directional top down personal justifications, motives that cannot be questioned, and reform that is impossible from within man made spiritual leadership soulcare positions tied to monetary compensatory value, while all to often void of logic and common sense and where Jesus possibly no longer resides yet comfortable salaries abound “in His name with His blessing (according to these men) and questions are raised as to what has happened to your “giving” when a congregation member who saw through much of this attempt to confront the issue.
At what point will it (the organized church) begin to recognize the real need for an educated approach in connecting the dots and bridging the gap between scriptural truths as it relates to knowing and having the heart of Christ and the need to be ethically responsible, societaly and psychologically astute with regard to the mental health and care of people directly related to your actions as is all to often better exemplified in the real “secular” world of arms length accountable systems and transparent meaningful functional oversight that surrounds many of us designed by God himself yet conveniently overlooked in these toxic leadership environments (with much of scripture over many years shaping ethics, moral laws and our judicial system) and often better implemented by modern society for the protection and care of all, Christian or not.
****Imperfect as it is, “the church” and those who surround and “support” such toxic environments as described – those seeking kingdom status & sociopolitical benefits, the unaware, the vulnerable, and those who choose to remain ignorant of facts- would do well to take notes from Ms Kathryn Borel’s address and consider, though the acts perpetrated are in no way similar, that the toxic and manipulative modus operandi are very much the same with the apologizer and those who did nothing, against those “miserable Christians” who disagree and dare contradict YOU?
We were never called to be “gentle as doves” alone (which they would prefer), and leave the “wise as serpents” mandate or designation up to those who are often self proclaimed leaders with far too much to lose while over the hen house. Absolutely not, we as non vocational real world members of the greater Body of Christ need to also carry the mantle of “wise as serpents”, as a thinking people and faith community, equally capable of hearing from the spirit of Christ, with equal access in deciphering biblical truth at whatever level or journey in life we find ourselves trusting He meets us and loves us there, reasoning together and exercising respected discernment for our own personal safety, wisdom and the well being and mental health of our families and others on our unique journeys. Healthy practices that are NOT simply reserved for modern day often self ascribed Bible interpreters or oracles pumped out of some of these Bible Colleges and often needing or at times requiring to be addressed as “pastor” or “father” so and so without much resistance to such ongoing adorning pedestalic (a play on the inside SGM joke/word “apostolic”) mantles or titles. Although I do not obviously paint all with the same wide brush but without refute the overwhelming testimony of so many coupled with my own behind the veil experience and much of the now free access to real and filtered information the problem within many churches (not all) is that of being without Christ and without doubt a pandemic of whitewashing. And beware of the typical twisted interpretation, spin, ruse, correction and “charge” (a term they like to use) of “being bitter in taking up the offenses of others” another misnomer. If one were to take a proper unbiased, unprejudiced and impartial look at the countless biblical stories it’s likely that possibly (God forbid) one might come away with the opposite notion of it being chocked full of stories of many taking up the unjust circumstantial causes (“offenses”) of others often against the piously religious with Jesus’ many encounters with them as a prime example, or such as the “good Samaritan” and too many to mention yet culminating in the One who took on the offenses of all. Our modern society is rightfully based on such a system (imperfect as it is) that affords people to have unjust “offenses” criminal or civil addressed and challenged through armed officers, legal representation and adjudication for those who feel the need to seek justice (not those who attempt to cloud or minimize it or its clarity) OR those who by their own journeys with or without Christ AND their own volition (not mandated conflict of interest “teaching”) choose to exercise what to them demonstrates “grace and forgiveness” at a pace that is theirs. Such freedoms of which rarely if ever finds its way into the self governed, separated “organized church” because of conveniently twisted doctrines, theology, eclesiology and fiscally politically driven agendas that are designed and taught as a hedge to protect their positions and pristine reputations.
An honest thank you Ms Kathryn Borel for your incredibly brave example of how these types of manipulators can be addressed and how others can be duly warned and informed….and the topic openly discussed.
**Wikipedia aside as a preliminary source as many would want to dismiss, this summary is truly a fascinating read and collection of all too often corroborated accounts of similar spiritual or Religious Abuses experiences over the years, beyond the serious fiscal issues already noted. Often only to be minimized and unaddressed as “admittedly difficult situations”, involving peoples lives, livelihoods, money and well being as though these are menial or inferior issues of ones passing “bitter” fancy. A somewhat amateurish, arrogant, ignorant and typical revealing abusively “reformed” approach to the dignity of people as a whole. A perverse mindset we think Jesus wants new disciples to enter into? I think not, even Paul warned against such deceivers using even stronger language.
All the while blazing a trail of so called “gospel centredness” trampling Christians who could see what was taking place who were no longer with you and therefore don’t matter, much like the heretical writings of Dan Southerland’s book “Transitioning” forwarded by Rick Warren that curiously had steps that where almost followed to a tee beginning with the removal or letting go of any and all opposition without answers as to cause, then proceeding with the kangaroo “vision” of equivocating the rebuilding of a new church with the rebuilding of Nehemiah’s wall. With any opposition preached, labelled and aligned as the infamous Sanballat clearly noted in the book and paralleled as resisters of god’s vision. Which based on the fruit, while clearly warned falling on deaf ears and souls, was no vision at all, simply bollocks.
Proceeding at your own risk (if prepared) of possible cognitive dissonance understanding that being disenfranchised from and by these toxic environments is healthy while maintaining that these departures from such places with these practices has NO bearing on ones relationship to Christ, His nature and His full love and acceptance towards all who sincerely relate to Him as being His church that the Bible calls His bride, wherever 2 or 3 are gathered He states “there I AM”. A vulnerable access point of a strategic codependent yoke of intimidating fear based indoctrination- cognizant or not remembering that perception is critical and key- that Paul also addresses that so easily ensnares us to remain in such environments for fear of the rejection of Christ and “a holy and righteous GOD” (when the love of the Father bares no semblance to such heady functionally impersonal yet convincingly impressive fearful Oz like “doctrines of god”). And sometimes equating the ensuing “sovereign” payload of life’s difficulty as His sovereign “judgements” when in reality it is much of what is actually the normal trials and challenges we all face in life, only taken advantage of by some in maintaining a submissive culture of fear and obedience which will invariably eventually involve giving of ones money and near obligational volunteer service time to the organized “church” resulting in the often coveted “commitment that is commendable like brother so and so” so the show continues without question no matter what your eyes and ears may perceive and with effectively persuasive obedient compliance.
In the link Religious Abuses pay special attention to the section labelled Spiritual Abuse and the 5 Characteristics from Ronald Enroth in Churches That Abuse followed by the 8 bullet point characteristics from Agnes and John Lawless in The Drift into Deception to see if such behaviours still remain… (these seem like one or two must have books for the “discerning reader” – often favoured terminology – tired of the charades and manipulation and ready to remove transparent blinders to find freedom in Christ over time and continued growing exposure to normal Christian AND nonChristian mutual interaction, respect, respect for boundaries and experiences outside those often spiritually windowless, whitewashed, institutional, “rebuilt” and completely misapplied Nehemiahan walls built by “men” unwilling to answer the simplest of questioning)