Character Counts?

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  1. Dusty says:

    I would say that most of the regulars of PP are awake and will not put up with abuse in a church ever again. We have found our voice and have discovered that it is more damaging to sit and be quiet than it is to take a stand.

    I would be careful about saying people get what they deserve…I saw that phrase twice on pp today and the hair on the back of my neck stood on end…

  2. Dusty says:

    just because character…being of noble character is rare and seemingly not something to strive for in our culture…or even among ‘Christians’ …it is to be something we as servants of the Most High should covet and continually reach for…as son’s and daughter’s of the King it is our birth right and duty.

  3. Nonnie says:

    To Dream the Impossible Dream is a beautiful song, but just a song…….and yet……God’s word promises us that “With God ALL things are possible.

    We can continue in doing what we know is right and true, trusting that God is on the throne. We walk by faith and not by sight and in Him we place our trust.

    I remember Corrie TenBoom always saying, “Jesus is Victor!” Amen.

  4. Kevin H says:

    Hang in there, Michael.

    “Character counts in heaven, it’s out of fashion here.” – You’re right. But you’re storing up riches in heaven.

    Maybe on the large scale of things, it looks like the windmill keeps winning and your efforts are going for naught. But on the individual level, I am sure you have helped many. And I’m also sure that many pastors that have read here have have taken steps to help prevent one of these situations happening to them or their churches. Who knows, maybe there would have been at least one more story that you would have needed to cover that you didn’t have to because of your efforts to bring things to light.

  5. Bob Sweat says:

    There will be more windmills to conquer!

  6. Michael says:

    Dusty,

    When we say that people get what they deserve we mean that if they continue to sit under corrupt leaders the problem is on them.

    If there is ever another scandal in Albuquerque I won’t give a rats rear end…they were warned.

    Todd Bentley burns you?

    Tough, you were warned.

    Why anyone with a conscience would remain in the Catholic church right now is beyond me.

  7. Michael says:

    I do commend the leadership and most of the congregation of Beach Cities…they have left the building and taken away their support.

  8. Dusty says:

    Michael, but…would you really feel that way? Surly your heart will feel their pain and ache with theirs…There have been some here who did not believe the stories of pain and abuse within the CC walls…until it happened to them…we all fell on our knees for them when they discovered the pain first hand…the enemy blinds some…we have to have tender hearts.

  9. Michael says:

    Dusty,

    I would not care one whit.

    They chose to put themselves in harms way after being informed of the reality of the situation.

    Some people need to grow up and take responsibility for their own spiritual health and that of their families.

  10. Dusty says:

    What I really think Michael is that your heart is in pain even now for them…and will break when they finally realize what they have fallen for.

  11. Dusty says:

    but shouldn’t we care?

  12. centorian says:

    good question Michael. I don’t think character is a great concern with most people and by that I think they go in with the assumption that all is well. And why wouldn’t they?

    The focus is too often placed on other things than the internal development of sanctification of our souls. Churches offer up attractive externals conditioning the flock to look toward those very things as the litmus test for determining God’s presence, activity and will. External activity is much easier to measure than true spiritual development; and it’s usually more exciting to talk about. They have bought in to a style and format that either does not produce or they cannot extract the substance. Makes me want to become an Anglican.

    I wonder at times if the internet is the Wittenberg door of the 21st century….although it can easily be drowned out as there are many voices shouting from the rooftops of blogs, facebook and twitter.

    There are days I just want to retire and leave it all behind, and there are other days I want to contend for the faith here and unplug my internet connection.

  13. nancy says:

    When were we ever called to do what works easily in this life? I don’t see that in scripture. What I see is we are told to go against the flow … swim upstream … sail upwind(beating) … & all that stuff. Never is that easy because it’s always met with a least some resistance. We shouldn’t be shocked that it’s difficult … and that everyone won’t join in. We also shouldn’t be surprised when we don’t see the tide & the wind change. Tired & saddened yes … but not surprised. It is what it is … but we are called to navigate in these waters non the less.
    Just a little sailing fact … races in my experience usually start & end on the upwind(sailing closest to the wind direction) leg. It’s usually where the boats split … & those who are more skilled & best trained pull in front of the fleet. It’s exhausting … & takes everything … but … it’s where races are won & lost. Just thought that was interesting …

  14. Michael says:

    “The focus is too often placed on other things than the internal development of sanctification of our souls. Churches offer up attractive externals conditioning the flock to look toward those very things as the litmus test for determining God’s presence, activity and will. External activity is much easier to measure than true spiritual development; and it’s usually more exciting to talk about. They have bought in to a style and format that either does not produce or they cannot extract the substance. Makes me want to become an Anglican.”

    AMEN!!!!

  15. centorian says:

    “Some people need to grow up and take responsibility for their own spiritual health and that of their families.”

    Amen.

    I deal with people too often that have serious problems that are in effect reaping what they have sown, but they rarely want to take responsibility for it.

  16. Dusty says:

    Centorian, Michael, ?? I don’t understand.

  17. Michael says:

    What are you not understanding?

  18. Believe says:

    Michael, you are discouraged and frustrated that most people really don’t care…as long as the show is good…I know the feeling…I struggle with it, too. It temps one to be un-righteously angry.

    Praying for you today.

    “Some people need to grow up and take responsibility for their own spiritual health and that of their families.”

    Yes. Part of taking responsibility is standing up and saying ENOUGH…and then doing something about it….and persisting. More than just on the PP. However, the PP does have influence. It does warn. It does expose unrighteousness at the pastoral level…it is a form of “tell it unto the church”..it is.

    Hang in there. You’re doing what’s right…and you won’t be judged by the earthly “results”…you’ll be judged for sticking to your guns and doing what you believe is right…and what you believe God has called you to do.

    If you believe you are prompted by God to do something else…then do it. If you believe this is part of your calling…then stick to it.

  19. Of course character counts…but who counts it…unfortunately, the lack of character is much more interesting and the antics and restoration or what ever happens afterwards is much more interesting.

    Unfortunately, we have a church culture that out of one side of their mouths screams for character but out of the other hopes for some action.

    Were all just bored to death!

  20. In the end it matters to me and my family and the God I serve that I be a man of character. That’s all

  21. Bob Sweat says:

    Many of these guys don’t want to step down because they don’t have a clue what they would do to make a living. After all, bills do need to be paid. When I left the ministry, I was 45 years old and had spent 22 years of my life doing one thing, and 4 years preparing myself at college. I worked at 4 different jobs before settling into education. I’m not making an excuse for them, just speaking reality. Some make pretty good money in ministry. It took me 15 years before my salary equaled was it was when I resigned from ministry. Factor in inflation, and I’m still not there……….I am a good example of what Centy referred to as “reaping whet you sow”. I praise God that He has been faithful to provide, and as nice as it would be to be back financially to where I was before, it was my choice that took me away.

  22. Believe says:

    And, I don’t know if any of what Michael and Centy are discussing at all pertains to me…if it does, let me make it clear that I accept all responsibility for my own sin.

    My upbringing was terrible…it did cause me to stumble..and my brothers…and many others. I don’t know that I would or would not be any more or less sinful had I had the perfect upbringing.

    The abuse and hypocrisy is still no excuse for my own sin. And I have paid HEAVY consequences for my own sin and I am not angry at God for that…I am grateful I am not going to hell…which is what I deserve. I have suffered consequences and I have also received grace, mercy and forgiveness…here on earth and in eternity.

    I am against the hypocrisy at the pastoral level and unfairness and unjust-ness within the church leadership dynamic…and especially the lack of accountability in one particular church System.

    That’s my Windmill.

    I still struggle with sin…I have a hard time not broad-brushing…and am suspicious of any pastor I first meet…but I’ve also had MAJOR victory in sin areas…that has come with deep humiliation, deep repentance, much vigilance and a conviction and fear of God.

  23. Not Alone says:

    Your quests are not the same Michael.
    Chasing windmills didn’t amount to anything, it was a fools quest (not the case here). Exposing darkness has a clear results, it is a warning to others and validation to the ones who have been hurt by it. I know it’s frustrating Michael, I’m right there with you. I know that my own dark windmill is still spinning freely, but just the exposing of it has helped so many to know God more personally and helped others to find peace. Even more so here.

    Take heart Pastor Michael, you are doing good and faithful work.

    Cleaning toilets is dirty work, but they will get dirty again. It’s a fact of life.

  24. Isaiah56:1 says:

    This is so very sad.

    Michael, I would like to encourage you though, there are people who have been loved, encouraged, and found a community, after being terribly hurt and usually thinking they were all alone, because you stood up and defended what was right. The number may not seem as big as what we would hope, but after a major natural disaster (like an earthquake) the rescuers hope to find and save everyone, but celebrate over each one, even if the number of rescued is small, it was an effort worth making. You point out where a disaster has occured in a church, and seek to help any who don’t want to live in the rubble. The few that get out, are thankful for your hard and discouraging work.

  25. Michael says:

    What Centy and I are talking about is simple and provable.

    Big scandal at CCABQ…one year later there’s 12,000 people dodging traffic to get in the door.

    I spent two years detailing the CSN scandal when no one else would touch it…and the network is bigger than ever.

    People prefer comfort and care little about character.

  26. Believe says:

    We’re human and need affirmation at times.

    I sincerely appreciate you Michael. I also appreciate the pastors who stick their necks out on here. It’s a tough crowd many times.

    Thank you for doing what you do…even when it’s really tough…and even when people like me say things that are uninformed and/or reactionary.

  27. jlo says:

    “I do commend the leadership and most of the congregation of Beach Cities…they have left the building and taken away their support.”

    I pray they can stay away, I’ve witnessed too many leaving a bad situation, just to return to it after a period of time.

  28. Michael says:

    jlo,

    Excellent observation…

  29. Michael says:

    Think about the incredible depth of scandal and depravity in Catholicism…how could a person enter one of those churches in good conscience?

    They put it out of their minds and hope someone else cleans up the mess.

    If the Pope were a teacher in most states he’d be looking at jail time…

  30. Believe says:

    “People prefer comfort and care little about character.”

    Yep…that is a fact…in a broad-brush way…but very true in most cases.

    Doesn’t matter…easier said than done…but it really doesn’t.

    We’ll stand before God and give an account for what He puts before each of us…our Talent we’re given.

    We’re to do what we are compelled to do…the “results” are out of our control.

    However, we are to “do”…active..and keep on “doing”….even if the results aren’t panning out.

    Is pastoral integrity and character the will of God? Certainly. No doubt about it.

    It’s not the will of God that pastors should abuse their “authority”…and be corrupt.

    He may allow it to happen…but it’s not His will that they sin like that.

    We know Matthew 18, 1 Timothy 3 and 1 Timothy 5 are His will.

    Let’s not mistake God “allowing” and God’s “will”.

    Ultimately, God will be glorified and justice will be meted out at Judgment. Until then, those who are called to stand up, should stand up.

  31. Bob Sweat says:

    The importance of character is often diminished by great worship and teaching. I’ve seen it first hand. Many people don’t seem to care if they are being entertained.

    Michael,

    I feel your pain when justice appears to be slipping away. I have fought my own battle with bitterness due to the fact that the abusers of power are not paying the price we think they deserve, but seem to be getting more powerful. I’m watching it happen right down the road from me. My wife reminded me again of something she has told me in the past. God will not be mocked. She said, “Bob, its not your revenge that matters”. Wise counsel indeed.

    We can only try our best to expose those who lack character (integrity), we might never see what develops, but someday it will.

    God bless you!

  32. Dave Rolph says:

    Michael,

    Remember the story about the little boy who was throwing starfish back in the sea? A man came up to him and said, “Can’t you see that most of the starfish you are rescuing are washing back up on the shore? And look how many starfish are going to die. You can’t put a dent in the dying starfish population of the world. What are you accomplishing? What difference do you think you are really making?” The little boy bent over and picked up another stranded starfish. “I’m making a difference to this one” he said, as he tossed it back in the sea.

    One starfish at a time. That is the best we can ever really do. And there are a lot of people who would say, “Michael, you’ve made a difference to me.” I am one.

  33. BrianD says:

    Michael, you are hurting and discouraged…but your efforts are not in vain.
    At all.
    Remember that there are some who cannot leave a bad, dysfunctional, authoritarian, sinful church situation…they don’t deserve the pain they endure..and you would agree with me.
    Your reward is in heaven…and may yet manifest itself on Earth. So don’t give up.

  34. nancy says:

    “Michael, you’ve made a difference to me.” I’m two …

  35. jlo says:

    “Michael, you’ve made a difference to me.” I’m Three…

  36. BrianD says:

    I’m four. If not for you and this blog I possibly would be bitter and alienated from the church and from God..and perhaps worse…

  37. Michael says:

    Thank you all for your kindness…we’ve done whatever we’ve accomplished together.

    I confess that this last go round gutted me and I’m not handling it well..

  38. Lutheran says:

    I’m more concerned with consistency of character along with repentance, than I am with anyone living a perfect life. Won’t happen down here, anyway.

    I also think we need to be careful not to label every human weakness as sin.

  39. A E A says:

    Michael, your lecture for the day:
    Ga 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
    2Th 3:13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.

    Especially at 51. Don’t imply that is old or you’ll make me feel ancient.

    Besides I know for a fact that your exposure of CSN caused a lot of people that were supporting MK to take another look and drop their support.

    Being on the watch tower you are called to warn, then you are free. Those warned then have the responsibility. I say amen to yours and Centy’s posts.

  40. Isaiah56:1 says:

    I’m five.

    I’m praying for you today!

  41. A E A says:

    I was posting with a slow connection and didn’t see the count. By the time this posts I’m sure the next number will be taken (5) but count me in also. 🙂

  42. Michael says:

    Lutheran makes a great point.

    None of us are looking for perfect character…it doesn’t exist here.

    I don’t have it…and I can provide references for that statement. 🙂

    A life of repentance and honesty about our sin is what matters.

    I can take about anything from someone who is truly repentant.

  43. Believe says:

    “made a difference to me”…

    Still making a difference to me.

  44. Not Alone says:

    Michael, you’ve made a difference to me.

  45. Believe says:

    “A life of repentance and honesty about our sin is what matters.

    I can take about anything from someone who is truly repentant.”

    YES.

    That’s why it is so frustrating regarding Pastors and Ministries…they’ve got the Manual…they’ve built their lives around teaching it and studying it.

    It’s one thing for a regular schmuck to be oblivious to his own sin…quite another, IMO, for a Pastor or Ministry Leaders.

    Again, a guy like Haggard confessed and professed repentance (time will tell)…but that is quite an important thing, IMO.

    Denying the sin, covering it over, lying about it, convincing yourself and others that it isn’t sin…wishing it away…not submitting yourself to a true Matthew 18 process…not good.

    I’m becoming more convinced that it’s the sin of unbelief…which is a sobering thought.

    If you remain in sin…when confronted in it…is that the sin of unbelief?

  46. Bob Middleton says:

    Perhaps we’ll just call you “Don Quixote” from now on… 🙂

  47. a poor soul says:

    I’m seven…you have made a difference in my life….

  48. Bob Middleton says:

    But who would be “Sancho”? Centy perhaps?

  49. Lutheran says:

    Michael, I truly believe that you won’t know until Heaven what difference this blog has made in peoples’ lives. God cares deeply and passionately about one wounded and bruised reed!

    I truly believe the Lord has used this place to turn people from despair, misery and loneliness to grace — realizing that God’s people can be people of grace and mercy — and even some churches can be, too!

  50. nancy says:

    “If the Pope were a teacher in most states he’d be looking at jail time…”

    That’s because in schools there is a mechanism in place to deal with problems … there are laws & punishments to back up the laws. It’s not always perfect but it’s there. In church ??? Some have it … some don’t. Some look like they have it but in reality it’s only an allusion. It may take awhile but people … some anyway … will begin to see the problem and get angry enough to speak up. It gets complicated though because often it too hard to gain any real power because all you can do is sound a warning pretty much from a distance. The leadership is left safely in place with a platform to discredit the warnings. So … we need to call for a workable mechanism to deal with problems of abuse in churches. That can only be done by the leaders of safe churches … and from there discredit those unwilling to put into place the mechanisms necessary. All we can do is keep asking those leaders to not ignore the problem. It does affect them … it affects us all. That will take time … but I believe it has begun … ever so slowly. Lots of work to do!

  51. Chris Long says:

    It certainly can be discouraging when it seems that so many don’t really care about the heart issues (i.e. character), preferring to live in a “fantasy land” where everything is “fine” so they don’t have to “deal with it” and can still do their “church thing”.

    I echo Michael in post 14 – “Amening” Centy’s comments on people being more comfortable looking at the externals than the internals. When the emphasis gets placed on things such as the worship/music style, focus entirely being on a man that gets placed on a pedestal (people start believing they can do no wrong even if they do), children’s program, cafe’s, bookstores, etc. some people become willing to ignore the deeper issues in favor of the externals.

    Somebody wrote me a few years back and made this statement that has always stuck with me:

    “The danger is that our beliefs, doctrines, leaders, denominational affiliations, traditions, “rules” and legalism, freedom from legalism, good works, social events, missions and outreach programs, worship preferences, spiritual gifts, etc. threaten to become the basis for our spirituality, rather than Jesus Himself.” – Tom Nimz

    When the focus gets on externals, rather than Jesus, problems ensue…

    When the pastor leads their flock (by words and/or example) into focusing on externals, rather than Jesus, problems ensue…

  52. Michael says:

    Great quote, Chris…

  53. philberts says:

    character counts big time, but it likely won’t be noticed by those who don’t value nor possess it. What counts too much in our culture is drama, entertainment, and fun. Focus, hard work, and responsibility are undervalued and unfashionable. Thinking, reflecting, planning, and evaluating are set aside for impulsivity, trendiness, and volume. I am not surprised at the worldliness of the church when so many have borrowed heavily from the culture’s tool chest in conducting ministry.

  54. philberts says:

    If the pope were a teacher he’d be looking at his mission field.

  55. nancy says:

    … “borrowed heavily from the culture’s tool chest in conducting ministry.”

    Yes … but it’s even worse because even the culture has laws to protect the people from leaders who abuse their positions. Church???

  56. Believe says:

    “Perhaps we’ll just call you “Don Quixote” from now on…”

    Can’t have that name…it’s reserved for Bryson… 🙂

  57. Believe says:

    Dusters said, “I would say that most of the regulars of PP are awake and will not put up with abuse in a church ever again. We have found our voice and have discovered that it is more damaging to sit and be quiet than it is to take a stand.”

    Amen to that.

  58. Lutheran says:

    I wish people in abusive churches would walk — vote with their feet — more often.

    Yet I realize it’s usually much, much more complicated than that. It’s often a complex and confusing situation. And if you have lots of friends there, it’s even tougher to leave. You may never have experienced healthy, nourishing relationships either in our outside the church walls.

    One thing I have said before is that I don’t think it’s healthy to have all your eggs in the church basket. Even more so if your Christianity is of more a sectarian/exclusivist bent, that makes it even more difficult to leave or think about leaving.

    Yet if there’s one thing my experience has taught me, as well as observing others on here, it’s that jumping ship can be terrible…but over time, the pain will dissipate. There are better situations. All the more reason to have friends outside the church environment.

  59. jlo says:

    I had many friends at church, more than I could number, after I left I can count them on one hand.

  60. centorian says:

    jlo,
    yep, been there…. funny how it is when you don’t jump through another’s hoop that they are done with you.

  61. nancy says:

    I left but all it did … at least that I can tell … is give more freedom to the abusive pastor to discredit my name. He did the same to those who left before & after me. Voting with your feet only opens up a chair for new people to come & be controlled. Can’t control then … drive em out … chair opens … & so on ….

  62. Sarah says:

    I know you are not a big fan of Kierkegaard, Michael, but I read this quote today and have been chewing on it while listening to the discussion here:

    ““Do you not know that there comes a midnight hour when every one has to throw off his mask? Do you believe that life will always let itself be mocked? Do you think you can slip away a little before midnight in order to avoid this? Or are you not terrified by it? I have seen men in real life who so long deceived others that at last their true nature could not reveal itself;… In every man there is something which to a certain degree prevents him from becoming perfectly transparent to himself; and this may be the case in so high a degree, he may be so inexplicably woven into relationships of life which extend far beyond himself that he almost cannot reveal himself. But he who cannot reveal himself cannot love, and he who cannot love is the most unhappy man of all.””

    We could substitute “God” for “life” being mocked. Still, I know that I have encountered people who have backed themselves into a corner and simply do not know how to get out. Sometimes they don’t know how because they are too enraptured by their sin; it has their attention, it lures them and keeps them on the hook. Sometimes they don’t know how because their pride keeps them from repentance.

    Sometimes they just can’t imagine that they would be welcomed into any type of life if they came clean of who they are and what they have done.

    Sometimes they don’t believe that God would have them either.

    We are all fallen and we all struggle with illusions of a life that would be more tantelizing or more fulfilling, or more whatever. Most of us do not live the double lives of someone like Kempner, or the callousness that appears in Skip. Still, we are all struggling against the hold of sin and of the old man.

    You, my friend, live in transparency more than most. You may have pain and frustration and hurt, but it does not come because you are living falsely. It comes because you seek justice. It comes because you know that there is something that we are called to that is beyond the hold of sin….that there is a calling to live through Christ differently.

    You have more freedom in your life than these men you have exposed ever will. They are caught in their illusions and in their corners and there is only fear and guilt and worry. You sleep at night possibly with frustration, but they sleep at night the fitful sleep of fear and worry of being caught, being exposed….or finding that no one cares when they are exposed.

    Just think…their greatest fear is probably that of being caught. Then they are, and they find that they can simply continue in their way. There is no freedom in that. There is only continuing in a life bound by illusion.

    So…do what God has called you to. Weep and mourn that those who have taken the responsibility of guarding the sheep are really preying on them. But rest in the care of you Savior who knows your heart.

  63. nancy says:

    Jlo,
    Same here … it’s part of the discredit thing. We had to be cast out in order for their power structure to stay in tact.

  64. jlo says:

    Funny indeed, some were just too afraid to continue the friendships, for some it was no longer easy now that we didn’t serve together, some were just shallow.

    The ones that did stick around were those of character, and it’s an honor and blessing to call them friend.

  65. nancy says:

    Sarah, Well said!

  66. Michael says:

    Sarah,

    I’ll be chewing on that quote for a week…thank you.

  67. Believe says:

    Sarah, your 1:53pm…sometimes there is a post that is so profound it moves me deeply…on many levels…in so many directions…both without and within.

    That was one of those posts.

  68. Believe says:

    I’m torn on the “voting with your feet” accountability mechanism.

    The more I wrestle with all of this…I’m questioning the fairness and justice in that option…which is the prevalent one.

    What about staying and effecting change?

    What about a System that promotes a fair shake at Matthew 18, with someone besides the hand-picked board and pastor as the ultimate arbiter of a just outcome (here on earth)?

    It’s like a divorce…in fact, I’ve seen families and close friendships torn apart when a rogue pastor does his thing…and gets away with it. The hurt people leave…and lose close relationships. The people who stay are put in an awkward position…and there is a “loyalty” pressure put on them to disassociate with those who have left…in some cases (my example being one of them).

  69. Rob Murphy says:

    Art = Integrity?

    The old cliche says:
    I don’t know art, but I know what I like.

    And “Dogs Playing Poker”, “Three Wolf Moon” and “Velvet Elvis” are big sellers, while criminals are elected to office, adulterers meet adulation and Pastors “pout and preen like cheap tarts in a red light scene” (hello, ’80s, I enjoyed you).

    And Jesus said “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing”.

    My prayer is that I’ll weep more on the Lord’s shoulder instead of using Him to steady my aim at others. I’m pretty sure my “love” needs a sweater. Days like these make my love ‘wax cold’.

    Sarah’s post is tremendous. The cockroach in me wants to run from that light, but that is some solid love and truth right there.

  70. Another Voice says:

    It seems to me that in most churches the best time to be really listened to and have questions answered is when one is an initial visitor. Not the very first Sunday visit, but after a few weeks in while contemplating membership. The pastor and elders are usually the most accomodating and friendly at this stage.

    Maybe a service to the Body would be a short list of questions to ask as to how disputes and accountability are handled, and where these procedures actually exist in writing.

    I do hear Believe and the others who have concerns over the fairness of having to be the ones to vote with the feet (after sometimes years) when they are the innocent ones. I also hear Michael’s point about how can one complain when one deliberately places oneself in a situation ripe for abuse.

    If certain doctrines are important to a person, they ALWAYS check a potentially new church’s stance on those personally important doctrines.

    So if the accountability issue is a major concern going in, maybe a similar ‘suggested list of questions’ would be helpful. I know I as a pastor would not mind answering anything asked me in that regard.

  71. nancy says:

    Believe,
    In my view the voting with you feet thing only hurts more. Families including children … are torn from their church home/family … and the abuse is clear to continue. The problem is … if there is no mechanism in place … there really isn’t a good choice … some stay & ignore the problem … others leave & are pretty much forced to ignore the problem. Same result really.

  72. Em says:

    haven’t read the thread, but Michael you’ve said what God wanted you to say and stood where God wanted you to stand – i pray for you daily – God enllighten any who take advantage of your hospitality here and neglect to do so
    i don’t know if we’re looking at an unstoppable plunge into apostasy (compromising the integrity of God), guarding the institution (money and personal prestige) like the pharisees did. If true, then there will be many crucified for the faith and God keeps the books… the bill will come due…

  73. Em says:

    we always talk wisely about striking a balance, but 2 things stand out in my OT readings… my impression is that most leaders died in compromise and sin and most prophets (Daniel excepted) had pretty heart breaking miserable days on this earth – what does God think of us that stay safely in the middle – “balanced” 😕 dunno

    today i’m thinking that i just love that prophet, Michael Newnham – his reward is great – dunno what it is 🙂 but my God tells me it’s a great one above anything we could ask or think…

    perhaps because sometimes it hurts to much to think 😆

  74. Isaiah56:1 says:

    Sarah, I will be “marinating” in the message of your post for days. Thank you.

  75. Michael says:

    Em,

    I’ll be happy just to get home in one piece…but thank you.

  76. deadmanwalking says:

    There are many attributes a person can have that present as strong character. I hate to keep beating the same drum, but virtues are morally neutral, it is the moral personality behind the virtues that really counts. Keep God’s Glory in your cross-hairs and do our best to have the motive of His Glory as our motive then all else will fall into place. Yes we need to speak out. I have and it did cost. The price I paid was small compared to what I’ve seen happen to others that would speak out. And One things I did learn long ago, is have your own house in order before you decide to speak into a situation where there is moral failure. When we are wounded, to seek and find the right motive is the hardest part.

    In Heaven it will be the motive behind it all that counts. And the motive of another human is impossible for us to know. It is near impossible to even discern our own motives at the best of times, and when we are wounded it is even harder so we need to search our own hearts, if we be honest men and women, we will usually find that even at our highest moments, that we have mixed motives. I used to Study hard, and pour my whole self into teaching because I loved the Lord, and I loved His people, but simultaneously I did it because I didn’t want to look stupid in front of people. I prepared and prepared, and nonetheless that last thing I would do before I got up to teach was a zipper check and a quick a look in a mirror, one of my greatest fears was to have a wiggler in my nose while I was teaching and not know it. We must alway be nailing our old nature to the cross, over and over again, and do our best to get our motives as pure as possible. If we wait for perfection of our motives we will never do anything, because we will always have mixed motives, so do our best to kill the wrong and breath life into the other. Ga 5:17* For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

    My point is we need to always be putting out own hearts under brutal scrutiny and judge ourselves, we ought to be hard on ourselves and merciful to others. Love In Truth. Stand for Truth, but do it in Love— now that’s just plain hard , 1Co 11:31* For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

  77. Nomansapologist says:

    I honestly couldn’t put into words the difference that you and this ministry has made in my life…

  78. Dusty says:

    Michael, what I don’t understand is what you and Centorian are trying to make me believe…that either of you could be uncaring about the hurting….it is not in your make up – not in your character … you can say as many times as you want that you would not care…I know different.

  79. Michael says:

    Dusty,

    If someone gets burned after sticking their hand in the fire after knowing that fire is hot and it burns…it’s on them.

    I’ll bring them an ice pack and move on.

  80. BrianD says:

    Dusty, I agree with you.

    I believe Michael and Cent are talking more about the person who goes to a church, is told there are serious problems with it, and doesn’t care (or cares more for what they would lose by speaking out).

    Now, I’ve never been in the ministry to the extent nor the manner that Michael and Cent have been. I cannot judge what it is like to be in their shoes…and cry out as a prophet and tend to hurting hearts as a priest and see your efforts seemingly go to waste.

    Ministry is hard, or so I have been told. I’ve gotten a small taste of that, here. I do know we all grow weary from time to time, and in those seasons need others to comfort and encourage us and challenge us not to give up the fight, but keep on keeping on.

    We’re here to comfort, and encourage, and challenge men like Michael and Centorian when they grow weary…like now.

  81. Michael says:

    I’ve told Trey repeatedly that he absolutely cannot skateboard without a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads.

    Repeatedly.

    I have made him find his pads and put them on fifty times when he neglected to do so.

    The other day he did it again.

    I said nothing and fifteen minutes later he hit a rock and landed knees and elbows on the concrete.

    I haven’t had to say a word since.

  82. Dusty says:

    Michael said, “I’ll bring them an ice pack ”

    see you do care 😉

  83. Dusty says:

    but I know you Michael…I know your heart hurt ‘cuz your little man got hurt….

  84. Michael says:

    Dusty,

    Not really…you do the right thing, but thats the end of it.

    I will not listen to someone whine about getting hurt when you told them what was coming.

    People need to take some personal responsibility for themselves.

  85. Michael says:

    Yep, but Trey is a child, my child.

    I’ve paid my dues in ABQ.

  86. Dusty says:

    kind of like how God just told the people ENOUGH!!! and gave them the quail? and the awful king?

  87. Michael says:

    Dusty,

    Yes…now you understand perfectly.

  88. Dusty says:

    Michael said, “I’ve paid my dues in ABQ.”

    …and then some…and then some more….

  89. Dusty says:

    ok…i got it now…it is just reading the one line that you and cent said…it did not line up with what I know about the two of you….putting it with the rest of the explanation helps me understand. thank you

  90. Dusty says:

    thanks Brian.
    I agree with you about being here to comfort, encourage and challenge….

  91. nancy says:

    I don’t struggle as much with those that stay in abusive churches who are willfully defiant … or stay for their own gain … but I struggle greatly for those who have been manipulated into thinking things are just fine. Plus … there are newer people who just don’t have enough info to know things are a mess … yikes!

  92. BrianD says:

    Any one around?

  93. Believe says:

    I’m here BrianD…just woofing down some dinner. Are you still there?

  94. BrianD says:

    Yeah, Believe, now I’m busy again.

  95. BrianD says:

    And now I am not.

    Wondering if Andrew Marin’s book would be a worthy read?

  96. deadmanwalking says:

    After many years of seeing abused wives finally get away from her abuser, only to turn around and marry another abusive man. I have seen the same dynamic at work with people who escape an abusive ministry, they turn around the join another abusive ministry. There is something complex in this mystery. They are often people who are looking for someone strong to take weight of the responsibility of their life and decisions fro them. Taking personal responsibility for our relationship with the Lord is heavy thing.

    I’ve helped a lot of abused wives and well as a lot of people involved in abusive churches only to see them seek out a different abuser. I have also seen some escape and stay free, but those who keep finding a new abuser were the majority. In the case of an abused wife, she often had an abusive father, and it’s all she ever knew. In the case of those abused by a ministry the same is often true, they had a father or other authority figure in their life and it somehow turns into a kind of addiction.

    Anyone can be taken in once, but those who keep finding new abusers I believe they want another human to be strong for them, they don’t want to take the weight of taking on the responsibility of their own life. This may be hard for some to hear, but I know from years of seeing it happen to not at least explore what is going on when this happens.

    No one can do it for you. You can’t just give away the responsibility of your life, or the responsibility of having your own relationship with the Lord to another mere human. Trusting God is a very hard thing, for some it is much easier to trust in a man you can see. And there are many wolves who are looking for people who will give their will over to them. They in some way get their followers to believe that all they have to do is please them, and they desire to take possession of their soul leading to their destruction, and in exchange make you feel like you are not responsible for anything except obedience to them. To walk by Faith is harder than to just do what you are told by a false christ.

    When asked about the time of the end, the foremost think Jesus warned us about was the false christ that would come. For a false christ to have any power, it must come from people willing to give their will and soul to them.

    Beware – for Many will come — and many more are coming

  97. Dusty says:

    about the abused woman going into another abusive relationship over and over again.,…..

    If that is all they have ever known and and they have never been in any other kind..they do not know what to look for…but also they have been so beaten down emotionally that they hate themselves and start to believe the lies they have been told…they feel like they can’t do better…that they somehow don’t deserve better…that this is all they will ever be….or else be alone all their life…and for some they think they have no choice…they need and seek love and an abusive man will play up to that to pull them in…

    not many women who get into a relationship with a man has been hit by him on the first date…the abuse is introduced slowly…they are like snakes…they play a good game with the women…they know how to pull on those wounded, used, abandoned, neglected girls…

  98. Ted S. says:

    “Well, no church is perfect – at least our lead pastor preaches the word…”

    “Well, no leader is perfect. They all make mistakes. At least our lead pastor has repented whenever he has been prideful…”

    “Well, the Word tells us to tithe and then to trust God with the results…”

    “Well, we’ve thought about leaving, but we really enjoy the liturgy and tradition…”

    “Well, we know there are some things wrong with the leadership, but we really like the dynamic worship…”

    “Well, there are some things that have troubled us, but after all, the church is really growing, so they must be doing something right…”

    “Etcetera, etcetra, etcetera.”

    Excuses. Excuses.
    ad nauseum.
    ad infinitum.

  99. Dusty says:

    Ted, the one that keeps people really stuck in the abuse…”every family has problems.” why leave if you are just going to have to deal with it all over again…and if you stay put you won’t loose all your friends, you won’t ‘lose your faith’, you won’t be accused of being of the devil…

    just realized…sounds like the stuff battered women hear that spews out of the mouth of abusive men….

    i think i hear a duck 🙁

  100. Em says:

    lots of wisdom posted on this thread between 7:39 and 8:21 tonight … and to think, i almost didn’t bother to read

  101. He Knows My Name says:

    DMW: Incredible words of wisdom. You are talking about me and I think you speak to many of us in the church today. I walk into churches with abusive pastors or ministries because I am needing to reinvent the wheel of an abusive childhood relationship with a father who wouldn’t love or affirm me.

    I find that I am attracted to strong, charismatic, authoritarian, father figures. Are they my “dad” to me? Do I hope that maybe this time I will be loved for who I am? Will my personhood be affirmed at last?

    And I manage to set myself up for the big fall. Because I idealize the pastor or minister, or whomever, I set myself up for disappointment and heartache. No one can live up to my neediness or ideal.

    When that idealize person (idol) proves to be a sinner, or disappoints me in a major way, I feel betrayed. “Maybe I really am that horrible little child who is unworthy to be loved?”

    It’s interesting that there is often a codependency issue involved as well. The abusive pastor often preys upon the needy and/or those needing to be needed. Why is that? Do they have a need to be worshiped?

    When Spiritual abuse takes place in one church, it’s just a matter of time and I find a new church and the same thing eventually happens all over again… if I let it.

    I am not a victim. I take full responsibility when I see what I can do to myself.

  102. nancy says:

    DMW, Well said! Thanks for taking the time to share!

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