My hopes for this blog and two situations that drive it. Wanting to be wrong about evangelical Christianity, and healing from a horrific betrayal from a care Group Leader from former SGM Redeemer Arlington.
“In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourself to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble”
1 Peter 5:5
This blog will be a journal, and I will be exploring my thoughts about so many different situations. However, starting today I am going to capture my thoughts about religion and faith in many different forms. There are going to be two things that will drive me in this blog. One is a personal desire to be wrong about my thoughts or conclusions on evangelicalism. And second is an unresolved situation of which I am praying can be brought to peace. I’ll explore both in this post, but let me start out by explaining in great detail why I want to be found and proven wrong.
I’m not writing this out of bitterness, anger, or a desire to nurse a grudge. I’m not hiding behind a computer screen in the Washington, D.C. area with some hidden secret desire to feed pain. Just the opposite is true….I want nothing of that; instead I want to write and communicate my feelings and my honest hope that some of the conclusions I am going to draw upon are indeed wrong. You must understand this writing and all my past experiences – even a false accusation that I endured – are opportunities to right a wrong, and redeem a mess. In the economy of God and how the Lord works I believe anything and everything can be redeemed. The problem is that many people who spout that claim don’t reveal it by their actions. Faith isn’t about having the right set of beliefs, it’s also about what you do. You can have the right doctrine and still be miles away from the faith. There are many I can use to make this point, however I don’t want this post to go down that rabbit trail.
The point I want to make is that I desperately want to be proven wrong. I had a faith crisis that was hell, and I simultaneously worked at trying to stay out of a former Sovereign Grace Church of which I was unsuccessfully recruited. My desire to stay out of and away from Redeemer Arlington was strong and I resisted incredible pressure to attend. In my lifetime I have dealt with pressure from the Mormons (when I was in college in Montana) and I have dealt with pressure from Sovereign Grace. I would say that they were about equal in the amount of pressure that I was under, but each pressure had different goals. The pressure to attend Redeemer Arlington was not something I needed while undergoing an intense and prolonged faith crisis. Remember this faith crisis consumed half my thirties. Those and other experiences with evangelicalism are going to help drive this blog.
But here is why I want to be found wrong. I want to be found wrong because it is an incredible opportunity to prove and develop my faith. I want to be someone who is teachable, and can be molded. I also want to be someone who can be shaped and guided. I am not someone going through life ignoring faith, choosing cheap pot shots, and not trying to play by the rules. Just the opposite is true…I want to be found wrong on my evangelical thoughts because it can help me learn true humility. Humility is a bastardized concept in many parts of evangelicalism today. Its not about being nice, smiling, and shaving your head after your idol. True humility is about admitting you are wrong, owning your mistakes, admitting the pain you caused, working at resolving that pain and caring about the people around you in the process. My identity is not in being right, and I am not insecure in my thinking. But if people challenge me – and I hope they do – and I am wrong, then I will own those mistakes that I have made. That is who I am and how I want to live. Going about life I want to live a life of peace. Late at night when I am alone in my condo I have to live with myself, and that is why I want to have peace. So by all means if you feel a desire to or are connected to any of the churches or ministries that I will write about here, by all means please reach out to me. I have no problem hearing you out in the DC area and listening to you from across the table over coffee or in an email.
The second thing that drives me is an unresolved painful situation that is ongoing. Its like an open, emotional wound that throbs in pain. I will be writing about it in detail as this project unfolds. You see I had a military officer, a Care Group Leader at Redeemer Arlington, who tried to recruit me for over two years. But before I get into what happened let me state boldly and clearly that I also made my mistakes. I own every mistake I made and you will never hear me shift my part of the blame onto Andrew White. I will continue to own them. At the time I was in the midst of a faith crisis and deeply consuming Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and other evangelical atheist material. However Andrew White, a Care Group Leader at Redeemer Arlington did a number of things that were wrong, inappropriate, and highly questionable. He did one of the most evil things I had ever seen a person do…he leveled a false accusation against me which propelled me into the darkest season of my life. In the course of time he turned around and started to recruit another person to Redeemer while I managed this false accusation for 13 months.
Here is the problem with what Andrew White did…he committed a sin that was unthinkable and unpardonable in my opinion. As a Christian he attacked and went after a non-Christian at the time. That behavior flies in the face of thousands of years of Christian history. Christians are supposed to be lambs not Lions. They are supposed to be meek not proud. How many Christians in the history of the church surrendered their authority and name to non-Christians out of love? How many Christians risked their name, reputation and walked to their death more concerned about the people who were sending them to their death? I was working my way out of a faith crisis when I dealt with a horrific betrayal. When I hit bottom I did all that I could to redeem a mess. While my faith crisis was exceptionally painful the false accusation was horrific. That said I was initially encouraged by a brief conversation that took place at work between Andrew White and myself on June 20, 2014. That conversation had issues but I thought the door was at least opened for us to work them out. That said he shut the door and refused to hear about the pain he caused or the issues that remain open. Chief among that pain is how Andrew’s false accusation hurt my 78 year old mother. It brought my mother to tears when she learned about it. To the best of my ability when I reflect back on the rest of my life no other person had done something similar that hurt my mother. My Mother who just had her tenth anniversary of surviving pancreatic cancer (this month) had enough on her plate. Her husband was recovering from a stage 3 brain tumor and was dealing with that medical situation. My Mother didn’t need to be hurt by Andrew’s false accusation. You see when you sin…you just don’t hurt yourself and the other party…you hurt others as well. For example let’s talk about adultery. When you have an affair you just don’t hurt yourself and your wife. You hurt your family, children, extended family, and the other family that was involved. But the pain doesn’t stop there..it also hurts friends, co-workers, church members, etc… When you sin you hurt much more than just yourself. Now when I met Andrew White and we spoke on June 20, I went into that conversation deeply concerned about how this conflict between us affected his wife Gillian White. What dismayed me is that Andrew had no such concern for my family in return. This is not acceptable, as my Mother deserves just as much respect as Andrew’s wife Gillian White. What also angered me is that Andrew never owned any of that pain of which he is responsible. Now if Andrew wasn’t a Christian and he made a false accusation, wounded me, and hurt my Mother and walked away from the mess; then I actually would find much more peace in that than what currently exists. So in that context I am praying that things can be resolved. As I move forward in this blog I will b writing about this deeply.
What encourages me? A number of relationships that I never thought would have life again. It’s amazing what happens when a person truly repents. In the economy of God anything is possible. And that’s why I am praying for Andrew White still. If Andrew doesn’t know what repentance is well I would be happy to show him. I think I learned a thing or two in repenting to nearly 140 people.
So in wrapping this post up…I want to state what I hope. I hope I am wrong about evangelicalism. I would love to have this blog wither and die because there is no such need for a blog to continue. That said, we’ll see what happens. Secondly I want to be at peace and for Andrew to own his pain and work at resolving things. There are a lot of things to discuss but I am wanting Andrew to write my Mother a letter for the pain he caused my Mother. He needs to own his pain and sin. There is no excuse for two Christians to be in that kind of conflict with each other. How is that conflict a witness to the world when people are reading about it? On an added note I will also say this, if Andrew repents of his sin he can develop a graduate level faith and grow a rawer, deeper faith that what currently exists. I will be blogging a lot about Andrew in the course of time. That is my first post.
That is my goal and prayer…..