This is an open letter to Jessica Hockett. Looking forward to meeting her Saturday and hoping that she continues to do the impressive and hard work about Harvest Bible Chapel in the days and weeks to come.
“The history of progress is written in the blood of men and women who have dared to espouse an unpopular cause, as, for instance, the black man’s right to his body, or woman’s right to her soul.“
For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
Esther 4:14 NIV
Waiting for Evita to start at the Kennedy Center in 2015.
As you like musicals especially Evita I thought I’d include some clips from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic. This open letter is one of the items on my agenda before I jump on a plane for the conference in Chicago. I am looking forward to just sitting in the back and observing and processing all this having both seen the dark side of religion myself and in writing about it. The Harvest Bible Chapel scandal was quite dark and disturbing. The abuse of power, finances, harmed families, the enabling of James MacDonald and even the discussion of planting child pornography is all quite unsettling. Hard to believe that this is a church we are speaking about in so many ways. Honestly it amazes me that churches can be so corrupt. This journey of writing had led me down some really dark paths and I struggle to comprehend all this. Who could have imagined all this could be the case with evangelical Christianity. My past is littered with dark experiences and yet in speaking to others I know that others also struggle with this situation to. In my case its comforting knowing that others are dealing with this topic also. It tells me that I am not alone.
In the case of you Jessica I just want to state what a pleasure it has been to follow you and watch you do your magic on Twitter. We need to get you to change careers, either working as a detective in law enforcement or being an analyst at a place like the CIA would be a good fit for you. Your ability to sort through all these facts and analyze them and draw the big picture deeply impresses me. You are very skilled and the right person for writing about Harvest Bible Chapel. There is still so much to to do on the Harvest Bible Chapel and the reluctance of Harvest leadership to still come clean after all that has transpired has been disappointing. Some things do not change. Personally I don’t think Harvest can be changed, and that is why I would like to see the system out of Rolling Meadows and Elgin to be shut down. I don’t want to see MacDonald get going again and when Harvest had an opportunity to declare he was unfit for leadership they did not. That for me is not only disappointing it shows how the system can’t work and that it will never work properly. Those who believe Harvest can reform itself need to face the facts and come to terms with this reality.
Its my sincere hope that you will sit down one day and write a book perhaps with Julie Roys on the Harvest Bible Chapel scandal. Its one that needs to be documented and covered. There is one academic work about Mars Hill in Seattle but no one has really written a comprehensive overview of the Sovereign Grace Ministry scandal with C.J. Mahaney. Harvest needs to be written about and documented so that people can read and comprehend the dangers of the mega church model and the celebrity culture. People need to remember how dangerous James MacDonald is and why he should never be in a place of spiritual leadership again. A book can do that, and if you write a book this blog will read, review and write about it. I would have no problem pushing a book like that because its important to educate people and keep them aware. Tyrannts and despots despise education and work to keep people from knowing the facts or they like to keep them in the dark. That was true with the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc or the Warsaw Pact and it rings true with ministries like Harvest Bible Chapel,
I am looking forward to either high fiving you or doing a fist bump. Or whatever it is you guys from Harvest Bible Chapel do. I am looking forward to sitting in the back and observing and processing all this. This is the first time I think such an event has been organized that consists of members and former attenders of two locations that have dealt with scandal. On Sunday morning I am going to City of Joy. Earlier this year I promised RT Maldaner that I would sit through a service at his church at one point. This conference allows me to keep and maintain my promise to him. And for me that is important. I am amazed by some of the people I have met form Harvest. Many kind, tender, and loving people who mean well and want to do the right thing. Those who have left I have come to know many and have a deep amount of love and respect for them. Well I need to run, I look forward to seeing you tomorrow. I know its supposed to snow but if you guys could send some of that snow out west the state of California would appreciate it with all the fires they have been having. 🙂