Jim Wright is a church sower, public but unassuming, thinker, mentor, teacher, local church elder, motivated by redemption, foe of tyrants, friend of the dispossessed, retired international attorney, entrepreneur, former private pilot, and so-so bass fisherman.
Marianne is a retired public school teacher, private but strong, heart, skilled counselor, knows deep intimacy with God, a comfort to others in the Lord, wise, motivated by mercy but has strong resolve, gardener, and a bridge to healing for many.
Together, we have been part of a community of simple, participatory fellowships for many years in our own home county - some of which we helped start.
Our blogs and devotionals spring from firm roots in those local fellowships.
Sadly, I received a threatening email the other day from an organic church author regarding my ongoing research into the history of that movement. I stumbled upon significant hidden sin in his “tribe” involving sexual exploitation by one of their “apostles” – even though I didn’t go looking for those skeletons – and I’m now a threat.
So be it – but be careful about threatening an attorney and someone who has taken on other sexually exploitive church “leaders”. Truth is always an absolute defense, and I don’t intimidate easily.
This only draws attention to what they have sought to hide, and is a really, really stupid move on their part.
Nonetheless, the blog I link to in this e-card provides the framework for dealing with and publicly exposing abusive church leaders. We would do well to heed Paul’s command to Timothy on such matters, so that their exploitation of others does not get swept under the rug and thus harm of others.
I used to be a pastor. Never thought I was “abusive” (nor do I believe that charge could be laid against me), but I do know what the pressure of church building programs, antagonists in the pews, debt, worship wars, and unresolved conflict within the body can lead to: Burnout.
This burnout can lead to all kind of other issues including depression, moral compromise, substance abuse, even abandonment of the faith and thoughts of suicide. Often pastors are islands to themselves and suffer in needless silence. Many of us leave the pulpit never to return to full time ministry. We start out as pastors and end up statistics.
It is far to easy to point to the sin/failures and fail to understand there is a soul at stake. I welcome your work within the body of Christ and feel it is much needed; i do hope your research/work also reaches further than the “symptoms” but addresses the disease as well. I
Rick, I have seen what you are talking about many, many times.
Here are some things I previously wrote about it:
Ordained to Fail, https://crossroadjunction.com/2011/11/16/ordained/
Leadership Burnout, https://crossroadjunction.com/2009/04/27/pastoral-burn-out/
I think Rick’s response was very well thought out and well worded, and Jim your reply also