Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Postlude to Graceland and the Start of Authority Analysis

Two final pieces to the story: throughout the events described below, I had an intellectual understanding that my brothers believed what they believed about authority strongly and as a function of their faith in and understanding of the Bible. The conundrum of their choices and positions being hurtful on one hand and their integrity of conscience being their motivation was a puzzle I could not fathom. Throughout, from that first July confrontation of my error until the meeting over my resignation that I did not attend, my anger would cool and upon reflection I would realize they did what they believed. They held what they did as their responsibility before God and their conscience insisted they follow through. I could not fault them at all. I still do not.

Also, I am not vindicated in the telling of these events. Removing the log from my own eye became my goal in the first months following the end of my grieving process, and grief is the word for how my wife and I felt for many months. Had I not joined, willingly and in good conscience, with many of the behaviors I now had experienced on the receiving end? Was I not a sinful man just as they? After six months, or so, conviction came on me that I had been impatient with them and had reneged on my commitment to love them as people, while I had traversed the woods of error in authority and fellowship we created trying to find my way out. I had fallen into the error of self-protection against them, even as I was waking to the Father through the Holy Spirit as my all in all. Thus my own condition of heart was often against God even while I sought to renew my walk of faith with Him more fully. Irony! Thank our Lord for the wonder of the righteousness of Christ covering all our failures of sin!

Interestingly, the head-pastor of my story would end up leaving GCC about four years later over the same issue in reverse! GCC moved him out stating it would follow a more pluralistic leadership. Six years after that, all but two elders would separate over issues of authority and fellowship between brethren being undermined by a controlling spirit. Can we doubt that we wrestle not with flesh and blood but against principalities and powers?

7 comments:

Terry said...

David: I do appreciate your spirit in all of this.

I will admit that I am still sort of in the "call fire down" on the people who wounded us. I have come to the conclusion, much like you, that they did what they believed and would still—I think—die for what they believe, even though you and I and others readily see the error.

The difference may lie in the fact that by the time we changed directions in leadership styles I really believed that the root of dysfunction had been put to death.

To have such hope dashed years later and yet stay the course with a bullseye on my back for a year and a half until departing may also make a difference in how I view things.

I really believe that "they" believed that I was the "problem" and that as in the past, if they waited long enough I would simply disappear as many others had.

Did I sin in my staying—yes. I was often a burr in the saddle and leaked a little of my frustration to others in the body without really intending to cause discord.

All of that having been said, I thank Jesus that you have come to the point of faith displayed in your text—and that is what we need an example of in these last days as hearts grow cold and sound doctrine dismissed as irrelevant or incomplete.

Jimazing said...

David,
What you say matters. You have given me a lot to chew on. By that, I mean that I can relate.

I see myself in both sides of your story. I too have been misunderstood and maligned... but I frequently listen poorly. I hear my story in the story of others. Rather than seeking to understand, I listen for agreement or disagreement. I want to hear better. After all, I do have "ears to hear". Thanks for sharing your story.

Chip said...

To me, one of the greatest things God has ever done in my life was to allow me to be wounded as I left GCC.

Remember that book, "With Christ in The School Of Prayer" by Andrew Murray, I think? Through those intense six months following our leaving GCC and on for about five years, I was "With Christ In The School Of Forgiveness" - and it is one of the greatest, deepest experiences of my life.

I'm so glad God didn't keep me from being hurt.

He leads me by quiet waters, but also through the valley of the shadow. Praise Him forever.

ded said...

Jim,
We do listen poorly. I also have learned that based on personality we respond at different levels and this alters the development of the story. Some of us are very strongly influencing a group while others are allowing themselves to go along. Both approaches are writing the end results.

I also know that for the fullest picture of me, the other side of the story would need to be heard.

However, my goal here is not to tell a story, but to illustrate men seeking to use authority, which I believe in fact is God's expectation of us. What needs to be learned from this story and other stories as well on the topic?

So I have pushed on toward the goal.

Thanks for following the posts!

Chip,

I agree. One of the lessons I learned through this is there are no negatives in my life experiences. There are emotional reactions to some of the challenges, but the wonder of God's love and faithfulness is ever present and the guidance of the Holy Spirit is sure. The challenges bring growth in Him. Everything about Him is a blessing.

Emma Beth said...

Hey Daddy, its interesting to go abd read about that time because I remember being young and the impressions that I had as a kid on all of these things. One of the main things I remember was that I knew the church had hurt you and mom both deeply. I didnt realize how much of an impact all of that had on me and the way I viewed the organized church until college. I love you daddy. EB

ded said...

Thanks for commenting, Emma.

We should talk sometime. Though the challenge of those days carried an emotional reaction, we brought that on ourselves. An important lesson I learned, and will include as I wrap this series up, is that people find what they seek. We should talk sometime about that...or maybe I'll write about that in one of the faith letters to you younger ones.

Carey said...

My personal response to this dilemma has been to assign a certain limited aspect of my life to "the church," (I later joined another one, much different from GCC) and afford much more validity to the other authority sources in this life, like... the town in which we live, neighborhood, state, school system (my employer), state, nation, world (as in global warming , etc.
There is much more credibility to these authority sources than what we formerly acknowledged as members of GCC. There is also a great deal of fulfillment in aligning with those communal efforts (and the authorities therein), and thereby contributing to their progress. We are citizens of a fallen world, but it is nevertheless a wonderful one. I'm happy to be a part of it, much happier than when I had sequestered myself into the one small, myopic entity of which we speak and mourn.
CR