Here’s the blurbs from the rest of my favorite posts… this time we go back to 2006.
Just today I ran into someone from a previous church. She had left the church a few months prior to my own departure amid some stressful personal struggles and the desire to attend a church that she felt met the needs of her children more completely.
She said that in the weeks following this decision, she began to find out what her “supposed” church community was all about. Her choice to leave the church was met with mixed reviews, with some people being downright offended. People from her small group that called her on a regular basis stopped calling. People she would call suddenly were too busy to get together. And, in the midst of her personal needs, when she really needed some of these “tried and true” friends, they were nowhere to be found. While she had served this church and loved the people there for years, she felt a mixed bag of sadness and rage at the way she was now being treated.
First Church of the Ambivalent 4/30/06
It’s Purpose Driven Pastor Season here in Southern California. Pastors from all over the world are here to visit Saddleback Church and learn how to help their churches grow….
Standing in line at Starbucks the other morning and watching these people interact, I was so thankful not to be a part of the theatrical drama that is played out in ministry conferences like this and others like it around the world. Everyone puts on their best face, smiles their best smile and places that best foot firmly forward. But like the Hollywood sets located about an hour north of here, once you walk behind the door and peek behind the curtain you discover it is only a facade… it looks good on the outside, but it has the same problems, shallowness and sin that your church has. It’s just bigger, that’s all!
Purpose Driven Pastor Season 05/18/06
Being outside the church has opened up my eyes to the possibilities of sharing life with people I might have never noticed before. Now the goal isn’t to try and find a way to get these people into my church…it’s just to get to know them as they are with no “end game” of finding a way to turn my conversations into an opportunity to invite them to my next “hip and relevant” church event.
It has been said by some friends that we shouldn’t give up on God’s institution just because it contains messed up people. So, I guess the question is, why do I need God’s institution since messed up people like me are everywhere to befriend. I do not feel far from God when I spend time relating with people wherever I go.
Messed Up People 5/27/06
Each and every Sunday in pulpits around America, pastors will stand and proclaim their version of the truth. It’s not ultimate truth, it’s not “gospel truth”… not to say that there isn’t truth in their words… but what power do their words really hold? And as an aside, does talking for 30-45 minutes about the truth you want to proclaim make it any more influential. Pastors, catch a clue… the more you talk, the less we listen. It’s human nature!
My Words Are Powerless 7/01/06
Ted, it has been said that you have “fallen from grace”. This phrase is very often used when pastors are asked to step down from their ministry positions because of impropriety….
You didn’t fall from grace Ted, you have fallen into grace.
People want to keep you from grace. These “great religious leaders” you have been asked to submit to for “restoration” don’t want you to have grace. The Dobson’s of the world don’t want you to experience grace. They want you to jump through hoops to earn it back….
Others telling you that you have “fallen from grace” implies that you now have to climb your way back up to the place you were before. It puts you back on that merry-go-round of goodness that leads you nowhere. It keeps you spinning so you never experience true grace. You and I know that the place where your were wasn’t grace. It was getting you nowhere close to grace. The place you were before was a prison… it was a cage.
Grace is freedom.
And for those who have found the freedom of grace, life is never the same.
A Letter to Ted Haggard – Part 3 11/12/06