Dec 312012
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. The beginning of the New Year is welcome around here, if for no other reason than the promise of something better to come than last year. 2012 was difficult, both personally and professionally. Personally, my health issues have overshadowed everything and here on the blog we lost about half of our readership . Dark days, but we move forward in hope.

2. We did publish our first book, Make Your Own Application Vol. 1. It didn’t sell enough for me to publish Vol. 2.

4. As for the lawsuit itself… “I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?” (1 Corinthians 6:5–7 ESV). This is the result of having no instituitional mechanism to address such things…and the institution being utterly unwilling to adopt one. You would think the name of Christ would mean more to all of us.

5. I’m far more concerned with restoring broken people, than fighting unwinnable battles against church bureaucracies…though sometimes those battles are unavoidable.

6.  Our wealth and self sufficiency have caused us to lose both our need for prayer and our fear of the Lord. Losing the fear of the Lord is the root issue behind all the scandals.

7.  The fact that the Trinity Broadcast Network exists and Todd Bentley draws crowds speaks volumes about the intelligence and integrity of American Christianity. We far prefer wealthy and popular to holy.

8. This years election didn’t create division, it revealed it.

9. One of my biggest concerns as a pastor and a blogger concerns what happens to those who are abused in church situations. As I survey the growing list of online sites that serve as refuges for these people, it’s obvious their spiritual health is in critical condition. The churches just write them off because there are plenty of folks behind them to fill pews. Because most people don’t embrace the corporate, community nature of the Body of Christ, they leave their brethren behind if their “needs” are being met. We’ve lost any real grasp of the true nature of the church in evangelicalism.

10. I do have plans for the blog in the next year…we’ll see if I have the time and talent to pull them off.

  40 Responses to “Things I Think”

  1. 1. The best thing to happen to us this year was our daughter asking Jesus into her heart. All else pales in comparison, although we do experience other blessings. I still have a job and my diabetes continues to not majorley impact my day-to-day health – but I hafta work on it more.

    3. Honestly, one day I go from cheering Alex on to just breathing a sigh and moving on without commenting on a point from a thread. Some days its just too hard to engage.

    6 -7 . I want to post these on FB, but I may lose some friends as a result. Or more likely, be blocked.

    8. Amen. The division in our country is very real politically and otherwise.

    9. Pondering this point. Perhaps people get left behind because of the true nature of fellowship is not around Christ but some substitute – call it “Since you don’t attend our church anymore I don’t feel the same about you.”
    Or maybe we don’t have true fellowship from the get-go? People leave and they are not missed, because they aren’t missed when they were around?

    You gotta have fellowship around Christ before you can be missed from it.

    Like I said… pondering. 😉

    10. Do tell. 🙂

  2. Papias…your points on #9 are well worth pondering.

  3. Michael continue to fight the good fight… Your obversations about the Cavarys are spot on..Abuse in the church continues and needs to bed addressed.As for the lawsuit it doesn’t surprise me one bit. We as Christians seem to have scratched out I Cor. 6. I have tried to settle a few issues outside the courts and to my suprise I couldn’t get any so called Christian attorney to go along with that.. They al wanted to be inside the court house. I suppose it’s their comfort zone and it’s their bread and butter to drag things out as much as they can. I will watching some at the Beama seat right in the eye as they will give an account of their actions as we all will.. May this year be a better one for you. fight on brother

  4. Thank you, Steve.
    At this point I’m more concerned about restoring those broken then fighting those who have done the breaking…I don’t see much change happening unless people stop supporting these “ministries”.

  5. the whole Grenier thing … as an outsider who happened on this display i have concluded:
    while the man is a pastor under a CC umbrella, it is a domestic dispute – the Church wasn’t there for the little boys and that day is passed – perhaps it couldn’t have been, because it appears it all was perpetrated behind closed doors of the family home – but now, IMV, it is wrong to draw the Church into the fray – is it under the CC organizational umbrella and, therefore, are they culpable now? perhaps … Alex and his step-father seem well matched and seem determined to duke it out … it is not now for the Church to enter into the quarrel … IMHO

  6. What would the readers on the blog here have done if they were being accused or the terrible things Alex accused his father of? Constantly. Without stopping. Relentlessly repeating allegations until they were believed as fact. Taking Alex away from the situation, if YOU were being attacked, if your life and ministry was being destroyed, what could one do if reason would not stop the attacks? I think this is an issue that needs to be discussed in the world of blogs. Thoughts?

  7. Richard,

    Before this story ever became public I attempted to engage Bob Grenier to get his side of the story.
    I was repeatedly ignored.
    Most denominations have institutional mechanisms to deal with this sort of issue.
    Calvary Chapel does not and will not create one.
    There are a number of alternatives, including third party mediation that could have been enjoined through this tragedy.
    Whether you believe Alex or not, all three brothers have made similar claims and in my mind that was worth having some sort of official adjudication by the organization.
    Now, we are left with this mess…

  8. 1. Glad for a new year also!
    2. Loved the book, Michael. I just think you had too much on your plate otherwise to promote it sufficiently. If you worry about promoting your book and feel guilty like it is promoting yourself over the Lord then think on this: I think it is part of providing for yourself and family and I would think it is acceptable to do that.
    3, 4. I must admit, I try to avoid threads that Alex gets involved too much in. I know he has issues in his past and ongoing issues from the past, but it tends to get nasty a lot when he starts posting.
    5. Broken people have to want to be healed first. It is sad to see people living in a world where they seem to only be concerned with bringing about justice and vengeance on their own and don’t at some point realize that this world is all broken and justice is many times unattainable in this life. Lord, come quickly!
    6, 7, 9. Very insightful!
    8. Amen, guilty also.
    10. Cool.

    Also, I realize odds are Alex will probably start posting at a frantic pace soon, so I am out of here.
    Happy New Years all and I pray that God will heal all our hurts and pains this year.

  9. amen, Derek, Lord let it be

  10. Michael, we’ve said our peace off-blog. Happy New Year. Thinking of you and this blog as it blazed in years gone past, via a few verses of Goldsmith’s portrait of the country preacher, from “The Deserted Village.” Maybe the ‘phoenix’ will again arise to its former glory.

    ————————
    Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
    And even his failings leaned to Virtue’s side;
    But in his duty prompt at every call,
    He watched and wept, he prayed and felt, for all.
    And, as a bird each fond endearment tries,
    To tempt its new-fledged offspring to the skies,
    He tried each art, reproved each dull delay,
    Allur’d to brighter worlds, and led the way.

    Beside the bed where parting life was layed,
    And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismayed,
    The reverend champion stood. At his control,
    Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;
    Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise,
    And his last faultering accents whispered praise.

    At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
    His looks adorn’d the venerable place;
    Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway,
    And fools, who came to scoff, remain’d to pray.

  11. Derek,

    I find self promotion difficult for sure.
    Your #5 is very true, as well.
    Blessing on you for the New Year!

  12. Good Things/Thinking here.

    God bless you in the coming year! I am guessing 2013 can only be better for many of us. Yet, as soon as I type those words, I have to stop and thank God for His mercy and His many blessings of this year. Knowing He works all things together for good…..

    Blessed be the name of the Lord!

  13. Steve,

    I love that poem and need to find the whole thing!
    I doubt that we’ll ever do the numbers we did before for one simple reason.
    Extremism is what sells.
    When on one hand you want to support those(like yourself) in any movement who are tending the flock of God faithfully, while at the same time dealing with abuses you get shot at from both sides.
    I refuse to bring more polarization than necessary and mediating voices get shouted down these days.
    That is our national scandal at every level of governance.
    Blessings on you for the New Year, my friend.

  14. I’m off to get new glasses while I still have benefits…

  15. 2012…it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
    A lot changed and nothing did.

  16. #6 – Perhaps 1 Timothy 6:10 as well…

    Happy New Year!

  17. I haven’t posted in quite a long time, but I still read. It’s been almost a year and I am still a trainee at work, but almost done. Blessings to all and happy new year.

  18. affirming Romans 8:34-39 again and praying for a God best year for all

  19. My 2012 “interpretation”
    1 I am glad to see this year move on, lost way to many people this year, I know grief and loss have no part what so ever in the Christian apologetic, and they dont, but it was a rough year.
    2. I loved your book, what I read of it. To be honest my eyes have been struggling, I may well loose even more sight in the next year, my fear is not blindness, it is I may need to lean on others. That is not an option and trust me it is not, so that scares me.
    3. I grieved for Alex in some ways we shared some similar issues though my father never pretended to serve God, he hated religion and was always honest about that. He did not even curse me in God’s name, and before my father died we reconciled totally and that has given me great comfort. For that my father went to hell, because he had the wrong doctrine. What a strange religion .
    4. My father died a horrid death because a doctor did not do a vital test, we could have sued, we would have won, but we knew my father would have loathed that so we let it go. Another reason my family is damned.
    5. I agree with restoring broken people, but that cant happen in the modern apologetic, if you are broken you should be cast off, with a vengeance to the glory of God. I got that part I really do.
    6. If you do not have wealth or are not totally self sufficient you hate God and He hates you, another gift from the modern apologetic. Think I am wrong try not being it. Of course I am wrong it is a caricature that many of us, including me use to reflect a specific hurt and generalize it to try to find some healing, or deflect healing because we (me) want to hold on to the hurt because its safe. One major reason we (I) need a savior.
    7. TBN and Todd Bentley are a successful business thus they are holy, the second they do not produce a profit, they will be cast into eternal fire. You thing the wrath of all Mighty God is fearsome, dont turn in a positive projection and you will understand true wrath. Earth to reality, wealthy and popular is always holy, always. Always. no ALWAYS. You would think I would get that eternal truth through my thick head.
    8. both candidates, America should be ashamed, stop being stupid demand better servants make government service a holy calling. Stop electing or supporting drones.
    9. I dont know if I have been abused as a “Christian” I have actually felt guilty of taking up air of the more holy and if God’s wrath was accurate it would have taken me out long ago. I have actually prayed God would take me out, even at the top of my lungs God take me out, and screaming to His face, just show up and send your Holy Wrath. I am glad he did not answer those prayers, truly I am.
    10. To my shame I have planned to help more people, give more grace and be a better human. Not to work my way to salvation but because I love people, as silly as that sound, and it is silly. I love them. I have tried to repent of loving people but I have failed and I am grateful I have failed. I am an off the cuff open hearted person. That is not healthy, but it is what I am like but I dont want to stay there. I guess that is grace?

    I lean back on what I so pathetically hoped when I first became a Christian, I just wanted to serve Jesus, granted that is not an option but it is still my hope.

  20. Good to see you again, Gabe! I remember when we were all praying for you to get that job. New years blessings to all!

  21. Em said, “while the man is a pastor under a CC umbrella, it is a domestic dispute”

    Wow, I think I have under-communicated…which doesn’t seem possible, but if that’s your conclusion…just wow.

    The child abuse and the church’s “meh” to it is a Microcosm of a much larger Problem…and sadly so is your conclusion at reading so much about the issues.

    Reading the other comments on here about the situation…very disappointing. A “good guy” like Steve Wright’s continued apathy and Levite walking by…ditto.

    Abuse and Corruption in the Church will always be…and I’m seeing that it is more a function of the masses than it is the individuals who abuse and are corrupt. We don’t care and we don’t want to see it and when we see it, we don’t want to do anything about it…unless we are very personally affected.

    Sad sad commentary on you all. I am glad to not share a part in the general masses apathy and defeatism with regards to these serious issues.

    May I never be counted among the path of least resistance.

    Bob will lose the lawsuit. More lawsuits will come against CC in the coming years. Others may try to sue me, go for it, the attorneys would love to have some of your Jesus Money, they’ll probably spend it better than you do.

    Michael, I don’t know if it’s your physical weakness or what…but you seem to be defeated and you seem to have caved to the pressure and fear of law suit etc. You either had a true calling at one time and have relented in the face of adversity…or it was never a true calling and I was wrong about you and accepted your invitation and followed you for nothing other than to watch this so-called “community” turn their back at the height of the situation.

  22. Steve Wright said, ” Maybe the ‘phoenix’ will again arise to its former glory.”

    It’s former glory was doing what it was called to do…and that was about exposing the crap in CC and validating those who have been hurt and cast away by your peers and your Association.

  23. For a man who has so little, you have so much fear. I don’t understand it. They can’t take anything away from you…and if they could, it is your fear that caused your health problems back in the day, not your circumstances.

  24. I got moderated – Is Alex’s lawsuit and the participants off limits?

  25. My first “calling” is to provide for the needs of my family, financially as well as the needs of a youngster with growing issues.
    My second “calling” is the church I’ve been called to pastor.
    What I have left goes here…and that hasn’t been much.
    In September I lost part of lung and have lost a lot of lung function, period.
    I don’t think I’ve been called to be a martyr for the cause.

  26. MLD,

    I moderated it…there is no point in having an inflammatory pissing match.

  27. Alex,

    You did get this part right…

    “Abuse and Corruption in the Church will always be…and I’m seeing that it is more a function of the masses than it is the individuals who abuse and are corrupt.”

    All of the ministries we took on back in the “glory days” are bigger than they were before we started.
    The structure of CC hasn’t changed one iota.
    About half the “victims” are now Facebook friends with the abusers.
    People vote with their feet and wallets…and so far it’s a landslide that buried me.

    Pardon me for not dying for the cause…

  28. I am not called to Alex’s cause. I have prayed, and will as he comes to mind…which I believe can be a prompting of the Holy Spirit. Beyond that, I am not in a physical position to be more involved.

    If I were to obsess over his situation, if I were to throw myself completely into helping in some way from here….it would minimize where I actually am called. Alex’s fervor comes from his experience and from his frustration, and I am sure I would be the same if I were in his position. But I am not.

    I am called to minister to four children and raise them to be compassionate and courageous and strong and healthy, and to introduce them to God in a way that they can understand with the hope that they will follow Him.

    I am to pay attention to those within my grasp and to minister as I can. I am called to operate in my giftings…right now those include hospitality and mercy. Cooking meals and delivering them to those in the church who are struggling in various ways. My other gifting, to some degree, is teaching…which includes homeschool at the moment.

    I’m not really rambling….my point is we have to have wisdom in where we operate and where we expend our energies. We’ve long had the discussion about how we know about far more pain in the world than we are equipped to help with or even to carry in prayer and empathy.

    That does not mean that I am callous or ignoring the issue.

    I’m sure I’ve shared this before, but it was foundational to my thinking, so I’ll share again. When I went to live at the commune in Chicago, Jesus People, I expected to be with people that walked around ministering all the time. They lived in a terrible area and their mission was to the homeless and the poor and the forgotten. So, I was stunned when I walked for the first time to the homeless shelter they run. I was in a group of about 20 and we passed many homeless on the way, many who approached us. The group ignored them. They did not speak to them, and although they were not rude back to them, they did not engage them. When we got to the shelter I asked why this happened.

    The leader of the group explained simply that if they stopped to help each person on the way they would never make it to the shelter, and if they did they would be exhausted and useless. At the shelter we watched children so the mothers could get a job, we trained people in basic living skills, we watched people move from the shelter to their own apartments and back into a productive life. None of that would happen if these leaders allowed us all to be distracted by many other needs…that they were not called to help with.

    So, Alex….blessings on your calling. Do it with all your heart and I pray that God works in the midst. However, do not dare minimize or scold or patronize those of us who have other callings.

  29. Well said, Sarah.
    I believe Alex is doing what he’s called to do and I have supported him in that…and like I said, have been shot at from both sides on this very thread.
    Maybe I’m called to be a target… 🙂

  30. Sarah – Happy New Year!

    You have said exactly what Steve Wright has said over the years. But that is not good enough for Ale and he continues to pounce.

    Steve came on and gave well wishes for the New Year and the blog and #22 was Alex’s response.

  31. The glory of PP was never about challenging authority or bringing integrity to leadership or bringing down evil leaders and holding them accountable.

    It was about creating an environment where people could recover from abusive leadership in an atmosphere of mutual support, understand better how to recognize healthy and unhealthy leadership styles, etc. It has done a great job of that, and it is to MN’s credit.

    For most of us, trouble comes when we misread our calling and get outside our scope.

  32. MLD…Happy New Year to you as well.

    I respect Steve and I’m glad we said the same thing 😉

    We have to have grace for each other, we just have to. That is where it begins, and I know I am not the best at extending that grace sometimes. What PP Vet said about the environment being one where people could heal and learn is all about having a foundation of grace. Recognizing that we’re at different places and we don’t all have to look exactly alike.

  33. PP Vet,
    “It was about creating an environment where people could recover from abusive leadership in an atmosphere of mutual support, understand better how to recognize healthy and unhealthy leadership styles, etc”

    Thank you…I hope we have helped in those areas and continue to do so.

  34. you folks ought to “listen” to each other this morning … lots of wisdom … with, perhaps one myopic, self absorbed, recipient of grace, exception

    i remember my grandmother making soup, it seems to me the kettle would boil for several hours during which time she would occasionally take a spoon and skim off and dispose of what rose to the surface (i won’t call it by it’s name, which would be misinterpreted, i think) … the result was a gloriously nutritious tasty main course served up with some good bread and butter

    has the PhxP lost it’s glory? i don’t think so, i think it’s just refining and fulfilling it – IMHO, of course – dunno, tho, do i?

    and i think Michael’s soul (and the souls of some of the rest of us) has grown at great expense to his body

    sometimes when we think someone doesn’t understand, what we don’t want to face is the fact that they do understand … been there, done that

    God keep

  35. Em…I was just reading a paper from Madeleine L’Engle last night and she talked about exactly that: that sometimes we think people do not understand it is simply our unwillingness to accept that they disagree and they do understand our point. I know so often I think if I could just make someone understand my point more clearly, then surely they would agree with me!!! Not always so….

  36. Em…I think we killed it for today 😉 I’m off to the coffee shop!!!

  37. Sarah, 🙂 perhaps, everyone is intimidated now, wondering if they are the one that i think is self absorbed ….

  38. Many more were and are effected by Bob Grenier and his hieratic pulpit. Alex bangs the drum for what happened to him and his brothers but he fights for all of us because he knows the evil bob is capable of.

    Don’t reduce this to a family matter. Remember the others who have fallen because of this evil man and the organization who approves and supports him.

    Jesus would not simply look the other way or justify it by simply glorifying his own responsibilities. Right is right, knowin it and doing nothing is sin.

    What can you do? Start by recognizing it and supporting with a few simple key strokes.

  39. Cyber Crank (i like that handle as i picture a lever, not a grouch), the situation you’re referring to has been aired here, given a sympathetic validation for the pains experienced and prayerful support (more than you seem to sense in your comments)
    but, no matter how deeply you are impacted by this matter, it is not appropriate for outsiders to take proactive rolls – it is a family matter on one level and a CC church family matter on another level – can it be adjudicated in a court of law as a last resort? that is where it is now and i will be praying for a God honoring outcome as the matter comes to mind.
    if you find this a dismissive stand, i apologize to you, but it is where i must stand

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