Jan 302015
 

missionary-tag-elderThe half cord of wood had been delivered, now it must be split and stacked.

I’d put it off as long as possible…the weather was cold and I was tired.

 

That’s when the “elders” walked up as I was surveying the task in front of me.

I wasn’t in the mood…

I told them I knew who they were, what they were doing, and that I wasn’t interested in the discussion.

“We just want to help”.

They informed me that they would love to split and stack this wood in their crisp white shirts and appropriately conservative ties.

You had to admire their dedication…

I told them that was a pastor, a Reformed pastor at that, and their efforts would be pointless.

“We just want to help”.

I informed them that they could help by not irritating me any more and that they should go irritate the neighbor next door who had been playing some form of meditation chants late into the night and into my bedroom window.

“We just want to help!”

I said very well…you can help.

Split and stack the wood, then I have some landscaping that needs finished, my truck needs cleaned, and my cat desires to be groomed…slowly.

“No problem!”

I continued…while you guys are doing all that, I’m going to go in my house and rest.

I’m not going to work, because all the work will either be already done or is being done for me.

“That’s a great deal for you…you rest and we’ll do all the work.”

“That is the Gospel”, I replied.

I explained that I was resting in the finished work of Christ, while they were trying to earn what can only be a gift.

They would never cease from their works, but the work I needed done was finished a long, long time ago.

They too could rest by simply receiving the gift of the work already done…what a great deal, indeed.

They could never work hard enough or long enough to earn what had already been given.

They declined the offer.

They didn’t stay to stack my wood, either.

Make your own application…

  120 Responses to “TGIF”

  1. I love those Mormon missionaries. i remember once after standing on the porch for well over an hour talking with 2 of them, in the end the older one asked “do you need help?” Well I thought that he recognized that I was crazy and he was offering to get me some psycho help – so I asked “what do you mean?” and he said “well, do you have anything around the house you need help with? Do you need help lifting or moving anything?”

    I politely declined, and felt a bit sheepish. I never condemn them for their effort – and maybe they have the “after salvation” part down right … they just need to get the salvation part going first.

  2. MLD,

    They were good and sincere kids who will probably do well in life and be a credit to their communities.
    I hurt for them…when they came walking by the other day, I shared my Mexican Coca Cola with them.
    They still didn’t convert… 🙂

  3. Next time a Mormon or JW comes to my door I am gonna say we can chat after we pray and then I’m going to take them to our icon corner and fire up the candles and incense. I think I have an icon of St. Constantine around and we can ask him to intercede for us.

  4. … maybe throw some holy water on them as they run out the door….

  5. Reaching out to Mormons is something that has been on my heart for years. (Both of my brothers converted to it after marrying Mormon women- about the same time as I became a Christian) It gets tricky in the family, especially with one sis-in-law who is very devout. I mainly focus on my personal experience and on God’s grace.

    I’ve recently been working on a project for a ministry to Mormons, helping a wonderful woman get her personal testimony into e-books (after her previous publisher went belly-up). It took her many years to come out of it and then more years for her husband to be saved. To this day, 2 of her 8 kids are still Mormons. Tough religion to escape…

  6. EricL,

    It is tough…especially when it is a family issue.
    Let me know when the books are ready and we’ll highlight them here…

  7. My son used to hire Mormons and JWs almost exclusively for his pest control business. Who better to hire for door to door sales?

  8. “We just want to help”
    “We just want to help”
    “We just want to help”

    Looks like they were mentored by Marshawn Lynch!

  9. DavidM,

    We might have a scoop… 🙂

  10. I won’t get on a pro-Mormon/LDS long rant…I’ll just say that in my experience, LDS/Mormons are really good neighbors and friends and are not monolithic and are in fact more diverse with regards to theology and doctrine than you might think. While many of my LDS friends are solidly in line with the basic Mormon theology…many are not and are more akin to Evangelicals. There is much more common ground than you might think.

    I find myself agreeing with “some” of their belief system…especially things like Love Your Neighbor and their emphasis on the importance of Family…and their emphasis on helping the community and being generally moral etc…while disagreeing or simply not knowing if some of their other assertions are true or not.

  11. Michael @6, thanks for being willing. I actually finished Carma’s ebook formatting a couple of weeks ago and her books are now available again. (Still working on getting her ministry’s website finished- doing updates to it right now.)

    For anyone interested in learning more about her testimony, here’s her website:
    http://mormonismtograce.com/

    And Amazon listing for Volume 1:
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NTPA936

    The book is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to learn about life as a Mormon and the challenge for a Mormon to realize that they need something “more”. It felt good being able to help her get the books back out in e-book form.

  12. Two other things the Mormons do well:

    1. Unpaid clergy. (Whens the last time you heard about a scandal among their ministers? Not nearly as frequently as you hear about ours.)
    2. Social safety net. If you lose your job, as long as you volunteer at their organizations and pay your tithe, you will never go hungry or lose your house.

  13. Alex, I agree that Mormons are good neighbors. I have lived next door to a Mormon family for over 20 years. Our kids went to high school together. They are ideal neighbors: friendly, helpful, respectful. Through conversations, I have found that we have a great deal in common, though not theologically. I’m glad that we are neighbors.

  14. DavidM, good to hear.

    Patrick, agreed, I’ve noticed those good things as well. Their Bishops aren’t paid and the Church does help their members who are in need, seen it many times.

  15. Another observation about the Mormons…they got sued just like the Catholic Church did…for having Child Abuse issues in their ranks. They lost. They paid the money. More importantly, they made big wholesale reforms and protect the kids. They seem to learn from mistakes and adjust…which is healthy…unlike some other Church Groups who seem to not care much about those sorts of issues.

  16. http://www.mormoncurtain.com/

    A ton of stories from people who have escaped the mormon cult.

  17. you could have waited till they stacked all the wood for you… 🙂
    -mike

  18. The Mormons will survive the zombie apocalypse. Just sayin….

  19. Ok…Romney pulled out of the 2016 race today. Coincidence, or did Michael break the (establishment) GOP?

    Clinton vs Bush. I’m moving to Belize…

  20. Was Romney running? I must have missed that one.

    Who ‘runs’ this early?

  21. My son-in-law, who is a solid Christian, graduated from BYU. t’s and lot lot of fun watching him interact with Mormon missionaries. He usually mentios BYU early in the conversation, which causes them to think he’s fellow LDS. But they are soon in for a surprise.

  22. The financials are probably one of the most cultic things about the Mormon church. Surely it is understood that the many men at the top of the pyramid live at ease off the tithes that are mandated and required for every member.

    As far as their helping their own in tough times, the flip side of that coin is if you run a business and leave the Mormon church you might as well close the doors (or relocate and start over)…happened to a longtime friend of mine. He was blackballed in Utah and that is how he ended up in CA where I met him.

    I guess it is another head-scratcher when evangelical pastors who might receive insurance, auto, educational, housing benefits that are not income taxable are criticized while the Mormons are complimented for doing the same thing and said to be “unpaid”

  23. I just received a copy of a mid size mega Calvary’s financials.

    The numbers are absolutely staggering…the top of the pyramid indeed.
    Stay tuned sports fans…

  24. What is your interpretation of a mid size mega Calvary?

  25. Our fellowship is a little mega church of l00 🙂

  26. Jim said, “The Mormons will survive the zombie apocalypse. Just sayin….”

    That is a fact, LOL.

    We call them “Mormon pantries” here in Idaho. Every house here has the biggest pantries you’ve ever seen…you could call our pantry a 5th bedroom it’s so big LOL.

  27. This church is around 5000.
    I’m having it all analyzed by professionals ands seeing what we can do legally.

  28. Sounds like you’ve got an interesting one Michael…

  29. Alex, if I’m reading it right it will be a lot like the old days around here for a while…

  30. “and seeing what we can do legally.”

    What does that mean? What is it you want to do that you first must check the legality?

    As Christians, just because something can be done legally does not make it OK to do.

  31. MLD,

    That’s true.
    It’s a factor in what I choose to do however.

  32. If the financials were obtained in a shady manner, I would say there is nothing you can do. A shady manner being anything other than they were publicly distributed by the church.

  33. MLD,

    Trust me…they would never give these to the whole church…

  34. but surely you must have somrthing in mind what you would like to do if all options were open to you. What do you want to do?

  35. MLD,

    Still pondering and gathering wise council.
    I’ll let you know when I do.

  36. I think you should put them in the shredder and keep a good reputation. But that’s just me.

  37. Agree with MLD’s #37

  38. Well then just let Jesus stack your wood… since he did it all

  39. I knew several people of the LDS faith all of them were quite nice, the real true believer types were rabid in their holding towards their church and often discussed the utter nonsense of the Perl of great price and Joseph Smith being a Profit, um I mean prophet, But they were kind and would help you out, often while not trying to convert you. The rank and file reminded me of most evangelicals I was with, just good folks doing the best they could with what they had. Steve is right about the those at the top of the bean poll living the life. I got dollars to donuts some of them do not buy word one of the nonsense they spewed, Not all of them but some I think I would say that could be true for some higherup evangelicals as well but that is just my observation. Good words Michael about the work aspect of the faith, I have never worked so hard in my life than when I was trying to get God to love me.

  40. Shred it ASAP.

  41. Xenia this is the church I have been sort of looking at, I know you and me disagree on so many issues, but this church is just so beautiful.

    Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church San Jose.

    I cant get the url to work it keeps crashing. I have talked to the staff on some occasions but I am looking forward to trying to go to. Honestly I lean heavily towards the Anglican communion and even the Catholic faith communities, but my past experience still makes me believe I will go right to hell if I ever even broached that communion. This is just such a nice church and the times I have been there I just found peace. Those for the most part are irrelevant emotionalism rhetoric but it really is powerful. Thanks for your voice.

  42. Hi brian,

    I googled this parish and it is a beautiful church. I’m happy you are able to visit there and find a sense of peace. As Dostoevsky famously said, “Beauty will save the world.” On the surface, this sounds a little vapid but becomes more profoundly true the more you think on it.

    The God of the Orthodox Church is not a God of wrath. He is for us and not against us. He is for you, brian, and not against you.

    God bless you and thanks for sending me to look for that parish!

    All the best,
    xenia

  43. Michael,

    It is apparent that you have a network of snitches.

    Setting that aside for a bit, consider this: there is a large (5000 is LARGE) church somewhere that is doing the job of an evangelical church. People go, enjoy the music, are positively affected by the teaching, appreciate the children’s programs and all the other things that happen at a large church. They are all perfectly aware that they are never going to receive a financial report and if that bothers them, they can leave. If it doesn’t bother them, why are you bothered? Why do you want to interfere? Why do you want to make them bothered? Why do you want to disrupt the peace of this church?

    Back to the topic of snitches: Snitches are people who betray the trust of people who trust them and who believe they are trusted in return.

  44. Mormons are pretty friendly

  45. Jehovah Witnessess are to be commended for actually obeying the command of Jesus in Matthew 28 to preach the Gospel to all nations. Too bad they are doing it with a false Gospel. We born again Christians can learn from their example of dilligence and labor especially being that we have the truth. I also admire JW’s stance against Idols.

  46. Xenia,

    Most church people inherently trust that their pastors aren’t using the church as the family ATM machine.
    The trust being betrayed is of people who give sacrificially to the work of God.

    I have very close advisers and the Holy Spirit…we’ll decide based on all the factors.

  47. The same Holy Spirit Who inspired this?

    II Thes 3:11

    For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

  48. Lent’s coming.

    I need to prepare.

    See you all on the other side.

  49. Michael

    FWIW—I trust that you will do what is good, right, and honoring to the Lord. As for exposing that which sheep is unaware who attend this church, it is not honoring to the Lord that they remain asleep and continue to be ripped off. Once they are informed, the they can make an informed decision. To not expose this, is only enabling it. Doesn’t matter if it has to do with the finances or any other type of corruptible and abusive practices or behavior.

    People are confiding in you and other sheepdogs, most likely because there isn’t anywhere else to go to address these issues. God bless you in all your efforts to remain balance and to walk circumspectively in this endeavor.

    It is a road less traveled, unfortunately.

  50. Here is my unsolicited opinion regarding this blog as well as Alex’s blog. People may not like the method or the result but in this age of social media, how else are people going to learn about the nonsense that many pastor’s try to get away with? it’s been my observtion that this blog is committed to educating and enlightening those who want to learn. In my mind this blog and Alex’s blog serve as a valuable tool especially for victims of abuse. Are we to pretend that there isn’t abuse because we are happy in our own sandbox? Furthermore, abuse comes in many different forms and if it is determined by our host that a pastor is taking advantage of the congregation by misusing church funds, then should we all just ignore it? As a pastor, learning of this type of abuse causes me to seek better ways of implementing more accountability in the church that I am called to pastor. It’s the same with Alex’s blog when he brings to light issues with abuse to children in the church and elsewhere.

    I disagreed with Michael and a regular poster here for using this blog to highlight the business between a pastor and the board of director’s as it seemed as though it was unfair to the board of director’s and to the congregation to see their business being aired out on a blog. To share what happened after the fact is one thing and it’s quite another to invite the world in to share while things were getting sorted out. I was even told things like, I need to do business in the light and doing business behind doors is dangerous etc. It was said that the reason for going on the blog is for transparency. Well we all learned a couple of days later that transparency has two sides and it wasn’t until after that pastor was let go (resignation accepted) that we learned the whole story. We learned that there were no mususe of funds and that there were no inproprieties with the pastor or the board of director’s.
    My point is that this blog does much more to help those who are looking for a safe place to heal or a great place to learn. I trust that both Michael & Alex will always seek the truth before a story lands on their blogs. In the few occasions where the facts were a bit off, both men have posted corrections setting the record straight. I appreciate all those who post here and I love that this is a diverse bunch.

  51. covered said, “I trust that both Michael & Alex will always seek the truth before a story lands on their blogs.”

    What is truth when looking at financials from a cold start? First, which accounting method is used? How do you know that you have an unaltered set of the books … remember, they came to you under less than honorable means, by people we can assume have an axe to grind against the church. Second, give the US budget to the Democrats and the Republicans and see if they come to the same conclusion. Take something as small as a families budget and kids who look to inherit – see if one does not think the accounting favors one over the other.

    But here is my challenge – in the end is there any chance that the PP blog result will come out – “hey, we checked it out and all is good.”

  52. X said, “Shred it ASAP”

    Disagree, big time. Print that stuff. Transparency and accountability is both “good” and Godly if you profess a belief in the bible and God…the bible seems to present a narrative that is against abuse of power and monetary corruption by selling wares of “god” for personal gain…

    See the example of Jesus (who you say is Co-equal God) driving out the money changers with a whip of cords. Only example of Jesus/God using physical violence recorded in the bible….so what should that tell you about how bad it is to misuse money under the guise of “for God!”

  53. Abuse is NOT “a private family matter” and Church Finances collected under the guise and solicitation of “Give your money to Jesus!” is not a private matter either.

    Both are dangerous mindsets and lead to corruption and abuse.

  54. Alex – well by your own standards every church would need to account for any monies not spent on Jesus.

    This is where you have a vindictive soul. So, a thief steals the financials, you receive stolen property and then somehow you have convinced yourself that you are taking the high ground?

    I will say it – your actions are criminal. Xenia says it best – you are conspirators with snitches and cannot see who is the good guy and who is the bad.

  55. MLD, whisteblowing is not uncommon in Government, Corporations and now Church Organizations. It’s often how bad things are discovered and properly dealt with. It’s a righteous thing.

    If the particular Church isn’t doing anything unseemly then they should be able to explain their expenditures to their congregants who gave them all the money.

    Unfortunatley, most CC’s and other evangelical churches DO NOT publish their finances and have a very closed set of books…so the people giving them all the money have no idea what amount is going where. Many are shocked when they find out their money is paying a pastor like Bob Coy over $500,000 in compensation package.

  56. MLD, the story hasn’t been posted yet so how do we know all that is involved? As I said, I trust that Michael will do all that he needs to in order to accurately write what is happening there. I came to this blog years ago because of abuse that I saw with a particlar tribe (the same tribe that you came from). This blog has been used to help many heal and to inform those who want to grow. You must see some of the same attributes to this blog that many of us do if not more since you hold the title for posting the most. I will also add that I have learned much from you since I have been here. Some of it has even been beneficial! 🙂

  57. Alex, you make professions and you make comments as a blogger.

    So, if I found your wallet or briefcase on the bus bench, I am morally OK to print the contents publicly for transparency. How about if in the briefcase were your business financials and bank statements … fair game?

  58. Covered,
    Michael tipped his hand early on at #30 when he said “Alex, if I’m reading it right it will be a lot like the old days around here for a while…”

    This is why I pushed him if all was clear what his intent was… and he does seem to have one. Why even mention it if not to lay the groundwork. No one is better at tossing out the red meat than Michael.

  59. MLD, finding someone’s wallet is a poor analogy. There’s a reason that people share what is going on with people like Michael and Alex. I believe that it’s a ministry and that they will be held accountable for how they do. Rather than think of them as snitches, more correctly they are like “watchmen”. If they report incorrectly then it’s their responsibility to make it right. If they don’t make it right, then they lose their audience. You have to admit that more good comes from their work than bad.

  60. MLD said, Alex – well by your own standards every church would need to account for any monies not spent on Jesus.

    This is where you have a vindictive soul. So, a thief steals the financials, you receive stolen property and then somehow you have convinced yourself that you are taking the high ground?

    I will say it – your actions are criminal. Xenia says it best – you are conspirators with snitches and cannot see who is the good guy and who is the bad.”

    1. No, I think all monies in a Church Non-Profit Corporation should be accounted for, just like other Corporations…and especially since the Church collects money under the auspices of “For Jesus!” from often-times unsuspecting folks who trust the church and its leaders far too much.

    2. You’re using very loaded words like “thief” and “vindictive”. I think that is wrong and not a good way to have a discussion with the goal of keeping it peaceful on the blog which is what Michael has asked for.

    A Whistleblower who has access to the financials is not a “thief”…they are a concerned citizen and Whistleblower most of the time if the goal is accountability and to expose wrongdoing. If it is a competing Church or Corporation that accessed the finances and is using it to hamstring their competitors, then that may be considered criminal, possibly.

    3. Again, “criminals”, “conspirators” and “snitches”…hardly the language of discussion between fellow PhxP community members…I assume you are calling Michael these names as well? If so, I’d probably not do that if you want to stay unmoderated, just a friendly heads up.

    I think that somone wanting to protect a Church’s ability to spend the money however they want would view it that way…and I expect that the majority of folks who think Churches should be accountable and open with the finances would view it much differently.

  61. Watchmen huh? Well consider me a watchman for the PP blog. If I sniff out potential wrong here on the blog, I report it.

  62. Covered. For the record, I don’t regret a moment having gone “public” for the things you referred to earlier. It’s a new day and age, my friend. The more transparency, the more authenticity. And people need that and relate to that in this day and age. Not to say that I think every detail of every situation ought to be aired. But I am just correcting your assertion about what transpired. In fact, I hope it sets a precedent. For neither I nor the board have hard feelings; in fact there is still great respect going both ways.

  63. MLD, when I read what Michael said, I interpreted it to mean that there are some here who are going to go nuts when they read what has been happening. As long as it’s true, there’s a good reason to share that information.

    Michael’s intent is to provide a place for those who have been damaged or hurt by the church to come for healing. You are one of those who help in that process whether you like it or not.

    I believe that it’s the same for Alex’s blog. Again, doing nothing to help the abused is not an option and while you may not like the methodology, it works. I like that Alex seems to bring a gun to a knifefight because people back off.

  64. MLD. Your the Ombudsman? Or the Ah, Bud, Man?

  65. Well Michael said he was soliciting sound counsel so I gave him mine. Shred the documents and save your reputation.

    The voyeurs out there disagree – which is OK, we live in America where everything goes.

  66. I’m buried and can’t be online today.
    There is little use disputing what I do until I do it.
    I’ll do what my conscience directs.
    Period.
    Then, you can call me whatever you want and I don’t care.

  67. MLD,

    My repuation already depends on who you ask.
    You’re not in my circle of advisors.
    You are among those who make it as difficult as possible to expose corruption.
    I will do as I think right and I wont give a rats ass about other opinions.
    Sometimes you pay a price to do the right thing.
    I’m out.

  68. MLD, you are stating the obvious. You call all of us out when you think that we are wrong and we understand that. It’s your gift 🙂

    Neo, what was printed on your blog and here wasn’t 100% transparent. If I am wrong then please accept my sincere apology but it seems that you forgot to mention that you had submitted a resignation and the board of director’s rejected it. It seems as though it was within 48 hours of when the story come here to the PP that the board decided it was the appropriate time to accept your resignation. I still believe that while abuse stories do belong on a blog, your story wasn’t a story until it reached a blog. My board and I disagree on allowing a certain person serving in a leadership position. We are seeking the Lord and will wait until we hear from Him before we make a decision. Should I take it to the church for a vote or to a blog? I just don’t think that your story coming here helped your situation or glorified god. If any of what I stated is incorrect, then by all means please correct me and accept my deepest apologies.

  69. Covered. We are just light years apart in our perspectives of blogs, transparency, and how it deals with the Church. Your assertion is so far off how I see it that I won’t bother to address it. That’s fine. We agree to disagree. Blessings on your day.

  70. It’s 2015 and we’re still discussing this? There are brave souls among us who expose corruption, usually to their personal detriment. We should applaud them.

    “Snitch” is a word that criminals use.

  71. Church financials are a tricky thing. Often there is plenty of background that would not show up on a financial statement but is quite relevant…of course, sometimes res ipsa loquitor. (like that Furtick guy)

    If a blog reporter called me and asked for a clarification on something – saying that a (to use the term earlier) “whistleblower” had sent them confidential materials, I can’t imagine not being able to give an answer. Then again, I might tell him to pound sand too, just by the nature of the inquiry and how the materials were received.

    The irony to reading this now is that I just wrote our annual financial letter that we give to the church this time of year….

  72. Good word Jim

  73. Good words Covered and Jim.

    Steve said, “The irony to reading this now is that I just wrote our annual financial letter that we give to the church this time of year….”

    Good job Steve…seems that the guys who are transparent with where the Jesus Money goes don’t have to worry about any Whistleblowers blowing whistles….

    Hey, if a congregation wants to donate their hard earned money to a guy begging for money that makes $500,000 per year in salary/comp. then at least be transparent about it and if they still give, then that’s on them…but, most would cringe the next time they heard the Preacher begging for money…knowing he is a millionaire.

  74. X said, “It is apparent that you have a network of snitches.

    Back to the topic of snitches: Snitches are people who betray the trust of people who trust them and who believe they are trusted in return.”

    Wowzers. I don’t know if you are just having a bad day or if this is really who you are. If this is who you are…in your soul…I misjudged you tremendously.

    “Snitches” outted the Child Abuse in the Catholic Church and other Churches…same for the Sandusky Scandal…same for Watergate, NSA Spying, Wall Street Corruption, Mafia dealings, Mexican Drug Cartels, etc etc.

    I don’t understand the anger and reframing the issue of people disclosing financial or other abuses as “Snitching”…unless it’s the folks wanting to protect the status quo and abuse of power.

    Very surprised at your and MLD’s responses.

  75. Alex – if they are so righteous in what they do, why the secrecy? Why does Micheal need to “see what’s legal”?

    Why aren’t they standing up? There are laws that protect whistle blowers – I have the poster hanging up in our lunch room at work.As I asked earlier, what assurance is there that these are unaltered copies of the financials?

    I am very surprised at your response … well I just lied as it does not surprise me at all.

    But like I said earlier, you voyeurs here out number us.

  76. Those with power have and use the ability to make the lives of those not in power miserable if they step out of line.

    The ability to expose abuse without putting yourself and your family in the line of fire is necessary in a culture that supports abuse by silence.

    I’ve already been called everything in the book over the last decade.
    In the last year I lost most of my donor base for speaking out over something that mattered to me.
    The blog has cost me.

    I’m still here and I’m still going to do what I think is right.

    I’ll do what I believe is right and MLD and those like him can take their shots.
    If it gets too nasty, it’s an easy fix from my end.

  77. As to whether the documents are altered…do you really think I’m that stupid?

    This blog has posted a lot of docs over the years…and
    never once, not once, has anyone ever been able to challenge their validity.

    Ever.

  78. You are not being honest when you say I have taken my shots. I have asked questions of you. My shots have been directed at Alex and his smug attitude.

    btw – I did not question the authenticity of the documents – I just asked the normal question “how do you know that they are not an altered version?” I look at church financial every couple of days – I know I could alter 2 lines that would make you turn red and call my church all kinds of names – so don’t think it can’t be done.

  79. A general point needed for this sort of discussion…and being missed.

    If the secretary is the only one at church that knows about a pastor’s adultery, and that job is what puts food on the table for her children, no whistleblower law is going to protect her. No illegality is taking place (and it is debatable whether the laws have the same application for a church anyways).

    It can be very easy to say she ought to just quit out of conscience towards God…unless one wants to write her a check to feed those kids. And by the way, if she does get terminated, the church probably has not paid into unemployment (they are not legally required to), so not only does she have the joy of looking for a job with no reference except a recent termination, she does not have any unemployment cash coming in while she does.

    Churches are run differently than mortgage brokers MLD 🙂

  80. MLD,

    I know what I’m doing.
    You have the right to doubt my judgment or integrity.
    You even have a right to say so, within limits.

    I can’t express how much I don’t care what you think…in your world those in power get to do as they please.
    My world…doesn’t work that way.

    Back to my weekend.

  81. As an aside, this is why I promote the idea that every independent church needs written comprehensive accountability guidelines so there is a procedure, established, to deal with accusations against the pastor of whatever nature they may be.

  82. To protect the innocent and cover my ass, I can’t call this guy out publicly.
    What I can do is write the article that shows the inside of one these ATM’s as never seen before.

    Steve, thank you for your #81

  83. The documents are altered, that’s rich. Talk about voyeuristic.

    Snitches. Such a distasteful word and so misdirected. These people are those who have an understanding of just practices and are simply bringing to light the injustice done in darkness.

  84. MLD asked, “Alex – if they are so righteous in what they do, why the secrecy? Why does Micheal need to “see what’s legal”?”

    You really don’t know.

    I would think the lawsuits flying around over the years would be plenty to answer that question for you.

    People in Power who have money behind them will do anything they can to stay in Power and to keep the money flowing. Lawsuits, threats, intimidation and sometimes worse are generally how they accomplish this.

    Public apathy and indifference and even defense of bad things is also how the stuff continues.

  85. MLD said, “So, if I found your wallet or briefcase on the bus bench, I am morally OK to print the contents publicly for transparency. How about if in the briefcase were your business financials and bank statements … fair game?”

    False Analogy. I’m not a Non-Profit Church Corporation that solicits money from people under the guise of “give your Money to Jesus!”

  86. So Steve, when are you publishing and distributing your church’s full financials – instead of some letter. My church does – we publish quarterly for the church and discuss as much and for as long as anyone wants in public forum and we are a multi million dollar operation. Anyone doing less is probably a crooked operation.

    See, I am all about openness and transparency – in fact it is impossible to do it better than we do.

    Ixtlan – I didn’t say the documents were altered, you are the 3rd person to misrepresent me. I asked how do we know that they weren’t. And if you want to take it up with someone, Xenia was the one who entered “snitch” into the conversation – so blast her.

    “and are simply bringing to light the injustice done in darkness.” so judgment has already been passed.

  87. The financial transparency and accountability seems to be one thing the Lutherans do really well…not sure why MLD is so anti-transparency for a big evangelical church.

  88. Alex, have you received the financial from your church? CC Boise? If not, are you investigating?

  89. Alex,
    “not sure why MLD is so anti-transparency for a big evangelical church.” I am not anti transparency – it’s just none of my business.

    I am sure if enough people from that church wanted to know, something might be done. Not just some assistant pastor who is not getting his way.

  90. I am also against pastor run churches and pastor selected boards … but I don’t call them up and threaten a campaign against them. I will bet that just as many people who think the finances are in order and being looked at in the best interest of – also think there church has some type of independent board. So why not start with all of those?

    It’s not my business – but the people are still getting ripped off just as they may be financially.

  91. So Steve, when are you publishing and distributing your church’s full financials – instead of some letter
    ————————————–
    Answered in #73….my response to you was #81 which you have ignored with this dodge.

  92. Steve, I apologize if you do indeed publish “full” financials. I guess I never heard “full” financials called a financial letter. Usually that defines some type of abridged version. But if they are full and complete – I misspoke.

    I don’t know what you think I dodged in your #81 – “If the secretary is the only one at church that knows about a pastor’s adultery,”

    I didn’t think that we hear the charge just based on one witness. But still all she needs to do is go tell another pastor and then it is on his shoulders. I think you reached for the outer edges there.

    But then again, you already indicated that there was a good chance you would tell an inquiring whistle blower to go pound sand, so to a degree you too seem to endorse coverup.

    This is comical that we may be sitting here endorsing Watergate type break ins to retrieve hidden documents. (I can say that since we don’t know how they were obtained.)

  93. BTW, who would fire the secretary? oh yes, I forgot, pastor run church. 😉

  94. MLD, I don’t understand your disconnect on this issue. You seem to not really have a dog in the fight which makes me think you are trolling and looking to provoke rather than sincerely having a doubt or an issue with folks whistleblowing when it comes to what they believe is corruption.

  95. MLD, I will play along. So you have a special meeting, correct? A special trip to the church for those who care about such things.

    Now, is that meeting opened to the public? Or members only? If someone has gone to the church for a few weeks but is not a member, can he come? How about if I wrote you guys a check during the year but never bother to come to the church. Can I come to the meeting?

    Are the full financials able to be taken home? Or is this an “eyes-only” moment where the people are warned “this information does not leave this room”

    Will you put the financials up on the website, befitting a multi-million dollar operation.

    I ask these questions based on your comment,

    See, I am all about openness and transparency – in fact it is impossible to do it better than we do. (your words)

    To answer you, my letter is simple, mostly a thank you and brief explanation of the stewardship of the giving. But with an encouragement they can ask for more info if they desire. Nobody has yet. But this letter is for everyone, open and available even if someone has not actually given any money, and obviously, membership is not an issue either.

  96. Alex, not at all. I have no dog in the fight about the church in question, but I do have dog in the fight here as to how I think this should be handled. Just because it may be a minority position (I think held be me, Xenia and I think London voiced support).

    You wouldn’t want to stifle an opposing voice would you … and be like the mean, powerful CC pastors.

    So, do you have your church’s financials and if not, why do you stay there – I don’t understand that disconnect.

  97. Steve,
    Our meetings are open to the public – we invite all the folks who come to our church, announcements are made according to our constitution 2 weeks in advance, from the pulpit, in the bulletins and I just had the by laws changed from by US Mail to email and this would include those who are not members. The only limitation is that you must be 18 yrs old and a member to vote on issues and that would include the vote to accept the treasurer’s report..

    Here is how I handled the financials – for the 2 weeks prior to the meeting, they are available in the narthex on a table. Anyone can feel free to come by and pick them up.

    The morning of the meeting (we hold our congregational meetings at noon on a Sunday). I placed all of the departmental reports alongside of the financials. The financials can be taken home.

    So, a first time visitor that day, if they wanted could pick them up and take them home. But hey, we are just a larger than average small church trying to do our best. We have a Baptist church right next door and I have no knowledge or interest how they handle their affairs.

  98. Steve,
    “But with an encouragement they can ask for more info if they desire. Nobody has yet. But this letter is for everyone,..”

    Believe me I understand the attitude of the ordinary CC attendee – I was one for years and one of the attractions is that you don’t need to be bothered with financials – you can stay in financial bliss and just study the Bible.

    I assume it is the same at the church in question – no one asks, no one cares – but it will now be front page news.

  99. MLD said, “You wouldn’t want to stifle an opposing voice would you ”

    Never one to do that, always cool with dissenting opinion and pushback over here…

    I just find your lack of a sound argument to support your claims and your use of language like “snitch” “criminal” “voyeurs” “vindictive” “conspirators” etc etc to indicate trolling vs. having a real argument based in some sort of sound rationale.

    Remind me again why you are against Whistleblowing regarding financial corruption?

    Are you for keeping quiet if you witnessed corruption?

    I assume you would blow the whistle on Child Abuse…correct? Why not misuse of monies?

  100. MLD said, “I assume it is the same at the church in question – no one asks, no one cares – but it will now be front page news.”

    You still haven’t presented a sound argument for why this is so wrong and bad…though you’ve thrown out very loaded words like “criminal” “conspirator” “vindictive” “snitch” “voyeur”

    MLD: “I believe this is wrong! And my proof is calling you bad names!!!”

  101. “I assume you would blow the whistle on Child Abuse…correct? Why not misuse of monies?”

    I would go to those responsible and crack down.. if not crack heads.

    Again, the pastor run church in itself is abusive and immoral by nature. If i see corruption in my church, I can take care of it. If you want to be protective, fight against pastor run churches, pastor selected boards – there, now you would never need a whistleblower going to a blog.

    You still haven’t answered the very important question. Do you have the CC Boise financials – complete and full? If not, why do you demand accountability from a stranger church and not your own?

  102. MLD said, “I would go to those responsible and crack down.. if not crack heads.”

    Good, I assumed you would and that’s how it should be.

    MLD said, “Again, the pastor run church in itself is abusive and immoral by nature. If i see corruption in my church, I can take care of it. If you want to be protective, fight against pastor run churches, pastor selected boards – there, now you would never need a whistleblower going to a blog.”

    I’m all for what you’re saying about “pastor run churches” ….AND…I’m for whistleblowing from inside those models that outs bad financial practices. I don’t understand why you’re not for both of those things…but you are entitled to your opinion.

    Regarding CC Boise, I had a long meeting with Bob Caldwell in person. I got answers to all the questions I asked. The finances were addressed. He makes less than $100,000 year in salary/comp. The church uses a lot of the money for real missions, helps the homeless in the area, has a food bank, supports overseas missions in India etc. Bob Caldwell is not living large on the Jesus Money.

  103. Also, at CC Boise, the finances are available to anyone who attends the church if you request it….a very healthy practice a very good form of accountability.

  104. So someone should call this “suspicious” church and ask for the policy to receive the financials.

    Would it be put to rest if he gave the same answer as Steve and Bob Caldwell – “available to members if they ask.”???

    I will leave it alone – but for the sake of tomorrow – Go Rams!!

  105. MLD said, “I will leave it alone – but for the sake of tomorrow – Go Rams!!”

    I’m done with this one as well…and Go ‘Hawks! 🙂

    Russell Wilson for president.

    Good night MLD and I wish you well, we’re not enemies in the least. I think you’re a good man, you just like to provoke folks, which I’m guilty of as well.

  106. MLD, I do commend your transparency.

    I would make one correction to my words. Actually I have had a boatload of people ask me (and others at the church) about aspects of our financials in past years – I meant I have never had anyone ask me in response to our letter (in other words, as if that somehow was not satisfactory).

    I think the largest disconnect in this discussion is that you assume trust and assuming the best about leadership equates to not caring about immorality. To continue the adultery idea…if the pastor’s wife did not show up to a church for a couple months, how many of the average folks would dare go up to the pastor and say “Hey, I haven’t seen you wife in church for weeks. Are you guys having problems? Is she falling away from the faith? What’s up?”

    Now…because they would not ask…do you really equate that to they do not care?

    We’ve seen how even when pastors are guilty, they usually can keep the loyalty of half the people anyway…certainly most people assume the best of their leadership. This community is different because of the unique experiences many here have had with church leaders…so they are far less trusting….which is understandable.

  107. Michael,
    Not knowing fully your heart, and after reading some of these comments, your post comes across, elitist, smug and obtuse. I guess you really “got” them. How proud we are when we “get” them. And now your faithful followers adorn you once again with your grand judgement, wisdom and insight. Hard for me to see any love in it. Make your own application.

  108. I just want to distance myself from Ivan’s comments. This is not my attitude towards Michael or this venture. In the beginning before the attack began I asked questions that needed to be asked.

    Look, if I said “I have my grandkids coming over this weekend (sand they are here so it will probably be a SpongeBob marathon and no super bowl) but I said “Before I do anything with them I need to see first what is legal” – would raise eyebrows and questions.

  109. Steve, My church does nothing out of any mandate to be transparent. Transparency requirements come from adversarial relationships.

    We are a church body – we report to each other what we are responsible for. In one of our documents we call the budget & financials or mission statement put to numbers.

    So, when I hear people calling for transparency or people claiming greater transparency I wonder about the relationships in the church.

    ***my use of transparency is only in keeping up with the lingo of these conversations and has nothing to do with my church reality ***

  110. Don’t know if it applies to all this, but something I said in a message a few weeks popped into my mind as I scrolled through the discussion: “Sin, no matter how big or small, is never sanctioned by God to solve our problems.”

  111. Piney said, “Sin, no matter how big or small, is never sanctioned by God to solve our problems.”

    That is contradicted by “God’s word” in many places.

    Rahab lied to protect the Hebrew spies.

    Samuel hacked King Agag (an unarmed man) to pieces in the sight of the Lord and it pleased the Lord.

    Jacob tricked/lied to get the birthright.

    Jesus healed on the Sabbath.

    Lots more.

    Situational Ethics seems to be what the Bible supports…it’s not “black and white” at least according to the bible’s own example many many times over.

  112. Ivan,

    The only part of your statement I take issue with is that I have “followers”.

    I have “readers”, “friends”, and more than my share of critics.
    “Followers”…not so much.

  113. Funny how institutions often are great protections for predators and wolves. Its often the independent studies and fellowships that get the cult and dangerous label from the religious but its often the most organized and structured religious institutions that violate the innocent and protect the Vile!

  114. Michael,
    Appreciate you comment although, I disagree, as my experience shows that readers and friends do condone an affinity to be followers as long as the ego is stroked in a timely fashion. Your too smart to hide behind that guise. Its almost like yelling fire and sitting back watching the minions run around.

    I wouldn’t call it true transparency of the unselfish but more towards the self absorbed.

    Your dire dictum pushes the reform and eschatology argument into the mainstream consciousness plaguing our own desire to revel in the freedom through Christ to connect, support and love all of our fellow man. We act (with such conviction) as if we have the power to control what God’s outcome will be. In truth we can’t, no more than we know when our next breath will come about. You (we) create a myopic view of our world, in which God had created “In His Image”, in that our calling in being In Christ, is to love and care for them, regardless, by word and example.

    Sorry, Calvins Corner, Deflategate, Reformed theology and your reference of degrading Charles Finney theology (not that I endorse for or against) and debasing prayer, feels more like a self masbatory exercise with your co-host and you swooning each other, for the sake of salvational construct correctness.

    My next guess would be “Things That I Think” or maybe should be “Things That I Should Pause and Think”.

    Your are too smart to be cheeky. don’t act stupid. Say hi to Kitty!

  115. Ivan,

    I have no idea what you just said, but I think you said you don’t like the podcast or my writings.
    That’s ok.

    There’s an easy cure.

    Don’t read the blog and don’t listen to the podcast.

    Problem solved.

  116. Michael
    Is not so much the blog or the podcast. In fact, I have enjoyed your perspective with many things. You have a strong social justice platform. I just think that these latest pieces that you included dumbs down you, the readers and overall vision you were trying to portray. Now if you want to hold your breath and take the ball away. Ok.

    However I believe and you position yourself as much more scholarly

  117. Ivan,

    Must say your last comment to Michael was confusing to me as well. In your comment made on the linked site, you were far more articulate and I must say taking a similar position regarding transparency in the church as have been shared here by Michael and others.

    http://www.ronedmondson.com/2014/04/one-of-the-worst-leadership-mistakes.html

  118. Ivan,

    I enjoy scholarly writing and research.
    Blogs don’t accommodate it well.
    I’m not sure exactly what tripped your trigger, but my job is to communicate with a broad spectrum of people from my own perspective.

    That’s what I try to do with varied degree of quality and success.
    I plan to continue doing so.

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