Jan 302016
 

istock_000015991944mediumOn Wednesday, an article of mine was posted here speaking to the importance of telling the truth.

To avoid the ends justify the means mentality.

To avoid biases and dishonest manipulations to get what you want. To strive to be honest and straightforward and rely on God.

 

An hour or so later, a story was posted detailing Naghmeh Abedini’s latest Facebook posting.

What was already quite a tense and tenuous situation very soon exploded.

Many of us are left feeling dizzied and confused and distraught. And more than that, we feel exploited.

The story that so many of us had supported and become invested into has quickly become wrought with all kinds of doubt. It has become painfully obvious that there are some serious mis-truths and deceptions and cover-ups in this whole drama. We don’t yet know who all is culpable and to what degree each and every party is guilty of the fallaciousness and deceit. We don’t know what all is true and what isn’t. We may never know the whole truth of the situation.

The bottom line is that a bad situation has become decidedly worse because the truth has not been told.

I am not speaking to the fact that Naghmeh didn’t make her claims of abuse known until recently. It is understandable when an abused wife does not want to disclose such information. And I’m not speaking to the fact that it wasn’t previously disclosed that Saeed had a phone while in prison (assuming the claim that he had a phone is true). The desire to not disclose such information for safety and security concerns is understandable.

But I am speaking to the fact that we have been told one large and consistently driven narrative for most of the past 3+ years, only to now be told something very, very different over the past couple months, most especially the past couple days.

Some wonder why some of us can become very cynical. Well, here is Exhibit A. Oh, and for Exhibit B, how about Gospel for Asia. And Exhibit C…….well, you get the idea. No need to badger the point. But when you get burned advocating for a pastor who has been wrongfully imprisoned and tortured in a foreign country under an evil regime, it can really mess with your psyche.

Our prayers and support were not in vain. God knows our hearts and intents. And we know that ultimately we must look to Him and not man. Because man will so often let us down. Even those who are supposed to be representing God. Lord, help us to do so.

I am much inclined to believe that Naghmeh has suffered abuse. I hope and pray she gets the help and protection she needs. And I pray that God can miraculously heal their marriage. And the children. Oh, the children. I pray that God will work in their lives to heal them from the wounding and tearing that they have experienced, with surely more to come in these shambles.

If only people could have stuck to honesty and truthfulness and genuineness.

If only…..

Now, it’s all yours today…

  47 Responses to “Kevin H and Open Blogging”

  1. good words, KevinH
    makes me think… how many lives have been damaged or worse by just repeating damaging rumors… “Oh, you heard that too? Then it must be true” ummm… or is it worse perhaps is to walk away when we should be concerned? … dunno

    God does know our hearts and He is merciful, but it’s time for me to do an attitude check on myself…

    is it hard to separate honest, concerned discussion from rumor spreading? seems to be

  2. I agree with you on NOT feeling deceived about her hiding any abuse. The rest of it is as simple to tease out as a tangled ball of barbed wire. Within this multi-faceted mess, I am curious what you and others specifically feel deceived about. Some are bothered by the phone thing; some are not. His CC allowing him to pastor despite the previously documented abuse is a whole other stink….

  3. LL,

    It’s pretty simple.
    We have been radically different narratives of what was happening while he was in prison.
    There were clams that they were unable to communicate much at all, then we are told he was able to Skype for hours on end.
    There are holy claims that amounted to prayer without ceasing…except to watch movies, porn, and Skype.
    The pictures don’t match.

    I’ll be addressing the pastoral issue next week.

    Oh, yes, I will be…

  4. ok since this is open blogging I’m trying to add a gravatar to my account. Please bear with me. Michael, could you approve the new email address

  5. Hey it worked! Cool! A little Man in Black for the PP. 🙂

  6. Is it possible that, with the technology for do many people to have a voice now, and the resulting struggle for who will be heard, that manipulation, sensationalism, and coercion have just become our default way of communicating.

    It seems like it is everywhere.

    It is one of the larger reasons that I disconnected from social media last year. It’s probably one of the main reasons I have a hard time “plugging in” to different churches.

    The truth just doesn’t get it done (I was going to say anymore, but maybe it never has), so we need to spin it, twist it to our own will, create a narrative, manipulate the facts so we can manipulate the thoughts of others.

    Michael, you made a comment a couple Mondays back about the availability of information today, along with how suspect much of it has become. So much of what is out there is essentially worthless because so few of us are trustworthy.

  7. Cash,

    Well done!

  8. dswoager,

    It’s not just that we’re not trustworthy, it’s that we all view information through lenses created by division.

    We’re not reading or watching to learn, but to be right.

    I’ll have a lot more to say about that on Monday…

  9. Thanks, Michael! 🙂

  10. Perhaps we have finally arrived at our one world religion. We can now all kneel down and worship at the altar of confirmation bias. He will be our god and best of all, we get to sit on the throne.

    Turns out the new “gods” are just the same as the old ones…

    …and everyone did what was right in their own eyes.

    Sorry, this is probably excessively dismal. It just touches on something that has been on my mind quite a bit over the last year or so.

  11. Don’t forget that there is a God in Heaven who reveals secrets. In His own way and time. But he does!

  12. dswoager,

    That was really well said.

    Really…

  13. Judy,

    Yes he does.
    Thank God, He covers some too… 🙂

  14. “It’s not just that we’re not trustworthy, it’s that we all view information through lenses created by division.

    We’re not reading or watching to learn, but to be right.”

    And that’s the problem in a nutshell. The truth isn’t made up of those stubborn facts but rather what we want to accept as fact to further our agenda.

  15. Cash, my late husband, the classical violinist, loved Johnny Cash 🙂

  16. Yes, I believe she was abused, yes, I now believe it. I also believe she was used, willingly to some degree, partly to survive and provide her family. I also believe we got used, and it wasn’t pretty and isn’t OK.

    The lies of this story make the truth of this story very dubious.

  17. Em,

    A classical violinist who loved Johnny Cash. That’s really cool. 🙂 It just shows Johnny’s music had an appeal far beyond country music.

  18. dswoager,

    I couldn’t agree more. We live in a time of unprecedented access to information, but how much of it is true?

    Sadly, this frustrates me at times since I see much with a very black and white lens. Therefore, when truth does not prevail I get frustrated.

    I could go off on a rant, but what good would it do?

    Suffice it to say, it is one reason I am frustrated with politics and the judicial system. It is all about winning, truth be damned. Well, if you want that go play professional sports and even there integrity should still exist, even if I am dreaming.

  19. Michael,

    I want to add my $0.03 to the Saeed situation. I have read the Wartburg Watch and one commenter Jerry brought up some points about her story and what the media fed us didn’t line. Well let me just say that group didn’t give Jerry any slack. I want to chime in here because I get the sense you will allow a little more than what goes on at WW.

    I would like to add that i believe her story and it seems he did abuse her. However, Jerry makes a good point in that I want to know what the abuse is? Look any physical abuse is unacceptable. However, verbal abuse can be dicey. I know, easy for the white male who has all the bennies to say that. However, I write that because while the pendulum was all the way of abusers in the past, some would have it go all the way over to the other side. Just look at how PC we are. Now we have safe spaces for coloring at colleges in this country because of microaggression. Come on!

    Again, I am not saying he didn’t abuse her. However, I want more information. Just like my previous post, I want the truth. However, we all can be guilty of jumping the gun, just like here.

    I guess what I am trying to say is what kind of abuse went on? I know it doesn’t matter and I may never get to know. Well, that’s fine, but when one makes these claims, esp. in this day and age, I want facts.

    I would also add that in this day and age there is a lot of real abuse that goes unpunished, but a lot of abuse that really isn’t, but there is a claim made. Again, I am not saying abuse doesn’t happen and Lord knows I don’t want it covered up, but abuse can take many forms and dep. on a lot of things can be used against another.

    Real quick, I was called out by a patron where I work for yelling at them and swearing at them. Thank God five other patron could testify that I did none of that.

    I guess that is why truth is so valuable to me and I am curious to what really happened. Anyone can claim abuse even if it has happened before, but I still want to know.

  20. IS THE TRINITY BIBLICAL?

    After reading (with some dismay) certain attacks on the Trinity from SDA readers last week, I thought a short article locating the doctrine of the Trinity in Scripture alone might be helpful. This article could be useful in conversations with SDAs, JWs, and Mormons.

    Short Definition of the Trinity: There is one God which Scripture reveals in three persons, each of whom is immeasurable, coeternal, coequal, and of the same substance: the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; the Son, who is called the Word and the image of the eternal Father; and the Holy Spirit. There are no other persons in the Godhead.

    Long Definition of the Trinity: See the Athanasian Creed: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athanasian_Creed

    Representative New Testament Testimonies of the Trinity:

    1) There is a distinct revelation of the three persons in the baptism of Jesus: the Father who calls out from heaven, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” of the Son who stands in the river receiving the baptism from John, and of the Holy Spirit who descends from heaven in the form of a dove and comes upon Jesus.

    2) There is the institution of our own baptism in the last chapters of Matthew and Mark, where we are commanded to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

    3) In the words of Jesus: “I will call upon the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, the Spirit of truth.”

    Finding the Trinity in the Old Testament:

    1) Where God speaks of Himself in the plural. E.g., elohiym is the plural of the singular el; “Let us make man in our own image” (note that “image” connotes one nature).

    2) Wherever you read in Scripture that God is speaking about God, as a person about a person, there you are safe in affirming that the three persons of the Deity are indicated (always including the Holy Spirit who authors Scripture). E.g., “The Spirit of the LORD speaks by me; his word is on my tongue”; “Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven”; “But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God.”

    3) When the name of God is repeated two or three times in the same sentence, a difference in persons is indicated even though obscurely. E.g., “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one;” “And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!’” (This also is visible in the NT: “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”)

    4) When the context pertains to the differences of the persons in the unity of the essence. E.g.:

    “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’”

    “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.”

    “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”

    Conclusion: Paul (a well catechized, zealous Pharisee) and the other apostles did not suddenly go from being monotheists to polytheists. Their Jewish understanding of monotheism, taken from the OT Scriptures must have accommodated a singular Godhead in more than one person all along. They stuck with monotheism. What changed in the light of their encounter with Jesus the Messiah, was when they re-read their OT Scriptures, they discovered that (1) their Scriptures pointed to Jesus all along, and (2) their Scriptures revealed to them a Triune God.

  21. OCDan,

    We know for a fact that he has a conviction on record for physical abuse.

    In may cases there is a correlation between a pornography addiction and physical abuse.

    I have confirmed that his problem with porn goes back to at least 2007 and was known of by his elders.

    Whether that resulted in continuing physical abuse is unknown to me at this time.

  22. Thank you for the response without questioning whether I support her or not, which is what WW did with one poster.

    I am not arguing that he abused her and that he watches porn. I get that.

    My point is that the other side is just as quick to hang someone who even questions what might have gone down as the other side is as quick to dismiss someone who fits their narrative. Both sides can’t get past the bias they have, although sweeping it under the rug is far worse than being overzealous to protect a victim.

    In the end, I just want the truth.

    I also don’t like that WW’s current post has a quote from a Nicholas Sparks story at the top. I get where they are coming from, but let’s not lead people. Saeed’s story is bad enough with the 2007 conviction, we don’t need to add adult fiction to it.

  23. One additional comment about this.

    I think it is safe to say that the abuse while he was in prison could not be physical unless the Iranians allowed him to touch her when she visited. That I don’t know, but would be interested to know.

    What I am saying is if he abused her during his time in prison, was it just verbal? Verbal can be as bad, but I would like to know. Sure he was convicted in 2007. I get that and I understand that past sins/crimes in this area are likely to be repeated, but verbal abuse while it can be very bad and life-threatening is different in degree from physical violence. Additionally, what someone argues is verbal abuse is another couples heated argument or misunderstanding.

    Like I pointed out above, if it wasn’t for five witnesses, I would have been probably found guilty of verbally abusing a patron when all I asked in a nice tone was for them to quiet down. I realize my situation is very different from physical abuse, I just want more information on this claim before I symbolically crucify the guy, even if he was guilty 9 years ago.

  24. I get what you are saying about physical abuse being worse than verbal abuse. However, while physical abuse afflicts the body, verbal abuse afflicts the soul. The whole person is affected when there is verbal abuse. In my opinion, it is indeed just as dangerous to a person as physical abuse, if not more.

  25. Matthew 5:21-22 come to mind as i read this thread…
    i’m pretty sure that the accusation that puts one in danger of the fires of hell does not mean to advise against walking up to someone and calling them an idiot… rather the meaning goes much deeper and refers to the attitude that has produced damaging verbal abuse … i think – dunno

  26. Lurker Loo,

    You asked a question back at #2 about what I or others feel deceived about. This is my first time online today but Michael pretty much answered as I would. It’s not necessarily any one or two specific details. It’s the fact that the overall narrative that we were fed for most of the 3+ years greatly contradicts the narrative we are being told now. With nary an attempt to explain any of the contradiction.

  27. That should be Lurkie Loo, not Lurker Loo. I think my phone did an auto-correct.

  28. Cash, I believe verbal abuse is terribly dangerous. Imagine having a pastor or someone else in spiritual authority tell you that you’re in sin or in some other way responsible for a struggle you go to them with. What if it comes from your spouse?

    The abuser can be forgiven by the victim but so often what was said can’t be forgotten.

    How many believers have been driven to the point of despair because of untrue words that were spoken to them at the time they were most vulnerable?

    It’s a sad thing when what should be a place of refuge turns out to be a place of verbal abuse to some.

    It’s difficult to read about Saeed and Naghmeh in light what has happened. It’s beyond me when the idea of Christian leaders would look to make any type of profit out of this mess.

    In fact it’s hard to fathom that there are many who will not even stop to consider the truth about this and GFA because it hits them too close to home that their camp may be just as guilty of the things they are so quick to point out in others.

    I’m grateful for those leaders who lead in humility and have a genuine care for those in their care.

  29. dswoager,

    I echo your concerns and frustrations in trying to know what to trust with the internet and social media. The things that are outright lies and fabrications are usually discernable (although not always). What seems to be even harder is finding stuff that is posted as straight-up truth without some kind of slant and manipulation. It’s like you said, people don’t like to stick to just the truth to make their point. They seemingly so often need to add something extra to try to win out.

  30. question rattling around in my brain today…
    do we know the difference between receiving a bawling out by someone with the authority to do so when and if we have done something egregious and verbal abuse – even if that abuse comes from a person with authority?
    not thinking of a kid trying to survive military boot camp, BTW

  31. Em,

    I agree. I think the greater danger for us can be our attitudes as opposed to the individual actions we may take on occasion.

  32. ERunner,
    You said it better than I ever could.

  33. I don’t know if we can categorize one type of abuse being worse than others. They all can have devastating and wide spread effects. It’s just that physical abuse is much easier to define and nail down as opposed to verbal or emotional or spiritual abuse.

  34. Thanks for the reply KevinH. Yeah it all stinks.

    Chiming in on verbal abuse, she did mention threats.

    And PS Kevs — Lurker Loo works too, or Creeper, or Stalker…. 😀

  35. i remember when a car attempted a U turn from the right lane directly in front of my car, i was hugely verbally abusive as i frantically tried to not T-bone her, which would have undoubtedly killed one of us as i was going 40+ mph (pretty sure i said “dam you” repeatedly) …
    now IMV, i’m not certain that it would have been verbal abuse, if i had subsequently jumped out of what was left of my car and said the same thing to her face… i didn’t

    but do we rationalize that we have a right to say, act, beat up on – one way or another – another person? maybe my rational is just a mild case of what these abusers are thinking?

    if Donald Trump said to me, what he’s said to others in the present political showdown, i’d feel very abused… but do circumstances alter cases when it comes to abuse?

  36. I need to walk something back I said the other day when I said she needed to call the cops. I now think she did.
    I think she got him good, and deservedly so – … When she called the Iranian police
    🙂

  37. All well and good. Thank you everyone for clarifying this issue.

    I would still like to know the abuse, esp. verbal and how it was said, i.e. the tone.

    Heck, some of us are old enough to remember when parents would say I’m gonna….

    If I had a dollar for every time that was said, I would be a millionaire and my dad, well he would be in jail now, but did I or any of my friends question that we were abused? Not in a million years and I loved my parents.

    Anyway, I don’t mean to make light, I am just curious what went down this time, esp. since it was mentioned above that verbal abuse is hard to nail down and if that was the case this time, well then I am just interested to know.

  38. OCDan…the only abuse detail she provided was to say him watching porn equated to her being sexually abused.

  39. I haven’t searched, but some are saying she has deleted all those posts with the 6-8 hrs cell phone claims.

  40. Oh How We Worship Jesus!

    No One Can Compare To You Jesus!

    http://fwcbranson.com/live

  41. If you want to watch an inspiring story, check this out. It’s about a disabled man named Chito who lives in Del RIo, TX. He cannot speak and some of his limbs are deformed. Yet, he has a passion and a calling, his obedience to his vocational calling puts me to shame.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2nOI6Dfnc0

  42. They call him “The Hardest Working Man.” Boy, is he ever.

  43. Very cool, Scott- thanks for sharing that!

  44. You’re welcome, Linnea.

  45. We need to see more of these type stories Scott!! What an amazing man Chito is!

  46. What a wonderful story, Scott, thanks!

  47. Thanks! I have to admit I shed a couple of tears watching that clip 😉

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