Things I Think
Before we attempt to discern the things unknown, I think it would be wise to mark out what we do know.
We do know that Saeed Abedini was convicted of domestic abuse in a court of law.
We know that as far back as 2007, his spousal abuse and addiction to pornography was known to the pastor he worked under, Bob Caldwell of Calvary Chapel Boise.
We know from sources that Caldwell briefly put Abedini under discipline for this, a time our sources put at 31/2 to 4 months.
Therefore, what we know is that Saeed Abedini had no business being in the position he was in after that.
2. It takes more than a few months to overcome whatever issues lead one to abuse the wife of their youth and consume pornography.
Those issues effectively disqualify someone from the ministry…for a very long time.
The issues themselves have to be dealt with, then the damage they have caused needs to be addressed and healed.
The failure to view these issues as seriously as they should have been has led us to the morass we have today.
Evangelical patriarchy that demands “submission” to men often presents submission as the answer to all relational ills…especially when the male in question is in a position of ecclesiastical authority.
The men are considered indispensable to some “Gospel” work, and the women’s issues are ignored for the sake of holy pragmatism.
This attitude is as wicked as the sins that engender it.
This should be no surprise.
Before the abuse allegations came out and before the evidence of abuse was shown, Saeed Abedini was worth a small fortune to those who would have capitalized on his experience.
Those organizations depend on donated money and nothing brings in the bucks like a living martyr.
Now that the Abedini’s halos are tarnished they will be consigned to the evangelical flea market.
Nothing personal, you understand…business is business.
4. Let’s light up the elephant in the room. Many people are speculating that Naghmeh Abedini has found another man. I have no evidence of this whatsoever. I for one, wouldn’t care if she did find that there was life after an abusive marriage. If she has found someone else it invalidates neither her accusations or the heroic efforts she put forth to get her husband released.
5. When we read the Bible, all the heroes have deep character flaws and sins. We pretend those don’t exist even though God recorded them for us. When we see sinners in real life we pretend that there is no evidence of redemption in them. We are so very twisted and lack so much understanding of what the Gospel really means.
6. There are no “good” people, just redeemed bad ones.
7. I have to confess up front that abuse of women and children is close to being the unforgivable sin in my book. We must be so very careful that we don’t deny the possibility of redemption to anyone, lest we deny the power of the Gospel in doing so.
8. It is without question that Nagmah Abedini has offered conflicting narratives about the terms and conditions of Saeed’s imprisonment. What is in question is why…and I don’t have enough information to speculate. She had a lot of different voices in her ears…
9. My prayer for both of these people is that they find a small, trusted group of people willing to love them back to spiritual and emotional health. That will be more difficult than it should be in the church…
10. The saddest part of this whole story is that in some ways both Saeed and Naghmah are in new prisons now…