Feb 252016
 

MYOA Book3 Cover-3Make Your Own Application Vol 3 is on sale…

Only .99 of your own personal cents for the Kindle version…

 

 

 

We moderators of the “Free Saeed” Facebook page got a surprise earlier this week.

Saeed Abedini sent us a thank you note along with an expressed desire to know us.

Naturally, I asked him for an interview.

Crickets.

Evidently, he knows me enough already…

My mailbox was stuffed with free books from a publisher yesterday.

If any of you need a “vision” for your church just let me know before I run out of Charmin and put these volumes to proper use…

Just saw this on the GFA scandal…

From their PR firm…

“Gospel for Asia is 100% focused on continuing its work around the world while working very hard to put an end to the false accusations being continually made against the ministry. Gospel for Asia can document the legal and ethical use of funds donated and clearly answer every question,” he noted in an email to CP. “Thankfully, many of Gospel for Asia’s friends and supporters have chosen to stand with the organization and provide greater and great degrees of prayer and support as the ministry works to put this all to rest, for good.”

Unbelievable…

 

  182 Responses to “Loose Ends”

  1. This news from the PR firm for GFA is not just unbelievable, but downright insulting to the intelligence of all those who gave their money to support GFA. If they were able to “document the legal and ethical use of funds donated,” the ECFA would not have terminated GFA’s 36 year membership! “Many of their friends and supporters” may have chosen to stand with GFA, but several on their board of directors in the US and Canada have not. They have also lost numerous endorsements, yet they still maintain they have done nothing wrong. Thanks to the courage of Matthew and Jennifer Dickson and their attorneys, the truth will be revealed and there is nothing GFA’s PR firm can do to candy-coat the facts. GFA needs to stop the cover-up!

  2. I would love to know who is still actively propping them up…

  3. Not necessarily on topic but, the statement about “vision” brought to mind a time almost 5 years ago (the last time I attended a CC or any church in a building) when the pastor spoke of a “vision” given to him and where he was leading the CC to be involved. I remember thinking “This isn’t my vision. There must be something wrong with me”. But the thought stayed with me.

    So, after a lot of prayer it turns out the Lord’s vision for me was to leave that place and never look back. Thus started the pilgrimage I am still on; learning from different flavors of the faith (primarily through here), living a life of grace and mercy not only for myself but in the way I interact with others, and really being transformed by Him to love my neighbor as myself. And all without the “faithful” who dropped me like a lead balloon when I quit gracing the doors several times a week. But He is faithful to have brought others who are on the same journey to fellowship and to be accountable to one another in Christ.

    Keep up the good work Michael. There are more of us who lurk here without commenting who take the wisdom presented and put it in use.

    Godspeed brother.

  4. Rick,

    Thank you much for the encouraging words.

    They mean much at this juncture…very much.

  5. The GFA PR release is similar to the one I received from Starbucks the other day regarding their change in the rewards program.

    Thrifty house coffee drinkers like myself got hosed in the new program. Yet, they actually had the nerve to write, “this is what our members have been asking for!”

    These PR folks are something else.

  6. #2- who’s propping them up? haven’t they enough money in the bank to prop themselves up?

    BTW-while i have hard copies of Michael’s 3 books, it occurs to me that these books are just great candidates for kindle reading on the go… if i understand kindle correctly… just downloaded the app onto my Mac and haven’t a clue as to what i’m doing… but a couple books are available now on my computer …?… i think….

  7. Em,

    If you have a smartphone or a tablet, there is a free kindle app you can download so you can read them on any of your devices.

  8. The ECFA holds no weight outside the USA.

    The KAIROS Agency can’t (and won’t) explain what has been happening with GFA with:

    Government and Courts in India
    Revenue Canada Charity Directorate
    UK Charity Commission
    Calvary Chapel GFA Board New Zealand closing it’s office
    Germany GFA closing

    And inside the US, the timeline of various organizations,conferences and broadcasters rethinking their relationship with GFA has not been entirely dependent on the ECFA report.

    That having been said, is The KIAROS Agency depending on donors not reading the ECFA report?

    “Gospel for Asia is 100% focused on continuing its work around the world while working very hard to put an end to the false accusations being continually made against the ministry. Gospel for Asia can document the legal and ethical use of funds donated and clearly answer every question…”

    Okay. Why haven’t they?

    If all the media coverage (see gfadiaspora) is premised on ‘false accusations’, why hasn’t Gospel for Asia corrected or sued these media outlets?

    If the diaspora has falsely accused, former US board member Gayle Erwin has falsely accused and former Canadian board members Garry Cluley and Robert Thiessen have falsely accused, then why hasn’t GFA addressed their concerns or sued them?

    And if bloggers such as Michael and Dr. Throckmorton have falsely accused, why hasn’t GFA engaged them or sued them?

    GFA has firmed up it’s narrative – it’s obvious in this piece, in the board statement about the lawsuit – they are persecuted, misunderstood and it’s everyone else’s fault.
    What a crock.

  9. Here is a Loose End. I am watch Barry Stagner CC Tustin and some guy named Tom Hughes (I don’t know who he is) on HisChannel doing a news type last days program.

    Their talk is the typical Last Days Rapture theology that CC taught in the 60s through 90 pretty much in lock step. I don’t want to include the few in these movements who have movemented away.

    But these guys are nuts and they make stuff up as bad as any word faith teacher. My question – is there any reason that they should not be handled in the same way we “more orthodox” believers treat the word faith folks … like you are to off base to be considered a Christian.

    Does anyone else here watch this stuff? I know many of their folks do.

    These are not Christian views and the way they tie it up, it leaves the realm of secondary issues – in fact my view is that wrong teaching is a primary concern.

    )Astroid 2013 means something but I am sure its in the Bible.

  10. MLD, no, I don’t waste my time, which I don’t have that much to spare these days on that kind of teaching anyways.

    You already know the end result of that stuff is going to be contrary to what you believe. Why invest your time your pursuing it? Are you that bored? 😉

  11. I need to know what others believe – it’s called educating yourself. I watch Muslim speakers, Jewish speakers even some Republican speakers.

    But… my question is that there theology is so bad, after watching the whole thing – I think I owe Joyce Meyers an apology for earlier comparing them to the word faith.

    Not bored – i need to do something while I am transfering 187 White Horse Inn (1992 – 1996) tapes to MP3.

    How bored are you to spend the time commenting on my comments 🙂 come on, unpucker a little.

  12. Rick @ 3.

    I had similar experience with a vision casting pastor at CC. The problem with these visions these pastors have is that it leaves no room for disagreement for those that don’t see it like the pastor. You either jump on board the vision or you high tail out of there. I even question myself now when I think I have my own personal vision from God. I get leery with vision casting pastors. I’m not as sensitive as I used to be with the term “vision” because its used all the time in different contexts but I’ll probably never go back to a CC that practices this. Its just not in the Bible and have seen more harm than good.

  13. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2016/02/some-different-meanings-of-biblical-inerrancy-and-a-challenge-to-evangelical-inerrantists/

    That’s a good read from Roger Olsen. Pastor Al would probably find it interesting, as I’m sure other would too.

    There is a slight disconnect. I think most people (at least somewhat educated people) use the term Inerrancy to refer to a particular doctrine, maybe even set of doctrines, rather than just a webster’s definition of the word. But yeah, good article.

  14. I know the criticism of pastors’ visions is frequent on here.

    What gives?

    Is it a CC thing?
    Is the vision something beyond clear directions in scripture?
    Like building a huge building?
    Instead of “each member using their lives to love God and each other…

  15. I would love any resources or verses people might have on dealing with church members who leave.

    It has been a painful season….

  16. JTK – whatever the vision is as a church member it must become your vision also – otherwise you are not just disagreeing with the vision casting pastor, but with God … who gave the pastor the vision.

    I prefer if the pastor just says “hey I got this idea that I think is pretty good – what do you think?”

  17. JTK, this idea of “vision casting” was probably borrowed from the corporate world where the CEO or board of directors casts the vision for the company. Anyone with leadership training has probably come across this idea many times. I know I have. However, I don’t believe this belongs in the church. This is not unique to CC but with their heavy emphasis on scripture the vision becomes something spiritual or prophetic and as MLD wrote above if you disagree with the vision you are disagreeing with God. Now some pastors are catching on and realizing how dangerous this is and are trying to shift the visioneering responsibility to the congregation. Some churches are missing a pastor and lack direction so they offer their own visioneering meetings. The problem to me is that folks lack direction. I’m not sure what the answer is but it may be why we sometimes see a resurgence in reviving some kind of liturgy. I don’t go to a liturgical church but I definitely see the value of having such a format.

  18. JTK,

    I’ve had the same “vision” for over twenty years.

    Teach the word and administer the sacraments.

    Anything else I might think is “visionary” I probably pulled out of my butt and will detract from the “vision” I’m called to.

  19. As to people leaving…it depends on why they left…

  20. Michael, I’d just flush the new vision stuff without using it. Stick with Charmin, unless you enjoy the feeling of sandpaper in delicate places.

  21. Rick,
    I’m just going to say it: CC is a cult that shuns people who dare leave. Be glad you got out.

    On GFA: I contacted them to see my past giving history. (Info for possibly joining class action suit) They sent me an email saying that because I haven’t given in the last 13 months, my history was inaccessible online, but if I donate again I’ll be able to see it. Isn’t that convenient?
    Waiting to hear back as I had something to say about that — but not holding my breath. They can’t even account for the money of ONE donor!!!

  22. “But these guys are nuts and they make stuff up as bad as any word faith teacher. My question – is there any reason that they should not be handled in the same way we “more orthodox” believers treat the word faith folks … like you are to off base to be considered a Christian.”

    While I have more than a little sympathy for your view, I think it’s a little much to proclaim them non Christians.

  23. @Disillusioned did you ask to see your giving history online, or did you request a copy? There are restrictions softwarewise for viewing things online, but if you request your giving history they will send it to you.

  24. Michael – it was a question more than a proclamation. The point being if we heard Joyce Meyers or one of the others this whacky we have no issue questioning if they (Word Faith leaders) might have crossed the line.

    And nothing they use comes out of the main media for others to evaluate – they all have there own special reports they are given from some anonymous Israeli military minister who has the “inside story.”

    But I like the story of the asteroids – Asteroid 2013 (the year it was discovered) has a chance of hitting earth – so we see a sign that the heavens are lining up. However, in whispered breath, it may be a 1 in 250,000 chance …or was it 250 million.

    People can not be led to think this is biblical at all.

  25. CC is a cult that shuns people who dare leave.
    —————————————-
    These statements are so over the top. And so belied by the real world.

  26. MLD,

    Trust me, I’m with you on this one…I’ve written about it multiple times.

    To make matters worse, CC has multiple programs of this nature every week so everything from minor earthquakes to tight underwear is a “sign of the times” in some way…

  27. Really, Steve? Perhaps you are too close to see the truth. Or maybe your CC is one of the .0001 % that doesn’t operate in that sphere. To be honest, I do know of another CC that doesn’t do this. But overall… It quacks like a duck, IMO. And that has been my experience.

    Do you show your congregation the videos Michael just mentioned? Ours did. Everything is a *Harbinger* to the end being imminent.

    Cult behavior used to control people.

  28. Really?,
    GFA offered the service of viewing one’s account online. I tried to avail myself of it….to no avail so far.

  29. I don’t think that CC shuns the people who leave. I just don’t think they have an apparatus to follow up.

    To the staff and the office – the people are the anonymous Christian, and in many cases they purposely do not leave a paper trail. Individuals in the church may know the ‘departed’ and still stay in touch.

    Shun, I don’t thinks so unless it was some big time troublemaker.

  30. So explain it to me. How specifically did the CC shun you? Did the pastor announce that you left the church and you are to be shunned if seen on the streets? If so, then please name the pastor so the rest of us CC pastors know what a jerk he is and can shun HIM.

    Or is it easier to bigot thousands of churches and pastors as a cult because of your one anecdotal experience?

    You left a church you think is a cult, and are mad the people stopped fellowshipping with you outside of the church?

    What sort of relationship do you expect from the people from the church you chose to leave due to your dissatisfaction?

  31. If I was ever in the JWs and managed to get out…the last thing I would want to do is hang out with them on the side. I would thank God if I never saw another one of them again.

    Such an odd dynamic in what offends people these days….

  32. I was most definitely shunned when I got the right foot of fellowship…and I will have a whole chapter on this in my book from others who were as well.

    It doesn’t happen to everyone, everywhere…but it’s certainly not unusual.

  33. The tighter the group, the more one will feel shunned once he has left. This is not to imply that some people have not actively been shunned. I’m sure they have. But just in social circles in general, if you were once an insider of a tight-knit group, and now are an outsider. It’s gonna be awkward.

  34. I’m talking about specific instances where the leadership made it clear that to associate with certain people would be considered an act of disloyalty and defiance…sometimes even against their own families.

  35. Michael,
    Well, I did include – “Shun, I don’t thinks so unless it was some big time troublemaker”. 😉

  36. Sure, I understand that. Again, my response was not to your claim. I am sure it happens.

  37. Yes, Josh @33. All the more when one leaves in a huff because they say the church or the pastor that the other people still very much like is somehow a bad place/person. This place is a cult! But why don’t you call me to chat and have coffee anymore??

    Quite a disconnect.

    But it sure is not shunning in any legit sense of the word.

  38. Steve, you speak so authoritatively for someone who has no idea of what he’s talking about.
    Yes, we were shunned. Does an email sent by the pastor to the church telling them not to talk to us and to take us off their email count as shunning? Maybe not to you, though.

    Well, you must have sinned greatly, then, you say.
    Yeah, if telling the truth in private only to those concerned is sin, then we sinned.
    Otherwise, we didn’t.
    But the truth involved the pastor and a decision he made because “God told him to”….
    Give me your email and I will tell you who.
    And my opinion is not based on my own story alone.
    You are very insulting.

  39. I certainly wasn’t shunned when I left CC. A few people were angry with me at first on theological grounds but they were given to anger anyways and we are on good terms now.

    All of my old CC friends are still very pleasant, no shunning. We just don’t have much to talk about these days. I am thinking “Hmmm…. this Sunday is the Sunday of the Prodigal Son and the sisterhood needs to meet next week to get read for the big Blini dinner” and my old CC friend is thinking about the small group they are facilitating for the lady’s ministry. They are humming praise and worship tune and I am humming the Trisagion. We don’t really want to hear what each other is doing, not in a mean way, but we like where we are.

    Except for my best friend. We are able to cut through church Tradition (on both sides) and just talk about the Lord in a very natural, non-competitive way.

    After I had been Orthodox a while, I wanted to reconnect with some of my old CC friends so I began inviting them to my house for a nice lunch and chat. It really didn’t work out very well, although the effort was appreciated. No shunning, we are just on different wave-lengths these days. They seemed embarrassed for me, as if I had joined the Moonies. I refuse to be offended. <—- That's the key, folks. Don't get offended.

    One rather comical episode. After I sent some people I felt closest to a letter explaining why I left. one important lady read my letter to a meeting of church ladies and there was (from what I heard) a lot of "Oh, we must pray for her!" However, two women in that room also converted to Orthodoxy soon after. So intended criticisms can work out for the best and the lady who read the letter has been very kind to our family in recent years.

    I just don't let people shun me. I bug 'em until they love me again.

  40. MLD,

    I was a piece of work.
    Somewhere I had been convinced that we were supposed to stay sober and only sleep with women we were married to…

  41. The claim was that CC is a cult who shuns you when you leave.

    That is not taught, it certainly is not heavily practiced, and if it does appear in certain circumstances it does to the extent it appears in each and every denomination out there. Just talk to someone who leaves Catholicism for example.

  42. I should add that I left CC for reasons of personal anguish and theology, not because I was having problems with any individuals. I wasn’t mad at anyone, in other words. That may have made a difference in my case.

  43. Does an email sent by the pastor to the church telling them not to talk to us and to take us off their email count as shunning? <<<<

    That sounds like shunning to me.

  44. That’s the key, folks. Don’t get offended.
    ————————————-
    Amen Xenia.

    The fact that my pushback on a bigotted statement that indicts thousands of Christians so quickly got the response of how insulting I was being, even while insulting ME…speaks volumes.

    I would love to know the CC that has emails on all the non-member members though…that would be a first. It’s hard enough to get people’s last names.

  45. If disallusioned had the goods on this evil pastor then he/she should have contacted and warned each of those people on the same email list and if they listened to his/her, then great – take down a wicked church with an evil pastor.

    If they maybe think disallusioned overreacted or even (gasp) was in the wrong in his/her challenge once they heard both sides….then he/she should be glad they are out of his/her life (or maybe do some self-examination)….but to conclude they are all cult followers is quite a stretch.

  46. I wasn’t mad at anyone, either. Decisions were made that flew in the face of everything we had been taught in our many years there.

    We didn’t understand, sought clarity, sought resolution, etc all to no avail. We followed the biblical way to deal with conflict and were thrown under the bus because the pastor is a coward who wouldn’t deal with the truth.

  47. Steve, it is your arrogance that is insulting. You still have no idea what you’re talking about.

  48. You see…when you have been a pastor who has been slandered falsely by someone making a lot of noise on the internet, you find that your church tends to have your back against the person doing the slandering because they know the truth.

    And then you will read about how that evil pastor turned all those people against the complainant so nobody will listen.

    That is not theory folks…I could write a book too.

  49. Your experience is not mine and if you knew the delicate facts you’d respond differently.

    But just go on overreacting.

  50. And now I find myself agreeing with the others who think you are a jerk. Pity. I had given you the benefit of the doubt.

  51. I was not angry, but shattered.

    Every CC in the valley shut me out when word got around as well.

    That church imploded about five years after…destroying lives and families in the process.

    It did create this blog many years later, however…

  52. Disillusioned, I don’t doubt the veracity of your experience at all.

    But don’t you think making a blanket statement to the effect that Calvary Chapel is a cult that practices shunning is also overreacting? You are implying “all” in a statement like that.

  53. because the pastor is a coward
    ———————————
    Yep…got that thrown at me too.

    Disillisioned, you said CC is a cult that shuns people who leave.

    I know many fine people in CC, and faithful servants, and so you threw the first insult in what is a stereotyped piece of bigotry, all annonymous both as the accuser and in who you accused.

    and got some pushback and your response has been telling.

  54. There are some good men and good churches in CC.

    I’ve said so for years.

    My pastor is affiliated despite my best efforts to get him out. 🙂

    There are also men in the movement who are despicable.

    Some in prominent places.

    I will now hold my tongue.

    Disillusioned, if you want to send me your story it’s phoenixpreacher@gmail.com

  55. Doubt my story if you want, I really don’t give a flip anymore, except to help others who have been damaged (and yes, soul-crushing is an apt description) by this twisted system where the pastor has NO accountability and answers to no one and people are indoctrinated with imminent doom to keep them coming back faithfully.

    Truth will win out.

    Also, I am laughing at you calling me a bigot because I said CC is a cult. It’s like I insulted your kid or something. Good grief, it’s a manmade system. Get over yourself and grow up.

  56. So Disillusioned – are you now a member in a congregational type church now? Full membership and voting rights?

  57. MLD, the only Church I’m a member of is the church invisible.

    I have had 3 churches now tell me they were the only true church – the Catholic Church (grew up there, confirmed, etc), the Church of Christ (yikes, bullied into a 1am baptism in case I died apart from Christ on the way home) and Calvary Chapel (the “only” ones who teach the “whole counsel of God, in order.) (Not true on both counts.)

    My kids have also been shunned by some. We tried to leave without involving anyone else (there goes your theory, Steve), but it was the pastor who involved all kinds of people in the matter.

    There was no reason to do this except his own fear that we’d tell someone what he did. Which, 3 years later, we still haven’t, by the way. If we went Steve’s route,(email everyone!) we’d be stooping to their twisted standard — not God’s.

  58. Disillusioned – I would suggest the LCMS but we are so screwed up we need to start each service confessing our sins to God and one another. 😉

  59. MLD, that sounds like an awesome (in the truest sense of the word) way to approach a holy God.
    I seem to have some form of PTSD when it comes to entering a church building. I literally get sick to my stomach and want to leave. Even though the teaching at the community church I’ve tried is really spot on.

  60. Hey we serve real wine to calm the nerves 😉

  61. Steve,

    The last time I spoke to my ex CC pastor he told me I was under church discipline. That was about 7 years ago. Haven’t heard anything from them since. They just don’t care about me. I think this is definitely shunning.

  62. Xenia,
    You are correct that my implication that ALL CCs practice shunning is not fair. I’ll backtrack that. (But I will say that the women who read your letter to the Bible study weren’t doing it to make you look good…)
    However, the system itself is subtly cultlike in its insular focus, its overemphasis on the world coming to end and on submission to “leadership,” and its elevation of the pastor to someone who is more special, more anointed than the peons who sit in the seats.

    People have been shunned by CCs all over this country, and abroad as well. Their stories are easy to find if you look. What is remarkable is that so many have the same theme: walking in truth and the Spirit when something negative happens in “leadership” and the aftermath of them turning the problem onto those reporting it. I think it happens mostly to people who are VERY involved and well-acquainted with the workings of the “inner circle.”

    Contrary to what Steve thinks, I believe them because it also happened to me. My opinion on the matter is based upon many personal accounts, much like those of the GFA Diaspora. Even though there were 100 or so accounts, many still want to turn a blind eye.

  63. Disillusioned,

    I’ve come to some of the same conclusions you have. To me its just not even worth trying to convince these folks of their error any more. They don’t care. I’ve moved on and not looking back. I’ll warn others though of the danger.

  64. Andrew,
    Care to share what you were being “disciplined” for? I’m just curious.
    It is the realization that these people who called themselves your church “family” don’t give a rat’s ass about your heart and soul that really hurts. Am I right?

  65. Disillusioned,

    I disagreed with the pastor and I was not on board with the pastor’s vision. I would not submit to the pastor. I’m not sure exactly what they wanted from me other than I think a really good attitude that praised the pastor continually and would not raise serious concerns. It was about submission to the pastor. It was all about submission to his authority. This is what I am still under church discipline for. I think I would have to dig out the email I got but I think if I ever want to be restored I would have to talk to their lawyer that apparently represents their elder board who I don’t even know who he is. Its all about their authority. You hit the nail on the head when you said CC is cult like. It sure can be. I know.

  66. And you are right they don’t give a rats ass about my heart and soul that I poured out to them. Trust me, its not worth letting them bother you. I don’t know if most are believers or not but I suspect most are but they are seriously deceived. If they only knew the pain they cause folks, I suspect they would repent. But than again maybe they aren’t brethren. I’m not sure.

  67. Somehow, some way, we have to reconcile with all these church people from our past that have hurt us as well as those we ourselves have hurt. It is part of the Great Commandment. They will know we are Christians by our love. We don’t have to become best friends or even spend time together but we have to attempt reconciliation.

  68. Xenia, there is nothing I can do. I’ve tried. In a general sense the leadership of CC has to repent. I do my best to be fair, not hold a grudge and pray for the good of these men. I repent often. I constantly need to guard my heart to not be bitter. This is all I can do. But these men are in sin up to their eye balls with their arrogance.

  69. Andrew, if you’ve tried, then there’s nothing more you can do except pray for them.

  70. Xenia, I don’t want to me bitter towards these men so when that emotion creeps in I pray for them but I really don’t want these men occupying room in my head anymore so I am praying less and less for them. Its sad but makes me think they not brethren.

  71. There’s a few people in my life that attempts at reconciliation have fallen flat. One person hates me because of something that happened many years ago and she cannot even look at me. I’ve sent out olive branches; no luck. When I think back on the episode, I am not sure how I could have done things any differently, but still, this person has been hurt by me so there’s sin in that story somewhere and I am not innocent, I don’t think. So I pray for her and hope some day we can reconcile.

    Then there’s my old stalker, who I have mentioned here in the past. She’s nuts and it’s not possible to have a reasonable conversation with her on any topic. May God bless her and keep her and everyone around her safe.

    So I understand, it takes two to reconcile but if one party is not willing, the other party can do what they can, which probably means praying for them consistently and trying to think the best of them.

    On the other hand, some of the most unlikely people will be thrilled to reconcile, given half a chance.

  72. Andrew, sounds like you are doing the best you can. Don’t pay any attention to me.

  73. Xenia, I could do better. I could do much better. The reconciliation between me and my ex CC pastor will never happen. We never had a relationship to begin with to reconcile. He operated his authority without knowing me one bit other than knowing I disagreed with him. Authority without relationship in a church family is abuse. This is what happens in a CEO centered mega vision casting church. Its not family, its just a concert hall with paid professional speakers that come thru the circuit tour. What kills me is he even had the gumption to call me out on what he called consumerism during one of the times I met him. Maybe its common for folks to accuse others of the sins they themselves are most guilty of. Anyway, enough of the rant, I need to go repent of my bitterness again.

  74. Andrew, keep your head up, man. You are doing good. Keeping faith, staggering towards Jesus even in the toughest trials is what it’s all about.

    Thank you for the example.

  75. Dis – I’m sorry for what you’ve gone through. I hope that one day God will lead you back into a healthy church fellowship. Its a shame to say you have to take it slow and keep your guard up, but unfortunately its true. Even people with the best of intentions can do alot of damage. Usually with no conscious effort. Praying for you tonight, that those wounds will heal and that you will understand the Father in a deeper way than ever before.

  76. Hooray for Max Lucado, America’s pastor, for speaking out against Trump.

    I hope and pray many others will give testimony to Trump’s lack of morals, scruples and flouting the rule of law. And that’s just for starters! Christian or not, most folks know that as Americans, we stand for better than what he espouses.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/february-web-only/why-max-lucado-broke-his-political-silence-for-trump.html

  77. Josh, thank you for your kind words. I’m so optimistic about the future. The Lord is so good.

  78. America’s pastor?

  79. Josh,
    Thank you, truly.

    Andrew,
    I can bear witness to every word you’ve written. If it’s any consolation to you, you’re doing better than I am.
    Forgiveness is mandatory as a Christian. Yet it feels impossible at times. I too wrestle with bitterness that is always yapping at my heels.

    And I also had the door slammed in my face when I reached out to reconcile.

  80. Xenia,
    When I called the pastor’s wife to try and make peace, she responded with a text saying to never contact her again because I had questioned her integrity. Unlike Andrew’s situation, we DID have a relationship (I thought! My home was filled with gifts from her, most ironically a mug that said “friends”). I tried for months to talk to her to no avail before we left.

  81. Disillusioned, you have given it your best effort. I don’t know what else you could do.

  82. Yep, that’s where it is.
    You can imagine why it’s so galling to have people like Steve Wright assume they know exactly what happened.
    So clueless.
    And even though I wounded his “denomination,” I would expect more compassion from a “pastor.” But alas, I’ve come to…not…

  83. Dis – I find myself defending Steve on this matter. There is no doubt that you had a jerk pastor and pastor wife and no doubt there are many out there.
    Steve’s objection was that you 1.) called CC a cult and 2.) alluded to they all do it as if it were company policy … Like the must do it by rule.

    Even Steve has acknowledged CC pastors can be jerks and abusers.

  84. I don’t think that CC shuns the people who leave. I just don’t think they have an apparatus to follow up.
    _______________________________________________________________________

    MLD, you are being kind. They don’t have an apparatus because they don’t want one. It is simple as that. They don’t care.

  85. Let’s be clear. Over the years, many CC pastors have participated and supported this blog publicly as well as behind the scenes in shining the light on jerk and abusive CC pastors. That support was earned by Michael because a) he is fair and seeks justice and b) he is detailed in his reporting of the facts and always seeks an opportunity for the other side to make their case if willing to. I could also add a c) that he retracts when new light comes on the scene that he did not know at first reporting. And of course, d) because these same CC pastors do not support jerks and abusive behavior either.

    However, what Michael has done over the years is far different than someone posting an experience that does not have details and names so the other side could be consulted and then proceed to indict and in a bigoted fashion tar thousands of churches, pastors and Christians in the entire affiliation. Including the supporters of the work of this blog.

    If someone is mugged by a black person in Compton, I do not doubt their experience. I take them at their word. The moment that personal experience becomes an indictment on all black people in Compton, then that is as unChristian and unGodly as one can imagine – and yeah, it is the mark of a bigot. It is behavior that needs to be repented of and forsaken.

    And the fact that 3 or 4 people might chime in and say, “Hey, I got mugged in Compton too” does not justify the bigotry.

    That is all.

  86. And I also had the door slammed in my face when I reached out to reconcile.
    ___________________________________________________________________

    Yep me too. I cried alone for weeks. But as I said many times, these folks don’t care one bit.

  87. Andrew,
    “They don’t have an apparatus because they don’t want one. It is simple as that. They don’t care.”

    I think there is a mutual action here. I think that the general CC pew sitter – and I am sure this is true in many independent churches, they do no not want to leave a paper trail. The pew sitter wants the anonymity and doesn’t want someone showing up on their door step.

    No one goes to CC so that everyone will know their name.

  88. Andrew, Disillusioned, would you mind sharing exactly what you did not agree with or what vision you could not support? It would really help to understand.

  89. David, I was single at the time when I went to CC. I am happily married now. But when I went the CC had strict age limits on their young adults group. It was 25-35. I was in my late 30s and told I definitely could not go. I didn’t know one single person in this huge church and thought maybe I could meet some single people in this group. But even from the pulpit the pastor referred to the single lifestyle in derogatory terms and when I even suggested that maybe we could have something for singles that have been marginalized I was immediately labeled as being consumerist. Having a singles group was not part of this pastor’s vision but having a young adult group where I was excluded by a couple of years was his vision.

  90. Andrew, we have a young adults group. 18-30 (single or married is not the issue though most are single). And yeah, there has to be a cutoff. We also kick the kids out of childrens church into the sanctuary with their parents after 6th grade, no exceptions. We have had to deal with the issue of high school kids needing to leave the high school group (and join the young adults if they desire) rather than hang on – and the young adults need to move to the regular mens and womens ministries groups that are all age encompassing

    We do not have a singles group (or married group, divorce group, seniors group, drug and alcohol group, widows group, homeschool group etc) as we are not a large enough church to support too many niche groups. In addition there are challenges to starting a new group at a church – when and where do they meet, who serves in some sort of leadership, what about security, what about single (or married) moms with children (childcare), what sort of demand even is there besides from the person who wants to start the group.

    I would have to tell someone asking no. And I have on just about all those groups I listed above. It would never once have included the word, vision. Nor would I seek to “label” someone for asking.

    Now, because we are in So Calif and there are lots of CCs in the general area, as well as lots of other large evangelical churches, often people will continue to worship at our church and go to another church for one of these groups. Likewise, we have young adults from other churches who come to our young adult group because they don’t have such a group and because our group is pretty neat and has a great couple leading it.

    I don’t know the specifics in your case, but I appreciate you sharing @89 because I don’t think I have ever read that as your reason before. I can’t speak for your situation, but rest assured, if I tell someone, No, to such a request, it is not personal.

  91. Steve, the larger the church the more niche groups and the more chance folks can fall through the cracks. Anyway, who made the decision to make this silly age group from 18-30? Was it the 18 to 30 year olds? Gosh I knew many married couples where girl was like 25 and the guy was like 32. I guess the girl could go to this group but the guy was excluded cause there has to be a cut off right? This is just so wrong in my opinion. Steve, I think I made my point. Whether you call it your vision or not somebody in your church decided the silly way it’s going to be and it’s usually the pastor or his team and not usually the ordinary members that are affected.

  92. Well, society basically gave us the age 18 to start. As I said, this is a transition from high school to young adult (hence the name, young adult).

    And it is the 18 year-olds (and 19,20,) that are the main concern and reason for this group as they are the ones who tend to drift away from the church as they get out on their own.

    I think the top age was picked by the group just to pick one for the bulletin. Frankly, if some guy is single at 29 (this is not a singles group) he should know up front he is going to join a study with late teens. The point is this is the transition group if one seeks one after high school.

    If the group wanted to lower the age or if there was ever a problem then we would deal with it accordingly. It is up to the group (not me). In fact, this group started rather organically and later we made it an “official” church ministry. At some point (like age 30 or so) shouldn’t a man or women be involved in the mens or womens groups and not want to stick around 18 and 19 year olds?

    Knowing the demographics of the group I doubt a 25/32 age couple would find it really where they are in life – but I am sure this group would be more than happy to let a 32 year old spouse stick around. I would not have a problem. Its their group. We certainly would not say to the girl she can stay but her HUSBAND could not. That is just a wild assumption.

    If your point that you think you made is that rules and broad guidelines to direct us are silly, then that was not really a point I was trying to counter. Just giving you a pastoral glimpse just like you gave us a glimpse of what has upset you all these years you have posted here about your bad experience at your CC. Now we know why. Again, I thank you for sharing.

  93. after i was born again i joined the church where i had friends (at age 15 that seemed logical) – My mother frowned on my being “born again,” but the church was respectable. They had 5,000 members and most all were good people in spite of their “respectability,” but the atmosphere was impersonal and truth be told, i was just another number to be processed through the membership classes and “sprinkled.” From there on out, if i was there for the monthly communion service, i was just fine as far as they were concerned – no mentoring, no youth counsellors, no opportunity for service unless you had a glaring talent of some sort… oh, if your tithe commitment was not meant, they’d pay you a visit to make certain everything was alright… the good part of this was that no one inserted themselves or their “plan” between myself and my new Friend and Savior… and He’s been faithful for a very long time now… so glad that I wasn’t wounded back then by the manipulators that are so often described here…

  94. uhh “meant” should have been “met” … although …?… 🙂

  95. Steve, someday maybe I will share my story but when you talk about society, I really view age 21 as what society considers to be an adult legally. If you want a transition group that is mostly teens than call it for what it is a teenager group with adult supervision. This transitional age group that you are artificially creating is just that. It sounds like over protective parents trying to isolate their teenagers from what you consider predators.

  96. Good grief Andrew…It is not a teenager group with adult supervision. How about praising the Lord that a bunch of young people, and yes, many in their mid 20s too, like to get together to study Scripture, fellowship, eat, and on occasion go out and witness, serve in the community. That others from other churches join too and there is unity.

    21 means something as to drinking. Legally 18 is everything else. From voting to having sex on camera for money, to driving without restrictions to working to signing docs to medical care and on and on….

    but most importantly, it is when you finish high school and decide the path you want to walk on, work or school, live at home or on your own etc. And when a lot of young people drift. Really, 18 is meaningless since some kid who is technically 17 at graduation (like my son will be) can transition to this group at that time.

    You see, if we were having this conversation at church, and you wanted to argue about a group that already is in existence, and wanted to make changes tailored solely to your preference and desire, and split hairs about age limits and such…then eventually were told, no, Andrew, we just aren’t going to change it to fit your desires….I am concerned you would spin something about “vision” and move on about how you were abused by me.

    I hope I would be wrong but at some time, in the real world of ministry, you can’t change the church for each individual request. Do you really expect the pastor to say, you know, I was talking to this guy Andrew, and he wants us to split the group into two age brackets etc.

    THAT would be Moses Model my friend The pastor coming in, ordering changes, based on some conversation with some guy who got his ear – whereas I already explained the organic origin, growth and life of this group and that it has nothing to do with me. So why would I be the one to change it if “it ain’t broke” – and more importantly, why would you come in and criticize it? Is that your role at the churches you visit?

    I hope not. I like you, Andrew. I hope you can see what I am trying to say here. If your pastor rebuked you for your inquiry and suggestion, then shame on him and I am glad you left. But some of what you write here also sounds like you might reevaluate too.

  97. When you talk about society I think it would be amiss to not mention the ideal child bearing age for a women. Over 30, it gets harder and harder for a women to have a child because her egg quality goes down significantly. Over 40 its much harder. Over 50 its impossible. So looking at these ages, I would think its natural and normal if you are a single guy never married with no kids who wanted to start a family to want to join the young adult group to find a wife. Wouldn’t you?

  98. It sounds like over protective parents trying to isolate their teenagers from what you consider predators.
    ——————————————-
    I somehow missed this or I would not have bothered trying to write a long post of explanation. If that is what you got out of my earlier words, and the sort of assumption you made (which I doubt anyone else reading would ever make…predators??) then I’ll stop now.

  99. if you are a single guy never married with no kids who wanted to start a family to want to join the young adult group to find a wife. Wouldn’t you?
    ————————————
    No. And anyone I find out is going to any group at any age just to meet people of the opposite sex would be asked not to return. Sometimes relationships develop but if that was the reason for joining, which you seem to state here, then they have no business being there.

    Was that YOUR reason with your pastor you had such a beef with? Because I imagine you would with a lot of pastors.

  100. Steve, you make it sound like its wrong to have a desire to find a wife. Of course that should not be the only reason to go to a group, but to deny that its one of them is foolish. Your pious attitude towards the plight of the single Christian is pathetic.

  101. No. And anyone I find out is going to any group at any age just to meet people of the opposite sex would be asked not to return.
    ___________________________________________________________________________
    Steve, what about the same sex? You realize the first time I went to this CC was to go to the men’s group. I even quit my job so that I could attend. This was also right after buying my house with a mortgage. I started attending weekly and I told them I had some rooms to rent in the house. One guy there said he was looking for a place. The leader told me that night it was an answer to prayer for this guy. The guy moved in. We became friends but the guy was even closer friends with the leader. After about a year living in my house, he came out and told me he was a homosexual. The leader and the pastor and many others knew all along but they never told me. They told me it was an answer to prayer straight from God. This guy seemed to start liking me and when I went to the men’s bible study I clearly remember the leader teaching verses that are traditionally referring to a husband and a wife and he started using them to refer to roommates. I was embarrassed and when I got back home my roommate told me how great the teaching was. This was just getting weird to me. I didn’t know any singles in the church other than my homosexual house mate. The other single I knew was older than me and I clearly remember being at her death bed in the hospital holding her hand because there was absolutely no one else in the church there for her while she was dying. While she was living I know all she wanted to do was know who the other singles were in the church. She told me the pastor didn’t want a list of singles. It is so sad the pastor treated her like this. Everyone attended her funeral except the senior pastor. What a jerk.

  102. Andrew,

    This really doesn’t sound rational to me.

    It’s not the churches job to facilitate dating.

    I was supposed to oversee the singles group at my old CC for a while…my job was to make sure anyone there just looking for chicks got his ass kicked to the end of the street.

    I did my job very, very, well.

  103. Having said that, I think the whole singles group concept is ridiculous.

  104. Michael, where did I ever say it was the churches job to facilitate dating?

  105. Michael, I am not even advocating singles group. In addition I am not advocating a young adults group. But if you are going to have all these groups, you got to be careful to no start excluding people based on your own man made demographics. I don’t even know if I like men or women’s only groups. You can read about my men’s group experience above.

  106. Andrew,

    I may be misreading you, but it sounds like you’re angry because there wasn’t an opportunity given to you to do a wife search in a group setting.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but you would be blogging about me too, if that’s the case.

  107. Andrew,

    We include and exclude people in social groups based on demographics all the time.

    No big deal.

  108. I think the whole singles group concept is ridiculous.
    ————————————————-
    Yes. 100% agree.

  109. They gave me a senior discount on my coffee at the hospital the other day.
    The guy behind me had to pay full price.
    That was fine with me. :-).

  110. Michael, I’m not angry any more. But when I was honest with the pastor and told him that I would like to find my wife in the church. He told me to my face, “Not in this church” you won’t. You are right that all opportunity to even meet a wife was denied in this church and that was upsetting; however I wanted to know the young people as well. I was part of a local running club at the time and one of the girls that I ran with went to the young adult group. I got along fine with her in the running club but not sure she realized I was banned from going to her church group because I was too old.

    The including and excluding people in social groups based on demographics does happen all the time and that’s fine but in church its a bit different. We need to be very careful about discrimination and the lines we draw.

  111. Andrew,

    I’m sorry…but I would have probably told you the exact same thing.
    My language would have been more colorful, however.

    We’re all too old or too young or too something for some group…it’s no big deal.

  112. Michael, I will be turning 50 this year and God willing I will also be a father for the first time in my life as well. It seems like I am going to be breaking all social barrier because I’ll finally be part of the young family ministry.

  113. Andrew,

    That makes no sense to me.

    Why the hell would a 50 year old man want to be part of the “young family” ministry?

  114. Michael because my wife is having a baby. Where the hell do you want me to go?

  115. Andrew,

    My guess would be that this “group” is comprised of people twenty five years or so younger than you…

    That usually means much different needs and life experiences.

    I wouldn’t be very comfortable in that setting and frankly, would be even more worried that the people in that group would find my presence uncomfortable.

  116. On the other hand, the last group I wanted to join was the Jerry Lee Lewis International Fan Club.

    I was six.

    They let me in.

  117. all opportunity to even meet a wife was denied in this church
    ———————————————————
    Wow.

    Andrew, your experience is getting harder and harder to understand. Did this church divide everyone away into separate rooms on Sunday mornings? This is a Calvary Chapel, right? I have never been to a service that was not co-ed – even in India where the women sat on the opposite side of the room as the men.

    You knew a young girl from running club but you somehow could not arrange to go to church on Sunday morning with her – or go out to lunch afterwards? It was this group or nothing?

    You never had a chance to meet, possibly go out to coffee, or just hang out and have a donut after service with ANY females. All opportunity denied??

    I really don’t get it. We have had a few marriages that came together at our church and there was no singles or similar sort of matching/dating groups to make that happen. People become friends at church. Single people might even become more than friends over time.

  118. Michael,

    We are all at different stages in life. My wife and I are starting our family later than most. This will be our first child. I think our needs are to raise the child well not much different than most Christian parents.

  119. Andrew,

    I’ve got news for you.

    You’re wrong.

    I’ve raised kids in every decade of my life since I was sixteen years old.

    Being a parent when you’re twenty or thirty is a whole different ballgame than in your forties or fifties.

    God have mercy on me…it’s way different.

  120. Steve,

    Regarding the girl in the running club. I was not interested in her as you assume. She also had a boy friend. I would have loved to have gotten to know him but probably would have only met him in the young adult group I was banned from. She didn’t go to CC but only went to the popular young adult group. She went to a different church so there again I wouldn’t have even had the opportunity to meet her on Sunday even if I wanted to.

  121. Andrew – after all these years it turns out that you confronted the ministry as false prophets and abusive because they wanted you to follow a long standing rule? A rule that everyone else was probably satisfied with, a rule that everyone else graduated up to the next age group with and because you disagreed – they are dog meat?

  122. Andrew, I encourage you to just be part of the fellowship. No special groups. Go to church as a family on Sunday (people will love to dote on your baby).

    Then spend all your free time when you aren’t working with your wife and child, especially helping your wife – let her get a nap – the last thing you want is to hang out in some church group. As the kid gets older, make friends with the people at the park and people on Sundays you might find who also have kids the same age – arrange for park playdates.

    Just live a normal Christian life and enjoy the people God naturally brings into your lives…but most importantly enjoy each other to the fullest.

    Once the kid is old enough to go to school, you’ll have more couples as friends than you can possibly imagine. Parental age differences won’t mean a thing.

  123. Michael, I have absolutely no experience raising kids. I never even changed a diaper. I need to learn. Yes, of course my experience in life is different than those younger than me but believe it or not a lot of 25 year olds have a hell of a lot more experience raising kids than me. Please don’t give me hard time with this. My wife and I had 5 miscarriages before this and we are just so delighted now.

  124. Hell has frozen over…Steve and I agree on something.

    Andrew needs to take his # 122 to heart.

  125. MLD, it was probably your friend Chris Rosebrough that totally ripped apart my old CC pastors vision. I bought into it because I was hurt. Thats the truth.

  126. I’m fully onboard with the 122. It is one of the wisest thing Steve has said yet.

  127. Andrew…just read your #120. You are right I certainly assumed you wanted to date this woman and not just get to know her (and her boyfriend). How on earth you can’t ask someone to all get together over coffee or lunch and expect somehow your local church to arrange opportunity for you is beyond me…..

    I’m glad you found someone and are going to be a father.

  128. Steve, you still don’t get it though. Your 122 makes sense but your artificial young adult groups don’t. I’m not advocating for any specialty groups in church. We host a fellowship in our home monthly and anyone is welcome. We put no barriers on who can or cannot come.

  129. We host a fellowship in our home monthly and anyone is welcome. We put no barriers on who can or cannot come.
    ———————————————–
    That’s great! We have those too.

    I explained the purpose and fruit of the young adult group already. It is not mandatory.

  130. Andrew, you have been talking about the abuse that you suffered at the hands of a CC for years and this is your story? I am blown away! You couldn’t hang out with a younger group so you felt abused? What am I missing? Holy cow…

  131. Steve,

    I’m not asking to go to your young adult group. But if you saw they way they marketed it in the church where I attended you would almost feel that it was mandatory. This young adult group was a big part of the pastors vision. They would be heavily recruiting after each and every service. Not so much for the home fellowships where everyone is welcome though.

  132. Covered, I am under church discipline now. The pastor told me and I have the paper work to prove it. I’m not sure exactly how I got to this point. But the pastor never met with me to discuss anything. He just assumed what ever he wanted. I know my heart and the emotions I feel. I call this abuse because it is.

  133. Maybe the pastor knows that statistically, especially in evangelical circles but true in all denominations to some degree, the age in which people leave the church is that age.

    Maybe he had a pastoral burden that these young people stay in fellowship once they no longer are being forced to go from their parents – with a group that is focused on living your own life as a Christian and not under the umbrella of your parents’ faith. And since that is a unique issue for a unique age group maybe that is why he sought an age cutoff.

    Maybe he knows the world can rip a person to pieces after high school and it is tragic when it happens to those kids who grow up in the church and drift away because they don’t want to get up early on Sunday after working the late shift Saturday night and they have no other fellowship chances besides sitting with their parents and THEIR friends at some side ministry.

    Maybe he wanted to see the church continue to be healthy and vibrant and not just get older and older – and so he knew the next group of leaders for the church would be from this generation…those really wanting to live for the Lord who might likewise go to such a group.

    Maybe having the home fellowships for all is something that speaks for itself and does not need the same sort of “push”

    As a pastor those thoughts came to my mind immediately. Nothing sinister about visions and such.

    We are trying to get young folks involved in more and more leadership roles and you can bet I start by asking the leader of that group about which of the young adults really seem to want to serve the Lord and show God’s hand really on their lives in that way.

  134. In light of #132 I am going to drop out of this conversation. I am really confused because I thought we were talking about a past experience years ago at CC….

    I thought Andrew was going to a mostly Asian church now and things were great.

    So reading #132 and the totality of this discussion tonight has thrown a curve. I do wish you the absolute best, Andrew, on the new baby and am glad you liked and agreed with my one post earlier at #122. Hope you live it.

  135. Not being allowed into a group that you’re too old for is not abuse.

    To call it abuse calls into question every real story of real abuse that people need to share.

    If I would have understood that this was the basis of years of complaining I would have lost it.

    As I recall the original story was about some vision and building plan…which made some sense.

    This… does not.

  136. Anyway, I’ll say good night. Maybe I was never abused. But I am under church discipline that is for sure. Last time I went to a home fellowship at CC the leader called the cops before I could attend. That is church discipline in CC. You obey the pastor or else. The abuse really is the way they handle church discipline not in their silly little group dynamics.

  137. Andrew, that baby will to be so blessed… having parents who are older and not so crazy is a wonderful thing… BTW – age 50 is just the start of the second half of your adult life (20-50 & 50-80)
    it sounds like you folks will be wonderful parents and reading your news here is making me smile – hug your wife for me and congratulations – praying that all goes well and just as God wills it to be at your house now 🙂 🙂 🙂

  138. Andrew,

    You have diminished the credibility of this blog and my own credibility in the process.

    I am not a happy camper.

  139. Steve, I am not under church discipline in my current church. I love my current church. I am under church discipline in the old CC church. They believe their church discipline covers any church I go to however. They really believe this and quite frankly that my friend is where the problem with this CC.

  140. Michael, I have shared my heart on this blog with you and others. If you think I hurt your credibility with my story, I will stay off your blog. I don’t think I have. I have told the truth but to be safe I should probably go anyway.

  141. Andrew,

    You have for years claimed abuse at the hands of your former church.

    The first story was over some objection to “vision” and a building plan.

    Now, you tell us you were pissed because you couldn’t go someplace you were too old to go.

    That’s not abuse…it’s weird and whiny and inappropriate.

    Now, every time someone comes here with a legitimate case of abuse they will be held in skepticism because you couldn’t cruise the young ladies in the young adult group.

    Now, whenever I advocate for someone who was actually abused, I will be reminded of your nonsense.

    That makes me incredibly angry…because really abused people will now pay for this bullcrap.

    I have no doubt you’re under discipline…and no doubt that we have no idea why.

  142. Andrew, you have been manipulating this site for a while and it’s upsetting. I am not a fan of CC’s but have never had an issue with Steve. You owe him an apology for how you have treated him over the years.

  143. Thank you Em for your kind words.

  144. Covered, I like Steve. I have nothing against him. I thought I was pretty cordial to him on this post. If I said bad things about him, please accept my apology.

  145. I have to get off here as my blood pressure just went though the roof and I’m supposed to avoid that.

    Lord have mercy…I’m mad as a hornet.

  146. Michael, the CC put me under church discipline. Unfortunately they never sent me the terms of it. I thought I could still go to my old home fellowship. I did and when I showed up, the leader called the police right away. That is the last I saw of them. I call that abuse. Call it what ever you like Michael. But I am done here. I found out years later from a sister CC church what happened and unfortunately the ex CC never told me I couldn’t go to the home fellowship. How would it make you feel showing up for fellowship with your friends only to have them call the cops. That is abuse. I lost all my friends. And I just shared my heart on here and I’m done.

  147. Let me be blunt.

    If some guy was really pissed off that he couldn’t search for a wife in a group he was too old for, you can bet your ass (and your neighbors ass as well), that I would keep a very, very close eye on that person.

    You played us for years…and without knowing the terms of the discipline and the reason for it, I will hear no more of this crap.

  148. Last time I went to a home fellowship at CC the leader called the cops before I could attend. That is church discipline in CC. You obey the pastor or else. The abuse really is the way they handle church discipline not in their silly little group dynamics.
    —————————————————————————-

    I’ll be more blunt. Nobody calls the cops “right away” – They say you are not welcome here, please leave, and when the person tries to argue that the terms of his church discipline does not apply to hanging out in home fellowships and besides he didn’t get that in writing anyway and refuses to leave…THEN the cops are called. As they should be.

    I have kicked one person out of our church, with the full support and vote of the entire Board of Directors and all the Pastors – all of whom were at the final meeting when this man refused to repent and even take the slightest responsibility for being an abusive husband. His wife had to flee the home and thus her church, and he thought he could keep on coming on Sundays and praising the Lord. If there was something criminal that he could have been prosecuted for, I would have gladly testified. However, this was the extent of our power (other than make sure we helped his wife who had to leave with no money to have some food and cash until things could get settled)

    In kicking him out, I made sure to call our friend Rob (friend of this blog) in our neighbor church and tell him what we did and to whom we did it and why. To not give such a warning would be pastoral negligence.

    I will call any church I might hear he starts going to and tell them the same. Now, it is then in their hands. I am under no delusion that our church discipline applies to other churches. No CC pastor thinks that. However, sometimes you need to exchange notes.

  149. Andrew, I believe the men here have counselled you well and I hope you take their advice.

    As a woman and childbirth educator, I am thinking of your wife. May I suggest that you and your wife look into hiring a doula. This is a woman that will help her prepare for the birth of your child. Most doulas will fit their services to meet the needs of the particular clients. Since you say you haven’t even changed a diaper, etc. A doula will help before, during and after the birth. A doula is a great source person for a couple having their first baby. Having a doula be there to support the couple during the birth is invaluable.

    May I also encourage you that this is an opportunity to have a fresh beginning. Since you are away from your old church and you say you love your new church, then so be it. Don’t bring the hurt and bitterness into your life and your church life with your wife and child. You are being blessed with new life and an opportunity for a new beginning.

  150. Well, hasn’t this all taken a bizzaire turn into weirdness …?

    My own story is quite different. Rest assured it’s not over perceived ageism.

    And Steve, sorry, but I think you need to look up what “bigot” means. Still not true, no matter how many times you say it.

  151. Michael I appreciate your honestly and everyone else. I didn’t play anyone. The reason for me being disciplined is still not clear to me. It never was. I didn’t even know what vision casting was until Chris Rosebrough highlighted my ex CC pastors vision several years ago online. When I heard him critique my pastors vision, it started to click for me. I look back and now I realize every time the pastor gave his vision talk it was self serving. It wasn’t just about me finding a wife. I had huge problems with their new building, their school their multi-campuses, etc.. But its even more than that. I mentioned it before here that the hottest group in town was their divorce recovery care group. But I have never been divorced like you apparently have so I couldn’t go. I was told if you want to find a date that is where to go. How utterly sad this is. This pastor had a low view of marriage. They even had couples groups for married and co-habitating couples marriage not required. I say this just so you understand the culture a little better. I don’t accept you to understand Michael.

  152. Steve, I was very surprised when they called the cops. I found out why later when this was written in their church discipline letter that I never got. The discipline letter written by their lawyer spelled out they will call the authorities if I ever go to any fellowship associated with the church either on or off campus. I got the letter years later from a sister church that was helping me understand what happened. Anyway, Nonie has some great advice for me. Godspeed, I won’t be back here.

  153. I am under no delusion that our church discipline applies to other churches. No CC pastor thinks that.
    _______________________________________________________________________

    Steve. I respectfully disagree with you on this. Some CC pastors do believe this. Discipline should be to restore not to permanently dis-fellowship.

  154. We have left two CC’s and neither time did anyone ever reach out to us or ask us why we left. Both times it wasn’t over any huge issue, it was other stuff but it was interesting how, once we left, we were obviously no longer a part of anyone’s life. Unless WE reached out, which we did because we had many friends in the last CC we attended. Lots of lovely people there. But the silence after our parting was very telling to me. No apparatus in place for sure! It is easy to remain friends with the folks you see week after week and easier to forget those you don’t see. It does make me wonder what kind of friendship that is, though.

  155. Judy,
    I get it.
    See, that’s what’s so frustrating. It’s not the things that ARE said, it what isn’t.
    Because you LEFT, there is some sort of cloud if suspicion that follows you. “Why would you leave if you didn’t do anything wrong?” is the prevailing thought pattern. At least at the CC that did, yes, abuse us – spiritually, emotionally , by slander and libel.
    I do apologize for painting with such a broad brush, however. It is true that not every CC does this. But there are MANY that do and you will never know it until it smacks you in the face one day.
    It is a broken system that claims to teach the whole counsel of God, but in reality gives a mere man the mouth of God and the fallible man speaks whatever he “feels” God is telling him…and because he’s “anointed” no one can question him. (That word, “anointed,” seems to be a special favorite in CC and is tossed around carelessly, in my opinion. I have had it pinned on me, and it confused me. I just wanted to serve God as best I could by the power of His Spirit, but had fawning women insist I was special in that way. I knew I wasn’t.) It’s no different from other independent churches where the leadership has no accountability to the body.

  156. I have to say at our CC it’s hard to know that a couple or family has “left the church” unless they announce “we are leaving the church”. One day you just realize you haven’t seen so and so in awhile and wonder where they are. You ask around and someone says ” Oh I heard they are trying out the new church down the road.” Ok. Is it leaderships responsibility to track them down and find out what may be wrong? Or is it leaderships responsibility to minister to the six or seven hundred still coming every week? There is a lot of talk here about corporate evangelism. Isn’t it corporate evangelism to go after the “lost market share” of folks who left to attend the church down the street?

  157. The Bible speaks of the ecclesia as the family gathered.
    If one of my family members disappeared, I’d go find them.

  158. I totally disagree that there is suspicion over anyone that’s left our CC. As I said it’s usually hey they’re going to the new church down the street or hey they’re kids wanted to go to that other youth group. Regarding friendships how much of the friendship existed outside of the church? Often times social plans outside the church are made on Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights. If you stop attending you miss out on those opportunities. For my husband and I we’ve maintained friendships with many families who’ve left the church. I will say if someone left the church and was badmouthing the pastor in our presence or badmouthing the fellowship or the ministries or the people etc we would not be comfortable maintaining that friendship. I think that is rude and disrespectful behavior for a so called friend

  159. When folks leave a church, why not tell the church why you are leaving? When I left Ocean Hills (and it was for my own theological reasons not because I thought I was getting the shaft) I sent and email to all the pastoral and office staff and included about 100 others who I knew that were playing functionary roles in the church and laid out probably 700 words on why I was leaving.
    I was direct in my theological differences, but I also listed changes in the church that bothered me, like removing the cross and some directions being taken in individual ministries.

    But I left and there should have been no question as to why.

    So, I would ask those who “disappeared” did you send an email — or just wait to see if your empty seat was noticed?

  160. I agree with Cookie at 158. Everything I did with my old CC friends was church related and when I left, there wasn’t much for us to do together. I was able to keep my 2 closest friends because one them later became Orthodox herself and the other one is my neighbor. Most of the others seemed embarrassed for me, as I said in another post. Like I had become a Scientologist or something. They behaved fine; after all, it was I who left them. I am sure a few thought my salvation was in jeopardy. I left what some of them thought was God’s best expression of Christianity in America for an exotic version of the Whore of Babylon. I have no complaints.

  161. The thing is, I was so totally absorbed by my new church, so tickled pink, that I didn’t really think too much about what my old CC peeps were thinking about me. I was fully engaged with my new life. God bless them.

  162. After a few months I did send a short email out to certain people. The responses were all equally short, along the lines of “This is odd but I trust that you know what you are doing, God bless.” With one exception, which turned out well in the long run.

  163. My last year at CC was a year of interior misery and I was rude to several people in leadership and sullen to everyone else. I eventually wrote letters of apology to those I was rude to and my apologies were received with gladness. That I am no longer sullen is obvious to everyone.

  164. We didn’t leave because we were disgruntled, or just went down the street. We left because the pastor told us not to come.
    This was shocking to us. We never in a million years would have imagined this turn of events.
    We did our best to maintain friendships (for many years before, we had people to our home, families and singles alike, Bible study at our home, holidays, etc) and that included us not speaking of what happened. BUT, the pastor was threatened by those friendships and did what he could to separate us from our “family.” It was reported to us just yesterday that the pastor, from the pulpit, thanked all those in attendance who “stood by” him and his wife and didn’t “turn on them.” It was the height of hypocrisy, for he was the one who turned on us.
    And we still have no good reason why.

    This whole thing makes my stomach churn. I wish I could be free of it.

  165. Disillusioned, you still haven’t shared why you could not submit to the pastor or the church policies. You keep running around it while accusing him of all sorts of things, but please let us hear why it started with you in the first place. Andrew shared his story and you have said so much that is negative and one-sided that you need to share yours.

  166. I would like to know also, by more as a voyeur – as I have no standing to ask.
    When I was with CCs I don’t think any of the pastors cared who I was friends with or who I had to my house. (for one reason that would require him to care at all about me as an individual)

    Dis – so what were you asked to do — or not do?

  167. Disillusioned, not your fault but you sounds exactly like Andrew has for the last few years (until this weekend). Now, if you wish to explain in a little more detail then great, I bet everyone here, including yours truly, will sympathize with you if you were mistreated.

    But I hope you can understand – when someone says first their pastor wanted to drive them out of the church but they have no reason at all why….then that their pastor was threatened by their presence and friendship in the church (even though of course, as we all know – CC pastors are Moses and nobody can do anything or touch them)…..then it does sound fishy.

    That has been my complaint for years here – and I used to counter the “All CCs are like this” by explaining how we did things differently (knowing we are not alone) – now Andrew’s story has confirmed the worst….Andrew has dogged me on here for years, even when I was conversing with someone else he would jump in to rip on whatever I might have said in the moment – there was one season in particular it was quite rich indeed (I remember Josh posting “Get him Andrew! Get him!”..which still makes me laugh.)

    If all CC pastors are tarred by the actions of a few then I am afraid it is only fair to ask all random complainers with vague strange beefs against their own CC boogeyman to come out with a little more detail before lending credibility. If that is not fair, blame Andrew (That is why Michael was so ticked off last weekend)

    As I have said often, I will believe and sympathize with true abuse, and stand against it by name. However, it is unbecoming of Christ to stereotype in a general fashion our brothers and sisters in Christ serving the Lord.

  168. Steve
    I’d like to believe you want to hear my story because of your genuine concern for me, but at this point, I don’t. It seems you’d rather prove yourself right.
    Whether or not you think what I’ve written is “vague” or “strange” is of no concern to me. I also won’t be browbeaten into reducing a very complicated situation into a paragraph or two that you can then pick apart from your own bias.
    I offered my opinion. I then relented that I had overgeneralized. Not good enough, says you.
    I don’t care. Every word I said is true and those genuine pastors who really DO want the whole story and take the time to reach out to me — those are the people I will share details with.
    I resolve to be more careful with my strong opinions.
    Now….ready, set, jump to more wrong conclusions. Because that’s all you’ve done so far.

  169. MLD, ok, I just said I couldn’t summarize what happened but maybe I can after all:
    I was asked to not only ignore sin in leadership, but it was demanded of me that I submit to those sinning.
    That’s all I can answer right now.

  170. i have observed a dynamic in many churches where the pastor is stretched too thin or is an insecure one… they’ll rely on certain members to keep them up to speed on the health of the Body they’re shepherding… this can turn out very badly if those who are trusted to do this, for one reason or another (there could be many) aren’t competent or are not God-fearing
    someone’s spouse gets their nose bent out of shape or something isn’t going per plan and a poor innocent soul becomes a scapegoat… you, church worker or pew sitter, can end up on the preacher’s radar in a very bad light and never know what the cause was…
    i’d say confront the pastor and then get out of there, if he doesn’t clean house (he probably won’t)… wish i’d done that some long years ago as i knew that the pastor had surrounded himself with a very destructive support group – didn’t want to make a scene is what i told myself… that served me, but not the Lord
    there’s a cute commercial on TV at present that illustrates this very well, but that poor guy volunteers to be the blame taker

  171. Disillusioned, if you have suffered abuse at the hands of your pastor or church, then you are at the right place and it won’t take long to feel loved and encouraged. I would just warn you to read what happened with Andrew. For years, he was one of the biggest haters here and his credibility is worthless here now after he shared his story. Not sure how long our host will allow people to come and rail on a church without some sort of explanation.

  172. disallusioned, I’ll let this group offer their opinion if they desire as to whether or not I am a caring pastor. A couple probably will join the chorus that I am not, but If you think I’ve been here for almost 8 years now because I just want to be a jerk to people (by name and church ID no less) then you would be mistaken.

    Frankly, as a CC pastor myself, it would be nice to know the name of the CC monster who encouraged sin and your submission to sin. For all I know he might be the church next door to ours.

    The Biblical model is that one hears both sides before making judgments. On a couple occasions that has been violated around here in the many years I have been here. To Michael’s credit he always acknowledges those violations once they come to the light – even to his own detriment.

    This started with your general indictment claiming all CCs shun people as if it was some sort of church policy. You are flat out wrong. Andrew joined you and said, Amen, that is what happened to him – and now we know what REALLY happened. You said you still do not know why the pastor kicked you out…but then you say the whole story is available to those you trust who “reach out to you”….quite a contradiction there.

  173. I feel for Andrew. I do. I had seen some growth in him recently. He stopped hounding Steve so incessantly. He was taking part in conversations. It was like he as getting freedom over that hurt he had felt at his old church. I hope he continues down that path.

    He felt hurt from his old church. Period. Why does it matter if it was abuse or not. The guy was clearly hurt. I was glad to see him getting healthier.

  174. Em,
    You have come the closest to dynamics that were involved.

    Steve,
    I don’t WHY a so called pastor would behave the way he did.
    But I do know WHAT happened.
    Thanks for confirming my assumption you’d once again leap to the wrong conclusions.

    You say you want to know if a CC pastor abused me. If I want you involved, I will let you know. Until then, you can assume I don’t.

  175. We left because the pastor told us not to come. This was shocking to us. We never in a million years would have imagined this turn of events….. It was the height of hypocrisy, for he was the one who turned on us. And we still have no good reason why.
    —————————————————————————–
    I guess I misunderstood you. But.Usually the “whats” help explain the “whys”

    I am not asking to be involved…just refuting bigotry against all my CC pastor brothers and myself from people who might believe what you wrote about shunning.

    Rail away….It’s not my blog. And besides, Michael has a big day tomorrow so I will bow out of this one now….

    (Josh, I feel very bad for Andrew. I do wish him the best. But his is a cautionary tale around here that could be added to a few others that we all know quite well)

  176. As I’ve shared a gazillion times I came here many years ago thinking CC was infallible. It was all I knew as I was saved at CCCM and never thought of going anywhere else but CC. They were the church of Philadelphia while denominations were looked down on and seminaries were called cemeteries.

    It took a long time for me to understand that pastors weren’t infallible. That denominations weren’t powerless. That listening to the Beach Boys didn’t show a backslidden heart.

    Most of all I didn’t have a personal understanding of grace.

    We spent 8-9 years in our last CC where I was quickly moved up the ladder to associate pastor. I had zero training. No preparation other than being in the system for over 30 years.

    We had a bad split with the church when the pastor informed me that my mental illness (agoraphobia and depression) indicated I was in sin. When I responded by saying we were leaving the church me he told me his church was the best place for me and that my leaving was the worst thing that had happened to him in his pastoral ministry.

    We had horrible luck finding a new church and after several years we have landed back into another CC which I thought we would never do again. The ones near us were not churches we would attend.

    No one called or e-mailed afterwards and I have no idea how our absence was explained.

    As I was an active member here it helped soften the blow and I quickly came to understand a lot of things I had been pondering or ignoring. I never would have thought the PP would become a place of healing for me.

    I think about those who were all in with their specific CC only to have the bottom fall out. I imagine it must be similar to a Mormon having to face the truth that they were serving a god who didn’t exist. Your world comes crumbling down in a heap. Finding your way again becomes a difficult thing.

    I have seen people fabricate stories here in the past. It’s part of the power the internet gives you if you’re so inclined. I am NOT speaking of anyone posting now but reading through the thread a little reminded me of the old days.

    I’m no longer active here as I was years ago though I visit daily. So when I post I am long winded! 🙂

  177. Josh thank you for your comment @ 173. I was depressed over the weekend and your post cheered me up. I will also apologize again to Steve if he accepts it.

    I think Steve and I have had an on and off sparing. I clearly remember some great conversations which I am thankful to Steve for and I also remember some bad ones which I will personally take responsibility for. This doesn’t mean I agree with Steve on much at all. What is really happening in my life is that I am starting to form my own philosophy of ministry which is in deep conflict and radically different than CC and Steve’s and for that matter probably radically different than most American contemporary evangelicalism. A philosophy of ministry is not something easy to define but it shapes every decision made in a church. I’m realizing now that its not so much individual decisions that were made but rather the rational for making those decisions that is the real issue. Once you know the rational you can to some extent know the motivations whether good or bad. One thing that is coming clear to me is that 9 times out of 10 we usually misunderstand other peoples philosophy of ministry and and hence radically misjudge other peoples motivations wrong and often times we subscribe to them the worse that can be. This is unfortunate.

    For this reason, I’ve been interested in what MLD and Xenia’s have had to say since their churches aren’t affected as much by the greater Evangelical complex and their philosophy of ministry is unique. Unfortunately I don’t think its within my grasp to become Lutheran or Eastern Orthodox any time soon. This kind of creates conflict for me in where I fit in but the Lord has called all of us His church in some capacity. What I appreciate in the church I go to now is that I know there are folks that have different philosophies on how the church should operate and function and healthy debate over what is the best model for our particular church. No one is claiming what is the right or wrong way but rather looking at it from the perspective of what is best for the whole of our particular congregation.

  178. Andrew, what happened here last weekend had nothing to do with philosophy. What it had to do with is the fact that for years you have railed on all things CC and also spent many hours attacking Steve (whom I do not personally). To come here and do what you have done over the years is tolerated because people assumed that you have suffered abuse by either a pastor or a church. When the truth revealed something much different than abuse, it caused some of us to wonder how many lives were affected by your testimony of abuse when there was no such abuse.

    This is about credibility and being truthful not philosophy.

  179. I don’t think Andrew was dishonest. I think his perception was that he was abused.

  180. Covered. I offered an apology to Steve but I’m not offering an apology for the way I feel. The apology to Steve is for putting on him things from my local CC that he is not responsible for. That is not appropriate and I have apologized. How much responsibility Steve has for the rest of the CC network is really up for discussion. I personally could never remain in a pastoral position in CC knowing what I know now. But I guess that is up to the individual pastor whether they want to remain and try to reform the CC network or claim they have no responsible for any other CC church in the network or as a last resort leave the CC network. And I respectfully disagree with you. And quite frankly covered you weren’t there. I was and I know what happened. I still feel abused. I wasn’t being dishonest in reporting facts or my feelings..

  181. Andrew, you now sound quite grounded to me…

    praying that wounded Christians know you’re among friends here… even when you’re not understood or are working through to your own understanding… the good thing about Michael’s site (one of them anyway) is the tendency to be blunt – there’s no facade of phony niceness, no pretense here

    even when we’re wrong, you know what a PhxPeep thinks 🙂

  182. Thanks Em. I appreciate it.

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