Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Silence of the Lambs

This blogs is a different than ones I normally write. After some discussion with my wife, I decided to post her thoughts on the same event versus my own. The reason for this is not any one person can tell a story and there has to be more. You will not get the 'other side' unfortunately but at least you will get a wider perspective than just my own on a most tragic event that could happen to anyone. If you study the theology about God, you will notice that there are both male and female aspects to the God of the Bible. He is called Father but is referred to in the Old Testament as 'El Shaddai' the many breasted one. This is a clear reference to God as having something that a man could never have: the heart of a mother.

Kevin's Perspective....

Chilling title I know but in this case, I believe it is appropriate. I had a recent conversation with someone that is very dear to me but avoids any type of contact with me. This has troubled me for several years because I think of all the good things that we both could have experienced. So rather than play the blame game, I will admit I had most to do with the estrangement. You see, I rejected the leader of us both at the time and this person along with others sided with the leader – which was their choice and to be honest I respect that choice. 

The issue really boils down to offense. There was mutual offense between myself and the leader.  My offense was I saw injustice and a squelching of any direction that did not come as the leaders’ idea, leaning or thinking. This was repeated during my long history with them from as little of a thing as the choice of worship music to the direction of people to paths in life that were in direct conflict with their own personal convictions and inner voice. Some  bowed to this pressure. I could not. I believed it to be wrong no matter who spoke it. I know people with authority all have feet of clay and there is a certain degree of discretion that must be given to them. However, when repeated demonstrations of this kind of leveraging with no check or balance, it is time to look a little closer.  There comes a point where courtesy and respect of any particular leader reaches the point of breaking when there is continued behavior that is unwarranted and in error. I think of David and Saul and the conflict that David had with an authority out of kilter. What did David do? He rejected the frontal assault and began to avoid Saul. David watched his words and responded when asked or question with respect. Yet David reached a point where there was no going on with Saul. He had to leave or see his life folded into the life and pursuits and legacy of another. This is the real issue.  At what point does someone else’s expectation, plan or direction eclipse another? There is only one person who can do that and He is Jesus Himself. The root of that issue is separating God’s direction from any leaders who presumes a place that they cannot ever fill.  When these are blended, there is nothing ahead but heartache and an eventual tragedy. Saul waxed worse while David gained strength. David did not raise his hand towards Saul though he had many occasions to do so. Yet he did not let Saul get away without some accountability for his actions towards him. David’s conversation was motivated not to harm but to call into question Saul’s actions of his abuse of power and injustice. Such as the removal of David’s wife (Saul’s daughter) and his giving her to another. So, Saul’s actions were not repented of and even grew worse over time. In the end, this great leader was performing acts that were completely counter to the character of the God he said he served. There was David watching it all and suffering the injustice of broken relationships that God had ordained…but at a distance. In the end, Saul’s life was ended by his own action. The principle is when one lives for themselves and justifies their actions because of the mantle they had been given, not only will the mantle be removed but the life will end most commonly by their own actions and whatever they attempted to build is now dust.

The wheels of God’s justice turn slowly but there is nothing that can stop them. When one sows to the wind, they reap the whirlwind. It has been repeated throughout the history of God’s people.
So, was I completely innocent? Absolutely not.  I took action to save my life and hardened the boundaries so easily softened when leaders are invasive. What I mean by that is there must always be a clear boundary between one person in authority and their subject. When that boundary is not easily defined, the one leading can easily cross over into the realm of abuse and often does yet is blind to the actions they take because of the very sanction they exercise in the name of the mantle given to them . This hardening of my boundaries took many forms but the motive was never to hurt or abuse but in some cases,  I have to say I became a reflection of who I served. That was my sin.

Years had gone by without word. Then a phone call happened. It was not a call to offer any hope of reconciliation though on my part there had been years of an outstretched hand. It was to ensure that I was not at a place where we would meet. That was all it was about. I looking back on that conversation, I don’t think it was to harm or place any kind of blame. It was about nothing at all. It was a business call to ensure something would not take place. There was cordiality on the other side and I am thankful for at least that but whatever had passed between us in the past would never pass again. That was the reality of it. As a woman said to David once ‘the water has been poured out and there is not recovering it’. I forgive them for this and do not hold it to their account. But it is time to turn from it and leave It in the Hands of God. There will always be a light in the window for him and others  but that light is really placed there to remember fondly what was and will not be again this side of the grave. The Lord must be my comfort. It is time to move on and replace that hope with hope in something much larger than that. My heart is broken and will remain so but my quest is not over. In a way it has just begun. There is no way back so the only direction can be forward in the faith that they could not destroy. All the pieces are there and the Mender is at work to recover what can be recovered. Pieces offered to Him that I have left and they will be enough to cover me for the rest of the journey.  I chose a way less travelled than others and it has been hard but in that process when I look back, I have learned more about myself, God and the true nature of life than had I ducked and covered.  I raise and set my sail once more waiting for the breath of the Spirit to move me once again. I am waiting.

Vicki's Perspective....

In response to Kevin’s last blog, I have a few things to say.
When our children sided with the church and left us, it was inevitable. They had been indoctrinated to put the apostle first before anything or anyone else, including family.
We lived this before them for twenty- three years. Kevin and I put the apostle and his teachings first before our own families.
We had decided that it was time to come out from under the alternative doctrine where Jesus was just a symbol and the apostle was the one you had a relationship with. Before we could do that on our own initiative, we were kicked out.
Because we had seen the heresy incased by authority, when those pastors came down to remove Kevin from the office of pastor, I was relieved. I had expectations of moving on in Jesus without the intimidation and manipulation of a doctrine that focused on performance and mortal obedience.
I never dreamed that our children wouldn’t follow suit. Their eyes had not been opened to what we saw and when the time came for them to make a choice, they chose what they had beheld all those years. They chose a doctrine of dos and don’ts, a doctrine of Law and not Spirit and a doctrine of conditional love.
As Kevin said in his blog, they made a choice and he respects that. I can’t. I know that deep down beneath skewed logic is a place in their reasoning that has been shut off but still remains. Even though we have been made to represent the epitome of deception and even worse because we don’t see their “truth”, I still have hope.
A mother’s heart never grows cold. A mother’s heart never gives up. And a mother’s heart loves ”unconditionally”.
When our children left us, the pain was so intense that I couldn’t bear it. My mind couldn’t or wouldn’t perceive what had happened and I wanted to go away for a while to a place within myself where I could be numb. I never made it there.
Today, ten years later, the pain is just as intense. I only function with the help of my Lord Jesus, Kevin and others that love me.
When we received the phone call that Kevin mentioned, I was the one who answered and heard a voice that is still a part of me today. I traveled back in time to ten years ago and it was as if it was yesterday.
No, I will never move on and wish my children well. I will always continue to wait at the door of my heart and be looking in the far distance for that prodigal that I will recognize as soon as they walk over the horizon. I see them in my dreams but one day it will be face to face. Only then will I receive respite from the pain.

Some Last Thoughts...

Our thoughts on how to deal with the loss is very different but in it I see the nature of God and how conflicted He must be when a person is lost to Him. By presenting both, we as husband and wife gain a larger whole, more understanding and compassion for one another and to the ones we lost.