It has been said of some that they love the church. They just hate the people. Being people is a tough job. Being Christian people has its challenges for certain.
A gust of wind caught my blog of two days ago regarding my comments about Garnett and the future of the workshop. Some comments are strong and some in conflict. At first I was not going to address them, but because this blog reaches many young preachers and missionaries, I've decided to make the following observations with the intention of training/discipling to stay calm, don't panic, stick with God.
Clearly, anytime "Anonymous" makes a critical innuendo, I always regard such a one as quite cowardly. Such a stance may be taken by masked terrorists applying machetes to Christian necks, but it doesn't belong in either the Christian or the leadership arena. Therefore, I highly applaud Michelle for voicing her strong opinion. She stated her case in the open. Thank you.
Now here's what I see by being on the receiving end of those who disagree with me. First, it makes me blue. Division zaps me and such is intended by dark forces. Knowing that, I have great sympathy and love for Anonymous and Michelle. Their pain is brutally clear. They may have been beaten up spiritually. I have counseled many who felt the need to part from Garnett. I am crushed for them. They have given their lives to such a grand work and, for them, the work suffocated and died. Debris is strewn on several fronts and I personally ache for all. We will recover.
The truth is Garnett in general, Marvin/Randy/Wade specifically, have made many poor decisions over the years. I can say it: (1) because it's true, and (2) because I am guilty of the same. How many moves I've made at Memorial over 30 years I wish I could have a mulligan...and then another. My point is I am aware of serious leadership flaws the four of us have possessed over the years. However, during our terms of service, it's just as true each functioned under leadership gifts from a most generous God.
I choose to abide by Ephesians 4:29-32 as best I can. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath an anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Since Garnett let me know they are not sponsoring the workshop, I gave it my best effort to speak with truthful grace. I believe those remaining at Garnett are hurting in many ways. They don't need my feisty criticism. I was not addressing who's left and who stayed. That's the business of others; not mine.
If me speaking supportively and gracefully to my brothers and sisters at Garnett offends you, I make zero apology. They, too, need encouragement. I have lived often in the spectrum of painful division among us. Both sides have my complete sympathy. I can tell you this fact: anger will subside, the Spirit of Christ will arise, and hearts will one by one be healed. He is that powerful and we are that tender. In the meantime, both groups have my sympathy and understanding.
Regardless of comments which will come in, I'll let you have the last word. Blessings and sympathy and love to each regardless of side or position or accusation. Sometimes we get hurt doing kingdom work. That's why God calls it a cross. In every setting, without exception, the secret treasures of God are buried if we will but hold on long enough to discover.