Kris says: I received the following today via email from “Praise Warrior,” who posted it as a comment over at SGM Refuge. “Praise Warrior” asked that I consider posting it here – and I am more than happy to do so. Once again, please note: I am NOT the author of this particular post, although I think the sentiments it contains are very good.
Submitted by “Praise Warrior” —
Enough is enough.
God, while ever patient, will not be mocked. There is a time for everything and perhaps it is time for some righteous anger. There seems to be an unrelenting stubbornness and resistance from somewhere within SGM leadership that is repelling numerous true attempts at repentance and restitution. Some have had grace to stay. Others have had grace to leave. This is not just “our perspective” – these are our experiences. We don’t necessarily feel comfortable sharing them with a reconciliation group like AOR with whom we have no relationship.
Ideal SGM review panel: Peter, Paul, James and John.
A few questions here – all, we pray, asked in the atmosphere of “breathing grace” (as Ken Sande would say) and Christian love and concern:
Would Peter find historical issues of some in SGM leadership lording it over the flock? Maybe he would speak to the instances of some being compulsive, shameful, blackmailing and domineering and urge humility and leadership by willing example.
Might Paul admonish that there has been some partiality and it would stand to reason that the charges brought against some elders have been by more than the required 2-3 witnesses?
Could James call for a council of all the elders to come together and decide whether too great a yoke has been placed on our necks that neither we nor our fathers can bear?
Is it possible that the disciple Jesus loved would recall the letter of Christ to the Ephesians who had abandoned their first love? Maybe he would encourage you to remember from where you had fallen and do the works you did at first. Perhaps he would warn you that unless you repent, Jesus will come to you and remove the lampstand from its place. Yep – those are strong words but they are not ours neither are they our opinion.
CJ has proclaimed the hills on which you will die. There are many things you stand for that you hate, but what do you love?
Analogies always break down somewhere but you get the point. Is there hope for SGM? Always, if your hope is in God alone. He alone is the Chief Shepherd of the church. Pastors are undershepherds. SGM members/leaders consider this: have there been ethical leadership violations during this whole debacle? If so, where is your voice? Is it confined to the forum of one brave pastoral team sending a letter on behalf of some churches or is there a way through the wilderness here that would bring good to all?
Reality check: if you are an SGM member or pastor and you find out what is going on in SGM from these blogs, you might want to grab another cup of coffee.
If anyone would find it difficult in good conscience to invite an unbelieving neighbor to attend your local SGM congregation with you because you might have to eventually try and explain this mess, it might be time to make your departure. Talk with the Good Shepherd about it. Maybe He will have you stay. Would He want to attend with you? When God comes to church, there is no mistake He is there.
There is a pain associated with exiting – believe us, we know; but there is also the issue of integrity and honor. The fires of First Love have dimmed and in some cases appear to have been quenched. Have the once passionate and zealous group of pioneers in large part become settlers?
Some leaders appear to be content with putting Band-aids on festering wounds. Dressing up a situation with new board members and changing your polity will not be the end all move without fundamental repentance and heart change. We submit that this would involve all three of these: confession, repentance and restitution.
Confession. Repentance. Restitution. Those seem to be the forgotten life-blood. It is not okay for a perfunctory report to come out and say “Oops – sorry – we really missed it there.” Peoples lives have been affected. Eldership that goes un-checked and unbalanced is unwise and can violate people.
SGM, return to your First Love. We are not arm-chair theologians who have vengefully conjured up the notion that we are self-appointed judges and prophets. We are brothers and sisters in Christ who cannot stand for the few leaders driving things at the top of the organization that was once an organism. Then there are some leaders who seem to just be “yes men.” We believe in telling the truth in love and many of you have not listened.
Thank you to those of you who are listening.
Please, we appeal to you. Do not harden your hearts and instruct your flocks to not read the blogs. We are not hate-mongers and malicious gossips. We are not throwing the baby out with the bathwater nor are we painting you all with broad brush strokes. We are deeply concerned for you. We pray for you. Many of us stayed until it became an issue of conscience and we felt forced to leave. May of us had our loyalty called into question. Our departures do not equal disloyalty. Our loyalty is to Christ.
So we are watching – some from a distance and others from within. We long for our remnant to have a voice.
There are some statements coming from current leaders that are encouraging. We are listening but words without accompanying change will be meaningless. Glad you are re-wording your polity but it is true: actions will indeed speak louder than words.
Example: where is the AOR report and why does it need to be discussed in Louisville before we ever see it? What is there to hide?
Some have suggested that we are just a bunch of bitter and resentful people. Maybe some of us are. Perhaps we aren’t. Maybe we have been exasperated. We might just be sad and if you will permit a category of hurting. People who are sad and hurting yet full of love for you. Why sad and hurting?
It would appear to us that the once dearest places on earth are slowly becoming a desert. Where have all the soldiers gone? Is there anyone out there who is not just hearing us but perhaps may be listening too? Post here, please. Engage us in the dialogue.
Kris says: Once again, although I think this is a very good message, I am NOT its author. “Praise Warrior” is.