Dear Ted and Gayle,

January 30, 2009 at 10:17 pm 5 comments

Dear Ted and Gayle,

You don’t know us, but we are Family.  We are Family because we have the same Father who loves us no matter what we have done or what we have failed to do.  We are also Family because we have shared a similar road from a position of influence and ministry that we loved, to a very lonely place of humiliation and exile.  Choices always have consequences and for those of us in positions of Christian leadership they seem to have greater consequences than those assigned to the people who we served.  We don’t think it is right but at least the church is consistent.

We just wanted to tell you we are proud of both of you.  What happened to you was horrible and yet you are still standing in faith and hope, believing and walking out your conviction that no matter what happens, your Father will be there for you.  Thank you for showing us all that we can trust Him in the very darkest of times.

We are proud of you for speaking the truth about your experiences from the desperate to the hopeful.  It makes us all confident we can, and will make it, when our lives go in the tank.  Thank you for being honest about who you are and the darkness you have faced and continue to face.  Every Christian has dark places, but most don’t have to tell the world about them.  You have both faced your darkness with dignity and grace and as a result there is a bright light shining from you to those of us who really need it.

Gayle, thank you for doing the right thing when everyone and everything shouted to you to do what everyone else thinks they would do.  Love is always seen best when given under circumstances that shout to withhold it.  “Standing by your man” makes no sense apart from a Kingdom perspective that calls for honoring commitments and loving “until death do you part.”  There is no question you would have been cared for by the church in more demonstrative and needed ways, had you left Ted, but your actions speak so clearly about what grace and love really are.  Bless you.

Ted, everything you said for all those years, that God used to change a whole lot of people, were true then and they are still true today.  I don’t know why it is that people think we were somehow lying when we spoke truth into their lives, just because we were struggling to walk it out in our own experience, just like they were.  I don’t ever remember preaching a message that didn’t work on me first and I didn’t always get it applied either. Your gifts and your calling have not been revoked, even if the church you gave your heart to has revoked them.  Your Father has not. You have much more to offer the Family then you did before and we would not hesitate to sit under your teaching.  Truth is truth and truth offered in the crucible of reality is much more effective than what is run out there in most churches, Sunday after Sunday.

We all have a dark side, it is called the natural.  You know this as well as anyone.  We make choices everyday to choose life in the natural, out of our old nature or life in the spiritual, fueled by our new nature.  The enemy who rules the dark side, hates our guts, hates the Kingdom and He hates our King.  Our dark side is very complex and all of our past life plays in to what provides fuel for it.  I don’t understand why we sometimes do things we hate and don’t always choose righteousnes, but we are in good company. (see the last few verses of Romans 7)  The leaders of your church have a dark side along with the rest of us.  People like those of us who fail in a big and public ways make them feel very uncomfortable about the darkness in them.  That’s why they left you on the outside.

One thing I have seen time and time again in the Christian world is this:  When things in our lives or church go sideways, we fall back on what we know best.  If we abused drugs in our past life, we will often go back to that when things are tough.  If we were sexually permissive in our past life, we will often go there for comfort when we are faced with obstacles we cannot understand.  If we used to over eat when we are feeling insecure, we are prone to go back there for our encouragement, rather then to our Savior.  Before we were born into the Spiritual some of us were angry and mean and when life throws us a curve we are sometimes still angry and mean.  Our point is, we do what we know best to do when we don’t know what to do.

That was true for your church.  When it was revealed that you were a struggler and not always the overcomer they thought you to be, your congregation and much of the evangelical world was devastated.  You can understand why they would be.  The leadership of your church had never faced anything like it before, so because they didn’t know what to do, they fell back on what they did know and functioned, not from a Kingdom perspective (capital K), but from a kingdom one (small k).  In the kingdom of this world the institution must be protected at all costs and so in their confusion and hurt, they circled the wagons around the institution and left you outside.  That way, they believed, you could not do any more damage to the church.  It was Jesus who said, “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.”  That is really all we can do.

The Kingdom way would have been to circle the wagons all right, but to circle them around the two of you and your children, and protect you from the world and from your self.  But they didn’t know what to do, so they did what they knew to do, and it was wrong.

But by comparison, what did you do?  When you did not know what to do, you fell back on what you knew as well.  You fell back on what you knew of your Father and what you knew of  His Word.  You let Him circle the wagon of His love around you and inside that circle of love you listened, you cried, you were afraid and you did what anyone would do when kicked to the curb, you made some mistakes and you did a lot more that was right.  The way you have been led to walk it out has not always pleased everyone whose role it is to pass judgement, but it is hard to worry about pleasing people who are inside the wagon circle, when you are outside by yourself. Don’t worry about it.  Keep doing what you are led to do. Those days were as dark as any you have ever faced and you had to face them “alone” but you held on to the Father and you survived.  You did what you have always done, you showed us how to walk it out, for better or worse. 

Ted, Gayle and family.  We know something of what you have endured as do many, many others who have failed and been left out side the circle to survive on their own. We are proud of you

You could always come to Sayre, Oklahoma.  Even after pouring grace and love over us for two years there is still a lot left.

Your friends,

Greg and Linda

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Entry filed under: Authority, Belief, Christian, Church, Culture, Faith, Family, Friendship, Holy Spirit, Institutional church, Jesus, Kingdom, Kingdom Gospel, Kingdom Life, News, Prayer, Revelation, Supernatural, The Father, Thoughts, Western Oklahoma. Tags: .

Release for release. Ancient Words for a new day. Word #1

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Reg Hearn  |  February 5, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    What a great message. God bless you, Greg

    Reg

  • 2. Dennis  |  January 31, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Jesus was (is) full of grace and truth. (Jn. 1:14)
    As Christians we seem to have greasy grace that ignores God’s eternal standard of truth and denies that, at some point, there will be a harvest of corruption when the flesh has hidden seeds in the ground. (Gal. 6:8)
    OR we wack people with our “black bible” karate thinking we are the guardian of truth.
    Proverbs 3:3-4 (NKJV my paraphrase) As you walk with God bind mercy and truth in a visable place around your neck. Internalize them so your heart pumps their life-giving river. When this is the natural expression of the Holy Spirit through you, you will have the favor and respect of God and men.

    In the process of growth toward living out these verses is it better to err on the side of mercy or truth?
    Your answer may depend on your denomination and/or what you think God did when He showed up on earth!

  • 3. Chuck Mullis  |  January 31, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Thank you for your thoughts. It is very rare to find a Christian nowadays whose first response is forgiveness and understanding instead of condemnation. Your post is thought provoking and attitude changing!

  • 4. Jeff  |  January 31, 2009 at 6:30 am

    Thank you, Greg, and praise God for second, third, fourth, and fifth chances.

    Let him (or her) who is without sin cast the first stone!

    Soli Deo Gloria – To God Alone Be The Glory

  • 5. Carol  |  January 31, 2009 at 4:34 am

    Amen. May the Bride get it about forgiveness, love and how He would have us restore one another.

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