Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Follow the Leader?

"I feel at rest in the fact that whatever happens with BCC in the next few weeks in not in my hands and certainly not about me."
-- Dave Foster

I recall a service probably a couple of years ago in which Dr. Foster related an anecdote from a recent pastors conference (or similar get-together). A fellow pastor was concerned about the imminent arrival of the lottery in Tennessee -- this is during the time lots of fundy churches were going ballistic about it, remember -- and wanted to know what Dr. Foster was going to tell "his people."
I'll never forget that the reply, as related byDr. Foster, began with "Well, first of all, they're not my people . . ."

His answer was very good, related to keeping such partisanship out of the sacred assembly, etc. But I also liked the disavowal, from the start, that somehow he owned the place, that he owned us.
In the first Red Caboose meeting last Sunday morning, Dr. Foster clearly stated that the church did not belong to him. It belongs to "the people," he continues to say.

I guess my question is, if Dr. Foster himself says that David Foster is not BCC, why are so many voices insisting he is?
You don't have to deny the validity of even the absolute godliest preacher and the most impeccable leader to say that even a perfect pastor doesn't own or equate to his church.


At 12:52 PM, Blogger judas icarus said...

I couldn't help but respond to this post, Jared:

I think the image/persona that was cultivated and created and is David Foster is quasi-reminiscent to that of a celebrity/rock star/icon and many people at BCC over the years worked hard behind the scenes to make his entrance and message very compelling and memorable... while hiding his alter-ego. And, like so many celeb's/rockers/icons.... the full credit for what is publicly presented and seen is given to the one in the consistent spotlight. And, a reverse ownership begins to manifest itself. In the case of BCC and David Foster... it has manifested itself to the degree that a slice of the congregation at BCC feel that David belongs to them and the church is a by product of the relationship. They really can't see, hear or connect with David (except via his blog and books) personally unless they come to BCC (or church) and so the dilemma becomes... who owns what.... what belongs to whom.... and black and white becomes very gray.

It's also kind of like song writing. I can't count the times I've heard people say... Wow... Tim McGraw wrote a great song.... and the truth is.... Tim McGraw hasn't written a song, to my knowledge... or at least not one he has recorded. So, there's an ownership and territoriality issue that ultimately arises. Where does BCC start and David Foster end... and/or vice versa. But the truth is.... and some people seem to be completely oblvious to this... it's either all about God or it's not. I understand in the Bible that we serve a jealous God... true? But, many of us are or have been guilty of taking the glory of what He's done and made it our own. And, the glory belongs to Him and He loves us with a fierce passion... but He has to be chagrined when we display such poor judgment.

I think much of the impact that David Foster has had at BCC has been positive but I don't see how he or anyone can take credit for it (or he and they need to take credit for the negative impact, too...) and really have true ownership in anything. I think the breakdown in that aspect is painfully clear. I just keep waiting to hear everyone say that God is saying something in the midst of this and He's saying it through a vast number of past and present staff members, elders and congregants who have humbly served God and truly want to do just... and... only that. And, they've done it under very difficult and painful conditions... to the breaking point.

So, David Foster has become a spiritual commodity it seems.... and the stock holders are trying to figure out if his currency is rising or declining in the midst of this overblown crisis. My thoughts on that are... the last time I checked... Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple.

The fact that David has apparently washed his hands of the matter and by his silence.... given permission to those he supposedly loves to potentially make a mockery out of God's work.... comes very close to what a Roman named Pontious Pilate did 2000 years ago. For some people that might be a stinging condemnation of David... but I can't help wonder if BCC and the "people" will ultimately be sacrificed in order to satisfy his apparent need to go against the very bylaws he drafted and crumble them up like paper and cram them down the throats of past and present staff members, elders and congregants. I'm also not up for any more crucifixions. Enough good and godly people have been hung out to dry over the past x amount of years David Foster has "pastored" BCC.

Kind regards,

C. Evan Leonard

At 1:10 PM, Blogger Jared said...

Evan, that's some keen insight.

I do plan to say some more soon about this "cult of personality" thing, from a shepherding the baby sheep sort of angle, but that will have to wait at least until tomorrow.

I appreciate your reading and your commenting, brother.

At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where are all these people now in this photo?? What happened to them???

At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Judge not.... "

This scriptural reference is used more often than John 3:16. Hopefully nobody wears a rainbow wig and carries a "Judge not" sign this coming Sunday.

Actually we are supposed to make judgements based on biblical wisdom. We can't judge an individual to damnation, but we can appraise the fruit in thier lives.

Most importantly it needs to be made clear that his ministry should be redefined post:BCC as well. I don't know what Church would hire him after a background check so I assume he will forge ahead and create a church he can manipulate without accountability from day 1. By his words he seems intent on remaining a celebrity in the cause for Christ.

Having known David before, it's my appraisal that he is unwilling to serve Christ in any role that doesn't give him authority. He's far to clever and outspoken to be a foot soldier like most of us. As he said to the Elders, " it's not in his DNA to not be in control. "

I personally think it's sad and poisonous for him to continue leading so many sheep down a stunted and shallow path. Although he may intend to lead people to Christ, he produces so many counterfeits who look to him more as a "guru."

Ironically, he perpetuates a mediocre Christian life.

At 7:16 PM, Blogger judas icarus said...

to anonymous above:

You make an amazing statement that really opened my eyes to another singular issue that twines itself among the plurality of threads that make up the DNA of David Foster and I think we ARE dealing with counterfeits who sincerely believe they know and understand the Word of God via the Bible and teachings they've been exposed to at BCC. Guru is an unfortunate, but apropos, description of the man in regard to his unfailing belief in his calling and the following he has gathered and lead down the path of a non-religious journey to God. He may be right, he may be crazy. But, lemmings never know they're going over the cliff until they actually.... go over the cliff. And, there are many teachers/preachers/speakers, like David Foster, that often live by the "do as I say, not as I do" rule. Watching the faithful and blind take each baby-lemming step towards the abyss while the hypnotic drone of the God-lite weekend production Foster says is the only way to reach those that are tired of church or afraid of church or never went to church as a child.... and etc....

I don't doubt that many have found God or Christ via services David has conducted.... but somehow many have gotten caught in that inch-deep, mile-wide comfort zone and BCC has only recently opened it's doors to longer-standing believers... offering them more avenues of growth and biblical sustenance. And, whereas I'm all for bringing people to Christ.... what then? Where do they/we go from here/there? It's not an easy job nourishing the young and the old in Jesus. But, if a church is going to sustain itself... it seems to me that you need both. I think David has long percieved himself as the Bono of Bellevue. Hip, cool, funny, charismatic and -fill in the blanks-.

He has called himself a "talking head" and a "writer" so many times... but only when and where it seems to raise his integrity and moral fibre... does he refer to himself as a pastor. Read his blog(s) and much of his work and the word pastor is low on the totem pole when he speaks of himself. He's a renegade, an agent of change, an innovator (as if God requires innovation) and a Harley-riding, danger to the status quo. He surely must have missed "guru" when he was looking for ways to enhance his profile for the world at large. Surely.

And when you read a lot of the responses from the pro-David crowd... you rarely see them use the word Pastor. He's a cult of personality and production. And, I agree.... he perpetuates a mediocre Christian life.

I sometimes, almost cyncally (God forgive me), reflect on some of the endorsees of his books and several either didn't really read them or the book(s) simply did not have the complete "positive" effect intended. I won't name names.... but several of the celebrity endorsees have had recent life-changing experiences, played out in the public arena... that reveal the mediocrity they have encountered and came out looking unable to harness the power to prevail. But, maybe when they read A Renegade's Guide To God.... they'll overcome their foibles.

At the risk of sounding caustic... I will only add this... if Foster is a renegade 'cause being a renegade is the "new thing" in modern, hip Christianity.... he's "too old and slow" to be a Geronimo... and if he is anything.... he's more a Sitting Bully or a Buffalo Chips. Seriously.

C. Evan Leonard

At 12:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Standing ovation to your comments C.E.L.

I found in my years at BCC, a subtle and perhaps unintentional neutering of the Gospel. The "lite" version as you said.

This is true of many churches in
America that have good intentions but create much ambiguity in the mind of so many young seekers... and allow it to remain.

There is no place in the Bible that recommends a substituionary form of witness for the easily offended. Instead we are told of a person who came after Christ to speak to the hearts of men. The Holy Spirit.

Our cleverness in presentation or quality of production is not going to move the heart of God. Instead he wants our true obedience and submission to the Body of Christ. David constantly tries to confirm in the minds of these "younglings" that vast portions of the Body of Christ are inferior to the sound and fury of Renegades 4 Christ. He constantly labels his detractors as religious people.

Well. Lights, cameras, action is every bit as religious ( the man's attempt definition, right ? ) in the sight of God.

Forgive us Jared for this tangent, but this line of conversation addresses some root of the current problems... ie Biblical principles and understanding are in lack among us.


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