Thursday, August 24, 2006

Qualifications

"You're sick." "You're whacked." "You have a secret agenda." "You are ungracious." "You're a know-it-all." "You're a liar."

Those are just a few of the things that have been said to me on- and offline since beginning this site. Most of these things don't elicit more than an eyeroll, and a few of them actually make me laugh. (The allegations against my mental health were a nice touch. ;-)

But by far the insult that has most hurt was from the commenter who said he originally liked this site for the church updates but that it became too much about "theological preaching," even to the point that he found it "nauseous."

Look, I know I'm a wordy guy. I am fully aware that I am a "writerly sort." I don't sound exactly this way when I talk (because, naturally, there's less forethought in speech than there is in the written word), but I do sound a bit like it. This is the real me. I'm not posturing. I know I can come across as arrogant or condescending or like a know-it-all, even when I don't mean to. I totally get that.

But what I feel is very important to stress to you, the readers of this site, is that the more general stuff on Spirituality that I talk about here is not just me navel-gazing. It's not some sort of theological self-gratification. I wish I could tell you all the junk I've been through in my life, and am going through right now, but if I can't speak generally without getting insulted, I'm sure not going to be vulnerable like that. What I do want you to know, however, is that the stuff of this site are not just Big Ideas to me. I've, as they say, "workshopped" this stuff.

Sin, grace, repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, redemption. My heart and soul have bled those things. My writing style may smack of detachment or emotional divestment, but if I could snip off a bit of my heart and let you see it, you would see all of these things as outpourings of my life. I have anguished over them. I have been offended and comforted by grace. I have wrestled to the point of physical pain with my sin and the sin of others. Like I said, if I could show you the truth as you'd need to, you wouldn't question my investment in the stuff of discipleship any more.

So you can keep calling me a liar, you can keep accusing me of not getting it, you can keep believing this blog is just about me being wordy and trying to impress. But you don't know me. So don't ever tell me I don't believe it or haven't lived it. I am clinging to the hem of Jesus' robe in such a way right now, that if you truly understood, you wouldn't change places with me for all the money in the world.

Peace

23 Comments:

At 8:32 AM, Anonymous Michele said...

I'm sorry for calling you whacked.
Take care.

 
At 8:41 AM, Blogger judas icarus said...

For anyone interested - see my comment attached to the post before this one - Thriving on Conflict.

My sentiments would be as viable if they were copied/pasted to this post.

---------------

Jared,

Man.... I really feel like I know you "good enough" and have seen your heart in the things you've posted. Don't let the cacophony and the insolence of your detractors nullify the larger consensus here that you are giving a voice to many, a forum to those who truly care about BCC and their relationship with Jesus, and a safe haven to those who need and want to share their love, concern, past and present pain and anguish with BCC-life... and doing a far better job of it than most blog-owners usually do.

Anyone who can't or doesn't get what BCC Is Broken is all about.... well, they just can't or don't. But, there is a huge majority of people who can and do. I think what I've found very encouraging, in fact, are the many posts/comments by people who have "lived and breathed" and still live and breath BCC... as a church and/or work place. The positive input and insight from those folks alone... more than validates you as a moderator and contributor to this oasis of insight. You consistently base your overall posts, comments and responses on sound, Biblical knowledge and offer incredibly pertinent Scripture to clearly state or accentuate your thoughts, points and admonishments.

You really have very little to apologize for... if anything at all!!! And, where you have personally felt the need to apologize or reconcile.... you have done so in the Spirit of Jesus.

No, you ain't perfect, dude.... tsk tsk tsk....!!!! : - )

But, you are a wonderful and unexpected beacon out here.... shining your imperfect beam.... doing your best to keep many of us away from the rocky danger of making the recent shipwreck at BCC about anything but Jesus. I don't know what other qualification(s) you really need... in my book.

Thank you..... thank you very much....

- and to whom it may concern - no, I am not related to Jared by blood - I am related to him by the Blood - :-)

C. Evan Leonard

 
At 8:43 AM, Blogger Jared said...

Michele, I appreciate that.

Chuck, thanks so much, man.

 
At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

// snip off a bit of my heart and let you see it //

thank you Jared. and amen to that.

Words are a vessel for us to communicate what is in our heart and in our head. esp. here, what's in our heart. and you Jared excel at being able to use words to do that. what's missing, in the writing format,
is we cannot see each other's facial expressions and demeanor, or tone. therefore more than ever we should give each other the benefit of the doubt that what we all say, if we're here sharing, is coming from an element of wanting to help each other learn and be better, and learn how to be more like Him.

I want more than anything to improve in the area of my life where I give grace, and in worldly terms, the benefit of the doubt.

I don't know what we would do without this format where the faithful at BCC can come and share and learn from each other. I have learned so much from all of you.

Those who cast stones at Jared or this site, only reinforce the fact that they have doubts about their own positions and choices. If they were firmly standing on faith , what we do here should not matter to them, they would be and should be too busy focusing on their new paths.

I have faith that God is working a plan through all of us to do great things at BCC, and focusing and refocusing our eyes on Him....BCC can and will be the lighthouse on the hill that we are intended to be. that still is, and was, a great goal set up by our founders (and all of us).

Rhonda

 
At 9:19 AM, Blogger judas icarus said...

Hey... imperfect one.... : -)

You're welcome....

FYI... not sure it would be of interest... but there are some that see Foster's "gathering" as something other than a God-thing, good decision or really a church of any substance...

the link: http://mondaymorninginsight.com/index.php/site/comments/bcc_update_foster_staying_in_nashville_with_new_venture_50000_contributing/

Cheers,

C. Evan Leonard

 
At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Michele said...

Jared,
I don't know if you will post this, and if not it's ok. But Evan's last sentence, is what gets me concerned. Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is true, think about these things. I haven't even opened the link he sent, but my main beef, was, let's move forward. Instead of knocking others down (whether the 'others' is the elders OR the Fosters).

 
At 10:15 AM, Blogger judas icarus said...

In an attempt to explore and show the far-reaching ramifications of what happened at BCC (i.e a church split, a pastor dismissed).... other blogs and forums have joined in the discussion and the search for answers and understanding, Michele.

You seem to shy away from accepting that it's not a "I'm sorry"... "OK".... "let's move on"... issue. It's a much larger picture that David and the elders and BCC and you and I are a part of. Being critical can be constructive. It's called constructive criticism. It may not be the flavor you prefer, but it is healthy for some. And, if you really believe that the potential of establishing another church with Foster at the helm is not a serious concern for many, you are being very glib about the whole matter. I, personally, have friends that are very attached to David Foster, and we disagree about much that has happened but we embrace honest, fair and critical dialog regarding the myriad of issues and the ramifications and implications surrounding what may happen at BCC and wherever David Foster emerges as a Pastor.

I would think your concern would be for that larger picture, not just your particular corner perspective.

Kind regards,

C. Evan Leonard

 
At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Michele Jenkins said...

I think my comment got lost because my internet konked out. I will try again, sorry if you get this twice. I actually will rephrase a little. I don't want to 'skirt' from the issues. I like how BCC is not skirting from the issues (I have heard Bill online). But what concerns me, is the 'jabbing' tone in the way you are presenting the Monday morning info on Foster. And maybe I am just misreading your tone. I have said before, and I believe Jared and I agreed on this point, if you don't approve or like what Foster is doing, don't go to it. Take a stand by not showing up. Same for BCC. If you don't want to be in the church anymore, find somewhere else for God to use you and bless you. I just find it pointless to 'jab' and 'pick'. If God is in what Foster is doing, He will bless it. If He's not, He won't. Isn't that what is key?

 
At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Jonathan Davis said...

As far as the gathering goes...listening to the whole thing, I do not really see, at this point at least what is wrong with it. It does not appear he is doing it with the intention of ruining bcc, or that right now he is really committed to any church. I guess the real question people have to answer is..does he have a right now to go pastor another church? In my view, that is for God to sort out. In the gathering, he mentioned in what seemed to be a genuine way that he had this vision but was seeking God about it...he said that he didn't know if it was God's will or not. If he is truly seeking God on this, the truth will flow out of that. So, I don't see anything particularly wrong with the gathering.

As to Jared's post..and this is NOT me being nit-picky or anything else..but I think you would go further in the minds of your critics..if you perhaps showed some more of yourself in these writings..because it can come off as coming from a wannabe high minded theologian type..maybe if you shared your testimony it might help.. and I must say I hope you realize that there are a lot of people worse off than any of us blogging on this site. We lived in air conditioned luxury, have convenient cars, so forth and so on which is a lot better than some parts of the world..so, I mean, to encourage you, even though I do not know what you are going through, we are a blessed people with many blessings in this life comparatively...

 
At 11:22 AM, Blogger judas icarus said...

I guess I couldn't agree with you more, somewhat overall, Michele... but I think you consistently interpret anything that is critical regarding David Foster as an implicit "jab" or "pick". It may be that you simply have a very sensitive and empathetic concern for him and what he does or where he goes henceforth. I don't take issue with that... but it could be fair to say that you are being pointless in repeating your perspective, too. You have made it clear numerous times... how you feel about things.

So, by my posting or sharing the link here regarding some other blog forum that has picked up the BCC situation, it may appear that I'm "jabbing" or "picking" at something you are tender about.... but as it is here... it is there, too (Monday Morning Insight).... where there are those that see things from a variety of perspectives. I did point out that from what I had read... there were several folks that did not support or agree with where David might be heading... but there are also many people there voicing their support and affirmation. Figured that would be understood.

And, it seems like that's what's good about open and free information and dialog. Whether it be here or there. And, talking about these things, in it's own way is..."if you don't approve or like what Foster is doing, don't go to it. Take a stand by not showing up. Same for BCC. If you don't want to be in the church anymore, find somewhere else for God to use you and bless you." Or the reverse. It's expressing an opinion, an insight, a perspective and a position. That may very well be the "key" ring.... with several "keys" on it.... that you appear content to reduce to a one "key" fits all point of view.

If by pointing to that particular website link makes me felonious and my offering pointless.... I don't see how. It is simply another forum where discussion is reasonably mature, fair, critical and etc... that you can choose to check out or not.

It's not a bash or not bash Foster or BCC/elders site. It's a wider ranging forum where the fuller scope of church, Christianity, the human condition and information is welcomed. BCC is a thread or two of the whoe tapestry there.

So, it seems one man's point is another man's (woman's) pointless. I'm up with that. It's all good! :-)

C. Evan Leonard

 
At 11:31 AM, Blogger Jared said...

if you perhaps showed some more of yourself in these writings

You mean like when I talked about having experienced pastoral abuse? Or having been so attached to a pastor that insults to him put me into physical shock? You mean like the About Me posts?

I've tried to offer as much as myself as I thought necessary, but the main reason I've held back is not because I didn't care to offer credibility, but because I didn't want the site to be All About Me. I've had to answer questions all about me, because some critics seem to focus attention there.

maybe if you shared your testimony it might help

As I mentioned, if I can't speak generally without people getting hostile, I am absolutely not going to open up my personal life on this site. People either believe I mean what I write or they don't; I will help them as far as I can, but I'm not going to reveal my past and present anguish to a bunch of strangers who have not demonstrated any comprehension of what grace actually is.

I hope you realize that there are a lot of people worse off than any of us blogging on this site

When I say if people knew what I've gone through and am going through they wouldn't change places with me, I meant it. Sure, I'm not poor or being persecuted, but I don't consider either one of those things "the worst that could happen."
Beyond that, my business is my business. It's not something no one else has ever gone through, but it ain't just some run-of-the-mill "difficulty" everybody faces.

we are a blessed people with many blessings in this life comparatively

Um, yeah. I've tried to talk about all the good stuff on here.
It's only in challenging my authenticity that I felt compelled to mention the existence of bad stuff.
But I've been trying to speak blessings since this site began.

 
At 11:38 AM, Blogger judas icarus said...

Jonathan,

I tend to somewhat disagree with your statement:

- If he is truly seeking God on this, the truth will flow out of that -

The truth may or may not flow out of that, depending on whether or not he truly "hears" from God on that....

Seeking God and hearing from God are such difficult things to truly ascertain immediately.... or how do you explain what happened at BCC? Didn't David seek and hear from God about BCC? It could be said... that maybe he did... maybe he didn't.... considering where things have ended up. And, you don't just seek God or hear from God once... I would think... and then that's that's it....! I could be wrong... but I recall Moses constantly seeking and hearing from God. So, my feelings there are.... David could say he sought and heard from God.... but who's gonna know? Is God gonna BCC (pardon the pun) all of us on what he communicates to Dave?

That's the great Catch-22 in much of following those we deem spiritually in touch with God and worthy of the sheperd's mantle. Unfortunately, the BCC pastor mantle was proven to be to heavy and difficult for David to handle.

I do view the "he pastored the church for umpteen years" as valid to some degree.... but it was not him, and him alone, that grew BCC to what it was before he was dismissed. The guy is just given way too much credit for what...... (hundreds of volunteers and staff)... but more importantly.... God has done at BCC. Back to the same ol' story of..... it's all about God or it isn't (with Jesus a very important factor in the equation)... or it was all about Dave....

Okay.... I guess I've blathered on enough....

Kind regards,

C. Evan Leonard

 
At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Michele said...

Evan,
I think you misunderstand me here.
... but I think you consistently interpret anything that is critical regarding David Foster as an implicit "jab" or "pick". It may be that you simply have a very sensitive and empathetic concern for him and what he does or where he goes henceforth."

It's probably because you don't know me, and I don't know you, which is fair and fine. But I actually wrote a blog on my site, about this. Since this is Jared's site I will not post it, because I don't want to interfere with his. But in summary, I think Foster made a lot of mistakes. I think the elders made a lot of mistakes in the way it was handled (and please, let's agree to disagree on this if necessary, and not get into that -)- I just find it pointless in the way it was presented. We can agree to disagree on that too. But the reason I like Dirk's site a lot (and I know you do too Jared), is because he just presents the info. Not as a 'seems' people disagree with how Foster is doing things. People agreeing or disagreeing as a majority, doesn't necessarily mean they are right (or wrong).

 
At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first thought when I read this latest posting was "now thats what I call a case of the kettle calling the pot black." Please add coward to the list of things you have been called! Or have the guts to post all comments. Don't give me this BS about "any anonymous comments that make allegations or accusations or spread gossip will be deleted." You leave that kind of stuff on here if it suits your purpose. Just look at the churchladys comments on the Thriving on Conflict post. Sir you want it both ways ...grow up!

 
At 12:24 PM, Blogger Jared said...

I let that last comment through just so readers could see I'm not making this stuff up.

Apparently I can now add "coward" to the list (and this particular commenter's insults pretty much dominate the existing list already ;-), because I don't give him the freedom to say whatever he wants.

He also presumes to know that the only comments I allow are those I agree with, which leaves the burden of proof upon him to answer why I've been letting commenters question and criticize me on the site.

The truth is it's not just people I disagree with whose comments get deleted. I've rejected a fair share of anti-Foster comments.

You, angry sir, can't have it both ways. If I publish every attack job on Foster I wanted to, you'd blame me for hosting such dreck. But because I delete most of that, you don't see it and therefore blame me for only posting that which suits my purpose. (My purpose, btw, is a peaceable site.)

All of this could be solved, of course, if EVERYONE would cut out the insults and destructive criticisms. But until you, anonymous namecaller, stop calling me names, you have absolutely no place of integrity from which to dictate to me how I should moderate comments. Act like a mature Christian and your concerns would reflect wisdom; as you are presenting yourself, they only reflect immaturity.

 
At 1:55 PM, Blogger judas icarus said...

Hmmm.... the church lady didn't post a comment on the Thriving on Conflict topic?
Another case of people making statements they can't back up with fact. Not really a big deal but surely an indication that some commentary is pulled out of the air, so to speak, without the commentor(?) really editing his/her own statments.

I guess you are doomed to the task of dealing with unrelenting illogical rhetoric with only your option of posting or not posting comments while under moderation, Jared. And, I think your rules and policies are being taken out of context by Mr. Anonymous Namecaller above... to suit his whim.

I can only stress again how clearly and obvious it is that you are doing a yoeman's job of fielding all comments, posts and responses with a generous hand to the pros and cons thrown, at times, like malicous fastballs around this blog park.

I'd pick you to be on my blogball team everytime, Jared. And, I don't care who knows it! : - )

Batter Up!!!!!

--------------

To Michele -

Dirk actually presents the info he deems valid to his site! You'd have to see and know every post he has received and/or kept/deleted to really qualify your statement about that. I'm sure he is doing a great job much like Jared is here and has his reasons and rational for his decisions.

And, I stand by my pointlessness... in that all I was providing was information with my personal perspective attached.... regarding the Monday Morning Insight link.

I also relish the agree to disagree position we all can agree on! :-)

Thanks for hanging in there with me.... it shows me that you are trying your best, like me and others here, to be sincere, honest, open and uniquely ourselves. That's what is and can be remarkable about blog sites like Dirk's and Jared's... as well as many others.

Disagreeably yours,

C. Evan Leonard

 
At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Jonathan Davis said...

Evan,

You do have I guess a legit point, but to me, it is like this...it kind of is all about what you seek God for/about. The one thing I think we can all say he caught the heart of God on was the church concept and vision. It is seemingly apparent that he did not listen to God re how to treat employees, but that does not mean he has not been listening to God at all. It is not really an either or type scenario in my view. Like most people,
he listened to God on some things and not on some other important things..that does not mean he would not be listening to God especially on a church vision..

 
At 2:21 PM, Blogger Jared said...

I think the real issue is spiritual character. If you have to "hear from God" to know you shouldn't abuse other people verbally and emotionally, you have deeper spiritual problems than just being superficially arbitrary about what you listen to God about.

I see these "behavioral questions" as pretty clearly covered in Scripture. The fruit of the leadership was not just inconsistent with the fruits of the Spirit (peace, patience, gentleness, kindness...) but pretty much directly opposite of them. And the biblical qualifications for church leadership directly say a leader should not be given to fits of anger or be lacking in self-control.

It's beyond "everyone has issues." It really was a "qualifications for ministry/leadership" issue, and that's why I think the decision that he was unfit for the position was the right one. That he was given plenty of opportunities to work on repentance and restoration and squandered them only speaks to the lengths the elders went to keep the man in his position despite his problems. If they made any mistake, and I'm one of the few who think they didn't, it was probably not having made this decision sooner. There might have been fewer victims.

 
At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Jonathan Davis said...

but that does not mean he should not/never pastor a church again..nor should he have to repent to bcc'ers(not saying that is wrong on its own accord) to be able to have his own gathering

 
At 3:39 PM, Blogger Jared said...

Well, I'd leave "never" out of the equation, since repentance is the antidote to never.

I believe, given one's repentance, that restoration takes time.

Look, what the man does at this point is none of my business. I really don't care where he goes or what he does. I have no stake in it. I try to comment on it only to the extent to which I discern it relates to BCC. I think that extent is limited right now, which is why in general I have limited my comments about him.

What happened, though, is that the elders decided he was unfit to pastor our church. More than that, though, is that he was unfit to pastor period. This is based on his behavior and the attitude and spirit that gave rise to that behavior. It is more than "he can't stay at BCC because he hurt people at BCC"; it is "he violates biblical qualifications for pastoral office therefore he is unfit for pastoral office."

I have no idea if he's contacted any of the people he's hurt to express repentance. It's none of my business, really. That's between him and them.

But given the theoretical (theoretical, mind you) that he is the same as he was then -- and based on his public statements and positions, he has not only not admitted wrong in those situations but dismissed or put spin on his actions -- then it is my opinion he's unfit to pastor anywhere right now. That's not never. That's him right now, a church right now. And I only say that based on what the Bible says are the qualifications for a pastor, and having a grand vision, good talent, and lots of followers aren't even on the list.

So that's my take on qualifications for pastoral office vis a vis this particular ministerial candidate. It doesn't mean he can never pastor again. It doesn't even mean he can't go pastor somewhere now. He can do whatever the heck he wants, and as many BCCers as want to follow him and can do that too.

But from my perspective, one typically doesn't go from unfit for office to fit for office in the span of 2-3 weeks. Restoration and personal spiritual growth take repentance plus time. So it takes time. And, more importantly, it takes repentance.

For what it's worth . . .

 
At 4:24 PM, Blogger judas icarus said...

Jared,

I believe you summed up the gist of all the above and then some previously in the Trust post moved into the August archives now. Because, it also comes down to whether or not some can be trusted (now/again)which comes from reconciliation/restoration and, I believe, repentance, publicly and/or privately. At least it seems to me that there are things that just can't be given a "get out of repentance and restoration and reconciliation free" card.

Funny, the monopoly of the church pulpit by one person even makes it more important that the Pastor is in the right place spiritually, consistently, if not always. Or so it would seem.

I appreciate your breakdown of how biblically and scripturally... it, meaning spiritual character, is tantamount to authentic leadership and the other qualifications associated with the very powerful, influential and critical position of founding/senior/lead pastor of a church. It really is about substance more than gifts (or style). And, often the gift-giver (God) takes a back seat in the minds and hearts of those who follow a pastor, thinking they are following Jesus, while slowly falling under the spell of a gifted persons charisma.

Free agency is something that is kind of like a double-edged sword, too. We all have free agency (to do what the heck we want)... but it's been proven time after time that our free agency doesn't equal any of us always doing or being capable of doing the right thing, unequivocally. And, requiring no accountability, no true oversight and allowing carte blanche behavior often leads to trouble... whether in a church or elsewhere. As, requiring no repentance, restoration or reconciliation often leads to people repeating past history in the future.... down the road.... at another church.....etc... I believe we've all seen that before somewhere in our own lives or in the lives of others.

Thanks, too, Jared, for helping Jonathan catch the point I was trying to make... but you made better by illuminating:
"If you have to "hear from God" to know you shouldn't abuse other people verbally and emotionally, you have deeper spiritual problems than just being superficially arbitrary about what you listen to God about." Not to mention the seeking of God in those matters.

Now why couldn't I have said it that well?????

I would be jealous but that would be wrong.... right? :-)

C. Evan Leonard

 
At 6:33 PM, Anonymous Dirk said...

Can I just say that I'm fascinated by these naked conversations? I think it's clearly a net positive for BCC and its future. And thanks for the kind words I've read in these comments.
I'm a fan of Jared's. He's got three things going for him that make him interesting to me: (1) Clear passion about the topic, that is, Jesus and His church. (2) A relevant voice all his own. (3) He knows how to network - his writing has been recognized by the community he's speaking to. The same things apparently drive some others crazy - but that's the way it goes, huh?

 
At 5:01 PM, Anonymous stacia said...

Jared-

I just have to say that I think you are terrific--and I honestly couldn't even pick you out of a line-up. I am so proud that through this blog I now "know" you as a friend and a brother. I am praying for you and your struggles--I don't need to know what they are--and for this blog and the words that you write to us. You are an inspiration and I look forward to the time I spend with you every day (& freak out when I can't open the blog--right??).I'm sorry people are being so inconsiderate. I think you're great. Take care! stacia

 

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