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The Refined Collective Podcast


Nov 12, 2020

Trigger warning (and kiddo warning): As the episode title suggests, I am going to be talking about some hard topics and sharing some vulnerable stories. 

 

It’s time to acknowledge the elephant in the room

  • It feels dismissive to do a podcast on dating this week.
  • I am committed to being honest with you and have hard conversations. I’m committed to moving towards that thing that is uncomfortable because I honestly think it’s what we all long for.
  • I might say it wrong, I may peel back in hindsight, I may be misunderstood, you may disagree. My hope is that this gets you talking, processing, and thinking critically.
  • Also caveat: we’re all humans, we all mess up. We all need redemption.

 

Here’s what’s going on

  • Evangelical leaders are being exposed at a rapid rate for their moral failures. This year, we have:
  1. Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. exposed.
  2. Pastor John Gray exposed for being unfaithful to his wife.
  3. Christian Comedian John Crist exposed for sex addiction.
  4. Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz (my former pastor) was fired for “leadership issues, breaches of trust, and moral failures”. The day after the news was made public, Carl released a statement on Instagram admitting to cheating on his wife. Since then, at least one woman has come forward claiming a 5-month relationship with Carl that ended just last week.
  • So this is where we are… I am sad. I am hurting. I am angry. I am tired of seeing pastor after male pastor lack integrity and accountability. The fallout of this behavior is deeper and wider than even we can comprehend.

 

Acknowledge those hurting

  • The most overlooked people in these scenarios are those who have been hurt, betrayed, abused, by the offender/predator/addict/etc.
  • Jesus always took care of the hurting.

o   With all these men’s public confession… let’s be clear that all of these men got CAUGHT and THEN confessed. There is an outpouring of praise: “What a good man. Your ministry has blessed me so much.”

  • Dismissal of pain. We’re allowed to be angry. Gaslighting and spiritual manipulation.
  • Misunderstanding of biblical forgiveness

 

To the hurting and betrayed: I acknowledge you

  • Wives and children: humiliation, betrayal, breach of trust
  • Those who worked with and led with who feel blindsided
  • To those who worked for and served under them
  • To those who attended their ministries
  • To the people of color who feel heartbroken because Carl has been such a voice in the racial justice conversation and Black Lives Matter movement.
  • I ACKNOWLEDGE YOU. I acknowledge your pain. What happened was wrong, and I’m so sorry you are going through this.

 

The fallout and heartache is deep and wide

  • You are allowed to grieve
  • You are allowed to be angry
  • You are allowed to process
  • No one has the right to tell you how you should feel or when you should be “over” this.

 

Do we have such low view of men?

  • Whispering between the lines of all this public praise for a confession is another message: boys will be boys
  • When will we stop believe the lies that sexual integrity is harder for men than it is for women

o   The crushing pressure of my sexual purity and the sexual integrity of men is on my shoulders is wrong. It was never ours to carry, and men it’s time you take ownership.

  • Men just as much made in the image of God as women are.
  • Women are just as much sexual beings as men are.
  • I call BS on the whole thing. Do you really have such low view of men that we think them incapable of learning how to control their urges and impulses? 
  • I don’t accept this behavior and I’m mad not because I think poorly of men, but because I view highly of men.
  • You are a reflection of the image of God, just as women are. It’s time to hold yourself to a higher standard.
  • It’s time to do the work, get accountability for real. 
  • Oppression stops not when the oppressed takes a stand, but when the oppressor repents and turns around.

o   One of the most upsetting things was that it was men in the comments praising the fallen pastor and I saw one lonely woman who said “No. Not okay”. Men, why are you leaving this up to us?”

  • Men, I love you. Be better.

 

Church, we have to do better

  • When we allow this behavior to go on in our church walls, the church no longer is a safe place for the disadvantaged, for the oppressed, for the ostracized, the abused, but a sanctuary for the religious elite, privileged, and those who are abusing their power.
  • Jesus hated abuse of power. We see Jesus flipping over tables in the temple and yelling at the religious elite, “You brood of vipers.” Why? The house of God became a place where those in power abused their power and took advantage of the weak. Do I believe in forgiveness? Do I believe in restoration? Of course. But this behavior should make us angry and spur us to action on behalf of those being taken advantage of. Why? Because this behavior makes Jesus angry.
  • My plea to the church: we have to do better.
  • The church is supposed to be a witness to the world. A reflection of Jesus us— the Jesus who has transformed our lives. Yet, is the church as it stands today a witness to world beckoning hope, acceptance, unconditional love, mercy, and grace? We are a house divided. We are a mockery of what it means to reflect the God image to a world longing for restoration.

 

Pause to look inward

  • I’m not above or below having a lapse in judgement or a moral failure. No one is.
  • We become who we are through tiny decisions that we do or do not make every single day. Every thought, action, posture of the heart, compromise big or small leads us on a path towards life or destruction. Who are you becoming?
  • I have been quick to anger, quickly offended, sharp tongues, and I want to apologize for that. I have been blind to my judgmental spirit because I have felt right. It has felt justifiable.

 

“Being a Christian can be confusing. Our faith is unique among the world’s religions in its central teaching of grace, yet it’s known as a religion of works. Christianity is supposed to be defined by love, yet Christians are viewed as judgmental hypocrites. Our faith proclaims forgiveness of sin, yet we are often remembered for our self-righteous behavior. One research group studying evangelical Christians revealed these public perceptions: “Evangelicals were called illiterate, greedy, psychos, racist, stupid, narrow-minded, bigots, idiots, fanatics, nut cases, screaming loons, delusional, simpletons, pompous, morons, cruel, nitwits, and freaks, and that’s just a partial list…some people don’t have any idea what Evangelicals actually are or what they believe—they just know that can’t stand Evangelicals.” …I have struggled with the gap between what I say and how I live. I have struggled profoundly to integrate my faith into my personal life. Have you felt this tension?” —Jon Tyson, The Burden is Light

 

I am no better

  • I am one wrong decision away from crazy.
  • Who am I? Who do I want to be? Who has access to my life?
  • Do I have the courage to be known in the moment and not just after a crisis or when I’m found out?
  • I reached out to several pastor and mentors and friends this week and said, “Hey, I don’t want this to be me. Will you walk with me? I want to be known.”
  • Who are you becoming?

 

I want to speak peace and hope over you, me, us. Hope does not put us to shame. Jesus’ heart is to make all things new. Jesus makes us new, makes the church new, comforts us, brings us peace. Restore only what you can restore.

 

Resources

 

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