Joel's Reflection after the ABC storm

I’ve always wondered what it must have been like for the survivors after a ferocious battle. There’s no way that any of us who live as civilians outside of harm’s way really know that. I think I got a small taste of that, however.

I slept about nine hours over a three-day span. The emails, private messages, phone calls, even a few hand written notes, made it to me during the ABC thing was at times surreal. I was for about three days doing nothing but pastoral work and chatting with you all. My wife and kids were gracious enough to give me up for a few days. I’m making it up today. Three of them are sick. The youngest, Josh, is healthy and playing video games … which means I get to sneak back and say Hi! and give a few thoughts after the storm. These thoughts will be much like my epistle - random, and without too much organization.

I want to give you a few post-storm reflections. Holy Cow! You people are passionate. I knew that … but what a reminder!

During the week I had a few thoughts about where I would rather be. First, at one point, I was envious of the dentist dude who is responsible for cleaning the lions’ teeth at the zoo! Then later I was envious of the guy who has to replace the light bulb on top of the Empire State Building. By the way, just a service announcement - we were finally able to get the last of the embedded sharks’ teeth out of my skin - we will be sending a variety of shark-teeth necklaces all over the country. A quick note to some of my friends to whom I must return teeth to - you have to do a better job of dental hygiene, man! (That’s just for fun.)

In all seriousness I want to pass on a few post-storm thoughts that may or may not help a few of you. Sure enough somebody is going to zip me a note after these clarifying statements and tell me that I’m not consistent. Let me go ahead and save you the trouble. I know I’m not consistent. I think consistency is overrated. Sometimes we are unbiblical because we are tying to be consistent. I’ll leave that raw statement there to wiggle around a bit. I may or may not come back to that.

Here we go:

1. There are many spiritual healthy and God honoring Type A, B and C churches “out there.”

2. I just prefer Type B.

3. Just because some Type A churches are healthy and practice a more centralized form of pastoral leadership with which I disagree, I am not accusing those ministries of being sinful or abusive, just different, too different for me to be a part of those ministries—but not sinful, just too different for me to be really happy with that model.

4. I agree that the A’s get the short end of the stick. I am sure that I will do a better job in the future of separating the solid, balanced A guys from the A+ group. I don’t know how I will do that, but I will do that.

5. I understand that many of the abuses I talked about are also found in some Type B and C churches.

6. I will soon post the fourth part of the ABC series on Neofundamentalist.

7. It seems as if out in blogdom one of the biggest disagreements is the discrepancy when I say in one part, “Many A’s are great,” and then I say later, “Many of them are bad here” … and then I say later “Most are really bad here,” … and then I say, “I’m hanging with fewer and fewer Type A’s.”

You are right to ask why the inconsistency. Here is a quick answer. I wrote this thing over a period of months. Often I would write a page here. Three days later a paragraph. A week later, two pages, etc.  That’s just my lifestyle, people. I’m a pastor first. Writing comes hard, and so I do it as I can.

What would happen is that I would be talking about a certain “tendency” and I would say that some Type A’s wrestle with that. Then later, talking about another part of that “mood” (from my biased and subjective opinion), I would say, “Wow, I think most of them are bad here,” etc.  So that’s why that part is inconsistent.

8. I never intended to get into anyone’s face about anything.  I tried to stay general, then many of you “dinged” me because I was too general. So then I tried to be more specific, and then I got “dinged” because I was personal, even accused of being “Oprah Like.” I will not respond to that one and a few others.  I’ll let you make your own conclusions.

9. I’m looking forward, especially from those of you who have aggressively disagreed with me, to seeing you build a better model. I have no doubt that you’re up for the challenge. Anyone who can spend enough air talking about someone else’s flawed model surely has it in them to build a better one. I’ll be the one encouraging you as the sharks swim at your feet.

10. As to those Type A’s, B’s and C’s that are truly abusing God’s people, I don’t care what you think about me because you are not my friend. You’re not God’s friend. And you’re not the friend of God’s people. I pray that those who are shackled by your abusive leadership will be freed from your tyranny. I pray that you will repent of the abuse or that the people in your ministry will repent for having unbiblical leadership or that, after doing all they could do, they will find a new place of ministry where God is honored and their souls are fed.

I meant it when I said that I’m willing to die on this hill.  I love you all and pray for God’s blessings and mercy as we seek to understand and follow God’s Will.

Straight Ahead!

Joel

PS:  Headed back to the shadows of the AZ cacti.

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