Paying for School

My ongoing adventures in life and the pursuit of more...

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Protecting the Gospel from the Truth

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

Pastor/Evangelist/Miracle Worker ‘X’ tells a story about something they did, hypothetically, let’s say they claim to have brought someone back from the dead.  Unfortunately for you, you’re the kind of person for whom details matter, and the details of their story make you go, “hmmmm.”  So you check in to some of those details and find out that the story ‘X’ is telling is, well, an exaggeration at best, a bold faced lie at worst.  When a friend tells you this same story as something that really happened, you tell them the “rest of the story” only to be met with, “Dude, you’re sowing seeds of doubt, you’ll hurt people’s faith, you’re going to bring shame on the Gospel.  Don’t tell people that stuff.”

Or someone else tells a negative story about Pastor/Evangelist/Miracle Worker ‘X’ and you feel compelled to circle the wagons and protect dear ‘X’s reputation so that the people they’ve led to Jesus, help grow in faith, inspired to step out and “R-I-S-K” will leave the faith, get shipwrecked, doubt, stop coming to church.  “Touch not the Lord’s anointed,” is the quotable for moments like those.

The person in the above scenarios who finds themselves in a world of trouble with their family isn’t the exaggerator or the person behaving badly, generally it tends to be the person who asked the uncomfortable question or ratted out the anointed ‘X.’  We feel compelled to protect the Gospel from the Truth.  There is a curious aspect to our human experience wherein it seems when the legend collides with the truth, we prefer the legend.

I think for those of you who know the Emperor has no clothes on, the pressure is immense to say nothing.  I apologize for maintaining a culture where that pressure gets applied to protect people from the truth.  I think for those of you who feel compelled to double down on the Emperor’s new clothes, we’ve created a climate where we have encouraged you to not think independently and never question the narrative.  Truth, it seems to me, should be able to withstand scrutiny and shouldn’t require us to delete Facebook or blog comments in order to maintain ‘the anointing.’  We’ve tied faith to not asking questions and loyalty to blindness, and for these things, I apologize and ask God to help us overcome our fears and insecurities and help us trust that Truth is always where we find God and lies are always where we find the enemy.

Here’s a quote that might be useful for all of us in the Church in these days…

Here are some typical spoken or unspoken rules in unhealthy family systems:
Do what “looks good”, even if it is dishonest
Don’t be a bother and don’t rock the boat
Deny things you don’t want to see, and they will go away
Do what I say, even when I do the opposite
Express only happy positive feelings
It is wrong to be angry or sad
You must never question our behavior, but go along with it
You must conform to what we expect of you, no matter what
Your needs are not as important as our needs

We can do better.  I can do better.  And in 2016, by the grace of God, I will do better and let the Truth protect the Truth.  May God give us all a healthy family system as sons and daughters in 2016.


  1. Brian, as always, I love to read your writings. It helps me to really see how shallow-ly I think - er, don't think! Please continue being a voice of reasoning truth!

  2. Good stuff, Brian. It was great fellowingshiping at Raleigh Vineyard.