Dear Chump Lady,
As a Chrisitian chump, I find the Jesus cheaters especially reprehensible. Not only does the cheating shake/ negatively impact my view of relationships, intimacy, men and marriage, but also a faith that had always been a refuge for me. Now I tend not to trust any of it. The shift is a big one for me, since for most of my life I’ve always been positive about the aforementioned. It’s a bit of an identity crisis – I don’t know who I am anymore. Do other chumps feel this way?
(Attachment about the scandal about Carl Medearis a former pastor with Vineyard church. Who fired the guy and more victims came out.)
Dear Mighty Momma,
I know Christians don’t have the market corned on hypocrisy, but I sure do get more Jesus cheater letters than I do from, say, Zoroastrians. It might be a U.S. thing, the shiny-haired mega church pastor who’s boffing the parishioners.
You know how sorry Medearis was? — He formed a new ministry. THAT sorry.
I usually forward this kinds of queries to Divorce Minister. I’m a very lapsed Methodist and am highly suspect of mega churches and shiny pastors. I met a guy at this conference I was just at, who was a Baptist missionary and he told me he doesn’t understand these big churches. “Anything over 100 people — you can’t do your job! How you gonna visit all those people in the hospital or know what to say at their funerals? It’s too big to pastor.”
How quaint. The idea of showing up for people, and like… being of service. What crazy talk is that?
Oh, speaking of crazy talk, Mighty Momma attached the letter Carl sent.
Your Friday Challenge is to UBT this sad sausage crap, or tell your own Jesus cheater story. (Or any other faith community disappointment.)
I am an addict. I’ve struggled with addiction for the last 5 or 6 years. I suppose it didn’t start on any specific date, but as my heart wandered from the sweet closeness of Jesus, my tendency towards filling it with other things grew. Those things I’ve been looking for my whole life — affirmation, affection, acceptance — I know where they truly come from. I do. No one but God. But for some reason, I didn’t always accept that and instead, looked for it elsewhere. To the great detriment of my own soul and to the great harm of those closest to me. My sin is ever before me and makes me sick.
I’ve hurt the one I love most – Chris – terribly. Our marriage is struggling and has been during this whole time. She’s remained faithfully with me, but it’s taken a toll on her heart, and that devastates me. Please pray for her and for me.
It has also hurt our three children. They are sad and confused by me. And of course, our very closest friends who know are disappointed but (mostly) hanging in there with me, though I have lost some of them.
One of the gazillion things that makes this hard is that I know the right answers. And they are right. Pray and read the Bible and stay close to Jesus and his community of friends. Those are correct. “Don’t do it” is a classic, and…totally true. The fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit in greater abundance. Truth.
I’ve counseled people in my position. I know what to tell them and I’ve told it to myself. I’ve been to a bunch of counselors and retreats and talked it through honestly with close friends and my wife. And prayed. And…and…and.
But I think I’m learning there’s something at the root of all that that I’ve missed in the past. Desperation. Total brokenness. Not the good, godly, humble kind that we say about the man whose life shines of Jesus. Nope. Just the gritty, unsightly, broken man type. Humbled, not humble. Fallen, but not yet back on his feet. Dead, but not yet resurrected. Just on the ground in tears. Sobbing, hurting, and often without much hope. That’s where I’m at right now.
And telling you all? Scares the hell outta me. Some of my good friends reading this will be wondering what I’m talking about, because I haven’t shared this even with them. Many of you don’t know me personally, but I feel like I owe it to you all to share this. Some will say, “About time, you hypocrite,” and they’d be right to say it. It is one of the — maybe THE — hardest thing I’ve ever done to write this email. You trusted me, and I’ve let you down.
But there it is. I’ve chosen not to go into details. Not to exaggerate or diminish what I’ve done and who I’ve become. I’m still loved dearly by my heavenly Father and even (amazingly) by my wife. Even if feeling and receiving that love is not easy right now. I am getting some good help. Turning a page or two in the book of my life. Hope still springs. I am not gone. I have a future and one where I am whole and healthy and fully alive in Christ. (And with Chris).
Some of you send money our way from time to time. You pray for us. You support our endeavors into the Middle East and now in Greece. We are grateful for that, and we have seen God do amazing things over the years (despite me being a broken clay pot). If it matters, we haven’t taken money given here for personal salary for about ten years. We only use it for things directly related to our 501(c)3 purpose of sharing Jesus. But still, you give out of trust, and I’ve broken that. I’ve learned to manipulate and control my environment in some pretty sad ways over these years, and that breaks my heart as much as anything.
I love and respect and appreciate all of you who read these emails — friends, acquaintances, or just subscribed. I give you my heartfelt apology for not being the person I’ve been created to be. Forgive me when and if you can or want. If you reply to this email, both Chris and I will receive your reply. Hopefully one day I’ll continue writing Jesus-inspired emails here. Until then…
With love and in the spirit of repentance,