Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hidden Treasures

"So, God...why Illinois?  Why are you sending us to Freeport, Illinois?"  

 I remember asking this as Daniel and I drove our big moving van and cars across the Nebraska and Iowa borders, entering the Midwest for what we believed was a calling to serve the church we had been happily serving for over a year and a half. 

I felt that God's answer was:  "I have hidden treasures there."
"Hidden Treasure" by Mint Lights:

A mere six months later, after being fired unjustly, and selling most of our furniture and leaving the home we bought empty in the hopes that it will sell before we lose it, I admit, I've been asking the question again. 

"Um, what was all that about, Lord?  That was one rough journey you just took us through."

I feel that it is time to write about it.  It is partly for myself, in order to process the pain of what has happened.  And partly for others.  There are others, I know, who have gone through pain caused directly by the church.  By those very people who are generally set up as the ones we are to emulate.   But mostly, it is to search and expose those hidden treasures that He gave us while we were there. 

Because there were some hidden gems.  Even in the midst of the crap-hole that we found ourselves in.  I haven't quite decided how detailed I am going to get.  I am not writing with a desire for revenge.  So, likely I will change the names of the actual pastors and people involved with some of the more horrifying events.  Not because I am trying to cover them in any way, though. 

Unlike the leaders who booted us out, my husband and I believe strongly that truth is never something to shy away from.  We are not afraid of appearances.  The truth will set you free.  That's what Jesus said.  And it is always true.  I think He knew when He said it that truth isn't always pretty or nice or even something that people want to look at.  There's been a lot of attempts throughout history to hide truth, to cover it up.  God's the One, who at the end of the day, brings truth to light.  Not always on earth, I imagine, but that's okay.  These men and women who damaged me and mine are not my responsibility. 
Roots by Heather Offord:
For my own sake, I've forgiven consistently throughout this experience.  And sometimes, had to forgive the same ones over and over.  This is, in all honesty, for my sake.  I know that if I don't forgive, a root of bitterness will grow and that is something I seriously do NOT want. 

But I'm not trying to say I'm a saint.  I'm doing my best but in matters like this, I may accidentally bleed over on things.  I'm not trying to.  It's what happens, when your heart has been ripped out of your chest.  Yeah, yeah, I'm being dramatic.  Well, welcome to the drama that has been my life for 6 months. 

No, really.  I'm going to lay it out chronologically.  If you're following along, this is the first post of many as I process what's been happening.  Welcome aboard.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

When Bad Men Triumph

Because they seem to, sometimes.

By hakubaikou:
It's frustrating and disillusioning.  All of our world's best fairy tales and myths revolve around the triumph of good over evil.  And yet sometimes, as we live out our own stories, it seems as though the exact opposite happens.  And once we face that, I think there are some of us who just give up on rooting for "good".  Or give up trying to figure out exactly what "good" is.  Or give up trying to be "good", whatever that means to each one of us.

I think I've mentioned a little about how my husband and I recently picked up our family and moved several states away from Colorado to the Midwest.  Northern Illinois, to be specific.  It has been a very disillusioning kind of experience.  Now, I'm not hating on the Midwest, okay?  I know that in every place, there are those who keep on trying to fight for right, and those who have given up or flat out fight for the other side.  I'm just sharing my own experience.

The company who hired my husband almost two years ago and who had a site in Colorado (which we loved), brought us out here to Illinois.  The Illinois site (which is the power hub) didn't welcome us.  They didn't even like us.   It took us a little while to figure out what exactly was going on.   See, the folks who run the structure here in the Midwest have stopped fighting for good.  Did I mention that our "company" was a church?  That always makes it messier. 

We began to discover that there was yucky stuff behind the curtain.  Some things were illegal.  Some
By eikonik:
were borderline employee abuse.  And unfortunately, the people who were enacting these things or allowing them were pastors.  Ugh.

We don't go along with such things.  My husband isn't a "pastor", per say.  We are media people.  Daniel was the Creative Director, handling all aspects of the media and handled it well.  But we know enough Bible to know when people aren't following it.  And we let those pastors know that they were not in the right.  So they fired us.  With no unemployment, no severance, and no vacation pay. 


Did I mention we have two small children, under the age of three?  Did I mention that we bought a home when we moved out here and have to make monthly payments? So, what do you do when bad men triumph?

Martin Luther King Jr once said "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
By David Lee Soderlind:
When we are in the midst of our own personal trial in life, we can lose sight of the fact that ours is a small battle in the larger picture.  But here's a key:  Our battle is no less important, even if it is one of many.  What we do in moments such as these DOES matter.  We are called to fight injustice: through our words (both spoken and written), through legal ways or through prayer.  The way we fight hinges on what God has called us to do. 

Some might say, "Didn't Jesus say "turn the other cheek".  Yes, He did say that.  But He also did not go along with hypocrisy.  In word and deed, He fought it every step of the way.  Heck, all you have to do is read any of the first 4 books of the New Testament to find out how mouthy Jesus was with the religious leaders of His day.  Which, of course, is why they killed him.

So, how did we fight in our particular situation?   After some prayer and receiving some very clear
By Eikoink:
direction,  I shared the truth on Facebook, right out in the open.  You see, evil prefers to do its deeds behind closed doors.   It's terrified of appearances.   Suddenly, we got a call.  Turns out, they decided to release our vacation pay and the other legal requirements.  They have still been nasty, have labeled my husband with names and derisive accusations.

But, remember that arc of justice thing?  The most evil one of the bunch was just arrested a week or so ago.  Shook our little Midwestern community to the core.  Turns out this "missionary turned pastor" has been under a police investigation for the last two years involving child molestation.

Comparatively, our little battle against this evil pastor who hated Daniel so much, was not a big thing.  Not compared to what this child (whoever he or she is) has endured at his hands.  But maybe sharing what we did on Facebook, helped to chip away his perfect reputation just a tad in the eyes of the community so that when this larger crime was presented, it would be more likely to be believed.

We may still lose our house.  Daniel is looking desperately for a job as I sell off or give away our things in order to sell our home and prepare to move somewhere else.  But we will not stop fighting evil, in whatever shape it presents itself.   And our story isn't over.  I'm betting there's a happy ending on the way.