Archive for December, 2013
Posted by LT in on December 7, 2013
It has been a long time since I posted anything of significance here. The last year has been difficult for a number of reasons. It is only now that I’m starting to get my energy back. I’ve been intentionally resting since August and it has been very good. We took a break from hosting church gatherings in our home. Carol and I have stayed connected with the people we use to gather with regularly. Some of these friends have found great faith communities to be a part of. It looks like the timing was good.
I’ve been writing and hopefully around the new year I’ll launch a new website dedicated to organic church life and ministry. I’ve been part of simple churches for 10 years now and I finally think I have some really good things to say about it. I keep revising and revising. I hope it has helpful as CoveringAndAuthority.com has been.
I think one of the reasons why I haven’t written much is because I’m engaged by debate. I like to respond. When I have written something, it is usually because I encountered something that didn’t sit right with me. So much of what I’ve responded to in the last few years isn’t my former blogging fare. I’ve been neck deep the brokenness of people. In respect for the privacy of all involved I’ve kept quiet.
One thing I have been thinking about is integrity and trust. I’ve learned that character and integrity is so much more important than giftedness, talent or intelligence. Sometimes the loyalty we have to certain friends or celebrities is misguided. There are a few people in my life I’ve avoided and I’m glad I did. There are others I wished had avoided more. Not so long ago I read the biography of a man I worked with and was stunned at how sanitized the story was. There was another person I was pretty close with that was incredibly intelligent and well connected but he was constantly doing and saying dramatic things in order to gain sympathy and attention. Over time I noticed how the facts in his stories changed. It took years but it slowly dawned on me that I was being used and manipulated. My friend wasn’t intentionally malicious, just self-absorbed and he had issues with self-esteem.
Human beings seem to have a natural inclination to want to believe our friends and associates. It is fitting that we give people the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes there is some aspect of the relationship that brings a benefit. To address falsehood in the relationship would mean the benefit goes away. It is only when they flagrantly take advantage of us or do something that starkly contrasts their stated values that we start to consider that all is not what appears to be. Even then many willingly bury any critical thoughts and allow themselves to be exploited, cheated or lied too.
What can we do? Even if we are taken advantage of isn’t it better, on balance, to have an open heart? How much caution and suspicion can one person hold before it starts impair the natural growth of healthy relationships? No one is perfect and I doubt there is a person alive that doesn’t compromise their values at one point or another, especially when the pressure is on in the moment. When does someone pull away or confront? When do you appeal to an authority or an agency to hold the person accountable?
These have been some of the hard questions I’ve wrestled with over the last year.