Gordon's Letter To a Boston Disciple
Forwarded to Henry Kriete
In the interest of keeping everything out on the table, I am including a copy of a letter I just sent to a dear brother in Boston who wrote me, informing me that your article was now on the WEB. I still feel what I wrote in my first letter to you, but my further concerns are expressed in my letter below.
As you will see, my concerns are not about content, but process. With these concerns noted, I see all of this as a part of the needed dialogue from all of us. Whatever we feel, we have to express upfront with one another and keep talking until we are unified. Unity must be forged, and the forging process is never accomplished without heat! I love you, appreciate your concerns and alarms, and am more than willing to be involved in the present process of discussion. Stay in touch.
I did receive Henry's letter from him personally and have corresponded with him a bit. I have included my initial reply to him for your consideration. (Please continue reading this part before going to that.) While I am in tune with the huge concerns about the general categories of abuse that he mentioned, and agree that much repentance is needed at all levels, I took his letter to be a strong expression of his pent-up feelings/convictions that he wanted to use to open serious dialogue among the leaders to whom he sent the article. I replied to him with that assumption in mind.
I did not anticipate the article getting out on the WEB for all to see, for several reasons. One, as I mentioned to him in my reply, there are more people in the kingdom who have been relatively unaffected by the abuses than we are inclined to think, and are therefore the "innocent sheep" to which I referred. I think we may end up losing or disillusioning some of them when they read all of the critiques by a movement "hero," the author of a popular book among us. That is my fear.
Two, related to that, not every place is a London, with its years of history and evidently years of abuses. On the other hand, I do agree that the abuses are systemic and present to one degree or another in about every church. (However, they are present to different degrees in various ministries in those churches, depending on the specific leader. That would be true in Boston. I don't think all [or most] of our leaders in Boston are at this point leading in the ways that Henry describes.
I think some have "blind spots" still and are more "old school" than they think, which we are working on, but I think others have learned their lessons and are Golden Rule leaders.) Three, I have never chosen to be the speaker for the movement about my concerns, although I have tried to effect change whenever and wherever and however I could. Even with the Golden Rule Leadership book, which is much more aimed at giving solutions than just pointing out the problems [although the problems are definitely implied], we didn't put that out without buy-in from people like Al Baird and Andy Fleming and a number of others.
I did not agree with our one man leadership of the movement once the movement became larger, and I do not agree that any one man now should lead the movement in whatever direction he feels best, even if I have much the same sentiments about that direction. (I'm not saying that this is Henry's intent, but it can end up looking like that.) All in all,______, I think my letter to Henry voices strong support for laying it out on the table and forcing serious dialogue. My concerns now are who it is laid out to and how.
I wish it had been contained within the original recepients until further discussion was held. I have been careful personally with similar articles I have written, and would have wished for the same here. At this point, it is "out there" for sure, and we will all have to pray that God will work with it and use it. The one thing that we are all going to have to have in the largest measure possible is humility -- in leaders at every level, and in followers at every level. We are far better at pointing the finger at those "above us" or at the "system" than at ourselves.
And therein lies the challenge of humility in this present situation in the kingdom. We need the Spirit of God more now in our hearts, producing His fruit in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23), than ever before. To that end I pray, will discuss and write as needed, and will try diligently to keep Satan from getting a foothold in my life. When the heat of passion is aroused, the line between righteous indignation and self righteousness is a fine one indeed. Let's pray for each other to stay on the right side of that line. Now, with all of this in mind, read my reply below to my dear brother Henry. God bless!