Betrayed, abandoned, forsaken, neglected, castigated, lied to, falsely accused, cast away, despised and shunned; these are not only words that describe what happened to our Lord Jesus Christ, they are words that describe (to a lesser degree of course) what happened to not only me but thousands of other men and women in the mid/late 1980's. As our ministry reeled from the death of its founder and ugly facts arose concerning the sordid behavior of many of its top leaders; the ultimatum was made that everyone had to love the ministry or leave it. As a reflection of the collective conscience of its clergy and other leaders, a very large number chose to leave and never look back.
The consequences to those who chose to walk away from the corruption, deception and blatant disregard for the truth were stark and devastating. Our records were purged from the data base of the ministry and our names were erased from ever having been associated with the ministry. Thrust into the world to find employment, none of us could use our ministry experience because according to the ministry - we did not exist. Because the ministry never contributed to Social Security, none of us have any benefits accrued from all our years of working for the ministry.
What is left of that ministry is a shell of what it was in the 1970's. Once God removed His hand of blessing from the ministry, all that remained was the corporation set up to hide its money and defraud its employees of livable wages and benefits. Those of us who left or were dismissed during the various purges of the 1980' received a crash course in living in the real world and for many of us it was not easy. I, like many others, failed badly in making the transition from being a full time ministry employee to a full time employee in the world. It was not something we wanted to do or ever expected to do in our lives.
I was trained to be a minister, leader, teacher, pastor, etc. Instead of getting a secular education I volunteered to be a ministry leader due to the dire need at the time in the early 1970's. Amazingly, one of the reasons I was let go 15 years later was because I did not have a college degree. Situations such as this led to a season of intense bitterness that came precariously close to hardness of heart. Unfortunately, many of my brothers and sisters never have gotten over what took place 30 years ago and live unhappy, bitter lives completely disassociated from anything Godly. How sad is that?
My secular resume is fodder for a standup comic. I am the first to admit that I struggled mightily trying to find fulfillment in working for this world in any capacity. I failed horribly in most of my forays into to the secular workplace due to lack of training and tepid desire to succeed. For a season I was fairly successful selling automobiles but quit because I got tired of lying to people. For a season I was fairly successful managing a pet food store but I left because I was being used by the owner and I was not happy. The unfortunate consequence of my lack of consistent employment was a lack of consistent income. That fact coupled with money spent trying to launch projects etc, led to financial disaster.
The reason I am sharing all these less than edifying details is to paint a picture of how important it is for any group or ministry which claims to represent God and entices people to forsake all and work for them, MUST remain faithful to God and the responsibly to care for its people or hellacious things happen to both the ministry and the people. Anyone or any group which claims to stand for and represent Almighty God better get and keep its act together or it ends up standing for and representing the enemy. There is absolutely no justification or Godly rationalization for throwing the lives of people who only wanted to serve God under the bus strictly to advance its own agenda and/or punish supposed insubordination or dereliction of duty.
I no longer am bitter about what took place in my life 30+ years ago. It took a long time to get over what happened, but with God's help and the help of some truly remarkable people who loved me no matter what, I was able to rise up from the trash heap and resume (although in a very limited way) fulfilling my lifelong passion of living for and serving God with all of my heart and soul. I know that many of you have faced and or are facing situations that are just as horrible, unjust, disrupting and crushing as mine. It is my desire to fully open my heart and allow you to see how I have been able to make a spiritual comeback and beat the impossible odds that I was faced with.
My life is an open book which means there are some beautiful chapters and some very ugly ones. I cannot pull out the bad chapters or what remains is not real. For my whole story to be understood, everything that went into writing that story must we understood. For as long as anyone is interested, I will continue to share my remarkable story; holding nothing back and willingly allowing myself to be transparent and brutally honest. I have nothing to gain in all this so that is not my motivation for writing. Instead, I am willing to share for the benefit of others. Is this a risky move on my part? Of course it is; but it is one I am willing to do if it helps others cope with or rebound from bad things that have happened or are happening to them in their personal lives, family situation, employment or ministry experiences.
"When lives are on the line, those in charge better be right"...
This introductory line trumpets with poignant clarity the profound testament of what a "godly" leader is called to understand; thank God that you are sharing these chapters of your life with us, so that we can see how you have been able, by the grace of God, to overcome these nightmarish experiences and use them to show us how we too can overcome the painful chapters in our own lives, so that the bitterness of wounds like this and others will not rob us of knowing the joy of the Lord.
Thank you, Kirk!
This is great Kirk !
I for one don't mind that you are sharing your heart and your honesty because I agree with you that someone else might be blessed by your life and they might be edified .
You are doing a swell job continue on thanks .
Be always and forevermore blessed
I can feel your bitterness and Disillusionment and frustration towards God and all things christian as I read this blog for bubbling to the surface are memories of mine and this together with your story leaves me with a heavy heart - the enemy certainly had a field day during the mid eighties to many 'full time workers.' But my heaviness of soul is displaced by the goodness of God to read that in the end you and I have become pressed out wine and broken bread for the Lord to use in a way that these events have made possible.
May the Lord continue to bless your ministry with his mercy, grace and love for his shield is continually over you.