We visited a family for a New Year’s party, and saw many people from our former church. The friends still attend, and know our stance, and don’t agree with us but want to remain friends. They have chosen NOT to cut us out and in fact have gone a long way to keep us in their lives. They run a float trip/camp in the summer and we have helped with this camp. Our kids are friends also. Of course, because they attend our former chruch the house was full of people from our former church. When the door was opened, the first people we saw were our former pastor and wife. It wasn’t the lead pastor, but it was the one who had been frequently quoting emergent and contemplatives in his sermons. They were actually on their way out as we were coming in, but I had intended to speak with them in a kind way. I am sure they would have been kind to us if given the time to do so. We also found out another couple left, we don’t know for sure why. It was awkward when I was speaking to three women, and one asked if we would come back ever. I said, “no.” I waited, and she said, “I am not going to ask why…don’t you hate it when people are always asking why you left?” I didn’t say anything as the woman beside her had left, and she was open as to why. I didn’t really pick at it at all. A the third woman said, “some people break ties with all friends from the former church and I think that is very immature, very!” I wish I could have said something, but was trying to be discreet for the moment knowing I could easily get worked into a very frustrating moment. I wanted to say, “it’s immature to break ties if it’s for spite, but sometimes the ties are broken for you.” I know that the lead pastor is not a man I would engage in conversation with more than a polite hello. He basically called us evil, and probably sees us as liars. The tie is cut because we stood up.
What would I have said to the pastor and his wife who we ran into at the party? I would have said, “we really love you and we miss you.” That’s really it.
We did enjoy seeing the music pastor and wife who just had their baby. I felt the privilage to see their newborn was a treat we may not deserve. That pastor was the one who encouraged us to tell the staff why we left, and read our letter before we submitted it. He wanted us to make sure our letter was strong on what we saw. He still remains in the church holding out hope for God to be glorified there. He has been working so hard. He made it clear he’s not seeing himself as some warrior there, so I think he goes as far as we did in terms of seeing the danger of spiritual formation. He may not yet be completely aware of the danger there. He clearly was aware though of the problem with emergent theology seeping in, and also seemed to understand the concept of man centered vs. Christ centered church. We pray for him and his family often. Hopefully, he will be able to do what is right in this situation. He sure has kept a cool head about him.