Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Jeremiah Burden, Part Ten

"So...what is the word God gave you for the elders?"  I asked, staring at Daniel in (I admit) shock.

"It's straight from the book of Jeremiah," he said, looking down at his open Bible.  "It's funny, I came up here and just opened right up to this.  Jeremiah the prophet is actually talking to the elders of Israel.  Pretty wild, huh?"

"Yeah," I agreed, "So, what's he say?" 

The Lone Prophet:
  The sections Daniel read to me were from Jeremiah 18-22.  The gist of it was Jeremiah 18:7-11,

"'The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.  And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight... then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it...‘Thus says the Lord: 'Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.'”

and Jeremiah 22:3 and 5. 

  "Thus says the Lord: 'Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong and do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place...But if you will not hear these words, I swear by Myself,' says the Lord, 'that this house shall become a desolation.'"

  "You're going to read all that to the elders?" I asked.

  "Yeah, I am.  I think this is why God brought us out here.  We know now that this church has been operating in this kind of corruption for years now.  God has a word to give them.  If they repent, like the verses say, than He will relent against judgment.  Otherwise...He's tearing down their house.  It's pretty basic."

  "I just...wonder how they'll take it.  I mean, they might feel it's kinda brazen for you to tell them all that."

  "Don't forget, Babe, that word we were given at church about speaking to a stiff-necked and rebellious people.  That verse said all we have to do is be obedient and bring the word.  Whether they listen or not is not our problem."

Meeting by
  The meeting took place at Tim Shoeman's house.  Three elders and Daniel.  In length, it went about two hours long.  My husband sat down with them and told them he was there because God had given him a word for them.  

  Daniel said, "If He hadn't given me a word, I wouldn't be here.  I have nothing left unsaid to tell you."

  "First," Tim said.  "We'd like to hear your story."

  "From what point?" Daniel asked.

 "Let's start with your authority issues back in Colorado," said Tim.

Authority issues, huh?  This was a big thank you to Pastor Marv.

  "Authority issues?"  said Daniel.  "I hadn't heard of any authority issues that I had there.  Unless you mean the fact that I discovered Pastor Marv was counseling women one on one after hours and informed Pastor Dean about it.  I figured that was pretty obviously a problem.  When my wife and I were Youth Pastors back in California, we used to teach Junior Highers to walk more circumspectly than that."

  The elders' faces were like stone.  But they did sit and listen as Daniel relayed the events of the past five months since we had moved to Freeport.  When he was done telling them the story they had asked to hear, they said:

  "We'd like an opportunity to respond if you are open to hearing from us."

  Daniel said, "No.  I'm not interested."

The elders weren't pleased with this answer.  All we had ever gotten out of Crossway was talk, talk, more talk.  Apparently, they found it hard to understand that talk and no action only meant more for us to forgive later.   But they insisted on responding, so apparently asking had just been a formality.

Tim said, "I'm just so overcome with emotion.  I have a hard time processing what you have told us.  We really didn't know what was going on--we don't keep up on a daily basis with what is going on.  Pastor Gavin forgot to let us know about your firing when it happened.  We didn't get included in the email that went out, so we didn't even know until very recently that you had been fired."

This coming from the man who had been informed as we went of a great deal of the injustices we had gone through.  The man who had counseled us "to wait patiently".
Ship Steering Wheel:

Daniel said, "You guys are the elders.  You make the calls that shape this organization.  If you don't stay informed with what the men and women whom you put in place are doing, then the importance of the character of who you put in power is all that more crucial."

The three men proceeded to cross-examine Daniel on how he could have done a "better job".  And they brought up the receipts.

One of the men asked, "Why don't you go in and work with Pastor Chase on this?"

Daniel responded:  "I was fired on the spot.  That was their decision.  Normally, these kinds of things are taken care of during the two weeks where you are given a two week notice.  There is no reason why I should spend my unpaid time working further with them on receipts.  And, I do not trust Pastor Chase."

Tim asked, "Would it work to have you interact with someone like the Crossway Accountant or someone you do trust?"

Daniel said, "What is the point?  It all goes back to Chase.  He has used the receipts I have turned in as an opportunity to say he doesn't approve of the charges and has promised that it will be considered my income at the end of the year.  He will disapprove of the receipts as I turn them in.  And most of these receipts pertain to the time period when Chase wasn't even my supervisor so his post disapproval is irrelevant.  What is the point of me trying to work further with him?  Chase has proven that he will use any information he has to hurt me and my family."

At this point, the elders acquiesced and stopped hammering the receipt need altogether.

"Is there anything we can do for you?" Tim asked.

Sure, step in anywhere.  Now you know the full story so you already know our needs, our frustrations, all the really don't need to ask this question, do you?  Feel free to make a move wherever you'd like...

Daniel said, "My vacation pay is illegally being withheld and I will have to report Crossway to the Labor Board.  That's not fun for anybody and I'd rather not have to do that, so if you guys can get me my vacation pay, that would be helpful."

One of the elders said, "The email you sent us sounded very self-righteous and I don't think it helped your cause.

"I didn't write that email to help my cause," Daniel answered.  "I wrote that email to communicate truth.  I'm not here to plead my cause.  I'm here because God gave me a word for you."

Isaiah 53:
  He pulled out his Bible and shared the sections from Jeremiah which are written out above. Then,  Daniel closed the Book and looked at the three men.

  "I believe that God is in the process of tearing down your house, " he said, "and it didn't start with Pastor Ken.  It started before Ken."


 They wanted to pray for Daniel.  Daniel explained he really would prefer not to be prayed for by them.

Prayer involves impartation.  Why would we want to receive anything you have?  We don't want to become anything like you men.  Dear God, I hope we never do any of the things you people are doing!

Tim was understanding about this but one of the other elders seemed to be rather offended. 

  "What?" the man said.

  "I can respect that," interrupted Tim.

Then to Daniel he said,  "I know this may sound crazy but the Network is so much better today than how it used to be.

And does that somehow justify today's situation, Tim?  How bad does it have to be before the problems are addressed as problems?

And the meeting was over.

Link to The Jeremiah Burden,  Part Eleven:

   To be continued...unless mentioned, all names have been changed except my husband's and my own.  I write for healing and for others wounded on similar journeys.

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