If you're not up to speed on anything concerning SGM or you don't know what SGM stands for, this is a great time to stop reading, head over to Facebook or CNN or Google and find something useful to do with your time. No seriously. Leave. Right now. And just don't worry about today's entry. These are not the droids you're looking for. You are free to go. Move along. Move along.
Okay, for the three of you who stayed, I want to recant something that I said in an earlier blog entry. In it, I mentioned someone who stepped aside from ministry leadership because of stuff he needed to get done in his own soul. I applauded then. I don't do so now.
An SGM insider challenged me, when I mentioned that I was going to post something about this, about the Kingdom value of such a post. Point taken. Here, as in most ugly ministry situations, are three observations.
First, everyone's guilty in this situation. Brent. C.J. Dave. Bob. Josh. The bloggers. Challies. Mohler. Duncan. I don't even know what to say about the Panel of Three. The only goodwill I can offer them is that they had such a narrow charge that they answered the most legal definitions of their investigation, like a jury is restricted to answer a specific question. So much for getting my book published at Crossway (just kidding, I don't have a book).
True, not everyone is guilty of the same sin. Also true, what they are guilty of as individuals has different effects and consequences. Blackmail is different than gossip in its effect and consequence. Covering up sexual abuse of a child is different than slander in its effect and consequence. All sin is sin in the eyes of God and its ability to separate us all from God is devastating. But not all sin has the same effect or consequence. So, I reiterate: everyone's guilty. Good to remind ourselves in the midst of ministry junk. It's not an Apostle vs. a new believer. It's one sinner dealing with another.
Second, everyone's been negatively affected. See the same list above. I don't hear anyone engaged in the situation who thinks this has positively impacted them. I suppose Dave, who got a quasi-promotion in the ugliness, could see it that way depending on if he has ambition. But no one is celebrating. Again, good to remember in the midst of the ministry mess. Paul with Philemon. Philemon with Onesimus. Paul and Peter in Galatia. Acts 15. No one is celebrating.
Lastly, no one on the internet that I have seen who is an outsider to SGM is talking about the real victims of this situation. It's not Brent or CJ or Josh or anyone else. The children and the families impacted by the tales of abuse at the hands of the church are the victims. Anyone want justice for CJ or Brent or Josh? Fine. But let's get justice for the most victimized first. I know CLC in particular is trying to reach out to some families and the effort's getting brutalized on the blogs. I for one think it was a good gesture and effort. And I know that there are unpublicized efforts to make things right. But consider this a prophetic call from the outside by someone who cares about and shares some affinity with SGM. Take care of the real victims first. And here's a hint: we don't know their names.
That also is important to remember when it comes to ministry messes. Sometimes selfish neanderthals like me can make it all about themselves. It's a good reminder that we're often not the only people offended nor are we the most victimized. Eyes off of self. Eyes on Jesus, who helps us see those who need to be seen.
But that's just me thinking thoughts...