He was a personal friend and mentor. He encouraged me to pursue God. For years I used him as an example of what a sold-out shepherd did.
A shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. A shepherd puts God first.
In my wilderness faith I have listened to Internet sermons. Recently I found my former pastor’s sermon archive. Good stuff. He is a smart guy–soaring passages of scripture combined with warm and honest anecdotes. Good stuff.
I probably should have left it there–my memories of him 20 years ago were foundational.
But I didn’t.
I emailed and told him I was encouraged by his sermons. Eventually I told him why I was in the wilderness.
Have not heard from him since. As soon as I said “sexual abuse” he was dead quiet. Not the first foundational Christian leader to quietly retreat as soon as I tell my story.
There is no room for sexual abuse survivors in the church. There is plenty of room for pedophiles.
Jesus is unequivocal about these things. Our “churches” should mirror heaven–the kingdom of children, entirely free of evil.
Instead we whitewash the citizens of hell, make them deacons, and banish the broken children they have left behind.
Now, I just stick to the gospels. Jesus never leaves me or my brokenhearted children.