Is the light being used against you?

"A Light in the Darkness" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“A Light in the Darkness” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

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A vivid memory arose in my mind while I was drawing this cartoon.

In August of 2002 I hired to work for an international ministry. My job was to plant a church there, which I accomplished, and build up its music business, which I also accomplished.

In December of 2002 I was fired for insubordination. The reason? The ministry’s book sales were down and there was a prophetic revelation that there was “sin in the camp”. We were therefore all ordered to go to everyone else in the ministry offices and repent.

I refused. Because I don’t believe in coerced confessions. Hence insubordination. Hence fired.

I have no regrets about it. I learned a lot.

Have you suffered this same kind of treatment at the hands of ministry or church? Come join others who have also at The Lasting Supper. We’ll warmly welcome you. (No repentance required.)

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14 Responses

  1. Gary says:

    Ironically your refusal was their self fulfilling prophecy so to speak. I imagine they believed your actions represented proof that the “prophetic vision” was true. You provided yourself as a scapegoat and allowed their hysteria to continue…probably even strengthen.

  2. Yes, I’m sure they used this as proof that there was indeed sin in the camp and I was the sinner… and there were others too.

  3. Adam Julians says:

    Awesome,

    This is why I come here – I am not alone in being a trouble making blaspheming sinner.

    Music is great catharsis don’t you find? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4FuqVbwifk

    I hope the experience didn’t put you off exercising your musical gifts and talents?

  4. Caryn LeMur says:

    Sorry you went through that crock of shit, David.

    🙁

    As Gary said, scapegoating is alive and well… it truly helps the living, though the goat is killed.

  5. Adam Julians says:

    Actually biblically the goat is shouted at everyone’s anger is taken out on it and it is set free to live in the desert.

    Nakedpastor hasn’t been killed off yet, thankfully.

  6. Caryn LeMur says:

    Good point, Adam. The first goat is killed, the second set free to live in the wilderness. The second is called the scapegoat.

    I think in modern times, the scapegoat is (figuratively) killed for the sake of the sins of the people, as well as thrown into the ‘wilderness’.

    For a scapegoat to thrive, and imo, they normally learn to have nothing to do with people that hate them. In other words, once a system of people have ‘selected you by lot’ to be the designated scapegoat, there is no fighting the game.

    The group-think of the scapegoat game is too powerful, and the release of responsibility so great, that the scapegoats can become successful surgeons, PhD’s, etc…. but the group (family, church, whatever) will still treat them as the reason for everything gone wrong.

    ‘Have nothing to do with your old group, forever’ has been my most current advice to scapegoats.

  7. Adam Julians says:

    And that is great advice in principle Caryn. For me on receiving the gift of faith over a period of 5 years relationships steadily got worse with the family until there was a conflict between myself and parents in which I said I loved them both but if the way I was being treated continued I would not be spending Christmas with the family. Now my sister is not welcoming to me an her family, I wasn’t invited to her or my brother’s wedding my other brother is not talking with me.

    Since my father died my mother has softened and things are bearable with her, I now get on with one of my brothers but at the recent family gathering spreading dad’s ashes power dynamics came into play again. So for the sake of dad’s memory, I shut down and was passive and quiet rather than speaking up and risking conflict. Not pleasant.

    Church experience has been similar at times. Being told to leave on one occasion. 2 years later the numbers there had dwindled and the church ceased to exist.

    Churches are unpleasant to leave with going through a grieving process, loss of relationships etc. But in my experience the family dynamics have been more severe in how difficult they are to cope with and harder to walk away from.

  8. Adam Julians says:

    Oh by the way a quick thought. The “light ” in the cartoon reminds me of what Jesus said about if the only light in you is darkness, it is very dark indeed.

    Respect to anyone who has known scapegoating, has survived it and are stronger and more thriving as a result having forgiven their former accusers / oppressors. 🙂

  9. Kristin says:

    Adam, I’m so sorry to hear you have been through that. Sometimes families can be very painful places. Holding your peace for the sake of peace to scatter your dad’s ashes was a courageous thing to do – but I’m guessing it hurt like hell. I have been through similar, with both sides of my family.

    I have come to see what Jesus said, about family members turning against one another in following him, is sadly true. You follow Christ and begin to wake up to the realities of abusive behaviour around and towards you. When you start calling it for what it is – however quietly and gently – then you get attacked and shunned. Or you walk away first. This is also true of church “families”; because many of them adhere to the controlling abusive model of family, rather than the fostering growth and celebrating gifts (even uncomfortable ones).

    Finding brothers and sisters in Christ is, I believe, about connecting with others in a genuinely mutually loving & growth-supporting way – whether they’ve ever heard the name of Jesus, are of another faith, or an atheist. For me following Christ is about behaviour, not what people say they do.

    Caryn, as someone who has experienced a great deal of scape-goating over 5 decades – I agree it’s good advice!

    Kind regards, K

  10. Adam Julians says:

    Thanks Kristin yeah, wasn’t easy but there was a beautiful moment where the one only member of my extended family is of faith, my niece said that Grandpa is in heaven, making the sun shine for us”. Everyone there was moved by that and how beautiful that was.

    That is the memory of the day I take with me 🙂

  11. Scott Elliott says:

    So did sales go up after you got the boot? Go down?

  12. Scott Elliott says:

    Well there you go then!

  13. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    “The ministry’s book sales were down and there was a prophetic revelation that there was “sin in the camp”. We were therefore all ordered to go to everyone else in the ministry offices and repent.”

    And so the Isangoma walk through with their fly-whisks, smelling out the Witches among the people.