Saturday, July 14, 2007


Many people have recently left our CLB.

It is too bad, but it is what it is.

Most of the people who left wish they could go back to the way things used to be. Many have come to accept that, stay or leave, things will never be the way they used to be.

Like us, the majority of the people who left attend a local community church. It is nice, and you get to see the people you know. After the service you will find most of the ex-church members visiting together.

Once people left, we were free to re-establish relationship with them. After the shunning and isolation, the fellowship has been wonderful.

While there is a strong bond and desire to connect, there seems to be a restraint from attempting to recreate a gathering specifically for this group. It seems that perhaps we are supposed to be experiencing the discomfort and unease of this transition.

I wonder why God would take a tight-knit group of mature believers and scatter them.

Perhaps we have to detach from our former idea of church in order to embrace new understanding of being the church.

Maybe this explains it...

Manure in a pile is called “manure” but manure that’s been spread out is called something else: “fertilizer”.

(HT to Shaun)


Robbymac said...

And one of the most difficult transitions among people who have walked a similar path -- especially if they're from the same CLB -- is breaking the cycle of always ending at the same conversational point: the CLB, how toxic it was/is, latest theories of what went wrong and when, wondering why so-and-so still attends, etc.

It's almost a re-learning about how to have community with people, who already have a shared history, but now need to create new memories and new history together.

grace said...

That is a very valuable caution. I especially resonate with the need to create new memories and new history together.

While my husband and I traversed the process of detox alone, we suddenly find ourselves thrust into the corporate aspect of detox. It is new territory for us.

We want to be sensitive to the fact that this is still very fresh and confusing for many who have just left.

There seems to be a fine line between giving others the time they need to process and not allowing relationships to become entrenched in that cycle.

If we keep in mind that the process of detox is for the purpose of moving forward, perhaps we can keep the focus on what healthy community can and should be.

Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

Cindy said...

i would add that the manure generally needs to age and cure a while before it makes good fertilizer. seems applicable

Jeff Greathouse said...


You ask a very good question in my opinion and the answer that you give is intriguing but in my opinion it is the answer to the wrong question:

Here is the Q & A from you:

Q: I wonder why God would take a tight-knit group of mature believers and scatter them.

A: Perhaps we have to detach from our former idea of church in order to embrace new understanding of being the church.

My theological stance would say, " this was not in God's design and God did not want to scatter these individuals " God ( IMO ) values relationships too much for this to occur. The situation occurred because individuals did not follow Gods plan for handling relationships.

Your answer (a great answer) would match the following question:

Q: God what can we learn and gather from this situations that we (your sons and daughters) screwed up ?

Just my thoughts.

Maybe I am off my rocker.

grace said...

That is a very good point and applicable. In our situation, most of us were "old" manure. ;)

I hope your migraine leaves quickly this time.

No you are not off your rocker. :) You did a good job of reading between the lines. My thinking is not always linear.

Statement A is not a direct answer to the question before it. It just happened to be the next somewhat-related thought passing by while I was writing.

You are right that it answers more specifically the unwritten question you supplied, which is a good topic also - what will we learn from this?

Theologically I have struggled with the question of God's purpose in this situation. I agree that it occurred because relationships were mishandled.

The positions I tend to assume:
1. What others meant for evil, God has used for good.
2. He will work all things to our good, our growth, and His purposes.

Aside from the false teaching and spiritual abuse, there were elements of elitism and pride (dare I say idolatry) in our corporate identity. For many of us, it has been good to have the opportunity to see this and to repent for it.

I think God's plans for our growth and maturity sometimes move us away from places of comfort and security. I cannot say either with 100% conviction - that God did or did not want to scatter these individuals.

The end result is that there are a lot of people wondering, what's next?