Sorry E.Ray, I meant to say, don't remember grace really, but, truthfully I do recall Jennifer as approachable and patient. I actually don't remember being on the receiving end of her discernment.
Which actually makes it harder to hear how some have been ignored by her. I originally came here to defend the outrageous claims against my childhood curch leaders. Then I began to look at the bigger picture and realise some horrible truths. I'm still struggling to reconcile fond memories that hid harsh practices.
In spite of all the criticism here (including much from me) I wouldn’t disagree with this. I think Jennifer and Grace were actually both quite kind and sincere people. The problem is, as Mr Black used to say, you can be sincerely wrong.
There is now considerable evidence that people have been hurt and damaged by the organisation and, assuming the leaders do still have a conscience, this now puts them in a difficult position. Until this forum and latigo came online, they could to some extent reconcile any natural kindness with the overall impact the organisation was having by simply pretending it wasn’t happening. That is no longer a credible position however, and I have high hopes that OSCR will even now be holding them to account for their lack of any kind of support for those in their care.
Running away from problems because the issues are too difficult or because the leaders have a calling to look after the 99 that remain rather than the one that has wandered off is of course totally unscriptural. On a practical level it is now also clear that it doesn’t work, and the 99 rapidly become 98, them 97…
So, just like the rest of us, the leaders have a choice to make. Are the people on this forum some lower form of life that can be pushed aside and trampled over, or are they people who deserve care and compassion? And what about those still in the congregations? Do you (the leaders) know how many of the congregation are actually on anti-depressants at the moment? Might that just be quite important, especially if it is twice the national percentage, as I suspect it is in at least one congregation? Is that a public benefit that deserves charitable status? Should you not care about these people?
Grace, Jennifer and others - you know the answer to these questions. You do have a conscience that, underneath it all, knows that you cannot walk away from that responsibility. The message you preach is not just that we will all see God one day and be caught up in wonder, it is also that we will one day have to stand before God and account for our actions.
It seems to me that, if you leaders really believe that, you will turn to God now, not so that you can be ‘caught up in wonder’ and forget about all the problems that have been caused, but to ask to see your own actions through His eyes. According to your own doctrine, you will all do this one day – I would have thought you would be better to do so in this life!
As things stand, I know that there are things that will be a blot on leader’s consciences on that day. Mr Black also knew that and admitted it in private. His argument was that the good outweighed the bad (quoting some verse about much being forgiven if you lead a soul to repentance of something like that) but even he admitted there were things that would be in the conscience of leaders on that day. If many lives were being transformed in a positive way, perhaps being healed of depression rather than being driven to it, the argument about sins being covered up by bringing others to repentance might work, but that does not seem to be what is happening here.
To me, the bottom line has always been the same. To know there are things that are wrong and do nothing about them is (as Archbishop Laud said some time ago) unconscionable.