Featured Post

Where Does My Tithe Money Go? (Kelly takes a vacation)

When you give to a church it's usually understood that the money goes to support the church's finances and keep it running.  Being a...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Is there grace for everyone?

An interesting turn of events.  Eric Dykstra posts a new blog post entitled "Losing the Legalism".  The abusive legalistic ways of the Crossing Church are what many people have been talking about for over a year.  So they are no longer into missional legalism?  They are filled with grace.  Wonderful!

As of 8:00am today, Thursday, September 27, 2012, comments were open on this particular blog post.  Multiple people spoke out saying they were happy for the change and expressed that this was already an issue for them within the Crossing Church.  One poster wrote:

"There was a period of time where my frustrations just grew at church (The Crossing) and I wanted so bad to express them to someone but I could not put my finger on what I was experiencing to even open my mouth open my mouth about it. It was some strange an indirect discouragement... which in turn made me feel guilty, it was just so screwed up.(that nasty legalism thing) I was seeing why people boycotted church, not the relationship with Jesus but definitely church. It seemed I was kind of stuck in stupid, so I stepped back from the church for awhile and prayed. I never lost my faith and prayed and things got better, so better in so many ways. Thank you JESUS for The Crossing where I met you and Thank you for the Dykstras for being who they are & doing what they do!"

By 12:00pm the comments were closed and you could no longer read this post.
The comments were abruptly taken away after the mother, of One Mother's Journey, wrote this comment:

"I am so thankful for the changes that I have been hearing about, I really am. Please know, the hurt of what you were and through that legalistic pastoring that continues. I don't think you can fix what has happened, I am moving on, I do hope you can see the deep wounds that your missional legalism caused and make amends....I really hope you can get a hold of my son and apologize- My son left his family and married under your legalism, an 18 year old kid trying to please God and buying into what you then sold."

Coincidence?  Were they already planning on closing the comments?  Does it matter why?  The real question is why can't the comments always stay open?  So someone says something you don't like; does that mean you have to block them off?  If you are no longer under legalism and filled with grace then why isn't that grace shown to everyone else?

Grace, favor, God's favorite, blessed, lucky - does that absolve you of all accountability for your past actions?  Take a hard look at how the Crossing was being run; the submission, the work ethic, the burden.  Now look at each situation of each person you kicked out and those whose lives were forever changed from the way leadership was being run.  Take each situation to it's logical conclusion if you hadn't been legalistic. You'll see the outcomes are very different.

I've wracked my brain as to how you would be able to rationalize that you now admit you were wrong but not apologize.  Are you worried about how it would look?  Because it would be very good for your tarnished reputation.  Because these people spoke out against you and your church's actions are they "disloyal church people"?  If it's "always only about Jesus" then where is the relation to others?  Why can't there be open conversation?

My comments are open.  Lets talk.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My hopes for The Crossing Church

The Crossing Church is now preaching about grace.  The pastor, Eric Dykstra, claims he has changed.  They are breaking ground for their new multi-million dollar building.  It's been awhile since we've heard of anyone being kicked out and all seems peaceful.  This is all good.

I have some hopes for The Crossing Church, and though I doubt they'll even see this, I hope at least the general idea of what I'm saying gets to them and they listen.

I hope they understand that the trouble they went through in the past year was not persecution for the sake of Jesus.  The news reports, blogs, and outspoken views were due to the way they spiritually abused people.  People were not speaking out because you are "different" as you can find similar churches in nearly every Twin Cities suburb as well as around the country.

I see many changes in their "Code" and these changes were the exact issues others have spoken about.
Key changes:
"We want to orbit our personal finances, schedules and talents around the mission of His church."
"We value both men and women in leadership. We believe both men and women have the hand of God on their lives and are capable and called to lead others toward their God-given destiny."
 No more catering to men?  Women are now equal?  Nice.  Very nice.
Taken out: "We want our back door working properly."  Point Crossing!  Good one!
There were a few more minor changes but these were my favorites.

I hope this new found grace isn't used for manipulation.  I hope people aren't shamed if they don't "want" to give, serve, invite people and orbit their lives around the Crossing.

I hope they understand what they did wrong in the situation with One Mother's Journey.  I hope they see how far reaching the damage is to everyone involved.  I hope they can take accountability for how they treated all people involved.

I hope they go back to being that church I found in a movie theater; a church that cared about serving those who needed help and not just filling seats to grow their audience, a church where you could shake the pastor's hand after a service and talk, a church where you could sit wherever you were comfortable, a church where you could relax and process God, a church where people cared about you as a person and not just what you could give or do.

I hope the forced submission has ended.  I hope the worship of leadership goes away and all people go back to being equal.

I hope they apologize.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dear Eric

Dear Eric,

There is so much to post about I didn't know where to begin.  Your repentance, your change in how you are preaching to people, the new direction of the Crossing and even Chris Rosebrough acknowledging the difference in you.  Admitting that what you were previously preaching was wrong had to have been a humbling experience for you and I applaud you owning your part and coming clean.

You've been asked to apologize to those you have hurt so I won't belabor that request.  If you are truly repentant I trust you will do what is right for those that were wounded by you.

Now though I keep this blog anonymous you know who I am.  I'm sure there is a picture of me being used as a dart board in your staff lounge.  I'm the enemy; right?  You've seen my anger but what I don't think you fully understand is what is underneath those feelings.  I hope to give you a better understanding, or at least a glimpse, of what I have been feeling and where I am at today.

I felt like I'd been struck by a truck when I left the Crossing.  I didn't really want to leave but I felt I had no choice.  I saw people being kicked out, my story validated by one of those people and a mother losing her son.  Every sign was saying to get out and get out fast!  When I wrote you a letter saying why I was leaving I was heartbroken.  Even when I went on the news saying why I'd left it wouldn't have taken much to get me back.  An apology, a change and I would have happily been back there.  Kelly even called me saying I should expect an amends and it never came.

This year has been a roller coaster of emotions.  I've seen people in despair, sobbing and suicidal from their Crossing experience.  I've listened and hurt with those that were used and spit out.  My life has been turned upside down and my faith is gone.  I'll admit all my anger isn't at you Eric; it's at myself.  I'm livid that I was so gullible and trusting.  I could kick myself for the times I "submitted" when I should have stood up for myself.  I'm horribly bitter at all the money I gave.

The Crossing felt like a last chance for me.  If I couldn't get this God-thing down there then I just wasn't going to get it.  So I gave it everything I had.  I suppressed the doubts. I ignored the cognitive dissonance.  I did as I was told.  This resulted in my marriage going down as my husband wasn't measuring up to what the Crossing expected in attendance, service and attitude.  I found my fears escalating as I continued to fail at what was expected while I watched others thrive.  "If only my husband would get on board...If only I had the time to serve more...Maybe I should give more...I'm not fasting the way they want...I'm never going to be good enough."  I look at the bible now and think 'Why on earth did I ever believe this?!'

It's not all bad though. I've met amazing friends who don't judge me and let me be where I'm at through Back Door Ministries.  I'm free of the dogma of the church and that feels wonderful.  We're a much happier family not having to go through the Sunday morning (or rather Saturday night) drama of dealing with the parking police and seating Nazis.  My money now goes to people who truly need it such as the poor, homeless and orphans; actually the people Jesus said to help.

I'm trying to find a way to forgive you Eric but not in the Christian sense.  Not throwing Matthew 6:14 on you, though I may have in a previous post, because I no longer follow that.  Just trying to put you behind me.  Trying to find closure on this mess.  Looking for the lessons I can learn. I need to shut the door once and for all.