Discussion on the closing of PP hosted at Lugum
Being that the closing of the Phoenix Preacher blog took many by surprise, and that it came on the heels of one of the most contentious discussions in that blog’s history has perhaps lent a greater urgency for its regular posters and lurkers to discuss their thoughts and feelings regarding the shutdown, and probably to finish discussions from that particular thread.
Eric at his Lugum blog has graciously offered to host such a discussion. Clicking on that link will take you directly to the discussion thread.
So why am I not hosting the discussion?
The end of PP came rather abruptly, so that thread was far from my mind as I scrambled to restart this blog. What was on my mind was making sure the people in this virtual community were not scattered to the wind, and then what happens going forward for this community, and for myself.
I realize I have not yet posted a thread detailing what this blog is and is not…so look for it on Monday. What follows, here, are summaries of, and expansions on, points I made on the Beyond the Phoenix Preacher thread overnight. So here goes.
I’m not prepared to continue the conversations on the end of PP, nor the conversation regarding Matt and Esther DeWitt’s book, as now they are so closely tied together you can’t discuss one without the other.
It’s not that I want that conversation D.O.A. or censored. I believe it should take place. I don’t think this forum is the best place for it.
I stayed out of that conversation, but what I did see resulted in division and contention over some very deep and important issues. You need someone who is willing to take the time to work through all of the threads and personalities and viewpoints involved. I’m not that person, and simply out of respect for you and your wounds, I’d rather admit that up front and refer you to Eric’s blog, rather than start it up and screw it all up because I couldn’t handle it.
I do want to say that I’m not looking to stand behind two of the Calvary Chapel-affiliated pastors who were discussed; if anything, I empathize with Believe and Matt and Esther and the stories they told.
I would not appreciate it if I was asked to throw them – and Michael – under the bus to appease anybody. I’d rather journey with those ragamuffins anyway.
However, I don’t even have 1/millionth of the knowledge Michael had of those situations from what I assume were numerous conversations and emails. This is complicated beyond belief and needs to be moderated by someone who has the skill set to weave through all of the different factors at play. Sadly, I’m not that person.
One thing this blog is not – as much as I respected what the Phoenix Preacher was – is the Phoenix Preacher II.
I’ve already explained what led me to and kept me at Phoenix Preacher on another thread…but being a moderator does not mean my calling is Michael’s calling.
I have and still do sympathize with hurting people and people who were abused by the church.
What Michael did is not something one jumps into lightly. It takes a huge toll on you physically, mentally and spiritually. There are undoubtedly legal implications and ramifications. You risk the unending misunderstanding, if not scorn, of other Christians. His enemies potentially become your enemies.
There are also legal risks that anyone who runs a Phoenix Preacher-type ministry – or hosts a thread like I was being asked to host – has to assume.
I believe if you are called to that ministry, God will equip you to carry out that call.
If you are not called…and I am not called…you could be destroyed.
Jesus said in Luke 14:28 (New King James Version),
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost…
I’ve already sit down and counted the cost, and I know this isn’t my call.
That said, if Eric is willing to host the discussion, I’m supportive of it and will point you there.
I support the right of anyone who wants to continue the conversation of the PP thread Bob referred to in another forum.
I also hope that the hurts, and misunderstandings, among the people involved can one day soon be worked out.
It hurts me that good people are at odds over something that went toxic, and I would encourage you, please, work through your differences.
Since, as was mentioned on the other thread, this is a hub where people are coming to for information on PP, I will gladly point them to Eric’s blog to continue that discussion.
Meanwhile, I will go forward here, operating with the gift of encouragement and hopefully following in the footsteps of guys like Dan Edelen, Bill Kinnon, Michael Spencer and…Michael Newnham when he was writing about theology and ministering to the hurting and broken.
You are all welcome to join me.