Putting Our Hands to the Good Work: Rebuilding Christ’s Church
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
[November 13, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]
(Nehemiah 2:17-20 ESV) (17) Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” (18) And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. (19) But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” (20) Then I replied to them, “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.”
We speak about a lot of really bad things on this blog. We must. Abuse is evil, and — for far too long has (sounds like The Lord of the Rings talk) — for far too long has the church been blind to these wicked things among us. So we write and talk about things that most Christians would really rather not hear. We are in a bad situation, but it isn’t going to go away by ignoring it.
As we address these evils, and are disheartened by the pathetic condition of Christ’s church, we need to take heart just as Nehemiah did when he first got to Jerusalem. What a mess it was in! Talk about looking at an impossible job. Enemies on every hand and all the defenses down. Demoralized people. But Nehemiah, as a true leader sent by the Lord, called the people from gloom to action. “Come, let us build!” And everyone strengthened themselves and took courage.
Then, you know what was bound to happen. It WILL happen to us. It already has, Enemies speak. We have had some add their opposing comments to this blog. I don’t mean people who have differing insights or opinions, but real enemies. You can always recognize their language. And most of our readers have met these enemies, often in person, as we speak out against the injustices being dealt to the weak and oppressed by their churches. The dragon is going to roar, and we just might get singed a bit. Sure enough, this is how it was for Nehemiah and the people. Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem, the evil stooges of the devil. And what do they do right off, just as evil, abusive people always do when their target is beginning to succeed? They jeer and mock and speak despising words. They accuse us falsely.
What did Nehemiah do? Employ peacemaker techniques? Ha! He shot it right back at them. “The God of heaven will make us prosper….and you have no right to be here at all.” Frankly, that is what we do here in this blog ministry when we hear “abuser-ese.” “We are building. The Lord has called us to this. His people are gathering, not just here but in many other places as well. And we will succeed because He will see to it. Now go! You have no place here!” We want to see the day when it is the abuser who leaves the local church, not the victim. For now, we can send him packing from here.
Nehemiah DID complete the walls. His enemies continued to shoot their darts at him, but he would not listen to them. He would not fear them. He is a very good example for us. We aren’t building walls — we are tearing them down and exposing what has been lurking behind them. The rats are screaming at the light. But, it is not we who need to fear. This time, the all-seeing eye is that of the Lord of Hosts, and it is His enemies who should tremble at His gaze.
[November 13, 2022: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to November 13, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to November 13, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to November 13, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (November 13, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]
- Posted in: Christianity
- Tagged: evil, Jeff Crippen, Nehemiah, obedience to Christ
I drove by an enormous soccer field the other evening, all magnificently lit up with lights from every corner and angle. Every one of the players could see clearly to play as they followed the instructions from their coaches, and they worked together to WIN. Of course, both teams couldn’t win the actual game, but they all won the experience and delight in joining in the event together, despite their differences, to have JOY, laughter and the delight of being in unison for the sole purpose of learning and moving forward with a little more experience and understanding. Every one of those ladies on the field lined up after the game and shook hands, and and then there was pizza!
I thought about how the easily the church could be that soccer field, all illuminated in the darkness of the evil around it, showing the world how it SHOULD be done. How all of us on the field, despite our differences, could learn from our ONE Coach to work together for the good, that we could educate those who were watching us play, cheering us on, even sharing our pizza with the ones who were boo-ing at the game. How I wish we could all just meet on the same field, shaking hands together, breaking bread together, making our Coach proud.
Well, I had to read this post more than once to compare it to where I am today. I remember coming out of the abuse 3 years ago, moving to a new town and trying to connect to the churches. I had been sporadically attending a church where I lived in another state; when I dreamt of starting a family with my abuser I asked him questions, such as “Are you a Christian,” and “I want to raise these kids in the church, what church are you affiliated with?” He answered that his parents came from two different churches, so just pick one. I did. And then, he was not supportive, he went with us three times, mainly for the food. Then later he stated he was an atheist. So I kept going with the kids, and kept praying for things to change. And what I kept hearing was the unequal yoke. And how wives need to be submissive to their husbands, but didn’t hear about husbands loving their wives as themselves; that was not happening at our house.
So when we got out, we tried to link up to a church here; and there was a lady speaking about a recent mission trip to Russia, and how the poor women there were experiencing horrible abuse and violence. And I thought, “I haven’t been here very long, but I have had my ears open and know of so many women already right here that are experiencing the same thing and no one reaches out to help them.”
It seems as though the churches are lagging behind a bit from the general society; there is beginning to be a movement to unveil the injustices in this society for women trying to get out of abuse. I am speaking about non-profit organizations that receive huge amounts of money from our federal government but the victims never see any of it beyond food, clothing and shelter. We need more. The Senate passed the VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) yesterday; but there are certain clauses that the VAWA organization wants to add to the funding — money for immigrants, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual) and Native Americans. Why do we have to fund special interest groups with this? Domestic violence is violence, period. Now if they get more money by using special interests groups, that might be a good thing; a person might think they could help more victims that way, but it’s not true, the victims rarely see the funds float down to them beyond the salaries and fake organizations that do nothing. And, as most of us know, the bulk of domestic abuse is against women, not these special interest groups per se.
Okay, I am so thankful for this blog and the exposure, it is a starting point, and a support. So Nehemiah purported that action be taken, I hope the churches will do this, while we continue as survivors to carry our crosses. Also, there is a saying, “denial is a protective function” which makes me believe that if the churches don’t get into this and wash our feet, RIGHT HERE, then this is their way of distancing themselves from what they have going on in their own backyards, and in their own houses that they will not admit to.
Teresa – it is in our own backyards as you say, and there is a refusal to own up to it and deal with it. That refusal is partially ignorance, partially fear, but there also has to be an element of just plain not wanting to pay the price for standing against it. Pride is in play as well. Many churches have an image they want to maintain, and anything that threatens that image has to go. Which, in this case, means the victims who are blowing the whistle.