Dear (what do I call you, ”friends”? “brothers and sisters”? “partners in ministry”? “family”?):
None of those salutations work for me. Though you portrayed yourselves as all these things, I don’t think any of them speaks to our relationship right now..
I only did what I know Jesus would have done—and what we were taught to do. I stood with someone who was being marginalized and unheard. Someone looking for reconciliation but blocked at every turn. Someone who gave selflessly to the ministry of the church only to be shunned and sent away. Someone seeking to follow Jesus with their whole heart.
I wish I had gotten involved in the situation earlier. I placed my trust in a group of people who were ok with a different outcome than I hoped for. I only understood how messed up it was when this church member (friend? brother, sister? partner in ministry? family member?) was kicked-out of the community. The decision was the wrong one and the process was deeply flawed.
I believed that people at this church could deal with someone standing for grace, even if it went against what leadership deemed necessary. I expected discussion, care and concern, not silence. Things were swept under the rug and “church life” went on.
In the past 16 months I have heard from one of you. Just one, and they prohibited me from even mentioning the reason for my departure.
If we were friends you would have at least reached out to see how I was. If we were family I know I would have received dinner invites and to offers to chat over coffee or a beer. Nothing. Was the sense of community I felt at your church a lie? At this point I tend to think it was.
Even though you didn’t ask…I’m doing fine. If you’re reading this you’re at my website and can see I continue to create and that makes me happy. As for being part of another faith community, that hasn’t happened. Actually, I don’t know if it will. My trust has been shattered. I had thought I found a solid, healthy expression of Christianity, doing life with y’all. Now I see it was all a ruse. The scars are deep but healing is ongoing.
I wish I could say I look forward to hearing from you, but, obviously that would be folly.
P.S. To the leadership; one thing I’ve learned—contrary to what I was told by the pastor—is that reconciliation is always possible. God is bigger than all circumstances and his heart is to reconcile people to himself and one another. Take the hint and do what needs to be done.