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Monday, March 19, 2012

My Thoughts on Slander, Scandal and "Truth"

"I would hope that my successor has the constitution of an ox and the skin of a rhinoceros."

--Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, regarding his recent decision to step down from public ministry to pursue another career.

I've been quiet on the blog circuit lately. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say. On the contrary, I have quite a lot to say, but I haven’t been exactly sure how to say it. This blog world has seemed a rather ugly, unfriendly place lately. I’ve backed away over the last few weeks out of disgust, exhaustion and yes… fear.

The firestorm of hate and attack that Invisible Children is currently facing – I can relate. These last few weeks have been the darkest, hardest, most painful time I have ever experienced in ministry. Satan is clearly on the move. And if I’m feeling this kind of pressure, I can only imagine how the founders of Invisible Children, who run a much bigger and larger profile ministry, must feel.

On Friday afternoon, came the news of Jason Russell’s breakdown. And I literally wept tears of sadness for the wave of smug and unkind comments and harsh judgments that I knew would follow. I don’t know the Invisible Children people personally. But I do know that they’re my brothers and sisters in Christ. They’re real people with real families and real feelings.

I’m not saying what Jason Russell did is ok. But I am saying that I know for a fact that it’s hard to operate under intense pressure and scrutiny.

Unfortunately, I can speak on this subject with some degree of authority. Since starting SixtyFeet, our family, our ministry and even our personal characters have been slandered up and down the internet – almost exclusively by people who have never met us. False and truly despicable accusations have been made about us.

Here’s a critical piece of information about my husband and me…

Dan and I started SixtyFeet two years ago because we heard about a need in the world and we set out to do something about it. That’s it. We weren’t trying to save the world. We weren’t looking to become famous or rich or powerful. And if we were looking for those things, we have clearly failed miserably.

We rallied some friends to join with us in the SixtyFeet effort and here’s our board of directors today:

We’re a couple of stay at home moms, a pediatrician, an attorney, an insurance salesman, a nursing home developer and a software executive. We also employ several single moms and our pastor does some part-time work for us. Our volunteer staff includes a farmer, an airforce pilot and two homeschooling moms. Between us, we have almost 40 kids. Overall, we’re pretty benign and boring people.

Now brace yourself for this next statement because it’s a real shocker: Our team is made up of sinful, flawed people who are not perfect. Sometimes we even make mistakes. Scandalous, I know.

Like every person reading this blog, we’re unworthy sinners saved by grace. And we’re just doing the best we can to live out God’s call on our lives. To us, SixtyFeet is more than just a ministry. It’s become our whole lives and our passion. It’s our blood, sweat and tears. It’s our hard earned money and precious time away from our kids.

Ministry is hard and it's messy. It's often highly complicated and things are not always what they seem. Sometimes it's hard to know who to trust and how to trust. But I do know this: we're called to love and encourage one another.

I’m not naïve and I understand that anyone who runs a public ministry and or writes a public blog has opened themselves up to comment and criticism. I’m good with that. I believe that iron sharpens iron. I believe in complete transparency in ministry and that we’re called to hold one another accountable. I believe in speaking truth and exhortation.

I also believe in doing those things prayerfully, in love, with the benefit of first-hand information, and according to Matthew 18. And if you’re a believer in Christ, I pray you’ll stand up and stand with me on the tide against this. It's time for us Christians to unite, to give one another a break and to simply show some grace.

Comments are closed on this post because the last few weeks have provided me with enough online hate, slander and gossip to last a lifetime. But if you have something you’d like to discuss, please feel free to Matthew 18-it and email me directly.