HAITI: Stanley Fox Issues Statement & One Victim’s Response

EDIT: I am being contacted with assumptions that I am retracting my statement that Stanley Fox knew since 2016/2017.  I am not retracting my previous concerns. His apology states that he knew. Therefore, because his statement confirms my evidence He only identified it as homosexuality and wasn’t concerned enough to pull a worker for it. I said I appreciate his apology, and I do. It does not change the fact that he knew and did nothing. Why would a troubled young man approach a pastor about Jeriah, if it was consensual relationship? Why would that not alert a pastor to find out what is going on?

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Several people sent me links to Stanley Fox’s Apology Statement last evening. I was out with a friend for a few hours and didn’t see it until late. He has my respect of ‘stepping out of the lineup’ to speak without a lawyer and without permission. He is the first to do this in this mess.

Stanley Fox

I said to several other leaders this past week that if even one would have the integrity to step forward and say, “We knew…. I am sorry… And, for the record, Trudy is telling the truth,” that would go a long way. This is closer to that than I expected to see. I don’t need them to say for my sake that I’m telling the truth.

People are messaging, encouraging me to reach out to Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) to work with them regarding other allegations that have come forward, and at least practice Matthew 18. (My question is “which part of Matthew 18?” Mostly I assume they’re not talking about the millstone verse and the part that says the angels of a child are always before the face of God). Personally, I think Matthew 18 is applied too much like a bandaid on a heart attack, making it a perfect tool for keeping things hidden that should be brought to light. And like the heart attack, it’s killing the church.

To work in any level of ‘togetherness’ there first needs to be transparency – this apology is a huge leap forward, and comes on the heels of the Public Statement by CAM. There also needs to be a common goal of not keeping the church, the public and donors in the dark. And, finally, it requires giving victims a voice in this.

For this reason, before posting this link to Mr. Fox’s apology I reached out to one of the victims who made me aware on Monday that Mr. Fox also knew, to get his feedback. He was gracious and appreciative, but with some unanswered questions.

His response was:
It rises a few questions but I am happy he made it. That is the person he has make people in Haiti believe he was. […] If he, initially in 2013, thought he was sent back to the US for homosexuality, who did Jeriah confessed to then? as a pastor that has served on campus at the same time as Jeriah, what have he done to find out the whole truth, they had many accountability meetings? So for him, it’s ok for someone that was sent home for homosexuality to come back and serve? I don’t think he would teach that. […] Also, it is confusing for a victim to know Stanley knew (at least in 2017), and didn’t do much to help the victims heal (He talked to name redacted about forgiveness once and prayed with him, in that meeting. He never said a word to me about such a thing), or to make sure Jeriah wasn’t doing it to any other kids and at the same time say that he cares/ love the wonderful people of Haiti. It makes us scratch our heads.

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I’m glad it meant something to the victim. That in spite of his questions about the message this sends regarding homosexuality being acceptable on the mission field, when it is taught against so strongly.

This doesn’t negate Mr. Fox’s apology. It simply raises deep theological questions for the conservative Mennonite groups who punish harshly those who become sexually active, engage in heterosexual relations outside of marriage (albeit with significant grace for adultery and child molestation).

This argument that it was believed to be consensual homosexual relationships has come up repeatedly, so my response here now moves away from his apology. I am truly thankful he spoke out, and respect his willingness to stick out his neck.

Thank you for that, Mr. Fox.

***


Youth of the church are rising to attention and asking the same questions this young man asks. They, who have been disciplined, forced to confess sexual immorality when caught. Youth who see a double standard, based on class, power, connections and various other influences. Youth who have been ‘shunned’ (informally) for clothes being not quite right. For listening to the wrong music. Youth, whose parents funded CAM through this (and, again, CAM has done many wonderful things), and who now defend those who knew and did nothing.

These youth are not dumb. They see through the hypocrisy. Ruled with an iron thumb, some of them, they watch as this unfolds with excuses, as thousands rise up to defend the organization, as leaders say no one knew (besides a few). They watch as it surfaces that there were blatant signs, not only of sexual sin, but bold crimes. Signs that no one pursued. And yet it was the whisper of a rumour that landed them before the congregation to confess kissing and making out? Or, God forbid, got the girl pregnant.

The one thing many thousands are asking for is transparency. The other thing is consistency. If homosexuality is not a big deal here, then it better no longer be the thing we preach against and condemn others for. If our position on it has changed, then it is time to apologize to the homosexuals whom we have bullied, shamed and excommunicated when they came out, or even reached out for help.

If that is not our position, then we have to confess to inconsistency and repent before God.

God forbid that we simply hope this goes away. It won’t. The world of conservative Anabaptism has forever changed, and it will never be able to return to what it was. Our 6/10 is the 9/11 that changed the world forever.

And, God forbid that our response to this be the thing that drives the children of yesterday and tomorrow away from the heart of God.

Such life-altering events demand a response.

There is only one response that will have the desire we all long for. Repentance. Deep, deep repentance.

We can grieve.

We can be angry; “be angry and sin not”… “Don’t sin in your anger” assumes anger is part of life. “Let not the sun go down on your anger” assumes anger but gives instruction to not let it control us. So we can be angry. Angry at the men who knew and looked the other way. Angry at Jeriah for assaulting children. Angry at Trudy for speaking out…. because this really does hurt, and if this hadn’t been spoken out…

So we can hurt. Hurting is honest.

We can weep.Tears are inevitable in our suffering.

But, in the end, if we want God to move we must repent.

Not only three men who knew and did nothing. Yes, them too please. But not only. We, as a culture have enabled this kind of thing. There are systemic factors that allowed this to happen.

Those who understand this will rise to repentance. And those who repent will go deeper. They will be instrumental in revival.

Revival cannot come without repentance.

We have prayed for revival, but we kick and scream when God invites us to the brokenness from which revival flows.

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Plans are coming together for the next trip to take place shortly. Thank you to all who have donated. We have a ways to go, but it’s coming together

If you are able to contribute, and willing to do so, you may send funds (via PayPal or etransfer) to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed.

 

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2019

Of Rainbows, Love & Sharing God’s Grace

rainbow

The Cross is a symbol of Jesus love and death; offering mercy, grace and forgiveness of sins. The rainbow is a symbol of promise; offering hope, mercy and God’s love. The dove is a symbol of the Spirit of God; offering peace. The olive branch is symbolic of peace and extending grace.

The LGBT community has chosen the rainbow as their symbol, borrowing from Christianity, to make their statement. (And if there’s some pagan story about a rainbow, coolness. I still attribute the rainbow to the recordings in an ancient book, established long before any pride parades started up.)

My goal is not to stir hate and anger towards the LGBT community, or even from them, nor is it to put a feather in our collective Christian hat. That doesn’t interest me at all. I haven’t the slightest trouble loving them. And I don’t even have such a hard time understanding them anymore. Having spent many hours with Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction, indulge in same-sex pornography and even fall into real live same-sex sexual encounters, I no longer see it as an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ battle. I see it as a ‘them being out’ versus ‘some (or many?) of us struggling and/or hiding’ same-sex relationships. I wish it were not so, but it is. And this isn’t some ‘let’s all panic and throw our hands up’ appeal; it is an appeal to be honest and look first at the beam hanging carelessly from our own eyes, as we point accusingly.

We have no right to point fingers. Far too many little boys and girls are introduced to sex at a young age, in our churches and communities, and have no where to turn to talk, to get support and to report molestation to the authorities–because the Bible does say to be subject to the rulers of the land, and those rulers tell us to report. And those same children come tell me how that took them on a path of same-sex attraction, or other sexually deviant behaviours. If we, the church, stand by and allow this kind of victimization, we have no right to point fingers at the LGBT community. (And, while I believe that molestation and early child-to-child sexual exploring is responsible for a host of homosexuality in churches–at least churches of my background–I do not believe that it is the only reason. And outside of our church circles I have no ‘data’ to back up any such claims, but I do have good cause to say it about ‘us’ based on what I have learned inside church walls.)

In fact, if the climate of society is distressing, I would dare to say that it first went wrong in the church, not the other way around. And I believe this because God says in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from Heaven and I will forgive their sins and heal their land.”

If God’s people repent in humility and seek God’s face, then God will forgive His people and heal… His people? No! “…then I will heal their land!” The land is suffering because of the sins among God’s people. And then we stand back and get our knickers in a knot and wonder how they can do all that. Given what I’ve heard from church people, of what happens in secret, I can say with confidence, we are guilty.

I say this not to shame or condemn, but to invite the church to repent. And I would appeal to leaders in particular. Repent of your sins. Openly and publicly. Not this ‘carefully protect him because of his leadership role’ while dealing harshly with others. Repent like Ezra and Nehemiah, crying out to God, face down, with the people of God. It seems almost every week we hear of another church leader having an affair or some other moral failure, somewhere. And frequently I hear from victims who were blatantly molested or coerced into sexual affair, by leaders currently hold positions in churches. Always I ask if the offender or instigator has ever come back to say, “I’m sorry, what I did to you was wrong”, or if a crime was committed I ask if it was reported and almost without fail the answer is “No”.  Sometimes the leaders are people I know, and sometimes even leaders who have blatantly lied, saying they repented and took ownership, and yet sitting with their victims, they tell me they never heard from their offender(s).

Men and women of God, until we start living with some level of honesty and integrity before God, the ‘church’ and the world, we ought to be ashamed of ourselves–and, yes, in this situation I endorse being ashamed–if we place an expectation of holiness on unbelievers that we ourselves do not hold to. And I’m not talking in word, but in our lifestyle, in our repentance, in our transparency  with past sin, and certainly letting victims know (through safe avenues) that our sins against them were wrong, and sins against God.

A shake down is coming… Some of us have said it for several years, and we’re seeing it play out all around. And I believe we will see more and more hidden wickedness brought to light, particularly in religion at a leadership level. Again, I urge you, if you don’t want God to use drastic measures to expose you, then expose your sins and crimes yourself, and stop pointing fingers at the sinners who wear rainbow colours, when you drag your own ball and chain through church.

My prayer for the church and for the LGBT community is healing, wholeness and hope. My heart for both is love and the peace of God. Jesus came to seek and save those who are lost, whether in the church or in the world…. But the healing of the land, begins with us.

We all need God’s Rainbow of Promise, or surely we would be consumed and drowning by now, if He had not painted that first rainbow in the sky… We all need God’s Love and Grace. And it awaits, on our knees in reptentance.

Love,
~ T ~

TO REGISTER for Lancaster Pennsylvania Conference,  July 10-11, 2015 visit: GenerationsUnleashed.com
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© Trudy Metzger

Social Media and ‘Self Promotion’: Did Jesus Start All This?

This thing of ‘self promotion’, on Facebook, Twitter and any number of other social media platforms–‘follow me’, ‘like me’, ‘friend me’–is it blatant, arrogant self promotion? Is it obnoxious and rude? Or did Jesus start it all when He tweeted, I mean ‘spoke’, those two little words: “Follow Me”? And did the Apostle Paul, who was as human and imperfect as you and I, add to this with his own name-dropping tweet: “Follow me, even as I follow Christ”

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Were Jesus, Paul, and other heroes of faith promoting themselves? And the prophets who galloped through towns, warning the people to hear what they had to say, and act in response, were they just full of themselves? What about Queen Esther, then nothing more than a Jewish girl, with no ‘platform’? (You know, like that person who follows you, and you check out their profile and they’re following like 400 people, and 9 are following them back, and you’re like, “Whoa… you must be a creep! No one wants to follow you. Yeah, that was Queen Esther.) Was she simply trying to ‘step on heads to get ahead’?

Or is it possible that God called each of these individuals to deliver a message, and they decided “… ‘come hell or high water’, I’m delivering it. And even if half of my friends ‘unfriend’ me, and most of my ‘followers’ unfollow me, I will deliver”? Is it also possible that they faced the same attacks, in different ways, as men and women today face, for speaking truth?

The pastor who reads a particular scripture–like perhaps the one on gluttony, or gossip… er… Ummm… I mean, the one on homosexuality–and half the people gripe or don’t come back. Should he stop preaching on gluttony, or gossip, to appease those in the congregation who struggle against it, or (especially) those who indulge and really don’t care? Should he rather focus on homosexuality, so the others feel good about themselves, and go home to celebrate God’s goodness with yet another massive meal, while heaping condemnation on the man or woman who spends every night on his or her knees, pleading with God to take that same-sex desire away? Should he be silent? Or should he say, like Jesus, “Follow me”, and like Paul, “Follow me, even as I follow Christ”? Even if he is judged for it?

Maybe it’s the person who preaches love and grace, because of the grace he has experienced in his own life, and he offends the ‘hell fire and brimstone’ preachers, with his offering. Should he stop? Should he preach something he is not anointed to preach, in order to appease those who want to manipulate minds, by using truth out of context, in ways it was never intended, by God, to be used?  Is this preacher touting his own agenda, and trying to lift himself up?

What about those of us ‘crying in the wilderness’ today… the wilderness of abuse, like my friends *Boz Tchividjian  and **Pastor Dale and Faith Ingraham, or those fighting to end the sex trade and create awareness, like my friend ***Kelita…  Are we putting ourselves in the front-lines of a despised topic, to draw attention to ourselves, to create a following? Or, like the prophets, like Jesus, and like Paul, are we saying that God has given us something, often through painful personal experience and redemption, that will bring you hope? I propose that we are crying out, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, because He is coming to you… to us… to the broken’!

One of the things we who are called to share a message of hope have to become comfortable with,  in today’s world, is ‘getting out there’ and putting our message in front of people. Gone are the days of the publishing companies doing the legwork. “If you are not comfortable marketing your product, you’re best off to self-publish and print a few for your close friends,’ is a bit of advice that came my way, because the publishers don’t do it for you anymore. This was a bit jolting for me, to learn this, at first.

The truth is, I love marketing things… and other people… if I know those people and things will help someone. But marketing my message, my story, my book? Putting it vulnerably on paper, and then setting it in front of crowds, through blogging, social media, news stations etc, that was a stretch. None-the-less, I resigned myself and pushed forward with the process of traditional publishing. Is it comfortable? That would be overstated. Am I confident about it? Absolutely! Does it mean a few friends and acquaintances misunderstand me, are offended,  and judge me? Yes. But I am okay with that.

Every life-changing spiritual message that ever was uttered or written, was judged, and offended many. I anticipate the same. So, like Jesus, I will say, “Follow me…” being quick to add, “I know One who can heal you!” And like Paul I will say, “Follow me, even as I follow Christ!” And like Jonah, every now and then, I’ll board an excursion to the bottom of the sea, until the fish can stomach my nonsense no more and throws me up on dry land, so that I face reality, and once again declare the message God has given me.

Ultimately, you and I have but one question to answer: Did we do it for Jesus, to lift Him up, to spread His Love, to offer our hearts in compassion? Or did we do it for ourselves?

Love

~ T ~

*Boz Tchividjian is the grandson of Billy Graham, founder of G.R.A.C.E. (see link above by clicking his name) and a professor at Liberty University. I am honoured to call him friend, and that he wrote the foreword for ‘Between 2 Gods’!

**Dale & Faith Ingraham are faithful advocates for abuse victims in the church, addressing this difficult topic, and offering healing to victims. To learn more, click on their name above.

***Kelita Haverland, who had a very difficult start to life, has founding healing in Jesus and shares her message of hope, through the talents God her.  She is a talented musician and comedian, with the ability to move an audience from laughter, to tears, to both at the same time. She will be in southern Ontario in early May, and we will partner together for events. If you would like to schedule an event in your church or community, please email info@generationsunleashed.com, and we will send through available dates.

© Trudy Metzger

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First Blog: September 2010, “Running on Empty”