Bill Miller: A Bold Open Letter & Admonition from a (former) Beachy Amish Gentleman

The following blog post has three components, all written by Bill Miller. He has given me permission to share his email address for those who wish to reach out to him. I spoke with Bill’s son before I communicated with Bill. In the son I ‘met’ a man who cares deeply for the wounded children. (His son is also a ministry leader who forwarded their ministry’s protocol for handling abuse. I have never been more impressed!) He told me about his father, and some time later Bill reached out.

The first part is a letter of introduction, followed by admonition from James 5. And finally is a response to some concerns shared in response to CAM.

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I am 67 years old and have been a member in the Beachy Amish Mennonite church from age 16 to age 63. I have observed the rules of the church faithfully. I have failed and have been restored. I have been loved and rejected. I have held offices and sat silently. I have watch this same thing in many other brethren in the church as well. And I believe this is quite normal for the church of Jesus Christ. We are, after-all, human and “we hold this treasure in earthen vessels.” I have been under numerous church administrations, what with moving, bishops dying or being silenced, or moving away and being replaced, and church outreaches.

But there is one issue that I have never been able to understand. This is the issue of elevating the ministry onto a pedestal and thereby they become untouchable by anyone. I have heard bishops say that “There is no other bishop that has any authority over me.” I have heard bishops say that “The laity has no right or responsibility to ever question or rebuke anyone in the ministry.” I have heard bishops say that there is an absolute hierarchy in the ministerial circles. “You do as we say and we will have your back. We will make sure that you are protected in the event that you would get into trouble. We will make sure that you will have all the speaking engagements and that your name will be recognized.”  We have seen numerous times where minister’s children get to keep their sins covered under the proverbial carpet and not under the “BLOOD”. All this in order to protect the minister’s name. In Matthew 20:20-28, Jesus clearly condemns this program as from the world, saying in verse 26, “But it shall not be so among you:” 

I personally know of numerous bishops that keep a written file of every member’s failures. I have seen some of these files. Who keeps a file of their own failures? What are they going to do with these files when they turn their office over to the next generation? Do they not know that one drop of blood took care of ALL these files? Do they then wonder what happened when the church house becomes empty? Do they not know that conflict of interest always leads to loss of trust and confidence? And last but not least, is no body learning from the history of the last 75 years?

I was taught that any group that leaves a fellowship, a conference, a constituency, and go out on their own, have lost their way. But in the last 30 years the number of unaffiliated churches has mushroomed. People are tired of the the old program where the highway is littered with the broken and bleeding, the neglected and hurting, those lost and dying, all from the heavy hand of power of the ministry and executive boards, who themselves are quite comfortable in their own wealth and prestige. 

Is it any wonder that we now have the arrogance and pride exuding from the pulpit and executive boards that are doing so much damage? The longer it goes the more the next generation of officials feel entitled to the same level of grandeur, and the more the name of our Lord and Savior is mocked. Wake up! There is coming a day of reckoning, a day of persecution, a day where the sons will turn their own fathers and mothers over to the authorities of the land. And we have brought it on ourselves. Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

It is with these thoughts that I was led by the Holy Spirit to write a message on James 5:1-6. Then I wrote a remedy for the sad situation from James 5:7-12.

Written with Love and a concerned heart.

 

Bill Miller
miller5254@gmail.com
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James 5:1-6

Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries shall come upon you.

Wake up, you wealthy, powerful, influential, well known, ministers, charity organization leaders, and big, powerful business men, you better start weeping and howling, because your miseries are coming your way. There shall be no escaping the consequences.

Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten.

You riches are filthy and rotten. They are no longer of any value. They will not buy your way to more power and influence. The game is over. Your riches are worthless in your pursuit of power. Your clothes are rotten and full of holes. Your arrogant deceit has eaten your façade as surely as moths eat old garments. People can see your nakedness through the holes in your self-righteous garments. Your plain clothes are a fraud and the people around you are ashamed to be in your presence. You would be better off dressing like the world than to look like some do-gooder Pharisee who hates when the light of truth shines into their dark, corrupt hearts. Your cover is gone and your riches and power are nothing but disgustingly filthy rags.

Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

Your riches, your fame and power, your influential positions, and business leadership positions have turned to battery acid in the hearts of the common folk. It will continue to eat at the very fiber of your heart and life as you watch the once grand positions and power disappear in the fog of people who at one time held you in great esteem. The battery acid that is eating you alive is also burning up the very lives of your victims, as they testify of your ingrained, accomplished, corruption. You have quite the treasure chest saved up for your last days. Your last days are here and your treasure chest will do you no good. It will only stand in judgement against you as you grovel alone in misery, rejection and isolation. Your acquired riches that you must spend to defend yourself, stands in judgement against you, as testimony of your guilt.

Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

Behold, the people that have been doing the hard work for you, those who have been exposed to the elements of the world of evil, those that are working in obscurity, those that are in the ditches and misery for you, making sure your name stays on top, those that are accustomed to hearing commands and arrogance from you; are not getting their dues. You are neglecting them and calling it your privilege to treat them as those that are disposable and replaceable. You knowingly allowed your victim’s children to be brutally raped and emotionally destroyed by your own workers, while you are busy telling them of the love of Jesus, and feeding them from your hand. They are crying to the Lord and the Lord is hearing them. The Lord has a tender heart for the down trodden and he will hear the anguished cries of your victims, that you consider as “disposable”.

Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in the day of slaughter.

You have enjoyed the life of pleasure, ease and excess, while dismissing the needs of your subjects. You have required your own people to satisfy your extravagance. You have lived in the desires of your own hearts as though you have a fatted calf every day. Nothing is too extravagant for you. You expect and demand it.

Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doeth not resist you.

Whenever a person tries to shine the light of truth into your life, you berate, condemn and assassinate his character. You have no qualms about completely destroying any one that dares to question your integrity. You don’t care how it affects his health, his livelihood, or his name. You will put forth every effort to destroy that person.  You know you can because of your clout. You know you can because of his status and lack of resources. You know you can because you know  he is too timid to resist. Your victims are endless and you arrogant brutality knows no limits. Just like the “Generation of vipers” Jesus talked about.

You are where you are because of choices you made, each step of your successful life. That’s what brought Hitler and Stalin where they ended up being. You chose to allow HURT to grow and by your negligence you fostered it.

With all your riches, you are able and willing to hire lawyers to protect your assets, something your victims are not able or interested in doing. You reject the very Savior that you preached about for many years, and choose to defend your position with a worldly lawyer. How are your victims and past parishioners supposed to have faith in your past messages? The only winner in this situation will be the lawyers. You don’t need a lawyer, you need a Savior.

A Beautiful and Assuring Promise for the Meek and Humble, Faithful Children of God

                                                                        James 5:7-12

Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

You, the person that has truly become the brother of Jesus Christ, has the full attention of the Lord who is watching the fruit of our “earth,” our flesh, which is under His direction and guidance. May the Lord receive the 100 fold fruits of our humble, faithful, and loving work in the Kingdom of God, as the early and latter rains fall.

Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

You, brother of Jesus Christ, be patient. Don’t run ahead of God’s direction or get frustrated when you don’t see immediate results for your faithful labors. Let your faith in God grow deep. Trust in Him for He cares for you, His child. Let His Word dictate your life. The more you do this the closer you get to the Lord and the closer He gets to you. He loves you.

Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold the judge standeth at the door.

Forgive those who have hurt you and sinned against you, otherwise God cannot forgive you. Granting full forgiveness to those is the exact way Jesus forgave you. He allowed your sins to kill Him, while He trusted His Father to raise Him back to life, so that you can have a Father-Son relationship with His Father. Forgive those that have hurt you so that your Heavenly Father can show His love by forgiving you and you can love Him. Otherwise the greatest judgement against you is the Father not being able to relate to you because of your unforgiving heart.

Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

“Take”. Receive the prophets. Receive the real people who speak and teach the real truth of God. Do not listen to those that speak truth so that they can wield power and influence. But listen to those that present the truth with love, accuracy, and dedication, and also lead a life of holiness in spite of what others think or circumstances in life that you have no control over.

Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

When we look at Job, it was when he proved his dedication to God and the devil, that God restored all that he had lost. God was full of tender mercy throughout Job’s experience. It was the devil that challenged Job, and once Job declared the truth, his life was in total dedication and praise to God. Let’s endure and be happy and joyful in the midst of these experiences. What greater joy can we potentially have than to endure for our Savior’s sake, after all He has done for us. He is patiently waiting while we declare and prove our dedication to Him.

But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

Let’s not place our trust in anything except Jesus and His Word. May our yes to Him and His cause, be a full YES, and our no to the devil and his evil ways, be a solid NO. Amen.

My Brethren, You are where you are, because of choices you made each step of your life. Abraham, David, Daniel, Paul, and all the thousands of martyrs, ended up where they did because of choices they made, every step of their life.

Willing, Obedient, Humble, service is a CALLING and a CHOICE between two options.

PRAISE GOD, WE HAVE MANY EXAMPLES OF THESE, BOTH IN THE SCRIPTURES, OUR ANABAPTIST HISTORY, AND IN OUR PRESENT DAY.

Blessings,
Bill Miller

***

After thinking over the statements made by those that feel that somehow the effort to recompense the victims would just bring more “victims” out of the woodwork, I say “So what?” 

First of all what was the offence and who caused it?

Should the offender and his supporters not be willing to take whatever reaping that comes as a result of his sowing?

Does the offender and his supporters not see Jesus hanging on the cross and asking the Father to forgive him, the offender, long before the offender was even born?

Does the offender and his supporters not see that Jesus was completely and totally innocent and yet chose to accept the whatever the ungodly world of sinners could and did place on his shoulders? 

Does the offender and his supporters not see that the possible falsified requests for remunerations of some extra supposed victims is not even measurable in compared to the iniquities of the whole world placed on Jesus’ shoulders?

Does the offender and all his supporters not realize the good that would come to themselves by willingly and totally forgiving those that would possibly “unfairly” ask for rewards?

Does the great organization of CAM not understand that they would benefit great and innumerable blessings form God by turning this whole thing over to a different Christian organization, that would have the right and responsibility of acting on the behalf of the victims, on behalf of the victims families and on behalf of the communities of the victims, regardless of the monetary cost? That’s exactly what Jesus did!

Does the offender and all his supporters not realize that there is nothing in the world that is cheaper than money? It is our most precious commodity but we are willing to part with it in exchange for anything else we want, except in the event that someone might get an undeserved advantage. How foolish and ungodly for us to begrudge the potential event that someone in Haiti might take undue advantage of a reward!

Oh how the great and mighty have fallen, both in deeds and theology! Oh how awful the results of this great fall! Oh how awful the fact of this fall, in light of the fact of the last 75 years of revival meetings, church plantings, ordinations, mission works and outreaches, Sunday Schools, summer Bible Schools, winter Bible Schools for the youth, and all kinds of teaching seminars. How many more teachings do we need in order to get back on the TRUE BIBLE WAY? Do we even realize where we are in relation this True Bible Way?

A concerned Brother,
Bill Miller
miller5254@gmail.com

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I am encouraged by these compassionate men of God, who care for victims. I have never met Bill or his son, but hope one day to have that opportunity.

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

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***  See below: early ‘concert only’ registration for abuse survivors Nov. 2, 2019. ***

The young woman who was assaulted at age 7… Five donations have come in so far with enough funds to cover . (We are still waiting to confirm the fee, so not sure just how many). Thank you for contributing. Every bit helps, as this is will require ongoing support. If you wish to contribute, you may do so through the following link: Support for Rape Survivor.

She continues to be amazed by the support that she has felt and seen, and extends her thanks and appreciation. It has been encouraging for me to see ‘the church’ enter into her story and care for her well-being in word, prayer, and helping with her counseling costs.

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ONLY 2 MORE WEEKS TO REGISTER WITH LUNCH AND CONCERT INCLUDED!
(ENDS AUGUST 1, 2019)
THE GATHERING, NOVEMBER 2, 2019, LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE:
One of the things we are working toward November 2, 2019, at  THE GATHERING, is creating a place where we collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse, and their trusted support persons to join together for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering. We will cry out to God, together. The invitation is to ‘come as you are’ in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to heal another layer, together.

NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.

Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.

(More information for potential attendees is available under THE GATHERING Registration and for non-attendees at THE GATHERING Information.)

EARLY CONCERT REGISTRATION FOR ALL SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ABUSE:
If you are a sex abuse survivor – Anabaptist or not – and are not a sex offender, who wishes to attend the ‘concert only’ portion of The Gathering, we will allow for early registration before tickets are released to the public, August 1, 2019. For link to register for the concert only, email AslanHasHeard@gmail.com. Subject line: “Concert link for survivors”.

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If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.

© Trudy Metzger 2019

Is the Answer to Become a Conservative Mennonite Again?

It started in pleasant conversation, with a friend from my former denomination–CMCO Mennonite–and turned into an ‘as-pleasant-as-an-abuse-conversation-can-be’ interaction. We’re on the same side of this battle, her and I–both standing firmly against the wickedness of abuse–and in agreement that the silence must be broken, and help offered to victims, and perpetrators helped and held accountable.

Photo Credit: Toronto Grand Prix Tourist (A Toronto Blog)

I don’t know how it came about, exactly… I carry in my ‘knowledge compartment’ many ‘secrets’ for countless people, and about countless people. Now, they’re not really ‘secrets’ any more, if they are the stories and experiences of my clients, because as we work together, I walk them through the process of repentance, confession and bringing to light the hidden darkness. (Ephesians 5:13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever is made manifest is light.) Having exposed these things, the darkness is dis-empowered, the secret is broken, and the power is gone.

Still, they are ‘secrets’ in the sense that I am one of very few people whom they choose to tell, besides the people they have wronged or been wronged by, and whatever trusted friends they choose. These stories I carry, without a word to anyone, in my ‘knowing’. I don’t carry the burden of them, because Jesus has taken that burden.

The other kind of secrets, however, are a very different thing. The kind where I know horrible things and the person, or persons, involved have covered up and maybe even lied about it. These still are not mine to carry, but they do offer a different burden. It is troubling to know that ‘good Christians’, including leaders, would not take ownership for sins that have brought great spiritual destruction to others. It bewilders me. (And I don’t care if it happened before church membership, or before accepting Christ. That excuse is nonsense. Take ownership! )

And that is what popped out of my mouth…. The thing I said out loud is a ‘secret’ that I have known for several years, involving several church leaders. It was not told to me in confidence but still I cannot talk about it carelessly, and I don’t. Mostly I don’t tell details at all, unless I am conversing with someone who I think might be able to help, or influence change. I have watched as the aftermath unfolds and chains pass on, but there is nothing can be done on the legal front. (There has been some effort, by some people within the church, but things are managed quite carefully. And they are such ‘nice’ people, some of those with hidden things, that the wool is quickly pulled over the eyes of other leaders.)

Lest anyone think I ought to first go speak to my ‘erring brother’, I agree. And I have. I sat right in his house and asked him if he made the past right, and he said yes.  And with one victim he did–at least he said his piece in church about having become involved in immorality. But when another case was revealed, and another man told me what this leader had done to him, I asked that man, “Didn’t he come back to you and ask for forgiveness?” (Because he had already told me he made things right.)

The man shook his head, weeping and said he never heard from him. “For three years he used me…” he said, tears flowing down his face.

And that is the troubling truth I spilled out a few days ago. “What do I do with this?” I asked. I laid out the picture, how the leader used the man, when they were teens, and how the leader had been used by his older brother–who is also a leader–who had a sexual relationship with his cousin, and all three of their children having continued to abuse others.  And nothing can be done because everyone is past sixteen and those who know don’t want a kerfuffle in church, and those not in church have no proof. Just their tears, scars and struggles…

There was a pause.

“What am I supposed to do with all that? What is the right thing to do?” I asked again, earnestly. Her response completely blind-sided me. She is very thoughtful. Calculated.

“Now…” she paused, as if collecting her thoughts and arranging her words, just right. That, or she was’t sure how I would take what she had to say. “I think you are very balanced in what you have to say. You really know about how to work with this stuff…”

She paused again and came in with a most stunning question. “Have you ever thought about coming back to the church, and pulling with us?” She said some more things about that, but it all blurred together as I processed. No one had ever invited me to come back before.

“It would never work,” I said. I didn’t need time to think about it much. Because I already have. Probably a thousand times or more. “I would never be received back into any Mennonite church.” How to explain what I have seen play out in the lives of others…

“Why wouldn’t it work?” she asked ask sincerely, and innocently, as if not able to imagine the rejection that would be inevitable..

To write all that flashed through my mind at that moment would make a fine little book. To condense it, difficult.

“It just wouldn’t,” I said. “I wouldn’t be received.”

“What do you mean by that?”

I explained something she might have known, having watched me all those years ago, struggling to fit in. But it seemed to have evaded her. I think she just accepts me as I am, and doesn’t quite understand the fires I dance through, still, and did since childhood, for the things I say and do. For simply being who I am.

“I never fit in, even back then, before I had experienced another world, another culture. I don’t fit the mould; I’m not quiet, reserved… and could never go back to trying. I’m more of a Deborah… a Jael… I’ll put a nail through the head (figuratively speaking) if that is what it takes to do God’s work. I’m different… And I spent my whole childhood, a misfit, not able to line up. I couldn’t do that again. And, even if I did, I would be silenced so fast…”

Again she needed me to explain it. Her sweet innocence really believed that I could come back, follow the rules, and be a real asset to the healing and redemption in the church. To the ending of sexual abuse.

Oh how I wish! Would I be willing to go back if I knew I could change the lives of hundreds of children? Absolutely! Hated or not, and rejected or not, I could and I would! But, alas, as others have tried and I have watched them be put out of their churches for everything from ‘sewing discord’ to ‘bad attitudes’ to ‘lack of submission’. And, looking at the lies and rumours I have had to bear for my work, even being ‘outside’ the church–and I mean blatant lies, that someone conjured out of thin air, coming from leadership (I just heard of another deacon’s wife spreading lies this week)–I cannot imagine I would make it more than a day, or two.

Oh, sure, I said, there are some who I think would receive me well. Even leaders. And I mentioned one couple, not far from here, who I think really would try. Genuinely. They wouldn’t understand me, but they would love and accept me if I came back. I know it. But I would be a thorn in the flesh of the church, and the emotional, psychological and spiritual angst it would stir up, to experience on the inside what I have experienced from a distance, would throw the strongest of souls into deep depression.

Even at a distance that is a demon I have fought, almost daily, in working with ‘my people’, and dealing with sexual abuse in my cultural background. Almost daily, before my feet ever hit the floor, I lecture myself about God’s love and goodness, reminding myself that He has my back, that He knows the truth, that He is on my side. Because I know when I start moving my feet, and the rumours trickle in, I will need that ‘helmet of truth’ firmly in place.  I know that if I am not grounded with Him, I will be a bleeding soldier at the end of the day, with no hope left. With Him, I am a bleeding soldier, but His blood gives me life, even as I seem to bleed out on the ground.

Would I go back to the church of my childhood? No. Because I know better than to believe that dealing with the sexual abuse within, would work any better as ‘one of them’ than it has from a distance.

Really, what she said was very sweet. It seemed sincere in every way. Not some manipulation to get me back inside the walls. Not at all. But a genuine belief that we could work together.  And that was quite an honour, to be sure.

My prayer is that God will raise up godly men and women within, who have influence at a leadership level, to tackle this darkness head-on. My prayer is that walls crumble. That there is help for victims and perpetrators alike. It is the only way to bring an end to this violence, crime and evil.

So, while I may don the attire for a purpose, and though I will always have love and compassion for ‘my people’ in my heart,  I think that question is settled, deep in my heart…

But to imagine it, for just a moment in my head,  was fun. If I were to return, the bigger question would be ‘which kind of Mennonites?’ and I have already narrowed that down to two options…

It would be Amish or Old Order Mennonite, without question…

July 7 2012--2 Wagler family 158b

 

 

© Trudy Metzger

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Bearded Men, Religious Views, Gay Rights & Free Speech in a Duck’s Dynasty

Everyone else is chattering about it, I decided I might as well too. Usually addressing these ‘trending topics’ doesn’t interest me too much, so I stay away from them, even if I have an opinion.

And that was my plan this time too, but somehow I got drawn into this Phil Robertson saga. And it’s not because I watch Duck Dynasty. Mostly I haven’t the patience, the interest, or the attention span to watch anything on TV, including the news. Maybe especially the news. Most definitely, if it isn’t on CTV and free–which Duck Dynasty is not–I certainly won’t pay to watch it. Some day, however, when it shows up in second-hand stores, I’ll purchase Duck Dynasty and watch it at my leisure. Of that I’m quite certain.

The purpose of that little anti-TV rant? To establish that I have no vested interest in what happens to Phil Robertson, based on the show. Of course it is possible that I may change my mind after I find it in the used goods store, and ‘fall crazy in love’ with it. For now, I could care less about the show.

What got my interest is the hype on FB. Admittedly, when I first saw the ‘bring Phil Robertson Back’ status updates and invitations to ‘Like’ pages about it, I ignored them. Didn’t even know who the man was. After a day, or so, when I saw his bearded face and read his name in context with Duck Dynasty, I got curious and started clicking links and reading.

Part of me wonders what the big ‘social media deal’ is and why the fuss, even now that I know what happened, and what caused the ruckus. Didn’t Jesus give us a heads up that truth would not be appreciated? Is anti-Christianity not prophecy fulfilled? We should expect a bit of rejection. I get it all the time for speaking truth, and I get it from ‘within’ for exposing sexual abuse in churches, so this doesn’t shock me at all. If the religious, who have hidden sin, can’t handle truth spoken because it offends them, why should the secular world respond with more grace?

Acknowledging this ‘conflict with truth’ and the reality that we should expect rejection, is one side of the equation from a blatantly Christian point of view.

On the other hand, some Christians protested loudly to the war on freedom of speech. While I understand it, and have no problem with people actively standing for freedom, it is a view I can’t fully agree with. Both sides clearly spoke their minds, and neither was thrown in prison for it, so freedom of speech wasn’t taken from them.

Phil Robertson had freedom of speech. He did precisely what I think he should have done. He said what he thinks and believes with no apology. He is a Christian and, as such, embraces the Holy Bible as his authority on matters that collide with secular society. That’s what he said and it got him in trouble with his employer who has a different view. If he had been hateful, that would be a different thing. To believe something to be sin, and say so, isn’t hateful. It’s being honest.

A&E took action against Phil, based on their beliefs and views. They also exercised freedom of speech. And well they should. If it is their organization’s stand that homosexuality is acceptable and anyone who takes a stand against it publicly doesn’t reflect their views, then are they not being true to themselves to act as they did?

I’ve worked for a Christian organization that got rid of an employee for living in homosexual sin, and wasn’t willing to repent. To keep the employee, who clearly no longer embraced the values of the organization would have had huge ramifications had that truth leaked out. Without question the organization would have lost financial support from many sponsors and donors. They couldn’t afford to keep the employee. And, truth is, there was a collision of views and, in my opinion, that organization had the ‘right’ to get rid of the employee if it’s freedom of speech we are arguing for.

If that story had leaked out, I can’t imagine there would have been a ‘cry for justice’ regarding freedom of speech. And, had the individual taken it to court or gone public, there would have been an outpouring of prayer support. We can’t have it both ways, folks. Either both sides have the right to stand for personal beliefs and convictions–or lack thereof–or neither side has the right.

Granted, the whole thing falls apart right about there. Because if the fired gay individual goes to court, they’ll win. Hands down. Every time. The law is a donkey, at times, when it comes to justice for both sides. It leans heavily in favour of certain views.

Nor should we expect anything different. Life is a battle between good and evil, right and wrong. It has been since the fall of man, and it will remain that until the return of Christ.

We should not expect secular society to embrace, endorse, or support our views, unless we want to embrace, endorse and support their views. We should expect there to be a gap, some sort of ‘consequence’ for taking a stand, rather than buying into the worldview that is so popular, that all should live in perfect harmony. It can’t happen. Jesus prophesied that He would bring division.

Furthermore, God gave us all freedom of choice and we should, therefore, extend the same to the world around us. I’m not saying we should not speak out against sin, crime and all ‘darkness’, but we shouldn’t expect to be appreciated or even ‘accepted’. Prophets in days gone by were murdered for speaking truth. That didn’t stop them. We should speak out, respectfully, and pay the price.

Whether it is calling sin ‘sin’, or actively proclaiming the evils of murdering unborn babies–cleverly disguised as ‘freedom of choice for women’–we should be bold and firm in our stand against darkness. But in all of that we should never try to make the world ‘accept’ us, or walk in the light. Nor should we be hateful or obnoxious about it. That’s counterproductive. Ignorant, really.

If freedom of choice, given us by God, is something we want to exercise, then women should get to decide whether they have an abortion or not. Homosexuals should get to decide if they want to live in same-sex relationships or not. Secular governments should get to decide whether they endorse gay marriage or not. That is their God-given ‘right’ to freedom of choice, lifestyle and speech. Why should I take from them the right to choose between a life that honours God or glorifies sin? God gave me that choice.

And while they’re busy making those decisions and living out the consequences for their decisions, I should stand firm in the truth of Jesus Christ. I should speak His truth. All of it. Without apology. And I should love them, without justifying sin.

That truth will collide with their lifestyles. Truth is, this battle is over no duck’s dynasty, after all. It is a war between good and evil, God and Satan, right and wrong. If that were not so, then our truth would not be such an affront to people living in sin would. They would simply shake their heads at us poor misguided souls. But, even kindly spoken, and gently lived truth is an enemy.

We should always remember that until people know God, through Jesus Christ, intimately and personally, the truth about bearded men with biblical views, the truth about sin, and the reality that freedom of speech is two-sided should not make any sense to a lot of people. Why should they value the things that matter to God, when they have no understanding of God Himself?

Maybe, if we live the life of Christ boldly, fearlessly, regardless of the outcome–even if it means getting kicked off TV, which most of us need not fear–and speak the truth of Jesus… maybe, just maybe, the world will come to know our Saviour.

© Trudy Metzger

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