I have decided to take a different approach on this blog when it comes to naming names. Up to this point, I felt that I needed to name names to give more credibility to the points that I was trying to make. I think that I, and possibly others, experienced a kind of therapy from knowing exactly about whom we were talking. In spite of this personal benefit, I have changed my mind on this issue. I will continue to critique any/all published materials like books, articles, Cds, tapes, Mp3s, sermons, etc., but I will try not to name names anymore. I now admit how this kind of practice can descend so quickly into a “he said/she said” kind of scenario or an unhealthy feeding frenzy of repressed feelings against certain people.
Here are my reasons:
1-When I name a name on this blog, the other person is not there to defend himself or herself or to give their side of the story; in that sense it is unfair for me to name names. Sure, we know that many “lurk” or have their staff members do the same, but most do not want to engage in trying to defend themselves personally in this kind of environment.
2-I have taken more to heart the Mt. 18 Protocol of Jesus which begins with: “When your brother sins against you, go to him in private…” I don’t know how I am going to honor these words of Jesus perfectly because I have literally boxes full of notes of wrongs and offenses against leaders, but I will be thinking and praying about how I can work this important exhortation more into my daily life. (I am open to any ideas along this line.)
3-Several years ago, I promised a couple of the pastors in the church system I like to criticize on this blog that when I wrote my book on spiritual abuse, that I would not mention any of their names. Even though this blog is not strictly a “book,” I feel that I may have been violating this promise in spirit.
4-My motive for naming names has been to confront a church system that I feel has gone wrong in many ways. I now feel that I can accomplish my main purpose without always doing this. My naming of names may have hurt some people’s reputations unnecessarily. (This last point brings up the whole idea of whether I owe any of those I publicly criticized an apology; I will wait on the Lord about that one.)
5-I have found that the Lord has sovereignly involved me in situations (even one right now for which I covet your prayers!) in which I confront pastors about their wrongdoings. Because of these types of sensitive scenarios, I think that I will feel better in my heart if I drop using names. (Honestly, I’m getting filled with so much ammo against pastor/leaders that I don’t want to get into the habit of it spilling out automatically all the time. I want to follow the approach that, as far as I can tell, therapists take when they publish a book using all of their clients’ examples – but with all the names changed.)
6-I personally know many pastor/leaders besides the ones “on the hill.” As I continue to share, I would like any readers to know that what I write is not necessarily going to be about the church “on the butte.”
In light of these reflections, I will be systematically going through all of my previous articles and striking out the names wherever possible. I felt to change the names in my Tacoma Dome story awhile back and now feel peace about changing the rest of them. Again, at least for right now, I feel that I can still accomplish my goal of exposing spiritual abuse in pastors and churches by keeping my focus on the general biblical principles involved instead of naming individuals.
If you disagree with my decision, I will understand. I ask, nevertheless, that you try to have patience with me as I continue to struggle with the many deep and personal issues involved with truth-telling on this blog; especially since, from the beginning, I have chosen to post in my own name.