Fonticulus Fides

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Encouraging Words

...from Karen Marie Knapp. If you haven't already, please pop over to read her post for today.

I wonder what is going on?!?!

Last night, I learned that the Assemblies of God pastor whose church I attended as a brand-new Christian 15 years ago had some sort of nervous breakdown last August. He has only preached sporadically since then and only rarely joins the congregation for worship. Officially, he's on a year's paid leave as he recouperates from "pastoral burn-out."

This morning, I learned that the Anglican church we attended after leaving the Assemblies has folded and the few congregants left have scattered to a couple different Episcopal churches in the area. Last time I spoke with Fr. R of that church, he was this close to converting to Catholicism. I know his wife has always been resistant to the idea, however, so I guess the Episcopal communion is the place for them to be right now.

Regarding the first pastor, I don't know what caused his troubles. But I suspect he has had a crisis of faith. I suspect it because I saw it coming when we left that church 8 years ago. When we left, things were really out of hand with a particular "spiritual movement" that the pastor and his staff insisted was good but my husband and I feared was profoundly evil.

On Mother's Day last year, a woman who belonged to this same denomination and whose church was experimenting with the same "spiritual movement" stoned her two older sons to death and left her baby son maimed because she thought that "God said to." (You can read the story here, but it's brutal, so please don't click through if you don't want the details.) That event may have cause this pastor to see things in a different light, and caused him to question everything he thought he knew about God, the Holy Spirit and his own faith. His breakdown occurred shortly afterwards.

It's a painful experience. We went through it, too. Once we were able to see what was happening in that church, we tried to stop it. And when we couldn't stop it, we had to leave. But as we left, we suddenly realized that we couldn't trust our instincts the way we had been taught to trust them. We questioned everything and found no means of answering those questions. Until we discovered the Liturgy.

The Liturgy didn't answer all our questions, but it gave us a solid foundation on which to stand. We held onto it for dear life and learned to trust again. It took a great deal of time to heal before we could start to grow. Indeed, there are times I feel like I'm back at square one all over again. When that happens, though, I focus on the Liturgy and the Eucharist and use them to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Eventually, I feel like a tree freshly pruned and watered and fertilized and ready to grow again.

I am praying for this former pastor of mine. I don't know exactly what he's going through, but I do know that Christ will answer our cries for mercy, comfort and understanding on his behalf.



Post a Comment

<< Home