Staying and Leaving and Denying the Obvious

The diocese of Fort Worth, TX, recently withdrew from The Episcopal Church USA. The denomination’s office of public affairs released this statement from their liberal leader, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori:

The Episcopal Church grieves the departures of a number of persons from the Diocese of Fort. Worth. We remind those former Episcopalians that the door is open if they wish to return. We will work with Episcopalians in the Diocese of Fort Worth to elect new leadership and continue the work of the gospel in that part of Texas. The gospel work to which Jesus calls us demands the best efforts of faithful people from many theological and social perspectives, and The Episcopal Church will continue to welcome that diversity.

Here is what Dr. Mohler said on his radio program regarding this statement:

That is one of the most incredible demonstrations of denying the obvious I think I’ve ever seen. She is having diocese after diocese leave… you just have to assume that somehow [the leadership of the denomination has] bought into the fact that people leaving just makes them all the more right. That somehow they must be so right that people just can’t stand the truth.

Over the course of the past three years as a founding member of a church plant, I have seen many other founding families also leave (actually all of the founding families have left except for two of them).  According to the recent increase of traffic on my blog, I am guessing that people have been looking for me to post something about this…but I haven’t really known what to say about it.  I really can’t stand bloggers who use their blogs to vent about things they can’t say to people in real life.  So what I’m writing here is about me and what I have learned from this experience and how I will change because of this.  I’ve actually articulated these thoughts to real people before writing it here so this is not some kind of virtual forum for me.  That is not what “play the man” is about.


Anyways, as family after family left our church plant I did exactly what Dr. Mohler points out is happening with the leadership of the Episcopal Church (ouch!).  I denied the obvious and assumed that their leaving made me all the more right and that somehow I must be so right that these people left because they just couldn’t stand the truth.
I have been on both sides of this issue during the past three years.  I left a “purpose driven church” three years ago and others stayed – those who stayed thought that my leaving proved they were doing things right and that I was just the devil’s tool holding them back.  More recently (as a part of the church plant and NOT the ‘purpose-driven church’) I’ve been on the other side.  As I watched families leave the church plant, I believed that the leaving of these people proved we were doing things right and that they were just the devil’s little tool holding us back.
Oh sure, there are times when people leave for no good reason at all.  I know that.  And there are times when people leave for all the wrong reasons.  I really don’t like that, but I know it is true.  However, in pretty much every case during the last three years, people left because those who stayed denied the obvious and “bought into the fact that people leaving just [made] them all the more right” and “that somehow they must be so right that people just can’t stand the truth.”


I won’t do that again.  I won’t deny the obvious and I won’t treat people as if their leaving made me all the more right and I won’t think I must be so right that people who leave just can’t stand the truth.  I won’t do that again.

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1 comment so far

  1. Kim on

    Neither will I.

    It has certainly produced a great deal of humility in my life, for which I am always in need of and forever grateful.

    Thanks Brian. For everything.


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