There are many consequences of divorce. Many of them are negative and traumatic. Contrary to some, I do not think that every consequence of every divorce is negative. I understand fully that my views on divorce and remarriage are controversial. And I am comfortable with that.
I have experienced a shocking and unexpected consequence from my divorce. When my ex-wife and I divorced it was life-changing. I experienced deep depression and many other negative responses. Nothing about it was fun. It was by far the worst experience of my life.
However, there have been some good things come from my divorce. It changed how I view fellowship. More specifically, it changed how I view disfellowship. Because losing my marriage was the most painful relationship loss that I will ever experience, the threat of a preacher friend walking away from me holds much less power over me than it did in the past. For much of my ministry, I have lived in constant fear of pleasing the brethren. While walking in harmony with godly men is noble, walking contrary to one's faith and conscience to please men is not.
The political pressures of Pentecost seem small to me after the loss of my family. The threat does not work. The fear of the consequences of Pentecostal politics does not paralyze me. I hurt for friends who have not experienced the depth of loss that I have when I see them struggle with being who they are because of preachers and politics. I want so bad for them to know that the greatest relationships that they will ever have fall asleep under their roof every night. And the second greatest category of relationship they will ever have are the people that God has blessed them to pastor.
I ask every pastor that reads this blog to reconsider your priorities. Put your family and the congregation you oversee first. Then allow God to put organic relationships in your life that fit the vision God has for your family—including your church family. Don't subject what God is doing locally to someone a thousand miles away (in many cases). There is no one that you only see a few times a year at a conference worth giving that much power in your life. The people that have that kind of sway in your life should be few and selected carefully.
I do not, and will not, build my life around fellowships, movements or organizations. I build my life around the relationships that God places in my life to forward his agenda for me. And those people will be loyal to individuals and not institutions. I fear for good reason relationships that are dependent on human systems. I fear them because of how they have treated me and the people with whom I am the closest.
I am fiercely loyal. I will admit that I may even be loyal to a fault. I may stick with people too long. But I am loyal and I value loyalty wherever I see it.
As always, comment even if you disagree.