Hurting and searching

I was away (Sydney) for a work conference the second half of last week. The weather in Sydney was poor and the stormy conditions on Friday night meant many flights were delayed, including mine. I was grateful for my kindle which kept me from being restless till I landed back at Tullamarine, just after 10pm.

I got back home just after 11pm, and after about an hour with a really good scotch, crashed out – in my own bed.

Sat was a bit of a blur – after my usual laundry round, I had a dental appointment in the morning, which confirmed for me my mouth is a dental bombsite. Tress and I went for lunch at the Hakka tea-house and then went home to do some work in the garden. It was a beautiful day and we were just glad to be outdoor, tending to the garden.

That night we had dinner with Jason and Mel at their home, together with the Hii’s. Tress and I did a baked prawns dish and it’s good to be doing regular cooking again – after doing almost all of our cooking on the Weber Q through the summer.

We talked about all sorts of things at dinner but the conversation somehow gravitated towards LifeGate Church and its leadership. It wasn’t something I wanted to talk about because it still hurt to be away from that church. But they were our friends and in many ways, their hurt was greater and more raw and fresh, so I listened and took part in the conversation.

Incidentally last night Tress and I were watching the Masterchef on telly and when one of the contestants botched a job (he was eventually eliminated) and apologised, one of the judges said it wasn’t about an apology. It was about delivering what was right and learning about the wrong delivery. In other words, processing and understanding and application is what’s required. If after all that the issue of apology arises then maybe then – one considers the how, who, etc of that.

Tham Fuan Yee – If you come into my house and tell me I am dishonest and I take issue with that, and I eventually leave my house as a result of what you said and also so your stay in the house becomes easier for you, I need to understand what you are about. I don’t need an apology at the first instance. Especially when my past dealings with you suggest you are prone to saying things quickly without being accountable for them. I need to understand, process and apply that interaction because for the both of us to remain in the house, I need to understand you a bit more because otherwise your hurting words will continue to hurt. Tham Fuan, if you can’t understand that then you are such a long way from becoming an effective pastor. You may be a youth pastor Tham Fuan but to engage an adult requires deeper engagement and you have proven incapable of that.

Now my friend is bearing the brunt of it, just as I have all these months.

Families have left the church, and he doesn’t seem to care. Tham Fuan continues to be an enigmatic disgrace.

Anyway, the next day we had to deal with the consequences of Tham Fuan’s action yet again and decide where to have fellowship on the Lord’s day. Tress’ colleague had invited her to the inauguration of the Doncaster branch of the Bridge Church at Richmond so we decided to give that a go.

The usual light and sound shows were there. Even when we walked towards the cinema complex where the church was meeting, dozens of people were lining the approach and greeting us. Visitors were warmly welcomed, given packs, invited to the gold lounge for coffee and given cards to indicate their levels of interests. They even gave out nice chocolates. All very slick.

The message was a well-worn Pentecostal one. 1 of their 3 declared core values is the expectation of the supernatural and one has little doubt that this did not refer to grand miracles like the virgin birth or the resurrection – they were instead, little veiled references to acts of healings, demon chasing, tongue speaking class of supernaturals. In other words, John Wimber signs and wonders stuff.

On the way home, Tress and I talked about the visit and I wondered out loud, that if I subscribed to 2 out of the 3 core values, would they accept me as an active member?

You see – the other tenets of the church are actually very good and absolutely resonated with my thinking, especially recently. More of that later perhaps – I first need to consider whether to write to this church and ask that question. Until then, the need to deal with the consequences of Tham Fuan’s toxic actions remain…