Maybe it is nearly time to consider concrete action for my dear friend and brother. If church leaders remain obstinate and would not do the right thing they leave their victim with limited options.
Ian Teh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
to [ ],
Dear [ ]
I understand your reluctance to engage me. You should understand however, that the notion of writing to Jason “alone” implying a degree of confidentiality or probity, does no one any favours. It certainly would not progress this matter. The action of Tham Fuan and his leaders was a collective one and the impact and effect likewise, is collective. The notion of privacy and confidentiality probably has much less to do with biblical injunctions than western individualistic bends. You’d find eastern approaches are often communal and a community as a whole is often engaged in resolving an issue. I’d say this is closer to what the scriptures teach than a western individualistic approach.
I humbly submit that Matt 18 requires engagement more than anything else, so that relationships can be given effect. An insistence on face-to-face meetings exclusively, is a misapplication of that passage. The end goal of a relationship made good through engagement, is so that the work of God may then resume or proceed. To that end, the refusal of Tham Fuan and his leaders to respond to the matter raised by Jason, is a refusal to engage. Your (and their) persistent request for a meeting in this regard, absent meaningful response to Jason’s emails, is more a case for an engagement on your terms (and/or their terms) – much more so than obeying scriptures. Why is a preliminary process of clearly identifying issues through email exchanges excluded? Even if it takes several rounds of email exchanges preceding a meeting, it would be a firm demonstration of an intention to engage to get to the bottom of things. This would be true obedience to the “Matt 18 injunction”. I am of couse, a mere lay person so perhaps your reading and interpretation has more merit than I can see. I therefore stand corrected.
In any event the “Matt 18 injunction” has seen some mileage in this saga – way before it all exploded in everyone faces because of what Tham Fuan and his leaders decided to do. Why did they choose to ignore the earlier mediation process which was a step of obedience to scripture? Why raise the “Matt 18 injunction” now and insist Jason sit down and talk, after Tham Fuan and his leaders have thrashed it and have dished out judgment on Jason publicly?
Having said all that, I have known my brother Jason to be a man of grace so I may still be thoroughly embarassed in being proven utterly wrong and he may have responded to you. I hope you managed to get him on (your) side in this regard. If so, I will happily put my hands up and retreat completely.
- Jonathan urges leaders to submit to biblical injunctions (vanguardngr.com)
- The key to mediation is to find the real issue (scotsman.com)
- Mediator’s First Job: Listen To Understand (mchallamlaw.wordpress.com)