I just got word from my friend in Mexico that they do not want me coming down there to speak in their churches. My friend does, but not his friends. They found out that I was divorced, which is the unpardonable sin when it comes to speaking in Christian pulpits.
This worldview is not the view of my friend; he’s a supporting member of our site and has much respect for me, as I do for him. He did not think about this minor (divorce) detail, which he knows now that is not a small talking point with these pastors. Though the fact that we don’t hide that I’ve gone through a divorce on our website, it did not occur to him that he should say that I was. And he shouldn’t have “majored on a minor,” as though that tidbit is a disqualifier.
But some folks, due to their religious preferences and prejudices, have another perspective. Mercifully, the Lord brought this out for those pastors, and they are asking us not to come to Mexico to share the gospel of Christ. As one pastor said, “I will not permit him to speak in my pulpit.” (I say “mercifully, the Lord brought this out” because it’s far better to find out now than after we arrived in Mexico.)
Murder, Yes – Divorce, No
Ironically, it would have been “better” if I had murdered my ex-wife rather than her divorcing me. (I say this in hyperbolic jest only, as I have no ill-will toward her.) But sometimes you can’t choose the sins that follow you through life. I just happen to have the “leprosy sin” of divorce.
My friend is sad. He has used much of our content in his preaching over the past few years and genuinely loves me and our resources. I’m sorry for him.
My children were listening to the phone call through the speaker, as was Lucia. They don’t understand, though they shrugged it off with mild sadness that they could not go with us for this trip. Ansa hugged me and said that she loves me anyway, and always will. Her love for me is more important than a handful of legalistic pastors.
It’s been a while since someone has disqualified me from Christian ministry. I don’t think about it any longer since my identity is in Christ, not in what the Lord has permitted into my life. I suppose it’s been thirty or so years since I walked away from fundamentalist’s teaching preferences. I do remember my friend (and pastor) in Commerce, GA telling me that I could speak in his pulpit anytime that I wanted to as long as I was not dating or remarried.
Pray For My Brothers
It is possible these Mexican pastors will change their minds, though it seems unlikely since they believe so firmly and the trip is less than a month.
As for me? I’m a sovereigntist; God is in control of all things, and I know that He works in mysterious ways. I don’t say that simplistically. I do believe it, and because of that, I’m not struggling with this turn of events. God is good. He opens and shuts doors.
From my viewpoint, it was God’s work in me as I went through a divorce that gave me (and this ministry) a significant platform to help hundreds of thousands of people. We just won’t be serving a group of folks in Mexico.
But then the Lord could do something different for them and us.
Stay tuned. Pray fervently. We are one in His body.