Sign of the times?

@abc7 just broadcast this tweet: OC teens unleash paintball attack on homeless man, permanently damaging his eyesight:

I hope you watch the video and I pray it pisses you off.

It made me so mad I had to take a walk. While at the corner store security comes dragging in a middle-aged clean-cut white guy. He had just lifted a Sneakers bar and got caught. The whole thing seemed kind of odd to me, and to make it even a little weirder the clerk behind the counter says, “Everyone is going gangsta right now because no one has money”! He was so casual about his words I got the feeling shoplifting is not only increasing…it is becoming rather normal.

Point blank – a few weeks back I was in a city meeting and unofficial comments were made about the possibility of riots this February. With more massive layoffs coming, a new administration, and the backlash of the down economy it is not far-fetched.

Over a year ago I wrote this post, “Serious change is coming! Are you ready?”.  At the time I was employed in an organization that is very superficial and that has some very “unique” beliefs. Good people, they just don’t know any better. I was not my (hardly) normal self back then and genuine honesty was discouraged. That said, I may have written it a little different today, but much of the post is still right on. The point I was trying to make is simple: because we are entering into unstable times relationships with good, honest, and loyal people are all that matter, and building mutually beneficial relationships should be our priority – not the accumulation of financial wealth!

What do you think about any of this?

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  • Jen

    Your blog, your opinion but still I have to challenge you. When will you get over hurt feelings from over a year ago? How long are you going to grind this ax? You were employed by an organization you described as “a ministry of integrity”–adherence to a code of values. Now you say “unique” beliefs where genuine honesty was discouraged. Which is it? My suggestion…get over it. Move on. Stop making excuses. Go forward. “Just as iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen the minds of each other.” (Prov. 27:17)

  • Linda D.

    Your bottom line sentence were my very thoughts this evening as my family and I are transitioning back to California during difficult financial times in our lives. And now as I’m typing, these Bible verses just came to me 😉 Phil. 4:11-13, where Paul says: “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him [Christ] who gives me strength.” I praise God for His Word that is living and active today and the renewal and peace and confidence that He gives us, his children. As always, thank you, Mark, for your good & sincere work! May the Lord continue to strengthen, bless & protect you.


    Thanks for the comment and the great points.

    First let me say it is easy to suggest from the outside. Letting go is a process. I’ve lost everything. All I have left is my car (no money to pay for the loan this month), this laptop, some furniture, and a box of photos.  Truth is, though, I was not slamming or “grinding an axe” in this post – I was simply trying to explain why my older writings may come across as “over saved” . I don’t talk like that anymore because I no longer live in a pretend world.

    You should read:

    What I really wanted to say!

    Non-compete in ministry (you planted that seed)

    Some thoughts on control

    Shunning is horrible

    Real faith is… (read the comments – wow!)

    Yes, some of those posts may have been me letting out some hurt, but they are all true and needed to be said. In addition I have always felt it really interesting that if you get bad service from a cell phone company, or a waiter at your favorite lunch spot is rude, it is ok to be honest about it. But if a person is genuinely honest about a ministry or the family that controls that ministry they are considered as being negative. For years this has been the standard church teaching to manipulate people into silence.  A difference of opinion is not negative. It is the path to real and effective change!

    That said the internet is changing things. Ministries that don’t always walk with integrity can no longer keep everyone silent – that is a very good thing! As I continue to be more honest and open it is rather shocking how many people connect with this blog. I am writing what other people are thinking.

    The scary part is even though you might feel it is directed at one church, it is MANY churches. There are many authoritarian style leaders abusing people while building their kingdoms.

    You ask,  which is it?

    You are correct. At one time I did believe the ministry had integrity and adhered to a code of ethical and moral values. I also believed when that ministry’s leadership explained their covert policy of shunning that it was wonderful. I even enforced their shunning policy with my direct reports. I believed in the leaders, so I believed in all that they did, but shunning is not ethical. It is horrible and a form of manipulation.  To this day employees and members continue to be shunned. I don’t think a leader who will smile to your face and then lie behind your back has integrity. I am not referring to me, but the half dozen or so employees and far more members he lies to everyday! Yes, I was blind – $17k first year cash bonuses will do that.  I also learned how financial “blessings” can be used to manipulate and control.  I have since gone to all of the people that I shunned while being employed there and openly apologized.

    The last sermon I heard he was teaching that the high gas prices were our fault – that we didn’t have enough faith. Is the economy our fault, too? Maybe we should make watching episodes of Joel Osteen mandatory until we all think happy positive thoughts and there are no more homeless children!  Once I was told the reason we were stuck in Los Angeles traffic is because I personally was speaking that traffic into existence. Trust me; there is nothing ANYONE can say that will have any power over LA traffic except maybe the “Governator” himself. But, one of my favorites is the Sunday morning sermon on how each one of us has power over the weather.  Too any normal person those are very “unique” beliefs.  

    Point blank – the reason people can continue to abuse people is because people are scared to speak up. I was wrong to keep quiet. I will no longer play pretend. I honestly don’t believe they are bad people. They have just created a wall of silence with manipulation because they are so very insecure. Honest and open communication is not allowed so they never have to change.

    I do agree with your points. Please know that I have two friends I bounce my posts off of for accountability and they OFTEN slap me around!

    Your points are valid and I continue to work on me.

    While you are sharpening iron pass along this quote:

    "Control or growth. Pick one." -Rick Warren