Wednesday, December 5, 2007

MOP Comments (Page 8)

Over the last 3 years I have been trying to get into contact with someone from my Mosaic past. She had worked in a ministry that I was apart of. I called those whom I thought she may still be connected with but nobody had her phone number or email. This past year I gave up hope of getting a hold of her and just prayed that she was doing well.

My reasons for wanting to talk with her was to ask her to forgive me. I was apart of pushing her out of the church. The elders and Erwin wanted her out and asked me to be apart of that process. They justified themselves and callously moved on it. I believe they had other motives on why they wanted her out. The ministry she served in was not apart of Erwin's big plans. I didn't see it then but it seems all to clear now.

I allowed that to happen. I participated. I was guilty. I knew what I was doing was wrong but I was confused. I was foolish. I allowed those above me to abuse their power to treat someone badly. Not only was she to be removed but the way it was done was awful. Over the years I felt the guilt of being apart of something so clearly wrong. The way she was dealt with was so ugly. She was treated like an outcast. I wondered what damage we had done to her. Would she walk away from the Church (big C)? Would she stop serving in the areas she was so gifted in? Would she walk away from God?

The good news is she contacted me about a month ago. She had found MOP and started reading. She said she had to take some time to absorb what she was reading, there was a lot to think and pray about. When we first spoke I could hear a little caution in her voice, she was careful. Since then we have had a couple of good conversations getting to know each other again. She is not only walking with God but she has continued to pursue her desires to serve those God has placed a burden on her heart. We spoke about what had happened and she was so gracious to me. She explained how difficult it had been, how confusing it was but how God had brought the right people with the right words to free her from the lies that were told to her. This reminds me of one of Satan's most powerful weapons, confusion. She was able to overcome that.

There is freedom in forgiveness. Sometimes forgiveness is a process as sometimes the pain throbs and consequences linger. I believe this person whom I hurt went through a process to get to the point where she forgave as Jesus would forgive. Although I am so glad that she has forgive me, more importantly, for her sake she does not hold it and allow it to grow into bitterness. My hope and prayer is none of those whom have been hurt will hold their hurt to one day bud into bitterness. Rather, to start the process to forgive.

Cris Aguilar


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Yvonne W. said...

Anonymous said...
so i don't get it, if mosaic is in a financial mess. why r they starting a new service in whittier? i hope its ok to write, Easter has passed.

March 24, 2008 8:15 PM

You're right, Easter is over now so here is a link to my latest post on Erwin McManus and Mosaic.

By the way, that is an interesting question you posed. I would also like to hear the answer to it.

Yvonne W.

Awaken Humanity's Slice of the Mosaic Pie

Anonymous said...

Nice tribute Yvonne. On target as always. MH

Anonymous said...

That Bro. Tom, What a guy. He always said he wouldn't leave unless he was asked. Sorry

Anonymous said...

Did anyone see Erwin McManus on TBN this week? Curious what people think about that interview?

(Apr 08 episode)


Cris Aguilar said...


The conversation has been moved over one page, which is called MOP Comments (Pg 9).

Click the following link to continue on:

MOP Comments (Pg 9)


Lynn Hutchinson said...

Hello...I just came across your blog this morning and wanted to respond.

I found you as I was doing what my friend calls an "ego Google," looking up an old friend from Mosaic, curious what he was up to in the world. And the reason I no longer know firsthand what he is up to is that I, too, had an unfortunate departure from Mosaic about four years ago.

As I've moved on and healed quite a bit from the experience, I'm on the fence as to whether sharing my story again would help or hinder. But I must say there is a part of me that is sadly relieved to know that I, at least, am not alone in my disappointment.

For what it's worth - a few thoughts I came to realize in sorting out the situation...

How we choose, as humans, to make religion happen (I know "religion" is a highly unpopular term at Mosaic and similar institutions. But it is, to me, the rules and regulations set forth by any spiritual group as to how they believe one gets access to it through community, through self, through rituals, etc.) is a choice. It is a selection. And these days, there is a boundless array of varieties from which to choose.

Mosaic adheres to a certain brand of Christian practices. One that can inspire creativity, community, and personal improvement on a variety of levels. Those, in my opinion, are its strengths. And seven years ago, they are what drew me to Mosaic.

However, Mosaic is a place of definite boundaries. What may be considered grey areas to many seem to be hard and fast black and white to Mosaic.

I can't speak to any recent accusations regarding abuse of financial resources or other issues that have been mentioned. But I can speak to a seemingly uncharacteristic, nearly inhumane relaying of a message to me about the clearly "unacceptable behavior" of falling in love with a Jewish man.

I have replayed the scenario a thousand times in my head. Only two weeks after meeting this man and realizing that I wanted to get to know him better, I arranged a meeting with one of the pastors to discuss it. I anticipated being challenged - which I had hoped would help grant me clarity on the topic, one way or the other. I wanted to share my joys and - at that time - fears about the situation above ground. I didn't want to sneak around behind closed doors about this relationship. (Man, these notions all seem so archaic to me now...something out of the Dark Ages. Why on earth, would anyone feel ANYTHING but joy about meeting someone as loving as this man I met?)

But what I didn't anticipate was, two months later to show up for a rehearsal only to be told to pack up my instrument and not bother to show up to play that Sunday morning. I was no longer "fit" to share my gifts in that way. I was now "a bad influence on the daughters of the church." (Sadly, it was a friend of mine who was put in place to be the messenger of this little piece of information. He wasn't the decision maker. Just the poor guy who had to tell me about it.) (As a side grievance, that was a really awful position to have put this man in. The pastor should've dealt with me directly. I hope he took this guy out for a big fat lunch or something...)

After much thought about how to respond, spinning through almost every emotion in the book, I decided to show up the following Sunday at the morning service. My Jewish boyfriend went with me, determined - in spite of the hardships of the previous days - to support me in my decision to remain in the community. We sat in the second row, not hiding from anyone. Ironically...EXTREMELY ironically...the message was about how there really isn't any reason for Jews and Christians to not be friends.

As Erwin said: "After all, Jesus was a Jew..."

Blah, blah, blah.

(No offense, said many good things that morning. A very good sermon. But it all sounded like bull, after what I had experienced the days before.)

I attended one more service on my own after that. No one approached me with the usual hugs and hellos those two Sundays. Not one. It seemed that I had fallen outside of grace.

I was connected to many leaders of the church at the time, believing them to be my friends. But the saddest part of it to me was that no one...not a single member of the leadership team...contacted me in the weeks / months that followed to check on how I was doing. After what was an emotionally agonizing two months, I emailed one of these friends, asking why this had happened in this way. Adding insult to injury, he responded by sharing HIS disappointment with ME, that I would choose to leave the church.

To his great credit, I did have a good conversation with David Arcos around that same time. I was extremely blunt about how destructive the lead team's decision and the way they carried it out was to me and to many...MANY...non-Christians around me (after hearing about my experience, imagine explaining to a descendent of the Holocaust how, exactly, my church wasn't Anti-Semitic). David was receptive to what I said and, although he couldn't apologize on behalf of the Lead Team, he apologized for failing me as a friend.

As months and years passed, I have remained in touch with a few of the musician friends I made there, as well. They shared in my sorrow of my departure and supported me joyfully as that Jewish man and I got married.

I have no grievance against Erwin. I thoroughly enjoyed my conversations with him and was enlightened by what he had to say many times over.

But as for the team that he undoubtedly led, I'm not really certain what happened behind closed doors. Why my heart, my friendship, and my countless hours of service to the Mosaic community didn't seem to register when they made such a blunt move against my decision to question the black and white is a mystery to me. There was no attempt to meet with my now husband and me (he was even coming to services with me up until I was "fired"). There was no option laid out to me. Just walking papers out of the blue. Pure and simple.

I will have to address the damage Mosaic did to my husband's family's understanding of Christian love for the rest of my life. That's the consequence of my decision to have invested so deeply in being a part of Mosaic.

So, at the end of the day, what have I concluded for myself?

I now have a very deep-seeded opinion that any label that one chooses to put it Christian, Jewish, Muslim, black, white, American, whatever...that triggers something in his/her brain that says "this one belongs, but that one doesn't"...Any label that creates an Us versus Them scenario has great potential for destruction.

Clearly, my decision to love someone who didn't fit in the box made ME someone who didn't fit in the box. (And, to be accurate to the story, I not only received grief from Christians in this scenario...A few of my husband's family members also had trouble accepting someone outside of their own box. Sadly, there seems to be a pandemic of fear-based exclusions residing in many religious institutions. It's tragic. Humans made religion. We create God in our own image everyday. And that one dares to justify punishing and judging others with "God-sponsored" reasons is despicable to me.)

All that being said, going back to the notion of selection...

Mosaic's is a certain brand of Christian religion. It is one that encourages "this is right...and that is wrong. And if you choose outside our lines, there will consequences...even before heaven and hell." For example, there was a Right and Wrong way for me to find a soulmate. It just so happens, my perfect mate was from the "Wrong" camp.

That kind of thinking really works for a lot of people. Truly. To learn a structure of how to think of themselves, God and others so that they don't have to sort through the grey matter of the world. It's a very comforting and protected place to be. You become insulated from assimilating to those you don't know or understand. You don't have to deal with the complicated, often discouraging aspects of human behavior. Someone is instructing you how (and how not) to handle yourself.

And in some periods of a person's life, I think that is a justifiable and self-preserving place to be.

Although I may be doing a miserable job of expressing it and I myself can't sign up for it, I genuinely don't begrudge those for whom it does work. I walked willingly into Mosaic, looking for something. No one held a gun to my head and said I had to buy their brand of belief. A classic case of "Buyer Beware." Mosaic has spread a lot of love and joy and personal honesty into places and people who were filled with darkness. And I still find myself dancing to the music in my head that used to fill my Sunday mornings in those years.

But clearly, Mosaic is not a place I would ever choose to be again. I know this now. Mosaic's penchant for black and white doesn't work for me and my world view. I can choose to be somewhere else and let those for whom Mosaic DOES work to live in peace.

And in that revelation, I found MY peace.

For any of you out there who have been outcast like this, I feel for your pain. I know what that is and I'm sorry you've gone through it. But I'm hoping it has made you a stronger, more loving being on the other side.

For those of you who are seemingly really angry about Erwin's success, keep in mind that he is very good at what he does. Like the leader of any successful business, he is focused, gifted, passionate, and frankly...well-marketed. Last time I checked, those things aren't sins. Now, I don't happen to be interested in what he is "selling," and if you're upset by what he's up to, I'm guessing you aren't, either. In my opinion, there are far worse crimes in the world than to capitalize on your skills as a communicator to get folks going to church. Even one that is self-serving on occasion. Erwin and Mosaic offers a certain thing that is good for certain people.

Allegations of immoral, untruthful or illegal behavior, of course, is something else. And I'm still trying to understand the stories behind where those accusations come from. So, no comments from me on that.

As for any Mosaic lead team members reading this, I hope you will sift through whatever false accusations you might come across to find the nuggets of truth that tug at your heart. I understand that you feel the need to draw lines in the sand. Fair enough. It's your church and you are free to view your purpose as you wish.

But I hope in recent years you have reconsidered the means and methods with which you imbue your message.

Wishing peace to all,
Lynn Hutchinson

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