On Friday, Mars Hill posted A Call For Reconciliation. Here is my response:
I am glad that Mars Hill has acknowledged that there are many people out here who have been hurt by their church. I appreciate their call to reconciliation, however, I won't be answering it on those terms.
Please know that I pray regularly for Mars Hill and its leadership. It is my greatest desire to see good come out of all of this. I love many people who are still at Mars Hill, and I am glad that most of them are happy there. The positive experience of some does not invalidate the very negative experience of others though. For every story I have posted here, there are stories I did not share, because the person shared their story in confidence.
The statement seemed to blur the lines and imply that all of the people speaking out against Mars Hill were under church discipline and are taking those matters public. To clarify, this is the exception and not the rule, as in our case and most others that have been shared here, we were not, in fact, under church discipline. And since, in this post as well as the last two responses PR issued, they continue to stand by their stance on church discipline, one which I do not now or will I ever agree with, I am unable to be reconciled in the way that they wish to reconcile me.
Please know, that while I do not wish to be reconciled to Mars Hill in the way they understand it, that I am allowing God to give me a heart of forgiveness. It is a process but I am daily growing it. And I know that God is more than capable of healing my heart and helping me to forgive.
What the Mars Hill pastors fail to realize is that those of us that have told our stories about our negative experiences at Mars Hill would attribute the abuses we experienced to our Community Group Leaders, Elders & Pastors. We trusted them to treat us with love and grace then, and that is not what happened. Why should we trust them to now? Forgiveness is not trusting someone who has hurt you. And forgiveness is not neglecting justice for the oppressed.
I am not comfortable submitting my personal information on their form. And I am not comfortable sitting down and meeting with Mars Hill elders on their terms. I did not choose to subject myself to meetings with the CG leader when I left for the same reason I do not want to do it now. It is not clear in their statement whether they are trying to get me to repent and be reconciled to Mars Hill, or if they wish to repent and be reconciled to me.
The only conditions under which I would ever consider the call to reconciliation are as follows:
1) The meeting was held in a neutral place, with an elder I am comfortable meeting with.
2) I am free to bring someone along, be that a trusted advisor, pastor at my new church, counselor, etc.
3) The meeting will not become a theological debate over "open-handed" or secondary issues that we may disagree on.
4) I am free to write about my experience afterwards.
My email is, and has always been, accessible through this blog. While I maintain anonymity here, I am confident that my former pastors and CG leader know who I am from the details of my story. I have never been contacted for apologies, reconciliation or the like. However, I do not need an apology or reconciliation (as Mars Hill would define it) to forgive.
If any of my readers choose to pursue reconciliation through the website, please know that I will support you and pray for you and assist you in any way that I can. We all need to handle our situation as the Holy Spirit leads us.