Why We Left Christian Fellowship Ministries (continued)
by Al & Dee Mac
June 17, 2000 - Other issues. There's a whole host of other things about CFCMI that should concern current members, and anyone that is thinking about becoming a member. I'll focus on some of them in coming weeks. Please note that many of them are very minor issues, and would be tolerable if they were isolated incidences, but facing a horde of these little problems creates one massive headache for the person that is on the receiving end.
First, however, I thought I'd comment on something I found interesting. In fact, it's downright funny. In my ten years at CFCMI, I saw many people leave for many reasons. In any case where people said or did anything afterward that the ministry saw as dangerous or hurtful to the reputation of LR Davis, there were proclamations of evil, predictions of retribution from the Almighty, and copious condemnation from the pulpit. It would appear, however, that such is not the case when it comes to this website. Mention of it to the pastors generates little more than a sigh followed by a long pause.
So, leaders of CFCMI, are you worried? You're in a double bind, a situation in which you seem to enjoy placing your staff members. You can't speak publicly about this website, because you know that everyone will look for it as soon as they can get to a computer. But even if you remain quiet, the word will quietly spread through the congregation, and people will learn anyway. You're quite literally damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
You want so much to shout from the rooftops that what I'm saying is wrong, but the moment you do, you expose your parishioners to the possibility of learning the truth. And, after all, some parts of the truth shouldn't be told, since some people can't handle it - isn't that what you told me once, Pete & Ed? I know you don't trust them to be able to make sound judgments concerning anything like this own their own. You don't trust them to forgive you.
How many times have you stood in your pulpits and boasted of your courage to stand and proclaim the truth in the face of the enemies of God? Now you are merely whining behind closed doors that people like me won't just quietly fade away. If this website is truly the work of an enemy of God, then why are you so afraid to speak publicly of it? It's not because it's "not worthy of a response," or "it's just the rantings of a madman," it's because you're actually afraid of what will happen if you face it. You're not afraid of me or this website, you're afraid of the issue. So why don't you "just deal with it" instead of complaining? Because you are cowards.
Please, bring this issue into the light of day before the secrecy and deception bring the walls down around you. The longer it stays hidden, the uglier things are going to be when you slip up and everyone finds out. You're not helping by keeping this hidden from the people you claim to be protecting. In fact, your actions demonstrate to me (and all the others that are watching you) that you are really protecting something else - your authority and sense of superiority over your congregations.
June 18, 2000 - My favorite: MONEY. This one is sure to cause lots of 'uncomfortableness' all around. Please note that there are no accusations in this section, just observations and tellings of events.
"All the money you give goes to ministry." <SARCASM ON> The following are merely interesting observations that obviously do not prove this statement to be a even just a little questionable: </SARCASM OFF> (1) Some of the pastors drive comfy SUV's, nice Harleys and Corvettes and live in VERY nice houses, and yet they accuse parishioners (some of whom live in conditions approximating poverty) of setting aside or spending too much money for themselves, (2) somehow a pastor could afford to buy three shiny new Harleys, two of which were gifts out of the blue to two other pastors (this was curiously only months before this person's wedding was announced), (3) one pastor was making $51,000 per year as an assistant pastor in 1991 (please read the Illinois vs. Davis court transcripts), and yet at the first Random-Annual conference in 1998 there was much boasting about the bishop of CFCMI in Haiti only being paid $5 per month.
"We take care of our own" Here's a true story. In late 1999, a collection was being taken to help pay to fix up the Corvette that was to be given to Pastor Paine for Christmas. In the very room where the collection was being taken, there were three men that I want to tell you about: One was thinking about declaring bankruptcy because of emergency medical bills he couldn't afford to pay, one was asking if anyone needed any odd jobs done (he needed the money so he wouldn't lose his house), and the mother of the third man was living in a house that had been broken in half by a large tree at least six months before (he couldn't afford to fix up a trailer for her to move into, so she just kept living in the damaged house). All three of these situations were not the result of these men's actions; they were brought about by events beyond their control. These situations were known to the leadership, and could have been corrected relatively easily (probably for less than the cost of three new Harleys), yet taking up a collection for any of them apparently wasn't considered. Although I decided to use the $25 they wanted for Pastor Paine's Corvette to help out the guy looking for odd jobs, this is one issue I wish I had spoken up about before I left.
June 24, 2000 - Contacts. I would like to make sure that anyone that is, or has been, associated with CFCMI knows that they can contact us without worrying about the leadership finding out about it. If you need to vent, get more details, or whatever, please feel free to e-mail us. I see from my server logs that a lot of people have come to this site recently from search engines while they were searching for "al mcintyre" - almost no one was searching for this name prior to January of this year, and CFCMI is the only place I've been called "Al." Just so you're not worried, I can't tell who you are, just that someone came here while searching for my name. So, if you're here and you want to say hi, please do so. I'll take a line from Ed Thomas - "It will be just between you and me."
I'll even offer this: if you want to try to convince us to come back, or to show us the 'error of our ways,' you can do that too. However, if that is your intent, please don't come knocking on our door without contacting us by email first. If you can't make your case in written form, you don't have a case.
June 29, 2000 - The Tyranny! Oh, now why did I go and use a nasty word like that? I used it because it's appropriate and descriptive. It's also inflammatory. This little segment will most likely inflame those of you that bristle at the thought of any government intrusion into your life. You won't be mad at the perpetrators, though; you'll be mad at me for pointing it out.
When you hear the President or a Senator announce another entitlement program for those "less fortunate," you rant and rave about people taking your money (essentially at gunpoint) and giving it to those that haven't earned it. Just for the record, I still rant right along with you in matters of that sort.
However, you willingly give every dime you can to an organization that wouldn't give you a balance sheet if you asked for it. Some (but not all) of those that have discretion in the matter of using this massive flow of cash seem to live pretty well. "But they've worked so hard and done so much for the Kingdom of God," you say. "They deserve to be compensated for all their sacrifices!"
But why don't you take some time to ponder this concept: some of you have been doing more for God, longer than they have, made do with less, and yet somehow you don't deserve anything. You might even be in dire financial straits by no fault of your own, yet there's nothing in the pot for you - "you should have planned ahead; it's not the ministry's job to bail you out." You've shorted yourself for years, or perhaps even decades, and you still have to do the dishes and live in apartment with three other guys while the pastor has a $200,000 house & an SUV - paid for with your money.
You purport to love freedom, and yet you have willingly sold yourself into a mild form of slavery. I speak from experience - I was right there with you for 8 years. Take an honest look at where you are - wouldn't it make a great case study for the inequities of socialism? I looked, I saw, and I decided to cut my losses. You're all equal - equally miserable - well, most of you, anyway. But you've accepted that "it's my calling," or "it's just my lot in life." Remarkably enough, some of you only think that because someone came to you and told you it was your calling.
Deep down, you probably suspect that it can't be justified simply because of service to Christ. Don't tell me that it's all your choice - I've been there and I know that you're not allowed to do much of anything in the ministry if you don't fit the mold. You want to do something for God, though, so you reluctantly agree to anything, just so you can please God. What a terrible method of extortion.
I posted this earlier, but I'll post it again for you that think of yourself as objectivists:
July 1, 2000 - *deleted July 21* This space used to contain a note that made a personal attack on someone that sent me an email. A friend pointed out to me that it was a little hypocritical of me to offer people anonymity, and to then publicly attack someone that emailed me with a contrary opinion. After some thought, I have decided to remove that post and replace it with this:
July 2, 2000 - And you BELIEVE them? Thanks to the grapevine, I've just found out that Ed Thomas is in communication with us and "working with me" trying to reconcile us. Does anyone really believe that?
Let's look at this - I'm making regular posts to this site, putting out embarrassing information about the leadership of CFC, and you're expected to believe that they are so forgiving and concerned that they are looking past that and reaching out to us. Does that jive with your knowledge of their past behavior? Someone must think you're really stupid to tell you that and expect you to believe it.
Before I forget, let me tell you that Pete Paine said the same thing about Dave & Cindy A. when they left. It's amazing that neither Dave & Cindy, nor Dee and I, have ever actually received any communication of that sort.
July 21, 2000 - Honesty. Please take a minute and look back at the July 1 entry; this is an important change. The fact that I am apologizing to someone for reacting to their opinion in a childish fashion does not mean that I am admitting they made any valid points in their email. Whether or not their logic and assumptions are valid, I promised anonymity for those that emailed me, and I didn't keep that promise.
Do I have anything to lose by apologizing? If a "loser" is someone whose conscience demands that they recognize and admit they have made an error in judgement, then a loser I must be. Before you start whooping and hollering in celebration about me being wrong, ask yourself if Pete and Ed will do the same in the matter of L.R. Davis. I hope that one day they can.
Dee - September 2, 2000 - Welcome home!! Howdy Ho!! I'm Dee, the "weaker vessel that that was infected by my husband's hateful gossip and led astray." Therefore, I live a happy and carefree life with my wonderful, always at home, debt paying off, college education-getting, non sleep-deprived husband. I'm just returning to Norfolk, Virginia from the Mediterranean. I am very pleased and excited about our website and all the reaction that it has created, both positive and some negative. I plan to fully take the research aspect of this site under my wing and provide our readers with pertinent, accurate information about this "ministry." Again, my husband and I are here to provide you, the parishioner, family of a parishioner or a stranger, with the a view of the ministry that most of you have not, nor will ever see.
I am a woman that is known to back my words with fact and reference. The truth shall set you free (unless, of course, you're actually guilty of something serious enough to land you in jail). I will continue to uphold that reputation. I can promise our readers that there will be nothing on this website that will UNLAWFULLY violate someone's privacy. We will offend some readers. We will remain within the confines of the local, state and federal laws and statutes.
Al - September 3, 2000 - "There's never any justification." I've been told a couple of times now that (1) "there's never a valid reason to leave the church," and (2) "it's not your place to judge the pastors." I would like to ask those of you that think that way to ask yourself if you really, truly believe those statements.
Listed below are a few hypothetical situations. They serve to illustrate a principle, nothing more:
The point is not for you to figure out what level of deception or potential danger would cause you to either leave or take action to stop the offensive behavior. I want you to recognize that, no matter how great you think CFC is, there should be a level at which your conscience would dictate that you should act to correct a problem. If you can't conceive that possibility, it's a good sign that you're letting other people think for you. The people that went to Jonestown trusted Jim Jones completely. Do you trust your pastor completely? Remember, he is a fallible man, and although you make fun of the Catholics, saying that they believe the pope is infallible, you treat your pastors the same way (even though you may not consciously recognize it).
"But those are all issues the other members of the leadership should handle. I'm just a nobody in the church; what can I do?" How many times was a shepherd, a nameless prophet, or some other "nobody" sent to call Israel's leaders to account? Have human beings evolved over the last 3000 years so that we now have super-human infallible leaders to whom we must surrender our responsibility to think, judge, or act? Judge for yourself, if you can.
When you surrender your right to think, judge, and act to some mystically superior leadership, you become a 'shareholder' in the responsibility for the things that said leadership does. When you choose not to judge or act (usually justified by saying "Let God handle it"), you give the leadership a blank check to do whatever they like until such time as their behavior lands them in jail, or worse.