Jan 14, 2004, What I Would Do Differently:
Hindsight is always 20-20, it is said. In many ways, this is absolutely true, especially with regard to really “big” things. I consider the action I took in November 2002, that of starting the Geftakysassembly.com website, to be a “big” thing.
Overall, I am joyful and pleased with the results of my labor, and have thousands of complimentary emails and phone calls that validate my personal feelings. There very few to the contrary, in comparison. However, it is always prudent to go back and reflect on what one has said and done, in order to learn from and hopefully correct one’s mistakes. We all make mistakes, and even a “perfect” game has less than perfect pitches thrown. Certainly, I made some mistakes along the way. I have already publicly corrected most of the factual mistakes on the website, but a year’s reflection has allowed me to see some other shortcomings that require apologies.
A few people are going to get personal letters from me. These are the one’s that I sinned against in private. A few others are going to get a public apology, in this essay.
The first thing I must say is that I would do it all over again without hesitation. It needed to be done. However, I would like to have changed a few things.
The first thing I would have done differently is that I would have attended the meetings in Fullerton right after the excommunication. I should have spent time praying with the leaders, and the “members,” before I wrote about them. Even if what I had to say was accurate, which it was in the main, my absence didn’t help these men to accept what I was saying. Instead, they felt like a person they hadn’t seen for four years was attacking them on the Internet. Yes, this is true. Some of them were being attacked, and I hadn’t seen them in several years.
In hindsight, while I know that the vast majority of my information was accurate, by not meeting with these men face to face, I did them a disservice. Perhaps, had they been able to look me in the eye, they would have seen that I genuinely had goodwill towards them. Conversely, had I been able to look them in the eye, I may not have labeled some of them, “Wolves.”
Specifically, I would like to mention Jim Hayman in this. Jim, please forgive me for calling you a wolf. If I could go back in time, I would have spoken to you before giving you that label. It was wrong of me to do what I did, the way I did it. While we may or may not have seen eye-to-eye, or agreed; the decent thing for me to do was to speak with you first, before calling you a wolf. I have sinned against you in this way, and I want to make it perfectly clear that I am confessing this in public, as it was a public sin against you. While the personal pain I caused you can hardly be erased by a couple paragraphs, in doing this I invite you to contact me and tell me my faults. I promise to do the right thing in order to restore what I have damaged.
The same thing can be said for Rod Zach, as for Jim Hayman.
I did speak to a number of the men in Fullerton, but never to Rod, and only to Jim after I had told several hundred people that he was a “wolf.” Should I get the opportunity to do so, I would welcome hearing their perceptions of what went on in the tumultuous weeks one year ago. Please note, I am not trying to say that they were “good” leaders, or trying to let them “slide.” I am apologizing for what I did, and for the way that I did it.
Patience, or more specifically the lack thereof, is another problem I have. My mind works quickly. This is not to say it works better than other people, but usually faster. I was always, in every class, the first one done on tests. I rarely got the highest grade, but I never spent any time at all thinking about an answer. I don’t like thinking about things for very long, but I do like making decisions and judgments as soon as possible. This is not to say that I am foolish in the way I go about making decisions---I usually gather more information than most people---only that I do so at a very rapid pace. My wife will testify to her frustration when she watches me read a page in a second or two, and then blurt out a response, before she has gotten halfway down the page! I read fast, think fast, and judge fast. Patience and mercy are in short supply in my soul.
Well, if I could go back in time, I would have liked to restrain myself and given people a little more time to respond to the earth shattering revelations that were coming about at breakneck speed. Events were occurring so rapidly, and I was privy to so much information, that when I wrote articles I think it served more to throw people off balance then to inform them. To be sure, many people “got it,” and were right there with me, connecting the dots. However, others visiting the website for the first time, were bludgeoned with very hard-hitting language about people they had respected for years. The events themselves were hard enough to follow, let alone the two dozen pages of commentary being presented once or twice daily.
I am not apologizing for factual content, except as specifically noted here, or in the past when corrected on the website. I am apologizing for the way I presented the information. Force-feeding was not as helpful as a more patient approach, at least in my opinion.
Undoubtedly, there will come to my attention more things in which I could have done better, and further sins that I can repent of. However, as stated above, I would do everything all over again, with the above changes. I have no regrets whatsoever regarding George’s exposure, and the loss of his “ministry.” I also have no apologies to make to the people who continue to receive him, or defend him. I also have little patience for those who would criticize me without having read what I have written. I did read George’s books, and listened to him for years before criticizing him!
Each time I spoke to a leader who disagreed with me, I invited them to share their side of the story on the website. I promised them I would publish what they had to say un-edited. To date, none of them have taken this opportunity. I am confident that Steve Irons would extend to them the same offer. Hopefully, my apology here will stimulate something of that nature in the near future.
It is my hope that this apology helps bring about reconciliation in my personal dealings with these men. Even if it doesn’t, it is still the right thing for me to do. In the same manner, I believe that public apologies by some of the ex-leaders would help those that they sinned against during their tenure as “shepherds.” We have all sinned in many ways, in thought, word and deed.