I have only heard Gordon MacDonald speak one time. It was in the early summer of 1988. His talk encouraged me emotionally during a very painful period in my private life. His subject? The Private Life of the Public Person. I identified profoundly with him because my secret struggles were just surfacing. After he spoke I timidly introduced myself to him and mumbled a thank you through tears. The interchange was no doubt as forgettable for him as it was memorable for me.
At the time, my private life and public persona were beginning to merge. My secrets had been discovered. My self deception was ending. The appearances I managed so carefully were cracking like the cheap veneer on a dresser at Good Will. It felt like my soul’s fabric was held together by only a thread. God used Gordon MacDonald that afternoon to do some mending.
As I continued to mend, I was furious when I hit the walls of secrecy at church. In recovery meetings everyone told the truth. At church keeping our secrets seemed safer than telling the truth. Once I recognized my previous participation in such secrecy and gathered bits of grace on my recovery journey, I became less angry but the dysfunction of our secrecy still troubles me deeply. Recently I visited Christianity Today’s web site and discovered God was once again touching my life through Gordon MacDonald. His article, The Secret Driven Life, speaks succinctly to my frustration with the Church’s aversioin to truth telling.
I invite you to read The Secret Driven Life posted on LeadershipJournal.net in its entirety by clicking here. Then, please return to share your heart and your views. If you are a Ministry Professional or spouse of one please take the current poll on the right regarding leaders and secrecy. The following is a brief excerpt from the article:
I was reminded of churches where people are nice, reasonably polite, and cooperative. But with some regularity, one learns that underneath this appearance of religious composure, this person or that one is hurting terribly: firings, divorces, personal failures, doubt, addictions, sexual identity issues … the list is long. But no one speaks: neither the person in trouble nor the ones who know of the trouble. Why? Because that would threaten the fantasy that everyone’s fine. This kind of church culture starts with the idea that everyone is presumed fine until they prove differently.