If you haven't seen James MacDonald's latest alternatively chest-thumping/threnodic tantrum/lament, I suppose you should look at it. MacDonald has a history of thumping his chest and bellowing, then kindasorta apologizing, so who knows what's next — besides an ongoing example of Axiom #2? We do know that, despite the title, it wasn't a serious letter of resignation... prompting this trenchant observation from our beloved Trogdor:
@tjchantry @bibchr Would've been nice if he actually resigned when he disqualified himself
— Machel (@trogdor42) April 30, 2013
MacDonald only first came on my radar screen during the multiple-reputation-ruining Elephant Room fiascoes. Given that he had been a TGC leader, there must have been a time when he had earned a good name. Hadn't he? Or is it just that he had a really big church?
Either way, watching this sad saga has brought me an I-wonder. Memories of my first solo pastoral ministry largely feature regrets. I dreamt about it for years afterwards; I still do on occasion, nearly 30 years later.
There were blessings, there were trials and misfires and mistakes. It did not at all go or end as I would have wished.
But as I see the passive-aggressive, mercurial, petulant tone MacDonald so often strikes, I wonder: is that where I would have gone, if my ministry had been a "success"? Looking back, I see so much immaturity, pride, so many "issues" in myself. (And don't think it escapes me to wonder what I would think of me-now, should I still be around thirty years from now.)
I longed to see the ministry become "fruitful" in ways it never did. But could I have sustained the burden of popularity? Would I have just made massive shipwreck?
Do you ever wonder that? I speak to you who work hard, positioned well under the radar of the Starmakers and the conference-organizers and the Glitz Factory, those ignored by The Club's lofty doorkeepers? Do you wonder, "Yeah, but look at Furtick, look at Driscoll... look at MacDonald. This is what happens when fame and prominence happen to the unprepared. How would I look if my immaturities and inadequacies were suddenly projected on a 150-foot screen?"
Spurgeon is well-termed a "freak of grace." He could shoot up in prominence while still a teen, and keep his focus on Christ, the Cross, the Gospel. Few of us, I daresay, could have sustained such fame while so young, without buckling badly.
As you ponder, if you do, here are a few related texts — and I'm sure you can add more:
I Tim. 3:6
1 Peter 5:6