Saturday, June 02, 2012

Do as Faytene says, but not as she did

[Posted at Bene Diction Blogs on dec 30, 2011] Faytene Grasseschi, in a recent internet interview, offers some fine advice on how Christians in public life should reply to being critiqued. Great advice. I hope that she turns over a new leaf and starts to practice it, as her graciousness is very much at odds with things she has said in the past. The evangelist and Canadian political actvist who is well known to BDBO readers, conducted a two part interview with the Guarding the Heart blog three weeks ago. It's interesting stuff. Canadians might be intrigued by part one of the interview in which Faytene discusses her poltical activity up here. Faytene relates that one of the most important things that she believes she has done is to encourage Canadians to "honor" their leaders, contrary to what she sees as an evil impulse to tear poltical leaders down. [I would disagree to the extent that leadership should not get catre blanche approval for what they do. Paul's references to how Christians were to live under the Roman Empire come to mind.] A question and response in part two of the interview jumped right out at me. I think it merits a closer look. [When you read it, I don't think I'll have to explain why why I was especially interested by it. ;)] The exchange reads like this on the blog:
[Question] 8. As a local, national and international leader with a heart to effect change for the glory of God, how do you handle critics and criticism? [Faytene's answer] The Bible makes it really clear: Bless those who curse you and pray for those who despitefully use you. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: Blessed are you when people insult, falsely accuse and revile you, and do all these kind of things to you for my Name’s sake – for righteousness’ sake – for great is your reward in Heaven. For me, I actually get excited now. In some nations, persecution is unto death. Other nations – like my nation – you might have the national media saying stuff that isn’t true. But if we keep our eyes on Jesus and we remember that great is our reward in Heaven, then it actually puts you in a position where you can get excited about it. When stuff starts coming against us, I see that as an opportunity to show God’s love and to grow in authority. Every time we forgive; bless when people are cursing us; focus our eyes on eternity instead of on ourselves and our reputation; choose to go higher and fix our eyes on Heaven and eternal things, we grow in the Spirit, in authority, in Christ’s likeness. It is an incredible witness to those around us. Fix your eyes on what the Word of God says, but also knowing that you have an eternal reward if you walk it out in love and humility. I have never in my whole journey so far seen a Christian leader that walked in love, humility and forgiveness and didn’t increase in authority in the Spirit realm, as well as in favour and influence in ministry. When you are walking in God’s way – whether it’s glorious, easy and full of favour on this side of Heaven or brutally hard at times – if you live for the other side for His pleasure, then you will grow in authority and gain treasure on the other side.
I'd have liked to see her acknowledge. "Hey, maybe I am sometimes bring criticized because I am wrong.", but I'd also like to acknowledge that she is trying in her own way to say "be nice". I would say that this is a wise and gracious answer by Faytene. This would be an answer that reflects a growing maturity on her part, if she is carrying this out. Why would I write this? Well, Faytene has a long history of citicizing her critics. That's her right, of course, but it doesn't jibe with what she is saying now. An example that comes to mind is Faytene's declaration in a 2010 sermon before a church audience that bloggers are, like the Pharisees and Scribes of Jesus' day, in league with Satan. (It's on a CD called Honor, or The Spirit of Honor that she used to sell on her website.) In that message, she was talking about how Christians treat their "leaders". As she defines herself as one, she started to discuss how she and others were treated. And then she lets her gripe, with a lack of respect for leaders such as her, rip: “….We now live in a culture that is so self-focused and so unrighteous in this matter, that as soon as somebody as the reformer bringing change we hearld them and cheer them on. And then, as soon as they actually get set into a place of leadership or authority, we now think it is our God-given mandate, to bash them to, really to, the point of death and to criticize them so much, that we end up destroying the very thing that we just loved over on a few moments ago…If life and death is in the power of the tongue—If you were the Devil and if all power and all authority has been gien to the church and if is in the power of the tongue. If you were the Devil, don’t you think that it would be kind of sneaky to trick those [in the church as a whole] who have been given authority into cursing the very ones who have been set into leadership over a nation, or over a church, or over a city or of a region? ‘Cause if the Devil can get us speaking this stuff. Guess what? Landing pad, baby [for the devil], ’cause if there’s any power in what we speak…you know one of the scriptures that actually strikes the fear of the Lord in me because I’m a verbal processor, is where it says that “every single word we speak will be judged”. Every single idle word that we speak will be judged. It also says “woe to you Scribes and Pharisees…” You know, I have a spiritual father that said “In 2010, those are called bloggers.” [Faytene laughs] So woe to you who slap your opinions all over the place, you know. Anyway, I’m just verbally processing here.” In the same message, she tries to make up for this by praying for bloggers and journalists. When she mentions the journalists, though, she says that they need "deliverance" which would mean that they are not merely perhaps liberals that she can disagree with but people needing to have devils cast out of them. [Her quotes are also in the post I link to above.] Faytene has had a policy where possibly critical reporters are technically not allowed to cover her events without her permission. My friend Bene D wrote an excellent post documenting how Faytene was mean on Facebook to someone who was trying to ask some questions of her that could be precieved as coming from a critical point of view. The lady exhibited good manners, but that didn't count with Faytene. A little later, when Faytene allied with some of her friends who were talking about trying to take over Twitter and Facebook for the Lord, I worried that "If Faytene thinks that she can do this, what will happen after the social media "mountain" is taken for the Lord?" Well, Faytene might rightly say, the past is the past. One reason behind the purge of materials avaiable on is that Faytene may have sat down and realized, "My goodness, is this what I sounded like. I don't want to give that impression at all." If that is the case, that would be a laudable sign of maturing. But if she is pretending that she never said these things through throwing these materials away would be sneaky. Never referring to them again--pretending that she never said these things--would be a dubious start to this progress. I hope and pray that Faytene is in earnest when she made her most recent statement on ciriticism, as what she says now strikes the right note. I would say though, than maybe if Faytene apologized for what she has said and written that she believes was her either incorrect or intemperate response to criticism would be an excellent step. Until she says sorry, there will be the nagging suspicion that Faytene believes that when she put the boots to her critics, she did the right thing. And, if she is really trying hard to be kinder and gentler in this matter, that would be a shame.