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Church as First Mistress: Wounded Church, Pt. 1

When pastors choose to commit adultery, they don’t just wake up one morning with carnal ideas in their mind and go looking for the first woman they can find. The road to moral failure is one filled with warnings and big flashing warning signs and many chances to repent. In my book, Fallen Pastor:...

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The Drug I Crave. Three Little Words.

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in adultery, apology, church, forgiveness, grace, humillity, pastors, reconciliation, relationships, repentance, sin | Posted on 28-06-2011

3

I’ve talked to a lot of fallen ministers who are trying to live a life of repentance. There’s something we all need badly. But we rarely receive it.

Three words that for some reason are hidden from view. People hide them in their hearts like they’re a gold piece in a falling economy. Or even when a broken pastor approaches them with the most humble apology imaginable, they still withhold those words, even if they are able to say them.

“I forgive you.”

Fallen pastors yearn for those words. Some have been waiting to hear them ten or twenty years after a fall. Some have given up on hearing them and tell other fallen pastors, “Don’t hold your breath. They won’t ever forgive you. And if they do, they’ll never tell you. It’s easier for them to forget you than to forgive you.”

But the broken minister in his heart knows the Scripture. He desires for reconciliation. He desires for peace. Even though he knows things will never be the same, he knows that God’s people are at their best when there is forgiveness.

Those three words are the second hardest to say (behind “I’m sorry) but they complete the healing process.

They are a healing drug to the wounded pastor. The pastor who is trying to repent, to live, to heal. Trying to go forward although the memories of those around him keep dragging him down. Although his Scarlet Letter would imprison him, he fights daily from sunup to sundown to be free because of what Christ did and not what he did.

But each night before he goes to bed, each night in his dreams, each day as he recalls the events – even years later – he craves the drug of those words, “I forgive you.”

Knowing, “I forgive you” doesn’t equal, “I accept you back in my church” or “I want you back in the same role in my life as you were before.” No, “I forgive you” simply means one thing.

It simply means, “Christ gave me all I have and forgave me everything. The least I can do is forgive you being human like me.”

For the hurt, wounded, broken pastor, there is an addiction to this drug of forgiveness. There is probably no relief coming soon. However, there are thousands of people who are able to dispense his remedy.

Feel Like A Song Today – U2

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in ministry, music, U2, youtube | Posted on 25-06-2011

2

It’s been a weird week. So, I felt like posting a song.

Through the years, U2 has been the soundtrack of my life more than any other band. This song seems to identify the hidden heart of a lot of ministers.

Enjoy. Especially the last verse.

U2 – “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me”

You don’t know how you took it
You just know what you got
Oh Lordy you’ve been stealing
From the theives and you got caught
In the headlights
Of a stretch car
You’re a star

Dressing like your sister
Living like a tart
They don’t know what you’re doing
Babe, it must be art
You’re a headache
In a suitcase
You’re a star

Oh no, don’t be shy
You don’t have to go blind
Hold me, thrill me, kiss me, kill me

You don’t know how you got here
You just know you want out
Believing in yourself
Almost as much as you doubt
You’re a big smash
You wear it like a rash
Star

Oh no, don’t be shy
There’s a crowd to cry
Hold me, thrill me, kiss me, kill me

They want you to be Jesus
They’ll go down on one knee
But they’ll want their money back
If you’re alive at thirty-three
And you’re turning tricks
With your crucifix
You’re a star

(Oh child)

Of course you’re not shy
You don’t have to deny love
Hold me, thrill me, kiss me, kill me

Divisiveness: Acts 2 & Ugly Carpet

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in blog, Christianity, church, church members, compassion, divisiveness, forgiveness, ministry, pastoring, pettiness, relationships | Posted on 24-06-2011

18

I’m the next link in a “chain of blogs” on the issue of divisiveness. Boy, do I know divisiveness. I created it.

Two years ago, I caused a church to hurt because as the pastor, I committed adultery. I created great harm and pain to many people, including my ex-wife, several deacons, an array of church members, family members, pastor friends, and many in the community. Heck, read my last blog post and you’ll find that the pain hasn’t been resolved for some.

I was reading Alan Knox’s blog post on divisiveness and what people really wanted to read about. People want to know how to deal practically with divisive issues. That sells. When you go to your local bookstore, you want results. You have a problem, you want instant results. You want it solved. Now. You bought the dang book, so you want solutions. I hear you, blogosphere.

I was reflecting on my fall from ministry this evening after reading what some former church members had written recently about me on Facebook. It wasn’t kind. They don’t even know I have access to it. I had a friend tell me recently that I really just need to suck it up because it was my sin that causes them to feel that way. He’s right. I caused their divisiveness, their anger.

But I also got to thinking about those specific people who have been lashing out at me since I fell. A lot of them never really liked me. Seriously. The ones who still harbor anger and hatred – they harbored anger and hatred while I was pastoring eight years ago. Funny thing is, I would love them, console them in times of need, go out of my way to pray for them, help them, “grease the sqeaky wheel” and it never really helped. They never would like me.

I can hear you saying, “well, you’re an adulterous, fallen pastor.” Yeah. But I know several ministers who did great at their churches who went down the same road. They spent a lot of time with the complainers and they never got anywhere.

Now, let’s think about the people who were “good.” I hate that word. None of us are really “good” but that’s a theological discussion that would cause divisiveness. Anyway, you know what I mean. There were people there who were kind to me, loving, supportive. After I fell, they were disappointed, upset and the like. It took a little time, but after a while, they showed me a little bit of grace. Guess what? They were still the same. My sin didn’t change them. They were still the same people.

What’s my point? As Arthur Sido said, yes, we must have love as the foundation for everything. As Jeremy Myers said, we are often the problem. As Jon Hutton said, we do need unity. As Andy Witt has clearly stated, our division has come from separation from God. Finally, as Bobby Auner has mathematically stated, Christians have been given the Great Commission to overcome divisiveness to multiply.

These men are all correct. However, we’re all dealing with the human element. Every person in our churches is an individual who, due to the fall, presumes the world revolves around them. Don’t agree? Try to change  the carpet color in your church. I’m not even trying to argue Calvinism vs. Arminianism here. Just change the carpet color. You know the routine. You’ll have a battle to rival Gettysburg. Why? Because we’re human. Because our stupid, human passions get the best of us. Because carpet color for some reason is more important than the Great Commission.

We have got to break through that. How? By walking in the Spirit. It starts with our leaders. And it’s hard when leaders like me fall. It’s hard when statistics tell us that 80% of our pastors are burned out. When 1,500 pastors a month leave the ministry due to moral failure, burnout, or conflict with church leadership.

I long for a day when we can return to the church of Acts 2: And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Why not now? Because we, I, all of us are broken people. We are in desperate need of selfless love for Christ’s church. We’re discussing divisiveness because we are divided. Across borders, lines, squabbles and things that don’t matter. The early church had one focus. And it was not within. It was without.

Practical advice? Patience with one another’s faults. Love each other like you would want to be loved. That should sound very familiar. Whether it’s over carpet color or musical differences. If we can’t accept other Christians, we’re in serious trouble.

It’s like this. I’ve sinned horribly in my adultery, but God has forgiven me. Other Christians haven’t. But I tell myself, they may not forgive me now, but they’re gonna have to live with me in eternity, so they’d better get used to it sometime.

Friends, it’s the same way here. I see fellow Christians tear each other up online over the silliest things in the angriest manner possible. There’s just no reason for it. We do it out of pride. We have two options. We can keep on with our anger or begin to adapt an Acts 2 attitude. It begins in our own church – ugly carpet and all.

__________________________________________

Chain blog rules:

1) If you would like to write the next blog post (link) in this chain, leave a comment stating that you would like to do so. If someone else has already requested to write the next link, then please wait for that blog post and leave a comment there requesting to write the following link.

2) Feel free to leave comments here and discuss items in this blog post without taking part in the actual “chain”. Your comments and discussion are very important in this chain blog.

3) When you write a link in this chain, please reply in the comments of the previous post to let everyone know that your link is ready. Also, please try to keep an updated list of links in the chain at the bottom of your post, and please include these rules at the bottom of your post.

__________________________

“Links” in this chain blog:

1. “Chain Blog: Dealing with Divisive Issues Introduction” by Alan
2. “Chain Blog: Dealing with divisive issues starts with love” by Arthur
3. “I am divisive” by Jeremy
4. “Chain Blog: Please agree with me” by Jon
5. “Division and our shared humanity” by Andy
6. “Chain Blog: solving the problem” by Bobby
7. “Divisiveness: Acts 2 & Ugly Carpet” by Ray
8. Who will write the next “link” post in the chain?

Divisiveness: Acts 2 & Ugly Carpet

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in blog, Christianity, church, church members, compassion, divisiveness, forgiveness, ministry, pastoring, pettiness, relationships | Posted on 24-06-2011

16

I’m the next link in a “chain of blogs” on the issue of divisiveness. Boy, do I know divisiveness. I created it.

Two years ago, I caused a church to hurt because as the pastor, I committed adultery. I created great harm and pain to many people, including my ex-wife, several deacons, an array of church members, family members, pastor friends, and many in the community. Heck, read my last blog post and you’ll find that the pain hasn’t been resolved for some.

I was reading Alan Knox’s blog post on divisiveness and what people really wanted to read about. People want to know how to deal practically with divisive issues. That sells. When you go to your local bookstore, you want results. You have a problem, you want instant results. You want it solved. Now. You bought the dang book, so you want solutions. I hear you, blogosphere.

I was reflecting on my fall from ministry this evening after reading what some former church members had written recently about me on Facebook. It wasn’t kind. They don’t even know I have access to it. I had a friend tell me recently that I really just need to suck it up because it was my sin that causes them to feel that way. He’s right. I caused their divisiveness, their anger.

But I also got to thinking about those specific people who have been lashing out at me since I fell. A lot of them never really liked me. Seriously. The ones who still harbor anger and hatred – they harbored anger and hatred while I was pastoring eight years ago. Funny thing is, I would love them, console them in times of need, go out of my way to pray for them, help them, “grease the sqeaky wheel” and it never really helped. They never would like me.

I can hear you saying, “well, you’re an adulterous, fallen pastor.” Yeah. But I know several ministers who did great at their churches who went down the same road. They spent a lot of time with the complainers and they never got anywhere.

Now, let’s think about the people who were “good.” I hate that word. None of us are really “good” but that’s a theological discussion that would cause divisiveness. Anyway, you know what I mean. There were people there who were kind to me, loving, supportive. After I fell, they were disappointed, upset and the like. It took a little time, but after a while, they showed me a little bit of grace. Guess what? They were still the same. My sin didn’t change them. They were still the same people.

What’s my point? As Arthur Sido said, yes, we must have love as the foundation for everything. As Jeremy Myers said, we are often the problem. As Jon Hutton said, we do need unity. As Andy Witt has clearly stated, our division has come from separation from God. Finally, as Bobby Auner has mathematically stated, Christians have been given the Great Commission to overcome divisiveness to multiply.

These men are all correct. However, we’re all dealing with the human element. Every person in our churches is an individual who, due to the fall, presumes the world revolves around them. Don’t agree? Try to change  the carpet color in your church. I’m not even trying to argue Calvinism vs. Arminianism here. Just change the carpet color. You know the routine. You’ll have a battle to rival Gettysburg. Why? Because we’re human. Because our stupid, human passions get the best of us. Because carpet color for some reason is more important than the Great Commission.

We have got to break through that. How? By walking in the Spirit. It starts with our leaders. And it’s hard when leaders like me fall. It’s hard when statistics tell us that 80% of our pastors are burned out. When 1,500 pastors a month leave the ministry due to moral failure, burnout, or conflict with church leadership.

I long for a day when we can return to the church of Acts 2: And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Why not now? Because we, I, all of us are broken people. We are in desperate need of selfless love for Christ’s church. We’re discussing divisiveness because we are divided. Across borders, lines, squabbles and things that don’t matter. The early church had one focus. And it was not within. It was without.

Practical advice? Patience with one another’s faults. Love each other like you would want to be loved. That should sound very familiar. Whether it’s over carpet color or musical differences. If we can’t accept other Christians, we’re in serious trouble.

It’s like this. I’ve sinned horribly in my adultery, but God has forgiven me. Other Christians haven’t. But I tell myself, they may not forgive me now, but they’re gonna have to live with me in eternity, so they’d better get used to it sometime.

Friends, it’s the same way here. I see fellow Christians tear each other up online over the silliest things in the angriest manner possible. There’s just no reason for it. We do it out of pride. We have two options. We can keep on with our anger or begin to adapt an Acts 2 attitude. It begins in our own church – ugly carpet and all.

__________________________________________

Chain blog rules:

1) If you would like to write the next blog post (link) in this chain, leave a comment stating that you would like to do so. If someone else has already requested to write the next link, then please wait for that blog post and leave a comment there requesting to write the following link.

2) Feel free to leave comments here and discuss items in this blog post without taking part in the actual “chain”. Your comments and discussion are very important in this chain blog.

3) When you write a link in this chain, please reply in the comments of the previous post to let everyone know that your link is ready. Also, please try to keep an updated list of links in the chain at the bottom of your post, and please include these rules at the bottom of your post.

__________________________

“Links” in this chain blog:

1. “Chain Blog: Dealing with Divisive Issues Introduction” by Alan
2. “Chain Blog: Dealing with divisive issues starts with love” by Arthur
3. “I am divisive” by Jeremy
4. “Chain Blog: Please agree with me” by Jon
5. “Division and our shared humanity” by Andy
6. “Chain Blog: solving the problem” by Bobby
7. “Divisiveness: Acts 2 & Ugly Carpet” by Ray
8. Who will write the next “link” post in the chain?

A Message From The Past

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in affair, Allison, anger, apology, church, church members, compassion, criticize, judgment, pastoring, regret | Posted on 21-06-2011

17

Allison and I are in beautiful New Orleans enjoying a business/personal vacation that is well needed for us. It’s a good time of quiet and rest.

It’s given me time to reflect on my book and the process of writing and my attitude over the past couple of years and hopefully how I’ve changed. My relationships with people have gotten better, but I still have a long way to go.

Last night, I got up during one of my usual restless spells and checked my email and saw there was a comment to be moderated for my blog. I didn’t publish it. At first I thought it was from someone who didn’t know me who was just trying to push my buttons, but they knew too many details.

It’s from one of my former church members. I’m not typing this out to make a point about them. I’ll get to my point in a minute. Here’s some of the text:

“I’ve read your blog a bit, along with your wife’s. Now, The lord loves honesty and that’s what i’m going to give you. My opinion: You were a horrible pastor, just as you are a horrible writer. Now I sit there in the pew nice and quiet like, but goodness gracious when you were going on and on about the same old thing for 45 minutes, I almost fell asleep. And I never fell asleep in church before then, and I sure don’t now. I mean good Christ mister, how many times you gotta say that relationships are the juice of the lord’s loins? Spit it out junior.

But I did like that part where you cried. Just cried and cried and cried. Oh Lordy, I laughed my dentures out. Now that Allison, she’s a doozy of a *****. Now i shouldn’t be so judgmental, but i am. We all have our faults and the lord will forgive me. He’ll forgive me, for thinking that you’re a hypocritical piece of ****. I have alot more to say but, i think instead of telling you, i’m a gonna write me a little blog titled “Church still disgusted with the fallen pastor and his **** wife”, Under my username “God hates you”. Everything is hunky dory for you right now son, but just you be a waitin. The lord aint gonna punish you foolish kids fer your actions but theres this here thing called karma and shes a big ol’ ****, and some day soon.. she’s gonna find you. Word of advice, I hope you were at least smart enough to choose a church that has a pastor whom is too old and unattractive for your ******wife to seduce, be careful there partner and if things shall get rough, DON’T LET HER GET MARRIAGE COUNSELLING FROM YOUR PASTOR. DON’T DO IT.
With Love,
A former member of ******** Church.”

I didn’t publish the name of my former church and won’t ever mention it on this blog. There’s no purpose in it. I was the one who sinned. They have every right to be angry. And one bad email from one angry person doesn’t mean all of them feel that way. Several of them have been very kind to me and it has made my heart glad.

On to my point, this email didn’t make either of us upset. Six months out of my sin, it would have ticked me off terribly. In fact, I wrote a passive aggressive letter to my church that I never should have written about a year out. I hadn’t fully repented and I was angry at everyone.

The most important thing I’ve learned in all of this was from a pastor who said, “Ray, you don’t get to judge someone else’s reaction to your sin.” Even if they go too far and get angry, start name calling or even shoot me in the head, I don’t get to judge them. Why? Because they’re angry over what I did. He’s  right. I have to extend them grace, patience and love. The same grace, patience and love I want to be extended. The same grace, patience and love Christ extended to me.

You know what? It’s really not that hard when you’ve hit the bottom. Once you’ve lost it all, been at the bottom and all you could see when you were looking up is the hand of God reaching down, you can give the same to others.

For the rest of my life, I will, as David said, have my sin ever before me. There will always be consequences for my actions. I hope that the person who wrote that can find peace in life and with God, and eventually with me. I’m terribly sorry for the hurt I caused them. I’m sorry I failed them as a pastor and pray they will find a contented life now.

For me, I pray for better choices and a life clothed in my redeemed Savior. For me and my beautiful wife.

POST UPDATE:

I got a response from the original writer, same IP address and email. It was a little harsher and needs more editing. Again, I really don’t believe this person represents the feelings of my old church. Several of the people I’ve talked to have been kind to me. However, this response shows the hurt a pastor can cause when he disrupts a church when he falls and the anger that can remain:

Dear Mr. Ray Carrol,

We all hate ya, and none of us want your “grace, compassion, or patience”. You can shove all that right up your devil-lovin’ ***. Also, thinkin’ you’re forgiven for your sin because you prayed for it doesn’t change a thing. You’re still living your sin! Rather than making amends with your family and your ex-wife, you married that cheatin’ Allison! Where’s the regret, the guilt? You betrayed God’s commandments to man and chose to live in adultery. Gettin’ married don’t make it no better. You’ll burn, mister.

Thanks for listenin’, and I hope when you meet the little Baby Jesus and Allah Lord of Lords at the gangplank to the Millenium Falcon with Chewie and Buddha ridin’ shotgun, they greet you with open arms! (otherwise your deviled eggs)

Signed,
Your friends at ***** ****Church

My Response:

The compassion, love and grace I offer is real. I also offer forgiveness to you. Whether you accept it is up to you. I do know that I have been forgiven by God. My sin was great. My fall was great.

I also know that all sin is abominable in His sight. However, thanks to Christ, it is also freely forgiven. Not because of anything I have done, but because of what He did for me at the cross. What grieves me the most is not the sin I committed at my former church or the impact it had. What grieves me most is that my sin was responsible for the death of my Savior. But I am thankful that His grace abounds to save even a wretch like me. I am thirsty for that grace. When no one else seemed to come after me in my darkness, He was there, calling for me.

Before I fell I was pompous, prideful, arrogant and thought I knew it all. Now I realize I knew nothing. All I really need to know is a Savior who gave all for me. I’m still not perfect, still not humble, still not really much of anything. I’m still a sinner. But each day I’m trying to look away from what I want and toward what He wants.

I hope someday you will forgive me and release your anger. I hope someday you will find peace. Maybe you can start by showing what you wrote to me to your pastor and seek his help in studying the Word. Christ wants all his children to be at peace.

What I really desire is what I have been given by a handful of people since my fall and I hope to be given by more who witnessed my fall. It is found in Galatians 6:1: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

That is my hope and prayer.

Listen Closely On Father’s Day, There Might Be A Hero

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in blessings, children, dad, fathers, grandfather, hope, living, pain, sin | Posted on 17-06-2011

3

Thought I’d get a jump on all the Fathers Day blogging. There’s a wide range of it. It goes from the sentimental: “Dad, you mean/meant so much to me. Remember when you took me fishin’ the first time?”

To anger issues: “I hated my dad and he hated me.”

To resolution: “My dad and I never got along, but the longer we both live, the more wisdom I see in his weathered face . . . Cue clip to YouTube video of ‘In The Living Years.'”

I’m not making fun because I’ve probably written all of those.

I will say this. Everything I do bad is because of my father. I can say that thanks to the Human Genome Project. Seriously. I just read an article three days ago that said adultery is genetic. I had the article on my Mozilla Foxfire, but some inconsiderate person clicked it off. Bad person. They must have been carrying the “inconsiderate internet gene.”

I’m not making fun. Honest. A few years ago, one of my heroes, Albert Mohler, kinda said that if the homosexual gene is found, it means that homosexuality is just sin in the DNA code. So there.

My dad was a sinful man. Apparently, the Carroll men are sinful men. Going back a ways. Seriously. We’re outlaws, wretches, and then some. We like women. Our eyes wander. My great grandfather apparently rode with Annie Oakley. My grandfather is a proud veteran of the Battle of the Bulge. My father has a little bit of his past he concealed from me and my sister. However, I do know that he blew the whistle on his company, saving many lives, leading to a major class action lawsuit. He’s gone now, but many workers lives and family lives were improved. I’m proud of him.

All of us, all of us fathers, leave a legacy. Some of it we’d like to leave in the dingy closet or a hidden file on the hard drive. Sometimes, it gets to stay there. But sometimes it gets out in the open.

Sometimes, we do the heroic. Funny thing is, the heroic things we do, we are ashamed of more than the sinful things we do. Why? Because we’re trying to help other people. We’re just doing what’s right. Because “it’s nothing.” Just doing what anyone else would do.

So when we really mess up? We just want to repent, slide off in a corner and hope people will leave us alone and hope they’ll remember the good.

But it never happens that way.

So the pastor usually gets up on Sunday and tells fathers, “You need to do a better job! Love your wife more! Love you kids more! You’re a wretch! They need a hero!”

Yeah, they do. We’re trying. Amidst our mistakes and failings, amidst our tears, prayers and failures, we try. Just remember, all of those men you consider to be failures who aren’t trying very hard, they’re heroes. They’ve done their best. And they are downplaying their heroics.

My dad, me, and my grandfather. All of us have the genetic Carroll curl. I love these men. Not only do their genetics make me, but their hearts, souls, and love make me who I am.

Listen Closely On Father's Day, There Might Be A Hero

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in blessings, children, dad, fathers, grandfather, hope, living, pain, sin | Posted on 17-06-2011

3

Thought I’d get a jump on all the Fathers Day blogging. There’s a wide range of it. It goes from the sentimental: “Dad, you mean/meant so much to me. Remember when you took me fishin’ the first time?”

To anger issues: “I hated my dad and he hated me.”

To resolution: “My dad and I never got along, but the longer we both live, the more wisdom I see in his weathered face . . . Cue clip to YouTube video of ‘In The Living Years.'”

I’m not making fun because I’ve probably written all of those.

I will say this. Everything I do bad is because of my father. I can say that thanks to the Human Genome Project. Seriously. I just read an article three days ago that said adultery is genetic. I had the article on my Mozilla Foxfire, but some inconsiderate person clicked it off. Bad person. They must have been carrying the “inconsiderate internet gene.”

I’m not making fun. Honest. A few years ago, one of my heroes, Albert Mohler, kinda said that if the homosexual gene is found, it means that homosexuality is just sin in the DNA code. So there.

My dad was a sinful man. Apparently, the Carroll men are sinful men. Going back a ways. Seriously. We’re outlaws, wretches, and then some. We like women. Our eyes wander. My great grandfather apparently rode with Annie Oakley. My grandfather is a proud veteran of the Battle of the Bulge. My father has a little bit of his past he concealed from me and my sister. However, I do know that he blew the whistle on his company, saving many lives, leading to a major class action lawsuit. He’s gone now, but many workers lives and family lives were improved. I’m proud of him.

All of us, all of us fathers, leave a legacy. Some of it we’d like to leave in the dingy closet or a hidden file on the hard drive. Sometimes, it gets to stay there. But sometimes it gets out in the open.

Sometimes, we do the heroic. Funny thing is, the heroic things we do, we are ashamed of more than the sinful things we do. Why? Because we’re trying to help other people. We’re just doing what’s right. Because “it’s nothing.” Just doing what anyone else would do.

So when we really mess up? We just want to repent, slide off in a corner and hope people will leave us alone and hope they’ll remember the good.

But it never happens that way.

So the pastor usually gets up on Sunday and tells fathers, “You need to do a better job! Love your wife more! Love you kids more! You’re a wretch! They need a hero!”

Yeah, they do. We’re trying. Amidst our mistakes and failings, amidst our tears, prayers and failures, we try. Just remember, all of those men you consider to be failures who aren’t trying very hard, they’re heroes. They’ve done their best. And they are downplaying their heroics.

My dad, me, and my grandfather. All of us have the genetic Carroll curl. I love these men. Not only do their genetics make me, but their hearts, souls, and love make me who I am.

Surreal Moments & Full Circle Grace

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 07-06-2011

3

Right now as I blog, Rachel, my ex-wife, my two children and my beautiful wife Allison are in the living room having a ball.

I’m consigned to the bedroom with the door closed. And I’m loving it.

On Friday and Saturday, respectively, I get to take Katie and Abigail to a father/daughter Purity Ball hosted by a local non-profit organization. They went out today and bought dresses (which I’m not allowed to see right now) and are excited about the whole event. They’re in there like a bunch of women talking it up about dresses, hair and make up. They’ve been at it for about 40 minutes.

All I can think at this moment is this – God is good.

Two years ago, I committed a horrible sin. A sin that could have destroyed the lives of my children. It did horrible damage to many.

Over the course of time, God has humbled me over and over, put me in my place and made me a better man. Right now, as I type I think about the words of another fallen pastor who said this: “God is in the business of taking our mess and making it into His message.”

I know at this moment that everything isn’t fixed. I know that there will always be pain and consequence. But you know what? I love my Lord.

Thank you, Lord. Thank you for doing what I could never dream of doing. Thank you for taking my broken pieces and putting them together into something wonderful. Thank you for what I have now. Thank you for my beautiful children. Most of all, thank you for your grace, which I do not deserve, but I will drink up like a thirsty man.

Surreal Moments & Full Circle Grace

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 07-06-2011

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Right now as I blog, Rachel, my ex-wife, my two children and my beautiful wife Allison are in the living room having a ball.

I’m consigned to the bedroom with the door closed. And I’m loving it.

On Friday and Saturday, respectively, I get to take Katie and Abigail to a father/daughter Purity Ball hosted by a local non-profit organization. They went out today and bought dresses (which I’m not allowed to see right now) and are excited about the whole event. They’re in there like a bunch of women talking it up about dresses, hair and make up. They’ve been at it for about 40 minutes.

All I can think at this moment is this – God is good.

Two years ago, I committed a horrible sin. A sin that could have destroyed the lives of my children. It did horrible damage to many.

Over the course of time, God has humbled me over and over, put me in my place and made me a better man. Right now, as I type I think about the words of another fallen pastor who said this: “God is in the business of taking our mess and making it into His message.”

I know at this moment that everything isn’t fixed. I know that there will always be pain and consequence. But you know what? I love my Lord.

Thank you, Lord. Thank you for doing what I could never dream of doing. Thank you for taking my broken pieces and putting them together into something wonderful. Thank you for what I have now. Thank you for my beautiful children. Most of all, thank you for your grace, which I do not deserve, but I will drink up like a thirsty man.

Congressman Weiner and the Fallen Pastor

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in affair, coaches, fallenness, forgiveness, pastors, politics, regret, repentance | Posted on 07-06-2011

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Let me get something straight first. I hate politics. Can’t stand them. I stopped watching the news about six years ago. I do keep track of current events and know what’s going on.

That being said, I’m intrigued by the story and today, the confession of New York Congressman Andrew Weiner. I’m not going to recall the story here because it’s all over the Internet. If you don’t know the story, get to Googling.

Even before I fell, I’ve said that there are two jobs in this country that look a lot like pastoring: politicians and coaches. Coaches take the field with a team, they make decisions, and the win or loss is put on their shoulders, regardless of the player’s performance. Being a certified athletic trainer and spending a majority of my time with coaches, I can tell you this is true. They endure complaints from parents, the public and people who think they can do the coach’s job better – just like a pastor. And deep down, all the typical coach wants to do is help the kids.

Politicians, on the other hand, are a little different. We think of them as sleazy people who are out for themselves. Sure, some of them are. We typically only take notice of them when they mess up. For a majority of the time, however, they are standing firm for the convictions of their constituents, even if you didn’t vote for them. Tough job, I wouldn’t want it.

Now, to Congressman Weiner. He’s apparently been “sexting” several women over a long period of time. He got busted and lied about it. Scripturally, it’s a sin to lie and to lust. He needs to repent. I don’t know what his relationship is with God or Christ.

I also know that with Congressman Weiner, most people either love him or hate him. He’s a very polarizing figure. He’s passionate. For the first time in years, I actually tuned in to cable news programs tonight to watch the coverage. Glenn Beck (who I have my own private angst toward) was in a silly, celebratory mood over Weiner’s fall. Chris Matthews, a leftward-leaning commentator, denounced Weiner’s problems over and over. The Congressman is in a terrible place.

I watched Congressman Weiner’s entire press conference. I also watched the political pundits tear it apart. And I was reminded of what a sinner I am.

Congressman Weiner sinned. He stood up today in front of the press, after speaking to his wife (Lord knows how that will turn out) and said he was responsible. He reminded me of myself and all of the fallen pastors I’ve ever spoken to.

When we sin, there comes a time when we get caught. Our sin will always find us out. Always. He said so many things that resonated with me. He said he was embarrassed, that he lied to cover up his guilt and shame, and that he wanted to do the right thing by taking responsibility.

I don’t want to praise the man’s sin. He’s being hammered by the left for taking the press conference into his own hands. But I think he was right to apologize. When I saw him apologize, I really, really believe he was remorseful and sorry for what he had done. Guess what? When any of us ever get caught red-handed in a big way, we’re gonna be sorry we got caught. And, if we’re human, we’re going to begin to understand the hurt we caused.

Like myself and the many fallen pastors I’ve talked to, Congressman Weiner is in a dangerous place this early. He’s very sorry. He’s sorry for the hurt he caused his wife. He’ s sorry for the hurt he caused his family. He’s sorry for embarrassing himself. He sounded a lot today like a freshly caught fallen pastor.

I wish I could have about thirty minutes with him. Because if I did, here’s what I would tell him (besides finding out what he has done with Jesus Christ):

“Congressman, it’s fresh, it’s new. I know you’re sorry, but you need to be sorry for the right reasons. This isn’t going to be over anytime soon. Fix yourself, fix your marriage. I know you hurt because of getting caught, but realize that this process is going to take a very long time. You’re a human. That means you’re a sinner. The worst thing you can do at this moment is what most people do – retreat into a defensive posture of pride. Don’t attack those who want to harm you. Just realize that you’ve messed up and that people will be hurt. Be patient and ready to do what you can to make things right. Not for political gain, but because it’s the right thing to do.”

I hope you’ll pray for Congressman Weiner, his wife, and the women he talked to. This life isn’t about politics. It’s not about a man who has strong convictions for his party. It’s about a man’s soul. And he has a chance to learn what is right.

Just like I did.

(By the way, Congressman Weiner asked for forgiveness. I hope that those to whom he apologized will forgive him if they are Christians. When I apologized to people, I just wanted to hear people say, “I forgive you.” It never materialized from most people. Don’t “forgive people in your heart,” give them the words to hear so they can heal.)