There have been some great posts written by Christian leaders reminding us of the dangers of sin, the need for accountability and so forth. I appreciate them all and think they're valuable, I'm just not there yet. I'm raw and I'm wrecked. And so are a lot of people I talk to about this.
I first showed up at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale in 1993 with a snotty attitude, a dislike/distrust for churches, and a heroin addiction; I was the full package. I came at the repeated pleas of my mother, fully convinced I'd hate it. To my surprise, I actually enjoyed it. Bob Coy was winsome, wise, and funny. I liked him, even if I didn't agree with what he was saying. And the "wild life" that he once lived (that is currently dominating the news cycle about him) actually was appealing rather than repulsive to me. It immediately made him relatable and gave me a strange sense of hope.
Fast forwarding the story, here are just some of the key moments of my life that happened at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale under the leadership of Bob Coy:
- I redicated my life to Jesus
- My drug habit was eradicated
- I met my best friends
- I attended/graduated from Calvary Chapel's Bible College extention campus
- I met my wife and married her
- I began working there in fulltime ministry
- I officiated the wedding of my Mom and her husband
- I was inspired to eventually plant the church I now lead
You get the picture. Bob's failure wasn't just a "that's a shame" moment for me. My heart is aching and my head is spinning because my world has been rocked. If you were part of CCFL then you understand, but if not think of it like this.
You can move out from your parent's house, but there is a sense of safety and security in knowing that at any time you can go back and experience the warm familiarity of the home you grew up in. But if you found out Mom or Dad were getting a divorce everything is suddenly thrown into a tailspin. Nothing will ever be the same as it once was during your formative years. That's how I feel.
To be more precise, I've realized I'm mourning. Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale isn't dead and I believe it will survive and go on to thrive, but the reality is things can never be the same. And I am mourning the loss of the familiar family environment as well as the loss of my greatest spiritual role model.
Why is this revelation of mourning helpful to me and possibly you? Because it helps provide insight, direction and hope even as my heart aches and my head keeps spinning.
Consider the 5 stages of grief:
1. Denial -My first reaction when I heard the new about Bob on Saturday night? I went to see Captain American with my wife. Carnal? Maybe. Honestly, I didn't want to process it and I didn't know how to start. Many are in denial about what happened. That's why people are making comments saying, "Come back, Pastor Bob!" It hasn't fully sunken in for many.
2. Anger -This hasnt been my core reaction yet, but I've talked to several people that are furious. While I'm not in anger now, I understand it. And you're not wrong if you feel that way.
3. Bargaining -Some are trying to negotiate how Bob Can return. "What if...". The sad truth is Bob Coy will probably never return to CCFL and that's a tough pill to swallow. (Read my friend Bob Franquiz's post for some excellent insight into this & the whole situation.)
4. Depression -This is where I'm parked right now. I feel like I'm being slapped in face over and over but I just don't have the energy or desire to block the shots right now. In fact I keep Googling the story inviting more blows. I know I'm not alone here.
5. Acceptance -Eventually we accept reality the way it now is. The wound heals, the scars remains and we move on stronger and wiser.
Here are some thoughts on processing:
- Press into what you're feeling, don't bury it. You need to heal, which first means you need to feel.
- The stages aren't linear. You will go through all of them sometimes all in a day or even an hour. You can't just check each off a list, which is especially hard for guys.
- Share your journey. -Talk to God and the people you love about what you're going through. Mourning is meant to happen in community. Tears, laughter, angry shouts...don't do it alone.
- Keep your eyes on Jesus. Men will fail you and you will fail men, but Christ will never fail. God loves you, Bob Coy, Calvary Fort Lauderale, and he isn't done with any of us yet.
- If you weren't close to the church please give some grace and space for people to go through these stages; it really is harder for us than you can imagine. We need your prayers.
I hope this provides some hope/help to my fellow brothers and sisters still trying to process it all. We are mourning. It isn't a fun place to be, but it is where we are. And God is meeting us here.
“Better to go to the house of mourning Than to go to the house of feasting, For that is the end of all men; And the living will take it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, For by a sad countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2–4, NKJV)