"What can a ruined soul, like mine, effect towards the redemption of other souls?—or a polluted soul, towards their purification?"

This blog has been moved to www.fallenpastor.com.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Epilogue - "Series Finale"

I was so angry with the way LOST ended last night that I figured I'd write up my own epilogue to my own story. That doesn't mean I'm done with my blog, by any means. I have a lot of back story to write and tales to tell. But I do want to tell you how all of this has ended up.

If you haven't read the story, please read it. It'll take some time, but I hope you find it worth it.

As of today, Angelica is dating again. She called me two months ago and said she forgave me for my sin. Two weeks later, she called me and said she was seeing someone. Good for her. It didn't take her long, I suppose, but it didn't take me long either, did it? I pray for her that her life is lived out to its fullest. For her and my daughter's sake.

I'm paying her more child support and alimony that the state ever required - and I don't say that to brag. I say that so that you dead beat dads out there will hear this: Paying child support should be an HONOR. It's not a duty or a responsibility. It's an honor. They are your children. Get on the stick. Take care of them and love them. Paying money is just one way to do it. I don't care if you feel like it or not. I don't care if your wife remarries or not. Take care of your kids. Money is temporary. Give them your love and attention too.

If you ever get a raise or a new job that pays you more, self-report yourself to the state and pay more child support. Yeah, it's more money out of your pocket, but it's for your kids. It doesn't matter what your ex-wife does with it. That's her problem. It's for your kids. They're a treasure and deserve your best. Always. When you do the right thing - or make an attempt to do the right thing - you can stand up as a man and be proud of it.

Angelica and I are getting along better today than we ever did as a married couple. I hear divorced couples say that on occasion. We have a great agreement about seeing the kids. She drops them off here when she has to work or when she needs child care for them. I'm glad we have that type of arrangement. She's moved on. I've moved on. Thank God for His grace.

Will she ever get over the hurt I caused her? Probably not 100%. But at least we're in a place where we can talk. Where we can have some sort of relationship that is good for the kids. And I thank God for that.

Angel Falls isn't much different. I wish it was. I posted a quote recently that the church acts like a scorned wife when the pastor leaves because of moral failure. After talking to other fallen pastors, I've realized this is the gospel truth. I hurt a lot of people, all at once. I wish there was something I could do to salve that quickly, but there's not.

I wrote a letter a couple of months ago to each individual member. I got one response back which was positive. I understand if I ever get another response back, it will take time.

The one serious problem I have is with Phillip Townsend, the head deacon. He did respond in a way that was unscriptural. Who am I to throw stones? No one. I lied to them, cheated on my wife and made them look stupid. He told me on several occasions I was like a son to him. As soon as I told him what I had done, he told me to never come back and threatened to kick the s*** out of me. I had hoped that he would have at least reached out to me as a man.

To be honest with you, I'm in the process of writing him a letter and plan to mail it this week. I had a terrible relationship with my own father, and in a lot of ways, he was like a father to me. Pray for things to go well. I'm doing the best I can. I tore down a lot of relationships with my sin and I'm trying. It's not easy when we sin. It's even harder to try to get people to understand that we're trying to do the right thing after we sin.

My kids are doing wonderful. They still ask questions on occasion about the whole thing and I answer them honestly. I think one of the best things we can do is let our kids know that their parents aren't perfect. My girls are "daddy's girls." They love on me a lot. We spend quality time together at home, outdoors, and at church.

I tell them bedtime stories, play games with them, cook them meals, and love on them every second I can. I talk to them every day on the phone I don't get to see them. They are precious to me. Even though my sin created an interrupted relationship, they don't act like it. They treat me like daddy every day they see me. And I thank God for that.

Cynthia's daughter and I get along great too. She's a lot younger than my girls. She's adjusted well. She loves my girls and loves playing with them. She's got a lot of spirit. Cynthia has told me how she has clung to me like she's never really clung to another adult before. I love that.

What about me and Cynthia? We're in love. I've never known another soul like her. We have our days where we rub each other the wrong way, but by the end of the day, we understand each other, but those days are far and few between. I love her. I would die for her. I'm not ashamed of the love I give to her and she's not ashamed of the love she gives to me.

I've never had anyone understand my anxiety like she does. I've never had anyone understand me like she does at all. It's like I've known her for years.

Do you understand what we've been through? You can only relate to what I've written, but we had to live it. We sinned together, I was thrown out of my house and my church, we had insults thrown at us, I was hunted down, scorned publicly, hated by members of the community, have gone through severe bouts of depression, questioned God, searched for churches that would have us, been emotionally drained, and had severe relationship crises with countless people.

I don't say those things to garner pity. I don't want pity. Some of those things I deserved.

I say those things in awe of Cynthia. Despite my sin and the consequences of it, she stood by me. She saw me at my worst. And we didn't stay together because we had nowhere else to go. We stayed together because we loved each other. Because in each other we found something we had never had before.

Was that love borne out of the result of the violation of God's law? Absolutely. I will never, ever condone adultery. And if I had to do it all over again, I would have done it differently. God does not condone divorce or adultery. And I grieved Him. I broke up my marriage. I was selfish and hurt a lot of people.

But I can tell you that right now, I am the happiest I have ever been. I love my wife, Cynthia. She loves me.

Part of writing this blog has been trying to reconcile those two things. The providence of God and the free will of man.

But I can't reconcile it.

I do know this - God can make a beautiful thing out of my horrible mess. I don't know how He did it. I also know on judgment day, He's going to tell me how I messed up. And I can tell you that if you're thinking about committing adultery, don't do it. It's wrong. It's not the answer for your marriage woes. But I also know that on judgment day, He'll look at me, look at His Son and say, "you are forgiven."

But I don't deserve it. Any of it. And I'll weep.

Here is where I am today in a nutshell and what I have learned:

I'm a fallen pastor. I'm not proud of my sin. I take responsibility for what I did. I am where I am today because I'm a weak, fallen sinner.

However, I'm happy with my life today. I'm trying everyday to do what is right in the sight of God. Isn't that all we can do?

I've made some poor choices and some decent ones. In the midst of life, sometimes we're given the choice between two things - one bad choice and one worse choice. I'm not saying it's like that all the time, but it is sometimes. We live in a fallen world. And we are fallen people.

The good news is that we have a redeemer who has not turned his back on us. He loves us more than our sin can ever reach. He loves us more than we can ever imagine. We can't push ourselves down into a pit of depression that he can't find us. We can't outsin his grace. We can't outrun him, because he will pursue us.

Before my fall, none of my seminary training ever taught me about how wonderful and majestic our God truly is. Now, through practical living, I know.

I was telling someone tonight that I hope my worst mistakes are behind me. I pray that my self-righteous pride is a thing of the past. I pray that I've learned enough to help others and to now look somewhere besides myself for the answers.

God has been good to me. Better than I deserve.


  1. Honey, I am very proud of you! You have been such an inspiration to me and many others around you. I love you so much. I am proud to be your wife.

  2. Thanks, sweetie. Thank you for standing by me even when times were tough. Even when others gave us a thousand reasons to not move on.

    You're my hero.