"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.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A New Home & Direction

It's been a while since I wrote. A few things have happened and I'll catch you up on two of them. God is working.

Cynthia and I joined Hope Hills and it was a moving time for us. But a few days before we joined, I felt the need to contact my home church in Pella, Virginia that had ordained me. I've talked to several fallen pastors who have done the same and reached out and let their ordaining church know about their adultery and tell them that it was well within their right to revoke their ordination.

I haven't spoken to anyone from my home church in at least four years, but that didn't make my letter to them any easier to write. I put it in the mail on a Wednesday and prayed that God would do as He would.

That night, on a whim, I called Ryan, one of the deacons I had been very good friends with. I hadn't spoken to him in four years. I called his home and his wife said he was on a business trip. She gave me his cell number and I reached him immediately. He sounded very surprised to hear from me.

We talked for a long time as I shared my story with him, my adultery, my new marriage and what God has been doing for me lately in my life. After I was done with my long story, he paused and said, "Arthur, I'd like to say I'm not disappointed, but I am. I had a lot of respect for you. But it lets me know that any of us can fall."

"I know, Ryan," was all I could get out. I can't tell you how many times people had said that to me, but the closer people are to me, the harder it is to hear that statement.

"But let me tell you something else. I haven't really thought about you for a very long time. I woke up this morning here in Los Angeles. And when I woke up, I had you on my mind. And it wasn't just a fleeting thought, it was strong, and I couldn't shake it. I even called my wife and told her. We prayed for you. And then a few minutes ago, she texted me and she was a little freaked out and told me that you had called the house. Arthur, this is a God thing. He set this phone call up today."

I'm not going to go into the rest of the call, but it was amazing and very encouraging. For the past year, I've been wondering where God has been. Really, for the past five years, I've been wondering. As a pastor I was frustrated that He wasn't doing more at Angel Falls Baptist.

But now, in the past few weeks, as I've finally humbled myself, He's been responding. Of course, He's been here. But I've been in the way.

On Sunday, Cynthia and I joined Hope Hills Baptist. The pastor, Brad, had worked out what he was going to say to the church. That morning, he preached a moving message on the woman at the well. Cynthia and I walked to the front for membership and nervously awaited our introduction.

Brad looked at the church and said, "This is Arthur and Cynthia Dimmesdale. Arthur used to be a pastor at a local church, but he fell. He divorced and is now married to Cynthia. Church, do we believe that God doesn't just cover our sins, but that he forgets them? (Amens filled the room). Arthur and Cynthia have been looking for a church where they can heal and be loved and here they are. Can we do that? (More amens). Then this is the last time I want to ever hear about what they did, because we need to love them as Christ loved them."

Tears welled up in my eyes as the church welcomed us. Sure, there were a few there who were looking at us out of the corner of their eye. But, for the most part, we were welcomed greatly. In the welcoming line, a few of the people came up to us and said that they had been in our exact situation and knew how hard it was.

The past few weeks have been great. Especially great when I get out of God's way and let Him work on me.


  1. Hi Arthur – my name is Marty and I live in Santa Barbara, CA. I somehow encountered your blog three days ago and have read through it completely.
    My American Baptist Church sent me away to a three day weekend Conference on the Ministry when I was 18 (I am now 68). They saw something in me that they thought was worthy of becoming a minister. When I returned they were disappointed to find out that I would not be going to seminary as – I didn’t pass their litmus test (I had not had a “born again experience”) and I decided that being a minister was not a safe place to be real.
    Reading your blog I kept reflecting on your story in that context – being a minister is not a safe place to be real – and for me, we are hurting ourselves and others when we cannot be real. I call it living in Hell in the now.
    It is incredible to me all the hurt that occurred – with the emphasis being around your infidelity. In the church there is no room for an honest discussion of sex. The minister sure as heck can’t admit that he has testosterone and sexual thoughts that could never be shared racing within his head. What’s worse is that ministers then cover that up by preaching totally hypocritical sermons on sex. For me, that is a far greater sin then just being quiet on the subject if one cannot be honest. I have always said that the person to keep away from your young daughter is the preacher who stands up and preaches on the evil of sex and infer how he is the paragon of virtue.
    With that I have learned the importance of giving others a safe place to be real – and that is a combination of revealing my own inner thoughts as well as being not judgmental of the other.
    I think that it is through all of this and your now willingness to be real that you have found your place and your contribution to others. I hope you will fully take that in and appreciate/like yourself for who you have become – and maybe even be grateful for the experiences, including your “falleness”. You now live in Integrity and in that place you give yourself and others a gift.