Some Reflections, Just One Explanation, and Apologies
First of all, I want to say thank you to all who sent me messages of support and encouragement. To those who defended me publicly, you bore the reproach due me, and for that I am humbled and grateful. To whose who privately messaged me support and encouragement, I am grateful to and for you as well. The vast majority of those who privately messaged me words of support were women, which I find remarkable, but for reasons I don’t care to speculate about. More than a few of those women identified themselves as victims of abuse of various kinds. I don’t have a major observation about that, but I do find it interesting, and, in a way I hope you will understand, encouraging.
I want to especially thank those of you who objected to the post(s) and disagree with me on the matters at hand and yet reached out in kindness and encouragement. You awe me. I hope my personal responses to you have honored the mercy you’ve shown me.
Why I Haven’t Taken the Post Down Until Now
The original post and its follow-up are nowhere near worth all the mess they’ve caused. And yet, the truth is worth the mess. That is why I have not taken them down until now — not, as some suppose, to “dig in my heels,” but mainly because I did not want anyone to think I was trying to “cover myself,” or sweep the post under the rug, so to speak. I preferred to leave it up for the reader’s judgment and take my lumps if I needed to. This seemed a nobler course than giving the appearance I was trying to hide what I’d done. But secondly, and probably more importantly, as I said both in an email conversation with Rachel Held Evans and in a phone call with a trusted counselor, I was concerned about removing the “source text,” as it were. What I mean is, if I removed the original post(s), all that would remain would be the coverage and analysis of it, some of which was supportive, some of which was dissenting but irenic, but much of which ascribed to me beliefs that I not only reject but abhor. I don’t offer any of that as an excuse, but merely as my reason. My fear was that by taking down what I said, people could not be free to read it and make up their own minds, for good or ill. All that would be left was what others said I said.
And yet I’ve decided I can live with that. I deserve a lot of the chastisement I am receiving, and the rest I give up to God, who is more than able to sort out truth from lies, understanding from misunderstanding. He doesn’t need the help I’ve tried to pridefully offer him. I can trust him with my reputation.
What I First Did Wrong
My first foolishness in posting the original excerpt was not to heed Douglas Wilson’s disclaimer in the beginning of his book. He characterizes it as a “blunt instrument” and describes the particular audience he is writing for. That should have been my first indication either not to post the piece at all or to have at least posted it with a sufficient prefatory warning or more parsing of context. Either way, the blame for the insensitive bluntness of the blog post is not his, but totally mine.
One early Saturday morning my wife needed something from the grocery store. Like a good complementarian man, I went to get it for her. As I said, it was early, and I hadn’t had any coffee yet, so I was groggy, barely saved, and only borderline competent. As I staggered out of the store, a man stuck a microphone in my face and asked me a question about marijuana dispensaries. I didn’t even know what that was. “Like, a vending machine?” I asked. “No,” he said, and explained. He asked a general question about my thoughts on them. I took about five seconds to gather my idiotic thoughts and then shared my genius for his recording device. He was a reporter for the local paper and every week they run a “man on the street” segment on a hot potato issue. When he asked me for my name and occupation, my brain said, “Oh. no.” but my mouth complied. Then he took my picture. I felt worse and worse on the drive home. As soon as I got home, I called the newspaper, asked for the reporter, and kindly asked him not to run my opinion on the matter. I did not regret my opinion or retract it. I still don’t. I still believe now what I believed then on the matter, even after months of coffee. And yet, if my opinion had run the next morning, with my sleepy little face over it with the caption “Jared Wilson: Pastor, Middletown Springs,” I would then be known as “the pastor who talks about marijuana.” This is not the public face I want, and more importantly, it is not the public face my church deserves.
I thought about that grocery store incident a lot in the last few days, and that’s why my first apology is due to my brothers and sisters in The Gospel Coalition and to my other complementarian brothers and sisters. I have brought ill repute upon you with my foolishness and rashness, and I ask your forgiveness.
But more importantly, my words hurt others whose pain runs deep and whose healing is difficult. I don’t want to load this apology up with words, because it is the most important part of this to me, and I want to be clear: For those offended or shamed, or otherwise and in any way burdened by my blog posts and my comments, your pain in this matter is totally my fault. Please forgive me.
Because I don’t believe a confessor should have the last word, the comments are open. And as before, you can still email me at jared AT gospeldrivenchurch DOT com.
Thanks for reading.
Christ is all.