Thinking back over the NAM conference there was one part of one presentation that really bugged me - that is, annoyed me - it was too simplistic and triumphalist and missed some big questions about how the churhc fials to care for its own. You can find the story that was read to us here. It makes for good reading if you want to take a certain stance on what Christian life is about, but not if you you ask any question of it.
No, I'd never heard of Chuck Templeton, but I wonder what it was that cost him his 'orthodox faith' and drove him from the church. What honest questions was he forced to face alone and unresourced? What issues challenged his beliefs? Where were the people who would love and support him? Presumably still on some happy cloud counting decision cards.
And I've never heard of Bron Clifford but who looked out for him? Who said 'you're drinking too much?' Who said 'are you struggling financially?' Who offered help to him, his wife or his two downs syndrome children? What pushed him over the edge into self-destruct mode? Some pastors had a collection to buy him a coffin - where were they when he needed them in life?
Maybe these men were arrogant and deluded, I don't know. Maybe they fouled up big time. But even so, who was there for them? I may have moaned about the long list of 'thou shalt nots' that the NAMs had to sit through, but at least someone cares enough to tell them. I hope also we all care enough to walk with rather than merely censure those who struggle and fall.