Tuesday, May 9, 2017


I have, once again, been asked to attempt some Biblical clarification and perspective on an EXREMELY sensitive and volatile topic.  I hope everyone that reads this prays as much about it as I did while writing it. 

The question this time came from a young couple in Tulsa, a Bible college student and an elderly Pastor in North Carolina.  All of them basically confused about the Church’s stance on so called “Interracial Marriage”. 

I am willing to admit this much right now.  I haven’t seen where the Church has much of any kind of a credible doctrine on this issue.  I have traveled the country over, preached in many churches and held meetings and conferences for two decades and in most cases:  The leadership is against it about 70/30 and the masses of the people are for it about 70/30.  The people that are against it often twist and misquote scriptures and it is usually fairly obvious that they have more of a Knee jerk reaction/Social prejudice/Emotional response to it than they do most other doctrines.  The people that are for it generally use social injustices and hypocrisies in the doctrines of those that are against it, as their main points and arguments. 

I have some reservations myself but they are NON-Biblical in nature.  There is NOTHING in the Bible that would cause me to question that type of a relationship based on nothing but color of skin or origin of birth.  This is one of my big problems with it as a doctrine.  It is EXTREMELY inconsistent.  Almost ALL men that I have ever spoken to are not really against interRACIAL marriage.  They are against interCOLOR marriage.  As a matter of fact, they are not just against two different colors.  They are more against it if the two colors are further apart in shade than if they were closer together in shade.  For example if a “white” person married an “Asian” person, that is not as radical “bad” as if a “white” person married a “black” person.  The same is true, that if a “black” person married an “Asian” person, that is no where near as “bad” as if a “black” person married a “white” person.  This gives an extraordinary appearance of a doctrine based on social behaviors and learned prejudices.

If the argument is about the old testament and God not wanting the Israelites to marry the Canaanites, etc, there are some issues there.  First of all, if you want to use that and have pure doctrine that is consistent and not hypocritical then:  It is “unbiblical” for Germans to marry the French and Spaniards to marry the Ecuadorians and so on.  But that is not a problem for almost all people that are against so called “interracial marriage”.  But those are interracial.  It is almost always acceptable…..because the colors match.

Something else, according to the letter of the law in the Old Testament, Israelites were not supposed to allow Canaanites to marry into their lineages.  But in the New Testament it is revealed that Rahab (a Canaanite woman) is in the lineage, not just of AN ISRAELITE, but THE ISRAELITE, JESUS.  It’s ok though, because it is actually consistent with ALL scripture if it is all taken in context.  Most Bible scholars say that the reason Rahab was allowed into the family of Israelites is because she was “converted” at Jericho in Joshua chapter 2.  Her conversion was signified by her faith in Jehovah, her covenant with the two spies and the saving of her and her household during the battle.  This agrees also with the New Testament where 2 Corinthians 14 says “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” 

This verse is about Christians not binding together (marriage, business, etc) with non-Christians.  And Rahab was of the “race” that wasn’t allowed into the “Christian” lineage UNTIL she was converted and then it was allowed.  That was a type and shadow of the spiritual understanding that would later come in 2 Corinthians. 

My reservations are bases on peer pressure, societal discrimination and the mental and emotional welfare of children that would be born into such marriages.  I think if a couple that were of different “colors” were considering marriage, they should seek wise and Godly counsel about the social issues and peer pressures that they could face.  They should also think well ahead and prepare a plan for raising children in such an environment.  But I would say the same thing about a young person from a very affluent family marrying a mate from very meager means.  I would say the same thing about a person from a very strict and rigorous religious family marrying a person from a conservative but less rigid religious family. 

Now, I am not going to make a shadowy demi-doctrine to cause people to believe that I don’t think God would approve of rich people marrying poor people or a more conservative individual marrying a less conservative person.  I would just point out the difficulties.  If said type of people did marry said type of people, it wouldn’t bring a stigma with it……would it?  Or is that just somehow reserved for color? 

From a STRICLTY BIBLICAL perspective, all humans are descendants of one man and one woman-Adam and Eve (1 Corinthians 15:45; Genesis 3:20).  Thus, if the Bible’s history is accurate, biologically, only one race of human beings exists.  Christians need to examine such matters from a Biblical perspective, instead of blindly following their cultural programming or geographical prejudices.  From a spiritual perspective, the only two “races” are those who are of the kingdom of light and those who are of the kingdom of darkness.  The Bible emphatically declares this by stating that a Christian should never knowingly marry a non-Christian in 2 Corinthians 6:14.  It is also implied in Ephesians 5:21-33 and Matthew 19:4-7.
So the only “interracial” marriage that I can find that the Bible warns humans against is between 2 opposing spiritual races, a believer and a non-believer.  This again is best shown in the story of Rahab. 

It is important that Christians think about marriage as God thinks about each one of us.  When the prophet Samuel went to anoint the next king of Israel, he thought the oldest of Jesse’s sons was the obvious choice due to his outward appearance.  However, we read in 1 Samuel 16:7, “But the Lord said unto Samuel, look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

There is so much to teach each generation about God and his ways and the Church is losing more of each generation, I don’t understand why we are not spending more time spiritualizing every day life for them and teaching and preaching about morality, prayer life, giving, forgiving, Godly duties of parents to children and spouses to each other and the jobs that the Holy Ghost empowers people to do and…………But I do understand one reason why we are not doing all of that.  It is because it is so difficult and so time consuming to teach and preach indoctrinations that are not provable or not plainly stated in scripture and then even more difficult and even more time consuming to try to keep people convinced to believe what they have been taught in a world full of mass communication.  So there isn’t enough time to teach all the true Bible basics if you have to indoctrinate also.

This article, of course, is not exhaustive for several reasons.  First and foremost, I do not like to pit one scripture against another as some do.  Secondly, this is one of the few subjects that is almost always purely emotionally charged and lastly, it is one of the last standing emotionally charged doctrines, as such, that really has no pure argument for it.  I cannot believe that it is even still around. 

To be fair to this article, I asked 3 prominent Pastors in our movement, that I know are against interracial marriage, to give me 5 minutes of their time on why it was Biblically inappropriate.  When they misquoted scriptures, I pointed it out.  When they twisted meanings, I pointed it out.  I asked a question or two or three and they tried to answer them.  ALL THREE OF THEM CONCLUDED THE SAME THING WITH ME!  “We do not really have a “biblical” stance against it but it just causes confusion, hurt and there will be problems that are not being considered.” 

In turn, I agreed with them that, there are cultural, local, regional and emotional issues that should be considered.  But GOD should not be used as a tool to dissuade.  That is disingenuous. 

Cultures, barriers, presuppositions, philosophies, prejudices, beliefs and religions, form vast chasms between the message of Christ and the mind of man. 

-Ravi Zacharias

Your humble servant,

Rev. D. Todd Sloggett 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Beware of the Bashers

When ministers bash, trash and blast things it should raise a red flag. A minister is sent by God to love, help, spread truth, defend truth, preach and proclaim. And in all of that comes a lot of standing against evil. But standing against evil and “bashing things and people”, are two different things. 
To be fair, some good preaching is called bashing by haters of good preaching. And some bashing is called good preaching by haters of whatever is being bashed. But if ministers are not careful they will fall more into the category of cult leader than preacher. 
When we preach and people do not respond as well as we want them to then we feel pressure to “do more about it”. Then we try to get it a little tighter and tell it a little more plain. If they still don’t respond well enough we can choose to single them out or even run them off to “clean up” the atmosphere of our ministry. 
Listen friend, you cannot choose for an individual, you can only love them, tell them the truth and live a good example before them. If you live good and preach truth and stand against evil, you will not have to worry too much about being surrounded with those that love evil. 
But I’ll tell you what is bothering me. The idea that if you bash, you are deep and spiritual because “you don’t care what anybody thinks” OR if you say anything about anything that is evil or wrong then you are automatically a basher. Since we are on facebook let me use it as an example: 
If you get up in your pulpit and say, “everyone that is on facebook is going to hell”, then you my friend are an idiot. That is the most broad and blanket ignorant statement that you can make. But if you are a spiritual leader and you do not constantly remind your people of the pitfalls and evils that lurk on facebook, you are foolish. 
The predators, curse words, lewd conversations and pictures that are on some people’s facebook pages are appalling. If you have a minister that does not warn parents to have an age limit or ask parents to consider not letting children get on it until they are of age or give examples of problems with it, then I would question that minister’s sincerity. 
But if you have a minister that blasts any and all who would be on it as non-christians or people that should not be a member of his congregation then I would question his allegiance. Is it to God, the lover of the soul, or himself, the Icon of the local church, or the fellowship, the controllers of the people, or.....??? 
Look at it this way, I am no great defender of facebook, that is not my point, but I can easily see why it is one of the hottest topics to “bash”. I have been in and out of cultic leaning ministries and movements all my saved life and one thing that you must have in order to have a cult is control of the conversation. The last thing in the world you would want is people openly talking to other people outside of where you have any ultimate say so about it. 
In a cult, control is the key, in Christianity free will is the key. Those that “do right” in a cult are well controlled by their leaders. Those that “do right” in Christianity are well submitted to their faith. I know many great and Godly men that don’t believe in facebook at all but I don’t know any that would just bash and slam everyone that has it, as if they are more shallow, more worldly or more ignorant than themselves. Those just aren’t the attributes of a Godly man. 
I love the “Holiness Way” and I am a very conservative minister but when a preacher’s preaching starts “telling” you what you are and are not allowed to do in your house, on your job, with your loved ones. I get concerned. Even when it is a good thing. 
Why can’t they take the time to TEACH the people and EXPLAIN their reasoning and USE SCRIPTURES, If they have any, instead of just saying things like, “If you have a television in your home, you are going to HELL.” Believe it or not, I heard that again last summer at a big campmeeting by one of the most used preachers in a particular part of our movement. 
I don’t have a TV and I wouldn’t have one and I have some very sane and challenging arguments against them but how do I know who is going to hell? It’s like the mayor of New York city banning all soda drinks over 16 ounces. 
“When some debated him he said, “Your are for cancer and early death and children with rotting teeth. You hate children and you want the people to die.” Then you had the knuckleheads on the other side saying, “If I want to drink 10 gallons of mountain dew while bathing in a tub full of red bull I should be able to." Yes, you should have that choice but you are an imbecile if you take it. 
Don’t be silly people. Of course we are drinking too many sugary drinks and of course it is causing problems and the City of New York should have had a huge advertising and educational campaign to “help” the people that want to be helped, but nooo, they wanted to just force their control over the people by “outlawing” pop? Get a grip. So, some of the same “great conservatives” that want the mayor of New York to be impeached for imposing “his will” on the people, also want to “make” their congregation members do or don’t do certain things instead of educating and filling with doctrine and flooding with prayer, thus helping the people that want help. 
And if anyone debates them they might just say, “You are for sin and you hate Jesus and you want all of our children to die and go to hell.” And then they put you, the reasonable saint, in the category of rank evil. Why? Normally it is either a greed for power and you are in the way of it or a laziness of study and they can’t answer you clearly, logically and biblically. 
I hate to say it but most preachers that I hear anymore are just repeating things that they heard “popular” preachers say or they are just saying things that they know will gain them influence in certain groups. 
I do not like TV, I think we drink, (and eat), way too much garbage, I am for standing against evil, I don’t want the government being my big brother, I believe in submitting to Godly leadership and I see no reason what so ever to not stand up to cultic indoctrination. In my humble opinion one of the easiest ways to tell the difference between sound doctrine, that should be submitted to, and cultic practices, that should be ran from, is this test.....
Are they sincerely trying to teach “us” for our own good and God’s glory or are they bashing “things” for their own power and influence? Am I a soul that they shepherd over for Christ and His kingdom or am I cattle that has their “brand” on it and makes them look like a big shot if I “do right”? 
LISTEN TO THE PREACHER, BE LEARY OF THE BASHER. This is merely my own humble opinion.
Rev. Todd

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Christian Parents Struggling with Wayward Homosexual Children

I have spent the last several days praying and contemplating this article.  It is one of the few that I have written lately that I was not exited about doing.  As a matter of fact I would just as soon leave this alone.  But, it is too important and too devastating to not attempt to tackle.  I also am not that enthusiastic at the fact that I have less Biblical facts than usual and I’m sure there will be lots of controversy.  (Contrary to what many believe, I do not thrive on controversy)

Never the less, here we go.  The topic this time that I have received a couple dozen calls and emails on already just this year, it is now March 1st, is:  What do Christian parents do about a homosexual son or daughter’s “partner”?  Most Christian parents that I am working with do not let their child’s “partner” over to the house and they won’t meet with them and some of them won’t even meet with their own child as long as they are in that type of a relationship.  They feel that there must be a line drawn and their child must know, at any cost, that they 100% disapprove of such a sinful relationship, etc. 

The only alternative answer that has come out of some of our groups lately is a much more merciful and liberal point of view from the “outtreachers” camp (full disclosure:  I am supposedly considered one of the leaders of the “outreachers”)  This “doctrine” says that you cannot single the homosexuals out like that.  You will never reach them that way.  A sin is a sin and you wouldn’t treat an alcoholic that way or even a fornicator that way, etc. etc. 

Once again, I kind of agree with some points on both sides and kind of disagree with some points on both sides.  (No surprise, huh?)  Now, to be fair, this is more of a thought process than a doctrine.  But I am trying to help.  I’m trying to plug this scenario into the life of Christ.  It is what I always do when I don’t have a clear answer on something. 

One thing is for sure clear to me.  Sodomy, the biblical term for homosexuality, is a far worse sin than most other sins of humanity.  Yes, I said that.  Read it again if you must.  There are different sins.  Many of you that have read my writing for years will think I am contradicting myself because some of my past teachings on homelessness and drug addiction.  I am not.  Church society has tried to categorized people like drug addicts into some far out there, crazy strange category that no body can understand or help or deal with and it has made a mess and I have taught that an addict is the same as a liar or a thief, etc. and if you can deal with one of them, then you can deal with an addict.  But this is different.

God has basic rules of creation.  Rules that He balances the universe on.  Rules that regulate the existence of man and the principals of society and the structure of the building blocks of the world.  Thus the structure of the building blocks of relations with Him.  And a two sex society is one of them.  If you know nothing of God or eternity or religion or anything and you learn how to read and read the Bible all the way through for the first time, you can see certain patterns of truth.  One would be God’s emphasis on relationships.  God to man.  Man to women.  Parents to children.  Family to church, etc.  When you sin the sin of sodomy, you pervert, disrupt and exasperate the whole plan. 

God’s ways are not acceptable to you.  You have burnt the bridge to mercy, to faith, to morality, to……….Sure you can have your own kind of mercy and be a merciful person.  You can have your own kind of faith and be a faithful person.  You can even have your own kind of morality and be a “moral person”.  But you cannot have the faith, mercy and morality the Bible speaks of.  You cannot because you rejected the basic pattern of how it all works. 
You are not saying, “I see where we should meet on Saturday instead of Sunday.”  You are not saying, “I think the 3 are 1 or the one are 3”.  You are not saying, “He said we can have a little wine but not get drunk.”  You are saying, “God, your master plan that allows me to even be in existence, that is the foundational blueprint that lets me be me and you be God…I REJECT THAT IN THE MOST PERVERSE OF TERMS.”  That, my friends, is very different. 

So in that sense, I agree with the hardliners that say that a line must be drawn on this issue.  AND it is not the same as everything else.  ON THE OTHER HAND, I cannot reconcile scripture, the life of Christ, mercy, grace and or holiness to the idea of “boxing them out”.  So far in most of our fellowships the answer is normally, “You can come around but they can’t.”  Which almost always leads to hardly ever seeing your child again. 

Now what I am about to say is obviously going to begin the feather ruffling process.  Somehow I am working on a well thought through response that isn’t cookie cutter but has basic principles that can be adjusted here and there to fit most of all of the diverse situations that they will be applied to.  Something like.  “Of course you can come over.  We love you and you know that we do.  But don’t do this in a off the cuff kind of way.  Don’t show up over here acting like everything is “worked out now”.  You may want to let him or her know what they are walking into.  That is only fair.  We love you, we love them, we stand firmly that your relationship is in open and perverse rebellion to God and we pray and beg the Lord for your souls everyday.  We are not going to try to force a “church service” or “Bible study” every time we see you two but you know that if there was an opening we would try to take it.  You also know that if you or your “partner” attempted to “enlighten us” or “justify yourselves” at any given point, that we would constitute that to a challenge to our faith and an attack on God’s Holy Word. 

That being said, if you guys came over for chicken salad sandwiches and a few games of bad mitten, there is no reason why that couldn’t work as long as you respected us, your parents.  If you are holding hands under the table, patting each other on the backside or giggling in the bathroom together we would take that as a sign that you did not just want to “be around our family” but that you were trying to normalize homosexual relations in a household that does not believe that there is anything normal about homosexuality. 

Once again, I could write a book on all of the different scenarios that I have been asked and been involved in lately.  Allow me to address a few of them. 


This was part of a real question that I received last year and here is some of my real response.:

It is your right to have whomsoever into your home that you desire.  And to keep whomsoever out.  But it is also you who must deal with all of the ramifications thereof.  This action taken by your child and then reacted to by yourselves has ended in a Christmas without an intact family.  I think it was a horrific decision by her, a “not so great” reaction by you and a terrible outcome.  Just what if:  You asked her to please come to Christmas and don’t skip it and she said that she was only coming if she brings her ‘partner”.  And you explained that her “partner” was a person and a soul and you knew that it would be uncomfortable and awkward but you wanted her (your daughter) at Christmas regardless.  If bringing here “partner” was the only way she would come, you would do your best to accommodate that but that you were only willing to accommodate the person and not the relationship and you think that is only fair. 

We acknowledge her coming.  We will have enough food for her.  We will talk to her about what she does for a living, who her family is, where she was raised, etc.  But I ask that you both respect the parenting and the beliefs that have always ruled this house and refrain from acting out your relationship, especially in from of the younger generation, etc.

 Get all of your children and their legitimate mates matching clothing and things for Christmas AND have a nice card with a scripture on it and a gift card inside it or something for your daughter’s “partner”. 

Now, this is VERY COMPLEX.  The complexity of it as well as the vulgar aspects of the sin is why most people end up resorting to “no coming over while you are with that person”!  But raising kids isn’t easy and there are other things that people are dealing with in child rearing that are just as complicated.  Catching your child with pornography, finding out that the “wrong person” is pregnant, etc.  When these things happen we find out who the adults in the room are.  We find out who the spiritual ones are and we find out how much people really love, because they will take on the grueling process of WORKING through things. 

Lines must be drawn, communication must be made and conversations must be had, in order for this to work.  But it is my humble opinion that it is the best possible solution for several reasons.  Will it be easy?  Of course not.  Will it be harder than just making them stay away?  Maybe or maybe not but this isn’t about what is hard, it is about what is right.  And before you start “laying down the law” on what is right or not (God hates homosexuality, He destroyed Sodom and Gamorah, etc) Let me tell you a couple things.  First of all, your job in the Sodom and Gomarah story is not to BE GOD.  Your job, is to BE ABRAHAM!  He was the one pleading with God to not destroy them.  Second of all, the most right thing to do is always to give as many of the people involved in any given situation, as many chances as possible, to get right with The Lord. 

I feel like the situation that I described does just that.  What if being around your family and realizing that your family is willing to suffer and be uncomfortable for them, actually wins your child’s heart back.  What if (This will drive some of you crazy) the “partner” is the one that is ultimately affected by your Christ like spirit and the “partner” is won to Christ and gets saved and gives up your child.  How well do you think either of these scenarios would play out if they were just told to “don’t come around”?

Another part of the analogy.  If you set up rules, such as:  You can come over anytime.  You shouldn’t plan on spending the night unless you are alone.  Do not attempt to indoctrinate any of the other kids.  Do not show direct physical touching of each other while around us.  (Let me just say that our children were not allowed to do this with their boyfriends and girlfriends around us until they had a wedding date, if you are too lose with your kids already and try this on the homosexual ones, then you will have a hard time overcoming the “hypocrisy” in their eyes) This could work very much in your favor.  I have seen it happen where they are not allowed to act as a couple in front of people that they love and respect and it makes them feel uncomfortable (convicted) to then leave and do it elsewhere.  Sometimes that is a step in the right direction.  Again, something that couldn’t happen if they just couldn’t come around. 

When I describe this idea to some, they say, “My son or my daughter, would NEVER go along with that.”  I then tell them that is ok.  You made some fair rules and bent over backwards to allow them to be a part of the family and home.  If they can’t do it, then they chose to stay away as apposed to you not letting them come around.  I have spoken to some homosexuals for the family and in counseling and explained to them, when they didn’t like these types of rules, that, Did you really think that you could do something so far out, so anti-culture, so against history, so non-traditional Christian and all of a sudden there would be no consequences what so ever?  That is very gullible and quite selfish.  Life doesn’t work that way.  You can chose anything you want.  But there will be ramifications.  I have told them that I think that the parents were doing an amazing job trying to accommodate them and if the homosexual child tries to railroad the situation and force the family to accept the relationship and not just the people in it, I will give them advice to the contrary. 

I also want you to see one more thing about all of this.  Everything that I try to write on, I usually start with The Life of Christ.  We don’t see Jesus in direct contact with a homosexual so it is kind of tricky.  I actually heard a man use this in his argument against having anything to do with them.  He said, Jesus left us examples on how to deal with all kinds of people.  His example with homosexually was obviously to not mess with them, because He didn’t.  Please don’t fall for this kind of simple ignorance.  Jesus didn’t leave us exact direct examples for all kinds of things.  I can’t imagine what a religion would look like If we just swept  them all under the rug. 

As in several other situations, we must take what we do know about Christ and apply it, as best we can, to what we don’t know.  This is precisely what I have tried to do in answering this question.  Would Jesus just accept them and not have a standard of conduct that they would need to measure up to?  I don’t believe He would.  Would He just rebuke them and run them off?  I don’t believe He would.  Would He love them and accept them as human beings but make sure that they understood where the line of truth was and allow them to make up their own minds of how well they will adhere or not adhere and ultimately bless them with the benefits or punish them with the consequences of their actions?  I think that is very likely. 

So, in doing this there are a million and one scenarios to look at and I cannot possible think of them all, let alone address them all BUT, you can start with the ones that you know and prayerfully and logically and Biblically approach the others without knee jerk religious emotional reactions.  I believe that if you do this, the chances of you helping your wayward child to ultimately choose to come back to sanity, back to morality and back to CHRIST are higher than the other options.  DO NOT overlook, go along with or condone blatant obscenities.  But DO NOT make wild, broad sweeping, self righteous, emotional rules and reactions just based on the fact that you know such obscenities exist.  If there is anyway to keep the family unit as close as possible without sinning or condoning sin…….IT MUST BE DONE AT ANY OTHER COST. 

This is my humble opinion.  I am sure it is not 100% correct and I am sure there will be much scrutiny.  I did not write it in hopes of avoiding criticism, nor did I write it attempting to be exhaustive and all encompassingly accurate.  I wrote it to try to help some Holiness families that are struggling and don’t feel like they are getting any answers.  If this gives them hope, a chance, peace or courage to try again, then I have accomplished my goal.  If you have better answers, then please, by all means.  Do what I have done and spend the hours and hours of study and prayer and tears and then share you heart!

God bless you!

Your humble servant,

Rev. D. Todd Sloggett

Monday, March 6, 2017


I want to brag again on the way that God blesses and uses our home church.  Bethany Holiness Church in Sand Springs, OK. Pastor Darrell Toliver and his wife Sister April.  The rigorous and growing schedule of ministry events taking place on and from this property never ceases to amaze me.  

Every week, every month, day in and day out it is non-stop and endless.  Just regular schedules involve Sundays of 9:30 am "Ministry Sharing", 10:00am Sunday School classes, 11:00am Worship service, 6:00pm prayer meeting, 6:30pm traditional service.  Then there is Wednesday night midweek service at 7:30pm.  There is Monday through Friday pre-K through 12th grade private Christian Education system going on.  Certain Monday nights of the month are designated for extra prayer meetings.  Secret Sisters women's group, work nights, work days, field trips, fund raisers, choir practices, board meetings and on and on and on.  AND I LOVE IT!!!

BUT, the activities, schedules and vigor that they are performed with are NOT the most amazing parts by far.  What is so incredible is the intended outcome that they produce in individuals to affect communities.  This highly intentional schedule of events that is ever morphing and ever evolving is supposed to AND IS equipping people that respond to it in a way that causes them to GO OUT, REACH OUT.....From the schedule of events that happens "At Church" flows a whole other schedule of events that happens "Away From Church".  

Weekly jail services, counseling sessions, piano lessons, sign language classes, grief recovery training, financial support events, women's and babies lifestyle support and housing volunteers, Court Appointed Special Advocates for children, Bid Brothers and Big Sisters!!!  If the on site schedule produces the off site schedule then there is proof of progress and that is what Bethany does.  

The opposite of this correct inside/out system of Christians gathering to strengthen and support and teach each other to go out, reach out and change the family, the town, the county, the state.......comes in two different and opposing forms.  There is a highly introverted version and a highly extroverted version.  One is more exciting than the other but they are both extreme failures.  One is the dying on site schedule where less and less people are involved so less and less people come so eventually a smaller and smaller schedule is needed until there is one or two services a week and a whole complex that was once dedicated for Christ and His gospel message is used maybe 3 to 5 hours a week and it basically sits and rots.  The other version is the thriving on site schedule that is all about itself.  More services, games, programs, dinners, teaching, banners and balloons than ever but the entire push for funds, push for bodies in seats, push for upgrades and designs is to promote THE PLACE.  The local church building with the local church name with the local church people going there and the local Pastor running it and........Sometimes it looks very similar to the right thing and even more active and creative than the right thing but never actually gets around to producing the right thing.  

The right thing is the active Christians going out into the streets, communities and whole world and changing it for Christ with their money, their votes, their time, their relationships, their ideas and their empowerment that they received at places like Bethany Holiness Church.  

This is part III of a random ongoing series that I just wake up one day and decide needs to be added to.  I remember after part II someone asked me, "Do you think you can brag on your church TOO much?"  I said, "Before I answer that let me ask you a couple of questions.  Do you go to church?  Where is it? and Do you like it?"  They said, "Those are strange questions to ask.  Why do you ask those questions?"  I said......."Because even though I have known you for a few years now, I don't know the answer to them."  He said, "Never mind."  In other words, I think that the far worse problem going on is not too much bragging on the Church, but not enough!  

Your humble servant, 
Rev. D. Todd Sloggett

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Keeping the Balance Between the Rest of Life and Helping an Addict

I had a Pastor contact me a few days ago asking for some advice about dealing with some friends of his that had been on drugs and were slipping back and were becoming a problem.  They aren’t heeding advice and won’t listen to council, etc.  Following is my LENGTHY response to his question.  All he really asked for, was advice.  This is probably not what he was looking for but I have been doing this for long enough that I feel like ultimately this WILL BE what he is looking for.  And hopefully by posting it on here, it will help some others as well.  God bless you Pastor and I hope this helps you my friend.

My advice is more TO YOU than it is FOR THEM.  Everyone that we deal with is a free moral agent.  There are no magic words or secret codes that can make anybody do anything.  Your job is to love them, tell them the truth and reach for them in a way that is consistent.  If The Lord win’s them in a week, a month, a year or 5 decades, you are to be consistent.  Your loving, teaching and reaching must also be done in a way that helps them understand and receive correction. 

When they call at 2am because they are awake and freaking out, when they need a ride to the court house in the middle of your work day because they forgot or put it off, when they need you to help them find that special someone that ran out on them when they were high or angry and now they want to make up…..If you jump and do it for them “every time”, then you are teaching them to live from emergency to emergency.  You are teaching them to depend on the resources of others and you are teaching them that procrastination is ok because you can always scramble and make it up for them at the last minute.  The lesson here is:  An emergency for an addict does not constitute an emergency for you. 

You and the addicted, live two different lives and one must teach the other and it must be the right one.  They lay around, don’t get out of bed, sleep all day, up all night, won’t go to work, etc.  Until something is an emergency.  Then they act only because they have to and they need you to act with them.  You have a job, responsibilities, have a consistent work habit and morals and ethics.  It is two different worlds.  Most people trying to “help” an addict, JUMP every time the addict has an emergency.  That would be an addict “teaching” YOU how to live from emergency to emergency.  The right thing is every time an addict has an emergency, for you to tell them things like:  I will help you when I get off of work.  Or, It is very late, we will deal with this in the morning.  Or, ask questions like:  Have you called your Dad?  Did you check with the court clerk?  Why do you think it is ok to always call me at 2am?  That is when most people are sleeping. 

Yes, deal with the problem and help the person.  But use the problem to teach the person to stop living this middle of the night, walking the edge, emergency to emergency lifestyle and trying to pull everyone else into it.  I know this scares some people but listen.  If they have been living out there on the edge for 4 or 5 years, the odds of you being able to help them right this very second but not be able to help them in 4 or 5 hours, is very slim.  If  they are helpable now, they will most likely be helpable in a few hours.  If they are not helpable in a few hours, they were most likely not helpable when they called.  Don’t put them off JUST TO PUT THEM OFF.  But you cannot let them destroy your life just because they destroyed theirs.  You are doing this for everybody’s best interest, including theirs. 

Something else I have learned to do.  This is the other principle here.  Not only give them time but give them something to do.  It helps find out how serious they are and it continues to teach them.  Most people that have ever dealt with a loved one that is an addict has gotten sick and tired of them doing all the bad stuff for weeks, months even years and then coming back and saying they area sorry and they give up and they just want help and they have bottomed out…so you help them and they just burn you again and are gone in no time. 

PUT THE RESPONSIBILITY ON THEM.  If you are really at rock bottom at 4am on Tuesday, and then you don’t want the same help at 6pm on Wednesday, guess what?  You were not really at rock bottom at 4am on Tuesday.  More than likely you were high or out of drugs and very sick.  Neither one makes you ready to get help.  Time shows truth.   AND something to do shows sincerity.  If they call and say, “I need you right now.  Pick me up at the corner of 8th and Pine in 5 minutes, hurry.”  You say, “I am having dinner with my family and I will be able to leave in about 30 minutes.  Why don’t you walk down to 11th and Pine where it will be easier for me to get to you and I will be there in 45 minutes.”  If they argue and won’t relent or say never mind or hang up.  That is a bitter sweet moment.  Bitter because you really hoped this was it.  The chance to really help them.  But sweet because at least you can be confident that they weren’t that sincere, so you didn’t have to waste your effort and get let down again this time. 

Lastly, once someone has been told the truth about a situation.  It does you no good to argue or try to beat it into their heads.  If they start in with, “I don’t understand why I am here” and “God doesn’t understand my situation” or “You are not even trying to help me”, etc. etc.  And you have already explained that they are there because of poor decisions and regardless of what they think or say, God understands everything according to the Holy Bible and you are trying to help them more than anybody else, even themselves and you prove it with your actions.  DO NOT SIT THERE AND GO OVER IT 57 MORE TIMES!  They are playing you.  You have a life to lead and sermons to write and loved ones to be with and sleep to get and prayers to pray and people to help that want help.  They are bored and are arguing with you when they know that you are probably right.  

And do not discount the fact that some addicts get multiple levels of highs from many different things.  One high that many ex-addicts talk about is the slight high of just telling my problems over and over again to people.  During counseling I have heard different ex-addicts talk about the frustration that they would get when trying to get that little high and some parent or preacher or counselor would keep giving them solutions and making them frustrated.  “Solutions would end me talking about my issues and cause me to start resolving them.  That wouldn’t give me any kicks”.    Anyone that has dealt with addicts for very long can spot this situation.  When I first read your comments Pastor, this is what I thought of. 
I am not asking anyone to ignore addicts or brush them off.  Trust me, I know plenty of people like that and it is so sad because if more people would get involved then more people could get help.  I have spent the majority of my adult life helping addicts.  We have worked with thousands of them and seen hundreds of them get Saved and delivered.  But you must be above their games.  When they get loud, you stay calm.  When the make it an emergency, you put it off.  When they want you to do it, you give them some part of it to do.  When they want to argue, you state the facts and move on with life.  These things are in THE ADDICTS best interest as well as yours.

To summarize.

*You’ve got time

*Give them something to do

*Fight all the “emergencies” with the structures of normal life

*Time shows truth

*Giving them something to do shows sincerity

*If they can’t do it within the structures of real life and if they can’t put forth a little effort too…They weren’t ready anyway

There are many other elements of dealing with an addict like the “treat them like they are 5 years old” recovery element and the “I love you, I’m for you, I want to help you but I don’t trust you” element…but they will have to wait for another day. 

I’m sure that this doesn’t EXACTLY answer your direct question but I hope this generally summarizes a philosophy that will help you with these friends and others as you grow and continue to work with such.  In all honesty, without being there and knowing enough details to fill up 20 pages, I can’t give you exact and direct advice anyway.  Every situation is so specific and unique. 

Love them, pray for them.  Be prepared in advance how to help and be ready to deal with them.  Plan to act not just react.  Do NOT be driven by them.  If anything, you drive them…toward Christ.  If you cannot, then there isn’t much that you can do anyway.  Every moment is a teaching moment with an addict.  Love, mercy, friendship, structure, rules.  Teach with your words, teach with your actions, teach with your lack of either. 

I will probably be posting this on my fb page for others to read as well.  For all of you that may read this and want me to go into even more detail on some of these elements of dealing with addicts.  I am literally running out of time almost every single day to do the things that I need to do and still get all of these questions answered.  It took me 3 or 4 days to answer this one.  I have a couple of suggestions for you. 

#1 Get a church or two or three or an organization together and schedule a time that I can come and talk to as many people at one time so that we can get all of this information out faster (at least a couple hours) OR #2 You may wait a few months and we at HMA are going to be partnering with some at OBI and be putting out a “Dealing with Addicts” DVD similar to the “Questions People Ask” DVD that we put out a few years ago. 

God bless everyone!  Pray for us at HMA and if you would like to help sponsor these projects and the reaching of the Least, the Last and the Lost, send donations and correspondence to HMA PO Box 12 Sapulpa, OK. 74067 or check us out at HolinessMissionsToAmerica.com.

Your humble servant,

Rev. D. Todd Sloggett