Messy place of grace: Tullian Tchividjian wonders how he will pay bills after affair

by Staff |

(FACEBOOK/Tullian Tchividjian)Tullian Tchividjian, former pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, has begun sharing with his followers on social media again, just two months after admitting affair.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Christian Examiner) -- After a brief hiatus from social media, Tullian Tchividjian, the Florida mega-church pastor who resigned in June after admitting an affair, is back online -- this time transparently asking followers advice about stewardship and admitting he spends his days focused on looking for a way to pay his bills.

The gospel frees me to let you see me at my worst—the me that runs away, the me that doesn't want to pray, the me who gets angry at God, the me who rationalizes, the me that knows I'm solely to blame for my sinful choice but who wants to blame others. That's my shadow side. And it's dark. I knew I was bad, but I never knew I was this bad.
- Tullian Tchividjian

The former senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church Tchividjian was installed as the second senior pastor of the church Easter Sunday 2009, succeeding the late D. James Kennedy, the church's founding pastor, and head of Coral Ridge Ministries, a non-profit ministry worth $37 million annually at the time of his death in 2007.

"My days are spent focusing on my family along with finding a job so that bills can be paid," Tchividijian wrote in a Facebook message at the end of July which was shared 863 times and receives 5,278 "Likes."

"But one of the big questions I've wrestled with is, how do I properly steward this glorious ruin? To be quite honest, I want to crawl into a hole and be anonymous for a long, long time," he wrote.

However, Tchividjian told supporters, though he's "tempted to hide until [he is] 'shiny' again," if he did so, he would "undermine the message" of the Gospel.

"The gospel frees me to let you see me at my worst—the me that runs away, the me that doesn't want to pray, the me who gets angry at God, the me who rationalizes, the me that knows I'm solely to blame for my sinful choice but who wants to blame others," he wrote. "That's my shadow side. And it's dark. I knew I was bad, but I never knew I was this bad."

The grandson of the famous evangelist, Billy Graham, Tchividjian admitted to an affair with a female friend in June. He said at the time it was brief and occurred after he'd learned his wife, Kim, had been unfaithful. While some reports indicate both Tchividjiian and his wife have gone through counseling together, others imply the recently separated couple may not be back together just yet.

In a message Kim Tchividjian sent to the Washington Post, she wrote that her husband's statement reflected his opinions but not her own, and asked for privacy for her family.

Tullian Tchividjian tweeted June 23: "I'm so so sorry. I love you all ...fade to black." But three days later, he began tweeting again: "Grace abounds at the low places, where we are weak, broken and helpless ....grace grows amidst the ruins of sin." 

Tchividjian is an influential tweeter with an "80" rating on the social media "Klout" application. He has 107,000 followers and follows only 97 back. He is the author of at least eight books and the founder of the now-defunct LIBERATE, an resource ministry and conference, and recorded a daily program by the same name on Moody Radio. He has appeared on cable and network television and was a speaker at the annual Jacksonville (Southern Baptist) Pastors Conference.

Though some have openly criticized the former pastor for not staying off social media and solely focusing on his marriage and family, many more have praised him for his openness and transparency in what he's experiencing.

"Christianity is not about good people getting better," Tullian Tchividjian wrote in another post. "It is, rather, good news for bad people coping with their failure to be good.

"The gospel sets me free to to let you see me at my most embarrassing worst."

Amidst the dozens of promises of prayer and support for Tchividijian's recent posts, one man wrote, in part:

"Incomprehensible that a pastor would tell the world his wife cheated on him and somehow use this as a reason for committing adultery--I assume deliberate and over a long period of time involving numerous acts as opposed to a single, one-time horrible mistake (not to diminish the terribleness of a single act of adultery).

"You aren't a teenager who was 'saved' two months ago. You should know better," the man said.

Another commenter who called himself a longtime follower of Tchividjian, posted a message saying the former pastor is "far too image conscious," and advised him to "stop posting about your 'tragedy,' get a real job, heal your family and sit in the pews in obscurity for a time."

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