I had a very long conversation yesterday with a person who intimately knew Chuck Smith. It was as close as I’ve been able to get to having a final talk with Chuck regarding our personal spat over the Bob Grenier situation and my blasting Chuck and Chuck’s return fire from the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa pulpit (as well as our internet radio spar).
There are many who viewed Chuck through very rose-colored glasses…and there are some, like me, who had a more jaded and negative view of the man. The truth tends to lie in the middle with regards to most people…and this conversation only affirmed that conclusion.
While the good is well-documented and well-publicized and well-touted by the 1500 plus affiliate Calvary Chapel Church System…the bad is documented on places like this blog. In the background are human beings with feelings. This was a rare occasion when two of those human beings…from the two different Camps…had a heart-to-heart discussion…and it was very helpful, at least for me.
My suspicions were proven likely correct…Chuck didn’t step in and do something directly with the Bob Grenier and Calvary Chapel Visalia situation…not because he didn’t believe us…he actually told my brother Geoff directly in the meeting at the Logos Building that he did…it was because Chuck was being sued in Idaho for the Iglesias molestations that happened through meeting kids at other Calvary Chapels…and the lawyers told Chuck to shut up and not take responsibility for any other Calvary Chapel situation and told him not to get directly involved in the Bob Grenier situation…even though he had done so in the past.
I was also reminded of what I’ve heard in the past many times from people very close to Chuck…he was a great dad and grandpa and he was loving, kind, gracious and never hurt his kids. Some have actually been critical of him for being too soft on Jeff, which ironically, I think was a strength of Chuck’s, not a weakness (while still recognizing that can present some problems in adult church/business situations).
Like all of us, Chuck Smith was a mix of good and bad…something I’ve stated before. However, I now see more of the good…because I got a glimpse at the good in someone he loved…someone who is a living example of the good in Chuck.
The person knows who they are. You are a good person. I’ve heard it from several others who know you…and I’ve now experienced it first hand. I blasted someone you cared about deeply and you showed me kindness and mercy and compassion…yet you were also honest with me. I forgive Chuck and I am sorry I hurt you in the process of dealing with my anger and frustration over those issues with Calvary Chapel. I can’t tell Chuck to his face, but I can tell you…I’m sorry. I could have been much more gracious. Thank you for doing what you did. It helped me and gives me some hope.