As several commenters have pointed out, Ron Luce’s email is actually a classic case of spiritual abuse for those with eyes to see it. Instead of actually addressing the issues, he casts suspicion and blame on any who would dare question him. Once again, we see the classic “blame the victim” attitude which saturates Teen Mania. His tone is patronizing and the entire email is an attempt to get the focus off of his leadership, Teen Mania, and the Honor Academy and onto me.
Not once does he address the issues specifically or take responsibility for any pain or hurt caused by the Honor Academy.
Instead – he threw the focus back on me, and for many of you – it worked. Instead of looking at the wealth of documented abuses at the Honor Academy, now you are questioning my honesty, my motives, my methods, etc. As I mentioned yesterday, you don’t have to agree with me to recognize the FACTS of the abuse. You can point out my flaws all day long – but I am not the one administering the spiritual growth (or destruction) of hundreds of teenagers.
Ron said, “Please note that many of the challenges from this person’s blog and letter are challenges that we’ve long since improved upon since he/she was an intern.”
If that is the case, then why do the ‘true stories’ on this blog span a length of time from the Tulsa years all the way to 2009? ALL of the teachings I’ve critiqued are from the last 3 years. Follow the links and view the source material yourself. A generic “changes were made” is not good enough. What specific changes have been made with regards to the spiritual abuse, neglect of health and safety issues, and the shame/guilt/fear driven environment as outlined on this blog? If there are changes, we deserve to know exactly what they are and why. And further, if they did actually bring change to some areas based on feedback – why don’t they apologize for the pain they’ve caused?
The only thing that Ron is sorry about in this email is the fact that the alumni were emailed without his permission and notified of a place of grace and healing. In fact, he says, “we feel that this was definitely a breech of privacy and for that, we are very sorry. Yet, he did not say he is “very sorry” that the abuse occurred. He did not say he is “very sorry” that people were hurt. But he sure is sorry you found out about this blog.
It is not a breach of privacy to contact fellow members of “the line” in a one time effort to reach out to them. I’m not continually spamming or signing people up for newsletters. Focusing on this issue is a red herring that distracts from the real problems. Which is more important to you – an unwanted email or abuse done in Jesus’ name?
Am I demanding a perfect ministry and perfect leadership? No. We all make mistakes. We all act like jerks sometimes. We all hurt and offend people.
But mature, Jesus-loving people are called to admit their wrongdoing and ask forgiveness. A sign of true humility is the ability to own up to your failures and weaknesses instead of hiding them or blaming them on somebody else.
That is what is missing here.