I have received and responded to countless public and private apologies from RZIM current and former staff, speakers, and even a few board members. Each private apology I have carefully protected, even as I have often made public my reply. The reasons for this are vast: words are powerful; change is a painstakingly slow process; people who have long been blind, now see; and apology take immense vulnerability. Many of these apologies have been the greatest apologetic to me.
Where the apologizer has done their own hard work and have engaged in extensive self examination, they have been met with grace that is the good news. Where the apologizer has lacked veracity and vigorous introspection, I have challenged the author to wrestle more deeply with their own complicity and dig more deeply into betrayal blindness. Where the author has successfully acknowledged the depth and breadth of the wrong they perpetrated and partnered with, I have easily come into agreement with him/her. In some cases, this has led to precious new and deep friendships, in others, it has been a brief, but meaningful one time meeting. In each case, I hope each person was met with what was required at the time, even if the wound would prove (in time) to be for their healing.
Mr. Abdu Murray is a lawyer, an apologist, and an author who has been (and remains) part of the Senior Leadership Team at RZIM Headquarters, Atlanta, Georgia. An accomplished individual, he has also been exposed for alleged endorsement of bully tactics against abuse victims and their families. Mr. Micheal Ramsden, presiding President of RZIM HQ, is also alleged to have endorsed egregious false narratives of whistleblowers, victims not withstanding. Pretty reprehensible behaviour on both accounts — nearly unforgivable.
Here is what Mr. Murray had to say to me recently:
Mr. Ramsden also initiated contact with me at the same time:
It took me several weeks to even fully read the letters, much less respond. This is what I said when I did:
I do not know the reasons why these two men, who hold a great deal of responsibility and power, have not been public with their repentance and personal/professional process. They are each public figures and the public demands a response from them, one that they duly deserve.
What grieves me (and the impetus for this article) is that some members of the public demand that their not only their individual behaviour be held up to scrutiny, but also their individual personhoods. Let me state this clearly and catagorically:
We cannot demand accountably in verbally abusive and humiliating ways. To confront is not to condemn. To demand is not to dehumanize or demean.
The most courageous thing for Mr. Ramsden & Mr. Murray (and all of us who so fail others) to do is give an account for their respective failures, painful lessons learned, and their individual/collective plan for recompense and restoration of public and private trust. Folks who have a vested interest in truth, are entitled to this accounting. Public pressure is important, even an integral, impetus for change. What is not required (or even remotely helpful) is personal attack.
I promised myself that I would never become what I endured, nor would I willfully stand by when others are being publicly crucified when I had the capacity to help.
To be clear, I neither know, nor do I have cause to trust, Mr. Ramsden or Mr. Murray. Trust once broken is not easily restored. Neither do I condone their conduct, rather I categorically condemn it. Even so, their respective characters are not my concern, they are theirs.
They have each breached private and public trust by abdicating their role as authors, apologists, and overseers of the good news. They have also devalued the Christ they were meant to defend, by their abysmal behaviour. They are men who have historically demonstrated a devastating lack of courage where much courage was required. This does demand accounting, but it does NOT demand abuse.
Should Mr. Ramsden, Mr. Murray, or any other member of the RZIM’s leadership team, take further steps to engage in the act of public repentance and truth telling, I will be among the first to rejoice in the flowering of truth.
Those who are seeking individual/institutional accountability would be well advised to seek to influence the unredacted release of the forthcoming Investigative Report by Guidepost Solutions which is stated to include a comprehensive assessment of RZIM’s “structures, culture, policies, processes, finances, and practices.” It is only in the full elucidation of the truth that falsehood flees and true apologetics can flourish.
RZIM leadership should be lauded for their courage in confronting truth only when the full scope of the Guidepost assessment is released to the public.
The manifold victims in this situation deserve no less.