2016 turned out to be the first year I attended an Oscar Party. I love movies and I liked the people who hosted the party, so I figured why not once a year attend a party where Hollywood worships itself and expects the world to look on. The family who hosted the event had 2 major contests throughout the evening. The first boasted who could pick the most winners out of the 25 categories of nominees. The second winner would be the one to create the best film themed food.
At the end of the evening, I was in the hunt to pick the most winners, but foolishly, I picked a huge underdog to take the Best picture category. The Revenant was the odds on favorite to take the bald tall thin creature like statue home with the Big Short being a possible winner as well. Like an idiot I tried to be cute and picked a movie I hadn’t heard about but some online article told me there was a chance. Since personally I never thought I had a chance anyways early in the evening, I picked the extreme underdog, while the two people I was tied with going into the last category had picked the Revenant. Turned out I won based on a movie I had never even seen, and the rest is cinematic history.
A few months later, my wife and I decided to watch “Spotlight” on a couch date night after the kids went to bed. The story highlights a group of reporters from the Boston Globe who uncover a series of denominational coverups. The time period of the actual story was from 2001, but their research showed years of sexual abuse. I still remember the way the hairs on the back of my neck rose up after the reporters sitting in a room knee deep in research realized that the number of priests who had sexual allegations covered up for them by the church’s leadership was not relegated to a single priest, but around 90. In other words, it had become common place to sweep the indiscretions of those in power under the rug.
Since then we’ve found out that the particular denomination in the movie does not have the corner on controversies and coverups within the church.
You may have noticed a difference in my articles in the last month. There is a different tone and a specific focus on the broader church than my previous posts of traveling to Spain or ”here’s me and my kids playing in a sandbox”. Yesterday’s post written, not by me, but by Dan Keohane, really highlighted the difference in this page moving forward, so I wanted to share those changes with you. It’s possible this subject doesn’t interest you or you’d rather only see pictures of my kids, and if so, that’s ok. I have a profile with all of that on it.
Yesterday’s amazing post by Dan Keohane on the Great Divorce, coupled with my removing pictures of my family on the cover photo and the profile pic of the page, soft launched the beginning of my new online magazine called “The Holman Report”, designed for Christians who find themselves in the wilderness. Any transition can be hard, and the fact that I have an actual past and hard things might have actually happened to me should not get in the way of the idea that there are Christians in the world who feel like they are in the wilderness. Our goal is to encourage and to resource those Christians who love Jesus, but are tired of playing church.
I need to highlight the fact that me taking on this project with others (Dan was only the beginning) is not an attack on my past church or its leadership or even the institutional church in general. While things did happen to me and I am no doubt complicit in the imperfection of the circumstances I went through, Dan’s article highlighted more than just a specific instance in one particular church. It represented the feelings of people all over the world, but especially in the consumer driven materialistic American church that leaves victims, both in leadership and in spectators, in its monstrous wake. It is a fact that this page started out as my personal page, and there are ways that the transition can be muddied by things that have happened to me personally, however, the long term goal of this page is not for followers of Jesus to mope and play the victim as to why they are in the wilderness, but to have open conversations about what brought them there and what (or who) will help them move to the next phase of their lives.
And like the church leadership highlighted in the film “Spotlight”, it’s easier for us to brush all of that pain under the rug, ignore people’s real feelings, hide that we are causing considerable damage to people who have connected with our communities, and go on with our church world lives.
My writing in the last month has clearly resonated with people, as I have received scores of emails and messages both checking in on me and sharing their own personal experience about their arrival in the wilderness and either staying there personally or eventually transitioning to other pastures.
So there will be things in the Holman Report that you agree and disagree with like any publication you choose to read, but I felt like I should be clear about our intentions. I am tired of the church being blasted for its ignorance, hypocrisy, and lack of caring for the real hurts of others. At the same time, I love writing and have the heart of someone who longs to see the church built up and become what Jesus intended its bride to be.
We are sticking with the name Holman Report for a few reasons. First, I’m proud of the legacy that my family has in the church. My family, both men and women, have sacrificed much for the well being of the church, and to this point have not had their integrity destroyed due to scandals or accusations. Many love my family and their work as pastors and servants in the church. I decided to honor them with the name. Also, the Holman name has been used in Bible editions and concordances so there’s a connected component as well.
So that’s what this page is about and the direction we are heading. Thank you for being a part of this corner of the world. We will be launching a website in the next few weeks, and as I mentioned before, personally I will be self-publishing a novel which will be released in 2020. Please continue to write messages, discuss, and share our articles on social media, and if you’re interested in sharing an article, send it my way, and we can talk.
Written by Marty Holman