It was mentioned to me that as this story that I am telling unfolds, it might be helpful to identify some of the key players and define some buzz words and phrases that were in common use at Marble, for the uninitiated. So here is a break down of the authority structure at Marble during the time that I lived there (1995-2004), and some terms you will see used throughout the narrative. This blog entry may be edited over time to add or update.
Matthew 18: Refers to the process of confronting another individual that you perceive to be in sin. This process is based on Matthew 18:15-17: “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector."
Covenant: Marble had a formal covenant that had been signed by members before my family came to Marble. During the nine years I was at Marble, there were continual talks about a new "covenant signing" for families who had proven themselves to be covenant keepers, but if that ever happened, I was not involved or invited. The covenant bound members to accountability and subjected them to ex-communication if the terms were violated, among other things. I was never allowed to read the covenant, being "non-covenental" in my messy life.
Courtship: "biblical" substitute for dating, usually requires socializing in a group setting, no real basis in scripture other than the intent to preserve chastity.
Called vs. Chosen: Based on Matthew 22:14 "For many are called, but few are chosen." The idea that everybody might be invited to the banquet of the king, but only the ones who show up wearing the right garments get to stay. For everyone else: "Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth," (verse 13).
Self-Confrontation: A textbook that was required study for every member of the community. Based on the principles of looking inward and rooting out impure motives and unbiblical reactions. This exercise is one of the skills that I developed at Marble that I am actually grateful for.
The Process: Refers to the refining of an individual through hardship, imposed internally (see self-confrontation) or externally (Matthew 18). Any life events that caused pain or strife were also part of "the process."
Pressing In: The active role an individual was expected to take in his or her "process" leading toward being a "son of the vision" and proving dedication to the mission. This would include "falling on your sword" (taking responsibility beyond your own fault at times), and seeking out opportunities to die to self in order to serve the community vision.
Inquest: A process used primarily in the Prep School that involved all of the students and a few leaders praying intently over and into the life of a specific student, seeking very detailed words from the lord for that person. Inquests usually involved intense confrontation and revelation of new callings from the leader(s) to the student. Adults in the community other than Core 1 leaders were excluded from these exercises.
Restitution: Based on Leviticus 6:1-7,2 ("If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour; 3 Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein: 4 Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found, 5 Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering.") is the principle that a sinner should repay his trespasses to the victim of his sin, which at Marble, often meant the church, since bringing "sin into the camp" affected the blessings/cursings on the whole congregation. This money was paid to the church with no accountability. The scale of restitution was based on Proverbs 6:31 - "But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house."
Cell Group: A small group of church members, assigned according to a word from the lord to leadership, usually consisting of 3-5 families who held each other accountable and reported upline to their cell group leaders, who were often members of core group. Sometimes these groups were determined demographically (ie. the "young marrieds", etc). Here is a great article that describes the cell church structure: Divide and conquer: "Cell Churches" and hijacks
Prayer Counseling: is a practice that seeks to dig out roots of evil planted during youth, etc, that is causing a harvest of bad fruit. It is performed in a small group, usually a pair of leaders and the perpetrator, praying together. The lord tells the leaders what root of iniquity is buried deeply in the subconscious of the sinner and they seek forgiveness for judgements that were made as small children, even in utero infants. This practice resulted in many "reclaimed" memories of community members about abuse that they had buried in their past and other dubious accusations that were hurled around after a prayer counseling session.
Core Group 1
Barry & Anne Byrd: Head Pastors - "accountable" to Dennis Peacocke
Jim & Ronnie Buck: Assistant Pastors
Steve & Cheryl Melzer: Assistant Pastors (they were not formally titled this and performed more of a "servant" role to Anne and Barry, as Cheryl explained it to me. They felt called to serve at Anne & Barry's feet.)
Core Group 2
Rick & Vicki Johnson
Steve & Toni Parker (Steve is now a Stevens County Commissioner)
Glen & Jeannie Thompson
Dale & Jeanne Ochs
Troy & Heather Anderson
Mark & Angela Black