Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Doing Truth Well (Feb. 2012—March 2012)

Your Task Is To Be True, Not Popular
Jesus Christ (Luke 6:26, The Message)
Coliseum, Rome (Revelation 12:11)
The Swedish court cases about the international NCI fraud are now over, as of 21 December 2011. The prosecution and courts clearly established that gross fraud was being committed over a period of many years. This case (and its two appeals) focussed primarily on one person (Kristian Westergard) and one country (Sweden). Other people and organisations have been affected by NCI. They too must continue to be addressed and as necessary confronted, calling for their assistance and verifiable disclosures.
The NCI fraud case, the millions of missing dollars/euros, and the spin, half-truths, cover ups, discrediting, and dismissals are still lingering in the darkness, polluting the church mission community as well as all those with responsibility to act and who do not  (Proverbs 25:26).  We believe people deserve to know the fuller picture. There are plenty of documents and testimonies that shine light on what has happened and plenty of support for those who have the courage to help. We are reminded of the saying that the only thing necessary for evil to prosper is for good people to do nothing.
The Good News:
A Bitter Truth is Better than a Sweet Lie
 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Gulag, 1953
Let the lie come into the world, even dominate the world,
but not through me. Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn, 1970 Nobel Prize Address
The first appeal case went to trial in Stockholm in September 2011 (Svea Hovrätt). Its verdict of 28 October 2011 upheld the Uppsala court's verdict (from October 2010) and sentenced the defendant (Kristian Westergard) to three and a half years in prison. This second verdict was then appealed to the Swedish Supreme Court (Högsta Domstolen) on 23 November 2011 (this is the final appeal possible in Sweden). The Supreme Court decided, dated the 21 December 2011, that it will not process the appeal at all. Therefore the verdict of the Svea Hovrätt (from 28 October 2011) is valid and will now be put into force.
Mr. Westergard (a former YWAM leader) will thus be serving a 3.5 year prison term. In Sweden, however, a person usually only serves 2/3 of the required term. Hence Mr Westergard's prison term may be two years and four months--finished in early 2014.
Mr. Westergard's traceable assets are minimal and hence he is not able to repay the plaintiff- victims as required in the court verdict. The good news however is that some of the NCI-related investments and money flows are in fact traceable, according to EBM/Swedish court documents, to organisations/foundations such as Mercy Ministries International, New Generation Foundation, and .others.
    What Do We Do Now?--How to Help   
Martin Luther King Jr.,
speaking after the bombing of a black church
that killed six people (including) four girls,
15 September 1963, Birmingham, Alabama USA
Non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation
as is cooperation with good. Martin Luther King, Jr.
 There are lots of good reasons for just moving on from all of this NCI stuff--saying that it is someone else's responsibility; it is peoples’ own fault for having gotten involved and invested foolishly; our organizational leaders whom we trust are handling this; it is the government’s responsibility; this case has been investigated and the verdict is now final; we are too busy with more important things; or it will negatively affect our work or life situation, etc. Many of these reasons make some sense of course. Yet the above reasons may in fact be rationalizations in many cases. And rationalizations, which hinder unmasking the darkness and walking in the light, can have dire consequences for justice and vulnerable people, not to mention for one’s own public credibility and personal conscience/integrity. The antidote for rationaliszation is love--as evidenced by doing truth well. “Love does not rejoice in injustice, but in the truth” (I Cor. 13:6).
When love sees evil, close by or from a philosophical mountaintop, it cries, “Foul!” Evil, in loves eye, is obscene no matter how splendidly or fully it is dressed. Lewis Smedes, Love Within Limits (1989, p. 75)
The PETRA Statement 2011, with its signatories and many others who have joined ranks, has called for assistance from the organizations and people that have been affected by NCI. Sadly there has been minimal response to act with the verifiable transparency and accountability that has been requested. Has the time come now to clearly call upon other leaders and members at all levels of the organizations affected, to pursue verifiable transparency and accountability in this matter? Absolutely. And it is long-past due. This is not implying any wrong doing by having been affected by the NCI fraud but rather it is a direct and public request to act ethically—to do what we would all expect any other organization or church or Christ-follower to do in a similar situation. We are calling for true accountability which is based on true transparency, as described by Zachary Karabel in his article, The Myth of Transparency (2008):
Transparency is understood to be a key part of good governance. The ideal seems to be that the more a company discloses about what is happening within it, the less chance there will be for misconduct, and the greater chance there will be for effective performance. Yet companies can still be deceptive and commit fraud even if they disclose what they are required to do so legally. Two recent examples are Enron and Parmalat. They disclosed all kinds of data per statutory requirements in the United States and Europe. However both companies deceived the public about what was really going on in their businesses. The issue was certainly not simply transparency. Rather it was telling the truth. (Newsweek (7/14 July 2008, p. 47, paraphrased).
There is thus the need for resolute help from Christian leaders and also, very importantly, from members of the organizations that have been affected by NCI--past and present people, given that the NCI fraud ran for some 15 years. Hold your organizations and fellow leaders accountable. We all have a right to know the truth and a responsibility to act on the truth. Be sure to review the information, links to documents related to the Swedish investigation/court cases, and reasons for this request in the two previous entries (below) on this weblog. Requests for assistance:
--Youth With A Mission International
(also YWAM’s International Frontier Mission Leadership Team,
--YWAM France and YWAM Swiss Romande)
--Mercy Ships International
(also Mercy Ships Switzerland, UK, and France)
--Mercy Ministries International
(also Mercy Ministries France, The Netherlands, Switzerland)
--Le Rucher Ministries
--New Generation Foundation (family-related foundation and bank account)
--Youth for Christ (International and Switzerland)
--Churches where NCI has been promoted (France and The Netherlands especially)
In addition, individuals, families, ministries, projects, charities and foundations that have been involved with and/or benefited from NCI—that have or may have received NCI-related funds—have key roles to play in sharing information and helping to locate missing money.
--Some examples: Stichting Agrinas, Peoples of the Earth, YWAM projects/personnel
Final Thought
In summary, we think it is very helpful, as reflected in the quotes above, to  consider the lives of inspirational people for moral clarity and moral direction. With this in mind, we close this entry as we opened it, calling for courageous action via the words of Jesus Christ: "Your task is to be true, not popular."

 The Descent from the Cross (detail),
by Rogier van der Weyden, circa 1435
. .
New materials:
Click on the comments below to read and respond.
A new window will open up with a box at the bottom to type in your comment.
Note: Prior to "posting" a comment, you must click an "identity" in the "comment as" menu.
It is simplest to select "name/url" and then just type in your name in the little box.
Then click "post comment".
If you have any problems then you can always send the comment for posting to:

No comments:

Post a Comment