My Story| Jeremy Gordon Grinnell
Who I am and how I got here
My name is Jeremy and I have hope.
I earned my Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Calvin Seminary in Grand Rapids, MI, and taught theology at a local seminary for nearly 15 years. I was also the preaching pastor at a growing non-denominational evangelical church in the area. My life was good, and I had everything a person could reasonably want.
Then through a hideous cocktail of bad choices and clinical depression, I threw it all away in the most public way possible – complete with criminal charges and my mug in the newspaper.
In the fewest words possible (a fuller account is given in the book), in 2013, I became entangled in a consensual ten month emotional affair with a woman Denise and I were attempting to help through a home foreclosure and legal battle. I very quickly lost track of personal boundaries and became fixated on her family’s needs…and then on her. It nearly destroyed my marriage and my health.
A few months in, I was clinically depressed, suicidal, and living a double life—trapped in a relationship I could not find a way to escape…and didn’t want to. By the time the obsession had run its course, I would find myself standing below her bedroom window, reduced from a rising star in the community to little more than a peeping-tom.
The fall out was swift and public in the form of felony invasion of privacy charges. I resigned from my pastoral position at the church. Then the press got ahold of the story, and I was publicly shamed. After which I also resigned my professorship at the university. Ultimately, rather than prolong the agony for my family in a useless legal defense, I took a plea deal, and the judge, apparently realizing the convoluted nature of the case, gave me a long probation. But the public record remains and is ugly.
But God is good.
Now nearly a decade later, my marriage and family have been restored. I’ve been through a formal restoration process in the very church I blew up and continue to hold my little candle six inches off the ground looking for the next step God would have me take.
I’ve come to the realization that this is the gap in which I’m supposed to stand. Few voices speak out to people with self-inflicted wounds, and fewer books exist to help them. My journey has taught me two reasons why this might be the case. First, who is willing to do it? Few people want to stand up and say, “Let’s talk about the worst thing I’ve ever done…and how it can help you survive the worst think you’ve ever done. Second, publishers may love a book that did this, but not the author who could credibly write it. Such an author is a publicist’s nightmare.
Despite these challenges, we are determined to make The Bellowing of Cain available to those who need it – those bent double with regrets. I hope my story will be of help to others. I hope that in its pages, you find hope as well.
“This is what redemption and reconciliation look like.”