Why This Blog?

As we mentioned in the “OUR book” page, as administrators of this blog, we are hoping this blog will first be a place for a number of us to gather together and share our stories.  We want this to be a safe place to be angry…even furious, disillusioned, frightened, hopeful, mournful, loving, honest, bold, and so much more.  First and foremost, this blog is for OUR healing.

Another reason why we are developing this blog is because someone needs to shed some light on the problem.  Like in domestic violence cases, which the church “family” caught in a sick system often mirrors, the only way to get help addressing the perpetrators is to tell the story.  The only way to stop domestic violence is for someone to spread the word that it’s not o.k. to use, abuse and discard people…and then pretend like the victim, the wounded minister, is the one responsible for it all.  So we blog to expose a sick system.

We are blogging because, again like in DV cases, the victim is trained to believe that they are crazy, misinformed, shameful, stupid, and helpless.  Even if the sick system is never changed, those of us as wounded ministers need to begin again to believe that we are valuable and that it’s o.k. to speak to the injustices done to us.  The voiceless need a place to get their voices back, and it’s time to break the silence.  However, it’s not enough that we get our voices back.  It’s important that we believe our voice is good and valuable in spite of the people who have tried so hard to take it away.  This blog exists because our voices are important; even if NO ONE will listen, or people tell us to be quiet.

Another reason why we write is so that people from ministries who read this blog, especially those a part of communities who have or may have forcefully terminated ministers, can be challenged to consider whether or not they want to remain a part of the problem, or become a part of the solution. We write as a wake up call to the people who are sleeping, or blindly following deceptive leadership, and feeding into the problem.

Yet another reason why we blog is to call any leadership personnel who has been a part of the process of forcefully terminating ministers to repent. Whether you followed someone else, or lead the charge, you are, or are also responsible for the damage done.  If you repent, then maybe some restoration can be had.

As Botolff and Watchman have already spoken with almost two dozen wounded ministers, one of the primary themes we are seeing is the secrecy and shame that was created surrounding all of our forced terminations.  One reason why 70% of congregations don’t know why their Pastor’s are gone, is because the people in leadership don’t want their congregants to know the truth of what happened.  As one minister described in a conversation, they want to save “the image of their church/ministry they have created.”  If the image of a “good” church is tarnished, people might leave, people might lose their jobs, the church might die.  So instead, they kill off people that challenge the system, and then often make it look like the person who is gone made the decision to leave, or that they were the problem.

We blog because it’s not Godly, humane, loving, right, or o.k. to use, abuse and discard people and move on…period.

Responses

  1. In 2006 I left my position as pastor of a small town church. Burnout and conflict had finally got the better of me and I resigned.
    No one approached me to suggest it and no one leaned on me subtlely to consider moving on. I knew I just couldnt keep going and I resigned.
    I cant imagine what it would have done to me if I had actually been asked to go; to be terminated. I do know that the sleepless nights, the anxiety attacks, the depression and anger mentioned elsewhere on your blog were my lot too and the mix of all of that was one of the reasons I commenced to write about some of my observations at the end of last year.
    I have learned (and am still learning) there is hope and God doesnt have a scrapheap.

  2. “I have learned (and am still learning) there is hope and God doesnt have a scrapheap.”

    What a great thought! Thanks for sharing your story and for joining our conversation.

  3. Wow guys I didn’t know how hurt you were by your experiences. I have never been fired from any job let alone one that I have had a passion for and felt like God wanted me to be there. Some of your feelings are the same that I have had from other experiences in my life and I know that those feels are not fun in the least bit; they make you feel isolated, disassociated and alone. You don’t know why you feel the way you do or how come the feelings have such magnitude but that s exactly what the devil wants you to feel—isolated, depressed, alone and on the edge. It is comforting to find others with your story that you feel safe sharing your experiences with but remember that to share is one thing but to dwell in what cannot be changed (the past) is not healthy and breeds disease. I love you guys and I hope this new branch in your journey helps bring healing to not only you but to everyone who hears the stories laid before them and really listens to the hurt and pain the devil is doing through God’s people.

  4. Thanks for your comments Megan. I appreciate your heart for both of us. It’s good to hear from you, and certainly we would be interested in more of what you have to say. And if you know others who might want to enter the conversation, it’s open to everyone.

    I’d like to offer just a couple words of reflection on your comment and then ask a question of you. First, one thing that a professor in my master’s program used to say to us was, “History is the easiest thing to change.” Although I think I know what you are saying about not dwelling on the past, the reason why we are blogging, podcasting, working on a book, etc., is because we want to change the past so that there is a different outcome in the future. Although I agree that we shouldn’t make our past events an idol in our lives, and worship all the mess that came with them, it is those very events that help us define, and give us energy for, what it is that we will fight for in the future.

    For example…One of the elders in the church that deceptively threw me out said to me, “Jamie, I just hope you don’t let your anger consume you, or your future.” That statement came in a conversation with her where I found out what they were up to BEFORE they had even told me what they were going to do to me. As a matter of fact, I told her in that conversation, “What you are going to do is use me as a scapegoat and then all the energy will go towards pinning this problem on me.” And that’s exactly what they did.

    After they had gotten away with throwing me out and making it look like my decision, her and I had another conversation in which she shared with me the same statement about being angry again. My response this time was, “I hope I never stop being angry. Because it will be my anger that will help me to fight the terrible things that you just did to me.” That was the last I heard from her.

    I don’t want to dwell in the past, but I also don’t want anyone to have to go through what Corey and I did. I’m confident there will be thousands more, but maybe there doesn’t need to be tens of thousands more and we can be a part of keeping that from happening by changing the past so it looks different in the future.

    Here’s a question I have for you…

    You sounded surprised that this happened to us. Why do you think you didn’t know about how badly we were hurt?

  5. Sorry it has been so long for me to get back to you. In your case Jamie I had no idea what was going on. In Corey’s case I knew there was something going on but I didn’t know what was really going on. I also know that Bethel has not healed from what happened years ago with PM and they have continued their dysfunctional thinking and acting and have allowed their outrageous and unattainable vision of the ‘perfect’ associate pastor to cloud their judgment and hide their weakness. I have also been exposed to another flaw of the church that was put to a stop; while Pastor was on break and we had a substitute Pastor-Jonathon the “church” decided that they wanted to remove Pastor and replace him with Jonathon. But thankfully there are still some smart people left in Bethel and they were able to stand up for Pastor, Pastor was also ready to step down if that is what the “church” really wanted. I do plan on taking part in my own little stance within the church once I can think with a clear head and have the time to really invest.
    I also don’t know the whole story about what happened so I just don’t know the magnitude to which you guys have been affected. I know that losing a job is really bad and can be unsettling but when the job is more than a job when it is a career and when the career involves relationships I can see where it can be very hard. My surprise is more along the line of ignorance.

  6. As a life long Christian, church member and beloved child of a loving God, I have spent most of my adult life facing, cringing from and now trying to move on from the heterosexism in main line church. As a gay man, I have faced dersion, rubuke, disregard and indifference. I have been shunned, dismissed, insulted, denied access to the ordination process and in general treated as a an outsider seen a threatening to the established community. This has occured in bothe the ECUSA and the UCC. After tyhe last rebuske came as: we don’t want your kind around here, I am through with the organized church in any manifestation it may assume. The church has interferred irretreiveably in my relationship with God. The one safe spirutual haven I have found and in which I have been acceptred and loved for over 20 yrs, is my twelve step recovery group.

  7. I think twelve step recovery groups are more honest churches Rob. Stick with that one, you may just see Jesus. I have a few friends who likely have experienced the same kind of rejection and abuse. I wonder if the “church” will choose to wake up, or just continue teaching its children to carry on it’s abusive ways. Thanks for reading and stop in any time.


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