Welcome to My Blog!
Over the years, I’ve written over a number of subjects. I have actually tried to make writing a regular habit – and get into the swing for a while – and yet I often find myself getting pulled off-track. There are things on here such as:
There is another subject written in great detail on here with which a number of people have experienced: manipulation in faith settings.
Yes, I have personal experience. I’ve written about this in a series called “Lessons from Exile.” This is a bit of an intro to set context for why I wrote it and why I choose to keep it up.
Here is a link to the (entire) blog posts, but I do ask you to read this intro first.
About “Lessons from Exile”
In June 2020, I was the target of a constructive discharge from my worship leader position. It had nothing to do with performance. I was not the first, the third, or even the sixth employee affected at that church. There was a lot of mind games that led to it that involved lies, manipulation, and gaslighting. I was kicked out of the church I helped launch (with no severance) at the time the world was shutting down and – as I found out – just as the “set-up/tear-down” church was landing a building. On top of social relationships, my former employer also disrupted my professional relationships outside the church and stirred drama within my household that I am still dealing with today.
I started Lessons from Exile (in October 2020, I think) because I’ve been directing music for over half my life and believe my experience – even if I was not then-employed – would be of benefit to others walking that path in a ministerial context. As I continued through the series however, I became increasingly convicted about what I was not addressing: my experience with church-based manipulation and betrayal.
If you are in ministry, you answer to Jesus.
It would have been far easier – and certainly more professionally convenient – to lay low, wait the pandemic out, enable the false narrative my former employers were circulating, and pretend nothing ever happened. It would have been far easier to protect my image by protecting their image. All I would have had to do is 1.) lie or 2.) remain silent.
I chose to tell the truth. Not just about what happened, but how it affected me, and how I felt about it. Honestly. Truthfully. Raw. And yes, I used colorful metaphors. I described exactly how I felt about the people who manipulated me, gaslit me, insulted my intelligence, disrupted my household, and cast me aside when I reacted to their lies.
Why keep it up?
I was asked this by a pastor with whom I interviewed. That church declined to move forward and I do not blame them. Here are my answers:
- The Church’s (Big C… Bride of Christ) record on confronting this issue is abominable. It would rather silence targets and survivors than hold leadership accountable. Image has become an idol. The battlefield is littered with the discarded bodies of former ministers of the Gospel… by “friendly” fire.
- I refuse to enable my former employers’ and their enablers’ actions and lies. Nowhere in the Bible – much less from the lips of Jesus – are the words “The ends justify the means.” Jesus is The End and He was clear what the accepted means are. They don’t come from Satan’s toolbox.
- If I hide it, wouldn’t I just be lying myself? If I hide it, wouldn’t I be owned by the lie? No thanks.
But the language!!!
If my choice of language to characterize my experience with church-based manipulation offends you more than the fact I have experience with church-based manipulation, then I don’t know what to tell you. Your priorities seem questionable.
To be clear: I still hold out hope. No… Not of ever setting foot in that place, but of some sort of reconciliation where my former employers own up to their actions and make amends, not only with me, but everyone else they burned.
I doubt that will ever happen. That would involve repentance and repentance would involve confession and confession would involve conviction. It would require sacrificing the image-idol on the altar.
When David went to Araunah the Jebusite to purchase the threshing floor to build an altar, Araunah offered it to him for free. David insisted on paying a fair price because he didn’t feel right making offerings to the Lord that cost him nothing. Worship is not cheap.
If I die on this hill, so be it.
Here’s the link to “My Life.“