Friday, September 30, 2011

No Longer to Protect Identities

Bob Flayhart instigated a conflict when he chose to break an agreement with me that I had diligently adhered to. He did it without warning. So I basically called him a grace killer because of it. But I reasonably expected him as a pastor to keep his word so when he broke his end of the agreement that we had made.

Mark Hunter deferred to a counselor as he was resigning then everything got thrown to Tom Patton.

Tom as it turns out has been deliberately blocking any attempt at moving forward toward restoration and resolution. He has been all along.

I tried repeatedly to get things resolved to no avail as BOTH Bob and I made numerous mistakes along the way.

But things escalated in March when Bob decided to do the very thing he swore never to do when we had initially made the agreement.

What was the agreement? It was that I was never to ask why or if he hated me on his wall. I never did. He said that was the ONLY thing that would lead to what he did in March.

I did not know because they never teach new people what to do when a pastor causes the conflict and a member has a grievance against the pastor, so I contacted the presbytery. AFTER Bob sent a text one evening saying if I texted him again that evening that he would have me removed from my activities. Well, I did not text him again but he sent me a text the next morning saying he was doing it anyway.

The next day he sent an e-mail saying that it was because I had tried to seek advisement from an elder. Which according to presbytery was what I was supposed to be doing.

So I wrote a letter after getting advisement with regard to two activities. Sunday school and LIFE group. To paraphrase what I was told: if it is an activity that is open to everyone including non-members then I was permitted to attend them unless I was under biblical discipline.

Instead of resolving anything, the counselor actually mucked things up when she ended up stipulating that in order to see her that Tom and I would have to be in regular communication.

Tom mucked things up when the first activity we agreed to for the summer was whatever was left with VBS. I got that cleared, but then Tom insisted he had to call and make sure but then had to wait to hear back. But then Tom removed from doing anything at all. Because of miscommunication and misunderstanding.

The commission that got appointed crossed some lines as well. I asked for help getting back in activities not with relational matters, but they apparently made some decision regarding that that they never informed me of and then used against me. Instead of clarifying a new communication agreement the counselor made with me and Bob which was not clarified until the next month despite repeated attempts at getting it clarified and only broken for two emergent situations during Tom's absence for a couple of weeks, I did adhere to the clarified terms.

The commission has not been adequate in terms of action. And frankly last time proceeded to destroy every relationship I have at church instead of moving anything toward restoration and resolution.

To make matters worse, they retroactively created an issue out of LIFE group and have essentially done what amounts to excommunication without process.

The biblical process of Matthew 18 stipulates that in terms of conflict, the "offended party," which in this case is Bob (actually me, but he refused to listen, so some others tried to approach him on my behalf), is to go to the person who offended him. Well, Bob, in fact, has failed to do this.

Because LIFE groups are described as the life blood of the church, even non-members can attend them and is where my friends are, all my relationships were in essence destroyed and I, in fact, have been excommunicated without process.

In the past couple of weeks, I did seek forgiveness from Bob who optimistically stated that it might be possible that things can be restored by the end of the year except that since I spoke to both him and Greg Poole last Sunday, they both understood that the first step on rebuilding trust on both sides was LIFE group.

Tom said he cares, yet in conversation, he opposed Bob and Greg and again deliberately blocked any attempt to move toward restoration and resolution.

I know I DESERVE to be brought under discipline YET they, despite continually saying if I don't comply with various demands they have made, I will be subject to church discipline. I do know in my heart that going through the process will in fact have better chance of bringing about restoration and resolution. So I have this challenge: Do it. Bob has to initiate by biblical definition. But clearly, it would be more gracious to start it then to not do it.

And that is my challenge.

In the meantime, I will write to Georgia and seek intervention since the local leadership has not done anything and has now repeatedly refused to even hear my case now.

Oh, and, well, what am I supposed to do? They keep saying I need to maturely state my case but when I do, Tom instigates an argument with me and they refuse to hear me.

Frankly, I am tired of this conflict and Bob made a promise he has yet to be able to keep but will keep when things get resolved and settled, but in the meantime, I am now forced into a position where I can no longer comply.

So, I'm challenging them now. Please if you want to demonstrate grace to me, to the church, please bring under the process.

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