Romans 8:6 - to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Dear God, I would love to peace right now, but things are so hard and so confusing. The leadership of Oak Mountain still want me to sign agreement to continued bullying and abuse. They want me to sign it before they will make any changes. But the problem is that with all that has happened, they would have to make the changes before I could sign anything. Why? 1. They violated it. But beyond that, there are other things. 2. Three of six of their activities that they listed no longer exist. As to the remaining three, well, that is where they violated it. 3. Tom Patton said he had an issue with women's ministry being restricted because it was something I consistently did well with. He's right. And they need to unrestricted it as he had requested. 4. Sunday school was never addressed. This would leave too much room for error. And it could lead to unnecessary hurt. 5. They have a section called permanent exclusions which should never exist in a church that claims to practice grace. NOT ever. Also, translation of that is discrimination. Because one of the activities was declared as off limits to restriction if it is open to all people even nonmembers. And that is the small group or LIFE group. They flat out targeted the autism with that one. And even though the therapist said I was ready, they still refused. That is the thing that caused a conflict - the therapist said they were paying her but refusing to take any of her suggestions. Yes, I had a conflict with two people. One of which just absolutely finds me antagonistic (which is actually quite funny because she finds compliments to be antagonistic, and from what I have been told repeatedly, I am too sweet or too kind). She found me antagonistic if I said anything, if I didn't say anything, if I smiled, if I frowned, it just didn't matter, she found me antagonistic. Other than that, I actually did great with it. Surely they could find alternatives or let me just go with a friend so I can just learn. Excluding me will never teach me anything though. 6. Absolutely got hounded by people who wanted me back on kiosk. And like most things, I did great with it when teamed up with other people. Instead of excluding me, they should just add to those things they deem as restricted. 7. Wording. The way the thing is worded is offensive. Period. Instead of "restricted," they could say that these activities are ones that we know that Susan can do her best with when she is on a team or with a buddy. 8. I don't initiate phone calls. Not unless it's an emergency or I need something (appointment, application, etc.). Come to think of it, most of us on the spectrum do not initiate phone calls. So as far as that one goes, a simple modification allowing one e-mail per week would be better and reasonable. 9. Tom Patton. Ah! The biggest clincher at this point. He and I would have to go through biblical conflict resolution and restoration, including Facebook (more for logistical reasons than anything now). Yep. 10. Mikki O'Neil. She's great as far as being a resource should conflict arise, if she can be found. And that is great to have resources. They also need an autism expert as a resource or an advocate as a resource. But she shifted to one on one Bible study with me and I felt it inappropriate because there was tension with her (as of yet to be resolved on my end though I would love to resolve it), but the shift created a conflict of interest for me. If they want me to do such a study like that, they really would be wisest to choose another female for me to that with. I essentially did bring these issues up many times. But they ignored me. They said sign it, them we'll address the issues. No sir. I cannot. It is not ironclad and it is full of missing information. If anyone anywhere handed me something like that to sign, I would do the same thing until it was corrected. My requests are not unreasonable. But they accuse me of trying to negotiate and claim it is non-negotiable. Baloney sandwiches. The ONLY thing in this world that is non-negotiable is the Bible! And according to that Bible, Tom should have talked with me and aimed for restoration and sought peace with me. Those two things are also two of many marks of a true Christian which would mean that since Tom refuses to seek peace and restoration with me that he cannot be a true Christian which would then me that he cannot be a pastor, an elder, or a deacon either. Also, church discipline. Well, the expectation from both the church membership vows and the document is that if I was truly out of bounds then they were supposed to engage in church discipline, but they didn't. And that is non-negotiable according to the Bible. According to what. Tom taught in theology, the discipline process can be very redemptive. Yeah, it can, but what it brings to mind is why would they refuse to do that with me? Discrimination. Abuse. Bullying. Hatred. Disobedience to God. That's got to be it. They want to twist the Bible to suit themselves. Surely that's it. And in their twisted Bible, everyone who has autism, including and especially me, doesn't deserve grace or to go to Heaven. Sure. That must be the reason. After all, for six months I tried to explain to Tom that they kept punishing me for having autism, and he kept brushing it off. He knew about the abuse yet he let it happen! Oh and Mark Guzzo only likes to destroy any relationship I have with any pastor because he is a jealous person who also bullied me because of the autism. Guess what? God also says whatever you do to any of the least of these, you also do it Me. Jesus got abused and bullied and excluded at Oak Mountain right along with me. And it really isn't right. Look, I don't know if this post will help or not, but maybe it will because if the right person sees it they can go back to the right people about it. But in all fairness and honesty, I have only ever asked that they make the corrections listed above to their document. That is all they have to do for me to sign it. That is all they ever had to do. And no, it cannot be sign it then we'll make the corrections. It has to be that they make the corrections and that I see they made the corrections for me to sign it. Sheesh! Even the government wouldn't force someone to sign something if the person finds fault with it and points it out. They would make the corrections necessary and them re-present it for a signature. A bank, a car dealership, a realtor, a library, a doctor, etc. ALL do just that. I am not trying to negotiate. I am trying to help them make things ironclad and not have room for any error or misinterpretation. But that is where and why I feel that every church leader should be required to attend lectures on autism and other special needs before being allowed to go I to that position. Because if they were, there would be less people getting abused and bullied like me and everyone that the same church abused and bullied before me. And if they truly believe in grace, they would take my suggestions seriously and honor them. As it stands now, there would be no time to with do any complaints. And maybe that is meant to be. If the presbytery does do something, then hopefully things can finally be resolved at that point. Well, either resolved or all the parties could face discipline. But this post is my own outreach of grace. Because they truly get one more chance to make it right. So God, I now got this off my chest. Please do what You know needs to be done. I know Tom could lose his job because of the whole mess though. But the basis of the complaint was the fact that he knew what the others were doing was wrong yet he did nothing to help or to fix it or to stop it which makes him just as guilty of doing what he acknowledged was wrong. And that cannot be overlooked. And I either need closure or resolution. So God, you want me to trade my worries for Your peace? Here you go. In Jesus' Name, Amen!