abuse in the church of entitled leaders

"Rod and Staff" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Rod and Staff” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

I read a lot about religion, theology, and philosophy, and I’ve come to a conclusion on what may be the most serious problem with religious leadership today:

Entitlement!

For some religious leaders, this manifests in two ways:

1. They feel they have the right to do with their people what they want.
2. If they’re accused of wrongdoing, they feel they are above accountability.

Here’s another observation: to add to the complexity of the problem, it is often codependent. That is,

1. We can be complicit in the idea that the leader knows what’s best for us.
2. We may feel that the leaders are above normal morality and law.

In a sentence, the leader feels entitled and we feel they deserve it.

The story of David and Bathsheba helps sets the stage. David is King. He sees a woman on a rooftop bathing. He wants her. He makes sure he gets her with everyone around him enabling it. Still happens.

This is not just a Christian problem. It’s not even just a religious one. It occurs in all kinds of contexts. But religion, I claim, is a rich culture for the germ of entitlement to grow unhindered.

In September of 2014 when I drew my cartoon and wrote the post, Tony Jones on Mark Driscoll: What Came First, the Thug or the Theology?, this is when I began to notice, to my dismay, the alarming dynamic of entitlement among religious leaders. My eyes were opening to the fact that they feel they are allowed to do things we are not. Even if they are called on something, they aren’t subject to the same consequences we are.

In the early 90’s, I read the famous Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche’s book, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, and it rocked my world. He was one of my heroes. Then around the same time as I wrote that post above, I was talking about Trungpa with a friend, she informed me that he was very abusive, promiscuous, and even violent with his followers. There were accusations of rape. I couldn’t believe her. Then I watched the documentary on him, Crazy Wisdom, and I knew it was all true. I read many articles on the accusations. It became exceedingly clear that he felt entitled, could do with people whatever he wanted, and that he was above accountability. Listening to some of those interviewed, even respected people, doubled the disturbing nature of this dynamic when they excused his behavior by saying things like this was some kind of special aspect of his very deep spirituality that we can’t understand. They call it “crazy wisdom”. This, I’ve learned, has been epidemic in western Buddhism and other western expressions of eastern religions and philosophies. Even the famous hot yoga founder Birkram Choudhury faces more rape charges. Entitled.

I kept doing my research. Stories abound of religious leaders’ entitlement everywhere… in all kinds of religions, groups, cults, you name it. Harrowing stories of abuse without any consequences for the abusers abound! They’re everywhere.

What inspired today’s cartoon and post was Brian Houston’s post, Hillsong’s Brian Houston: My Father, the child sex criminal. Houston tells the story about his experience of finding out his father was a pedophile. Yes, finding that out about your famous father whom you respected would be shocking. But little is said about the victims. It feels like the thrust of the article is to raise sympathy for himself. At the very end of the post there is a tiny note stating that he should be investigated for failing to report to police his father’s sexual abuse of children. This is not a small oversight. This is a church leader saying, “We’ll handle this. We’ll take it from here. This is our business, not yours.” Entitled.

This is how the Roman Catholic Church handles it as well. It’s just another example of church leaders, priests, who are entitled, and if caught are often granted special favors, leniencies, and even exonerations. Remember the Archbishop who, as part of a lawsuit accusing more than 100 priests of sex abuse, said, “I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not” to have sex with kids. In fact, the philosopher Slavoj Žižek in, Trouble in Paradise, claims that pedophilia is inscribed into the very functioning of the church. Sexually abusing children is a part of its DNA, a part of its culture. Doing with people what you want and not being accountable for it? This is entitlement.

Žižek tells a story:

Legend has it that Alfred Hitchcock (a Catholic) was once driving through a small Swiss town. All of a sudden, he pointed his finger at something through the car window and said: ‘This is the most terrifying scene I’ve ever seen!’ A friend sitting at his side looked in the direction pointed by Hitchcock and was surprised: he saw nothing unusual, just a priest who, while talking to a young boy, had placed his hand on the boy’s arm. Hitchcock stopped the car, rolled down the window and shouted: ‘Run, boy, save your life!’”

This, for me, doesn’t only apply to the Catholic church, but to all groups that nourish an imbalance of power and the entitlement of leaders.

The playing field is the church. The game is religion. Who wins? The leaders. Who loses? The victims.

What’s the solution? As the problem is two-fold, so is the solution. Leaders must stop assuming they are entitled to do with people what they want, and they must stop believing they are unaccountable and above normal morality or laws. And we must stop believing leaders know what is best for us and that if it feels like they violated us that they really did violate us and must be held accountable.

It’s easier said than done because there are a lot of leaders out there who want to be held up as entitled heroes, and there are a lot of us out there who desire them.

Join us at The Lasting Supper! I’ll personally welcome you to a great bunch of people.

SHOP

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38 Responses

  1. irreverance says:

    Great article. I believe that there are two types of abuse in the church. One of them is illegal, which is to say physical abuse of some sort. We don’t have an issue decrying that. After all, who wants to support the sexual abuse of children? The other is more insidious precisely because it is legal: emotional/spiritual abuse. The problem here is that there is no “official” civil standard of right and wrong to point to (such as secular law) with which to challenge its legitimacy. Worse yet, the justification for abuse tends to be derived from some spiritual (communal or traditional) source.

    So, is it okay for a spiritual leader to physically abuse congregational members? Of course not. The standards in place say that it’s a punishable offense (secular law).

    But is it okay for a spiritual leader to emotionally/spiritual abuse congregational members? Of course it is. The standards in place say that’s part of the spiritual leader’s job, to remind them of the need to submit to divine authority, or face divine punishment (divine law).

    I think the best answer to the problem is to do exactly what you’re doing with this cartoon: expose the problem and let people know they don’t have to endure it.

  2. Yes good insight. Thanks!

  3. Ben Denison says:

    An aside about David and Bathsheba: It’s a common misconception that Bathsheba was on a roof. (I used to think this too.) If you look closely, you’ll see that it was David that was on the roof. This wasn’t Bathsheba doing something publicly indecent (bathing where anyone could see her) — some pastors try to use this story as a segue into “purity” and “modesty” etc. implying that Bathsheba was doing something immoral, and that is bad exegesis.

    In fact, it may be that the bath Bathsheba was taking was the mikvah (ritual cleansing), and that she was bathing in accord with Jewish practice — doing something holy. But whether mikvah or not, David was on a roof, taking advantage of the high position he had as a way to look at a woman who otherwise would have had privacy.

    In other words, this was indeed a form of spiritual abuse; your main point stands.

  4. Ducatihero says:

    “It occurs in all kinds of contexts. But religion, I claim, is a rich culture for the germ of entitlement to grow unhindered.” Yes, including the religion of atheism.

    So unless prejudices are applied then both divine law and secular law are equally enabling or preventing abuse.

    So what is great about the cartoon is in bring about the awareness of it happening in whatever form it takes of religion or context to give confidence to anyone to say this is not OK and indeed if necessary – run!

  5. “the religion of atheism”? only is atheists form communities where there is the imbalance of power and leadership entitlement.

  6. Teague Frawley says:

    I’m sorry to keep bring this up, but I see this issue in religion professionals, politicians, and capitalists. IMO all three are virtually the same and the only of the 3 that is honest there feeling entitlement is capitalists. In religion those who become professionals for genuinely altruistic reasons are extreme and they end up being the ones who are the most abused and taken advantage of. For me as a Pastor I was never more lonely then surrounded by Church leaders and congregants, matter of fact the loneliness was worse the larger the group.

    My my mother when she was alive once told me when I talked her about this told me their is an old Irish saying “You me when you want me, but you never call for dinner!” This was my church experience, no matter what church I attended I was always counted on and called to do the work no one else wanted, because they new I wasn’t afraid to “get my hands dirty” by ministry to those marginalized, disenfranchised, and stigmatized by the church and society. However, in 30 years I was never invited to another “Leaders” home when they were having a dinner party or other unofficial function that other were invited to. I soon discovered that the people the church rejected were more loving, forgiving, generous and generally more like Jesus than Church leaders or congregants who claimed to be Jesus followers.

  7. Yes, it’s prevalent everywhere. Thanks Teague.

  8. Ducatihero says:

    Yes David religion of atheism as some have used the legal definition of religion in law suits in favour of an atheist position.

    to quote the Equality Act 201 in the UK “Religion means any religion and a reference to religion includes a reference to a lack of religion. ” so Christianity, Buddhism, Agnosticism, Atheism – all religion according to secular law.

    So, entitlement through discrimination by leader on the basis of a protected characteristic being punishable under secular law. Protected characteristics as well as religion being gender, sexual orientation, race etc.

    I hope that helps with understanding.

    I don’t understand what you a wanting to communicate about atheist communities and imbalance of power and leadership entitlement from what you write.

  9. Gary says:

    David, Great post today. I agree with your two fold solution to the problem. However I also believe that this solution will never come from within. The mind control is too strong…the Kool-aid is simply too ingrained into the emotional and mental framework of religion for that type of self awareness.

    Ironically I used to believe my Christian faith represented the end of the road to understanding. Now I see my journey through religion, and out of it, as critical steps towards understanding. I too excused abuse…even praised the pastor who so aggressively beat down his congregation week after week for not giving into the temptation to simply “tickle their ears”. I have been on both sides of coin and know all too well how impossible such control is to break free from.

    If the two fold solution is to take hold, it will come from those of us now on the outside reaching in to try to help others break free.

  10. I agree Gary. That’s part of my mission, and I assume yours. Much needed. Thanks.

    Ducatihero: I mean that the imbalance of power and entitlement that leads to the abuse of followers happens in communities.

  11. KatieH says:

    A lie isn’t believed unless it is twisted from truth, so it shouldn’t surprise us that cunning predators try to fool the unwary. But those of us who are wise must refuse to go along with structures that make an environment ripe for abuse. For me, this has involved being part of starting up a leaderless Christian church where every member can volunteer to lead every part of the service but is accountable to everyone else for what they say (ie in the moment feedback). At first we worried that this flat structure wouldn’t translate once we grew larger, but after awhile I realized a community like ours probably won’t ever experience rapid growth- most people want an authority.

  12. This is true KatieH… the Old Testament is right in this regard: people want a king.

  13. Gary says:

    Yes David, In my own small way it is my mission. In fact just yesterday my niece posted one of those shame inducing facebook meme’s meant to illustrate how much of a failure we are. Ironic how I used to get so enthused by them. It was simple enough on the surface to be sure. The abuse almost imperceptible.

    Here is what it said…. “Dear God, I know that I am not perfect, I know that sometimes I forget to pray, I know I have questioned my faith, I know sometimes I lose my temper. BUT thank you for loving me unconditionally, and for giving me another day to start over again!!!!!!”

    It’s all there when read objectively. We are all pond scum. Complete fuck ups who clearly don’t deserve God’s love. Yet His love is supposedly unconditional (assuming the conditions are already met for not having our asses fried for eternity) and out of his magnanimous generosity He is going to give me another day to completely fuck it all up again and once again go through the cycle of self recrimination.

    Here is the response I posted yesterday to my niece, who is just starting to become aware…

    “Human failure and weakness are part of growth and perfectly normal, not something to be ashamed of. And without asking the hard questions (where wisdom often begins and change may be necessary) there is no faith…only indoctrination.

    But unconditional love…that is a universal truth.”

    So yeah, it is a mission of mine as well. Thank you for recognizing that.

  14. Great response. And I do recognize it.

  15. Caryn LeMur says:

    Laughed at that crazy cartoon! Love your mind, David Hayward. Great post, by the way.

    Irreverence, Teague, and Gary also helped to round out the conversation. Very appreciated!

  16. Apparently it’s humorously sad.

  17. Ducatihero says:

    Ok I think I see what you mean, with power balance and leaders having the same entitlement as anyone else in communities. Difficult to achieve in our celebrity culture.

    I suppose all we can do sometimes is leave, but then if we are on the outside how can we ever change what goes on in the inside?

    I’m led to believe that a big influence on the abolition of slavery was with people making friend with slave owners and effecting change through their relationships, to the disapproval of abolitionists.

    Perhaps it takes both working on the inside and outside?

  18. Shazza tha dazzla says:

    Razor sharp cartoon David. Thank you!

    You mentioned Brian Houston. I was writing our churches sexual harassment policy around the time Brian found out about his father’s abuse, so in the course of my research I stumbled onto the information. I remember seeing the church service where Brian told his church his father was being being stood down from ministry. He simply begged the congregation to forgive him for sinning.

    There was no detail. No information about what exactly Frank’s sin was. Just tears and requests that everyone forgive and show love. Which they did of course in a mighty show of support for their beloved leader. Maybe I only caught a snapshot of the whole incident. Maybe the congregation were told at some point what Frank Houston’s sin was. It was a decade ago, so sexual abuse was still very much kept under wraps in institutions, and people were still being told to forgive the sin, look at all the good they’ve done, don’t judge…. We all know the rhetoric.

    I heard recently at the Australian Royal Commission into sexual abuse of children in institutions that Brian Houston was so traumatized by learning of his father’s crimes he developed PTSD. I guess it threatened his career and all he stood for. You’d think that would inspire great compassion for his father’s victims? But like you David, I don’t hear a lot of compassion in Brian Houston’s story.

  19. Interesting Shazza. That is how I would imagine it would have gone. Sad. But real.

  20. Ducatihero says:

    I see, my comment above has earned another “dislike”. There does seem to be a common theme come up with talking about abusive pastors.

    David, I see here your affirming comments to some but I feel the same has not been afforded my comment, it does make me feel unwelcome. I think my comments towards you can often be supportive, that certainly is my intention, but I don’t feel that reciprocated. I therefore find it slightly difficult to read what you say about leaders. Let’s not forget that one of the people killed in the recent shooting was a pastor. I’ve seen pastors be abusive, I’ve seen pastors being abused.

    Until now I have tried to explain things in order to understand and be understood, but I think with all due respect, that something needs to be said.

    Gary mentioned in an earlier posting of anything “Christian” getting the least respect here. I think he made a valid point. I don’t know who disliked my comment. There may be something inappropriate in what I wrote, but I don’t think so. I think what I wrote was good about atheism, I think what I have shared of my own journey with forgiving others has been good as well.

    I still have thoughts and feelings for the families of those killed in the church in South Carolina including the pastor, and I am not quire ready to move on to business as usual with talk of wrong being done by pastors and “sheeple” enabling it. So forgive me for my earlier comment about “religion”, it was not intended to be insensitive to anyone who has been hurt by church experiences, but to express balance which I feel often is lacking in society.

    I’v been accused of wrong doing and even abuse for sharing my journey with forgiving others, it being made to look that I have been either abusive or supportive of abuse. An expression of dislike was made now about my comment of atheism being a religion and I find what I think is good in my comments not being as affirmed as others. This has happened here as at other times in my journey elsewhere. To my mind that is wrong and / or inappropriate, discouraging where I feel I deserve to be affirmed for the good I think I bring and I don’t think this helps with either healing from or coming against abuse in whatever form abuse takes.

    Nevertheless it is evident that there has been a communal disliking / unaffirming consistently for what I bring to the table. I hear that. Therefore from now on I shall be limiting or avoiding commenting when there is a theme of pastor abuse and enabling that comes up in postings.

    I am sad and disappointed about this but I have no hard feelings to anyone here and I wish you all well.

  21. Ducatihero: I don’t mean to sound mean, but in the world of blogging you’re going to have to toughen up. I get unlikes all the time. It’s a part of online life. You can’t take it personally. Also, I have responded to you lots in the past. I don’t always respond because you sometimes hammer on the same point and I don’t feel the need to respond to what you’re saying. And sometimes I don’t understand what your point is. Again, don’t take it personally. If you want to comment online, be prepared for kickback. That’s part of the price.

  22. Ducatihero says:

    David, with all due respect I think you are being mean.

    Anyone could just as easily say to you that you need to toughen up with things that you have been vulnerable about. You get a lot of support and affirmation here and you have had support form me as well. I repeat I don’t feel that is reciprocated by you.

    This is not an issue of toughness in my opinion, it is one of justice and of equality. You did a great thing in confessing recently to having inadvertently contributing to abuse. Now that you have done so, is it wrong for anyone to hold you to account for this as you hold others to account? I think not. You are rightly proud for your daughter in what you say about her being able to see BS and to sniff out a rat.

    I want to make it clear what you do in giving confidence to those who have been mistreated and highlighting wrong doing is great and I support what you do with that. But sometimes you don’t give an indication of listening or giving affirmation equally with the good that people bring.

    The way you have just commented to me reminds me of how a Vineyard pastor talked to me with something I was frustrated with in the church with him commenting on a perceived issue he had of me.

    My taking the risk in being vulnerable and sharing that I have felt unwelcome by you and not listened to was not an issue of not having a thick skin. It was an act of courage. This is not a one – off “dislike” or one lack of affirmation for you but a repeated pattern which has happened over time whenever the issue of pastor abuse comes up.

    I was not convinced there was an issue with me with the pastor in the Vineyard church I was in and the pastor had nothing to consider. with all due respect, I am not convinced what you claim about me now is a reflection of truth and that you have nothing to consider.

    I want to have a friendship with you, a friendship is reciprocal. If what is given is not reciprocated then there is an issue not unlike the narcicism that you rightly talk of in some pastors.

    Again a pastor was killed in South Carolina recently. I think his grieving family deserve as much thought and feeling as anyone who has been mistreated by any pastor.

    There are many in leadership in the church which do a great job as indicated by Teague, surely if abuse is to be addressed, empowering leaders that do good in the church is as important as addressing issues with wayward leaders.

    I am a little pissed off and I think I have every right to be.

    Nevertheless, what your comment affirms is the unwelcoming I have felt. To resolve this and out of respect for this being your blog and for the views you and others express I shall therefore, again, do as I say when your posts come up about pastor abuse and limit what I wrote or avoid being involved. I’m not going to waste my time.

    I wish you well with addressing this important issue for the church.

    PS Perhaps this article is worth considering and that behind the obvious infidelity of the pastor and him stepping down there ought be consideration that there is a person and a family behind that. This ultimately ins not a problem with a few select individuals that can easily blamed but a problem for society, for church and secular for you and me. In my opinion we have a responsibility firstly to address any evil that is in us (and we all have that or at least the temptation) before hanging others up to dry.

    “The blog almost ruined my wife’s life. Anonymous letters were sent out to the entire congregation with accusations and character assassinations. It was absolutely terrible.” http://www.christiantoday.com/article/billy.grahams.grandson.tullian.tchividjian.resigns.as.pastor.after.admitting.affair/56838.htm

  23. Gary says:

    Ducatihero…SERIOUSLY?

    Come on man…whining about a dislike? If you want to be taken seriously you’re going to have to stop the grade school drama of attention seeking and calling others bullies when you don’t get it.

  24. Oh my Ducatihero: If my best friend complained to me about dislikes, etc., and the interactions he’s experiencing online or even on my blog, I would have said the very same thing to him. There’s nothing wrong with giving advice to someone on how to be prepared when they enter the ring.

  25. Ducatihero says:

    Gary, David – you re not listening. Again this is not a one off. I don’t understand why you are commentating as you have.

    Gary – I’m going to ask you to take your comment back – I did not accuse David of bullying and my comment what not a whine. My comment was valid all that you have done is give me ammunition to confirm what I hav ementioned about not listening, and not being welcome. My heart get stronger, my skin gets thicker and I get more assertive by you doing it – I don’t understand why you have responded that way. and anyway in the bigger picture this oss not about me.

    Does the fact that a pastor was killed recently and another and their family have been subjected to “absolutely terrible” actions “almost ruining” a pastor’s wife life? Or do you not care as much about pastors and their families as you do about alleged survivors of abuse?

    I have every bloody right to express feeling pissed off. Are you trying to silence me?

    Again what is done here is great for anyone who has suffered abuse in church for finding a voice, but I would appeal for balance and when someone brings good in whatever for that good is that it be welcomed equally and given as much affirmation.

    David – you are missing the point again this is not about not being tough online. It is about balance my dear friend. Again if you wish to make this about a character issue in then there is no difference between what you are doing and what a pastor in the Vineyard church did with me – ironically the kind of thing you accuse others of doing, although I wouldn’t call what you are doing abuse, it’s not OK or friendly. Now i can accept a difference of option but when that’s turned into making things personal I can’t take you seriously. With all due respect that seems to me to be thin skinned in the sense of an argument not being able to stand on it’s own merit and it being ironic about you alleging that in me.

    I hate to say that David because I want friendship with you and I want to take you seriously and I think you have a lot of good stuff to say.

  26. This is what I’m talking about Ducatihero… you don’t believe what I say. I have to constantly repeat myself. That gets exhausting and I give up.

  27. Gary says:

    Ducatihero;

    No.

  28. Ducatihero says:

    David – that’s my point exactly I don’t believe you. I don’t believe that what is going on here is down to me not having a thick skin and not down to you not listening and/or not being welcoming/affriming to good points that are made as much as others. What you say affirms what I hve said about that.

    So that is exhasteding to for you and it pisses me off that you have acted in a way that reminds me of a Vineyard pastor acted in making frustration I was experiencing in the church culture I was in being abuot something to do with me and not the church. To resolve that I left the church.

    To resolve this again, I will limit and/or avoid commenting when the issues of pastor abuse come up here. If that has achieve what you want with me being more silent then congratulations about that.

    Gary – I affirm your right to choose to say no.

  29. Ducatihero: No, my point is that you ARE welcomed to comment. I’m just advising you that if you want to, expect some dislikes and don’t let them derail you. If you check other commenters, I’m sure they have dislikes too. As I do! I don’t take it personally or let it dissuade me from what I want to say.

  30. Gary says:

    Ducatihero;

    Your affirmation is not required.

  31. Ducatihero says:

    Gary – neither was your reply.

  32. Gary says:

    Ducatihero…you ARE exhausting. And perhaps a little full of yourself too.

    Seriously man…this little snit fit of a tirade you have embarked on has placed you firmly into the category of irrelevant for me.

  33. Ducatihero says:

    I’m perfectly happy with what you have just commented David. Thank you for what have said about not letting people derail me. For clarification, I expect dislikes, that’s not the issue I wanted to raise. What I wanted to talk about and appeal for is an equal welcoming of good form you.

    If I am to share of what has happened to me in a difficult situation and be vulnerable about that and someone is to act in the same or similar way with me then I would say its not an issue with me being thin skinned, I think the issue is with them about their insensitivity in their conduct. In spite of what you say about not taking comments personally, if you were to be vulnerable in sharing about yourself or a member of your family and someone was to be insensitive in a comment about that, you would be affected. It’s normal natural and healthy to be so.

    If people don’t like what I say, why would I waste my time commenting? I’ve got better things to do and I can spend time with folks who are welcoming to me and appreciate what I bring.

    Clearly what I have to talk about sometimes is not welcome and there has been a pattern here of that happening over time when the issue of pastor abuse comes up. I’ve been vulnerable and shared about my experience and having practices forgiveness for example. This has been met with accusations of either abuse or enabling abuse. I don’t think it is thin skinned of me to either be pissed off about that or an accumulation of similar comments. I think it is appropriate to say that’s not OK in keeping with what you say about not being detailed and I think that is in keeping with your aim of addressing abuse.

    What I fear happening is that by focussing on control and particular individuals there is potential healing that could happen that isn’t happening, a perpetuation of abuse and those that are pastors that are doing great jobs might find themselves under difficulty as shared in a culture of fear and retribution as they are treated as if they are abusers when they are not. that’s not OK.

    This culture of fear and retribution in the States that has made it’s way over the Atlantic to here in the UK frightens me. I mentioned Hitler in your most recent post. If we think that we are somehow more enlightened now and that what happened in 1930’s Germany could not happen here or the like, we are sadly deluded. Basic human nature has not changed.

    I could have been commenting unhelpfully, its possible. I don’t think that is what has been happening – I think what I have brought has been good.

    This issue of abuse is such an emotive one that I wonder to what extent there can be any constructive dialogue online with the limitations of communication thought text. It seems to me therefore that this is one more reason for me limiting what I express.

  34. Ducatihero says:

    Gary – I refer you to y previous comment about not understanding whay you comment as you have. It make my skin thicker, my heart stronger and me more assertive I don’t understand why you do it.

    But hey if you wan’t to risk being perceived as someone who makes personal attacks instead of reasoned ideas and arguments then you have the freedom to act that way. And yes you don’t need to be affirmed about that – you got it. I have the same freedom as you do.

    You are concerned about feeling exhausted but you are not concerned about how I have been feeling about being pissed off.

    What do you think is going to happen the more you try to make my conduct appear to be inappropriate?

  35. But Ducatihero, can’t you see how you’ve hijacked this conversation to become all about your being easily offended by how people respond to you? Now the conversation is circling around you and your attempts to mitigate feeling hurt. I tried to explain that I would say “If you want to comment online you gotta be tough!” to my best friend. My wife. My kids. Because this is what a friend would say. But you’ve turned it into me personally attacking your character.

  36. Gary says:

    It is not your arguments or your thoughts that made me determine you were irrelevant to me. I have found some of them to be compelling, if not a bit laborious to read. It has been your posturing and taking offense over silly things like a dislike on your post. I like a good rousing discussion and even a debate with people I both agree with and disagree with. But I have no interest in doing so with someone who spends half their time whining about perceived slights and insults.

    I’m not trying to make your conduct appear inappropriate as you accuse me of (I think you have managed to bring that into question all by yourself) but I certainly do think it is a bit childish for an online forum. And yeah you did hijack this thread and made it all about you. If you want to discuss the issue then do so…nobody is stopping you. But stop the whining grandstanding or your points will be ignored by more than just me.

    Seriously dude…grow up already.

  37. Ducatihero says:

    Gary, you wrote “I’m not trying to make your conduct appear inappropriate” but then “Seriously dude…grow up already.”

    I’m sorry, you just shot yourself in the foot – you tried to deny making my conduct appear inappropriate then followed it with a scathing criticism of my conduct. I rest my case.

    Davi, y appeal to you was to be as welcoming of good that I think i bring as you have of others. The only reason I have “hijacked” this conversation as you put it is because I don’t feel you are listening or being as welcoming as you are with good that others bring.

    You tried to make out that I am being thin-skinned, you now are trying to make it about me being easily offended. Again, I don’t believe you about that. I think if I have been vulnerable and someone has commented insensitively then the issue is with the not me, just as it would be for you if you have been vulnerable and they have been insensitive to you. If my being vulnerable offends then that is not my problem, the issue is with the one taking offense at that.

    You are claiming you have spoken to me as a friend. I can say that I am speaking to you as a friend and it be just as valid.

    Again, I am not finding the way you are coming across friendly or OK. Rather it reminds me of how a pastor has spoken to me on a previous occasion in a situation I resolved by leaving the church. You have made this about me mitigate to mitigate feelings of hurt. That is exactly what I would expect of you to describe of the kind of conduct a pastor trying to police someone who has been abused. Except I would not call what you are doing abuse, I would call it unfriendly and not OK.

    Again my appeal have been for an equal welcoming of good by you and for equal consideration of anyone who has been mistreated and where that is treatment has come from including when pastors have been mistreated or even killed and for consideration of what to do as a result of that. I think that has been a reasonable request. I think that has touched on something for you and I think this is the reason I am facing comments about my conduct now. I am not ashamed for making this request.

    I am sorry this conversation has become difficult but again, I think my conduct has been OK.

    Nevertheless I do agree with one ting you say, this conversation has been circling around, little to be gained form continuing like this. So I will make this my last comment here and I will limit my comments in future as mentioned.

    Think what you want to.

  38. Gary says:

    Way to deflect and side step. Convenient the way you selectively filter out my main point when you quote me. I pointed out that I am not trying to do something…you have done it already. Even now you are still being the cry baby with David complaining that you are not being treated fairly because he is not …I don’t know…paying you enough personal attention?

    Dude…you’ve not been “mistreated”. you simply have encountered people who don’t entertain childish bullshit and call it straight And at this point you are totally cracking me up. ;-).

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