"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Grace Grieving 24: Our year so far

Our prayer badges for the last 8 years.
     January 1, 2012--The senior pastor's wife tells me (twice) I am not welcome in our church unless I stop writing His Scribbler and repent. She has a separate rebuke for Jerry, starting with "I used to respect you--".
     Jan. 30 - Jerry and I go to Ralph Hampton, Church Administrator (and an elder), privately. We appeal to him: if he knows of any mismanagement of church funds (such as what we have heard from some sources) to report it to the IRS for his own protection.
     Feb. 12 - The day before rehearsals start for the Easter choir, choir director Jessie Flasschoen tells us she loves us but we are no longer welcome to sing in the choir unless we stop writing His Scribbler and repent.
     Feb. 20 -  At our regular tax appointment with Ralph Hampton's wife Sue, CPA, we appeal to her: if she or Ralph know anything inappropriate happening at church to report it to the IRS. We give her a letter we had written both of them expressing our concerns on their behalf.
     Feb. 24 - All our tax materials are returned in the mail with a cover letter from Sue dated February 23 saying "The letter that you handed me at the end of our meeting on Monday. . . has made me realize that there is now a 'conflict of interest' between us and that the professional relationship has to be severed.  .  . You will need to find a new tax preparer."
     Feb. 26 - Executive elders Brian Chung and Kurt Victor approach the two of us before church and appeal to us to find a church more compatible and comfortable for us. They tell us they love us but we need to stop writing His Scribbler and repent. We say we have to stay until God releases us.
     Feb. 29 - Elder Jerry Giles hand-delivers to our door his personally-signed letter of Feb. 27, "releasing" us "from representing the church in any leadership capacity, including that of 'prayer coordinators'." It goes on, "We ask that you no longer position yourselves in front of the room following a worship service for the purpose of representing the church as prayer team members or leaders."
     March 3 - We receive a certified letter from EBOE Chairman Carl LaBarbera referring to our letter to "a Church employee" requiring us to "cease and desist from contacting Church employees in an effort to harass or intimidate them."
     March 5 - Elder Ralph Hampton calls Jerry to tell him that since he is no longer a steward he needs to turn in the keys and the dial for the safe. (For 12-14 years, Jerry has led one of the teams that counts the offering and takes it to the bank.)   
     Funny. The more they clip our wings, the more lightened I feel to soar.


  1. Hi Jessica,
    You probably know this, but I need to point out that it is God who is supervising your wing-clipping. He is in charge of _everything_ going on regarding Grace.

  2. He is! We know it and actually it was a relief to be released from the choir, where I was so keenly aware of being snubbed by the pastor's wife and being down front to pray with people, which just made us conspicuous so the elders knew right where to find us to come chew us out whenever they wanted to. But I didn't want to pull out of these commitments on our own if "standing" including being faithful to them.