Sunday, 31 May 2015

Doing The Best I Can

I had a difficult conversation with someone the day my sister died. I wanted them to understand the reality I have lived with since spiritual abuse drove me out of 'the church'.

So I tried to explain that I was not only facing the grief of losing my sister prematurely. I also had to deal with malice from my sister-in-law in the midst of that, because she had sided with the church leaders who'd told me to submit to the "godly leader" who was bullying and abusing me.

And she has refused ever since to deal with the crap that is still between us.

As I wrote last August when my mother died, even though I keep forgiving, I have to live with the ongoing realities of being reviled by others, including members of my own family.

And it hurts. And it keeps on inflicting fresh hurt! And most people just don't 'get' that.

So please don't lecture me on how I should respond. Please don't throw a bunch of christian cliches at me. Please don't quote scripture at me or insist on praying at me without my consent.

I understand my pain makes you uncomfortable and it doesn't fit with your neat theologies...


I am doing the best I can. I still love God. I keep forgiving. I am dealing with the crap.

So please give me the space and time I need. Please show some compassion. Please be secure enough to just listen. And love. And trust me to God.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

A Letter to Tony Jones

Dear Tony Jones,

This morning I came across link to a letter from your lawyer telling your ex-wife, Julie McMahon, that she should remove any comments she may have made on the various social media sites which are mentioned in said letter. So I was very surprised to see this blog post I wrote and this one being listed in that letter.

Mine is a very minor blog in the scheme of things, and I'd be surprised if Julie is even aware of its existence. She has certainly never commented on it. So it puzzles me why my opinion pieces are even listed there. If there are no comments that need removing, why are my posts mentioned at all?

Some people might infer that you are trying to control the conversation regarding the experience of your erstwhile wife.

Some people might assume you want to expunge from the internet anything that refers to you in less than glowing terms.

Some people might even suspect that you are seeking to silence people who are protesting the silencing of people.

How ironic that would be!

I, myself, would never have even heard of you if it wasn't for the fact that the behaviour described in some of the posts I read sounded so familiar.

You see, I experienced bullying and abuse at the hands of 'church leaders'.

When I objected, they tried to silence me. When I said something was wrong with that, they tried to shut me down completely.

So I get a bit twitchy when I see people being silenced. And these days I say something about it.

Yours inconsequentially,
Living Liminal

Sunday, 3 May 2015

The Deafness of Tony Jones & Friends

Why is it that Tony Jones & Friends seem to have adopted this pose?

Many people were disgusted when Rachel Held Evans, who had previously loudly denounced abuse of power, deleted multiple comments questioning her seeming support of Tony Jones. She assured everyone that she takes "abuse allegations very seriously" and that she'd made a "diligent investigation of this situation" (i.e. abuse claims by his ex-wife, Julie McMahon).

(Of course, some weeks later she did say, "I don’t want to overstate my knowledge of this situation... I have spoken with neither Tony nor Julie..."!?!)

And after writing a glowing review of Jones's latest book on her blog, Nadia Bolz Weber found that her husband had apparently accidentally deleted the 800 plus comments thread that had been generated there. Fortunately, they can still be found on Disqus ;)

Now Peter Rollins, who applauded the resistance against "ubiquitous, normalized violence operating in disavowed ways" in other contexts, has written a blog post which appears to be a defence of the abusive, narcissistic behaviour of Tony Jones.

And it seems he is joining the 'I'm Not Listening' club.

I left the following comment on his Facebook page:

I also tried to leave a comment on the blog itself, but it was failed (twice) in moderation. So I returned to Rollins' Facebook page and added it:

It lasted a whole minute before it was taken down, along with the original comment. As well as that, I  have been blocked from making any any further comments on his page.

So it would appear that this is standard behaviour for anyone (professionally) connected to Tony Jones. Avoid questions, delete comments, ignore the abuse.

I know what it is like to have to speak out about the toxic behaviour of people close to me. I know it seemed at the time that in doing so I'd lost everything that was important to me.

But I now realise that I had actually been set free!

I feel sorry for those people who are too afraid to hear the truth, let alone speak it. Their deafness is self-inflicted and they are enslaved - trapped in a cage of their own design.