Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Bob Malm and Church Discourse

As the final days of the 2019 pledge season wind down and the Grace Church vestry determines next year’s budget, it’s important to reflect on the values that Bob Malm brings to the church. Specifically, the lessons he teaches people about “respecting the dignity of every human being.” Or not.

Readers may recall the comments of one long-time parish employee, who noted the unhealthy way that people at Grace church talk to each other, and about each other, and Bob’s role in this paradigm.

Consider, for example, Alison Campbell’s fun and games with the altar guild during the time Bob Malm was out on disability, which involved stirring up the altar guild to try to cause problems for me, all while claiming that she was “just the messenger.” Leaving aside the disingenuous aspects of her actions, Alison undoubtedly felt justified due to my conflict with Kelly Gable. But in this, she overlooked both the fact that Kelly and I had resolved our differences, and the fact that it was not her place to get involved. Moreover, she ignored that fact that she never really understood that conflict in the first place, the spiritual aspects of her conduct, and the fact that her conduct has been profoundly damaging to the church.

And so it is with others, including Lisa Medley and her childish antics.

At the same time, Bob Malm has played a major role in these problems. For example, he saw no irony in saying to me, “There are people who have it in for you,” apropos issues with the altar guild. Of course, that aligns with Bob’s notion that people should solve their own differences—an odd idea when it comes to harassment, bullying, and other abusive conduct.

Of course, Bob also likes to stir the pot, and by doing so sets a bad example. For instance, I have personally heard him refer to Jan Spence as an “asshole.” Lisa Doelp he has referred to as, “like a little spy, always trying to find out stuff.” And the list goes on, including Peter and Cheryl Barnes and others, often postured as Bob taking you into his confidence. And folks, if you think you’re not included, I suggest you look up the word “delusional.”

It’s interesting too. Bob says that people should solve their own problems one-on-one, yet look at the many emails he has sent to diocesan officials, including Pat Wingo and Bishop Shannon; as well as to the Alexandria police department; and to Patti Culbreth, the head of school. And let’s not forget his messages to my friend Dee Parsons, and his use of Sugarland Chiow in court. All of these are replete with manipulative language, as well as references to me as “sick,” “twisted,” and “dysfunctional.” But the one person Bob has never contacted directly in an effort to resolve this conflict is me. Nor has he ever contacted my Mom. Nor has he contacted Mike, except as part of our now-abandoned agreement to end our conflict.

Healer, heal thyself.

Bob no doubt will read this and start his usual fun and games with Sugarland Chiow about defamation. But these issues are well documented, and parishioners can name many more incidents in which Bob has behaved badly. This includes his statement, allegedly made to Phil Smith and others as well as to me, about the former office staff, in which he said multiple times, “Don’t worry about it. They’ll be retiring this year.” Needless to say., many years came and passed, with no retirements. Where but a church can an employee like Bob lie to board members about important HR issues and keep his job? That’s right—nowhere.

By now, you’ve probably concluded that I believe Bob Malm to be toxic. If so, you’re correct. 

The larger question, though, is how much longer the church is going to pony up roughly $200K a year for this sort of conduct. 

If it doesn’t take action, I believe there will soon come a time where they will no longer be a Grace Episcopal Church, as it will have disappeared while wallowing in its own hypocritical filth. 

“Thy own words shall impeach thee.” Sound familiar?