Thursday, September 6, 2018
Some time ago, I contacted the Rev. Stephen Parsons, a retired priest in the Church of England and an expert on shunning and abusive churches. I forwarded him materials related to my conflict with Bob Malm, and here is his comment on Bob’s program of shunning and exclusion:
Of course, Bob also chose to include Mike in his efforts. Mike had been received into The Episcopal Church 16 months earlier, and as a result of Bob’s actions, has renounced Christianity.
Nice move, Bob. What a caring, compassionate priest.
Thursday, June 14, 2018
There’s a great comment on the Rev. Stephen Parson’s blog, Surviving Church, under his original post about shunning in church, “Shunning — a barbaric practice.” The author, based in the US, says:
Stephen, thank you for this post. I emailed you a while back about some things I’ve realized about my church culture – white US evangelical, in general; Southern Baptist, in particular. Thank you for your gracious reply. Today, I found my way back to your blog by googling “shunning.” Belatedly, I’ve realized that’s what I’ve experienced – profoundly and pervasively – since I began seeing and speaking out about ways we in this part of Christianity have been missing and misrepresenting Christ. Apparently, shunning is an almost universal response to whistleblowers and prophets. But that in no way justifies its being such a common (and profoundly denied) practice in the church. It hurts like hell, because it IS a form of murder, a seeking to murder personhood.Nice going, Bob—right in there with the Southern Baptists as you babble on about Christ’s love while thinking that shunning is okay.
Sunday, May 6, 2018
Saturday, May 20, 2017
It's interesting to note that one of the things folks assume about this blog is that it's a "gotcha" effort. But the reality is far more complex.
One well-documented effect of shunning is feelings of despair and hopelessness. At the start of Bob Malm's campaign of shunning, I and my family did, indeed, suffer this feeling of utter isolation. But by blogging, I took control of the situation, and moved past Bob's efforts to cause suffering and distress.
Today, Bob Malm hopes to shut down my blog, arguing that I am "hurting [his] ministry." But if Bob's ministry is one that must cause suffering in order to succeed, then I am happy to be the one to bring trouble to his "ministry,"
Moreover, only one person is responsible for Bob Malm's actions, and the suffering they cause to other people. That person is Bob Malm, Episcopal priest, shunner, coward, and bully. Bob may dress like a priest, talk like a priest, and celebrate Mass like a priest, but at the end of the day, Bob is not a priest.
He's nothing but a super-annuated prep school bully.
Meanwhile, I am going to do whatever I need to recover and regroup from Bob's bullying, and to make sure others aren't sucked in by his lies, games, and manipulative power plays.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Remember the old "how many people does it take to change a lightbulb," joke? In the Episcopal church, the answer is "one to change the bulb, 20 to complain that it's always been dark on those stairs, and how dare you change that?".
So, serious question: How many does it take to bully? The answer is at least three: The aggressor, the victim, and the bystander.
At Grace Church, the bully most often is someone in the congregation, typically in the altar guild or choir. In the past, the office staff were runners up for bad behavior. And Bob Malm can be counted on as a reliable source for several incidents of bullying every year.
But there's another wrinkle, and that is that the largest group is made up of bystanders. Parishioners, vestry members, other clergy, all of whom take a pass on it when they see bullying. Much like the priest and the Levite in the story of the Good Samaritan, they just keep right on going.
To a large extent, Bob Malm is responsible for that communal reaction. By being the priest who just keeps on walking, he shows others that they should do the same. And Bob really can't stop, for to do so is to confront his own propensity for bullying.
When will this paradigm shift? Not until people in the parish take the issue of bullying seriously. Bullying is emotional violence. It is abuse. It is a violation of the baptismal covenant. It is wrong.
For a good article on the topic of the three parties to bullying, see the following article, written by our sisters and brothers in the UCC:
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
New and improved! No appeals process required!
Distributors, contact regional sales director Bob Malm at 703-549-1980 to learn more!
Remember, shunning: It's not just for cults, Scientologists and Jehovah's Witnesses any more!