Showing posts with label Dysfunctional Bob. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dysfunctional Bob. Show all posts

Monday, May 20, 2019

Article on Surviving Church

By the way, another story addressing Bob Malm’s perjury has been published. It’s on the Rev. Stephen Parson’s blog, Surviving Church. 

An internationally recognized expert on abusive churches, Stephen previously reviewed Bob Malm’s conduct, terming it “one of the cruelest forms of conduct one human can inflict on another,” and “abusive.” Yet the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia is good with it.

Another 250 Homes Leafletted This Morning

And more later this week — all sharing the bad news of Bob Malm, and a denomination that says perjury is okay for clergy as long as they aren’t convicted. 

Yes, that would be the Episcopal Church.




Friday, May 17, 2019

More Media Coverage Coming to Planet Malm



The Arrogance of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia: A Sign of Decline

Canon Mary Thorpe

It’s amazing, really. At a time when the rate at which The Episcopal Church is shedding members is surpassed only by the losses of the Presbyterian Church USA (and even that is questionable), the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia is going pedal-to-the-metal in its efforts to drive away members. How does it do that? Chiefly through its incredible blind arrogance and belief that somehow people cannot exist without the church. In short, that it is, in the words of Saturday Night Live, “specccial.”

For example, in a letter to me and the other two complainants in one of the Title IV cases, intake officer Caroline Parkinson, after accusing us of “distracting, disingenous, and duplicitous” conduct, prattled on about how there would be no point to a Title IV case, as our alleged conduct would interfere with the Title IV goals of healing and reconciliation. That, of course, does four things:
  • Conveniently overlooks Bob Malm’s misconduct.
  • Assigns blame for the problem in the victims of Bob’s misconduct.
  • Demonstrates an utter lack of understanding of the dynamics of abuse, which is that victims often behave in ways that are not rational or helpful, up to and including things like alcoholism and suicide.
  • Ignores the fact that Title IV applies only to clergy. As in, clergy are always responsible for maintaining boundaries, full stop. And, as illustrated by the +Bruno case, in which allegations swirled about the conduct of parishioners, clergy are supposed to be accountable for their conduct, regardless.
Caroline also violated confidentiality, by disclosing a third complaint, and by lumping all three complaints together.

The real cherry on top, though, came  when she reverted to Jesus-babble in her letter, urging us to have the “grace to find a new church.”

Why on God’s green earth would anyone want anything to do with the church after this, including the diocese’s decision that retaliation for filing a Title IV complaint is acceptable?

Then we get to Caroline’s lie, which is that the diocese had already considered the matter of Bob’s decision to remove our names from the church directory the previous summer. Leaving aside the fact that there was no advisor, or communication from the reference panel, which means there likely was no reference panel that summer, the issue of the directory didn’t arise until that fall. All I can say is that I was not aware that the ability to time travel was one of the benefits of ordination. How special.

Similarly, Canon Mary Thorpe, whose husband serves as Executive Director of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, should surely have a handle both on Title IV and the pastoral implications of violating the promises Title IV sets forth to laity. Yet she apparently has said nothing about:
  • The outrageous and appalling conclusion set forth in the most recent Title IV notice of dismissal that perjury by members of the clergy is acceptable as long as there is no criminal violation. 
  • The fact that the diocese has repeatedly ignored the requirement of a pastoral response in all Title IV cases, including those involving dismissal. (Indeed, mapping out a pastoral response should be one of the first things to happen when a complaint is filed. But I guarantee you that the diocese has done nothing in this regard. Indeed, a pastoral response should be implemented from the moment a complaint is filed.)
  • The fact that the diocese itself has repeatedly breached confidentiality in this matter, including through its violation of the Title IV whistleblower provisions.
Yet she wants to try to insist that I should keep the diocese’s actions confidential? All I can say is I call BS on that one. It takes a special kind of arrogance for the diocese to repeatedly violate Title IV in all directions, yet try to apply Title provisions to laity. This, despite the fact that with the exception of one provision, Title IV expressly doesn’t apply to laity. 

What’s really sad, though, is that we have clergy, aka professional Christians, who get paid to do this stuff full-time, who consider Title IV so unimportant that they don’t bother to learn its requirements, or to follow them. And doubly sad when I, as laity (if that’s what you want to call a former Christian), am far more familiar with the provisions of Title IV than they are.

And for the record, this is not the only time that the Diocese has ignored the Title IV requirement of a pastoral response. In the case of the lovely small church of St. Thomas’ in McLean, the diocese violated not only every best practice out there (including having Pat Wingo show up unannounced to tell people that the rector had been suspended), but it adamantly refused to do anything to care for the parish in the aftermath.

Why? Per Bishop Shannon, because diocesan chancellor JP Causey had told them not to get too involved due to fears of legal liability. All I can say is that’s pretty rich, coming from a chancellor who oversaw litigation in which the diocese bloviated on for years in the courts about the applicability of church canons to its constituent parishes. And no, there is no allegation of wrongdoing within the parish itself. And yes, it was nice that +Shannon apologized, but having not done anything to actually repair the damage, the gesture was purely symbolic.

In the meantime, a number of parishioners have left St. Thomas’, several of them life-long members, yet no one has ever reached out to them to care for them or attempt to fix the hurt that the diocese has caused. Proof that, as laity, we’re supposed to keep our mouths shut and send money, nothing more. And if we leave, we are of no consequence to the diocese. Next customer, window three, step right up.

The great irony in all of this is that these situations have created a deep well of knowledge and of pain among those hurt by the church. If the diocese had half the common sense God gave a goat, it would follow the lead of one of the dioceses in California, which ultimately invited friends of mine who had left the church due to abuse to serve on its advisory panel for preventing abuse. As is often pointed out within nonprofits, your critics are often your most useful allies, if you can lean into things and not feel threatened. But the church is nowhere near that self-aware.

With that in mind, it’s time I think for the diocese to engage in a period of introspection and repentence. Much of the harm it has caused in recent years is irreparable, and signs suggest that things are going to get worse, not better. But ignoring the problem will only allow it to fester.

For example, when the day comes in the not-distant future that Dysfunctional Bob packs it in, Grace church is headed for a period of turmoil. No matter how skilled an interim may be things will get ugly, especially when folks eventually realize just how problematic Bob Malm was and is. Having a priest for 30+ years who considers it nothing but a job, and who exploited the church shamelessly for his personal needs, is not a good situation for even the healthiest of churches, and Grace is far from healthy. But neither the parish itself nor the diocese see this, so there’s a storm lurking just over the horizon. Yikes.

Will the diocese reverse course and take my conflict with Bob seriously? Not bloody likely. Nor does it perceive any need to actually follow Title IV. And it is so blindly narcissistic as an organization that it has no concept or empathy for the pain it has caused and continues to cause. Moreover, just like individual narcissists, who often wind up late in life being profoundly isolated and alone (as appears increasingly likely for Bob Malm), it doesn’t realize that it’s sowing the seeds for its own destruction, for this sort of conduct inevitably causes organizations to rot from within.

That’s particularly troubling in light of +Goff’s progressive creds, as well as her academic background in psychology. One would think she, of all people, would recognize the looming problems, but she appears to have no insight beyond the tactical, day-to-day business of the rapidly dwindling diocese. Yes, she is a better tactician than +Johnston, but that’s not saying much. Indeed, the hot mess that was the diocese’s effort to find a bishop transitional should be of profound concern at every level in the organization, as it shows that problems are both systemic and structural. 

The fact that, even at the highest levels, the diocese can’t see the forest for the trees, and doesn’t recognize just how troubled it is, bespeaks an organization that is ill-prepared for the future—a future that will be marked by sharply declining revenue and membership. And until it actually cares for its members — even those who, like me, it both dislikes and distrusts — and demonstrates an ethical worldview marked by something more than empty Jesus-babble, the diocese will continue to crumble.

Not a pretty sight.





The Arrogance of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia: A Sign of Decline



It’s amazing, really. At a time when the rate at which The Episcopal Church is shedding members is surpassed only by the losses of the Presbyterian Church USA, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia is going pedal-to-the-metal in it efforts to drive away members. How does it do that? Chiefly through its incredible blind arrogance and belief that somehow people cannot exist without the church. In short, that it is, in the words of Saturday Night Live, “specccial.”

For example, in a letter to me and the other two complainants in one of the Title IV cases, intake officer Caroline Parkinson, after accusing us of “distracting, disingenous, and duplicitous” conduct, prattled on about how there would be no point to a Title IV case, as our alleged conduct would interfere with the Title IV goals of healing and reconciliation. That, of course, does four things:
  • Conveniently overlooks Bob Malm’s misconduct.
  • Assigns blame for the problem in the victims of Bob’s misconduct.
  • Demonstrates an utter lack of understanding of the dynamics of abuse, which is that victims often behave in ways that are not rational or helpful, up to and including things like alcoholism and suicide.
  • Ignores the fact that Title IV applies only to clergy. As in, clergy are always responsible for maintaining boundaries, full stop. And, as illustrated by the +Bruno case, in which allegations swirled about the conduct of parishioners, clergy are supposed to be accountable for their conduct, regardless.
Caroline also violated confidentiality, by disclosing a third complaint, and by lumping all three complaints together.

The real cherry on top, though, comes when she reverts to Jesus-babble in her letter, urging us to have the “grace to find a new church.”

Why on God’s green earth would anyone want anything to do with the church after this, including the diocese’s decision that retaliation for filing a Title IV complaint is acceptable?

Then we get to Caroline’s lie, which is that the diocese had already considered the matter of Bob’s decision to remove our names from the church directory the previous summer. Leaving aside the fact that there was no advisor, or communication from the reference panel, which means there likely was no reference panel that summer, the issue of the directory didn’t arise until that fall. All I can say is that I was not aware that the ability to time travel was one of the benefits of ordination. How special.

Similarly, Canon Mary Thorpe, whose husband serves as Executive Director of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, should surely have a handle, both on Title IV and the pastoral aspects of violating the promises Title IV sets forth to laity. Yet she apparently has said nothing about:
  • The outrageous and appalling conclusion set forth in the most recent Title IV notice of dismissal that perjury by members of the clergy is acceptable as long as there is no criminal violation. 
  • The fact that the diocese has repeatedly ignored the requirement of a pastoral response in all Title IV cases, including those involving dismissal. (Indeed, mapping out a pastoral response should be one of the first things to happen when a complaint is filed. But I guarantee you that the diocese has done nothing in this regard. Indeed, a pastoral response should be implemented from the moment a complaint is filed.)
  • The fact that the diocese itself has repeatedly breached confidentiality in this matter, including through its violation of the Title IV whistleblower provisions.
Yet she wants to try to insist that I should keep the diocese’s actions confidential? All I can say is I call BS on that one. It takes a special kind of arrogance for the diocese to, itself, violate Title IV in all directions, yet try to apply Title provisions to laity—which, with one recent exception—Title IV expressly does not apply to laity.

What’s really sad, though, is that we have clergy, aka professional Christians, who get paid to do this stuff full-time, who consider Title IT so unimportant that they don’t bother to learn its requirements, or to follow them. And doubly sad when I, as laity (if that’s what you want to call a former Christian), am far more familiar with the provisions of Title IV than they are.

And for the record, this is not the only time that the Diocese has ignored the Title IV requirement of a pastoral response. In the case of the lovely small church of St. Thomas’ in McLean, the diocese violated not only every best practice out there (including having Pat Wingo show up unannounced to tell people that the rector had been suspended), but it adamantly refused to do anything to care for the parish in the aftermath. Why? Per Bishop Shannon, because diocesan chancellor JP Causey had told them not to get too involved due to fears of legal liability. All I can say is that’s pretty rich, coming from a chancellor who oversaw litigation in which the diocese bloviated on for years in the courts about the applicability of church canons to its constituent parishes. And no, there is no allegation of wrongdoing within the parish itself. 

In the meantime, a number of parishioners have left St. Thomas’, several of them life-long members, yet no one has ever reached out to them to care for them or attempt to fix the hurt that the diocese has caused. Proof that, as laity, we’re supposed to keep our mouths shut and send money, nothing more. And if we leave, we are of no consequence to the diocese.

The great irony in all of this is that these situations have created a deep well of knowledge and of pain among those hurt by the church. If the diocese had half the common sense God gave a goat, it would follow the lead of one of the dioceses in California, which ultimately invited friends of mine who had left the church to serve on its advisory panel for preventing abuse. As is often pointed out within nonprofits, your critics are often your most useful allies, if you can lean into things and not feel threatened.

It’s also time, I think, for the diocese to engage in a period of introspection and repentence. Much of the harm it has caused in recent years is irreparable, and signs suggest that things are going to get worse, not better. 

For example, when the day comes in the not-distant future that Dysfunctional Bob packs it in, Grace church is headed for a period of turmoil. No matter how skilled an interim may be things will get ugly, especially when folks eventually realize just how problematic Bob Malm was and is. Having a priest for 30+ years who considers it nothing but a job, and who exploited the church shamelessly for his personal needs, is not a good situation for even the healthiest of churches, and Grace is far from healthy. But neither the parish itself nor the diocese yet see this, so there’s a storm lurking just over the horizon. Yikes.

Will the diocese reverse course and take my conflict with Bob seriously? Not bloody likely. Nor does it perceive any need to actually follow Title IV. And it is so blindly narcissistic as an organization that it has no concept or empathy for the pain it has caused and continues to cause. Moreover, just like individual narcissists, who often wind up late in life being profoundly isolated and alone (as appears increasingly likely for Bob Malm), it doesn’t realize that it’s sowing the seeds for its own destruction.

That’s particularly troubling in light of +Goff’s progressive creds, as well as her academic background in psychology. One would think she, of all people, would recognize the looming problems, but she appears to have no insight beyond the tactical, day-to-day business of the rapidly dwindling diocese. Yes, she is a better tactician than +Johnston, but that’s not saying much. Indeed, the hot mess that was the diocese’s effort to find a bishop transitional should be of profound concern at every level in the organization, as it shows that problems are both systemic and structural.

The fact that, even at the highest levels, the diocese can’t see the forest for the trees, and doesn’t recognize just how troubled it is, bespeaks an organization that is ill-prepared for the future—a future that will be marked by sharply declining revenue and membership. And until it actually cares for its members — even those who, like me, it both dislikes and distrusts — the diocese will continue to crumble.





Thursday, May 16, 2019

SpongeBob, Too!



Upcoming Leafletting and Protests

If Dysfunctional Bob thought his recent terroristic threats would do anything to back me down, he was wrong. Indeed, plans include leafletting another 1000 homes before the 24th, as well as holding protests along Russell Road and several other key places.

More to come!


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

More on Dysfunctional Bob’s Meltdown





One of the things that’s interesting about Dysfunctional Bob’s histrionics yesterday is that he still doesn’t get it. As in none of his bullying tactics will ever shut down our conflict. Indeed, every time he tries one of these stupid antics, I step things up on my end. In this case, my response has been to sharply increase paid advertising and leafletting in the NVA region.

Of course, that underscores another issue, which is that Bob’s worldview is diametrically opposed to the values of Christianity. Dysfunctional Bob is all about power and control; Jesus could have acted through these means, but chose not to.

It also illustrates another point, which is that while Dysfunctional Bob likes to tell people that he’s ignoring me, the reality is far different. But then, veracity never was his strong suit.

No matter how you parse it, Bob is profoundly incapable of responding to conflict. That said, I will not back down in the face of his terroristic threats.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Check it Out! Bob Malm Has a Freak Out, Starts Making Terroristic Threats!

A few minutes ago, while out protesting on Russell Road, well past a 1,000 foot distance from Grace Episcopal Church and Dysfunctional Bob’s home, I was approached by Dysfunctional Bob, who drove up, pulled over, got out of his vehicle, and had what appeared to be a major psychological crisis. Bob was screaming and threatening, asking if I wanted him to get out a tape measure and if I wanted to get dragged off to jail. His decision to seek me out comes minutes after his wife Leslie rolled through.

I had no interaction, but instead jumped in Mike’s SUV, locked the doors, and called 911, since he appeared bent on violence and was screaming at neighbors as well. I had no contact with Bob or Leslie and, other than making myself scarce, did not respond to Bob’s threats.

Bob’s actions of course violate my written request to him to have no further contact, sent to him in December 2018. I also previously sent the same request to his attorney, Sugarland Chiow. Moreover, Bob has twice previously violated my request by contacting me once through my employer, and once through my church. (The former really makes wonder about Bob, as where I worked was not the public knowledge. Stalker alert!)

I therefore will seek criminal charges against Bob.

Of course, Bob’s actions put the lie to his claims that he fears for his safety. And his over-the-top conduct again leads me to suspect that Bob is mentally ill. (The neighbors who observed his behavior ran inside and locked the doors. Tell you anything?)

Here’s a photo of Bob’s SUV as he prepares to leave the scene of his meltdown:



And here is my email to him, also supplied during discovery, in which I instructed him to have no further contact.




Lastly, here is the relevant section of the Virginia Code, which makes clear that Bob’s behavior is prima facie evidence of criminal stalking.




Bob Malm: Serial Liar? Mentally Ill? Or Both?



It’s been a while since we looked at the overall pattern of Bob Malm’s lies. So, with that in mind, this post gives an overview of Bob’s various lies, and explores the potential root causes.

As to the scope of Bob’s lies, these appear to go back years. For example, Bob allegedly told Phil Smith, who at the time was serving on the vestry and has a background in HR, “Don’t worry about it. They’ll be retiring this year,” when Phil brought up poor behavior by church office staff. Roughly six years later, Bob tried the same lie on me to induce me to serve as junior warden. I initially fell for it, but later called Bob on it. In response, Bob began volunteering that he didn’t know when they would retire — but without coming right out and admitting he’d been lying to vestry members for years.

Flash forward to our kerfuffle. In it, Bob lied to the courts, claiming that various phrases, taken out of context, were threats. Under oath,, during discovery, he also made the claim that two of my cousins, and my mom, “time and again” make meetings with him and canceled — the suggestion being that I am somehow the person making meetings with him. There’s just one little hitch — this simply never happened, and if you push Bob on it, he cannot provide any documentation of his claim. Guaran-friggin-teed.

Then we get into some of his other imaginary claims. Doubtless, Jeff Chiow had a hand in these, but at the end of the day, as one of Jeff’s clients, Bob had to sign off on any court filings. Thus, Bob told a series of lies in his pleadings, including:
  • His claim that there had been a church shooting in the fictional town of Sugarland Texas (hence Jeff Chiow’s moniker of “Sugarland Chiow”).
  • His weird interrogatories, in which he lies by implication, asking if, inter alia, I am the author of the Survivors Awaken the Church blog, since my story is there. Yet even a cursory glance at the site would make clear that I’m not the author, nor the publisher.
  • That I never served as a police officer.
  • That I never was licensed to practice law.
  • That I violated the existing court order.
Apropos these issues, there is a distinction to be made between advocating for your client’s position, and misinforming the court. In other words, it’s one thing to say, “Plaintiff researched the matter extensively, and found no evidence that defendant ever served as a police officer,” and proferring the issue as a statement of fact. Having done the latter, Bob and Sugarland tried to pull a fast one on the courts.

Speaking of, Bob and Sugarland tried to pull a fast one on the Pennsylvania courts. As Jeff no doubt knows, one must have leave of court in order to issue a third-party subpoena in a protective order case in that state. Yet Jeff repeatedly tried to bypass that requirement and slide one by on the courts. Needless to say, word in the local bar association is that Sugarland has ethical issues, and in the unlikely event he ever again seeks admission pro hac vice in those courts, he may find he gets a very cold reception.

There’s also evidence that Sugarland and Bob have lied in other fora. For example, Bob’s wife Leslie claims I admitted in open court that Mom’s blog is really mine. So where did she come up with that notion? Not that Leslie herself doesn’t lie when she is in the midst of conflict, but anecdotal evidence suggests she may have gotten that lie from Sugarland.

So where does that leave us? 

Clearly, Bob has been lying for many years, as evinced by his lie about the office staff. Not only that, but it apparently worked with Phil Smith, leading Bob to add it to his arsenal.

It’s interesting, too — members of Bob’s family, like him, lie when in conflict in order to try to get the upper hand. That suggests that lying in such situations is normative in the Malm household, which in itself is telling.

This view is bolstered by Bob’s claims about my serving as a police officer and being licensed to practice law. There, Bob’s lies appear to have their genesis in doubts about my veracity so like a lemming, he took the plunge and ran over the cliff. This, like his invention of the town of “Sugarland,” seemingly is less about telling a falsehood and more about a reckless indifference to the truth. The attitude seems to be, “I’m in court and trying to get the upper hand, so what does it matter?” In other words, these appear to be the hallmarks of someone who routinely plays fast and loose with the truth. 

In other words, my belief is that Bob indeed is a serial liar.

Where does this come from? All factors suggest that Bob is way out there on the narcissism curve, probably to the point of having a personality disorder. On the one hand, Bob loudly asserts that he doesn’t need anyone. On the other, he appears to have a strong need for adulation and accolades, and seems to routinely manipulate others to meet those needs. In keeping with this, it is almost impossible for Bob to take responsibility for his actions; even an apology comes fully loaded with, “I’m sorry you were upset, but....”

In keeping with this, Bob appears to be big into image. He’s very focused on how he dresses, how he looks, etc. Even the various roles he’s played in life, from captain of his prep school lacrosse and football teams and yearbook editor, to priest, to marathoner, appear calculated to obtain recognition and ratification.

Besides playing roles that garner attention, narcissists also are famous for their ability to lie when needed, even when the assertion is facially ludicrous. Just like Trump arguing that his administration comprises the best and the brightest, Bob is more than willing to claim he’s not ignoring the requirements of his job, despite the utter dysfunction in the church office, the shoddy records, and more. One looks at his claims and laughs, yet Bob seemingly thinks his lies will work.

Narcissists also are well known for their lack of empathy. Here, one only has to look at Bob’s efforts to drag a dying woman into court to conclude that not only is he a narcissist, but he may well have concluded that Sugarland is a narcissist too, and have played to that attribute. The fact that between the two of them neither appears to have thought that this would be counterproductive suggests not only a serious lack of common sense, but an utter lack of empathy.

Of course, at some point lack of empathy crosses into anti-social behavior. Is Bob a sociopath? I don’t know, but I suspect so. Thus far, I see no sign that there is any compunction against almost any sort of behavior if he thinks he can get away with it.

In short, my conclusion is that Bob indeed is a serial liar. I also have concluded that he suffers from narcissistic personality disorder. As to whether he is a sociopath, I am not sure, but I lean strongly towards believing that he is. But no matter how you parse it, Bob is toxic. Charming, but toxic.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Does Bob Malm Know That He’s a Liar?




Poet Criss Jami says, “Just because something isn't a lie does not mean that it isn't deceptive. A liar knows that he is a liar, but one who speaks mere portions of truth in order to deceive is a craftsman of destruction.”  But does a liar always know he’s a liar? In Bob Malm’s case, I’m not so sure.

Granted, Bob likes to pick and choose. In that sense, he’s both a master manipulator and a liar. But obvious, verifiable lies, like his claim, made in front of +Johnston, that church trustees have to be vestry members, often pop out on the fly to suit Bob’s purpose. Others become part of Bob’s routine, like his claim, made over a period of years, that parishioners shouldn’t worry about the office staff, as they’d be retiring that year. In the latter situation, Bob seemingly thought that parishioners were too stupid to notice.

Then of course there are Bob’s lies under oath, like his claim that Mom, or someone purporting to be her, repeatedly made appointments with him and no-showed. The reality is that no one in my family has done so—that’s right, no one repeatedly made appointments with him and canceled. Yet he swore that this statement was true.

That fact pattern comports with narcissistic personality disorder, in which the narcissist makes up reality on the fly to suit his or her needs. It also may be an indicator of antisocial personality disorder, or a serial bully.

If this conduct on Bob’s part is indeed driven by mental illness, then Bob cannot have committed perjury, as by definition he’s not capable of recognizing reality. If that isn’t the cause, then Bob indeed committed perjury.

I don’t know which applies, but I have my strong suspicions, which I will not share here.

Of course, it’s also those thought processes that allow Bob to see no disconnect between his conduct and his facially false claims to be a Christian. Or to lie, yet get all bent out of shape when I point out that he’s a liar. It’s magical!

In the meantime, for the Christine Cheevers of the world who say that “this isn’t possible,” I say this: Just ask Bob for documentation. He has none.

Of course, because Christine’s view is faith-driven, she’ll never ask, because to do so would be to challenge her two-dimensional faith, which is not grounded in reality. 

But for those of you who have the courage to do so, ask Bob for his proof. I dare you.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The More Things Change....

I was chatting online recently with a friend who remains active at St. Dysfunction, aka Grace Church. As the conversation unfolded, he complained about the upcoming Spring Fling Golf Outing, although it seems that he plans to attend. The conversation produced a moment of epiphany though, which is that folks at Grace appear to becoming increasingly tired of the lack of change at the church. This does not bode well for the parish.

It’s interesting, too — things have gotten so skewed at Grace that they view the HVAC product as change. Actually, it’s not—it’s simply restoring what’s there. But so little effort goes into maintaining the building on a normal basis that this seems like a big deal. In fact, the original systems were installed so badly that it was only a few years ago that things got done that should have been part of the 1994 building renovations, like insulating third-floor ductwork.

The problem, it seems, is that Dysfunctional Bob doesn’t like change. Indeed, he’s fallen into a very comfortable cycle, with his month at the beach every summer, followed by Shrine Mont, the program year, then Thanksgiving (another week off), Christmas (more time off), then Easter and the end of the program year.

The challenge, of course, is that what worked in the 1980’s is starting to feel tired, dated and rote. Been to one Shrine Mont, been to 30 of them. And the pace of change in society is accelerating, with more focus on social media, the rapid flow of data, and more. Yet St. Dysfunction’s sole concessions to the times are a Facebook page and a Twitter handle, with the latter lamely announcing when new sermons go live.

At a higher level, the parish is challenged by the fact that it has no strategic plan. Everything just revolves around keeping existing programs running and staying (barely) afloat financially. That’s a shame — the high level of compensation Bob Malm enjoys should warrant some meaningful leadership on Bob’s part, especially in light of Bob’s appointment of the executive committee. In short, if Dysfunctional Bob is going to control governance within the parish, it would help if he would not be so, well, dysfunctional.

My bet is that we are going to see Grace church really start to crumble within the next 10 years, as the years of Bob’s indifference and sometimes outright hostility to strategic planning and effective governance increasingly take their toll.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

My Email to Canon Mary Thorpe

Here is my follow-up email to Canon Mary Thorpe. 

Of course, you have to love the logic: Because there’s been no conviction for perjury, Bob Malm cannot have engaged in perjury. If that’s the case, then we can equally infer that Bob’s failure to sue me for defamation suggests that my assertions are accurate. 

The funny thing is that, in the end, The Episcopal Church is simply ensuring that it collapses into irrelevance. The fact that it cannot hold its clergy to basic standards of integrity, and cannot even adhere to the ethical standards of publicly traded companies (hardly a high standard in the scheme of things) makes clear that church no longer has a meaningful role in society. It’s just a clueless bunch of folks locked into a Madmen-era time warp, a good ole’ boys and girls club where folks look out for each other long enough to get to retirement.




Thursday, April 25, 2019

Eighty-five Percent of Millennials Who Don’t Go to Church Say it’s Hypocritical. They’re Right

Did you know that 85 percent of millennials who don’t go to church say they believe church to be hypocritical? Well, they’re right.

The statistics are found in the recent Barna studies, with the relevant results available here.

That doesn’t bode well for Grace Church. With a rector, Dysfunctional Bob, who commits perjury by lying under oath, who thinks it’s okay to try to drag the dying into court, and who has repeatedly lied in other settings, both Dysfunctional Bob and the church serve as the poster children for hypocrisy. A similar approach pertains with former vestry member and church lawyer Jeffery Chiow, who repeatedly proffered false statements of fact in court, and whose descriptions of other church members would have enraged Jesus. 

Things don’t get any better with the vestry, which is nothing but a rubber stamp for Dysfunctional Bob, and which also lies to people with its facially false talking points about our conflict. 

The altar guild also has its fair share of bullying, with Linda Waskowiscz allegedly having reduced more than one of her fellow altar guild members to tears over the years. Then there’s Alison Campbell, with her seeming belief that she gets to choose who is a member of Grace Church, using her fun and games/manipulative behavior with the altar guild as her enforcement mechanism.

Similarly, the choir is well known for its bad behavior, including bullying. Then there’s the office staff, as well as our buddy the Princess Porcine, aka Lisa Medley, with her lies, bullying and other antics. And you have several independent actors, including the obviously troubled Jan Spence, whom Bob Malm refers to as an “asshole.” Yup, the love of Christ runneth over.

Nor does the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia want to get involved, so it’s also a part of the problem. 

In short, the Episcopal Church in Virginia appears headed for a resounding crash as its existing membership evaporates through attrition. Of course, the Bob Malm’s of the world don’t care—their pension checks will continue regardless. But the Virginia branch of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement appears to be moving in one direction only: Down the toilet.

How very sad that a church with so many things going for it is so utterly incapable of getting its act together.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Holy Week Hypocrisy at Grace

In just a few short days, Grace Episcopal will celebrate the Easter Vigil, which marks the high water mark of Holy Week. And despite the church’s faltering finances and reputation under the “leadership” of Dysfunctional Bob, the place will be awash in flowers and other symbols of the resurrection. That begs the question, “How can it be Holy Week when Dysfunctional Bob and Sugarland Chiow think it’s okay to drag a woman, slowly suffocating to death, into court?”

The answer is that there’s nothing holy about Holy Week at Grace Church.

Holy Week is, of course, the culmination of Lent, a time of introspection and repentance. But folks at Grace continue their vendetta, replete with accusations of “domestic terrorism” and Bob Malm’s perjury under oath. No sign of repentance, no change of behavior.



So where does that leave us? It leaves us with a Holy Week that is nothing but a notation on the calendar, an expensive bunch of hoo-ha replete with smelly flowers, incense, candles, and a noisy bunch of brass musicians hammering away, perched in the choir loft. Meanwhile, the whole sordid, hypocritical farce will be presided over by Dysfunctional Bob, who has worn out his welcome and stayed so long that he can barely conceal his eagerness to get home following command performances like Easter.

In short, Easter at Grace Church is a joke. 

If you really want to celebrate Easter, celebrate the miracle of the resurrection. Give life to the hopeless, care to the needy, friendship to the lonely. Don’t conflate the real meaning of Easter with Bob Malm’s tawdry, noisy contrived spectacle of the Great Vigil.


Thursday, April 11, 2019

BobMalm.com Surges Past 70,000 Hits

Exciting news! In the little over 16 months that this blog has been open, as of the wee hours this morning, it has garnered more than 70,000 hits. Traffic remains strong, with daily traffic continuing to climb.

As I’ve mentioned before, this blog is the smallest part of my efforts. For example, even small social media posts garner 6,000 or more hits. Big ones, like the tweet announcing the Wartburg Watch article, have been seen more than 100,000 times. Paid advertising also remains strong, and we will surge ads during Holy Week. Leafletting also continues apace, and we will have leafletted at least another 500 homes before Easter.

Check it out!




Bob Malm and Grace Church’s Failed Internal Controls



I’ve previously written about the breakdown in Grace Church’s internal financial controls during Bob Malm’s watch. These breakdowns include:
  • Overpaying one employee for many months, allegedly due to an accounting error.
  • Thousands of dollars of cash and stale checks found in the church office following the resignation of a previous church administrator.
  • Facially inaccurate financial reports.
  • Failure to provide the vestry with school financial reports as required by law and written church policy.
  • Failure to follow written church policy on the issuance of credit cards, with rector Bob Malm allegedly carrying a card in violation of church policy.
  • Failure to follow canonical requirements for a finance manual. (As the longest reigning rector at Grace Church, Bob Malm surely has had ample time to make that happen.)
In recent days, the burgeoning scandal at Harest Bible Chapel involving Rolex watches, cars, and motorcycles underscores the need for effective church governance. Yet, while it is clear that Beth Calaman has done an admirable job in cleaning up the mess that Bob created, it is not clear that the underlying problems with transparency and disclosure have been addressed. It is time that this happen.

These issues are doubly important in light of two factors:
  • The expenditures now under way for the HVAC project.
  • Reduced transparency by the church following Bob’s decision to stop publicly releasing vestry minutes. (BTW, if Bob’s goal was to keep me from seeing those, he failed miserably. I see them on a regular basis.)
Nor should folks be lulled into a false sense of security by stupid, illogical comments like Lisa Medley’s claim that “there is complete financial transparency.” If there were indeed complete transparency, then it logically follows that Lisa and other vestry members knew about the funds that disappeared into the abyss of the church administrator’s office and chose to ignore the problem.

Folks, it’s your money we’re talking about, and faithful stewardship of these resources is a sacred responsibility. Bob’s complete indifference to these issues is grave violation of your trust, and it’s time to demand accountability.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Lies from the Grace Vestry

Here’s another example of lies coming from Grace Church, this time from the vestry.

The first screen cap shows the vestry’s talking points, in which the vestry claims that I left the parish voluntarily. (Gotta love those “specific security measures,” — far better than “inchoate security measures.” And heaven knows—protesters are a HUGE risk to our national security. Who was the moron who came up with the First Amendment?)





The second is a written timeline from Dysfunctional Bob in which he states that I was removed from various church volunteer activities. That begs the issue—if I had already left “voluntarily,” why the need to “remove” me?



And here is Bob Malm’s email telling me to get lost, which tellingly includes Mike:



Apropos Bob’s denial of bullying behavior, the very fact that he’s lying about me and others entrusted to his pastoral care, and referring to me as “sick,” “twisted,” and “dysfunctional” disproves his assertion. Moreover here, for example, is a text message from Peter Barnes, after an incident of Bob’s bullying behavior at a church personnel committee meeting:




As to bullying generally, one need only look to the post from a college-aged parishioner urging me to kill myself to see just how dysfunctional and sick Grace Church really is:


It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when even the church vestry lies. If the vestry as a group can’t be counted on to tell the truth, what’s left? And saying, “Well, I don’t want to get involved,” doesn’t cut it—the vestry is responsible for the church’s temporal affairs.

Grace church, toxic church.