‘If anyone says “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.’ –I Jn.4:20-1
Q. 145. What are the sins forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A.145….receiving and countenancing evil reports, and stopping our ears against just defense…–Westminster Larger Catechism, emphasis mine; see full text of Q&A at Appendix iv.
It will be very easy for me to forever remember on which day my dad was handed the Article 17a. It was 5 November, Guy Fawkes’ day.
My husband remarked on how fitting it was that it happened on a day on which the quashing of a radical’s violent attempt at overthrowing lawful governance is commemorated. I knew it was coming, so did my dad—so did his other confidantes and encouragers. My heart was breaking, but I had time, so I wrote again to the CVs:
Dear 21 & 22,
I actually wrote much of the following late last week, having to get things down ‘on paper’, but given the events of the past five days, I’m glad I waited to send it. I guess the meeting tonight, Thursday the 5th, is going to focus on the means by which my dad is going to be sacked. Nearly two months ago I made an appeal to you on my dad’s behalf, and was as professional as I was able to be, focusing, for the most part, on the content of my father’s preaching and countering the criticisms of it of which I’d been made aware. This is a much more personal appeal. This letter is very long, but I pray your patience, and ask that you give me some credit—research, collection of evidence, interaction with ideas and presentation of arguments is my bread and butter. Nothing I say is said without having been first considered, as should be obvious by the fact that I waited a week to send this, and have slept on it, prayed over it, and revised it. I also ask that you read it for what it actually says; I’ve read some reactions to things recently which I’ve neither said/written, nor even implied. Like I said, most of it I wrote last week, but hopefully it’s still relevant.
I have heard what took place on last Tuesday night, 27 October (from my dad’s perspective, of course). I was in prayer for him & that meeting for hours on Tuesday, taking a 3-hour coach to and from London, and phoning him around 6pm EDT to pray with him once I’d arrived back in my home village. I was anxious about all sorts of possible outcomes, reactions to his written response to the council’s list of ‘instructions’, anger from certain quarters, further accusations of wrong-doing, etc.
I was speechless when I checked my email Wednesday morning. Of all possible contingencies which I did my best to put in the Lord’s hands, the presence of the two of you was not among them! Apparently, it sounds like it was a surprise to most everyone in the room. Amazing. I thought my dad was supposed to be the one with the communication issues—and yet, the council, or individuals on it, keep dropping the ball on that count. Like I said, amazing.
Anyway. I did come ‘home’ to A. on the 7th of October, for 9 days. Roughly $800 and 3.5k miles to try to help, and to get to the bottom of what’s going on. I guess that didn’t come up in the meeting last Tuesday. Got some hugs, some cold shoulders—one council member hugged me and insisted how much they all ‘love’ me. They ought then to stop throwing my dad under the bus. At any rate, I arranged 6 meetings with 8 different people, and heard some very interesting things—many of them contradictory. You’ll catch a glimpse of what some of those things are in the letter I’ve appended, which I sent to 12 and 11 on Monday the 26th.
Here’s my bottom line—I’ve been told (though probably not as many times as my dad has) that ‘it isn’t just 13’. Before last Tuesday, I’d always assumed the ‘others’ were people in the congregation; come Tuesday, it’s apparently ‘the whole council’. Amazing—I have to keep using that word. It doesn’t fit with the conversation I had with two of the elders two weeks ago. At any rate, the assertion that ‘it’s not just 13’ is actually totally beside the point. Some people in the congregation who have been grousing have been known quantities for years—some of them described by others in A. as ‘negative’, ‘shallow’, ‘mean’, ‘proud’, ‘closed-minded’. I don’t know if those characterizations are true for some of them—never had more than two words with them, but that’s what others have said. But, yes, they were ‘up on the board’ as critics years ago, though what their beefs were was never quite clear to my dad, because despite assertions to the contrary, they never did meet with him to address their ‘issues’. If they had, believe me, I would have heard about it.
I was living in Illinois at the time the first non-event happened—the letter to 72 (that ‘story’ has been misrepresented and mischaracterized in the aftermath; rumors and the contagion of gossip-mongering spread easily in rural churches, I gather), and my dad calling on the council to step up and do something, which those three elders have, I believe, ever after resented. My dad was alone by then (my mom was gone), and I was his fairly safe confidant, since I was long-distance; I heard about things as they played out: the letter, the reactions to it from the various parties involved, by phone and email. There was no deliberate meeting of the minds at that time to discuss any problematic aspects of my dad’s preaching. People who believe such conversations took place either have faulty memories, or claim they had them and addressed the issues to my dad ‘years ago’ to bolster their case now.
So, anyway, that takes care of at least four of the families involved in all this. 13, and the ‘new’ people on the list of the ‘opposition’, is an entirely different can of worms. These are people who have been my dad’s friends and supporters since he first came to A., and the younger couples were part of the small group since at least 2011—I went to several of the meetings before I moved to the UK, and my husband and I went whenever we were visiting in the US. When that fizzled out, thereafter came the first signs of discontent from the people with whom our family has been close.
Admittedly, things started getting strange with 13 last autumn. I have the email conversations with my dad going back to that time (ever since the Ss made their first scene last summer, I’ve had a file going labeled ‘A. Saga’—little did I imagine that their little drama would morph into this farcical tragedy). 13 was repeating certain phrases to my dad when the two of them would talk (this is, again, going back to last autumn), but my dad at the time wasn’t sure what he was getting at. Apparently 13 now holds it against him that he didn’t ‘do’ whatever it was he was telling him, as well as that he didn’t ‘catch his drift’. 12 told me at my meeting with him & 11 on 13 Oct. that 13 thought he was ‘coaching’ my dad back in the winter and spring. Okay. 13 can read my dad’s emails for himself from back then—to use a British phrase, my dad ‘didn’t know what 13 was on about’. That aside, what would give 13 the qualifications and grounds to ‘coach’ my dad anyway? It’s not like he was a seasoned pastor, and I’m sorry, but someone who calls the apostle Paul a ‘sexist’ (that was from a conversation I had with 13) isn’t really qualified to give certain kinds of advice, at least, not in my book.
I’m suspicious, now, of course—I’ve heard it from the elders and from 13’s wife that he tells them my dad won’t talk to him. Sorry to be blunt, but that simply isn’t true. It’s a lie. I told the elders at the time, and I’m telling you, I have the written run-downs of several ‘episodes’ where my dad tried to talk to 13, to clarify things, get things out in the open—my dad has a pretty good memory, and both he and I write A LOT (as you can probably tell). For all intents and purposes, these events and their details are on the record. Let 13 read what my dad wrote and refute it point by point. My dad wanted these issues discussed—he wanted to know what 13 meant, and most importantly, he wanted to know what 13 wanted in all this, and why their friendship had broken down—this is the point; not that ‘it’s not just 13’—the point is, 13 was my dad’s friend, my dad was his—my dad rode in his campaign car in a parade while he was on chemo. 76, 88 & 89, 91, 72—they weren’t friends. They didn’t surprise or disappoint. My dad was cut off by 13 with no explanation, and made to feel like a nonentity—13 wields great power at the moment, because he can talk and talk and talk, throw out accusations against my dad which are just left to float out there, with no challenge to explain or prove anything by anybody, deal out blandishments and niceties to everyone else, get angry with my dad for asking for an explanation or even JUST TO BE HEARD, while making everyone else feel important by working overtime to highlight their significance, tell them they’re doing something, complimenting them on everything from their careers to their brains to their smiles to their ink pens, praising them for ‘stepping up’, making important contributions, so on and so on (by the way, my husband is absolutely the funniest mathematician EVER. I know, 13’s told me a million times). No one will take my side in seeing his behavior for what it is if he’s so skilled at making people feel good about themselves. I address that in the letter attached: namely, the way the church self-identifies, and how it was emphasized in 54’s report. They are perfect, just ask them. And boy, does 13 like to praise that church, beyond measure—isn’t there something in 1 Cor. 3 or 4 about that? They’re super-loving, accepting, smart and mature (that’s not what everyone in the congregation thinks, by the way, and I’m not talking about me or my sister). 13, in the meantime, is the one making end-runs around my dad, telling him what to do, where to go and when, stepping into the clerk’s position by making phone calls, meeting with people ‘in secret’ (like 54—was it appropriate for 13 to have him over to his house in all this?), as it were, and trying to hurry this process to—what end? He even made sure that his was the ‘team’ meeting with the three disgruntled ex-elders and 72 on the home visits. Was that to determine whether their complaints were valid and biblical, and to support the pastor as he swore to do when he was ordained as an elder? More on that below.
The other elders have told my dad and me that 13 wants my dad gone (I suppose this sentence has an expiry date, given the meeting tonight). And why? Is my dad ever going to get a straight answer from this former friend? The man who was so welcoming to my husband, the man and his wife who had us over on our honeymoon, who had our family over for something like 6 Thanksgivings in a row? 14 and 15 played piano and organ at my wedding, for heaven’s sake. I sent him a note to that effect, reminiscing about all these shared family memories, and asking how it could have all come to this. No reply, and so when he came to shake my hand while I was visiting A., I asked him if he’d received it—he was manifestly uncomfortable, hemming and hawing and something about being busy, and ‘there’s a lot more going on than just that’. I’m sure. Apparently he was trying to talk to me that Sunday evening, but I wasn’t really up for it. I emailed him two weeks ago, asking if we could correspond, even offering to call him from here in the UK. The eagerness to clear the air prompted an immediate reply. Not—I haven’t ‘heard a peep’.
There is something really wrong with people who can throw over friends without ever even talking about it, but with 13 especially that he can treat somebody (a pastor no less) like this. Perhaps I shouldn’t even get started on what’s happening to my sister—but what the heck; I’ve got nothing to lose. 13 can calculate a cutting remark (a corrective on some FB post), wait ‘til an opportune moment to throw it at her in front of the other elders on her doorstep, and then corner her on Sunday mornings and try to get her to shake his hand. SHE HAS ASPERGERS. What kind of insensitivity is that? I thought it was a power-play, that he could make her shake hands even though he knows she’s uncomfortable and that he’s hurt her; my dad gave him the benefit of the doubt, offering simple insensitivity as an explanation. But how about this? One night, in the council room, before my dad arrives, 13 can tell the council members that my dad was ‘lying’ about 14 and 15, and then when my dad comes in, fish around for some compliment, like, ‘My dad went to U of M. Thank you for wearing that hat!’ and shake his hand. Not five minutes between the statements! WTF. IT’S SICK! And that handshaking and ‘enthusiasm’ comes after that series of half-conversations where my dad attempts to iron things out, work things out, get some clarity, and he’s simply told, ‘I’m not going to discuss it.’ That’s what you might call controlling. That’s a way to keep power, because it’s a way to keep knowledge, a way to cut off exchange or short-circuit someone’s defense. I use that word again—amazing.
So. Communication. Openness. Compassion. Acceptance. Apparently with everyone except the pastor. He doesn’t get his day in court. He expresses concern about the overall spiritual health of the church, and it’s called a diatribe by the person who’s such ‘good listener’ and is ‘just trying to help’. Interesting that some people think he’s a good listener, while others in the same church say things like, ‘We know 13 likes to talk’ and ‘He doesn’t listen real well’. That’s a real difference of opinion. And of course there’s his reputation outside A.. Back in the day I refused to hear a word said against him, always assumed it was ne’er-do-wells on the wrong side of the law. Of course they wouldn’t have a good experience of him. Now… one young woman, not in any church, looks askance at him because of his, shall we say, apple-polishing? That wasn’t her term. Now, reputations can be ill-deserved. I ask—does my dad get the benefit of the doubt? Is anyone going to ensure he gets a chance to answer accusations leveled against him, and most disgusting, anonymously or through a conduit? It’s not biblical—even the world operates more justly. People in court are allowed to face their accuser, to help inform their defense (amazing, they even get a chance to defend themselves), and also to cross-examine. What has my dad got? 54 back in the day talked to the council about the importance of accepting one another, hearing one another out—my dad finally gets up the courage to speak his mind, and our hero calls it a ‘diatribe’. And… someone else in the room apparently wanted to know if ‘there had to be a discussion’ when my dad wanted to go through his response to the instructions. Thanks a lot, gang. And all the time people are crying out for ‘Christ’s compassion’ to be preached. I’m really feeling Christ’s righteous indignation at hypocrisy.
Then there’s the instructions themselves. I was in a pew the Sunday morning that the elders (all three, why?) came up and 11 read their announcement about what was going on (this sentence is also apparently out of date; I’m referring to the 11 October announcement). I was crying through most of it, but able to listen—there were so many passive voice verbs in that thing it was impossible to know who was doing what, except at the end, where the only clear thing was that some ‘suggestions’ had been given to the pastor—so, he’s supposed to fix it, or, he’s done something wrong? Impossible to tell! More than one person was left a bit, shall we say, confused? It was a gaffe and half—poorly executed, nothing explained, just a worrying ‘There’s issues!’ thrown out there, and then people can go home and speculate and wonder. As for the instructions, they were written up in the hour before they were read to my dad in a meeting a few weeks ago. I’m not inspired with confidence—even the ‘authors’ don’t know what half of them mean, I’ll wager. And who gets the delightful task of telling my sister to ‘step down’ or whatever? (This is also now out of date, since I guess tonight’s meeting will render her membership and involvement nil?) If anyone makes my dad do that, he has a spine of wet spaghetti. They’re demanding it, one of them should have to do it and explain why. I think it’s gutless—no one’s even asked what Jesus thinks about a council doing this heavy-handed thing to one of his handicapped children with no justification. What is this, sheep-beating on demand? You can tell I’m pretty disgusted. If my mother hadn’t fallen off the spiritual bandwagon, and were a part of A., she would not be standing for her kid being treated like this. My dad has to put up with it to some extent because, well, because he has to apparently put up with all these ungodly whims if he wants to keep his job. (Now also out of date!)
Jobs. What is an elder’s job? Don’t they have to take an oath or something? I’ve been told that 13 thinks he was doing his job and ‘helping’ by giving my dad the handwritten dogma back in July, pushing it into his hand and saying,’ Just read it, I don’t want to argue about it.’ Um…what gives him the authority to do that? I assume the ‘I don’t want to argue’ means—you should just do it. No matter whether there are grounds for what is said, or that it isn’t clear how the person is supposed to go about doing them. Has anyone put himself into the pastor’s shoes, for one moment, to consider what it would feel like to get something like that from a person you trust? Who’s apparently been acting as the HR department, and instead of sticking up for you, has been collecting complaints and loading them up into a cannon to fire at you? And then—the content—‘spend less time on the internet,’ for example. In the real world, i.e., business world, people would know that, as long as the person’s Christian blog-reading or sermon-streaming doesn’t affect the quality of his work, it’d be nobody else’s business. I’m asking you, as fellow pastors, what the *^&% was that about? And my dad was just supposed to ‘do it’, with no discussion? WHAT?!?! That is crazy. And come to find out, while I was doing my own visiting, 13 apparently thought my dad should have thanked him for that note—for having the courage to undermine him to his face, or something. WHAT COLOR IS THE SKY IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN? I thought it was blue, but I could be the deluded one.
After my meeting with 12 & 11, I was under the impression that they’re actually quite sympathetic to my dad, but are overwhelmed by the council experience and by the pressure to keep numbers—‘something has to be done’, regardless of whether they believe my dad has done anything wrong. (Something must have happened in the past few weeks!) And regardless of whether it’s true that his preaching is imbalanced or whether he’s actually controlling. Even if they disagree with the grumbling contingent, they feel they have to ‘do something’. For its own sake. And fast. Maybe it’s because if I put something in a paper that is hopelessly vague, or doesn’t make sense, I am very bluntly asked to explain and defend it, or else retract it. 12 & 11 asked me what I thought they should do, if they were able. All I could ask for was, ‘Slow this down. Hurrying, being in a rush is what leads to mistakes. It’s what gets people hurt.’ If people ‘just want to help’, I have to ask this: help with what? What if you really need an amputation, but the doctor, well-meaning as he is, just wants you to feel better NOW, and gives you some antiseptic cream and a Band-Aid? It’s a complete waste of time and resources to just ‘do something’ for the sake of looking like you’re doing something, and urgently, for the sake of looking like you care. Doing the right thing the right way takes time. Most importantly, it takes time to seek the Lord. In one of the Embers to Flames lectures on spiritual warfare, the speaker mentioned one of the signs that you might be dealing with demonic opposition: there’s insistence that a decision be made in a hurry. Why is A.’s council in such a hurry? And again, to do what? What is the matter? And what’s the cause?
I have another question—it was my first one when I read my dad’s email Wednesday morning. ‘Can they do that?’ Can a council ‘suspend’ a pastor outside of disciplinary action? What did he do, exactly? My husband pointed out that when such things happen, it’s because of some gross sin. Note what the ‘official’ reason was—there’s been a ‘relationship breakdown’. It’d be laughable if it weren’t really happening. It’s interesting that it took over an hour for them to come to that decision, by the way. I’m beginning to wonder if some people found their voices, and it took that long for them to be brow-beaten into submission, to agree to scapegoat my dad when they believe he doesn’t deserve it. AMAZING. Just like grace, except not.
My denominational membership papers are still at that church. I’ve been considering asking for them to be destroyed, as I’m a bit soured on the whole denomination. I know it’s not fair to think that way—I’ve been in some truly Spirit-filled, God-centred denominational churches—I’m just emoting. But what passes for Christianity in that area boggles the brain. I take what happened to LB as my first example, and people’s outspoken opposition to likely perfectly sound and relevant sermons on the dangers and ubiquity of sexual sin (at the late McB– and at L—). Gotta wonder—do people chafe at the mention of porn in sermons because it ‘just isn’t done’, or because there’s something they don’t want to let go of? One older woman, again not in church, in that area believes it was definitely the latter. It’s beautiful country, with, I’m sure, many sincere Christians who have and want a meaningful walk with the Lord. But there are also plenty of people who think they’re fine, and to whom the Word of God actually doesn’t mean much, and to whom the challenge to grow is perceived as a threat. And almost all people up there act like the Devil is dead.
That’s how what happened with the Ss can be so easily forgotten, and my dad’s convictions about the consequences of that episode dismissed as a diatribe and left in the council room when those men walk out that door and go home. But the change in the friends and supporters, especially the small group members, can be traced back to that time. Something shifted. Do people really want to know the truth? Do they really want an answer from God? Do they really care about doing what He wants them to, to get His blessing back? For many of them, no—they don’t want to have to face reality, which is that they’re not the kind of church they think they are. Their biggest fear is shutting like McB–, when it really should be whether they’re a zombie church. I know these people, have been befriended by them, I was in this church and love them—ditching my dad is not going to ensure their survival. Even if it did, just having the doors open and a quota does not a healthy church make. Just look at Joel Osteen’s church—numbers are no promise of whether the Gospel is preached and the Holy Spirit is present. A church that exists to feed people’s self-esteem and give them a go-pill for the rest of the week is not a church. What is the point of ruining a man’s life just to cater to people who think they’re smarter than God when it comes to the absolute basics of morality? Or believe the world’s tired, threadbare argument that the Bible has mistakes in it? Or who want an edited version of Jesus who will wink at sin? Or who excuse a man acting like a raging Rottweiler because he’s not attacking them at the moment and will get them what they want? I feel like I’m going crazy.
So, to go back to my very first point. No, it’s not just 13. But it is very much about him and his actions. As things have gotten this far, and can’t get much worse (I am not naïve on this), I’m compiling all my written correspondences and blogposts from the time of the 72 letter up ‘til now, and I’m going to put it all in a monster document. That way, anyone who doubts the way all of this has unfolded can simply read for him- or herself. It may have started out with good intentions, or whatever, but since before July, 13 has been working very hard to ‘set my dad straight’, ‘put him in his place’, and after that didn’t seem to be working, he’s now been working to get rid of him. Christian? Worthy of an elder? Consistent with the emphasis on ‘compassion’, which my dad supposedly doesn’t preach? And it hasn’t just been what’s happening face-to-face—encouraging this characterization of my dad as controlling is completely dishonest (actually, for my money, it’s the pot calling the kettle black—who’s been behind all this? And if people only knew over the years what my dad personally objected to or preferred, but kept his mouth shut and let things slide! It’s a total snowjob!). And it’s out-of-line for others in that council room to stand for it without allowing my dad to address it. It is WRONG. At least now that we’ve come to this point, we can cast off the platitudes and excuses about people needing more grace or compassion in sermons. For some, the whole time, it’s been about his unfluffy representation of God’s word as it is, and about not having to hear it anymore by getting rid of him. My dad hasn’t even been given a chance to respond to any of this (although he did get a few chapters into Philippians—odd how that isn’t even acknowledged; or is it proof he can and does want to interact with these things, and someone doesn’t want him to be able to prove it?) . We can all be frank now that people are acting like extortionists. Some of the council members themselves admit the complaints are groundless, but they HAVE TO DO SOMETHING, or else these people are going to leave. We’re ready to get rid of a perfectly good leg in order to keep leprous fingers.
You may have believed your role as church visitors was to ‘do nothing’ (that isn’t what the elders said in their announcement to the congregation on 11 October, by the way), just make sure they all talk (apparently that doesn’t include my dad? he’s not even allowed to speak for himself—something was said at that meeting by one of the visitors which he considers a breach of confidence). But you came to the council meeting at 13’s request—his was the initiative that brought you there. No one else was consulted or informed—you don’t find that strange? It was inappropriate for him to spring that on everybody, and I don’t think he even cared. What happens in that council room is his show—ask what happened when he actually had the wrong story on whether you two were coming to the other meeting (I forget the date—it was the day of a Classis meeting), or whether my dad was supposed to be there. He contradicted my dad, and used the most pretentious wording he could find to tell him to get lost—I know it in my mind and in my gut: he wanted to both boss him around and to humiliate him. And when he found out later my dad was right, was there any apology? Not on your life.
But as for last Tuesday, why did he want you there, and omit to prepare everyone else for your involvement? Frankly, it served his purposes for you to be there, and he chose to keep that close to the vest. I don’t know what other communication you’ve had with 13, but I urge you to take 100% of everything he’s ever ‘told’ you with a grain of salt. Again, like I said, it served 13’s purpose for you to be there that night—why do you think he wanted you there? I would strongly urge you to talk to the other elders about this business. (Guess it’s too late for that appeal—you already met Monday and yesterday). Beyond anything else, what happened last Tuesday was, overall, a joke and a charade. What difference did it make, giving the man three weeks to think about the ‘instructions’? Nobody gave a &%#* what he thought (even whether it was originally presented as a package!), what his concerns were. Why bother saying anything, opening things up for discussion, offering to talk? Nobody listens anyway. Well, maybe somebody did, but that person’s resolve did eventually break after an hour. The injustice of all this is staggering. No one can see that 13 (and yes, we know it’s not just 13) is running this circus? And all the details change when it suits him—it wasn’t originally presented as a whole, but that was 13’s thought, so naturally, when he goes person to person to get individual affirmation, who’s going to disagree, seeing what happens to my dad when he disagrees with 13? And so everything he says goes, even if it’s impossible to keep up with the lack of clarity or moving of the goalposts—it’s always what suits 13 at the time. And you’d better back him, or he’ll call you a name or get angry and accuse you of something that he’s pulled out of another galaxy, and you’ll be so blindsided that you can only sit there agape while everyone moves on to something else.
I’d really like my life back. A. and what some people in it have done to my dad (even the decisions of the council, of which my dad is a part, are now made with no regard to him at all, decisions which had been phrased as being the council’s and the pastor’s; things are done to him rather than with him), to his sense of security, to his sense of belonging, to his spiritual and physical health, has me climbing the walls. I know what goes on in his room in that lonely parsonage. And the people who insist they want to help, from several different quarters, simply don’t listen, aren’t open to questioning their biases and presuppositions, and are content to make him pay for other people’s spiritual shortcomings. And they’re content to throw my sister under the bus too.
This is page 7. The biblical number of completion. I will say just one more thing, and try not to make it snide. Have you ever heard of an Absalom spirit? A. is being had by one. This march to ‘do something’, without asking God what to do or especially why, can only play into Satan’s hands. He loves division, he loves accusing the brethren, he loves Christians falling into sin, he loves them idolizing ideas of themselves and putting worldly thinking before Scripture, and loves them talking amongst themselves and panicking, doing things in a rush to ‘save’ their churches, with no thought to pleasing God or seeking Him in prayer.
I am pleading with you to rethink your interpretation of this sad string of events. How can it be that in such a short time, after the visits and what came of them (who even knows whether those were the right questions to ask in the first place, but that’s a different story), when so few people at the time had anything remotely serious enough to merit this course of action, now it’s in the whole church’s best interests to, in just a number of weeks (who saw this coming in September? Not I!), to throw him out? How could it have come to this so quickly?
I waited 4 days, and after hearing nothing from them (not even acknowledgement of receipt!), I wrote to the CVs to see if they got this letter, and asked whether they would be willing to talk to me over the phone or Skype. 22 said that as a CV he was ‘not at liberty’ to discuss anything with me. 21 bought time by saying he would get back to me. We never did end up arranging a phone call, because I replied to 22’s email, which 22 then forwarded to 21, who wrote to me. See Exhibit S. for these exchanges, the only (indirect?) response(s) I got to the above letter–but not really, you see, because neither of them interacted with anything I said. So it could be that I was dreaming when I thought they had actually read it. At any rate, this wasn’t the only non-PT plea to the CVs to slow down and have a think about this, as 42 also wrote to them multiple times; its counterparts were also fruitless. I don’t feel I wasted my time, though, because the responses one gets to such communications shows what the correspondents are made of.