I know at least someone among you is following this blog (there have been a number of spikes in views over the past month, it’s quite exciting!), so it makes sense to take advantage of the opportunity offered for convenient mass-communication, by presenting an open letter here on the interwebs.
This is the second version of the Open Letter: relevant material from the earlier version can be found in What would YOU do? pt.2, though pt.1 of that pair of posts is also worth reading before continuing with this letter. I also recommend to Classical members the three-part series Inhumanity in the Church.
I will try to keep this brief.
First: You have now twice booted my father from official proceedings (in December 2015, and on September 27, 2016). In doing so, you have denied him any opportunity to speak for himself, especially in his own defense against the wide-ranging allegations publicized against him. These allegations you permitted to be aired in your presence, and presented to you without challenge, after and upon which you deliberated, acted and decided, without allowing the ‘defendant’ either to hear what has been said against him, or to offer rebuttal. This is wrong. I want to know whether you agree, and if so, what you are going to do about it.
I can only assume you have done so—chosen to hear the OC’s report and not to allow my father to remain, much less to speak—because of one or more of the following:
a.) you are afraid of controversy and want proceedings to be kept as simple as possible;
b.) you are afraid of intellectual and moral challenge and want proceedings to be kept as simple as possible;
c.) you lack moral conviction and want proceedings to be kept as simple as possible;
d.) you fear a demand that someone among you be held accountable for what happened last year, and prefer to keep the witness to wrongdoing on the part of any classical official(s) excluded so you don’t have to hear him out;
e.) you don’t know what’s going on but don’t want to admit it by acknowledging that you ought to hear multiple perspectives;
f.) you don’t understand the issues at stake;
g.) you are too busy or too lazy to give this matter the attention it is due, in which case, perhaps you should think about whether it’s right that you’re in leadership.
My father has the written correspondence between himself and the OC, and to the CIC, which will disprove the insulting misrepresentations of the OC’s ‘report’. You can remedy your ignorance and supplement the perspective of the OC simply by reading these correspondences.
Secondly: Forget Christianity, forget churchianity. Forget charity. Let’s just talk professionalism. Pure and simple. To many of you, I could ask, ‘Where are your heads at? Aren’t you supposed to be the leadership or something?’ Here is how you come across: like a hybrid creature formed of the Illuminati and the American federal government. Everything is a conspiracy, and all the conspirators are incompetent.
Why can’t adult men answer emails, return phone calls, and keep the parties most dramatically affected by this process informed? Informed even of the contents of the ‘report’ to be presented to the Classis, which is about himself, before everyone else hears it? WHY is that too much to ask? Again, in the working world and in academia, in spite of bad press in some arenas, people put in charge of things actually are much more on the ball than the lot of you (not in political bureaucracies, but, well—that’s a different issue, but perhaps not totally unrelated to this situation, since, this is church GOVERNMENT). And indeed, if people disagree on an academic question, for example, all parties are invited to participate in public debate, in an attempt to persuade their peers of the validity of their respective positions, research, and conclusions.
Perhaps the denomination needs to institute a general training programme on professionalism, as well as common courtesy. Of course, again, men older than I who’ve spent their whole lives in church, and especially those who have been to seminary, should already know better, just by virtue of not having existed up until last month in a closet or under a rock.
But I’ve already said to forget Christianity, because it’s clear that Christian principles just aren’t valued here in Classis NM. We’re in some sort of other dimension (cue Twilight Zone music here) where pastors and church leaders are permitted to be secretly and openly rude to each other, to lie about each other, to evade questions, to deny people the right to know what’s said about and against them—and by whom—thereby also denying them the right of defense, that sort of thing. Sure, it’s all very nice that ST was finally allowed to see what the Classis heard about him on the 27th of September, as ‘presented’ by the OC, but admittedly it was too late for him to do anything about allegations against him 9 days after the meeting. So it was really insult added to injury.
Having set aside Christian standards, I’ve decided to just compare you to the secularists I know, who, when there’s an issue, at least make some attempt to keep people in the loop. Requesting a reply to an email or a text message is not considered an imposition, and asking the ‘big cheeses’ for non-classified, non-sensitive information, simply to ascertain whether one is going to be further misrepresented, kicked around, demoted, etc. (for example), is not characterized as an ‘abnormal’ or ‘unsettling’ request. And of course, while the secular justice system is incredibly corrupt, there’s at least in place, ostensibly, secured in the written law of Western states, especially those with the benefit of the heritage of the English Common Law and Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian tradition, the right of the accused to face his accusers.
Given the Classis’ decision to mandate that my father continue to work with this ‘Oversite [sic] Committee’ without taking the time (once again) to inform itself, and based on the fact that at least one of the OC members declared this blog to be ‘common knowledge,’ clear, and ‘self-explanatory’, I can only assume that most of you have knowingly not availed yourselves of the opportunity this blog offers. That is, you have deliberately neglected to inform yourselves. The blog itself is only one testimony to the availability of evidence and information on this matter. If people know that they do not have to remain ignorant, but choose to do so, and then act on their lack of or limited knowledge, they will be held accountable. In addition, the Classis’ decision indulged the CIC’s choice both to ignore my father’s straightforward declaration of his position, and to pass the buck—up to Classis itself.
ST has been repeatedly and deliberately put in a position of weakness, even helplessness, by this Classis—you are all communally responsible for this—which has repeatedly denied him information, access to witnesses, and opportunities to speak. He has been thoroughly, callously and purposefully disenfranchised by you people. And FOR WHAT? That is what I’d like to know. All these things (the facts of this Classis’ course of conduct) have been established—the allegations, irrefutable. All that remains is to answer that question—all this is FOR WHAT? I’m waiting. But like ST, I shouldn’t hold my breath. This could take ages.
PS. This letter, like this blog, is my work, and mine alone.
PPS. The fact of this Classis’ behaviour and attitudes, and the near-universality of certain moral dispositions, especially when considered in conjunction with the situation at A. Church, seems to defy the law of averages. How can there be—apparently—such a high percentage of people in a group of middle-class, moderately to well-educated, professing Christians to whom other human beings, other believers, even, are expendable? I know I’m far away, but from here, it just looks like nobody gives a damn.
Update: a further illustration for readers’ amusement… see comments below.