This email was sent to a paid staff member and “Associate Pastor” in 2008, and copied to most of the other staff members by an individual who had served in ministry and then left the church three years earlier. There’s a fair amount of context in the emails that preceded this which you can read about in the full comment this individual made here. But the email addressing the larger issues is included below:
I don’t think that your wife’s cancer is an occasion to attempt a semi-eloquent, but ultimately predictable, put down about forms of cancer that are worse than the physical kind. You should respect her more than that. I also know you better than to believe your patronizing pontificating. It is inappropriate since you are partly responsible for the “cancers” that you are condemning.
I tried to be reasonable with your first email, figuring that since my brother complained you’d put the pieces together and not bother people who have already been bothered enough by your church. But how many more people will fall into your grasp so that when they stop serving
the church’s purpose, they can be kicked out? Do the new generation of people at the church even know about me and [15 other people… names redacted], and how many others who have entered the church and have either turned away or been turned away because they didn’t fit your mold? How many more cancers are you putting into people with each Dickens, or with each service on Warriner Mall, or with each acoustic brew?
Everytime I think of you guys and what you do, I start to shake. It begins deep in my stomach and it comes out to my whole body until I can’t concentrate and I can’t see straight. I lose my appetite. I feel like vomiting. It’s not fear of you, and it’s not even anger
towards you. It’s disbelief that a group of people could be so set in their ways, and so sure of themselves and the “god” the profess that they will sacrifice the spiritual lives of countless, sincere followers who won’t do what they say. It’s worry about who else is going to be sucked in and sucked dry to prove themselves to their “spiritual leaders.”
I’m afraid, Scott. I’m afraid for you and for your other staff members. I’m afraid for the freshmen students who get involved with your ministries; who honestly want to help people; who think they have “eternal” friends that care; and who will be spiritually and emotionally abused by the Grace Church; who will give up their money because you can convince them it is God’s plan for their pocketbooks, because you’re so sure you need to buy the embers, or the red house, or start a new church somewhere else; who will give up their time, neglect their studies, neglect their non-church friends, neglect their families, because YOU told them to, because YOU told them that it was not what God wanted for them.
And they will believe you. And they will pay for it if they have sense in their heads to realize for themselves how they are being manipulated. And they will be left wondering where God is when all of their holy friends have left them because they weren’t holy enough. And no one will hear their stories. They will be threatened to be blacklisted from churches in Mt. Pleasant. I know that happens because I’ve had friends who have been threatened by your leaders. Staffers will believe their co-worker’s stories instead of trying to hear the truth from the person who is out of the church. I know that that happens because it happened to me. I heard from a friend of one of your staff members, a friend who actually cares about me, that that particular staffer asked about me specifically in a staff meeting. He was given a rote answer from other leaders who had never talked to me about what had happened. He believed it from them, instead of hearing my side and thinking for himself. Even when I was kicked out of the church, one of the “leaders” who was there asking me to leave had never talked to me about anything related to what was going on.
It’s manipulation, Scott. It’s dishonesty. It’s greed and pride and lies. That’s is not where honesty, charity, and truth lie. That is not how we should be living our lives.
And I’ll let you have the last word when you respond to this. Any more squabbling and trying to put each other down is a waste of both of our times.
I’ve sent this to other members of your staff so that this isn’t something that goes by like a whisper. Together, you can make it one, but at least it will be heard.