“Year Ago Retrospect (Part 2) – Church Nonsense” – The Rabyd Skald – The Grey and The Wayfarer – Part 17

Happy Moon’s Day

Warning: To my family and friends, this one is going to be as truthful as the old Rabyd Microphone so be advised.  Mostly I feel the need to write this series for therapeutic reasons.  This also a long post so be prepared to give it some time. 

This is part two of a Year Ago Retrospect. These are going to take the place of my normal journal posts this week in a mini-series:

Click Here for Part 1 

In Part 2 of “Year Ago Retrospect,” I am going o deal with my other break up – with my faith and my last church.  The major trouble with the church started the moment I let certain people know I was having an affair with Miss Salty,  Most notably The Dirty Pig.  But I need to do a little background on my relationship with him first so you know why his betrayal was so painful. It is this relationship that is central to the Church Nonsense so bear with me.

When I first came to my last church, the two of us hit it off.  He made the observation that I was going to be myself and that people would just have to deal with that and from then on I considered him a friend.  A lot of people think they know this guy so when I talk about this stuff, they think I am lying about his character and actions.  You need to understand that I knew him a lot longer than any of them.  We were friends, we did the same small group together for over nine years, I did him a lot of favors over the years and while I never asked him for anything he would on occasion give me something or help me out. I know the Dirty Pig from long experience and only after he betrayed me and I looked back did I see the painful truth that I suspected, but could never prove and didn’t want to believe was true.

Our friendship was good; not best friends but solid and he was a part of my circle. Note that for me, an INFJ personality type to say that is significant.  But also I knew the emotions of the man as an empath and sometimes what he felt was troubling.  It was contradictory to what I felt he should be feeling at times.  Amusement when something was pretty tragic. Over time I would say it was like a cat looking at mice as far as his emotions. Given that he had been a cop all most of his career, somewhat understandable although a little uncomfortable. There was always this element of ‘my viewpoint on life is superior and people better respect that’ with him.  He also was highly competitive and I never saw him happy when he came in second in anything.

We got along fine for a long while but our friendship got strained more and more as time went by. I am very accepting of people’s flaws and other viewpoints and he is not. The first real issue I noticed there was a problem here was when I was trying to get a modern worship team started. It was going OK, but he would make comments like ‘that hippie music’ and such.  He said he didn’t mean much by it, but it had a negative effect. I went away for vacation and when I came back he basically tells me that the worship team is no more.  Funny, as the pastor I was constitutionally in charge of ministry – the spiritual head of the church.

I had dealt with powerful influencers in the church before.  If thy are for the most part benevolent then the best course of action is to make them allies if possible. The problem with the Dirty Pig is I would classify him as a traditional obstructionist. That is the preferred a very traditional view of what a church service and function were. If he didn’t like something along these lines, he would pretty much not support it or even actively block it.

His basic tactic was to control the agenda of the church by using his position as the moderator to channel what was talked about and what was not.  I am now firmly convinced in that church, in particular, the moderator is the most powerful position because of this and should have term limits because of it. He also added the fact he maintained a good relationship with enough people to vote both on the council and in the congregation to get what decision he wanted. If the church grew or added people who did not share his view, something would be said by him that would cause them to either backdown or stop attending.  The church could never really grow too big because that gets harder to control and the people in it were his supporters with only a few people that were detractors.

One thing that really bothered me about his attitude, but I could never do much about, is his belief that by being cop he could also be a good pastor.  I would probably tell him now there is no direct correlation and he has no fucking clue what he is doing when it comes to building a church and ministry.  But it is all irrelevant to me now.

In the summer of 2016, I took a sabbatical of one month. I had two issues at the time 1) my faith was starting to crumble, and 2) the church was not going to be able to support me long term unless changes were made and there was no way effective change was going to be made as long as the Dirty Pig kept interfering in everything new I proposed that he didn’t like.  When I got back I wrote a letter to the church board outlining my problems and what needed to be done. A good chunk of it was directed at the Dirty Pig and his church political control, and he knew it.

There were only two responses: 1) One guy who understood I was right said so privately but also didn’t want to fight any more about it.  He stayed on the council long enough to got something for his departed wife done as a memorial and left the church.  2) A second guy who was not on the council challenged the business dealings of the church and was basically silenced through the Dirty Pig’s moderator power. Everyone else stayed in line and stayed quiet.

After that, I basically said to myself:  “This church is going nowhere as long as the Dirty Pig runs it.”  I am just going to come, preach and help people where I can.  I had a couple years of education to do and then I was out. I could do the job and then walk.

Then, of course, Miss Salty came along and kind of upset all that. One day in April of 2018, at a prayer meeting, she bounces in and announces that the Dirty Pig is no longer her favorite person, but I am.  I could see his face.  That “I don’t like to finish in second’ look all over it. I am not saying there was anything romantic in his intentions toward Miss Salty, but like all people who came into his life with problems he always wanted to be the one that ‘fixed’ them, so he could pat himself on the back. The sides were set at that point.

The following events are as best I can reconstruct them in order and true as I know:

  1. Miss Salty and I announced our affair to her aunt and my wife on Sunday evening.  Monday, the Dirty Pig got the news from the aunt and I headed over to his place of business to talk.
  2. I had written my resignation and gave it to him.  He argued four things: 1) That I shouldn’t resign, 2) That I was going to ruin my pastor career, 3) That I was going to not have a future career in anything else. and 4) That I needed to dump is Salty because she was ‘a deranged little girl’ that is never going to amount to much and be an embarrassment to me. My responses: 1) No, I am going to resign. Inside my head, I knew he would use this against me to control me. 2) Didn’t give a shit anymore.  3) Maybe.  But as my one friend would say later, people don’t really care why a pastor leaves the ministry when they switch to something else.  He is right. 4) That’s an interesting opinion of a woman who has a very high opinion of you Mr. Dirty Pig.  I told him I didn’t know where this relationship was going but I knew I loved her and wanted it to be mutual.
  3. One might argue that at this point I should have known the Dirty Pig was dirty, but he told me he would do as I asked and read my resignation and would handle things as my friend. Given all I had done for him over the years pretty much because he was my friend, I was grateful. I trusted him to do the right thing in this regard because of our friendship, and it is what I would have done for him.  I had not seen him be dishonorable in that regard and that was my downfall with him.
  4. On Tuesday, Miss Salty and I broke up the first time.
  5. Wednesday, The Dirty Pig calls me up and asks me to revise my resignation to not have the confession line.  His reasons: not wanting to start gossip in the church and not wanting to drag Miss Salty into this.  I felt the reasons were sound and because I was planning to tell the story myself the next Sunday after, I agreed and told him I would get it to him in the next couple days.
  6. On Friday, I handed him the revised resignation, no confession line in it.
  7. From a conversation I had later in July with Miss Salty, I was made aware that it was also Friday and about the same time that he called her asking her permission to tell the story.
  8. Sunday The Dirty Pig reads my resignation and then tells the story.  This information got back to me as well as the information that the congregation had been whipped into a lynch mob for all practical purposes. I knew then I could not go back and talk to them now as from their perception I was hiding something, which was never my intention.  The Dirty Pig absolute dragged Miss Salty into it and used her, and had every intention of starting gossip in the church to use for his own purposes.
  9. I was also told there was a plan in place to vote for my resignation or to fire me.  They already even had the ballots from one report I got.  That speaks to a lot of intentional planning for a certain result long before the announcement was even made.  Hmmm.
  10. Second Monday, I texted the Dirty Pig as to what was going on?  He never responded and still never has said one thing to me since.
  11. Miss Salty and I began our second dating cycle on Tuesday, In retrospect, my need for someone to talk to given the whole weight of this made me open once again for this relationship.  I was hurting and she was there.

I was fired and then denied any kind fo severance.  They even made it retroactive to May 27th, 2018.  I could probably just walk away from it if it had been fairly treated but I wasn’t.  The deck was stacked against me and I didn’t know it until it was too late.  A person I love was used against me and a congregation I loved turned against me by the Dirty Pig.

Later on August 2nd, as a related in part 1, all this came to the attention of Miss Salty who couldn’t believe The Dirty pig would do that to her..probably.  Through my sources, I learned she called him up when she read my post on August 2nd about this and asked him to refute it.  He wouldn’t talk to her or give her an answer. I guess that was right after she hung up on me for the last time.  After that, she gets high and drunk all the way to the end of the 3rd probably. She found out the hard way what I knew from early June –  I was no longer relevant to the Dirty Pig and now she knew neither was she.

The fact is I now know one thing about him.  If you are no longer of use or you are going to tarnish his precious reputation, he has no problem discarding you. His view of friendship is purely utilitarian.  I would have given him love enough to squash all the rumors and I certainly would have at least have given him time to think about things.  I would have also made sure both sides were represented fairly.  I would take heat for him as a friend too.

There was a ton of rumors at the time and 95% of them were nonsense. Some of them affect my reuniting with my wife so I will deal with them in part three. But I want to set the record straight about my relationship with Miss Salty from May 21st, 2018, to the time of my resignation.

  1. We never had any physical contact beyond holding hands once, hugs and a kiss on the forehead from me to her. There was no sex or sexual conduct.
  2. Our relationship was a lot of ‘I love you’s’ and genuine concern for each other’s happiness and welfare. At least for me, I can’t speak for her.
  3. There were no other women, girls or whatever.  Just Miss Salty.
  4. Miss Salty was a legal and functional adult at the time of this, the entire time. No crime was committed.

The other things that burn me:

  1. That I was never informed at any time of what was happening by any official channel of the church.  I was also fired without once being asked if I could come and defend myself in any way. If it hadn’t been for a few friends, I wouldn’t have known shit.
  2. I currently make more money where I am now and have more benefits than the entire almost decade I served that church.  It seems one mistake costs you a lot of years where I was there for people, held their hands in tragedy and backed and encouraged them. Severance isn’t just about the money.
  3. Very few from the church have come to me to talk to me about this.
  4. They actually sent Miss Salty a voting ballot about my fate. I love the dual accountability. Hammer for me; free pass for her. After all the time they said I was being too soft on her and not treating her like an adult, what they do? Treat her like a child, and actually make her decide something about someone she loved. I applaud her for throwing the thing in the trash.
  5. Because I was fired, I can’t even list anyone from the church a reference because primarily I don’t trust any of them.  But it would be impractical and counterproductive too.
  6. I preached for nine and a half years on grace and forgiveness.  I gave people a lot of grace and we as a church even forgave a couple that actually stole from the church and welcomed them back in. Me – throw me to the wolves.

Some of the rest of the church nonsense comes into play in my marriage discussion, so I will leave it until then.

One last thing, some argue this is the reason for my leaving the faith. Not true, it is more the final crash from a falling faith that started falling back in 2015-2016. My objections to Christianity are theological and philosophical and I will be rewriting them soon in Odin’s Eye for the next month or so.  All this really does is make me thankful I left the world of church politics and hypocritical Christianity behind.  I haven’t been in a church for a service since May 27th, 2018 and I feel so much better for it.  The only justification for a pagan for being hypocritical is making it right or conflict through fire and steel for honor sake.  I will have a message for my church and the Dirty Pig in my last post in this series on Frigg and Freya’s Day.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

3 thoughts on ““Year Ago Retrospect (Part 2) – Church Nonsense” – The Rabyd Skald – The Grey and The Wayfarer – Part 17

  1. Hey there Ed,
    I also fell out of Christianity. Much of it was to do with philisophical teachings and maybe even christian literalism. So I totally understand.

    I recommend the podcast 3 pagans and a Cat. They’re on their own website & Spotify. They talk about some really important topics, and I remember in the first few episodes they talk about how they left Christianity. Thought that might be helpful.
    Millennial Pagan Podcast is also on Spotify.

    For you personally, getting all this out of your system is good. I encourage you to keep going.

    Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: “Year Ago Retrospect (Part 3) – My Marriage – The Rabyd Skald – The Grey and The Wayfarer – Part 18 | The Grey Wayfarer

  3. Pingback: “Year Ago Retrospect (Part 4) – Closure in Walking On” – The Rabyd Skald – The Grey and The Wayfarer – Part 19 | The Grey Wayfarer

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