Eight months ago today...

I resigned my membership at Chicago Tabernacle, where I had worshipped (in many ways) God for more than three years. When I say "in many ways"--I mean more than just "lifting my hands and singing a chorus"--because worshipping God is so much more than just that.

I resigned my membership in a congregation that I dearly loved for several reasons:

1) I was betrayed by the senior leadership of the congregation--namely the Senior Pastor. Whether the betrayal was intentional or not, it was nonetheless a betrayal.

2) I was falsely accused of things that I had not done or intended to do--and the accusers were then, and are to this day anonymous to me. I still don't know their identities.

3) I was being treated as though I had "no value" unless of course I was doing some type of "busy work at the church." The only time I had "value" in the opinion of the leadership was when I was performing some type of "activity" at the church.

I'm still recovering from those three years. I loved the congregation, and loved the leadership of the congregation. I deeply and sincerely felt that God had led me there when it was still a smaller congregation--and still feel that He wanted me there.

But how much neglect and abuse does a believer have to endure before they say "enough"? I'm not a "high maintenance" member--not by a long shot, but I also know when I am being "abused by neglect."

And then, when I submitted my resignation to the Senior Pastor, I was eventually contacted (two days later) and called some very unkind names, such as "coward" "flake" "harrasser" "manipulator" just to mention a few.

None of which, if you ask those people close to me, have ever been true. Of course when the same person who calls the names claims to "not know anything about you" on more than occasion (in conversation with him) then you wonder about their integrity.

And now, eight months to the day, I've still not heard from the pastor of the church--and he's seen me at least three times since then. He's had the chance to speak to me, but hasn't done so.

So I wonder how much I "really meant" to the church after all?

I guess I've just seen how toxic the situation really was--and now I'm detoxing from it all. There's alot more that can be said, but I'm not sure that it would benefit anyone or anything.

Hopefully I've learned from this very painful experience.

May God have mercy on us all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Phil – I understand your pain and angst here as yours is an experience I have shared in differing ways.. My own betrayal left me questioning my entire experience with the church. I used a reflection on that pain as the inaugural post of my own blog.

Any thing I could say about your post would seem a mere platitude when compared with your betrayal by those in leadership.

Be Blessed,