I became the adversary once the local newspaper printed a picture of me attending one of the steering committee meetings for the Restore FCCF group. I was notified through messenger that one of the church matriarchs would never pray with me again. The only answer I got to my email to the elders was the dates of the April meetings. Like many whose names appeared on the letter, I received emails telling me I should be ashamed of myself. How conducive to discussion and mutual understanding was their response? Was it spiritual abuse? Was it bullying? I’m just asking.

“Many have been confused by the conflict they have witnessed in recent months: the name calling, the accusations, shouting from the mouths of alleged Godly men. Months have passed where the elders have exhorted us to reach out to them, to call them, to email them, affirming that they are here to help, willing to provide answers when possible. Unfortunately, the collective summary of those who have made such attempts, including unanswered emails and voicemails, and the now all too familiar, ‘We’ll get back with you on that,’ characterizes a pattern of hurt and frustration. If dialogue is engaged, legitimate questions are treated as accusations, and the accuser becomes the adversary—an example of spiritual abuse. If one questions, disagrees, or doubts, that person becomes the enemy—an example of bullying.” (Taylor, Joy S., A View from the Pews — The Inside Story of a Broken Church, 2022, Lily of the Valley Publishing, Santa Claus IN, pp. 113-114.)

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