Continued from Part Three.

This next part is pretty painful and I had trouble remembering the order of the next series of events which was mostly psychological warfare I felt from the pulpit.

When the senior pastor came back from his long recovery from surgeries, during the preaching, it seemed he started covertly addressing me. He said: “Sometimes issues in churches get swept under the rug and later the debris comes out.” Then he made eye contact with me. He went on and I don’t remember his words but he seemed to imply indirectly that it was getting taken care of now. Apparently, he saw something, questioned it, and something was acknowledged by the assistant pastor. Afterwards, I got a more overt message from behind the pulpit that I should say nothing. Now I got another long intense (almost threatening) stare and then he changed the subject. I believe that was the time he was most gentle from the pulpit. I felt somewhat blamed like it’s partly my fault.

gaslight

I believe this was a manipulative tactic on his part so he could mentally abuse or gaslight me while dodging responsibility.

It did seem like there was some form of mild discipline that happened to the assistant pastor. Because after that I didn’t see him preach or teach anymore. He also wasn’t making announcements or leading small groups that I know of.

Now, I don’t seem to be able to recollect what triggered the next time the senior pastor seemed to address me again from the pulpit,  but my gut said it was a preemptive strike against me due to the pastor’s fear that I was going to spill it. I can only suspect after the discipline he read the email where I confronted his assistant pastor and he didn’t like feeling threatened that his long known right hand clergyman could be exposed in his own church, or he simply had an empathy imbalance for his assistant, or anger at the thought that I could divide the church or something. By the way, that senior pastor on different occasions has shown glimpses of his entitled and abusive nature. So let me backtrack a little bit and explain what was in that email in more detail.

As we know, Mathew 18:15 says:

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

I did that when I emailed him. It was my way of confronting him alone through the email.

You may also recall 1 Timothy 5:19 says:

Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

I actually also told him in that email that if it didn’t stop I had 3 semi witnesses.

Two sisters knew I was going through something but they didn’t exactly know what. The third one was the church counselor, and I felt she knew because it looked like she was especially vigilant with him, and she offered me a ride home, I assumed to keep me safe.

So when I emailed him I mentioned her name as a potential witness but, lo and behold, they happened to be friends for 40+ years and working together since the church started. (Note: She later told me this.)

In the email I wrote the names of the two other sisters. So I guess he felt threatened and spun it, throwing me under the bus. Why else couldn’t he simply just reply to me personally and say, I’m sorry, I think you misread me? And why was it necessary for him to bring the counselor into it? I believe this was a manipulative tactic on his part so he could mentally abuse or gaslight me while dodging responsibility. Later, I told that to the counselor and her face contorted for a split second like she found it humorous but then quickly hid it from me. Then she lectured me about the seriousness of accusing a pastor without witnesses.

Going back to the second time the pastor covertly addressed me “allegedly.” And I do say allegedly because I think I had PTSD. This time I was sitting next to a sweet old sister I knew. In the middle of a preaching he mentioned 1 Timothy 5:20 which reads:

Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. (which applies to elders who are sinning.) Well, what he was saying about that verse was: “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander”, if I recall accurately I believe his eyes went looking for somebody. I wasn’t sitting in my usual place. I was in the back.

He continued: “When somebody in church is sleeping around they should be disciplined from the pulpit.”  I had a gut feeling this was a preemptive strike and a threat to lie about me to my face before the congregation in order to make darn sure I wouldn’t say anything.

But again, it was only a gut feeling. I cannot make a strong case he was talking to me but when I wrote him later about it, I got no response from him. I do remember his wife telling me later that I was imagining things.

Also, later that evening was a prayer meeting at church. The pastor was there and I prayed that God would help maintain that all of us would “Study to shew {ourselves} approved unto God, workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). After the prayer meeting was over the assistant pastor had an impressed look on his face and tried to make eye contact with me but the senior pastor seemed like he was refusing to look at me at all. The next few scheduled prayer meetings didn’t take place, which was really not normal in the two years I had attended. I assume it’s because of me.

Those are all the reasons I believe that day from the pulpit he was trying to scare me. And how would I defend myself in light of that? It’s like getting hit in the stomach and taking awhile to catch your breath. Or it’s like getting hit in the head and then having to wait days to be able to think clearly again. And if I were able to regain my strength, how could I prove his lies wrong before the congregation?

Many of the sheep seem so emotionally and psychologically enmeshed to him and would blindly believe him without question. It reminds me of the phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome. I also observed general complacent, blindfolded, mouths open waiting to be spoon-fed going on there. Unlike what I had observed in the congregation I was discipled in from a brand new baby Christian where I attended for about twelve years prior, where many seemed like Bereans. It was evident they study at home and where I was spurred on to do likewise.

To be continued.

See Parts One and Two.