The second round of my virtual book tour occurred during the first weekend in May. It was a challenging weekend. I found myself debating with atheists while responding to comments about spiritual abuse at five different blog stops. It all started when I began promoting my blog stops by posting on Tweeter:
Problems with church started when I said I was uncomfortable with having a gay minister. Unitarian Universalists weren’t tolerant.
The problems followed me as clergy talked about me and allowed others to gossip. In the end the Lutherans didn’t want me either.
I have finally found a safe place among traditional Christians who walk the talk. Learn more at …
It is then that Taigitsune, a systems administrator for the Unitarian Universalist Association, asked, “In what way did you question it?”
I hesitated. What did he mean “in what way”? Was he asking if I was polite and respectful or was he asking what my specific doubts were about having a gay minister? Why did it matter? I replied by directing him to the day’s blog stop.
He replied he didn’t see any mention of Unitarian Universalists there and Unitarian Universalists weren’t mainline Christian. Some UUs are Christian others are not, I replied. In New England they are certainly mainstream. I was a UU for ten years. Taigitsune then wrote, that one of Unitarian Universalist’s seven principles is the inherent worth and dignity of each person including gay ministers. So who, he asked, was really intolerant?
The Unitarian Universalists I answered without hesitation. Tolerance is the practice of allowing or respecting the beliefs of others. In 1993 when I expressed discomfort but indicated I was willing to discuss the issue, my fellow congregants responded by refusing to talk directly to me. Instead they gossiped.
Taigitsune expressed the common UU conceit that they are more tolerant than other churches insisting they don’t place doctrinal demands on their members. But they do. There is an expectation members are political and social liberals with an interest in other religions except Christianity. Tagitsune also wrote that the scapegoating was merely my perception of things. Not so I thought. I was expelled. Told never to return. “No,” I replied, “Scapegoating is a set of behaviors. It is how people avoid taking responsibility for their cruel behavior.”
On the second day of the blog tour Shtole, one of Taigitsune’s followers, joined the conversation by retweeting Taigitsune’s, “If you think you’re right, you’re probably not.” I replied to both of them, “Then you must be wrong since you are so sure I am wrong and you are right.” Taigitsune withdrew and soon it was five against one. I am proud to say I held my own. I didn’t flinch. While not all of my arguments were strong and articulate I did not let them bully me. I demonstrated to other survivors how to stand up for oneself. During this exchange the number of my followers jumped confirming the more I am myself, the more people follow.
During this hot debate I was simultaneously discussing on We Survived Abuse recovery from spiritual abuse. On John’s Grace Walk we talked about why I didn’t leave the abusive churches sooner. On Sunday I stopped by T Michael Cart’s Truth in Ministry where people responded to my Letter to Spiritual Abuse Survivors. We talked about making church a refuge or safe place for all. On Monday at Under Much Grace we talked about patriarchal structures and patriocentricity where the family patriarch is central to family life and family members. We also discussed restriction of emotional display and speaking up for oneself.
Thank you to all the lovely people who have supported me by hosting a blog stop. Together we will plant the seeds needed to reform our churches making them better places for everyone.