It started in December of 2021. I told the church pastor and many of the leaders there that I did not feel safe at Avondale United Methodist Church. That there were people there who felt they knew what was better for me that I did, than me, my family, and team of mental health professionals that were working with me to help me deal with the pressures of people who were trying to lie to me and deceive me to coerce me into to doing what they wanted against my will.
I told the church leadership that I did not believe that these people meant to do any harm. But that their misinformed and misguided efforts were dangerous to me, and that I believed that these people wouldn’t blink an eye at the thought of violating my civil rights, if they felt it was for my benefit.
Nine months of my trying to get this point across, and some of those people this past week, proved that they hadn’t listened to a single thing I said, had ignored my pleas for help.
When I finally returned to church, And sat in service, I was threatened in service by a fellow parishioner. I stood quietly and said, I have been threatened in service. Help. I don’t think this is right.
The response I have gotten, confirmed by a letter received from the church pastor, was, yes, this isn’t right, you should have sat there and taken it.
If I were to interpret the instructions I have received precisely, and try to apply them to another example, I have been told, that if someone were to stab me with a knife in the middle of the worship service, my only option would be to sit there, quietly, and wait until the service was done before calling 911.
One of the best ways to see if a policy you put forth really makes sense is to try and apply it to extreme hypotheticals. This methodology shows that the church leadership is way off course and off its rocker.
In Matthew 19 there were some disciples making the same mistake and emphasizing decorum over compassion, and Jesus made his famous line about “suffer the little children to come unto me.” Pastor Michael Dunlap has the suffer — he expects me to sit there, and suffer, and bleed if that were the case, but I am not allowed to come unto anyone and let them be as Christ to me — at least until after the end of the service. Apparently Christ isn’t expected to do much in worship, except to look pretty as a candle and leave the rest of us alone.