Showing posts with label conflict resolution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label conflict resolution. Show all posts

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Report from Dysfunctional Bob’s Final Day as Rector

Before we go further, two important reminders for parishioners and staff at Grace Episcopal, aka St. Dysfunction:
  1. When I am protesting, I am filming from at least two vantage points. That means that several of you are now part of internet history, and you and your vehicle, including your license plates, are now publicly posted as you fire off those one-gun salutes to Jesus. You’re also likely to feature prominently in the second release of my video, named Begin with Grace after the school recruiting video, which provides prospective members a first-hand look into parish dynamics. So, it was with great pleasure that I filmed Lisa Medley and five other people today — keep up the good work! They’ll know you are Christians by your love! (Viewers report they especially like the juxtaposition of my sign and parishioners firing off the one-gun salute. Something about really speaking to the church’s compassion.)


  2. Pursuant to Va. Code § 18.2-60.3, I have previously notified the church in writing that I do not want any further contact from members, staff, or diocesan officials. Under that statute, those of you who feel compelled to contact me anyway may face criminal charges for stalking. And if you don’t think I’m enough of a jerk to file charges, try me. 
On that happy note, I protested outside Grace today. It was a great day, and got a chance to talk with multiple neighbors of the church. Also present was the police unit I had requested in light of Bob Malm’s previous episode, in which he drove up to me, climbed out of his vehicle, and began screaming and threatening me. Needless to say, between that and Bob’s questionable connection with reality, including his false claim that he was repeatedly contacted by my mom or someone claiming to be her, I think there is a strong possibility that Bob may be both dangerous and mentally ill.

The unit sat across Russell Road from me and convinced one profoundly foolish parishioner that picking a fight was not a great idea. Leaving aside the obvious issues, coming up to me and yelling, or flipping me off, tends to undercut Dysfunctional Bob and Sugarland Chiow’s claim that people are frightened of me; few approach someone they believe to be dangerous and flip them off.

Speaking of, it is beyond stupid to flip people off while driving. If nothing else, more than one road rage incident has been caused by the ol’ one-gun salute to Jesus, and any police officer worth her or his salt would advise you not to do it. Get a clue, kids. Don’t try this at home.



On a more macro level, the conduct from parishioners that I documented today underscores one of Dysfunctional Bob’s great failings as rector. Specifically, he not only failed to teach effective conflict resolution, but through his example (and that of Sugarland Chiow) he taught parishioners that any sort of conduct is okay if you think it will help you get the upper hand. Lying, committing perjury, trying to drag the dying into court — from Malm’s perspective, it’s all good.

Looking forward, I have several observations:
  • The more Grace parishioners revert to type with the ad hominem attacks, the middle finger, etc., the more they prove my point, which is that Grace at its heart is a toxic church. And the more they prove my point, the faster Grace Church implodes. As for those who have given generously, in some cases for decades, I offer this fair warning: If the church does not address its issues, it will not be too many more years before Grace Church collapses due to declining membership, participation, and giving. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  • Since parishioners still have not figured it out, I am going to reiterate something I’ve said many times: The church cannot force people to quit speaking about their experiences with the parish. If the church thinks that suing former members, pushing Mike out of the church, lying under oath, calling other Christians “domestic terrorists,” and trying to drag a dying woman into court are okay, so be it. But then the church must live with the consequence, which is lasting reputational damage. And discussion of your conduct is protected by the First Amendment. However, defamation by church members, including public statements accusing me of alcoholism, having AIDS, and being mentally ill, are not. And those parishioners who believe that this conduct, along with urging me to commit suicide etc., will be effective in shutting me down are delusional.
  • Whoever the church chooses as an interim is in for a rough and bumpy ride, assuming the church actually takes things seriously and doesn’t just hire a seat warmer. But if the church does not take things seriously, it will be gone in the not-distant future. No one wants to join a church that bullies the dying and where members treat other the way people at Grace do. In other words, Grace Church is a hot mess, particularly in regard to organizational dynamics, and very little in the conduct of parishioners would suggest that this is the Body of Christ.
  • Parishioners have no idea how toxic their little stained glass cesspool really is. After 30 years of Dysfunctional Bob, much that passes as normative in the church would result in shock and horror elsewhere. Moreover, given the extent of organizational narcissism, it is going to be an uphill battle for an interim to convince people that this is the case.
  • There’s a fair amount of information out there about organizational narcissism, and parishioners and staff alike would be well-advised to read it. I’ll drop one leading hint: A big component is when an organization thinks it’s special. As when Bob Malm says, “I don’t think I’m exaggerating too much, [sic] when I suggest that at Grace Church we know, we practice “true religion”. [sic](Source: Sept. 3, 2017 sermon). And if Grace Church is an example of “true religion,” no thanks. You can keep it.
With that, off for a nice cool shower and some dinner.

Friday, June 15, 2018

More Friendly Comments From Planet Malm

Need further proof that there is nothing even remotely Christian about Grace Church, aka St. Dysfunction aka Planet Malm? Check out the following post from yet another person connected with the church.

The upshot is that this is typical of people at Grace church—when all else fails, resort to ad hominem attacks and telling people they’re not wanted. Of course, if the author were a little more clued in, she’d realize I don’t want to associate with people who think this sort of thing is acceptable. That’s why my family and I have left The Episcopal Church, and why I have less than no desire to be part of Grace Church. In other words, you couldn’t pay me enough.

If you are thinking about becoming involved in Grace Church, keep in mind that this sort of thing is okay there. In fact, Bob Malm does it himself. I’ll be providing extensive documentation in the coming weeks and months.




Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Condescension of Christ

One of the things I have really seen throughout this conflict is how poorly trained Episcopal clergy are in conflict resolution, and how quick they are to resort to patronizing condescension — what I kiddingly refer to as the condescension of Christ.

While I have discussed the matter with relatively few clergy in the diocese of Virginia, the vast majority either resort to tired old saws about forgiveness that are not theologically sound, or dismissive BS about how I’m being hateful, etc.

But the reality is that Jesus had little use for clergy who saw themselves as better by virtue of their role as clergy. Nor do he shun people —including the “hateful,” such as tax collectors.

This faulty understanding of forgiveness, redemption and welcome, combined with lack of accountability and an unwillingness to tackle difficult issues, exists at all levels of The Episcopal Church. Some have rightly noted that this paradigm interferes with the church’s ability to address impairment, but the reality is it extends to challenges, problems, and conflict at every level of the denomination.

The Jesus I know is the Jesus of the radical welcome, the protestor against injustice, and the friend to the outcast. Most Episcopal clergy, however, know nothing of these things. Theirs is a fictitious Jesus: The Jesus of the prep school and the golf course.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Great Post on Twitter

Saw this post on Twitter today and loved it. Guess this advice leaves out referring to the other person as “dysfunctional.”




Sunday, February 25, 2018

Bob Malm’s Mess

A friend of mine — a keen observer of human nature — recently pointed out something I already knew, which is that Bob Malm is trying to discredit me by telling people that I am “unbalanced,” She also added a very astute observation, which is that while that argument may work with Grace church, it doesn’t work at at all with prospective church members, but instead drives the latter away.

How so? Because outsiders, not drawn in by Bob’s manipulation, quickly recognize that going around telling people that a former parishioner is mentally ill is conduct unbecoming for clergy. Not only does Bob have no expertise or training in psychology, but even if his assertions were true they are not the sort of thing you share publicly.

The end result is that the more Bob attempts to discredit those who would hold him accountable for his behavior, the more quickly things unravel at Grace Church. That trend is accelerated by those, like Leslie Malm, who go around lying about what transpired. When people realize that parishioners have adopted Bob’s approach to conflict resolution, they see that Grace has become toxic. And no matter how Bob tries to manipulate and bully his way out of things, parishioners eventually realize that Bob has never — not once — reached out to me or any member of my family and asked the question, “What would it take to resolve this?” Instead, Bob clings to his magical thinking that somehow he is going to prevail, and suddenly everything will be as it was 5 years ago.

The reality is that, even if this blog, my mom’s blog, and all the social media criticism of Bob’s behavior went away tomorrow, he and Grace church would still have a major problem on their hands. It’s called Bob’s behavior. And any priest who thinks it’s okay to try to force parishioners out of church for complaining about his or her bullying behavior has no business being a priest.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

How Will this End?

A friend of mine recently asked me how this will end. The answer could be one of several outcomes, but none of them are likely to be good for Grace Church.

In the best case scenario, the diocese or vestry decide to provide Bob Malm with a little adult supervision. In that case, we return to the agreement forged in Fredericksburg, which essentially was that we leave each other alone, and recognize the fact that none of us have the ability to control third parties, including my mom. Perhaps we could even work on seeing her concerns (and those of others) addressed, but there is no guarantee after more than two years of conflict that this can be accomplished.

In that case, I’m happy to again shutter my website, as I have better things to do with my life, including looking out for my mother. That said, I have never agreed to non-disclosure, and I will continue to reserve my right to share my experience with others.

In the worst case scenario, things continue as they are. In that case, I will continue to blog, and to protest on a regular basis for at least the next two years. There will be additional coverage in the media and on major blogs, and family members will continue to support my efforts, even after mom is gone. As a result, Grace Church and the diocese of Virginia will face continued reputational  harm, and church budgets and attendance will continue to be negatively affected. In this case, time is on my side, for new parish members are relatively few and far between these days, and typically give at lower levels than long-time members. Thus, as people pass away, retire, or leave the area, Grace Church will continue to decline. In a good year, attrition is normally about 30 people, but in recent years it’s been much higher.

The same friend asked me if I feel badly about the declining fortunes of Grace Church. The answer is no. While I feel no malice towards members of the parish, the reality is someone should have called out Bob Malm’s bad behavior long ago. Recall: A former assistant rector of Bob’s has said, “Bob has been getting away with murder for years.” (Geez, maybe I should be afraid for my life. Could it be that she means that literally?) So, sup with the devil, do dishes with the devil.

Did you notice what is not mentioned in this post? Yes, you got it: No mention of reconciliation. There’s no requirement of reconciliation when someone abuses you, and I’ve seen enough of Bob Malm to know how vile, vicious and vindictive he is at his very heart. So I am taking a pass there. With some people, it’s just best to go no contact and leave it at that.

Do I miss Grace Church? Not really. I knew some wonderful people while I was there, and the worship indeed is beautiful. But I’ve come to understand that all that glitters is not gold, and right beneath the bright shiny exterior (whitewashed, as Jesus would say), the place is rotten to the core. Yeah, things like Shrine Mont were fun, but I still go to Shrine Mont, only now in an environment where bullying is not okay.

Or, as one commentator at The Wartburg Watch, put it: “That’s one toxic church you have there, Eric.”

How right she was!