Tonight’s gala reception for Bob Malm underscores why many at Grace Episcopal deserve exactly what they get. Meaning that they deserve Bob Malm, and all the baggage that comes with him, including his perjury, his multiple abuses of power, his bullying, his manipulation, and his feckless attitude towards being rector, despite being paid more than many senior denominational officials.
Christians are called towards peace, reconciliation, health, and healing. What they are not called to is turning a blind eye to misconduct. In the case of Dysfunctional Bob, examples of his misconduct are myriad, ranging from his indifference to the well-being of church employees to his inappropriate comments about those entrusted to his pastoral care.
Yet there will be plenty of people who will turn out tonight to swill wine, socialize, and to get all teary-eyed that Dysfunctional Bob will soon be packing it in, headed towards full-time life on the beach and golf course, replete with a defined benefit plan, paid for by the church, that far exceeds the retirement benefits most of us will receive.
Of course, by turning out, folks lend credibility to Bob and his conduct. At the same time, these same people make no effort to take seriously or address the trauma that Bob has caused people, including Mike and my mother, thus making them modern-day versions of the Scribes and Pharisees who looked the other way when confronted with someone who was suffering.
Ironically, karma has a way of fixing these things. Those who blindly support Bob, who think it’s okay to bully others, who behave badly towards other church members, will tend to attract equally toxic persons to their orbits. And by doing so, they will accelerate Grace Episcopal’s internal problems, while interjecting still more challenges into their own lives.
So, for those turning out to “celebrate” Bob Malm’s 30 years of misfeasance and nonfeasance, I say go for it. Birds of a feather….