I’ve written previously about organizational narcissism at Grace Church and the fact that, over time, churches inevitably take on the characteristics of their rector. Today’s post is about a related topic, lack of introspection as a sign of organizational narcissism.
Often referred to as “destructive narcissism,” or “DM,” narcissism among leaders is characterized by outward self-assurance, an ability to charm superiors, a tendency to devalue others, a sense of entitlement, and a lack of values. Not surprisingly, the result typically is a toxic organizational culture, often marked by outwardly friendly interpersonal dynamics, but fraught with behind-the-scenes conflict and inappropriate responses to conflict. See, e.g.; https://www.jstor.org/stable/4165819?seq=1 and https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00422/full. A tendency to respond aggressively when criticized and to devalue others often leads observers to regard the organization and its leaders as abusive. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00422/full Group members may be at risk of manipulation and low self-esteem. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00422/full
All of these hold true for Grace Episcopal, the clergy perjury parish. Outwardly friendly and welcoming, behind the scenes toxic currents swirl. Indeed, one former assistant rector has noted the profound guilt that altar guild members feel if things are not perceived as absolutely perfect. Members often engage in manipulative conduct, including bullying and mobbing within the altar guild and choir. It is telling, too — the closer to worship one gets, the more toxic the culture at Grace,
But most telling is the lack of introspection. For example, in her responses to the two Wartburg Watch articles about the church and its conflict with me, Lisa Medley, posting under the handle “Long-time parishioner” tried defending the church with a series of lies and ad hominem attacks. She saw nothing wrong with this, and evinced no ability to parse the underlying issue, which is that the church’s conduct is wrong.
Similarly, Sugarland Chiow still shows no recognition that his inflammatory rhetoric and multiple courtroom fabrications were in any way problematic. Instead, he clings to the notion that the end justifies the means.
Even now, the church is trying to defend its conduct in court, with Kelly Motormouth Gable asserting that her allegations that I embezzled are accurate. And yet I see no sign that she or others have taken me up on my invitation to put their money where their mouth is and file a complaint with the police. Kelly and others are good with behind-the-scenes fun and games, but they don’t have the integrity to follow-up in the light of day.
Of course, the response of many of those who read this article will remain true to form, with folks like David Crosby asserting that I am mentally ill and more, while never parsing their specifics of their behavior.
The result is that until the church is able to obtain some measure of introspection, it cannot hope to deal effectively with these issues.