Showing posts with label Dysfunctional Bob. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dysfunctional Bob. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Official Church Reports Prove Grace Church In Crisis

Some time ago, Bob Malm and the Grace vestry decided to quietly hide evidence of the damage caused by Dysfunctional Bob’s and Sugarland Chiow’s antics. This included both the real reasons for Fanny Belanger’s departure, as well as the continuing decline in attendance and giving caused by their misconduct. Hiding this information, however, was foolish, as it’s readily available from other sources, and it underscores the ongoing lack of candor and transparency in the parish’s governance.

Among the information that has quietly disappered in the past year or so:
  1. Information in Grace Notes, the parish newslettter, about updates to the parish register. This information would have revealed that even long-time parish stalwarts, including people who have taken the three-year Education for Ministry course, have been departing the parish.
  2. Vestry minutes, which would have revealed serious budgetary challenges caused by Dysfunctional Bob’s and Sugarland Chiow’s conduct, as well as ongoing discussions about how to deal with these issues.
Of course, the parish has never exactly been a model of transparency and good governance, in light of its customary violations of church canons regarding elections and eligibility for parish offices, its failure to publicly release its annual report, the lack of information on the annual agreed-upon procedures financial review, and the carefully controlled information that the vestry is allowed to see.

Into this mix comes the annual parochial report, one of the oldest bits of denominational reporting in the Episcopal Church. Published on the national church website every August, the results cover the prior calendar year, meaning that 2018 data just went live.

This report, required of every parish, is a key barometer of organizational health, and tracks membership, giving and worship. Of these three, the latter two are most telling, for membership is defined as rolling through at least three times a year, and giving some money to the parish. Thus, membership is loosely defined, and a parish can be growing in membership, even as it’s collapsing on other fronts.

In Grace’s case, worship attendance and giving have dropped to their lowest levels in more than a decade. Indeed, worship attendance mirrors the decline that occurred following Bob’s accident, while giving dropped sharply for the first time since Bob’s arrival as rector. Particularly troubling is the drop in worship attendance, or average Sunday attendance (ASA), which once stood at more than 350, but has now dropped to 250. With an almost 1/3 decline, this shows that the most basic function of the parish, divine worship, is collapsing.

Three factors compound these problems:
  1. Lack of transparency has consistently been shown to erode church giving, and Bob Malm is permitting next to no meaningful information to reach church membership. Yes, vestry minutes are posted outside the church office, but the reality is that this affords little opportunity for meaningful review. Even Bob’s letter announcing his resignation is available by calling the church office for those who didn’t get a copy in the mail, which begs the question: Why isn’t it simply posted on the website? (I can assure readers that Bob’s efforts have done nothing to keep information from reaching me, so if that’s the issue, it’s been a total waste of time.)
  2. The $70,000 annual debt service the church has incurred leaves the parish unable to fully fund its ministries and adequately care for members. With far too much of the budget going into keeping the building running, the church is in danger of no longer being a church, but instead being a museum in which religious services are held.
  3. Bob’s departure, as in all cases where a rector of long standing leaves, will undoubtedly further erode giving and attendance.
Moreover, since the most recent report reflects 2018 data, the full effect of Dysfunctional Bob’s lawsuit and related perjury won’t be reported until August 2020. I anticipate that the results will be devastating.

At this point, I surely feel sympathy for the poor interim who inherits Bob Malm’s hot mess, as well as for loyal parishioners who are trying to ride out the storm.






Thursday, August 29, 2019

Grace Episcopal: Predictions for the Coming Year



Years ago, a regular at Grace Church offered the observation that he “didn’t want to be there when Bob Malm leaves.”  While I am confident that he does not consider Bob Malm to be a narcissist, nor given it a whole lot of thought, he stumbled onto something. Instinctively, he recognized that, after years of Bob Malm’s self-centered antics and manipulation of members and the vestry, taking Bob out of the mix will result in bedlam. And on that score, that individual is spot on.

As is typical in such situations, far too many parishioners regard their goal as meeting Bob’s approval. Indeed, as one former assistant rector put it, “There is such a sense of shame among those women when something goes wrong at the altar guild.” That’s both telling and appalling, for serving God should never come with shame. Yet the altar guild acts like an organizational narcissist, worried above all about how things look, and protecting its perceived collective interests, versus attending to the common good of the parish.

How does the altar guild enforce its priorities? By treating any perceived deviation as grounds for shunning, ostracism, and criticism. Hardly indicative that its true purpose is serving God.

Similarly, both the choir and the vestry far too often engage in bad behavior when members feel threatened. The same is true for church staff, which historically has had no issue with yelling at church members or otherwise engaging in inappropriate conduct. 

Nor are church members generally immune from these trends. Whether it’s gossiping about one member’s alleged penile implant, issues within Bob Malm’s family, or married members who are rumored to be conducting homosexual affairs on the side, things get ugly right beneath the surface. And of course, there are issues like Lisa Medley’s disclosure of confidential giving, documented on The Wartburg Watch, that underscore just how toxic the parish really is. Moreover, members feel it is their prerogative to wade into conflict and punish the person they believe is the offender by gossip, bullying, and social exclusion. (Yes, I am referring inter alia to Alison Campbell, Jan Spence, and Lisa Medley.)

So, from this ugly mix, the Perjurer-in-Chief, Bob Malm, is set to leave. His departure will set in motion a jockeying for power at every level. As part of this, whoever the interim is will face strong headwinds, including both being compared to Bob Malm, and when he or she does stuff that varies with “the way we’ve always done things,” being confronted with the bullying, shunning, and other misconduct that is part and parcel of life at Grace Church.

This underscores the larger issue, which is that church members will need to explore the promise and problems of Bob Malm’s tenure with the parish. Doing so will face tremendous resistance, as the traditional way the parish handles such things is to ignore them and shove them under the rug. So the problem is two-fold: Both unlearning harmful approaches to dealing with conflict, and then dealing with the underlying issues themselves. And keep in mind that these issues have had 30 years to fester; unlearning them won’t happen in three weeks, or even three years.

Then there’s the ethical component of parish life. Grace is a church is which it’s okay for the rector to commit perjury, to subpoena the dying, to file false police reports, and to engage in truly ugly rhetoric. With Jeff Chiow and Bob Malm as role models, it’s difficult to know even where to begin. Certainly, the legacy they leave serves as a dismal role model for children, and it’s going to be difficult to attract new church members with this as part of the church’s history. And Jeff remains active at the parish, which means he undoubtedly will try to defend and justify his actions, despite the damage they have caused to the parish.

Giving also wil be an issue. With more than 1/3 of pledging units gone, the remaining donors have stepped up their giving. But time and demographics are running against the parish, and the church has never understood that in order to grow, you have to make a commitment to grow. 

Nor does the parish have a vision of the future. Yes, members jealously guard their prerogatives and the things that are important to them, but beyond that, the church has an entirely tactical worldview. Even the HVAC project was simply ignored until events forced the church’s hand, despite the fact that there have been dozens of warning signs in recent years. So the church will have to decide whether it wants to grow, and what it wants to be in its future, or it can continue on in swimming in its ever smaller stained glass cesspool, blissfully unaware that the waters are toxic and it is slowly. So, this will be a point of contention, but the good old days of living for today are fast coming to a close.

Of course, all this change means that members will revert to type, so conflict will loom large during the coming year. As a result, both attendance and giving likely will decline, and some members who leave during the coming months will never return.

Will Grace Church make it? There’s reason to doubt it.

But no matter how things pan out, there will be some serious fireworks in the year ahead.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Bishop Plans Appearance at Dysfunctional Bob’s Retirement Service



Among the guests at Dysfunctional Bob’s final service at Grace, slated for September 29, is the Episcopal bishop of Virginia. That may be a good sign, but it carries with it enormous risks. It also underscores the diocese’s role in supporting and covering up Bob Malm’s repeated incidents of misconduct, including his perjury.

On the one hand, the presence of the bishop may indicate that the diocese is taking the ungodly mess at Grace seriously. If Grace Church is to become healthy and survive, there’s a tremendous amount of work to be done, and the diocese needs to be a missional partner in making that happen. 

At the same time, the messaging here is both tricky and vital. The bishop cannot be seen to be dissing Dysfunctional Bob, but at the same time must be careful not to praise the many problems within the church, including bickering, shunning, and the utter disregard for the baptismal covenant evinced by many, including Dysfunctional Bob, Sugarland Chiow, and the parish vestry. Indeed, my conclusion is that Grace is not a church, but instead a religion club, with dynamics modeled on a college fraternity or sorority. Thus, the task at hand is not just to recover from the problems of Bob Malm’s tenure—it’s actually to build a church from what is now a social organization.

Complicating matters is the fact that Bob continues to try to tug on people’s heartstrings in order to convince them that his departure is a great loss, on a par with the stages of dying identified by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. This, from a priest whose response when people leave the parish due to conflict with him is, “Why should I give a fuck? People transfer all the time.” But the reality is the same goes for clergy, and Bob’s departure is long, long overdue. Moreover, while Bob would not agree with this statement, the years of dysfunction in the parish office, his refusal to supervise staff, his efforts to avoid dealing with staff issues by lying to vestry members, his failure to comply with denominational requirements like having a parish finance manual, his ongoing violation of church canons, and his sense of superiority and entitlement render Bob’s track record as rector sub-par, at best. And to parallel Bob’s statement about departing parishioners, priests transfer all the time, except that in healthy parishes it doesn’t take 30 years for this to happen.

As a result, the bishop can help by providing a vision of the future that focuses on hope, growth, unity, and cooperation. While Bob’s goal may be to pull in every last bit of adulation, the bishop can temper things by pointing people’s focus towards things that matter.

The wrinkle in things, of course, is that the diocese still refuses to recognize or address Bob’s multiple incidents of misconduct, including his perjury, but instead insists on covering them up. Thus, no matter how skillfully the diocese handles Bob’s retirement and the subsequent interim period, there remains an elephant in the living room. No one will take Grace Church, the diocese, or the bishop seriously as long as diocesan officials cover up Bob Malm’s perjury. Yes, parishioners may defer to the bishop, but the larger outside world still sees a dysfunctional organization that has lost any claim to ethical relevance.

Meanwhile, the bishop’s presence reinforces the hypocrisy of diocesan officials. Grace Church is important enough to warrant a visit from the bishop at Bob’s farewell, but not important enough to address Bob’s perjury or the other severe problems that lurk right behind the scenes. It’s also fair to point out, as previously discussed, that the diocese’s track record when it comes to clergy transitions is mixed, at best. And when it bollixes things, often due to bad advice from J.P. Causey, the diocese has shown an unparalleled ability to leave a disaster in its wake.

I can also assure all involved that my efforts to publicize Bob’s misconduct and the diocese’s ensuing cover-up will not stop with Bob’s retirement. People need to understand that while the diocese talks a good game, and likes to gas on about the baptismal covenant, there is no substance to any of it, The reality is that even criminal activity such as perjury is okay for Episcopal clergy, as long as they’re not convicted. 

So, the bishop can roll through, pointy hat and crozier in tow, and put on a good show, but it does nothing to correct the underlying moral bankruptcy of the parish, the diocese or The Episcopal Church. These issues cannot be ignored, glossed over, or be treated as matters that hopefully resolve themselves over time. Only when these issues are addressed will there be any hope for the future.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

See for Yourself: Jeffery Chiow and Bob Malm Lie in Court Pleadings

Here’s another blast from the past. In this excerpt from a motion filed in the Alexandria Circuit Court, Jeff Chiow flat out lies to the court. Specifically, he claims that he would have proven that I was never licensed to practice law, and that I never served as a police officer. Both are untrue,

To be fair, in the practice of law, there are times one argues for an expansion of the law, or one postures. There also are times when one states in pleadings that, “The evidence strongly suggests...” or, “There is no evidence to support defendant’s claim....” In short, one not only leaves room for error as a way to preserve one’s credibility with the court, but also to avoid proffering false evidence to the court. Avoiding offering false information to the court is an obligation under the professional rules, as signing one’s name to a pleading means that the information presented is believed to be true, based on reasonable efforts by the attorney.

This is illustrated by the old law school tale, perhaps apocryphal, in which defense counsel, a heavyset man, loudly exclaims, “It simply is not possible that the plaintiff’s contentions about my client’s ladder are true. My client, XYC corporation, makes the toughest ladders out there, capable of holding many times the plaintiff’s weight. See for yourself!” Whereupon he scales the ladder, only to have the thing disintegrate under him, leaving him in a heap on the floor, and with a verdict against his client to boot.

Similarly, if one were to assert in pleadings that Bob Malm is a pedophile based solely on the fact that Bob is a priest, and many priests are pedophiles, that would be highly inappropriate and likely grounds for sanctions. I can’t simply show up in court with an unsupported assertion like that and expect smooth sailing. (For the record, I do not claim Bob to be a pedophile and have seen no evidence to support that conclusion.)

So, Jeff Chiow cannot assert his claims that I never practiced law, and never served as a police officer willy-nilly. These claims would need to be supported by research, and would properly be proferred to the court as, “There is no evidence to support the defendant’s claim....”

Moreover, having used multiple attorneys within his firm, as well as resources from another law firm in town, and having expended what he claims was more than $100,000 worth of legal fees, Jeff Chiow knew, or had reason to know, that this was the case. Additionally, it is hardly a great leap of logic for Sugarland, who claims to have done extensive research on the case, to surmise that it would have made sense to check bar records in Pennsylvania. After all, I did undergraduate there and was a state resident in 1986–facts readily ascertainable. Additionally, a Google search readily reveals information on having served as a police officer.

In short, Jeff Chiow lied to the courts. And while it does not appear he will face disciplinary charges for his misconduct, his behavior is damaging both to his personal reputation and to that of his client, Grace Church.

When one looks at the situation in the context of Bob Malm’s perjury, one quickly understands how Jesus came to refer to the Scribes and Pharisees as “broods of vipers.”





Monday, July 29, 2019

The Burning Question: Will Bob Malm and Jeff Chiow Show Some Integrity as Bob Gears up for Retirement?



As Bob Malm gears up for retirement, and turns the Jesus-babble tap full open, the burning question (as Kemp Williams would put it), is will Bob Malm show some integrity? As in practicing what he preaches, telling the truth, and admitting to the parish that he has committed perjury by lying under oath? And while we’re at it, will Jeff Chiow similarly belly up to the bar and admit his misconduct to parishioners?

The short answer to both is, “Not bloody likely.”

In Bob Malm’s case, he’s hard at work, tugging on the heartstrings, trying to convince people that they are about to suffer a great loss, akin to losing someone to death. As discussed previously, the reality is far different. Not only has Bob Malm been a mediocre rector at best, but his behavior in office has caused lasting harm to many, not the least of which is the parish he claims to serve. And clergy come and go, in Bob’s case taking far too long to go, and wearing out his welcome

Intertwined with that is Bob’s narcissism, in which he does his utmost to avoid accountability. Even in the rare cases where he admits to wrongdoing, he either tries to charm his way back, or he apologizes solely in order to shut things down and move on. In those cases, he still does his best to duck things, including offering non-apologies like, “I’m sorry you were upset.” 

Thus, with Dysfunctional Bob soon packing off to Jekyll Island, there is little incentive for him to behave in an ethical manner. Given that his primary motivating factor over time is to obtain adulation, admitting to his misconduct would only serve to cut into his narcissistic supply, while confirming what a number of current and former parishioners have know about Bob for some time, wbich is that he is a hot mess. Lots of fine words, plenty of smiles and friendly behavior to people’s faces, but right behind it all lurks Dysfunctional Bob’s narcissism, lies, gaslighting, and manipulative behavior.

Nor has Dysfunctional Bob learned anything from all of this, as evidenced by his little tantrum along Russell Road. Even now, with Grace continuing to shed members, Bob still foolishly thinks screaming and yelling will accomplish something.

Of course, the best going away gift Dysfunctional Bob could give the church would be to actually lead by example. But even if Bob suddenly decided to actually be a priest, 30 years of his misconduct isn’t going to be undone with a few weeks of Christian behavior.

In Jeff Chiow’s case, there are other factors at work. Having claimed to be representing both Bob Malm and the parish in the role of legal counsel, Sugarland has ethical obligations to both. As a result, one can argue that, absent Bob’s permission, Jeff cannot publicly disclose Bob’s perjury and other malfeasance. But Jeff can and should disclose his own courtroom fabrications, which include false statements of both law and fact. And I suspect that, while few would come right out and say it, the relatively advancing age of the parish leads to a certain unease when it comes to Bob and Jeff’s decision to drag a dying woman into court. Something about what goes around comes around.

Of course, Jeff’s antics have caused tremendous reputational damage to the church. Bob can tell vestry members that I’m a “sad individual, starving for attention,” and otherwise try to discredit me, but the really ugly stuff involving Jeff, including his claims that the church is threatened by “domestic terrorists,” are all in writing and available for all the world to see. 

Moreover, there’s no way Jeff can deny that he tried to subpoena a dying woman, conveniently ignored the relevant rules of civil procedure when he tried to get the Venango County Court of Common Pleas to issue a subpoena not authorized by Pennsylvania law, and more. Not to mention supporting Bob Malm’s facially obvious courtroom fabrications, including taking words out of context in order to support his claim that he has been threatened.

Thus, Sugarland is unlikely to be able to sidestep the fallout from his misconduct. Not only can prospective clients assess for themselves Jeff’s judgment and integrity as an attorney, but he and his family likely will remain part of the Alexandria community for the foreseeable future. In that context, they  will face questions over time as Grace Church faces further challenges due to Jeff’s conduct. And if parishioners are true to form, sooner or later they will blame Jeff for the church’s woes and take their frustrations out on him and his family. Hardly fair to go after his wife and kids, but that is the way Grace rolls, as Mike knows all too well.

Speaking of kids, Jeff also has the issue of the example he sets for his own kids. Does he really think his kids are going to see the online documentation of his actions and learn positive lessons? I doubt Jeff is introspective enough to really parse these issues, but I also don’t think he should be surprised when his kids conclude they have little use for organized religion.

To Jeff’s credit, he is somewhat more cognizant of the damage that Grace is suffering due to Bob’s conduct. But like Bob, he thought he could bully his way through the issue, when what he should have done was to advise Bob that 1) It’s not a great idea to serve as both attorney and parishioner, and 2) Bob is foolish to try to use the a protective order as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP). (These are lawsuits intended to stop public criticism.) With that, Jeff should have declined representation. That said, Jeff has nowhere near that level of common sense and good judgment, and he undoubtedly faced a lot of manipulation from Bob, who is masterful when it comes to these issues.

At the end of the day, it’s probably a safe bet that neither Dysfunctional Bob nor Sugarland Chiow are going to turn over a new leaf any time soon and show a little integrity, or conduct themselves like Christians. 




Saturday, July 27, 2019

Ain’t it Great to Be Wealthy? Grace Church Pays Bob Malm $100,000 Bonus, Borrows to Keep the HVAC On

When you give to Grace Church, is it with the idea that the parish will pay $100,000 bonuses to Bob Malm? At the same time it’s cutting health insurance benefits to other clergy and employees? Is this social justice?

Does it mater to you that the church is paying bonuses of this sort when it is borrowing to keep the HVAC on in the building?

Does it matter to you that one out of every five dollars the church brings in go to Bob Malm?

When was the last time you got a bonus of $100,000? Or were able to spend a month at the beach?

Are you comfortable funding a church where the rector commits perjury? Tries to drag a dying woman into court? Or where the vestry lies to you, falsely telling you that members left the church on their own, when in fact Bob Malm instructed church staff to exclude them? When Bob Malm goes after Mike Smith, who didn’t even arguably do anything to anyone? 

When the Fairfax County Office of Consumer Affairs lists Grace Church as the only church with a successful consumer protection claim filed against it, after the parish deliberately misused memorial donations Mike Smith gave in memory of his mother? And did so on Bob Malm’s instructions?

These are valid questions to ask as you consider your pledge for 2020.







Bob Malm’s Retirement: Why The Five Stages of Grief Don’t (Or Shouldn’t!) Apply

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross



Check out Bob Malm’s sermon from 7/21, found
here. There are several issues with the sermon, one of which is disturbing and highly inappropriate. The latter involves Bob’s invocation of Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’smodel of the five stages of grief in discussing his retirement.

First, the author of the book “Death and Dying” is not Elizabeth Kubler Ross, as cited in Bob’s sermon. It’s Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Moreover, given that she wrote the book at a time when women were often treated with disdain by the largely male medical profession, it might be nice to recognize the fact that the author was an MD. That said, Bob has never been one to type his own sermons, so he gets a pass on that one.

Second, Bob’s recollection of the book is inaccurate. Kübler-Ross’s book is not about the reactions of dying children, but rather about dying patients of every age, albeit with most of her subjects being adults. Indeed, in a subsequent book, Kübler-Ross noted that children have some profound differences in their views toward dying, most notably that children below a certain age cannot grasp the concept of the finality of death. This correlates with the differing physiological aspects of terminally ill children, with many becoming more animated as these move into the preactive phase of dying. This differs from adults, who typically become more withdrawn as they enter this phase.

Third, and most significantly, while it is important to care for parishioners at a time of change such as this, the reality is that clergy come and go. In fact, many contend that it is unhealthy for clergy to stay more than 7 to 10 years; when clergy stay longer, they often tend to feel an unhealthy ownership of a church, versus recognizing that they are there to serve the church and its members. But in either case, clergy are there to point members toward God, the divine. They are not there to point members to themselves. Thus, correlating one’s retirement with the grieving process that occurs with death is highly inappropriate.

To be fair, Kübler-Ross herself noted that her model not only applies to death, but to the grief that comes from relationships that end, jobs that end, and other forms of loss. But clergy are never friends, and it is not possible to have a healthy pastoral relationship and be friends with your parishioners. You may be friendly, and that is good, but you may not be friends. Thus, Bob’s retirement is the transition from one professional relationship to another professional relationship.

Moreover, if Grace’s search committee, the diocese, and the church’s members all work together, Bob’s retirement is an opportunity to build a healthier church in which conflict is handled appropriately, in which faith and friendly are not conflated, and in which healthy boundaries within the parish are established and maintained. In that context, members hopefully will learn that there is never a situation in which it is appropriate to urge others to commit suicide, or for clergy to commit perjury, or for a church to try to drag a dying woman into court. Or, for that matter, to bully each other. For any reason. Ever.

Above all, Bob Malm’s retirement is a chance for church members to put their faith into practice. The way people in the church talk to each other, and about each other, is highly inappropriate, contrary to the baptismal covenant, and contrary to Christian values.

Will members of Grace Church ultimately learn from the problems of the Malm era? The answer is that it will depend on their willingness to examine their conduct, their attitudes, their faith, both individually and collectively. Affection for Bob, which in many cases borders on idolatry, makes this a challenging proposition. But without this careful introspection, and specific plans to enact meaningful change, Grace Church will not last much longer.

Yes, Grace Church is inclusive, but if it’s not spiritually sound, why bother? There are far cheaper and less demanding ways to enjoy time with others, and without all the petty nonsense, gossip, and bullying that goes on at Grace Church. And while Bob has improved on his previous feckless management practices, Bob’s conduct and decisions during his tenure as rector have been profoundly damaging to the parish. (Sorry folks, it takes two to tango. Even if you think I am utterly evil in every way, Bob’s handling of our conflict has been stupid and unethical on myriad levels, not the least of which is his decision to engage in perjury. And yet again, just ask Bob for proof that Mom, or someone claiming to be her, ever set up an appointment with him. This was a complete and utter fabrication, made in writing, under oath, and with the advice of legal counsel Jeff Chiow. But more importantly, he’s taught people to disrespect each other, and in doing so to disrespect God.)

Bob Malm will soon be a memory, and for some a positive memory. But real churches are not built around their rector, and healthy churches view change not as a loss, but as opportunity for new and possibly better things.

In the meantime, lose the five stages of death and dying analogies. As Bob himself once said of Peter and Cheryl Barnes leaving (and this is a direct quote), “Why should I give a fuck? People come and go all the time. People transfer in and out of churches.”

And yes, there were witnesses.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Does Your Church Train for a Terrorist Attack?

Here’s a noteworthy item from Grace Church’s 2017 minutes, noted without any additional comment, beyond the fact that this comes from a church that was, for years, indifferent to security. Indeed, the infamous Great Flood of 2013 occurred when the 5:00 PM Sunday officiant didn’t even bother to walk the building. Had he done so, and had he checked the downstairs bathrooms (a very common hiding area for people wishing to spend the night in the building), he would have discovered that one of the toilets was overflowing.

Good old St. Dysfunction: A toxic church if there ever was one.




Tuesday, July 16, 2019

New Signage Comes to NVA!

Next week, we’ll be rolling out new signage in NVA, including car window ads. Just in time for Dysfunctional Bob’s farewell tour, and to welcome an interim.

Check it out.




Friday, July 12, 2019

See for Yourself: Bob Malm Contradicts Himself in Email Exchange With Easter Thompson

Here’s another good one from Bob Malm. On the one hand, Bob went to court, claiming that folks at Grace were “terrorized” by my Mom’s blog, which he claims I wrote. Yet in this email exchange with parishioner Easter Thompson, he claims no one at the church takes me seriously. So which is it?

Of course, Bob made a similar statement in January to the bishop, in which he said that his wife and daughter both take this more seriously than they should.

In the meantime, that begs the question: How did Easter Thompson get it in her head that my assertions are not based on fact/truth? Leaving aside the fact that I don’t recall God assigning Easter the role of “judge of all men,” there is written documention of almost every issue, ranging from Bob’s illegal use of restricted solicitations, to his bullying, to his order to parish staff to shun and exclude us, to his courtroom perjury. Nor do I see Easter making any effort to resolve the conflict, yet she proclaims herself a Christian.

Interesting that Easter is so comfortable passing judgment on others when she has no firsthand knowledge of the matter. It’s perhaps telling too that Bob felt no need to invoke the vestry prior to his decision to shun us. It’s only when he got pushback that he decided to pull in the vestry—a vestry that he has, on more than one occasion, apparently lied to, as evinced by the vestry’s “talking points,” in which he claims that we left on our own. If that’s the case, why then did Bob admit to the contrary during the meeting with the bishop?

No wonder people are abandoning organized religion. And you surely have to wonder what Easter’s objection is to the Anglican Consultative Commission’s work.

In the meantime, Easter, if you’re sick of stuff like my work on the Anglican Consultative Commission’s efforts, don’t friggin’ read it. And if you object to my actions, Easter, how about having the integrity to share your concerns directly with me, versus triangulating with Bob? It’s called having a spine. 

Ditto for Kemp Williams and his comments.






As One in Five Millennials Leave Church Due to Abuse, Where Does that Leave Planet Malm?



Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Polls Show Continuing Declines in Organized Religion; Trends Spell Trouble for Grace Church

The most recent Gallup poll results are out, and they confirm what Americans already know, which is that organized religion is in precipitous decline in the US. The grim news, which cuts across denominations and faith traditions, spells rough times ahead for Grace Episcopal, aka Planet Malm. Prospects probably are not much better for the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

According to Gallup, in the past 20 years the percentage of Americans with no formal church affiliation has more than doubled, from 8 percent to 19 percent. The number of respondents saying they are unsure, or who refused to respond, doubled during that time, from 2 percent to 4 percent. Other polls back this conclusion, with one revealing that only 2 percent of Americans in 1955 claimed no religion, but one in five now having no religion.

Moreover, one in four Americans never attend church, while fully one half of Americans report that they want clergy to have only limited involvement in their lives. And almost 2/3 of Americans distrust church, with confidence in church hitting an all-time low

That contrasts starkly with the clericalism of St. Dysfunction, with its absurdly overpaid and underproductive clergy. I mean, in what other job can you make $200K a year, spend a month at the beach every year, and operate almost entirely without oversight? Nor am I aware of Bob Malm ever volunteering at a homeless shelter, personally serving the needy, or even gracing Thanksgiving dinner at the church (a practice that has ended since I left the parish) with his presence? (Pun intended.)

It’s also true that church conflict, left unaddressed, can fester for decades to come, harming the church for generations. Given that Dysfunctional Bob manipulated perceptions of parishioners at multiple levels, particularly apropos this conflict, it will be very difficult for members of the church to recognize and address the problems facing the parish.

Nor is the diocese likely to be much help. Every bit as squirrelly as Dysfunctional Bob, we’re talking about a diocese that actually is willing to say in writing that perjury doesn’t count as long as it doesn’t result in conviction. And Melissa Hollerith’s connections to the very upper echelons of the Episcopal Church suggests that her perspective on such matters is unlikely to receive any criticism from the hierarchy. In other words, the only thing the Episcopal church appears to be good at is litigation, and ironically enough, that is almost always predicated on church canons — the very canons the church ignores when it so chooses.

One closing observation: As a priest in DioVA once said to me, “May God help whoever comes after Bob Malm. It surely won’t be pretty.”

That’s spot-on. If Grace Church is to survive, it must shift from its culture of clericalism and idol worship of its rector. Yet Grace is highly resistant to change, and members will turn on each other if they believe their prerogatives are threatened. To make matters worse, the heart of the problem with Dysfunctional Bob and Sugarland Chiow is that they have taught parishioners all the wrong ways to resolve conflict. In short, Grace is wedded to a self-destructive approach to conflict resolution that all but guarantees the continued decline of the church.

As things unfurl in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how the handful of real Christians at Planet Malm respond to things, and if their views are treated with respect.




Monday, July 8, 2019

Blog Passes 80,000 Hits, All Telling the Bad News of Bob Malm

Check it out! More than 80,000 hits on my blog, all spreading the bad news of Bob Malm and Planet Malm — where the atmosphere is pretty, but has frequent toxic gusts. Not suited for normal life forms.




Saturday, July 6, 2019

Bob Malm’s Claim to Be Building Jesus’ Church Meets with Derisive Laughter

You have to hand is to Bob Malm: His hypocrisy is unparalleled. Bob may engage in shunning, bullying, perjury. He may subpoena the dying, call those entrusted to his care “domestic terrorists,” and more. Yet he’s an expert at trotting out the Jesus-babble and wrapping himself in the illusory mantel of faith.

That said, his latest bit of Jesus-babble is so over the top that family members and friends alike burst into raucous laughter when they read it. 

In the July/August edition of the Grace parish newsletter, Grace Notes, Bob gasses on about building the church, saying:

“Our future depends on our building in the present—building a strong, healthy community of faithful believers who will pray, work and give to extend the work of Jesus Christ. Each one of us has a job to do; each one of us is a builder. Jesus is depending upon us to build his Church in our day and time.”

Not only has Bob done nothing to build the church, but his demands to be treated like clergy royalty have greatly hindered the church. His overly generous compensation package erodes confidence in the church and disincentives giving, since Bob gets 1 out of every 5 dollars given to the church. Nor has Bob busted his fat ass to build the church; rather, 12 percent or more of his time “on the clock” is spent on vacation, “out of town,” or otherwise unavailable.

It goes further. 

Thanks to Bob’s perjury, his repeated instances of misconduct, his flouting of church canons, and his numerous petty power plays and games, Bob has done more damage to the church than any ACANA dissident could ever hope to achieve. Some of the damage Bob has inflicted directly; other damage is caused by his bad example, combined with the lack of integrity of people like David Crosby and Sugarland Chiow, who refuse to call a spade a spade and acknowledge Bob’s perjury and other misconduct.

But truly hilarious is Bob’s linking of Paul’s discussion of building the church with the HVAC project now underway at Grace. Paul wrote from a dismal stone prison cell prior to his death; Dysfunctional Bob writes as Grace plays catch-up on hundreds of thousands of dollars of overdue HVAC work on a building that, like Bob Malm, is fast becoming an archaic, irrelevant piece of history. Jesus had little use for the power and prestige of organized religion; Dysfunctional Bob truly believes that he is somehow special. Jesus rejected the Scribes and Pharisees and their hypocrisy; Bob is the consummate example of a modern-day Scribe/Pharisee.

If nothing else, Bob is the source of the occasional good laugh.






Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Really Scary

After wasting more than $1 million since 2004 on feckless priest Dysfunctional Bob, the church will probably take up a purse for him when he leaves. Pretty ironic, given how Bob’s action’s have damaged Grace Church.




Sunday, June 30, 2019

Leafleting and Protests This Week

As promised, protests and leafleting continue this week. Specifically, I’ll be doing the few remaining streets left undone in Del Ray, a few small side streets in Beverly Hills, and a larger chunk of Potomac Yards.

I’ll also be protesting at least two days this week, with plans under way for adding several new fora to my Rita.

Fun times on Planet Malm!