In Part I, I discuss how the family of Timmy rises to power via musical talent and a complacent Pastor. In this part I continue the tale.
I cannot say that this is a fun story to tell. In truth it is a story of a multitude of things: A destruction of innocence regarding church (on my part). My family’s voluntary leaving the church, and my lifelong distrust of the clergy/organized religion. My friend’s family left the church at the right time. My family should have left the church earlier than we did as I hardly liked it and looking back I believe the only reason we stuck around was my grandparents. Frankly, I sometimes feel like Taylor Swift when I write posts like these as it shows off some “Bad Blood”
Earlier I spoke of Mike Barker. Barker was the second-to-worst Sunday School teacher I ever had. Barker was mean spirited and frankly bizarre. He was replaced by my parents as he was moving away. My parents both had backgrounds in education. My father is a retired principal. My mother is a retired teacher/professor. My mother taught third grade prior to being in higher education. The pastor thought she and my dad were shoo-ins for the position so they were selected to teach the Sunday School.
My parents would select the curriculum and the class was conducted in a seminar type format. A film would be shown and then my parents would give a lecture on it. The films were varied in date. Some would be from the early 2000s and late 90s. The films ranged from animations to more modern stuff. Now this was the norm for about a year. In the course of this process things changed and the curriculum was then selected by Timmy. He wanted the formats to change and over time he also sent help for my mother and father in the form of parents of people my age in the Youth Groups.
As an aside my father was also made Director of Disciplemaking. This office was one with a portfolio however he was never in service for this position nor was he ever guided to initiate projects nor was he ordered to commence projects for disciplemaking. He was placed into a position that was simply worthless. Keep this in your back pocket.
Timmy’s eldest son soon became a student of my parents. Now I could tell you a thousand theories of why he didn’t like my mother. Frankly, time has erased most of my sense of the situation. I think what it boiled down to was this. 1. He didn’t like my mom’s style of teaching. He had to participate in the conversations and he wasn’t up on stage like in the youth group that his parents controlled. No. He was now a participant and not a star. 2. It was a personality conflict. Regardless of this a mild flareup occurred one day. I forgot what it was over. Obviously it was enough to cause a row.
My parents were basically told they would now be co-teaching that class and the parents were now co-teachers. They were not told when this would occur. But at that point I began to dread going to Sunday School. The volunteers had arrived before my parents and my brother and myself before we had arrived. Looking back it was purely a political show of force.
At that point things were starting to get dicey. I was peeved at the church. And my anger was only beginning. Soon my mother was offered a position to be Superintendent of the Sunday School or something similar to that. She accepted the position without it being made clear to her that she was going to be replaced as the Sunday School teacher. Imagine her shock when a lady was present in the room with these earlier co-teachers now inducted into the faculty. It wasn’t pretty. My mother was devastated. I was ready to leave the church for good. Power plays were taking place and a new political agenda was being written at this baptist church. And my family was being pushed aside softly.
Again, I was challenging my parents. Why should we stay at a place that cannot respect us? Finally after a month of me not wanting to go. My parents finally agreed that this was no longer the right place for them. The church begged for them to stay. Thankfully, they did not listen. The pastor called them up and wanted to hear why. They told the truth. My parents were the begining of a second wave of an exodus from there. However, it wasn’t just Timmy’s family. It was jobs (transfers), lack of jobs in the area, and other factors.
Finally, a referendum was held at the church sometime in 2011 or 2010 and it was on the subject of Calvinism. Now Baptist doctrine is all over the place regarding Calvinism. This church was a member of the Southern Baptist Convention but its culture was that of an independent Baptist church. When this referendum was held the church voted that Calvinism would not be endorsed nor upheld in their statement of faith. From what I heard Timmy and his family left without fanfare.
Conclusion: Do not think that this is a play-by-play of what happened. I don’t remember it all for these reasons. Number one, my life has been so much better since then. I don’t miss much of those people. Number two, I’ve been to better churches. And number three, my parents and I really have moved on mentally, spiritually, etc….
These unpleasant affairs did damage my views on church. I don’t really particular enjoy going anymore. I think Christian Churches ought never be organized. Pastors should be cycled in and out and elected by the congregation. Furthermore, they should be bi-vocational. Positions of deacon and elder ought to be fragile and these positions should be accountable to both the congregation and the pastor. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I think a tired pastor made some serious mistakes deputizing a family who’s likely ambitions were to gain control of the senior pastor’s position and transform the place into a quasi-cult. It was well on the way of becoming like this. I hardly see members of Timmy and his family. When I do I oftentimes don’t say anything to them. There is nothing to say.