This will be Part 1 of a series. There is simply too much to address in this short article.
After presenting our research to the Conference Ministers at their gathering in Orlando, FL in December, one of those Conference Ministers asked if I would come and do a presentation for the clergy in his Conference. I agreed.
Information about the event was sent to every pastor in the Conference. The event would be scheduled for March 8 (it took place last Thursday).
Before the event even took place, those who choose not to be called conspirators orchestrated what they do not like to have called an attack on both the event itself, and me personally. This orchestrated - I will call it an `effort' since the word `attack' offends their sensibilities - effort included an advance warning on ucctruths.com; a letter from the Executive Director of the Biblical Witness fellowship to every church in the Conference without notice to the pastor asking them to protest the event, (I will say more about this letter next week, a letter in which the Director says I accuse him and others of `outside influence' - an accusation which he denies: don't you love the irony of that - the letter itself is evidence against his own assertion); and a scribe who would be at the event to take notes and to report on my presentation for both the Biblical Witness Fellowship and ucctruths.com (you can read that report, and his insights about it on their website - and I will take some time next week to address my own concerns about that).
For now, I want to focus simply on the article posted prior to my presentation.
It records that:
Dorhauer doesn't like to be asked for facts or questioned at all about his conspiracy. His web site limits comments to only those that are supportive while people who ask questions are called "trolls" and asked to leave or are kicked off. For his upcoming seminar, he has limited those who can attend because it "is purposely designed for pastors and these authorized ministers only".
If any person were to read that, they would surely draw the desired conclusion that I am not to be trusted, that my information is fabricated and will not stand scrutiny, and that I in fact am the one conspiring covertly with others.
Let's do this one point at a time.
1. I don't like to be asked for facts of questioned at all -
I have done this workshop, presentation, seminar many, many times. Never have I done it without saying up front "Stop me with any questions you might have." Never have I done it without leaving a significant block of time open for the taking of questions. That is essential. I know that the material and research I present leaves open a lot of questions that must be addressed if my credibility is to be intact. I even say at the outset that all I have is circumstantial evidence, around which I have built a theory. Every presentation of the material is an effort to test the theory and present the facts in evidence. I often leave a presentation having made the case to many; having come up short with others who want more information; and having offended some who find what I do unacceptable and detrimental to the life of the church. For this reason, I continue to do thorough and effective research testing my theory of the facts in evidence. But it cannot be said of me that I am unwilling to be asked for facts and questioned.
To illustrate this point, one of the men who had come representing one of the renewal groups in the UCC - and who therefore had an agenda that did not allow him to hear my presentation with anything but disdain - took issue with the case I had made about abusers and bullies in the church who shut down dialogue by their tactics of intimidation. He said he had never met anyone like that and challenged me on the point. I told a horrific story of being screamed at, cursed, and threatened with bodily harm while in the sanctuary of a church to which I had been invited by the leaders to answer questions about the UCC's position on marriage equality.
He also said he knew of no case where a `trained activist' had entered a church. I gave a very specific example of that. Neither of the examples I used as facts to illustrate my point were in any way isolated incidences. They, and many others stories similar to this, are illustrated in a book I have co-authored with my colleague here on staff of the Missouri Mid-South Conference (Steeplejacking , on sale at Amazon.com for 1/3 off cover - though not in print until June).
2. His web site limits comments to only those that are supportive while people who ask questions are called "trolls" and asked to leave or are kicked off
First, tain't my website. I don't make the rules, but I damn sure follow them. The website was intentionally not designed to be a no hold's barred interactive forum, but simply a place where those who were doing research could share the information. We needed to create for ourselves space in which our research could be documented without being taken over by those who would waste our time devolving into meaningless issues and attacks. Anyone is welcome to come in, and anyone is permitted to ask any questions they want. Some of most challenging questions come from my colleagues on the site who demand more evidence, more rigorous documentation of the facts, and who point out that the logic broke down somewhere. It has been an invaluable site. Even James Hutchins, who authors ucctruths.com is welcome and can ask questions and challenge statements made - as long as he abides by the rules. Read any article on the site and you will discover that there is no prohibition to questions that challenge claims and assumptions made by the author. Trolls are those who come in with hidden agendas and use the site to argue their own political or theological point of view at the expense of the research being done.
3. For his upcoming seminar, he has limited those who can attend because it "is purposely designed for pastors and these authorized ministers only".
Twern't I. I did the seminar, but didn't establish the ground rules. I didn't limit anything. The purposeful design created by the leaders of the Conference was indeed for pastors and authorized ministers only. There is nothing nefarious about this - it happens every day across this - and, I would daresay - any denomination. There are a number of good reasons for this, but the best is that clergy need places wherein they can speak with openness and candor to each other about dynamics in their churches without lay folk present. There are simply things that pastors cannot openly discuss with members of their church present. Clergy have these training sessions all the time. Many of them meet in clergy support groups weekly for just the very same reason. It is anticipated that I will return for a training event for lay and clergy sometime in the fall.
Again, this is not meant as an essay to defend my actions, but to demonstrate that those who are writing to discredit our work are not entirely honest. I don't like doing this sort of thing, because it often reduces itself to some sort of he said, she said thing that makes us all look petty. And to a certain extent we are.
Providing Evidence | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)
Providing Evidence | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)