Well, the bad news arrived today. I can't say much about it because I may need to get legal advice first.

But I will say this. As modern, liberal minded people who are far too enlightened to believe in devils and mumbo jumbo etc., we can be so easily knocked off our feet when the reality of our true situation comes home to us. The truth is that we are fighting against pure evil. On it's own that is bad enough but, of course, we are also up against a heck of a lot of gullible people who, though not pure evil themselves, are easily influenced by, and so easily used, by whatever pure evil is.

My downfall has come out of an act of generosity on my part. It came out of my desire to collaborate and respect the people of my congregation. Unfortunately, it was seen as weakness by a few gatekeepers and bullies who took the opportunity to make sure that an inclusive minded priest would never be in charge of what they consider to be their church.

But the real pain is knowing that, with the exception of a couple of true friends at my church, nobody believes the true circumstances of what happened. Most worrying, because I was not liked by them in the first place, it seems those in authority over me don't believe me and, if they do, then they have deliberately decided to placate the aggressive parties and sacrifice me.

Worst of all, from the point of view of my own peace of mind, I have to wait weeks to find out what fate has been decided for me. I have been told this but I have not been given any indication of what has been decided. I don't think I matter. In fact, I'm coming to the conclusion that ordinary parish priests don't matter, full stop (period).


DIARY ENTRY – 4TH. FEBRUARY 2010 — 99 Comments

  1. Oh, MadPriest, I am so sorry. That sucks. I will keep you in my prayers.
    Brenda in Flagstaff

  2. This sounds quite terrible, MadPriest. My heart is very heavy inded for your sake.

    May you be sustained through it all.

    Never forget that you are greatly loved — right here.

  3. MP–What popped into my mind when reading this was “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” (Mark 6:4)

    Prayers for you and the missus…


  4. Confusion to the forces of hardness of heart! Be cheered, and where do you want us to send messages of support (besides the obvious one of Heavenwards)?

  5. I’m sorry, MP. What you’re going through sounds wretched. You and yours will be in my prayers.

  6. MP – I know only too well exactly where you’re coming from. Been there myself.

    Thoughts and prayers brother – you’re in ’em.

  7. I am really sorry to read that you have been got into some sort of trouble.

    Many people value you highly, so please take some comfort from the support you are receiving here.

  8. We’re told that all things, even the darkest, most soul-destroying things, even the situations we cannot fathom and the times when our voices and actions are misunderstood and turned against us, even those things, work together for the good of those who love the Lord.

    Clergy are an easy target, for if we hold to the Gospel then we’re vulnerable, both to accusations from parishioners, and blind dumb ass-hattery from those supposed to be charged with our care.

    Be under no illusions, there is something rotten in the heirarchy of the Church of England, and only a few beacons of white light shine through. There is little compassion and no sense of loyalty from the centre to the edges of the organisation. There is fear, bullying, ladder-climbing, power-plays and a business mind-set that sees the parishes as little more than cash-cows to keep the administration going. The wonder is that any of us care to work within such an environment at all.

    If you think I can do more than send prayers ascending, then let me know.

  9. You matter to me, MP. I take great comfort in being a member of your virtual congregation. Keep shining the light of Jesus.

  10. You certainly matter to many people around your global parish. Prayers for your peace of mind (and that of Mrs. MadPriest.)

  11. MP, you have been in my prayers daily and will continue to be, perhaps now with some added “oomph.”

    I don’t know you except through OCICBW…, but my perception is that you are a good priest. Maybe half a bubble off plumb, but then the best priests often are.

    Are you sure you don’t want to cross the Pond? On the whole, we treat our clergy a lot better. Though even over here, Stuff sometimes Happens. (I know that from personal experience, though it wasn’t as serious and in the end things turned out very well.)

    God bless you.

  12. Dear MP,

    I can so relate to what you’re going through and how much and badly it just sucks.

    You will have my prayers on this.

    It is so damned frustrating. I am sorry you have to experience this. Someone once told me that the worst things happen to the people who scare the devil the most. So, keep up the good work!

  13. Maybe half a bubble off plumb

    Fair comment, Bill. But I think I prefer the way the shrink who signed me back to work put it – “Jonathan is slightly eccentric” 🙂

  14. Oh, bummer, MP. There are always idiots (edited for publication) in every hierarchy that just have to gather up stones to throw and then they just can’t resist throwing them at someone. This is especially true, even now in the twenty-first century, if the person has ever had the occasion to seek treatment from a mental health practitioner. I, personally, have discovered that intelligence, graduate degrees, even experience in counseling related professions is no guarantee that the person/s will be enlightened.

    I will not only be praying for you and Mrs. MP, but will also be praying that those who should know better will finally have the scales of ignorance removed from their eyes so that they will quit inflicting harm on their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

  15. I can’t understand your situation. Your sermons are so damn orthodox. I might remove you for being TOO conservative!

  16. The bat rastards! Prayers definitely ascending for you, my friend. You do matter to this off kilter hillbilly. I agree that you need to cross over to this side of the pond. I would definitely attend any church you were assigned.

  17. Jonathan, if someone described me as “a bubble off the plumb”, I’d take hold of the phrase and make it mine with a prominent place on my sidebar.

    I feel much sadness over the bitter conclusion to your service at St Francis. The good people you served will not forget you and what you did for them.

    My prayers for your future continue.

    Lord, You have always given
    bread for the coming day;
    and though I am poor,
    today I believe.

    Lord, You have always given
    strength for the coming days;
    and though I am weak,
    today I believe.

    Lord, You have always given
    peace for the coming day;
    and though of anxious heart,
    today I believe.

    Lord, You have always kept me
    safe in trials;
    and now, tired as I am,
    today I believe.

    Lord, You have always marked
    the road for the coming day;
    and though it may be hidden,
    today I believe.

    Lord, You have always lightened
    the darkness of mine;
    and though the night is here,
    today I believe.

    Lord, You have always spoken
    when the time was ripe;
    and though you be silent now,
    today I believe.

    From Celtic Evening Prayer.

  18. MP, Jesus offered us the way of the cross, which is no consolation at all, but he promised that it was the way of true life. It does not seem terribly life-filled when the nails are going in. Still, injustice and inhumanity do not have the final word.

    I am so sorry to read all this. You and the missus are definitely in my prayers.

    You know the Gospel deep in your bones; cling to it. Your broader flock loves you.

  19. Prayers of support for you and Mrs. MP and the true friends at your church; angry prayers that God will light a fire under those who sit by quietly and allow such injustice; and may God bind those who wish you ill.
    – A Deacon’s Wife

  20. Been trying to think of something supportive or pious to say and I just can’t. So I will just add that this sort of idiocy is why churches can’t reach new people. Who wants to join a club given over to witch hunts?

  21. prayers for you, MP

    and may you someday (soon, I hope) be able to look back at this as a badge of honour.

  22. … and then they wonder why their churches are withering away to dust?
    You’ve brought together a global congregation in which a widely diverse group of people (some of whom have at least at times experienced literal fear at the the thought of any involvement with organised religion) who’ve discovered a communal life and spirituality through your ministry. And those who delude themselves into thinking they have power respond by making your life hell…

    Priests like you do matter MP. They matter so much that the Pharisees want to make your life a misery. Prayers for you, Mrs. MP, and dogs & cat. We’re thinking of you.

  23. I agree with Dennis, yet again. There is no nonsense like ecclesiastical nonsense as it is the proverbial wolf wrapped in a sheepskin. feh! I spit it out of my mouth!

    If there is any consolation to being in the place of the troubled psalmist, let it be that you are obviously not in the place that is truly your home. There are places within this wacky Anglican Communion, where all of your “bubbles” that are “off” will be gifts to a community that is gathered around The Table with a place just for you.

  24. I agree with Saintly Ramblings (above). Take good legal advice; don’t put anything in writing before following the advice; take a ‘friend’ to every meeting, never meet anyone alone. Look at the terms and conditions under ‘common tenure’.

  25. Painful to hear of your situation; but righteousness and integrity (which is evident in you) are not bestowed by ungrateful, mean-spirited people. May you be at peace knowing your intentions.

  26. You, good sir, are certainly my parish priest, since I wouldn’t darken the door of any of my local churches if life itself depended upon it.

    I read your sermons. I listen to your music. I join in your prayers. And I don’t even consider myself much of a Christian at all.

    You are loved and needed. My prayers are with you and Mrs. MP at this time of trial. I’ve been through something like this and it is truly hell on Earth, good vs. evil.


  27. Oh, MP, this sucks. I think the priesthood is one of the most dangerous positions on earth. I hope someone in authority over me reads or hears about this and challenges me to explain myself. I dare them. Feh.

  28. Bummer.. hope it turns out better than you fear. This is my favourite Blog, well this and the nakedpastor. There is immense value in being truly yourself, but it is costly.

  29. I am sorry to learn of this sad and painful development. May you land on your feet soon and at a place where you will be much appreciated. It is St. Francis’ loss and they will realize it when it is too late. Prayers for you and Mrs Madpriest. May the peace and love of Christ cover you now and forever. Amen

  30. Ouch…. yah, maybe ordinary parish priests don’t matter…. except for those who walk all over ’em to get what they want…. sounds like a crucified place to me, MP. You continue in my prayers.

  31. Prayers for you, Missus MP, and all the four-leggeds of the Crazy Arse household.

    It’s trite, but it’s all I got: cast yourself on Jesus, his mercy, his all-embracing LOVE.


  32. Oh shit — we have been told that

    all manner of things will be well

    I choose to believe that is true

    more prayers and still some anger

  33. Prayers for you and Mrs. Mad Priest. I am so very sorry. Your virtusl congregation sends love, support, and whatever else you need.


  34. Agree with what the others say and remember! Your are important to lots and lots of people, even if the powers that be don’t know of it! Prayers ascending for you and Mrs MP and the doggies – and for the poor congregation caught in this muddle!

  35. Dear MP, I’m with everyone in best wishes and prayers. I agree with liminalspace about taking a friend, etc. Please do.

  36. Hey, Mad Priest. I’m sorry this is happening. I am sure it is painful every day.

    Here in the States there is an organization called the Alban Institute. I know them because a consultant associated with them, Rev. Alice Mann (Episcopal priest) worked with our church. I mention Alban because some day, in some circumstance, they might have a workshop or conference that really speaks to you, comforts you, strengthens you. I don’t know of anything right now, but they know so much about congregational life, at some point you might find some community or support through them.

    You are in my prayers.


  37. I don’t have much to add, other than that I am a grateful recipient of your ministry and we are all thankful.

    I’m sure God has great things in store for you, I also can’t imagine how hard it is to see that now.

    Prayers and love.
    And know that there are many of us who value our parish priests, and are sorry that your parish can’t see what they have in you.

  38. How unfortunate for those at your parish who do not recognize and celebrate your vocation as so many of us do here. You serve us so well by provoking us to really think about what is going on in God’s creation and lifting our spirits with excellent sermons and laughter.
    Thank you for your continuing service with us. I am most greatful for it as I am sure many others are.

  39. “Unfortunately, it was seen as weakness by a few gatekeepers and bullies who took the opportunity to make sure that an inclusive minded priest would never be in charge of what they consider to be their church.”

    Whose church is it?

    I am assuming that this is a family-sized congregation (using the Alban institute’s family-clergy-program-corporate sizing scale). If this is a family-sized congregation, and not to be cruel about this, you don’t make any difference. This congregation survives on the family relationship they have with each other. In such congregations, the professional member of the clergy is only needed for hatch-match-dispatch functions, and typically do not fit within the social structure of the congregation.

    The joke is that 2 years after you are gone there will be complaints that the new vicar isn’t doing something the way you did it.

    Fortunately we are only required to be as faithful as we know how. But, I would suggest reading up on how different sized congregations behave, just for future reference.

    Even as a layperson in the church, I’ve been burned by not knowing about this.

  40. Sorry to be late for this. I feel on verge of demise in my own workplace all the time. It could happen to a lot us. I’m sorry this is taking a toll on you, Jonathan.

  41. Praying for you and Mrs MP. Make sure you talk to some supportive people about it, there’s nothing worse than isolation when people start coming after you.

  42. Joining in … what can I say as comment 96?

    It is beyond sucky to encounter systemic evil in the church yet we know it exists.

    It is hard to believe in much when the so-called people of God stick knives in your back.

    May the God of LOVE, real love hold you both close and may your hearts be emboldened by that love and the love of this global congregation.

    Candles will burn for you.

  43. I came across this via someone else’s blog. It sounds like a horrible situation – especially the waiting. I doubt we agree on much, but you have my sympathy and, for what they may be worth, my prayers for a good resolution.

  44. I came across this via another blog. It sounds like a very unpleasant situation – especially the waiting. I doubt whether we agree on much but you have my sympathy and, for what they are worth, my prayers.