Oh, No! That DID NOT Just Happen to Me!

Or …

I’ve finally arrived as a writer/theologian/political commentator since I’m now blackballed.

First, a little background for historical context:

About six years ago, I stumbled upon a small online/email group of women who follow Reformed theology. If you’re not familiar with it and want to know more, read this. Basically, the Presbyterian denominations are based upon it (as is the Presbyterian Church in America, of which I’ve been a member for fifteen years). Reformed tradition holds to the teachings of John Calvin. You may recognize the words, sovereignty of God, predestination, or election. We believe in all of those.

The Reformed denominations can cover a lot of ground and many different nuances. One of the things that most Reformed folk think they’re really good at is grace—and most are. Some, however, can be intolerably narrow-minded even towards their “own like-minded sisters and brothers.”

Anyway, eager for heavy-duty theological discussion, I signed onto this Reformed Women (RW) group. Sometimes interesting topics were discussed with prayer requests added every week. I said my two cents here and there and was always treated cordially. (I did become annoyed with repeated references to political viewpoints during the 2008 election but brushed it aside, just FYI.)

Soon the group expanded to Facebook (FB) and Twitter. I became a member of the group on FB and friended the main moderator and followed her on Twitter.

Well, everything was hunky-dory (you know, we exchanged Scripture, favorite recipes, and family photos) until …

I posted MY OPINION on MY FB PROFILE regarding a recent event that just happened to include George W. Bush.

(If you are reading this on Facebook, you can look back on my profile to read what I’m referencing.)

I saw this article about a Texas school district that refused to air President Obama’s speech to school children last week but are taking school children on school buses to hear President George W. Bush speak. I couldn’t believe the absurdity and hypocrisy. My finger hit the “share on Facebook” button so fast. The inconsistency and contradiction were ridiculous.

And so, with a CLICK, I posted it to my profile. For a split second, I thought, Hmmm. I bet someone will have something to say about this.

It wasn’t long before the moderator of the RW group was begging me to come forward to explain why I had a problem with this. My other friends quickly jumped in to voice their opinions, which matched my opinions exactly.

The RW moderator offended them by insinuating they had not researched the two situations and questioned their faith. Furthermore, she questioned the validity and sincerity of my faith, as well, and invited me to a private exchange via email or the RW group. (Upon reflection, I think she hoped to move the discussion onto her turf where she had more leverage in pummelling my opinions and had more “supporters.” It was obvious that she was outnumbered in the discussion on my profile.)

I quickly explained my position in a fair and bi-partisan manner on my public profile.

This was her response to me:

from Jacy Joypals

This saddens me but I thank you Mary. I think you know after our many years of association where I stand with this. I am praying for you.

And with that condescending remark, our “relationship” was severed.

Blackballed. Kicked out. Cast aside.

She de-friended and BLOCKED me from her FB friend list, removed me from the FB group and her Twitter feed, and removed my blog from the RW blog list. I’m sure she’s already kicked me out of the original email group, but that’s harder for me to figure out (and frankly, I’m tired of investigating this seventh-grade drama).

I see how meaningful “our many years of association” were to her. Hmmph.

The discussion continued with my friends’ (Christians and non-Christians; Reformed believers and others) getting my back. My sweet husband posted a theologically sound defense of my remarks and as one friend noted, “kicked a$$.”

My first reaction was shock. I knew we didn’t see eye-to-eye on some issues, but so what? I never dreamed in a million years that a leader of women’s ministry—who has been in leadership for a few decades—would be so petty and well, just downright mean.

Honestly, though, I’m pleased. Pleased that I have defended my beliefs no matter their unpopularity. I’m pleased that I—usually a real people-pleaser who wants EVERYONE to like her and think she’s smart—didn’t back down when confronted with the possibility of pissing someone off (though I really never dreamed she would go this far).

I am pleased that my writing has elicited such ire and action because I think that means I’m doing and saying something right. Right?

I’m terribly disappointed, though, too. I’m disappointed in her behavior. To cut off all ties with me based on my opinion of a rather insignificant matter is such an immature display. Kind of like a two-year-old’s throwing a tantrum when he or she doesn’t get his or her way.

I think she was gone before she could have seen how much she offended some of my friends, to whom she owes an apology. To judge someone’s faith based on what he or she says on a FB post is—from a logical standpoint—asinine and—from a spiritual standpoint—Pharisaical.

And what of the example she has set of Christianity in her interactions with me? How do her words and actions represent the gospel? Seriously.

I’m appalled that her “true colors” show her to be intolerant of her sister in Christ, judgmental, angry, rash, and legalistic. Love of Christ? Unity of the body? Peace and purity of the Church? Uh-hum. I *think* I’ve read a little something about those somewhere along the way.

No wonder people leave the Church, labeling us intolerant, opinionated hypocrites.

Sadly, no wonder.