Have you been betrayed by your leaders?

"Betrayed by Authority" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Betrayed by Authority” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

(For the sake of my peace of mind and to respect my wife and family during my vacation, I’m going to stop comments on my blog posts until I return on the 18th of July.)

I am passionate about community. I am passionate about leaders having integrity. When I typed the title “Have you been betrayed by your leaders?” I was painfully aware that there are people who feel they have been betrayed by me. This causes a great deal of pain in my heart, and I wish there were ways I could repair those relationships. I’m also aware, because I’ve been on the receiving end of betrayal, that the erosion of trust is completely understandable and should be respected. I have to keep reminding myself, and my good mentors always remind me too, that even though I make mistakes and even though I have my own deep-seated issues, this doesn’t disqualify me from being passionate about healthy leadership and communities.

So I proceed with an earned humility and a dreadful caution.

I am a community facilitator for our online community The Lasting Supper. What we are doing there is what I call an experiment. What is happening there is very rare. I don’t know of anyone else doing it. It is not an online church. I endeavor to be one of the bunch. We are all learning as we go. Our priority is to listen before we speak. We endeavor to respect everyone, no matter where they are on their journey. It works almost all the time. Once is a while we have a blip, but we do our best to facilitate it in healthy ways for the benefit of all.

We try to do it differently than other communities we’ve been a part of where we may have felt like we were thrown to the wolves, where our leaders were asleep on the job, and where we didn’t feel like the community was protected.

We aren’t perfect, but we try. We really do. Do we make mistakes? Yes. Do some not appreciate what we are doing? Yes. Do some try it and decide it’s not for them? Yes. But we always try to correct it so that all of us feel that a space is created and protected that values the lives of every single person, no matter what they believe. It’s a development in process.

I treat The Lasting Supper like a microcosm of what I believe the world is: one. I believe at a fundamental level that we are all one, united, without separation or division. I believe it is only our thoughts and beliefs that seem to separate and divide us. I believe that no matter where we are on the spectrum of belief or unbelief, that we are united. So my hope is that The Lasting Supper will reflect this reality. We work around the clock to provide a space to make this reality manifest. I’m delighted to say that we have members who are anywhere on the spectrum from atheists to church-going believers and everyone in between. The respect they show one another is astonishing.

Everyone has the right to believe what they believe. Everyone has the right to be respected for who they are. Everyone has the right to have space to be themselves. The only time this is questioned is when it is obviously harmful to others.

We are trying to learn how to be free without violating the freedom of others. This is the tricky part. This is the challenge. But this is a challenge we are willing to accept and experiment with.

So far it’s working.

Some have asked why there’s a subscription fee of $7/month or $75/year. In a nutshell, 2 reasons:

  1. I am working around the clock to facilitate the community. This is my job.
  2. It provides a barrier of access that ensures the protection of the community and that members respect the values.

Most people understand this. The members certainly do because they see that it works.

I want to invite you to join us. I will personally welcome you and introduce you to the others. I bet you will find it refreshing. Check out The Lasting Supper now!


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8 Responses

  1. Ducatihero says:

    That sounds great with TLS with trying to be free without violating the freedom of others.

    It must be tough to enable that when someone’s perceived freedom is another’s perceived harm when inevitably folks have suffered wounds from attacking wolves and neglect from sleeping sheep dogs?

  2. There are all kinds of challenges, these among them.

  3. Caryn LeMur says:

    May I offer that one major challenge is the grieving process?

    In TLS, may people are involved in ‘deconstruction’ of their spiritual journeys… and reconstruction of a new journey.

    Deconstruction and Reconstruction overlap…. and one slowly fades into the other… but during the first one (that is, Deconstruction) there is one hell of a grieving process:

    – as the person comes out of Denial, they become Angry… and sometimes, feel overwhelmed by Rage. Like my wife that was struck in the face by our rescue dog, they cover their eyes in pain. And when I reached out to check on my wife, she shouted, “Do not even touch me! Not at all! Don’t touch my face!”

    My wife was hurt by our dog… not by me. Even my reaching out to attempt to comfort my wife, was re-interpreted as a danger, an impending pain, and something that had to be counter-attacked NOW.

    We all are terribly human. We all grieve. We all show anger externally or internally…. We all can counter-attack any perceived danger….

    After Anger, the Kübler-Ross model offered that a phase of Bargaining would begin. That is, a person says, “If only I do this, then that will happen…” ‘If only this…’ becomes the norm.

    – To be honest, this phase is good… because the person is connecting cause and effect. They now are recognizing the warning signs that they ignored earlier.

    But in TLS, this creates some interesting ‘triggers’… and (by example) my handing my wife the dog leash for a walk later that day may earn this reply, “Hell no! How could you! After all I went through! If only you understood!”….

    – Good grief, it was a leash…. that’s all it was. But the leash became a trigger for my wife for a time.

    We all are terribly human. We all experience ‘bargaining’ as we learn our ‘triggers’; as we discover the joy of owning our ‘boundaries’; and as we regain our confidence that there are some ’causes’ that we can control… and others, we should avoid.

    Triggers change over time.

    Those are just two ‘phases in motion’ in many people within TLS.

    Oh, I think that TLS would be a tinderbox waiting to explode, except some things happen:

    – People listen to you by the dozen …. in most church institutions, you listen to an instructor.

    – People allow you to vent and grieve … in most church places, you are given thee single solution far too soon.

    – People give you space to be human … in most clerical professions, you are forced to become ‘like Jesus’ too soon… you are no longer allowed to be human.

    – People allow you to ‘own’ your grieving process … in most pastoral counseling, the pastor directs, instructs, and ultimately ‘owns’ your grieving process.

    – People understand ‘triggers’ and try to post the ‘trigger warning’ as needed on difficult posts about difficult subjects … in most Christian fellowship, there are forbidden topics that are totally avoided (and thus real needs and questions are softly suffocated).

    – People apologize and forgive and try again … that is, in TLS, they try again to listen, to allow you to vent and grieve; whereas in most church institutions, they tell you again to forgive… and then tell you again to submit and be quiet.

    Hugs, David. Don’t stop what you are doing. You are a pioneer in rediscovering community.

  4. Kari says:

    Good for you!

  5. Thanks Caryn. I will try.

  6. Reuben: I still consider you my friend, though our relationship is breached for sure. I made every effort to understand you and what you were saying, but it just didn’t seem to satisfy you. Once you made up your mind about me you have seemed to be on a mission to “come after me” and take me down along with TLS. I have never blocked you from nakedpastor.com … I did from my personal FB page and finally had to from my nakedpastor fb just the other day because you were threatening to take me down. I don’t have to allow people to post threats or be abusive to me on my own page. If you want to discuss things with me, you have my email.

  7. If they’re being threatened, yes, they should block.

  8. For the sake of my peace of mind and to respect my wife and family during my vacation, I’m going to stop comments on my blog posts until I return on the 18th of July. However, if you’d like to write me privately I will do my best to respond, but I probably won’t until my vacation is over.