I learned to speak quietly, carefully, or not at all. The rare occasions when I have spoken up, it has been in defense of another. While I am deeply grieved by it, I am accustomed to public shaming and mocking. It was in the ambient air when I took my first breath, but that is another story – my story.
I married a man, who survived his own story by never being vulnerable, needy or known. He has been misrepresented, maligned and mangled in the public sphere to no fault of his own. This is my gentle, clear and soft-spoken attempt to defend him.
Let me preface this series of thoughts with this… he has good days and bad days. On our thirteen anniversary I didn’t know he was having a bad day, and I wrote In Praise of Him… as a gift. On that day that he was in full on self-protection mode, unwanting to be praised, seen, or known. To someone who is shame-based, public exposure, even public praise can be too much on a bad day.
If you read the above link you will know that this man, made is way by working and working hard – even as a boy. Humans are all deeply needy when they arrive on this planet, but he committed to eradicating that need just as fast and as soon as he could. This, of course, ends up erasing parts of your humanity and keeping you in a fortress – but you are good and safe from everyone, including yourself. We all respond to the pain of life differently, he became a “Fortified City” and I became a “City of Broken Walls.” He is a Type A and “Get-Er-Done” kind of guy. You need it done, done well, done fair and done fast – he is absolutely your man. There is a problem with being a Fortified City – it’s awful lonesome in there.
Once Upon a Very RealTime…
One day Fortified City went to a church. There he met a cleric who could clearly see he was lonely and needed a place to belong. It was after all the church’s motto, “A Place to Belong.” This church felt that its calling was “Inner Healing” and the cleric who was clever and seemingly kind offered free counseling. Which as it turns out was the briefest and most expensive counseling that Fortified City ever had. This cleric took it upon himself to diagnose Fortified City with “Attachment Disorder” cause God apparently called him to diagnose mental health issues without any qualifications to do so. Qualifications are things that muddy the spiritual water and impeded the Holy Spirit. Fortified City was even featured in the cleric’s book on the topic under “Jason’s Story.”
Let us take a moment and pause this real and regrettable story to say that clerics are in the role of sacred trust. This means that the cleric is obligated to stay within his or her scope of practice and standard of care, as well as act in the best interest of the people they serve. This cleric operated wildly outside of his scope of practice, preyed upon the known vulnerabilities of Fortified City and acted to serve his own best interest – to help his failing company(s) rather than aid his floundering congregant. Not only is this a flagrant case of clerical malfeasance, but it is also an abhorrent abuse of office against a congregant that the cleric himself assessed to be vulnerable. Repugnant and reprehensible are the two words I can spit out of my fingertips.
All the best stories are true stories – with a little bit of romance. This true story is no exception. Fortified City met and married Broken Walls at this church. It so happened that Broken Walls had become the spiritual daughter of this cleric by the cleric’s own invitation. The philosophy of the cleric was that people with a broken past needed to be re-parented, therefore he was “spiritual father” to many. Fortified City and Broken Wall married while monies continued to pour out of Fortified City’s business and personal accounts to financially aid the floundering cleric family business.
Once again, the name of Jesus be praised.
Amazing and unbelievable things happened at the hands of this cleric and his “kingdom business.” After Essence Publishing went bankrupt, the cleric reinvented the company into another called “Rock Media.” Fortified City became the director of Rock Media, on paper which the cleric/family governed (with aid from the cleric who was the original president at initial investment request.) Fortified City was asked to be the director due to his excellent credit rating, financial fruitfulness and “naive trust” given to the cleric by the victim. The trouble with being a director without direct involvement is that you are liable for the ruin regardless of your real life role.
Fortified City and Broken Walls took a sabbatical from the Church along with their young family. They never, not ever, returned. Fortified City filed a lawsuit in a last-ditch attempt to hold the cleric accountable as neither the church council, the Classic or Synod seemed able to do so. This lawsuit was eventually dropped because the Cleric was bankrupt, and the emotional cost of pursuing the matter was too high for even more isolated Fortified City and even more crushed Broken Walls.
Fortified City had eventually hired a good accountant who helped him to get a “Promissory Note” payable before he signed over directorship to the next person. The goal of the note was to restore $170,000 of the resources lost. This was paid back to the businesses of Fortified City when Rock Media sold a valuable asset, the rest was taken as a personal and/or corporate loss.
Fortified City was vulnerable to this cleric because he needed to belong and the cleric knew it. He even diagnosed it and wrote it in his book. Yet he still used his position in the church to groom the trust of Fortified City who now, understandably, has even more difficulty trusting anyone.
Fortified City is a generous man of means. It is true that he has given money where he has not been able to give himself. It is not true, however, that he has ever tried to take or manipulate money from others. He is not now and has not ever been in financial distress. He sued the cleric in an attempt to hold him accountable for his clerical misconduct – not to swindle money out of a poor pastor. Period. You do not have to take my Broken Wall word for it. See the Charitable Donations for Fortified City below (2014-2017). This does not include the hundreds of hours of labor and electrical materials donated to various faith-based ministries in the community. It is true that he has given money where he has not been able to give himself. It is not true, however, that he has ever tried to take or manipulate money from others.
There is more, a lot more – to be said of the communal shaming, the savage shunning, the condemnation of any and all concerned members from the pulpit, the extensive manipulation, and malevolent clerical misconduct; not to mention the rabid ruin that this has cost he, I, and our children even now. But outing the cleric and the community is not my aim now, or in the future – it is simply to defend him. Him who matters much to me.
I have lived with him for just over thirteen years as his wife and partner in life. I know well his strengths and his vulnerabilities that only those who live with him and those who hunt them see. He hard-headed, driven, giving man who kept to himself as a way of coping with the pain of life, thus I have referred to him as Fortified City. He had a solid reputation that matched his actions; that was until he went to church seeking a safe place to belong. He was a victim of clerical (monetary) malfeasance and savage spiritual abuse. This post is an attempt to set right a grievous wrong against an undeserved man.
And that is about all I have to say “In Defense of Him.”
Post Script: All documentation is accurate and unaltered from its original format. Any redactions of documents were completed to protect the identity of the charitable organizations and privacy of the clerics family. For any legitimate investigative stakeholders (who are bound by professional confidentiality) full documentation/authentication can be made available upon proven and private request from the victims long time CGA (accountant), a former auditor for the CRA. Please note that I have chosen from hundreds of pages of documentation.
Post Post Script: The victim in question has been generous to many organizations as this post has clearly documented. However he and his spouse’s charitable donations will focus on assisting abuse survivors and stakeholders in eradicating clerical malfeasance with advocacy measures. ex. judicial, social, trauma-informed care and education