Why Am I Not Surprised?

Why Am I Not Surprised? November 25, 2014

baliby Ellen cross posted from her blog When Church Hurts

I wasn’t going to post anything but the 21 Days of Healing series until after it was done, but seriously, this just deserves to be posted.

When I was tossed out of my church, a “friend” from the church (who still spies on me by following this blog) invited me that next week to have coffee with her. We spent several hours at a coffee bar the next town south of where the church is located talking about what was happening.

She is the one who was afraid that the daughter of the pastor who tossed us out of the church would tell on her for meeting with me (the daughter was sitting a few booths away). She told me during our conversation that this pastor – brother to the senior pastor – had talked to her a week before he had contacted me about sharing my story. In our conversation, she appeared to be quite horrified that the leadership of the church had treated me so poorly and especially with no attention at all to biblical protocols such as Matthew 18. Yet, when I asked her if I deserved an apology for being spiritually abused, she could not bring herself to say, “yes.”

Instead, she kept saying, “But Ellen, you told!” And I kept saying, “But Kathie, if what they were doing to me was appropriate, why does it have to be kept a secret?” And she would respond with exasperated harrumphing and tongue clucking but couldn’t give me an answer.

She did declare that she was my friend and ever would be. And back then, I believed her. I desperately wanted to believe her and so I did.

And for a very short time we exchanged a few texts and emails and she promised that she would get together with me again sometime soon. That was back in January. Other than her seeing my husband and me at a coffee shop in August in which she actually said, “Hello,” and then kept on going, I haven’t heard from her since.

Until this week.

This week I got on email. It was a group email to several people. It started with “Friends” as the opening and goes on to promote her new book – about a female biblical character who was a “social castoff.”

So, my first thought was, “Why am I getting this email? My second thought was, “Why am I getting an email that addresses me as a ‘friend’ when I haven’t heard from this person for ten months? My third thought was, “Why would she send me a book about a woman who was a ‘social castoff’ except to rub it in?”

And then I realized. She wasn’t sending me the email because she still considers me a friend. A friend would have kept her word. A friend would have stayed in touch and invited me to have coffee or lunch a few times in the past ten months. A friend would have paused and chatted when she saw me in August.

And then I thought about the email again. And the link to Amazon.com. And I realized that, just like the church, it was all about money. This was just a marketing email that she was sending, most likely, to any and every acquaintance she has ever known. It had nothing to do with friendship. It had nothing to do with me at all. It had everything to do with money.

I would not have believed this at all if the email had come to me only and with a personal note. Something like, “Hi, Ellen! I’m so sorry I haven’t kept my commitment to you about getting together. I didn’t realize when I made that promise to you that I would be immersed in birthing a book and how much time that requires. But I want you to know that I have not forgotten you and now that the book is completed, I would love to get together with you – maybe over your Christmas break? Oh, and by the way, when we get together, I want to give you a copy of my book. I think it will speak to you – I hope it does. Please let me know if you are up for setting a date during your break and, again, I am so sorry that I couldn’t get back to you sooner.”

Instead, it was a “form email” sent for the purpose of making money.

Isn’t that sad? I am filled with compassion for her because she represents everything that my former church was about. Money. I’m sorry, Kathie, but I won’t buy your friendship. Not any more. But if you ever want to have that cup of coffee, I’ll meet up with you. Because even though I won’t buy your friendship, I will be a friend to you no strings attached. That’s what Christians do.


Ellen is a member of the SASBN and she blogs at When Church Hurts

More about Ellen:

Several years ago I was the victim of a most heinous form of abuse unlike anything I had ever thought possible. Not having been raised in a Christian home, my first experience with Christians and pastors had been one of joy, grace, fellowship, love, and delight. When faced with the horrors of having the very essence of who I was as a woman of faith stripped from me in what I can only describe as spiritual rape, I couldn’t comprehend what was happening. This was church, after all, and I believed that everything works together for good for those who love God. Somehow, it didn’t make sense that everything was not working together for good. When I was finally able to resign myself to the fact that God was not going to “work this out,” I made my escape and sought a safe haven. 
Little did I realize that I was going from the proverbial frying pan into the fire. Oh, how I tried to beat back the flames! Oh, how I prayed and pleaded for mercy, for grace, for a chance. “But hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will toward” Ellen. 
He who began a good work . . . had forsaken me . . . and the silence was more than deafening . . . it was defeating. So intertwined were we, that as God went missing, so did Ellen. But I am nothing, if not tenacious.

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