Late last week, I decided to withdraw my appeal. The decision was passed on yesterday to Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow, attorney for Dysfunctional Bob and Grace Episcopal Church, who apparently reacted badly to the news. That’s amusing, as my decision gives him everything he wants, unless he was hoping to stick it to me, which wasn’t going to happen. (Of course, given Jeff’s Christian worldview, there’s no possibility he was thinking in those terms. Yeah, right.)
Despite having spent well over $20,000 already, the move was not based on finances. Instead, it was based on my belief that Dysfunctional Bob and St. Dysfunction simply aren’t worth the effort. I couldn’t care less about either, except to share my negative experiences with both. And I have no desire to go anywhere near the great, oozing crock of karmic filth that is the church, so who cares?
At the same time, Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow’s dilatory conduct in this matter, together with his inflammatory, prejudicial language, and his decision to try to drag a dying mother into court, have well illustrated for onlookers just how toxic the church is, and have provided unique insights into Jeff’s professional ethics, as well as those of Dysfunctional Bob. In addition, one gets a good feel for the realities of their Christian faith, or lack thereof. Or, put in other terms, when the first article ran on The Wartburg Watch, there was not a single commenter who supported Leslie Malm and our famous “long-time parishioner” (otherwise affectionately known as “the Rabid Chihuahua,”) and their ad hominem attacks. And nothing that’s transpired since has resulted in any additional favorable publicity for St. Dysfunction. See below for exact quotes:
Loyal inhabitants of Planet Malm will continue to insist what a wonderful place it is, but few onlookers agree. Meanwhile, I doubt anyone would use the phrase “love or concern for Eric” in any of Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow’s actions, or those of Dysfunctional Bob—and let’s not even touch on the issue of conduct towards Mom.
So, what next?
I will continue my efforts through at least Feburary 2020, and probably until Bob retires. In that regard, Bob has one major disadvantage, which is that I can outlast him. He’s no spring chicken, and the demographics of the parish aren’t doing him any favors.
Meanwhile, it’s a safe bet that there will be a canonical proceeding in 2019 against Dysfunctional Bob under the new anti-retaliation provisions of Title IV. Knowing The Episcopal Church, it will undoubtedly mess things up, or claim that Bob’s actions don’t amount to retaliation. (Bob also has a track record of questionable veracity apropos these issues.) After all, shunning, bullying and harassment are not of weighty and material importance to the ministry of The Episcopal Church, so why would retaliation count for anything? (And yes, I have the former in writing.) But hey, I’m always down for a good time.
Nor should anyone feel bad for the church. The intake officer who handled the summer 2015 complaint of retaliation against Bob, the Rev. Randall Prior, recommended conciliation, but apparently Bishop Shannon, in his infinite wisdom, decided to overrule that recommendation. Indeed, when I asked the Rev. Prior about the misuse of our donations, I asked if the bishops understood that misuse of restricted solicitations is illegal. He replied that they did, but they didn’t want to get involved. So it is clear to me that Bishop Shannon is prepared to condone illegal behavior. (Subsequently, the Rev. Prior was released as an intake officer. Sounds suspiciously like a coverup to me.)
In fact, the diocese didn’t even provide notice of its decision. Yet later, Bishop Shannon feigned ignorance, saying he would make sure he found out why my complaints had been mishandled. The answer, I think, looks him in the mirror every morning.
In all of this, it seems to me that there’s one given, which is that five years from now St. Dysfunction will be a much smaller place. But who knows? Maybe Dysfunctional Bob will do all involved a favor and pack his lazy, self-entitled backside off to Jekyll Island. But he seems to thrive on the unwarrranted adulation, so that may not happen any time soon. Nor is that going to change my assessment of the place, which is that once you peel the outward layers of friendly behavior, you find a seriously screwed up, organizationally narcissistic church just inside, in which there is limited accountability, no planning for the future, bad financial management, inappropriate behavior by clergy, staff and parish “leadership,” an over-indulged rector, and a disturbing reliance on borrowing, versus saving.
Just look at Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow’s behavior in this matter.