Let us Prey: Some Thoughts

Posted: April 25, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , , ,

The book came onto my radar from the Presbyterian Writers section of the Presbyterian Connection paper. R. Glenn Ball and Darrell Puls (2017, Cascade books) Let us Prey: The Plague of Narcissist Pastors and What We can Do About it. 

The book came at the right time in the healing journey.  As I reflect on what has happened, and process through in a healthy way reading this study and stories (both qualitative and quantitative data) it affirmed I was not crazy (or at least not about those times in my life.

Everyone has aspects of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), for it is the whisps that allow for a healthy outgoing self. What happens though is that there is a high percentage in the ministry that were found to be full blown NPD. Now, I am going to stop a mind tangent that will happen for some, these are different predators in the church than the pedophile cleric/elders. NPD’s are actually quite puritanical. As Ball and Puls would point out, there may be a sliver of cross over, but the atrocities coming to light in the Roman Catholic Church, Southern Baptist, Jehovah Witness and Mega-churches around pedophilia are a different mental illness than what the scope of this study is exploring.

This is a must read for anyone in leadership, or prayerfully discerning leadership. It shows what can go wrong, what are warning signs for the toxicity and closed tables/pews that those with NPD strive to achieve. For it is by keeping out the new and fresh through harassment, haranguing, and flat out lies that allows them to maintain control to the detriment of the community, oh and it is never their fault.

I state it as part of the therapeutic journey because it was not only ministers I have served under, or been apart of community with I noted that these stories resonated with. Also the “financial” controllers of certain religious groups, and leaders within the scope of Non-profits (which the charitable model grew out of the religious models). It is the ill health that creates the chaos to feed the ego of the individual(s) so they can create the solution. The solution also tends to be back as “it has always been”.

“In an important sense, therefore, organizations exist in the minds of their members, organizational identities are parts of their individual members’identities, and organizational needs and behaviours are the collective needs and behaviours of their members acting under the influence of their organizational self-image.

-(Ball and Puls, p.139)

That is simply to say. An organization is shaped by its members, in a healthy organization it will reflect a collaboration between leadership and members. In an unhealthy organization the disunity and chaos will fuel the image the narcissist needs to exists for their own fulfillment as their self-love is a deep rooted self-loathing rotting out themselves, and stretching out to others.

The destructive force is what was taught in the gospels by Brother Jesus when he spoke about a house against itself cannot stand. That is a house designed to only create worth in a few, will eventually collapse into a place of harm and destruction.

Unhealthy people, then, are attracted to unhealthy churches, while the emotionally healthy will tend to either leave an unhealthy church or hunker down and make the best of it.

-(Ball and Puls, p.139)

And that is the summation of why these leaders continue to thrive. Habit keeps healthy people in unhealthy situations. Much like the conditioning and gas lighting done to the victim of domestic violence not to flee. The only way to help a person with a personality disorder is first they must want to work with you for healing, the next is by rigged boundaries.

The healthy MUST make the decision to abandon ship.

And warn any they know that their be dragons there…it is unhealthy water do not go there.

Are we strong enough to demand courageously safe and healthy sanctuaries?

 

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