There is a Trinity Reformed Church Head of Household (HoH) meeting tonight covering the way the church handled Jamin Fiasco 2.0, following up a similar meeting put on by Christ Church about the Steven Sitler and Jamin 1.0 situations a couple of weeks back. What I heard coming out of the first meeting wasn’t the greatest, to put it mildly. And I think that we — “we” being humans in general, regardless of religious or political affiliation — have a duty to be judicious in the way we speak of others, in that we should do some solid investigation before we accept rumors or even official correspondence as truth. I regularly get tips from people who suggest I should check this or that story out, and I do… which means that of all the stories I’m told about tragic misjudgment on the parts of leadership within the CREC, I publish only a very small fraction. This is because I can’t verify the story, because (most often) the people involved don’t want their stories going public, or potentially even because I have a day job and limited time — sorting out this stuff gets me zero dollars.
I would hope that those sitting in the meeting today would similarly do their research, both before and after. Ask hard questions. Questions like “can I have access to the financial records and verify that these cases were not influenced in any way by money?” Questions like “why are people in our congregation and across the country getting contacted by the elders and pastors of CC and TRC when they post something of Natalie’s on social media?” Questions like “why is the official line from TRC and CC that Natalie was healthier in 2006 than now, when she tried to kill herself twice in 2006?” Questions like “what specifically are you accusing Natalie of lying about? Specifically?” Hard questions like that. Questions that would be hard for leadership to avoid answering. Then, fact-check the answers. If you need help with this, please contact me; I’d be happy to point you to public records or other resources.
Because gossip is worst of all when handed down by church leadership. It should never be your job to sandpaper your conscience to the point that you can sit in church comfortably. If your leaders speak the truth, they will not mind hard questions. If your leaders speak the truth, they will not mind you verifying it on your own time.
Addendum: I’m putting together an outline of what was said in these meetings, and it would be helpful, in the interest of getting everything totally accurate, if anyone wants to contribute recordings, official or otherwise, of the contents. To that end, listening to the entire recording would obviously be more accurate than isolated quotes. I will absolutely be checking with anyone named in the recordings before mentioning them publicly.