Monday, February 05, 2007

The waiting is the hardest part

So, that was it?

Months of Sturm und Drang about what might or might not have gone on at Bellevue Baptist Church with regard to the presence of a sexual predator on staff result in reports from the Personnel Committee and the Investigative Team--reports which used to be on Bellevue's website, but don't appear to be anymore. If I hadn't picked up a hard copy, I wouldn't have access to it; even attempting to Google it in a cached state trips a request for a password.

In a nutshell, we received a "Mistakes Were Made" report, something that was already obvious. Other than the dismissal of Paul Williams from the staff, there were no reported censures of those who erred in their handling of the matter. From my perspective, and after hearing the thoughts of a great number of people, we must be missing something.

Be clear--I'm calling for no one's job, no heads on pikes. Were I in the position of being one of those named as being at fault, that in itself would be censure enough, mortifying as it would be to me. However, I find myself still waiting. Waiting for the substantive consequences. Waiting for the "new Bellevue," if I may use such a term. Waiting for the Bellevue that holds two-way, open business meetings so that members can voice concerns directly and freely. Waiting for something more than a reference to "uncharted waters" and training which should be unnecessary, if not downright offensive. (Again, if I may, the "waters" were "charted" by the Catholic denomination quite awhile ago, if not properly navigated. Uncharted? No. Unfamiliar? Very much so.) Waiting for the Bellevue that goes further than one- or two-deep on its bench, distributing responsibility in a less-concentrated manner among more brothers and sisters in the congregation.

The fact that none of this appears to be happening gives fuel to the small group of people who do want to see careers destroyed--since they can continue to veil their bad behavior behind a presumed Quest For The Truth. Pastor Gaines, and Bellevue staff and leadership, I urge you to take the wind from the sails of those people, by responding to the legitimate complaints which tend to be obscured by their hyperbole and misguided actions.

Please, don't make us wait.

--Mike

EDITED TO ADD: New information has come my way, that the church did not plan to leave the Report on its website as indefinitely accessible, only until it did what it perceived as "its due diligence." This was not a decision which would show the church staff as working to be more transparent in operation.