Saturday, 28 July 2012


The issue of honesty has been weighing heavily on my mind. I have tried to be completely honest about all my experiences but feel I have suffered for it and on reflection, wonder if I have been too honest. I have gone from being silent and falling into deceit to being honest and open about all I have done and gone through.
It might seem strange to admit, but the church inadvertently encouraged dishonesty. This is not the official statement of the church and might seem to be a controversial statement. Let me expand. When prospective minsters were being trained by the church for future ministry, the church’s college liked to emphasis the careers that their students had given up in order to become a minister. In a lot of instances, the truth was stretched so that church members would be impressed by the calibre of new minsters. For example, someone working in a non-trained hospital role might be introduced as a former nurse. I fell outside of this category for the college authorities had little perception of the industry I left behind. In the spirit of humility that I believed all Christians should have, I played down my business achievements. So much so that on one occasion I was summoned for an interview with the College’s Principal. The reason for this was that he had spent the previous evening at a dinner party with a former business associate of mine and at some point of the evening I became the subject of conversion. The College Principal had me described to him as a dynamic, well-acclaimed professional and struggled to recognise me because of the humble persona I seemed to have in the classroom.

The philosophy taught in the classroom was that as congregations expected their ministers to be available every minute of every day, new ministers were to maintain that illusion. Many ministers end up believing they are infallible. Over the years I have heard many ministers lie and create a plausible excuse rather than admit they either haven’t had time yet or had forgotten about whatever was being asked of them.

The illusion continue especially on Sundays when I would stand up before the congregation as the man giving advice on the best Christian way to live addressing all sorts of issues from the pulpit, putting a biblical spin on them.   i'm always wary personally of biblical 'spin', it's more a case of one saying "this is what I want you to think the Bible says.." I used to hate hearing people state quite boldly, "The Bible says...."   because people could and would use scripture completely out of context in order to re-enforce their own personal view.  On a Sunday I entered the pulpit portraying the perfect marriage and family life encouraging others to follow my example.  If only they knew the real truth! 

As a victim of Domestic Violence, the truth of the situation is too horrific to admit for a long period. The scratch marks on my face were because I’d walked into a rose bush, not because I had been attacked by my wife. Everyone, I’m sure has answered ‘I’m fine’ when being asked ‘How are you?’ and realistically you were anything but fine! Telling a lie sometimes, whether big or small, is part of our personal self-defence strategy.

When I was first questioned about my financial misconduct, I know that I was lied to. My bishop told me that because of the sensitive nature of enquires only two people locally knew at that point about the questions being asked of me. That was not correct, however the church may rationalize this falsehood by saying the end justified the means.

The Church trades on guilt.  Churchgoers are told that they are guilty sinners because no one human is perfect.  Part of most churches services is a call to publicly seek forgiveness of such sins.  Churchgoers are also taught such an unrealistic ideal of 'holy' living that they naturally fall short of this 'standard' and need to publicly confess their sins.  Perhaps if the Church didn't encourage dishonesty in the first place, then there would be no need for confession resulting from guilty feelings!
I have always been proud of my attendance of work record. In thirty years of employment, I have only had five days off ill. That was at the age of seventeen when I contracted chicken pox. As soon as I received the police caution and declared it to my then employers, I was sent home on ‘garden leave’ with the rest of the staff being told I was sent home ill. They knew that this was a management falsehood because I was never off sick.

Being ill seems to have been a convenient excuse within that organisation. While I was on garden leave, a service lead and manager had asked to see me about providing me with possible work. I was told that they would be open-minded and acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes. An hour before we were scheduled to meet, the service lead telephoned me to cancel citing that the manager was off sick and they would be in touch later. As that was the last conversation we had, I can only assume that the real reason the meeting was cancelled was because Human Resources black-listed me.

It is only recently that I can be totally honest about the Domestic Violence I experienced. I have tried to be honest about all that has happened to me, about the out of character way in which I finally reacted. It saddens me that in response, people (organisations) have been less than honest with me.
Currently, I find that being totally honest doesn'y endear me to possible employers.  I lost my last job because I declared my caution as soon as I'd received it.  If I had kept quiet and not said anything, I would still be in their employ.  I didn't make any false declarations during the recruitment process.  At some point when a disclosure renewal was due, I would have had to face some questions from management which may have resulted in dismissal, but they dismissed me anyway for being upfront with them.  Now in applying for jobs I either have to make a disclosure or explain why I left my last job.  That's honesty for you!  I would rather be honest with myself now for it took me 20 years to reach this point.

For any victim of Domestic Violence, the biggest step you can take is being honest with yourself about what has happened. From there, it could be a long and sometimes painful journey forward.

People may hurt you and not be honest with you. There’s nothing you can do about that. All you can do is take one step at a time and keep speaking out your truth.

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