Emails, & Correspondences

Here’s an old email exchange between me and my mother, which hopefully sheds light on my unmet needs.  Also, when I hear people telling me I should “forgive” implies guilt on my mother’s part, but that is not the same as actively helping me confront my mother.  As long as I see “forgive” as “don’t care,” I’m gonna reject that…

To: Her
Subject: What I’m After
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2016 04:50:24 +0000

Look–if you’re not willing to admit I have reason to be angry with you, there really is no point discussing with you.  I have my reasons, and if you’re not willing to engage them, well, so be it.

I can’t force you to acknowledge the truth.  No I can’t do so, but that means we have far in common–i.e. a shared biblical outlook, and the like.  I have tried to treat you as I thought you wanted to be treated, but I’m seeing you balk; pity.

From: Her
To: Me
Subject: RE: What I’m After
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2016 08:00:06 -0800

Dear Philip,

        Yes, I am sure you have had reason in the past to be angry at me, and at every one of your family members. 
 But each of us has asked you to forgive and to move on in life.  
I left in 2006 under the distinct impression, Mom, that you had not, and chose to stonewall on the issues: 
1.  If you make an order, enforce it.
2.  If someone helps you do so, goes out of his way to do so, at least validate him.
3.  Don’t make excuses, saying you can’t do something, when you actually mean you won’t. 
4.  Be clear.
Call me unforgiving, Mom, but I care about you.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have gone to bat for you.  The tragedy of my teen years, really, wasn’t that we couldn’t reach some partnership on how to do with Chris, and the like.
You’ve never in any way acknowledged I was right to call you on your mistakes before, so this is first, but I welcome it.  All I’ve asked, really, is for him who stole steal no more, and that means you, and is my definition of repentance.   
If this were 1993, or, say, 1995-1996, I’d ask you to either to take responsibility for an order you never enforced, and start doing so, or else acknowledge that making an order you never enforced was wrong.  Were this 2003, all I have to say is, I wanted a witness.  By saying nothing, you took CHris’s side, Mom.  By doing so, you were rewarding oath-breaking, and and impeaching my integrity, which I hold dearer than pretty much anything.  
2006?   Everything had changed, and I didn’t fit.   I still don’t.  I left, because we couldn’t attain a new quid pro quo, and it galled me.  You refused to respect my reasons, and that is enough, going forward. WHen I challenge with a question, going forward, just don’t sidestep, but engage.  
Given all that’s happened, I don’t trust you, and expect a third party in the loop, for starters, until trust is restored, but I I’m willing, even eager, to go forward–until you keel over, of course.  Till then, let’s be family, and I really do want to trust you.  
By submitting to my cross-examinations, Mom, that’s all I wanted–input into the family decisions, and you kept rejecting that, driving me away from involvement, when I wanted to be involved.  
As is, you seem to want me to be present, but not not involved, and that’s insulting.  You’re not in charge, now–no one’s really in charge, but if you really me to be present–and that means taking your lumps when I’m right, acknowledging my points, and living with the implications.
Are you prepared to do that?  
I mean, what would have happened if you’d listened to me, in the early 90’s?  Think about it–you’d have been more consistent, I’d have trusted you more, and been less angry.  Remember Captain Harlock?  You claimed that you didn’t like “those kinds” of movies, despite liking Space Battleship Yamato, despite being made by one of Yamato’s two co-creators–and, despite my instincts.  
I fought Chris for your sake–and while I wanted you to watch Captain Harlock, your disingenuity was abominable above all.  
I pledge to make you face your yourself, Mom–or else ask for mercy, if that’s what you really want, and that’s what I thought you wanted.  You’ve often cited Stonewall Jackson’s telling his men to shoot first and ask questions later, and that’s how I’ve tried to treat you– because as you’ve measured, so shall it be measured to you.
I think of the musical, Next to Normal, where the mother bipolar in the story is tormented by visions of her dead son.  in the end, the family realizes he isn’t trying to torment them, but rather he is just the messenger of their pain, and instead of dealing with it, they’ve been suppressing–both his memory, and their grief.  
I’m your friend, Mom. 
When I called you a bitch, I was a friend. 
When I screamed, I was a friend.  
I wanted your attention, because I’m a friend, and I care.  If you you’d worked out a process of engaging me, it would have been fine, but instead, you have the impression that I wanted revenge.  Look.  The give and take of cross-examination is to me the definition of process between two individuals.  Okay.  You committed to this.  So, do it.  Do a good-faith effort, and that is reason for trust.
Instead of engaging me in an intelligent dialog, you chose to claim that my questions were “captious,” and there was no need to engage further.  I’m afraid that you just want to blame me in the future, rather than admit I have point, admit that making orders you don’t enforce is insane. 
In a word, I want process.
Forgiveness is not a thing you do once and are done.  We must forgive over and over again, as often as we remember whatever the person has done to us.  That may be seventy times seven occasions per day (we have this on very good authority) and we need to accompany the decision to forgive with fervent prayer for the offender (also on the same good authority).  In my own life God has used this to free me from bitterness toward many others.  We must rely on the grace of God, constantly grateful for His forgiveness for our own ongoing sin and calling down His blessing on those who harm or irritate us.
       Now, you know, Philip, that you jealously guard your own freedom of action.  It has saddened me that you no longer want to associate with your family, even at church.  I believe that you are the loser to cut yourself off from those who love you most. Still, of course, you  have the right to make that decision for yourself.  What is not right is to withhold love as a weapon to try to force some kind of action from another person.  You must recognize that your mother has also the privilege of making personal decisions. 
As I’ve been trying to get at, it comes down to process.   I’m willing to earn your trust, even if you don’t want to earn mine.  I have gotten tired for my part explaining why, to you, and others, i n a cold, academic way, you were wrong, because I’ve always thought the dispute was whether such a thing was wrong.
I keep going back to 1993, because that is an example, as I’ve seen it, of you making an order, and not following through.  I bring that up again and again because I’ve understood you to think reneging justifiable.  If it was a mistake, I should forgive, but if you think that you’re justified in reneging as you see fit, then we have two different honor codes, and I cannot trust you because you believe that in keeping with the Bible, whereas I simply cannot see that squaring with letting you yes be yes, and your no, no.
I keep bringing it up, to others, explaining why you are wrong, and they keep ignoring the fact that you believe reneging justifiable.  I see this as something of a miscommunication, and you think that it is character flaw.   Do you realize that failure to reach agreement on that seemingly minor point nearly drove me insane?  
This is the first time in any form that you’ve conceivably admitted guilt.  All I want is to be able to trust you, and not have my intelligence insulted.  You made an order, you didn’t enforce it, you were wrong.  You either should have enforced it, or not.  Short, sweet, logical.  If can agree on that, then we’ve finally achieved progress!
       You know that I have asked you distill your grievances in clear, factual terms, but all I have gotten is emotional rants about the past.  Philip, that has all been dealt with long ago, and I am moving on in my own life, as your siblings are also doing.  Please do not continue to be a prisoner of bitterness, resurrecting grievances and marinating yourself in angry acid.  Forgive (as often as the temptation to anger recurs) and be free.  The Lord will help you if you will humbly confess your sins (anger and bitterness qualify) and plead for His forgiveness and help in forgiving others.  God is faithful.  The blood of Jesus daily washes the sins of all who belong to Him, and every day is a new day for freedom. 
        I love you, Philip.  I have no intention of disrespecting you, but only to urge you to constantly be receiving God’s grace for yourself and to be extending it to others. That is LIFE for us Christians, after all.
                                                       Love, Mom
Just don’t be sloppy–I don’t like it, and communicates contempt.  Let your yes be yes, And don’t renege.
Oh, and I enjoyed making this email–I rambled a little, but it helped me sort my thoughts.  Thank you.
From: Me
To:  Her
Subject: RE: What I’m After
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 2016 05:57:33 +0000

You really don’t seem to get that I’m trying to understand.  For my part, I keep saying to you, “Well I’m doing things out of this understanding of Scripture.  Therefore…”
You seem to think I’m illogical.  Your reasoning, essentially, has no relevancy to mine, however, and that seems to be the problem.  Reneging in order to be a “good” parent seems anathema to being a good Christian–especially when that someone goes out of his way to help you.  You complain of my taking, even as you reject my giving.  
If all you want to do is dismiss my logic, because you don’t like it, that’s a pity.  It’s what you raised me on, and it’s Biblical–on how I understand it to be.  I, in turn, reject yours, because it’s. Wrong.
Too bad we have nothing to discuss.
Here, is me discussing with a Pastor, and an elder–names changed…

This is is a (slightly revised) copy of the text I emailed local elder Ron Snow in the wake of my confrontation of Pastor Lem Leaf, with Ron present, which was a commentary on the basic text I used to rebuke Lem.  I’ll never forget Ron’s slight smile,  (smirkish, maybe? ) as he walked away, saying, “I see no sin, here.”  I sent the following, some days later, after an unsatisfactory talk with Ron, one-on-one.  Don’t have the exact that I sent this, but oh well:

Ron, upon much reflection, I must respectfully make your job just a little bit more difficult.  You understandably don’t wish to pass judgment  on my logic and Lem’s, but I can’t let this go until you do.  This is a point of both honor and principle for me, and will not rest till closure is reached, yet it need not drag on, and hope for all involved that it won’t.

Such is where we share a common interest, Ron, and thus I look for your support.  My logic, at its core, is very simple, and sincerely think this can all be resolved by my 35th birthday (sadly was not).  It’s high time I finished this business, and with your assistance, my past issues should be done away with in short order.
To that end, I’m sharing my notes with you, replete with commentary in blue for digestibility.  You and Lem both said that my writing was hard to follow, and was hence cited as a reason for not reaching a conclusion about my conclusions.  Well, Ryan, as far as I’m concerned, I don’t think anyone can honestly disagree with me, and if you can show me that you do, I’ll be utterly shocked.
Matthew 5:37,39;  “Do not resist him who is evil”
37 But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is [a]of evil.
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
You must realize, Ron, just how much others  have bashed me over the head with examples of Jesus, and the New Testament, so I’ve been obliged to invoke Jesus as well.  I’m prepared to accept your argument that it’s been overstated, but if so, you are also making an argument that this Scripture’s been misquoted in general.
Even so, you must surely admit, I think, that my interpretation here dovetails with the other examples of the Garden of Eden, and Jesus’s personal conduct.  I’ll say no more for now.

Luke 6:31, 38

31 Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Lem, I daresay I have grounds to be mad at you, given you don’t respect the Scripture.   When I ask a question, or series of questions, I expect them to be duly respected, but they haven’t and here’s why they ought.

No, my motives aren’t divine, but guess what?  They don’t need to be! I expect you to answer with due regard, and you need to acknowledge that I am not an excuse.

This really is about respect for me, Ron.  In our meeting, Lem was trying to show respect, saying he thought my writngs genius in one breath, and complicated in the next, which was his way of avoiding my criticisms in the politest way he knew.  All he needed to do was simply ask for mercy, yet he did not do it, did he?


He, and most of my other counselors, would lecture me over how what a great mother I had (and I do) but respect leads both ways, and per Respect 101, when you do something wrong, you ask forgiveness; somehow, they’d be giving her a free pass, and they never seemed to explain how they weren’t hypocrites for doing that. 

I genuinely think I’m entitled to a request for forgiveness, but not Lem, nor Chris, nor Mom has sought my mercy.  All this reviling me for being merciless in this light smacks of a copout, Ron, and if you can reach a different conclusion, I ‘ll be shocked.  I don’t  think they’re interested in repentance, Ron, but at least my contempt for such can be validated.

Hate them?  Think I not, but all the same I do despise them, and see nothing unBiblical about that.  Disagree?  By all means, explain.  Bible’s against wrath, but contempt, disgust?  Different, and I think sidestepping deserves it.

When I ask a question, Lem, have three motives—revenge, integrity, and justice.   Let’s be clear, Lem—I like to ask questions designed to hurt your ego—painfully.  Forcing you between a rock and a hard spot gives me immense, pleasure, and I won’t deny it.

My second motive is my personal integrity, and that comes out of a deep personal distaste for the sloppy, in all forms.  I see in you, Lem, a deep disregard for Scripture and its implications, and that makes me see red.

Last, but not least, Lem, I query because I care about justice, moral absolutes.  I want to see them honored, irregardless of personalities.

When I ask a question, you see, I have three good reasons for you to answer it:  On behalf of justice, given it is fair per Scripture, common sense, the Golden Rule, and letting your yes be yes, and your no, no; on behalf of integrity, because it honors my own personal convictions, which ought be duly recognized when congruent with greater principles, and, of course, Scripture; and lastly, on behalf of vengeance for reasons I will now explain.

Like I said, Lem, I had three motives–revenge, justice, and integrity, but  you un-Biblically held my worst (and very human) motive against me, citing planks in eyes, and the like.  Why, Lem?  What is more evil than revenge?

The Scripture says not to resist him who is evil, and it is relevant here because I sought for validation and justice, yet you ignored them, throwing the baby out with the bath water, citing said planks in eyes, and the like, as grounds to evade questions.  “Should they have done that?”  “Philip, you need to forgive.”  Lem, as you will recall, that led in part to a wrath that you labeled “murderous.”  By disobeying, Lem, and  resisting evil, you made me angrier still, which wasn’t good in any number of ways.

But why not resist evil, Lem?  Well, we are supposed to to be edifying with our words, Lem.  My motive for slugging your logic is, in due part, to edify you by not letting you get away with sloppy.  Intended or not, Lem, your evasions were anything but helpful, and un-edifying to me, emotionally wounding in the worst way, convincing me you didn’t care about being scripturally correct, and the like.  Eye-planked or not, Lem, I’ve still had the courtesy to answer your subject-changing questions, unlike you, and think it only fair that you did likewise, because take it from me, whatever your motives, evading didn’t edify.

Resisting, in the presence of of others, only compounds your sin, doesn’t it Lem?  “Look at Pastor Lem–he’s doing it! Rebelin’ resistin’ disrespect–can’t be wrong, can it?”  Wrong example, Lem, and certainly unedifying.

Hope you think, at the least, that my litany of charges make sense, but at the bottom of it, closure can take make many forms. For instance, simply agreeing with a series of principles can work.  Just agreeing, for instance, that making  rules you don’t enforce is flat-out wrong, and if someone calls you on it, you’re obligated, full stop.

Lem seems to have hinted there were mitigating circumstances for my mother, but never articulated them.  Smells of obfuscation, to me, and I hate obfuscation.

You said, Ron, that when we met met together, Lem hadn’t done anything wrong; on reflection, I dunno.   He seemed to imply that my pornography issues mattered, or somehow absolved, at least in part, some of bite of my charges, even if true, but that runs against the example of the Garden of Eden, doesn’t it?

Dunno what you think, but Lem was making a bit of a straw Man argument, and I find it weak.  I’m not perfect, but I refuse to be used as an excuse to justify the sins of others.  I elaborate on that point below:

The second reason not to resist evil because even God Himself cannot go against His own rules set up in accordance with His nature.  But why are those rules in place, Lem?  Well, considering that I also want recognition and justice, and you used revenge to ignore them, I think that goes a long way to explain why God’s rules function as they do.

Recall the Garden of Eden?  According to your counseling logic, Lem, God should have given mankind a free pass thanks to Satan’s manipulation, but  no–sin is sin, and all personal sin is individual, regardless of the scenario.  All culprits of the piece, Adam, Eve, and the Serpent, were punished–individually, and no one was ignored.

Satan succeeded by following the rules, which God essentially acknowledged, and if God submits to Satan’s application of the rules, how much more ought we?  Satan’s not an excuse for rebellion, and neither is temptation.

Suppose, Lem, for the sake of argument, that revenge has always been my only motive.  Your duty to submit remains, Lem.  To defy your duty is to rebel, and as you know, rebellion is as the sin of divination.  I don’t know about your lights but by mine, or in particular my reading of Scripture, you’ve been effectively commiting sins on par with witchcraft against both me and God.

Oh, and it gets worse, Lem; we’re supposed to avoid even the appearance of evil, and even if I’ve got a plank or not in my eye, the appearance of you respecting my prerogatives matters, and not in spite of the fact I see poorly, but precisely because I don’t.   Otherwise, what to make out of God’s wrath at David, for his allowing Gentile kings to scoff?  They almost certainly have bigger planks than David, after all?

All this is to say, once again, Lem, stop making excuses for evading my questions.  Answer them, unequivocally, as I have striven to answer yours, and stop being a hypocrite.  No, not all pleasure in pinning your ears back is Godly, but neither is it all sin—respect.  Yes, my questions are hurtful, but hopefully in the best sense, like a friend’s wounds.

Hopefully, you will appreciate that.

What I Want

“Let him who stole, steal no more.”  You’ve been wrongly treating me as an excuse, so stop it.  If you didn’t judge my motives, Lem, I wouldn’t be calling you out on your hypocrisy, and we wouldn’t be where we are, are we?  I am a sinful man, I get annoyed at the double standards of others, and now you see what I do about it.

Falling under the authority of Scripture is a ver stringent master, and if you want my mercy, then you’d blame well better ask, because all I see is I’m making you aware of your mistakes, and I’m getting angry at your unrepentance; my goal isn’t to flay you, see, in revenge terms–there’s a big difference.Basically, you’re doing the same thing that incensed me with my family growing up, and that’s picking and choosing Scripture when it suits.  That makes it easy in a way, but logically, that justifies anything, and frankly such logic means I shouldn’t care about Scripture in any case

Ron, I know your job is to keep things discreet, but I expect to be validated, all the same.  I don’t want to embarrass anyone, in particular, Lem, but all the same expect my principles to be recognized as right.

Growing up with my family, I got tired of being treated like a second rate citizen, and by the mid part of last decade, I had essentially developed post traumatic stress disorder.  I was furious, but in keeping with Scripture, chose to confront.  (The Scripture says parents aren’t to exasperate, and yes is to be yes, and your no, no, and oathbreaking is a serious offense.)  

All I wanted, Lem, was validation of Scripture, that I am not an excuse for the sins of others–under any circumstances.  neither my mother nor brother denied my claims, but basically asked, “So what?”  The issue, of course, is that Scripture doesn’t grant excuses, not of any kind, and they were saying it was okay to be sloppy, be he who is unfaithful in little is so also in much.  Yes, I wanted revenge, Lem, but I also wanted justice, and I also wanted to be Biblical.

And did I get support, Lem?

No–all you did was ignore Scripture Lem, and basically validate un-Biblical behavior.  You basically said that I had no right to be angry, that I was responsible for not just my sins, but theirs, and that Scripture can be ignored.  Coming from someone who says “you should be in submission,” and “Scripture is clear,” I find that laughable because I find Scripture to clearly defines you a hypocrite, and on relevant points gives no caveats, such as using one’s sins to ignore the sins of others.

Why?  Let us say, for the sake of argument, that I baited my family.  Let us say they gave in, and did so directly due to my baiting–what then?  Are you going to give them a free pass because of me?  If so, how can you square that with Scripture, Lem?

Recall the Garden of Eden?  According to your logic, Lem, God should have given mankind a free pass thanks to Satan’s manipulation?  No–sin is sin, and all personal sin is individual, regardless of the scenario.  All culprits of the piece, Adam, Eve, and the Serpent, were punished individually, and no one was ignored.

Focusing on me at the exclusion of others was both un-Biblical, but also sloppy.  Lem, the Scripture doesn’t say, “don’t exasperate, unless, of course, you’re a mother going through menopause with a crazy, aspergers son, and then you’re off the hook,” does it?  Lem, just because fatigue makes us cowards, it doesn’t justify abrogation of commitment, does it?  Well, pardon my French, Lem, but that’s precisely what you seem to be saying.

Like I said, Lem, I had three motives–revenge, justice, and integrity.  Well, Lem, you un-Biblically held my first feeling against me, citing planks in eyes, and the like.  Why, Lem?  Well, what is more evil than revenge?  The Scripture says not to resist him who is evil, and it is relevant here because I sought for validation and justice, yet you ignored them.

Lem, I count only three true friends, of which I count my mother as one, and the Scripture says the are friend’s wounds are faithful; yes I wanted to hurt her, yes, I wanted to want to reproof her, but in the best way possible–and yet you refused your duty, Lem.

Instead of speaking the Scriptures, you left them ignored–and distorted.  Instead of holding bad leadership to account, you left it emboldened.  That is worse than angering, Lem.  Poor, ineffective eldest son that you may take me for, I still take my duties serious, whether or not you take yours.  

Love my mother, though I may, given her past behavior, given her repeated disregard of Scripture, Lem, I must consequently respect her less.  Sure, she still has some authority, but even so, she is stubborn, rebellious, and, to a certain degree, hardhearted; you say that I must be forgiving, but even so, I must be wary, Lem–wary, because she’s a proven hypocrite.  

How much more wary must I be of you, Lem–a Pastor, no less, who gave such unrepentance sanction?  You seem not to regard my opinion much, Lem, but dare I say, that’s yet another of your errors, given how Scripture says that even the appearance of evil is sin.  Remember David and Bathsheba, how God was in due part mad because it gave Gentile kings opportunity to boast?  You think those kings didn’t have bigger planks than David’s, Lem?  Once again, Lem, I think the Scripture’s clear–care to elucidate on how it isn’t?  

The bottom line Lem is your logic has proved you a blind guide, using it to strain a out a gnat (my attitude, which I have striven to be open and honest about) to swallow the camels of bad leadership and oathbreaking.  Lem, this is a small thing, but  don’t think it doesn’t matter, given how your verdict rebels against Scripture, and rebellion equates to the sin of divination–fail in little, fail in much, after all.  Yes, Lem, I need to forgive you, just like my mother, but when it comes to trust, don’t you see how you need to re-earn mine, to say nothing of respect?

I certainly hope so, Lem; I certainly hope so.

Didn’t get no answer from Ron.  Sent him the following emails:

From: Me
To: Ron Snow
Subject: Of What I Want
Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2013 23:19:03 +0000

Well, Ron, I really think it best if we talked one-on-one in person.   To wit, I want recogniton that I had good reason to be angry; Scripture was abused, I was guilt-tripped, and I frankly felt insulted.  Instead of making me feel like a bum, I think I deserve a hug, if anything, but that’s not it.  A whole lot of people have wronged me and the Bible remorselessly,  and I expect recognition that such is wrong.

Such is closure, Ron; I doubt reconciliation is in order, but self-respect, peace of mind, and restored personal honor is.

Does that help explain your role?  Let’s bury the the past, exorcise the demons, and be done with it.

From: Me
To: Ron Snow
Subject: RE: Of What I Want
Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2013 23:34:35 +0000

Oh, and there’s also main (many) reasons for disagreeing with me, and I’d (like) to know,  should you disagree, Which on(e) it’s over.  Is it over my logic, or else the nature of the facts?  It makes a difference, and such specificity both narrow, and clarify, the differences.

Again no response, and I was starting to guess why.  Finally, I emailed:

To: Ron Snow

Well, Sir, I can see your handiwork, and I sincerely hope that I have shown you due deference.  If not, please forgive me, and that includes talking while you shook hands.  I’m trying to learn how to talk with you, and hopefully I haven’t burned any bridges.  Sunday ‘fore last, Lem went out of his way to shake my hand; I’ll assume it was your doing, because I emailed you in the preceding week, and not him.  Again last Sunday, he proved quite deferential.  Reading into silence is perilous, but in context, Sir, I think I understand you, rightly, or wrongly.

How about I meet Lem one on one?

And, finally, Ron:
From:  Ron Snow

To: Philip Carpenter
I will talk to Lem and get back to you.


Sent from my iPhone

Never did answer my questions, did he?  That’s what I wanted him to take a stand on–my fundamental understanding of Scriptural obligations.  Me, of I’m of the opinion he wished not to admit my interpretation is right, and that’s the issue.

The following is an email exchange between me, and my best friend, Mick…
From: Mick McCartney
Sent: Friday, November 4, 2016 9:00 AM
To: Philip Carpenter
Subject: Re: A Letter to a Pastor

Philip, sorry to have taken so long to get to your letter. We have been busy with all the things that go into making an album and I wanted to give this the attention it deserves.

You did fine–no complaints.

I think you have placed the proverbial hot potato in the pastor’s hands in terms of righteous behavior. Our Lord made similar comments to the Scribes and Pharisees of his time and I believe it was an effort to wake them up.

I try; I try to be resonsible, just as I ask the same of others.  If you reply is any measuring stick, I think I’m improving, that, and I was talking to a Non Violent Communication therapist over the phone who had never met me, and I reading to her a giant rant against therapist in general, of which this pastor’s letter was a re-worked excerpt; afterwards, she twice mentioned how genius I was.  I had just savaged her profession, and yet she was still referring to how “brilliant” I was–the first time was three years back, when verbally assaulted this pastor I wrote this current letter to, in person.

Often confrontation evokes a defensive posture in those that are avoiding responsibility in the name of maintaining the appearance of peace and harmony in appeasement. You have put this very well and if it doesn’t ring a moral bell in him, that is his loss. I know you have given him something to process. Perhaps you could define what respect is to you as you have done for me.

Indeed, Mick; the full version has the very definition you praised, and after I sent it, I regretted I hadn’t lifted that, as well.

He might not realize that it is as simple as accepting your intentions are good. Usually mistrust is about looking for bad intentions in others. I don’t know how you could state your truth any better, Well done. Mick.

Thank you, brother; that’s why you’re my friend.  For the record, here I the whole article that I took a piece from that I made that letter, out of.  You may disagree in part, but I think I’m hitting my stride:

My Family, Explained:

I get easily stressed, and to such an extent, I’d call them panic attacks, be they borderline, or otherwise; I now think that stems from trauma, particularly Preoccupied Adult Attachment Trauma, but that doesn’t make dealing with it any easier. It colors my whole life, and prescribes a lifestyle of stressor-avoidance, given a scene, say, at Wal-Mrt would not be fun. I’ve been kicked off three college campuses, thrice faced cops, twice handcuffed, and once arrested, all thanks to my condition.

Like a dog strapped in for electroshock, I feel helpless before my impulses. I fear mental pain– completely nonphysical, but all too real—madness, too. I may be numbed now, unable to feel its full anguish, but still it lurks, defining my all-too weary existence.

How did I get this way? I only wish I knew, really; I fit the signs of Preoccupied Attachment, and yet all my earliest memories were happy, and the wheels only came off around fifteen.

To really lay it on the table would involve explaining how me ‘n my siblings were raised, which was fundamentally Christian. I had a very happy childhood, but after our father died, she became leader of the household, but was poor at it.

If you’re always screaming, and acting frustrated, that doesn’t command respect, let alone trust, and as an eldest son, I didn’t simply feel bad, but I felt responsible, if in an ineffective way. I basically tried enforcing for someone that was not just erratic, reactive, and emotional, but simply bad at following through.

I should have instead tried providing leadership in her wake, but given my lack of understanding and confidence, I didn’t.

I tried being the good son, the loyal son; I focused on schoolwork to the point of burnout, and just became a wreck by degrees. As my mother sank into menopausal depression, I was sinking into anxiety disorder, which would, over time, morph into something along the line of panic attacks. 

Basically, I was trying to form some sort of working relationship with my mother, but it was dysfunctional, from the word “go.” No it doesn’t help that I’ve got Aspergers, but in the end, I think my relationship with my family was taking a distinctly downward turn. I was learning to distrust my mother, my siblings, and in particular my brother Chris. I would, in time, ultimately come to distrust myself after a fashion. 

Oh–and did I mention that we had a very intense sibling rivalry with lots of physical violence? 

Add to that, values; like I said, we were taught to be devout, and I at that time, had chosen to be well, The Devoutest of the Devout, and yes, it was in part out of a kind solidarity with my mother, even if she didn’t reciprocate.

Okay, here I am, nearly fifteen, siitin’ in the back seat of my car, playing the the “shut up” game with Chris: “You shut up, no you shut up, no you…”

Now my mother had broken us up before, but this time, she had done so in an angry commanding way, that she had never done, before. She was feeling stressed, even as I was feeling stressed; I chose to key off of her, instead of just going back to dealing with Chris on “shut up” like I usually did, and instead chose to make it a Hill to Die On.

Was it wise? Hindsight wouldn’t suggest it, but I was trying to take a stand. In time it became basically more isolating, and more infuriating that he didn’t listen, and I just became obsessive on the topic. 

Controlling? Can I see myself as controlling, given how I acted? I think so, but keep in mind—that and the anger largely stem from a sense of powerlessness to communicate; Hellen Keller was plenty smart, but being deaf and blind, she sure didn’t show it, and wound up throwing perpetual tantrums.

My mother may be wrong, but she wasn’t–and isn’t–that awful—still, she’s just my enemy that I must vanquish. She couldn’t even get us boys to bring in wood, and always blamed us.

I don’t trust her, and don’t love, because that doesn’t breed trust—only pain and betrayal. As Head of Household, she was nothing I want to be like, and all the talk of her being “admirable” by shrinks who’ve refused to admit she’s earned my trust is simply reprehensible.

To Shrinks

And as for you, Shrinks, can I say of you, my misguided guides? I don’t trust the motives of you that disagree with me, AND YOU DON’T TRUST MINE.

You despise me, and and I despise you; you despise me for doing my duty, and I despise you for not doing the same, and if you doubt my integrity in that claim, simply strap me to a lie detector, and I’ll show you. Oh, you may despise passively, but still, you despise me, and I resent it. I’m doing things, as I see them, for the right reason, and you never have the guts to explain why you disagree with my logic. I keep asking you why you dispute my logic, and you never clarify, and never try to convince, and that’s suspicious. You’re all a bunch of passive-aggressive bullies, and that’s what galls; I refuse to apologize for my motives, and that’s final.

Distrust my motives all you want, but I distrust yours, too. You seem to think I’m confronting my mother out of vengeance, or at least selfishness, but what of it? I have prerogative, and authority, in any event, to hold my family accountable, and refuse to be disrespected, because I exercise it; the logic others effectively guts God, Biblically speaking, as well as me, and thus I distrust it. Respect is trusting the intentions of the other person is good, and I believe I deserve that, at least.

You don’t seem to empathize with my anger, and that’s what’s angering. You try to make me take responsibility for the sins of others, and I refuse, flat-out. Every time you praise me, it strikes like an insult, given it seems so insincere. I think:

They despise me, I can’t trust them, they don’t respect me, and conditionally accept me. I’m alone, so alone…

Your expressions of “love” read like slaps to my face, and I sometimes do that to myself, in frustration. I have genuinely sought to do my duty, and though we disagree, just what can we agree on, of any value?

Why do you isolate, why do you turn away? Why am I such a worm, in your eyes? Here is just such an example of your ilk, being rude(Mick speaking):

My insight is that your idea of forgiveness is different than mine. For me, forgiveness stems from an understanding that all people, 100% of all people are doing the best they can to function within the grid they superimpose on reality and GOD. Releasing them from my judgment and desire to control, and releasing them from my expectations, frees me from theirs. This is based on Jesus saying “Why callest thou Me good? If any man saith he is good, he is a liar.” If I am not good, then my judgment of others is not good, and my expectations of their behaviors is founded on my limited and by definition tainted perspective, and therefore equally invalid. There is a reason that it is written; “Judgment is MINE saith the LORD.” and “Vengeance is MINE saith the LORD.” It seems to me that we can only apply scripture as a guide to our own behavior and not the behavior of others. You want respect for your intentions, yet you use scripture to disrespect the intention of your mother. She labored under so many burdens that you have no knowledge of in a real sense. That sense of frustration and the panic attacks that ensue are common to us all including you me and your family, when we are over burdened. Accepting that leads to empathy rather than judgment. Empathy tells us that continued judgment over past wrongs only increases frustration and panic in those we judge, creating more panic and wrong doing. It is somewhat like trying to strike an injury repeatedly and then wondering why it doesn’t heal. Forgiveness allows all concerned to regroup, review mistakes, and move forward. Your mom will, and no doubt will in the future, review her life and ask GOD for forgiveness. The beauty in this is allowing GOD to bear our burdens of judgment and expectation. The word selfish comes to mind when I read your total commitment to approaching others to meet your needs, you are not giving others what you seek for yourself. You know I love and respect you and I offer this as only my own limited and tainted perspective. I think a lot of the problem is that you communicate from a selfish perspective and limit GOD and scripture to the boundaries of logic. In the mind of GOD, the logic of man is a small time bit player that still labors to comprehend the majesty of creation and fails to understand the CREATOR completely. Submission seems to be an issue. Neither of us gets to be GOD.

Reading between the lines, I see judgment on my motives, which per Matthew 5:37-39 is a moot point.  Furthermore, the shrink here empathizes, if not sympathizes—with my mother, as opposed to me. It does not convince me I am wrong, as much as tell me—and I resent it.  Shrinks are supposed to empathize, yet here he’s doing the inverse.

My mother rejected me, and basically, this is another rejection, too—I find no empathy from this response, let alone acceptance, and validation. Isolated, and misunderstood, is how this reply leaves me; wanting to express and hurt in some way, shape, or form-be it to myself, or to others.

If you can’t even respect—or trust–me when I state my reasons, where are we? Well, when you state you just disagree with me, I simply don’t believe it! I cannot—I just think you’re in denial, and it’s a vicious cycle of suspicion, each thinking the other is disingenuous. Convince me you’re right or at least try to—you seem awfully apathetic about truth, for all your protestations I’m wrong. I demand what I, at a minimum, should—i.e. respect—and I’m stickin’ to it.

I can’t trust my family, and I can’t trust you—who can I trust? Who can understand? From thus my loneliness comes—oh, how I crave understanding! You want me to forgive, but I want to trust you, and all I keep hearing from your lips is how big a lot of cowards, you are.

Take my word, and read my lips: I Don’t. Trust. You. You cover your own rears, when really, all I seek, is at least, moral support. I have no shoulder to cry on, be it from my family, or otherwise. I’m prepared to go to the wall, be rejected by my family on the issue of authority, and if you aren’t too, well, there’s no getting around it.

What are you risking, anyways? I’m prepared to burn my total familial support network, get disinvited to family gatherings, and more. I’m prepared to sacrifice everything, and you can’t even acknowledge I’m right in doing so for the personal inconvenience it may cause.

Well, see if I care! I’m willing to risk never speaking to loved ones again over this, and you dare to call me selfish? You’re the ones with little to lose, and not me. Who’s the brave one, really? Why in consideration, have you any reason to call me petty, cruel, or whatever? I confront for my good, my mother’s good, and my family’s good—full stop. I repeat—why do you refuse to help?

In the end, you fear my mother’s rejection more than I do.


From: Philip Carpenter
Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2016 7:34:45 PM
To: Mick McCartney
Subject: Re: A Letter to a Pastor


No, I am not God, Mick, but showing sympathy for the object of the one you are counseling’s anger, well, that means you are a bad counselor, in any event–alienating, and less than helpful.  I never felt emotionally strong enough to tell you before, but now, I do.  You made a Counseling 101 error, and I, on behalf of myself, and all the others you’ve talked to, would ask that you improve your technique

From: Mick McCartney
Sent: Friday, November 11, 2016 9:36 AM
To: Philip Carpenter
Subject: Re: A Letter to a Pastor

Philip, I was not employed to be your counselor and was not acting as a counselor. only as a concerned friend who thought he could share his perspective.

Fair enough–thank you.

I had hoped as; you had hoped of me; that you would respect my point of view and its’ intention.

The intent of a blind man strolling off a cliff is admirable almost by default, given it is an unlikely (and painful) suicide attempt.

My intention was to help you, but as a friend, not as a counselor.


What I learned was to respect you and not try to “show you the way” to be other than you are. I learned it is not my province to judge your needs, nor fix your problem.

True; it is about empathy, frankly, how yiu put things showed…issues…with your  technigue, let us say.  

As a parent of five children, I see life differently than you and so wanted to show you my perspective, in the hopes you would respect my intention, rather than judge my ability to counsel.

Well, brother, in any event, I hope I in your spot would would be more empathetic towards those in mine.

I am not, nor never will be, your counselor. I will always be your friend and fellow traveler. As such I reserve the right to speak my thoughts from my perspective and you can be, or not be offended as you please. I offer you that same breadth of communication.

I can live with that, even if it is unfortunate.When I talk about counseling technique, Mick, I mean it; it is not some bitter, mean-spirited criticism, but rather a skill that takes a long time to learn, and is far from innate, apparently.  

Author: Noitartst

You wanna know about me? Oh, I think, write, and fury. I'd say that about covers it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s