Confusion in Wonderland

“I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.   The Lord of the Rings

Farewell speech of Bilbo Baggins, Chapter 'A Long-Expected Party'.

"There are 400,000 registered sex offenders in the United States, and an estimated 80 to 100,000 of them are missing. They're supposed to be registered, but we don't know where they are and we don't know where they're living.

Ernie Allen, President of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Childrento co-anchor Hannah Storm on The Early Show



We left the Fellowship of the Wounded stranded in Wonderland.  Every path they took seemed to lead to greater pain and confusion.  It was supposed to be simple.  All they wanted to do was expose the problems, find solutions, and prevent further intrusions from such characters as the Big Bad Wolf and others who sought to destroy and devour their youngest citizens. 


Why not just rally the generals and the troops and plan a time of reflection and repentance?  Why, why, why didn’t it happen as outlined in the "Book of Directions", inspired by the ultimate General who also was the King of all the territory?  There seemed to be hearts of stone in those who occupied positions where they could make things change.  What kept these hearts of stone from becoming hearts of flesh?  Could it be that the castle and the land were more important than their youngest citizens?


At this point in the story, we shall insert an explanation from the excellent book, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse.  The book explores the pre-abuse set-up.  What is it in a church that causes people to just “take it?”  “People learn to be or act powerless by experiencing relationships that have prepared them to be abused.  We refer to these as “shame-based” relationships.  It is a destructive signal about you and your worth.  It is the belief or mindset about yourself — that you are bad, defective or worthless as a person.” (p.56)  How does this work?  Let’s combine the book and Wonderland.


"There is 'out-loud shaming'…Something is wrong with you, not them." (p.56)  In Wonderland the Cheshire Cat said that the father of one of the abused boys was “like a dog returning to its vomit.”  This dear father was trying to make things right for his boy and his family and trying to understand the circumstances that occurred.  T



he Cheshire Cat (remember — always grinning, looking good) also referred to this father as a “gerbil.”  If you've been paying close attention, you will realize that the Cat was revictimizing one of the injured families.  He also belittled a female member of the Fellowship — a wife and mother with advanced degrees who is on the verge of reaching the half-century mark — by referring to her as  “that other girl.”   Guess things are just that way with male leaders in Wonderland…


There is “manipulation.  Relationships and behaviors are manipulated by very powerful, unspoken rules.”  This includes the “can’t talk rule.” (p,56)  So, if a person talks, THEY become the problem!  In Wonderland there are many, many examples of this.  Shortly after the pedophile was arrested, the king’s men told everybody that there was only one boy involved.  One dad contradicted them in a meeting and said there were more victims.  Uh oh…he broke the rule!!!  That's a sin!  The dad was reprimanded when one of the Tweedles phoned and told him to NEVER EVER do that again!!!  



To reinforce his order, Tweedle Dee informed the dad that one of the king's men was listening in on the conversation so he could verify that the command had been given!  It's important to "protect the process.”   Too bad they didn’t ask about his son Adam and how he was doing.  You see, the dad and the boy were now the problem, not the king and his “merry men.”  In fact, the king didn’t feel the pedophilia crisis was an important enough problem for him to return, although he made a point of saying he made a “ship to shore” call to one of the parents.


There was also the prediction by SNAP about an undisclosed attorney being involved in the process.  The Fellowship of the Wounded was told that one of the members of the King’s Commission was from the “attorney general’s office” in one conversation and from the “district attorney’s office” in another (they should have gotten their "story" straight if they wanted to be believable).  Furthermore, it was communicated that this member was highly experienced in helping kids who were abused.  Much pressure was applied to the Fellowship to meet one by one with this person.  



When they asked to meet as a group or two by two, the offer was rejected.  How strange!  Guess what! This person was a criminal defense attorney who seemed to be more interested in whom the Fellowship talked with at a governmental agency and who was giving them advice.  Why the lie?  Why the interest in the legal contacts?  Could it be they were more interested in protecting Wonderland than in finding out how to help the abused boys?  SNAP once again predicted what would happen.  The Fellowship began to realize that their church was just like many others caught in the trap of sexual abuse.


Also, this committee was to be independent of the king and his men and appointed by associated allies.  So, the “outed” attorney sent a letter to the Fellowship stating that they shouldn’t worry because she wasn't involved in the defense of the church.  She also informed them that Friar Tuck had asked her to serve on this committee.  Huh?  Friar Tuck from Sherwood Forest?  Wasn’t he one of the king’s "favorite" men?  Why did he appoint the lawyer?  The committee was supposed to be "independent" of the king’s men.  Ah, but such are the ways of Wonderland.


Hurt, but pressing on to help the boys, the Fellowship requested that professional counseling be offered to all the victims.  But, the King said only boys who could not afford it might get some help to pay for counseling. He said his kingdom was not obligated to provide help.  Astonished and disgusted, the Fellowship finally realized that once again SNAP was right.  Their dreams about the church being in the center of God's will were finally shattered.  As a last attempt to get professional counseling for the victims, they took SNAP’s advice and applied pressure by contacting a reporter at ‘The Wonderland Herald.”


Adam was tired!   He was living in a nightmare that seemed to have no end….  He had been robbed of his innocence, scoffed at by the pedophile while at church, shunned by his friends, and labeled a liar by some of the pastors.  Life couldn't get much worse for a guy struggling through those awkward teenage years.  Adam wanted someone to believe him other than his parents and the Fellowship.  He wanted to tell his story, unquestioned. 



You see, the king’s men kept trying to meet with him.  Each time he was asked the same questions over and over and over again…  "Why didn't you tell your parents?" and “Surely you knew what you were doing was wrong!!!”   Adam had been hurt by the pedophile and was now being shamed by the king and his followers.  Adam had become the problem — not the king, nor his men, nor his "kingdom", nor the pedophile.  The king was so self-absorbed with his lofty position that he never realize he needed to beg for Adam's forgiveness.  Shame on the king and all of his men!


When Adam finally sat down with the reporter to share his experiences, he couldn't get over the fact that she actually believed him!  She listened intently to his every word and asked very thoughtful questions.  He could tell that she had great empathy for him, unlike his pastors.  Some days later, the reporter called the king and asked for an interview.  During the meeting the king said he hadn’t given outside counseling to any of the victims. He even admitted to her that he didn’t return until weeks and weeks after the pedophile was arrested because he had more important things to do.



 After she left, he called a council of his men.  They sent out letters to all members of Wonderland disparaging the Fellowship of the Wounded.  Now THEY were also the problem!!!  The king and his men claimed that no member of the Fellowship had children who had been harmed by the rapist.


Wrong again!  One member of the Fellowship had a child who had indeed been affected.  The rest did not.  Sadly, what the lawyer from SNAP believed to be a selfless act to help victimized young men (bringing this matter to the attention of the elders), the king and his men found reprehensible and disqualifying. 



They even huffed and puffed that one member of the Fellowship, whom they labeled "that other girl", did not worship in Wonderland, totally ignoring the fact that the kingdom is not a physical location but a community of all who follow the King of "The Book".  Adam’s mother, a close friend of "that other girl", had sought her out for comfort and support.  Isn't that how the kingdom is supposed to operate?  Adam's mom certainly wasn't finding many sympathetic hearts in Wonderland.  Unlike the king and his cadre, the "other girl" gave Adam's mother her time, love, and compassion.  Instead of vilifying the non-member of Wonderland, the king’s men should have honored her for standing in the HUGE gap that they themselves had created.


Once again, SNAP was right!  The gambit worked!  The lawyer said that Wonderland would have to provide professional counseling to the victims or they would look like a bunch of jerks to a watching world.  So, the king finally decreed that the counseling would be provided years after the abuse!!!  The Great King utilized the media to shame the king and his men.  



You see, if Wonderland truly believes that their light should shine into a dark and forsaken land, then exposure in the Wonderland Herald should be welcome.  In case you're wondering, there are quite a few taking advantage of the needed counseling.  Some of the victims receiving professional help are former members of Wonderland.  It was a bittersweet victory for the Fellowship because it came at a price.


Finally, the gloves came off!  What did these big, strong men trained in the art of "The Book" do?  Turn the other cheek?  Nah….that’s for sissies… Beat up members of the Fellowship?  Nah….the Fellowship was too difficult to face.  They concocted a foolproof method of revenge…  The Tweedles “defriended” the children of the Fellowship on “Facebook”.  Such courage had been rarely seen in Wonderland.  At long last, the king's men had finally acted like “real” men.  Mark Driscoll would be so proud!


Do you remember the term “power posturing?”  According to The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, a person who does not have real authority must declare his “authority.”  This is also known as false authority.  After all that had occurred, the power was about to be "postured".  During one of the meetings with one of the Tweedles, a Tweedle declared to a member of the Fellowship that he had “authority” because he is a king’s man. 



Well, the king and all of his merry men spend a whole mess of time commanding their followers to follow them.  The king's man who earned the award for the best power posturing was the one who claimed he was the “parent” and a member of the Fellowship (around the same age as the king's man) was the “child” who therefore must obey him (the parent)!  


P-U-H-L-E-E-E-Z-E!!!   In other words, the authority of the king and his merry men was not founded on the fact that they were wise, discerning, and true. "It was based solely on the fact that they were in charge.” (p 113)  Members of the Fellowship decided it was more important to follow true authority by keeping their eyes turned toward the Great King and His Book. They also decided that they would seek real, godly leadership.  (Please see our post called “True Authority”).


What happened when members of the Fellowship decided to leave Wonderland?  Tune in tomorrow for the continuing saga of tragedy, pain, and woe…

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