Today, I was sent a link to a blog written by a former GFA staff person who was married to a GFA leader. Sara Sluberski wrote about being uninvited to a wedding. The social rejection was triggered by the Christianity Today article about GFA which dropped Thursday (Sara’s husband Tom was cited in the CT article).
This article sent me on an excursion through her other posts. On September 28, she wrote:
GFA has been accused of shunning people. While we were working there we could alway explain away this behavior.
In this same post, she describes how her husband was called in and discouraged from spending too much time with non-GFA people. She wrote:
One day my hubby and I were invited to a double date on a Saturday night. It was so much fun! Our song played and My hubby and I got up and danced to it, or rather swayed together in time to the music. Our friends took photos and posted the cutest one on Facebook. These friends had left the ministry previously but our connection to them was so strong. We still baby sat for each other and we had not “let them go.” as was so typical of our life at GFA. Did we talk about GFA… no we were more into food, fun and parenting.
Monday morning my Knight in Shining Armor is called into his bosses office. He is questioned about his Saturday night activity. Did he understand that some people in the ministry could be upset by his Saturday night companions. This baffled us. I could understand if someone was upset by “dancing” as some denominations do not accept it, but that was not the issue at hand. It seemed that hanging out with likeminded friends who encourage us and bring us joy is the problem.
This is a spooky story.
Even now, in the face of a public relations disaster and the dramatic and rare loss of ECFA membership, GFA loyalists are closing ranks. Don’t come to the wedding. Speaking up makes you an unacceptable distraction.
Sara wrote in the most recent post:
I’m trying to wrap my mind around how much we didn’t know, how much my pride was wrapped up in the fruit on the field, of the 100% goes to the field designations.
Throckmorton asked the question in May/ June? (when I was studiously behaving and obeying leadership and not reading him). How were people within the ministry taking the news of smurfing and the 19.8 million gift.
As with Mars Hill Church, leaders in GFA were telling staff not to read information about the organization they worked for. Limiting information, discouraging contact with outsiders, and shunning those who transgress some internal norm are all marks of a mind-control group.
And the CEO is unavailable for comment.
I wish Sara and her Shining Armor Knight lots of freedom, fresh air, and dancing.