Regarding this criticism, I was taken aback a bit by the somewhat snarky e-mail the Rev. Teena Grant, president of the Greater Santa Barbara Clergy Association, sent to me from her Cottage Hospital work e-mail address. I guess I just expect the clergy to be a cut above the rest of us in how they respond and act. (Note to Cottage officials: In light of this, will the hospital's "spiritual care services" be open and welcome to me or my family if needed?)
First off, do you have any idea what "snarky" means? I assume it is bad from the context, but I sure don't know. And expect more than what? We have no idea what Teena said in the e-mail, but then if he had quoted her, I would bet there would be no way to condemn her as Teena is a woman of grace and integrity and I expect that would be evident in the e-mail.
As to his implications that Teena would use her job to hurt someone with whom she differs, let me quote wikipedia on psychological projection...
In psychology, psychological projection (or projection bias) is a defense mechanism in which one attributes ("projects") to others, one’s own unacceptable or unwanted thoughts or/and emotions. Projection reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the unwanted subconscious impulses/desires without letting the ego recognize them.
Every day Teena puts her heart on the line as she cares for our community in times of trauma and dis-ease. More than once she has provided pastoral care to families of victims of gang violence and has offered a calm and supportive presence while they waited for word regarding a loved one. More than once, she has allowed her own heart to break at the pain of others.
Mr Armstrong consistently uses his position to bully others without allowing them fair opportunity to respond. As far as I know, he has never spoken to any of the members of the clergy association. I am fairly sure that he has been invited to attend our meetings. He uses hot button words to smear people when he cannot rebut their argument ("liberal-leaning," "funded by developers"). And he consistently either misunderstands or misrepresents the views of those with whom he disagrees. More than once he has complained about these "liberal-leaning" clergy trying to meddle in News Press "private" matters. Surely he realizes that the clergy have no interest in the private business matters of the News Press but we do have interest and a stake in fair reporting, a newspaper that is more than a hobby for some wealthy interests, and even intelligent and informed opinions (whether we agree with them or not). A newspaper has significant influence in a community. We are only concerned that influence is used responsibly.
And again, he questions the priorities of the clergy... but how can he know what those priorities are? Has he interviewed any clergy? Has he looked at the budgets or programs of any local congregations? I'd be glad to sit and have coffee with him and talk about what is happening. I'm sure other clergy would as well. Yes, he covers his behind by saying that "some have done little to work directly with parents and children" but the implication is clear.