Lost My Mojo For the Spiritual Life

Captain’s Log   5,820

There is all sorts of hoopla going on around here about the opera.  It is closing down and it appears that the director and his wife were making BOO-KOO bucks.  If they get laid off, their severance packages will be somewhere around three million dollars.

I have a real problem with this.  A good captain of a non-profit ship would have reduced salaries from the top down.  I heard all the excuses about why that was not possible (contractual).  A decent person would have accepted that and then written a personal check to the organization.  If they cannot take it out of your salary, then find another way to do the right thing.

I was in a similar situation when I worked in a church.  A once robust institution with 850 members was dwindling to nothing due to really really BAD management by the new minister.  The day we all had our salaries slashed by 25%, she explained that she was under contract and would receive her regular pay.  And then, she took us out into the parking lot and showed us her new car that her husband had bought for her.  On the same damn day!  Just after we got our bad news!  She became petulant and tyrannical when we didn’t show enough awe for her new toy.  It was….beyond amazing.

I was eventually terminated from that job.  As much as that stung at the time, I was relieved.  I no longer had to tolerate the antics of a narcissist.  That worked for a time, but people like that keep showing in our lives no matter what we do.  I know they are in our lives to teach us some sort of cosmic lesson, but I will be damned if I can figure out what that is supposed to be.  What works for me now is this.  When I encounter someone so self-absorbed and taken with their own sense of power, I am grateful that I do not treat people like pieces of crap.  I am grateful I have a moral code that allows me to examine my own conscience and determine my responsibility for whatever happens, good or bad.  I am grateful to have enough strength to stand up to people like that and stuff it back in their faces – even if it means losing a job.  

I became a pariah in that church even though I never attended there again.  People in leadership were warned that I was a crazy troublemaker even though my accomplishments were stellar and noteworthy.  None of that seemed to matter anymore.  Very few people had the nerve to stand beside me.  They were warned to keep their distance from me.  They chose to stand in fear which was in direct opposition to what the church taught about handling fear.  That was hard for me.  But I understood what fear can do.  Fear is evil.  It makes people freeze and do nothing regardless of their theological training.

Two people in the inner sanctum of that church had the nerve to support me.  They spoke openly that the minister was wrong.  She threatened them and said she would take away their theological licenses.  It was that ugly.  Both of those people left the church in disgust.   I was so very proud of them and grateful for their actions. 

Apologies from other people came later.  Some of them several years later – after those people were also trounced by the minister for some “wrong” or simply disagreeing with her dictates.  I welcomed their overtures.  I felt I could have a connection with them as people, but I have never felt comfortable engaging again with a church.  I tried.  I was hired at another church to run the youth program, and that didn’t work out either for reasons not worthy of a mention.  It just didn’t work.  I lost my mojo for spiritual community.  And it has not even tapped at the door for me to go back.  I doubt if it ever will.  Once you are out of the club, you are out of the club.

I don’t mind being out of the club.  I learned a lot from that experience.  I learned just how strong I really am.

Why this whole opera thing brought about these old memories is beyond my understanding.  Sometimes it just happens.  This journal takes on a life of its own.



Filed under Captain Poolie's observations

17 responses to “Lost My Mojo For the Spiritual Life

  1. goatbarnwitch

    I would love to know why people who suck end up in charge (well I sort of know)

  2. “A good captain of a non-profit ship would have reduced salaries from the top down…A decent person would have…written a personal check to the organization.”

    BWAAAA-HAHAHAHAHAAAAAA! *cough*….*gasp*….

    Oh wait. You were serious.

    Can I…can I borrow your glasses for a minute? That shade of rose goes perfectly with my teal scarf. Thanks!

  3. poundheadhere

    The upper echelons rarely look for enlightenment. Light isn’t prejudiced. It shines on everything, even the ugliness they need to hide. You chose the way of integrity and while it frustrates you to see the abuses, you couldn’t have taken any other road. It’s about who you are, who you choose to be. You chose the harder road, the honest one.

    I think of it this way. If you have a choice of two roads, one to Chicago and one to Atlanta, you don’t choose the road because it’s smooth and easy or rough and hard. You choose because it’s where you want to go. You get that. Some people never do.

  4. It’s the never~ending story of how money causes greed in many people. Much like our politicians who are quick to take away our rights or our benefits but never make themselves have to take a cut in their pay and their own life style.

  5. Patty O'

    I am so sorry about your terrible experience and I’m sure the current Opera controversy brings it all back, but I stand solidly with Ian Campbell as far as the Opera is concerned. As a 36 year season subscriber I have followed his career and am amazed at what he accomplished through strong leadership and impeccable instincts and musicality. He took a struggling and quirky organization and forged in into a world class opera company, one of the top 10 in the USA, that has been respected throughout the world. Right now he is a convenient target to focus upon. But be aware that he and his wife HAVE reduced their own salaries and IF the company comes to an end it will do so with its head held high and BEFORE the need to file bankruptcy is necessary. There was an open letter published recently from the president of the board of directors that clearly stated the realities of the situation and calling on people to stop blaming the Campbell’s. If I can find it I will send it along.

  6. Penny Tushingham

    Your church situation was like a divorce and sometimes people dont’ realize until later that they can continue to support both sides! True friends will also stand beside you no matter what direction you are currently headed in or geo cache you are looking for!

    Pen Pen

  7. maryz

    It’s all about the power.

  8. Preaching to the choir… For every honest person in the higher echelons, there are a hundred who are out to get all they can, and the rest of the world be damned. if you are good at what you do, they especially don’t want you there to rain on their parade. If you know “where the bodies are buried,” you can count your days.

    I have seen it happen too often to believe there is any hope that the “fine upstanding, churchgoing men” will actually see the light while they are still on the planet.

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