Friday, September 15, 2006


I was on the phone today with a CRC insider (with a significant "denominational" role). This individual ("II" for Independent Insider) claimed to be independent and implied neutrality regarding my case. II pressed me on the matter of taking CTS to court (playing the devil's advocate, I presume). II argued that by publishing my blog, only one side of the story was getting out--and that CTS was strapped by confidentiality restrictions. As I've said before, the administrators weren't restricted in front of the CTS Board committee or the mediators, and I would be pleased if they would agree to have both our sets of documents placed in public domain somewhwere.

It's hard to imagine that most insiders in the CRC would want this to go to court, especially after the mediators concluded that "if the seminary goes to court, it will probably lose, in part, because Ruth is well documented."

I have no intention of bringing a suit against the seminary. Why not? These are some of the reasons I gave the individual who questioned me:

1. My personality or emotional makeup: I just don't have it in me to go through a long drawn out court case. It is worth noting that 4 of my tenured colleagues, within the first days of finding out about my situation in January of 2003, said something like, If it were me I'd get an attorney and file suit. Maybe it's partly a gender thing, but that option was one I considered but did not carry out.

2. My beliefs: Many Christians speak strongly against taking a fellow Christian to court. I go a step further. I speak strongly against taking anyone to court--unless there are no other options. I think we already have a far too litigious society, and if it is possible to deal with matters outside court, I strongly encourage it. I have confidence, as I say in my blog, that one day there will be redress and an apology.

3. Time frame: Whether we're talking about state or federal court or CRC Judicial Code, there are time restrictions. My first terminal appointment came more than 3 years ago. It is entirely possible that some of my most significant documents (including the "smoking gun") could be kept out of court due to time factors.

4. Legal fees: Now unemployed, I would be hard pressed to hire even one attorney (at $250/hr. or more). The seminary has attorneys at its disposal and the administrators wouldn't be digging into their own pockets. I'm all too conscious of this. We were instructed that we were not to consult attorneys during our 8 weeks of mediation. It was a set up of 3 against one: the 3 administrators against me (and my documents). I didn't learn until late in the process that, despite the understanding, they were consulting their attorneys. I don't have a bevy of attorneys at my disposal whether in mediation or in a court case.

So for now, at least, don't hold your breath waiting for the court to be in session.


"A coin has always two sides. Unfortunately, only one side is been shown. People and Institutions don't just make arbitrary decisions, there are always reasons." These are the first sentences from a message sent by an individual who works at CRC Publications in the Grand Rapids denominational headquarters. The last sentence exhibits neither logic nor good sense. People and Institutions DO just make arbitrary decisions WITHOUT good reasons. Are there examples of this? If we concentrate really hard, maybe we could come up with a timid answer like, GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS (in both parties). I agree with the writer's first sentence, but surely not the second. BOTH sides of the coin were shown to the Board Committee and the mediators. Both groups called for "redress." The mediators called for specific redress including retroactive pay to 2003. And the other side of the coin is shown in the blog--through references to administration documents alleging I'm so "deficient" that I was justly singled out for a terminal appointment.

1 comment:

  1. Ruth,

    What a quote:

    "A coin has always two sides. Unfortunately, only one side is been shown. People and Institutions don't just make arbitrary decisions, there are always reasons."

    My own (waggish) answer would be:

    "I agree there are always reasons. Unfortunately, in this case those reasons were arbitrary reasons."

    On a less facitious level, I find the "two sides to the coin" riff very annoying. I remember once speaking to a well-known Christian woman who's minister husband had recently left her for his secretary. She explained this to me slowly, painfully, then ended with the comment, "But I'm sure there's two sides to the coin--I'm probably as at fault as he is."

    I looked into her eyes and asked, "Did you commit adultery?" No, she said. "Did you leave your husband and children?" No, she said. "Did you violate your marriage vows?" No, she said quietly.

    "Then how the heck are there two sides to this coin? This isn't a coin. It is a relationship. And your husband violated your marriage vows, committed adultery, abandoned you, and has now divorced you in order to have this other woman. Explain to me how you are at fault."

    Her face slowly uncreased, a tentative smile appearing.

    "I'd never thought of it like that before," she said.

    I realize your situation with Calvin is not exactly a marriage. But what I'm pointing to is the fallacy of that apparent truism. There really are NOT two sides to every story.... at least, two sides that are true. They both may be wrong, or both right in part, but just as often (moreso than not in my experience) one side is in fact prevaricating while the other side is in fact close to the facts.

    Sorry for the ramble... but that particular line of alleged logic has always gotten my goat.