May I Be Blunt for a Moment?

By: Lionel D. Yetter, Co-Founder and Contributor to the Blunt

When I attended PLNU (PLC to me) many years ago, precisely in the year of our lord (small L) nineteen hundred and seventy-six, I had no idea that campus-adjacent events unfolding 47 years later would yet again bring my conservative blood to the boiling point in my residence in Rome. Why? Without any papal-level pondering, one can divine that the cause of said gastric distress and dangerously mounting bloat is once again our beloved PLNU meticulously fanning their melodramatic soiled laundry into the air of the public. In my case, it was being on the wrong side of the reproductive fence (gay) that landed me squarely in opposition to the then-dean of the school. Blatant hypocrisy, false promises and malicious intent were all levied my way. I was not ejected from the school, as I had caught said dean red-handed (and very redfaced), alone in a hidden drainage ditch above the gymnasium chapel venue, with a female student friend of mine, grilling her over details of our private friendship … something he vowed on his Christian word he would not do. 

He dared not eject me! He knew I would expose his actions and deceptive behaviors, symptoms of a general tactic in politically leveraging personally branded saccharine morality. The coffee on his desk had already been laced with angst, as this occurred after our first published edition of The Blunt, lauded by many within the then faculty, including a comment by President Brown who appreciated the vindication of the school viciously rumored by certain pastors as a hotbed of drugs in dorms and general California mayhem. Nothing could have been further from truth, or from Jesus Christ and John Wesley’s example of how to behave. 

Melissa Tucker has a passion for teaching and for people, as aptly noted by “The New Narrative” website in 2018, bringing “compassionate ministry, spiritual direction, mediating cross-cultural relationships and experiences and organizational theory” to the forefront of her life mission. Her 2014 master’s in non-profit leadership and management, and 2015 master of theology earned at PLNU, and 2016 ordainment expressed in a meaningful ministry, had brought her recognition and admiration through her roles as adjunct PLNU professor and associate pastor at the on-campus San Diego First Church of the Nazarene. That is until she dared utilize those qualifications to reach a wider band of people in need of ministry through basic, Christ-like behavior. So did John Wesley, by the way, in a time of standard cookie-cutter worship. 

So, Kerry Fulcher fired her. Perfect. Defense was postured by the PLNU dean of theology via a social media comment that at least dialogue was needed, and in short order, he was dispatched neatly by the swinging sword of the very same self-appointed Manual police, Mr. Fulcher. Ah, but by now the infection had spread … and the adored pastor of First Church of 17 years, Selden “Dee” Kelley, was targeted by church leadership for his stance that can be summarized as “We need open dialogue.”

This series of events takes a now antique and historical level of bad gas to new heights of stench. At that time, I frequently quipped that within the Church of Nastybeans any consternation, like all bad gas would someday pass. Incredibly, we find ourselves in 2024 still in the bloat stage, with no visible hope nor permission for relief. The real bandage ripper off the hairiest of body parts here must certainly be the coldhearted, paranoic, vindictively jealous inquisition carried out against who by all counts is a beloved and humble servant of Jesus Christ.

Over my lifetime I have practiced the love that drew my great-grandfather to pastor in the Nazarene faith, finding the Methodists of the time petty and judgmental, seeing the more loving and less hierarchical Nazarenes as an opportunity early in the formation of the denomination. My grandfather’s best friend Lyle Prescott, his daughter Ruth who was deeply Christian with every breath, my uncle’s friend at Pasadena (Jim Bond), and all affiliated with those who inspired me to greater and broader faith. My father and brother as ordained Nazarene ministers along with the majority of those who serve our denomination would never remotely consider such behaviors which clearly are a death blow to our witness, our own stated mission and tenets of our faith.

At the outset of the Faith, we allege to follow, our founder envisioned a Wesleyan mission to counter these same Pharisaical Pharoah and Baboon Babylon mentalities, with which puffed-up paunches were then and are now employed to pound those who prove through their yielded fruit more spiritually aware. What churchy tripe must these oligarchs have been weaned on to become so far from the message brought against similar conditions by the true Messiah?

Congratulations for your flatulations, my formerly fond doctrinal doctors of wizardry … you’ve managed to isolate and identify true Christian behavior among us the faithful, who have emerged in vigorous protest. I recommend that those who took part in these Nazee tribunals have plastic plaques made for your library walls to celebrate the trashing of this beloved pastor of 17 years’ success and remarkable following, and co-warrior Melissa Tucker, along with a qualified dean of theology for sneezing without having used approved snuff powder. 

Perhaps a high colonic, anti-parasitical shampoo and combout, with optional electric shock therapy will serve next for any who dare to think apart from the Manual change coup. We look at and preach against what our leaders have shown us is their personal and deviant mission. It’s time for a revival of true spirit, of John Wesley’s vision, of Phineas Bressee’s inspiration and example, and a return to the true foundations from which the Church of the Nazarene has most evidently and sadly departed.