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Tier 2 or Tier 3: You never know

Until Tier 2: Wannabes are safely in Tier 1: Patriarchs, they never feel secure. They just might be relegated down to Tier 3: Worker Bees. You know, with the women.

I remember sitting with Pastor Danny Brooks in November 2007, just after we had left Bob Jones University. I am sure we were in the middle of being the object of church discipline for what puffed-up charge I’ll never know. But Grant and I were at Starbucks talking through all the things. Danny had already told us in the summer that we were justified in our exodus. He said, “BJU changed the contract on you!” Which is true. They did. Danny had already promised in July that he wouldn’t take away our ministry at church. But then he turned. Everything turned. He took it all away after he talked to someone–after he in Tier 2 talked to someone in Tier 1.

At some point in the conversation, Grant sat on the key fob for the car, and the trunk popped open. It was a rainy day, so he ran out to close the trunk.

Danny and I were alone, sitting in Starbucks in Greer in that little sitting area they used to have — opposite sides. I wish I could describe the face he shot my direction as soon as Grant left. I considered Danny a brother. We had been in grad school together and taken classes together. I had encouraged him through the long-distance courtship with his now-wife as we all sat backstage in Perf Hall around productions. This was how I felt about him even then while he was cutting us off from the church.

Left to Right: Rena Anderson, Camille Lewis, Danny Brooks, Anne Watson, and Gary Weier in The Matchmaker, a Speech Faculty production in 1991.

But the look of sheer terror on his face when he and I were left alone in this public place of business! I’ll never forget it. He was terrified of me. I wasn’t scared of him, and I wasn’t trying to scare him.

The top half of my program signed there, by Danny Brooks.

His terrified face haunts me — still. What was he worried about? Was he worried I would hurt him? Like punch him? Jump him? Yell at him? I think I responded by saying nothing of any import.

Now I think he was worried that something I would do or say would ruin him. And by “ruin” I mean drag him into Tier 3 with the women.