My priest friend Tom Weston says that God's will for each of us is to have aI periodically return to this pondering-- the living of an "ordinary" Christian life instead of a high-rollin' Full Time Ministry lifestyle. It is a beautiful thing to us-- though still uneasy at times-- to put ourselves at His feet with the rest of humanity, without the special status and influence that comes from being a vital part of a church (as volunteers or staff).
life. "And it is up to us to go and get one. Find some work, some love, some
play. Taste things. Be of service. Feed the hungry and clean the beaches and
clothe the naked and work for justice. Love God, love your neighbor. Help build
a world where it is safe to be a child, and where it is safe to grow old. And
love cats, and the occasional dog." I think this pretty much says it.
One of ye olde pastors wrote my husband recently, asking for his take on our Orlando experience and whether there were hard feelings. It gave us a few weeks of intermittent pondering, prayer, and struggle. (Truthfully, the struggle was mostly my husband's-- as Wife, I was an am essentially a nonentity to these men; my opinion has never been a matter of interest.) What do you say, when the four years there were four years of conflict, drama, power plays, strife, and galling unlove? He implied that we should feel warm and fuzzy and peaceful and want to go on fishing trips with him, and that he sensed that maybe that wasn't true, and that troubled him.
Bizarre. We spent years trying to share our concerns, our needs, our panic, with our leaders. He acts like it's all a mystery to him. I'm all for forgiving everyone involved, and will continue to do that (it is a process, I admit). But no fishing trips or warm fuzzies are going to be forthcoming to assauge anyone's sense of guilt. Simply put, your church, under your leadership, was a nightmare for us.
My husband wrote a beautiful, measured response last night and sent it, and I hope (but doubt) it closes the discussion. Quoting it here would certainly get me into trouble, so I won't. But I am tremendously proud of him for the way that he said those things.
And tremendously glad that we're saying them from here, rather than being embroiled in the drama there.