Saturday, December 1, 2007

Where are the boundaries?

I'm in a clergy group, all women. We meet about once a month with a therapist. This is not a therapy group. We meet to talk about issues relating to our call. I am new to the Presbytery (one of the most dysfunctional organizations I have ever encountered, BTW). The other women have known each other for a number of years. One of the women members ("B") is my predecessor at the church I serve. She has suffered bouts of depression. I'm not sure where she is today.

So, we met yesterday. During the course of our time together, B asked whether this would be a group where we could "grow". She then mentioned a group of clergywomen that she has decided to leave becasue they want to stay the same and not grow. We talked for a while and then another member, "G" responded that she was upset that B had characterized the group in a particular way. It turns out that both "G" and "L" are members of the second group. B began to cry and say that she just wanted a place where she could be herself and be accepted for herself. And then she left the room. (She did have a funeral she wanted to attend.)

So, the question I am struggling with is one of boundaries and Christian identity. After B left, G was quite clear that she did not want to be in a group that was focused on dealing with B's issues. Where do we, as Christians, draw the line between loving and accepting others and having clear boundaries about who we are and what our group does? How can we be loving and accepting and yet have boundaries?