Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wondering about congregations

A friend was lamenting her congregation's treatment of her during several crises in her life that have just occured. She was criticized by the clerk for taking time off during Holy Week (her associate handled everything). The congregation I serve was wonderful to me during my cancer and chemo, but were unforgiving of the previous pastor during her crises.

I wondered this morning if congregations expect pastors to be impervious to crises. If God will not protect the pastor during a crisis, then certainly God will not protect me from the horrors that life inevitably brings to all but the most lucky (and death comes to all of us). Does this make some in congregations less willing to be compassionate? I'm not exactly clear in the connections, they seem to be there to me, intuitively.

I think my cancer was not subject to this because many in the congregation had survived cancer and everyone, though concerned, was convinced that I would be OK once I got through everything.

2 comments:

Jane said...

The Christmas I got my MS in 1999 I was on sick leave and my congregation was great but my elders were in part dreadful - seeing it as their responsibility to tell me to not do things and then getting their children to ask me if they could have a New Year's party downstairs from my appartment on December 31st when I was upstairs too ill to move, having cancelled my holiday and having to argue on the phone about it all and be "nice" to the "young people" but still say no. At the time I was so weak I just wept about it, afterwards I raged now I smile and shake my head and think what appalling pastoral care of the minister! It took me a while to get to the smile stage, when something bad happens to the minister there's lots of power play going on, some guilt-tripping and not a great deal of spiritual, theological or any other kind of understanding. But I'm just a cynic.
Hope your friend finds some support.

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