Thursday, July 31, 2014

When You Criticize A Pastor...

I cried myself to sleep last night. I woke up with my eyes red-rimmed, exhausted, and cried some more. I've stayed in bed all day and have done nothing more than sleep, cry, repeat.

It began last night when I received a text message from a friend I've been doing Bible study with for about a year. She was upset about some things I had written on Facebook. To be more specific, I had written some things about the pastor of the church she currently attends and that I just stopped attending. The things I wrote were the REASON I stopped attending this church.

I began by getting defensive, because everything I said was absolutely true. It wasn't embellished, it wasn't gossip, it wasn't even hearsay. Everything I said I had witnessed myself, so when she suggested it smacked of slander I became frustrated, because I have always understood slander to be the ruining of one's reputation based on untrue things....

But when we got down to it, the thing she seemed the most concerned about was that I had put it on Facebook. She told me she didn't think that was the right forum for it.

I have spent a lot of time thinking this over. Why did I put it on Facebook in the first place? Why have I used Facebook several times over the last year to rant or argue or bring things up? Is there a better way to communicate and work things out besides airing dirty laundry on social media sites?

What I came up with it this: Social media sites give women a voice they often do not have within the church.

You see, I had already tried talking to the pastor one on one and was not heard. My husband, myself and several others had already tried to talk with him, to no avail. In a recent church meeting, which was opened up to questions from the congregation, I asked him questions that he responded to in a condescending, rude manner that effectively silenced me. Some of the men in the church actually laughed.

This pastor recently taught that men are created for the glory of God while women are made for the pleasure of men. He believes some things about the roles of women within the home and the church that I completely can not agree with. These are some of the reasons my husband and I finally decided to stop meeting at this particular church. There are other reasons, but these are some of the main ones.

What I am saying is that while my voice is not heard in the church, while I am condescended to and silenced and have even been slandered and gossiped about for being unsubmissive to authority, social media sites provide a forum where I can be heard.

There is one thing I honestly don't know though, and that I struggle with, and it is this: When is it acceptable to speak out about the wrong you see and when should you not? On the one hand, when you honestly, truly believe that someone is abusing their position of authority, distorting the scriptures, and openly lying, and after you have attempted to go to the person alone, and then with one or two others, and you still aren't heard... Isn't it an acceptable thing to shine light on that situation? Allow others to know what's going on, why you're leaving the church, the truth behind all those meetings?

And on the other hand, there's grace. Jesus told us it is he who is without sin who can throw the first stone. We know the bible teaches that love covers a multitude of sins.

And I think, yes, but isn't there a difference between someone who is repentant and one who is not?

Because the Bible also teaches that after warning a divisive person twice, you're to have nothing to do with them. And this pastor told my husband plain that if we could not agree with him in all these areas of doctrine, then we should find another church. He told a woman he could not allow her to come into our church because she spoke in tongues. He has made several other people I know well feel as though the things that concern them are unimportant. Isn't this divisive behavior?

I don't know how to walk this all out well and I know I have made mistakes. For that, I am sorry. My intent, my heart, is never to hurt or anger anyone.

One of my friends posted this article onto my Facebook page this morning. These words really stood out to me,
"When we criticize the Church and our words are reckless and stinging, please forgive us. Please understand that we have only love for the Church, even if that love is sometimes clouded by hot tears of anger and hurt."

I feel like this descibes me perfectly. I have spoken {written} recklessly and some of my words have stung or hurt or angered... but that is not my intention. I'm just writing from a place of hurt and anger myself.

I honestly don't know how to go forward. I feel wrecked. I'm honestly achy and I just want to shut my door and not come out for a long, long time.

This friend of mine, she told me that her family would no longer come to our weekly Bible study because of me. Even though her and I managed to sorta-kinda work it through, her family has decided to go someplace else. And it's my fault. I just don't feel right going to Bible study, knowing people are refusing to come, all because of ME.

I am torn between wanting to mend relationships and wanting to walk away forever.

I'm really pretty broken.

Here's to hoping a few days of rest and prayer and time with Jesus will bring some measure of healing and clarity... not just for me, but for all of us.

~Amy Danielle

1 comment:

  1. I do think prayer and rest and time with Jesus will bring healing and clarity. I think of Martin Laird's book Into the Silent Land where he talks about the fact that we are like Mt. Zion, not the weather on the mountain. You would love this book.
    I get tired of Facebook, honestly. I think it's rather easy to address one faction of our "friends" and miss another. I'm sure you feel that way, too, after all of this. I'm so sorry, Amy Danielle.

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