Sunday, May 08, 2005

I Am Cutest Of All When I Am Bitter

So my Dad isn't working now. By that I mean he is unemployed rather than he isn't doing anything. He is doing quite a bit what with all the work it takes to scoot his leg back and forth on the floor while I bark out "Count!! I can't hear you!!" to make sure he breathes while he does his recovery exercises.

He got fired. By his church. The easy way to tell the story is that he is a victim of downsizing by a church that isn't growing, but the whole truth is a bit more complicated. The downsizing plan wasn't brought before the church and a few snarky comments from the "called" staff have found their way back to us. He doesn't work there anymore and he's decided not to worship there anymore. My parents have been a part of that community since 1969.

I am about fifty kinds of torn now. I want to draft a letter and tell my old church what I think, but to do that I first have to detach myself from the reflex to protect my father and approach them with some kind of love. I want to tell them all that they gave me and hold their present behavior up against that example. I want to hold their behavior up against Christ's example. I don't think they'd hear me, I just want it said.

But I also have to forgive. When I start that letter in my head, it becomes full of the anger that I'd like to pretend is righteous but is really just self righteous. Sure, I have all kinds of business telling a church how to behave when I don't attend myself.

I am holding off. As church members have found out about Dad, they have complained loudly and it's caused a bit of a church split. Anything I would say at this moment would only accentuate the rift. I think it's time right now for me to figure out how to love the church again, fight my "visiting alone" anxiety, and wallow around in some grace.

The good news is it seems easier than it would have been two years ago. Thanks, imagined blog audience, you do more than you know to make be believe it could happen.


Anonymous said...

I didn't know your Dad was employed by a church. As a cog in the wheel of said institution, I can say that the tides do turn rather quickly sometimes and it hurts worse because of the assumption of community that is repleat in all of the church-speak. No matter how much you reason through it, all that talk ends up making you pissed off. Churches could find easier ways to let people go but they don't, or many of them do not.

I know you don't need my encouragement, but craft the letter. The church needs to hear it as much as you need to write it, send it. The kingdom people are supposed to be different. --Tim Sean

Streak said...

Wow. This is tough. I admire your impulse to forgive and show love to this church. I agree with both of you: write the letter and do it the right way.

educat said...

Thanks to you both for the encouragement. It means more than you know. It's not as much my impulse to forgive as it is the duty I know I have. I want to achieve this noble goal.

I knocked out a rough draft of The Letter last night and clarified my desire to forgive. I think I put it well there, "It is not my reflex, but it is my desire".

It's grace. I'm working on it.