Sunday, January 17, 2010

Calmer

Things have calmed a bit this week. I met with some of the same people again and gave them a chance to clarify themselves. I also apologized to the guy I came close to killing last week and I gave him some room to save face.

Why so nice? This is a power struggle I can't win outright. However, if we can be calmer, perhaps I can put a more systematic process in place that will allow us to work out our conflicts. And if most folks are reasonably honest, we can still work together.

And if we work together better, then those who are truly malevolent will be revealed more quickly and clearly.

The group had a chance to reassure me. "Those people who got mad at your wife will get over it. Don't worry. We'll get them back."

I appreciated the reassurance, but I straightened some things out in their thinking, I hope.

"Misunderstandings happen even when people are trying to do good things," I said. "I understand that and expect it. But I also expect people to come to me promptly to give me the opportunity to clear things up. If this had been done, we would not be having this meeting now.

"You assure me they'll get over it. But nobody meant to hurt them in the first place. However, somebody set out to hurt my wife and me. Of all the people referred to here, my wife was the one who was attacked. The difference is that we're grown ups. We won't go tell forty of our closest friends about this. And we won't stop serving even in a church that has not shown much caring for my wife.

"She has been sick. Her mother died. And she had to move to this new place where few people have come to know her. Yet she has continued to serve here because it was needed."

The room was stony silent at that moment. They looked sick and a bit betrayed, as if I had not adhered to some implied rules of engagement.

Clinically, I can tell you we have identified where this group needs to grow up. I know that some of them feel bad about how my wife was treated. Most of them feel chastised, like they've been scolded. But none of them have said the necessary words of reconciliation.

I have been charged by God to care for these people. Some of them I have grown to love. But at the moment, I sort of hate them, too.

10 comments:

  1. I like what you said to them. Man, these posts remind me of all the politics and general BS that went on at pretty much every church I ever got involved with. So sad to see people get in the way of the good.

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  2. Mike, I think one reason these things hurt so much is that we expect a church to be different from the rest of the world. When we hurt each other, it's a betrayal.

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  3. I usually try to cut people some slack--people are even humaner in church. But this situation just crossed a line.

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  4. I dunno. I think you should take the leader, break his shinbone in half and stab him with it.

    But, you know how us atheists are...

    CG, thanks for being honest.
    You know, we do, all of us, expect more from church going folk. We expect them to be what they think all God's people are supposed to be. And when they show us that they're just human, we tend to be a little snarky.

    I really wish we could all stop trying to make everyone around more like ourselves and let everyone just be themselves. Wow. I just threw up some weird pronouns...time for coffee...

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  5. "Stab him with his own shinbone"

    You're never boring, Sistermoon!

    Accepting people as they are is supposed to be one of the things the church does--which would be patterned after Jesus. But so far, it hasn't caught on much.

    Guess that means I still have work to do.

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  6. I like Sistermoon's "Shinbone Solution." It displays both justice and mercy. Justice, since he deserves it, and mercy, since you'd still be leaving him with one completely functioning shinbone. All very Christlike. Plus... shinbones are fully organic.

    --JagWar

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  7. Perhaps we could call this "green vengeance" because it won't hurt the environment. It could even improve it.

    I've got to go preach about the peace of Christ now.

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  8. Sounds like you're doing things the right way, being calm and explicit about what calling people to be accountable, rather than aggressive or passive aggressive. Reminds me of the struggles and approach of this guy: http://www.esquire.com/features/people-who-matter-2010/barack-obama-father-0210-3

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  9. Daniel, that was an interesting article and it would explain why a year later, some people are frustrated with their new President of whom they expected so much--heck he even got a Nobel prize because of their expectations.

    When we refuse to use the good guys vs bad guys approach it's hard to rally the people. It's frustrating to people who want to be on a winning team.

    But "post-evil"? Not sure I can go that far.

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