It has been a while since I've written, and I'm hoping someone will read this and will offer up some prayers, or as my friend Sistermoon says—positive energy—my way.
It always happens to the preacher at one time or another. At some point, the element that is dissatisfied decides to attack the preacher when he's vulnerable. It has happened again. I wasn't surprised. It can hurt my feelings, but really, it's part of the job.
But they got to me pretty good last week. They caught me by surprise by criticizing my wife. I was meeting with the leadership to discuss how we can get back some of our young marrieds who are MIA when someone suggested that some of them weren't coming because my wife offended them. If this is true, it is for baseless reasons.
My wife is beautiful (like a model) and shy. She is lovely and quiet—sort of my counterpart. It has not been easy being a minister's wife, but she has rarely been criticized herself. In past churches the people saw that she works hard and they recognized her talents. The men sort of fall in love with her though she doesn't seem to notice it, and the women like her because they feel safe around her—somehow they do not feel competition with her.
The first time people meet her they look me over and wonder how a big clumsy guy like me rates someone like her, and my stock usually rises.
She has had to sacrifice a lot to be married to a minister. She could have easily had someone handsomer and more financially successful, but she chose to make her life with me.
My family has had to do without things because I serve the church. Not just things. How many birthdays and holidays have I had to be gone? How many dinners have I missed to take care of someone else? How many evenings have I not been at home because of the demands of a low paying job?
But this latest experience is not something the family should have to take. They don't deserve it.
I'm not hurt.
The guy who spoke is lucky to have walked away that night—I wanted to leap across the table and grab him by the throat. I am disgusted with the other people around the table who simply looked down and did not speak up in her defense. I realized this had already been discussed between them.
Upon reflection I realize they criticized her because they knew it would get to me.
They were right.
This morning I will go and preach a sermon on love and I'll use many entertaining anecdotes. I'll be kind to all the unknowing people who need help. I will not use any angry words or commit any physically hostile actions.
But war has been declared. They have some advantages. But I've been in this business a long time. I know how to fight this kind of campaign. In the past, I've disciplined myself not to use my skills for personal reasons. I have been restrained.
But not anymore.