I wish I had time today to write about my conversations I had yesterday. Unfortunately I have to take care of the kids, wife, my job, and resumes today. So this is all I have time to do.
TBWSNBN was neighbors with Carter and his wife. It’s how we became friends with TBWSNBN. She told Carter’s wife. Carter’s wife is best friends with Scott’s wife and told her. Scott and I are really good friends. Apparently, Saturday night Carter and wife went to Scott’s to talk about what to do with this piece of gossip. There was a disagreement. Scott and his wife are pretty liberal Christians. How liberal? Like pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, and voted for Obama liberal. Carter on the other hand… well he came to our church because of how conservative/biblical we are.
After church Scott came up to me
Hey man, do you have a few minutes to talk today? I really need to talk with you today.
Hmm, odd. I tell him to come over to my house around princess’ nap time.
I get home from Church and I get a text from Carter
Hey do you have time to talk this week, it’s really important
Ok, I’m thinking the one thing they have in common in TBWSNBN. My wife agrees and is furious with TBWSNBN and she notices that we’ve been blocked on Facebook from TBWSNBN’s account. Because if your going to ruin someone’s life, best to block them.
Scott: So TBWSNBN is telling people you’re an atheist. She’s saying that at a girls night, after a few drinks, your wife said you came back from your camping trip and told her you’re an atheist.
Me: Ok, yeah, so let me give you some context.
I decide to be about 90% open with how I’m doing. Because of how liberal Scott is and how good of friends we are, him and his wife were on the “short list” of people to come out to. But they were people I was planning on telling after I secured employment. Scott’s wife is a pretty active volunteer with the church, and I didn’t want her to question whether she can volunteer with an organization I’m leading.
So I play the burn-out/questioning card that many of you have suggested. Knowing Scott’s liberal views I decide to talk my “growing” disagreement with conservative biblical sexual ethics. But I also mention this:
Me: I know your a fan of Rachel Held Evans [a liberal evangelical author and equality activist] but I don’t understand liberal Christianity. To me, I’m deciding whether biblical sexual ethics are right and need to be proclaimed, or wrong and therefore the bible is wrong, and therefore deserves to be outright rejected. I just don’t want to hurt people with what I teach.
You know, every Christian has these questions and struggles. The difference is that you aren’t endanger of losing your job for asking these questions. I am. Churches are exempt from both unemployment and COBRA. If TBWSNBN gets me fired. I instantly lose income and insurance.
Scott: Do you think the church would give you a severance package?
Me: I don’t know. But I can’t bet on it, especially if I’m going to take care of my family.
I tell Scott about my conversations with Kevin and TBWSNBN.
Scott: What the hell is wrong with that woman? God, she just want attention. She has to be the center of attention and look important. She has no concern about not only what this could do to you, but how she could be destroying the church.
Me: We never thought she was “that kind” of Christian.
Scott: Really?! Oh, yeah. This isn’t the first shit storm she’s been at the center of.
Me: Of fuck me. We totally never saw that side of her.
Scott: Yeah, she’s a bitch.
Pro-tip: If you know a self important bitch, and notice your friends making friends with them… say something.
We talk about my problems with prayers. I even mention the grandma at surgery center waiting room. I begin to prep him for a coming revelation that I don’t believe anymore.
Me: I can’t promise that I’m going to come out of this still a Christian. I may, or I may not.
Scott: Well that doesn’t really bother me. Even if you give God the middle finger, I’m not going to stop being your friend
Me: I figured. Which is why I was already planning on telling you. I was already planning on telling Kevin, but TBWSNBN keeps forcing my hand.
Scott: Well is there anything I can do for you?
Me: Yeah, we need friends. If this works out in the worst possible way, I’m going to lose my job, community, and most of my friends. My wife I need still need people to hang out with, grab a beer with, and watch movies with. Honestly, the best thing you can do is for your wife and you to just be regular friends.
Scott: Yeah of course. But you should probably be more cautious in your conversation with Carter. I think he’s a bit more upset.
My wife started texting Carter’s wife
Carter’s wife: Hey, you guys want to go to the lake and have the kids cool off with some swimming?
Wife: Sure. I’m just worried about how you’ve reacted to TBWSNBN’s gossip.
Carter’s Wife: Well, it came from TBWSNBN so we knew to take it with a grain of salt. And I think Scott is wrong about what Carter believes.
With Carter at the lake I spend a lot of time talking about Kevin and my conversation with Kevin. I also tell him about the bible study on Job I gave to TBWSNBN. Carter is definitely Christianizing this, which is expected. But he’s also spending a lot of time just listening.
Carter: Well I’m sorry TBWSNBN is trying to ruin your life.
Me: Indeed. So I can’t promise I’m going to come out of this still being a pastor or even a Christian.
Carter: Well, is there anything we can do?
Me: Well yeah, we need friends. Friends that don’t judge me no matter how this washes out.
Carter: Well yeah, obviously. You don’t have to worry about that.
Conversation gets cut short as we run into other church members at the lake.
Both Scott and Carter ask if I’ve talked to the church elders. They think it would be helpful. (sigh). Scott thinks I need to get out ahead of this, at least with the elders.
Scott gave us a short list of people he knows for sure that TBWSNBN has told. Oddly most aren’t church members. She even told someone who used to live in the city but moved to a different state.
And that’s all I have time to write today. Sorry, I didn’t have time to edit this post, or preview it. I hope it makes sense. No grammar Nazis allowed on this post.