Outed Convos in Brief

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.

Awesome

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.

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22 thoughts on “Outed Convos in Brief

  1. Glad to see that Scott and Carter took things well, and Carter’s wife is being supportive (no mention of Scott’s wife so we’ll assume she’s being supportive as well). I can’t say I disagree with the idea that you need to get ahead of things with the church elders. It’s better for them to hear first from you what you’re wanting to tell them so that they can establish truth from that rather than hear gossip from TBWSNBN. Based on what I’ve read here and the reaction of your friends, I doubt she’s putting this in the best light possible.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well I’m glad to see that these friends are behaving like friends! I think the fact that TBWSNBN has a history of negative drama involvement is going to weigh in your favor, at least with reasonable people that know you well.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Infuriating. So thankful for support on-the-ground. Your “Awesome” to Scott’s info is awesome. A blistering attack rant would likely come from most humans…. So deeply sorry you have to work through this. Inspiring integrity. if the atheism holds, awesome atheism

    Like

    • Shouldda started that last sentence with a capital… the “if” was not written to go with “integrity”!!!! [grammar nazi’s lament]

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  4. This is a huge step forward for you! You’re paving the way for a post-theistic life and testing the waters for which relationships will survive the transition. You’re being 90% honest about where you’re at, as you say, and these guys are responding with understanding and reassurances of continued friendship. (Even though don’t be surprised if they later try to reconvert you…). And I agree with initiating a meeting with the elders; they’re a lot more likely to later be supportive (e,g, severance package?) if you allow them to work alongside you and the church in this matter rather than later blindsiding them.

    (Grammar Nazi tendencies successfully stifled… :P).

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Well, it certainly helps that this woman has an obvious history of bitch to temper people’s reactions to her, but it still sucks that she’s forcing you into this situation. I can only hope that a new job will be coming for you soon; once taking care of your family is handled, you’ll be free to go to 100% honesty.

    Now that it’s known she’s going around telling people though, it probably would be a good idea to go to the elders and give them the schpiel. Best to get ahead of the storm as much as possible. If you can outmaneuver her with the burnout excuse, it should likely mitigate the damage she’s trying to cause and hopefully at least buy time for new employment.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It sounds like you already have the admiration and support TBWSNBN wishes she had. And that goes a long way, friend. It’s difficult to grasp how others perceive us, so you may be surprised when you find out how supportive others will turn out to be.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Glad some of your friends have your back. It’s tempting to point at TBWSNBN and say, “look at the ugly Christian,” but frankly most groups have someone like her, Christian or not. And in my experience, the people who will be glad of her actions are not the ones you want in your circle.

    Whatever the case, it sounds like things are coming to a head. I wish you the best.

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  8. Glad your friends are standing with you. Im sure this means a great deal to you and your wife. Sorry you are having to go through this now. Wish it could have been on your terms. Hope your wife is doing good after her surgery.

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  9. It is a sad irony that those most zealous for their faith ignore the Biblical direction for women not to gossip.

    But of course gossip is always something other people do.

    Another irony is that is the liberal Christians who are more loving and supportive. Given conservatives often doubt whether they are ‘real Christians’. I toyed with the idea of liberal Christianity but could not get it to work. Seemed a bit like cherry picking.

    Sorry the proverbial has hit the fan.

    In my own case I have told some people that my faith has crumbled, but I have avoided telling them just how much.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I have to say I so admire how you are handling all of this JJ. I have learned so much from your experience and I thank you for continuing to share it with us. I, too, am so glad some friends are showing you they have your back. I think great things will be coming your way. You’ll have to muddle through all the BS, but then, watch out world. You’ve got this. Big hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t know how far in advance you publish your speaking topics but there are plenty of passages that deal with contentiousness and slander (e.g. Titus 2). Maybe teaching on the “biblical” methodology of dealing with church and interpersonal problems would be valuable …. both for the subject matter itself and for defusing the current focal point of dissent.
    I’m about 10 years past the point where you are now. Been there; done that (imperfectly). Free advice: the things you see as the biggest problems now (money, job, friendships, skills, etc) will get resolved one way or the other within a few years. Try not to overly dwell on those issues. But move heaven and earth to strengthen your marriage even if you do not see that as a major issue now.
    Despite your current pain, you’re going to feel really good about this transition in years to come.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. _hugs_

    I’ve been following your blog since you posted on the Clergy Project’s blog a few weeks ago, and have been pretty worried about you since TBWSNBN started outing you to others. It sounds like things are (so far, at least) going much better than they might have gone, and some of your friends are actually turning out to be true friends. I wish you all the best, and am nervous but excited to hear what happens next.

    Sadly, I can’t help you on the employment front. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: An odd twist | Pastor No Faith

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