The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 6

I care way too much.

I have this habit of deeply missing my old friends.  The Sunday before Christmas I had a bit too much drink, and I did something which I kinda regret.

I sent Christmas greetings to all my old friends.

Nothing fancy, just a simple text message:

Me: Merry Christmas to you and your family.  I hope you are well.

One of the people I sent it to was the youth pastor of the church.  Since I know he’s having to run things in my absence, I put in an additional message.

Me: If you need help setting up for Christmas Eve, give me a call.  I still remember where everything is.

There was a big falling out between me and his wife.  At one point I told her “For fuck sake, shut up and leave us alone.”

She’s a judgmental bitch.  But that’s a different post.

Since I’ve left church, the youth pastor has asked me on 2 occasions to help me with something at the church.  They were simple Facebook messages asking me where something was.  Nothing big.  But I always followed up with reminding him to call me anytime if he needed help.  But after my Christmas greetings and offer, he sent me this

YP:I’m confused by you asking me this

Me: Why? Have I not always told you if you need help, I’ll gladly give it?

YP: Ok, well I think we got it covered.

Me: I called the church the other day because I was still trying to help. You don’t just erase 10 years.

Well if you don’t need help, then that’s good. Just don’t be afraid to ask. I still know more about that place than anyone else.I miss you, and everyone. It hurts a lot to not be friends with everyone.

I wish all of you well. Best of luck in your new direction.

YP: Well I’m sorry man but youve burned some bridges, the second I think of the way you messaged my wife that day my blood begins to boil and yes I need to come to a place of forgiveness but it’s not easy.

Me:It’s strange that I as an atheist has more love for you guys than you have for me.

I’m sorry for how angry I got, but I was protecting my wife as you are protecting yours.

If you can’t forgive me, I understand. Just know that I think the world of you and your family. Seriously, I miss you all. It pains me deeply to be not reconciled.

I wish you well. Have a merry Christmas.

YP: I appreciate you extending that kindness, and will definitely help in me coming to a place of forgiveness. I pray that Christ would be revealed to you and your family in a way like never before.

Me: I wish for the same for me. It just hasn’t happened.

I’ll make a deal with you: if the [local football team] make it to the Super Bowl then I’ll buy you lunch, if they don’t make it…then you buy me lunch. Deal?

YP: First of all I never bet anything on the [local football team], bad karma. Give me some time, I want to pray about this.

Me: Ok. No matter what comes of your prayer, the door is always open.

YP: Thanks man, Go [Team]!!!

Apparently word got around that I was all my ex-friends a Merry Christmas.  What audacity, what sinfulness, how wicked could I be for doing such a thing.  What dastardly plan could I be cooking up?

YP: I really hope that you teaching out to [ex-friend 1], [ex-friend 2], and myself has nothing to do with some atheist documentary that you’re doing, cause that would be pretty low.

Me: The documentary is already done filming.

YP: Ok, just didn’t want to assume.

Me: Sounds like you kinda already did.

YP: Nope, the thought crossed my mind so i asked.

Me: Ok. I reached out to them for the same reasons I reached out to you. When I left the church, I didn’t have a single friend outside the church.

I miss having friends

I do have a few friends

I just miss you guys

YP: Ok like I said just wanted to confirm, thanks

Well, it’s been confirmed that you’re an asshole.

I seriously seethed over this exchange.  Hate began reboiling in my veins God, I can’t even wish people season’s greetings without it somehow being a plan of the devil.  We’d better pool our resources and find out with apostate ex-pastor is up to.

I still care about these guys, but I also now hate them.

blech…

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7 thoughts on “The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 6

  1. “She’s a judgmental bitch. But that’s a different post.”

    Seems to be a lot of that. 🙂

    I’m not sure how much of an arsehole YP is. Like he said, he is confused about you and your actions. I’m sure you can imagine how you would feel if he had told your wife to “For fuck sake, shut up and leave us alone.” and was then contacting you to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas. I mean it’s a little like the hypocrisy you are seeing in the members of your church, but reversed. They were fake and you are now seeing their true selves, whereas he might think he has seen your true side, and now you are being fake. He might be wondering why, and putting something on for the cameras is a reasonable guess to make. Again, can you imagine what you would think if suddenly members of the congregation got in touch to check up on your family, and you found out they were being filmed for a documentary about how great Christianity is.

    I obviously don’t know anything about it beyond what you have said. Just saying, there’s quite a bit of grey between the black and the white.

    Cheers
    Shane

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  2. These accounts are sad, infuriating, and making me think about how I’m not sure that church members know the long agony that this change of world view was for you and your wife. I’m thinking about those Truth and Reconciliation meetings in South Africa, and an opportunity, not for people to confess wrongdoing, but just for everyone to be able to hear what each one has been through…. to hear the complete truth of each one’s experience. I wonder if your district leader (I’ve forgotten his name) could facilitate something like that, for the healing of everyone.

    Thank you for writing so truthtellingly

    Peace, shalom, namaste

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      • Please don’t. No more greetings or offers of help. It’s just not healthy for you or the church members (even if they’re being total turds). You’re going through an emotional divorce, and you all need time to heal.

        I wish like everything there was a way to ease this part of the transition for you. When I read what you’re experiencing, and your inner turmoil, I better understand the reasons why the mainline denomination I grew up in developed their organization and ethics rules.

        In nearly 60 years of ministry, I don’t think my parents ever considered any church members to be lifelong friends. Their closest friendships were with ministerial families at other churches. But with their own members, it was never more than friendly, affectionate relationships with the knowledge that those relationships would end when it was time for the minister to move to a new charge. And after that happened, the minister was under an ethical obligation not to contact members of the former church, or to come back to perform a funeral or wedding without the permission of the current pastor.

        In those constraints, one or two couples from previous churches did contact them and they visited each other after a few years of transition. But the renewals of contact were initiated by the members, never by the pastor or his wife. I could have as a preacher’s kid, but my parents were always very careful about not re-entering former members lives unless it was a good situation to do so.

        I can’t remember if you’ve mentioned before how you became the pastor of this church, but I get the sense that it was possibly your first pastorate, or at least the first of any substance and length. It would certainly make this part of the transition that much harder, because you haven’t experienced it before. I also don’t know if you had any other significant other job types before the ministry, where you worked for a corporation or a reasonably sized company. This is not so much about religion as it is about organizational psychology.

        The bottom line is, in any of those cases–churches, nonprofits, for-profits, whatever–friendly relationships generally *don’t* equal friendships when it comes to a forced termination. Those church members were your employers, first and foremost. They hired you to be their spiritual leader and connection to their god. If you had left through an organized move to another church, they would have accepted it as a matter of course, and possibly maintained contact with you after bringing in their new pastor. But not this way.

        It’s not your fault, but you can’t rearrange their beliefs. They have to do it themselves, and in doing so, they have to give up some tenets of their (immature, irrational) faith.

        What you and your wife are going through is horribly painful. In a manner of speaking, it really is a divorce from your former community. In my opinion, for everyone’s sake and especially yours, you need to let them go.

        Maybe there will be a real Atheist’s Miracle down the road where some of them decide they want you back in their lives exactly as you are. That would be the right situation, if you still want them then.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, definitely trust your feelings… MP makes great points, & the denomination I’m related to follows similar moving-on guidelines. I do wish there were some way for members to realize what your journey has been, the grief and struggle of honest-to-god integrity; not just the freedom and exhilaration of becoming internally congruent and discovering new horizons and communities. It would be so good if your district leader could allude to that in his interactions with the congregation… I hope he will. Maybe that will be part of the documentary… and as your writing becomes public, that will probably be a good way for members to better understand, facilitating healing and allowing relationships space to grow, or to be thanked and bid farewell for the moment….

        Hoping good for the coffee at your house tomorrow, for both….
        new year miracle : )

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  3. these people are neither friends or christians. they are religious and they are acquaintances. and ill mannered and judgemental. sounds like a dick to me. things will get better. happy new year

    Liked by 1 person

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