One Sunday during my first year of parish ministry, I stood in the church narthex waiting to begin the service, when Barney, the neighbor of a twenty-year church member, ran red-faced from the street screaming, “Help me, help me!”
Barney, who’d been coming to church for the summer, was sweating and trembling in his worn polyester suit, and for a few moments I thought his suffering was physical until Shirley (the twenty-year member) charged in after him, also yelling.
They shouted simultaneously: She tried to hit him with her car. He was stalking her.
Shirley towered over me, blonde and vicious, while Barney cowered behind my back screaming his own accusations. I tried to remain calm. [Read more...]