sacred security

sacred security August 27, 2011


Oh the stories I could tell of leaders who personally invited people into relationship with them but completely freaked when they took them up on their offer.

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  • Oh, Lord, I love this one!!!

    God bless, David, and enjoy your Sabbath!

  • thanks martha

  • No different than someone asking you how you are and then quickly moving or looking away before you’ve had an opportunity to answer.
    Why bother asking?

  • Pat Pope

    Interesting. When I served as an elder I had people tell me I was the first one they felt they could really talk to. As leaders, yes we have to have boundaries, but we are there for the people. If people feel they can’t approach you or talk to you, what are you doing?

  • Pat Pope

    Also, I want to be clear that I’m not blowing my own horn with the comment above. Just making an observation from my own personal experience.

  • Dear Godless Monster: how are you doing? You told us your story. How are you coping now?

  • Like all you Goodies care–& it’s them pastors and leaders who don’t. How does that happen? Don’t you wonder? When they were little (future pastors and leaders) did they get groomed for not-caring? Must be some explanation. Oh the stories–raising pastors and leaders who don’t care, while the rest of us maintain our empathy forever. SECURITY!
    Something stinketh in all this one-way accusation. (I’m just describing here–trying to. Not judging or throwing scones.)

  • “All the pastors
    I’ve known have
    been pretty aloof
    and unapproachable.”

    Why? Why? Why?
    How could that
    in fact
    be? Must be a reason.

  • Pat Pope

    Sam, I think those leaders who are detached are that way from experience. Many people get burned and learn from those experiences not to get in too deep with people. I’m one of those who have been burned, manipulated, harassed, etc. and though I go through periods of pulling back and putting up a wall, I still come out of my shell and continue to help people. But I think it’s partly my nature and my stubborn refusal to give up.

  • noel

    I guess I see the need for us to have boundaries – the hardness of our hearts and all.

    Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matt 19:14

  • Pat, you are one of the contributors on these threads who always “sound” right, and genuine to me. I know I diminish the experience of those who apparently grow-up in “church” traditions that apparently are confining and manipulative: abused & abusers, victims & victimizers. Maybe if David would attach Some Fundamentalist/ Evangelical tag to his depiction of the “church” and “pastors” and “leaders” that are his agenda-of-exposure, I would back off. Although he has claimed the “mainstream” is as guilty–I don’t believe it’s the case, though it may be his experience. Like stigmatizing all Muslims. A one-way blame/accuse agenda, admittedly with it’s own choir of supporters of abused and victimized turning up the abuse and victimization.

  • sam: read a book about the principalities and the powers. something like “An Ethic For Christians and Other Aliens Living in a Strange Land” by Stringfellow. it’s not just a fundamentalist evangelical problem. it’s a problem that all institutions possess.

  • fishon

    I am a fundamentalist/evangelical who lived and worked in, what some would call, the “real” world for many years. My experience is that NP is right: “it’s a problem that all institutions possess.”

    Sam said: “Although he has claimed the “mainstream” is as guilty–I don’t believe it’s the case….”
    ___Why of course you wouldn’t. You are of the “mainstream.”

  • Tried to google, but couldn’t find it. You’ve been more tolerant of me and my annoying accusations, than I’ve been of your agenda, David, and I appreciate it. I don’t have a leg to stand on, not being a member of any church for over 40 year. But I carry the tradition (whatever that means) of a christian heritage and upbringing and cherish the spirit as I understand it–even as I share the anti-insitutionalization (which I carry into my ongoing agon with school and schooling.) At times I suspect the “fundamentalists” might be closer to the truth than the “liberals”? How’s that for a massive contradiction considering all my whining? Something beyond the letter and the law that resists nailing down, and yet we hammer and hammer with nothing but golden intentions, true?

  • Pat Pope

    Thanks for the compliment, Sam and I am one who grew up in the Church, so I’ve seen and experienced a lot. If it sounds as though David is harping on one group, I don’t believe he is. Like myself, he’s talking of the group to which he has/does belong and who better to speak to that particular group than one of it’s own? But as he stated above, there are similarities to all institutions whether it be a church, business, club, etc. I think a lot of it is tied to human nature. Change the institution and even the players and you’d get a lot of the same behaviors.

  • If “the problem” and the “agony” again and again being presented (in terms of “church” and “pastors”
    of a certain kind)is at base a human nature problem–then the human nature is shared on both sides of the pulpit, by leaders and followers, in and out of various institutions with their distinct characteristics (fundamental/liberal, sacred/secular). The presentation, however, seems to be in terms of goodies and baddies, abusers and abused, victimizers and victims: human nature going on on both sides of the equation. How to get to the bottom (fundament)
    of this? I’m asking.

  • kls

    here’s an alternative to the loathsome comic sans:

  • i usually write my own dialog by hand. but if i don’t i use mechanical pencil.

  • Christine

    sam –

    There are ways in which institutions can exacerbate problems of human nature. Here are two that might apply here and provide some explanation:

    1. The circumstance the organiztion puts one in breings out and encourages the development of certain traits.

    Think of: “Power corrupts.” The institution gives the leaders too mcuh power and (sometimes) no tools or safeguards to help manage it. It is by degrees, but again, exists in all institutions. Not all people with power will abuse it and not all without it are approachable, but people with power are more likely to be arrogant and dismissive than those without it.

    2. The organization creates a bias for who will occupy particular roles.

    It may indeed be that it is those who are not approachable that are more likely to be put into positions of leadership. For example, if the institution wants leaders who they can view as near perfect, they won’t elevate the person who has let themselves be vunerable with others.

    This doesn’t necessarily absolve congregants of responsibility. Often, they are (collectively) at least partly responsible. (“Head offices” being the other part of the problem.) But there are also genuine innocents (those who are new or powerless) that did not contribute or do not bear responsibility for creating the situation who find themselves to be victims of the institution and those it has allowed/encouraged to abuse their power.

    Because of this, all of us who bear responsibility, both leaders and led, must take a stand against injustice.

    And to do that, we must first acknowledge it exists.

  • Manipulation, brain-washing, conformity, convention, culture, custom, peer pressure: all aspects of human society (church, state, school)
    and the institutions we “swim” in –thinking we can discern between wet and dry, damp and “absolut) If the “church” isn’t an agency for exposing these ongoing human nature restraints and, in some sense or other, aiding in excape, liberation, “salvation”–then what good is it.
    Might as well be a subset of “state.” What IS it in “church” that might be said to address this human nature predicament? If one drops out of “church” — but is still stuck in the grievance of “betrayal” and “victimization” — nevermind…

  • Christine

    Maybe it’s good for absolutely nothing.