I saw this link from at least three different sources today. Including someone who I thought shouldn’t have been shocked at the story. Here is my response:
You can't believe that a church would treat the clergy this badly? You, who have yourself been the recipient of similar if not so public abuse? You, whose own son was thrown out of more than one religious job for absurd reasons and with likely illegal process? Every member of your family through several generations has been boxed in, closed down, and shut out of Christian ministry positions, and this story surprises you?
In my almost three years since coming back to Christianity, I have heard dozens of similar stories: ministers living a lie to keep their job or telling their truth and losing their credibility and their livelihood. I have at least three friends on Facebook (that I can think of off the top of my head, probably more if I were to go look at my not-extensive friends list) who were thrown out of their positions of ministry with public acrimony. This woman's story is tragic but mostly for its ubiquity. No one shoots the wounded like Christians.
I long to create a sanctuary for precisely these kind of hurting souls. I have wanted to minister to the ministers (while I was in the Christian world or to other secular ministers when I wasn’t) for as long as I have thought about "what I want to be when I grow up" but I was told explicitly and implicitly that there was no call for such a mission and if there were I was unqualified to fill it.
But the stories are coming out now. The need is desperately real. I ache with knowing that I could have helped so many people just like this woman over the last few decades but I myself was dismissed, boxed in, and shut out of organized religion.
And people wonder why I cringe at calling myself a Christian, why I don't go to church, why I blister tirades at religious incivility and bigotry, and wince when they tell me I need to forgive and listen to God more.
Yeah, I was listening to God, and my God-given reason, when the church marginalized me right out the door. But now there is the Internet ... and I have a blog!
I'm not as angry with you, dear friend, as it might seem. I am angry at intolerance and prejudice, rudeness and contempt from people who claim to follow a prince of peace who said famously, "your fidelity has saved you; go in peace.”