Letter

Dear Dr. Mucketymuck (Pastor Jackass’ boss),
Currently, I am still a parish member at Uptight Church, however, I am seeking a new church home due to a meeting I had with pastor jackass. The meeting was concerning my pregnancy due to IVF. I want to be clear that I understand that this is a controversial topic, however, when I was asked to meet with Mr. Jackass I expected support and spiritual counseling. I didn’t anticipate being treated with harsh, unkind judgment.

Jackass told me I had committed a mortal sin and that I should repent and have humility so that I might better cling to the cross. There was nothing sympathetic or kind about the delivery of this diatribe. When I would answer one of his criticisms, he would veer off to criticize me about another. There was no comfort or support as he spoke, but in fact, he seemed to need comforting when he asked me not to see him as a “mean guy”.

He talked of the situation my child would be coming into. Keep in mind, Jackass has seldom exchanged more than a few words with me. He knows very little about my situation and didn’t bother to get to know more before expressing his disapproval. While he mentioned the Bible stories of Abraham and Adam and Eve, he at no time offered to share scripture. At the end of our meeting, I was curtly excused and told he would pray for us. I’ve never encountered a preacher who didn’t offer to pray with me.

Please understand that I do not want to cause any trouble for Jackass but cringe at the thought of someone else enduring a meeting like this. Some counseling in tact, compassion and forgiveness might be helpful to him and those he “counsels” in the future. Clearly I cannot stay at a church where there is potential for my child to be treated harshly by the spiritual “leader” as I have been.

Sincerely,

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Ok…I have to admit there is a tiny part of me that wants to cause trouble for the jackass but mostly it just seems like someone in charge should know about the horrible way I was treated and that I will not be attending this church any longer and why. My dad says I should not send the email because it would ensure that they would continue to contact me and that it wouldn’t make a difference for the preacher. My aunt says go ahead and send it, bring some closure and move on although she too thinks nothing would change for the preacher.

Hard to know what to do. I really do not want to cause a big kerfuffle or drag this wretched situation out any more than it already is. I was thinking of ccing the preacher himself and saying at the bottom something like, “Please do not contact me further as I am severing all ties with this church.” I’m trying to figure out if there is some way this can come back and bite me in the butt. Opinions from the blogsphere?

Sure enough, my dad called me tonight to tell me he had the rent on some farm ground for me but the real reason he called was to say that he was furious and would kill anyone who treated his daughter this way. Well, not that dramatic but my dad’s quiet version of it. He said he wasn’t going back to that church either and that if jackass contacted him he would let them know what a miserable failure of a preacher he was. His voice actually had some emotion in it….like anger? Hard to identify because Dad never gets angry. Somehow it made me smile while choking me up at the same time.

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18 comments on “Letter

  1. Paige, I vote for sending the email! It allows you to "do something." It might (I say might) make one of his superiors really look at this guy and speak with his about offering a little grace to others. I really think I like your dad- he may be a man of few words, but I can tell he loves you. 🙂

  2. I would send it. The way he treated you was wrong on so many levels and he needs to be called on it. I know you don't want to cause any problems, but at the very least it should be used as a 'teachable moment'

  3. I would send it, too. You were very clear and concise in your letter and not sounding overly emotional at all. But at the same time you made it clear just how inappropriate (and unChristian!) Pastor Jackass was. Oh, btw, I love your Dad!

  4. I would send it….I agree, if you can save someone else from such an awful experience, then it was worth it. And you can politely ask for them not to contact you anymore should they try. Sounds like Pastor jackass is in serious need of counseling! I think its sweet your dad got upset on your behalf. My dad is similar, doesnt express much emotion, so when he does, it's a pretty big deal. Sweet moments. xoxoxox

  5. Send it! Although I don't think you are being quite harsh enough on Pastor Jackass. You might even want to cc pastor jackass the letter. And good on your dad! I'm glad your family is so very supportive.

  6. My sister had an Ob/Gyn a few years back who, during her 10 years of IF, told her that she should just give up because she was wasting her 30s on infertility.My sister was shocked and furious, as you can imagine. She drafted a similar type of letter, and I even helped her with it. But in the end, she never sent it.She regrets not having sent it, and it comes up from time to time even still (years later).Your situation is a bit different in that it also involves your dad's relationship with Pastor Jackass. But since your dad is not going back there either, then maybe it would be good to send it. And definitely, add the note about "please do not contact me as I am working hard to overcome the emotional trauma that Pastor Jackass inflicted."

  7. Hmmm.. I think if you truly want to let this go for YOURSELF, then don't send it. Perhaps the act of writing it and sending it out into the world is enough. I guess you have to ask yourself what your motivations are – what outcome do you really want to happen and is it likely or possible? I certainly don't think what Jackass did was ok, and I'm furious about it, I hope you know. But, at the same time, its better for you (mentally? emotionally?) to not harbor resentments.I always say that resentments are like eating poison and expecting someone else to die. However, I think you should take care of yourself and do whatever you think that is. We're here for you no matter what because you're awesome and perfect just the way you are.

  8. I think you should send it if it will bring you closure & peace of mind. I don't think it will change their views but maybe it will open their eyes to how they present them & spur them to be more accepting & compassionate.

  9. I'd definitely send it. I know you don't want to stir up trouble, but if you can save even 1 person from going through an awful experience like yours, it would be well worth it. Pastor Jackass needs to be held accountable for his actions, but if no one else knows about them, he never will be held accountable. The call from your dad made me cry. I am so happy your family is supportive of your decision. My family continues to faithfully attend the church w/a pastor who put me thru a similar experience, and I feel it's a slap in the face to both me and my son.

  10. Oh, and just another thought….is it possible to send the email to more than just the boss? I think it should go to the board or council or whatever group you have at the church. The choir? Ladies Aid? Altar Guild? Tell them all. I would hate for the letter to be quietly shredded with no one ever knowing it existed…

  11. I'd probably send the letter. Then again when I was treated really badly by some of the elders in my mom's church I sent them a letter too. It may not resolve anything but it would possibly make you feel better. I like rachelbk's idea. Maybe you could post it in the town newspaper? Ok so maybe I'm a vindictive bitch. Yay dad! I'm so glad your family is supportive of you in this whole mess with Mr. crappy pastor.

  12. I would send it, but probably as actual physical mail not email. And I think I would sign it but not include my contact info, perhaps also including the bit about not contacting me. But are you sure you don't want the parent church to contact you – at least for apology? I know if I received such a letter I would want to make what amends I could. I think you have a moral obligation to send it to PJs superiors – you have a wonderful support system but think of the damage that man could do to some lost soul just trying to find their way. Big jerk. Not that I'm belittling your horrible experience, but like you said, no one should have to go through that!

  13. I think you need to speak up. I think speaking your truth will help you to feel better. I am not a churchgoing person, so the details of mail versus email and contact information or no and all of that I think others have spoken to well. I just think that it will be important to you in the future for you to have said something.But then, I just wrote a whole post at Our Mommyhood on Tuesday about how I don't speak up when someone is insensitive to my SMC status, so what the hell good is my advice?

  14. Your letter is perfect, Paige. It's not emotional, but factual. His supervisor needs to know so that he doesn't do this to anyone else. It will be a "learning opportunity" for him 🙂

  15. Great wording. I'd send it. The people going to that church definitely deserve somebody who is nicer, and maybe this might at least force him to be a bit less 'fire and brimstone' when talking to the next hapless person who goes against his idea of what is 'right'!

  16. It's a great letter. Send it. And I agree with Rachel, send it to several people above the jackass in power. So glad to hear about what your dad is saying.

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