Sunday, January 23, 2011


It was inevitable. I do live on an island. I knew it would come when I least expected it . . . and it did. It was about 6:30 in the morning. I was naked in the shower and there was my ex-pastor also naked. It was the first time I've laid eyes on him in six months, not since that terrible night of confrontation. It wasn't a strange Freudian dream, it was Thrive.

I had seen him on the Elipical. I made a point to wave at him, he nodded. It was so obvious he saw me. I think we were the only two in the aerobic side of the room at that early hour.

When I was done with my run on the treadmill, I noticed he was gone. I went to hit the showers so I could get to work.

I got in the locker room and stripped off. I entered the shower. When I was done I came out. There he stood and I know that I caught his eye but he didn't look at me. I spoke up, "Joe!" He looked at me, looked surprised he did, "oh, I didn't know you were here (couldn't have missed me)." I decided right then that the best path out of all this, was to pretend . . . pretend that nothing had ever happened between us.

If you know me, I hate pretending, but the other course of actually talking about things, would lead to despair . . . if not conflict. I feel he has sinned against me and my family . . . he feels I've sinned against him and his church. We smile. We pretend that all is well. Maybe that's as good as it gets. Maybe there is some metaphor I'm missing, you know, the first time we see each other after the big confrontation . . . and we are both in our birthday suits. Gotta laugh.

I haven't been around for a while as I'm still in the thick of creating a new business. I have another blog where I'm chronicling that experience. I hope to be back here soon and to iMonk.

I will say, speaking of the above, that it has been six months now since I've left my old church and joined my new. I was just thinking this morning how smart that was. I still enjoy going to my new church. It fits like a shoe cobbled just for me.

I entered our sanctuary this morning a little late. The liturgy on the overhead, which we read together, started by saying, "You've entered a safe place . . ." Then it went on for a few paragraphs. I've always said that church should be the safest place in society. Often it is the reverse.

There is still some tension between Denise and me over this move. I've disappointed her again. She has great friends in the old church and I think she sees me as a trouble maker. But it feels so good to go to church again. I hope that we find peace in this awkward setting again.

I know on this blog the stats still tells me that the most visited page is the one about my struggle with anxiety. For that reason, I will link (here) to my discussion about my anxiety which I posted on my professional blog.



Eagle said... know what you should have done. Admit sin :P Ask your old pastor if he wants to grab a beer? Then he will be like "Ah HA!!!" "ITS SIN!!!! THAT'S WHY YOU LEFT!!"

Go ahead, confirm his thoughts, play along in the game. That's what evangelical Christianity is for a lot of people..a game.

Or it could be like the land of make beleive. But I like Mr. Rogers and I don't want him to be stained by evangelical Christianity.

Nuff said...

Dana said...

you might not know that Fred Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister, who always viewed his TV show as a ministry.

Also, his Bachelor's degree was in music and he composed a lot of the tunes used on the show, not only the kids' songs. He loved jazz, too.

He did a lot of good with his life.


Eagle said...


Wow..that's neat!! I've seen his sweater displayed at the Smithsonian here in Dc a couple of times. That's good to hear about his past and being a minister. I wonder if that would still qualify in the eyes of many evangeliclas today. Especially since he never used the 4 Spiritual Laws in his ministry..

Anonymous said...

There's a museum display of Mr Rogers in the main terminal at Pittsburg Airport; he was from Pittsburg.

Also, between takes he'd take to the piano for improptu serenades of the crew.

And everybody who knew him off-set said that the Misterogers you saw on-set WAS Fred Rogers; he was like that all the time.

"What a beautiful day
In the neighborhood,
A beautiful day
For a neighbor..."

jmj said...

Maybe Fred really, really understood "community." Maybe I should buy his box set and go back and watch it every night.

Eagle said... your profession do you see a lot of people that come through who have had terrible church expereinces or dealt with spiritual abuse?

jmj said...

Eagle, not really. I have two present patients who have very similar stories. Both were missionary kids. One was sent to a missionary boarding school in Africa. When she was still a little girl the missionary house director would come into her bedroom to read Bible stories, pray with her and . . . sadly . . . fondle her. When she was about 12 or 13, he started raping her. When she was old enough to figure out what was going on (she was about 18) she reported him. He denied it and he (as well as her parents whom he convinced to go along with him)decided that she was demon oppressed. She was shipped back to the states where she went under severe counseling for "lying" about the dorm father.

Until this day she is estranged from her parents, who are still missionaries.

But those are the only cases that come to mind (the other missionary kid had the same treatment by her own father). There may be others but we haven't talked about it.