Monday, June 21, 2010

Well, I Don't Think This Happened To Me Before.

Because of my actions, I may have a family leave the congregation.  And truthfully, I am not overly bothered by this.
A week or so ago, I explained a situation with a mother and a daughter.  Well, the whole thing just got more crazy.

I scheduled a meeting with the Youth so we could talk about when they wanted from their program.  The Prodigy Girl decided she could not be bothered to come in for the meeting.  So we discussed various things like when Sunday School was going to be and what the young folks could do to be more involved in the life of the church.  We also discussed Confirmation and some of my expectations for Confirmation.

Afte about a half-hour, Miss Diva herself graced us with her presence.  She was very upset and, if not screaming, at least speaking in a vary angry voice.  I asked her if she would please sit down and speak in a more civil tone; to which she said, "No!"  (Her mother was sitting there, almost encouraging the behavior.)

The "conversation" continued with Miss Diva telling me that she gets "so much more" out of Sunday School than the worship service and cannot understand why I would want the kids in the service.  She cannot understand why her sister should have to do sermon reports for Confirmation since she never had to.  (It didn't even phase her that I am a different Priest than the one who did her Confirmation classes.)  I was then told by Miss Diva  that the sister's faith is so deep that she shouldn't have to write about it and how dare I ask her to do anything like that to be confirmed.  (Remember, the mother [henceforth referred to as "Stage Mom"] was sitting there not saying anything.)

After trying to end the conversation three times, Stage Mom finally told Miss Diva that she should not use that tone of voice with me.  (Not that her whole interaction was inappropriate, just the tone of voice)  After a brief scuffel, Miss Diva decided to apologize for her tone.  (How magnanimous!)

Then, after Miss Diva left, Stage Mom said, "See, I told you she would give you a fight."  This was said almost with a smirk.  Then Stage Mom said, "She doesn't do change well."  I SHOULD SAY NOT!  Then Stage Mom told me she once asked Miss Diva when she felt closest to Jesus.  Miss Diva's reply was, "Mom, I don't understand your question, every moment of my life I am close to Jesus."  (This all was said in a manner that insinuated that I should be hanging on Miss Diva's every word becaus I could learn so much from her, considering how deep she was.)

(I just puked a bit in my mouth while typing that!)

I finally said that I needed to leave before I said or did anything that I would later regret.

Now I was stuck in a situation:  The assistant to the Bishop was friends with Stage Mom and Miss Diva.  I asked Miss Diva to preach for me when I was going to be gone on vacation because Assistant said that "she has a strong faith."  Now I was supposed to work with this child who obviously didn't think anything I said was worth listening to.

Well, the letter went out today:

"Dear Miss Diva,

After the meeting of Friday, June 18th, I will be retracting the offer to have you lead and preach to the congregation on August 1st... "

Stage Mom told me that if I proceed with the requirements of Confirmation and with wanting her children in Worship, her children would be "Worshiping at the 'Church of the Holy Comforter.'"  When I gave her a questioning look, she said, "If you make demands, they won't come to church."  Their loss I guess.

I am also betting that this letter will be enough to stop the family from attending church.  They were not present this past Sunday because they had to "go pick strawberries" during worship time.  So much for the importance of church.

What is odd is that I am strangly calm now.

4 comments: said...

As an elementary teacher I would not allow children to speak disrespectfully to me. They shouldn't to you either. You should have invited them not to "let the door hit them on the ass as they left. Your congregation will be better off without them.

It is a wonder they have not ascended they seem to think they are so perfect.

You should ask them "Did your mother have any children that lived?

Hang in there.

Ur-spo said...

I don't envy you your job or position.
Still, when you are damned if you do and damned if you don't , always best to do the right thing.

Lemuel said...

Unfortunately I'm sure you will face more crap over this all, but I understand your calm and your sense of peace. Speak, act, and deal with Ms. Diva and Stage Mom in this attitude (of peace) while standing your ground and I would be confident that it is the Holy Spirit guiding you.
Yes, you will probably lose this family and perhaps a couple of more depending on the "politics" of the congregation and the family structure. But, as the Cajun reported about the reaction of rude people leaving his restaurant the other day, I am also sure that there are other folks in your family of faith that will (or would love to) burst into applause for you at this family's departure.
Your "demands" of those approaching confirmation are neither harsh nor unusual. I never required sermon reports, but I know many, many pastors that do. I did "require" attendance at worship, however. It always blew my mind when someone wanted to "join the Church" but did not want to attend worship.
My prayers go out to you. It is obviously to me that the "deep faith" of this family is b.s., purely and simply. If I did not make it clear, I also support you in rescinding your offer for her to supply preach for you. There is no way she should be allowed near a pulpit with her attitude.

Vic Mansfield said...

Now, who was it who said, "Here I stand . . . ." Maybe you remember.

How do you spell relief? T R A N S F E R.