Well, I decided to tell the senior pastor that I was gay and that I was planning on leaving in August.
At first, his response was very caring and compassionat; what you would expect from a pastor, right? But then came lunch...
After I came back from lunch, I was told that I had to call the bishop TODAY!!!! No reasoning would change his mind. I was bad and I needed to tell the bishop. The pastoral care was gone! I was in violation of the ELCA and that was that.
Obviously, I was hurt and angry.
Some background: I was planning on sticking around until August because I said I would take a group of kids Texas in July and that I would be here for the senior pastor to go on a cruise with his family. If it were not for these things, I would have left in November. However, I figured it would be difficult for them to find an adult to take a bunch of kids to Texas in July so I would stay until then.
Now the pastor is all afraid that people will freak out because a gay pastor is taking their kids.
1. If I was going to abuse their kids, would I be telling anyone? Wouldn't it be better if I just stuck quietly around?
2. Let the people deal with their prejudices!
3. Who is going to tell that I am gay? It is none of their business.
The senior pastor confronted me again, asking when I was going to talk to the bishop.
I then had to explain that I couldn't just storm into the ELCA bishop's office. There was more going on here. The Episcopal church had some say in this as that would be where I was transferring. If the ELCA bishop decided to centure me, it would not be a whole lot off of his back. It would not be a whole lot off of the senior pastor's back. It could mean I lose my home, car, job... The congregation could be reeling for years to come.
He was still adamant that I say something. I asked if he was trying to hurt me? If so, why don't we take me outside and start the stoning; if the intent is to hurt me, why not make it tangible.
I then confronted him and said he was afraid of the bishop getting upset with him. He agreed. I explained in the course of this, he has the LEAST to lose. The bishops tenure will be done in a year or two anyway. Even if the bishop get's angry that the senior pastor didn't say anything, it won't last. However, if this is handeled wrong, the congregation will be feeling it for years as will I.
I also tried to make it clear that I didn't want to become the poster child of the ELCA's struggle with gay pastors, but it wasn't outside of the picture. If the media needed to be brought in, so be it. If this becomes a national news story, so be it.
The good thing is it seems that he has come to the conclusion that maybe jumping in unprepared is not such a good thing. The senior pastor is allowing me to get some things in order first.
We shall see...