Saturday, May 13, 2006

Early Morning Post

Hey Bill

I don't know why I am waking up at such wonderful hours with my thoughts racing. Haven't felt this way since I got off Zoloft.

I e-mailed a colleague of mine, one I had e-mailed before. He was kind of "ah" when I first e-mailed him so I was kind of unsure of saying anything more. But I also felt that I needed to follow up somehow; you don't just send someone an e-mail saying your gay and then never e-mail again! Well, this time he was very supportive. He reassured me that (as have you) God has known me (and known "this") before I even knew it. And I can lean upon the empty cross in certainty. He also said we needed to get together to talk, I would like that.

I had hoped he would have some idea of something that I could do within Lutheranism but did not hold out much hope of finding a life and remaining a pastor. At least not a Lutheran one. I know I have skills, but sometimes it seems like I am just a stream of failures.

I worked for a private company as a behavior specialist working with people with mental retardation. Then I worked for the state, working with people who were deaf, blind, and mentally retarded. Then I went to seminary. Then I was at a terrible church in the north. I was depressed and suicidal there. Now, in retrospect, I don't know how much of my problems there were from the system that was there and how much was from my trying to remain closeted, even to my self. But I was only there two years. Now I have only been here two years and it looks like I may be leaving here too.

I really wish I could talk to my senior pastor but I don't think that is a good idea yet. I also wish I could talk to my bishop but he more or less told me that I am an embarrassment. (Actually, the paraphrase was "After meeting your parents, I knew I couldn't put you in a upper-middle class or suburban church")

This I am telling you because you said you were working with another person who is having a sexual identity crisis. Maybe this will give you an understanding of the distress this can cause: In the process of coming to grips with this, I had actually contemplated genital mutilation and self-castration. The thought that if I could just render the parts inoperable, maybe the feelings would go away. My shrink at the time (a Mennonite pastor) and I had an agreement, I could call him any time, but if I attempted suicide, I would have to find a new therapist. Happily, I am no where near that level of depression. Actually, I would not consider myself depressed at all right now. No feeling like crying or wanting the world to end.

I just keep praying for strength and insight. What I don't like is that I have mentally placed myself in the "lame duck" category. I need to stop doing that or I will create a self fulfilling prophecy.

Peace to you bro'


I can relate to your racing mind, sort of. My problem was not being to get to sleep because of the racing mind. I've discerned (correctly or not) that it was due to my lack of turning things over to God, and trying too much to deal with them myself. Ah, such foolish pride I have!

Here's hoping it goes well with your pastor friend, but it sounds as though it will. Being a bit closer to home, and a fellow ELCA pastor, that should be helpful in some ways that I cannot be.

Hey,you can't be the only one failing! Join the club. We have T-shirts and everything! There's nothing wrong with feeling like a failure sometimes. The trouble comes when we let that affect us to the point that we start acting like one. Carrying a cross is hard work, especially on days when it feels like it's all uphill.

Ouch. Have you expressed your feelings to your bishop? I mean the ones about feeling like he thinks you're an embarrassment. You might want to air that out a bit. As for your senior pastor, I wouldn't tell him until you're totally sure you're ready to leave your church placement. You don't know for sure which direction he'll go.

Graceful Peace,

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