A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece about why I gave up church for Lent. The intent was twofold. One, I wanted to bring to light a reoccurring problem within churches. But the other reason was for healing for me. It was meant as a way to get out what I was holding inside. It was spoken from a place of grief.
Over the past 24 hours, I have discovered that many in my previous appointment are upset and feel vilified. So I hope to set the record straight in a humble apology to you. I am doing so publicly so that anyone who read the previous one will know the truth and correct any negative thoughts they might have toward this body. I have turned off comments to this post because I don’t want people to offer support for me. Rather, offer support to the church body.
I never meant to vilify anyone. I shared my thoughts and feelings. I shared my hurts and frustrations. Perhaps I should not have done so in such a way. Perhaps the best for everyone would have been to keep it inside, compacting it. Because by my trying to get the world to see that pastors are hurting and lonely, I have inadvertently hurt a group of people whom I love. For that, I am very sorry.
So, to the church, I write you this letter,
I am so very sorry for being selfish and thinking of myself. I should not have done that. I did not think about how you might feel by reading it. I did not consider that you would take it so personally. I thought perhaps you would read it and think about what you might change to better serve others, including future pastors. But that’s not what happened.
I’m sorry that I did not consider you were grieving, too. I honestly didn’t believe you were grieving because of the isolation I have felt. Little did I know that you didn’t know what to say or how to react. I did not realize that you were upset with my leaving so abruptly. I didn’t realize your silence was because you were hurting.
I’m sorry that my words were misinterpreted. I did not mean that the entire church body was not compassionate. I actually believe that the majority of the church body is quite loving and accepting of everyone. I believe you have good hearts and seek to help those in need. I have watched you serve others through local ministries, your monies, your time, and your presence. I have witnessed care as you walked with one another in times of trial as well as in times of celebration.
I am sorry that you felt like I said you did not believe in Jesus Christ. I was so incredibly sad that people didn’t believe the scriptures and tried to illustrate that. But apparently, it was interpreted to mean that I thought you as a collective church body did not believe in Jesus Christ. I know many of you do have a strong faith. But you keep your faith personally guarded and that can sometimes live others wondering where you stand. I made a mistake and should have kept that sadness to myself. I have watched some of you grow deeper in your faith and your joy in that relationship is evident upon your face. I have appreciated conversations that have led to those “aha” moments when you realized Jesus died to redeem you. I have celebrated some of you who have stepped outside your comfort zone so that you could experience the direction of the Holy Spirit in your life. I watched and have given thanks to God for each moment.
Finally, I am sorry that some of you felt like I vilified you personally. It was wrong. I did not intend it to be that way. But my intentions fall on deaf ears when hearts are hurting.