Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Church Mad

I got hit with it this last Sunday, somebody’s church mad.  One somebody did something to another somebody; the second somebody responded with the nuclear option—as in I’m gonna leave if...  The reaction was totally inappropriate, and my visceral response was rage: I hate this kind of church mad, I hate this kind of immaturity, it makes me nuts.

Thanks be to God, I was able to listen and empathize and keep my little mouth shut.  Because afterwards I realized that it wasn’t just one somebody who did it to second somebody.  It was me, too.  I’d taken second somebody for granted.  Because he is generally amiable, I’d been amiable myself, ignoring what I thought of as his inappropriate resistance to something that I thought was best for the church.  And because second somebody wants to do things right, he kept his mouth shut, avoided conflict, until he was at his wit’s end.  He doesn’t know how to say no, so he says nothing until he can’t stand it anymore.

So my disgust with church mad has fled, replaced by a deeper recognition of how deeply painful it is to be taken for granted, how often I manipulate without noticing it, and how profoundly second someone wants to do the right thing.  I aim to help him with that by respecting him more deeply.  If that means I have to disagree with him openly, so be it. 

Mary Therese DesCamp

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