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« Oh, I'm still here. | Main | Letters. I Get Letters. I Get Lots and Lots of Letters »

April 06, 2006



You sound so discouraged, and I don't blame you. What a crappy, whiny attitude for the minister to take. You go to the church, you teach Sunday school, and you want your kids dedicated there, and he thinks you hate it? I see two things in this (not that you asked). I was raised in the UU church, and some of the ministers were serious jerks. Some were nice people who tried really hard. I avoided one church in Seattle until the longtime minister retired, because I knew he didn't walk his talk at all. And, although he was a great speaker, how could I respect someone who didn't respect his parishioners?

Two, I'm still surprised constantly about how freaked out and judgemental people can be about disability. My husband worked as an advocate for dd individuals for years, and I worked at the UW in the disability studies department for awhile, so we have some background in the issues, even we were both not disabled until I got rheumatoid arthritis a few years ago. (And I've responded so well to meds, that I don't know what category I fall in. Sort of sick is the closest I can come.)

Anyway, I'm surprised by how much many people don't want to admit what they consider weaknesses. They don't want to know I have RA because it's too personal. If a person has a visible "weakness" (such as a disability) then they are diminished. I don't have an answer to this, obviously. But it sucks.

I don't know where I'm going with this, except that I don't think you did anything wrong. A minister should listen to you. Even if he's offended, he shouldn't say he's shocked and stunned, he should agree to meet with you and actually be committed to figure out the problem and see what can be done. Shocked and stunned strikes me as immature and passive agressive.

I don't think you're an alien, I do think your minister has issues. But maybe if you go in and recap what you wrote here, he will get it. It's worth a try.

Sorry to go on so long...


Again, I have to say this minister sucks at his job. Unfortunately, I think about 50% of ordained clergy suck, another 25% are adequate and the rest fall somewhere between skilled to gifted.

You got a suckin' one. He seems pretty absorbed in his own issues. Wonder how he'd react if you accused him of being angry and hateful, etc. when he complains about homophobia?

(Said the lesbian, for the record!)


FWIW, you are an EXCELLENT communicator. I can understand second-guessing yourself in this situation, but if you're wondering "is it me or him?", my money would definately be on him. Some people just don't react well to letters/e-mail and need to work things out in real time. I really hope your meeting goes well.
Unrelated: Have you been to a park with your boys lately? OMG, the PARK! My boys love it, it's a whole new world. Now if they could only stand the stroller. Do your boys do well in the stroller?


Were I you, I would simply not deal with his issues at all. His feelings are not your problem. I would say clearly the fact that I have my children in the church, want them dedicated in the church and teach sunday school here shows that I consider this my home church.

Now, here are the things that could help me in participating and enjoying my church membership. A,B,C,D etc.

Do you see any way we could resolve some of these issues? Do you know what other churches have found successful? Do you know of a minister who has done a lot to integrate the disabled members of his congragation that we could use as a resource?

The issues that need resolution are the point of the meeting, not discussing his emotional response to your concerns. So, I would steamroller any discussion of that and treat him as a person who should have access to information that would be of use.

Let him work out his perceptual and interactional problems on his own dime. I bet you could set up a time to try to help him out with them if he asks because you are a generous hearted person toward us (The willingly and comfortably ignorant masses). Otherwise, it matters about as much as what foods cause him indigestion.

You go, Girl

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