May 30, 2012

Sometimes Being Honest Means Being Angry

Dear Friends, This post was sent to us. The person wants to remain anonymous. If you haven't felt this way, at least to some degree, you haven't been a minister's spouse very long. Please pray for this person and their church. Kathy

I cursed God today. I’ve been doing that a lot. I’ve cursed the Bishop and the DS. I’ve cursed the church. Part of me says I should feel bad about that. Part of me says I shouldn’t. Because I’m angry. I’m angry over a lot of things about the church these days. The church doesn’t seem like a very safe place anymore. It isn’t Jesus Loves Me and VBS crafts. It’s hurt. Loss of control. Discrimination against some of God’s children. And I’m tired of it. I tried to walk away. But I can’t. I’ve tried to say that I don’t believe anymore. But I know that isn’t true. Something deep within me is burning and won’t let go. And it isn’t a fire that consumes and destroys. It’s a fire that liberates and brings new growth. It’s the fire from a farmer burning the fields to allow new grass to grow. It’s the fire that wipes out what is old and withered. It’s a fire that makes me want to stick my head out of a window and scream “I’m mad as hell and I can’t take it anymore!!!!”

I’ve been really angry over the last few months. Ever since I found out we were being moved. I’ve cursed the church and the town. I’ve tried to make others hurt like I hurt and I’ve succeeded. And I’m sorry.

I suck as a clergy spouse.

The problem is that I feel this fire but I feel nothing for the local church. Maybe because the local church isn’t my church. For the last 14 years I’ve gone to church where I’m told. Do you know how hard that is? To not be able to choose for yourself where you will feel God’s presence in worship? To be told that not going “isn’t being supportive”? I go, when I go, because of duty, not love. And I wish it didn’t have to be that way. There are times when I’d love to sit and smell the incense and chant the Nicene Creed and believe that when I say that “God became Man” I felt it. When I could worship in a way that moves and stirs and gives air to the fire. But I can’t.

I’ve been able to hide my not going for a few years. But no more. The fishbowl calls and I don’t want to answer the phone. It is a loss and I’m angry about it.

I wish I could say that I know all will be well. Maybe, maybe not. But I’m going. I’m moving. I’m giving up what is mine and back to what doesn’t belong to me. And I’ll smile and nod and say all the right things. Because that is the mask I’m tasked to wear and wear well. Because that’s what the clergy spouse does. I never thought this life would improve my lying.


  1. Wow. I have felt your pain and I know what you mean about the local church not being "your" church. I was lucky. A move brought new growth for me and my family. I pray that for you and hope you know you are not alone.

  2. As Shakespeare said: All the world's a stage.
    Sometimes we just have to "act like" we are suppose to act for the duration. Maybe that is not being authentic, but it is at least not being self serving. One good thing about the Methodist: Maybe we'll get moved at Conference. P.S. Paul also reminds us to "be content in whatever "state" (or town??) you find yourself. I've had to remind myself of that 11 times in our almost 40 years of ministry.

  3. You might also try to make friends beyond the local church. Or call another pastor's spouse. If you don't know anyone, call the DS spouse or ask the spouse at another UM church. If you need phone numbers, get your conference journal--your spouse should have one. Home phone numbers and spouses names are included. You don't have to be alone in this. Believe me there are many who have felt, at least to some degree, what you are feeling now. Thanks for reaching out to us here. That's one reason, we are here--for you.