I just got an angry email from a church member whose wedding I performed this summer. She's been an active member since she and her fiance joined last winter. Their lesbians. They both grew up in a very conservative Christian traditions that taught them about the saving blood and their damnation. Enter United Church of Christ. Turn left and meet new pastor who is young and somewhat hip. This young, angry church member has always wanted me to be her friend. She's never really caught on to the fact that I never offer something about myself. I've never felt comfortable with her to do so.
And then, a month ago or so ago, I was at a show that Musicman was playing. Angry church member's best friend was there. She's also a musician. She played at the wedding. She's like nails on a chalkboard to me. Somehow, it came out that I'm dating Musicman. I flipped. I wasn't ready for anyone to know -- especially not church people. I asked her not to say anything to angry church member. Well, it shouldn't be a surprise that she did. (This, by the way, doesn't help that I think she's nails on a chalkboard.)
Now, the lesbian is angry. She wants to know why she can't just avoid church politics and have a beer with me. That would be how Theology on Tap slapped me in the face. I don't want to tell her. I'm not ready to tell her. It's my story to tell -- and I really don't want her to know. She starts this email by saying that I don't need to write back because there isn't much to talk about anyway. I think there is -- but I'm angry. I think there's lots to talk about but really I want to tell her that she gets to make choices about what she shares with me, and I want the same right. Of course, I can't say that. She won't understand. She won't understand that she's not my friend. She won't understand that I never wanted her to be. I'm her pastor -- and that's all I want. I want to rant about this because it makes me so furious, but I also want wisdom. What do you do when the people you serve find out about your personal life and then are angry about it? How can you be pastoral to them when you're furious yourself? Help. Please.