It is difficult, at best, to be a Christian among Christians. I was born into a pastor’s family so I have been exposed my entire life to some pretty fine stuff and some really ugly stuff. We were the recipients of much kindness in a German congregation that loved my family and treated us with great respect and honor.
After leaving that wonderful place, I watched my father take many a blow from Christians as he tried his best to shepherd them. The same old church politics - my dad wouldn’t play. His was a higher goal.
I became a teacher in a Lutheran Day School and for twenty years I followed my father down the path of beatings. I was there for the children, to teach them Christian values and how to apply them. That was my goal. Academics were secondary. I stuck firmly to my beliefs, unwavering under fire, for the sake of the children so they would know that what I stood for was worth the attacks. I wanted to set an example to them. Even though the child was often involved in the situation due to lying or cheating to me or to the parent, I wanted them to learn then that there were consequences for lying or cheating. I felt if they got away with it because their parents exerted pressure on the teacher, they would learn a horrible lesson that would be repeated over and over. After all, they knew the truth - the truth they didn’t confess.
I had a principal whose goal was to please the parents at all costs for fear of losing a paying customer. We clashed often. The death blow came over a very stupid situation. I had twins in my class. There was a project assigned. The girl received a higher grade than the boy. In their mother’s eyes that shouldn’t have been because the boy was smarter than the girl. She received the higher grades because her project met the requirements of the project better than his did. She wanted it changed. She went to great lengths and some people got caught up in this and went overboard in their response. I left on disability. It was a valid excuse. I never should have started that school year but I didn’t think, with my husband retired, we could make it financially without my working, so back to work I went.
I got SS disability on my first try and we all know how hard that is! We made it for ten months on his retirement, but still piling up debt.
I never received a word of apology. They said they’d put on a service for me inviting all my past students. The service happened, but not many were invited nor was it made aware to the congregation. The evil in the eyes of my principal when he presented me with a card was awful. This was a well respected Christian leader!
I had to do battle with the disability the Lutheran Church had on me. I was treated worse than any human should have to endure. I told the agent for the Church they should send someone in undercover to see how badly they treated people. Every thing I said was questioned and not believed. I am not a liar and I don’t like being treated like one I would respond. It took a year before they finally gave me what I was due.
I couldn’t stay in that congregation any more. I went to a small group that didn’t even meet in a church, but a store front. My husband and daughter remained at the church. I was happy there. I was fascinated with the combination of Bible, history, and the present time. I made new friends and learned to enjoy the Sabbath - Saturday - never changed in the Bible, but by man a few centuries after Christ.
We have moved from that first place, eventually coming to my remodeled basement. Our pastor has been ill with a unique neurological disease. Things have been going down in many ways. I tried to talk to him about what I was seeing, but he always changed the subject or made himself unavailable. I saw changes I didn’t like in the people. There wasn’t a feeling of caring as I felt a small group would share. There didn’t seem to be a common goal. Wednesday night Bible studies were made up of different people than Sabbath’s people and that group had the closeness.
After witnessing several snippets as I think of them now, I realized there was a serious problem that needed to be addressed. I spoke to an elder and his wife. While they agreed with me they thought an intervention wasn’t appropriate for this problem. I met with the pastor the next day. I brought up part of what I had witnessed and started to express my concern when he took off with a word I had spoken and anger belched out of his mouth. It was anger against the group, not me per se.
The next morning, in my time with the Lord, I wrote a letter saying all the things I’d been trying to address for months. I typed it up later and drove to his house. He didn’t answer the door and the door was locked. I left the letter on his car windshield.
I called the elder and read him the letter. I wanted someone to know so the pastor had someone to go to. He agreed with everything in the note. I also gave a copy to the other teacher in the group who was taking a lot of the pastor’s time for teaching as he wasn’t feeling well. He, too, agreed with what was written and also had been trying to talk to him.
From then on absolutely nothing went as I thought it would go. Even if I wrote what I know about it, you wouldn’t believe it. I now know what being shunned is like and I was called a witch on his radio show by him. They didn’t come Monday night. I found out by accident when I called a friend to ask her to go some where with me later in the week. They didn’t come Wednesday night. I called and asked the other teacher if they would be here on Sabbath. No. I asked him to have my basement cleaned out in one day by a given deadline - plenty of time for them to make plans. I asked why I wasn’t told of them not coming just out of common courtesy. He didn’t know. He didn’t apologize. He didn’t want to talk.
I have promised in writing I would not reveal the contents of my letters or of his letter so I cannot enter in to any attempt at an explanation here or any where. It will all be found out eventually as people have eyes to see but it won’t be from me. In that way, being shunned makes it easy. God has given me a sense of freedom I haven’t had in a while. He has given me scripture to encourage my spirit. I feel very loved. He is taking good care of me. I am going to a conference tomorrow and I have great expectations as the speaker is familiar as are his writings. God will be there in power and I will have my batteries recharged!