church drama, religious trauma and our children

>> June 23, 2011

I guard my children like a dog does a bone and yes to the point of being aggressive. I'm sure that is not the most cleaver statement, but it is raw and authentic. My children are a gift from God, entrusted to me to raise, protect, instruct, discipline, love, educate, etc., etc...

Every once in a while we get a family in the church that says.....

"Oh my gosh, I just can't believe you allow your children to watch Star Wars"

"Oh my gosh, I can't believe ya'll watch television on Sunday's after church, it is God's HOLY day" "Pastor does too, I'm going to have to pray about that"

"Oh my gosh, your son goes to public school, what is the matter with you?"

"Oh my gosh, you are going back to school to be an attorney, I have just never heard of a Christian Attorney. I don't know how they tell the truth about anything." "Why do you want another degree?" "Working outside the home is not healthy, God spoke to me to quit my job when I had little ones like you"

"Oh my gosh, I can't believe your son said I was fat" (in his defense he was 3 or 4 at the time)

I could go on forever with my list of friendly encounters wanting to start church drama, inflict religious trauma and the like.

We are not going to hell and we are not leading the masses there too because my son has Hanna Montana "It's a climb" on his ipod and it is technically not a Christian song. Nor are we going to hell because my gameroom bathroom is decorated in Mickey Mouse which is technically Disney.

I'm not a lousy pastor's wife and mother because my house isn't spotless and well "cleanliness is next to godliness"

It is these type of statements that drive Pastors' Wives nuts.

So how do you deal with it?

Personally, I learned along time ago not to value everyone's opinion. Let me explain. I have brown eyes and brown hair naturally. So lets say Janie and I have the following dialog: Janie: "I can't believe how green your eyes are Veronica" Me: "My eyes aren't green, they are brown Janie" Janie: "no, your eyes are green, green as can be, I can see them for myself" Me: "Janie, they are brown - hello" as in my mind I thinking this lady is strange.....

I am rejecting her statement, her definition of truth or fact in her world. Because her reality is not my reality. While our worlds may collide, meaning we do life together for whatever reason (church, school, neighbor) I do not need to accept every opinion that comes my way. It's an easy general statement; but when it comes to implementation it's not always easy. As Pastors we want to believe the best in people and usually listen with an open heart. Just be sure to guard your spirit and the spirit of your children. They do not need to hear everything. I encourage you to be you! Raise your children as God has instructed you and according to your convictions, beliefs and standards.

What clever phrases do you tell church members who enjoy coming up to you and saying stuff like the above? Or do you have family members (extended family; in-laws, siblings etc) who do the same thing.

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Recovering Church Lady June 23, 2011 at 12:02 PM  

What a perfect post for me to respond to! God has been showing me how to be free EVEN as a church leader! Who da thunk? Ha!

I actually recall telling someone that God loves Star Wars when my sons were kids. And even if we could not justify it as a great "good versus evil" story, God loves creativity and it's a fun story!

I am convinced, as you are, that God is simply not such a hard task master as the old church ladies make Him out to be.

He is the great creator and creativity takes more forms than just Bible stories and religious music. It is all around us even in non-christian artists of all kinds. Oh man, I'd better stop, this is my theme and I could go on and on!!

Thanx for the moment of venting....

gillian June 23, 2011 at 12:35 PM  

Thanks for this brave, NEEDED post. Love to you, pw sister!

Sarah June 23, 2011 at 1:31 PM  

If I told you the crazy things I've been told, your stomach would turn. It turns mine. Just the other day: "You know, I heard a lady on the radio say she was convicted about not wearing clothing that pertains to a man - so I'm not the only one..." She was wearing flip-flops at the time so I said, "You know, men wear flip-flops too." I just couldn't take it, you know!? Another good one is, "Well, God is a God of order, so He wants us to keep an orderly house." (Totally out of context!) So, all that stuff about Mary choosing the better part doesn't really apply if our house is messy?! For real.

Veronica Brown June 23, 2011 at 5:36 PM  

Love you ladies - keep pressing on!! :)

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