Stop the Blame Game



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Blame game

Perhaps it would be good to hear what it is like to be an "ineffective pastor." I had served a number of conflicted churches. In my last one, I was told by the pastor I followed that the best thing the conference could do was to close the church and try reopening it in about 3 years. Rather than continue the self destructive behavior, I went to deal with those creating the conflict. As a result of making a power figure in the church abide by the Discipline, the PPRC has a secret vote during the night and the conference was asked by the PPRC to not continue my appointment. It was my first such request from a PPRC in my 25 years of ministry. I was expecting support from the conference as we brought in conflict resolution persons who saw little hope for the church. Instead, I was told by the cabinet that I was "ineffective" and needed to look for work elsewhere. The case against me was strictly the cabinet being "conduit of rumors" that they could not substantiate other than to say, "it was reported by someone that I caused conflict." When I challenged the reports I was told that I was not being respectful to the cabinet leadership. Rather than fight it out, I chose to find ministry elsewhere. Since then, I have served the past 5 years as a full time hospice chaplain and part time as a pastor in another denomination. Not bad for an "ineffective clergy."
There are plenty of people like me who share a similar story. We don't know why we are called "ineffective" other than someone, somewhere said so. As I am learning, other denominations are doing quite well with our "blame game" as both quality pastors and lay people are leaving the UMC, weary of the long dragged out sickness..
Many of us "ineffective pastors" share a common feeling: Yes, we could stay and fight but, why??? when other denominations value us?

Tom Moe more than 5 years ago

Notable Quotes

"Harsh and direct disagreement places thought under pressure. That’s its point. Pressure can be intellectually productive: being forced to look closely at arguments against a beloved position helps those who hold it to burnish and buttress it as often as it moves them to abandon it. But pressure also causes pain and fear; and when those under pressure find these things difficult to bear, they’ll sometimes use any means possible to make the pressure and the pain go away. They feel unsafe, threatened, put upon, and so they react by deploying the soft violence of the law or the harder violence of the aggressive and speech-denying protest. Both moves are common enough in our élite universities now, as is their support by the powers that be. Tolerance for intellectual pain is less than it was. So is tolerance for argument."

– Paul Griffiths, former professor of Catholic theology at United Methodist-related Duke University Divinity School, in an article for Commonweal magazine on why he resigned over a recent conflict with a colleague related to racism training.


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