"You have five minutes at the word processor. Write out something that you've never dared say to anybody."
The following was handed in by one of his students. It is not edited in any way and contains some errors, but I wanted the integrity of her writing to come through.
I hate church. It destroyed my father. Well not destroyed him but it wrecked his mind and his body. He worked 12 hours a day at the church and painted mowed and begged for help. I would help when I could but I got to hate going to the church cause all thought of was hard work.
I know God is love. Papa preached that and I really believe this. But I feel like God let me down when he died. Dad never had time for me or my brother becuase he was always busy at the church or with the chuch people. They would call him late at night and he'd be up on the phone for hours. Then hed sit up and just stare ahead in his chair in the living room.
I remember hearing people talk trash about my father when they didnt know I was around. These were the same people who would call my dad and make him so upset and sit there for hours not saying nothing.
I was scared when someoe got up in a church meeting saying that we needed a new pastor. I got mad when someone talked about my dad. Mom would not say anything and she told me that I was not allowed to talk at church meetings.
They got there wish. They got a new pastor cause my dad died in his office. Mom said it was his heart but I think the church killed him. They didnt shoot him or stab him but they killed him with their words and meanness. I dont know if I'll always hate church. But right now I do.
Can I hate church and still love God? I hope so.
I hardly know what to say after reading this, even for the 5th time. Sadly, I can relate to this all too well. My father died 43 years ago next month; way too early, as he was only in his early fifties. My family is convinced that the stress and strain of the pastorate contributed to his early death. I blamed the church and God for a long time for stealing my father away from me, and I believe some of my brothers and sisters still do.
Sadly folks, this story is repeated far more than we would like to admit. It may not always lead to the death of the pastor, but the story is the same as to how the hurting words and actions of some in the church rips and tears at the fabric of the pastor's home and his family suffers greatly. My friend posted this story on a message board that I frequent, and another person who posts there gave this response:
WOW....How can you not weep at the pain in that girls heart. My daughter who is 15 actually teared up. She has been there. People have no idea what they do to the children when they attack the parents. One of the biggest struggles that my children have faced is not drugs, alcohol and such. Their deepest issue is anger and bitterness at the actions of people they thought were friends and family. When you live away from your own family, children get attached to church members. When things go wrong it is pain on a deeper level.Of course, not everyone in the church can be grouped in this category. The majority of the church is much more thoughtful and loving. The problem is that when anyone in the church acts this way, it reflects on everyone. Is that fair? Of course it's not; but that is how Satan works to steal, kill and destroy. We in the church are the only ones who can combat this. We have to be willing to stand up to those who murder with their tongue.