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Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

I know I shouldn’t involve myself, but

Home Forums Advice & Chat I know I shouldn’t involve myself, but

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  • #1112561 Reply
    WhyDoWeExist?
    Guest

    Okay, so here is my problem.

    I am currently training to be a minister, and no I am not a fundamentalist. The parish I work in performs gay marriage ceremonies and our denomination has been ordaining woman since the 60s and has had female lay preachers for over a century.

    My problem does however involve a fundamentalist.

    You see the seminary school I attend as part of my training is ecumenical (has many different denominations training under the same roof) which I find to be a good thing as it forces you to form good positions in your theology which you are able to defend and also creates a space for dialogue. The problem is that I have noticed that a young woman, also apart of my denomination, has started warming up to the guy whom I consider to be the most fundamentalist and legalistic guy on campus.

    In the past, I have heard him express views along the lines that woman exist solely to bear children and therefor have no place in ministry, that homosexuals should be celibate and that woman you get an abortion should get the death penalty (even if conception happened through rape). Needless to say I do not support his views and I do not personally view them as biblically accurate as he comes about them through a very literal interpretation which does not make allowances for culture of the time, poetic metaphor, the fact that scripture is given to us by God through man and a non-holistic reading meaning that he reads verses individually and does attempt to fit them into the wider narrative.

    Anyway. I am worried for the young woman who is getting close to him. The problem is that I don’t feel like I should get involved as I have expressed interest in her in the past romantically and she has asked to just be friends. Now I respect that, but it wasn’t all that long ago that it happened so I don’t know how I can express my concerns without coming off as jealous, because to be honest I might be a little.

    That said I did not like this guy before it happened and I was under the impression that she had the same view. But now suddenly she seems to be attracted to him.

    I am seriously worried for her safety as I fundamentally and unequivocally view this man’s view as harmful, dangerous and all together off putting. That said I also feel like it isn’t my place to tell her this guy is dangerous. She is a big girl and should be allowed to make her own decisions and I respect that.

    I really don’t know how to handle this. Should I start avoiding her? Is there a way in which I can communicate my distain for him without sounding jealous?

    Regardless of the fact my feelings aren’t reciprocated I would still like to be friends as she claims to have the same values I do and she had also made an effort to read some of my favourite Theologians to try to understand me better.

    My feelings weren’t that strong, it was just a light crush and I will get over it. It will just take some time. What really bothers me is her giving this dude attention, and not because he is another man, but because I find his views repulsive.

    #1112566 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    No no no, don’t do anything. There’s a lot going on here. For all that you talk about equality for women, and I believe that you support that, you would very much not be walking the walk by trying to tell this woman who to hang out with, do you see? Like her instincts can’t be trusted and you know better than she does and must protect her. No. And on top of that, you’re romantically jealous, so you’re motivated by personal agenda.

    You do need to disengage from her if you can’t emotionally handle being in her life and watching her interact with guys.

    #1112568 Reply
    Lucidity
    Guest

    Agree with Kate.

    Also, as a woman, the phrase “she is a big girl” really skeeved me out. Girls are prepubescent, you’re talking about a woman. Referring to women as girls is patronizing, even if that’s not how you mean it. Something to keep in mind if you want to show respect for women in your ministry and in your future congregation.

    #1112569 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    Right, women over 18 are women. “She’s an adult” or “She’s a grown woman” are more appropriate, but even so, like even if she were 16 or 17 in this case, there would be no reason to try to persuade her not to hang out with this guy. It’s not bad for people to interact with people who have different views from them. Does this guy sound like an asshole, absolutely, but do you know he has harmed people? No, right?

    #1112581 Reply
    WhyDoWeExist?
    Guest

    I don’t know if he has hurt anyone but I do know he was living in another country about a year ago and was deported, despite having a valid visa… Which to me sounds strange.

    A member of his church also had a teenager whom they were fostering taken away from them as the teenager came out the closest. I believe gay conversion therapy was attempted and the authorities found out.

    Gay conversion therapy is illegal where I live. They are lucky they just lost custody, they could have served time. The incident made the online tabloids.

    As for my being over protective of her because she is a woman, I can understand how you can get that impression from what I wrote. But I don’t feel like it is accurate. I am just very protective of the people I care about. If I thought a male friend of mine was making a mistake like this I would not hesitate to pull him aside and tell him what I thought.

    Although I try not be be blunt when dealing with lay people and parishioners, I am known for being blunt with those close to me; people have come to expect it. That said the woman in my life do tend to react more negativity towards it. Perhaps they view it as sexist as well? I don’t know the answer, that is something I will need to think about for awhile.

    That said I realize this situation has been complicated by the recent past and I recognize that interference in this case is not the best policy. As, yes, there is an element of jealousy present.

    Thank you for the comment about the poor choice of language in my original letter. It is a fair comment and I will try to do better in future. I unequivocally apologize for any offence caused.

    #1112582 Reply
    Fyodor
    Guest

    I agree that people shouldn’t be able to date people with whom you disagree theologically and further that it is your role and responsibility to tell fellow students who they can and can’t date. Intervene immediately and give her an ultimatum to end it.

    #1112583 Reply
    Fyodor
    Guest

    I also agree that if she SAID that she agreed with you theologically and read books that you recommended that it’s an especially deep betrayal of you for her to date this man and that you should call her to task about it, probably in public.

    #1112585 Reply
    Fyodor
    Guest

    Do you envision this role where you intervene in her romantic decisions and social associations to continue after this woman completes her seminary training and is an ordained minister, or will you hand it off to someone else after she graduates?

    #1112587 Reply
    WhyDoWeExist?
    Guest

    Hi Fyodor.

    I have already stated I plan not to interfere. Cheers.

    Futhermore your sarcasm is not appreciated.

    #1112589 Reply
    Akeath
    Participant

    Is this guy highly secretive about his views? If so, go ahead and tell her some of the things you’ve heard him say. But understand that acting like you have a say in who she does or doesn’t date, especially after she’s turned you down to be with, will be a friendship ender. I’ve had people who had crushes on me that I turned down, and if for any reason they started telling me about who I should or shouldn’t hang out with (let alone date) after that confession, I’d have dropped them as toxic immediately. That’s not okay behavior.

    If he’s made these statements in public and in classes, your friend is likely aware of all this and has made the choice to associate with him anyway. She’s a competent, intelligent adult and you are going to have to respect her choices even if you don’t agree with them. I honestly think you need to step back from this friendship and stop interacting with her if you can’t contain your controlling impulses. You don’t get a say in who she does or does not associate with, or the situations she does or does not put herself into. I agree with the others that there’s a possessive, “I know better than you what you should do and how you should conduct your romantic life” aspect to this that you need to work on in yourself if you really want to be taken seriously when you say you see women as autonomous equals.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by Akeath.
    #1112599 Reply
    Anonymousse
    Guest

    I agree with what’s been said. It’s so sexist to “look out” for a “big girl” (grown adult woman) who is choosing herself who to spend time with. Maybe she thinks women should be put to death if they have an abortion. Equality means treating women the same. Would you tell a man who to spend time with?

    It does seem to me, that it is your jealousy wanting to convince her you’re the better pick or something. You think you know better than she what she wants or needs. That is the real issue you’ve exposed in yourself.

    #1112600 Reply
    Anonymousse
    Guest

    Your title is perfect, but take the “but” out. Leave it alone.

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