Monday, September 17, 2007


I love being a feminist. I love knowing that I am strong and capable. However, there are times when being married would really be nice. Having someone to stick up for you, having someone to give you back rubs (and foot rubs and all the other benefits) BUT ESPECIALLY someone to deal with the car dealership.

I left this morning to get my oil changed. I went to the car dealership because they still owed me one free oil change and tire rotation. I'm trying to make sure that everything is good to go before I leave for Houston. I get there at 11:45 a.m. I am told, "We are leaving for lunch and will be back at 1 p.m." Great! I'm thirty miles from home." I ended up visiting family so it turned out okay but it was 3 p.m. before I got home. The good news is that I did have a slow leak in one of my tires and they fixed it for me. (I am pretty meticulous about oil changes and my tires maintenance. If you break down out here, you can be totally out of touch because cell service is very, very spotty.)

I'm thinking of an analogy between poor customer service at a car dealership and the church. We have some of the same issues. We want everything according to our own schedule, we want to set all of the terms of the deal, and we are willing to shop around if we don't like the service.

I need to tap into some of your pastoral experiences. I have a man who has been a member of the church - forever. He is in his 70s and has Parkinson's Disease. He has been a pillar of the church and chair of the Trustee's for years. However, old age, disease, anger, etc. have made him borderline abusive. He called one of our members who hasn't been coming to church and told him that his mother's memorial garden needed to be ripped out and re-sodded because his family wasn't taking care of it the way they had promised. In the course of this conversation, Trustee guy called Absent Guy "A traitor to the church". I know that there are some anger issues involved in Parkinson's (my grandfather died from this disease). However, I think that he crossed the line. I'm really at a loss about how to handle this. Salvaging Absent Guy's involvement in the church is very doubtful (He has already begun attending another local church). My question is how do I curb the tongue and actions of Trustee Guy without causing some kind of rift in the church?


more cows than people said...

being a married feminist does have its perks.

and... i'm dealing with an especially tricky pastoral care situation myself and feel tapped as to ideas for navigating sensitive situations. just want to give you a hug ((((revdulce)))) and offer a prayer for wisdom.

this sounds like a great one to submit to "ask the matriarch" at the RevGals site- our Thursday feature.

hope someone comes through for you.

maybe i'll even give you a link on my blog. yeah, i think i'll do that.

Wyldth1ng said...

Whenever you do decide to talk to the older gentleman, my sound advise is to bring an unbiased third party. I deal with disgruntled Marines of all ages and ranks and the best way to handle any sticky situations is have a mediator. This person does not have to say anything or he/she can say everything.

I am sorry I cannot give you pastoral advise; all I have is life's lessons.

Good Luck.

Diane said...

in your favor, you know that there are pastoral care issues with the older gentleman, maybe that he isn't even aware of. On the other hand, you can't just let him wound other people. I think you do need to get somebody else involved in this, possibly another board member, with you, both to talk to the gentleman, and the person he abused.

prayers and hugs to you. not an easy one.

jill said...

Yeah. I'm with the others. I think having backup is a great idea. Give him warning, as in, call to make an appointment, and say, clearly, that you and (backup person) would like to pay him a visit. And then, I would be as clear and direct as possible--not dancing around the subject, not accusing, just stating what you've observed, very directly, very clearly, and asking his input on a solution (which hopefully will make him realize that he owes an apology), and that maybe will open up an opportunity for conversation about his illness, and about how you and the church can support him.

Other than that, good on you for regular car maintenance. And, I'm in the same "Sometimes it would be nice to have a husband" boat, but after a blissful massage yesterday, was reminded that even when my ex VERY GRUDGINGLY would rub my back or feet, he was LOUSY at it, and some days, it's just better to pay a professional! But I feel your pain!

Rev. Dulce said...

My SPRC Chair wants us to involve his son. However, I feel that is the worst sort of triangulation. I guess what I dread the most is the hurt that this will cause him. He became one of my daughter's best friends when we first were appointed here, like a grandfather. It has been painful personally to watch this slow decline.

Jill, I'm feeling lots of envy right now - a professional massage. mmmmmm

Rev. Dulce said...

More Cows - I did submit it to "Ask the Matriarch". It is now officially in line.

steve said...

I hope you don't mind hearing my two cents. I read about your dilemma on More Cows' site.

I would say start by trying to connect with this guy's pain. However misguided, he probably truly feels offended in some way by this state of affairs. I'd also guess that, deep down, he realizes he overreacted...and feels ashamed.

So I'd connect with his pain and then gently express a concern that his reaction to it may have offended the other person.

Just my thoughts. Best wishes in dealing with a challenging situation.