The Quixotic Pastor

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Friday was good for me, part 1 ...!

Yes, indeed it was. I went down to Waterford to meet with area MCC and other Clergy for a clergy mini-conference with the Moderator of our denomination, the Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson.
The subject of the mini-conference was "Balance, Boundaries and Breakthroughs" and was devoted to clergy self-care.

As someone who has served in our denomination as a sucessful local church pastor for probably 30 plus years, and who now serves as the spiritual leader of our movement, when Nancy talks about the necessity for as well as the nuts and bolts of clergy self-care, she knows what she is talking about.

Why is clergy self-care such an important topic? First, the role of clergy of any denomination has changed from "high prestige, low stress" to "high stress, low prestige", high stress because clergy must know more and do more than even as little as a decade ago they were once required to know and do. Nowadays ministry is low prestige because of many factors, everything from increasing secularization in our culture, transitions in the nature of the church itself, and the new public awareness of and decreased toleration for clergy misconduct, especially sexual misconduct.

But clergy self-care within MCC is even more important, because MCC and other GLBT clergy face unique challenges their more traditional counterparts do not. It is for us an even higher stress and lower prestige role, for all kinds of reasons.

One of the things that Nancy mentioned is that the occurrence of borderline personalities is increased in oppressed populations --and the GLBT population is certainly oppressed! Then of course there's oppression sickness, in which members of oppressed groups do anything to hold on to what power they have, even to the point of oppressing others!

Another way of thinking about oppression sickness is the old "crab bucket" analogy. When you go crabbing, you don't have to worry ever about any crabs climbing out of your bucket even if there's no lid because, whenever a crab raises itself and tries to escape, the other crabs pull him back into the bucket! I certainly have witnessed that phenomenon within my local GLBT population, in a particular organization of which I am a part, where infighting, mudslinging, perfectionistic power grabbing and all sorts of self-defeating behaviors plague us as an organization.

The worst part of oppression sickness is when we GLBT actually believe in the stereotypes our oppressors use to define us and keep us down, that we are not worthy, that we are not fully human, that we should be ashamed ...


  • At 6:24 AM , Blogger Rainbow Pastor said...

    Amen sister! To everything you said about oppression sickness!

    We have it in Canada, too...

  • At 8:12 AM , Blogger Reverend Dona Quixote said...

    I'll just have to bear that in mind in the event I have to evacuate the US for Canada someday ...

  • At 1:55 PM , Blogger LutheranChik said...

    I've had the same discussion with other members of the community about "oppression sickenss" -- church folks and non.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home