After my last post, a reader wrote me with this thoughtful question:
How do you keep people from your previous congregation and even the sr pastor from reading your blog? Are you ever afraid they will identify you by what you write? I think you are so brave to voice your troubles. I don't know that I could do that.I have thought about this a lot and people close to me have listened to me fret about it for, cumulatively, hours and hours. Below are some of the things I've decided upon that allow me to write this blog.
It is certainly possible that someone from my old congregation has or will come upon this blog. The majority of them would not ever recognize that I am writing about their church. The people who have hurt me, sr pastor included, seem so unaware of themselves that I would not expect them to see that I am describing their behavior. If they do, I'm not sure what they would do about it. Apart from my description of the conflict I don't think there is anything here that identifies them specifically, so they'd be accusing themselves.
This is why I guard my anonymity so carefully online. I have no interest - ABSOLUTELY NO INTEREST - in identifying the people or the congregation I am describing. I cannot imagine any benefit that would come of that and I write primarily for my own benefit. Describing my experience helps me understand it, cope with it, trust God with it, compartmentalize it. I learn by writing. When I start a post I usually know what I want to write about and have an idea what I will say, but often discover something in the process of explaining myself.
I started this blog almost a year ago and a miraculous, unexpected second purpose has turned out to be creating a community of churchworkers and families who hurt. I thought there might be half a dozen people who would read this. I don't know how many readers I have, but it's more than that. The affirmation, encouragement, and spiritual care I receive from your comments and notes is one of God's great provisions for me.