Friday, June 4, 2010

Tips for a Retired Minister Who Cares

I just finished lunch with a retired pastor from my denomination who was sent in my direction by the committee in my denomination that is trying to do a better job of caring for their active clergy.

I am for that. In theory.

If you are one of these poor souls sent out on this particular mission, here are a few Do's and Dont's. You can take them or leave them:

DO continue to take my prompts for you to continue talking about yourself so I don't have to delve too far into me. Well, that is unless you actually want to get to know me.

DON'T respond to the answer of the question of what I do for a hobby (in my case, softball) with, "Oh, that's different."

DON'T roll your eyes when you put together that I am divorced. You don't know my story.

DON'T respond to my lighthearted comment that I am hoping to ride out the honeymoon phase here as long as possible with, "Well, that has to be almost over now, doesn't it."

DON'T make it so hard for me to communicate that I actually have to say, "Please hear what I am saying."

DON'T respond to your own realization at the amount of staff who are here and the size of the congregation and how I look to you sitting before you with, "Well how did you manage that?" (I swear I was 'this' close to channeling Erin Brockovich, "They're called boobs, Ed," even though clearly (I hope) that is not the case here.)

DON'T go on and on about how I should hold onto ministry as long as I can when I get to retirment age when a) I probably won't have a choice due to lack of funds both national and denominational and b) when so many of your colleagues are doing that EXACT thing while fresh talent is left to wait in the wings, making coffee lattes at Starbucks while they wait for someone to have the guts to tell the 78 year old it is time to step down.

DO continue to included the follow up advice to the above which was, "Unless you have a great reason, something you are hot for, to retire."

Note taken.


Mary Beth said...

UGH. What a troll.

Jules said...

I have to admit, that is one of my very favorite movie lines evah!

The Vicar of Hogsmeade said...

I wish this exchange surprised me.

Kirbles said...

I was so afraid this was going to be the situation.

Kathrynzj said...

The real bummer is, he wasn't being mean. He meant well. But right there at the table the generational divide has NEVER looked larger.

His church is not the one I serve in. It's not even close.

reverendmother said...

It is to weep.

Though the Erin B. line made me LOL

Songbird said...

What an annoying man!!!

God_Guurrlll said...

Preach it sister friend. Especially the part about those who hold on to ministry too long.

I've noticed that some of the retired clergy who hold on way too long do so out of their own insecurity and lack of identity outside of the ministry. When being clergy is all they know, they can't let go. I'm noticing that most of the second career pastors I know are having an easier time with transitioning into retirement.

Magdalene6127 said...

You have GOT to be kidding.

You have more forbearance than I.

Amy said...

So, you were training him in how to care for current active clergy, right? "Cause otherwise they should send you to lunch by yourself and call that caring for you in a more profound way...
I hope you report back to your COM on your experience.

Rev Kim said...

Wow. Just wow, to all of it.

But the Erin B. line? Brilliant!

mamaS said...

Lord, have mercy.
My church has sent me a young woman to be my mentor; a gift, I realize.

Anonymous said...

i would have had to have take duct tape... to tape my mouth shut... and my hands to my sides. you did good... REAL good!!!!!