You can read scans of the issue here: Page One , Page Two. Looks like the links have been taken down, which makes discussion difficult without the context. She talks about kissing boys who get self-conscious that she is a pastor, men who want her to leave the pastorate to become a housewife. She talks about past intimacy, present chastity, intimate forms of self-care, and balancing personal and pastoral duties. The title is apt: What did you expect, timidity? Two bloggers on the internet are horrified at the extent of her disclosure and make inferences about her character: This article is not just a case of unfathomable TMI.
It treats deeply personal, profoundly intimate subjects in a cavalier way that I think shows a staggering lack of judgment. It insults one of her parishioners and breaches trust and confidentiality in that pastoral relationship…This is not how young women empower themselves.
Learn this fast and learn it well: What you are doing by providing salacious details on your sex life to the media is not empowering yourself or making clergy or Christian life more hip and relevant. In the end, this article seems both self-absorbed and self-serving.
There is a narcissistic tone in which the author wants the reader to sympathize. Of course, I did. Miller desire to discuss her love life, perhaps it would be better expressed and processed with a mental health professional. This is not the right venue to discuss these matters. I wonder if these people who have rendered judgment about her media training and her mental health remember that we worship with a book that has sexually explicit and unacceptable-by-society content: While alienation is the common human condition, we expect—perhaps especially as women committed to church—that our church experience will be otherwise [but] the theologically educated evangelical woman will find herself straddling cultures—literally living on the boundary, on the edge of maps…and this in itself is alienating, when the common ground is sometimes only oneself.
With alienation, though, often comes a sense of solidarity with others who are similarly not includes in the hierarchical establishment of church. Thus a number of women have developed scenarios of church as shelter for the outcast, a place of hospitality and grace, a round table open to all. Living on the Boundaries, pp. I would hope that now the members of her congregation, community, the Internet who are only an email away from her, who may struggle with the same sense of alienation, that they may also respond, create a relationship, and possibly form one of those communities of solidarity who deal with their deeply personal issue in a similar deeply personal and explicit fashion.
Others who feel the pressures of the collar and find it presses too closely to their vocal cords to truly speak their feelings, and now feel relieved that they are not alone either. Will there be retribution from her higher-ups? But perhaps the Spirit is moving through this situation to allow other women and men in some situations to talk about their experiences and to find ways together to cope, identify, and transform their places of ministry into more open, honest, and healthy places of expression.
I will pray for Rev. Not that she gets her mental health checked or media training, but rather I will pray that she has the sensitivity and insight to embrace those who might contact her out of a sense of seeking solidarity and that her pastoral ministry is widened and deepened through it. Any female clergy want to chime in with their reactions to Rev. Any comments at all about how any readers received the piece? Any prayers for Rev.
Miller and all those who feel alienated beneath the clergy robe? Finally, if you are a single female clergy and want to express your prayers and thoughts in solidarity to Rev. Jeremy Smith is a United Methodist clergyperson who blogs about faith, young clergy issues, technology, internet theory, and geeky topics. Click here to learn more.
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