I am dismayed these days by the number of colleagues I know that have been bitten, chewed up, and spit out by a congregation or experience with a church. I can think of at least 10 in my almost ten years of being ordained. It's not just one denomination, or just newly ordained people...but, oh--my--all of them are women.
I'm not saying that in every case sexism is primarily involved...
Ah hell. It has to be part of all of it--at least a little bit. I have been in four really happy situations as ordained clergyperson, and in each community--ranging from liberal to conservative to progressive--the sneaky, seductive side of sexism, as well as obvious, overt and unapologetic expressions of sexism are clear and present. In my experience, and from what I have observed, I think women clergy have to work harder for acceptance, for trust, for respect...than male counterparts.
I love being a pastor. I know I have been extremely fortunate in the calls I have received---none perfect--but not ever miserable (or at least miserable for long).
I'm aware of how much congregations pin on their pastors unconsciously, and statitistics about burn-out, etc.
But right now, I just wonder...
Why do church people have to be so dang mean sometimes?