My last post was a bit about what #pissedoffpastor means to me. I wanted to hear why it also resonated with my pastor colleagues in the ELCA and other denominations, so I asked a few of them to share their thoughts with me. Here are some of the thoughts they shared.
One pastor shared, “#pissedoffpastor means I will no longer be complacent with the systems of injustice of which I am a part. It means I will will take the time to get educated on issues regarding race. I will speak up even when it’s uncomfortable. I will help educate the white people in my life. I will proclaim the God that is good news for the oppressed and marginalized, the God that is liberation.”
Another put it this way, “What it means to me . . . is that sometimes, holy anger or frustration are necessary when there is an incompatibility between the injustices we see and the Gospel we claim. We have to be careful that anger doesn’t get directed at a person, but is directed at the systems that perpetuate the injustices. I think of Jesus and the money changers . . . even the one who hold us as all loving, patient, and kind. . . sometimes love look like being pissed off because people, our people, our siblings are being hurt.”
Another one wrote, “#pissedoffpastor resonated with me because I have felt more angry in the last few months than I have in my 10 years of ministry. I’m sick about being a pastor with privilege in the predominately white denomination that raised Dylann Roof. I feel angry that I have to tread lightly as to not offend anyone-whether talking about covid-19 or racial justice or any kind of equity including for LGBTQIA+ folx. I grieve that I feel I have to screen Jesus’ words so as not to make anyone too upset.”
Another pastors shared that #pissedoffpastor helped her reflect on what is under her anger. She listed: sorrow, loneliness, hurt, fear, exhaustion, and impatience. She ended her comments with, “Being a #pissedoffpasteor means that once I understand what’s under that anger, I can use the energy it generates to go forward.”
The final reflection I want to share with you is this, “I have been a pastor in the ELCA for 8 years. I have noticed in the four churches in which I have served and at seminary, that the ELCA Christians around me are far more scandalized by swear words than the violence and murder of white supremacy. There is no place in the church for four letter words and my GOODNESS will church folks let me know that is no uncertain terms but when white supremacy shows up in ways that calls our congregation’s attention to its insidious existence within our body, church folks prefer to excuse it based on people’s age or upbringing or financial contributions or familial history within the congregation. See, sweating is vulgar but racism is just the way it is. And I have gone along with this. I have served silently resentful and gently pushing but also heavily resigning myself to the forked (watch The Good Place if you think this is a typo) up cultural priority of the church in which I am a pastor. . . . Being pissed off is not a sin; being silent about the white supremacy that is baked into our church’s and our nation’s very being and is killing God’s children is. This shirt invites that conversation and holds me accountable to my commitment to name our sin and invites us to repent of it within and without the church.”
Recently I went to the ELCA Facebook page. I won’t do that again for a long time. A post of one of the beatitudes was considered political. It confirmed there are a lot a reasons to be pissed off when the truth of the Gospel doesn’t lead to reflection and confession, but to pushback and defensiveness.
What does #pissedoffpastor mean to you?