What to Do with the Mad that You Feel

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What to Do with the Mad that You Feel

By Derrick Weston

Day 1

The first thing I ever wanted to be was a pastor.

That’s weird, right?

Not a fireman, not an astronaut, not a kangaroo.

A pastor.

Though that ambition changed over time, when I came back to it in my twenties, it was in one of those moments when I audibly heard the voice of God asking me, “What was the first thing you ever wanted to do?” From that point on, the path seemed clear.

Yesterday, Pittsburgh Presbytery decided that they would not restore me to good standing. While not outright stripping me of my ordination, it returns me to a state of limbo where I could one day seek restoration again if I so chose to subject myself to this process again.

I know what I did was wrong;I had a relationship with a parishioner, one of the cardinal no-no’s in ministry; and it cost me. It cost me my family, my dream job, my reputation. And it hurt lots of people. People in the church, my family, people at my work.

But from the time I self-reported until yesterday, there was always talk about grace, restoration, and “God’s not done with you yet” language. There was always hope. Yesterday that hope was dashed. Even my ex-wife, the person hurt most by my actions, was saddened by the news.

I’m glad that I don’t believe the things about myself that were written in the discernment committee’s report. They painted this picture of an unrepentant monster, who lives blissfully unaware of the lives impacted by his decisions. They took shots at my character and my family. They used my honesty against me and questioned my spiritual maturity. Most importantly, they ignored the recommendations of people who know me best and made decisions based on their subjective impressions instead of on the objective steps I’ve taken to get my life back in order. It was among some the most hurtful experiences of my life. I don’t understand how this presbytery, which at the last GA made a public stand on doing ministry to black men, could so callously throw me away. I mean… I *do* understand… it just hurts.

I don’t know what to do now. My life as a Presbyterian minister is likely over. I could switch denominations, but that’s not a move I consider lightly. Also, I’m disgusted with the institution right now, and I don’t know how I feel about exchanging one set of hypocrites for another. I don’t know what I’m gonna do…

The first thing I ever wanted to be was a pastor.

I spent most of the last two decades working toward that end in some form or another.

Now it’s all gone.

What am I supposed to do now?

Finish reading this 4 day devotional in the app. Find it on the Featured shelf.