Dating your preacher

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” Thank you to the pastors’ wives who were willing to give us such great feedback. One pastor’s wife told us that her role was like getting a job for which she never applied.

And thanks to Chris Adams for doing the survey and to Amy Jordan for assembling the data. She wrote this funny script in her response: Husband: “Honey, I got you a job today.” Wife: “Really? I have plenty to do here running the household and raising the kids. Me stay home with the kids so you could fully dedicate yourself to the ministry.” Husband: “Yeah, yeah.

It was even harder for the people around me to understand why particular pastor’s behavior was improper, because the classic gender roles were reversed: I’m a man, and the minister is a woman.

Nonetheless, she was trained in seminary not to make advances at parishioners, and denominational officials and various outside organizations all eventually said that she had violated the basic rules and ethics of ministry.

If you believe that someone has a special sensitivity about God, he or she is going to have power over you, because God is, by definition, all-powerful.

A lot of my non-religious friends particularly didn’t understand this point, so I’m going to put it another way.

So I’m writing this document to explain to my friends and family -- and the general public— these rules are in place, and why, increasingly, observers of religion and sexual abuse awareness organizations say that pastor-parishioner relationships should be forbidden.

One more quick point: I’m not the kind of person who frequently tells people how they should behave in their sex lives.

Power differentials are never healthy in relationships—but we’ll get to that. You’re going to be under huge amounts of pressure to keep the relationship secret.(By the way, I keep on putting “relationship” in quotes because I don’t consider professional exploitation a relationship like we usually think of them. Certain professionals are given trust with no questions asked.“Dating” doesn’t describe it perfectly, either.) But I’ve heard of a number of cases in which parishioners got madly jealous and sometimes overtly hostile toward the one who was dating the minister. They, in turn, have heightened responsibilities toward their clients (students, parishioners).Unlike, perhaps, some of the readers of this article, I actively support full LGBTQ equality, and I do not believe that the only province of sexuality should be the marital relationship. But you, and I, and everyone, universally agree that some classes of sexual behavior are simply acceptable, like child molestation, or sexual assault.And pastors dating their parishioners—although seemingly more benign at first—actually fits into that category. When you belong to a church, the ministers consult each other about what’s going on in your life—and this can create conflicts of interest if you’re dating one of them In my case, when I grew increasingly frazzled by my relationship with my pastor, I couldn’t go to one of the other ministers and talk about it. This would be like dating your manager, and then going to the CEO of the company for relationship advice.

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