From the Desk of Mr. Zissman

The musings of an over-stimulated mind

Glass Houses

with 5 comments

Today I had the privilege of having dinner at my parents, as my mother was making a fish dinner and she knew how big of a seafood eater I am. Hopping into my car, I whisked away on the US-30 with dreams of fish and crab dancing in my head. My mouth was watering with delight as I entered the door to their house, the delightful aroma of fresh fish tickling my nose. My stomach roared with a mighty rumble, as it demanded a sacrifice of only the finest aquatic cuisine.

Like a crazed zombie from a Romero movie, I dug into my plate, my fork surgically slicing the fish platter into bite sized morsels, mixing them with the mashed potatoes and green beans that made a strong supporting act for the Fish Main Event. Mom causally watched Judge Judy as we made small talk, sharing stories and laughing at some of the amusing antics of my young niece. My Dad was heading home from a hard day at work and would soon join us, and by all means and accounts, it seemed like a normal, family gathering.

That is until my Mom dropped a bombshell on me.

It started off innocently enough, with just a simple question, but quickly revealed something that not only hurt me, but made me question a lot of things I held near and dear.

“Are you going to church tomorrow?” she asked. [Tomorrow being Wednesday 11/18/09]

“Probably.” I said, still munching on my delicious fish flesh. “I figure I’ll just stop by here after church and I can ride with you.”

Mom took a heavy sigh as the next words seemed painful for her to say.

“Stephen…I hate telling you this, because I don’t want to push you away from the church, but the Pastor called today asking about you.”

Hesitantly, I rested the fork on the plate with a tiny klink, focusing my attention to my rather sullen looking mother.

“Yeah? What did we have to say?”

“Well, apparently someone from the church found your Facebook, or your blog, or Twitter and said you had pictures of some of the Sunday School children? Well, you didn’t ask the parents permission and this person would like them removed.”

Now honestly, I wasn’t really that upset about their first gesture, as I can understand their concerns for privacy. However, I was more upset that they went to the Pastor about it and the Pastor called my Mom. Couldn’t they have just called me or talked to me in private Wednesday night or Sunday morning? Still, I figured there was no harm done and deleted all the pictures of my Sunday school class. Problem over, right?

Wrong.

See, it turns out there was a second problem to this Anonymous Member’s complaint. Apparently, after reviewing several of my social media websites, they were unhappy with my language and had concerns with “inappropriate words” that I had used. Again, instead of coming to me about it, they decided to go through the Pastor, who instead went through my Mom.

If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” ~ Matthew 18:15-17

Plus, the photos of my Sunday school class were several months old, so for Anonymous Member to find it, they would had to have looked for me on the internet. You just don’t stumble across my social media websites by accident, but rather, a deliberate, and I fear malicious attempt for ‘dirt’, was made to secure gossip about me like a Jr. High cheerleading table.

My social media websites are my personal thoughts shared with the public. They are a complete and separate entity from the church, and in no way reflects poorly upon the church. I will fully admit that I can sometimes rend a potty mouth to my thoughts, but that is between me and God. Like the verse in Matthew says, go to me about it privately if the language on my personal thoughts offend you. If so, I would be willing to sit down and talk to this person about it. However, it gets passed on to somebody, who passes it on somebody who finally tells it to me.  What I say on my social media websites is of no concern to Anonymous Member or, honestly, my Pastor. He/she is free to disagree with me as much as they want, as that is the basic freedoms granted to us by God and the United States. However, I feel it is highly inappropriate to run and “tattle” on me as if this were a wide-eyed kindergarten student telling the teacher that Little Billy said “butt” by the monkey bars.

I’m really hurt by this whole mess and I feel like my moves are now gossip fodder that will become frantic water-cooler-esque talk that will result in the situation being over-blown and grossly magnified way beyond its original proportions. I will be skipping church this Wednesday, as my mother had requested to speak with my Pastor privately about this issue. I do plan to attend on Sunday and am bracing myself for whatever confrontation may take place.

All in all, I hope this can result in a happy ending for both parties involved. I do not wish to leave my church, as I love it dearly, but if my actions outside of the church are going to come into question as second-hand information, I am unsure if this is the place I would want to continue to worship. For now, I just pray about this earnestly and honestly and ask for God’s direction.

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Written by MrZissman

11/18/2009 at 12:02 AM

5 Responses

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  1. And this is why I’m glad to be Catholic. In all honesty, the only churches I’ve seen wash-woman gossiping happening in have been the Protestant ones. I couldn’t deal with that. Church is suppose to be a refuge and a place where you can work on focusing on God. How can it when others are keeping tabs, judging, and tattling on each other?

    It really bothers me that this was a planned, deliberate search. That’s some very unChristian-like behavior. Who does that and then thinks that that’s God work? As Catholics, we’re taught to take Scripture and our conscience with us and whatever is will be between us & the Lord. But, then again, that’s probably one of those “made-up” Bible things that we have.

    Hilary Marie

    11/18/2009 at 12:31 AM

    • Gossip, like any sin, is not exclusive to protestants. lol! If only that were true…

      Paula

      11/18/2009 at 6:31 AM

      • I know that. I’m just saying to the degree he’s experiencing, where the lamb is sent to the slaughter, happens primarily in hardcore Protestant churches. Unfortunately, sitting by the sidelines, I’ve seen this church’s focus shift more and more to the hardcore exclusionary side.

        Hilary Marie

        11/18/2009 at 10:57 PM

      • Regardless of the denomination, it’s pretty clear my church isn’t a place where I feel comfortable anymore. Not after this.

        drzissman

        11/18/2009 at 11:05 PM

  2. Steve, stay strong. You know your heart is right with the Lord. Just because you’ve been accused, does not mean you have done anything wrong. I follow your page pretty closely (as I am your number 1 fb stalker, lol!) and I have never found anything offensive about it. I also know my heart is right with the Lord. Pray for the heart of whoever started all this. I will pray that the Lord will not let you be put to shame. And I am amazed at your courage to return on Sunday. I sincerely doubt that whoever went behind your back will have the courage to speak to you about this face-to-face. I wouldn’t spend anytime worrying about a confrontation. Let me know how it goes.
    ~Paula

    Paula

    11/18/2009 at 6:28 AM


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