blogathon: about the church, again

this is an interview with m. a bit more serious. you just never know.

i: now i will interview you, m.

m: now i’m in trouble!

i: (looks at m)

m: what are you interviewing me about?

j: men.

m: men? oh, heavens!

g: religion! there’s a good one!

i: what shall it be? men or religion?

m: religious men!

i: what about religious men?

m: well, i’ve always found them kind of interesting and crazy.

(there’s a side conversation about men in kilts going up ladders. isabella isn’t quick enough to catch the whole thing)

m: alright. mh. so. as a child, i was a catholic. we were told that the priests were very special and holy men. quite the surprise to find out that most of them were perverts, later in my life. well, maybe not most. many.

(as we’re saying this, my husband walks around the kitchen, wearing a t-shirt that says “utterly perverted”)

m: that’s probably what trigged me into this topic. g’s t-shirt. so then later i had a friend who went off to join a monastery. he was bisexual or confused, one or the other, and thought this would be a good way to sort out his sexuality, by going to a monastery. he returned a year later because he found out all the guys in the monastery were having sex with each other. no confusion there! he was pretty disappointed. that didn’t help him at all.

m: you have to ask a question! come on, interviewer!

i: so then what happened? (note the intelligent question!)

m: i just found that i was exceedingly disillusioned about religious men and the whole religious establishment. the church has a lot to answer for.

i: but this was all a little while ago. have they changed, perhaps?

m: not likely. been reading the papers lately? no, not likely. no.

i: is there anything that can save the church?

j: pure anarchy.

m: yeah! women!

i: what about the nuns?

m: oh, please! not the nuns i knew! no, i’m talking about laywomen. any organization that eliminates women from certain positions is doomed to failure. don’t your agree? (she asks the interviewer)

i: (the interviewer just types and types) (then scratches her head)

i: i have a question!

m: yay!

i: i posted something about a woman who started a church support group for people with mental health issues. did you read that?

m: sorry, i didn’t.

j: i read it!

i: does this contribute something to our conversation?

j: yes. it showed women being given the opportunity to grow in leadership and being supported in that. she was an inexperienced facilitator and was a co-facilitator to work with and it was extremely successful.

m: was that within the church?

j: yes! it was supported by a minister.

m: what church?

j: i remember her being nervous about it, then through trying it out finding it was the best she could have done.

i: it was an evangelical church in burnaby.

m: most of my experience has been with the catholic church and although they are evangelical catholics – maybe they’re better, i don’t know.

i: but the ones that you know … ?

m: they’re stuck. they’re totally stuck.

this is hardly a comprehensive discussion but it might open up comments for people who have had similar, or maybe completely different, experiences.

canadian mental health association

this is an entry for my participation in the 2008 blogathon, a 24-hour marathon of blogging. please support the cause and donate – however much, however little – to the canadian mental health association (vancouver/burnaby branch). to donate, email me or use this URL: you should be able to get there by clicking the link; if not, just copy and paste the link into your browser. it will take you to the appropriate location at canada helps.

thank you for visiting, reading, commenting and, if you can, donating!


  1. Many mental health issues and trauma issues expressed in the conversation. Lots of generalization and projection which happens in the church all the time. God is the ultimate blank screen, so unless you know your doctrine and Bible, people are easily swayed. Also, people for get that Christians are a work in progress and, as a result, are broken/mentally ill/prone to the same irrational thought processes/defensiveness, etc.

    With the Catholic church, which I have issues with, due that they lose their focus on who Jesus is by adding all the saints and who you pray to. Jesus came to Earth, so that we can pray to God directly.

    I’m not sure what you wanted in terms of a response on this, but there it is. This could have been turned into a very heavy theological discussion about the church and mental health.

    ClinicallyClueless’s last blog post..Fun, Humorous & Healing Continued ~ Slide Show II

  2. hi CC

    well, this impromptu interview happened around 1 o’clock in the morning so i have no clue what response i might have anticipated … 🙂

    i love what you’re saying about god being the ultimate blank screen. that’s a whole blog post by itself! (or more than one)

    here’s a thought: when people forget that christians are broken (like everyone else; i totally agree) this is what could be why: when the first and most impressive church people they met did not express this brokenness but, contrary, the infallibility of the pope (like many catholics), or the absolute necessity to interpret the bible literally (the way “the doctor” did in my post about the woman who was in a cult) then it can be hard to take the brokenness of which you spoke into serious consideration.

    it would be interesting to see what J and M have to say about this.

  3. it would be way easier if priests, nuns, reverends, bishops, monks, ministers etc. would behave as professionals when “on the job”. however, they can’t always, for one reason or another, just like the rest of us. it doesn’t mean the church is a bad church. for me, it’s a personal decision to check out a particular clergy person before deciding to get involved with any church. i have had very positive experiences choosing clergy. mostly by getting references from my friends if i wanted to go to a church.

    jael’s last blog post..Fuse

  4. I don’t know whether I’m on track with this discussion but the reference to us Christians being broken people – just like everyone else in society is an important one. Christians, including the clergy, need to always remember that they’re not infallible. I most respect pastors who will admit their faults and failures – leaders who will serve humbly. Even Jesus “did not see equality with God something to be grasped.” (Philippians 2:6)

    marja’s last blog post..Being yourself

  5. Well, when I did the interview it was past midnight and I was a bit tired and so perhaps not altogether gathered in my thoughts. But something that I have discovered is that when I am quite tired, home truths that may have been somewhat buried have a way of making their way to the top and coming out of my mouth. So in fact my comments about my disillusionment with the men (and women) of the clergy were actually quite revealing. I may help to know that I am speaking from my perspective primarily of the RC church. As a young child being brought up by a very devout Italian grandmother, I did not get a chance to shop for or check out my priests or nuns – in fact they were very much thrust upon me, as were the doctrines that accompanied them. Some of them may have been good men and women but on the whole my experience with them was less than rewarding and filled with lots of feelings of guilt and threats of punishment. As an adult I have tried very hard to shake off this indoctrination but it proves difficult to do when the dogma has been so ingrained on my child brain. To later discover that some of these people who were so intent on making me feel guilty and ashamed, were themselves capable of some horrendous acts against children, makes me feel betrayed.

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