Tonight I met with the pastor of the church I’ve been attending. The conversation was interesting. He was alright. I still don’t trust him; there were some strange twists and turns in the conversation that made me wonder if he was avoiding some things or attempting to steer me away from certain topics. But there is nothing he could have done or said that would have made me trust him tonight.

He did a lot of the talking, and he did answer a few questions. He didn’t rush or tell me time was up, which was good. He shared some of his thoughts on some things, some of what he thinks sets him apart from other pastors, I suspect, which was a little weird. One thing he talked about was why he stopped being a youth pastor: a young person was caught doing something the group considered “bad”. Rather than¬†anyone discussing the issue with the young person, rather than it being a teaching moment or a moment for grace, it became an issue of image. “My child would NEVER…” “Well, my kid wouldn’t LIE!” And the young man learned nothing positive, though he may have learned to keep up appearances, hide his ‘sin’, and play people-particularly his parent.

It’s an interesting scenario, and one that I’ve seen happen repeatedly in unhealthy and even healthy groups. Hide the sin, shun the sinner. Blame others for saying there might be something wrong. The opposite of grace, the opposite of love.

We weren’t told to hide our ‘sins’ in my former church, but I was definitely taught to both by example and by response if I didn’t. I’ve long since been done hiding most things; one thing I did talk about tonight was a bit of my history–not much, but a little. There are those who say not to share that history with those who don’t know it and haven’t been in similar situations, but stating a few facts is very liberating for me. And at least in this instance, revealing who I was didn’t lead to hiding or shunning or shaming, but seemed to be met with the love and grace it should be. That, at least, was good.