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Old 01-18-2011, 08:34 PM
3,647 posts, read 9,307,282 times
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We recently were "shopping" churches. We didn't like the way things were being handled at the one we were members at - though we are new to the area, and weren't there long. After some searching, we found that our "first" church was one that we fit at best and made an appointment to speak to the pastor about our concerns/problems of the past.

Something came up that really shocked us (me and dh) both, took us by surprise. The pastor told us that one of the pastors from a nearby church had told him that I said something that was "toxic". I was very surprised, as my only conversations with this pastor were a few seconds long - in the greeting line as we left the services. Dh spoke up - and had apparently said something to the pastor (not in the way it was being related) after a bible study he had attended, when questioned as to why we left the other church.

The pastor had told us, when I had a difficult time prior to leaving the church, that anything said between him and I was "protected" and that he wouldn't even be allowed to tell the bishop what I said to him.

But the pastor of the other church shared what my dh felt was a private conversation with him. I have had a hard time trusting the ministry - I ended up leaving the Lutheran faith over these problems.

So - does a body have a right to have an expectation of a protected conversation with a Methodist minister? Are there 'steps' to follow to receive this type protected conversation? Do you have to be a full on member of a church? Do you need to say something beforehand? I don't want to cause problems, but it seems everywhere we go, we get thrust into these difficult decisions. Can either of these men be trusted?

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Last edited by Miss Blue; 01-19-2011 at 11:16 AM.. Reason: Everyone is allowed to post so long as they adhere to the Terms of Service of City Data
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:26 AM
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Every denomination has it's faults of course and you would probably be able to find the specific fellowship for your family after much visiting different fellowships of the denomination. I would not tie yourself to any particular denomination though.

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Last edited by Miss Blue; 01-19-2011 at 11:18 AM.. Reason: off topic . Give poster an answer/discuss the topic in order to bring the topic to top
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:17 AM
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Moderator cut: editI was baptized and raised Lutheran, Missouri Synod. I married a 'born again' Christian. We've struggled for years to find somewhere we both 'fit' and feel comfortable. Prior to this issue, we'd both felt comfortable in this, and one other Methodist church.

I guess we'll be church 'shopping' again, but I would like to know if conversations with ordained clergy are 'protected' or if this is something only granted to those of the Catholic/Lutheran religions. We're not criminals, but we're not comfortable thinking that our private business is/can be shared this way.

Last edited by Miss Blue; 01-19-2011 at 11:19 AM.. Reason: orphaned reference was deleted
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:51 PM
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I was Methodist growing up and for many years after, and I don't recall anything about protected conversations. Is this like a written rule, or more of an unspoken one in the Catholic/Lutheran churches? I would just assume if I told a pastor something private that he would realize it was not to be repeated, but I would probably ask him not to, just to be sure. I don't know of any rule within the Methodist church that states they are not allowed to talk about it, though.
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Old 01-19-2011, 03:01 PM
Location: Florida
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My husband was raised Methodist and my son still attends a Methodist church (he is 15 years old). If I had to go to a church (which I'm glad I don't) I'd probably choose a Methodist congregation. I think churches can be pretty toxic though and my son is not an ETer but is aware that most Orthodox Christians are. The Methodists don't much talk about hell. My mother in law, a life-long Methodist (who I believe may very well be a closeted Universalist) used to make jokes about hell at holiday dinners... she'd say, "Everyone be sure and drink plenty of water because there won't be any in hell..."

Gossip -- another good reason not to attend church. I have very few people that I confide in depth with. That is as it should be.
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