Chapter Three - Seeing God In Our Friendships

starting or initiating some sort of a group of ministers where it was safe to be totally gut wrenchingly honest.

“Finding a group where I would be able to talk about fear or doubt or disbelief or anger at God, in a place that was safe enough but with men mature enough in faith and character not to react was important. The problem with most men, certainly anybody in the profession and in marriage, is when a man is asked a question he feels obligated to give an answer.

“Men learn the hard way that often when women ask a question they don’t want an answer. They don’t want to get fixed—they want somebody who will just listen, and vent.

“I have come into a group of four people who have the level of spiritual maturity. They all have gone through their own battles and walk with limps. It’s safe enough to talk about things that are completely off-the-wall or straight theology, psychology, and science. I believe that I will see this season of my life as one of the most effective mentoring positions because it’s just kind of an incredible experience.

“I was in the ministry from the time I was in junior high school, and there was never really a safe place. I needed a personal mentor then, and this may be one of the greatest tragedies for anybody in the professional life. To find that kind of peer connectedness would have filled such a great void.

“I had several people at the end of my public ministry who were struggling to survive. Many betrayed confidences, which was extremely hurtful and contributed to the ministry ending. Because I couldn’t find the answers in myself, I couldn’t find them in religious Christian counseling or any other of the standard mores. Since I was a senior pastor of a church it was virtually impossible to find a peer group that I could trust. I hope that it is still not true.”

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