Pastors ministers female parishioners sex. Enrichment Journal - Enriching and Equipping Spirit-filled Ministers.



Pastors ministers female parishioners sex

Pastors ministers female parishioners sex

This article appeared in the Christian Century, October 5, , p. Copyright by the Christian Century Foundation and used by permission. Current articles and subscription information can be found at www. Even if the victim does speak up, she or he may not be believed. We know that about 10 percent of professional therapists admit to sexual contact with clients, and we can guess that the same figure applies to clergy see Marie Fortune, "Betrayal of the Pastoral Relationship," unpublished article available from the Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence, N.

We guess, because our knowledge of the circumstances and frequency of inappropriate sexual behavior is largely anecdotal. Typical of recent treatments of the topic is "The Sexual Hazards of Pastoral Care" Christianity Today, November 8, , by Dean Merrill, which describes the minister as an attractive target for "the Enemy," or a "sitting duck for the romantically starved. Finally, "there is a percentage of women who consider the sexual conquest of a pastor a goal worth pursuing.

In short, most discussions of the sexually abusive pastor perpetuate the misogyny of our theological heritage. The excuses offered -- female turpitude, wifely incompetence and diabolic intervention -- relieve the male pastor and the institution he serves of responsibility for his actions.

If anything, 20th-century writers are more hostile toward women than were 19th-century novelists. In such novels the minister is always boyish and innocent of the darker designs of natural life, yet possessed of an irresistible virility.

At the same time that he wins the girl he defeats the local captain of industry. When marriage rather than courtship receives fictional scrutiny, the heroic and boyish young minister patiently trains an unsuitable wife for her role or he becomes a martyr to her unworthiness. He bravely renounces his attraction to another woman, whom he may kiss once but will never marry.

Noble, The Parsonage Secret, The stylized romance plot, then, expresses a good deal of hostility toward both the wife and the "other woman. Women are "good" only when poised on the brink of matrimony -- a fragile moment indeed. When we hear of a minister who has disgraced himself with some female member of his flock, my sympathies are all with the preacher.

I know exactly what has happened. Some sad lady who has been "awakened". First she tells him she is "unhappy at home,". He sees her reduced to tears over her would be transgressions, and before he considers what he is about he has kissed the "dear child. In spite of himself he thought of the ministers, from Beecher down, who had had trouble with women. Every city clergyman had to recognize this menace. A few here and there had not even escaped. There were always the neurotic women who flocked not only to the psychiatrists but also in almost equal numbers to ministers, pouring out their heart confessions and their fancied ills.

There were those pitiable ones in whose minds religion and sex had become confused and intermingled; there were those who quite starkly fell in love with a clergyman and wanted love from him in return. Yes, a man of God had to be constantly on his guard in connection with this problem of women [p.

Beecher became intimate with Elizabeth sometime in , opportunity having been afforded by pastoral visits to console her for the death of her infant child. Henry advised Elizabeth that the world would not understand their love, and so they must practice "nest-hiding. The pressure of the scandal was varied but ultimately unrelenting, and in Theodore Tilton sued Beecher in the first of several ecclesiastical and legal actions.

Despite "almost irrefutable evidence," the congregational investigating committee "issued a report completely exonerating Beecher. This congregational charity was not extended to Elizabeth, who along with all the others who testified against Beecher was finally, excommunicated in Unlike Beecher, Elizabeth had no office to protect her, and even less cultural or religious power.

Tilton University of Massachusetts Press, One of the few contemporary accounts I have found that speaks for the woman involved is a pseudonymous, first-person narrative by a former church secretary "My Minister Kept Making Passes at Me," Ladies Home Journal, July Joan Clayton, working as an essential wage earner for her family, says her minister made repeated sexual advances to her, and her efforts to repel or avoid him were unsuccessful.

She finally confided in another church member and learned that several other women in the congregation had endured such harassment. When these charges were brought before the personnel committee, however, the minister, called Smithson in the article, denied the allegations, and the committee immediately dropped the matter.

Clayton filed a letter of intent with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Smithson finally admitted to "hugging and embracing," but said the women had misinterpreted him. It was recommended that he be transferred and that he seek counseling.

But Clayton, who suffered debilitating stress-related illnesses during this ordeal, reports that this was not the end of the matter. People told her that she was at fault for not being able to handle the situation.

An anonymous letter accused her of being a liar; she was snubbed at church and labeled a troublemaker. She resigned her job, although that caused great financial hardship for her family.

Although clergymen protest that they are vulnerable, they in fact enjoy some powerful social protection. Often congregations are remarkably ready to believe the woman involved to be the greater of the two sinners. Like a rape victim, a woman who becomes sexually involved with her pastor is frequently considered to be the most guilty party -- and it is she, not he, who is ultimately put on trial.

Churches must also stop making excuses for ministers. They should not deny the often unreasonable theological and institutional pressures that pastors endure. But they must acknowledge that a pastor possesses a unique amount of power. Like a doctor or a therapist, he sees people at their most vulnerable, but unlike the other two, his interest is freighted with a divine imprimatur. A sexual encounter between pastor and counselee is a profound violation not only of the body but of the spirit as well.

Only death exposes more clearly the mutual vulnerability of body and spirit. Fortune asserts that "pastorally, the response to the victim is the first priority. The professional is always responsible; sex with a client is never okay " "Sex, Power, and the Family of God," Christianity and Crisis, February 16, , p.

Can she expect concern for her welfare from the congregation that may be trying to protect him? Who will minister to her needs, whether she stays with him or chooses to leave? But we apologize for the male minister as we do not for women, and our knowledge is seriously skewed. We have only some anonymous stories told by frightened, humiliated women who are trying to speak to an institution that has blamed them in advance because of their female sexuality and bids them be silent.

Because of his professional power in an androcentric institution, the male minister is responsible for sexual violations that he commits while tending to his professional duties. Until there is cultural and institutional parity between male clergy and their female parishioners, the church must listen to victims of sexual abuse, speak for those who are afraid or cannot speak for themselves and respond with justice and compassion.

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Married Pastor Caught In Bed With Member's Wife By Husband;Pastor Fled Without Clothes



Pastors ministers female parishioners sex

This article appeared in the Christian Century, October 5, , p. Copyright by the Christian Century Foundation and used by permission. Current articles and subscription information can be found at www.

Even if the victim does speak up, she or he may not be believed. We know that about 10 percent of professional therapists admit to sexual contact with clients, and we can guess that the same figure applies to clergy see Marie Fortune, "Betrayal of the Pastoral Relationship," unpublished article available from the Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence, N. We guess, because our knowledge of the circumstances and frequency of inappropriate sexual behavior is largely anecdotal.

Typical of recent treatments of the topic is "The Sexual Hazards of Pastoral Care" Christianity Today, November 8, , by Dean Merrill, which describes the minister as an attractive target for "the Enemy," or a "sitting duck for the romantically starved. Finally, "there is a percentage of women who consider the sexual conquest of a pastor a goal worth pursuing.

In short, most discussions of the sexually abusive pastor perpetuate the misogyny of our theological heritage. The excuses offered -- female turpitude, wifely incompetence and diabolic intervention -- relieve the male pastor and the institution he serves of responsibility for his actions. If anything, 20th-century writers are more hostile toward women than were 19th-century novelists. In such novels the minister is always boyish and innocent of the darker designs of natural life, yet possessed of an irresistible virility.

At the same time that he wins the girl he defeats the local captain of industry. When marriage rather than courtship receives fictional scrutiny, the heroic and boyish young minister patiently trains an unsuitable wife for her role or he becomes a martyr to her unworthiness. He bravely renounces his attraction to another woman, whom he may kiss once but will never marry. Noble, The Parsonage Secret, The stylized romance plot, then, expresses a good deal of hostility toward both the wife and the "other woman.

Women are "good" only when poised on the brink of matrimony -- a fragile moment indeed. When we hear of a minister who has disgraced himself with some female member of his flock, my sympathies are all with the preacher. I know exactly what has happened. Some sad lady who has been "awakened". First she tells him she is "unhappy at home,". He sees her reduced to tears over her would be transgressions, and before he considers what he is about he has kissed the "dear child.

In spite of himself he thought of the ministers, from Beecher down, who had had trouble with women. Every city clergyman had to recognize this menace. A few here and there had not even escaped. There were always the neurotic women who flocked not only to the psychiatrists but also in almost equal numbers to ministers, pouring out their heart confessions and their fancied ills.

There were those pitiable ones in whose minds religion and sex had become confused and intermingled; there were those who quite starkly fell in love with a clergyman and wanted love from him in return. Yes, a man of God had to be constantly on his guard in connection with this problem of women [p. Beecher became intimate with Elizabeth sometime in , opportunity having been afforded by pastoral visits to console her for the death of her infant child.

Henry advised Elizabeth that the world would not understand their love, and so they must practice "nest-hiding. The pressure of the scandal was varied but ultimately unrelenting, and in Theodore Tilton sued Beecher in the first of several ecclesiastical and legal actions. Despite "almost irrefutable evidence," the congregational investigating committee "issued a report completely exonerating Beecher.

This congregational charity was not extended to Elizabeth, who along with all the others who testified against Beecher was finally, excommunicated in Unlike Beecher, Elizabeth had no office to protect her, and even less cultural or religious power. Tilton University of Massachusetts Press, One of the few contemporary accounts I have found that speaks for the woman involved is a pseudonymous, first-person narrative by a former church secretary "My Minister Kept Making Passes at Me," Ladies Home Journal, July Joan Clayton, working as an essential wage earner for her family, says her minister made repeated sexual advances to her, and her efforts to repel or avoid him were unsuccessful.

She finally confided in another church member and learned that several other women in the congregation had endured such harassment. When these charges were brought before the personnel committee, however, the minister, called Smithson in the article, denied the allegations, and the committee immediately dropped the matter. Clayton filed a letter of intent with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Smithson finally admitted to "hugging and embracing," but said the women had misinterpreted him.

It was recommended that he be transferred and that he seek counseling. But Clayton, who suffered debilitating stress-related illnesses during this ordeal, reports that this was not the end of the matter.

People told her that she was at fault for not being able to handle the situation. An anonymous letter accused her of being a liar; she was snubbed at church and labeled a troublemaker. She resigned her job, although that caused great financial hardship for her family.

Although clergymen protest that they are vulnerable, they in fact enjoy some powerful social protection. Often congregations are remarkably ready to believe the woman involved to be the greater of the two sinners. Like a rape victim, a woman who becomes sexually involved with her pastor is frequently considered to be the most guilty party -- and it is she, not he, who is ultimately put on trial. Churches must also stop making excuses for ministers. They should not deny the often unreasonable theological and institutional pressures that pastors endure.

But they must acknowledge that a pastor possesses a unique amount of power. Like a doctor or a therapist, he sees people at their most vulnerable, but unlike the other two, his interest is freighted with a divine imprimatur. A sexual encounter between pastor and counselee is a profound violation not only of the body but of the spirit as well. Only death exposes more clearly the mutual vulnerability of body and spirit.

Fortune asserts that "pastorally, the response to the victim is the first priority. The professional is always responsible; sex with a client is never okay " "Sex, Power, and the Family of God," Christianity and Crisis, February 16, , p. Can she expect concern for her welfare from the congregation that may be trying to protect him? Who will minister to her needs, whether she stays with him or chooses to leave? But we apologize for the male minister as we do not for women, and our knowledge is seriously skewed.

We have only some anonymous stories told by frightened, humiliated women who are trying to speak to an institution that has blamed them in advance because of their female sexuality and bids them be silent. Because of his professional power in an androcentric institution, the male minister is responsible for sexual violations that he commits while tending to his professional duties. Until there is cultural and institutional parity between male clergy and their female parishioners, the church must listen to victims of sexual abuse, speak for those who are afraid or cannot speak for themselves and respond with justice and compassion.

Pastors ministers female parishioners sex

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5 Comments

  1. A pastor I know makes frequent mention of his wife from the pulpit. It will only encourage her.

  2. But the constitutional protection is not as clear for nonminister employees. And we must love our neighbors in the same way we love ourselves Ephesians 5: What do we do with a sinful person who attends our church?

  3. In the case of in vitro fertilization of a single woman, should the church dedicate the child? Now, if she were rational, she would know that by seducing you—or winning you, however she would put it—all of those wonderful qualities she admires would suddenly go away:

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