I’m bringing my blog out of semi-retirement (haven’t blogged since May) to address a topic my husband blogged about here.
He’s discussing the issue of pastor’s meeting with their female parishioners. His stance is that he will not meet with them alone. This is to avoid the appearance of moral failure as well as to avoid actual moral failure! There are a lot of opinions on his stance. Some understand and like it. Some think it unnecessary. Some think it’s sexist.
He really wants me to participate in the discussion, but what I have to say is too long to post in a comments section. So, I’ll state my opinion about the whole thing here.
There are 3 main things I’d like to say about it.
1. Believe it- Not everyone respects the boundaries of a committed relationship. So, YES, this stance is absolutely necessary!
Shaun and I have been together for 12 years and though we’ve never had an issue with fidelity (except this “thing” I had with a guy before we were married…not worth talking about), I have borne witness to the type of women “power” attracts. I don’t really get it. If only these women knew what a burden being married to a man with this type of call on their life can be, 99% of them would run for the hills. But they don’t know. So they go after the name, the perception of power, the “anointing” if you will.
When we were dating back at our home church in Kentucky there was a lady who was great friends with my mother. She was a very attractive, well put together woman that I sort of looked up to. Shaun was already the “hot” young minister in town 🙂 Well one night we were at the obligatory baptist choir “sing off” and this lady and her teen-aged niece thought it would be nice to pass Shaun her niece’s number. When Shaun told me later that night I was FLOORED! I couldn’t believe she had the audacity! EVERYONE knew we were in a committed relationship. Do you think she cared?
Luckily, Shaun had the presence of mind to give her back the slip of paper and tell me about it. But every man doesn’t have that will power. And I’m no fool to think Shaun always will. This is why Shaun can’t meet with women alone- to protect himself against these types of women. These women do exist. And anyone who says otherwise is naive and in denial because I could go on and on. Don’t even let me get on all the women throwing themselves at him when he was Student Government President at Morehouse!
Now if this skanky behavior doesn’t describe you, GREAT! Be glad God has given you more class than to go throwing yourself at a man who’s already in covenant relationship with another woman. However, we have to err on the side of caution because we really don’t know you, and have to assume that this just may be your issue! Sorry. Doesn’t seem fair, but it’s real life. Point. Blank. Period.
2. Women and Men are not the same
Some say Shaun’s stance on not meeting with women is sexist. And I get that. I’m as feminist as the next Spelman woman. But when you step out of your women’s lib class and start living real life, you learn that women and men are not the same. We are equitable, but not equal. Shaun cannot deal with women as he would men. It’s just not possible. He can have a male friend over to spend time out of my presence (he doesn’t b/c he’s a hermit), but he could if he wanted to. He could not, however, have a woman friend over. As a matter of fact he doesn’t even have female friends-and I don’t have male ones. We’re married, so we have married couple friends.
And no one is saying Shaun can’t counsel a woman one on one. Some pastors said they refer women to their wives. I personally don’t believe that’s necessary. I’m no counselor. I don’t like being all wrapped up in other people’s problems. I don’t want to be “in” on stressful conversations. But if he does meet with one of our female parishioners it will be in an office with others present, and with the door open.
Again, it may not be “fair.” But the world isn’t fair. This is real life. My children don’t care about women’s rights. They care about having their mother and father happily married and loving each other. Period.
3. It’s not an issue of insecurity-for HIM nor ME
Some suggest that Shaun can’t meet with women alone because he’s not secure enough in his ability to refrain from lust. That’s not true at all. Shaun has stated publicly, and I will restate it here: I am the ONLY woman Shaun has ever “KNOWN.” Period. And anyone that knows him knows it’s not because he’s gay, and it’s also not because of lack of opportunity-as I showed in point #1. It’s because sex isn’t and has never been the most important thing to him. Does he appreciate a beautiful woman? Sure. I know when someone’s caught his eye (i.e. he’s got a thing for Keisha Cole- go figure). But for whatever reason lust just has never been his issue. We spent 2 years apart in a long distance relationship when he began Morehouse and I was still in high school in Kentucky. And he never once cheated or even came close. So he’s not insecure. If anything, I think he’s overly confident about his ability to remain faithful.
I’m not insecure either. I realized something a long time ago that has helped me along the years. It was a revelation of sorts. Spelman College has more beautiful women per square mile than perhaps anywhere else in the world (my opinion of course). And I realized that if keeping Shaun faithful was about a beauty contest, I’ve lost-hands down– because no matter how pretty I am, there will always be someone prettier. ALWAYS! I can’t be sexy enough to keep Shaun faithful. No one can. Don’t believe me? Ask Halle Berry or Vanessa Williams. Both were married to men who cheated. Go figure!
Now I keep myself up. I generally don’t go around looking like a shlumpadinka (to borrow from my girl Oprah). But my marriage doesn’t depend on the way I look. Good thing because on a good day I’m pretty damn hot. But on a bad one…well, it’s bad 🙂
So, no, I’m not insecure. Other pretty women don’t bother me, and Shaun has never given me a reason not to trust him. But the enemy of our souls would love nothing more than to trip him up-of that I am sure! So whatever we have to do to protect our family and to remain in right standing before God and the people we serve, we’ll do.
It’s ridiculous really that this is an issue-with all the real work there is to do in this world. I absolutely DEPLORE this side of ministry. It’s enough to make me not want to do it. But I didn’t choose my husband-God did. And he didn’t choose to be a pastor-God did that as well. It’s not always pretty, but it is what it is!