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A Follow Up From the Senior Pastor

You may recall a letter I wrote to a local Baptist Church regarding their summer camp practices and subsequent response from their youth pastor who mostly denied the whole thing. (Click the tag for a reminder.)

Well this morning, out of nowhere, the senior pastor from the church sent me the following email:

Dear Jen,

This is Pastor Keith. I do remember you and your kind, light hearted spirit. You were an exciting teenager to be around and I’m certain it is still true today. I don’t know if you remember, I have a daughter named Keri. She just turned 29, so she might be a year or two ahead of you. She is married and having her first child in March…Becky and I are really excited about it. Kit, our son, who is 31 has 2 boys…how time flies. Do you have a family going yet?

Pastor Russ informed me about what happened and I’m so sorry that things turned out the way they did. Our joy in ministry is to help and not to hurt, so please accept my apologies also. We love your soul and don’t regret reaching out to those who need Christ, but sometimes our passion is too aggressive.

Jen, please don’t write God off because of a bad experience. It would be bad to bear the consequences of turning from the Lord because of what others did. I thank you that you had the courage to write us and I hope that this helps in settling this situation…I know it helped us!

If you ever consider it, please know that you are always welcome at [Our Church]!

Written in the love of Christ,

Pastor Keith

Sr. Pastor

Alright, now this is getting a little annoying and I don't feel like playing nice anymore. Our passion is too aggressive? GTFO!

If you have suggestions for my response to this, please leave them in comments.



I appreciate that you and Russ have taken my words in to serious consideration, and I hope you really mean what you say about learning from it. I would also hope that your email leans more on an apology than any attempt to bring me back in to the fold.

I'm surprised that you would use the word, "aggressive" when it comes to teaching others about your faith. From what Russ told me, your scriptures say it's never right to force anyone in to religion. I never thought of Jesus as being an aggressor, but maybe that's because I don't know the Bible as well as you do.

My experience at your camp is not the sole reason I choose not to be a Christian, but it certainly put me on a path to ask questions. I believe in science and history. I do not believe in the Bible any more than I believe in Santa Claus. I'm a good person because I choose to be, not because of a fear of fire and brimstone after my death. My good deeds reap rewards in THIS LIFE. I take offense to the suggestion that anyone who does not follow your particular brand of religion will face "consequences." And Keith, you and I could argue about theology for years, but it's basic HUMANITY that tells me it's wrong for a group of adults to gang up on a teenager in the manner you did and that's why I wrote to you in the first place.

I live a wonderful and fulfilled life and I'm sure that you do too. We don't all have to follow the same path to get there.

Written in the love of Humanity,



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 26th, 2010 03:30 pm (UTC)
Reading the letter you originally wrote, the first response and then this has filled me with a little bit of rage. At this point it's kind of like, what do you even say to these people? It's like talking to a wall.

I'd focus mainly on the "our passion is too aggressive" statement. That is not an excuse and those people need to know it.
Oct. 26th, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you. That is exactly what I'm doing. Was Jesus aggressive? Maybe they left that part out of the Bible.
Oct. 26th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC)
They are having meetings about saving your soul.
Oct. 26th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC)
Apparently. I never thought I had the power to shake things up to this point over there. Now I just have to figure out if I want to use my power for good or evil, MUAHhahahah.
Oct. 26th, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I'd let it go.

You've expressed your anger over what happened. They've apologized.

If you keep this going, so will they. They will keep trying to use this as an opportunity to get you back in the church and I guarantee they are more tenacious than you.

I say walk away before you get any farther into the crazy.
Oct. 26th, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)
That's sound advice, Travis. I'm not as mature as you are though, and I'm going to find it difficult to hold back on this one.
Oct. 26th, 2010 04:46 pm (UTC)
I agree on this one. Any additional conversation is going to be nothing more than repetition with neither of you changing your stances. And quite honestly, the more you respond, the more they see it as continued interest on your part and increased motivation to "get through to you."
Oct. 26th, 2010 04:51 pm (UTC)
You make a very good point. As long as he doesn't have any of my personal contact information other than my yahoo email address, I'm alright with this for now. Both of you are right. They aren't going to change their minds and they aren't going to back down. But when I start feeling hassled or stressed over it - I promise to stop.

Edited at 2010-10-26 04:52 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 26th, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC)
See my response above.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 26th, 2010 04:57 pm (UTC)
And that really was my only goal in all of this. I wanted them to consider how they go about doing things. Since he's still got this on his mind, months after receiving the first letter, I'd say that I succeeded. But I'm not going to let him push me around in the process.
Oct. 26th, 2010 07:10 pm (UTC)
He thanked me and told me to have a great life. That oughta wrap things up.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )