Many people act in fear. That's exactly what the pastor at Monty's church did when she asked him not to come to the coffee hour. Though he's essentially been clean since the ball really started rolling, she fears a relapse. Though people were never in any physical danger of him, she fears his presence puts them in danger. Other than allowing him to attend weekly service, she's otherwise turning her back on the one member of her congregation who probably needs her the most, and needs the outlet and the fellowship that church can provide. Last I heard, she was planning to make an announcement to the congregation on Sunday. Whether she did or not, and what it entailed, I do not know. Likely, it's going to ostracize Monty severely. This pastor is not a compassionate woman.
I mentioned earlier that religious leaders seem to have a tendency to push away those most in need of their help. I've seen this before, but don't have the mind to provide other examples. It shouldn't be this way. People count on their faith in troubled times. I've seen evidence (though I can't remember enough of any of it to site) that suggests people are more likely to go to church in times of crisis. Troubled times fill up those buildings more than any other. People go for solace, for peace, and for council. It looks rather awful when people are turned away. When a minister gives up on you, what do you have left?
I am an ordained minister. I'm ever in the process of furthering my studies and abilities in a spiritual leadership role. I honestly think that my continued support stems from this.
It would make me no better than any other if I walked away. Understandable, yes, but maybe not right. Monty has come to rely on me as one of his outlets. He needs the company and the friendship. I know it would be another blow to him if someone he depends on is no longer there for him. It's part of my duty, to extend that hand where others would not. It's not as hard as I thought it would be to not focus on the knowledge that I now have. Granted, I haven't seen him yet, our get-together is tomorrow. That may prove to be more of a challenge than I anticipate.
For now, I've found what is keeping me here. I've found what is allowing me to feel sympathy and compassion and to hope that healing will follow this ordeal. I think somewhere in there will be the strength to not judge and to not lash out and to focus on a person, still loved by his family and many of his friends, who needs a smile more than almost anything. It's not about me.