Mind Matters

by Rev. Robert H. Tucker

Number 244
May5, 1997

With Friends Like These...


What anguish it is to be in love with a purpose embodied in an institution that casually dismisses you.

We met at the airport--he arriving, I leaving--but with time enough to catch up on our divergent lives. As he was now outside the ordained ministry of a church, I brought him up to date on denominational affairs as he shared with me his personal peregrinations.

Expectedly, our conversation quickly reverted to the days of his painful separation from his congregation. Time had somewhat lessened his pain, but the deep resentment stemming from abandonment by his supposed ministerial and denominational 'friends' could not be shaken. In those days of agony he was not psychologically able to reach out to other ministers, and not one made any attempt to reach out to him. Without a church, even denominational mailings abruptly ended. "Covenant" and "fellowship"--so liberally sprinkled throughout the church's language--turned out to be fair-weather rhetoric.

Two recent conversations with individuals in similar, but non-church, situations brought this decades-old meeting to mind. The church is not the only place where people are first wounded by dismissal and then shot by avoidance.

What is it that allows us, in our corporate lives, to so easily and quickly cut human ties? Fear of contamination? Awkward tongue-tiedness? Busyness? Whatever, it devastates individuals.

My own experiences have led me to understand that--as much as we might yearn for understanding or justification--institutions never say, "I'm sorry" (actually Galileo did get a half-hearted apology 362 years after his condemnation, but without such prominence, Richard Jewel will forever be buried in FBI files). When one is out of the picture, institutional life just moves on as if nothing had happened. Waiting for some acknowledgment, some vindication, nothing is forthcoming.

How truly terrible it is to be in love with a purpose embodied in an institution that has no use for you.


--Robert H. Tucker
5 May 1997


© Robert H. Tucker, 1997.
Go to Mind Matters Table of Contents Page.
Go to Bob and Maggi Tucker's Homepage.