Ask Alma – Reverend Using Personal Business in Sermons

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    Alma GillDear Alma,

    I’m not sure how to handle this problem. My sister in-law is a pastor of the church we, and our family attend. I often confide in her because we’re friends and she’s easy to talk to. She always gives me sound advice and I appreciate that. But the problem is, she’s always using my business in her sermons, and I don’t like that. What should I do?

    C.B., Milwaukee

    Hey now C.B:

    You emailed this to a PK (Preacher’s Kid), for God’s sake. My father, Rev. Ulysses Martin, was a Baptist preacher for more than 30 years. When it came to his sermons, he knew that we were off limits under any and all circumstances; my mother made that clear. I mentioned this to let you know that I have some familiarity with your circumstances.

    I’ll start by telling the truth and shaming the devil. LOL. My first reaction was:Whaaaat? Ohnoshedidn’t! But since we’re talking about a minister, I should ease up and give her the benefit of the doubt.  Is there a possibility that she sees your discussions as casual conversations? She may not know she’s offending you. Where do these discussions take place? Are you at church in the pastor’s study or driving in the car to the mall?  Depending on where you are would explain how she comprehends what’s said. Okay, I know I’m stretching it, but stay with me for a minute.

    She could easily be having a conversation with her SIL, while you’re having a conversation with your pastor. The roles need to be established. Either way, you’re entitled to your privacy, and you should not be exposed to “shout outs” from the pulpit.  It’s time to nip this and bring your concerns to her attention. Don’t do it during the sermon, girl, while you’re sitting in the congregation. LOL.

    Here’s what you do: The next time yawl are caring and sharing, ask her specifically not to use your situation in her “say no to sins” parable. Tell her you expect her to keep your conversations confidential. Don’t tiptoe through this prickly conversation; be firm. She should understand exactly where you’re coming from.  After your discussion, if things don’t change, I’d suggest you seek new pastoral counselor.

    I Want to Put My Ex-Husband’s Wife into Time Out

    Dear Alma,

    My ex-husband remarried last year. His new wife wants to be involved in our conversations about our kids. I like her, respect that she takes care of my kids when they are at their house, but does every sentence about our kids have to be a group meeting? My ex doesn’t understand why I get aggravated when my questions can’t be answered until he consults with her or gets her on the phone or suggests a dinner meeting and such. Help! This is getting on my last nerve.

    D.C., Camden, N.J.

    Dear D.C.,

    Slow down, Mz. D.C., with your rant full of ungratefulness. Why are you turning this favor into some foolishness?

    You should thank your lucky stars that this woman wants to be a proactive, respectful participant of your blended family situation. The three of you are co-parenting now, and it looks to me that both she and your ex-husband are taking their roles seriously and putting the children first –   something you may want to consider.

    There’s no easy way to sip this tea, and I’m not offering any sweetener. First and foremost, your ex has a responsibility to his new wife. He is no longer your soul mate, husband or best friend; he is now all of those things to her.

    He’s not disrespecting you by checking with his wife. Close your eyes, breathe and let that be. It’s time for you to move on. Your non-existent feelings of entitlement with him has ended. Pause, hit rewind and play it again.

    When it comes to the wellbeing of the kids, each parent has a seat at the “what’s best for them” table. Grab your chair and sit, appreciating each role that’s represented. When he gathers all of you together, he’s rallying his team. “Team Parents” working on a united front is one of the best lessons of love you can show your children.

    Alma

    Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans over 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: alwaysaskalma@yahoo.com.  Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and twitter @almaaskalma.

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