Finished Last

Real life often interferes with blogging, especially nowadays. But occasionally I’ll go on a jag where I’ll still explore new blogging territory. New to me, anyway.

I just finished reading a big bundle of posts from a fellow identifying himself as Finished Last. I read the whole sordid “Story of Us” series and decided to go ahead and react to it here. After all, the original concept of Unsolicited Advice was to look at other bloggers and give…er…. unsolicited advice. But I’ll say upfront that I have little in the way of advice to offer at the present time. Sorry about that.

I originally saw the guy commenting on FTN’s blog and tabbed open his and few other folks commenting over there who are not on my blogroll. FTN, comment whore that he is, manages to elicit a fair number of regulars and I had seen that Charlie Brown icon on several occasions. So when I went over there I landed on the last post of his series and it didn’t take long for me to see that I wanted that entire story. I’m an avid consumer of other people’s drama. So I copied and pasted all 11 of those posts (31 pages) into a word document so I could read on my PDA while lying on the couch.

As I read from the beginning, I saw some similar themes that I saw with Xi Summit‘s story. At least at the beginning. But remember that I’m reading this series from beginning to end without any other entries in between to color my perception. What I ended up with was a story that contained more and more surprises as I moved along. It’s a good read that also gets quite painful as it moves from young idyllic college life to the stark realities of a marriage cascading towards disaster.

It is written with some biting honesty. Finished last often cautions readers that his wife, E will look unfavorably early on, even as he goes into the telling of how he eventually loses respect for her. While it is true that E does look a bit like an angry shrew at times, I came away feeling more pity for her than anything else. So he succeeds in balancing his story sufficiently as to buffer her from too many ill feelings from at least one reader while making me believe that I’m lucky not to be married to such a person!

I’ll have to dig around in his blog some more to see what other treasure’s lie within. Without having read anything else by him (other than comments to FTN) I am left with some question. The biggest issue that looms largest in my mind is his spiritual story. I followed the progression from Christian school to Christian college and the to youth pastor. Then when he went into teaching at the Christian school I sort of got lost until he eluded to the effect of his affair on his church as its pastor. That was a bit of a jolt that brought new perspective to things.

I’ve written extensively about my growing unease with the institutional church. What the institution does to its pastors is…well….sinful. Pastors often are without close friends, and if they struggle with any kind of addiction, hang-up or even have marital problems, the congregational sheep often turn into vicious rabid creatures akin to the rabbit in Monty Python’s Holy Grail movie.

So Finished Last has had to endure his greatest trials and tribulations pretty much alone. It’s no wonder he has faith issues.

Anyway, no advice here except that once he detoxes himself from his present occupation he might be able to better understand the true nature of relationships. It’s something none of us are particularly good at and all have much to learn.

D.

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4 Responses to “Finished Last”

  1. FTN Says:

    Comment whore? I’m deeply hurt at that insinuation.

    Perhaps we need to offer FL the Holy Hand Grenade, in case his congregation turns against him. “Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three…”

    Do read some more of FL’s story, it’s quite interesting. The pastor issue might be even more interesting to you when you find that his father was also a well-known pastor.

    I’ll have to point him here to see this post…

  2. xi summit Says:

    I love this statement as it mirrors my thoughts on the issue:

    “I’ve written extensively about my growing unease with the institutional church. What the institution does to its pastors is…well….sinful. Pastors often are without close friends, and if they struggle with any kind of addiction, hang-up or even have marital problems, the congregational sheep often turn into vicious rabid creatures akin to the rabbit in Monty Python’s Holy Grail movie.”

    I have a ‘former’ very good friend who now is an aquaintence because he is a Pastor of a local church. Not by my choice but by his decree, he was taught in Seminary and by a mentor to not have close friends in his or another local church. As a result he’s building a comfortable but impenetrable fence that was not there before. Every time I pop my head through a hole in it he quickly patches it up again. Honestly, it’s quite maddening. I’m just thankful that he found that post before our church considered him as I could not imagine what barriers he would have constructed as OUR pastor.

    Thus it is that Pastors, and specifically FL, do not have a support system they can rely on to help them through difficulties and struggles.

  3. Desmond Jones Says:

    Yeah, I’d echo FTN and encourage you to go ahead and dig into FL’s blog more comprehensively. There’s an awful lot of texture to his story that doesn’t necessarily come thru in the ‘Story of Us’ series of posts.

    But, you’re absolutely right about the life of pastors. It’s as if, along with the figurative collar, they’re issued angel wings and impenetrable armor. I don’t think of it so much as a ‘church’ thing, as just that people tend to idealize their leaders, and ‘spiritual’ leaders most of all. So, when, in their ‘alternate life’ as human beings, they incur the struggles inherent to humanity, there’s no one for them to turn to for help, or even just a shoulder to lean on. And my huge impression from reading FL’s blog is that he could really use a shoulder to lean on. . .

  4. Desmond Jones Says:

    Oops. . . too late; it seems he took his blog down. . .

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