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Teaching the Paster who Regrets It

Dear Pastor

You invited peer comments when you put the email into mass email system and  everyone saw it, that’s why my reply was also mass emailed by the MINISTERS ASSOC Secretary too, for I have no mass email access to MINISTERS ASSOC or the interest or time to acquire one.  I send reply directly to MINSITERS ASSOC Secretary who decided to mass email to the rest of us.  I’m sorry your emails were brief and not clear about details. You published a woman’s complete home address not involved in the matter other than  to receive a call from that kid using your cell phone after he called her.  How safe is she now you send a mass email exposing her privacy? That’s upsetting all by itself.

When all you had to do is to report to the police and send a little vague notice to the churches in your area.  Instead you emailed us. And you did it over 2 months with 2 emails reporting to us each incident.

My personal giving habits may help you to understand yourself a little better.  When I give to people in need  I do so without regret nor would I ever take revenge on them later when they would come for help.  You should not regret giving money away, nor care about it’s use by people in need, that’s entirely their right to decide, lying is their karma, not for you to sit in judgement or monitor how they use your money.

It’s not possible to open that young man’s heart now becuase you banned him from your church and you made it publically known what he was like to you and possibly risked his very safety by doing so; when he had an opportunity to reform himself.  You could have asked they guy to work off the money you gave him at least soft sell volunteering around your church admiring his energy and working up his confidence in you.  That would have given him a chance to learn something more and reform himself by being in a holy place like a church and
join in helpful activities.  You actions as you wrote them in 2 other emails are questionable and you published them for all of us to see.  So now you have gotten my feedback, that’s all it is.

Maybe it will benefit you to learn how I give: I give 1/3  to 1/2 of my own home food budget to the needy and feed 5 families with it; it means I hardly eat fresh because it’s expensive. But I still do give with a happy heart.  I gave half my kitcheware to 3 different needy families that I was using to homeless just getting apartments, my bed (I sleep on the floor) and bedding, anything they would need I try to find from my home, my family or on freecycle through a yahoo group. I’m barely making it myself but I am happy to help. I use my cast iron skillet and one pot most of the time anyway.

I actually wrote ‘tightwad’ to refer to the type of trendism in ministers or clergy who do not want to help people in need personally, I’ve witnessed countless efforts by those fundraising to save a family or two from the streets get absolutely nothing but stares from paid clergy/priests? when most all of you ministers are working for salaries. We have many charitable people here in town many caring pastors and priests in our churches, many private citizens who are
also hosting needy and meeting places are supplying homeless families with temporary shelters in their basements or meeting halls and they have to move from church to church periodically due to high demand since our one homeless shelter was torn down by the city.  It’s a lot of work for them to do this! But they do becuase the city is not doing anything.

Here is what I wrote:

You lost two good souls at once by taking revenge on and banning that boy and his grandfather who no longer have trust in Christians, you, nor do they think Church or pasters are good people and you disturbed the minds of your peers, I am so sorry for you Pastor Johnson you lack empathy and compassion for the poorest people we have in this state, such bad karma. So shameful!

Unfortunely I’ve seen a lot of this same type of tightwads among you ministers who are salaried but never have I heard of one regretting his charity and then taking revenge on the needy like that! Absolutely disgusting!

I’m not salaried, my Vows prohibit receiving a wage.  I admire the power being paid has for helping people becuase I feel I could be doing so much more if I had a salary too and I would but I can’t and that’s my reality.  But also try my best to help people I hosted needy children and later their families who have no homes periodically and feel honored to do so. My connection came through high school kids needing a home and my daughter who was in high school paying attention trying to find homes and couches for these kids.  Unfortunately right
now I have no space to house them.

You cannot be clergy comfortably with out being judged it’s just too public of a profession! Please, I know so I’m been a nun for 10 years already. And besides, you sat in judgment on the young homeless man on the first moment you regretted giving him your $50 and wrote it in an email!  So how can you not expect others to have an opinion over your public actions in emails.  I’m a peer who received these unwelcome emails.

My reccomendations are this:

I think you really need to reflect on your behavior as a pastor in that situation or future ones, I do think you have responsibility to yourself to do so. Talk to your superiors for help.  You can also refrain from mass emails so you don’t fear from cricism for not everyone shares your values or acts the way you did.

Some of your information is interesting but just learning about your church from your recent email is ok but not the point. Another idea for you to try to avoid distress:  Perhaps you can find volunteers to screen homeless people or people in need of food for you so you can limit your contact with these people you find distressing to you.  Unfortunately the econmics not
improving in our central iowa means more of the same type of people need help and need it quick.  Pool your resources with other churches so you avoid repeating programs or charitable services.

You owe yourself something better that creates a better feeling for you in your future interactions with needy people whether you perceive them as tricksters or not.  You unfortunately  made this public, and the result is further upset to yourself.  I’m sorry you did it.  Homeless people are used to being rejected forcefully like you did for the very same reasons, so they won’t trust you either.

Feeling like you can’t trust anybody from one encounter over you’re feeling tricked over $50 which is such small sum to set a life course or a mindset.  That lack of trust you feel needs to be addressed properly, get some help or seek out other peer advice so that in the future you won’t have to face giving your personal money away then regretting it.  Perhaps you can help others in personal ways that would make you feel better like volunteering time or teaching, that would not cost you more than time.

Go with your strenghts and accept this type of situation you reported with the young man and later with his grandad upsets you and avoid it until you take some classes or retreats on skillbuiling or  how to work with homeless persons and meet their needs.  In fact, there are already ministers in the area that offer similar programs perhaps some will speak up here to help you if you like them too. Or as as wrote above pool your resources with your local church
neighbors or charities.

I hope some of my suggestions are helpful to you, I encourage you to reach out for help.  I’m adding you to my prayers, and I am hoping for your peace and well-being to return quickly.

I consider this matter closed and will not respond to any further emails. I am
entitled to respond with opinions and advice and did so, that’s the end of this
mass email issue of a private matter between a needy young man and regretful
pastor.  The rest is up to the minister to seek training or further support in
improving his church charitible policies if he or they feel the need, that’s
their issue fron now on.

Palms Together

Ven. Hong Yang Bhikshuni

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Subject: Re: A reply to letter

Date: Fri,
13 May 2011 15:21:52 -0500

To: ME

REVs Cell Phone
I am offended by your harsh judgment about me. It was very clear this young
man was lying! On the first visit he claimed his mother lives in Montana and
pretended to call her there. On the second visit, when I asked him where his
mother lived he said she lived in Des Moines. That’s what I had already found
out when I had checked the phone number he dialed. On this second encounter he
vehemently denied that he had been in church on April 10 and insisted that I had
never given him any money. For you to suggest that there is no evidence that he
is lying is absurd.
My problem with this kind of thing is that it will make me more reluctant
to help someone who is in need in the future. Since you characterize me as a
“tightwad,” a judgement you have no basis to make, you need to know that I have
given away more than $2,000 of my own money to people in need in the last
You also criticize churches for spending money on themselves. You need to
know that our congregation is very generous in supporting many organizations
that help the needy both with money included in our annual budget and special
offerings as well as countless volunteer hours on the part of our members.
Whenever we spend money on our building for capital improvements we raise an
additional amount equal to 25% of our project and give it away to special
causes. That is in addition to our regular giving beyond our building. A couple
years ago we gave away an extra $88,500 to meet special needs over and above our
regular giving to such causes.
We do not serve this young man or help his soul by enabling him to continue
to get money from churches or pastors by lying.
Please apologize for your harsh and unwarranted judgment of me.
Grace and Peace!
On May 13, 2011, at 12:08 PM, MINISTERs ASSOC Secretary wrote:

See below:


———- Forwarded message ——–>–
From: Ven. Hong Yang Shi
Thu, May 12, 2011 at 9:25 PM
Subject: RE: Warning about a young man looking
for money.
Dear all Salaried Clergy in Central Iowa:I am appalled at this story but not for the same reasons as the pastor. How shameful for a clergyman to regret giving to someone in need.  It is not clear if the young man was lying or not. His home is probably in MT for work is plenty out there, I know many
young people work over that way for buidling crews are very busy in these past 6 months.  So it’s plausible, so what he lives in a homeless shelter and so what if he called somebody in Des Moines. That’s no proof he is lying.And whats worse he probably came back knowing that he could trust that church and pastor to help when they are asked to and better he brought his granpa.  What horrible things they must think of that paster and that church! How uncharitable!Churches used to be refuge places, often they gave small
money helps like for gas for a car, or rental assistence but sadly that’s long gone with their budgets mainly salaries, benefits, and for fancy buildings, expanding spaces buying up and tearing down, remodling for vanity and prestige, shameful!You lost two good souls at once by taking revenge on and banning that boy and his grandfather who no longer have trust in hristians,
you, nor do they think Church or pasters are good people and you disturbed the minds of your peers, I am so sorry for you Pastor REGRETs It  you lack empathy and compassion for the poorest people we have in this state, such bad karma. So
shameful!Unfortunely I’ve seen a lot of this same type of tightwads among you ministers who are salaried but never have I heard of one regretting his charity and then taking revenge on the needy like that!  Absolutely disgusting!

Palms Together

Ven. Hong Yang Bhikshuni



I am a Bhikshuni ordained in Mahayana Chinese Buddhist tradition. I'm currently translating Vinaya sutras from the Chinese Mahayana Tripitaka.

2 thoughts on “Teaching the Paster who Regrets It

  1. I will not allow comments that are pesonal attacks on myself, the Sangha, Buddhists, or other people.

    Mental formations readers may have against my posting this correspondance between me and the pastor after I replaced any identifying information are pointless here. It’s my blog, it’s related to Buddhism and it’s culture because I’m Buddhist acting according to tradtional training as guided by Buddhas exact instruction and example of meeting the other’s needs where they are at.

    This is a teaching for how to help nonBuddhists in the context that they are in with the means and skills at hand.

    His first email read strangely, unanswered questions about why give the money then stalk the kid to a shelter, then research the phone number until he got an address of some lady that the kid called using the pastor’s cell phone. Why do that? Just the call the cops in the first minutes of the suspected crime?!

    Whoe emails a group of peers in the first place with all that detailled information unless something else happened? It reads confusing to anyone who reads it.


  2. There is no anger or hostility on my part, infact, I used strong words like ‘disgust’, ‘shameful’ when it’s too passe’ or something for people to stand up for the weak.

    I’m standing up for the homeless and the elderly the weakest groups of us


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