DEAR AMY: I have a huge dilemma. “Jane” and I have been good friends since middle school. I love her like a sister. Recently, Jane accepted a job at a church as the youth director in the town where we attend college. She is good with youth and is very outgoing. However, Jane was not fully truthful when applying for this job. The church asked all applicants to affirm its faith statement and a code of behavior that prohibits premarital sex. Jane signed the code of behavior, indicating that she would not have premarital sex. To further confuse the issue, she told them that she did not have a boyfriend. In truth, Jane does have sex. However, she is a (quiet) lesbian. In a technical sense, she says that she did not lie because she does not have intercourse. Since the church did not ask her if she was gay, she said that she did not deceive them. I feel like this is a problem and that a church employee who is teaching the youth how to be good Christians should be fully honest — even if it means that she would not get the job. Does the church have a right to know the truth? Do I have an obligation to say something? Does it even matter if it does not affect how she does her job? Since Jane won’t listen to me regarding this, I thought about sending the pastor an anonymous letter. What do you think?
DEAR BEWILDERED: “Jane” seems to have shared details with you concerning how she filled out her job application. If you disagree with her choice, you are obligated to try to persuade her to make a different choice. You are not ethically or morally compelled to do anything else.
You say that according to the application, Jane agreed not to have premarital sex. She doesn’t seem to have been asked whether she has ever had premarital sex; she has agreed not to have premarital sex while she is employed by the church. So — perhaps you should assume Jane will adhere to this chastity pledge.
Jane was also asked if she has a boyfriend and she has answered truthfully. Nothing you detail about Jane’s behavior indicates that she is not a good Christian or a good youth leader. Not all Christian churches discriminate against homosexuals (the church I belong to does not discriminate). This episode offers a golden opportunity for you to examine your own morals — not Jane’s.
DEAR AMY: I’m happy with my new part-time job, except for one part — my co-worker. She talks all the time. We close the shop together four or five nights a week, so I need to find a way to work with her without losing my mind. It’s incredibly tiresome — fatiguing, really — to constantly monitor the sound of her voice to discern whether she’s speaking to me or just talking out loud to herself. I’ve taken to saying “Sorry?” when she speaks to me without first getting my attention, or to ignoring her. Neither feels nice. She knows she talks all the time — she even says, “I talk all the time.” So how should I respond to that? “Yeah, and it’s incredibly annoying?” Probably not. Any suggestions?
DEAR TIRED: Because this co-worker has admitted to talking all the time, one easy response would be for you to say, “You talk a lot, but I’m not able to listen all the time. I’m having trouble paying close attention. I don’t mean to be rude but if I zone out you may have to give me a special nod if you have something to tell me. I find it hard to concentrate on our tasks and what you’re saying at the same time.”
DEAR AMY: I am the person who signed my letter “Worried in Wisconsin,” which was recently published in your column. The topic was my husband (of 46 years) “Barney’s” decision to put a new roof on our house by himself and my fears for his safety. Barney is not a warm and fuzzy, touchy-feely kinda guy. Giving him facts, figures and statistics on “seasoned citizens” dying and being injured by unintentional falling was the perfect response. After reading your column, Barney emailed our buddy (a younger remodeler that does roofs) and he agreed to do our roof. My roof worries are over. You are a life-saver.
DEAR GRATEFUL: The statistics on “unintentional falls” are extremely sobering. But this makes my day. Thank you.