Posts tagged ‘ministry’

What does a de-converted minister do with all their stuff?

I was an ordained minister for almost three years when I asked to leave and have my license revoked because I could no longer see any reason to believe in God. I have now moved out of the house I was living in (provided by the parish I worked for) and into an apartment. Packing, tying up loose ends, saying good-bye and moving can be painful no matter what the surrounding circumstances, but in this context I found myself dealing with more stress and depression than any previous move I’ve made.

I boxed the birthday card the Sunday school had made for me, telling me, “Yu are a good Minster”. I packed away the photos of the confirmation class I taught, and the farewell gifts presented to me by the congregations I ministered to. I also found, and carefully packed, gifts I had been given at my ordination: from my family, from the congregation of the church I interned at, and even a a few from some of the dear women who had taught me Sunday school decades previously. They were all so proud and so happy for me at my ordination. I felt like such a disappointment as I put their gifts in boxes to go with me on my move. I couldn’t throw these things out, though. Not yet. It would hurt too much. It doesn’t matter that I have no practical use for greeting cards, angel statuettes, or portable communion kits. I look at these things and think about the people who gave these to me, people who felt that God had touched their lives through me, and now I could not even manage to believe that there is a God who could do so…

Continue Reading June 10, 2008 at 11:45 pm 138 comments

The Problem With Pastors: Too educated?

Graduate 1In my time, during my pre-Christian, Christian, and post-Christian days, I have heard people make claims that I have found to be incredibly absurd. From both theists and nontheists, liberals and conservatives, friends and foes, people say things around and to me that strike me as just… off. However, last night I think I might have heard one of the best. “The problem with pastors, I think,” said an acquaintance of mine, “is that they are too educated.”

Now, I know that the Christian university I attend is no Wheaton or Calvin College; but, I think my school is fairly representative of evangelical colleges in America. I spent more than two years here as a religion major, studying for pastoral ministry. And I can attest to the fact that the religion majors here are in no way too educated. From my experience with seminarians in typical Christian graduate programs, I feel fairly certain in saying those students are more often than not too educated as well. Perhaps there is some period of academic revival that takes place post-formal education in the lives of some pastors, but it has not been my experience.

I think I understand the heart of what my friend was saying. He feels that pastors are too distant from their flock, that instead of meeting the immediate needs of their followers, they are busy parsing Greek verbs and throwing out obscure quotes by Anselm…

Continue Reading January 27, 2008 at 6:03 pm 76 comments

A Hobbit’s Tale of the Soul

A Hobbit's TaleTrying to describe the personal journey that I’ve been on for the last four years is like trying to nail jello to the wall. I’ve gone through a thorough detox from vocational and institutional Christianity, plunged headlong into the “dark night of the soul,” and am slowly emerging with my head above unchartered waters. Bilbo’s story could well be my own, “There and Back Again: A Hobbit’s Tale,” yet the place to which I’ve returned is different and familiar all the same.

I spent roughly 10 years in pastoral ministry, or I could say that I spent 10 years in pastoral ministry roughly. I broke from full-time ministry to become self-employed in healthcare marketing, a job I still have five years later. For 18 months I tried to be bi-vocational while building this new business, but aside from preaching on Sundays, my job didn’t lend itself to be compatible with pastoral ministry.

My departure from full-time ministry was against the grain of the church-growth mentality. I was capable and expected to move on to bigger churches to continue my “ministry.” Not only did I demote myself to a smaller pastorate, but I also went “secular.” There was a lapse of 9 months before I began the bi-vocational pastorate, leaving many to circulate rumors that my last church drove me from the ministry. Beginning with leaving full-time ministry I began to contemplate ways to reinvent the wheel…

Continue Reading October 29, 2007 at 10:26 pm 10 comments


Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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