Freebie Friday: Why were you kicked out?

"Bigfoot Leaders" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Bigfoot Leaders” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

Welcome to another Freebie Friday contest! The winner of the draw can choose any reproduction print of their choice from my shop. If you like this Bigfoot cartoon, you can buy it HERE.

In the wake of Professor Larycia Hawkins getting fired from Wheaton College for her theology, and now the Episcopal Church being suspended from the Anglican communion, I thought it would be interesting to share our church stories of:

1. being kicked out
2. being pressured to leave
3. having no choice but to leave

It can be as short as one sentence. Like mine:

“In 2010 I had no choice but to leave the ministry and the church because I didn’t have the freedom to explore and develop my theology.”

That one sentence sums up a whole lot of agony. I’d like to hear yours. TO BE CLEAR: This is NOT a contest on who writes the best or worst or saddest story. All members are entered into the contest because it is a draw.

To enter the contest, all you need to do is 2 things!

1. Leave a comment here on my blog with your story of being kicked out or whatever. (ONE ENTRY ONLY!)
2. Sign up for my emails. (If you do, you get my free e-book, “The Stages of Deconstruction”.)

Tomorrow morning I will enter everyone into the random numbers draw and announce the winner. The winner can choose any print of their choice from my store.

That’s it! I can’t wait to hear your stories!

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24 Responses

  1. Adam Julians says:

    I grow up with dyslexia in the ’70’s. Instead of being diagnosed then, I was told I was lacking in effort, careless and complacent by a deputy head school teacher. Adding to that suffering was these false beliefs being inadvertently enforced by my dominant mother.

    When I shared of my experience in my last church a few years ago, a leader attributed difficulties I had with my mother to be my responsibility. She said she was doing that because she was being “prophetic” and that “men have the power and God deals with those in power in the first instance”.

    I had no choice but to leave when I discussed that I had lost respect for this particular leader as a result and the pastor said “I can’t have that”. 🙁

  2. Jeff says:

    I left in 2004 because of the authoritarianism and interpersonal violence.

  3. Sarah Peters says:

    I got kicked out because I left my abusive husband, the church evangelist. My church said I had no grounds for divorce. I thought 6 years of prayer was enough. My children still bear the scars of their mother’s ‘faith’. The police interviewed the leader of the church after I ended up in hospital and the church being aware of my home life and offering marital counsel for four years. I nearly died because I didn’t want the elders to think I wasn’t serious about my ‘calling’. On the up side, after a refuge stay, me and my kids are safer and healthier. I will never get over how much it hurt to walk away from my marriage, it cost me everything.

  4. Caryn LeMur says:

    I was asked to resign as worship leader (song leader) in March 2004, after stating I had a bisexual orientation and was, of course, faithful to my wife. Orientation is simply orientation. I think the comment stretched the pastor’s mind a bit too far. This was a C&MA church, which is similar to Baptist.

    Bonnie (my wife) wished to try one more church in 2010. We left in July 2011. I believe our departing was good for all sides, really. The church did not know what to do with a transsexual that was at peace with herself, and loved to visit and get to know the homeless men and women. Also, there was a power struggle in the background – the board vs pastor vs elder – and perhaps I became both a scapegoat and a litmus test for others. This was a Vineyard church.

    I think that those of us who are believers, but non-conforming to social mores/norms, are just fine. Especially if we can stay away from a church institution that demands conformity.

    The days of the ‘Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, California’ that welcomed all people during the 1970’s are gone. ‘Open’ and ‘Welcoming’ have been quite redefined by a church culture that is just re-learning tolerance and trusting in God’s power.

  5. Megan says:

    I had no choice but to leave because women’s voices were seen as irrelevant to anyone but other women; I reject that my voice is less than because it’s an octave higher.

  6. Kathy says:

    Kicked out of a small group because “we inhibited sharing”. (Typical topics in a small group were so superficial such as “If you won a million dollars what would you do,” discussions about Martha Stewart’s conviction etc.) Who gets kicked out of a small group? In years hence, people have opened up to us about far more personal topics than what to do with a million $ so we call bull$hit….

  7. Kathy says:

    Oh and recently (last year) we weren’t kicked out, we left, and here’s why: http://farfromfundie.com/index.php/2015/05/13/breaking-up-is-hard-to-do/

  8. Kristin says:

    In 2006 I had my integrity used to force me out of the church I’d been a member of for 10 years. I thought the pastor was my friend – he’d brought me to Christ, or at least there was some mutual respect. I was the only one who had been able to confront him about his behaviour and still stay at the church in all that 10 years, many others had left.

    Then the junior pastor was hired. She was very emotionally abusive, and I started speaking out about it when I realised. I was silenced and blamed. Then the senior pastor told me “everyone in the church has issues with you, no one can be bothered to speak to you about it – I could force you to leave but I haven’t”! How could I possibly stay? I left and the junior pastor continued her abuse, and ended up sexually abusing another woman in the congregation. Then they finally kicked her out.

    It took me years to even try to go to a church again after that. When I finally did I tried a local (we’d moved to the country) pentecostal church. I couldn’t handle the hypocrisy or the judgemental response to people when they accepted the invitation to be prayed for. I was starving for gospel reading and teaching. I tried to explain, gently and politely what I was struggling with. What said I was minimised, criticised and dismissed. So, after 2 years, I left .

    I’m much warier now. I don’t need a church to be faithful to God.

  9. Luis says:

    I love your pictures.

  10. Chris Hill says:

    I was kicked out due to the suspicious nature of abusive leaders thinking that I, somehow, wanted their “job.” My questions were confused as attacks on their ministry. But was “it” really theirs, and was that what I was really up to? No, it was not… at all!

  11. Velour says:

    I was kicked out of my (NeoCalvinist) church of 8 1/2 years for:

    *discovering while doing a legal research project that a new church member was a convicted child pornographer on Megan’s List. When I reported it to the pastors/elders they had me in to a meeting where they screamed at me, defended him because he was their friend, and gave him a leadership position and access to children and told no one. They also invited him to volunteer at a 5-day children’s sports camp put on by our church, where members and people in the community entrusted their children to our church. All parents were not told this. My pastors/elders closed the meeting by threatening me and telling me that I was destined for Hell. According to them, if a sex offender says a few words about Jesus and “repenting”, they will have carte blanche access to children, child safety be damned.

    (I’d also opposed the pastors/elders SemiArian Heresy teaching of Patriarchy, all the big names are being felled by sex crimes who proposed this lunancy. And I opposed their authoritarianism, Membership Covenants, and their excommunicating a doctor in his 70s prior to me, for dissent.)

  12. Shazza tha dazzla says:

    My husband and I were kicked out after 4 years as on-site assistant pastors because we didn’t fit with the senior minister’s agenda, and he couldn’t make us fit. I think that’s the whole excruciating, soul-destroying, faith-shattering, family-displacing, congregation-numbing, silence-enforcing story in a nutshell!

  13. Ryan says:

    After 24 years of sincerely pursuing God I gave up on ever becoming the good Christian God wanted me to be.
    That was exactly what God was waiting for. He revealed to me that I was actually dead, which was why I could not produce good fruit. (A bad tree cannot produce good fruit)
    He revealed Christ in me and released me from the law.
    I attempted to tell my church of what had happened. They took it as condemnation and rejected my I insistence that we were missing Christ. We were trying to be what only Christ could be…and we were under law.
    They politely rejected me and took a hard stance to reject me politely, and taught themselves that I was broken.

  14. chaddo says:

    basically if you follow God instead of them they “feel uncomfortable” having you around and being different. 🙂

  15. Caedmon says:

    I was invited tona “clown college.” When I showed up, I found it was really “gospel clown,” but I wanted to learn, so I stuck around.

    A few weeks before graduation, I was told I would have to become a member of the sponsoring church to get my diploma because graduating was automatic placement in clown ministry. I didn’t know Inwas signing up for that, but I was in the Navy, away from home, and needed things to do other than drink beer, so I went along with it.

    That week, I blew out my knee. I shoed up at church on crutches. The pstor asked if the church could pray for me and I accepted because prayer.

    The next week, I was still on crutches. The pastor called me into his office before service. He told me my continued need for crutches was firm proof I was not a person of faith. I was kicked out of the clown program (can’t serve in ministry without faith) and put in some sort of probationary status for six months when they would reconsider membership and clowning (balloon animals are fun!).

    The end of our conversation went like this:

    Me: To be sure I understand, you are telling me that any sickness, injury, disability, or other bodily imperfection offends God; that God desires to instantly, by the Holy Spirit, heal us of every infirmity and does so; and that any bodily imperfection is positive proof of a total lack of faith?

    Pastor: Yes. That is exactly what we believe.

    Me: So, I have just one more question. Why do you wear eyeglasses?

    Pastor: You need to leave. Now. You are not welcome back and we will call the police for trespassing. Further, you are to break all contact with all church members and anyone else you have met through the clown program. They will be instructed not to contact you. Yo do not need to say any goodbyes.

    I was escorted to my car by two large men and drove to the next church down the road where I found a support ministry for people who had been kicked out of the first church.

  16. Kristin says:

    Sarah, I’m so sorry you suffered that. Abuse is never ok! I’m happy to hear you are all safer now.

    Adam, what a load of rubbish those people told you! All of that was abuse, and just because the person doing the abuse is a woman does not make it ok. How does a child (M or F) have the power? It’s a terribly painful thing when you open up about abuse from the past, and it is used to abuse you again in the present.

    Caryn, the judgement stuff is horrible. So sorry you got that in response to your courage and integrity in being honest. It was one of the reasons I was glad I’d already left our previous church when my 14yo came out as FtM trans last year. It was hard enough living in a small rural community – without a small-minded church to go with it. The community generally have surprised me with their acceptance, only one of my 14yo’s friends’ parents refused to let them have further contact (she was worried her child might “think she was trans too” – apparently she thinks being LGBTIQ is contagious ! )

    Please take care. Hope for a healing journey endures…
    Kindest regards, Kristin

  17. Adam Julians says:

    Kristin,

    What you wrote was powerful for me just now about abuse. Yeah it was abuse wasn’t it? I think I have this ind of humouring your mother and father thing going on in my head and your word about that has been like lancing a boil for me for you to say that. Wow. I can’t remember anyone ever having said that to me before. This is a game changer.

    Yes I was abused by that female leader wasn’t I!

    Such a relief to be able to affirm what you are saying. Thankfully it’s becoming more acceptable as a man to talk about abuse by a woman and not either be treated as a feckless dweeb or a misogynist but the abuse be taken seriously.

    Wow, just wow.

    Thank you so much!

  18. Helen says:

    I got sick and too much effort was needed to offer me support – if I’d lived in Peru the story would have been entirely different – mission trips to Peru, it seems, are readily accomplished

  19. Thanks everyone for sharing your stories. WOW! I really do appreciate it. It’s not easy to do but I’m glad you did.

    I entered the total number into the random numbers generator and the number 5 came up. That means Megan is our winner for today.

    So Megan, congratulations, and please send me your mailing address and the print you want so I can send it to you.

    Stay tuned for another contest next week!

  20. Jack says:

    Asked about how some money was spent…. Never do that if you want to stay in a church/cult…….

  21. kim says:

    I guess it’s good I missed the deadline – I have TOO many stories. The ironic one that I still have a hard time wrapping my head around are all the people who (myself included – and even his close friend, the assistant pastor/jail chaplain) were forced out of a certain church when the pastor started attending seminary. (He’s a friend of Sonny Rollins – that should tell you everything you need to know.) Apparently “radical theology” (I call it “atheism lite”) is the hip and trendy new thing – it’s so COOL to place your belief in unbelief! Come “explore” with us while we “have a conversation” about “deconstructing religion.” And there was a lot of wah wah wah about how intolerant religion is – particularly traditional/fundamental Christianity! In the meantime, those of us who tenaciously clung to our pitiful belief in Jesus as God and Savior were systematically forced out of the church. I’m a live-and-let live Libertarian type – believe whatever you want as you were always free to do – but why disguise yourself as Christianity and then get mad at (and feel rejected by) people who are Christian when they realize they didn’t sign up for the losing-your-religion program? I’m all for getting rid of institutionalized Christianity too – I think the above examples are perfect illustrations of the best manmade structures can produce. But how ironic is it when the atheists start to organize and immediately produce the very same kind of intolerance that they accuse religion of? LOL!

  22. Thanks Kim. Interesting… but the way you speak reminds me of my online community The Lasting Supper. It’s a space for people to safely deconstruct, as well as other things. There’s a broad cross-section of diversity from believers to atheists and agnostics… everything. Mutual respect all around. But KEY to this, as you long for, is the freedom to be a think as you are without pressure to conform to any standard. I appreciate that and your story.

  23. IPreferNot says:

    Well, I felt I had to leave….first of all after finally separating from the man I had been married to for 16 years (whom I would have been better off leaving the very first month after marrying him…but that’s a different story), I found my self being ostracized by the leadership of which I had been a part for over a decade. Further fall out from my decision to stop taking his abuse occurred as I was the music minister, and, if any of you’ve had experience in the church music ministry you may agree with me that the enemy—that old serpent— is heavily involved in wrecking havoc via the music ministry. To make a long story short, a separate choir was being started behind my back (…the minister of music), evidently with blessings from the pastor (his wife was friends with the woman starting the group). One of the elderly ladies blurted out to me one day that “Mr.____ needs to address the issue going on with the music…” “Huh, what do you mean?” was my innocent reply (since I had no idea of what was going on). Red-faced, the sister kinda’ changed the subject. But it was too lat. I began to put my ear to the wall and was quite surprised, disappointed, and even angry at what was there in plain sight. A real live “choir mutiny” was underfoot. I decided not to take part or wait until members had to start “choosing” what side (choir) they wanted to be on, so I wrote the pastor a nice long letter…it was really nice being that I’m a peace loving person…explaining the situation and why I was leaving. He never asked me to stay (remember, his wife was best friends with the usurper), after all the years of faithful, hard work (without pay!) I was left with no advocate (because my presence had become uncomfortable after separating from my husband), just hurt feelings. BUT, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper” Isaiah 54:17. The choir didn’t last…after about a year of continually singing the songs I had taught the choir, the new director tried her hand at some new songs and found out that maintaining a choir is more than just getting up waving your hands in the faces of the choir members…it takes dedication, and a love for music, and patience for growing people’s talents, and an ear for hearing all the parts and how they fit together…not to mention knowing which music is appropriate for the level of your choir members. That was years ago; this is the first time I’ve wrote about it…I can’t believe how freeing it felt to do so…amen

  24. Thanks so much for sharing your story IPreferNot