My Story: From Churched Christian to Unchurched Cartoonist

This is the story of how I went from being a pastor in a Christian church to becoming the cartoonist you know as NakedPastor. I’ve included a few artworks from my Sophia series which is inspired by this transformation I experienced. If you want a closer look at any of them, simply click on the pictures.

My rock, my raising

I was raised in Christianity and the Church, in Canada. I read the Bible from beginning to end and underlined anything that meant something to me. To me the Bible was “inspired, infallible, and inerrant,” descended down from God as a perfectly factual document.

I learned and I found

I attended a Pentecostal Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, and got my degree in Biblical Studies. There I fell madly in love with Lisa, a southern girl from Alabama. We got married two days after I graduated. That fire still burns hot!

Sophia Is / Rebel

And then it began

We moved to Boston where I studied at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and got my Masters in New Testament Studies. Just before graduation, my deconstruction began.

The new knowledge hurt

It was a traumatic moment. I just realized, after all the years of biblical studies, that my belief in the inspiration of Scripture was crumbling. It was devastating.

Sophia Angel

It rocked my foundations

Lisa had to physically shake me to make me get my act together so that I could attend the graduation ceremony. Here began the slow, painful process of the gradual but radical change in my beliefs.

And my world began to crumble

The Bible was the foundation stone upon which my beliefs were built. Once this fundamental belief was eroded, the whole structure of my faith began to crumble.

I tried to keep things together

Nevertheless, I forged forward, getting ordained into the ministry, and serving as a pastor for about 30 years. All those years, like a slow glacial melt, my deconstruction spread throughout my system, causing me great theological and spiritual anxiety.

Sophia Entangled

There had to be a breaking point

How could I reconcile my own spiritual insights with the Bible and what I’d been told to believe? Could I really believe in love and grace and a compassionate God when billions of people were excluded from this love?

I saw the bigger picture

I was extensively versed in Christian theology. But I also read philosophers, physicists, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, atheists, and so many more, who seemed to be speaking, at a certain level, the same language.

Sophia Study

I made the connection

Finally, in 2009, I experienced a profound epiphany. In a flash, I saw that we are all connected, one, at a deep and fundamental level. I saw that there is one reality, but countless articulations of it.

I saw the division and the vision

I saw that language is one of the main things that can be used to divide us and make us feel separated. Words that express ideas…ideas that are attempts at articulating our individual interpretations of reality. The one reality we all live and are connected within. This new vision compelled my work and I began sharing my insights online.

Sophia Deconstruction

We lost almost everything

In 2010, I decided I had to leave the ministry and the church in order to keep growing. I finally let go. The pressure to leave was strong. We lost friends, our community, my vocation and income, our sense of purpose and destiny, and so much more.

Sophia Release

Was love enough?

Our marriage was stretched and strained as we tried to figure out what was really the glue that held us together: sharing the same beliefs and working together in the church, or love?

We decided it was love

This was just another lesson proving to me that it is not compatibility of beliefs

that makes relationships and community work, but love. I saw that love unites, while ideas and words divide.

A vision of love and unity

I now believe we are all deeply connected. One. United. I strive to articulate and encourage this oneness, but also speak truth to the powers that attempt to deny it and divide us. Instead of serving a local church only, I now serve people all around the world online.

That’s why I created this community

A place to use my art to push the boundaries, challenge your thinking, and create conversation. I believe everybody deserves the right to explore their spirituality, express their doubts and beliefs without restraint, and be supported on their personal journey.

Sophia Metamorphosis
Back to blog

Leave a comment