"Leaving the Church" (cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward)
Order this cartoon print HERE!
I didn't leave the church because of abuses. I left the church because I could no longer grow there.
Being a pastor has its challenges. One of them is that your spiritual life is public. Pastors, unless they are great actors, display their spirituality week after week. They have to open their mouths and expose their spiritual innards.
This is what happened to me. I could have pretended and taught the party line. But I'm not that kind of person. Even though my blog was growing in popularity, many in the congregation didn't read it. They heard from me all the time, so why read my blog too?! But when it started getting infamous and other local people were talking about it and even informing my leadership and the leadership of the church denomination I was in, then things started to become a challenge.
I was obviously thinking outside of the box, and this was causing great discomfort to people inside my congregation as well as people outside of it. It came to the point where I chose to leave because I and the church were "no longer compatible".
This is unfortunate. But it happens to a lot of people. Lots of people are leaving the church. I suspect most of them are leaving because intellectually it doesn't make sense to them any more. Conscientiously, they have no choice but to set themselves free to think with integrity.
On the negative side
there might have been abuses, control issues, manipulation, money issues, boredom, silliness, etcetera.
On the positive side
there might have been friendships, good music, compassionate outreach, etcetera.
But if a person is being restricted¬†intellectually, then I think eventually their church life is going to dry up and become too oppressive¬†to remain.
I've come to the conclusion, actually, that Christianity and the church is failing at providing an intellectual, philosophical, theological construct for people today. It is making less and less sense. Which is why I launched the online community The Lasting Supper (Join us!
). I'm trying to articulate and provide a construct within which we can understand reality and spirituality.
Is there a way we can progress without rejecting everything that brought us to this point? Is it possible to grow and transition without having to deny everything thus far? Can we expand our theology to include everything? Is there a unifying theory that we can develop and embrace that will satisfy the contemporary intellect of truth-seekers?
Read the story of Sophia. Her story is what this is all about! In fact, one of my drawings in the book is called "Metamorphosis
" where she walks with butterflies. Order "The Liberation of Sophia"