CAUTION: Christians Falling!

"CAUTION: Christians Falling" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
“CAUTION: Christians Falling” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

Those leaving the organized church are increasing in number.

Nones and Dones. That’s what we’re called.

There are a variety of reasons why people leave. Abuse. Boredom. Control. Theology.

I think my reason for leaving was two-fold:

1. theologically I no longer fit into the box; and
2. my idea of community was no longer compatible with theirs.

Why did you leave?

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32 Replies to “CAUTION: Christians Falling!”

  1. Oh boy. You are going to think I am like Lazarus with coming back here. Couldn’t resist it.

    First off interesting that in saying “us” you indicate you count yourself as a Christian whereas at other times you say you leave “labels” to other people. Why?

    Second when I have left a church or workplace or relationship it has been because it has become unhealthy with no way of that being healed.

    Take here for example. David, you do not acknowledge having done me wrong in falsely accusing me of being abusive. It’s not enough to say you are sorry about feelings assessing the insult to reason needs to be done too.

    People who are friends who “abuse” us are no longer friends bugliest. The only thing bullies understand is a show of strength.

    They may knock you down but whether you get up, dust yourself down and become stronger or cave is your choice. Noone can take that away from you.

  2. For me it was primarily a matter of my changing theology…at least that is what opened the door and allowed me to honestly critique the church. Then as my theology began to change I saw first hand the type of cultish mind control tactics employed in most fundamental church settings. I am glad I left when I did so things did not get ugly as I had a position of significant influence within the church and I had no desire to tear it down. There is no way I could subject myself to that kind of influence today. That coupled with the fact I have come to believe the modern church has totally lost sight of the true message of Christ leaves me unwilling to ever support the institution again.

    And David…I was present for the exchange between you and Ducatihero. You do not owe him an apology for anything and I can’t believe he is back still whining about his alleged mistreatment. I honestly don’t know why he keeps on with this charade, unless he is nothing more than a clever troll looking for laughs at your/our expense.

  3. Ahh the delightful Gary turning up. Thankfully he is living up to my expectations and helping me out again. This gives me the chance to present the facts.

    David – you wrote that my testimony about forgiveness “puts you in the camp of those who support abuse and the silencing of victims.” March 15, 2015 at 5:33 pm. You also wrote “I confess that I have inflicted spiritual abuse… I have issues. But I believe in change. I’m sorry where I’ve failed… To individuals… I beg you to please accept this letter as if written to you personally.”

    You were wrong to have falsely accused me of supporting abuse and the silencing of victims. Forgiveness is powerful, it enables healing for victims and is conducive to abusers feeling shame for their conduct as long as their conduct continues. This along with being strong with bullies eliminates abuse. It does not support it.

    You wrote to me “Please listen: We all make the mistake of silencing victims or victim-blaming… You must admit that sometimes you do too. However, I will apologize for making you feel like this is who you are rather than something you might do once in a while. I’m sorry.”

    So Gary will not have been aware of this conversation. Saying I sometimes silence victims or victim blame is doing the very same thing as what you have done before publicly. Gary’s comment forces me to share this to validate my earlier comment. I do this consistent with your advice to have a thick skin and to not let anyone derail me David.

    I would suggest Gary consider his “whining” allegation and as you are in control here David with all due respect I would suggest considering where to tak this in the light of what you have said about the belief in change.

    To that end I again as the question – how can we help you achieve your desire to break out of the cycle of abuse you talk of inadvertently becoming part of?

  4. Actually Gary – believe it or not – you touched on something I have bee reflecting on and I mean this in an affirming and complimentary way to you. that is with the church and Christ.

    I’ve been thinking about the phrase Neitzche coined of “God is dead”. the way I understand it, it included a reference to church acting as if God is dead, in the period he was living in – the enlightenment. As I understand it he predicted worse consequences and before. Soon after his death there were two world wars. the renowned atheist Richard Dawkins says that these had nothing to do with religion. If we think of what happened in 1930’s Geremany – the swatika and “Mein Kamf” took place alongside the cross of christ and the bible in German churches.

    Martin Luther King said “the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning”

    He had a point.

    However if we look at human history and we read the scriptures what is it that we see? Hasn’t it always been this way with humanity?

  5. In the public conversation where David made the statement there were others who took your comments the same way…myself included. That is the way an open online forum such as Naked Pastor works. We throw our thoughts and opinions out there where people are free to respond to them either positively or negatively. Clearly your words gave the impression David spoke of or several of us would not have come to the same conclusion. This is what is meant by having a thick skin. Why the hell do you believe that your comments should be free of criticism by anyone else, Including David? And now you provide information stating that in fact David DID apologize to you in spite of your continued badgering him for an apology that you have deceptively stated on numerous occasions never came.

    What the FUCK???

  6. And it is for this reason (your immature whining that also seems to be dishonest) that I will not be engaging you in your 2nd comment to me. I’m sure we could have a healthy exchange of ideas. But frankly, seeing the way you keep behaving, I just don’t trust you. I have little patience for the whining, and don’t care to see my words constantly quoted back at me in an accusatory fashion.

    You’re lucky David is the one running this blog. I would have blocked your ass some time ago.

  7. This is a very powerful cartoon. It captures the way I feel when a church (in an effort to hold onto only “true” Christians) doubles down on their theological positions and shows others the door. It also reminds me of the rhetoric here in the United States of “Republicans” vs “Republicans-in-name-only”. I suppose a lot of it is based in fear. Even the thought of questioning long-held beliefs is frightening so it is tempting to pull in even closer to like-minded people.

  8. Why indeed !!

    As noted previously:

    The Apostles’ Creed 2015: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    (references used are available upon request)

  9. Why did I leave the church institution? Why do I still believe in Jesus outside of the institution?

    I left the last church, a Vineyard, because of their strange way of secret meetings and keeping me at arm’s distance. It finally wore my wife and I down. Near the end, the pastor finally explained to me that he believed all bisexuals were automatically promiscuous. In short, he believed I was ‘out there doing it’ and ‘everyone knows that fact’.

    When he told me, I thought he was being funny, and actually laughed at him. The normal world knows that heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual (and anything inbetween) is just an orientation… it is not a statement of rape, promiscuity, or being always fabulous… lol.

    ‘All heterosexuals cannot understand LGBT concerns, ‘all homosexuals are evil’, ‘all bisexuals are always promiscuous’…. any of those statements with ‘all’ or ‘always’ are prejudicial statements.

    I think he knew the scripture that rebukes blanket prejudice : “One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith,…” [Titus 1:12]. However, the prejudice was accepted by that pastor, and perhaps by his fellow leaders.

    I do not know if he could have withstood me ‘reproving him sharply’… then again, my sincere laughter may have been such a rebuke…. hmmmmmm… I have to rethink that one… lol.

    Systematic prejudice slowly grinds away your self-esteem…. one starts to think ‘perhaps something is indeed wrong with me’…. and then, a person starts to accept that they are not OK. The only way to break that downward spiral induced by prejudice is to leave the environment that believes the prejudice.

    So we left.

    My wife and I still are believers. We have found this ‘Way’ to be highly effective in keeping us humble, open to helping others, and filled with joy and humor. Being a Follower of Jesus (also called a Red Letter Christian) has helped me tremendously, pragmatically, and kept me from much anger, rage, and depression.

    His words are wonderful when they become part of my heart.

    Cheers! Caryn

  10. There you go again Gary.

    “Immature whining “. You are bringing judgement on yourself for doing what you are accusing me of. This is obvious for anyone with a brain and a speck of discernment who ha seen you comment on Stollar’s blog.

    Not only that but you are apparently incapable of applying what even the most novice of Internet users know robe wise. For if what you say is true about being a troll then you would know “don’t feed the troll”.

    Why would Caryn ask me to consider staying here if I am a troll. Do you mean to say she is supporting trolling? ’cause that is what your comment implies.

    For the sake of how your comments make you look to the world, think about it.

  11. I do not speak for Caryn nor does she speak for me…why bring her into it? I have no clue what you are referring to by my comments on Stollar’s blog. My dialogue there stands on its own, and in the end I did what I believe you should do. If you don’t believe you are getting fair treatment from the owner of the blog…then leave. I made my case, made it very well in fact, and found him and a couple of others to be biased beyond reason and not worth my time…hence I left. I did what I intended to do which was to call him on his deliberately deceptive use of my comment for his attack purposes.

    And it fucking cracks me up to hear the whiner, who keeps badgering for an apology like a crybaby when none is due, talk about how my comments make me look. Perhaps it is your ego that is so fragile that you cannot handle dissent without making it into a major crime. Perhaps, as has been suggested by another, you have an exaggerated need for affirmation. I do not know which. I do not care which.

  12. Oh my dear Gary you are relentless. I’m not quite sure what it is that has got your knickers in a twist but you might consider untwisting them before trying to allege things about other’s conduct.

    Again as Kate mentioned some time ago underpinning a lot of what has been discussed here has been that advocates for anyone who has been a victim do a really great job. However such advocates really do need to know when to sit down and listen.

    I would be interested in helping David in his endeavours as mentioned I would as how we can help in that. Also in spite of what you otherwise claim Gary, I have not received an apology for being wrongly accused of supporting abuse and silencing of victims. In fact the opposite, he insists that this is what I do. I reject both his initial accusation and his follow up claim to this effect.

    Whatever you say Gary, I quite like you. You are gutsy and often have some great contributions to make. It’s just a shame you get so wound up so often and act silly with what you allege. We could have had a great conversation about the church and God but instead you chose to go down this path. There is nothing in your continuous emotional diatribes against me that offer anything of a reasoned argument. I award you zero points and may God have mercy on your soul.

    This shall be my last comment on this thread to you Gary. Say what you like. David has given you the freedom to do so here. Hit me with your best shot with impunity.

  13. Well, for anyone who is a comedian, giving someone a “chuckle” being “clever” and “looking for laughs and you/our expense” of course is a compliment. Jokes often are at the expense of someone as David’s cartoons show, and that’s OK when done appropriately.

    More seriously, the issue in the OP of people leaving institutions because of abuse cannot be addressed if then being involved with new people and new communities that also are abusive. Healing comes with forgiveness and being strong with abusers. The being strong is good for abusers too – it helps them to adjust and stop abusing and enjoy better relationships than before, facilitating reconciliation which those who have had damaged relationships with them, healing them for the pain of the loss of relationship.

    Jason wrote: July 24, 2015 at 8:31 am “David has a history of using the guise of privacy to control the narrative. I see nothing wrong with Ducatihero bringing a manipulative private communication into the open. Who knows maybe it will be a catalyst for change in David… Deconstruction shouldn’t be just for the harmful beliefs one has absorbed but also for the destructive patterns of behavior that one exhibits.”

    Jason was right about the manipulative conversation. In the absence of any advice from David on how he might be helped in moving forward, one is left to one’s own devices as to how to do what is conducive to that aim.

    The amount of support shown for David by Gary is admirable, but I fear how he is going about it is misplaced and is conducive to enabling abuse to continue.

  14. And once again…after proclaiming you are done commenting to me you comment to me under the guise of not commenting to me.


    Do I support David? Sure I do. I support anyone who has been attacked in the way he has without cause. A couple of cry babies don’t get their way and they make it out as if he is some monster. And your beef is perhaps the most ridiculous of them all. Your comments very clearly could have been taken as promoting the silencing of the victims of abuse. Why should anyone give a fuck that you didn’t particularly like that observation? Hell I have people object to my comments all the time without resorting to a campaign of dogging them for an apology. If I believe they are wrong I tell them so. If they are dishonest I confront the lie with the truth. If they don’t respond to reason or keep lying then I may end up telling them to fuck off. But I don’t dog their space and repeatedly harass them demanding an apology.

    Your pretense of wanting to help David is full of arrogance and naivety. YOU are the problem…not the solution.

  15. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but some opinions are of more value than others.

  16. Yes everyone is entitled to their opinion. Even David. As for which has more value, the answer is very much a matter of perspective don’t you think?

    This comment of yours is a great argument for why you should stop the whining and just grow up already.

  17. Sometimes there can be a matter of perspective. At other times where there is a clear distinction of facts then it is black and white. Those that stay neutral where there is oppression have taken the side of the oppressor.

  18. Indeed. Which is exactly why I confront you so directly Adam Julians. For YOU ARE the oppressor who seeks to deny David the right to express his honest opinion on his own damn blog.

  19. That’s is Gary’s opinion about who is the oppressor. The facts speak for themselves.

    As for accusing anyone trying to deny someone expressing their opinion on their own blog. Common sense dictates that and such attempt would be silly and impractical. The accusation is therefore easily refuted.

  20. Oh that’s right. Among other obvious charades…you are still pretending you are not speaking to me…LMAO.

  21. Wouldn’t it be lovely if indeed facts DID speak for themselves? But they don’t. All you have is your interpretation. And that’s all I have. Even science is beginning to admit that the observed is affected by the observer.

  22. No David this is not am issue of your interpretation an one of mine. You call the Charlton shootings black and white not grey. You are right to do so.

    I call you claiming my testimony about forgiveness and defending that conducive to the elimination of abuse. You called my testifying about forgiveness victim silencing and supporting abuse. You were wrong. Fact. There is no grey area about this, it is black and white.

    Your advice to me was to have a thick skin and not let anybody derail me. I am merely following your advice.

  23. “All you have is your interpretation ”

    David I am sick an tired of this. I have tried to reconcile and help. I have forgiven in spite of what some have said about that being victim silencing and supporting abuse including forgiving how you have made me feel. I am not going to let you or anyone else tell me that what I am doing that I know to be good is evil.

    Therefore the only way for there not to be difficulty is for me to take your advice and apply it elsewhere. Clearly doing so is resulting in continuing difficulty between us here.

    I wish you well

  24. Adam Julians I just went back and read the thread from which you keep referencing and complaining that David has not apologized for his comment. The fact that you claim there is no grey area merely shows how delusional you are. You were most definitely expressing much more concern over how the victim of abuse should behave than for the abuser. In fact the reality that an abuser who remains in power and will keep abusing new and unsuspecting victims unless the abused cry out never even seemed to register with you. You kept talking about forgiveness from the abused towards the abuser.

    FACT IS – David was absolutely correct to call you on this in his comments to you. By placing the focus on how the abused SHOULD behave rather than how the abuser should, you clearly set the stage for shaming the victim and empowering the perpetrator to continue to abuse others. In fact…I see your continued assault against David to be more of this very troubling behavior pattern from you.

    I firmly believe your focus on how an abused person should behave IS INDEED part of the problem of abuse, especially where a power imbalance exists. You even referenced the abuser working through their issues WHILE remaining in leadership or power. Talk about enabling…just WOW.

    Black and white my ass. In fact the truth is your comments very much convict you, not exonerate you.

    And by all means please do make another response to me where you still pretend to not be responding to me because you cannot live by your own word that you were done responding to me. LOL I see you’ve said you were leaving this blog several times as well, and yet each time here you come again posting and finding yet another excuse to whine about your perceived slights. You’re really not representing yourself very well here man.


  25. So you have made it about your sadness then. What about how other people feel? When they express a vulnerability shown through feeling online must they learn to have a thick skin?

    Come in David, either take my feeling associated with what I have been talking about here seriously or I don’t have a violin small enough to play for you.

  26. Cute how you dismissively mock me and then criticise David for not taking you seriously. You really are a hoot. DAMN I had hoped you really were leaving this time.

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