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Welcome to my blog "Christianity Is A Trampoline." Before I tell you why I chose this name, let me briefly tell you about myself so that you can understand a little bit about who I am and why I chose to start this blog up.
I am an ex-pastor. (You can find that out by looking at my name on the blog ha.) I was in the ministry for over twenty years. I have served in two different roles at church: youth ministry and worship ministry.
My journey away from the church has been a long process; however it was precipitated by several key events and experiences.
1. My Own "Sin."
I have screwed up. A lot. I have done some good things. But I have also done some bad things. And I think it's only fair to start there. That one of the reasons I've stepped away from church and ministry is because of my own shortcomings. For awhile, I had convinced myself that one of the proofs against the existence of a god was the fact that I was sinning as a pastor and getting away with stuff and nothing was happening to me. Well, then things happened and there were consequences. So is part of this blog due to the fact that I don't feel I have a place in ministry or the church because of what I've done and how people see me? Perhaps. It's certainly a catalyst for where I am now.
2. Church History.
Let's face it. The Church doesn't have the best track record, the cleanest sheet. Just go to the library, pick a book about any era since the Church was started, and you will find some really crazy crap that will make you uneasy about church leadership, about the foolishness of ignorant people who obey orders from "on high", and the past, present and future of the "body of christ." Where should I start?
Witch Trials and Burnings?
Catholic vs. Protestant Wars?
Christian Slave Trade?
Clergy Sexual Abuse and Pedophilia?
Westboro Baptist Church?
Donald Trump? (I kid. Kinda.)
I know Christianity has done some good things. You don't have to remind me of that. I'm just saying, how can we look at the above things and not feel absolutely awful? If you're a Christian, how can you say that any of those things above are acceptable? I couldn't stomach it any longer.
3. My Own History With Church.
I grew up in the church. I was heavily involved in "youth group." I went to Bible College. I was in ministry for over twenty years. I know a lot about what goes on. I've been on staff in several churches. Churches are screwed up. And I'm not saying that I haven't participated in some of those screwed up things. But I at least can see through it. Here, in very general terms, are some things that I've experienced.
- I had a family member who had a deadly disease who was shunned by the church.
- I myself had a disease while I was on staff, and everyone thought I was faking it to get sympathy.
- I have worked with senior ministers whose philosophy is "my way or the highway."
- I have seen church decisions made solely on the selfishness of leadership rather than what is best for the church.
- I have seen church politics rule over the teachings of Jesus.
- I have seen a senior minister decide not to market to a community because it was poor and he felt that the church didn't need any poor people.
- I was let go from a church for wrong assumptions and when I was promised that it wouldn't happen again, it happened again.
- I have had church leaders tell confidential things about me to other people.
- Church leadership only values people based on what they can get out of them, not on who they are.
- When I was going through a major family crisis, I received no support from leadership.
You may be saying "whaaa, put on some big boy pants and deal with it." I did deal with it. I'm looking back now and seeing all these things. I became rather critical of Church (not my own individual church, the church in general), and was told that I shouldn't look at the bad things that happen, that it isn't helpful. That it was obvious that I hated the church. I always responded that it showed I loved the church because I didn't want it to be left where it is. That it had so much potential if only it could get its head out of its arse and go back to the actual teachings of Jesus. I don't believe that anymore, but I did at the time.
4. The Bible.
This is the one I want to focus on with my blog. I won't talk much about this at this time, because since it is my focus, there's a lot more to say, but let me just mention this: I know the Bible really well. I've memorized a lot of it. And even knowing the Bible well, my eyes were still blinded to several things.
- I didn't see the very obvious and blatant contradictions and inconsistencies in Scripture. Where the Gospels would tell the same story in two, three or four different ways. Where one letter from supposedly "Paul" would say one thing, and another letter would say another thing.
- I had read about the history of how the Bible was put together, but I guess I didn't pay too much attention, because there are a lot of crazy things that happened when it came to choosing what books of the Bible were allowed in.
- We have copies of copies of copies of copies of scripture. We don't have any original texts. The Gospels were written 30-60 years after the life of Jesus. Some manuscripts have verses missing. Some have verses added.
- Translations have taken the "original" Bible texts and have twisted them to say what they want the Bible to say.
- Archeology has supported some of the Bible; in other ways, archeology has completely destroyed some of the history of what the Bible says supposedly happened. (Examples, mass exodus of Israelites out of Egypt; Herod killing all Jewish babies under the age of two to wipe out the Messiah.)
Is it hard to be an ex-pastor? To be an ex-Christian? It sure is. In the deconversion process, there is a definite sense of loss. I didn't just lose my job. I lost my career. I lost my support structure (or what is supposed to be the support structure). I lost my community. I lost the deity I would go to in times of sadness, or in hard times. I feel alone sometimes.
But there have been some really good things. I have gained new friends. I have a few friends who have started this journey already and have been patient with me. I feel a sense of freedom. It's weird: I fear death less now than I did when I was a Christian. Maybe because I'm becoming unafraid of the fear of punishment. That it makes me want to do whatever I can here on earth to improve this place for my family, for the generations after me. I'm not content to wait for an infinite future where everything will be wonderful. I want to make wonderful now.
I hope you take this journey with me. If you are a Christian, I hope you can read what I have to say with open eyes. I'm not here to deconvert anyone. I am simply just presenting evidence. If what I have to say is unconvincing, that's fine with me. If you still believe even after what I show when it comes to the Bible, it's ok. You have every right to worship whoever you want to. I only hope you will be civil about it.
Thanks for reading this. Next I will be talking about how a Christian author has inspired this blog.