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My Ex-pastor Contacted Me


Kurari
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My Ex-Pastor gave me a call a few days ago, and left me a message on my vmail saying he just wanted to see how I was doing since I haven't been to church in over a year. Last I saw him was at a memorial for a woman I knew there that I admired very much.

 

I hemmed around it a bit, but decided to write him an e-mail back updating him a bit on my life (I just don't have time to chat these days between work and dealing with my mother's care and my chiropractic appointments). He really is a sweet guy, and I like him a lot. I didn't mention I've become an athiest since I last saw him.

 

I wonder what he would think about it. I went to a Swedenborgian Church, and the Swedenborgians and the Unitarians are practically joined at the hip. Very New Agey. I call them "technically Christian," but you'd never really guess they are except for the occasional passages from the Bible, which is considered metaphorical. Every sermon is something new, and it includes readings from all different kinds of religions. Sometimes we'd have religious leaders from other religions come in and talk about what they believe and do ceremonies and sermons for us. We even had a local Wiccan coven in and perform Circle for us with thier High Priestess and Priest.

 

I'm really kind of interested to know what their take on atheism is, and some of the more complicated God issues. But I'm wondering if it's too risky to bring up. What do you think?

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I'm really kind of interested to know what their take on atheism is, and some of the more complicated God issues. But I'm wondering if it's too risky to bring up. What do you think?
Has that church ever invited someone in from a non-theistic tradition?

 

It may be easier to start a conversation like your suggesting by discussing non-theistic traditions (like Buddhism). If they're open to everything else you listed - I don't know why they wouldn't be open to a non-theistic world-view.

 

Once you know where the pastor stands in regards to a religion like Buddhism - you're in a better position to discuss your own personal views with him.

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Several thoughts.

 

1. Anyone who accepts Wiccan must surely be accepting of atheists but I don't know these people.

 

2. Depends how much energy and time you can afford to put into it in case it becomes complicated. You can always say you have moved on and don't really expect to be back.

 

3. Like I said, I don't know these people so I don't know how they will respond. If they respond positively, it could be a really good thing to fill them in on your religious position. It would remove all suspicions that you're mad at them for some imagined offense and friendships might continue.

 

4. Every congregation of any given denomination is different. So is every person who is or was part of a specific congregation. I have seen people leave a congregation in hurt and anger because of the way they were treated, yet another person was joining at the very same time because of the love they encountered.

 

So many things play into human relationships that I cannot begin to guess what you should do. It does not seem that they should have theological problems with your deconversion but maybe theology is not important for them. That is not something I can answer from this side of the internet. I can see why you feel concern and I hope you can figure out what is best. Maybe he is content with the update.

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I'd tend to agree with Callyn... Unitarians are usually pretty amiable.

 

I attend my old pal Father Richard's doings and he's Episcopalian (Church of England) and I'm never hassled by people over my beliefs (or lack of them) when it comes to their dying Man-God. I even enjoy the hymns. I admit, Fr. R is one of my oldest friends and far from orthodox, and he tends to get congregations the same. So, even in 'Baby Jesus R Us' heartland, there is a place for the likes of us, who enjoy the singing, spotting the bits lifted from Egyptian and Greek mystery cults, and enjoys the atmosphere and design of old churches.

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