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Guest paket

New stage in life

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Guest paket

My story starts out very similar to many. Born into a Christian home, converted young, raised in a strict religious and ethnic tradition (Mennonite). Had a short 'rebellious stage' (a few years) in my late teens, came back to God (felt guilty about it for years). Went to bible school, found a girl, got married, started a career, had kids. Faithful church attender, supporter and booster. Ministry and small group leader. Here's where the story starts to diverge a bit from the norm, and hopefully gets a bit more interesting.

 

About 6-7 years ago my wife starts going through what I euphemistically call 'a bad time'. In reality, emotional issues stemming back to childhood abuse bubble to the surface, and she emotionally checks out of the relationship. After a couple years of this, she starts going to a counselor, which has become a weekly routine ever since. During this time, I coped the best I could. I prayed, listened and prayed some more. I shared my pain with others and had them pray for me. Then it happened.

 

I was driving home from work, fairly depressed over the situation, when I heard a radio commercial. It was from one of our local churches and it was inviting the listeners to 'try Jesus'. It basically said that if a good job, nice house and new car was bringing satisfaction and fulfillment, forgive the intrusion, but if you wanted something done about the 'dark empty hole' in their lives, then try their service and 'investigate Jesus'. That hit me pretty hard. I had worked damn hard for all of my adult life to follow Christ, yet I still carried around the 'dark, empty hole' that He was supposed to solve.

 

You see, I always had the kind of faith that said knowing and following God would make a tangible, palpable difference in your life. An ever-present help in time of trouble. Prayer changes things. Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. That kind of thing. In the moment I heard that commercial, I knew that my prayers and efforts were fruitless. When I needed it the most, my faith was useless. When I needed God the most, He wasn't there.

 

That was about a year ago. I feel that I have been thrust, naked and screaming, into a cold, cruel, unknown world. This is what it feels like to be 'born again'. (Actually witnessing the event kind of changes your view of it). I have expended and lost myself for the sake of another – the supposed pinnacle of Christian achievement, but it has left me shattered.

 

I'm slowly rebuilding a life for myself. I've found some music that expresses where I'm at, and it's comforting to listen to it. Exercise seems to combat the depression better than anything else I've tried. My wife and I are still together, although I don't see much of a future for us. I still care for her very much, but the bottom line is that I want more than what she is willing or able to give. She is “very thankful for everything God has done for her”. From my perspective, she's as uptight and more repressed than ever. According to her, my desires are unreasonable and I ought to be seeking help for them. (Yup – she wants me to be counseled out of my sex drive).

 

If I've learned anything during the last number of years, it's this: passion, integrity and honesty – intellectual and emotional - are the absolute most important things to hold on to in life. Everything else is ancillary. They're my cornerstones – and I'll go to my fucking grave before I let go of them.

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Guest singlecoil

Paket,

 

Thank you for your story. My story is eerily similar with similar upbringing and my wife's story is almost identical (right down to seeing a counselor for the same issues). It is comforting to know I'm not the only one facing these problems.

 

Thanks for sharing.

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Hi paket. Thanks for sharing your story.

 

Your moment in the car listening to the radio reminded me of the song "New York Minute" by Don Henley. Everything can change in a New York minute.

 

That's the way many of my big life changes have been, too. Of course, there's plenty of things that lead up to moments like that. But then, in the blink of an eye, in one moment, the world is tipped on its ear.

 

It sounds like you're a pretty strong individual. Hope things work out for you and your wife.

 

Welcome to the forums. You're among friends.

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Nothing fails like prayer. That's where it seems to start for many of

us here. Anyway, hope things get better for you, and welcome!

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Sometimes I feel so young. I only experienced this first paragraph and deconverted. And I feel privileged... Enjoy your time overhere.

Start writing docs to be able to express your feelings without the usual rotten discussions in which arguments so often can not be properly expressed. Thoughts on (electronic) paper are worth hunderd times more. The difference seems that thoughts that are written on paper seem more often to be thought. :wicked: And the verbal utterances of my opponents are more like quantum fluctuations in their brains.

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....I was driving home from work, fairly depressed over the situation, when I heard a radio commercial. It was from one of our local churches and it was inviting the listeners to 'try Jesus'. It basically said that if a good job, nice house and new car was bringing satisfaction and fulfillment, forgive the intrusion, but if you wanted something done about the 'dark empty hole' in their lives, then try their service and 'investigate Jesus'. That hit me pretty hard. I had worked damn hard for all of my adult life to follow Christ, yet I still carried around the 'dark, empty hole' that He was supposed to solve.

 

You see, I always had the kind of faith that said knowing and following God would make a tangible, palpable difference in your life. An ever-present help in time of trouble. Prayer changes things. Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. That kind of thing. In the moment I heard that commercial, I knew that my prayers and efforts were fruitless. When I needed it the most, my faith was useless. When I needed God the most, He wasn't there.....

 

 

99935[/snapback]

 

Hi Paket, Welcome!

 

Interesting post. The heights of expectation in religion make the come down a REAL DOWNER! When reality hits and BigDaddyJesus didn't change anything in the heart (since he/they don't exist), it feels like you've been scammed - like part of your life has totally wasted. It's a level of depression followed by anger that most here have experienced. The catharsis is powerful, and I try to remember that life is good now, it was the unrealistic expectations of christianity that were depressing, not life.

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Welcome Paket (and you too, singlecoil)!

 

I simultaneously grieve and rejoice for your situation, Paket. While it is great to be free of the Christ cult, it won't be an easy road for your marriage. The only "prophecy" of "Jesus" that has come true was, "I have not come to bring peace, but a sword." For surely our enemies have become the members of our own households.

 

(So much for "gentle Jesus" and "family values", huh?)

 

You'll find that this forum is a great place to vent and practice "speaking" openly about your lack of faith. It sure helps when you have no one in "real" life to chat with. (I'm speaking from experience.) So stick around and make yourself at home.

 

 

Oh! Also, if you ever feel like it, I'd love to hear a little bit about the Mennonite faith. Just before I apostasized, I was looking into joining a Mennonite church. I know something about them (their Anabaptist heritage), but I wanted to hear from someone with direct experience to give me the "real" lowdown of what they are like today. Thanks.

 

Once again, welcome! :grin:

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Welcome. I suggest journaling as a form of therapy. Get an old-fashioned notebook if you don't want to do an online "blog". Writing can be very cathartic.

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Guest paket

singlecoil, Mythra, Gnosis, Saviourmachine, Curtdude, Grinch, Amethyst, and SurlyMermaid - thank you for listening and your kind words. I will endeavor to explore writing-as-therapy, although I probably won't do another blog. I am currently reading through "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris. It certainly is challenging my thought patterns.

 

I thought this article described the current situation, and my experiences in the evengelical church very well: Cultural Evangelicalism: The Background for Personal Despair. I was totally blown away to see that is was written in 1972.

 

Grinch - I'll throw something together about Mennonites, post it and pm you. It's late. For now, just think 'Baptist', except not quite so open-minded.

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Hey paket!

 

Welcome and hang in there - you'll eventually find that life without the burden of xtianity has it's perks as well.

 

BTW, I also got mixed up with a Mennonite sect (thru conversion). Those people are nuts!

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...............

Grinch - I'll throw something together about Mennonites, post it and pm you. It's late. For now, just think 'Baptist', except not quite so open-minded.

100477[/snapback]

Kewl! No hurry and thanks!

 

"Baptist, except not quite so open-minded"? :eek: THAT can't be good!

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