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Church Group Meeting In My House At This Very Moment...


2Honest
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There's a group of 20 people here sitting around our campfire in the back yard and I just had to come in my room to get away for a minute. I love these people, I sincerely love them. I don't know how we're going to leave this church w/out hurting people - even if we don't tell them why. There's no way they will understand. When I'm with them I think maybe we could just stay and keep quiet about what's happening to us. But I don't see how we can. And I hate the fact that they probably won't be our friends anymore and we will be alone.

 

Ugh. I have to go but I just wanted to get this off my chest. This is so hard.

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I don't know how we're going to leave this church w/out hurting people - even if we don't tell them why.

 

You are not the one who is going to hurt them. It is their religion that will do that to them.

 

There's no way they will understand. When I'm with them I think maybe we could just stay and keep quiet about what's happening to us. But I don't see how we can. And I hate the fact that they probably won't be our friends anymore and we will be alone.

 

No you won't be alone. You will make better friends.

 

Be strong.

 

 

MM

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Just think about what it would be like if it was your wife that you were worried about not being your friend anymore if she found out you've stopped believing.

 

I'm not saying that to one-up you, but just to let you know that I understand.

 

Also, just about all of my old friends are still believers, so I imagine I would have to completely rebuild my social network if I were to "out" myself.

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Thanks for sharing the moment with us, 2H. Wow, that's rough.

 

It's hard to know how honest to be--tell them the truth or tell them what they can handle.

 

Keep us posted!

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I could do it.

 

I could pretend.

 

You don't have to make excuses to grow out of a way of thinking. It is the truth and you are honest. Enjoy the people.

 

Sooner or later you are going to tell one that you are no longer a Christian. They will pretend to understand and it will get around. I imagine you will be shunned. Don't stoop to that level. Love anyways. I think that is a song or a poem or something............

 

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

-this version is credited to Mother Teresa

The Paradoxical Commandments

by Dr. Kent M. Keith

  1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
    Love them anyway.

  2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
    Do good anyway.

  3. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
    Succeed anyway.

  4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
    Do good anyway.

  5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
    Be honest and frank anyway.

  6. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
    Think big anyway.

  7. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
    Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

  8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
    Build anyway.

  9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
    Help people anyway.

  10. Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
    Give the world the best you have anyway.

© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

"The Paradoxical Commandments" were written by Kent M. Keith in 1968 as part of a booklet for student leaders.

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*2honest, Personally, I don't think you need to do anything right now. Everybody does it a little different.

 

We have 2 choices when talking to others about our unbelief. One way is to tell them all abruptly or to tell them in small doses. People on this forum have approached it both ways. It depends on the person and how important it is, or the type of situation you are in.

 

I started out very 'slow' and watched the 'false' friends leave my life as I progressed along my path. Right now at this stage, if you don't want to let your friends go, you could try to make the topics fun when you are together. Don't say much when they start discussing the bible. Just sit there and listen - let them talk.

 

I actually have said these things to friends (and still do)..........

Some of them (because of furthur questioning me after I told them about my doubts) have actually accepted the fact that I am a 'christian non believer' now.

 

These are a few of the things that I still say to my christians friends. Depends on who they are and how open they are to recieving. Just slowly let them know you are having doubts. Make up your own!

 

They will not likely reject you if you take this approach. (At firstwink.png )

 

I don't really want to talk about it right now, but..........I'm really going through a faith crisis......Would you continue to pray for me?

 

I don't really want to talk about it right now, but........ I'm kinda' in a 'dark night of the soul' with the whole faith thing.....Would you continue to pray for me?

 

I don't really want to talk about it right now, I'm having a difficult time with taking the bible litterly.....Would you continue to pray for me?

 

I don't really want to talk about it right now, but I'm going through a hard time with my belief in the christian

bible.....

 

I don't really want to talk about it right now, but I'm beginning to question if this whole 'word of god' wasn't written by people who thought they were inspired by god....

 

I was told just last night by one of my girlfriends, that I was such a good christian girl........I didn't say a word....... I know the right opportunity will come along when we will talk.....

 

Best wishes to you today.

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Thanks, guys. There were some awkward moments last night, but not too terrible. We aren't planning to tell anyone what's going on. The hard thing is that we are leaders so we are in a position where people expect us to be a certain way. We've gone from being super involved and on board with everything to pulling back and being more reserved. We have told the pastor and his wife (who are friends) that we've been going through some stuff on a personal level w/our faith. And some others know we are struggling. But none of them know we're questioning the whole thing. I guess we feel like, without that faith connection, there's not much left in these relationships. When your whole world view is different how do you still relate with people? So what is really the point in telling them? If you tell them it makes them feel awkward and if you don't it makes you feel awkward. Either way I can't see how we can have deep meaningful relationships with many (if any) of them anymore. But maybe I'm just not seeing things clearly right now.

 

The other aspect of this is that being around them and being at church causes a lot of turmoil for me. It makes me doubt myself and feel even more confused about what's happening. And sitting through a church service is almost intolerable for both of us. I used to dance during worship (not the cheesy Pentecostal dance, more like modern/contemporary dance, just have to clarify!) And now I just stand there remembering how awesome it felt to dance/worship like that and knowing everyone's probably wondering what's wrong with me.

 

Also our teenage daughter is ironically becoming more involved in church than ever (something we always wanted but now are worried about!). It's just hard to know what to do. I did talk w/her yesterday and just told her we want her to decide what she believes for herself and not just believe things b/c other people say it. She's not one to really talk about deep or spiritual issues, so she didn't say much. But last night some of our friends brought this couple they met at Starbuck's who are from Canada. Apparently "God" told this couple to sell everything and travel the country in their souped up VW van. They were actually pretty cool people (aside from their delusion haha) and my daughter seemed kind of taken with them. She said there was just "something about them" and she'd like to do what they're doing one day. She never says things like that. It's hard to know how much to say to her.

 

So, I don't know. We are in a tough spot, I guess. I think our first step will be getting out of leading these groups. Our daughter sings back-up on the worship team once a month, so we'd only have to attend church on that Sunday, but I know that will raise lots of questions. Today she went with a friend and we stayed home. It's so nice to have a Sunday free from the church-induced emotional turmoil.

 

Thanks everyone for "listening". And as always, I appreciate any input you have.

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Thanks, guys. There were some awkward moments last night, but not too terrible. We aren't planning to tell anyone what's going on. The hard thing is that we are leaders so we are in a position where people expect us to be a certain way. We've gone from being super involved and on board with everything to pulling back and being more reserved. We have told the pastor and his wife (who are friends) that we've been going through some stuff on a personal level w/our faith. And some others know we are struggling. But none of them know we're questioning the whole thing. I guess we feel like, without that faith connection, there's not much left in these relationships. When your whole world view is different how do you still relate with people? So what is really the point in telling them? If you tell them it makes them feel awkward and if you don't it makes you feel awkward. Either way I can't see how we can have deep meaningful relationships with many (if any) of them anymore. But maybe I'm just not seeing things clearly right now.

 

The other aspect of this is that being around them and being at church causes a lot of turmoil for me. It makes me doubt myself and feel even more confused about what's happening. And sitting through a church service is almost intolerable for both of us. I used to dance during worship (not the cheesy Pentecostal dance, more like modern/contemporary dance, just have to clarify!) And now I just stand there remembering how awesome it felt to dance/worship like that and knowing everyone's probably wondering what's wrong with me.

 

Also our teenage daughter is ironically becoming more involved in church than ever (something we always wanted but now are worried about!). It's just hard to know what to do. I did talk w/her yesterday and just told her we want her to decide what she believes for herself and not just believe things b/c other people say it. She's not one to really talk about deep or spiritual issues, so she didn't say much. But last night some of our friends brought this couple they met at Starbuck's who are from Canada. Apparently "God" told this couple to sell everything and travel the country in their souped up VW van. They were actually pretty cool people (aside from their delusion haha) and my daughter seemed kind of taken with them. She said there was just "something about them" and she'd like to do what they're doing one day. She never says things like that. It's hard to know how much to say to her.

 

So, I don't know. We are in a tough spot, I guess. I think our first step will be getting out of leading these groups. Our daughter sings back-up on the worship team once a month, so we'd only have to attend church on that Sunday, but I know that will raise lots of questions. Today she went with a friend and we stayed home. It's so nice to have a Sunday free from the church-induced emotional turmoil.

 

Thanks everyone for "listening". And as always, I appreciate any input you have.

 

I hear you. I've got no advice to give, really. I just came to the point myself, this weekend, of deciding that I'd rather tell the truth than live with the turmoil. I've decided to come out on facebook, write out exactly what I want to say and then not look at it or answer my phone for a couple of days. Everyone's used to knowing where they stand with me. I want to do it, I don't want to live a lie anymore, but I am finding it difficult to build up the courage, and have kind of been avoiding everyone for a bit. Sometimes I feel really confident, and then I feel scared as all hell. But I feel as though living with the lie is too much for me- it's messing with my head.

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I guess we feel like, without that faith connection, there's not much left in these relationships. When your whole world view is different how do you still relate with people? So what is really the point in telling them? If you tell them it makes them feel awkward and if you don't it makes you feel awkward. Either way I can't see how we can have deep meaningful relationships with many (if any) of them anymore. But maybe I'm just not seeing things clearly right now.

 

In a lot of ways, you can't relate to these people any more. I've found that you have to get a feel of each person and somewhat let them decide what will happen from there. There are people that practically ignore my existence, but then there's another couple that "require" that I sit with them, if I'm in a church service.

 

The singing is what drives me to insanity. I stand there like a totem pole while others are obviously thoroughly enjoying it. Sermons aren't so bad. I still take notes. Today, he was talking of how God killed the 185,000 Assyrians. Then he side-tracked to talking about if it ever seems like God is too un-involved today. My notes were something on the order of "If God is seemingly missing, perhaps He's off killing people somewhere else."

 

Anyway, yes, it's a very unsettling time. If you can find someone who has also left religion, that is a real morale booster. Best wishes.

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Hello 2Honest! I just got off a plane and I almost ran to check Ex-C to see how things panned out for you last night! LOL!

 

Anyhow, the fact that you are in leaderships is definitely a complicating factor. This wasn't the case for me own deconversion, but I was recently part of a church in which the pastor became atheist quite abruptly (big announcement in church and no one saw it coming). That might be something to avoid. Even in the midst of my own crisis, this was very existentially jarring. I think you are wise to step back cautiously saying, "We need to step back for a while". And then let things shake down as they will.

 

I really do respect you and the struggle you are having. You seem like a wonderful, kind and compassionate person, and you truly are in a tough spot.

 

Thinking of you!

 

Peace.

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Also our teenage daughter is ironically becoming more involved in church than ever...last night some of our friends brought this couple they met at Starbuck's who are from Canada.  Apparently "God" told this couple to sell everything and travel the country in their souped up VW van.  They were actually pretty cool people (aside from their delusion haha) and my daughter seemed kind of taken with them.  She said there was just "something about them" and she'd like to do what they're doing one day.  She never says things like that.  It's hard to know how much to say to her.

 

When someone is sold out to a cause, it can strike deep chords of "meaning" to another person. To her, these people seem to have a genuine relationship with God, otherwise why would they be doing this? Their behavior hints to her that there really is a God that speaks to people, and she could know him also. You find the same kind of pull in political causes, or other religions (e.g. the 9/11 hijackers who were college educated, but were sucked into the promise of bliss with God). It is part of the inner search for significance and purpose in life.

We all know that god didn't speak to these people in the VW, but that they were conditioned to believe that selling everything is a biblical command. But to the impressionable (who are often willing to go to extremes to be obedient when they "feel God") they stand out from those that would rather be comfortable pew-warmers. I've seen people in conservative congregations gravitate towards charismatic congregations because they seem to have a thriving interaction with god, instead of mere doctrines and beliefs. I was on the same track with some "on fire" extreme missionaries to the Indians in Mexico, except that my faith got derailed before I could commit to them. Thank you Zeus! ;-)  So keep an eye on your daughter and talk to her honestly about your thoughts and listen to her. You might be able to save her from years of "radical commitment" to a cult.

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And thanks to the rest of you for your advice and encouragement. It really helps to read all the different perspectives. It's nice to relate to people who don't have an underlying "system" informing your opinions. I know you are speaking purely from your own knowledge and experience. It is refreshing.

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Fuego,

 

Yeah I agree. We are definitely planning to have more honest talks with her. I'm hoping she was more taken with the adventure of a road trip than all the religious stuff. These people's story was pretty compelling, though. They shared lots of stories of "miraculous confirmations" about what God has done in their life on the road. It was stuff that would have wowed me in the past. But now I realize that our minds can be pretty powerful and when we live life with our brain searching for signs and confirmations, we will actually find what we're looking for somehow. Several years ago I knew a woman who just KNEW God told her she was supposed to marry a band-member from Poison! She shared with me all the time these events and prophetic words that confirmed this to her. Crazy.

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Thanks, guys. There were some awkward moments last night, but not too terrible. We aren't planning to tell anyone what's going on. The hard thing is that we are leaders so we are in a position where people expect us to be a certain way. We've gone from being super involved and on board with everything to pulling back and being more reserved. We have told the pastor and his wife (who are friends) that we've been going through some stuff on a personal level w/our faith. And some others know we are struggling. But none of them know we're questioning the whole thing. I guess we feel like, without that faith connection, there's not much left in these relationships. When your whole world view is different how do you still relate with people? So what is really the point in telling them? If you tell them it makes them feel awkward and if you don't it makes you feel awkward. Either way I can't see how we can have deep meaningful relationships with many (if any) of them anymore. But maybe I'm just not seeing things clearly right now.

 

The other aspect of this is that being around them and being at church causes a lot of turmoil for me. It makes me doubt myself and feel even more confused about what's happening. And sitting through a church service is almost intolerable for both of us. I used to dance during worship (not the cheesy Pentecostal dance, more like modern/contemporary dance, just have to clarify!) And now I just stand there remembering how awesome it felt to dance/worship like that and knowing everyone's probably wondering what's wrong with me.

 

Also our teenage daughter is ironically becoming more involved in church than ever (something we always wanted but now are worried about!). It's just hard to know what to do. I did talk w/her yesterday and just told her we want her to decide what she believes for herself and not just believe things b/c other people say it. She's not one to really talk about deep or spiritual issues, so she didn't say much. But last night some of our friends brought this couple they met at Starbuck's who are from Canada. Apparently "God" told this couple to sell everything and travel the country in their souped up VW van. They were actually pretty cool people (aside from their delusion haha) and my daughter seemed kind of taken with them. She said there was just "something about them" and she'd like to do what they're doing one day. She never says things like that. It's hard to know how much to say to her.

 

So, I don't know. We are in a tough spot, I guess. I think our first step will be getting out of leading these groups. Our daughter sings back-up on the worship team once a month, so we'd only have to attend church on that Sunday, but I know that will raise lots of questions. Today she went with a friend and we stayed home. It's so nice to have a Sunday free from the church-induced emotional turmoil.

 

Thanks everyone for "listening". And as always, I appreciate any input you have.

 

 

I am sorry, this has got to be hard for you. I am in a similar situation with my children. They are extremely involved in church, they go every Wednesday and Sunday even though we don't. I still havn't told my dh how I am feeling, so am not close to the point of revealing my deconversion. I want to say I am praying for you, old habits lol I will say you are in my thoughts :hugs:

 

tonya

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We are definitely planning to have more honest talks with her. I'm hoping she was more taken with the adventure of a road trip than all the religious stuff. These people's story was pretty compelling, though. They shared lots of stories of "miraculous confirmations" about what God has done in their life on the road.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Several years ago I knew a woman who just KNEW God told her she was supposed to marry a band-member from Poison! She shared with me all the time these events and prophetic words that confirmed this to her. Crazy.

Hello again! Man, this site is so addictive. It is so helpful having this community, too!

 

About your daughter--I think some people may be hardwired to seek spiritual experiences. I read somewhere that identical twin studies confirmed this finding. Maybe your daughter will listen to reason--hopefully--but I was one of the ones who could not be persuaded by reason and was drawn to spiritual experiences (even though I lean towards science, hence my screen name). Either way, I think you have some interesting conversations ahead!

 

I have had numerous believer friends who had *crazy* beliefs, too. Sometimes these people are actually loco-loco, but other times it seems it's just fundamentalism kicking in. God has had his people barking like dogs, crawling on all fours around the house in humility, taking crazy leaps of faith to move across the world, and marrying someone "because God told me to". From a psychological perspective it fascinates me but on a personal level, well, I'm just glad I'm out!

 

Peace.

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