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More Leaving The Fold Drama


kclark
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This is probably the third time I've posted about me leaving the church I've been a musician at for 8 years (to catch up read "Told My Pastor I'm Quitting Today") and you guys are probably sick of it, but I have no else to really open up to except my boyfriend, who doesn't always see eye to eye with me on this stuff. So you guys are my online therapists lol.

 

Anyway, since I've told the pastor I'm leaving the church at the end of the year, I've pretty much been a bundle of mixed emotions--fear, relief, guilt, etc. Usually these feelings pass after I leave church and go on with my week and remind myself why I don't believe and why I'm quitting. But as soon as I go to rehearsal and play through a service, all those feelings float back up to the surface. Feelings made even worse today when the pastor decided to call me up and announce my depature. I had to look at the floor as everyone gasped when he broke the news, and looked away from the preacher's wife, also the minister of music, as she teared up a little.

 

I guess I should've expected the announcement, but now they're planning a big dinner for my last Sunday and giving a love offering to send me off. I went back home and filled in the BF, who said I should be ashamed because the preacher and his wife have been good to me, and, like a few others on Ex-Christian, said I should just stay and take the money . To which I gave my usual spiel about me no longer believing and not considering it ministry anymore etc. Then he said something along the lines of "Ninety percent of the people in church are just there to see what's going on (I think he meant entertained/social interaction). The preacher probably doesn't believe the shit he says."

 

I'm not naive to believe that what he said isn't at least partly true (Of course the extimonies on here put lie to that notion), so I responded by saying if that was true, then what's the point of any of it? It makes the whole system even worse because while people are gathering together every week to dress up and "play church" the consequences are very real (i.e. self-hating gays, women who feel they only live to serve their husbands, people paying tithes instead of their light bills etc.). Why not just get together and put on a theater production or a musical if you just have to be entertained?

 

No overall point to this post. It's just so hard right now, fighting with myself and turning away opportunities. It's confusing because I know what I'm leaving behind, but I'm still not sure exactly what I heading into. Thanks for reading:).

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Anyway, since I've told the pastor I'm leaving the church at the end of the year, I've pretty much been a bundle of mixed emotions--fear, relief, guilt, etc. Usually these feelings pass after I leave church and go on with my week and remind myself why I don't believe and why I'm quitting. But as soon as I go to rehearsal and play through a service, all those feelings float back up to the surface.

 

Since you feel this way, staying will be torture for you. I have played many church gigs since deconverting only because I could handle it. But almost all of the churches were moderate or liberal. I couldn't handle conservative ones, even though I don't perform for free. So it doesn't look like it would be a good thing for you to stay, unless you can change the way you think about it.

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Anyway, since I've told the pastor I'm leaving the church at the end of the year, I've pretty much been a bundle of mixed emotions--fear, relief, guilt, etc. Usually these feelings pass after I leave church and go on with my week and remind myself why I don't believe and why I'm quitting. But as soon as I go to rehearsal and play through a service, all those feelings float back up to the surface.

 

Since you feel this way, staying will be torture for you. I have played many church gigs since deconverting only because I could handle it. But almost all of the churches were moderate or liberal. I couldn't handle conservative ones, even though I don't perform for free. So it doesn't look like it would be a good thing for you to stay, unless you can change the way you think about it.

 

I think I'd probably be able to do that as well (at least at liberal/moderate churches like you do, but I'd probably have to move to a much larger city to find those) after some time has passed. But right now, everything is too raw.

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No, we aren't sick of reading it. My boys enjoy church so went with them today, and there was a singing group there, and they sang "It Is Well With My Soul" which used to be one of my favorite songs, in the few times when things were seemingly going okay between God and me. Then they sang some song about coming home to God. It bothered me for a few minutes. It's so easy to let emotions over-ride the intellect. I can't even imagine how you must feel with the church having a meal for your departure. At least there are only six Sunday's left this year. It's okay to post after each Sunday, if you need to. smile.png Best wishes.

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I think I'd probably be able to do that as well (at least at liberal/moderate churches like you do, but I'd probably have to move to a much larger city to find those) after some time has passed. But right now, everything is too raw.

 

You really need time to heal and reflect. Try to get away for a bit if you can. Good luck!

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Oy. Your boyfriend's remark that you "should be ashamed because the preacher and his wife have been good to you"??? YUCK! I sure hope he isn't as much of a douche as that makes him sound.

 

If you have, at appropriate times, thanked the pastor and his wife for their kindnesses, and if you have reciprocated in kindness and/or provided services to the church as well, then you don't owe them anything else. You have nothing to be ashamed of, and you certainly don't owe it to them to sacrifice your integrity or put a damper on your intelligence. Telling your preacher the truth and quitting a role you have outgrown was honest, courteous and brave. Hang in there and be proud of yourself. It will get better.

 

He isn't, he was half-joking when he said that. He's not deconverting like me, but has been cool with my disbelief and decision to leave so far, even though we don't share the same views. Hopefully that'll continue.

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Man can I relate. We are still involved in our church right now (lead a class at the church and a homegroup). In fact I just posted last night b/c we were in the middle of our homegroup and I just had to come to my room to get away. It does conjur up a bunch of emotion. I can feel so solid on what I feel is right and what is best for me, but as soon as I am in that environment I get confused. I want to be able to step back into the dreamworld with all my friends...at least a part of me does. We are planning to write our pastor and let him know we are going on a Sabbatical through the end of the year. We hope it will soften the blow and we can avoid the whole, "we want to send you off with a blessing" thing. I feel for you, that must have been really awkward.

 

There's no shame in what you are doing. Be true to yourself, it is the only way for you to be healthy and that's the most important thing. I am talking to myself here, too!

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Feelings made even worse today when the pastor decided to call me up and announce my depature. I had to look at the floor as everyone gasped when he broke the news, and looked away from the preacher's wife, also the minister of music, as she teared up a little.

 

I guess I should've expected the announcement, but now they're planning a big dinner for my last Sunday and giving a love offering to send me off.

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

It's just so hard right now, fighting with myself and turning away opportunities. It's confusing because I know what I'm leaving behind, but I'm still not sure exactly what I heading into. Thanks for reading:).

Hey, kclark! Great to hear from you again.

 

It sounds like you are really tight with your community and that they really love you and appreciate you! That really is wonderful, and allows you to leave on a high point. IMO, the classy thing to do would be to attend the dinner so you and your congregants can share your mutual appreciation and have some closure. If anyone asks what's going on right now for you, you can be as honest as you like are simply say, "I am taking some time to sort some things out right now. Please stay in touch, though."

 

As for the love offering, you could either decline it or turn it around with a thank you and donate it to the music ministry (perhaps something specific--a new microphone, or something).

 

Just my two cents! I'm glad your BF is supportive. Having a supportive partner is so important in these tough transitions!

 

Again, great to hear from you again. I was actually wondering what was up with you.

 

Cheers!

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Man can I relate. We are still involved in our church right now (lead a class at the church and a homegroup). In fact I just posted last night b/c we were in the middle of our homegroup and I just had to come to my room to get away. It does conjur up a bunch of emotion. I can feel so solid on what I feel is right and what is best for me, but as soon as I am in that environment I get confused. I want to be able to step back into the dreamworld with all my friends...at least a part of me does. We are planning to write our pastor and let him know we are going on a Sabbatical through the end of the year. We hope it will soften the blow and we can avoid the whole, "we want to send you off with a blessing" thing. I feel for you, that must have been really awkward. There's no shame in what you are doing. Be true to yourself, it is the only way for you to be healthy and that's the most important thing. I am talking to myself here, too!

 

Thanks 2Honest. I read your post earlier, so I definitely know and feel where you're coming from!

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kclark, it's good to hear from you again. thanks for keeping us posted. It is very hard making the transition out of the church, but I can assure you, once you are out - you will have a new freedom that you haven't had in a long time.

 

Your new life will fall into place because you will take charge and make it happen!

 

It's almost 3 years since I have been in a church (the longest I've gone) and I don't miss it at all.I feel that you will replace this 'ministry' with something else that means a lot to you. You sound like a really smart person to me!

Keep us posted on how you are doing? Sincerely, Margee

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Feelings made even worse today when the pastor decided to call me up and announce my depature. I had to look at the floor as everyone gasped when he broke the news, and looked away from the preacher's wife, also the minister of music, as she teared up a little. I guess I should've expected the announcement, but now they're planning a big dinner for my last Sunday and giving a love offering to send me off. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It's just so hard right now, fighting with myself and turning away opportunities. It's confusing because I know what I'm leaving behind, but I'm still not sure exactly what I heading into. Thanks for reading:).
Hey, kclark! Great to hear from you again. It sounds like you are really tight with your community and that they really love you and appreciate you! That really is wonderful, and allows you to leave on a high point. IMO, the classy thing to do would be to attend the dinner so you and your congregants can share your mutual appreciation and have some closure. If anyone asks what's going on right now for you, you can be as honest as you like are simply say, "I am taking some time to sort some things out right now. Please stay in touch, though." As for the love offering, you could either decline it or turn it around with a thank you and donate it to the music ministry (perhaps something specific--a new microphone, or something). Just my two cents! I'm glad your BF is supportive. Having a supportive partner is so important in these tough transitions! Again, great to hear from you again. I was actually wondering what was up with you. Cheers!

 

Thanks Positivist, I'll probably use that line or tweak it a little (maybe something like: I'm just taking some time away). The truth is though, I probably won't see many of them after I leave outside of a random street encounter. One because this church isn't my "home church" (i.e. the one I grew up in). And if I was to run into them, it'd probably be a short conversation because while I've grown fond of the church and playing for the youth choir in general, being in the closet about my gayness (at church anyway; I'm out to my immediate family and close circle of friends) has made me keep an emotional distance from them. In other words, we're close, but we're not close, if that makes any sense. Either way it's still kind of tough.

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