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Help! Were Any Of You Still In Bible Study While De-con?


joyless
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I really need to know that someone relates because I am losing my mind. A few years ago I started attending this International Bible study for women and children and fell in love. I couldn't wait each week to get out of the house with my son and be with other women. This study is structured around making women feel loved, accepted and comfortable. I cherished that time. One day I "heard" God tell me that I would be leading the whole thing and, sure enough, it happened. I am still in that role and find each week that I am in emotional turmoil all day. The circular reasoning, the trying to make pieces fit together and twisting the brain into a pretzel to do it and the perpetual state of learned helplessness is something that sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. Today they were talking about miracles still happening and even if God chooses not to heal it is part of his plan. My bitterness and anger were overflowing but I can't show it because I am the leader, they pay money to attend and they deserve to have a teacher who walks the walk. Have any of you been involved in Bible study while having a crisis of faith?

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One day I "heard" God tell me that I would be leading the whole thing and, sure enough, it happened. I am still in that role and find each week that I am in emotional turmoil all day. The circular reasoning, the trying to make pieces fit together and twisting the brain into a pretzel to do it and the perpetual state of learned helplessness is something that sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. Today they were talking about miracles still happening and even if God chooses not to heal it is part of his plan. My bitterness and anger were overflowing but I can't show it because I am the leader, they pay money to attend and they deserve to have a teacher who walks the walk. Have any of you been involved in Bible study while having a crisis of faith?

 

Yes. I have been in the same Sunday Bible study group for years. I sat there when my faith was in crisis, when I went from conservative fundamentalist all the way to liberal and I still sit there now as an ex-Christian. Of course I never served as the leader. At most I just do the closing prayer and that is rare. I don't think I would want to lead it. I feel for you. Can you ask for a break? You don't have to tell them the real reason or be specific about your doubts. You can just make a vague excuse like you "think God is calling you to something else and you need to listen". Depends on which flavor of Christianity your church is a part of and what phrases they like to use. Also I am not going to tell you to leave Christianity. That is a choice only you can make. Lots of people who have experienced a lot of fear at first but wound up happier when the fear wore off. It's your life and I don't really think we directly choose what we believe.

 

Personally I sit back in my Bible study and practice my poker face. Nearly every week other members get into a heated argument because they found a passage that seems to contradict some other passage and they all want to make it work but can't figure out how. It's not my job to help them so I just try to not smile. I suspect that a few of our members who dropped out have become ex-Christians but they won't say so and I'm not going to question them on it.

 

I went through a stage where reading the Bible hurt my mind. Now I find the Bible easy to understand but I feel betrayed every time I read it so It's not something I enjoy. I think the reason I use to feel crazy is that it's a natural effect of trying to believe the Bible. This probably wasn't what you wanted to hear. I'm sorry. I wish I could give better advise.

 

 

MM

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If you want to have fun, start picking out the more...well....troublesome verses out and asking questions on them...watch those around you go spastic....zDuivel7.gif

 

LOL

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If you want to have fun, start picking out the more...well....troublesome verses out and asking questions on them...watch those around you go spastic....zDuivel7.gif

I like this idea.

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If you want to have fun, start picking out the more...well....troublesome verses out and asking questions on them...watch those around you go spastic....zDuivel7.gif

 

The best part about this idea is that you can just innocently say, "God is leading me to take this bible study group to a whole new level- to really get to know him more, deeper, than ever before."

 

Oh god I love this idea!!

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Joyless, 2Honest and I are in that very situation right now. We currently lead the two most popular groups in our church, a weekly Wed meeting at the church and and twice monthly Sat night meeting at our house. Ironically, I think the reason our groups are popular has nothing to do with our faith. It's simply that we are genuine and genuinely love and care about people. We are authentic in our words and actions, which (again ironically) is the very thing that lead to our de-conversion.

 

However, we see our continuing participation as church leaders as untenable. How can we lead church groups as unbelievers? It just won't work in the long run. We cherish the real relationships we have made, but we don't want to destroy other people's faith, and that is what will happen if we stay much longer. It would be so easy because we are so followed. But we are unwilling to invite people to take the red pill if they don't know anything is wrong (yet).

 

So, our conclusion at this point is that we are going to tell the other leaders in the next week that we feel that we need to take a sabbatical for the rest of the year. Then, we will just fade away (never return). I think that will make it easier on them and maybe on us.

 

I wish we were further down the road with this experience so we could be more help to you, but that's the best we can do for now :)

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I had started seminary school when I was deconverting and it helped me deconvert! The prof. doing the lecture was so far out of tune with his subject of the Old Testament, the exodus, he made no sense at all. After listening to him, I went back through the babble with a critical eye and nothing I found has proven true in other history books. Bible study was good for me to finish deconverting.

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Have any of you been involved in Bible study while having a crisis of faith?

Wow, tough spot. Lucky for me, I saw the oncoming train of a crisis of faith and stepped down.

 

jblueep has good advice: can you take a sabbatical or step down? Can you pass the torch to someone else in the group? You're right when you say it's making feel like you're losing your mind. Being of two minds--or of one mind but not matching outward actions with inward beliefs--is incredibly stressful.

 

Find a replacement for you as leader. Like a colleague keeps reminding me, "JFK was replaced in 15 minutes". Take care of *you*. Then start a ladies group based on other criteria, besides faith.

Keep us posted!

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Thank you everyone for your advice. Lol, burnedout! I used to be one of those people twisting my brain into a pretzel trying to make those tough passages make sense and fit. Jblueep, I too have led with genuine love and compassion and I don't want to make another believer "stumble", which is inevitible. I wish I could go back to the early days when my faith was so innocent and I just loved Jesus - before the fundies came and tore it up like a pack of wild savages.

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