There is a popular movement these days it seems. Not one I really thought I’d have to deal with. Certainly not one I want to deal with. After all, I thought people had integrity of character to be honest and real with one another. Oh, and to not do harm.
But it seems it’s not always the case.
What I’ve been seeing of late is clergy renouncing their faith. “Deconverting” is the term a few of them use. That is, they become atheists.
Some of them have the integrity to leave the church. Some of them have the integrity to own up to the fact they do not believe and retire or resign. Some have the integrity to do it quietly, and walk away.
Others do not.
Some have sought to profit from their new “insights” by writing books and going on speaking tours. Some remain in the pulpit seeking to “deconvert” others. Some of them are celebrated, not just by public opinion, but also by people still in the church! This I don’t get at all.
I wish to publicly proclaim here today that I still love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength!
Those in church leadership who have chosen otherwise need to rethink their position strongly and honestly. The church is a place for people to learn about and become closer to God. If you are not enabling this experience, then you need to be elsewhere.
Being a minister is not a “job”, it is a calling from God to bring people into a deeper relationship with Him through your leadership and work with those with whom you serve. It is to proclaim God’s infinite love for all of us who are broken, and yes this still includes those who have turned away.
As one who had a powerful personal experience with the Lord which brings me to where I am today, for some out there to trivialize it as something meaningless is highly offensive to me. You are negating millions of stories people have shared of encounters with God over generations. I too have experienced the Living God personally and intimately, and He has made me into a far better man than I was before I knew Him.
This is a fact. This is not a dream. This is not something I made up. This is not meaningless.
It is real.
So go ahead, believe what you wish to believe. I’m fine with that. God allows us to change our minds. But please have the integrity to not perpetuate your position for profit or to bring down the church, especially since you are looking to receive pensions and other benefits from your years of service.
But also, do not seek to break people’s relationships with God.
Jesus had some pretty strong words for people who do that. Check out Matthew 18 and you’ll see what I mean.
Continuing reading part 2, why I stay.