IF YOU REALLY ARE AN ATHEIST, WHY DON’T YOU QUIT YOUR JOB AS A PASTOR?
Great question, 3 answers: Joshua, Middle Child, and Princess (my children). My kids need daddy to have a job. My kids need daddy to pay the house payment, and buy food, and buy clothes (since for some reason they don’t stop growing). In essence, I’d quit tomorrow if I had a job lined up that would pay the bills.
SO THEN YOU’RE JUST DOING IT FOR THE MONEY?
Yes, but so is every other professional pastor on the planet. This is why you work for a living, to make money. If your pastor didn’t do it for the money, then he would have another job and simply volunteer his time as a pastor. But since your church figures that it’s better to employ a pastor so he can do the job better, they attempt to offer a competitive salary, or to at least meet his financial needs, so that he doesn’t work anywhere else except the church.
BUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS DISHONEST. AREN’T YOU TECHNICALLY STEALING FROM THEM?
I fully understand that they are employing me under the assumption that my faith matches theirs. It does not. It is dishonest to let them think it does. However, they are paying me to be a biblically conservative pastor. And so, a biblically conservative pastor is what I give them. Under no circumstances are my sermons and bible teachings in contradiction with their faith. They are paying for a service and I am providing them with the service as they would expect it to be performed. I am not using my lack of faith to undermine their personal faith. If they believe in a cross focused Gospel, then they are getting just that; a cross focused Gospel. I preach Christ crucified. I preach the Bible in proper context. I admonish people to place their faith in the blood of Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. I preach what they are paying me to preach, and what I have always preached. I am preaching and teaching and praying (publicly) the EXACT same way I did when I still believed. I would find it unethical to subvert their faith or to discredit the Bible while they were still paying me as a pastor. They are paying for a service, and I am faithful to deliver that service.
BUT HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY LIVE WITH YOURSELF WHILE YOU LIE TO YOUR CHURCH MEMBERS?
I’ll be honest, I hate the position that I am in. But it’s not my fault God fails to exist. I was sold on a lie. I was told God existed. I was told that Jesus died for me. I was told that the Holy Spirit filled me. I was told that the Bible contained all things necessary for life and salvation. When I found out all these things weren’t true, I was stuck. I built my whole life serving the Gospel, God, his people, and the lost. I staked my financial well being and the ability to take care of my family on all this being true. Now that’s it’s not true I am completely unable to provide for my children. It’s not my kids fault that I don’t believe anymore. It’s not my wife’s fault that I don’t believe anymore. And yet here I am, mid 30s, and with no job experience except church work. How they hell am I supposed to find work?
I apply to jobs sometimes daily, definitely multiple times a week. No one wants me. No one looks at my resume and says, “oh your education is in Biblical studies and you’ve worked as a pastor for over a decade! You’d be perfect for our company doing __________.”. So I keep my job as a pastor because my family needs daddy to be employed.
Reality check: Churches are exempt from providing unemployment insurance.
What’s more is that my wife needs surgery. If I get a new job tomorrow, we’d still have to put off her surgery for 3 months before the insurance would kick in. My wife is daily losing function and strength in her arms. I have to plan a surgery ASAP. Which means I need the Church’s insurance to pay for her surgery so she can function as a mommy should be able to function with 3 small kids. And what if she needs physical therapy?
I’m sorry but I don’t give a fuck if you’re bothered because I might be lying about what I believe to people you’ll never meet. I’m doing what they’re asking for. As soon as I can get a job that will provide for my family and can ensure that my wife can have the surgery she needs, then I’ll quit. If God existed, then none of this would be necessary. But alas, he is as made up as the tooth fairy. Or Zeus, Ra, Thor…
WHY DON’T YOU JUST GET A JOB AT WALMART?
Actually the idea has crossed my mind, but Walmart has more employees on Welfare than the entire population of the some states. What good is working a job that only leaves you dependent upon government food stamps?
THEN BE A MAN AND WORK 2 JOBS!
Yep, that’s probably what I’ll have to do. And I’m ok with that. One thing that Christianity taught me is that a husband/father sacrifices for his family. I am fully prepared to do what ever it takes to provide for my kids. So I’m sacrificing my integrity now, and I’ll sacrifice my body and time later. But you can’t blame me for at least trying to find a decent paying job first.
I STILL THINK WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS WRONG!
Then I invite you to pray for me. If God is real, I’m sure he doesn’t want me preaching. Better yet, if God is real, I’d love to be a Christian again! Pray that the holy spirit would make himself known to me. Pray that I would see Jesus! Please, let me believe again. My world would be so much easier! I could stay a pastor, keep my friends stay in my church, and go back to knowing that everyday God was watching over me. I’d love to be wrong about God. But since He has saw fit to completely hide himself from me and never answer my prayers, I’m not too concerned about being an atheist preacher.
Relevant song and obligatory Quiet Company promotion: