Front row seats…

So looks like my Patrons got to my facebook just in time to catch front row seats to the shit hitting the fan.  My God, this week has sucked!

I thought my church was different.

I thought my church was more compassionate and understanding.

I thought that we would still be able to salvage a few friendships after I left.

NOPE

So Jenn (my wife) and I went to AZ for a few weeks to decompress immediately following our last Sunday at church.  Where we were in AZ there was no cell reception and no internet access.  I was flooded with messages and questions from church members, but I couldn’t really address them yet.  Eventually it came time to come home.

We arrived back home Monday.

It doesn’t surprise me that people are upset with me, what surprises me is how people from church are treating my wife.

  • Some ladies unfriended my wife on facebook
  • Some ladies wouldn’t return her calls
  • One lady said she wasn’t sure if she could be friends with Jenn because Jenn might spiritually influence her in a negative way
  • One lady said she wasn’t sure “on how to move forward”
  • The lead elder called my wife to tell her what a horrible person she is
  • Nearly every lady that called my wife only did so BECAUSE I HAD TO FUCKING BEG THEM, and not one of those conversations ended well.

Jenn had 3 people from church contact her.  One was “Reese”, who already knew about me.  One was a friend who recently had cancer.  One was an older lady.

3 FUCKING FRIENDS, and my wife is an innocent bystander in all of this.  She did nothing wrong, she had no control over what was happening to me.

Now there have been a quite of number of Christians who have been trying to stay in contact, but these were mostly people not involved in our church.

Finally I had enough with how my wife was being treated, and so I posted this on Facebook.

Disciple: “Lord, how often shall I forgive my brother who sins against me in one day? 7 times in one day?”

Jesus: “Truly I tell you, not 7 times, but 70 x 7”

Disciple: “But what if it’s not my brother, but my sister. And what if she’s married to my ex-pastor?”

Jesus: “Oh, well in that case you should probably never speak to her again.”

– Things Jesus never said
——————————————————————
Seriously, I get the fact that many of you are upset with me but taking it out on my wife is unacceptable (and unbiblical). She didn’t do anything, none of this is her fault. The church had an opportunity to reach out to a lady who is hurting, her husband lost his faith, the father of her children lost his job, and she has had no control over this. Some of you have reached out, and you are greatly appreciated, but we’ve received greater care from non-Christians than from Christians…which hurts.

Thank you to our friends, whether you were a part of New Life or not, who have seen us hurting and offered friendship. You have rescued us from despair.

If you’re thinking “You really shouldn’t be doing this on Facebook”, well I wish I didn’t have to.

Holy Shitballs.  Well that was a lightning rod.  Instantly I became a person you either hated or loved.  Perhaps some of you Patrons can fill in the gaps for the rest of the readers, in terms of what happened.

People saw it as passive aggressive, which it might be.  But I wanted to address the whole church.  I don’t want to go down quietly.  I don’t want this to be another, “What happened to Pastor John” moment where everything is hush hush and swept under the rug.  I’m not interested in protecting the church, I’m interested in the church seeing itself for what it is…distinctly human and not divine.

There are good people in the church and there are good people outside the church.  There are bad people in the church and there are bad people outside the church.  Apparently believing God doesn’t affect whether you are good or bad, it only affects how you are good or bad.

I’ve received so much flack over that post that I keep rereading it and rereading it.  I still don’t see anything wrong with it.  Was it wise?  Perhaps not, but it’s neat to see all my friends who have been burned by a church cheer me on.  People who are hurt by the church are loving my courage.  I’ve received a ton a messages from people who have left the church letting me know that Jenn and I have friends who understand.

It’s just…

I want my friends to understand.  I want the friends I was close to, stay close to me.  I want my wife’s friends to understand that she isn’t at fault and she needs support.  I appreciate the support from people who understand, but I want those who were our closes friends to understand.

Perhaps that’s too tall an order.

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31 thoughts on “Front row seats…

  1. I am so sorry. Having had similar conversations during my process…it sucks. The people you love and respect…suddenly see you as an untouchable. In the midst of one of the most scary and disorienting times…all those you thought were friends seems to vanish. For both you and Jenn…please let me know if you need a sounding board!

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  2. This is a really painful thing to go through, and I’m so sorry that your family has to walk this path. But your comment that it’s too tall an order probably right on the money.

    This may sound harsh, but it is based on personal experience in my own family. Apologies in advance for the novella:

    I came from the Methodist denomination, where ministers are routinely moved by the hierarchy and families are uprooted regularly, at least in the smaller budget churches. I learned quickly as a child that ministers and their wives, and sometimes the children, rarely have *real* friends in their congregations. They may have close relationships during their stay in the church, but those are founded on the commonality of shared beliefs. They are Friends in Christ. Once that commonality is gone, the “relationship” evaporates in most cases.

    My parents had a few friends from past churches that kept touch with them over the years, but even those long-term relationships were based in “the Church.” I feel certain that if my father had lost his faith, every one of those long friendships would have gone as well. Their very best friends, of course, were other ministerial families. Again, those have no life expectancy in a situation like yours, unless the friends are already open to skeptics or starting down that path themselves.

    This cuts like a knife, but those people are not your real friends–not in the way you need them to be now–and you probably shouldn’t expect more from them. Church members don’t enter the minister-congregant relationship prepared for the minister to possibly reject the faith. You were their leader and guide. In their eyes, your loss of faith is an enormous threat to maintaining theirs.

    It’s wrong and it sucks, but doubling down and closing the ranks is all that most of them are strong enough to do. Religion has no Plan B for how to maintain relationships when you no longer agree on the basic tenets of the faith (whatever they are).

    You didn’t expect all of this to go down this quickly, so it’s a huge shock. For the sake of your wife and children, turn your focus to finding a new community. Strengthen the non-judgmental friendships and find new ones that fit your new worldview. Seek out the Unitarian churches if your wife is willing, especially if you can find a congregation that also welcomes believers (they do exist and make things a little easier for families of mixed viewpoints). Join clubs based on other interests. Reconnect with friends from college or join the alumnae association. You’ll find new friends and possibly some new job hunting connections.

    Be thankful that you are making this transition while relatively young, and not in your 50’s-60’s where it’s much harder to restart with a new social network. I just left the church five years ago, and in my late 50’s, it’s rough.

    And if those you are butting heads with really love you and want you in their lives, they will come find you.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Other “mixed viewpoint” groups are the network of “More Light” churches in the PC(USA) — John Shuck’s congregation is one, and St. Luke in MN is another — http://www.stluke.mn/

      Was thinking of you guys this morning and will be so happy when you’ve found or founded the perfect in-person community!!!!!!!

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  3. I wish I could say it surprises me. I don’t know these people and how they are, but I do know how badly Christians can treat other people, even (and probably especially) ones that don’t deserve it. I think it just further shows what you already know; that the support you once relied on from faith and God are such fleeting things, with no solid ground beneath once you clear away the smoke and mirrors.

    I think turning the mirror on the church is a great approach. Make them see how feeble their claims to be good people really are when they act this way. Their anger and upset at you may not be justifiable, but are at least understandable. But if they can’t support your wife, who did nothing to cause this, who had no way to see it coming or prevent it, and who is herself still a believer, make them see the hypocrisy and, let’s be frank here, evil in that. Such actions only prove your loss of faith in the faith to be correct. If you can get through to them, it will either make them change their ways or help some people who may be struggling with their own doubt to break free. Even if you can’t, you remain on the moral high ground and will leave a mark that others may look to down the line.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It really does suck. I saw your post and I thought it was great. Spot on actually, and honest. The “going quietly” thing is ridiculous and it’s all about people “in charge” keeping control of a potentially damaging situation. I’ve dealt with it in an employment situation myself, and when my mom left my dad when I was in high school because of some serious issues, the whole church, including her own friends, essentially shunned her. I was NOT impressed and I am sad and ashamed that this kind of reaction still occurs when something happens that surprises and upsets people.

    But the thing is, that’s just irrational. If peoples’ link to their faith and religion is so tenuous, that someone else losing theirs will destroy their own, well… As a pastor you’ve obviously been in a place of major influence, but I dare say that every single person in the world has had someone they’ve looked to for guidance not turn out to be “perfect” or what they’ve expected.

    That said, I’m really glad that a lot of people responded to your post with messages of support. Some of the ones who have not been supportive may yet realize their inappropriate and hurtful responses were wrong and may come to ask forgiveness, which maybe you and your wife will be able to grant, and maybe not. In any case, you can hope that they are all thinking hard right now.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. So sorry that you and your family are going through this. Doesn’t seem to me that they were ever true friends. I know you probably expected them to treat you like this, but not Jenn. Hope you find another job soon and things start to look better for you and your family. Sending love.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is an awful thing to have happen, and I’m sorry you have had to go through it, and I’m sorry for all the crap you’re going to have to go through from here on out. It’s a terrible, terrible thing, but it makes sense to me. As you know, many church goers see their pastor as almost more than human in their faith, and the idea that a minister can have human doubts never occurs to them. In leaving, you have held up a giant blemish mirror in front of them, and they see all of their doubts magnified in it, and it hurts. So now they are going on the attack to mitigate their suffering. It’s a horrible, awful thing to be on the receiving end of, especially for your wife, but I know that you can and will get through it. I’ve been following your blog since it popped up on Friendly Athiest, and I’ve seen you go through some tough times since last year. You can get through this too.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Hugs to you and your family. I must say, & I doubt I am the only one, it is very hard not to like or comment on a post, either yours or Jenn’s. We feel deeply for you & your plight. I am surprised how much my back goes up & how I want to protect you from any nastiness or passive aggressive prayers. I don’t have much else to say except I am in your corner & wish we were not so separated by distance.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. I truly sympathize with all that you’re going through. The true color of people often comes out in distressing situations. One of those 1,000 paper cuts in my faith that had an impact was being behind the scenes in the church and seeing mere human beings deciding things and doing things. There was no divine magic behind the curtain of Oz. I’m sure you saw it hundred fold more so. And now, the true nature of people is even further exposed and it’s truly sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I messaged you before all this went down, and have tried to stay out of it out of respect for you and Jenn. But we are in your corner. I hate that you are both going through this right now, but at the end of the day, you’re going to be left knowing who you can truly count on and those few friendships are more precious than a hundred friends who will turn their back when it turns out you aren’t who they want you to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I said something on FB, IIRC, about focusing on the positives. Because I actually expected this shitstorm. When we left our last church (we were just members, not active, but we did have friends there) the mountain of silence was overwhelming. People we dined with and hung out with were totally unavailable. People we had talked to regularly looked away when they spotted us in the hardware store.

    And you haven’t just left, you’ve scared the bejesus out of them. You were their pastor, and you’re having faith issues! That means anyone can have faith issues! And many of them undoubtedly subscribe to the notion that whenever a man fails, his wife is somehow responsible. It’s a common Christian idea, even if you weren’t particularly preaching patriarchy; if your congregation were good bible-readers, they’d have picked it up. So the guns turn on your wife.

    So I’m going to repeat myself: get your claws in every positive thing you can find about your life right now, and reflect on them, extensively. The sun WILL rise tomorrow. You WILL move forward. And gradually, you will make new friends, friends who will roll with you as you continue to grapple with your beliefs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You made me think a bit more about the situation with your post and while I cannot be sure the congregation members are actually smart enough to understand this or not, but at some level they must: PNF is now beyond their reach. There is nothing they can do or say to him because they are in effect playing on different fields.

      PNF wife is still a Christian. She will feel the sting of their wrath much more. She is the perfect focus of their anger and disdain because she can still relate to them.

      Again, I don’t know if any of these people even realize it consciously, but they must understand it at some level and that’s why they are behaving this way. PNF is now wearing armor and a shield. His wife is the softer target.

      We can be so cruel as a species. Even children, the paragon of innocence can actually be little, heartless monsters. I blame the parents that never instilled empathy in them, because they lack it themselves, but what if it is in us. What if it is the real “original sin”?

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  11. I chose the “going down quietly route”, and ended up having my pastor using my story as a sermon telling other people we cannot expect God to do things and you cannot be immature.

    Wow. Nice way to send one of your church leaders off.

    But then again it is a defensive mechanism for them. Once you leave the flock, you are sub-human. You cannot be regarded on par with them as only those who believe in God are right. It’s a dehumanizing technique that works to keep the flock cohesiveness.

    Once I understood that I feel sorry for them rather than angry. But well, this is over 2 years now. I’m no longer sore about it.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Now you know why us atheists are so angry. It’s not at God. It’s at his followers.

    Also

    “but I want those who were our closes friends to understand.”

    They will and do. You’re just now getting to find out who really are your closest friends.

    All the very best to you and yours.

    Shane

    Liked by 2 people

  13. What an incredibly effective tool religion has developed to keep those it captures from leaving. It’s had centuries to refine and finess it. I’m sure most of the former congregants you called friend wouldn’t be behaving this way if the friendships were forged under different circumstances. Sadly religion is so encompassing that it would be difficult for a captive to make room in some part of their life for you and/or your wife without your presence reminding them of the scariness of your apostasy.
    I hope some of your former congregants reflect and regain some semblance of humanity toward you and your family. It will get better.

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  14. I really don’t understand the Christians who can read the Gospels, full of examples of Jesus treating “sinners” with more courtesy, respect, and compassion than he showed to the “righteous”; but instead of following his example, do their best to act like the Pharisees instead.

    Maybe they don’t actually read the Bible, but just know what’s spoon-fed to them a few verses at a time in church – but if you said the same sorts of things in your actual sermons that you did in your “Beyond Sunday” videos, I don’t think your congregation was paying much attention in church either.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My father-in-law, who is also a pastor, said the same thing. “I just can’t believe they didn’t learn a thing from you these past 6 years.” I’ve always been a Grace preacher. I’ve always been huge on actually following Jesus. “In humility, consider others better than to your self. Look not only to your own interest but to the interest of others” was my most frequently quoted bible verse in my sermons. But FFS, the minute I need them to apply that to me… no, fuck that…to my wife who didn’t do a fucking thing, the minute she needs them they abandon her.

      Liked by 4 people

  15. What you did caused great disruption in the world view of many in your church, and they have no idea how to respond. The only way it can possibly make sense to them is that you are evil, the devil got a hold of you, etc…

    There really is nothing that offensive about your post at all, but you rocked the boat, and people don’t know how to respond.

    For many you will simply fade into their memories as a “fallen pastor” and they will forever feel bad for you. You may even get prayed for on occasion! The last time I visited my parents, I saw a magazine opened to an article about how to get along with your “grown, adult, non-Christian children”. I feel “sad” for her, she feels “sad” for me. We both think the other is misguided, but time has allowed us to still have a good relationship.

    The friends that stick with you through out this experience are the ones you want. I have had a few people that treated me poorly after I “broke up with Jesus” years later. Some even “deconverted” themselves and let me know my example was a positive influence on them.

    Good Luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I ache for you. But there is a good chance this isn’t about you at all, as weird as that sounds.

    There is no evidence for religion, and on some level all christians must know this, but they keep this truth locked in a deep, dark untouched corner.

    There is nothing worse, nothing more unforgivable, than someone speaking forbidden truth out loud. There is a reason blasphemy was punished by death, and is some places still is. There is a reason that shunning is common in many religious sects. As you have described eloquently about your own journey, the truth once seen cannot be unseen no matter how desperately one wants to go back to how things were.

    Involuntarily, you have become the kid shouting “he’s buck naked” to a community whose existence depends on manufacturing the emperor’s invisible blue brocade. No matter how much they like you, no matter how much they like your wife, the fear of the truth is greater.

    Many hugs.

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  17. I’m sorry your life sucks right now. I cannot pretend to know your profound sadness and feelings of loss and isolation from the great many people you loved and respected.

    That said, I would like to offer my insight. Of course, you are free to disagree, ignore, or reject it. No prob. I concede that you probably already know most of why I will say.

    My credentials? I grew up as a kid of a pastor to a small, rural, unaffiliated, evangelical Bible Church, not unsimilar to yours. There were about 25-30 families, all of whom thought my Dad was awesome. And he was; Charismatic, attractive, strong, affable, insightful, caring. His career ended abruptly after a few years upon public discovery of inappropriate relationships (Intimacy has its temptations. Insert long story here). Of course, the reason for my Dad’s implosion is different than yours, but you can imagine that all Hell broke loose. There is also similarity in the treatment of our family by church members.

    I’ve had decades to ponder it all, but I clearly recall that Dad and Mom were instantly and completely isolated. Did my family need comfort, care and support? Sure! Did the congregation forgive? Well, maybe, probably. OK, yes, but forgiveness alone, however sincere and true, is not enough to maintain relationships. It wasn’t long before we moved to another city.

    What are church relationships built on? Church life is the ideal relationship glue. Faith seems to be understood by all. Everyone has the code. All of God’s characteristics are agreed upon (prescribed, actually, but work with me here.) All complexity is rendered simple. One knows what to believe and how to treat each other. Reasons for living and dying are no longer a mystery. Sin is forgiven. Every single human problem is handled or [supposedly] under God’s plan (wink). Faith is compelling because it directly taps into the infinite power of the universe. The power of God comforts, imparting unconditional love and grace. Importantly, church offers the gift of community. Arriving strangers are instant friends. Active members are strengthened by regular gatherings to share, work together, solve problems, and openly support one another. Faith in God is a pretty darned attractive package.

    When you lose faith, the foundation for relationships with the faithful is broken. You become one of the group called ‘other’ that is lost and doomed to eternal damnation. In their view, the only conversation that makes sense is one that returns you to faith, as you were. Understandably, any other topic is trivial and pointless. Even if the most loving of them offers to help, conversations are like walking on eggshells; careful, uncomfortable, embarrassing. Words are measured and analyzed for intent and hidden messages. Phrases and concepts that used to make sense are off limits. For example, how do you discuss Gods blessings, biblical teachings, prayer, holiness, heaven/hell, and even God’s forgiveness? Awkward!

    Forgiveness is the key. Forgiving of sin is a concept claimed by Christians. Ultimately, forgiving each other is secular. But it’s likely that you will have to forgive them, not the other way around. But don’t discount that they may forgive you honestly and completely. But it will be very difficult to stay friends.

    I love your work, your stamina, your honesty. Stay strong for your family. Take care.

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  18. _hugs_

    I’m so sorry that you and especially your wife are going through this, but I’m not in the least surprised. This is pretty typical of the strain of Christianity that has an abusive relationship with their god: the sort of people who say “I am worthless, I am nothing without Jesus,” and “I deserve to die and burn in Hell, and it’s only through God’s grace that I have any forgiveness.” Now that you are without Jesus and have spurned God’s grace, clearly you are a worthless nothing and you deserve to die and burn in Hell, and your former congregation will treat you accordingly. There is also the fear that now that you’ve been corrupted by sin/the Devil/the world, contact with you can spread this taint and corrupt others, so anyone who shows you any compassion is at risk of becoming a worthless nothing who deserves Hell, too.

    It breaks my heart that so many people are in this sort of abusive relationship with their god, and I wish I knew a way to avoid it. Unfortunately, it sounds like your former congregation is trapped in this way of thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Dear PNF, I was hoping, against hope this would not happen to you. I have read so many testimonials of people in your position, not just pastors, but regular people that one day simply let their thinking mind override their faith and lifted the veil covering their religion.

    Invariably, a large percentage of their closest friends turned on them. But not just turned as in ignoring, remaining civil and slowly cutting ties. N o, their turned the way a wonder animal turns at the scavengers trying to feed on his body prematurely.

    There is no doubt you have wounded some of these people. They probably see your entire tenure at your church as a lie, and even if we know that is not true, they cannot help themselves.

    But, as you said, turning on your wife is cruel and uncalled for. You have every right to feel protective and angry with them. Your facebook post hit home. That’s the only reason you got the blow back you did. “Passive aggressive” so fucking what? You called them on their hypocrisy. There were probably a 100 better ways to handle that, but you picked the one that expressed your feelings at the time and in the process you called them bad christians (which they are, of course, but that’s nothing new).

    I would have been a lot harsher than you in your place, so don’t beat yourself up. You may want to take some time and compose something a bit longer and more thought out. SOmething that may salvage your wife’s social life. I am just brainstorming here because the last thing I want to see happen to you is these events coming between you and your life companion.

    Or maybe you want to ignore the wretched sinners, those mentioned in the immortal words of Public Image (whom I never liked much, I hate guitars that sound like cheese graters, but these lyrics are momentous)

    “Stained glass windows keep the cold outside
    While the hypocrites hide inside”

    And just focus on your wife and on creating a new social circle for her. It’s probably going to be a better time investment than trying to convince those with a hardened hearth to at least be civil to her.

    Have you looked into the UU congregations? I know that you have none nearby, but the more I think about it, the more I believe it would be a perfect transition for you. At least, call their headquarters and talk to them. Feel them out.
    Maybe there is a congregation somewhere else you could train in and eventually take over.
    I personally have never been to one, but my FIL has been going for some time and he enjoys it very much. In his words “community without the bullshit”.

    Look, the way they are treating your wife should make it clear to you that these people have always been fake and unworthy of their own savior’s sacrifice. You thought religion was a sham, but that the religious were fundamentally good.
    Now you know better. That at least a good chunk of them are there solely for their own social standing and for justifying their false sense of superiority. The way they treated your wife is unforgivable. Is inhuman. It’s no different than what the JW do in a more structured and sanctioned way. And it is repulsive.

    Sorry for the rambling. My heart aches for you having to defend and protect your wife, but also for your wife, captured in your whirlwind.

    Would knowing that she married someone that was at least honest enough to voice his doubts instead of living a lie and learning to go through the motions? Undoubtedly, you could have done that. But you love your wife and, at least until recently, you loved your congregation enough to want to remove yourself so they could have the pastor you thought they deserved (given a few months to try not to ruin your life anymore than you had already done).

    Instead, you very honesty snowballed into a mess. Your wife’s honesty actually was what broke the camel’s back. Something tells me you married her at least in part because of that very honesty. Somehow, I know she would not have abandoned the wife of an “atheist” husband. She is just not like that.

    But she is human and fragile. She may start to resent you as time passes, life gets more difficult, former friends keep ignoring her and talking about her behind her back.

    You both need to remove yourselves from that toxic environment.

    I don;t want to beat a dead horse, and I apologize in advance if the UUA is not something you want to consider, but this is their employment page: http://www.uua.org/careers/openings could there be something there for you?

    Could you move and uproot your family? Are you upside down on your mortgage like many of us or are you renting?

    I don’t want to have those answers, but they are there for you to evaluate.

    I think you have a lot to give back to a community and there is a lot a good community can do for your healing. Think about it.Don’t take it because you are desperate, consider it only if you are convinced it is a path you want to travel, but consider also the potential benefits for your family.

    I hope your wife has had a chance to discover the true face of some of her former friends and acquaintances and that she won’t blame you for lifting that veil. But she too is just human. She will resent you eventually if things keep going south. Try to avoid that at all costs.

    PS: could it be time for her to meet some of us? Read a selection of this blog? Does she know that even as a Christian many of us would still love her and support her as if she was one of our own?

    We also have our haters, trolls and intransigent pricks, but most of us have compassion too. Not compassion born of a divine commandment, but compassion for the humanity in us all. We know you are suffering, we know the position she is in. Many of us will be eager to help her and help her understand, answer any questions she may have.
    We don’t pray, but we empathize with our fellow humans. We know, at least I know, that she is a good person in a very bad situation. We may be digital avatars, but each of us is flesh and blood. One of us may have the right words to help her regain some trust in humanity, if that’s what she needs.

    Hang tough. You losing your faith was not something you could control. You have a brilliant mind and sometimes that is a burden to carry. Your congregation, your elders, some of your friends on the other hand, have had every chance to show their humanity and they have failed. They even failed to see your wife’s innocence and they declared her guilty by association. They may not be monsters, but they have a monster growing in them.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Reminds me of one of your older posts when describing Christians:

    “You people can be assholes to those of us who leave the faith. I know, I’M A PASTOR! I’ve seen people try to justify this exact kind of shitty behavior. So many of you Christians are FUCKING CUNTS about stuff like this!”

    How right you were. Your Facebook post may come off distasteful, but it was completely warranted. Some of your Christian “friends” won’t get it, as much as you would want them to. And there’s nothing you can do about it. It sucks, and I can sympathize. I don’t know you, but I wish we could be friends. Here’s an imaginary hug from me, from across the internet.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Dear PNF, I was trying to figure out how to contact you personally to apologize to you for not contributing to your Patreon. I felt really bad about it, but my wife and I lately have been living hand to mouth. We are so close to losing our home. She has been sick for over a decade, but lately things have gotten really scary. I just took her blood pressure and her reading were 202/125 with a 176 pulse that then dropped to 60 in short order. Those familiar with heart issues, will know how dangerous that is.
    We think she may have some sort of autonomic disorder that is affecting her heart among other things. Her life is an interminable whirlwind of pain, doctor’s politics, inertia and fear.

    I make good money at my freelance job, but not enough for the household and lifestyle we have, which is really nothing special. Your typical california middle class life. Without her working, and with the cost of her health insurance as high as it is, we barely scrape by every month. It’s agonizing on some many levels. Plus my own health is not that great (I had a transplant many years ago) and the path of least resistance for my work is to retain this client that I absolutely loathe. Being at his mercy is one of the most demeaning things I have ever experienced in my life. But I don’t have the energy I used to have and finding new clients and new jobs at the moment seems to be an insurmountable mountain.

    So, I wanted to apologize to you for not putting my money where my mouth is. It was yet another thing that made looking at my situation even more depressing.

    So I decided, for now, to contribute $5 a month. I feel bad even mentioning it. It’s such a minuscule amount of money these days.
    But I believe in you and am I am actually doing this more for your wife than for you. I am doing it for the both of you, of course, but I know how I feel about my wife, I know what’s like to feel like I have let her down.

    I hope she can use the money to get a Grande Latte with a friend, a true friend, and forget about this whole mess for a few minutes. Hopefully, there will be enough left for you to buy a beer. A cheap beer. At least make it a cold one and sit on your porch (if you have one) looking at the sunset.

    I don’t know for how long I’ll be able to do this. Should things change for the better, I may actually increase it. But the odds are more like things won’t go well. My wife’s doctors, with the exception of a couple of them, are incompetent, unsympathetic bastards. Her GP in particular has wasted so much time trying to get her off her pain opiates to satisfy what I can only see as her bigoted view on addiction, that she completely ignored the first signs of this autonomic disease, letting it fester unchecked, until, to cap it all off, she mixed the order of a test and a steroid injection. Giving her the steroids first and making the test useless because of it, so now we have to wait until all the pain returns for who knows how many weeks before she can take the test that will tell us what she actually is suffering from. Time is not our friend, for each day brings more pain, more week long migraines, more unslept nights.

    How difficult is it to schedule a pain abating injection *after* you do the test to measure how your nerves transmit that pain? How fucking incompetent or uncaring do you have to be?

    I so want to go to her office with a baseball bat and teach her furniture a lesson. But how do you make an uncaring doctor care? How do you deal with a GP that shrug uncaringly when you tell her that one more month of this illness will make our family homeless and she cares more about her sobriety than her endless pain?

    I am sorry, I shared much more than I initially intended, but I am not deleting it. I am not trying to guilt you. I am trying to let you know that I believe in you and your family. $5 won’t break me or make me rich. Even in the situation I am in.

    If things get a real turn for the worse, then I’ll have to eliminate all these small monthly things that tend to add up eventually. Netflix, Evernote, etc. If they go, your $5 will go too, I am afraid. But as long as I can I’ll try to contribute. If the donation disappears, understand that it won’t be because I no longer believe in you.

    Also, I am not very familiar with Patreon. I would prefer my real name is not mentioned anywhere. Please use my handle if you must, or use nothing. I don’t care who knows outside me, you and the small circle in this blog.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve never felt slighted because you weren’t giving money. You’ve told me your situation before, I understand how tough things are for you guys. Your emotional support is worth way more than $5, but I do also appreciate the gift. If you stop giving, I won’t be upset in the least.

      Liked by 2 people

  22. Taking it out on your wife?? That is just… so incredibly unloving!

    Your message was entirely appropriate. Heck, for Dutch standards it was pretty mild actually! It is highly frustrating though for your wife, because she has no idea who she can trust and not trust, and has to find that out through painful experience.

    Perhaps the best thing is not to expect anything but shit from your church, so it can only be positive. You will need to find new friends, and so will your wife for a large part. Hope you will find a way!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Holy shit. That’s… ugh. People can behave so ugly.

    That said, I can understand some of the anger they might be feeling towards you. I felt real anger at my pastor when he left the ministry and apostatized. But, when I learned of the struggles that he had, I felt compassion and wondered how he managed to stay in the faith as long as he did. Curiously, in the case of my former pastor, he was the one who terminated the relationship with me… he thought I wouldn’t accept him anymore. He preemptively cut ties with me before I could say anything. Still hurts me today when I think of it. Humans are weird to each other.

    Anyway, I liked your Facebook post. I think a lot of people would be too chicken to have it out and write what you wrote. I like the straight talk. Tell it like it is!

    Peace!

    Like

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