Losing The Christian Economy: Confessions Of An Ex-SuperPastor

July 9, 2012 — 34 Comments

Introduction

My world is falling apart, one question at a time. I am a shadow of the man I once was, but, somehow, I stand taller at the same time. My strength fails me. My prayers are no longer given to my Maker upon my knees, but upon my pillow, exhausted by a sorrow I don’t understand. I am weak. This is no longer a theological statement I use as some kind of mantra. This is my life. I understand now just how true it is. I fail. I lose. I feel hopeless even with all the knowledge of salvation and a great God within me. I’m weak, but I am also honest, and it is honesty that keeps me moving.

While I can not produce the fruit of the Spirit as evidence of my walk with God, and I struggle as to why God has not shared his joy with me for so long, I do take comfort in the way I resemble the DNA of the Divine. For God defines himself as the truth, and the truth is all I have left to identify with. I’m more honest than I’ve ever been, and that makes me stand, despite all the weaknesses that weigh me down, taller than my former self.

Questions are dangerous. Far more dangerous than anyone realises. They are double-edged, cutting both ways. If you ask a question, you not only have to accept the truth you find through them, but also confront the lies you have believed for so long. I was never afraid of discovering the truth, but I now realise how frightening it is to face the lies I’ve been deceived by. Here I am, a man who spent his whole life being supported by people to be a pastor, only to question myself out of a job. Out of an identity that held me up for so long. Now I walk a road with no signposts, only a lamp upon my feet. Funny how I never really noticed that lamp before now. I guess now that all else has been removed, it’s the only thing my eyes yearn for. So here I walk, worn out by religion, a ex-pastor on a spiritual journey, searching for grace.



Honesty is a revolution to the soul. It has allowed me to discover my true self, the person God created me to be. I don’t think God cares much for masks, do you? I spent so long afraid of taking mine off, convincing myself God’s children were to be, well, the same – same thoughts, same actions and same vocabulary. Turns out God made me unique for a reason. I’ve figured out that God likes unique things and I don’t have to try to fit a common mold. I don’t have to wear a mask. I don’t have to use the same words, believe the same things, accept the same theology. It’s a shame more of God’s kids don’t also enjoy my company, in all my uniqueness. They preferred me in my mask, but my mask has been abandoned, and most of my spiritual brothers and sisters have disowned me because of it.

The arena of honesty is completely different to the religious arena I spent so long in. All the rules have changed. In the religious arena, the obsession with being ‘right’ is the battle cry, judging others the sword, and inclusion the reward. I was a valiant fighter in the arena of religion. A champion admired by all who surrounded me, cheering me forward as they too took up their swords. And now they shake their heads at me. ‘Oh, how the mighty has fallen’ they think. In their minds I have betrayed them. They don’t understand my journey. They don’t resonate with the rules of fighting in the arena of honesty. In this arena I have no need or desire to be ‘right’, I condemn no one; in fact, I find such a weapon repulsive to my spirit. And about the reward of inclusion, well, as I stated, most of my sibling in Christ have rejected me. So here I stand, expelled from the favours of religion, an outsider.

Truth, I have discovered, is an outsider. If you want it, you’ll never be allowed to remain in the circles of main stream acceptance; like Jesus, truth isn’t accepted in religious circles. I tried to make it work, to find a middle ground, we all do. But there came a point when I simply stopped understanding the religious mind. It is a strange thing, because that was my mind for so long, but I can’t sympathise with it any longer; I want no part of it. And I am not alone. I’ve become part of a band of rebels who have found each other along the path of honesty. We’re not considered rebels because we are looking for a fight; we are rebels because we openly reject the cry of religion, demanding we return to captivity.

New updates to the story will be posted each Monday. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments or on the story’s facebook page. You can continue reading part 2 here

  • Jacob

    Dear Ex-SuperPastor, welcome to the club of rebels. We’re able to have this discussion not based on like-mindedness, or similarity of theology or association of doctrine. No here we are united because we’re on the same-uniquely-individual journey of Grace. We’re united because we acknowledge our fate is in Fathers hands and not in ours as we were taught. Collectively we recognize our contribution to salvation has been returned to us because the entry fee is paid in full, we’re in the ‘Arena’ because of Grace. Our only contribution, once we see the truth of our despicable attempt, is to decide if we accept or reject it, and even then Fathers Love can compel us to accept. I’m glad for you. You mention the rules have changed between the arenas but truth be told, they simply fell away. I am convinced the only rule that applies is letting go of the proverbial side of the boat and allowing God to reveal the the past and the future to you. The past because you already were who He made you to be through Grace and the future because without the corruption of historic religious lies (called religion) your reference will be the journey He takes you on. What we held as dear and commendable in the past we now find detestable. And what we considered heresy in the past becomes our journey. I myself have friends for whom my heart cries, for they are where you were and I see what it does to them, but I know Gods Love conquers. Enjoy the journey. Jacob

    • Mick

      Awesome stuff Jacob. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pingback: #7. Can We Still Be Friends? | Searching for grace

  • http://twitter.com/KarlIngersoll Karl Ingersoll (@KarlIngersoll)

    Same story Mick … same result. Mine began with a prayer for vision for the church I was pastoring.

    Stage 1 – I discovered that Jesus is the Vision for the Church.

    Stage 2 – I discovered that this was not enough for the church. My great disappointment was the realization that church is better served by MBA’s than pastors.

    Stage 3 – I am discovering that Jesus is Enough for me regardless of whatever I may have lost. My wife and I resigned after 34 years in the institution, and decided to do ministry for free, finding another way to pay the bills. God has been as He forever is … Faithful.

    Karl

    • Mick

      Thanks for sharing Karl. Please do feel free to ‘confess’ to anything you think might help the book. By confess, I mean share some of the false mindsets/ideas you’ve realised you had once you left and started your new journey

    • Roelf

      Karl,

      I am not a pastor but I have seen that the Vision(Jesus Himself) is not enough for the church. I am able to testify with you that God is faithful!

  • http://www.twitter.com/themeels Amelia

    I identify with so much of this that it’s ridiculous.

    • Mick

      Yep. Let’s see how many other outsiders we discover along the way :-)

  • Christ-opher

    Great writing Mick. From the heart as always. It will resonate in the heart of many, myself included!

    • Mick

      thanks for the encouragement mate. It’s really appreciated.

  • Laurie

    Relationship over religion is what the “awakening” is…many are awakening to the truth of Love…it is so simple that many can not believe that it is truth…child like faith in a Father who Loves us for us, unique and wonderfully made, for us to BE what He created us to be no more or no less…so freeing when you get it, that He LOVEs us just as we are. Bless you Mick.

  • Nilda

    Truly resonated with me and my journey. Perhaps, in this I can find the words to explain to those who ask, “What happened to you?” I have had to redefine, reexplore, revise, rethink everything I formerly believed. Had a “faithquake” and the tremors are still shaking me up as I forge ahead to take hold what has taken hold of me, as it were. Looking forward to Mondays now!!! Thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/agnes.g.hanson.7 Agnes Grace Hanson

    I

    • http://www.facebook.com/agnes.g.hanson.7 Agnes Grace Hanson

      My
      I came from a very strict religious family. was a victim of a stolen identity. What i mean by that, is that if some one showed me just an inkling or tiche (spelling) of a kind word to me or even just a smile towards me I would attach myself to that person and was in love with that person not because I loved him or her but I was in love of their love for me. (just like a baby who doesn’t really love his or her parents but loves being loved by their parents) i did not know who i was. I learned that God loved everyone but He couldn’t love me. I despised myself. In my minds eye i felt abandoned because i thought no one loved me. I craved for love. I went to a religeous school and so i learned all about Jesus. He loved the little children but I was an exeption and He couldn’t possibly love me because i thought i was unlovable.I loved Jesus and desparately wanted Jesus to love me. So I day dreamed or fantacized in school and at home that Jesus came down to earth and picked me up, hugged me over and over again and He said He was taking me to heaven to be with Him forever.

      In 2009 i started listening to you and a few other grace teachers. Many tapes and books later little by little i began seeing God through a different lense not through religion but a personal relationship with Jesus. The best part is i never had to do anything expect to ask Jesus I wanted Him to reveal to me who I am in Christ. I asked Him to heal me emotionally and spiritually. He did the rest. It didn’t happen right away but for at least 4 or 5 years. I did need medication but i knew then it was OK with God and OK with me to take the meds.

      Well, I know i beat around a lot of bushes and said so much when you probably just needed a couple of sentences. I’m hoping you can incorporate this into your novel “Losing the Christian Economy: confession of an Ex-Super Pastor

  • John William Pieper

    Definitely relate to this entire article. Especially this part:

    “Turns out God made me unique for a reason. I’ve figured out that God likes unique things and I don’t have to try to fit a common mold. I don’t have to wear a mask. I don’t have to use the same words, believe the same things, accept the same theology. It’s a shame more of God’s kids don’t also enjoy my company, in all my uniqueness. They preferred me in my mask, but my mask has been abandoned, and most of my spiritual brothers and sisters have disowned me because of it.”

    On another note… What do you use to host this blog? I would like to start one myself to record my journey.

  • Diane Holmes

    Agree with Amelia. Wow.

  • Kristi

    What an excellent post! Thank you for sharing your journey!
    Mentally I left the church three years ago. I then physically left the church about a year and a half ago. My spiritual journey and relationship with God is SO different and SO much better because I AM FREE! I am what Christ tells me I am. I rarely saw the true Christ exemplified in church and I heard so many contradictions, felt/heard the legalism, saw the justifications for some things and the strict wrong of others. Church began to simply not make sense and I honestly felt brainwashed seeing how the church was no better then the world…they just covered it in the precious blood of Jesus…Such a shame!
    While some of my former friends may think I am being deceived I challenge that in fact THEY are being misled as they enjoy drinking the kool-aid day after day, sermon after sermon.
    I have no regrets leaving and am so glad you’re using your experience to put words to how so many of us feel. It truly is like a breath of fresh air when I read your blogs/comics!
    Thank you

    • Mick

      Glad to hear you’re off the kool-aid Kristi :-) Thanks so much for sharing part of your story.

  • http://www.7lights.com Sandra

    Welcome to the journey!
    My husband and I left the ‘church’ over 20 years ago as we believed we were being called out to a closer walk with God without the distractions and confusion of the church teaching.
    I love what you have written. Only in Jesus is there salvation and the lies of the enemy need to be confronted. It is such a journey and He only takes us as fast as we are able to assimilate.
    The churchians do leave us. It does hurt and can cause me to doubt everything I know when I see them seeming so altogether and me so not!
    But it is in the chaos of the new birth of the real Kingdom of God on earth that we are being reborn into the sons and daughters of the Living God.
    If God does not do this , then it won’t be done in us. We can of our own selves do nothing. All we can do is seek Him and wait for Him to complete what He has begun.
    And if nothing ever happens, then they can write on our tombstones “They waited.” Because for sure we have walked this walk for so long that we wouldn’t even know where to start if we did jump ship!
    Blessings to you and all the others who are being formed into the living stones of the New Jerusalem

    • Mick

      “And if nothing ever happens, then they can write on our tombstones ‘They waited.’” Great thought Sandra. I often tell people I think it’s easy to run as fast as you can for God, but it takes a lot more faith to slow down, even stop and wait for the Spirit to lead you somewhere new.

      Thanks for sharing your journey story.

  • Pingback: What Happened When My Religious World Crumbled

  • Caleb

    I love your comics bro – everyone I see I’m like – that’s me! I’ve been disowned by my former church friends for my belief that Jesus saves us and that he’ll is a mistranslation. What do you think of tentmaker.org?

    • Mick

      Hi Caleb, thanks for sharing. Glad my comics hit the spot with you and you enjoy them. Regarding tentmakers, I’ve only seen a little bit of their stuff. I like it.

      • http://peter.hartgerink.ca Wisdom Hunter

        Hi Mick, I appreciate your honesty. I used to be a mainline church pastor (a long time ago). Have come a long way since then and have found Christian community that, while not perfect, is more honest and genuine. It does exist. Core question : is the gospel really true. If it is, then walking with Jesus in humility is worth it. Bless you brother.

  • http://mytestimonyofgrace.wordpress.com 2010amazinggrace

    Absolutely love this! Glad I found this before you got too far into the novel. It’s refreshing to read all the comments and how much we all have IN common as we go forward in our journey of Grace. My story is somewhat similar to most of yours: in a church, discover it’s not enough, are drawn (Compelled by God’s love) towards Jesus, rejected by church mates. If you’d like, it’s in my testimony blog over at http://mytestimonyofgrace.wordpress.com It’s too long to put in a comment box. Looking forward to reading the rest of your book, Mick!
    In Him,
    Lisa

    • Mick

      Hi Lisa, glad you found your way here ;-) Look forward to taking the journey through this story with you and the rest of rebels living on the outside of the religion arena ;-)

  • Pingback: How Protecting My Ministry Vision Caused My Heart To Harden

  • Fadeke

    Hi Mick,

    You have been an encouragement on this journey with your various materials.I can relate with this story.I was not a full time pastor but as a women leader,i put in everything.I was down in religion until I lost myself.My relationship with Christ was drowned in religious bigotry but Love found His way to me.

    Yes,i have been abandoned by my christian friends who feel Im now an heretic and a rebel.Im out of the box and I tend to understand God better.I cannot trade this freedom in Christ for anything.I pray for my friends to get out of the box too for i know a lot of them are wrongly committed.They are sincerely working their heads off to please God just as I did for more than two decades

  • Pingback: How I Thought I Was Superior To My Wife Because Of My Bible Knowledge

  • http://gravatar.com/amandadragos amandadragos

    Mick,
    I love that you said God made you unique.
    I attended Hillsong International Leadership College, there I was very involved in the church and the way they did things, I wanted to be just like Bobby Houston one day. Fortunately I had an amazing room mate that slowly shared with me her experience with God.
    The second Easter I spent there I was one in an audience of thousands looking up at a screen that showed a picture of a cross, equal sign and a heart (t = <3). The message that day was 'God loves you'. I remember sitting there staring at the massive wide screen and thinking "God, you say that to everyone, you have to love me cause you 'love' everyone". That was when I had a life changing experience. His words to me were something like this:
    Do you not know that every individual person is not made a-like? Each is different and I made it that way. In each human I create I place in them a trait of myself, a talent or something that is unique and specific to that one person. These traits are ways I communicate with each individual. And a way each can communicate with me. A way of worship. Worship isn't just song and praise. It is many things, and letting me reveal to you the traits of myself in you, and allowing me to show you how to utilize it and reveal to others what it is that makes you unique, is worship to me. My love, I love you because I connect to you through myself, you are part of me because I placed part of me in you. That is how I can love you specifically and it is special, like no other do I love you the way I do. And yes I can say that to each individual but remembering that I am a God beyond your comprehension and that my love for you is special is what will help you each day as I show you love that I have for YOU.

    -Amazing moments in my life!!

    • Mick

      Wow, beautiful moment. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pingback: The Religious Disneyland Version Of My Faith Walk & Why I Walked Away

  • Marianne

    You’re not alone! Could have been my story, except for the “pastor” part.

  • Pingback: Losing The Christian Economy: Confessions | Table Of Contents