Sunday, January 29, 2012

“Adam”–Telling God Goodbye

Adam was one of the original five pastors in the Dennett/LaScola study on Clergy who’ve lost their faith. ( Adam has also been a pivotal part of the design and launch of The Clergy Project support site for agnostic/atheist clergy. His work with TCP has affected many pastors, like myself, offering a safe place for us to share with others walking the same path.

Adam is a good friend of mine and has been a true source of encouragement as I’ve struggled with my loss of faith. I know you’ll enjoy his story.

Telling God Goodbye

It has been nearly three years since I admitted to myself and a few select friends that I no longer believed in a god or the supernatural. This was not a trivial realization for a fundamental, conservative, evangelical member of the clergy. It was the day after our Easter service in 2009 that I also realized that I desperately needed to leave the ministry. What a painstaking and at the same time exciting journey it has been as I have prepared to step from the sheltered sanctuary into the real world. Now I sit in my office and reflect as this Sunday will be my last as a pastor after 25 years or service. While I have not a shred of belief left in the existence of god, I find myself seeking closure on this long chapter of my life. After all, God and I were best friends.

I remember crying when I first heard Julia Sweeney describe when she finally said goodbye to God in her fabulous monologue ‘Letting God of God’. No longer did she see God as the all powerful figure of grandeur and mystery that she once pictured in her mind, instead he had taken the stature of a feeble old man, sitting on her front porch atop a suitcase. She apologized to him out of respect saying, “It’s not you God, it’s me. It’s because I take you so seriously that I can’t bring myself to believe in you. So sit for a while if you want to… you can stay a little while if you need to. There’s no hurry.” She then says that over the course of a few weeks he had just disappeared. Like Julia, I did take my faith very seriously. In fact I dare to say that my commitment to him in full-time service demonstrated my deep abiding faith and complete trust in the one whom I believed had called me. I lived in wholehearted obedience to what I thought was his will for my life.
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