I am now almost 50 years-old, but around 26 I got a divorce.  I know, not the most shocking statement to start the blog with right?  Well tell that to the Baptist churches I sent my resume to when I was in the early stages of becoming a pastor.  Around the age of 32 I was in seminary and looking to become a “man of the cloth.” 

Being raised Baptist I knew I had to let every church I applied with know that I had been divorced.  Some were nice about it while others treated me as if I had been a serial killer.  Well actually, one church said I couldn’t serve on their staff, but I could be a volunteer or intern.  I then asked, “So because I have been divorced I can’t serve on your staff, BUT if I had murdered someone and asked God for forgiveness I could possibly serve on your staff, but because I’ve been divorced I can’t?”  The pastor paused and realized how ridiculous he was going to sound when he answered with a “yes’.  It was clear to him that the Bible said a divorce disqualified me from ever becoming a pastor.  Why that didn’t seem to be a red flag that I was simply moving in the wrong direction in life is beyond me!

So now here I am 15 years later still married to the same amazing woman, but I have divorced the church.  According to the Bible a man or woman has the right to get divorced if their spouse is abusive or unfaithful so I figure that gives me the right to divorce them.

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Comment by Former Pastor on November 3, 2014 at 10:05am

Thanks for reading!  This was my first post and didn't expect so much interaction...this is helpful!

Comment by Michael Penn on October 31, 2014 at 7:47pm

I've been through this same divorce. It took time but the truth sank home to me and the torments of "not doing right" fell by the wayside. I'm free now.

Comment by sk8eycat on October 31, 2014 at 1:38pm

I stopped going to church (except for weddings and occasional funerals) when I was 17 (The Baptwit pastor/lecher told me not to sign with a major ice show because I would go to hell for mixing with "those people."  I did it anyway.), but it took almost 10 more years to get the "god idea" out of my head completely.  It felt like a 100 lb sack of fertilizer had been removed from my shoulders.

Have you had any contact with members of The Clergy Project?  (Just asking....you don't need to answer.)

Comment by Loren Miller on October 31, 2014 at 12:48pm

This is something that, I suspect, happens repeatedly: the conflict between dealing evenhandedly with people and trying to reconcile that with the conflicting dictates of the church.  I'm hoping that more and more often, people are seeing the unreasoning attitude of the church, which at minimum begins the disaffection process if not creating a clean break then and there.  I also hope that the growth of the "nones" is a reflection on the increasing incidents of the sort you describe.

Slowly but surely, people are disposing of that which doesn't work, and the church really has NEVER worked.

Comment by Joan Denoo on October 31, 2014 at 11:58am

Sometimes we make mistakes and take corrective action. That is to be applauded! Celebrated! I am very happy for you to be in an amazing marriage with an amazing woman. Divorcing the church sounds like a good corrective action to me. 

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