When I was a teen I was well on my way to being a pastor in a very large and influential church. I had all the right connections, and was rubbing shoulders with all of the “to-do’s” in the Christian community. But all of the sudden, and for apparently no reason, I totally dropped out of the “scene” and started pursuing other things. I went out on a personal quest for enlightenment, one that I am still on to this very day.
I recall very clearly an event that happened a couple years later. I was in conversation with a Christian who knew very well that I was very high up in the ranks of leadership and then disappeared without a trace. They got me alone, over a cup of coffee, and asked me “Why?” “Why, or how could you be so close and then just take off like that? What happened?”
Now, I respect religion. I revere it. I hold it in great esteem, and had no desire to diminish this person’s faith or cause them to stumble. So instead I simply made light of the situation with a joke.
I said (with a very straight face) that I reached the peak of leadership – to where I was about to enter into the world of ministry, but before I was able to “pass” there was one final test I had to go through. I said that during this final meeting I was sat down in a top secret meeting with a bunch of pastors and leaders who carefully explained to me that the whole thing was just a joke.
They laughed and told me that the whole thing was just made up; but that we just like to keep the ball rolling for various reasons… ranging from “We would all be out of jobs” to “Well, it gives these poor people something to hope for.” Knowing this I simply could not go on with the whole thing, and I decided to respectfully bow-out of the whole thing.
“Really?” They said.
“No, not really. That was a joke.” I said.
Then we laughed, and I managed to have tactfully not answered their question.
Now that some time has gone by I will answer it though. It is pretty basic really. I did not like what I saw in the personal lives of the church leadership. I did not see “Christ” in their lives, I was not impressed by their morality, and I saw a lack of integrity. I also did not see any real “power” in the church. Not the kind they profess to have been given.
So I left, but I did not make a big deal about it. I did not want to cause others to leave with me, and since I was pretty well known – my leaving could have done just that.
After some time, I decided to come back to church. I hoped that maybe I just happened to have worked with the wrong crowd before, and maybe there is hope after all. Or, worst case scenario, that I could maybe become a pastor myself and simply start my own church that is different – better!
This is where it actually gets really funny:
So here I am in bible school about to graduate, I show up to class, and there is something that the professors think we all need to know before we graduate. They carefully explain to us that pretty much all of the Old Testament was ripped off from other religions, and is not to be taken too seriously.
That is then followed up later by a special meeting on how we need to also be aware that the story of Jesus was basically an interactive pagan play that some pretty stupid people actually took seriously and thought was real.
So I guess the joke is on me then… they really do sit you down and explain to you that it was all a joke before you graduate. Go figure.
OK, you got me. You totally got me man. Good one!
For more heresy please join me on my new blog at www.evolitionist.com