Leaving the churches' PA system crew (and explaining my atheism to friends)
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29-08-2013, 10:57 PM (This post was last modified: 30-08-2013 01:52 AM by guitarist.)
Leaving the churches' PA system crew (and explaining my atheism to friends)
So I'm a teen from a Singapore church and I've recently stopped attending the church. I haven't had much response from the church (few friends + not official member) so everything has been going good. However I serve in the public address system ministry and sent them an e-mail yesterday saying that I am leaving because of school work.

This was the email thread (highly paraphrased)

Guitarist: Dear PA crew,

I would like to leave this ministry for a while since I am not coping well with school work. Thanks.

Regards,

hidden

Ministry leader: Alright. When do you intend to be back

Friend from PA ministry: Hi guitarist, hope you are doing ok. I'm praying for you

(blah blah arrangements)

Ministry leader 2: Hi hope you have benefitted from your time at PA (blah blah pray and stuff) and please put down a date to return to PA.


What do I say now?

Looks like I need to put down a specific time to return! I'm considering saying something like 'I am having issues with my faith' or 'I feel I am serving insincerely' or outright saying I want to leave permanently. The thing is, I am planning to leave the church altogether (why wouldn't I be).

I don't want to reveal my atheism, for fear that it might get them to bombard me with phone calls, texts, emails etc (unless that's the only way to go). Only my family knows of my beliefs (and that's because my school counsellor told me that I would get very stressed and maybe have mental problems hiding my atheism from my parents. They actually were ok with it! But that's for another thread...)

Hope anyone with this kind of experience (or anyone at all) can help me!

Music is my religion
- Jimi Hendrix
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29-08-2013, 11:04 PM
RE: Leaving the churches' PA system crew
Pretty simple. Just reply that due to circumstances a return date is unknown. Tell them to go ahead and fill the vacancy as needed and you'll get back to them if/when you can return.

Seeing that you don't actually plan on returning, I don't think a detailed explanation is warranted. They'll get over it easy enough I'm sure and you'll get along with your life. Good to hear you're family took it well! That's the important thing, the rest can just be history. Thumbsup

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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29-08-2013, 11:16 PM
RE: Leaving the churches' PA system crew
I think evenheathen has the measure of it.

There's a chance that you will be offered support / prayer etc. if you want to be open about these vague 'circumstances'.

If you decide to tell the truth, you may find yourself defending your choices. I guess you have to decide whether it's a useful experience to go through.

Telling family and school are usually the higher hurdles. Why do you think that the PA Crew will be a greater challenge?

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30-08-2013, 12:21 AM (This post was last modified: 30-08-2013 12:26 AM by Atheist_pilgrim.)
RE: Leaving the churches' PA system crew
During my last years as a Xian, I became involved with a Christian martial arts dojo. I eventually rose to the rank of Nidan (2nd-degree black belt) and became the school's first Chaplain Associate. I instructed students, led entire class sessions, and gave short talks during the mid-class Bible lesson/prayer break. I even won my first-ever trophies representing the dojo at a large local annual martial-arts tournament.

I was also friends with the dojo's main teacher (Shihan), and got into riding Harley-Davidsons because of him. We also traded emails on various subjects. I figured I'd be at that school for the remainder of my martial arts "career" and hoped to continue up the black-belt and chaplain ranks as far as possible.

However, five years into my schooling I began to question my faith after reading some of the New Atheist books. I ended up taking a sabbatical from work in 2007 to walk the Camino Frances pilgrimage trail in Spain to see if God would show up and quench my doubts. Instead, I became an agnostic.

After I returned home I was in turmoil about my role in the dojo. Shihan was a strong-willed, charismatic person - and very fundamentalist in his faith. As black belts, we were required to be solid, church-going, pure Xians "above reproach." Non-believers (not that there were many) had to wear a "secularized" uniform (the regular ones had the school's mission verse emblazoned in the logo), and had a limit on their instructional capacity with the other students. That went double for the Chaplain Associate.

Finally, I felt I had to step away for integrity's sake, so I tried to meet with the Shihan. We couldn't seem to connect, and one day when I was leaving work I saw an email from him pop up in my inbox. He asked me what was up, so I emailed back and informed him as gently as i could that I was resigning from the dojo because of my agnosticism. Shihan insisted that we meet (which I took for granted would happen, but I felt I had to respond honestly to his email), and after the next class we sat down to hash things out.

He said my email resignation was "cheesy", and then went on to state that he was sad to lose me, but was more concerned about my loss of faith. He said that C.S. Lewis and Josh McDowell had already answered my questions, and that God would use his "lightning bolt and 2x4 of correction" to get me back in the fold. Since I was still agnostic, I told him that perhaps I'd write a book about leaving and returning to the faith, which he dismissed as "the stupidest thing" he'd ever heard. Finally he said that it was pointless to keep talking, as I'd just "get defensive". He advised me to "go sow my wild oats", and we parted.

I went back a couple of days later to shake his hand and thank him for his instruction. A couple of weeks later he sent an email asking me where I was at with my faith. I replied that "I'm still attending my Xian small group and listening to contemporary Xian music, but that's it." He sent back "I pray you find your way home" - and that was the last time we ever communicated with each other.

Soon after I left my small group after a short meeting with the leaders. They were more sympathetic than Shihan and said I was welcome to stay, although one said he appreciated that I didn't want to hang out and be a naysayer. I was invited to a couple of events after my departure, but that soon ended and I've had no contact with any of them for years (or with anyone from my last church, for that matter, except one chap whom I had a short Facebook debate (posted elsewhere on TTA).

Last to go was my closest Xian friend. He lives about 170 miles away, but we had kept in contact, hung out, and even did vacations together for years after he moved away. We managed to keep the relationship going for awhile after I revealed my deconversion to him, but as I left agnosticism for full-blown atheism the strain on our friendship became too great. After a Facebook debate (posted in another TTA thread) a few months ago, communication all but dried up.

All this to say that while you'll have some difficult initial experiences with your Xian friends by coming out, based on my pattern they will most likely break off contact with you if you remain steadfast in your nonbelief. There are Scriptural reasons for this as I'm sure you know, and also people of faith don't seem to like having their treasured belief system (or "their" God) scrutinized and questioned. And they may have their own doubts that they aren't as willing to explore as you were. Anyway, I wish you the best with this admittedly rough process, but at least you found a site where you can come and commiserate!
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30-08-2013, 02:13 AM
RE: Leaving the churches' PA system crew (and explaining my atheism to friends)
Well after reading these responses, I wrote a short reply.

Thank you for your support.

Well due to issues such as trouble with my faith and other circumstances, I can't really tell when I will return. My vacancy can be filled first and I will contact when/if I return.

I edited the subject of the thread because the only thing left to do is to explain my atheism to church friends... Any ideas?

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- Jimi Hendrix
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30-08-2013, 02:30 AM
RE: Leaving the churches' PA system crew (and explaining my atheism to friends)
(30-08-2013 02:13 AM)guitarist Wrote:  Well after reading these responses, I wrote a short reply.

Thank you for your support.

Well due to issues such as trouble with my faith and other circumstances, I can't really tell when I will return. My vacancy can be filled first and I will contact when/if I return.

I edited the subject of the thread because the only thing left to do is to explain my atheism to church friends... Any ideas?

It depends on whether you want them to remain as friends Smile

There are 'appeasing' approaches and baseball-bat-over-the-head approaches.

The SG Humanist Society has regular meetups (I'm always out of country when they have them Sad ) and you can pick up some ideas and get support from them.

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30-08-2013, 09:41 AM
RE: Leaving the churches' PA system crew (and explaining my atheism to friends)
(29-08-2013 10:57 PM)guitarist Wrote:  So I'm a teen from a Singapore church and I've recently stopped attending the church. I haven't had much response from the church (few friends + not official member) so everything has been going good. However I serve in the public address system ministry and sent them an e-mail yesterday saying that I am leaving because of school work.

This was the email thread (highly paraphrased)

Guitarist: Dear PA crew,

I would like to leave this ministry for a while since I am not coping well with school work. Thanks.

Regards,

hidden

Ministry leader: Alright. When do you intend to be back

Friend from PA ministry: Hi guitarist, hope you are doing ok. I'm praying for you

(blah blah arrangements)

Ministry leader 2: Hi hope you have benefitted from your time at PA (blah blah pray and stuff) and please put down a date to return to PA.


What do I say now?

Looks like I need to put down a specific time to return! I'm considering saying something like 'I am having issues with my faith' or 'I feel I am serving insincerely' or outright saying I want to leave permanently. The thing is, I am planning to leave the church altogether (why wouldn't I be).

I don't want to reveal my atheism, for fear that it might get them to bombard me with phone calls, texts, emails etc (unless that's the only way to go). Only my family knows of my beliefs (and that's because my school counsellor told me that I would get very stressed and maybe have mental problems hiding my atheism from my parents. They actually were ok with it! But that's for another thread...)

Hope anyone with this kind of experience (or anyone at all) can help me!

"I'll let you know."

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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