Pastor of former church I attended refuses to rescind membership until we 'talk' ...
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14-04-2013, 06:39 AM (This post was last modified: 16-04-2013 07:54 AM by Full Circle.)
RE: Pastor of former church I attended refuses to rescind membership ...
(14-04-2013 03:25 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(13-04-2013 09:28 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  So what are the consequences if they don't take you off of the roll?

Maybe he makes it into heaven anyways via a clerical error.

Now that's funny!

I've had my brushes with the Babtists here and there, tons of them around Alabama. But the most poignant was when my then girlfriend and I wanted to get married. There was a cute-as-a-button Babtist Church near where she was living (we were living in different cities because of our work) and one day she stopped to see about having the ceremony there.

She was first told that since we weren't formal members we had to get two member families to sponsor us. OK we can work with that.

Then the preacher said we had to attend counseling so that he could make the decision if we were right for one another. He said that only he could determine that because when people live together the "masks" come off.

She explained that we lived apart and that it would be prohibitedly incovenient.

He insisted and she finally told him that we had already lived together for six months...

FORNICATORS! Was his response. She says it took a second or two for that to compute Laughat Not something you hear everyday.

Needless to say we weren't married in that church. That was 24 years ago.

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"Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's."- Mark Twain in Eruption
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14-04-2013, 07:03 AM
Pastor of former church I attended refuses to rescind membership until we 'talk' ...
I don't see why you owe anyone an explanation. I still get stuff from my Catholic high school and haven't been affiliated with them or the Catholic in decades.

I usually open it up to see how the latest plea for money is presented and then pitch it in the trash. Getting their mailings informs me of who died back home in case I want to send condolences. Other than that it has no effect on me.

Somewhere, on some list, I am probably still listed as a member of the Catholic church. Meh, who cares?

I'm not anti-social. I'm pro-solitude. Sleepy
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14-04-2013, 03:14 PM
RE: Pastor of former church I attended refuses to rescind membership until we 'talk'
Thanks to all for the responses.

I'll try the curt reply and see where it gets me. No plans for legal action at the moment until I've tried that.

I suppose there are two reasons that primarily drive why I want to be off of their membership role. First, for me, it's really principle that moves it, in that I don't want my name affiliated with a entity which bases its beliefs in antiquated and bigoted ideology that they proudly stand by and tend to wear within their circles as a badge of 'honor'. Secondly, the SBC puts a large emphasis on membership roles so that they can report to the main convention that they have 'x' amount of clout in this community because they have 'x' members for the kingdom, etc (this might not be true of all baptist churches, but it is definitely true for this one)...so once again it would be a principle that I am not counted as being part of their 'clout' in the community. Does that make sense?

Finally, I do find it annoying to have the mail correspondence coming in requesting money, etc. Bills and mass mailers are already annoying enough, haha. I'll update all of you when I get a reply to the curt email.

Thanks!Smile
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14-04-2013, 03:53 PM
RE: Pastor of former church...
(14-04-2013 03:14 PM)freethinker1987 Wrote:  Thanks to all for the responses.

I'll try the curt reply and see where it gets me. No plans for legal action at the moment until I've tried that.

I suppose there are two reasons that primarily drive why I want to be off of their membership role. First, for me, it's really principle that moves it, in that I don't want my name affiliated with a entity which bases its beliefs in antiquated and bigoted ideology that they proudly stand by and tend to wear within their circles as a badge of 'honor'. Secondly, the SBC puts a large emphasis on membership roles so that they can report to the main convention that they have 'x' amount of clout in this community because they have 'x' members for the kingdom, etc (this might not be true of all baptist churches, but it is definitely true for this one)...so once again it would be a principle that I am not counted as being part of their 'clout' in the community. Does that make sense?

Finally, I do find it annoying to have the mail correspondence coming in requesting money, etc. Bills and mass mailers are already annoying enough, haha. I'll update all of you when I get a reply to the curt email.

Thanks!Smile

May I ask if this is a Reformed/Calvinist SBC church?

First, for the audience: Reformed/Calvinist is generally a theological distinction, with Arminanism being the more prevalent theological bent in Southern Baptist churches. This amounts to two variations of Southern Baptist Christianity, similar to comparing McDonald's to Burger King.

The importance to this thread of Reformed/Calvinism vs. Arminianism is how the two variants approach church membership.

Arminians usually are fairly relaxed with the concept - while you're there, you're a member, when you leave, you're no longer a member.

Reformed/Calvinists on the other hand take church membership much more seriously, oftentimes with a corporate-style model that gives the advantage to the church/organization and puts the member/consumer at the disadvantage.

Some prominent Reformed Calvinists in the SBC have made a push to make church membership important in the life of the believer and more than a formality. The push has in effect been to make the member/prospective member sign a 'covenant' that amounts to voluntarily submitting one's self and life completely to the church.

The person is told this 'covenant' has no legal standing, yet reads like a legal contract, and the prospective member is told in order to participate fully in the life of the church, he/she has to sign it and agree fully with everything in it. This often means, among other things, full submission to the church's leadership.

So while the church probably can't go to court to force you to attend, it can go to other churches and tell them, 'this guy is still with us because we haven't released him, he has issues with us that are yet to be resolved'. It's up to the other church to decide whether the one church is right or full of shit, and oftentimes the prospective member is told 'hey, go back, get your issue resolved and then come back to us'.

As I said, some churches take the concept of church membership so seriously that the member cannot leave the church unless getting permission from the pastor/leadership.

This may be what is happening here; if so, then it sounds like the pastor will not let you go easily.

If I were you I would keep my atheistic views to myself, and simply tell him in as general terms as possible that my personal views have changed, that I need to move on and want to break off all formal and informal connections.

I don't want to derail the thread, but I did want to post a link to an article the Seattle alternative weekly newspaper The Stranger did on a local, independent Reformed Calvinist megachurch. The first paragraph does a good job in briefly explaining what church membership means to that congregation; the rest of the article details what can happen when it goes off the rails.

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/churc...d=12172001
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14-04-2013, 11:15 PM
RE: Pastor of former church...
Brian D,

Thanks for the input. I'd have to say that it is kind of a blend between. They don't make you sign anything (at least I never did...it was a transfer from another SBC in the college town I used to be in). However, I have no idea if they make other members sign up or not.

I sent the pastor my response, so now I'm just waiting for the inevitable torrent of emails and phone calls to begin. (granted, I'm looking at this rather pessimistically, I suppose)

I'll repost whatever he sends if anyone is still interested by then.

Once again, thanks all for the input!
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14-04-2013, 11:15 PM
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(14-04-2013 03:14 PM)freethinker1987 Wrote:  ~they have 'x' amount of clout in this community because they have 'x' members for the kingdom, etc~ Laughat


Hehe. That sounds like something a bunch of D&D nerds would come up with. Well. Except that D&D nerds are actually doing something productive. Big Grin


But seriously, if you really want to throw him off your trail, respond to his email thusly:

If you're not married, find the name of a gay bar in your area and tell him you'd love to talk with him but that you will only be available at X time and at X bar, as you'll be there with your fiance.

If you are married tell him that you and your spouse have joined a swingers group and that you can meet he and his wife there, if he really wants to talk.

Tongue

But really seriously this time.... I understand what you mean by the principle of the matter. And, welcome to the nuthouse.

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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15-04-2013, 10:46 AM
RE: Pastor refuses to rescind membership until we 'talk' ...
If he wont remove you as a member of his church when you request it, then it stands to reason that your still a member of that church. Use that, represent yourself as such, tell people how understanding the pastor is, how he embraces your non belief, how the church has accepted your atheism and how believing in god has not been required for your continued inclusion in the community of the church. In specific I'd write a nice letter to his boss, stating how this pastor has embraced and encouraged your atheism, made you comfortable with it, where you had expected to be banished you have found a good man in the pastor, a man who has through his understanding and goodwill strengthened and enriched your atheism.

Just a thought.

Legal Disclaimer: I am right, I reserve the right to be wrong without notice, opinions may change, your statutory rights are not affected, opinions expressed are not my own and are an approximation for the sake of communication.
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16-04-2013, 05:51 PM
RE: Pastor of former church I attended refuses to rescind membership
You don't owe him any kind of explanation. I think you should make sure he understands that. If he refuses to let you go without having a talk, send him another message telling him that you're willing to hear him out. Go and listen to him, but make sure he understands that it's not a discussion. Don't participate. Tell him he has 20 minutes to convince you to stay. Before he even starts, tell him that you will only respond by either:

(1) telling him that you'll see him Sunday.
(2) walking out the door.

If he agrees to that proposal, hear him out. If you show up and he breaks the rules, say "goodbye" leave him yapping about eternal damnation in the doorway.
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16-04-2013, 05:53 PM
RE: Pastor of former church I attended refuses to rescind membership until we 'talk
AHHHH CRAP. That says 2011, doesn't it? I put so much thought into that. Well, if anyone else is having this problem, there you go. I stand by my idea.
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17-04-2013, 03:47 AM
RE: Pastor of former church I attended refuses to rescind membership
(16-04-2013 05:51 PM)cbb2274 Wrote:  You don't owe him any kind of explanation. I think you should make sure he understands that. If he refuses to let you go without having a talk, send him another message telling him that you're willing to hear him out. Go and listen to him, but make sure he understands that it's not a discussion. Don't participate. Tell him he has 20 minutes to convince you to stay. Before he even starts, tell him that you will only respond by either:

(1) telling him that you'll see him Sunday.
(2) walking out the door.

If he agrees to that proposal, hear him out. If you show up and he breaks the rules, say "goodbye" leave him yapping about eternal damnation in the doorway.

Bad bad idea.

You owe the man nothing, not even common courtesy.

Nonsense is nonsense, but the history of nonsense is a very important science.
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