Pastor of former church I attended refuses to rescind membership until we 'talk' ...
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17-04-2013, 11:52 AM
RE: Pastor of former church I attended refuses
(13-04-2013 08:56 PM)freethinker1987 Wrote:  All,

I've been an atheist since February of 2012 (agnostic from December 2011) and after receiving a letter in the mail from the local Baptist church I had been a member of until then, I realized that I had never sent a request to be taken off of their membership role. I shot an email through the church contact page requesting to have my membership rescinded/cancelled and promptly got a response from the pastor telling me that he wouldn't do that until we 'talked' about it.

My conundrum: I'm what you might consider a 'nice guy'. I don't like confrontation and avoid it when I can. Another thing: this pastor is one who I would effectively be wasting any breath on, as he would not be open to any kind of rational discussion and would instead be bent on forcing me to accept his views (really...the guy is out there...one thing that initially made me start thinking was his assertion that Noah's curse on Canaan in Genesis is why the people of African descent have been slaves to Jews and white people Shocking WTF)

I'm trying to write a polite email back, but frankly I am at a loss for words. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Thanks!
As far as I know I'm still on the rolls of the church my mother took me to when I was a kid. Maybe not; I no longer get their newsletter. Maybe they don't have my address. I haven't been in that church for the better part of 50 years except for funerals.

Anyway, to me it's no big deal. If they want me on their list it's ok with me.

I'm no lawyer but for what it's worth I don't think you can do much legally. You can't sue them unless you can prove damage. You can't get a restraining order unless you can prove they're a threat. I doubt a judge would consider being on a list as either.

If I had not read the Bible I would not be an atheist.
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18-04-2013, 07:25 PM
RE: Pastor of former church...
Using some advice from the kind folks here, I sent this message to the guy on 4/15 and still have yet to get a reply (as of 4/18).

(Redacted),

Respectfully, I will have to decline your request to talk about this in person. My personal views have changed and I need to move onward with my life and break all formal and informal connections to FBC XYZ123 and the SBC. I do not think that further discussion would provide either of us anything other than disagreement, which is why I have made my final decision to rescind my membership and am no longer open to discussion concerning this issue. Please remove my name and contact information from your rolls and records immediately. Thank you.


If I get any further correspondence from this guy, I'll let y'all know.
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19-04-2013, 03:07 AM
RE
(13-04-2013 08:56 PM)freethinker1987 Wrote:  My conundrum: I'm what you might consider a 'nice guy'. I don't like confrontation and avoid it when I can.

There's times to kick ass and there's time to chew bubblegum.
And you're aaaall out of gum.

Also: You could just say you're gay. (they'll remove you quicker than it takes to hide away a catholic altar boy.

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20-04-2013, 08:35 PM
RE: Pastor of former church...
(18-04-2013 07:25 PM)freethinker1987 Wrote:  Using some advice from the kind folks here, I sent this message to the guy on 4/15 and still have yet to get a reply (as of 4/18).

(Redacted),

Respectfully, I will have to decline your request to talk about this in person. My personal views have changed and I need to move onward with my life and break all formal and informal connections to FBC XYZ123 and the SBC. I do not think that further discussion would provide either of us anything other than disagreement, which is why I have made my final decision to rescind my membership and am no longer open to discussion concerning this issue. Please remove my name and contact information from your rolls and records immediately. Thank you.


If I get any further correspondence from this guy, I'll let y'all know.

That's wise, and I agree with the previous poster, suing would be overkill. Only if this pastor and his church turned into stalkers and decided to embed themselves into every aspect of your life to force you to return and repent.

Not even the most ardent of churches that practice church membership do that. The worst they generally do is try to prevent you from 'fleeing' to another church without their permission. Since you're not doing that, you should be good to go.
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21-04-2013, 06:19 AM
RE: Pastor of former church...
(20-04-2013 08:35 PM)BrianD Wrote:  ... prevent you from 'fleeing' to another church without their permission. ...

How could they possibly do that?

Nonsense is nonsense, but the history of nonsense is a very important science.
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22-04-2013, 08:31 PM
RE: Pastor of former church...
(21-04-2013 06:19 AM)Abdul Alhazred Wrote:  
(20-04-2013 08:35 PM)BrianD Wrote:  ... prevent you from 'fleeing' to another church without their permission. ...

How could they possibly do that?

Not so much by sitting at the front door of the 'new' church with a shotgun and forcing you to turn around Beat_stick

...but, the former church would call the newer church, tell them that the person who wants to join them is under 'church discipline' and isn't willing to resolve the issue(s) that led to disciplinary action. This is more common than you may think, in U.S. Southern Baptist churches (especially those that hold to a Calvinist/Reformed theology).
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22-04-2013, 08:37 PM
RE: Pastor of former church...
(22-04-2013 08:31 PM)BrianD Wrote:  
(21-04-2013 06:19 AM)Abdul Alhazred Wrote:  How could they possibly do that?

Not so much by sitting at the front door of the 'new' church with a shotgun and forcing you to turn around Beat_stick

...but, the former church would call the newer church, tell them that the person who wants to join them is under 'church discipline' and isn't willing to resolve the issue(s) that led to disciplinary action. This is more common than you may think, in U.S. Southern Baptist churches (especially those that hold to a Calvinist/Reformed theology).

Seriously? In my old Catholic Church "discipline" meant relocating the pedophile priest to a new archdiocese.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_abus...rchdiocese

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22-04-2013, 09:03 PM
RE: Pastor of former church...
(22-04-2013 08:37 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  
(22-04-2013 08:31 PM)BrianD Wrote:  Not so much by sitting at the front door of the 'new' church with a shotgun and forcing you to turn around Beat_stick

...but, the former church would call the newer church, tell them that the person who wants to join them is under 'church discipline' and isn't willing to resolve the issue(s) that led to disciplinary action. This is more common than you may think, in U.S. Southern Baptist churches (especially those that hold to a Calvinist/Reformed theology).

Seriously? In my old Catholic Church "discipline" meant relocating the pedophile priest to a new archdiocese.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_abus...rchdiocese

Yep. But it's important to understand that not every church will be so adamant, and that sometimes there are legit reasons for a church to 'warn' another about a prospective member.

A legitimate reason would be, say, if the person leaving church A for church B physically and/or emotionally abused his/her spouse, and is heading to church B to prowl for fresh meat.

An non-legitimate reason would be disagreement with the leadership over such issues as small group leaders seeking too much authority over the member - in effect attempting to micromanage their lives, with the blessing of the church leaders. (Google shepherding movement).

Of course, the OP shouldn't have anything to worry about since he no longer intends to be a part of any church. Protestant churches in America have done all kinds of crazy things, but one of them - as best I know - has not been to 'find the man who no longer believes and force him to attend church against his will' Blink
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23-04-2013, 02:59 AM
RE: Pastor of former church...
(22-04-2013 08:31 PM)BrianD Wrote:  
(21-04-2013 06:19 AM)Abdul Alhazred Wrote:  How could they possibly do that?

Not so much by sitting at the front door of the 'new' church with a shotgun and forcing you to turn around Beat_stick

...but, the former church would call the newer church, tell them that the person who wants to join them is under 'church discipline' and isn't willing to resolve the issue(s) that led to disciplinary action. This is more common than you may think, in U.S. Southern Baptist churches (especially those that hold to a Calvinist/Reformed theology).

I misunderstood. You meant another congregation of the same denomination.

I was thinking along the lines of (say) a Baptist going Methodist.
Or {shudder} Catholic. Cool

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23-04-2013, 04:58 PM
RE: Pastor of former church...
(23-04-2013 02:59 AM)Abdul Alhazred Wrote:  
(22-04-2013 08:31 PM)BrianD Wrote:  Not so much by sitting at the front door of the 'new' church with a shotgun and forcing you to turn around Beat_stick

...but, the former church would call the newer church, tell them that the person who wants to join them is under 'church discipline' and isn't willing to resolve the issue(s) that led to disciplinary action. This is more common than you may think, in U.S. Southern Baptist churches (especially those that hold to a Calvinist/Reformed theology).

I misunderstood. You meant another congregation of the same denomination.

I was thinking along the lines of (say) a Baptist going Methodist.
Or {shudder} Catholic. Cool

Abdul, unfortunately with some of the churches of the Reformed Calvinist persuasion in the Southern Baptist Convention, it's church policy to contact any church in the case of a dispute. Even if it's Methodist, Church of Christ, etc.

This was policy with the last church I was a member of.

Whether the other church listens to the Calvinists or not depends on the other church. Some will listen and oblige, some will listen and won't oblige.

If it's merely the church member deciding that he is really a Presbyterian, or Methodist, or Catholic, then likely he will be allowed to go on his way.

It's when the church leadership acts screwy - and the person being 'disciplined' take exception to the screwyness - that you have problems.
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