First, I was told by the church's office director that formal notice would have to be given before Wednesday, to put it on this month's business meeting to be formally accepted. Then, "Pastor Jones" happened to show up as I was leaving, and requested that I meet with him in his office.
I should have known they were going to try to reel me back in. Pastor Jones, instead of trying to be the typical raging fundamentalist pastor, likes to portray himself as the soft spoken southern intellectual (originally from North Carolina, graduated with a PhD in church history).
He wanted to know why I was wanting to resign my membership in the church, and had told me that he didn't like the idea that the church's office director had about me sending in my resignation via e-mail to her. He wanted a signed paper copy mailed in, (so it will be more official, of course). I told him about my theological issues with Christianity, about The Confrontation, and finding peace and acceptance at the Unitarian church.
Undaunted, he kept wanting to ask more questions, kept wanting me to come back to Christianity, and actually had the nerve to pull out the "honor your father and mother line".
Yes, he went there, and said that he wished that I could be reconciled with my family, made excuses, maybe it's because of the holidays, etc. I told him him that she has been like that my entire life, and now my dad is starting to act just like her.
I told him that I have always felt like I've been treated like property, and that she won't change that view, won't ever recognize me as an adult. Undaunted, he kept on, started saying that maybe there's a way to keep them in my life, but keep them at a slight distance. I told him that I can't go back to living my life that way, she will not change, I have given her plenty of chances. He clearly didn't agree with me, but he let it go, and then zeroed in on the theological issues.
He wanted to know what led me to change my mind on Christianity, and he kept pushing for me to meet with him later to discuss it. I had told him that I had spent quite a while going over everything myself, it's been 4 years now, it's not a phase (like many Christians I have come out to have thought).
John Piper, which just disgusted me even more. He said that he felt like he was more equipped to deal with the hard questions of theology, since he had had so much experience as a pastor, plus advanced seminary degrees, and tried to get me to set up appointments with him to discuss it
Before I said that I had been talking to a few people from the church, he kept wanting to know who I had been talking to about this, it was very reminiscent of the guest post I had Sunday, "Somebody On That Internet".
I told him that even if, on the remote chance that I could be convinced to come back to Christianity, I couldn't return to that church for my own safety, and I couldn't deal with a church that conservative either.
I couldn't be on that side of the culture wars, I've encountered and have gotten to know people demonized by the Christian Right, like people from the LGBT community and Wiccans, to name a few, and they weren't what I always taught to believe they were.
He tried to backpedal a bit on that, doing his own version of "we don't hate the sinner, he hate the sin", he said that though he has never met a Wiccan (that's surprising), he had known gay people through the years, and they were "good folk", as he put it, but he reminded me of "what the Bible says about that". I told him, I had gotten to the point that I had felt that even if someone could prove to me that the God of Bible existed, and that the Bible was his words, I still couldn't come back to Christianity, the god of Christianity wouldn't be worthy of my worship.
I told him about becoming a part of the Unitarian denomination, and how I have found more peace, acceptance and healing there than anywhere else I have ever been, and that I will keep continuing to go there.
I got nowhere with him, and it just made me want to resign my membership even more, their tactics of trying to discourage me out of leaving. I just printed up my resignation letter, it's going to be mailed sometime today or tomorrow by certified mail:
To the members and staff of (church):
I (legal name), the undersigned, request that my name be officially removed from membership at (church), at your earliest convince. I hereby renounce all formal ties to the church and to the Southern Baptist Convention as a whole.
Your prompt response will be appreciated.
What really gets me about this is that in the time I have been gone, the only person to contact me from the church has been "Jason", my former Sunday School teacher, and part of that is because he's also my co-worker, yet at least a dozen people from the church know where I live. Despite that, they act like this when I try to resign the church. Apprently their attitude is that "you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave"