The Burnout

The Burnout
The Burnout

I’m not a Christian anymore!
After 40 years of being a devout follower, 
20 of those being an evangelical pastor, 
I am walking away from the faith.
Even though this has been a massive bomb 
drop in my life, it has been decades in the 
When I was in 8th grade and I was 
reading Greek mythology, it dawned on 
me how much of the supernatural interactions 
between the deity of the Bible and mankind 
sounded like ancient mythology. 
That seed of doubt never went away. 
I was raised in a hyper-fundamentalist family, 
and it felt good to be in a system that promised 
all the answer and solutions to life. The problem is, 
the system didn’t work.  The promises were empty. 
The answers were lies. 
As an adult, my marriage was a sham and a constant 
source of pain for me. I did everything I was supposed 
to - marriage workshops, counselling, bible reading 
together, date nights every week, marriage books - 
but my marriage never became what I was promised 
it would be. 
I was fully devoted to studying the scriptures. 
I think I missed maybe 12 Sundays in 40 years. 
I had completely memorized 18 books of the 
Bible and was reading through the bible for the 
24th time when I walked away.
I devoured all the “Christian apologetics” books 
that came out, and none of them answered my 
questions regarding the nature of God and the 
problems I found within the Scriptures. I found these 
books to be trite, dismissive, and full of pseudoscience 
and evidence. 
The more I read and studied the scriptures the
 more questions I had. Literally from the first chapter 
to the last, so many problems. And the more I learned
 about how the scriptures were canonized, the less 
I could believe in the “inerrancy” model that I had 
to espouse.
In 40 years I never witnessed a single event 
that was supernatural. Not one. 
Time and again I watched people die of cancer. 
I did funerals for 47 people from the age of 4 to 96. 
I prayed in faith with hundreds of people for healing 
to no avail. god didn’t answer prayers. 
My devoutly Christian parents were abusive, 
my marriage was a sham, prayer was never 
answered, miracles were never performed. 
People died, children rebelled, marriages failed, 
addictions occurred - all at the same rate as non-
believers. The system just doesn’t work. 
I pastored mega churches & tiny churches. 
I did college ministry, camp ministry, youth ministry, 
music ministry, preaching ministry, church planting -
 everything in the church except work in the nursery. 
And what I saw was people desperate for the system 
to work for them.
I travelled on speaking teams, preached to 
thousands of teenagers at a time, wrote blogs, 
was published, formed curriculum, taught workshops, 
was an up-and-comer reforming my denomination.
 The whole time hoping at some point it would click, 
and become true for me. 
An inescapable reality that I came to was that the 
people who benefited the most from organized religion
 were the fringe attendees who didn’t take it too seriously.
 The people who were devout were the most miserable 
but just kept trying harder. 
All the while, the experience I had within the church 
was that a lot (granted, not all) people use the church 
for power and influence. Many involved people in 
churches use it as their small kingdom for personal 
control and ego.  
And the entire system is rife with abuse. 
And not just from the top down, sure there are abusive 
church leaders, but church leaders are abused by their congregants as well. 
Church people are just shitty to 
each other. 
I spent my entire life serving, loving, and trying to 
help people in my congregations. And the lies, betrayal, 
and slander I have received at the hands of church people 
left wounds that may never heal. 
This massive cognitive dissonance - my beliefs not 
matching with reality - created a separation between 
my head and my heart. I was gaslighting myself to 
stay in the faith.
Eventually, I could not maintain the facade anymore, 
I started to have mental and emotional breaks. 
My internal stress started to show in the form of 
physical symptoms. Being a pastor - a professional 
Christian - was killing me. 
During this time I also found something amazing:
 I found a handful of people who were more Christian 
than any Christian I had ever met - and they weren’t 
Christian. I found love in places where love wasn’t 
supposed to exist. I found acceptance among people 
who were godless. 
I learned that love is real. That acceptance is possible. 
That life is vibrant and full. But the church burdens 
people with fear, shame, and guilt, all for the purpose 
of maintaining control. I now see the church as a 
system perfectly curated to control people and 
I was a part of a system that enslaves people, 
and I was both a slave and a slave driver. 
We called chains freedom, and misery happiness. 
We had impossible standards that we could not 
meet so we turned the attention on others so the 
spotlight wasn’t on our own inadequacies.
Eventually, I pulled the lever and dropped the bomb. 
Career, marriage, family, social standing, network, 
reputation, all gone in an instant. 
And honestly I didn’t intend to fully walk away, 
but the way the church turned on me forced me 
to leave permanently.
For those of you who want to yell at me, that’s fine. 
I know that many will call me an apostate, say I was 
never really saved, that I was a wolf in sheep's 
clothing and that a hotter hell awaits me. 
And to you, I say I love you. 
My heart is tender toward you.
To those who have been in my congregations 
or under my teaching/preaching, 
I sincerely apologize. 
I thought I was right. I thought I was doing 
the right thing. I thought I could fake it until I made it. 
I was wrong. I’m sorry. I love you. 
I have lost everything. I gave literally everything
 to serving Jesus. And walking away has cost me
 everything. All I can hope for is that the second
 half of my life can be full of love and genuine human relationships. I was wrong. I’m not faking anymore. 
I will add that my walking away was very messy
 and I know I have hurt a lot of people. 
To them, I am genuinely sorry and I regret 
my actions that hurt you.

PS: My attention was drawn to this 
thread by @Davegass3
he published it at 9:43 AM as a thread 
on Twitter
This brother is a very strong man!
It took me all of 3 years to burn out
2004 October to 2007 September 
I was a fellowship leader and a sham!
I desired to know the Lord but I didn't 
know him!
I read the Bible over 10 times, I was a 
Sunday School teacher and yet
God was so far away! I drank, I smoked, 
I lied, I cheated, I was a hypocrite!
I tried very hard to do better, I struggled!
I was a typical rise and fall believer
That type that will jump from the bed of sin
to the altar to preach
I knew there was more! 
I just wasn't plugged in!
But the Lord saw that I was drowning and
He sent the Holy Spirit to me!
That visitation changed my life forever
Without the supernatural, Christianity is 
just a religion, stop looking for God in the letter! 
God is Spirit!                 
I have sent the Holy Spirit to Brother Dave Gass
He will drink of the living waters
His soul will be restored and he shall thirst no more!

If you are also a Christian or a pastor or Bishop and 
you are just faking it, please look beyond the letters
Ask for the Holy Spirit and abide in Him!
His duty is to keep you from falling! Without him...