I had to leave because I was exhausted and because my beliefs changed. But I didn’t leave because people were mean to me.
|Idabel FUMC, photo by David Mercer|
At some point, I want to discuss the unhealthy dynamics of religious culture, but first I want to speak of the last church I served before I left ministry. Plenty of churches behave poorly in extreme times, and I’m sorry to say that it’s quite true that they “shoot their wounded.” But the church in Idabel was different. When I got divorced, people expressed their love for both me and my ex-wife, which is unusual. When I told them I needed to leave the ministry, they were kind and generous.
We weren’t perfect in our church. We had our conflicts. But we did good work together. And when I needed it most, they were there for me.
I will always love the First United Methodist Church of Idabel, OK.