A Conversation with a Pastor Who Wants to Get Out of the Pulpit

Last month, the Clergy Project announced its participation in the RiseSmart [Transition] Assistance program, which would help current pastors acquire the skills they need to transition out of the ministry and into a new career.

The first grant recipient was “Adam,” a pastor at a fundamentalist, evangelical church.

At the time, we didn’t know much about Adam, other than his self-description and the fact that he was stuck in his position and coming out as an atheist could ruin him financially and hurt his family.

Doug Erickson of the Wisconsin State Journal got in touch with Adam and learned a lot more about this mysterious man trying to get out of the pulpit:

Adam, a staff preacher at a large fundamentalist church in Tennessee, said his wife is aware that he is struggling with his faith, but even she doesn’t know the extent of his dilemma.

“Some days, I get so frustrated with the situation, I think it would be best to just lay it all out there and deal with the fallout,” Adam said. “But I don’t think that would be fair to my family.”

Adam said his transition from firebrand to atheist was relatively quick. He took a quiz in a Christian book in 2008 and realized he was ill-equipped to defend his creationist views. That sent him to the Internet where, for the first time, he read deeply about evolution. Within six months, he’d changed his views.

“I never, ever imagined this would happen to me,” he said. “I was so strong in my faith.”

He realizes some parishioners will be very upset with him when he comes clean. “I know there will be anger. The reason: I’m not who they think I am.”

But after he comes out, he may find more freedom than he’s ever had before. I hope after he makes his transition out of the ministry, he’ll go public with his atheism. Courageous people like this deserve to be known and thanked publicly.

(image via Shutterstock)

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