Big Sea Small Boat

I’m feeling disoriented. I feel like I am a singer who no longer sings with the choir. I’ve gone solo. And I’m scared.

How am I going to provide for my family? In spite of the readership, my blog doesn’t make any money. I will keep cartooning, but that doesn’t make any money either. I will continue painting and selling my art. But I tried being a full-time artist for a year a while ago. Not pretty. I know, from experience, that we have been provided for in the past. I trust. But we’ve really stepped out here and taken a huge risk. I have to tell you: I’m scared.

And my blog: I think I’ve already lost some readers because I’m no longer a pastor of a local church. Some people think I no longer have a valid voice. But I had coffee with a young woman today who says I’m still a pastor. She said, “If a doctor isn’t on staff, does it mean he’s no longer a doctor?” No. I am still a pastor. I still care for the greater flock. But I’m feeling bewildered. I’m not sure how this is going to turn out. I feel like a man without a country.

I just felt, in order to be fair and honest with you, that I had to tell you this. I am the nakedpastor I don’t have it all together. I remember the saying that President J. F. Kennedy had on a plaque on his desk: “Oh God thy sea is so great and my boat is so small.” And I have no motor, oars or sail.

"Nice vid David - hilarious! We'll miss you and wish you all the best! (and ..."

nakedpastor’s goodbye video to patheos
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nakedpastor’s goodbye video to patheos

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  • Your voice is valid.

    Is there a site for your art? Time to translate some traffic.

    Courage, mon frere!


  • Very honest David, very familiar too.

    Perhaps you can look into a secular job of some sort to provide for your family? Just look for opportunities and continue doing the things you love. Good luck

  • A few years ago after teaching for eleven years, I became disabled and had to stop working and boy oh boy I know exactly how you feel. I was in funk for a long time but it gets a little getting used to and I know you have faith that God will see you through this but in the meantime…yeah, it sucks

    Thanks for being honest

    It’ll get better

  • all we can do is keep seeking the Lord even as the storms of life howl-trust and obey-pray-cry out to the Lord for guidance-peace

  • If you had it all together, most of us wouldn’t be around. I think we’re all sick of people who have all the answers. Of course you’re still a pastor. You’ve created a virtual community and brought people, who wouldn’t otherwise know each other, together. Perhaps its time that this online community stepped up to the plate to support you financially. If the people who comment on here, along with the daily lurkers, sent you $5.00/mo, you’ld be ok. You have what? 18,000 readers a month? So gang, hear that? Plant a seed…oh, no wait…get on the pay pal button and lets support NP. (Sorry, we don’t have any prayer cloths, mustard seeds, water from the holy land,or coins to represent the widows mite).

  • Hybrid

    I agree, let’s have a “support NP” option…

  • Yup, it’s hard. I feel for you. I think it’s easy to identifiy who we are by our vocations, but that is not really who we are. Maybe God is trying to show you who you are, stripped away and naked…more naked than before…?

  • jarofclay

    “I am the nakedpastor I don’t have it all together.”
    That is exactly why I keep on reading your posts. I can relate to that, unlike other blogs I stopped reading.

  • Oh David, it has to be scary. You are so multi-faceted, talented and have created a wonderful community here. Surely something wonderful awaits.

  • My husband was forced out of the ministry he had as manager at a local Christian coffee shop. It was catastrophic for our family in every way. We knew it was coming, but that didn’t make it easier when it arrived. We were only given a few weeks severance pay and were on our own with two kids to support. My husband’s vocation was teaching, and with schools closing in our area he couldn’t find a job. He went to a local temp agency and God opened the doors for a position completely out of his field – hospital management. It has been such a great fit for him, and he’s been able to use his teaching and management skills to further his career. Things were tight and I won’t say it was a stress free transition, but God came through for us! God will provide above and beyond for you – He wouldn’t have called you out of the ministry if He didn’t have something waiting for you on the other side. He has a way of taking us into the most unexpected places…places we wouldn’t have ever dreamed we would be. I agree with the above comments – if you’re called to be a pastor then that is your God given calling whether you’re pastoring a congregation of pews or a cyber congregation.

  • “I am the nakedpastor I don’t have it all together.”

    Ditto- that’s why I read it- I don’t feel so alone or strange. Think your blog is incredible…keep going.

  • i don’t really even know you (outside of cyberspace) but i can tell you are a man of substance. have faith. you have impact. you will go overcome this.

  • Still reading. Bring your boat over to the Island.

  • markbc66

    i am a backslider, still love god, but am living in sin. this brout tears to my eyes. iwill donate $100 australian. even though i only have $3 at the moment. come on people of god, faith with out works is dead!

  • Jay

    Bless you Pastor, your voice is not only still valid, but necessary. I’ve been a faithful reader of your blog for a few months and have found myself challenged and inspired every single time. God never fails to provide for his calling…continue to be and do what He’s called you to in this season, and I have no doubt that the full provision and grace of our Lord will meet you in your moment.

  • Fred

    A small boat is so much easier to steer than a big ship. More unstable and less people “with you,” but so much easier to steer.

  • Sounds like my life.

  • Rainer


    Your honesty is what makes your blog worth reading… So many of us are tired of hearing from people who pretend they have it all figured out.

    Being on your own can be scary. I’ve been there myself. Too many times, it seems…

    Thanks for everything you write here. Helps to know we’re not alone in our questions and struggles.

    Thank you!

  • Jenny Joy

    Sounds like you’ve entered the most exciting adventure of your life!!!Freeeedom from Institutional church!!! Now you can function in your pastoral gifting, Being the church,out in everyday life, free of expectations and the need to perform!! His Grace is amazingly HUGE!!! Enjoy…..
    An encouraging books out there that’s inspired us, is “The Misunderstood God” by Darrin Hufford…
    We are not alone…. 🙂

  • Donna

    I don’t know what to say to encourage you…there could not be enough words to express how I hope you make it to wherever it is that God is leading you.. Be assured that He is with you also..Is.50:7
    For the Lord God will help me, therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set my face like a flint,and I know that I will not be ashamed…..
    I really like your blog and the community that gathers there….I only pop in occasionally but every time I do I am touched.. I would like to support you in your transition efforts and will find out how to do so…Blessings to you and yours!

  • alan

    Thanks for your honesty. It’s appreciated by those of us who for many years have listened to, and even contributed into, a web of deciet and triumphalism which at best has proved to be a very leaky boat indeed. And sometimes a shipwreck. Read ‘often’ for ‘sometimes’ come to think of it.
    I am in a similar position. I have a job which pays poorly and barely covers the bills. My wife contributes a little from her job. I find that God intervenes from time to time with some ‘out of the blue’ experience. It is quite amazing!
    A small piece of advice. I hope it does not sound patronising or ‘super-spiritual’ neither is intended. Do not rely on what you can produce or work for. Rather reply on the ‘Lord of Supply’ who will not allow you to flounder…

  • Your fear is understandable. My husband’s job is with the state in an agency that will soon have 25% cuts (this, after 20% cuts last year). He is truly scared. I left the workforce in 2000, so if he lost his job we’d both be out looking for work. It’s terrifying. My morning yoga and meditation helps me maintain the calm necessary to think clearly and move forward with faith that all is well.

  • Mix

    At first I thought this was going to be about the church in Sydney SBBS:

    Back on topic, I’ll keep reading if you keep writing.

  • Lynn

    I love your cartoons, and I think I’d really like you if I knew you in person. But this whole scenario presses some of my buttons related to religion.

    Doing something as a ministry, then asking people to financially support it just annoys me. I don’t want to make everyone on here mad, but I’m being “naked” myself now.

    Why not charge for your cartoons somehow? Make them a product to sell vs. a ministry where people are guilted into supporting you. I’m sorry, that just reminds me of church-the whole guilt trip. Would I pay for a subscription to your cartoons? Probably. And with that set-up, I don’t have to feel guilty for enjoying a great product without paying for it PLUS you don’t have to ask people for money. That CAN’T be fun! Especialy since you’re smarter and MUCH more talented than I am!!

    I would buy your products. And I hope I haven’t hurt your feelings. My intent is just to be honest and tell how I see this situation. I don’t know if anybody else sees it that way or not.

  • Lynn

    One more thing. I can’t think of a more miserable thing than to be at the mercy of donors constantly. That would do psychological damage to me. Who wants to live that way?

  • Lynn

    Plus it’s like “I have to please these people or they won’t give me money.” That’s freedom? That’s just like pastoring a church, isn’t it?

  • Lynn: I totally agree with everything you are saying. It’s kind of cute the way it took you three times to get it out there. But that just tells me you spoke straight from your heart and are sincere about it.

    In my post, I never asked for money. Although occasionally one of my readers will invite people to give donations. But that never amounts to anything anyway. I don’t like asking for money. And for all the reasons you mentioned, I’m in complete agreement.

    My cartoons can be found all over the internet. People are using them all the time. I like that and wouldn’t want it to change. I am getting my mind around the idea of products: cartoon books, small pocket-books on different issues I address, t-shirts, and my art. But we’ll see.

    Thanks again Lynn. You didn’t hurt my feelings. In fact, you provided more needed clarity.

  • I know the fear of having no job and a family. We’ve stared down some pretty awful financial situations. Your honesty is appealing. I think it’s why a lot of people come here. I think you have some good ideas for ways to sell your art and cartoons.

  • Deb

    I would certainly purchase a book of your cartoons. You also have several other “books” in you such as your thoughts on the church and vision, power, diversity in thought, etc. Please consider that some of these topics can be expanded beyond your blog postings. I just see it as bringing some balance to all the books that are being published.

  • Jason Hogan

    all I can say is that God… that big guy in the sky has a plan
    he just hasn’t told you what it is yet!

  • You were not called “out” of ministry when you left your paid position but you actually dove “into” it! This situation needs more faith, will expand your creativity and the discomfort will stimulate you. Dave, you have an entrepreneurial spirit. I think your art business can flourish – this means exhibits, travelling, getting it into tourist areas – you have a lot of pieces that fit that niche. So produce and peddle. I also think you need to publish your cartoons in more than one language! Moreover, besides naked pastor you could create a series that could sell in newspapers or magazines for instance on the subjects of ecology, community, reality checks i.e. you could adapt your cell phone messages to thoughts of the day. I wrote gospel songs for a long time and when I went through a bumpy ride I realized I could write non-confessional songs and they were just as good and sometimes even better. I had more freedom, latitude to work with. You can hang on to NP toons but not limit yourself to this – nothing stops you from making money with your style. Chris Yambar’s Fire-breathing Pope did not stop him from working on the Simpsons and Mr. Beat while keeping the faith! He says “Good art is good worship.” Check out to get inspired…

    Your family may want to open an artsy coffee shop. If your family could be involved in church business for so many years, it can sure run a for profit business. A colleague left pastorate and started his own business which is now a multi million dollar enterprise. Another “ex-pastor” started a language school which is doing quite well. So you have oars, you have a motor, right before your eyes! I know it’s a big change… but there’s no need to panic. Trust God, trust your family, trust yourself.

    I’d love to fly over to do a benefit concert for you guys. Just find me a venue and a place to crash!

  • Boethius


    You are a risk-taker kind of guy. I could never do what you are doing. My dad repeatedly said to me and my siblings that one “should never quit a job until they have another one.” I have always used that advice through the years. It has served me well but then again, I am not the risk-taker type. I like to play it safe in all areas of my life.

    I think there is a real difference between those who lose their jobs due to lay-offs or a firing as compared to those who leave a job without having prepared ahead of time.

    Now, whether or not God is pleased with the way you did leave your job is not something I can judge. I am sure His hand will be on any future endeavors you find to support your family.

  • Lynn and anyone else who was offended…David did not ask for financial support…I asked for it on his behalf…he did not know I was going to do it. God supplies when we follow His instruction and the supply comes from other people. Manna no longer drops from heaven. In this sort of a venue if readers donated from time to time, it wouldn’t be like a church where you have to please the people, in fact, if David changed his stance on things, a lot of us would leave. Yes, I know the whole money thing is a stumbling point for a lot of people, but there are times when giving is just the right thing to do. It was just an idea that I threw out there. If you feel its right, do it…if you think its not, don’t. And keep in mind that David had no part in the request.

  • Pat

    In the spring, we have faith that the air will begin to warm and new sprouts and blossoms will appear. With this same faith, I know that when I am hungry, food will be available. When I am thirsty, my thirst will be quenched. When i am cold, I will have everything I need. As I become aware of the truth of this statement, I am able to drop any worries about what is to come. In this moment, I let go of any fear or anxiety about the future and rest in unwavering faith. All is will. I am at peace knowing I have everything I need. “Do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat, or What will we drink?’ Ask and it shall be given.”
    You have left the church, but Source can never leave you. It is within. Go there, and your needs will be filled.

  • I’m still reading, and obviously many others are as well, for the same reason I did before. You’re honest. I don’t always agree with you, but I appreciate your honesty and sincerity. I’m reading a book right now that you might find helpful for this “in-limbo” period of your life … From Gravel to Glory (
    God has a plan for you and as someone said, you’re on the brink of adventure! He won’t leave you stranded.

  • You’ve not lost me – I began babysitting my granddaughter every week day, and on weekends I have to do what I used to do during the week. But, I empathize with you. I stepped down from a school teaching job last spring because I could not teach and be available to people that God gave me to minister to in many other ways. That was scary. And, it still is. We don’t have everything we want, but we’ve not yet gone hungry, and we do have a roof over our heads.

    I am finding that I don’t NEED a lot of stuff, but I do NEED to be who I am supposed to be. I had forgotten who that was, but it’s coming back.

  • Phil G.

    I would buy three copies of your comics if published…one for my father who is a retired pastor – he would laugh. Another for myself and one to give to my pastor to inspire him.

  • Lynn


    Please understand that I wasn’t being critical of you. Why would I be? You are a good friend who wants to help. Nothing wrong with that.

    I don’t see anything wrong with anyone appreciating np’s work and wanting to help him. I just find it much more comfortable to appreciate and buy a product. Plus I’m agnostic now, so I don’t really have any desire to support a pastor. I would buy something from him that I liked though.

    Speaking of which, I need to check out the t-shirts.

  • Re. Phil G.’s comment (a couple above this one)…

    If you’re taking advance orders, I want to be the first wholesale customer. Put our bookstore on the list for ten copies!

  • Thanks for the book ideas. I’m working on it!! 🙂

  • Familiar territory. I tend to get *too* verbose on this subject; my husband and I left staff life a little over two years ago. Terrifying: yes. A struggle financially, emotionally, with our kids, with our friends, with each other, with our own selves, with God: yes. Worth every struggle: OH MY YES!! We are still, after two years, learning what this looks like; this living with God, our family, and those around us in real relationship with no prescribed activities to define it. Some days are pure joy, others are as close to despair as it gets, but there is an overwhelming rightness about all of this unknowing/struggle/real-ness/learning/growing/being that is freedom itself.

    Our life looks nothing like we ever thought it would look. What pastor expects to be someday housing his 6-member family in a 33ft rv, working in the food service industry, and ministering more effectively – to both his family and others – than he ever did when he was paid to do so? Certainly, who would expect to be more content, satisfied, and peaceful with that kind of life-change? And yet, that is exactly where we are. Here’s hoping that your journey, terrifying though it may be, leads to the ability to confidently rest in the mystery moments and delight/act in the revelation ones.