nakedpastor at St. Stephen’s University

This is me speaking at St. Stephen’s University in St. Stephen’s, New Brunswick, Canada, at one of their “Windows” sessions. This video is nearly an hour of me just telling my story. It continued for another hour with questions and discussion. I had a great time.

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  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio Lantz

    Wow, great talk. I listened to it while I packed up my bags for a month trip to Europe with my son. So if I forget anything, I am blaming you. That is OK, isn’t it?

    Seriously, what a fantastic way to hear behind the cartoons! Nicely done. When I first started reading your blog, I was trying to understand you a bit. This video filled in so much. Thank you for sharing.

    It was funny to hear you say that you feel more comfortable among non-Christians than you do with Christians. When I first left Christianity, that was the first thing I felt too. I also have known many Japanese who feel better away from fellow Japanese and probably for the same reason — it is because of the judgmental aspect of that culture. Have you heard that said among any of the foreigners you teach? Do you think it is a shared psychological principle?

    I would love to hear your talk in from of a bunch of atheists — we need that video next — maybe the Friend (fully-dressed) Atheist will invite you! It would be interesting to compare, because every group, brings out a different side of ourselves — for we are a multitude.

    Thank you for sharing part of yourself !!

    [BTW, I cringed at the final prayer. Who the heck was he talking to? It is so clear that he is talking to the audience, to you and then occasionally to Jesus. Argghhh. That is so typical of make-up-a-good-prayer Protestantism.]

  • will o’ the wisp

    I feel so nourished by listening to this, thank you. I have so many questions and comments, here are but a few: (sorry for length of post)

    – pastoring ‘the other’. Yes, that’s me alright.
    – Jung rough quote – you can’t divorce your past; psychotic break can happen when you break with your past. I’m pondering this one, especially coming from a fundamentalist background.
    – you never leave the “game”, theologically or ecclesiastically. I would think most ex-pastors would have that mindset.
    – dislike of feeling trapped / controlled. Yes yes yes. My freedom and independence are probably the two most important things to me. The main reason I stayed single.
    – I don’t think you should measure or quantify the value of your posts by comments or traffic. I’ve found some really profound art & comments this past fortnight but they so precious to me and in my heart and I’m still pondering – I’m not ready to comment yet.
    – you say leaving was one of the best decisions you made. I was thinking of the decision of your wife too. The crushing relief of pain, sorrow and hurt I can only weakly imagine. But there’s purpose in the hope you give to others now – thank you.

    Questions (and they don’t have to be answered:

    – what do you think about work experience & qualifications for pastors, especially outside the church, that can make you more job ready in the eventuality of leaving the church. Is this a wise plan to have – not all your eggs in one basket?
    – should (or shouldn’t) pastors be thinking ‘strategically’ and watching their backs (like in the workforce)? I find (corporate workplace experience only) when you have to do this you are split – trying to do your job, but then trying to manage all the noise and fluff of those who are trying to undermine you. In a church pastoral sense, would it be better to just be naive of the machinations (but then take the inevitable shafting) or should one be playing a more active, strategic role (and what goes with that)? Hope this makes sense.
    – going to dig out my Zizek book. Was your other hero Tallus Martin? (couldn’t hear it properly)
    – last point – go the double-jointed thumbs !

    Sabio – re: the end prayer – I didn’t get that impression, maybe the hooks are still deep! I had an atheist boyfriend who would point out similar things, it made me a lot more sensitive to my Christian culture embeddedness thinking (at the time).

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    hi will o’ the wisp… i felt totally lost looking for employment. i lucked out when i landed this job. it’s very difficult for pastors. their training is so specialized. the other person i mentioned was Thomas Merton… a benedictine monk/ mystic.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio Lantz

    @ David,

    I will agree with will o’ the wisp’s doubting question of your comment about Jung saying one should stay in one’s background or risk a psychotic break.

    Over the decades, I have actually had several acquaintances ask me for advice on how to transition out of Christianity — they’d express the burden of their Christianity and yet their fears of the consequence of leaving it. And actually, for several, I have suggested staying in their tradition and just rewriting their beliefs, associations and practices accordingly as their new spirituality evolved. For others, however, I though totally leaving was great.

    The Dalai Lama similarly encourages people to stay in their traditions if they wish.

    That said, I feel that leaving a tradition or re-casting it should not be a fast rule — even if you were born in the tradition (as I was) and if your culture is soaked in it (as mine is). Some folks do better leaving and some do better staying. No hard fast rule there with a threat of a psychotic break.

    However, differing from many fellow atheists, since it is possible to have a healthy, happy, caring, authentic mind while remaining in Christianity (if done well), I agree that “leaving” may not always be the wisest choice. But for others, “staying in” can be the worse choice. But it is a hard decision.

    Of course all the above goes for any religion or belief system. I am just putting forth that we should pay close attention to our constitutions and temperaments. Often, since we have trouble seeing ourselves, the counsel of those we respect may help us see more clearly too.

    I’d guess you’d agree in large part with this caveat, but I did want to say that your statement seemed a bit prescriptive, though I know you don’t have a prescriptive temperament — instead, I think you were just being descriptive of what you found for yourself.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio Lantz

    @ will o’ the wisp,
    Yeah, I think if I made a post which illustrated the different voices in his prayer my comment would make more sense. Those type of prayers bothered me even when I was a Christian. Interestingly, that is one reason liturgical prayers (canned prayers) actually seem so healthy to me. My prescription would be to keep “made-up prayers” private and use liturgical for public. Because public prayers are often 75% sermon, self-talk or chatting with the audience — all under the guise of eyes-tightly-closed holiness. And the magic is — the audience buys into it — at some level.

  • http://bjanecarp.wordpress.com Brian Carpenter

    @will o’ the wisp – he said Thomas Merton. Hero of mine too. :)

  • http://bjanecarp.wordpress.com Brian Carpenter

    Sorry for the duplicate answer – I guess David already answered that question while I was listening to the interview.

  • http://blog.superflippy.net Susanna K.

    I enjoyed this video. I don’t know if you got the “my pastor tells me exactly what to do” from my post, but in case you did, I can give you a couple of examples from the guy who said that. His pastor tells them how to define roles in their marriage relationship, what is moral and what is not (e.g. don’t drink, don’t watch porn), and when and how to pray.

  • Syl

    You are such a breath of fresh air. I really enjoyed this.

  • Mad =^..^= (AKA ccws)

    This is great! Would love to see the second half too.

  • http://dmthinktank.wordpress.com Daniel Manastireanu

    Hi David, I really enjoy your blog and connected with your story a lot. You mentioned Richard Wurmbrand in your story, and as a Romanian myself (even if now I live in Scotland and serve as a Minister in the Church of Scotland), I thought I’d ‘correct’ your assumption that he was Russian. He’s not. In short, Wurmbrand was an ethnic Jew born in Romania in 1909 (died 2001) who converted to Christianity and became a very well known Lutheran pastor. He spent many years in communist prisons for his faith. When he left the country he was the first to expose the horrors of the Romanian communist regime to the US Congress, which until then was blissfully ignorant of the true face of Eastern European flavour of Communism. He is one of the major heroes of faith in Romania. So, NOT Russian. :) But it’s OK, I forgive you! I’m a minister, so I have to. But that’s not why I forgive you. Liking you helps…

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    thanks daniel. now that you tell me all that, i do recall it. my mind slipped… thanks again. blessings.

  • http://dmthinktank.wordpress.com Daniel Manastireanu

    Glad to help (and defend national pride on the side)! I love your drawings and share them constantly! Annoying my fundamentalist friends is such a pleasure. It’s good for them too!

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    haha. true daniel. thanks again.

  • http://thewoundedbird.blogspot.com Grandmère Mimi

    David, I feel as you do that I was always a Christian. I have no experience of not being a Christian, and I can’t imagine what it would be like to come to faith from no faith. I’ve felt sometimes that God was far away and not paying attention, but God is/was always real to me.

    I’m enjoying your talk. I’m at about 40 minutes, and I gotta go, but I’ll watch the rest later.