sent in by Frank Henry Pecenka
How 14 years of religion almost destroyed my life.
Testimony of Frank Pecenka, Canada
Hi my name is Frank Pecenka and I have a testimony that 14 years within organized religion almost destroyed my life and my family. My wife and I started out with a sincere desire to know and to please God but something went terribly wrong over the years and in the end I turned my back on God, The Church and Organized Religion.
I finally came to that place where I found that I was emotionally, spiritually and financially bankrupt having exhausted all of my resources trying to make my skewed faith work.
I have come to the realization that the faith I had was in legalism and the formulas of men and their doctrines. Through much suffering, loss, adversity, pain and humiliation I discovered that I could not tip the hand of God and that my best efforts to adhere to the formulas and doctrines of men didn't matter one iota to God.
The milestone event that finally caused me to hit the proverbial wall happened after our family had gone through the loss of our home and bankruptcy. This took place as a result of more than 10 years of tithing, giving and supporting various ministries as well as doing "good works" besides. Since we were trying to raise a family on a single income while home schooling our 2 kids our finances were spread so thin that we had to constantly borrow to make up the shortfall.
After more than 10 years of this folly our debt load swamped us like a tidal wave. The underlying message we kept getting through these turbulent years was that there had to be something wrong with you or God would bless you and heal your finances since his own law binds him. Anyone who cannot make these laws, formulas and doctrines work soon finds themselves on the outside looking in as they are cast aside and rejected since it has to work, doesn't it?
While the pain from my own loss and resulting humiliation was still very fresh, I had to endure listening to a Christian businessman's testimony in our church. It turned out that he was facing personal bankruptcy over 1 million dollars in business debts which he was burdened with as the result of a chain reaction involving a client business that went bankrupt.
He tearfully shared that he had spent that week getting right with God and as a result God had seen to it that the consortium that he owed the money forgave his debt. Upon hearing that, I found myself filled with rage, bitter, disillusioned and feeling rejected by God. God allowed this man who has a home and lifestyle I could only ever dream of to keep his yet the personal sacrifices we made and the things we did without counted as nothing. We were not even empowered to continue what we were doing and there was no eleventh hour intervention on our behalf.
I thankfully came to the conclusion that I could probably never get right with God since my best efforts thus far were useless. Realizing that fact provided a sense of freedom from the bondage of performance to earn favor that is a common theme in organized religion. The time was right for me to hear a message of Grace and the unconditional love of God. This simple but timely message has helped me to put the shattered pieces of my life in perspective.
Since I am presently recovering from a deep depression I still have much anger to work through, primarily directed toward organized religion. Part of this process caused me to sit down and write a letter, which I actually had in a stamped and addressed envelope ready to mail the next day. Instead of the mailbox it ended up in the trash. I have decided to add that letter to this testimony to illustrate what emotional roller coaster ride people in organized religion can find themselves on.
My hope in writing this testimony is that it helps one single person to not go through that what I went through. If that is the case it will have been worth it.
Attached letter to pastor:
September 14, 1999
As you receive this letter Clive Pick will have just been to teach at the recent "Releasing Financial blessing" seminar at (omitted) Fellowship. In light of that seminar I would like to offer my services as a guest speaker to do a follow up relating my personal experiences in "The Release of Financial Blessing in My Life". I would gladly waive any honorariums so that the offerings can go straight to (omitted) Fellowship.
I have so much that I would like to share having spent over ten years tithing plus giving as well as supporting various ministries. The blessing that ensued resulted in causing us to have lost everything that my wife and I spent the previous 20 years of our lives working for. I would also like to share the fact that as my financial picture progressively deteriorated I found myself working longer, harder and giving more than ever with no eleventh hour divine intervention.
Armed with more than ten years of teachings on the subject from many sources I was determined to put my faith in these teachings to the test and to make them work only to have it virtually destroy any faith that I had left. I would love to share the emotions I felt as I dragged myself off to work while I had pneumonia and was coughing up blood. I had to do that because if I didn't work I wouldn't get paid and I needed every penny I could earn just to stay afloat.
I would love to share about the thousands of dollars that I spent over a ten-year period on "Christian Counseling " at sixty-five dollars per hour. Many in leadership suggested I do that in an attempt to find out what is wrong with me and in what areas I am not "Right With God". If you do as the teachings dictate it has to work or there is a problem with you, am I correct?
I would also like to share the struggles I had wondering why God would have me take two hours off of work from my $12.00/hr after tax income to pay someone, who is doing "God's Work" $65/hr for their time.
In case you are interested I might also be able to convince a friend from my days in the (omitted) Fellowship to give his personal testimony about his experiences with "Releasing Financial blessing".
My friend has a powerful testimony about having been a Christian businessman who at the peak of his business tithed $100,000 per year. On his own initiative he was also the sole support for a missionary couple in Central America and also personally helped people in need by employing them or helping them financially.
My friend was one of the most "Christ Like" individuals I ever met yet he ended up losing everything in a business and personal bankruptcy. The last I heard from him he was living in a small trailer on his brother's farm. To add to the pain he endured he found himself being judged and shunned by his peers (fellow Christian businessmen) who were certain that he was not tithing or "Right With God".
If you feel that you would like my friend and I to come and share our experiences and to help re-enforce the powerful teaching that Clive Pick' has left (omitted) Fellowship please don't hesitate to contact me.
Became a Christian: 37
Ceased being a Christian: 52
Labels before: Vineyard, Partners in Harvest
Labels now: Agnostic
Why I joined: Desperation as life was not working.
Why I left: All of religions answers were useless.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)