sent in by anonymous
In 1971 I got "saved and became one of early "Jesus People" who attended Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa in Santa Ana, California. First it was in the big circus tent, and then in the new sanctuary. I was baptized in 1971 at Pirate's Cove at Corona Del Mar, and I married Calvary's live-in janitor in 1973, for ten years.
I also attended a small charismatic church called Shekinah who had this flamboyant "healer" preacher named Brant Baker, but he ended up dying of AIDS.
There was a lot of conforming for a female in the church to do. I was to "submit" to my husband, "obey" him and in other words, dote on him and be his yielding slave. It didn't bother me at the time, not until after I matured.
Even worse, was the rampant anti-intellectualism. We were not encouraged to go to college because it was "secular" and "of the flesh," and yet at the same time it was demanded of the men to be a good provider and have a stable job. I guess the church didn't ever want us to think too much or to question anything or to use our brains at all.
My husband was very good friends with Greg Laurie, pastor of Calvary Chapel of Riverside, and in 1974 we basically picked up and moved to Riverside, following Greg after his wedding to Cathe. In fact, we all four lived in the same big house, a house that Calvary Chapel of Riverside owned (we cut it in half to make it a duplex). My husband was vying for the position of Assistant Pastor and he wanted it very badly but ultimately it was awarded to someone else and this broke his heart. Greg Laurie went on to form the mega-church, Harvest ministries, and he is supposed to be Billy Graham's replacement.
Ultiimately we moved away, divorced in 1983, I remarried and had a daughter and went to college - something I never felt encouraged to do by the church back then. I fell in love with Psychology and Carl Jung and found Christianity too literal and anti-intellectual. I have not been back to church, since.
It wasn't a sudden de-conversion, it was gradual. And I paid for it psychologically. In fact, I ended up needing to talk about it in therapy a whole bunch. I had a lot of cognitive dissonance over it, alot of thinking I was going to go to hell. Mostly what bothered me was a certain sermon by Pastor Chuck Smith, Sr. about the Sin Against the Holy Spirit. He had taught us that if we "backslid enough, we would not know exactly the moment when we would lose our salvation. I was haunted by this sermon for many years until I was able to resolve my fears in therapy.
Leaving Christianity freed me up for so many things, intellectually. I was free to explore philosophy, other points of view, even other religions. I found I enjoy the wisdom of many Eastern Religions, especially the Dali Lama and Tibetan Buddhism, but I do not have to get involved in the rituals or heavy belief systems if I don't want to. I prefer to think of myself as an Agnostic - I don't know if there is a God and I'm sure no one else knows for sure.
There's a new found sense of inner volition and responsibility that you gain when you let go of blaming everything that happens on either "God's will" or "Satan's attacks."