A day needs to come where keeping my dirty little secret no longer feels necessary.
Again, I'm not doing anything radical at the moment. But here's my first baby step towards coming out to the real world.
See . . . I never dropped my membership from the denominations with which I am still affiliated. I grew up being part of the Missionary Baptist Church but converted to Apostolic Pentecostalism at 18 years old. I never formally cut ties with the Baptist church when I moved. My last years as a Christian were spent being part of the Church of God based in Cleveland, TN. But, I never formally cut ties with the Apostolic Faith Church, either.
So, for my first baby step, I wrote a letter to the Church of God state office in my area and formally withdrew my membership. Below is a copy of the letter I wrote. I have edited out any personal information because at this time, I am not yet ready to share those details online:
I know that this letter isn't radical. But this was a very big step for me. I didn't just ask to withdraw my membership. I let them know that I don't agree with their doctrine any longer. Although, I didn't say way or how.
XXXXXX COG State OfficeXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXTo whom it may concern,Please accept this letter as my formal request to withdraw my membership from the Church of God organization headquartered in Cleveland, TN. At the time that I joined this denomination, I was attending XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.My personal beliefs concerning God, Salvation, and the Bible are no longer fully aligned with all of the statements of faith held by the Church of God organization.No one has done anything to drive me away from XXXXXXX or from the Church of God organization as a whole. I do not harbor any animosity towards anyone in the organization and everyone at XXXXXXXXXX was very kind and caring towards me and my family during my membership. My decision to withdraw my membership solely rests upon the personal changes in my faith when compared to the doctrines of the Church of God.I realize that this letter will not be pleasing to receive, but ultimately I must be honest concerning the conflicts between your articles of faith and my current personal beliefs. Therefore, I hereby tender my withdrawal of membership and I wish you good fortune in all your endeavors as a church and organization.Respectfully yours,XXXXXXXXXXX
And I think that may be the crux of the whole issue between the religious and the non-religious.
I shouldn't have to explain. And I won't. If someone from the church calls, I will simply say that my private beliefs have changed. It's honestly not the business of anyone else what I believe about God and why. My right as a human being, as an adult, and as United States citizen is to have my own private opinion about God and exercise that belief to my liking.
Well . . . assuming I'm not harming others, being cruel to animals or destroying the property of others, that is.
Anyhow . . .
That is my First Amendment right -- just as the members of other religions may enjoy this right, too.
I hope to one day write the other two denominations a very similar letter. But, my ties with the Church of God were much weaker and shorter lived. I'm not making too many waves writing a letter to them.
I need to grow up a bit more before writing to the other two denominations. I hope to develop the strength in time.
I'm proud of my little baby step. Even if it is only a small one.