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More detail from two unbelieving ministers

November 10, 2010

You know that Tuft’s study that gave me the idea to start this blog?  ABC has a story online covering two of the ministers in that study.  One of my Christian friends posted this to FB, shocked at the revelation.  I wonder what he’ll think when I eventually come out publicly.

I really hope that I can find a job sooner rather than later.  I can’t imagine being in this position for an extended period.  I also can’t imagine actually being a minister.  As a music director I don’t have to talk a whole lot about religious things, I just pick some hymns and rehearse the choir and make sure all the music stuff goes smoothly.

(On a mostly unrelated note: One of the commenters on his post mentioned that there is an “atheist church” in their town.  They have a “Sunday School” and “contemporary style worship services” and go out evangelizing for freethought in the neighborhood.  I’m not a huge fan of contemporary worship in the first place, maybe if they performed choral masterworks I’d be onboard.)

9 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2010 2:21 pm

    For a few months I went to a church in Seattle called All Pilgrims, a Universalist Unitarian church. I was not yet an atheist at that point, but the pastor told me that were several atheists who were members of the church, as well as Buddhists. The pastor was gay and I really miss him.

    I wonder if a church like this would accept someone with your skills and beliefs. The music was absolutely amazing. I’ve got a bootleg recording of the choir I could send you.

    • November 11, 2010 10:34 pm

      The UU church here has one minister (that I’m aware of) and no paid music person. I’ve seen a few positions open up in the UU church but they have all been half or even quarter time positions and nowhere near me. I can’t move for a part-time job, sadly. Maybe one day I’ll have a job that supports me and I can lead a choir in a UU congregation on the side.

  2. November 11, 2010 10:35 pm

    I also remember a time when I thought people who went to UU churches were really strange. Why go to church and worship something that you don’t believe exists, I wondered? I now realize that is very much not the point. They aren’t always there to worship someone or something, some are there just because they like the fellowship, teaching, and music.

  3. November 12, 2010 3:39 pm

    Hearing stories like that from ministers or ex-ministers gives me a new thankful perspective on my comparatively small problems working for a Christian company. I can’t imagine having to actively teach things I disagreed with. My job doesn’t involve teaching or promoting my own ideas, so I don’t have it too bad in the scheme of things.

    • November 13, 2010 12:18 am

      Thankfully I am in a situation that is a bit more similar to yours than to being a pastor. I’m not teaching dogma, I’m just teaching music and selecting songs from a historical tradition. The hardest part of me is public prayer, and just talking the Christianeese that you have to do in order to fit in. When I hear the pastor promoting Answers in Genesis bullshit I want to say something SO bad. When he held up a scale model of the ark and talked about how wonderful it was that two of every kind of animal and seven pair of the unclean ones were able to fit on the boat, including all the dinosaurs… (This was during a “children’s sermon” a few months back, I was on stage behind him and I had to work very hard to keep a straight face through this.)

      But at least I’m not having to sell these silly ideas myself, I just have to bite my tongue.

  4. extro1 permalink
    November 12, 2010 8:53 pm

    Very close to Unitarians. The local Unitarian church has humanists and atheists in its congregation. I went a few times amny years ago and it was too much liek church but the secular service was great and I met a few other unbelievers. They blew it when their church leader wanted a one on one interview before welcoming me in.

    • November 13, 2010 12:21 am

      I know our local UU minister is an atheist, I’ve listened to some of his “sermons” (if you can call them that) and enjoyed them. What I’d like is a congregation where the “preaching” is lectures on various scientific and humanist issues, where the “missions” is just basic helping those who need it, and where the music is a good mix of classical music performed by professionals. I fear that most of the music at UU churches may not be quite to my standard (though it may be far better than most evangelical churches) but that the other stuff may be nice. I’ve been accused of being a music snob. This is probably accurate. :D

  5. Funnieronpaper permalink
    December 23, 2010 1:00 am

    In Houston there’s a place called “The Church of Freethought.” I don’t attend because it would take over an hour to get there. Besides, they only meet once a month on a Sunday morning. I wish there was a local UU church closer to me. The closest one is about 1/2 hour away. What I really want is some friends. I do have friends but they’re mostly my in-laws. I should probably go to the UU church, but Sunday morning is the only time my in-laws will “babysit” my son which means they take him to church with them, so it’s the only time I get alone time with my husband, who is a believer but isn’t active in church and is a freethinker despite.

    Just thought you might want to check out the info on the Houston Freethought church. From what I recall, they only call it a church to get the tax exempt status that churches get.

    (btw, visiting from

    • December 24, 2010 9:57 pm

      I’ve heard of them, but I haven’t looked at much about them (since they are in Houston and I would have to leave a day ahead of time to make it to a service, and I avoid Texas as much as I can. :D ) I’ll probably check out the UU church in town when I am no longer working at a church (it’s only about a 2 minute drive from me).

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