Warning: This is verrry long.. (I want to make sure I explain everything). If you make it to the end, then thank you very much.. I think this is more a vent post, but I definitely appreciate any advice or help.
I'll start with my problem... I'm not sure what to do about my pastor and feeling kinda bad for deciding to stop going to the church I went to for 8 years (now here comes the long explanation).
I started going to this church in 2007 (went to youth group first, and then started attending Sunday services in 2009). This church is an uber conservative Baptist church that only has about..50 people at most.. So people can get to know you pretty well. Now, in my highschool years I was what people would call "very religious". I became really involved with my church (helping out with vacation bible schools, attending youthgroup events, even helping out with cleaning around the church). I consider some of the people in that church my family. I love them and even miss them ever since I stopped going there (Stopped going there in June 3rd, 2015...Will explain further down).
Well, college happened. I've always been an open minded person and I met many different and interesting people. I learned about things that I never even knew about. Now, even when I was in highschool and attending a super conservative Baptist church, I didn't consider myself a Baptist or really even a conservative... (Never considered myself any denomination. I just went to a Baptist church because it was closest to my home and I felt like I learned more about the Bible than any other denomination I went to so far). Since I spent a lot of my highschool years surrounded by Christians, I started to question whether I thought the way I did because of those around me or because I truly believed in it..
I mean, I didn't start doubting the existence of God or anything. I just started to question things about the Bible and some of the views that many conservative Christians held... My doubts were further exploited when I got into my first relationship (whom I am currently very happy with and I love him very much <3). He isn't a Christian though, or at least in the sense that many of my Christian friends would say... (He believes in God and says he is a Christian, but he is more loose with his beliefs and also questions things..He is also not a big fan of organzied religion). In the past, I always said that I would never date a non-Christian (because of the whole "unequally-yolked" thing...which means don't date or marry someone who doesn't hold the same exact beliefs as you). So after we started dating and going further in our relationship, I questioned even more how strong my beliefs were (because if they were as strong and deeply rooted as I thought, I wouldn't have dated him...). Maybe the people around me just influenced how I thought?..
Anyways.. I felt guilty at first.. But later on, I realized I was more worried about what others would think, not God. And during all this, I realized more and more how much I didn't really like my church... (Not the people necessarily, just the views that they hold and some of their views). I felt this way since freshman year of college, but I kinda ignored it until junior year of college... I started hearing things that my pastor acted towards people that was anything but Christian and loving (For example, a friend of mine's son was in jail. She wanted pastor to visit him and talk to him..you know, talk about Jesus and try to help him. He said that he would give the son papers first (papers about the Gospel I guess?). Which is completely dumb because just handing someone papers and not taking the time to sit and talk to him shows that you don't care..
That same friend also felt like she wasn't cared about.. She's one of those people that can talk for a long time without realizing how much time has passed. And after awhile Pastor apparently would just interrupt her to get her to stop, and not really listen to what she had to say.
He didn't visit my twin nephews after they were born and in the NICU for a month..I don't know why, but my sister had them out of wedlock so maybe that had something to do with it? Or maybe it's because my sister didn't go to their church very much.
Supposly, after my house fire in 2011, he called pastor jamie (another pastor I knew from my friend's church) and basically told him to stay away from my family.. (and I'm assuming it's because Pastor Jamie was a part of a more contemporary church. And in my pastor's eyes that is "baad").
He obsesses over this conservative Christian college in Florida called Pensacola. He kept telling me that I should consider going (which I didn't). I thought he would stop pestering me about it after I started college, but he still pesters me about it... -sigh-
Whenever big breaks come(winter break and summer break), he always calls me just to ask when I'm coming home (so he can expect me to be there at church). Well.. Like I said earlier, I stopped going on June 3rd... It was my mom's birthday and a Wednesday. I was walking home from the store when him and I happened to cross paths (he was in his car). He said hello and then told me that he had a job for me...but I had to go to church today for him to tell me what it was. I didn't really know what else to say, so I said ok. But then I realized that I couldn't go because it was my mom's birthday (I thought about calling him and saying that I couldn't go because of that, but he's one of those strict pastors that thinks that you always have to be in church no matter what..unless it's an emergency). So I didn't go.. Then I didn't go on Sunday or the next Sunday. Eventually, I didn't go at all...
He has called me multiple times over the summer, but I didn't answer (I'm surprised he hasn't stopped by my house yet.. I hope he doesn't..). I just don't know what to tell him. I never understood why him and his wife are always so concerned with me and when I'm going to be back (I don't think they really do this with other people..I know that I've been there for awhile, but I'm not the first person to stop attending that church). I don't know how to tell him that I don't feel like his church is right for me anymore... I don't know how to explain to him my doubting/wavering beliefs.. Honestly, he would blame me going to college for it. He would say that it "corrupted me" (when in reality, I have been their version of corruption for ages).
I feel bad for suddenly dropping out of that church. I miss some of the people, but I don't really want to explain why I left... (Though they probably deserve an explanation). I just can't take the legalism, the super strictness, many of the views that they hold anymore... I can't take the fact that my pastor seems to be constantly up my butt, trying to shelter me like I'm his own child or something. Can't take the guilt anymore (this is one of those churches that makes you feel guilty for like everything too..-sigh-).
I miss being in a church though.. Even though my views are in question, I still have this strange pull towards church.. (it's hard to explain). I know I could just, even if I don't agree with a lot of the stuff (I mean, I will never agree with every single thing any church teaches). But I just feel that I have to move on...
Still, I can't stop feeling bad about it.. But I really don't want to face my pastor.. (I hope that someone knows how I feel and can give me some insight on what to do).
Thank you for reading....