Now, I really think that two things have led to my stress about this event. For one, as I've talked openly about, I struggle with anxiety including social anxiety. People with social anxiety tend to be overly concerned about rejection by others. The second reason is that this situation was sooooooo reminiscent of my leaving my old church last summer. In that later situation, it couldn't have gone worse. It exceeded my worst possible fears by a good measure.
So, as the time approached, and being a little shell shocked from the last time I tried to exit something, the dread melted into pure panic. I will get back to this story in a minute.
It was about 21 years ago that I returned from the so-called "mission field." We were living in Egypt. It was a horrible experience, not at all related to the wonderful Egyptian people, but a very controlling, dominating and manipulative missionary boss and an organization that was so dysfunctional that it could not address (or even acknowledge) such internal problems.
As we came back to the states, devastated, it may seem strange but we deeply missed living overseas. It was on our hearts in a very deep way. We immediately started looking for a new avenue to fulfill that dream.
I remember a very candid moment in those subsequent months. A fellow church member in our Ann Arbor, Michigan church asked me if we would every try to go back overseas. I surprised him by saying, "I would give my right leg to go back."
He had assumed that we came home broken because of some issue with culture shock despite the loving missionaries who were there to support us. He didn't realize that it was really the antithesis to that thought. It was really "missionary shock" in the midst of loving support from our loving, Muslim Egyptian friends.
He asked me, "Are you looking for a new mission board to go with?"
I answered him in a way that made him so angry that he walked away. I said, "You know, I would never go overseas with a Christian group again. A Christian group can abuse you, manipulate you and then say it was God's will. A secular group could never get by with that."
So, then I come back to my leaving my job. From a sociologist view point, leaving my work and leaving my church are very similar. I had been at both for about eight years. I was closer to the people I work with because I was with them everyday. However, the response was totally opposite.
When I announced to the group I was leaving, there were tears, hugs and total support. Even the doctors (my boss and the equivalent to "my pastor") shook my hand. They told me that they were behind me 100% (realize too that my leaving will cost them $200k/year in income that I produce above what I cost . . . so pure profit to them). They had every right to be mad as hell. But they were professional.
I know that I'm sounding critical again. But I think it is a crying shame that the non-Christian business community knows how to handle perceived rejection in a mature way.
As I was telling the story about leaving my old church (at the time it was happening) and I tried then to make the comparison to leaving a job, someone pointed out that there was a big difference. They made the point that your church is far more important than your job (and other spiritual entanglements). I have to disagree strongly. We Christians use "spiritual" manipulation to vent our infantile emotions in the pretense that we are doing it for God or for some higher purpose.
My bosses (there's two of them) knew that they couldn't vent their raw emotions and disappointment about me rejecting them, such as saying, "You son of a bitch, I dare you leave my company!!!!!" because they knew it would reveal to the world that they were being selfish and childish. But a pastor (or any Christian) can use the same tone (but different words as not to look unpiritual) and then use psychological deflection by adding, "I'm not coming down on your because you have rejected my little church which I own . . . but because you've rejected God-da and His will for your life!" then you can almost hear this whisper softly under their breath . . . "you sonofabitch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Okay, I digressed again. I said I wouldn't talk about me leaving my old church anymore but the contrast with me leaving my secular job this week was huge. My non-Christian co-workers treated me with compassion, love, respect . . . sort of the fruits of the spirit. The Pastor treated me like I was the son of Satan himself.
I must move on. I've beens so busy with creating this company that I haven't had time for anything else. But I did hear an interesting story on NPR yesterday. They told the story of how many evangelical churches are focusing Super Bowl Sunday, on pornography. Apparently there is an church, called the Triple X (or XXX) Church, whose (as it isn't obvious) main ministry is to combat porn. They've created a video with several Christian NFL stars (who else) that focuses on Christian men caught up in porn.
I've never cared for these (very American way of doing things) canned MLM kind of church programs. Somewhat like the "Truth Project." Where many different churches are trained to present the same program. Anyway, while there is good to come out of the attention given to pron, I think there is another side of the problem that is over-looked. I'm debating if I want to walk into that mine field, especially with so much other work to do. But maybe I'll be back tomorrow and talk about that.
Once again I had to type as fast as I can without proof-reading so, I'm sorry about the typos. Try to read what I meant to say.