I recently read a comment on another blog which mentioned The Clergy Project (clergyproject.org) where atheist clergy can “network and discuss what it’s like being an unbelieving leader in a religious community.” I wonder if there are similar online communities for firemen who don’t believe in putting out fires or construction workers who don’t believe in building.
Seriously though, I know that clergy often have doubts about the veracity of what they believe and that parishioners can put a heavy weight on their pastors who are sometimes seen to be the foundation of the faith, instead of the Bible. In other cases I know of ‘churches’ where it wouldn’t really matter what the pastors believe because no one takes God seriously. Presumably those who use The Clergy Project are not of this latter type because it wouldn’t be a crisis to disbelieve. They claim 300 members and I wonder if any of those are actually grace agents working to help clergy through these dark nights of the soul… It would seem somewhat dishonest to claim to be an atheist in order to bolster a pastor’s faith but then “being an unbelieving leader in a religious community” seems even less honest. The mortgage has to get paid somehow and churches aren’t very understanding about granting pastors a “crisis of faith” leave of absence.
Let us pray that the chaff leaves of its own accord so that Holy Spirit can bolster the body of Christ as all members work together, using the gifts he has given for the edification of all and the spread of the Good News that not only does God exist but he died so that his body might have True Life.