Why do I call myself a pastor in exile? Let me explain.
I have lived through many worldviews. My mother had a postmodern view of the world that she grew into slowly in my young years and broke through when I was a teenager. It showed in my anti-authoritarian upbringing.
My father was a modernist as one can be. He focussed on personal success and what he could bring to the workforce, upholding life long learning and good work ethics.
My secondary education took place in a traditional catholic boarding home and a humanistic modernist school.
Feeling at home and alone at the same time in all of them, I learned to recognise the up- and downsides of each worldview very early on and started to integrate them while meeting everyone at the place they were at.
I also experienced all of church history, even though in an odd order. Born a protestant, I visited a Jesus People house church around 7, an evangelical church around 13, a catholic boarding home from 14. I experienced Quakers, Lutherans and Judaism during my time in the US. Later I joined a charismatic church and ended up in a fundamentalistic apostolic network that grew out of Word of Faith.
School and Work
I worked as a computer programmer, software architect and project manager. In parallel, I studied history, political sciences, mathematics, computer sciences, artificial intelligence, computer linguistics, and theology. I own no titles, have no papers, do not care.
I dove into the psychology of personality and became a certified coach for CliftonStrengths and a certified Spiral Dynamics practitioner.
Several years ago, I have been healed from not smelling nor tasting. It was a grandiose day that sent me into sensory overflow for quite some time, but has opened up worlds for me since.
The tension of living in different worldviews all of my life has had its downsides. Being in a job that calls for at least the complexity of a modern mindset, working for self-organizing integral companies for some time, while co-pastoring a fundamentalistic traditional church was tearing me apart, and if I had not had this experience from early on, it probably could not have done it.
Still, I developed cancer, and recovery has been quite a journey.
All these paths have led up to the place I am now. As the church I co-pastored returned to old principles and traditional teachings when Covid hit, thinking that it needed to narrow down to keep its members safe, it became obvious that my calling could not be fulfilled any longer in such a setting.
Having an integral mindset, I saw it as my duty to lead the church into the next phase of God’s plan, while the church decided to hunker down in the same-old same-old. We parted ways.
I believe that I was faithful. For 34 years in two churches I stayed true to my calling, and both churches were offered a chance to grow and become what God has planned for this time. In the Bible the number 17, the number of years I spent in each of these churches, symbolizes “overcoming the enemy” and “complete victory.” This was what was offered, with the enemy being one’s own ego and closed minded thinking. Do not get me wrong: the traditional church serves a great purpose today for traditional people, and I love them for it. It’s just not my place any longer.
Having been in a waiting position for some time, I am ready to launch out again. My next undertaking: exploring an integral theology and building a network of like-minded people. And just like a prophet of old who, when not welcomed in Jerusalem, prophesied outside the city gates, I do what I do as a pastor and teacher in exile.