It's like mourning. This is about the death of my god Jesus.  It is an absolutely dreadful and frightening experience and dark night of the soul yet it is what is needed in order to grow. I am now finally able to tell clergy - what you are telling me is absolute bullshit with no valid basis - and not be afraid of being sent to hell for criticising "God's anointed" clergy.

In dialogue with Chris Gillespie (CG) .....

CG: One comment made to Mark  ... was asking him why he waited 36 years before deciding that the wheels had fallen off, both the Jesus-as-divinity who answers prayer concept, and the Christian Community paradigm.

Without wishing to put words in his mouth, I would guess that in that respect, his story shares much with most of us who are (at the very least) among the ex-churched: You keep hoping that you'll either discover the magic formula which will make God talk to and interact with (or even LOOK at) you, as most of your contemporaries claim that He does for them... OR that you'll discover what the "blockage" is to Him doing so. The fault cannot be with Him, and you'd better not suggest that there's anything wrong with the Church... that'd be slanging off at Jesus' Betrothed... not a good look.

Equally, one is STRONGLY discouraged from questioning the whole Neo-Testamentary postulate. One is told that God is sovereign, love, omni-you-name-it, and therefore infallible... yet hates sin. You are told that there is something you are doing wrong, or something right that you are not doing (even if that something is receiving the baptism of the H.S. or anulling the ongoing generational curses because your Great-Grand-Aunt went to a fortune teller, or "believing the promises" - the fault MUST lie with you, because God... etc.

Ah, and you might be told that you are called to walk by faith, rather by sight, and that God is testing you, hiding behind a rock (like the absent bridegroom and his virgins) to see if you will be faithful in licking His feet, even when you have no feelings... that you'd better hope He'll find you doing what you were supposed to when He returns... etc etc - and you feel trapped in this omni-view prison thing that we have discussed in the past... and you are AFRAID that you will fail the celestial test when all the time you were only one metre from the finish line. THAT is a big motivator, that combination of fear and guilt.

So you BELIEVE this crap, you self-flaggelate a little more, get up earlier to read the Bible, pray harder, try fasting, do your devotional, ask (again) for the H.S. Baptism, "repent" (again) for that miserable, wretched, misguided woman your Great Grand Aunt... and hope thereby you can press the "reboot" button on your spiritual PC. You BELIEVE, I say, that the Christians around you are really doing as well as they claim (because they are Christians - why would they lie to you?) - and you so DO NOT want to be the effing black sheep, the ONLY one who doubts, and to whom Jesus does not talk as a man with his friend over the morning coffee.

So I see it as a badge of honour, those (like Mark perhaps) who kept trying for so long - it often speaks not so much of willful blindness... but of genuine humility that assumes that oneself is the one with the problem. Who wants to be a megalomaniac?

I think it was Confucious who said that "When the pupil is ready, the maestro will appear" - and so we have different people waking up at different stages in their Christian/church life and saying, "EFFING HELL: The Emperor is effing NAKED, and no-one is going to ever convince me otherwise ever again!"

And so it is... that we keep trying... different denominations, different spiritual exercises, deeper repentances, different ways to woo God... until we mature enough in GENUINE spirituality to admit that this buggy does NOT have wheels/ this horse has DIED under me - it's time to move on. ...

It is a bit like mourning - everyone does it differently, and takes different amounts of time to pass through each stage. Some need to revisit. No-one can hurry anyone else, and ACCEPTING dialogue is almost invariably helpful to keep one moving and avoid stagnation. ...

I think -nay, I am convinced- that the same holds true for the poorest aspects of religion - the abuse,the manipulation, the abuse of authority. It may not be "simple" to physically leave "the church" (local or universal) - the absence is like the bloodied and tender hole left by an extracted tooth, which the tongue keeps returning to "worry". ....

MUCH more difficult tho, is the task of removing pieces of "software" that the uninstalled "church" has left behind cluttering up your mental/spiritual registry. Again - just as pieces of an unwanted and uninstalled program can keep throwing other woftware off untill you do a deep registry clean... so can bits and pieces of "church" cause other software to behave in peculiar ways for many years... anger, paranoias, aggresivity, compulsivity around certain subjects - all are indicators of a "virus" that an inadequate church/religion experience has left behind. You have to have been there to understand - these trojans rarely activate till you have made a serious attempt to leave.

ME: Indeed it is a perpetual look for the promised Holy Grail or Philsosopher's Stone. You are repeatedly told that the reason that you don't get t is because of your unholy practices and thoughts. You are always to blame and are a beggar at the gates of clergy who know the secret password.

You are supposed to be "born again" and a "new creature" because you know the Shibboleth and have believed the promises and walk the walk ... however nothing ever changes except the depth of your slavery.
I always found prayer so incredibly boring and unsatisfactory. Read everything I could get my hands on concerning the problem and it was all the same bullshit. " Monologues with Jesus" may be the title of a future album I do.