The Unfiltered Thoughts of a Pastor in Exile

a toolbox to deconstruct your faith without losing it

I cannot give you the truth, but I can give you some tools, so you can search for it.

So, I call myself a Pastor in Exile. What a promising, unique name, what an excellent conversation starter, and what a beginning to a story. Once upon a time, there was a pastor in exile. Actually, I was never a pastor, but a teacher in the fivefold ministry. But “teacher in exile” somehow doesn’t work—it makes you think of school.

Born a Swiss pagan, I had quite a bit of church history behind me when I finally gave my life to Jesus, as we fundamentalist evangelical Christians call our conversion.

I had been technically born Protestant, had attended a house church patterned after the Jesus People movement in the 1970s and an evangelical church five years later, had gone to school in a Catholic boarding school, and had lived with Quakers, Lutherans, and Jews. Next, I was embarking on a journey with charismatics, had a long journey with an apostolic network that grew from Word of Faith, and today call myself probably a post-christian.

About the Author
  • Laura Stavinoha

    The subtitle of Ralph’s book is called ‘A toolbox to deconstruct your faith without losing it’, but it is much more than that. For someone like me, who has not been brought up in a religious environment, the toolbox that is offered here is just as valuable.

    With or without a religious context, the question ‘How can I be a good person and live a good life, according to my values?’ is relevant for everyone who is willing to self-reflect and grow as a person, and this book is an excellent choice to guide you through that process.

    I especially found it insightful to learn about Spiral Dynamics. Following this theory, Ralph’s extended and personal essay offers relevant meaning to the bible and the time it was written. He explains how societies evolve through so-called ‘value memes’, and how consequently, humanity is continuously developing according to a logical pattern.

    The biggest takeaway for me was that we could never have arrived at our current time in history without the necessary movement through the consecutive memes, even the ones we now often call bad or outdated. In order to grow, we need the focus on self just as much as the focus on community. I recommend this book to everyone who aspires to be an independent thinker.

    Laura is a musician, performer, writer, producer and coach, with the voice at center. She can be found at “Use Your Voice.” Laura is the author of Voice: A Multifaceted Approach to Self-Growth and Vocal Empowerment.