pisteuo, I'm curious, can you give more detail on what you believe? It is generally quite a bit easier to chat if we know a few more bit about your version of Christianity: predestination or not? young earth or old earth creationist? Trinitarian? Anti-Trinitarian? Bible as literal? Bible as metaphor? As both, and how you determine what's what?
I was a Presbyterian, did all the things, and considered myself quite devout, believing and praying a lot. I'm curious on how you define devout, since I saw you use that term in the shelter. My "origin story" is out on my blog. If you're curious, I can give you a link. Long story short: was a believer, watched my church disintergrate, read the bible to get the story from the horse's mouth (and to prove to my parents I could read it), and found that the bible isn't what is claimed. This plus my background in science shows that gods and religions are made in the image of their creators, humans.
I'm one of the toothier ones here on the boards. If I see a claim, I'll want evidence and I don't pull punches to salve someone's hurt feelings. In case you might need it, I have found www.biblegateway.com to be a great resource since it has many versions of the bible and it can be searched by keywords. Most of the folks here are some of the most well-read and thoughtful I've found anywhere.
I'll try to help give a bit more definition, although I'm not sure how helpful it will be. I grew up "Arminian", heavily influenced by Pentecostal tradition (Holiness movement) and more specifically, Assembly of God. This means I believed solidly in free-will, and other traditional concepts that one might ascribe as more Arminian than Calvinist, or "reformed" tradition (which may be more familiar to you coming from a Presbyterian tradition). There has been a significant shift in many of those views since that time. I prefer to shed most of those labels and simply hold onto the term "disciple" because I think "isms" tend to force us into a framework of interpretation, and I see errors on both sides. That said, I do hold primarily orthodox Christian views such as the trinity, and I believe the Bible is a beautiful mix of literature styles. I tend to see it as primarily literal, but there certainly is metaphor. I think good hermeneutics (looking in context, examining language, literary styles, etc.) provides a fairly safe basis for determining which is which. I understand there is some variance there among Christians from various traditions, and I'm quite content when I'm not certain about something to simply say, "I don't know." For example, I believe much of the Old testament pentateuch to be largely literal narrative. I think Revelation, for example, is primarily prophecy. I think Jesus teaching is both literal and metaphor, combining very real commandments with parables that illustrate ideas and principles which reinforce His teachings. I'm not big on theological infighting in the Church, and I think the message of the Gospel was never meant to be so complex as it may seem some have made it out to be. To me, that is largely a distraction from the core meta-narrative of Scripture and the redemptive story of Christ and creation. That said, I do think it is important to have maintain well-settled, orthodox Christian doctrine that has stood the test of time.
As far as devout, I would define that not so much as "religious" but as one seeking to follow after Jesus and grow in knowledge and action as a disciple. I want to follow Jesus, even if it is costly. Not because I want to gain something, but because I've come to believe that in Him is life. I'm sure this will come up more in discussion from time to time, so I'll leave it there for now.
I did read your story. I read all the testimonials last night. I found many of them fascinating. What happened at your church would have infuriated me too.
I can appreciate your fair warning regarding unsubstantiated claims. Unfortunately, there will always be unsubstantiated claims, but I will attempt to provide evidence, when possible, and I certainly won't take anything personally. I'm certainly not easily offended, or in need of my feelings or ego massaged when wounded. In fact, in a way, I kind of feel like I gave up my right to be offended the more I started to follow Jesus and to read the Scripture and see what the apostles endured, what men like Paul endured, without ever lifting a hand or reviling those who put them to death or severely persecuted them. Makes a little "hurt feelings" seem pretty petty in the scheme of things. But, I'm human, as well, so I know it can still happen from time to time. But, I won't hold a grudge, and things tend to roll off my back without much effort.
Appreciate the welcome (and warning), but mainly the welcome