Another point of view

Recently, I came across a blog post that I found really insightful.  I am going to cut and paste it below this for my readers.  She is sharing her experience of why she left her church.  She has no connection with the meeting church but her experience is similar.  When you are reading her post, might I suggest that you replace the word ‘church’ for ‘meetings’ or ‘going to church’; whichever might fit your experience.  The questions she raised are almost verbatim to questions I asked at the time and again more recently when I began to find it difficult to attend the church I have been attending the last few years.  I also especially love the possibilities presented near the end for friends of those who have left the ‘church’.  Let me know what you think.

I am sending this link now because I am deep in the throes of trying to figure out what to write next on the blog myself!  I have ideas rambling around in my head and some are on paper.  Satan is working overtime on me telling me I can’t do this but I REFUSE TO LISTEN!  I am telling him repeatedly TO GET LOST IN JESUS NAME.  It works!

Here is the link for the referenced post and below in its entirety.

http://www.withhishands.ca/2013/12/04/when-we-leave-the-church/#comment-55


When we Leave the Church

Posted on December 4, 2013

When we leave the Church, there is without a doubt a reason for it. When we leave the Church, we do not need to hear Bible verses or have you “hold us accountable” and tell us to return. When we leave the Church, we don’t need you to judge us or walk out of our lives.

“But, the Church is the bride of Christ.”

“But, going to Church is biblical.”

“But, having fellowship is biblical.”

We don’t need you to tell us that. We went to church. We read the Bible. We know what it says. We know already.

But.….

What if church isn’t a safe refuge, but something we had to take refuge from?

What if church isn’t a place of comfort?

What if we were abused in and by the church?

What if the church is where we experienced the greatest hurt?

What if we learned more about faith when we were away from the church?

What if the leadership took advantage of the congregation’s trust?

What if we were taught false doctrine?

What if our search for truth led us outside of the doors of that building?

Some of us are trying to make our way back, while some of us simply cannot even handle the idea of walking into such a building right now. What the Bible says is real, and I’m not arguing God’s love for the Church. But, we aren’t just another Christian, number, or statistic. We are real people who have experienced real hurtWe are people who have experienced immense brokenness and have found that we cannot experience the healing we need in the confines of a Church buildingthough we desperately want to. We are people who feel so terrifyingly vulnerable to more pain that we cannot imagine going back right now.

Just because we walked away from the church for a time, does not mean we don’t love God, nor does it mean we don’t love people a part of the Church. Just because we walked away from the Church for a time, doesn’t mean we won’t be back some day.

“But the Church is made up of people, and people are imperfect.”

“You’re going to have some bad experiences anywhere you go.”

“People are going to disappoint you outside of the church, too.”

“You can’t expect perfection.”

I don’t believe any of us are expecting perfection from the Church or from people. We’re not looking for flawless pastors, leadership or relationships. We’re looking for people who care about the brokenness of our hearts. We’re looking for people who want to genuinely be in relationship with others. We’re looking for people who want to go past the fluffy garbage and get down to the nitty-gritty stuff that everyone avoids. We’re just looking for love, compassion and grace. We’re looking for the fruits of the spirit. We’re looking for truth. We’re looking for acceptance. We’re looking for people who won’t hate us and condemn us for not reaching their expectations, or for messing up (heaven forbid).

What if instead of people judging us for leaving, someone would care enough to ask why?

What if instead of sending us bible verses online, you would meet us for coffee?

What if instead of talking about us, you would talk to us?

What if instead of walking away from us, you would walk with us?

What if instead of caring about losing a member, you would care about a broken person?

Will you stand with us, when everyone else forsakes us?

 (Please know, I love the Church as a whole, and I love what many churches are doing in the communities and countries of the world. Please know, the Church can be beautiful, and I would never wish to lead anyone away from it. I’m not intending to hate on the church, or even harshly criticize it, I’m sharing mine and many other people’s stories. I also know many people who have had incredible church experiences.)

(End of pasted blog post).  Again, I think she has raised really good questions from both sides.  I am fully convinced that for those of us who have left the meetings and find it difficult to attend another church at times, that the Lord truly does understand.  It just takes time to readjust, to “detox” if you will, to heal, to let go of the past and be ready to be in the present.  It’s a wonderful time though; it’s life changing to have peace, but being misunderstood by family members, by others who still go to meetings, is just part of the process.  God is faithful to send you new friends and the best part is the increased depth of your relationship with God.  Also, after reading posts like the one shared here today, it helps us to realize that we are not alone; nor are we unique in this process.  Many have gone through it.  In fact, Jesus said it would BE part of the journey.  A line from a hymn comes to mind with new meaning, “God understands me; this thought will suffice.”

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Another point of view

  1. Loved this post Darla…we are all in this together and indeed the spiritual church is being formed as we all change, as expressed so beautifully in the other post. Honesty from our souls is always worthy of acceptance….and as we all share our experiences….we come to know a special fellowship.

    Like

  2. Thanks, everybody for writing about this most interesting and intriguing subject!
    My own experience has brought me to where I am so at peace looking for Christ in every soul I meet, and I feel that is what fellowship is about.
    Many years ago I began reading Malachi 3:16 like this: “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another [and they did not need a workers’ list nor friends’ address book to have such fellowship]…”
    About the same time I was attracted to the three times in the New Testament that it says: “Abraham believed God and it was imputed to him for righteousness.”
    Then! I began making a list of what Abraham did not have, and so much that I thought was pertinent to salvation was not on that list!
    If my study has any accuracy, the only real fellowship that Abraham had was with his wife.
    Abraham never even had forefathers who were faithful before him, who he could add to his claims of salvation.
    He never even had scripture to read!
    But he did have a living relationship with God.
    I am certainly not against interacting with believers; having said that I do not feel that that is limited to being an active member of a religious system.
    I find it palatable to sit and listen to somebody expound, but please, spare me all the religious formality, and if you feel obligated to judge me for not being in regular attendance, I will not even sit and listen.
    I have found it most interesting and exciting to attend a church community that is made up mostly of souls who have left the Anabaptist movement, which is very exclusive.
    I am excited because of seeing where God has brought these souls from and where He has brought them to.
    My first connection with them was about 20 months ago, and the group leader was preaching strongly about the huge importance of being a member!
    I thought to myself: “I will see what he says in 18 months.”
    That message has totally changed and now it is against membership, and declares it openly!
    I connect with this group about every six weeks – it is like witnessing their growth spurts.
    This gives me faith that God is certainly at work and if He can do that for that exclusive group there are other such groups that He can do the same for.
    I actually feel, that “church” as we have known it to be for the past 2,000 years is soon to be obsolete.
    I shared this thought with a couple who are members of a huge worldwide organization.
    Their pastor has been telling them the same thing.
    I actually feel we are moving into an era of greater spirituality, and it will be wonderful meeting souls on the same journey even at different “levels”.
    One brother said we will not be “attending church”, but rather we will be “attending to the church”.
    “…they all shall know Me from the least to the greatest…”
    Many souls are on a “spiritual migration”, if you will: let’s be patient to see where God leads each of us.
    My position is no better than yours and I am most happy to accept you where you are in the process.
    By God’s amazing grace we shall go on!
    Please, pray for me.

    Like

    • Awesome words and thoughts Steve! Beautifully put. So good to hear from you again. I like the part too how you check in with your group about every 6 weeks! That made me smile. Keep checking in with us here too; we need your input.

      Like

      • Fabulous words Steve, I loved your post. I especially loved your sentence where the brother said “We will not be attending church, but rather we will be attending to the church.” It has always been my vision that “the church” is not physical but spiritual….completely unlimited in many different ways but with the SAME purpose..the love of God. We really ARE on a spiritual migration, all on different levels and each is a special work of God. Praise this supreme intelligence!!!

        Like

  3. Aloha again Darla,

    It is healthy and refreshing to be genuinely open and honest about these struggles. In addition to our individual prayers about these things, “ALL” of us need safe environments with understanding friends to pour out our hearts to and pray with. Those friends may not be in a local church. When we know others have the same struggles, our feelings of isolation and the enemy’s power starts to unravel. We need the Lord and each other.

    Some have been blessed to be drawn into a healthy Jesus centered church where they find safety and healing. But if that hasn’t happened or doesn’t, and one is praying about it, RELAX! God is faithful to lead us to Himself and then at the proper time make the God directed connections we need, (as He sees our need.) It is a process and we tend to be impatient people, (at least I am). 1 Peter 2:4-6 comes to mind. “HIS” church is still “BEING” built as we are individually being changed. I find that hopeful.

    Unless someone has been in any struggle it isn’t their own, but we don’t need to be on our own. I love considering that for some, not settling into a church is actually the Lord’s hand protecting a person who might be a “people pleaser”, or lonely for the wrong thing. One might settle too fast for a relationship with a church before their “Honeymoon” with Jesus has it’s proper season. He is to be our first love. If we tend to be conformists, we can start following other sheep or shepherds who will lead us to disappointing pastures. Phil. 2:13 encourages me to know He is in charge, when we have surrendered to Him. He can direct us where He wills us to be, the timing of it and with the others He has in mind for us to know. We can still keep our hearts open to Him and each other, because we are part of His Big Church already.
    Aloha, Chris (and Stan)

    Like

Your comment adds interest to the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s