Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Troubles With Church

Disclaimer: This is not a post to discuss general problems with organized religion or Christianity.  No screeds in the comments, please.

I tried to go Sunday morning.  I really did.  Pulled into the parking lot and just drove through.  I know the church, the preacher, and remember enough faces I know I would have been welcome.  But I couldn't welcome it.  Just thinking about sitting in pews brings to mind The Preacher With Only Words* that shattered my excitement and hope.  Churches who treat funerals as recruitment opportunities, and completely ignore the person they are theoretically memorializing.  Well-meaning people whose words "spoken in love" tear and destroy.

The church I was going to hasn't done any of the above that I'm aware of.  And lots of groups besides churches are guilty of the same - it's a human condition, not a church condition.  Even at churches where I have seen these behaviors, I've met good people, gracious people, holy people, that I'm still proud to call friends.  And my faith in God doesn't waver, but I can tell it's not exactly blooming in isolation.

But I can't get myself to go back.  I want that community, that fellowship, heck my natural response to my most joyous experience - playing in deep waves in the ocean - is to belt out hymns.  But I can't face being discarded again.  By a church, by a place that talks about love more than any other place. Whether it's brazenly "calling it" and cutting all ties or just dismissing my thoughts/perspectives as "loving the sinner," it's just harder to take there.

Dunno what response I'm looking for.  Don't point me to a church/preacher/group who will be better - it'd be hard for any of them to be worse than my last experience ended up.  I don't know how I can deal with this or get past it, no matter how much I want to.  So if anyone has thoughts there, please let me know.  And I'll just hope this was somehow therapeutic enough for me.

*No idea how much of this is based on learning that That Preacher is using disparaging anecdotes about the church he abandoned at his new megachurch.  But I'm sure it doesn't help.