Yeah, church is a mess. There are things that I simply can’t deal with and things that turn my stomach about church. I don’t think American concepts of church are biblical, and I think in many cases they go against what was established in the New Testament. Church today is a lot more like synagogues in the Old Testament than anything–many tend to be Pharisaical, hypocritical, and full of useless traditions and rules that place burdens on those it is meant to serve. Church too often ignores the hurting and wounded, the poor, orphans and widows. They build doctrines that are inaccurate and unbiblical and ignore the beautiful simplicity that Jesus established. They argue, dividing over the smallest things.
Why would I want to be a part of that?
- Participating in church is the easiest way to connect with other believers in a face to face setting.
- It can be a good place to learn or discuss or at least consider other ways of viewing Bible passages.
- It is part of my faith tradition–it is something that I’ve participated in for a very long time, and I sometimes find comfort in and sometimes simply long for some of the traditions there.
It’s not a very long list.
For months I visited churches. Finally I found a decent one where I could grow. There were good things to learn and I had begun to see the Bible as safe for the first time in a long time. I even began to pray. There was always a feeling that there was a glass between me and them, that I was fully visible and could fully see them but couldn’t touch them… like they held me at arm’s length, but the other was enough.
And then the safety was gone. The sermon was wrong, the scriptures were wrong, there was no safety and only the bad memories. Where they had always been so careful to tread lightly on scriptures that might be triggering, they suddenly were the opposite. I have no idea why, and I’m tired of asking. I want the feeling of safety back, but not if it’s just a facade–it must be a truly safe place, not just a place that feels safe for a bit until it’s true nature is revealed.