I used to be very involved with church. From birth to 18 I loved going to church, and some of my best and closest friends were there. I have since stopped going to church and some people wonder why.
Here is what Church has done for me:
Church used the people I loved the most and then told them they weren’t important. It drove them away because they couldn’t commit several more days a week to being there.
Church enslaved my husband for years by giving him false promise after false promise that eventually he would be paid a living wage. You would be shocked how little you can live on. It kept him from going to college by having him take their “college” classes only to find out later those classes were completely worthless in the real world, leaving him with no higher education.
Church hurt my family members when they made mistakes. It rejected them and made them outcasts because there was a visible reminder of their mistakes. They did not hold the same standard for the people the mistakes were made with.
Church made me feel like less than a person because I had a life and couldn’t commit most of my time to them.
Church brought me in, only to reject me later when I had questions and disagreed about certain theological points.
Church made me walk on eggshells because doing or saying the slightest “wrong” thing would offend someone.
Church made me feel guilty because I could never do enough. I never witnessed enough, I never fasted enough, I never read my Bible enough. Nothing was ever enough.
Church told people I love that they were doing something wrong when they were being abused. They downplayed everything and sent them into dangerous situations and it almost cost lives several times.
Church made a husband discourage his wife from having contact with her father because her father made a lifestyle choice that goes against the Bible. When we stood up for the father, wanting to love him and have him be a part of our lives anyway, we were in turn rejected.
Church took away my chance to meet my biological grandfather. He married a catholic girl after divorcing my grandmother and since there is a stigma about divorce chose to completely cut off all contact with my mom. He pretended he didn’t have a daughter and left my mom questioning who her biological father was for 50 years. My mom has a stepfather who is amazing and we all love very much but even as a child I could tell how hard it was for her that she didn’t know where she came from. She met him last year and he was apparently a really neat man. He wasn’t ready to meet any of his grandkids yet though. He just died. I will never meet him.
I can’t step foot in a church now without thinking about all these things and more. I know that if they truly knew me, what I think and believe, I would be rejected. I feel like I know the end of the story before it even starts. It’s not a happy ending.
I’ll take Jesus, you can keep Church.