The other day I read an interesting piece over on CNN about why millennials are leaving the church. If you’re interested, here’s the link. http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/27/why-millennials-are-leaving-the-church/ Yesterday, I read another blog post which stated the blogger’s reasons why they think the CNN post is wrong.If you’re interested, here’s that link. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/frenchrevolution/2013/08/02/why-are-millennials-leaving-the-church-the-narcissism-factor/ I chose to make this post today because I think some points from both posts could be clarified from my own experience.
Since I am not of the millenial generation, I don’t feel qualified to speak for them, but I do feel qualified to speak for myself. Why is that, you ask? Well, that’s because I left the church for over ten years. It had nothing to do with doctrine or political party though I am tired of hearing that you have to believe a certain or way or be a member of a certain political party to be a Christian. Hogwash! The Bible does not say that all Christians should vote for members of the Republican Party or dress a certain way in church or sing certain songs or be of a certain income level. It does say this in John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” I think that gives a pretty good idea of what the Christian faith is supposed to be.
But, I’m getting off-track. Why did I leave the church? There were a number of reasons, first and foremost of which, were the artificiality of relationships. It seemed that every time I would go to church, the conversation would revolve around what area of town people lived in, what latest gadget people had bought, or what vacation they had been most recently on. There was mission work going on, yes, but the attitude was the people the church’s missions worked with were not good enough to step into the church building itself.
I was actually told one time that my family really needed to buy a home. Why should that have been important? Wasn’t it enough that we were people of faith sharing about our faith with others? Or was it more important to live in the nicer areas of town and only share our blessings with people we approved of? I’m not sure that’s what Jesus would have wanted, but I digress.
The second reason I left the church was because of the fallout from some things that happened in the past which were gossiped about within the church. After people heard this gossip, they chose to shun me and my family. If you have ever wondered what kinds of people can be cruel to one another, I would suggest you look no farther than the church. Yes, I know people aren’t perfect, and all people have their secrets and their sins. But, when you have to put up a shield and pretend you are something you are not in order to be around people of faith, something is very wrong, and I firmly believe it is not what Jesus wants for us.
Fortunately, my story does have a happy ending in that we have found a church in our new town that is totally different from any church that either me or my husband has ever been to. If you have read this blog for any length of time, you know that the church we have found here is an authentic community where we all have the same struggles with sin. No one is better than anyone else and it is the truest example of what I think Jesus wants for those of us who believe in Him.
Christians are fighting over things that are not important while the rest of the world laughs at us. How is that showing Jesus’ love? Stop and think about it.