The single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.
-Brennan Manning (dc Talk)
I’m pretty sure that this blog is going to step on some people’s toes, so I’ll go ahead and apologize to begin with. Not necessarily for what I’m about to write, but that this is simply the cold-hard truth of things.
For years and years, Josh and I have both had a problem with church. Not that we don’t think that church is an important part of the Christian Faith. I know enough about the bible to know that the scripture says that we are to fellowship with other believers…after all, that’s what the “Sabbath” is set aside for.
The biggest problem that I have always had with churches, is that they are full of cliques. Seriously…the worst place to go if you feel like an outsider, is to a church. I know it’s sad, but it’s the truth. There are more people in churches that look down their nose at people who aren’t “like them” than anywhere else I have ever been. It’s like being in Junior High School all over again. You walk in and it seems like everyones eyes are on you…judging you by what you wear, the mistakes you’ve made, etc. You can say I’m wrong, but I’ve always thought that :
1) Everyone makes mistakes and we serve a forgiving Christ.
2)”Do not judge, lest ye be judged.”
3) Church is supposed to be the place that you go to surround yourself with fellow believers that are to help build you up when you are down, pray for you, encourage you, and help keep you accountable.
Josh and I thought we had found a church that would actually do that, but it turns out that this church was exactly like all of the others that we had ever attended. They promised friendship and accountability…encouragement and prayer. They offered alot and talked a big game about all that they did. But, like everywhere else…it was all talk. What’s that old saying…”You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?” And it’s sad that I now have to scratch another church off of my list of churches that actually treat members like they should be treated. This church proved to have it’s cliques and groups like everywhere else does that didn’t want to let anyone else in.
A brief rundown of what we ran into:
They talked a big game about getting everyone involved and making you feel like family (the way it should be), talk of accountability and friendship…keeping in touch with each other when things were going on to be sure that everything was good…Needless to say no one followed through. Josh and I went to church every single Sunday there for 5 months; attended Sunday School every weekend; Josh and I were both in small groups (mine on Tuesdays, his on Thursdays); and we went to all of the functions that were extra…picnics, get togethers, etc. We had a baby 3 weeks ago, and with the exception of about 5 people out of everyone we went to church with, NO ONE has called to check on us. No one has called to see how our son is, how I am, how Josh is…if we need anything or if there is anything they can do for us, if they can pray for us…Nothing.
To me, this is absolutely pathetic. Seriously. It makes me sick to my stomach. A group of people who talk of living Christ’s love and being an example of what God intends for us to be, and a phone call to check on a fellow believer is too much trouble. I’ll go one lower than that-in our technology driven society, I would even settle for a simple email. But, instead there is nothing. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be a part of a church that treats its members like that. Like they don’t matter. It comes across that Josh and I haven’t been going to church there as long as everyone else, so what goes on with us doesn’t concern everyone else. We aren’t “up there” on their level, so they will speak and be polite on Sunday’s, but outside of church they don’t have to have anything to do with us. Needless to say, we haven’t been back and have no intentions of going back.
The quote above fits this circumstance perfectly. Situations like ours are why people don’t accept Christianity. They see the way alot of “church people” treat others, and treat them and decide that they don’t want a part of that. And truth be known, I can’t really blame them. Not that everyone who goes to church is like that, because they aren’t. There are some good, genuine people at churches…some of them I have been fortunate enough to meet. But altogether, I haven’t been to a church yet where, at some point-more often than not-that I didn’t feel like an outsider. That’s the problem that people have with Christianity. Talk a big game and then don’t follow through. If I hadn’t been raised with parents who taught Christian values in the home, I would be the same way. It’s not the example that you want to set for people…That’s not what Christianity is about.
Josh and I will find another church, and will continue to keep in touch with the few people that made us feel welcome while at our last church. We will raise our son to know who Jesus Christ is and know what he sacrificed for us. We will teach him and instill in him the values that we feel he needs to know…but it will be without the help of people who pretend to be something they aren’t and talk a big game and don’t follow through. We don’t want our son to be a part of a church that does that…or be around people that act that way. We want him to be around real people that genuinely care about others…whether those people are found in the church or not. Everyone may not agree with that, but I don’t agree with the way things have gone lately.