The following blog post is most likely full of grammatical errors. Feel free to ignore them.
Leaving the establishment is tough in so many ways. All of the sudden, you are no longer a part of the "in crowd". Most people assume you are either "backslidden", hurt, or just plain off your rocker! You hear comments such as, "He used to be such a godly man", and "He obviously just doesn't understand God's word". Ah the joy!
Well, it's been about 16 months since I physically left organized religion (you might call it "church") and I have to say overall, I'm so glad I left. I say physically because honestly, my heart had checked out years prior to my body's decision to walk away. The truth is it has been a bumpy road, very good, but very bumpy. Of course, I should confess the bumps I endured were generally of my own creation.
Truly, I do not miss anything about the "services", or "sermons", and I especially don't miss all the standing up and sitting down (which I never understood). Most of that stuff was just traditional man contrived nonsense and for me traditional is just another word for boring! I did enjoy the people and those rare moments when someone would dare to be transparent, but I still have that for the most part, so overall I'm satisfied.
As I stated above, it's hard on your pride to find out you are no longer as "loved" and respected by many who used to sing your praises. Of course in reality, having you pride slammed is good thing. Sadly, my pride loved it when people patted me on the back and shared what a "blessing" I was to them. That's especially true when you've enjoyed some degree of true notoriety (at least the good kind). Truly, if you can sing, or do "big stuff" for Jesus, you're often exalted by your fellow "church" members and trust me it feels sooooo good! Yes, affirmation is indeed addictive, but unfortunately it can also be quite destructive to the prideful soul (that'd be me), and in that…lies the problem.
How does one go about defending very unpopular decisions without allowing pride to dominate the "discussion"? Heck, everyone wants to be right…right? How do you explain that you no longer believe in an ideology that most would consider a hill worth dying on? Even more challenging, how do you do it without pointing out the folly of believing in that ideology? It can get really….complicated.
So, after many, many bouts of trying defend myself and my beliefs, I have decided you simply stop.
Stop what you ask? Stop defending my position, beliefs, and convictions, and stop trying to convince others I might actually…have a leg to stand on. Why? Because it is POINTLESS!
Not only is it pointless, it destroys your own ability to simply enjoy where you are with Jesus…and that…is stinko!
Instead of growing closer to the Lord in the rich, fertile soil of freedom he has planted me in, I wither with concerns and the emotional baggage of dealing with those who are fat and happy in the system I so despise. Now, if you shutter at my use of such a strong word, I am sorry. Still, that is the reality of how I feel. Honestly, in my heart of hearts I believe that the modern system of religion many (not all)Christians call "church" is absolutely detrimental to the spiritual health and well-being of a child of God. If you disagree, I really just feel sorry for you. I realize that sounds demeaning, but I don't mean it to. I know so many of you love this thing you call "church", but in most cases(not all)I see it as a no more than a sad business that tries desperately to emulate life only to fail and eventually bring pain and destruction to those who dare embrace it. I realize I may be wrong in my thinking, but as of yet the Lord has not shown me differently despite my pleas (not fleas). By the way, if you feel I am way off base or even a little screwed up and He's told you so, ask Him to tell me (honestly, I'd love that). Who knows, you may have a better connection than I do.
On that same note, you might be surprised to know that I have submitted to the Lord my will regarding "church". I can tell you now that if the Lord told me to go back to the institutional church, I would go….with hesitation of course, but I would go. Of course, I am sincerely hoping against that.
So with that, I shall stop. If you share something with me on Face Book about how I need to change, or repent, or let go of my…whatever (which doesn't exist), I shall simply have to ignore it. Why? Because I just cannot continue to fight a battle that has no end and no winner. If you are a Christian, you and I are family and I simply will not continue to fight, argue, banter (whatever) with my family.
So, disagree with me, pray for my backslidden self, love me, support me or just ignore me. Whatever option you choose, I shall honor it. In the end, I need to go on with Jesus.
I will continue to write my blogs and post them. If they bless you and help you, I am thankful. If they tick you off and disgust you…..I am thankful.
So, as a former pastor dude I once served with used to say, peace on your heads! Feel free to comment…or not. Either way, I'm good!