06 May 2008

Why Do You Leave? Why Do You Stay?

Oprah Winfrey used to attend the same church as Obama. She was even a member! It's implied in the article that she left because she's a businesswoman first and foremost and wouldn't want news of her pastor's loose mouth to get out to her middle-class white viewership.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/135392

Obama, of course, could no more disown Wright than he could disown "the black community." Well, until Wright kept runnin' his mouth and Obama threw him under the bus. Those pesky white people vote, ya know.

So, one stayed and one left. Out of the thousands of folks who have walked into Trinity Church over the last 20-odd years, we get just a glimpse of two of their stories. How about you? Why would you leave, stay, or start to attend a church? I got to thinking about this after Daja posted this link:

http://www.lettersfromleavers.com/

People come by and post why they left a particular church, or Christianity in general. She chats about it here: http://gombojav.blogspot.com/2008/05/in-company-of-committed.html Daja said the Letters From Leavers was one of the saddest websites she's seen, but I don't know. I think sadder still are some of us who stay.

It's been bothering me a bit lately, but have you ever noticed that people are really, really nice to you when they think you're "unsaved" or just don't know any better? We're just going to patiently loooove those people into the fold. But when they finally show up and their kids are brats, don't expect me to invite them over to my house so they can sully MY kids. Uh-uh. I'm choosing good company like the Bible says. You know, my responsibility as a parent and all. Let that family socialize somewhere else.

Oh, yes, we all know that Christ died for our sins and whatnot, but as a Christian, you're supposed to do some "growing up" and stuff the very second you're done with that sinner's prayer. You know, get your life cleaned up and help out around here. Hit the ground with your feet running. Work to be done, you know.

Think of it this way: if someone doesn't clean up their act immediately after saying the sinner's prayer, that means the prayer didn't work and Christ had no effect in that person's life. And so you must work very, very hard or else you'll be proving one of two things: God didn't change your life (therefore God does not exist), or YOU are secretly a bad-evil sinner and you're reveling in the pigsty. And if you've read our church doctrinal statement, you'll get a clue that we believe in God. That means you'd better just pull yourself up by your bootstraps, missy. And get that stupid depressed look off your face. You know Jesus died for you and the Bible says you'd better "Rejoice!" with a capital "R" and an exclamation mark.

I think if I were writing a leaver's letter, it would be more about my attitude toward God and the Church. I have left long ago on the inside. I feel I have diligently sought God for quite some time, and He has not made the necessary changes in my life that are beyond my control. Therefore He either does not exist, or I must be reveling in the pigsty. Trouble is, I'm not having much fun there if that's where I am. I am hesitant to think of the other option. And yet, it's there all the time.

If He does exist, He isn't like Hallmark. He doesn't care enough to send the very best. I think I'd be ok with that if I had just one friend I could talk to. Just one person who truly understands my troubles. Someone to be there with me. Perhaps I am too introspective and am not out DOING enough. But I'm so tired. I can tell you DOING is not always the answer when your heart is empty.

No, nothing tragic going on here. At least, not more tragic than anyone else is going through. Just life. And maybe I think too much about it.

11 comments:

  1. Wow, this post started one way and kinda ended another. I know you are not trying to make me sad so I won't get sad but I resonate with how you feel. Sometimes I think it's hard for us to see the forest when we're sitting among the trees on the forest floor (can I use anymore of a cliché alcoholics anonymous catch phrase?)

    I know what you're saying though. It just seems like things don't change or get better sometimes. But I hope you don't lose motivation to keep being a Christian. Our human understanding of things is in fact limited, after all. I feel like a failure a lot of times and I wonder what the point of it all is and I pretty much don't enjoy church and I go because I feel guilted. Do you feel better about yourself now or should I go on about how screwed up I really am?

    Anyway, hope I didn't make you feel worse. (grins and head tilts and hugs)

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  2. well on this subject we will just have to agree to disagree. Some people take time to change as God gradually works on them. I have seen this happen and they were genuinely saved. It just took them longer to get everything out of their system. You can not expect every one to have the same salvation experience as you. As far as the brat thing I fear that teaches my children to not show Christ to people to happen to not live the same way as they do. My daughter has been accused of being a brat when in actuality it is her problems that cause most of her outburstl.

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  3. Ok wait I just reread your post and I am not sure if you say you feel this way or that you think that other Christians feel this way. I am so confused. Sorry if I asumed the wrong way. If you are saying that you think other Christians feel this way than I can say that I understand.

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  4. I'm saying a lot of times we get the IDEA from other Christians that we'd better be OK right after we say the sinner's prayer.

    And sometimes I think that way myself, though I know that it isn't theologically "right." Really, such ideas would put ME in charge of God's transformational power in my life. And while I can certainly block that power by consciously choosing sin continually, it really is God that needs to do a work in us.

    We need to be more patient with each other.

    My children, I fear, haven't been invited to parties, etc. since they were in preschool. I understand why, but at the same time it pretty well miffs me. I understand that God never promises things to be perfect, but it miffs me that I have so much to deal with and it's unfair.

    Hopefully that explains it. Just proves I should NEVER BLOG when I'm sad or upset LOL! I've got even my poor mom calling wondering if I'm ok.

    I'm fine; just getting reflective. :]

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  5. Oh ok. I thought "Wow I am suprised to hear that from her." lol I have a bad habit of blogging when I am sad or depressed. Especially lately. I have been dealing with a bout of depression lately for this very reason also. I know for a fact that my children have not been invited to parties because people think Monkette is a brat. I try to appease myself with the fact of how judgmental they are. I stay because hubby and my son love it there and would not be happy anywhere else.

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  6. I like the folks I go with well enough. I shouldn't expect anyone to "get it" completely and yet I do. I realize it is an unfair expectation on my part.

    I feel like, if only God would quit adding stuff on my plate that I can't handle (not just this, but it's TMI ya know). When is He gonna figure out that I won't pass the next test if I just failed this one?? Come on! Where's all that grace and mercy stuff when I need it?

    :]

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  7. There's a difference between "DOING the Christian thing" and "BEING a Christian."

    Here's my gut repsonse, STOP TRYING SO HARD, PEOPLE!

    *deep breath* Jesus loves you. *deep breath* He loves you so much that He bought the field. *deep breath* Jesus loves you. *deep breath* His love for you does not rest on your performance. *deep breath* The Sinner's Prayer is not a magic incantation. *deep breath* Jesus loves you. *deep breath* He already proved it by coming in the flesh. *deep breath* Each day is not about proving you are saved, but learning to live in His love. *deep breath* JESUS LOVES YOU. Stop trying to earn it. He already bought the field.

    btw, I love you, too.

    breath it in....

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  8. Thanks, Daja. It's all true but I always continually forget. ALL THE TIME.

    Why can I not be continually faithful instead?

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  9. I think a lot of times the problem with the church is the people...but they can also be the greatest part. The church is full of sinners, some wrapped up in the pride of thinking they can pay back their salvation. Have you read Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning? He talks about how God loves us for who we are and accepts us NOW. There's no way of earning salvation, that's why it's called grace. The best thing to do sometimes is nothing.

    God is a great Father and the giver of great gifts! My life is proof...I tried your hardest to screw it up, ignoring my conscience, and I still ended up with a great family.

    About faith - our constant prayer at church is "God I believe, help my unbelief!"

    Thanks for being open and honest! It's nice to know that not everyone has it together and it gives us something to pray about! *;o)

    Keep quoting 2 Corinthians 4:8 & Matt 7:11.

    Love ya sister!

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  10. Thanks Mrs. K!

    I do have to qualify that I don't really have a beef against the particular church I attend per se... more the "church" attitude we ALL fall into sometimes. (Me included.)

    It's hard to give grace to the people who need it most. I experience that on a daily basis with my family, anyway.

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)