Christian Church / Christianity / Religion

Crying in the Parking Lot.

So, my husband and I have been searching for a Church for three years. Yes, three years. We have gone to so many churches that it makes my head spin. But the one I want to write about right now is a church that we attended for a couple of months actually. I really enjoyed the people who seemed kind and considerate. They greeted us like family from the first time we went there. The pastor also seemed quite educated and traveled. He had been to archaeological digs in the middle east and seen how the Bible’s historical facts lined up. Everything seemed to be going along very well.

This particular Sunday the pastor was talking about evangelism. he was using the typical stony ground, fertile ground, thorny ground passage found in Matthew 13:1-8, Mark 4:1-9, and Luke 8:4-8. I had heard this before many times before. Half way through the presentation, I mean the sermon, the pastor put up a slide regarding what changes people’s hearts and makes them more receptive to the gospel. I didn’t hear another word he said. I was just sitting there starting at the graph that had Death of Spouse 100% right at the top. You know what I wasn’t thinking? “Yeah that’s how we love like Christ. Let’s scan the papers for death announcements see whose spouse has recently passed and go and bring them into the fold.” What I was thinking was how much I had suddenly been transported from a sermon in church to a board meeting in a corporation. “How can we profit from this terrible loss?” I sat there and stared at the scale for several minutes getting more and more upset until I just got up and walked out.

I sat in the parking lot behind the church weeping. I say weeping because I was racked with sobs and I wasn’t able to do anything to contain it. For the next half an hour my heart hardened toward that church and I started questioning all over again whether or not I had faith in something that really existed. I mean, my husband hadn’t seen a problem with the sermon. What’s wrong with me? Did I expect to much from church, from my faith?

When we got home that afternoon, I told my husband that I was done. If that’s what Christianity is then I didn’t want anything to do with it anymore. “That’s not the Christ I worship,” I remember yelling at him. It’s been over six months since we’ve gone to church since then, and I don’t really care. I read, I pray, and that’s enough for me. Ever time I go back to church my faith is chipped at. We don’t have Christian churches anymore. We have American Christian Churches and that has little to do with where they are geographically. It has to do with the fact that we impose capitalist business models on evangelism. We temper Christ’s humanitarian efforts with bootstrap politics. We worship the constitution like we do the Bible. And, as Shane Claiborne says, “We just want Jesus to be a good American.”

I’ve lost faith in the Christian Church, but that doesn’t mean I’ve lost faith.

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6 thoughts on “Crying in the Parking Lot.

  1. What can I say, but I’m so sorry for your experience. But you are not alone.

    1. There is a strong “alternative” christian church in the US, and if you have read Shane Claiborne, then you are in contact with part of it. The Mennonites are a good part of this also – I know someone who couldn’t find any acceptable christian church until she found the Mennonites.

    2. My wife and I have struggled with this sort of thing for years. A friend is editing a book (to be published soon) to which we have contributed a short section about our experiences and what we have learnt. It is about people struggling with church, and deciding to hang in, or change, or get out. You may find it encouraging to at least read of others’ experience. Check it out at Til He Comes – I am No. 18.

    At least you know Jesus is more than the church, so you have chosen the “better way”.

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  2. i agree that when ‘people’ become ‘targets’ for evangelism and sharing the simple love of God in Chist becomes a ‘marketing strategy’ it’s time to hit the door of that church and get back in the car toward the nearest Denny’s.
    i would encourage you to meet at home with likeminded christians. turn your eyes upon Jesus and His People.
    -mike

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    • Indeed. the problem is finding them. We’ve been searching of a church for years and have had no luck. In fact this is when we gave up. We have a total of three couples/families that feel the way we do and we see them often. It’s just hard to go from tri-weekly church attendance and AWANA to just meeting and reading on your own. There’s a loss of community and we worry about how we’ll raise our children. You know/
      Thanks so much for your comments.

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  3. “We have a total of three couples/families that feel the way we do and we see them often. It’s just hard to go from tri-weekly church attendance and AWANA to just meeting and reading on your own.”

    We have been at that point a couple of times. We met with other couples for a while, just as Mike suggests. Another time, for a year or more, we had a “Sunday School” in our lounge room for our 3 children, and eventually about a dozen children from the street joined in.

    Some christians meet only in homes – in “simple churches” – and believe it is the way God intends for us. You might like to look up the Simple Church website and check it out. I hope I don’t sound like I am minimising your issues and offering gratuitous advice, but I think it is good for those of us who have fallen out of love with the institutional church to share whatever alternatives we have found.

    Best wishes.

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    • Yeah. we have some friends that go to “meeting” but they drive all over tar nation. Like 3-4 hours sometimes to go to church. I don’t if we’re set up for that. I’ll look into maybe attending some of the churches from that website. Thanks for your comments.

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