Losing Church

The longer we have been uprooted– without a church home– the more cynical I find I am becoming.

Cynical about the church.

Cynical about Christians. Cynical about those safe, pat answers and cliche little rote sayings we taught our kids and tossed around to one another at church, Bible studies, and other activities. “If it’s God’s will, it will happen,” “only Jesus can save you,” and “Trust and obey.” I used to be “that Christian mom”. Now I see where it leads, and how hollow those cliches are. There is meat in God’s truth. The cliches are simply milk. The worst are the ones sung in children’s songs.

License plate that reads "Christians arent' perfect, just forgiven"

It’s a slippery slope, we’re told, leaving church and “backsliding”, but what if we left a church and didn’t “backslide?” Or what if (and all the Christians shudder at once) we later come to realize we were so RELIGIOUS that we had become LEGALISTS, and our lives outside of the four walls of the church building aren’t a backslide at all, but just… life?

I remember when we enjoyed having a drink with friends. I also remember when we became so Pharisaical that just the thought of being where people were drinking made me feel… unclean. Being around those unredeemed was beneath me somehow. Beneath all of those we kept company with.

How awful to realize that we shut out everyone, even those we cared for, all in the name of keeping ourselves untouched lest anyone think poorly of us? How awful to realize that while Jesus himself would have sat down and had a conversation with someone as they drank a beer, and might have even had a glass of wine himself, we never would have done such a thing, lest our church friends think we weren’t “one of them.”

Not a Jesus follower.
Not a Christ-talker.

Not one who cares for people, without reservation, no matter where they are or what point they are at in their lives. One who can sit down and look someone in the eye and show genuine care and concern for them, and not just express their obvious lack of a savior in their lives.

But WAIT–In all 18 years we were at that church– I cannot think of one single person we were friends with– not even the pastors– who would ever dream of getting on the level with someone from outside the church and actually being Christ to him. At least, not unless they were on a mission trip, because then they expected you to be Jesus to everyone.


Oh Lord help us. Help us all.

Looks can be deceiving, and we cannot always judge those around us by a cursory glance. Walking away from our church after 18 years was at once liberating and terrifying. Two years later, we still haven’t found a church home. We are still in limbo. God did throw open doors as if to show us, “See what you’ve been missing?!” What we’ve seen and learned about Him and ourselves has been amazing. We have been regular attenders at 3 different congregations at different times.

We are still searching for a place where we fit, not with the stained glass and Sunday best crowd, but with genuine souls who care more about the inside of our skin than what covers it or goes into it.

Or doesn’t.

Because cutesy Christian slogans just don’t do it anymore.

Bumper sticker that reads "If your Bible is falling apart, chances are your life is staying together"

Not even the one that was stuck to the bumper of MY van for 10 years.

New here or it’s been a while since you’ve been here? Yes, things have changed. I’ve changed. If you’re new and you relate, I’d love it if you’d pop your email address in the form below so you will receive new posts as soon as I publish them! I am currently walking through deconstruction and deconversion from Evangelical Christianity, and it is touching every area of my life. If you’re looking for support in your own deconstruction, I found the #exvangelical hashtag online to be the first lifeline and step in the right direction. You can also just read my posts on about my Faith Deconstruction.

4 thoughts on “Losing Church”

  1. Dear “Dawn”,

    What you say is true. I think one of the biggest problems in the American Church is not just that we won’t be Jesus to people but also that we won’t get close to each other. I would have to say that the #1 reason for us meeting at all was not to simply sit in a pew or even to listen to someone tell us about the Bible but to exhort, encourage, uplift, and edify one another. This has been a severe struggle for me. We are members of a congregation, but it sickens me to see even my own life not really representing the system laid out for us to follow in Scripture. Honestly, we are doing just nearly 0% good by following the system we have in “church”. Because we don’t get to know each other, grow together, or anything! And we never get to discuss the Bible. We only have one or two people tell us what it’s all about. There is so much I could say on this topic, but I do not want to be bitter against my fellow labourers. That would be counterproductive. But what I AM saying is that there are several issues in the Church that really need to be addressed. Here, we are dragging Jesus’ name in the mud in front of nonbelievers constantly and we’re not even doing our job to outreach…May God have mercy on us all and lead us to better communion with Him!

    Your sincere sister in Christ,
    Kegan Cook

  2. I think it may be impossible these days to read and pray and watch whilst attending a ‘traditional’ evangelical church in America and not feel that something is terribly wrong. Perhaps I am just used to a certain ‘brand’ of church, having grown up as a pastor’s son. I see and read stories of churches stepping outside the norm, or of persecuted churches, and I feel like we are sitting in the very heart of Laodicea. “We are rich and increased with goods…”
    Recently, I did a family devotion and walked my teens through the obstacles to a church ministering financially in missions, etc. Then I asked them how people generally handled ‘church’ in the early church. When they realized the math of what goes into maintaining a church building (not to mention that most very small cities where we live have 10-20+ evangelical church buildings, many of the same denominations), they were floored. We are self-centered, self-righteous, covetous people far too often, seeking our own security and comfort above the ultimate mission of God’s glory through the gospel. We are set in traditions that have little or no root in Biblical teaching while often ignoring scripture we aren’t comfortable with, or that doesn’t line up with ‘how Mom and Dad did it.’
    I have began to take steps. I’m not nearly as concerned with ‘service attendance’ as I am about ‘service’. I commit only to meetings (other than the one primary corporate worship service) that I believe will build relational discipleship. And I am praying for God’s leading in a home based Bible study for either outreach or further discipleship. This is where I currently live. And I have never felt better about the direction of my family’s ‘church’ life.
    Sorry for such a lengthy comment. I want to encourage you and let you know that there are many others ‘out there’ who have seen through the eyes you speak of. Don’t limit yourself to what ‘everyone is doing.’ Live Christ.
    With love in Christ,
    Christopher Cook

  3. Dawn,

    We walked away 7 years ago from a group I was with from the age of 3. It’s been terrifying and freeing. I’m finding it hard to not be cynical about the church. However, the Lord is kind and full of goodness and mercy, so I’m trying to remember that. All I know is that living in freedom has made me alive.

    • Taunya, have you found a new place to be for you and your family? That is the hardest thing for me… I miss the church family/community aspect of things. We do NOT have that right now where we’ve been attending.


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